France, Germany want EU to take a tougher stance on tech firms

Germany and France have put pressure on the European Commission to take a closer look at how big tech companies operate in the European Union, a move which could lead to tougher competition regulation for companies such as Google, Apple, Amazon.com and Facebook.French and German officials asked the Commission on Thursday to start a discussion about the development of EU competition law to deal with challenges that arise with Internet platforms, companies that don’t just run their own businesses but also wield power over the publishers, information providers and app developers that depend on them, said Beate Braams, a spokeswoman for the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 28 November 2014 | 7:50 am

Virtual reality draws the crowds at Korea's G-Star game show

The gamers wished they could be somewhere else, just for a moment, as they queued at a booth in South Korea’s biggest game show.That was why they waited: for the sensation of being elsewhere, which is exactly what the virtual reality headset at the Oculus VR booth would grant them.Virtual reality (VR) seems set to be the next big thing in gaming after mobile, and VR hardware and software were the biggest draw for the 200,000 game industry insiders and fans attending the G-Star show in Busan, which ended Monday.Fans lined up around the Oculus VR booth to try the latest prototype of its Oculus Rift headset, called Crescent Bay, and play games or watch demo simulations while lounging on comfortable couches.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 28 November 2014 | 1:55 am

Uber suspends Nevada operations, affecting nearly 1,000 jobs

Uber said nearly 1,000 jobs had disappeared in Nevada after the ridesharing company was forced to temporarily suspend operations in the U.S. state.The move by Uber came after Washoe County District Court Judge Scott Freeman issued this week a preliminary injunction preventing Uber from statewide operations.Uber, which allows users to call a ride using an app on their smartphones, has like its peers come in for criticism from traditional taxi operators and some governments.Soon after it started operations in Nevada in October, regulators with the Nevada Taxicab Authority and the Nevada Transportation Authority immediately went after Uber drivers as illegal and unlicensed carriers, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 28 November 2014 | 1:30 am

Be thankful: We're already living in the future

People sure do love to complain about modern marvels not being quite to their liking. We see this all the time with Apple, what with the never-ending demands that the company needs to "innovate faster." More broadly, it's not uncommon to hear people complain about all aspects regarding the current state of technology, a dynamic so brilliantly roasted by Louis C.K. a while back.In truth, we're currently living in a truly magical age. I can press a button on my phone and have a car waiting to pick me up downstairs in 5 minutes. I can be out anywhere in the world, hear a new song, hold my phone up to the sound, and my phone will magically tell me what song is playing. With services like Google Translate, I can engage in basic conversations in languages I've never even heard of.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 November 2014 | 5:14 pm

Weather.com fixes web application vulnerabilities

The Weather Channel has fixed a common web application security problem on its website that made nearly all links vulnerable to cross-site scripting attacks.Wang Jin, a doctoral student at the School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, found more than 75 percent of the webpages on Weather.com were vulnerable.“Attackers just need to add script at the end of The Weather Channel’s URLs,” Wang wrote. “Then the scripts will be executed.”Wang posted his findings on the Full Disclosure forum, writing that the issues have been fixed. He wrote that he tested tens of thousands of links on Weather.com using a custom tool and posted a video illustrating an attack.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 November 2014 | 5:10 pm

Early version of new POS malware family spotted

A security researcher came across what appears to be a new family of point-of-sale malware that few antivirus programs were detecting.Nick Hoffman, a reverse engineer, wrote the Getmypass malware shares traits that are similar to other so-called RAM scrapers, which collect unencrypted payment card data held in a payment system’s memory.That type of malware has been responsible for large payment card breaches at Target, Neiman Marcus and others, capitalizing on a common weakness in systems that experts say can be fixed with more robust encryption of card details.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 November 2014 | 4:30 pm

Syrian Electronic Army posts hacking message on several news sites

A hacker group called the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) scared visitors to several news websites on Thursday by posting rogue pop-up messages saying they’d been hacked.According to reports from users on Twitter the affected sites included those of CNBC, Forbes, the Chicago Tribune, OK magazine, the Evening Standard, PCWorld, The Daily Telegraph and The Independent.Not all visitors to those sites have seen the pop-up messages, which read “You’ve been hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA)” and in many cases the incident was reported by mobile users.SEA does not appear to have actually hacked the affected websites directly, but instead pulled off the attack through Gigya, a customer identity management platform used by a large number of brands. The group posted a screen shot on Twitter from inside the control panel for the Gigya.com domain at GoDaddy, suggesting that they had control over the account.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 November 2014 | 11:50 am

Fastest LTE speed will be out of reach for most users

LTE’s theoretical maximum download speed will increase to 450 Mbps next year—but the upgrade will be out of reach for most users, as many mobile operators simply don’t have enough radio spectrum.The broadband speed users get depends on a myriad of different factors, but in the network it all starts with the amount of spectrum their operator uses. Future increases will be fueled by a technology called carrier aggregation, which lets operators treat up to three radio channels in different frequency bands as if they were one.This month, chip maker Qualcomm and network equipment manufacturer Ericsson have been doing their best to let the world know speeds at up to 450 Mbps will be possible next year, with product launches, interoperability tests and a demo with Australian network operator Telstra.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 November 2014 | 11:45 am

Over 23,000 Web servers infected with CryptoPHP backdoor

Over 23,000 Web servers were infected with a backdoor called CryptoPHP that’s bundled with pirated themes and plug-ins for popular content management systems.CryptoPHP is a malicious script that provides remote attackers with the ability to execute rogue code on Web servers and to inject malicious content into websites that are hosted on them.According to Dutch security firm Fox-IT, which published a report about the threat last week, the backdoor is used primarily for black hat search engine optimization (BHSEO), an operation that involves injecting rogue keywords and pages into compromised sites to hijack their search engine rankings and push malicious content higher up in search results.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 November 2014 | 10:00 am

Panasonic opens smart town targeting zero-emission houses

As utopias go, Panasonic’s new smart town works if you’re keen to be green and don’t mind a heavy corporate presence.On Thursday, the electronics maker inaugurated the Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town (SST), a subdivision southwest of Tokyo focused on solar power and other environmentally friendly technologies.The community’s goals include a 70 percent cut to CO2 emissions compared to 1990 levels, reducing water use by 30 percent compared to 2006 and achieving 30 percent renewable energy usage.The town is built on a 19-hectare plot along Kanagawa Prefecture’s Shonan coast that once hosted a Panasonic factory for TVs and refrigerators. Fronted by a 400-meter-long series of solar panels along a thoroughfare, it now consists of rows of new, Western-style houses, each with rooftop solar panels, as well as a posh bookstore in a lavish community center. A public square centers on a giant sundial, a symbol of its aspirations.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 November 2014 | 8:05 am

Siemens patches critical SCADA flaws likely exploited in recent attacks

Siemens released security updates for several of its SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) products for industrial environments, in order to fix critical vulnerabilities that may have been exploited in recent attacks.One of the vulnerabilities allows unauthenticated attackers to remotely execute arbitrary code on a Siemens SIMATIC WinCC SCADA server by sending specially crafted packets to it. The flaw received the maximum severity score of 10 in the Common Vulnerability Scoring System and can lead to a full system compromise.The other vulnerability can also be exploited by unauthenticated attackers by sending specially crafted packets, but to extract arbitrary files from the WinCC server. The flaw has a CVSS score of 7.8.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 November 2014 | 7:45 am

China to open up Internet broadband market with upcoming trials

With China’s Internet growth slowing, the country is opening up the broadband provider market to private enterprises as part of government sponsored trial.The country on Wednesday released a draft of the upcoming trial rules, which will let private enterprises sell broadband services in 16 cities across the country. China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology didn’t mention when the project would begin, but is proposing it last for three years.The country has the world’s largest Internet population with 632 million users, according to the China Internet Network Information Center. But there still remains a vast swath of Chinese citizens who have yet to go online, especially in rural areas.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 November 2014 | 4:00 am

Obama signs legislation allowing regulatory e-labels for smartphones, wearables

U.S. President Barack Obama signed into law Wednesday the E-Label Act that will make it easier for vendors to display regulatory approvals electronically rather than etch them physically on the exterior of the device.Devices that use radio frequency have to be authorized by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission before they can be marketed or sold in the U.S.The E-Label Act, passed by both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives, aimed to allow manufacturers to display the statutory FCC label digitally on the screen of the device, which would be easier for makers of smartphones and wearables that are having much less free space on the outside of the devices.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 November 2014 | 12:15 am

Kenya telecom market in turmoil as Viettel withdraws bid for Telkom Kenya

The Viettel Group’s withdrawal from its planned purchase of Orange’s 70 percent stake in Telkom Kenya has left the country’s telecom market in a state of disarray.The Kenyan operation is the only remaining Orange telecom company in East Africa after the French company sold its Ugandan operations to Africell last week.The move by Orange Telecom to exit the East African telecom market follows the decision by the Kenyan government to allow the sale of India’s yuMobile to Safaricom and Airtel, Orange’s big rivals in the region.The Kenyan government said the decision by Vietnam-based Viettel to walk away from the deal with Orange leaves an opening for operators to enter the Kenyan market instead.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 26 November 2014 | 4:55 pm

Pressure mounts in Europe for strict net neutrality

Members of the European Parliament, along with civil society groups, have urged European member states to stick with strict net neutrality rules.They did so the day before a meeting of telecommunications ministers in the EU Council, who will discuss an Italian proposal that would water down net neutrality.Italy, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the Council, has proposed removing the very definition of net neutrality and allowing differential charging for services, according to preparatory documents for the meeting.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 26 November 2014 | 1:50 pm

Windows tablets available for under $100

For those who want Windows on the cheap, tablets with the OS are now selling for under $100. These lightweight tablets aren’t exactly laptop replacements, but can serve as complementary devices for those who use Windows PCs.Hewlett-Packard, Toshiba and E-FUN sell tablets under $100 that run a full version of Windows 8.1 and can run basic PC applications. These devices can be used to open Word documents, browse the Web, watch movies and play Xbox games. The devices also have Skype for videoconferencing and Internet Explorer 11.For Microsoft, these tablets are a way to compete with Android in the low-cost tablet market. Running on an Intel mobile processor, the tablets can deliver graphics to play casual games and watch 720p movies on Netflix. It is also possible to mirror tablet screens on larger displays through Miracast technology.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 26 November 2014 | 1:15 pm

Use Uber? Snapchat? Google Maps? Now Twitter knows

Twitter, hungry for new data to fuel its targeted advertising, will start looking at what other apps its users have downloaded.Starting Wednesday, the company will begin collecting data on which other apps its users have on their iOS and Android smartphones. The data, Twitter says, will help it deliver better “tailored content” to its users. That’s sure to include ads, but maybe also better recommendations about whom to follow when users sign up, or more relevant first tweets in the feed, which could help Twitter hook people early.It’s strictly a list of the apps users have installed, Twitter says, not data pertaining to what people do inside those apps. So Twitter would know if you have a ride-hailing app, but it wouldn’t see your rides taken with the app.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 26 November 2014 | 1:05 pm

Opera pitches all-you-can-eat app stores to mobile operators

Opera Software thinks users are ready to subscribe to mobile apps just like music and is pitching curated versions of the company’s Mobile Store to operators.With the Opera Subscription Mobile Store, operators can create their own stores and users pay a weekly fee to download as many apps as they want. The shorter subscription length was chosen to let users dip in and out and to keep the cost down, said Jay Hinman, vice president for Operator Solutions at Opera.Taking inspiration from the success of the likes of Netflix and Spotify is a good way to try to differentiate a service. But competing with Apple and Google continues to be very difficult, and the all-you-can-eat model doesn’t take into account the popularity of in-app payments, according to Paolo Pescatore, director of multiplay and media at market research company CCS Insight.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 26 November 2014 | 1:00 pm

DARPA cuts $15.5M check for edgy semiconductor development

Looking to keep the US at the cutting edge of semiconductor research and development, DARPA said it awarded $15.5 million to one of the key companies advancing such technology, Microelectronics Advanced Research Corporation (MARCO).MARCO is part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC)-backed Semiconductor Technology Advanced Research Network (STARnet). DARPA and the SRC began Starnet in January 2013 with an initial five-year $194 million investment.  Starnet centers each typically will get more than $6 million annually for up to five years.  MARCO is a wholly-owned subsidiary of SRC.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 26 November 2014 | 12:35 pm

PoS malware also targeting ticket vending machines and electronic kiosks

Cybercriminals are using malware designed to steal payment card information from point-of-sale systems to also infect ticket vending machines and electronic kiosks.Security researchers from cybercrime intelligence firm IntelCrawler found a new malware program called d4re|dev1|—hacker spelling for daredevil—that is capable of stealing information from multiple PoS systems including QuickBooks Point of Sale Multi-Store, OSIPOS Retail Management System, Harmony WinPOS and Figure Gemini POS.“This new strain of malware, which is hitting Mass Transit Systems, acts as an advanced backdoor with remote administration, having RAM scrapping and keylogging features,” the IntelCrawler researchers said Wednesday in a blog post.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 26 November 2014 | 12:25 pm

Watch out for these 3 holiday shopping scams

'Tis the season to be scamming.It's no secret that Americans are about to spend a lot of money during this upcoming holiday shopping season. Holiday sales are expected to hit nearly $617 billion this year – this after consumers spent $2.29 billion on Cyber Monday alone in 2013.That's a big pile of money and credit card numbers and passwords and logins for scammers to jump into, whether through point of sale hacks or phishing scams that go beyond just email.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 26 November 2014 | 11:35 am

5 signs that a vendor won’t make It to 2020

I’m not going to call them out by name. I’m not that fond of getting nasty calls from PR folks, but I’m going to list what I think the conditions are for failure and you can then apply those conditions to your vendors to see how they fit. This goes beyond technology and into most areas of business.  Let’s walk through the danger signs.1. Massive Change There are a number of massive changes set to hit the market this decade. Artificial Intelligence is the scariest and a growing number of folks believe that this may be the thing that ends the human race if we aren’t a lot more carful than we have been.  Granted they said that about the atomic bomb and Hadron Collider, but those also posed huge risks.   Comprehensive converged data centers, whether they are inside or outside of firms (public or private clouds) are changing massively how we buy technology and, once in place, tend to lock out everyone else.  To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 26 November 2014 | 11:32 am

EU wants Google to apply 'right to be forgotten' delistings to global .com domain

Google should start applying the European Union’s “right to be forgotten” to its global, .com domain, European privacy regulators say.European data protection authorities in the so-called Article 29 Working Party (WP29) have compiled a set of guidelines detailing how search engines should apply a court ruling that gave Europeans the right to be forgotten by search engines. As of the May decision, EU citizens have the right to compel search engines to remove search results in Europe for queries that include their names if the results are “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive.”To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 26 November 2014 | 10:45 am

5 ways to tell a cloud poser from a cloud pro

Who would you trust more to fix your car, a licensed mechanic or a guy who once saw someone do an oil change? The choice should be simple. But surprisingly, the debate over trusting an expert versus someone who claims to be an expert happens every day across all industries, so it shouldn’t be shocking that the debate rages in the cloud, too.Cloud computing enables people and companies to access applications from any computer. But the cloud has created a new group of cloud posers -- inexperienced software developers who make bold (and often untrue) claims about the performance of the cloud-based applications they manage. While on the surface they may seem like a good choice to support your business, once you start asking smart questions, a cloud poser’s true colors (and lack of expertise) will quickly be revealed.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 26 November 2014 | 10:34 am

US lawmakers to Europe: Don't break up Google

U.S. lawmakers want their counterparts in the European Parliament to back away from a resolution that would split up Google by separating search engines from other online services.Thirteen U.S. lawmakers raised concerns about the resolution, which calls for search engines to be unbundled from online services, in two letters sent to Parliament leaders on Tuesday. The European Parliament may vote Thursday on the resolution calling on the European Commission to separate search engines from other commercial services as one way to solve competition complaints about Google.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 26 November 2014 | 10:20 am