Beyond Touch ID: Where mobile fingerprint scanners are headed

LAS VEGAS -- Apple isn't the only one looking to shove a fingerprint sensor onto its smartphone.

There will be several high-profile smartphones that will include fingerprint scanners, according to Michael Maia, vice president of sales for the biometric division of touchscreen and touch pad company Synaptics. Its product will ship in the first quarter, and more phones should come out in the second half, he said.

"It will be fairly mainstream," he told CNET at the sidelines of the Consumer Electronics Show.

Fingerprint recognition technology hit mainstream awareness when Apple decided to make it its marquee … Read more

Yahoo malware turned PCs into Bitcoin miners

The cybercriminals who infected the computers of European Yahoo users apparently wanted to create a huge Bitcoin network.

Researchers at security firm Light Cyber revealed this week that one of the malware programs aimed to use the resources of infected PCs to perform the calculations necessary to run a Bitcoin network. Reported earlier this month by fellow security firm Fox IT, the campaign spread its package by using Yahoo's ad server to deploy malicious ads. The malware took advantage of vulnerabilities in Java to install itself on computers that visited the ads.yahoo.com site.

Light Cyber founder Giora … Read more

Snapchat: OK, OK, we're sorry

Love is supposed to mean never having to say you're sorry. But Snapchat has expressed both love and apologies for a bug that caused headaches for the millions of users whose names and phone numbers were exposed unexpectedly.

In a blog post on Thursday, Snapchat said it was "sorry for any problems this issue may have caused." The team also revealed a couple of changes to its Find Friends feature to better protect the phone numbers of Snapchat users.

A new update to the iOS and Android versions gives users the option to not link their phone … Read more

Hacker Guccifer strikes again, nabbing 'Downton Abbey' script

Guccifer does not discriminate. He (or she, or they) has hacked far and wide -- getting into the e-mail accounts of people as diverse as Colin Powell, Leonardo DiCaprio, and journalist Tina Brown. And, a new report from The Smoking Gun shows that the hacker's security breaches have been even more prolific than previously thought.

Dozens of people had their e-mail accounts and Web sites hacked by Guccifer. Not only has he amassed quite a spreadsheet of phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and home addresses, but he's also nabbed documents, personal drawings, and correspondences -- such as doodles by … Read more

Drug overdose caused death of hacker

Overdosing on drugs caused the death of hacker Barnaby Jack, said the San Francisco Medical Examiner's Office on Friday.

The 36-year-old Jack died only days before he was to give a demonstration of how to hack defibrillators and pacemakers at the annual security and hacker conference Black Hat last summer. He was scheduled to show how to force a pacemaker to deliver a lethal electric jolt by remote.

Known for hacking medical devices such as insulin pumps and pacemakers, Jack caused a media sensation when he showed live onstage how to "jackpot" an ATM, forcing it to shoot a spray of cashRead more

Cybersecurity forces align as FireEye acquires Mandiant

Two well-known companies that deal with Internet security have joined forces.

Anti-malware firm FireEye announced Thursday that it acquired data breach responder Mandiant for roughly $1 billion, based on the current value of FireEye shares. This deal could have broad implications for competing cybersecurity firms and even for governments that have been criticized for monitoring users on the Web.

"Organizations today are faced with knitting together a patchwork of point products and services to protect their assets from advanced threats," FireEye CEO David DeWalt said in a statement. "Together, the size and global reach of FireEye and … Read more

NSA spyware gives agency full access to the iPhone -- report

The US National Security Agency can reportedly sniff out every last bit of data from your iPhone, according to leaked NSA documents published by German magazine Der Spiegel.

Known as DROPOUTJEEP, the spyware is said to be one of the tools employed by the NSA's ANT (Advanced or Access Network Technology) division to gain backdoor access to various electronic devices. On Sunday, leaked documents obtained by Der Spiegel showed how these tools have reportedly been used to infiltrate computers, hard drives, routers, and other devices from tech companies such as Cisco, Dell, Western Digital, Seagate, Maxtor, and Samsung.

Those … Read more

New malware roosting place: Inside your SD Card?

Security researchers have found a way to hack SD Cards, the most common form of flash-memory cards used to store data mobile phones and digital cameras, and run software that intercepts data.

Andrew "bunnie" Huang and Sean "xobs" Cross disclosed the approach Sunday in a blog post and talk at the Chaos Computer Congress (30C3). With the attack, a person could run malicious software on the memory card itself. That's because the cards have tiny built-in computers called microcontrollers that are used to oversee the details of data storage.

The result is a "perfect … Read more

Hacker tried to sell access to BBC server -- report

A Russian hacker wasn't exactly in the Christmas spirit when he reportedly tried to sell access to a BBC server on December 25.

Apparently first spotted by cybersecurity firm Hold Security, the recent attack hit a BBC FTP server and was conducted by a "notorious Russian hacker" known as "Hash" and "Rev0lver," Reuters reported on Sunday. No evidence has turned up indicating that the hacker stole any actual information.

But "Hash" attempted to make a Christmas Day profit out of his exploits, according to Hold Security founder Alex Holden. The hacker … Read more

NSA reportedly planted spyware on electronics equipment

A new report from Der Spiegel, based on internal National Security Agency documents, reveals more details about how the spy agency gains access to computers and other electronic devices to plant backdoors and other spyware.

The Office of Tailored Access Operations, or TAO, is described as a "squad of digital plumbers" that deals with hard targets -- systems that are not easy to infiltrate. TAO has reportedly been responsible for accessing the protected networks of heads of state worldwide, works with the CIA and FBI to undertake "sensitive missions," and has penetrated the security of undersea … Read more