Analytics & Data Security & Privacy

Is Fighting Evil with Google a Good Thing?

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Google's code of conduct famously instructs its staff, board members, and contractors, "Don't be evil." Those who fail to follow the code are subject to disciplinary action and termination. Can the company extend the code to Gmail users? It already has. CBS News reports this week that Google informed the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that a Gmail account holder in Texas "was allegedly sending explicit images of a young girl to a friend."   More

Security & Privacy

Former Intelligence Chief McConnell on Digital Vulnerability

The shift from analog to digital trade means global commerce is increasingly vulnerable to digital attack, says former National Intelligence Director Adm. Mike McConnell. McConnell, now with Booz Allen Hamilton, is concerned that cyber attack tools—which nation states are building by the thousands in the name of mutual deterrence—will get into the hands of extremist or terrorist groups. At our recent Data Security Lab, Techonomy's David Kirkpatrick spoke with McConnell about how the digital revolution is transforming security and intelligence.   More

Security & Privacy

Ex-Intelligence Chief McConnell Fears Major Cyber Attack

Former National Intelligence Director Adm. Mike McConnell (now at Booz Allen Hamilton) notes in this interview at Techonomy's recent Data Security Lab that our democracy has traditionally made decisions and developed legislation in reaction to events. That is unwise now, though, he says, if we wait until a major cyber event before imposing regulations to demand good cyber practices from business. Sadly, though, he suspects that we won't act until such an event happens.   More

Security & Privacy

Techonomy and EMC Look at the State of Data Security

At our March 19 Data Security Lab, sponsored by EMC, Techonomy’s David Kirkpatrick spoke with RSA’s Art Coviello and former National Intelligence Director Adm. Mike McConnell (now at Booz Allen Hamilton) about emerging cybertrends. Coviello and McConnell kicked off the discussion by sharing their thoughts about why companies are increasingly at risk, and what they can do to deter cyberthreats.   More

Security & Privacy

Tech-enhanced Rescue Dogs Lend a Paw to Disaster Relief

(Photo: Alper Bozkurt, NC State University)

Superdog to the rescue! It may sound like comic book fodder, but we're about to see Krypto in real life, as our canine friends, outfitted in high-tech gear, prepare to join the front lines of disaster response. Led by a team from North Carolina State University, the smart-response dog initiative is part of a larger effort to smarten up our currently outdated disaster relief infrastructure.   More

Global Tech Security & Privacy

China Targets IBM in Foreign Tech Crackdown

IBM

The latest reports that Beijing is pressuring Chinese banks to stop using high-end servers from computing giant IBM don’t come as a huge surprise, amid escalating tensions between China and the U.S. over cyber spying. This particular development is just the latest in a series of similar moves that dates back to last year, when Beijing began quietly pressuring many big state-run firms to stop using U.S. tech products following revelations from the Edward Snowden cyber-spying scandal. The ironic element of Beijing’s anti-foreign tech campaign is that it could actually make the nation’s technology networks and systems even more vulnerable to spying, since most domestic products are far less sophisticated than their foreign counterparts.   More

Global Tech Security & Privacy

The Right to Be Forgotten? Europe’s Orwellian Internet Time Warp

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When the European Court of Justice—the rough equivalent of the U.S. Supreme Court—ruled that individuals have the "right to be forgotten," it took a dangerous step backward. Among many potential negative consequences, it could contribute to slowing global economic growth. The court endorsed a profoundly ahistorical, anti-technological argument about the supposed rights of individuals.   More

Security & Privacy

Microsoft’s Craig Mundie on Cyber-danger

No sector of society is free from risk of cyberattack, says Craig Mundie of Microsoft. "Information technology is embedding itself in virtually everything," making us susceptible to threats ranging from malicious mischief to full-blown cyberterrorism, Mundie told us in an interview at Techonomy 2013. Such new and developing threats call for products and business methods to improve alongside technology. The government, too, is going to have to to keep up with better law enforcement, intelligence, and defense.   More

Security & Privacy

Legislation a Top Priority in Cybersecurity Fight Says RSA’s Coviello

Cybersecurity expert and RSA executive chairman Art Coviello says it's crucial for privacy advocates and industry leaders to come together to create modern laws to protect society from cybercrime. But the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, also known as CISPA and the Rogers-Ruppersberger Bill, was introduced in Congress in 2011. And while the House of Representatives has passed it twice, the bill still languishes in the Senate. In part two of a conversation recorded at Techonomy's recent Data Security Lab, Coviello talks about the responsibilities both of the government and of private companies that have suffered security breaches.   More

Security & Privacy

Is There a Hacker Hiding in Your Air Conditioner?

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Hackers will try any point of entry they can find to access private data. In a recent interview with Techonomy, RSA Security’s Art Coviello said that the number of vulnerable access points—or what he calls the “attack surface”—is growing rapidly, with the number of digitally controlled devices connected to the Internet expected to reach 200 billion by the end of this decade. The New York Times reports that hackers recently breached the computer networks of a large oil company by implanting malware in the online menu of a Chinese restaurant favored by the company’s employees. With increasingly sophisticated hackers targeting a proliferating volume of corporate data, our pervasive connectivity—through everything from heating and cooling systems to accounting software and even vending machines—presents a constant challenge to security experts.   More

Security & Privacy

RSA’s Coviello: Opportunities for Cyberattack Multiplying

On top of the more than 2.4 billion people using smartphones, tablets, and PCs, another 1 billion devices—including sensors, card readers, and vending machines—currently access the Internet. But by the end of this decade some 200 billion items will be connected to the Internet and digitally controlled, predicts Art Coviello, executive chairman of RSA, the security division of EMC. The attack "surface," as Coviello calls it—meaning the range of potential points of entry for cyber criminals—will grow vast. At our recent Data Security Lab Techonomy's David Kirkpatrick talked to security veteran Coviello about changes in the industry, emerging risks, and what kind of leadership and governance we need to address them.   More

Business Security & Privacy

BlackBerry CEO Chen: Security Is Key to Comeback

BlackBerry CEO John Chen, who's been at the helm for just four months, has a looming task ahead of him—bring the once-booming brand back to its glory days. At Techonomy's recent San Francisco dinner salon, Chen talked with us about the future of BlackBerry, citing its security systems as one key way the company can turn itself around. "It's the most secure mobile environment," Chen said. "Today in this world of security complexity, people are not only stealing the data but they're modifying the data. It's an enormous opportunity."   More

Security & Privacy

A Privacy Bill Should Impose Consequences

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Lamenting a fast-approaching privacy crisis in the U.S., New York Times op-ed columnist Joe Nocera this week reports what experts say should be included in a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights, should Congress be so inclined to draft and pass one. Nocera suggests that not just consumers, but also companies in the business of collecting their data—including Google, Facebook, and Acxiom—stand to benefit from regulation; after all, he writes, credit card companies objected to the 1967 Truth in Lending Act that turned out to be to their advantage because it "showed consumers, for the first time, that they had some protection from fraud or shady practices." Nocera's conclusion: "Sometimes, government has to save business from itself."   More

Cities Security & Privacy

Techonomic Top 5: Web Fightback, #BangkokShutdown, Sochi Tech, and More

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Every week we spotlight techonomic happenings on the Web and beyond, picking people, companies, and trends that exemplify tech’s ever-growing role in business and society. Here’s what’s got our attention. The Day We Fight Back, Tuesday’s anti-spying Web protest, rallied more than 6,000 websites against government surveillance—among them, Internet heavyweights Google, Mozilla, Reddit, and Tumblr. Protest participants hosted a banner on their sites, linking visitors to legislators to encourage them to take action. “Dear internet, we’re sick of complaining about the NSA,” the banner read. “We want new laws that curtail online surveillance.”   More

Security & Privacy

Could Privacy Become a New Form of Currency?

It's becoming increasingly clear that the latest digital technology is killing privacy. As Robert Scoble said at our latest Ericsson and AT&T hosted FutureCast event at the AT&T Foundry in Palo Alto, the future will be dominated by surveillance technologies like sensors, wearable computing, and location data. So, I asked California's Lieutenant Governor, Gavin Newsom what, exactly, does the end of privacy mean from the perspective of a politician? Newsom was refreshingly blunt. "We never had it," he replied. "So it's like welcome to my world."   More

Security & Privacy

Report: Internet Is Faster, More Susceptible to Attack

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Internet speeds around the world are up, but so are cyber-attacks, says Akamai in its latest “State of the Internet” report. Released quarterly by the Massachusetts-based content delivery network Akamai Technologies, the report analyzes global statistics on key indicators of Internet connectivity. Findings from 2013’s third quarter disclosed some good news, showing upward trends in both global connection speeds and broadband adoption rates, but also warned of long-term growth in attack traffic—a majority of it coming from China, Indonesia, and the United States.   More

Business Learning Security & Privacy

This Week’s Techonomic 5

A still from "Koyaanisqatsi."

Welcome to the first installment of our Techonomic 5, a brand-new series spotlighting techonomic happenings from around the Web and beyond. Every two weeks, our editorial team shares its picks of the top people, companies, and trends that exemplify tech's ever-growing role in business and society. Here's what's grabbing our attention: tech curriculums, Canadian data security, apps for mindfulness, the rise of Netflix, and Kayaanisquatsi director Godfrey Reggio.   More

Government Security & Privacy

Investigate NSA to Avert Police State, Privacy Consultant Warns

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Cyber-security expert Jody Westby calls “for the facts to be found out and the truth to be determined” about the NSA surveillance program in order for the nation’s leaders to make “informed decisions about how this country should be operating and the values it should be upholding in the digital age—before it turns into a full police state.” Under the headline, "It Is a Scandal That No One is Investigating the NSA," Westby, who is CEO of Global Cyber Risk, a fellow at the Carnegie Mellon CyLab, and adjunct professor at Georgia Institute of Technology, as well as a frequent Techonomy participant, proclaims in a Forbes essay this week that she is stunned that no one but she has called for a full investigation.   More

Business Security & Privacy

Cybersecurity Startups Aim to Anticipate Attacks

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In the cybersecurity world, the term "antivirus" is out of favor. ("McAfee" is even more so, thanks to its namesake's behavior, but that's another story.) Software and firewalls designed to detect and eradicate viruses on your system or business network—such as what Symantec, McAfee (now known as Intel Security), Cisco, and Check Point provide—still leave customers vulnerable to attacks, according to Nicole Perlroth's report in the New York Times.   More

Security & Privacy

Is Snapchat a Security Sieve?

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A New Year’s Eve leak that exposed the usernames and phone numbers of 4.6 million Snapchatters confirmed what researchers had been forewarning since August—Snapchat is a security sieve. Hackers used a public security report, issued by researchers at the Australian-based Gibson Security in August 2013, to download the database of Snapchat user information and publish it as “SnapchatDB.” According to the hackers, their aim was to force fixes and send a message. Message received? With Snapchat’s slow response and so-slow-it-may-never-come apology, it’s hard to say.   More