Russian Criminals Obtain Passwords and More in Massive Hack

Hold Security, an Internet security research firm in the U.S., discovered a Russian crime ring has stolen an unprecedented amount of Internet credentials, including 1.2 billion user names and passwords, and more than 500 million email addresses. The hackers targeted websites from multiple countries and a range of businesses, from Fortune 500 companies to small websites. The crime ring is currently using the information to send spam through social networks for a fee. Continue reading Russian Criminals Obtain Passwords and More in Massive Hack

Supreme Court Allows Case Against Google’s Mapping Project

Google has been sued for violating federal wiretapping laws by collecting personal data as part of its Street View project. The Supreme Court rejected to hear Google’s appeal regarding the class action lawsuit for secretly collecting email, passwords, and other personal info for the mapping project. The case will go forward in the lower court as Google maintains its innocence. The case highlights a rising public push for protection of privacy over data usage for commercial gain. Continue reading Supreme Court Allows Case Against Google’s Mapping Project

Microsoft Has Developed 3D Audio to Augment Virtual Reality

Video games are about to get very realistic, and it’s not just because of virtual reality headsets. Microsoft researchers have developed the technology to make sounds seem as if they are coming from a specific point in space. The 3D audio technology is made possible by the software that builds a 3D model of a player’s head and shoulders and calculates a personal filter to trick the player into perceiving sound as coming from a specific location. Continue reading Microsoft Has Developed 3D Audio to Augment Virtual Reality

FTC Report Exposes Depth of Data Broker Info on Consumers

The Federal Trade Commission released a report urging Congress to require data brokers to be more transparent. Data brokers collect information on nearly all U.S consumers, typically without their knowledge, and create profiles based on online purchases, public records, and online tracking cookies. The FTC recommends creating one Internet site where each company explains their purpose and method of data collection and gives consumers a chance to opt out. Continue reading FTC Report Exposes Depth of Data Broker Info on Consumers

Fox Now Video App Offers Personalized Recommendations

The Fox Now video app allows users to watch recent episodes of Fox series the day after they air. In a new update to its version for Apple devices, Fox has added a feature that suggests shows to the user based on preferences and viewing history. The upgraded user interface, which is based on the iOS 7 design, intends to keep fans watching more video by providing useful recommendations. Fox Now also features expanded TV Everywhere access with more current and past programming. Continue reading Fox Now Video App Offers Personalized Recommendations

Microsoft Combines Laptop and Tablet with New Surface Pro 3

On Tuesday, Microsoft exec Panos Panay unveiled the Surface Pro 3, calling it a potential successor for laptop PCs. The device is not only lighter and thinner than previous versions of Surface tablet computers, but it is also larger. While previous versions measure at 10.6-inches diagonally, the Pro 3 screen measures 12-inches. Along with other Surface tablets, the Pro 3 is powered by Intel chips. Rather than comparing the tablet to others on the market, Panay discussed Apple’s MacBook Air as a competitor.

Continue reading Microsoft Combines Laptop and Tablet with New Surface Pro 3

Snapchat Agrees to Settle with FTC Over Deceptive Marketing

The Federal Trade Commission recently charged Snapchat of deceiving users about the privacy of their personal data and their image and video messages. Under the terms of a new settlement with the FTC, Snapchat will be required to implement a privacy program that will be independently monitored for the next 20 years. If Snapchat violates the agreement, the company may be subject to fines. Snapchat has reportedly resolved most of the privacy issues over the past year. Continue reading Snapchat Agrees to Settle with FTC Over Deceptive Marketing

Cybersecurity Focus Shifts From Blocking to Spotting Threats

Companies such as IBM and Symantec are investing in new technologies to detect viruses and hackers and make stealing customer data more difficult. The companies believe that traditional antivirus software that erect barriers to keep out threats is becoming increasingly ineffective as hackers around the world regularly create novel bugs. IBM plans to analyze behavior in computer network data to detect irregularities. Symantec is launching its own division that will help hacked businesses respond to security breaches.  Continue reading Cybersecurity Focus Shifts From Blocking to Spotting Threats

Senate Intelligence Committee Drafts Cyber Threat Legislation

The U.S. government has had little success in passing bills to establish security standards and facilitate data sharing between the private and public sectors, but the Senate Intelligence Committee is currently drafting a new bill that would serve that purpose. Senator Dianne Feinstein and Senator Saxby Chambliss co-authored a bill which states that a company cannot be sued for sharing threat data to any entity or the federal government to prevent or investigate a cyberattack. Continue reading Senate Intelligence Committee Drafts Cyber Threat Legislation

Instagram Improves Explore Tab for Personalized Experience

Instagram has redesigned its “Explore” tab to provide a more relevant experience for users, rather than showcase random pictures that receive a lot of global Likes. The Explore tab will now display the photos and videos “Liked” by individuals that a user is actively following. This personalization reflects Instagram’s focus on each user’s social graph, which contrasts with the approach by Vine that largely centers on re-sharing content and notable video creators. Continue reading Instagram Improves Explore Tab for Personalized Experience

Dropbox Clarifies Policies After Users Complain via Twitter

Although users of Dropbox and other cloud-based file storage and sharing systems have become accustomed to treating their files on these services as private, this is not actually the case. Darrell Whitelaw recently tried to share copyrighted material via Dropbox, and received a message that he could not share the content due to DMCA regulations. He tweeted his frustration, which received almost 4,000 retweets, and caused outrage throughout the Twittersphere. Continue reading Dropbox Clarifies Policies After Users Complain via Twitter

Newsbeat Creates Custom Radio Show Based on Your Interests

Last week the Tribune Company released a new iOS and Android app called Newsbeat, which plans to change how we consume our daily news by offering a more personalized podcast-like experience. Newsbeat has access to more than 7,000 sources from major newspapers to smaller blogs. Users can specify what types of stories and publications they are interested in, and the app will create a customized newscast by using Pandora-like artificial intelligence technology. Continue reading Newsbeat Creates Custom Radio Show Based on Your Interests

Chromecast Adds Plex Features for Casting Music and Photos

Google’s Chromecast continues to add new services. When it launched nearly a year ago, the $35 streaming media dongle was limited to a handful of apps such as HBO Go, Hulu Plus, Netflix and YouTube. In December, it added 10 new apps, including the ability to stream cloud-based content from personal catalogs. The popular Plex Media Server was one of those additions. Last week, Plex added free casting of users’ content to Chromecast, and the ability for iOS users to share music and photos. Continue reading Chromecast Adds Plex Features for Casting Music and Photos

Cortana: Microsoft’s New Siri-Like Personal Digital Assistant

Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8.1 update will include its new personal digital assistant “Cortana,” named after the AI character in the “Halo” game series. Designed to rival Apple’s Siri and Google Now, Cortana’s circular animated icon will replace the built-in Bing search functionality on Windows Phone, and will animate while speaking or thinking, creating a personality similar to the Siri approach. Cortana will save data in a Notebook system that will enable it to track data and generate notifications much like Google Now. Continue reading Cortana: Microsoft’s New Siri-Like Personal Digital Assistant

3D Systems and Hasbro Co-Venture: 3D Printing Play for Kids

3D Systems, provider of 3D printing solutions, and toy and game company Hasbro have announced plans to co-develop creative, immersive play experiences “powered by 3D printing” for children. The partnership aims to commercialize play printers and platforms later this year, combining 3D Systems’ printing products with Hasbro’s portfolio of consumer brands. 3D Systems has been spending more on R&D, and recently announced plans to partner with Hershey to develop 3D printing tech to produce food items. Continue reading 3D Systems and Hasbro Co-Venture: 3D Printing Play for Kids

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