Privacy and data protection

IBM's new services zero in on fraud, financial crime

IBM has introduced new software and services to help organizations use big data to address financial losses caused by fraud.

The Armonk, N.Y.-based firm says that $3.5 trillion is lost every year to fraud and financial crime. To combat these problems, IBM has launched its "smart counter fraud" initiative, which includes software and services based on over 500 fraud consultants, 290 fraud-related research patents, and the investment of $24 billion in to IBM's Big Data software since 2005.

IBM says these new services can detect a number of criminal activities, including tax evasion, money … Read more

Despite assault on privacy, Page sees value in online openness

While Larry Page bemoans the deterioration of Internet privacy, the Google CEO also sees real benefit in more openness with medical histories.

In a rare public appearance at Wednesday's TED conference in Vancouver, Page called the US electronic surveillance programs, detailed in leaks to the media by Edward Snowden, and its lack of transparency in the matter a threat to democracy.

"For me, it's tremendously disappointing that the government sort of secretly did all these things and didn't tell us," Page said in a wide-ranging interview with Charlie Rose.

"I don't think we … Read more

Hackers transform EA Web page into Apple ID phishing scheme

Using some trickery, hackers were able to breach Electronic Arts' Web site and transform one of its pages into a bogus Apple log-in screen. Once users logged on to the fake site, they were prompted to input their credit card numbers, date of birth, and other personal information.

Security firm Netcraft discovered the breach and notified EA on Tuesday. The game maker told CNET that it investigated Netcraft's claims and as of Wednesday the phishing page is gone.

"We have found it, we have isolated it, and we are making sure such attempts are no longer possible," … Read more

NSA top lawyer says tech giants knew about data collection

The top lawyer for the National Security Agency and others from the Obama administration made it clear to the US government's independent oversight board that tech titans knew about government surveillance while it was going on.

NSA general counsel Rajesh De told the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board on Wednesday that tech titans were aware that the NSA was collecting communications and related metadata both for the NSA's "PRISM" program and for "upstream" communications crossing the Internet. PRISM is a surveillance program designed to collect and process "foreign intelligence" that passes … Read more

Microsoft touts study showing the cost of pirated software

Microsoft's crusade against pirated software was bolstered on Tuesday with the release of a study that found stolen programs are going to cause issues this year for both consumers and enterprise customers.

The study, conducted by research firm IDC and the National University of Singapore, found that consumers worldwide will spend $25 billion and collectively waste 1.2 billion hours this year as the result of downloading pirated software. On the business side, companies will spend $500 billion on fixes in 2014 to issues with pirated software.

Although Microsoft didn't work on the study, it was released as … Read more

How to spy on your lover, the smartphone way

Trust is like love.

You want to believe in it, but then your rational side kicks in and dents your faith.

Here at the Ministry of Failed Relationships, we understand this. There is nothing worse than committing yourself to someone who poses as your soulmate, only to discover that their soul has drunkenly mated with a passing half-sized halfwit.

One company has -- perhaps inadvertently -- stumbled upon a notion that might ease your worried brow. Or confirm your dearest fear. For it is now offering phones that have built-in spyware.

mSpy created its software with a mind to, say, … Read more

Mt. Gox update lets users see their Bitcoin balances

Mt. Gox, the embattled Bitcoin exchange, has updated its Web site to allow its users to see account balances.

The Japan-based company opened user accounts for inquiry on Tuesday, but cautioned that the amount of bitcoins they seemingly have would not "constitute a filing of rehabilitation claims." The wording on the Mt. Gox web site is in place to protect Mt. Gox in its ongoing bankruptcy procedures and to ensure that its users don't misconstrue the balance as the actual amount they may or may not be owed.

The balances are based on data collected shortly before … Read more

IBM: No, we did not help NSA spy on customers

IBM has denied any involvement with the US National Security Agency's surveillance programs, and the company claims it has never handed over any client data to governmental bodies.

In response to allegations concerning the NSA's PRISM surveillance program, Big Blue has posted a response in the form of a blog post written by Robert C. Weber, IBM's senior vice president of Legal and Regulatory Affairs. Weber writes that IBM has never handed over client data to any third party, and would send the US agency to the client rather than assist the governmental body:

IBM is fundamentally … Read more

Twitter CEO heads to China to meet with officials

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo is heading to Shanghai on a tour of China, but there could be more to his visit, a new report claims.

Costolo will land in China on Monday and meet with government officials over a period of three days, Reuters reported Monday. According to Twitter, Costolo is simply heading to China to "learn more about Chinese culture," but the fact that he's meeting with government officials perhaps tells a different story.

Twitter has been banned in China since 2009 and has been seen by the government as potentially hostile to its longstanding assault … Read more

China censors hit popular WeChat accounts

The censors are once again targeting China's popular messaging app WeChat.

Chinese government officials on Thursday closed down a host of popular accounts run by journalists and columnists, according to reports out of the country. The move was seen as a response to possible criticism of the government, which held its annual parliament meeting on Thursday. The accounts were shuttered before Premier Li Keqiang started a news conference to announce the end of those meetings, according to reports.

Tencent Holdings, WeChat's owner, didn't seem upset by the government's move. Speaking to Reuters, which reported on the … Read more