Google, AOL, Apple, LinkedIn, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Twitter, and Facebook - as members of the Global Government Surveillance Reform - (you can read the coalition's mission statement here) have sent an open letter pushing for real reform of government surveillance practices and to make sure that these reforms are constitutional.
According to this BBC report, gamers are being inordinately targeted by ransomware. According to the report, the ransomware seeks out important files from games (like saves) and encrypts them so that they will no longer run. Then the program demands that they pay at least $500 (£340) in Bitcoins. Around 40 different games are being targeted on infected machines. Games being targeted include Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Minecraft and World of Tanks.
The Washington Post reports that President Obama is expected to sign an executive order on cybersecurity during the Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection at Stanford University later today.
A California State lawmaker is making a bold move to fight against law enforcement and federal agencies who want to secure private data without obtaining a warrant from a court first. State lawmaker Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) introduced a new bill called the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (CalECPA).
In an email sent to Raptr subscribers today from Raptr CEO Dennis Fong, the social gaming platform revealed that it had suffered a security breech and urged users to take necessary precautions to avoid any potential danger.
In the letter, Fong said that, while the threat to users is minor, some personal data may have been compromised including "user names, email addresses, password hashes, and some first and last names."
Sony has announced that its online gaming service for PS4, PS Vita, and PS3 will be down in Europe and North America on January 15. The maintenance period will run from 5pm - 9pm GMT tomorrow, and 9am - 1pm Pacific Time in North America.
During those times multiple services will not be available including PlayStation Store on all devices, PlayStation Network Account Management, PlayStation Network Account Registration, and various Sony Entertainment services.
President Barak Obama has proposed that companies that become the victim of a security breach should have to disclose it to the public. President Obama announced two proposal on Monday that are aimed at providing more protection to consumers from the massive data breaches and to protect student from companies farming and sharing their data.
Valve has decided to add an extra layer of protection to those human-to-human Steam Trading Card transactions this week with a simple Captcha rolled into the mix to keep the robots away. The goal is to also stop Malware from making trades (should a person get infected) on someone's behalf. If you don't know, Captcha is used to make sure the people on the other end of the screen are real live human beings and not automated computer programs.
During his keynote address this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Sony boss Kazuo Hirai condemned the hackers who breached the firm's internal network and stole data. The Guardians of Peace hacker group attacked Sony in a bid to stop the release of the movie, The Interview, which made fun of North Korean leader Kim Jung Un. The FBI claims that the group is directly tied to the North Korean government, though some security experts believe it was an inside job perpetrated with the help of a disgruntled Sony employee.
Stephen Mitroff, an associate professor and researcher at the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at Duke University, has teamed up with Washington-based game developer Kedlin to improve baggage screeners' ability to spot suspicious and potentially deadly items. This is being done with data collected from play sessions of "Airport Scanner," which uses vision and attention to improve skills on spotting things that are out of place in luggage.
Recently Sony said it was sorry for the Christmas outages of the PlayStation Network (which hacker group Lizard Squad claimed credit for) and offered a gift to PlayStation Network users: five free days of PlayStation Plus and 10 percent discount off a total cart purchase in the PlayStation Store. To say the response to this gift was tepid and even hostile in some circles is an understatement.
Boing Boing points out that the National Security Agency quietly dumped a cache of documents on its web site on Christmas Eve. Perhaps the agency was hoping that holiday revelers would miss the document dump. The release of these heavily redacted documents - quarterly and annual reports to the President's Intelligence Oversight Board from Q4/2001 to Q1/2013 - were in response to the ACLU's ongoing Freedom of Information Act requests - which the group went to court for multiple times in 2014.
A security researcher says that the FBI's December 19 proclamation that agents from or related to North Korea hacked Sony Pictures is probably not true. Marc Rogers, the director of security operations for DEF CON and a security researcher for a mobile security company says that the hack is more likely the work of a disgruntled former or currently employee.
Here's some of what he wrote in The Daily Beast:
We knew it wouldn't be long before some politicians and bureaucrats took the opportunity to use Sony Pictures' recent security breach as a way to push questionable cybersecurity legislation. The White House declared the Sony security breach a "national security issue" yesterday and today the FBI claimed that North Korea was directly involved in the hack.
Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the UK agency dedicated to surveillance and other hush hush top-secret stuff has released its own Android app to teach secondary school students about cryptography. The app is "free and fun," though it is from the same agency known for cooperating the National Security Agency in a number of surveillance and spying programs around the world.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) announced this week that it is helping to launch a new non-profit organization dedicated to dramatically increasing secure Internet browsing. The new non-profit is called Let's Encrypt and it will eventually offer free server certificates beginning in the summer of 2015.
Internet rights group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is calling on all internet users to call their elected representatives this week and tell them to support the Senate's USA FREEDOM Act.
While the bill isn't perfect, it is the first piece of legislation to tackle the NSA's unchecked power in 30 years, according to the EFF. The USA Freedom Act would - according to the EFF - do the following:
It turns out that it's not cool for the National Security Agency (NSA) chief technology officer Patrick Dowd to work "up to 20 hours a week" for IronNet, a private consulting firm founded and run by former NSA chief Keith Alexander. An internal review of this situation was recently undertaken by the NSA and the agency decided that it simply was not a good idea.
Alexander acknowledged that there are issues (we assume a conflict of interest) with allowing the arrangement to continue as well.
According to this Reuters report, the National Security Agency (NSA) has launched an internal investigation into a top official’s part-time work for a private cybersecurity firm founded by former NSA director Keith Alexander.
In its latest blog post (to go live at blog.malwarebytes.org soon), security research firm Malwarebytes details the programs and websites that promise software emulators, but deliver big trouble for users.
Chris Boyd, malware intelligence analyst at Malwarebytes Labs, chronicles just some of the programs and websites he found waiting for unsuspecting victims to wander in and make the mistake of downloading one of the many loaded programs masquerading as emulators.
Earlier this month we reported that Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) would be hosting a roundtable on government spying this week called "The Impact of Mass Surveillance on the Digital Economy," with leading executives from the tech sector.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is shining a spotlight this week on a new Australian bill that would make it so that Internet service providers in the country would have to collect and store personal user data and give law enforcement agencies access to it for up to two years. The unnamed bill, currently being referred to as the "mandatory data retention bill," will be introduced to the Australian federal parliament during the week of October 27.
Anti-virus company and security research firm Malwarebytes Labs sent us a note on a report they are currently working on about Twitch bombing tools. In case you've never heard of this questionable practice before, Twitch bombing is when one goes to an active stream to promote another stream - and in the process stealing away viewers. The practice is a violation of Twitch's terms of service and is generally frowned upon amongst streamers.
The Atlantic Council's Brent Scowcroft Center held a special event called "The Future of Unknown Conflict" featuring Dave Anthony, the writer and director of the popular military-themed computer game series Call of Duty on Oct. 1. The 1 hour, 26 minute presentation is now available in its entirety here or to your left.