Microsoft Doubles Down on Security Following Cyberattacks

Responding to a government assessment of recent cyberattacks, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella issued a company-wide memo prioritizing security. “If you’re faced with the tradeoff between security and another priority, your answer is clear: Do security,” the executive wrote. “In some cases, this will mean prioritizing security above other things we do, such as releasing new features or providing ongoing support for legacy systems,” Nadella added. The escalation sees Microsoft expanding the scope of its Secure Future Initiative based on government recommendations and insights gained from breaches linked to state-sponsored Russian hackers. Continue reading Microsoft Doubles Down on Security Following Cyberattacks

U.S. Braces for TikTok Ban After President Signs Bill into Law

Congress rapidly passed and President Biden signed into law a bill intended to sideline the short-form video service TikTok, owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance. The process played out over the course of a week — the result of the proposal being tied to a foreign aid package with support for Ukraine and Israel. The nation now readies for the aftermath of the new U.S. law, which gives ByteDance nine months to find a new, U.S.-approved owner. Absent that, the app will essentially be banned from app stores and ISPs, which will face fines for distributing or supporting the social platform. Continue reading U.S. Braces for TikTok Ban After President Signs Bill into Law

Bill Barring Brokers from Selling Personal Data Passes House

The House of Representatives passed a bill that bars data brokers from selling the sensitive personal information of U.S. citizens to foreign adversaries, identified in the federal code as China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia and Venezuela. The Protecting Americans’ Data from Foreign Adversaries Act of 2024 passed unanimously on Wednesday, 414-0. The bill prohibits organizations that profit from selling personal consumer information from making it accessible to foreign adversary countries or entities controlled by them, authorizing the Federal Trade Commission to impose civil fines of more than $50,000 per violation. Continue reading Bill Barring Brokers from Selling Personal Data Passes House

Google Targets Global Security with AI Cyber Defense Initiative

Google has unveiled a new policy, the AI Cyber Defense Initiative, designed to harness the power of artificial intelligence to improve global cybersecurity defenses. The proposed policy aims to counteract rapidly evolving threats by using AI to improve threat detection, automate vulnerability management and enhance incident response effectiveness. The Alphabet company introduced its new plan at the Munich Security Conference, where it also announced it has a pool of $2 million to award businesses and academic institutions for research initiatives involving large language models, code verification and other AI uses for cyber offense and defense. Continue reading Google Targets Global Security with AI Cyber Defense Initiative

Government Announces Dallas Testing Center for 5G Open RAN

The Biden administration has awarded another $42 million to advance development of the 5G Open RAN standard (O-RAN) that has become known as the “Huawei killer.” Administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration in the form of a grant, the funding will be used to establish a Dallas testing center and companion satellite facility in the Washington DC area for evaluation and R&D in O-RAN, a standard designed to facilitate interoperability of cellular hardware and software among different wireless providers. The goal is to bring more equipment manufacturers into a market dominated by China’s Huawei. Continue reading Government Announces Dallas Testing Center for 5G Open RAN

Linux Foundation Intros Post-Quantum Cryptography Alliance

The Linux Foundation has launched the Post-Quantum Cryptography Alliance, a collaborative approach to research and development aimed at taming the data security threats posed by quantum computing. The PQCA is presenting itself as turn-key source for companies and projects looking for production-ready libraries and service packages that support compliance with the National Security Agency’s new cybersecurity standards for government contractors or would like to provide themselves and their clients with safety precautions equal to “top secret” NSA classification. Founding members include Amazon Web Services, Cisco, Google, IBM and Nvidia. Continue reading Linux Foundation Intros Post-Quantum Cryptography Alliance

Apple Says U.S. Data Breaches Up by More Than 20 Percent

Apple is emphasizing the importance of data encryption with a report that shows personal data breaches up 300 percent between 2013 and 2022. In the past two years, more than 2.6 billion personal records have been exposed, according to the newly released study “The Continued Threat to Personal Data: Key Factors Behind the 2023 Increase.” The report, created by Dr. Stuart Madnick, the founding director of Cybersecurity at MIT Sloan, cites increasing dependence on cloud computing as the main factor for the surge. U.S. data intrusions through Q3 of this year are 20 percent higher than all 12 months of 2022. Continue reading Apple Says U.S. Data Breaches Up by More Than 20 Percent

Amazon Thin Client Connects Employees to Virtual Desktops

Amazon’s new Thin Client is a new $195 device that allows enterprise users to connect to virtual desktop environments, such as Amazon WorkSpaces, using the Internet and a box as compact as the Fire TV Cube. In fact, the Thin Client leverages Fire TV Cube hardware, allowing Amazon to tap existing expertise from the e-retail giant’s streaming media player division. However, Thin Client “is not for spending time watching Thursday Night Football, or bingeing ‘Invincible,’” but aims to convenience workers while reducing technology costs and enhancing security for enterprise, the company says. Continue reading Amazon Thin Client Connects Employees to Virtual Desktops

Apple Chatbot ‘Ajax’ Could Be Next Major Player in AI Space

Apple is reportedly developing tools it could use to enter the artificial intelligence space, joining rivals such as Microsoft and Google, which have already released popular products. In Cupertino, the company is said to have built a framework for large language models, which power AI-based chatbot offerings similar to Google’s Bard and OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Called Ajax, the platform is the basis for what is referred to inside the company as Apple GPT. Though Apple has built automation into its products for some time, it could now be preparing to make a direct play for the generative AI market. Continue reading Apple Chatbot ‘Ajax’ Could Be Next Major Player in AI Space

Montana Is First State to Send TikTok Ban to Governor’s Desk

Montana law may soon include a total ban on TikTok, as governor Greg Gianforte decides whether to sign a first-of-its-kind prohibition approved by the state’s House of Representatives on Friday. The legislation would also seek to prevent app stores doing business in the state from carrying TikTok. Gianforte will also have the option to veto the proposal, or take no action for 10 days after the bill hits his desk, in which case it becomes law without his signature. Such a ban would likely be challenging to enforce at the state level. Blocking users from TikTok has gained bipartisan support at the federal level, though efforts to pass nationwide legislation have failed. Continue reading Montana Is First State to Send TikTok Ban to Governor’s Desk

Biden Restricts the Government Use of Commercial Spyware

In what the White House says is a precedent-setting move, President Biden has signed an executive order prohibiting use by the U.S. Government of “commercial spyware,” powerful cyber technology used by state actors to spy on journalists, dissidents and human rights activists. The White House defined the class of apps as “sophisticated and invasive cyber surveillance tools sold by vendors to access electronic devices remotely, extract their content, and manipulate their components, all without the knowledge or consent of the devices’ users,” explaining such technology “has proliferated in recent years with few controls and high risk of abuse.” Continue reading Biden Restricts the Government Use of Commercial Spyware

TikTok CEO Testifies Before Congress as App Faces Scrutiny

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew plans to offer broad platform safety and security promises at his hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, according to testimony provided in advance of today’s event. The well-being of child users will be a point of focus, as will the Chinese-owned app’s proposed firewall to protect U.S. data from foreign access and government interference. “TikTok will remain a platform for free expression and will not be manipulated by any government,” Chew’s prepared remarks indicate, noting “there are more than 150 million Americans who love our platform.” Continue reading TikTok CEO Testifies Before Congress as App Faces Scrutiny

IAB Says FTC Digital Ad Inquiry May End Up Costing Billions

The advertising industry is pushing back against the Federal Trade Commission’s exploration of rulemaking as relates to collecting personal data to serve ads, which the FTC is calling a crackdown on “commercial surveillance.” The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) says the FTC’s definition of that loaded term is “so broad” that any resultant rulemaking “could criminalize the Internet itself” as well as potentially reduce digital ad spending by billions of dollars. FTC chair Lina Khan says “potentially unlawful practices may be prevalent” in the “endless hoovering up of sensitive user data” that has become common practice in ad targeting. Continue reading IAB Says FTC Digital Ad Inquiry May End Up Costing Billions

TikTok Promises Government That User Data Will Remain Safe

In the wake of an FCC commissioner’s call to have TikTok banned from the Apple and Android stores, company CEO Shou Zi Chew issued a letter assuring senators that the China-based company is doing all it can to “remove any doubt about the security of U.S. user data.” Responding to questions from nine Republicans — including ranking Senate Commerce Committee member Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) — Chew reiterated the claim that TikTok maintains American user data on servers controlled by the U.S. company Oracle, with plans for third-party audits. The dust-up follows an incendiary report by BuzzFeed News. Continue reading TikTok Promises Government That User Data Will Remain Safe

Proposed Antitrust Laws a Privacy Disaster Warns Tim Cook

Antitrust legislation pending in the U.S. and European Union is at odds with consumer privacy initiatives in those territories, Apple CEO Tim Cook told attendees of the IAPP Global Privacy Summit 2022 in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday. Speaking out against proposed “gatekeeper” rules, Cook warned that “when companies decide to leave the App Store because they want to exploit user data, it could put significant pressure on people to engage with alternate app stores — app stores where their privacy and security may not be protected.” Continue reading Proposed Antitrust Laws a Privacy Disaster Warns Tim Cook