Author: Zack Whittaker

US Treasury sanctions North Korea over Sony hack and WannaCry attack

The US government has issued sanctions against a North Korea individual and an entity over historical cyberattacks, which wreaked billions of dollars in damages. In a statement, the US Treasury named North Korean programmer Park Jin Jyok for working on behalf of Pyongyang for his involvement in carrying out several cyberattacks against US and global targets. The statement said Park was responsible for a hack on Sony Pictures in 2016, which US authorities had long blamed on North Korea, citing little evidence. It was believed, though never confirmed, that the attack was in retaliation for Sony’s production of “The Interview,”...

Read More

Toyota to recall 1 million Prius hybrid models over fire risk

Automobile giant Toyota said it is recalling over a million Prius hybrid vehicles globally, including 192,000 cars in the US. The company said in a statement Wednesday that the recall is due to a fire risk caused by a wiring issue that can “generate heat.” Certain Prius vehicles manufactured between mid-2015 and May 2018 can be checked by Toyota dealers, where any affected vehicles will be fixed at no cost to customers. The company will begin notifying customers by mail later this month. Customers can in the meantime check their vehicle identification numbers against the company’s recall site. It’s not...

Read More

Justice Dept. says social media giants may be ‘intentionally stifling’ free speech

The Justice Department has confirmed that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has expressed a “growing concern” that social media giants may be “hurting competition” and “intentionally stifling” free speech and expression. The comments come as Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey gave testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday, as lawmakers investigate foreign influence campaigns on their platforms. “The Attorney General has convened a meeting with a number of state attorneys general this month to discuss a growing concern that these companies may be hurting competition and intentionally stifling the free exchange of ideas on their platforms,” said Justice Department spokesman Devin O’Malley. Neither Facebook nor Twitter immediately responded to a request for comment. Developing… more...

Read More

AnchorFree, maker of Hotspot Shield, raises $295 million in new funding

AnchorFree, a maker of a popular virtual private networking app, has raised $275 million in a new round of funding, the company announced Wednesday. The Redwood City, Calif.-based app maker’s flagship app Hotspot Shield ranks as one of the most popular VPN apps on the market. The app, based on a freemium model, allows users across the world tunnel their internet connections through AnchorFree’s servers, which masks users’ browsing histories from their internet providers and allows those under oppressive regimes evade state-level censorship. The app has 650 million users in 190 countries, the company said, and also has a business-focused...

Read More

Facebook, Twitter: US intelligence could help us more in fighting election interference

Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg has admitted that the social networking giant could have done more to prevent foreign interference on its platforms, but said that the government also needs to step up its intelligence sharing efforts. The remarks are ahead of an open hearing at the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday, where Sandberg and Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey will testify on foreign interference and election meddling on social media platforms. Google’s Larry Page was invited, but declined to attend. “We were too slow to spot this and too slow to act,” said Sandberg in prepared remarks....

Read More

Mozilla hires former Google executive as its new policy and security chief

Mozilla has hired Alan Davidson, a former Commerce Dept. digital director, as its new global policy chief. The Firefox browser maker said Tuesday that the former civil servant, who oversaw internet policy and cybersecurity towards the end of Obama’s presidential tenure, will return Mozilla in the new role after last year serving as its tech policy fellow. Davidson also served as Google’s policy chief amid an uproar in 2011 about the search giant’s location tracking, and later as director of New America’s Open Technology Institute. In his new role, Davidson will be responsible for Mozilla’s policy, trust and security...

Read More

‘Five Eyes’ governments call on tech giants to build encryption backdoors — or else

A pact of five nation states dedicated to a global “collect it all” surveillance mission has issued a memo calling on their governments to demand tech companies build backdoor access to their users’ encrypted data — or face measures to force companies to comply. The international pact — the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, known as the so-called “Five Eyes” group of nations — quietly issued the memo last week demanding that providers “create customized solutions, tailored to their individual system architectures that are capable of meeting lawful access requirements.” This kind of backdoor access would allow each government access to encrypted call and message data on their citizens. If the companies don’t voluntarily allow access, the nations threatened to push through new legislation that would compel their help. “Should governments continue to encounter impediments to lawful access to information necessary to aid the protection of the citizens of our countries, we may pursue technological, enforcement, legislative or other measures to achieve lawful access solutions,” read the memo, issued by the Australian government on behalf of the pact. It’s the latest move in an ongoing aggression by the group of governments, which met in Australia last week. The Five Eyes pact was born to collect and share intelligence across the five countries, using each nations’ diplomatic power and strategic locations as chokepoints to gather the rest of...

Read More

John McAfee’s “unhackable” Bitfi wallet got hacked — again

If the security community could tell you just one thing, it’s that “nothing is unhackable.” Except John McAfee’s cryptocurrency wallet, which was only unhackable until it wasn’t — twice. Security researchers have now developed a second attack, which they say can obtain all the stored funds from an unmodified Bitfi wallet. The Android-powered $120 wallet relies on a user-generated secret phrase and a “salt” value — like a phone number — to cryptographically scramble the secret phrase. The idea is that the two unique values ensure that your funds remain secure. But the researchers say that the secret phrase...

Read More

Right Now in Politics and Business