Data Security

Target updates breach details: 70 million customers’ personal data stolen

Target updates breach details: 70 million customers’ personal data stolen

Amidst the hustle and bustle of the holiday shopping season, hackers silently managed to nab millions of instances of customer card data, the means and extent of which were unknown at the time. Shortly after Christmas, the company stated the hackers also got the encrypted PINs for the cards, a flip over their previous belief that none had been grabbed. Now another update has been pushed out, this one stating that the personal data -- separate from the card data -- was swiped on up to 70 million shoppers.

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LinkedIn files lawsuit over data-mining bots

LinkedIn files lawsuit over data-mining bots

LinkedIn has filed a lawsuit in the Northern California federal district court against unspecified individuals over the use of bots to mine data from users' profiles. According to the lawsuit, the bots were used to register "thousands" of LinkedIn accounts for the purpose of mining information from other -- real -- accounts. Such activities were reportedly going on since May of last year in violation of both the website's user agreement and, says the company, applicable computer security laws.

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NSA project working towards encryption-breaking quantum computer, reveals Snowden doc

NSA project working towards encryption-breaking quantum computer, reveals Snowden doc

According to documents leaked by Edward Snowden, the NSA dreams of a quantum computer that can break nearly every type of encryption -- one it is working towards (in part, at least) via a program called Penetrating Hard Targets, a $79.7 million project. The NSA isn't the only entity working on making a quantum computer reality, and such technologies would have widespread benefits beyond the cryptographically-oriented industry and various spy games.

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Laptop searches by U.S. border agents ruled legal

Laptop searches by U.S. border agents ruled legal

For most people, one's laptop is a like a trusted friend, packed full of data that one would not give out part and parcel to just anyone, particularly not strangers. Random laptop searches at United States borders have been taking place for years, and have been the subject of much outcry, particularly due to the complete lack of suspicion needed to perform the search. Civil rights attorneys filed a lawsuit against this activity, citing reasons of being unconstitutional, but a New York judge has dismissed their complaint, giving border agents the go-ahead.

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Target: never mind, they’ve got the PINs

Target: never mind, they’ve got the PINs

It would appear that the debacle Target is facing this holiday season is turning over as we speak. Though they’d previously suggested that findings showed no PIN data to have been stolen in their 2013 credit card breach, today’s update says otherwise. The positive side of this situation is the fact that these PIN numbers are wholly encrypted.

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Obama hears panel: Stop NSA bulk phone data collection

Obama hears panel: Stop NSA bulk phone data collection

The White House has released a lengthy report written by a five-member panel recommending sweeping reforms of the NSA. Included among the 46 recommendations by the "Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies" is one to delete all bulk telephone metadata on Americans from the NSA's servers. The panel also suggested that the data should be allowed to be stored by the private telecoms for a capped length of time -- five years in most cases -- accessible by the NSA only through court order or other official third-party permission.

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NSA phone data-tapping ruled unconstitutional by federal judge

NSA phone data-tapping ruled unconstitutional by federal judge

This week in Washington a district judge by the name of Richard Leon has ruled that the NSA's data collection program on phone call data collection is unconstitutional. This ruling came amid a court case which had two American citizens filing suit against the National Security Administration to stop any and all data collection programs. The case was originally filed the day after Edward Snowden's avalanche of NSA leaks began to be revealed for the first time.

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Microsoft joins FIDO Alliance in effort to kill passwords

Microsoft joins FIDO Alliance in effort to kill passwords

The FIDO Alliance is a group of technology firms that are looking to make some new industry standards that aim at reducing the need for passwords. We are all familiar with passwords, most of us use them to secure our email, computers, and smartphones from prying eyes. The problem is security that relies on passwords is only as good as the password you make and they are often easy to guess or intercept.

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MetaPhone Stanford University crowdsourced project shows NSA’s three-hop reach

MetaPhone Stanford University crowdsourced project shows NSA’s three-hop reach

The NSA, through means by which the average citizen cannot tread, has been collecting vast amounts of phone metadata that is intended to help locate and track terrorists and related activity. Though not always keeping up to standard, what the NSA does is not illegal and has been the subject of intense criticism across the globe. In response, Stanford University launched a crowdsourced project to prove the extent of information that can be revealed through the collection of metadata, and using this information has posted a lengthy write up on the three-hops procedure.

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