Mark Wilson

Tick tock, tick tock -- Obama says customers need to be told faster about security breaches

Tick tock, tick tock -- Obama says customers need to told faster about security breaches

President Obama is calling for more honesty from tech companies when it comes to telling customers about security breaches. Specifically, he wants people to be informed in a more timely fashion whenever a security issue puts their data at risk.

The proposed Personal Data Notification and Protection Act would require companies to contact customers within 30 days of a security breach if personal data has been stolen. The call comes in the wake of several high profile cases in which customers' data was exposed for some time before those affected were informed.

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Gotcha! Google angers Microsoft by exposing Windows vulnerability

Gotcha! Google angers Microsoft by exposing Windows vulnerability

At the end of last week, Google took the somewhat unusual step of releasing details of a Windows vulnerability before a patch had been produced. Microsoft is unhappy. Very unhappy. The bug, which affects the 32- and 64-bit versions of Windows 8.1 Update, was publicized as part of Google's Project Zero, but Microsoft is calling it a "gotcha".

So angered was Microsoft that Chris Betz, Senior Director of Microsoft Security Response Center hit out at Google in a strongly worded blog post. Citing the war against cyberattacks, Betz expresses anger that Google made public a security issue about the elevation of privileges in Windows user accounts, saying that companies should "come together and not stand divided".

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Can an 'anonymous' social network using Facebook login ever be trusted?

Can an 'anonymous' social network using Facebook login ever be trusted?

Despite its unwavering popularity, Facebook continually finds itself under fire for one thing or another. We've had debate about the social network's real names policy, a raft of people thinking they can rewrite the rules, advertising woes, and constant complaints when changes are made to how timelines operate. But one thing crops up time and time again -- people's desire for privacy.

This may seem rather at odds with use of a social network (there's a clue in the name there), but a new contender thinks it has the answer. Social X describes itself as a social platform where users can set up numerous identities, including an anonymous one. There's one problem -- Facebook credentials are used to sign into Social X, and this is undeniably going to be a massive stumbling block.

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Twitter makes predictions for Golden Globe Awards

Twitter makes predictions for Golden Globe Awards

What's happening on Twitter is often a fair reflection of what is happening in the world. While it may not represent a perfect cross-section of society, a quick glance at what's being tweeted about -- and the tone being used -- can help to give a sense of the global mood surrounding a subject.

Twitter has been used to predict the outcome of elections, who will win X Factor, and much more; now it's being used to guess movie award winners. The 72nd Golden Globe Awards takes place this weekend, and the numbers have been crunched to see which movies and shows people are talking about the most -- whether these end up as winners remains to be seen, but these are what's on people's lips at the moment.

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Microsoft brings new narration accessibility options to Office Online

Microsoft brings new narration accessibility options to Office Online

Accessibility features in regular applications are now very much par for the course, but it's something of a different matter when it comes to online apps. While a growing number of websites have been designed to better meet the needs of people with sight or hearing problems.

The gradual move to the cloud means there are more and more online apps springing up, but many of them are slow to embrace accessibility options. Today Microsoft announces that Office Online -- the web-based version of its famous office suite -- has gained a number of key accessibility features designed to make it easier to use.

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Apple, Google and Facebook lend support and money to Je Suis Charlie campaign

Apple, Google and Facebook lend support and money to Je Suis Charlie campaign

12 people died in an attack on satirical French magazine, Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday. At time of writing, the situation in France is still unfolding, and technology companies have been quick to show their sympathy for the victims whilst voicing support for freedom of speech.

Google has donated €250,000 (around $300,000) to the targeted Charlie Hebdo title, which is expected to increase its print run more than tenfold for the next issue. The #JeSuisCharlie hashtag has spread across the internet like wildfire as people around the world offer support on Twitter, Facebook and other websites.

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Facebook acquires video compression company QuickFire

Facebook acquires video compression company QuickFire

Social networks' interest in video show no signs of abating. As talk mounts about a video tool from Twitter, Facebook has acquired video compression startup QuickFire Networks. This acquisition comes just days after the social network acquired speech recognition firm Wit.ai, so 2015 has already been a busy year.

Facebook upset some mobile users by introducing videos that played automatically, and this latest acquisition may go some way to calming those upset by increased data usage. QuickFire boasts using a "proprietary technology that dramatically reduces the bandwidth needed to view video online without degrading video quality".

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Leakers go to great lengths to bring Oscar movie DVD screeners to torrent sites

Leakers go to great lengths to bring Oscar movie DVD screeners to torrent sites

There are around six weeks to go until the 87th Oscars, and the nominations are due to be announced very soon. TorrentFreak reports that over the last 24 hours there has been a huge jump in the number of big name movies leaked to torrent sites. In the run-up to the movie ceremony preview discs are sent out to critics, reviewers and industry insiders, and it's all-too easy for these to fall into the wrong hands.

We're not talking about dodgy torrents of movies shot on shaky camcorders or mobile phones -- these are DVD quality copies known as screeners. Near perfect copies of the likes of The Hobbit, The Imitation Game, and Birdman, in spite of security and watermarking put in place by movie studios.

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Webcloak weaves a secure shroud around the web to keep you safe online

Webcloak weaves a secure shroud around the web to keep you safe online via USB

Kickstarter projects are ten a penny these days, as startup after startup vies for attention and financing. While many projects fall by the wayside, just a handful come to fruition and one of the latest is a handy USB dongle that allows for secure, anonymous web browsing. In just 45 days the campaign reached its target of $60,000, meaning that larger scale production can now go ahead on the line of security-focused USB sticks.

Webcloak is designed as an alternative to the likes of Tor, offering users a secure, self-contained browsing environment. This not only helps to keep browsing anonymous, but also protects against the threat of viruses, and its blend of hardware, encryption and "secure access" software has been designed with ease of use in mind.

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Apple has already raked in $0.5 billion from the App Store in 2015

Apple has already raked in $0.5 billion from the App Store in 2015

We're only eight days into 2015, and Apple is already celebrating bumper sales in the App Store. Buoyed by impressive pre-Christmas hardware purchases, New Year's Day proved to be the biggest day ever for App Store sales. And in the first week of January, Apple enthusiasts spent almost half a billion dollars on apps and in-app purchases.

Sales and income are very much on the rise. Last year was a record-breaker for developers who managed to pull in more than $10 billion in revenue. iPad, iPod and iPhone owners have already helped to earn developers $25 billion, and spending shows no sign of slowing down.

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AT&T: Oi, BlackBerry! Redesign the Passport for us. BlackBerry: yeah, OK!

BlackBerry redesigns the Passport with rounded corners for AT&T

A few months ago BlackBerry announced the Passport, and the keyword was square. A square screen in a decidedly square body, not to forget the physical keyboard, was a sure-fire way to stand out from the crowd; it's hip to be square after all. But for AT&T, the Passport was just a bit too square.

In fact such was the carrier's dislike of the squareness of the Passport that it asked BlackBerry to redesign the handset. And BlackBerry obliged, producing an AT&T exclusive version of the Passport complete with rounded corners that is more in keeping with the look of the BlackBerry Classic, it was revealed at CES 2015 today.

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Mophie Juice Packs power your iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus for longer

Mophie Juice Packs powers your iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus for longer

Power -- or running out of it -- is a perennial problem for mobile phone users. As handset screens grow and processors become more powerful, the demand placed on batteries is constantly increasing. It's quite common to hear people complaining that their phone won't last the day without needing a recharge.

Something of a cottage industry has sprung up in third party batteries and charging cases. One name that has been around for some time is Mophie, and at CES 2015 the company took the wraps off three new power cases; two for iPhone 6 and one for iPhone 6 Plus.

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Stop posting your own Facebook privacy notices -- it's completely pointless and looks silly

Stop posting your own Facebook privacy notices -- it's completely pointless and looks silly

It's happening again. Check your Facebook wall and you'll probably find that at least one of your friends has posted a status update indicating that they withdraw the right for Facebook to use the content they've posted to their account. It's written in a pseudo-formal style, and even makes reference to an applicable law. Must be legit, right?

Nope. It's nonsense. Complete and utter twaddle of the most pure and unadulterated kind. By all means post the message to your own wall, but be aware of two things: it will have absolutely no effect on what Facebook is able to do with your information, and it also makes you look a bit silly.

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Talking to the wall -- Facebook buys IoT speech recognition firm Wit.ai

Talking to the wall -- Facebook buys IoT speech recognition firm Wit.ai

Facebook wants to talk your language. The latest step to achieving this sees Mark Zuckerberg's social networking acquiring speech recognition startup Wit.ai. The startup describes itself as providing "Natural Language for the Internet of Things" and has been doing so for just 18 months.

No details have been released about any money that has changed hands, but the plan is for the Wit.ai platform to remain open for developers to work with. The company is heavily involved in the Internet of Things, and was in line to work with Nest before Google took over.

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Bitcoin exchange Bitstamp suffers $5 million hack attack

Bitcoin exchange Bitstamp suffers $5 million hack attack

Bitcoin exchange Bitstamp has been taken offline after a hack attack relieved its coffers of $5 million. A message on the Bitstamp homepage explains that some of the exchange's operational wallets had been compromised, and warned customer to stop making deposits to previously-used addresses.

The attack took place over the week, but details are only now starting to come to light. Although more than 19,000 BTC ($5.2 million) were "lost" as a result of this, Bitstamp assures its customers that any Bitcoins stored up to January 5 are safe, but says that service is suspended for the time being.

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