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California DMV suffers data breach, online transactions targeted

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Mar 23, 2014 12:14 am

Credit card companies and financial institutions indicate the California Department of Motor Vehicles may have been breached, with MasterCard recently sending an alert memo of a "card-not-present" breach indicating online transactions.

 

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It's unknown how the California DMV was compromised, but stolen information includes credit card numbers, three-digit verification codes, and expiration dates are at risk - and an investigation will try to determine if driver's license numbers, Social Security numbers, phone numbers, and addresses were also at risk.

 

"We're seeing two percent of our card base compromised as a result of this, and our cards are 100 percent concentrated here in California," said a representative at an undisclosed bank, speaking to Krebs on Security. "That's still a big number, and it's a huge exposure window."

 

Consumers need to be vigilant in how they handle their own personal information, and follow these types of high-profile security breaches.

IRS watchdog says phone scam described as 'largest ever'

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Mar 22, 2014 9:20 pm

Another year, another sophisticated Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scam targeting users, with the IRS already receiving 20,000 reports about the clever scam. This particular scam is the largest scam IRS officials have found, and is stealing millions of dollars from US taxpayers across the country.

 

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The scam first gained prominence last August, and largely targeted immigrants - but has evolved into anyone the scammers can trick.

 

"This is the largest scam of its kind that we have ever seen," said J. Russell George, IRS Treasury inspector, in a statement. "The scammers threaten those who refuse to pay with arrest, deportation or loss of a business or driver's license."

 

It's not uncommon for residents to receive a phone call from someone claiming to be with the IRS, stating the victim needs to pay or face arrest. The scam might seem ridiculous, but is a major problem - and certainly harms victims - with law enforcement and federal investigators trying to identify those involved.


Apple's next MacBook Air rumored to be fanless, and even thinner

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Laptops | Posted: Mar 22, 2014 8:33 pm

Apple's already-thin MacBook Air might be a little thinner with its successor, which will reportedly ship as a 12-inch device, featuring a "fanless" design. The current MBA has a tiny, but very quiet fan.

 

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The new MBA would also replace the mechanical "clicker" in the track pad, which would see a gesture-only and tap control, instead of physical clicks. Right now, the MacBook Air comes in two display sizes, 11.6- and 13-inch. Providing a 12-inch screen with a Retina resolution, and being even thinner, would be quite the device from Apple.

 

If Apple could surprise, and make the screen disconnect from the keyboard, now that would be a nice change. Imagine if when it was disconnected, it flicked off from OS X and enabled iOS, making it a 12-inch tablet. We've already heard about an iPad Pro... why can't this be it?

Updated BlackOS software available to cybercriminals for $3,800

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Mar 22, 2014 7:41 pm

The malicious BlackOS software package has been updated and is now available on the cybercriminal underground for $3,800 per year.

 

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As noted by Trend Micro, the updated software is better suited to process and manage website exploitation, providing a great return-on-investment for cybercriminals. A custom Web interface allows for better web traffic management and access to features that lead to redirected traffic and iframes injection.

 

"They do a mass attack, there are no specific targets as these websites are just a launch pad to perform their malicious attacks," said Chris Budd, Trend Micro threat communications manager, in a statement to SC Magazine. "They are usually looking for an easy access, once they are inside they will try to level up the privileges to gain root access on the machine and therefore be able to [make] use of the BlackOS features, which is inject a malicious IFrames in all web pages."

 

There is an alarming trend in sophisticated, well-written malicious programs that are readily available on underground cybercriminal forums.

Google addresses top 10 myths over using Google Glass

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Wearable Computing | Posted: Mar 22, 2014 7:31 pm

Google has posted to the Google+ page of Google Glass an article dubbed "The Top 10 Google Glass Myths," where the search giant explains some of the most talked about worries of the wearable device, most of which revolves around the on-board camera on Glass.

 

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Myth 2 covers "Glass is always-on and recording everything," but it doesn't - and people need to know this. As Google explains, Glass records videos for a default period of 10 seconds, and has a maximum of around 45 minutes of recording before Glass runs out of battery. Some people wonder if you're constantly recording, but it would be the same as them holding their phone up constantly recording you... it's just not going to happen.

 

Another myth covered is "Glass does facial recognition (and other dodgy things)," and again, it does not. Google "manually approves all the apps that appear there [in its MyGlass store] and have several measures in place to help protect people's security on the device." There's plenty to read about on the original piece from Google.

Respawn to update Titanfall, will support 4K and other NVIDIA tech

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming | Posted: Mar 22, 2014 6:51 pm

Titanfall will soon be updated, where we will see the first-person shooter include the ability to be played at 4K. Not only that, but Titanfall will finally support multi-GPU setups with NVIDIA GeForce GPUs.

 

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NVIDIA's Manager of Developer Content and Technology, Ashu Rege, said: "Respawn will also release updates to support high-definition 4K display, and our SLI multi-GPU technology, for a fantastic high-end PC experience." Respawn and NVIDIA are also working together to see NVIDIA's GameWorks technologies built into the mech shooter.

 

This will see Titanfall include PhysX for clothing and destruction simulation, and VisualFX for hair, fire and liquid simulation. Not only that, but we'll also see Temporal anti-aliasing (TXAA), which will reduce screen flickering, and Horizon Based Ambient Occlusion+ (HBAO+) which will provide Titanfall with "more lifelike shadows."

IRS worker takes drive home, opens up 20,000 employees to data risk

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Mar 22, 2014 5:10 pm

Up to 20,000 current and former employees with the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are at risk due to a reckless employee that took an unencrypted flash drive home and accessed it on an unsecure network.

 

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Employee names, addresses and Social Security numbers were exposed, with all potentially affected employees notified by IRS officials.

 

"This incident is a powerful reminder to all of us that we must do everything we can to protect sensitive data - whether it involves our fellow employees or tax payers," said John Koskinen, in a memo sent to employees. "This was not a problem with our network or systems, but rather an isolated incident."

 

The biggest threat is to employees in Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, with the information dating back to 2007, which is when the IRS began mandatory encryption for sensitive data.

Apple rumored to release iTunes for Android as sales decline

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Mar 22, 2014 3:44 pm

Revenues on music sales on iTunes continue to slide, but is Apple looking at releasing iTunes on Android? Billboard is reporting just that, looking to fill in some of its financial holes by expanding iTunes to Android, and launching a paid music subscription service.

 

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It's not like the competition hasn't done this, as Google has its Google Play Music service on iOS, but for Apple to do it, it is almost unthinkable. The iPhone maker makes up around 40% of the US digital music market, but the market itself is seeing double-digit declines in revenue over the last couple of years. Apple currently has a free, ad-supported radio service with its iTunes Radio, but it secures most of its profits in media from the standard single and album sales through the iTunes Store.

 

If the company moves toward a flat rate subscription music service, it could create a new revenue stream for itself, but it wouldn't exactly stem the losses it is experiencing through iTunes. Expanding the service to Android on the other hand, could open the company up to hundreds of millions of new devices and consumers who wouldn't be buying content through the iTunes Store.

Continue reading 'Apple rumored to release iTunes for Android as sales decline' (full post)

IMAX, Disney announces new deal, includes Star Wars 7 and Avengers 2

By: Ben Gourlay | More News: Celebrities & Entertainment | Posted: Mar 22, 2014 1:46 pm

The ink is fresh on a new deal struck between IMAX Corporation and Disney to a new partnership which will see titles some of the most eagerly awaited upcoming theatrical releases remastered in the large screen IMAX format and some presumably filmed (at least partially) in the gargantuan format.

 

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Forthcoming titles such as Guardians of the Galaxy, The Avengers: The Rise of Ultron, Tomorrowland and Star Wars Episode VII will all benefit from IMAX re-jigging, the latter at least which will also be released in the IMAX 3D format - surely the definitive way to view the film when it hits screens next year.

Continue reading 'IMAX, Disney announces new deal, includes Star Wars 7 and Avengers 2' (full post)

Obama chats with Silicon Valley executives to discuss surveillance

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Mar 22, 2014 5:17 am

President Obama is trying to win over Silicon Valley tech leaders and US citizens by meeting to discuss the current state of government surveillance. The tech meeting roundtable lasted around two hours and focused on Obama's promise in January to cut back on the NSA's phone data surveillance - and to provide greater privacy, especially to Internet users outside of the US, after they were unknowingly caught up in spying behavior.

 

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However, it's going to be difficult to reassure Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other tech company executives from Google, Netflix, Box, Dropbox and Palantir after they met with Obama and his top cabinet officials.

 

As revealed by former NSA analyst Edward Snowden, the NSA has done an excellent job to undermine encryption and slip through computer security - at epic proportions - and has left citizens, foreign residents, politicians, and others quite angry.

Continue reading 'Obama chats with Silicon Valley executives to discuss surveillance' (full post)

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