Microsoft revises privacy policy in wake of Hotmail search case

Microsoft promised to toughen policies regarding the company's potential reading of Hotmail users' emails, after an outcry over Microsoft searching a user's Hotmail account to discover the identity of someone now charged with stealing company secrets.

John Frank, Microsoft's deputy general counsel, said that in the future, the company would meet a more rigorous standard before peeking into a non-employee's Hotmail account.

There are four parts to the new standard, Frank said:

We will not conduct a search of customer email and other services unless the circumstances would justify a court order, if one were available. … Read more

Microsoft defends opening Hotmail account of blogger in espionage case

Microsoft defended what it called the "exceptional" step of a "limited review" of a blogger's Hotmail account as part of a larger Windows espionage case, saying it had caught the blogger selling Microsoft's intellectual property without permission.

A court filing alleges that the unnamed blogger had been provided prerelease Windows 8 RT source code by then-Microsoft employee Alex Kibkalo. Kibkalo is being charged with stealing trade secrets.

The filing says that Microsoft triggered an internal investigation into the blogger's actions when the blogger sent the source code to an unnamed person, hoping for … Read more

Snowden breaks silence in statements blasting U.S.

Edward Snowden, the former contractor for the National Security Agency who leaked classified documents regarding the agency's surveillance program, has apparently broken his silence for the first time since fleeing Hong Kong for Moscow eight days ago.

In a letter addressed to the Ecuadorian government, Snowden thanked Ecuador for helping arrange passage to Russia and said he remained committed to publishing information about the NSA's PRISM data collection program. Snowden, 30, has been charged by the U.S. government with espionage, theft, and conversion of government property. He has reportedly applied for asylum in Russia.

"I remain … Read more

Like U.S. lawmakers, Brits raise spying fears over Huawei gear

A British Parliamentary committee has raised security concerns, echoing fears in Congress, about the potential threat that Chinese telecommunications-gear maker Huawei could be snooping on government and business interests.

The Intelligence and Security Committee issued a scathing, 27-page report Thursday, expressing shock over the lack of oversight regarding the manner in which Huawei gear has spread throughout that country's "critical national infrastructure." Rather than aggressively investigating concerns raised in the United States and elsewhere about the possible threat of relying on Huawei gear, British government agencies balked over worries that they would need to compensate the company … Read more

Huawei exec: We're 'not interested' in the U.S.

A Huawei senior executive said Tuesday that the giant Chinese telecom gear maker is "not interested" in the U.S. market any longer.

According to reports by Reuters and the Financial Times, Eric Xu, Huawei executive vice president and one of its three rotating chief executives, expressed exasperation at inquiries by U.S. lawmakers into concerns that the company's gear could be used to snoop on American companies or individuals. Last fall, the House Intelligence committee issued an extensive report discouraging American companies from buying Huawei gear over espionage fears.

At an analyst conference Tuesday in Shenzhen, … Read more

Spy fears lead nuke lab to dump gear from HP unit, not Huawei

Los Alamos National Laboratory is reportedly removing network switches made by a partnership that once included controversial Chinese telecommunication gear maker Huawei because of national security concerns.

But Huawei, which was rebuked last fall by the House Intelligence Committee for posing a national threat because of potential ties to the Chinese government, hasn't been part of H3C Technologies, the partnership that makes the switches, since 2006, Reuters reported.

Huawei created H3C as a joint venture with 3Com in 2003. Three years later, 3Com bought Huawei's stake in the venture. And in 2010, Hewlett-Packard bought 3Com.

All of which … Read more

China cyber-espionage threatens U.S., advisory group warns

Congress needs to take action to deflect the growing threat of Chinese cyber-espionage against the U.S., a U.S. commission recommends in a new report.

Released today, the 500-page annual report to Congress by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission details various security issues concerning China. But the commission expressed particular fear over the country's ongoing cyberwarfare efforts.

Calling China the "most threatening actor in cyberspace," the report found that in 2012, Chinese state-sponsored hackers continued to target computers systems run by the U.S. government and military as well those maintained in … Read more

Huawei offers Australia 'unrestricted' access to hardware, source code

Huawei has offered to give the Australian government "unrestricted" access to the firm's software source code and hardware equipment in an effort to dispel security fears, months after the Chinese telecoms giant was barred from supplying infrastructure equipment for the country's national broadband network.

The Australian government barred Huawei from bidding on contracts for the network earlier this year, saying it had a "a responsibility to do our utmost to protect [the network's] integrity and that of the information carried on it".

John Lord, Huawei's Australian chairman, said on Thursday that the … Read more

White House reportedly finds no evidence of spying by Huawei

An 18-month review by the White House found "no clear evidence" that Chinese telecommunications gear maker Huawei had performed any spying on behalf of the Chinese government, according to a Reuters report.

The news service, citing two unnamed sources, said the White House looked into reports of suspicious activity, with the help of intelligence agencies and other government departments, and queried nearly 1,000 telecom equipment buyers. One of the sources said that "certain parts of government" very much wanted evidence of espionage. In the end, though, they came up with nothing definitive.

"We would … Read more

SpaceX rocket engine shut down at launch

Monday's CNET Update finds a few problems:

Although it appeared to be a flawless launch, there was a problem with one of the engines of the SpaceX Falcon 9. About a minute after takeoff, one of the engines detected a drop in pressure and shut down. Video posted on YouTube shows debris falling off in what some have called an explosion. SpaceX said the engine did not explode, but rather the protective fairing for the engine ruptured due to the pressure change. The other engines compensated for the failed engine, as was designed to happen if there was a … Read more