The Trump administration issued a fresh warning Tuesday about malicious North Korean cyber activity, as that nation's leader dispatched a top adviser to New York to prepare for a possible summit on its nuclear arsenal.
The technical alert from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security highlighted two pieces of malware said to have been used to target U.S. infrastructure and aerospace, financial and media companies for at least nine years to steal information and remotely manipulate networks. In recent years, the US has accused North Korea of launching a slew of cyberattacks, and it wasn't immediately clear if there was any significance to the timing of the latest warning.Read more
In its latest effort to fend off cryptocurrency scams, the Securities and Exchange Commission launched its own fake initial coin offering website today called the Howey Coin to warn people against fraudulent cryptocurrencies.
The name is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the Howey Test that the SEC uses to determine whether an investment is a security, which the Commission would therefore have legal jurisdiction over. Click ‘Buy Coins Now’ on the Howey Coins site and you’ll be redirected to an SEC page that states: “We created the bogus HoweyCoins.com site as an educational tool to alert investors to possible fraud involving digital assets like crypto-currencies and coin offerings.”Read more
Four of the largest cell giants in the US are selling your real-time location data to a company that you've probably never heard about before.
In case you missed it, a senator last week sent a letter demanding the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) investigate why Securus, a prison technology company, can track any phone "within seconds" by using data obtained from the country's largest cell giants, including AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint, through an intermediary, LocationSmart. The story blew up because a former police sheriff snooped on phone location data without a warrant. The sheriff has pleaded not guilty to charges of unlawful surveillance.Read more
ZTE is ending “major operating activities,” the company announced today, as its conditions worsen under a US ban on exports to the Chinese phone maker. ZTE says in a filing that it has enough cash to stay afloat while pausing operations for the time being. While the news doesn’t mean ZTE is completely dead, things aren’t looking good for the phone maker.
The company says it’s in talks with the US about how to reverse or modify the Department of Commerce’s April decision to ban exports and “forget a positive outcome in the development of matters.” American companies like Dolby and Qualcomm can’t export parts to ZTE for up to seven years.Read more
The Trump administration is considering executive action that would restrict some Chinese companies’ ability to sell telecommunications equipment in the U.S., based on national-security concerns, said several people familiar with the matter.
The move, if it happens, would represent a significant escalation of a growing feud between the U.S. and China over tech and telecommunications. The affected firms likely would include Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp. , two of the world’s leading telecommunications equipment makers. They have found themselves increasingly in an international crossfire.Read more
The National Security Agency collected 534 million records of phone calls and text messages of Americans last year, more than triple gathered in 2016.
The sharp increase from 151 million occurred during the second full year of a new surveillance system established at the spy agency after U.S. lawmakers passed a law in 2015 that sought to limit its ability to collect such records in bulk. The spike in collection of call records coincided with an increase reported on Friday across other surveillance methods, raising questions from some privacy advocates who are concerned about potential government overreach and intrusion into the lives of U.S. citizens.Read more
VirnetX Holding Corp. won $502.6 million against Apple Inc. after a federal jury in Texas said the maker of iPhones was infringing patents for secure communications, the latest twist in a dispute now in its eighth year.
VirnetX’s stock rose as much as 44 percent on the news in after hours trading. The company closed at $4.10 per share on Tuesday. Apple’s stock has seen little change on the news given that the $502.6 million award is minuscule compared to the company’s profits. The company generated $20 billion profit in the first quarter, the company said in February.Read more
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security wants to monitor hundreds of thousands of news sources around the world and compile a database of journalists, editors, foreign correspondents, and bloggers to identify top “media influencers.”
It’s seeking a contractor that can help it monitor traditional news sources as well as social media and identify “any and all” coverage related to the agency or a particular event, according to a request for information released April 3. The data to be collected includes a publication’s “sentiment” as well as geographical spread, top posters, languages, momentum, and circulation. No value for the contract was disclosed.Read more
The Trump administration has said it wants to start collecting the social media history of nearly everyone seeking a visa to enter the US.
The proposal, which comes from the state department, would require most visa applicants to give details of their Facebook and Twitter accounts. They would have to disclose all social media identities used in the past five years. About 14.7 million people a year would be affected by the proposals. The information would be used to identify and vet those seeking both immigrant and non-immigrant visas. Applicants would also be asked for five years of their telephone numbers, email addresses and travel history.Read more
A Canadian political data firm called AggregateIQ left a large code repository downloadable online, according to a security researcher, exposing the political data and microtargeting tools that various Republican campaigns used to try to influence voters in the United States' 2016 election cycle.
The exposed data reveals AIQ's ties to the embattled data analytics firm Cabridge Analytica -- and, by extension, its ties to the campaigns of conservative Texas politicians Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. Greg Abbott. They also reveal AggregateIQ (AIQ)'s connection to Ukrainian steel magnate Serhiy Taruta, head Ukraine's newly formed Osnova party.Read more