Italian surveillance software maker, Hacking Team, allegedly breached

An Italian developer of surveillance software, Hacking Team, which has previously been sharply criticized by digital activists, has apparently suffered a large data breach.Hacking Team develops surveillance tools that it has maintained are legally sold to governments for law-abiding investigations. But critics contend the company’s software has been used to spy on dissidents, human rights activists and journalists.On Sunday, it appeared that Hacking Team’s Twitter feed was taken over. The banner on the page had been changed to “Hacked Team.” Several posts contained screenshots that are purportedly of the stolen data, which included emails sent by Hacking Team’s founder and CEO, Vincent Vincenzetti.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 6 July 2015 | 12:35 am

Bitcoin glitch expected to abate as software upgrades continue

Bitcoin experienced a glitch over the weekend that is expected to be resolved as software clients that handle transaction data are upgraded.Some software clients that “mine” bitcoins are creating invalid transaction data, which are referred to as blocks. Blocks are records of transactions, and the first miner to complete a block is rewarded with new bitcoins. The blocks are added to bitcoin’s public ledger, called the blockchain.Some software clients that had not been recently upgraded are accepting invalid blocks created by other clients, according to a notice posted on bitcoin.org.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 5 July 2015 | 8:40 pm

Bitcoin: Outdated software creating invalid cryptocurrency

Running out-of-date software is risky if you value security, but running outdated bitcoin software can create invalid currency; many bitcoin wallets using outdated software are “currently vulnerable to double-spending of confirmed transactions,” a bitcoin warning states. “Almost all software (besides Bitcoin Core 0.9.5 and later) will accept these invalid blocks under certain conditions.”Bitcoin.org warned that some bitcoin miners are using outdated software which just assumes the blocks are valid instead of checking them. “All software that assumes blocks are valid (because invalid blocks cost miners money) is at risk of showing transactions as confirmed when they really aren't. This particularly affects lightweight (SPV) wallets and software such as old versions of Bitcoin Core which have been downgraded to SPV-level security by the new BIP66 consensus rules.”To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 5 July 2015 | 12:26 pm

Uber throws in the towel in battle with French taxi drivers

Uber Technologies is suspending its UberPop service in France, after a bitter fight with taxi drivers who say the service breaks the law.The company plans to remove access to UberPop from its mobile app in France from 8 p.m. local time Friday, it said in a blog post.UberPop allows passengers to hail rides from unlicensed drivers and is similar to the Uber X service offered in the United States and other countries.Uber has been disrupting transportation markets around the world—nowhere more so than in Paris, where taxi drivers recently blocked highways and airport entrances with burning tires in protest at the company’s behavior. The protests also reportedly included attacks on Uber drivers, their vehicles and passengers. The taxi drivers are angry because, they say, UberPop breaches a new law on hiring vehicles with a driver that entered effect on Jan. 1.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 3 July 2015 | 12:05 pm

Five smartphones to look forward to

If you’re planning to buy a new smartphone this year, but haven’t bought one yet it might be better to wait a bit longer: Apple, Samsung Electronics and OnePlus are all expected to launch new models in the next couple of months.Here are some of the models you should see during the second half of the year:OnePlus 2While most of the products on this list (and their specs) are just rumors, Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus has been busy detailing its 2 model, which will be launched on July 27.So far, OnePlus has revealed the phone will have a fingerprint sensor and be powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810. The company is using an upgraded version of the processor, v2.1, that isn’t susceptible to the overheating issues that the first version reportedly suffered from, it said.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 3 July 2015 | 10:55 am

Ad fraud Trojan updates Flash Player so that other malware can't get in

Someone call the malware antitrust commission: Recent versions of the Kovter ad fraud Trojan, which infects computers through Web-based exploits, close the door after themselves by updating Flash Player to the latest version.The new and somewhat surprising behavior was recently observed by a malware researcher known online as Kafeine, who specializes in tracking drive-by download attacks that use exploit kits.Kovter is used for so-called click or advertising fraud. Once installed on a computer, it hijacks the browser process and uses it to simulate user clicks on online advertisements in order to generate revenue for its creators.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 3 July 2015 | 10:40 am

The Upload: Your tech news briefing for Friday, July 3

Windows 10 is close to finished after third build in under a weekMicrosoft has released three more preview builds of Windows 10 in under a week, cranking up the pace as the final release date, July 29, approaches. PC World tested the latest build and pronounced it close to finished.Intel reshuffles leadership as president quitsRenée James is quitting as president of Intel. She plans to take a CEO role at another company, something she says she’s wanted to do ever since being passed over for the top job at Intel in 2013. Losing a woman in such a senior role won’t help Intel’s diversity statistics. The company has been trying to improve its image in that respect ever since initially backing the wrong side in the Gamergate controversy, and recently announced a $125 million fund to invest in startups run by women.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 3 July 2015 | 8:25 am

Cisco leaves key to all its Unified CDM systems under doormat

Cisco Systems recently realized that its Unified Communications Domain Manager (Unified CDM) software contains a default privileged account with a static password that cannot be changed, exposing the platform to hacking by remote attackers.The Cisco Unified CDM is part of the Cisco Hosted Collaboration System and provides automation and administrative functions for the Cisco Unified Communications Manager, Cisco Unity Connection, Cisco Jabber applications, associated phones and software clients.The privileged account is created when Unified CDM is first installed and cannot be changed or removed without affecting the system’s functionality—although exactly how, Cisco didn’t say in its security advisory. The only solution, the company said, is to install the patches it released.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 3 July 2015 | 6:25 am

IT firms' cloud appetite strong as gear sales surge 25 percent

In another sign of the movement of more and more data into cloud services, global first-quarter sales of cloud-related hardware rose 25.1 percent year on year, to nearly US$6.3 billion, according to an IDC survey.The Worldwide Quarterly Cloud IT Infrastructure Tracker survey results marked the second-highest increase for total revenue in five quarters, and growth for the segment continued to outperform that of the overall IT infrastructure market.While sales of infrastructure equipment that was unrelated to cloud services grew by 6.1 percent, revenue related to infrastructure for private cloud services was up 24.4 percent to $2.4 billion while that for public cloud services increased 25.5 percent to $3.9 billion.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 3 July 2015 | 4:50 am

Samsung faces lawsuit in China over bloatware on phones

A consumer protection group in China is suing Samsung Electronics and a Chinese vendor for placing too many preinstalled apps on phones, and is demanding that the whole smartphone industry eschew bloatware.On Thursday, the Shanghai Consumer Council said it filed public interest lawsuits against Samsung and Oppo for not only placing so much bloatware on their phones, but also making it impossible for the user to easily remove the apps.The consumer protection group has been receiving a growing number of complaints, and found that these preinstalled apps can take up a phone’s storage or download data without the user’s knowledge. In response, the group has filed the lawsuits in a Shanghai court, as a way to discourage smartphone vendors from weighing their products down with pre-installed software.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 3 July 2015 | 1:40 am

Reddit sections go dark after exit of staffer

The exit of a key Reddit staffer, who apparently played an important role in the bustling AMA (Ask Me Anything) question-and-answer section, has created an uproar on the online discussion website.Many large communities, or subreddits in the parlance of the site, have been set to private, allowing only moderators or approved submitters to view the contents.Anger over the exit of Victoria Taylor, Reddit’s communications director, who assisted in AMAs with a variety of celebrities and other top personalities, appears to have mushroomed into a controversy over a lack of consultation between Reddit administrators and its volunteer moderators.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 3 July 2015 | 1:25 am

Microsoft buries hatchet with Kyocera, ending litigation

Microsoft and Kyocera have put an end to a patent spat that began earlier this year by expanding a patent cross-licensing deal between them.In a tersely worded, four-sentence press release Thursday, the companies said the licensing deal would enable them to use “a broader range of each other’s technologies in their respective products.” Beyond that, the terms were not disclosed.It’s another win for Microsoft’s ongoing practice of seeking patent licenses from Android manufacturers. Earlier this year, the company sued Kyocera because of components that are part of Android that Microsoft says infringe on its patents. Licensing patents related to Android is a big business for the company, which revealed last year that Samsung paid more than $1 billion from July 2012 to June 2013 as part of a patent licensing deal.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 2 July 2015 | 7:55 pm

Plex hacker demands Bitcoin ransom for return of data

Video streaming service Plex has reset user passwords after it was breached by a hacker who threatened to release stolen data unless he’s paid a ransom.The company found out on Wednesday that a server hosting its forum and blog had been compromised, Chris Curtis, a Plex support engineer, said in a blog post.Information including IP addresses, email addresses, private forum messages and encrypted passwords were exposed.Someone going by the nickname “Savata” claimed responsibility for the breach and threatened to release the data on torrent networks if a ransom wasn’t paid in bitcoins.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 2 July 2015 | 7:40 pm

Hands-on: Windows 10's latest build feels close to finished

It has been quite a week for Windows 10. In the past four days, Microsoft has released three preview builds of its upcoming operating system, and the company plans to keep serving up hot new bits to testers in rapid-fire style in the run-up to the OS’s launch on July 29.After spending a few days with the latest builds, it’s easy to see why Microsoft is increasing its pace of releases, and it’s also easy to see why the Windows Insider Program is needed. Build 10162 (released on Thursday) feels like the most stable and responsive version of the operating system that Microsoft has shipped to date. With less than a month to go until Microsoft starts rolling out Windows 10 to the public, it’s a sign that end users who haven’t taken part in the Windows Insider Program will have a fairly complete operating system to use at launch.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 2 July 2015 | 7:20 pm

Supreme Court justices hold stock in tech vendors, other firms

Two U.S. Supreme Court justices owned stock in tech vendors or other companies that filed briefs in cases under review by the high court in the past year, a watchdog group said Thursday.The justices’ ownership of stock in three companies that filed amicus, or friend of the court, briefs in Supreme Court cases during the past year represent a “minefield of potential conflicts of interest and ethical problems” that could damage the court’s reputation, said Fix the Court, a group advocating for more transparency at the court.Chief Justice John Roberts owned up to US $750,000 in shares of Time Warner and its subsidiaries at the time the media giant filed a brief in ABC v. Aereo, which broadcasters won 6-3 last June, with Roberts in the majority. Aereo was a start-up offering TV service to subscribers through specialized antenna farms.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 2 July 2015 | 4:15 pm

Microsoft unloads Windows 10, Office, and Skype news ahead of holiday weekend

A holiday made for grilling and celebration of independence is coming, but that's not stopping Microsoft. It has announced new information regarding the Windows 10 rollout, plus new versions of Office 2016 and Skype all in advance of the long weekend.We all know Windows 10 is due July 29, but beyond that, Microsoft hasn't said a whole lot. But on July 2, Terry Myerson, executive vice president of the newly-minted Windows and Devices Group, shared some specifics in a blog post.Microsoft has been super-aggressive, releasing three new builds of Windows 10 in four days, with notable changes in all three. Myerson said Microsoft is almost at the release to manufacturing (RTM) stage where it will send it to the hardware OEMs to begin building PCs.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 2 July 2015 | 2:42 pm

Third build of Windows 10 in one week a sign of OS stability

Microsoft gave early testers of Windows 10 a little surprise in the run-up to the Fourth of July holiday in the U.S. by releasing a yet another new build of its upcoming operating system to the public.Build 10162 is the third build Microsoft has released in one week—a record for the company during its public beta testing—and comes just a day and a half after the company released its predecessor, build 10159.The release only features bug fixes and other minor improvements, which is hardly a surprise, since Windows 10 will begin rolling out to customers later this month. While there aren’t any new capabilities included in this build, it’s supposed to feature “better reliability, performance, battery life, and compatibility than any Windows 10 Insider Preview build so far.”To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 2 July 2015 | 1:45 pm

IDG Contributor Network: The Internet of Things will actually exceed its hype

If you feel like you're getting barraged by hype surrounding the Internet of Things—essentially sensors connected to networks—don't worry, it will be worth it. All that hype is actually understated, according to a new report. The IoT is going to be worth more than any of us thought, the report implies. That report, published by McKinsey Global Institute, says the "potential economic impact" of the IoT will be "$4 trillion to $11 trillion a year" by 2025.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 2 July 2015 | 1:34 pm

Can Windows 10 save Windows Phone?

The future of Windows Phone is hanging in the balance: If the launch of Windows 10 doesn't improve the struggling mobile operating system's fortunes significantly then Microsoft may have no choice but to abandon it.That's the view of Jan Dawson, chief analyst at Jackdaw Research.  He says that at best the launch of Windows 10 may increase the market share of Microsoft's mobile operating system slightly, but doubts it will ever get close to double figures. IDC estimates that Windows Phone's market share is just 2.7 percent.MORE ON NETWORK WORLD: 10 (FREE!) Microsoft tools to make admins happier "Windows 10 does hold out some promise for Windows Phone, but it's not going to make an enormous difference," says Dawson. "Microsoft could abandon Windows on mobile if it continues to languish with a tiny market share."To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 2 July 2015 | 1:14 pm

Sprint drops 600 Kbps video-streaming limit after outcry

Sprint this week quickly reversed plans to impose a 600 Kbps limit on streaming video as part of a promotion called "All-In" that charges $80 a month for unlimited talk, text and high-speed data.The All-In plan, announced Tuesday, ironically was intended to "end consumer confusion & frustration," according to a press release.But the 600 Kbps video stream cap, originally contained in a footnote about the plan, incited widespread frustration and anger on social media sites and elsewhere.MORE: 10 mobile startups to watch The 600 Kbps limitation was interpreted by Roger Entner, an analyst at Recon Analytics, as a violation of Title II net neutrality rules, which Sprint had supported before the Federal Communications Commission. "To throttle video is such a clearcut violation of Title II," he said.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 2 July 2015 | 1:12 pm

Security threats, hackers and shadow IT still plague health IT

Security has long been a primary challenge in the health IT market, and two new reports help illustrate the vulnerabilities surrounding some of the most sensitive consumer data.The health IT group HIMSS on Tuesday released its 2015 cybersecurity survey, finding that 87 percent of healthcare officials and information security workers polled identify cybersecurity as an increasing business priority within their organizations, but still report an alarming rate of intrusions.INSIDER: 5 ways to prepare for Internet of Things security threats Two-thirds of the nearly 300 respondents report that their organization had recently experience a "significant" cyber event, and many express little confidence in their ability to defend against zero-day attacks.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 2 July 2015 | 1:11 pm

5 free Wi-Fi tools that help maximize your home network

Wi-Fi made more wonderfulForget about sliced bread—Wi-Fi is easily one of the greatest inventions of the last few decades. Thanks to Wi-Fi every device in your home can easily get online, whether it’s your iPad, desktop PC, the high-definition television in the living room, and maybe even your coffee pot or fridge.But are you getting the most out of your wireless Internet connection? Is it truly as fast as your service provider claims? Are the neighbors screwing up your signal? Do you know how to connect all your various devices together to share files at home?To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 2 July 2015 | 1:08 pm

IDG Contributor Network: IT pros express major concerns on the security landscape

It is always interesting to hear from those "at the coalface" of enterprise IT about their concerns and thoughts about the industry. It's easy for those of us who make our living opining on the state of IT to come up with analyses, but it is those who are actually responsible for IT security who have to shoulder the burden of their organization's security expectations. So it was interesting to read a recent survey published by security vendor Bromium that looked at security professionals' views on the biggest risks facing organizations and the effectiveness of existing security solutions.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 2 July 2015 | 12:36 pm

Scott McNealy sees gold in the hills of social data

It’s coming up on four years since ex-Sun CEO Scott McNealy launched Wayin, but the startup today bears little resemblance to its original self.When it was conceived, Wayin was billed as a social gaming site where users could post photos and questions, create quick minipolls and solicit opinions.“Originally we thought we’d have an app that’s part Pinterest, part Quora, part gaming,” McNealy recalled in a recent interview. “You’d interact using your phone, and we’d capture the data.”Over time, however, it became clear that “Pinterest had already won,” he said.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 2 July 2015 | 12:05 pm

Navy goes all-in on 3D printing technology

The Navy this month will outline what it is looking for from additive manufacturing or 3D printing technology as way to bolster what it terms “fleet readiness.”The Office of Naval Research will on July 15 detail its Quality Metal Additive Manufacturing (Quality MADE) program that will aim to “develop and integrate the suite of additive manufacturing software and hardware tools required to ensure that critical metallic components can be consistently produced and rapidly qualified in a cost effective manner.”To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 2 July 2015 | 11:52 am