Articles about Security

Google: Android L turns data encryption on by default

photo by Slavoljub Pantelic, Shutterstock

Turning on data encryption can make a huge difference in case your Android device is lost or stolen, as it will make it extremely difficult -- if not impossible -- for a third-party to access your files. It also gives you quite a bit of time to remotely wipe your device, which means that your photos, videos, texts and whatnot have a better chance of remaining private.

And if the local authorities want to take a peek, they are also out of luck -- it's good news for those involved in criminal enterprises, and others as well. All this sounds great from a privacy and security standpoint, except that encryption has never been enabled by default in Android. But that is soon about to change.

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Simple Secure -- open source security organization backed by Google and Dropbox

simply-secure-sticker@2

Strong security is necessary nowadays. However, some solutions can be overwhelming to many users, so they are often not implemented or simply misunderstood. In other words, regardless of how strong a security implementation is, if users do not understand how it works or how to use it, it may be worthless.

Today, Dropbox, Google and the Open Technology Fund come together for a new organization called Simple Secure. This organization is designed to spread knowledge of open source security tools and empower people to use them properly.

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Apple: iOS 8 will keep your private data safe from the US Government

Wilson's Weekend Whine: Snowden's call for online encryption is sad but necessary

It's very important for us to know that the things we store on our mobile devices are safe from prying eyes. It gives us a sense of security knowing that our private thoughts, photos, videos and whatnot will only be seen by us and the people we share them with. But what if it is the US Government that wants to take a look? If the authorities get hold of our devices, what's to stop them from using search warrants to see what's in there?

If we are talking about iOS 8 devices, then its security design is standing in the government's way. Apple has updated its Legal Process Guidelines to reflect that it will be unable to extract data that its customers store on devices running its latest mobile operating system, as the key which unlocks the treasure trove is solely in its users' control.

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Internet users say they want privacy but behave like they don't

Privacy

We all say that we want privacy and security online, yet we indulge in potentially risky behaviors that put this in jeopardy according to a recent study commissioned by Trend Micro and released to coincide with the launch of its Internet Security 2015 product.

Activity like browsing suspect websites and allowing apps to access public information from their social media profiles puts people’s privacy at risk. Also 67 percent of people let their browser save passwords for websites. Trend Micro says saving passwords leaves them susceptible to being hacked, especially in light of recent retail security breaches.

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UK web users are the most likely targets for phishing scams in the world

UK web users are the most likely targets for phishing scams in the world

Phishing scams are a problem around the world -- and it's likely that one or more was at least partly responsible for the Fappening -- but it seems that it is more of a problem in some places than others.

Just about all of us have received emails that contain malicious links, but analysis by Proofpoint found that web users in the UK are more than two and a half times as likely to receive phishing mail as those in the US. Germany fairs much better, receiving just a fifth of the number of scam emails as the UK. But these numbers are not the whole story -- phishing emails account for just a portion of unwanted emails.

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New Dell partnership strengthens enterprise risk management

Insider threat

In the event of a major problem, whether it's a cyber attack, political unrest or a natural disaster, getting critical information to the right people in a timely manner is crucial.

To address this, Dell Software has formed a partnership with enterprise risk visualization software company, IDV Solutions to integrate Dell's AlertFind enterprise notification solution with IDV's Visual Command Center. The combined product will give companies the ability to monitor and respond to security threats by enabling communication with affected employees when a risk occurs (via email, text, voice, pager or fax) and track real-time status of message recipients to know who has responded and who may require assistance.

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Cisco adds threat focus to its firewall platform

Cisco ASA 5500

The firewall is usually the first line of defense for any network, but most offerings are focused on access policy and application control which makes it hard for them to respond to zero-day and more advanced attacks.

Now networking company Cisco is launching what it calls the first threat-focused Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW). Cisco ASA with FirePOWER Services provides the contextual awareness and dynamic controls needed to automatically assess threats, correlate intelligence, and optimize defenses in order to protect networks.

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Comcast could cut off customers who use the Tor browser

Comcast could cut off customers who use the Tor browser

Last week there were net neutrality protests from a number of big names in the online world. This week there is controversy courtesy of Comcast -- described by DeepDotWeb as "the most hated company in America" -- as the firm apparently declares war on Tor.

The web browser -- one favored by those concerned about their privacy -- has been branded "illegal" by Comcast according to DeepDotWeb and customer reports appearing on the /r/darknetmarkets subreddit (reddit itself having banned subreddits associated with the Fappening). Customers are reporting having been warned that use of Tor is against Comcast's term of use and could result in a termination of service.

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IT professionals not confident they can prevent cyber attacks

security padlock

Despite the number of high profile attacks in recent months, many organizations are still lacking confidence in their ability to prevent a cyber attack or data breach.

These are the findings of a new survey from risk consultancy firm Protiviti which also shows that companies aren't properly preparing for crises and often don’t have adequate core data policies.

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Over three-quarters of mobile apps will fail security tests by 2015

mobile security

New research by analysts at Gartner shows that more than 75 percent of mobile apps are set to fail basic security tests by 2015.

This is a particular worry for enterprises as employees may download software from app stores. These apps offer minimal or no security assurances but are able to access sensitive business data and violate company security policy.

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Facebook's 'real name' policy is wrong, discriminatory, and potentially dangerous

Facebook's "real name" policy is wrong, discriminatory, and potentially dangerous

Facebook's policy requiring the use of real names on the social network is not all that new, but it remains controversial. Many users would like to be able to use a nickname (other than the "variation of your real first or last name" permitted by the site), but Facebook continues to insist that forcing the revelation of birth name "helps keep our community safe". Or does it? There's certainly an argument that suggests it makes sense to know who you are dealing with, but this cannot be a one-size-fits-all policy. There will always be exceptions, and this is something highlighted by ReadWrite.

As Selena Larson points out, there are many people who choose to use "pseudonyms online for both safety and personal reasons". And yet the site is trying to force Sister Roma -- a drag artist and member of Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a "leading-edge Order of queer nuns" -- to use her birth name rather than what is being regarded as her stage name. Who is Facebook to try to interfere with this? This is the site that only recently was encouraging its users to boost their privacy by checking the settings they had in place. It smacks of giving with one hand and taking with the other.

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Companies shouldn't 'over think' internet of things security

Internet of Things

The internet of things opens up a vast range of new opportunities for individuals and businesses. But as we saw yesterday with expert predictions on the impact of the Apple Watch it also brings additional risks.

Analysts at Gartner are predicting that by 2017 more than 20 percent of businesses will have security devices aimed at protecting services and devices in the internet of things.

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Apple Watch will boost wearable adoption and add risk say experts

Apple announces its first wearable -- the Apple Watch

The adoption of wearable technology is on the verge of becoming mainstream and that process can only be accelerated by the release of the Apple Watch.

A recent study by Acquity, part of the Accenture consulting group, shows that wearable fitness devices are already taking off. By the end of 2015 they’re expected to reach 22 percent adoption and 43 percent within five years.

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5 million Google Account credentials reportedly leaked online [Updated]

Hackers

According to the IBTimes, around five million Google Account credentials have been leaked online by hackers, with around 60 percent of the compromised accounts judged to still be active.

A user called "tvskit" made the announcement on the Bitcoin Security forum along with a link to the alleged email list. The majority of the leaked accounts seem to belong to Russian users.

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Heartbleed bug not exploited before disclosure

Heartbleed logo

The Heartbleed bug has gone down in history as one of the most serious flaws to affect the internet. But new research reveals that prior to its disclosure in April there's no evidence of Heartbleed having being exploited.

The disclosure of Heartbleed sent websites scrambling to apply patches. However, a study by academics at a number of US universities allays fears that the flaw may have been exploited for surveillance by government agencies before it became public.

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