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Syrian Electronic Army hits The New York Times and Twitter

Syria is all over the news right now, with a chemical attack happening a few days ago and now it looks like the US is set to intervene in the next 72 hours. But now the Syrian Electronic Army has hit The New York Times, with a Domain Name System (DNS) attack that took down its website.


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The Times had to resort to tweeting out direct IP links to its articles, all while Twitter itself is now possibly vulnerable. Hackers have reportedly managed to modify some of the registration data, including the contact e-mail address, suggesting an attack on Twitter could happen any moment.

Is Ballmer's retirement 100 percent voluntary? Some analysts say no

Last week, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced his retirement in an aptly named internal memo titled "Moving Forward." The memo depicts Ballmer leaving the company on his own decision, but many industry analysts are speculating that the sometimes wild CEO was actually being forced out by the company's board.


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GigaOm journalist Barb Darrow said in a recent article that "Several former and one current Microsoft execs told me that there was no way Ballmer would step down unless Gates withdrew his long-time support" when this is paired with Ballmer's own statement from the memo "My original thoughts on timing would have had my retirement happen in the middle of our transformation to a devices and services company focused on empowering customers in the activities they value most." It's easy to interpret Ballmer's retirement as a not so voluntary departure.


The article on GigaOm goes on to quote another former vice president who it says is still tightly connected with Microsoft; "Bill must have flipped the bit on Steve," said the VP, adding that the recent reshuffling of most major executive roles--Ballmer's his own--"lined everything up behind Steve."

Continue reading 'Is Ballmer's retirement 100 percent voluntary? Some analysts say no' (full post)

NSA hacked encrypted UN communications, where's the uproar?

Julian Assange. Bradley Manning. Michael Hastings. Edward Snowden. These are all men who are either dead, stuck in another country, in jail or are in the run because they exposed US government secrets. This is wrong, and the reverse should be happening.


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These men should be awarded for exposing the lies from within the biggest government in the world, but instead, they're paying the price for exposing things that the Obama administration promised would be more 'transparent.' Now there's news that the National Security Agency (NSA) hacked into encrypted communications of the United Nations' internal video conferencing system.


The news is coming from Germany's Der Spiegel, a source we used when we were the first mainstream site to report that a German government official considered Microsoft's Xbox One console a "monitoring device." This even landed us on the front page of Reddit, with multitudes of sites reporting on the story afterwards.

Continue reading 'NSA hacked encrypted UN communications, where's the uproar?' (full post)

Tesla continues to impress, outsells Porsche and Volvo in California

Tesla Motors is continuing to impress, as the electric car maker is currently outselling some of the biggest car manufacturers in the world in California.


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The California New Car Dealers Association's latest numbers note that Tesla Motors took a nice 12% chunk of the luxury sports car category in California for the first half of 2013. This 12% cut was enough to pass the Audi A6 and Lexus GS. Tesla Motors' Model S is the car in question, with the company selling 4,714 of the electric vehicles in the first six months of 2013.


1,097 of them were sold in June, making this number enough to beat the big boys like Porsche, Volvo, Cadillac, Buick and Land Rover for June, 2013. Tesla Motors' Model S is pretty darn safe, too.

Steve Ballmer's biggest regret while CEO of Microsoft? Windows Vista

Steve Ballmer, the current CEO of Microsoft, has announced he's stepping down in 2014, but what is his biggest regret as his time as Chief Executive Officer at the biggest software company in the world?


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Oh, you guessed it already: Windows Vista. Ballmer spoke with ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley, where he said: "I would say probably the thing I regret most is the, what shall I call it, the loopedy-loo that we did that was sort of Longhorn to Vista. I would say that's probably the thing I regret most. And, you know, there are side effects of that when you tie up a big team to do something that doesn't prove out to be as valuable."


But, from the doom and gloom of Windows Vista was one of Microsoft's most successful operating systems: Windows 7. This was while Ballmer was CEO of course, so he can at least give himself credit for something big.

Nokia's tax problems in India could force them out of the country

Nokia is experiencing a tax problem in India, and is now threatening to pull its entire manufacturing business out of the country. Indian authorities recently raided one of Nokia's factories after allegations of the Finnish company not paying as much as $542 million in taxes to the Indian government.


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Nokia laughed the bill off, and is continuing to laugh in a letter to India's Ministry of Commerce & Industry, where it said: "India has suddenly become the least favourable market. The political risk of operating in India [is] suddenly substantially higher and may inevitably influence future decisions to develop one's operations in India."


If Nokia do indeed move some of its operations out of India, rumor has it the business would shift to China.

NSA paid millions to US tech companies for their cooperation

Can it get any worse? When will the people of the United States realize the Constitution is, and has been worthless for years? This latest news should help boil that kettle a little hotter...


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The Guardian, who also broke the NSA PRISM news thanks to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, is now reporting that US-based tech giants such as Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Facebook all received funds from the NSA so they could meet new certification demands after a ruling from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) court.


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This was declassified by the Obama administration during the week, but happened back in October of 2011. The document states something that Edward Snowden himself talked about, the Special Source Operations division which he called the "crown jewel" of NSA's PRISM system, and that they relied on "corporate partnerships" with telecommunications companies and ISPs in order to access communications data. Mad yet?

Continue reading 'NSA paid millions to US tech companies for their cooperation' (full post)

US Feds seize $2.1 million more from Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox

The hits just keep coming for Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox. Earlier this year, the US Department of Homeland Security had seized $2.9 million from Mt. Gox's Dwolla account, and now reports are coming in that say an additional $2.1 million was seized from the company's Wells Fargo accounts.


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That brings the total of the seizures up to $5 million and explains why recent withdrawal attempts from Bitcoin traders failed to process. On June 19, the $2.1 million held in Wells Fargo accounts was seized, which was one day before Mt. Gox suspended all US withdrawals.


The legal issues arose when Mt. Gox opened a Wells Fargo business account for Mutum Sigillum LLC (Mt. Gox's American subsidiary) but declared it as a business not engaged in money services. This was a falsification and the US government does not like it when you falsify financial documents. Head over to Source #2 to read the full seizure warrants.

US DoJ investigating Microsoft for alleged bribes in Russia, Pakistan

The US Department of Justice has its hands busy with paperwork regarding Microsoft and its possible involvement with bribing foreign government officials into accepting software contracts in both Russia and Pakistan.


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The Wall Street Journal is reporting on the story, and according to the Journal's sources, "in Pakistana a tipster alleged that Microsoft authorized a consulting firm to pay for a five-day trip to Egypt for a government official and his wife in order to win a tender."


Moving onto Russia, the tipster said that "resellers of its software allegedly funneled kickbacks to executives of a state-owned company to win a deal." Microsoft is cooperating with the investigation, but why? Just give the DoJ some Windows-based PCs filled with security holes so that the NSA can send the e-mails back and forth.

NASDAQ goes offline for three hours due to 'technological problem'

I've just woken up this morning (it's 7am here in my part of Australia) to the news of a three-hour shutdown of NASDAQ. Yes, a three-hour shutdown to trading in NASDAQ securities, which is massive news.


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NASDAQ pegged the issue on an 'unexplained technological problem' and resumed trading at 3:25pm EDT, after a 3-hour, 11-minute shutdown of trading in US companies' stocks. The shutdown is the largest in recent history. Sal Arnuk, co-head of equity trading at Themis Trading in Chatnam, New Jersey said: "Any brokerage firm gets paid by executing orders. So yes, we are frustrated, and this hurts us, it hurts the market and it hurts public confidence."


The exchange blamed the issue with distributing stock price quotes for the shutdown, with a source close to the matter describing the problem as a "data feed issue" reports Reuters. Ok, now let's talk serious for a little bit, because a "technical issue", in my opinion, doesn't just happen to NASDAQ.

Continue reading 'NASDAQ goes offline for three hours due to 'technological problem'' (full post)

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