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TweakTown News Posts - Page 67

White House might be next to turn its back on BlackBerry smartphones

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Mar 21, 2014 5:43 am

The White House is reportedly testing Google Android-powered devices in a potential move away from the BlackBerry smartphone.


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Despite reports that the U.S. government placed an order for 80,000 BlackBerry smartphones, the company still has a lot of work to do. The White House and other government departments are interested in pilot programs to test other devices away from the BlackBerry - and BlackBerry executives will be desperate to try and keep these contracts.


"We can confirm that the White House Communications Agency, consistent with the rest of the Department of Defense, is piloting and using a variety of mobile devices," according to a Defense Department spokesperson, speaking with the Wall Street Journal.


Although the spokesperson didn't list which phones are being tested, handsets from Samsung and LG - both relying on Android - are currently being evaluated.

Continue reading 'White House might be next to turn its back on BlackBerry smartphones' (full post)

NSA might roll out transparency reports to try and ease spying scare

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Mar 21, 2014 1:37 am

aThe NSA wants to be engaged in the continued global discussion of security and secrecy in the digital age, forced to the table following countless complaints of violating user privacy, according to NSA deputy director Richard Ledgett.


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The NSA continues to face pressure from Internet users, foreign citizens, political leaders and tech companies, forcing the intelligence agency to go on the defensive. To help try and appear more transparent, there is a current proposal for the NSA to release transparency reports helping give insight into NSA operations.


Ironically, Ledgett said the NSA wanted to share a public point of view during TED to help counter the "half-truths and distortions" made public by Snowden. Ledgett also said Snowden put lives at risk, showing "the bad guys" some of the NSA's cybersecurity and snooping methods.


"If our adversaries see our methods they will move away from using them," Ledgett said. "We have evidence that terrorists, smugglers and nation states have moved away. We are losing visibility into what our adversaries are doing."

Continue reading 'NSA might roll out transparency reports to try and ease spying scare' (full post)

Google rolls out mandatory HTTPS usage to encrypt Gmail emails

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Mar 21, 2014 12:59 am

Google plans to roll out necessary encrypted HTTPS connection so user emails are encrypted when data is transferred over Google networks.


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The 100 percent mandatory e-mail change will prevent outsiders from accessing email messages as all sent and received messages are encrypted while they bounce around servers and data centers.


"Starting today, Gmail will always use an encrypted HTTPS connection when you check or send email," said Nicolas Lidzborski, Gmail Security Engineering lead, in a blog post. "Gmail has supported HTTPS since the day it launched, and in 2010 we made HTTPS the default. Today's change means that no one can listen in on your messages as they go back and forth between you and Gmail's servers - no matter if you're using public Wi-Fi or logging in from your computer, phone or tablet."


Following revelations of widespread and organized NSA spying, Internet users have increased pressure on Internet companies to offer better protection.

Linux-based malware, spam threats offer a unique twist

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Mar 20, 2014 11:43 pm

Compromised web servers infected with Linux-based malware have been used to target visitors by spreading Windows malware, with up to 25,000 suspected cases in the past two years, researchers note.


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Network operators and IT specialists have been informed to look out for select Linux malware, to ensure they haven't been caught up in the Operation Windigo cybercrime effort. The server takeover campaign still is running up to 10,000 hacked servers, which are used to distribute malware, send spam, and infect users with sophisticated rootkit exploits.


"There are two kinds of victims here: Windows end-users visiting legitimate websites hosted on compromised servers, and Linux/Unix server operators whose servers were compromised through that large server-side credential stealing network," researchers note.


Four European research groups helped compile the information, as the cybercriminals behind these threats are clever and don't leave behind a big electronic signature for investigators to follow.

Microsoft announces DirectX 12, partnered with AMD, NVIDIA and more

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Software | Posted: Mar 20, 2014 11:39 pm

GDC 2014 - Microsoft has announced DirectX 12 with some of its closest partners, NVIDIA, AMD, Intel and Qualcomm, showing off the new DirectX gaming API at the 2014 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco today.


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DirectX 12 will deliver some major improvements for developers to all of Microsoft's platforms: Xbox One, Windows Mobile, and of course, PC. The new gaming API will enhance graphics efficiency for modern games as it allows developers to spread tasks across multi-core CPUs, all the while reducing CPU bottlenecks that usually reduce performance, even sucking performance away from what a powerful GPU would usually deliver.


We will see "closer to the metal" access to developers, something that AMD's Mantle technology does, and to showcase this, the Redmond-based software giant teamed up with Forza Motorsport 5 developer Turn 10 Studios to show off a version of the game running on DirectX 12. The demo used a PC powered by an NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN Black, running at 1080p and a silky smooth locked 60FPS.

Continue reading 'Microsoft announces DirectX 12, partnered with AMD, NVIDIA and more' (full post)

Gartner: 'Internet of Things' will shake up data center as we know it

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: IT/Datacenter | Posted: Mar 20, 2014 10:41 pm

The so-called "Internet of Things" will disrupt the technology world, with 26 billion units supported by 2020, shaking up the data center, according to the Gartner research group.


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IT services will help monetize the market further, with IoT product and service suppliers queuing up to join a quickly growing market.


"The enormous number of devices, coupled with the sheer volume, velocity and structure of IoT data, creates challenges, particularly in the areas of security, data, storage management, servers and the data center network, as real-time business processes are at stake," said Joe Skorupa, VP at Gartner, in a press statement. "Data center managers will need to deploy more forward-looking capacity management in these areas to be able to proactively meet the business priorities associated with IoT."


Some companies also are embracing an open platform to create solutions for the Internet of Things, though that will be difficult as IoT infrastructure is still in its infancy.

Sony continues to expand PlayStation 4 beyond just video games

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Gaming Consoles | Posted: Mar 20, 2014 9:53 pm

Sony wants to utilize original TV programming to help keep PlayStation 4 game console owners engaged and using the console for other activities beyond gaming. Sony already has plans for an online pay-TV service for the console, with the PS4 heavily relied upon by the struggling Japanese electronics manufacturer.


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The "Powers" one-hour original TV drama series is spearheaded by Sony Pictures Television, offering Sony a chance to utilize its own in-house studio.


"It's about having a broad range of broadcast content to replicate the live TV experience," noted Andrew House, Sony Computer Entertainment president and CEO.


In the previous console battle, Microsoft was able to rely on a lower price point and wide selection of non-gaming activities - and Sony has learned from its PlayStation 3 mistakes - trying to capture as much usage time from PlayStation 4 gamers as possible.

Russian-born notorious 'Diabl0' hacker arrested in Thailand

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Mar 20, 2014 8:44 pm

At the request of Swiss authorities, Farid Essebar, working under the codename "Diabl0" was arrested in Thailand by the Department of Special Investigation (DSI), Office of the Attorney General, and the Immigration Bureau.


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The Russian-born hacker from Morocco allegedly broke into bank computer networks and hacked bank websites in Switzerland, racking up more than $4 billion in damages to banks and customers in 2011.


"We arrested the suspect at a condominium on Rama IV Road," authorities said in a statement. "Next Thailand will send him to Switzerland within 90 days in accordance with the extradition agreement.


This isn't Diabl0's first run-in with law enforcement, after the hacker was arrested in 2005 for his role in helping create the Zotob computer worm - a nasty cyber effort that targeted Microsoft Windows 2000 and XP users across the world.

Miss Teen USA hacker sent to slammer for 18 months

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Mar 20, 2014 7:18 pm

Convicted teenage hacker Jared James Abrahams has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison following two years of compromising online accounts of women he later blackmailed. The 19 year old pleaded guilty last November to one count of unauthorized access of a computer and three counts of extortion, and reportedly broke into around 150 online accounts.


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Abrahams grabbed headlines after he compromised Miss Teen USA 2013 winner Cassidy Wolf, in which he accessed her computer and used their webcams to photograph them.


"As digital devices, email accounts, and social media accounts now contain the most intimate details of the public's daily lives, the impact of this type of hacking and extortion becomes more pronounced, troubling, and far-reaching," the U.S. Department of Justice noted. "In some cases, this type of criminal behavior can be life-changing for the victims - especially for vulnerable victims who may feel it is impossible to rebuild their tarnished reputations."


Users need to be more diligent in the type of images, videos, and other personal information they share online - and ensure they keep accounts password-protected with hard-to-guess passwords - and have updated anti-virus and anti-malware software. As Abrahams showed, it's not a bad idea to keep webcams covered when not in use, as well.

Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin team for new Netflix series

By: Shane McGlaun | More News: Celebrities & Entertainment | Posted: Mar 20, 2014 6:33 pm

If you have been around since the 80's you may recall Dolly Parton. She was a country and western singer most known for large breasts and appearing in the occasional movie. One of those films is a comedy classic called 9 to 5 that also features Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin.


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Fonda and Tomlin are reuniting on a new comedy series for Netflix for the first time since 9 to 5. The new series is called Grace and Frankie. Netflix warns that this isn't a normal sitcom. The setting for the comedy is that Tomlin and Lily are rivals and their husbands tell them one day that they are in love and are getting married.


This leaves Grace, played by Fonda, and Frankie, played by Tomlin, thrown together to deal with the change in marital status. The comedy is going to be a 30-minute single camera series. Netflix has ordered 13 episodes of the show for the first season and they will be from Skydance Productions.

Continue reading 'Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin team for new Netflix series' (full post)

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