Facebook Says Spammers, Not Nation-State, Behind Breach

Facebook’s internal investigation into the recent data breach that affected 30 million user accounts has concluded that the hack was the work of spammers disguised as a digital marketing company, and not foreign nationals. Facebook believes the attack was initiated by a group of Facebook and Instagram spammers that intended to make money by means of deceptive advertising. The FBI is continuing its investigation into the hack, which is the worst security breach in the social network’s 14-year history. Continue reading Facebook Says Spammers, Not Nation-State, Behind Breach

Senate Intelligence Committee to Question Tech Execs Today

Senate Intelligence Committee hearings will begin today to examine a host of issues regarding big technology firms, including Facebook, Twitter and Google, and weigh whether the issues might be addressed by legislative or executive actions. Those companies already stand accused of not controlling the use of their platforms to disseminate misinformation and, in general, not taking enough responsibility for content. Meanwhile, conservatives accuse the platforms of bias in policing content. Continue reading Senate Intelligence Committee to Question Tech Execs Today

Facebook Removes Fake Accounts Linked to Iran and Russia

Facebook identified and removed 652 fake accounts, pages and groups from Iran and Russia that were attempting to sow misinformation in several countries. Such campaigns in the past — most notably leading up to the 2016 presidential election — targeted the U.S., but these accounts targeted the U.K., Latin America and the Middle East as well. This discovery is dramatically larger than the 32 pages and accounts that Facebook removed last month. The Kremlin-linked Internet Research Agency was indicted for the 2016 campaign. Continue reading Facebook Removes Fake Accounts Linked to Iran and Russia

U.S. Commerce Department Lifts Trade Ban on China’s ZTE

Following a deal made by President Trump, the U.S. Commerce Department has given the go-ahead to Chinese telecom company ZTE to resume its commercial relations with U.S. suppliers. ZTE was told the ban would be lifted once the company placed $400 million into an escrow account and paid a $1 billion fine, part of the penalty the Department had imposed on ZTE for breaking an earlier agreement to not sell to Iran and North Korea. ZTE’s failure to make good on this agreement led the Commerce Department to ban U.S. companies from selling to the Chinese company. Continue reading U.S. Commerce Department Lifts Trade Ban on China’s ZTE

Federal Government Makes Deal to Put ZTE Back in Business

The Trump administration has reportedly reached an agreement that would keep Chinese telecom equipment manufacturer ZTE in business. The deal requires that ZTE pay a major fine, make management changes, and place U.S. compliance officers at the company. ZTE had earlier announced it would cease operations after the White House banned it from buying U.S. tech components in response to ZTE violating U.S. sanctions against North Korea and Iran. The new agreement would permit ZTE to resume its business with Qualcomm and other U.S. companies. Continue reading Federal Government Makes Deal to Put ZTE Back in Business

Congress Advances a Bill That Could Curb U.S.-Chinese Deals

Congress is advancing a bill that would put more power in the hands of the federal government to block deals between U.S. and Chinese companies deemed to risk national security. Tensions between the two countries are high as each threatens and seeks to negotiate with the other. President Trump and Chinese vice premier Liu He met to discuss potential concessions as the U.S. ramps up threats of tariffs, while China’s antitrust division just lifted a many-month delay on Bain Capital’s $18 billion deal with Toshiba’s memory chip unit. Continue reading Congress Advances a Bill That Could Curb U.S.-Chinese Deals

U.S., China Reportedly Working on Deal That Would Save ZTE

Less than a month ago, the U.S. Commerce Department sanctioned U.S. firms from supplying components to Chinese firm ZTE, claiming that the telecom equipment company had violated terms of a settlement regarding sales to Iran and North Korea. By last week, ZTE had closed its operations and, now, in a surprise intervention, President Donald Trump is stepping in to prevent ZTE’s bankruptcy, tweeting that he is working with Chinese President Xi Jinping. ZTE had made a request for a stay of the sanctions order, and the Commerce Department is reviewing it. Continue reading U.S., China Reportedly Working on Deal That Would Save ZTE

ZTE Ceases Main Operations in Response to U.S. Sanctions

Chinese telecom equipment and systems company ZTE, which has about $17 billion in annual revenue, has ceased “major operating activities” in the wake of the Trump administration’s ban on it using U.S.-made components for the next seven years. Trading in its shares has been suspended for weeks, and its workers in the Shenzhen factory have little to do but attend occasional training sessions. New guidelines tell its staff to reassure clients, but not discuss the details of the U.S. technology the company is currently banned from using. Continue reading ZTE Ceases Main Operations in Response to U.S. Sanctions

FCC Advances Proposed Rule to Block Chinese Telecom Gear

The FCC voted unanimously to push forward a new rule that would prevent federally subsidized telecommunications carriers from buying gear from “suppliers deemed to pose a risk to American national security.” A second vote will make the rule final. The rule is aimed at Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE. The day previous to the vote, the government blocked ZTE from using U.S.-made components, saying it “failed to punish employees who violated American sanctions against North Korea and Iran.” Continue reading FCC Advances Proposed Rule to Block Chinese Telecom Gear

Netflix Inks Licensing Deal with Chinese Online Video Platform

Streaming video giant Netflix will finally enter the Chinese market, via a newly inked licensing deal with iQIYI, one of that country’s streaming platforms. When Netflix launched its efforts to go global a year ago, it failed to make deals in only a few countries, among them China, Iran and North Korea. Although not many details of the new arrangement have been made public, what is known is that Netflix content will be available on a day-and-date or near-simultaneous basis, as with other global territories. Continue reading Netflix Inks Licensing Deal with Chinese Online Video Platform

Amazon Is First Internet Company with Best Picture Oscar Nom

About a year after debuting its original movies division, Amazon became the first Internet company to garner an Academy Award nomination for best picture, with “Manchester by the Sea.” In addition to best picture, “Manchester by the Sea” earned five other nominations for writer and director Kenneth Lonergan, lead actor Casey Affleck, supporting actress Michelle Williams and supporting actor Lucas Hedges. Amazon also holds U.S. distribution rights to foreign language nominee “The Salesman,” from Iran. Continue reading Amazon Is First Internet Company with Best Picture Oscar Nom

Cybersecurity and How to Build Speed Bumps Against Hackers

At a CES CyberSecurity Forum, journalist/author Wayne Rash led a discussion on the various ways that companies are failing to protect their intellectual property and remain vulnerable to malicious code and ransomware. According to Yubico chief executive Stina Ehrensvard, 70 percent of hacks are related to passwords. “The password is the weak link,” agrees Authentic8 chief executive Scott Petry. “Reusing passwords is a problem. If you use your Yahoo password for other sites, you’re in trouble.” Continue reading Cybersecurity and How to Build Speed Bumps Against Hackers

Hackers Steal Data From Half a Billion Yahoo User Accounts

In what could mark the largest-ever theft of personal data, Yahoo has confirmed that more than 500 million of its user accounts were hacked in late 2014. The Internet company is pointing the blame at state-sponsored hackers who reportedly stole names, email addresses, birth dates, phone numbers and encrypted passwords after breaking into the Yahoo network. The company does not believe the hack impacted unprotected passwords or financial data such as payment card or bank account info. The breach was discovered after Yahoo began investigating a claim by hackers who were attempting to sell 280 million usernames and passwords. Continue reading Hackers Steal Data From Half a Billion Yahoo User Accounts

Hola: New App Skirts Copyright Law to Stream TV Shows, Music

A new Web application named Hola is bypassing copyright laws to deliver content to users who otherwise don’t have access to it. The app essentially unlocks international versions of Netflix so U.S. users can watch shows like “True Grit” or “Community” — only available overseas — whenever they want. By changing users’ IP addresses and making their devices act as routers, content is never copied illegally. Since beta testing began, the app has become incredibly popular, and it could alter the way the Internet operates. Continue reading Hola: New App Skirts Copyright Law to Stream TV Shows, Music

U.S. Financial Institutions Become Targets of Cyberattacks

American Express confirmed that its website had come under attack last week. The assault, which took the site offline for two hours, marks the latest in a string of powerful digital attacks on American financial institutions that began this past September. JPMorgan Chase and others experienced a similar attack this month. The assaults collectively resulted in the loss of millions of dollars. Continue reading U.S. Financial Institutions Become Targets of Cyberattacks

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