Articles about Security

The price of de-anonymization -- FBI paid $1m to Carnegie Mellon to crack Tor


Tor has long been thought of as offering a level of privacy, security and anonymity that enables people to do whatever they want online; it also facilitates access to the so-called Dark Web. Despite this, law enforcement agencies were able to crack Tor and identify a Silk Road 2.0 user. Now it seems that the FBI was helped out by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University.

It was previously known that the FBI tracked down Brian Richard Farrrell using information from a "university-based research institute". The Tor Project itself believes that the FBI paid researchers at the university at least $1 million to attack the network and gather data from Tor relays that could be analyzed and used to identify users' IP addresses.

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Built-in safety measures create a false sense of security

Security breach lock

It's increasingly common for hardware manufacturers and software developers to build in various security measures to protect users.

However, a new survey by cloud encryption company Alertsec reveals that these standard security precautions may be creating a false sense of security for PC and mobile users.

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Companies vulnerable to cyber attack as defenses lag behind threats

Hidden threat

Security solutions are lagging behind and failing to provide protection or detection levels adequate to protect against today's security threats.

This is according to a new survey from security and compliance solutions company Promisec. The results point to increased security gaps and vulnerabilities in spite of widespread fear of security breaches.

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GCHQ finds major cyber-attacks against UK doubling in 2015

Exclusive: Widespread security flaw affects hundreds of UK news sites

The number of "serious" cyber-attacks against the UK has doubled in just a year, BizTek Mojo reported on Tuesday, saying the company responded by forming a cyber-security academy to tackle the issue.

According to the report, GCHQ says there are, in average, seven serious threats faced by the country each day, and just last month it recorded 200 attacks, including state-sponsored assaults.

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Microsoft to hide European data from the NSA with new German datacenters


The arms of the NSA may be long, but there are some parts of the world in which it holds no sway. Conscious of European concerns about US government web surveillance, Microsoft today announces German datacenter options for Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics CRM Online.

Starting in the second half of 2016, customers in Europe will be able to opt to have their data stored in Germany. The datacenters will be controlled by German data trustee, Deutsche Telekom who will oversee all access to customer data. With Microsoft’s "mobile first, cloud-first" philosophy, this is a move to try to rebuild trust in cloud services which the company clearly feels has been lost.

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Adblockalypse: nearly one fifth of web users employ ad blockers


Online ads are a major bugbear for web users, hence the existence of ad blocking software. Tools such as AdBlock Plus have long been popular, but despite efforts by publishers to discourage their use, more and more people rely on ad blockers to improve their online experience.

The Internet Advertising Bureau reports that ad blocking is on the rise. In the UK, 18 percent of people use software to prevent the appearance of ads -- up from 15 percent just five months ago. Not everyone, however, is looking to block every single ad they might encounter.

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The performance impact of internet security products

Performance meter

Many people cite performance issues as a reason why they're reluctant to run or end up uninstalling internet security products.

Independent testing organization AV-Comparatives has released the results of its latest studies on a range of security products, focussing on how they impact system performance.

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InstaAgent app steals usernames and passwords from Instagram users


An app that enables iPhone users to keep an eye on who has been looking at their Instagram account has been pulled from the App Store after it was found to be stealing usernames and passwords.

Apple took the decision to kill "Who Viewed Your Profile -- InstaAgent" when the app was found scraping login details and sending them back to the developer's server. This in itself is worrying for users, but it gets worse: the usernames and passwords were sent in unencrypted format.

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Apple's Tim Cook on weakening encryption: 'Any backdoor is a backdoor for everyone'


Tim Cook is concerned about privacy. The Apple CEO has spoken out against requests from governments for backdoors into encrypted products. Following the UK government's decision not to ban strong encryption but to force companies to provide authorities with access to encrypted data upon production of a warrant.

This is effectively a backdoor into products and Tim Cook gives a stark warning: "Any backdoor is a backdoor for everyone". He also suggests that security is something that needs to be tackled on a global scale rather than by individual countries.

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No more Chrome updates for Windows XP from April 2016


Anyone still desperately clinging to Windows XP only has another six months of updates for Chrome. Google has decided that the time has finally come to sever ties with the ancient operating system, and the same applies to Vista and OS X 10.6, 10.7, and 10.8.

Just as Microsoft has stopped issuing updates for Windows XP, so too has Google set a cut-off point of April 2016 for Chrome support on older OSes. These versions of Windows and OS X have been dropped by Microsoft and Apple, so it makes sense that other companies will move on as well. But as well as not getting new versions of Chrome, there will also be no more security updates.

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The three don'ts when choosing an IT security budget

budget keyboard

With high-profile data breaches continuing to make headlines with disturbing regularity, the general consensus on the cyber security front is that we need to be doing more. Of course, if you’re sitting down to discuss your company’s IT security budget, you’re going to need to get more specific than that.

Determining the right cyber security budget can be a challenge, especially for companies that are looking into security seriously for the first time and unsure where to start. While one approach is to look to industry benchmarks -- averages by vertical, percentage of overall IT spending, etc. -- the truth is there is no universal right answer to determining your security budget.

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RoboForm boosts security with two-factor authentication


Two-factor authentication is increasingly common as a way of verifying logins to websites so that you’re not relying on just a password.

Now Siber Systems maker of the popular RoboForm password manager is adding 2FA to allow users to receive a password via text message to verify trusted desktop, laptop and mobile devices for repeat use with the software.

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Twitch flips the switch on two-factor authentication


Enabling two-factor authentication is a simple and effective way to beef up the security of your online accounts. Also known as 2FA, it introduces an additional step in the log in process, which typically requires the user to enter a code received via SMS or retrieved from an app, after their password is validated.

To take advantage of two-factor authentication the services that you use have to offer this feature, which is not always the case. But, as far as Twitch is concerned, two-factor authentication is no longer missing from the options.

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Addressing the mobile app trust gap

Mobile data spy

According to a new survey 80 percent of consumers would stop being a customer if there were a security breach in a company's mobile app. But app developers admit in the same study that many apps are not secure due to pressure to release them to market before they are ready.

These findings come from mobile security and analytics company Bluebox Security which talked to over 400 consumers and approximately 300 developers.

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The next target for surveillance: the dark web


The surveillance activities of the NSA and GCHQ are well known, and many people hoping to slip under the radar have taken to the 'dark web'. Famous for sites such as Silk Road, as well as being home to illegal content such as child pornography, the dark web may not be a safe haven for much longer.

Joint Operations Cell (JOC) is a new venture in the UK which sees the National Crime Agency (NCA) and GCHQ joining forces. Described as a "genuinely innovative development", the operation aims to home in on online criminals, with a particular focus on crimes involving child exploitation.

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