May 26, 2009
Now that President Obama has named Sonia Sotomayor as his choice for the nation's highest court, he is expected to this week select a "cyber czar" to act as the U.S.'s highest-ranking cyber security official, The Washington Post reports today. The person assuming this newly created position will be responsible for protecting the country's government-run and private computer networks and will likely get a seat on the National Security Council.
Obama announced today that he is folding White House staff focusing on homeland security and counterterrorism into the National Security Council, The Boston Globe reports. The cyber czar will likely report both to the national security adviser and the senior White House economic adviser, a move that would indicate a desire to protect private networks without threatening economic growth, according to the Post, citing anonymous sources.
Apr 17, 2009 | 2
NEW YORK, N.Y. — While computers, the Internet and mobile phones have brought their users a great degree of freedom, they've also had a severe impact on privacy, the distribution of information and security, a panel of computer scientists, law enforcement and journalists said Thursday at a Marconi Society symposium here. (Additional coverage of the April 16 Marconi Society symposium.)
The Internet has changed society dramatically, said Robert Gallager, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor of electrical engineering and computer science. "Some of this is healthy, some of this is not," he said at yesterday's conference. The blistering pace at which information is created and disseminated via the Web and mobile devices, "makes our lives more complicated because it's harder to organize the information we receive," he added.
Mar 30, 2009 | 3
Cyber crimes hit record numbers last year, according to a new report (pdf) released today by Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). IC3, a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center (a Glen Allen, Va., congressionally funded nonprofit that trains law enforcement on how to investigate financial and cyber crimes), says that in 2008 it received 275,284 complaints (up 33 percent from 2007's total of 206,884) of cyber fraud, computer hacks, spam, child pornography and other online offenses—and that cyber scams costs consumers an estimated $265 million, 10 percent more than the $239.09 million reported lost in 2007.
Online transactions in which either the goods or the payment wasn't received accounted for 33 percent of complaints that the feds received last year (up 32 percent from 2007). Auction fraud (think eBay transactions gone bad) actually dipped from 28.6 percent in 2007 to 25.5 percent last year. Ponzi schemes, computer fraud, and check fraud complaints represented 19.5 percent of all IC3 complaints. Overall, fraud victims reporting average losses of $931 each.
Feb 27, 2009 | 1
"Before these new proposals go into effect," Zuckerberg wrote on the Facebook blog yesterday, "you'll also have the ability to vote for or against proposed changes." He made it clear, however, that while he's open to suggestions, the company will continue to make its own decisions about new features offered on the site. "While these products must be consistent with the Principles and in compliance with the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities," he wrote, "they will not be subject to the notice and comment or voting requirement."
Feb 18, 2009 | 2
Feb 17, 2009 | 3
Facebook is once again facing a loud chorus of complaints from its faithful over how their personal information is used. Earlier this week, news of a February 4 change to the site's terms of service trickled out to users courtesy of The Consumerist, a Consumers Union blog. That change, according to The Consumerist, meant that Facebook could now use information you upload "in any way they deem fit, forever, no matter what you do later." (Here’s a link to the Facebook terms of service.)
Facing a public relations crisis, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg clarified his company's position, writing, "Our philosophy is that people own their information and control who they share it with."
Jan 15, 2009 | 2
A recent report by the Internet Safety Technical Task Force says that child exploitation on the Net and elsewhere is worrisome but online social networks, such as Facebook and MySpace, are not to blame for the bulk of it since most reported cases predated their existence.
Among other findings: children are unlikely to be propositioned by adults online unless they are willing participants and are already at risk because of poor home environments, substance abuse or other problems. And, despite some high-profile cases (for example, MySpace was sued in 2006 lawsuit by a 14-year-old girl who said she was sexually assaulted by a 19-year-old man she met on the site, according to Reuters), "bullying and harassment, most often by peers, are the most frequent threats that minors face," both online and offline.
Jan 5, 2009 | 5
More than half of teens on MySpace discuss or post images on their profiles of sex, drugs and violence, new research shows. But another study finds that reminding kids the info is public may tame the content they publish on the social-networking site.
Some 270 (54 percent) of 500 MySpace profiles referenced risky behavior, according to the first study in today's Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. Of those, 24 percent mentioned sex, 41 percent drugs and 14 percent violence. The findings are based on reviews by researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle and the University of Notre Dame of profiles whose users said they were 18.
The researchers acknowledge that there's no way of verifying the ages or information of the users. But they note that social-networking sites have been used by cyber-bullies and online predators to target unwitting users. And whether or not the profiles reflect the truth, other teens will take the online information literally, magnifying the peer pressure that already exists in real life, says co-author Megan Moreno, now an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Dec 15, 2008 | 2
We learned during the presidential campaign that the BlackBerry was the “miracle that John McCain helped create,” according to an aide to the failed GOP candidate. And what a miracle it’s turned out to be for an enterprising reporter who poked around at a garage sale the campaign held in Arlington, Virginia, last week, turning up two BlackBerries with more than 300 contacts still loaded on them.
Tisha Thompson, an investigative journalist at WDCA-TV, the Washington, D.C., Fox News affiliate, reports that she paid $20 a pop for the devices, which contained phone numbers of McCain donors and supporters as well as e-mails, calendars and photos.
Nov 21, 2008 | 7
Verizon Wireless today apologized to President-elect Barack Obama after discovering that employees had snooped into his cell phone records in the latest example of a VIP’s private information being accessed by nosy staffers.
An Obama aide said that employees didn't listen to voicemails or read emails, but it's unclear exactly what records were accessed and when – or how many employees were involved. Verizon didn't return phone and email requests for comment but said in a statement that the snoops would be disciplined.
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