Data Security

US government to have all its websites begin using HTTPS

US government to have all its websites begin using HTTPS

As part of a new initiative to maintain security and privacy on its websites, both for users and itself, the U.S. government has announced a plan to make HTTPS a standard for all its public federal sites. The goal is to have all sites using HTTPS encryption by December 31, 2016. The White House is even sharing its proposed and final versions of the policy, posting both on Github, allowing the public to compare for themselves.

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Plex now streams securely over HTTPS

Plex now streams securely over HTTPS

Plex, the media server software that streams your content to different devices in your home, has just announced a big change in the name of security and encryption. Now all streams are to be delivered over an encrypted connection with HTTPS, and even better is that the change is automatic. The company says it has partnered with DigiCert to provide free SSL security certificates to users with media servers, with each one being unique. Users just need to make sure they turned on the "secure communications" option while installing Plex.

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NSA expanded warrantless internet surveillance in attempt to stop hackers

NSA expanded warrantless internet surveillance in attempt to stop hackers

New documents from Edward Snowden have revealed that since 2012, the US's National Security Agency has had an expanded ability to spy on Americans' internet data and communications, with no need to get a warrant. The documents were published in a New York Times article this week, and reveal that the NSA's goal is to find and stop hackers attempting cyberattacks from outside the country. Until now, this program was never disclosed to the public.

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Lycos aims for a comeback with password storing ring and fitness band

Lycos aims for a comeback with password storing ring and fitness band

Lycos, one of the many search engines that didn't make it past the early boom years of the Internet is coming out with some wearable tech devices. The company's current embodiment isn't the same as when it rivaled other mid-1990's search engines like Alta Vista. It was bought by Ybrant Digital in 2010. Lycos' new, wearable Lycos Life devices The Band and The Ring want to be your "personal security manager," storing passwords and personal data in lackluster packaging.

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Macs older than 1 year may be vulnerable to security exploit

Macs older than 1 year may be vulnerable to security exploit

A security researcher has just, reportedly, found a way to gain control of Macs using OS X. The exploits allow attackers to remotely overwrite firmware responsible for booting up the device. Once attackers isolate the flaw in a targeted machine, they could control the computer as soon as it boots up. The specific exploit discovered by Pedro Vilaca is explained in detail in an article on his blog. This attack can give a user continuous, low-level control of a Mac without any initial physical access; therefore, hackers from the other side of the globe can exploit your system.

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Google debuts Smart Lock password manager for automatic logins

Google debuts Smart Lock password manager for automatic logins

While Goggle's keynote at I/O 2015 yesterday was practically bursting at the seams with new information about Android M, the latest version of the mobile OS, there have also been a number of smaller, less high-profile announcements made. One such case is a new cross-device password manager they're calling Smart Lock for Passwords. At first it might sound like a basic "remember username/password" request in a browser, but it actually goes beyond that and works within Android apps too.

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Hola VPN is selling users’ bandwidth as botnet

Hola VPN is selling users’ bandwidth as botnet

Free virtual private network (VPN) service Hola, available as a popular Chrome extension, is well-known among users who frequently like to watch videos and TV shows from other countries that location blocked. Sadly, it has just been discovered that owners of the service have actually been selling users' bandwidth as botnet, or bulk traffic that can be purchased and used in a denial-of-service attack on a website. Hola claims this has always been clear in their terms of service, but users say they have never been made aware of this bandwidth usage.

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Target promises Apple Pay support after payment terminal overhaul

Target promises Apple Pay support after payment terminal overhaul

Target, one of the US's largest retail outlets, has been one of the odd outliers when it comes to merchants who jumped at supporting Apple Pay. While a change won't be happening overnight, the company has promised that Apple Pay will be accepted in the future, once stores finish an update to their point of sale terminals. Target's CEO Brian Cornell made the statement this week, adding that he'd "love to have Apple Pay today," but that they needed to be up to date with current security standards.

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Google research reveals security questions’s vulnerability to attack

Google research reveals security questions’s vulnerability to attack

Google has just published research which puts the nail in the coffin of security question-based password protection. We like to think that security questions are reliable because the answers are easy to remember, but research shows this isn't the case. Not only are the answers to security questions often forgotten, but they are susceptible to attacks by simply guessing answers. These reasons contribute to the evolution of two-step authentication and SMS-based verification codes for quicker, more reliable password retrieval and authentication.

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Researchers design new Tor client resistant to NSA attacks

Researchers design new Tor client resistant to NSA attacks

Internet anonymity has become difficult to procure as the NSA is doing everything in its power to keep tabs on Internet activity. One way that people have been protecting their anonymity is by using the anonymizing network, Tor. It was popularly used to access dark web sites like Silk Road, but it can also be used for good. For example, people in certain countries without free speech protections could be jailed or worse for disparaging online claims against the government; Tor provides a way to prevent those users' web activity from being tracked. As it turns out, Tor isn't as safe from the prying eyes of big government surveillance as we once thought.

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CareFirst health insurer hacked: up to 1.1m customers affected

CareFirst health insurer hacked: up to 1.1m customers affected

Recently we reported that the number of health care providers that have suffered some sort of breach sit at the 90-percent mark (over the last two years), and though some have taken steps to protect their networks, many are still vulnerable. Today it was announced that the health insurer CareFirst had been breached, making it the third in the United States to suffer such an attack (or, at least, to disclose as much). The attack took place in June of last year, and is said to have been sophisticated, affecting up to 1.1 million of the insurer’s customers. The company is based in Maryland but services the Washington DC region.

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