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The FBI is currently investigating the theft of 1.2 billion Internet logins and passwords compromised by Russian criminals. Credentials were taken from more than 420,000 websites and servers over a few years, with Hold Security obtaining some of the credentials earlier this month. The hacker group responsible has become better organized using sophisticated tools to compromise data, and originated from simply being a spam operation.
Not much is known about the breach, though it includes stealing data from both small and large websites in multiple countries, including the United States and Russia. It remains unknown which companies are vulnerable due to the theft, and it's unknown what the criminal gang plans to do with the stolen data.
"The FBI is investigating the recently reported incident involving the potential compromise of numerous usernames and passwords, and will provide additional information as the nature and scope of the incident becomes clearer," said Josh Campbell, FBI spokesman, in a statement to the media.
Police officers in the UK have been warned about proper social media etiquette, so they should not tweet while naked or after drinking, and should even avoid sharing updates on social media if they are eating doughnuts. Some UK police officers have been found sharing racist and homophobic comments on Twitter, along with reckless pictures in which they are posing with weapons.
If police are reckless with social media, it's likely that someone will notice - and tweets will be re-tweeted and Facebook status updates will be shared. There have been 828 cases of online-related incidents in the UK from 2009 until February 2014, according to Freedom of Information requests. Officers receive written warnings when found being inappropriate on social media, and punishments can escalate depending on a case-by-case basis.
"Social media is a key tool for us in having conversations with communities, using it not only to pass information but to receive information about crime and incidents, help people make informed choices," said Ian Hopkins, Greater Manchester Police Deputy Chief Constable, in a UK media statement. "So staff must act with integrity, with fairness, with honesty, openness, and regardless of whether they are tweeting as John Smith or Joanna Smith, if they are recognizable as a PC or a member of police staff, then they have to be taking into account the code of ethics."
Delaware Governor Jack Markell signed House Bill (HB) 345, a bill that will allow family members of the deceased to access Twitter and other social media accounts. As part of the "Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets and Digital Accounts Act," executors of an estate can have legal control of a social media account, in the same manner of controlling a physical asset.
It's an interesting debate because social media accounts typically disappear when a person dies, Facebook and Twitter usually prevents access to the accounts. Facebook plans to memorialize pages of deceased members rather than delete them - and Google will delete accounts or provide access to select family members.
"But if a person dies and his will is governed by Delaware law, the representative of that person's estate would have access to the decedent's Twitter account under HB 345," said Kelly Bachman, Delaware governor's office spokeswoman, in a statement. "So the main question in determining whether HB 345 applies is not where the company having the digital account (i.e. Twitter) is incorporated or even where the person holding the digital account resides."
The Islamic State (IS) has been booted off Twitter multiple times, and is finding other social media platforms to share its propaganda - while fighting in Iraq and Syria intensifies. Previously known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), the terror group is facing U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and desperately wants to keep its social media recruitment effort underway.
Backup IS accounts were removed from Twitter last week, but the group is focusing more on Diaspora, a community-run, distributed social network. The IS Diaspora accounts first began to appear about one month ago, after the group's main media account and the al-Hayat Media Center, the IS multilingual media branch heading from Twitter to Diaspora.
IS quickly being bounced from Twitter is a significant problem for the propaganda wing of the group, especially with the terrorist group enjoying the opportunity to taunt western leaders, but messages, images, and videos can still be shared to the public.
According to a new report by The Information, Google is set to unveil a new child friendly version of some of its services. Even up until now, the youngest you can be to open up a Google account in the US is 13 years old.
The new child-safe services would allow a youngster to sign up to various Google services like YouTube, with a "child-safe" version of the video sharing website being in the works. Another rumor is that Google will soon begin requiring users to disclose their age when signing up for a Google account on their Android devices, where a dashboard application for parents will be made available, allowing parents to monitor their kids' activities across Google services.
As it stands, most underage children are accessing Google's account-only services through various means, either lying about their age or using their parents' accounts. This change would allow parents to monitors their kids' activities through Google services, but Google has chimed in about the rumor to Mashable, saying: "We don't comment on rumor or speculation".
Android Police is reporting that Google will soon unveil YouTube's music streaming service, something that will be called YouTube Music Key. YouTube Music Key will reportedly be offered with a free 30-day trial, after which it'll be $9.99 per month.
This $9.99 will give users access to both YouTube Music Key and Google Play Music Key. Better yet, YouTube Music Key will give music lovers ad-free music, and audio-only playback that can be played in the background, or screen-off listening, something YouTube currently doesn't offer. For those who are subscribed to Play Music All Access, you should have your subscription service to Music Key added automatically.
We should hopefully see Google unveil YouTube Music Key in the coming weeks.
The small number of North Korean citizens with Internet access have enjoyed Torrenting everything from episodes of Modern Family and Top Gear to Far Cry 3 and pornography. It's an interesting look inside of North Korea, which has heavy restrictions and very few Internet users - many of them likely extremely wealthy or with military or government ties.
There were 178 downloads from Pyongyang-based PCs focused on Britain's Biggest Hoarders, HBO documentary Manhunt: The Search for Bin Laden, and The Martin Lewis Money Show. North Korean Internet users also enjoyed downloading American and Japanese pornography, according to reports. Along with Far Cry 3, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Angry Birds were popular video game downloads among Internet users.
It seems highly unlikely that anyone would spoof an IP address from North Korea, especially with a lack of Virtual Network Providers in the region, according to TorrentFreak editor Ernesto Van Der Sar. Meanwhile, others speculate the torrents are being downloaded by tourists and journalists visiting North Korea.
When it comes to free public Wi-Fi, your best bet is to head to a local Starbucks coffee shop or McDonald's fast food restaurant, according to a study from wireless specialist OpenSignal.
Starbucks decided to drop AT&T in favor of Google, and that has meant 80 percent faster Wi-Fi for store visitors, according to the study. The coffee shop has speeds reaching 9.01 Mbps, with McDonald's in the No. 2 position with slightly more than 4 Mbps, while Best Buy and Lowe's trail behind.
For hotel visitors, nightly reservation costs tend to increase as Wi-Fi speed and connectivity also increase. It makes sense for companies to roll out Wi-Fi to visitors, which helps keep them engaged and provides a unique sales and marketing opportunity by providing in-store digital coupons to guests - and establishments such as Starbucks, McDonald's, and other similar businesses can get patrons in the door.
Google is adding its support behind a project that aims to install a faster trans-Pacific cable on the ocean floor to increase internet speeds. The cable will link the west coast of the US with Japan and promises to improve global internet connectivity. The cable project is estimated to cost somewhere in the $300 million range.
Google is now one of six different companies that are working together to fund the project, the other companies include China Mobile International, China Telecom Global, Global Transit, Google, KDDI, and Singte. NEC is participating in the project as a system supplier.
The cable will run form two locations in Japan - Chikura and Shima - across the Pacific to the US where it will connect to hubs in LA, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle. The cable will offer up to 60Tbps over six fiber-pair cables.
McAfee security founder John McAfee has launched a surprise new website at the Defcon event in Las Vegas, which he claims will allow people to complain more easily to businesses and governments.
Brownlist is being touted as a way for people to focus their anger online in a way that is actually productive, rather than simply hurling abuse at public figures or companies on social networks. McAfee claims it could serve as a conduit for grassroots direct action.
"We are doing this because it tapes in to the strongest of human emotions, anger, and it does it in a way that turns it positive," McAfee said. For now just a prototype was on show, but nonetheless the entrepreneur welcomed early contributions. "If you are a small person, like the average American, and some company steps on you or a government, you speak out against something and you are audited the next day, come to our site," McAfee said.