Articles about Security

Hacking Team hacked as tables turn on notorious surveillance company

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Italian security and surveillance firm Hacking Team appears to have itself fallen victim to a security breach. Hacking Team produces software which is used by governments around the world as part of their surveillance programs. The company has been criticized for facilitating invasions of privacy, and, over the weekend, its Twitter feed was taken over, resulting in its name and profile picture being changed to read Hacked Team.

But this is far from being the end of the story. Whoever is responsible for the security breach also released a torrent file that provides access to 400GB of company data. Included in the cache are emails, source code, and confidential documents. The files reveal who the company has been dealing with including a number of countries known for their oppressive regimes.

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Bitcoin wallets vulnerable to double-spending bug

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The cryptocurrency Bitcoin has not been without its problems. There have been numerous hacks leading to the loss of millions of dollars, and Bitcoin mining tool Epic Scale became embroiled in a crapware scandal with uTorrent. The latest problem to hit the digital currency is a double-spending bug.

As the name suggests, this essentially makes it possible to spend the same Bitcoins twice, and it stems from a problem with a planned upgrade. An issue with some Bitcoin miners means that tests that usually prevent double-spending are not correctly performed. The problem was discovered on 4 July as many Americans were busy celebrating Independence Day.

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UK businesses risk data loss with BYOD policies

BYOD

By allowing you to bring your own, unprotected mobile devices to work (BYOD), UK businesses risk losing data, a new research report suggests.

Forty percent of UK businesses have no security or policies in place to prevent unauthorised employees from accessing what they shouldn't, the research by Arlington Research and Acronis found.

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Hacktivist group AnonOpsIndia hacks BSNL website, days after hacking nation's PAN database

BSNL Hacked AnonOpsIndia

In what appears to be a protest against the Indian government’s stand on net neutrality and the way it is handling Digital India, hacker group AnonOpsIndia hacked BSNL Telecommunications' website on Friday. Hours after the breach, the website is still affected.

AnonOpsIndia, which seems inspired by the major hacktivist group Anonymous, describes itself with a similar reverence and asks to be referred to as "Anonymous India". This is the third major hack the group has managed to pull off, after hacking the nation's PAN database and a coal-sector website last week.

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Your online payments could soon be authorized with a selfie

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Make an online payment with your credit card and you're probably used to having to enter a password or PIN. But if a trial scheme by MasterCard takes off, this could become a thing of the past. The finance company is testing out a new payment authorization technique including fingerprint scanning and facial recognition.

MasterCard is working with Apple, BlackBerry, Google, Microsoft, and Samsung to introduce the biometric checks. The initial plan is to trial the system with 500 participants before possibly rolling it out on a larger scale. It's something that MasterCard believes will be welcomed by millennials and should simplify the process of making payments from a smartphone.

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How much does security software slow down your PC?

Cloud Security Communications

One of the main complaints that people express about security software is that it harms the performance of their PC. But how much of an effect does it really have?

Independent testing organization AV-Comparatives has conducted a test of 20 leading security products for Windows to assess their impact. Tests were performed on a 64-bit Intel Core i5 machine with Windows 8.1.

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UK government illegally spied on Amnesty International

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A court has revealed that the UK intelligence agency, GCHQ, illegally spied on human rights organization Amnesty International. It is an allegation that the agency had previously denied, but an email from the Investigatory Powers Tribunal backtracked on a judgement made in June which said no such spying had taken place.

The email was sent to Amnesty International yesterday, and while it conceded that the organization was indeed the subject of surveillance, no explanation has been offered. It is now clear that, for some reason, communications by Amnesty International were illegally intercepted, stored, and examined. What is not clear is when the spying happened, what data was collected and, more importantly, why it happened.

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Security pros lack faith in endpoint protection

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Organizations face increasing numbers of threats today and a high percentage of security professionals now no longer trust traditional protection solutions.

A survey by enterprise security specialist Bromium reveals that 92 percent of respondents have lost confidence in the ability of traditional endpoint protection solutions, such as antivirus and white listing, to detect unknown threats like zero-day attacks. In addition 78 percent believe antivirus software is not effective even against general cyber attacks.

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Can't remember your brother's phone number? You could be suffering from digital amnesia

Digital amnesia

When you can find a phone number with the swipe of a finger or resolve an argument with a quick trip to Google, why would you need to remember anything?

A new report from Kaspersky Lab calls this phenomenon 'digital amnesia'. It surveyed over 1,000 consumers across the US and finds that 91 percent of them say they use the Internet as an online extension of their brain.

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Windows' WiFi Sense is a useful feature misunderstood by the media

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Earlier this week The Register published a story about WiFi Sense, saying the feature "smells like a security risk". The publication is making a huge deal out of it, even though the way it works has been known ever since Microsoft introduced it in the Windows Phone 8.1 preview builds more than a year ago. So it is not news today, and acting like there is something noteworthy to say about it at this point seems disingenuous to me and, quite frankly, clickbait.

For those who are not familiar with it, WiFi Sense is a feature that allows Windows Phone 8.1 -- and Windows 10 -- users to easily share access to Wi-Fi passwords with their contacts and friends. In this day and age, if Apple or Google introduced such a feature the media would go crazy. But, no. Microsoft is criticized for trying to make things easy for its users. How silly is that? Some of the things The Register says about Wi-Fi Sense reveal no proper knowledge of the feature.

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Digital piracy up by 22 percent over the last three years

Software piracy

Despite attempts to combat it, illegal distribution of copyright material via the internet is a continuing problem.

Protection solutions specialist Arxan Technologies has released the results of a new report produced in collaboration with the iThreat Cyber Group which shows that illegal reproduction and distribution of copyrighted material on the Web is booming as a result of security breaches in both mobile and desktop software applications.

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One Plus Two touted to have a better fingerprint sensor than iPhone 6

Windows 10 to include built-in two-factor authentication

As you’ve doubtless seen, the sequel to the popular OnePlus One will be revealed at the end of next month, but prior to that information about the handset is slowly being leaked out -- or indeed published by the company in the case of this latest snippet concerning the fingerprint sensor.

In a blog post, OnePlus boasted that the upcoming smartphone will have one of the most advanced fingerprint sensors on the market, in an "Apple eat your heart out" kind of way.

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Washington Post implements encryption to protect site visitors

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Heightened awareness about online security means that more and more websites are using encryption to boost privacy and security. A few weeks after Wikimedia announced it was using HTTPS to encrypt traffic to its site, The Washington Post has followed suit.

It's a move designed to stop snooping on readers' browsing habits. The news outlet explains that it will make it "more difficult for hackers, government agencies and others to track the reading habits". For those concerned about privacy, this will come a good news, but there's a catch; encryption does not apply to the entire site.

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VPNs might leak your user information

Virtual Private Network VPN

If you thought that you can avoid all that mass surveillance by using Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), think again. A study shows that even the VPNs leak user information.

Of course it does make it hard for law enforcement agencies to monitor people, but it does not prevent them from accessing the required information. VPNs are currently used by approximately 20 percent of the European internet users.

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Medium.com ditches passwords to increase security

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Remembering all of the passwords required to gain access to all of your online accounts is a pain. You could opt to use a password manager, or you might decide to use the same password for everything. But Blogging platform Medium.com has another option -- just don't use one!

The site has been anti-password for some time; users log into their accounts using an existing Twitter or Facebook account. For people who are not social network users, however, there's a new option. Working in a similar way to the 'I've forgotten my password' system used by many sites, Medium allows users to log in using nothing but their email address -- and says the system is more secure than regular passwords.

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