bluwmongoose

FBI Attorney: Tech Companies Are Helping Dumb Criminals By Providing Quality Encryption

Much of the debate about encrypted devices and messaging services has been centered on more sophisticated criminal or terrorist activities, where the people involved are actively searching out ways to avoid detection by law enforcement. However, the FBI’s top attorney contends that tech companies may be inadvertently giving dimwitted crooks a leg up by making quality encryption so widely available. [More]

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Dressing Marijuana Up As Fruit Is Apparently The New Trend In Illegal Drug Shipping

Drug-busting has had a particularly fruity theme in Texas lately, where U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials have recently uncovered large loads of marijuana disguised as innocent produce. [More]

Ariel Schlesinger

New Hacker Trick: Locking All Hotel Guests Out Of Rooms, Demanding Ransom

Ransomware is a type of malware that infects computers and smartphones, encrypting the data on them and locking up the device, making it unusable. This is pretty bad when it happens to your personal device and you have no backup, but imagine an entire hotel full of guests locked out of their rooms because the hotel staff has been locked out of the computer system. [More]

5 Things We’ve Learned About How Companies Track You Online And Off

David Menidrey

Is there an ad that seems to be following you everywhere? Perhaps you browsed for new sneakers in a slow moment at work a week ago, and now you see ads for them on every site you view on your phone? Or maybe you clicked an ad on Facebook, and now that company’s product seems to be stalking you around the internet, asking you to buy it in every sidebar ad you see. [More]

You Don’t Care About Your Friends’ Data, And 4 Other Things We Learned From Privacy Experts

Byron Chin

The things we buy and use every day are increasingly connected — to the internet, and to each other — and while this new level of interconnection provides a slew of benefits, it also raises a new set of privacy problems and security challenges. Yet, as we recently learned, consumers are often self-centered when it comes to protecting their data and don’t give much thought to making their friends’ info available. [More]

LG

Ransomware Spreading Onto Smart TVs, Is A Pain To Fix

Streaming TV has been a boon for consumers. Programming is everywhere, right at our fingertips, as soon as we get our screens online. But that connectivity comes with a big risk: wherever there’s an internet connection, there’s a possibility for bad guys to show up. And now they are showing up in the real world, holding TV sets hostage with ransomware and demanding cash to let you access your own stuff. [More]

Police Want To Find Out If Amazon Echo Recorded Evidence Of Homicide

Police Want To Find Out If Amazon Echo Recorded Evidence Of Homicide

The issue of who can access information stored on your electronic devices has become increasingly controversial in the last year, with authorities obtaining search warrants to unlock smartphones for everyone in an office building, courts ruling that police can force smartphone users to give up their devices’ passcodes, and federal lawmakers trying to force weakened encryption on consumers. Now, police investigating a homicide are hoping to get a look under the hood of Amazon’s Echo speaker to see if its virtual “Alexa” assistant might have recorded evidence of a murder. [More]

Consumer Reports

FCC Chair Tom Wheeler To Step Down When Trump Takes Office

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler — the former frontman for both the cable and wireless industries who has recently pushed the Commission into new, controversial areas of regulation that clash with the apparent goals of the incoming Trump administration — has confirmed his plans to step down after the President-elect gets the keys to the Oval Office. [More]

Ashley Madison’s Penalty For Exposing Details On 36 Million Users? About $.04 Per Person

Ashley Madison’s Penalty For Exposing Details On 36 Million Users? About $.04 Per Person

In 2015, a major data breach at AshleyMadison.com — the dating site targeted at cheaters — exposed information for some 36 million accounts. The company has now entered into a deal that settles federal and state charges that Ashley Madison: misled users about data security and failed to protect user information; charged users to delete profiles (but didn’t); and used fake profiles to lure in customers. While the settlement has a price tag of $8.75 million, Ashley Madison will actually pay significantly less than that. [More]

Kerry Lannert

In-Flight Cellphone Calls May Finally Be Ready For Takeoff

You know that woman on the mall scream-talking into her cellphone? She could be on your next flight — well, maybe in a few years. After decades of prohibiting airline passengers from yakking away on their cellular devices from 20,000 feet up, federal regulators are mulling the idea of allowing travelers to make cellphone calls while in flight.  [More]

Where Attorney General Nominee Jeff Sessions Comes Down On Consumer Issues

Where Attorney General Nominee Jeff Sessions Comes Down On Consumer Issues

The election may feel like it happened just yesterday, but it’s now ten days behind us, and the building transition to the administration turnover in January is well underway. As part of that, today we learned President-Elect Donald Trump’s top choice for a key role that affects consumers and consumer rights nationwide: he will nominate Sen. Jefferson Sessions of Alabama as Attorney General. [More]

jeffreyw

Can I Fly With A Turducken In My Carry-On This Thanksgiving?

As many Americans prepare to take to the skies next week for the Thanksgiving holiday, there will no doubt be those who wish to travel with their holiday-themed foods. But will airport security let your turducken aboard the plane with you? [More]

William Hook

Your Phone Sends All Your Call Records To Apple When iCloud Is Turned On

You’ve got a computer in your pocket that works as a camera, a video recorder, an internet connection, a game console, and everything else. And odds are good there’s some data on there that you want backed up safely, and that you use a cloud storage service to do just that. But your smartphone is, indeed, a phone — and your good old-fashioned calling records may be going places and getting stored in ways you do not intend. [More]

Office Depot Allegedly Diagnosing Computers With Nonexistent Viruses To Meet Sales Goals

Office Depot Allegedly Diagnosing Computers With Nonexistent Viruses To Meet Sales Goals

Retailers upselling customers on services they don’t need is nothing new, but a new report claims that some Office Depot employees are falsely claiming computers are infected with viruses in order to meet sales goals. [More]

Eric BEAUME

Shazam For Mac Is Always Listening For Tunes, Which Means Your Microphone Is Always On

Are you comfortable having your computer’s microphone on constantly? Shazam, a program that identifies the sound in songs, commercials, and TV shows for you, is always listening through your computer’s microphone in the program’s version for Mac computers. Is that a good or bad thing? It doesn’t necessarily mean that the app is listening in on you 24/7, but the idea may make you kind of uneasy. [More]

Chris Wilson

From Healthcare To Financial Protection: How Will The Trump White House Affect Consumers?

Elections always bring change; some more so than others. With yesterday’s results in the box and tallied, we now know that we are expecting not only a Trump administration next January, but also to have both houses of Congress and the White House all aligned under control of the same political party. That means that for at least two years, until the next midterm elections, the party in charge — in this case, the Republicans — has the ability to push through changes to policy and law, and we can expect it to do so. [More]

FCC

FCC Adopts New Privacy Rule Limiting What ISPs Can Do With Your Personal Data

Privacy is a complicated thing, especially online. While we all know companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon — edge providers, in the parlance of regulators — collect and use our data, fewer of us think about how much the owners of the metaphorical pipes can see passing through them. So to that end, the FCC voted today to adopt rules designed to limit how much of internet subscribers’ data ISPs can sell, share, and trade, and to let customers have some more control over the uses of their personal information. [More]

If FTC Can’t Resurrect Lawsuit Over AT&T’s “Unlimited” Data, Telecoms May Be Even More Untouchable

jetsetpress

In August, an appeals court threw out the Federal Trade Commission’s lawsuit against AT&T over the way it marketed its “unlimited” data plans (which were anything but unlimited). Now the FTC is taking its case up the legal ladder, making the case that if it’s not allowed to sue AT&T, then all phone and internet providers can more easily get away with deceptive business practices. [More]