Must-read articles on computer security, including virus alerts and much more!
Top Asian News at 6:30 p.m. GMT
- BEIRUT (AP) — An online message purportedly from the Islamic State group warned Tuesday that a Japanese hostage and Jordanian pilot the extremists hold have less than "24 hours left to live." The message again demanded the release of Sajida al-Rishawi, an Iraqi woman sentenced to death in Jordan for involvement in a 2005 terror attack that killed 60 people. It also mentioned for the first time Jordanian pilot 1st Lt. Mu'ath al-Kaseasbeh, who is a captive of the Islamic State group, setting a Wednesday afternoon deadline.
Facebook outage brings jokes, marketing pitches to Twitter
- SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — For many, the hour without a Facebook was a golden opportunity for a joke — or a marketing pitch — on other social media sites.
Whatever you do, don’t buy these 5 smartphones
- Here at BGR, we spend a huge amount of time telling you which smartphones you should consider as you work your way to your next major handset purchase. We take great care while testing devices, and we try to cover all of the major ins and outs for each phone we review. Important areas that we dig into include aesthetics and design, build quality, performance and software, all of which weigh heavily for consumers seeking out new handsets. What we don’t often do, however, is spend time focusing on which smartphones you should avoid at all costs. DON’T MISS: Your smartphone is absolutely filthy – and these disgusting photos prove it CNET recently put together a nice quick list of five smartphones
Dutch judge approves hacking suspect's extradition to US
- THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — A Dutch judge on Tuesday approved the extradition to the U.S. of a Russian suspected of involvement in a multimillion-dollar computer hack.
Facebook takes blame for service outages, which hit wider Web
- By Eric Auchard FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Access to Facebook , the world's largest social network, and its Instagram photo-sharing site, were blocked around the world for up to an hour on Tuesday, which the company said later was due to an internal fault and not an outside attack. The outage at Facebook, which started around 0600 GMT, appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites, according to web and mobile user reports from around the globe. A hacker group associated with other recent high-profile attacks on other online services sought to claim responsibility for the outages, but Facebook said the fault was its own. “This was not the result of a third-party attack but instead occurred after we introduced a change that affected our configuration systems," Facebook said.
Singapore ups the ante in cyber security fight
- Singapore is gearing up for a crackdown on cyber crime with the launch of a central agency and the appointment of a minister in charge of cyber security, the government said on Tuesday, as the wealthy city-state grapples with a rise in online crime. In recent years, Singapore has struggled to combat cyber criminals, who have committed offences including stealing client data from Standard Chartered Bank and hacking the official website of the prime minister. Computer security experts say developed, technology-rich Asian countries are particularly vulnerable to attacks. Singapore relies heavily on its reputation of being low-crime and politically stable to lure multinational companies to its shores.
Huawei says consumer business group targets $16 billion revenue
- SHENZHEN (Reuters) - China's Huawei Technologies Co Ltd is targeting $16 billion in revenue for its consumer business group this year, the head of the unit, Richard Yu, said on Tuesday. The Chinese consumer product maker, which competes with Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Inc for smartphones, said in December it shipped about 75 million smartphones in 2014, a 40 percent year-on-year increase but lagging its target of 80 million units. (Reporting By Yimou Lee; Editing by Miral Fahmy)
Telecom network spending seen rising this year amid 4G boom
- Nevertheless, overall spending on mobile and fixed networks is expected to grow for a second consecutive year, as operators worldwide seek to improve coverage and add capacity to keep up with rising data traffic from video and smartphones. While construction of 4G networks is largely complete in the United States, Japan and Korea, the technology is just arriving in much of eastern Europe, Latin America and Africa. Investment in fixed networks is set to rise 7.7 percent to $10.33 billion, driven by fiber broadband rollouts, it said. "The 4G story is spreading after the first spurt of rollouts in the U.S., Japan and Korea is behind us," Deborah Kish, an analyst at Garner, said.
Top Asian News at 5:30 p.m. GMT
- NEW DELHI (AP) — As President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met in New Delhi this week, the shadow of a third player hung over the talks: neighboring China, which has complicated relationships with both the United States and India. To Obama, forging deeper ties with India fits in neatly with his efforts to deepen U.S. influence in countries on China's doorstep. And as the world's largest democracy, India is a particularly attractive partner to the U.S. as it seeks to cultivate a robust regional counterbalance to communist China.
Malaysia Air site hacked, some customer data appears online
- HONG KONG (AP) — Hackers defaced the website of Malaysia Airlines on Monday and threatened to dump stolen information online after posting a glimpse of customer data obtained in the attack.
Motorola unveils 3 smart phones for return to China
- BEIJING (AP) — Motorola unveiled three smartphone models on Monday for its return to China following a two-year absence from the most populous mobile phone market.
Tributes to Saudi King spark rights criticism in Britain
- As world leaders flew to Saudi Arabia to mark the death of King Abdullah, several prominent British politicians criticized the deference shown to the leader of a country accused of having a poor human rights record. Human rights campaigners and politicians from different parties questioned why the Union flag had been flown at half mast on public buildings including Westminster Abbey, for the leader of a country which still has the death penalty. Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, who died early on Friday after a short illness, had pursued a modernizing legacy of cautious social and economic reform.
How to set up a VPN on Android – and why you should do it right now
- Surfing the web privately is something many web users are interested in, whether they’re doing it on a desktop, laptop or mobile device, but not many people know how to do it. Recently, a detailed WhoIsHostingThis infographic showed you how to secure your connection using a VPN — a virtual private network created on top of a public network to anonymize web traffic — on Windows, Mac and iOS, assuming the user already has access to a VPN service. Phone Arena has put together a similar step-by-step guide of enabling VPN connectivity on Android devices. FROM EARLIER: How to set up a VPN – and why you should, if you care about privacy In addition to securing data transmission against
'Anonymous' hacking member sentenced in Texas to 5 years in prison
- By Marice Richter DALLAS (Reuters) - A freelance journalist who said he was a top player in the hacking group Anonymous was sentenced to just over five years in prison by a federal judge in Dallas on Thursday for charges including aiding in cyber crime. The judge sentenced Barret Brown to 63 months in prison, including the 31 months he has already served. Brown, 33, pleaded guilty in April to being an accessory after the fact for attempting to assist a hacker, hiding two computers from FBI agents who were executing a search warrant and threatening an FBI agent in a video. The accessory after the fact charge relates to an incident in December 2011 when someone Brown knew as "o" hacked the computer network of Austin, Texas-based private intelligence firm Stratfor and obtained confidential information, including credit card details, according to court papers.
Israeli man under house arrest for leaked Madonna songs
- JERUSALEM (AP) — An aspiring singer who auditioned for Israel's top TV song competition was placed under house arrest Thursday on suspicion of hacking into international pop star Madonna's computer and stealing and selling unreleased songs, his lawyer said.
Writer tied to Anonymous hackers sentenced to prison
- DALLAS (AP) — An activist and writer linked to the hacking collective Anonymous was sentenced to five years in prison Thursday for threatening an FBI agent and helping share stolen data, marking the end of a criminal case criticized by free-speech advocates.
6 beastly phones you can buy for less than $400
- The iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus might be the best-selling phones currently available in stores, but there are also plenty of other options available for smartphone buyers looking to get a powerful mobile device at a fraction of the iPhone 6’s cost. Forbes has put together a list of six handsets that can be purchased right now, or that’ll be available in the near future, for far less than either iPhone 6 version. FROM EARLIER: The 5 coolest phones unveiled at CES 2015 At $399, the Huawei Honor 6 Plus is a 5.5-inch Android handset that features a Full HD display, 3GB of RAM, three 8-megapixel cameras (one on the front and two on the back) and a 3,600 mAh
Kenya weighs Chinese request for extradition of 76 held for cyber crime
- Kenya is considering a request from Beijing to extradite 76 Chinese nationals charged with cyber crime for trial in their homeland, Kenya's attorney-general said on Thursday. Githu Muigai said he expected a decision soon on the request from a "friendly government" with which Kenya has strong trade and industrial ties. Some 76 Chinese nationals have been detained by Kenyan police investigating allegations of cyber crime, operating private radio services and being in the country illegally, their lawyers said on Dec. 5. Any agreement would have to meet Kenya's justice standards, he said, adding their alleged criminality involved "the security of banking, credit cards and other operations".
Saudi Arabia to delay activist's flogging for second time: Amnesty
- Saudi Arabia plans to delay the public flogging of a rights activist on medical grounds, Amnesty International said on Thursday, raising the possibility that Riyadh may be trying to quietly drop the punishment that has drawn international rebuke. Badawi, a blogger and founder of the "Free Saudi Liberals" website, was sentenced last year to 10 years in jail, a fine of 1 million riyals ($267,000) and 1,000 lashes. He was arrested in June 2012 for offences which included of insulting Islam, cyber crime and disobeying his father - a crime in Saudi Arabia. Badawi was subjected to the first 50 lashes two weeks ago but a second round of flogging, scheduled to be held last Friday after Friday prayers was postponed, ostensibly on medical grounds.
Israel's mobile technologies for disabled find mass market appeal
- By Tova Cohen TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Israeli technology firms catering to the country's disabled war veterans are exploring ways to bring their innovations to the mass market with applications that make mobile phones easier to use. Israel, with its thriving start-up scene and large number of military veterans, is a natural incubator of technology for the disabled, some of which is proving useful to able bodied users as well. "That's the secret sauce to go to scale," said Andrew Johnson, an analyst with market research firm Gartner Inc. A phone for the blind developed by Project Ray also allows drivers to operate a device without taking their eyes off the road, while Sesame Enable's hands-free phone, crucial for paralysed users, offers convenience to all. Alexander Graham Bell's invention of the telephone grew out of work on hearing and speech products for the deaf, while Thomas Edison envisaged the phonograph as a means of recording books for the blind.
You can finally stream ‘The Interview’ on Netflix beginning Saturday
- Netflix absolutely crushed its earnings on Tuesday evening and shares skyrocketed more than 17% in after-hours trading as a result. The company added 4.33 million new streaming subscribers during the fourth quarter of 2014, and profit climbed to $83.4 million, up from $48.4 million in the year-ago quarter. Netflix had a great quarter indeed, and it was thanks in large part to some great new content that hit the service over the course of the three-month period. Now, the company has confirmed that another high-profile title will finally arrive on its digital shelves in just a few short days. Sorry, North Korea. DON’T MISS: Every movie and TV show being removed from Netflix in February Netflix announced on Tuesday evening that “The Interview” will finally
F5 Networks revenue misses estimates as big deals slow down
- Network equipment maker F5 Networks Inc reported revenue that missed Wall Street's estimates for the first time in eight quarters due to "a marked decrease in the number of deals greater than $1 million". The company also forecast current-quarter revenue and profit below market estimates, sending its shares down nearly 16 percent to $106 in extended trading. "(F5's) U.S. business was well below forecast and that's really surprising because the U.S end markets, the enterprise end markets are very robust," Needham & Co analyst Alex Henderson said. Henderson said F5's results were not a reflection of what rivals such as Juniper Networks Inc and Riverbed Technology Inc would report for the last quarter of the year.
4chan founder to retire from site he started at age 15
- NEW YORK (AP) — The founder of the popular, if at times notorious, online message board 4chan is retiring as the site's administrator.
Kenya gov't considers request to repatriate Chinese hackers
- NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The Kenyan government is considering a request by the Chinese government to repatriate 76 Chinese nationals arrested in Kenya for hacking, an official said Wednesday.
With few friends in Congress, Obama looks to shape next election
- By Andy Sullivan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama's vision of a stronger and more expensive safety net for middle class and poor Americans stands little chance of becoming law this year, but it could shape the debate for the 2016 election. With his clout fast diminishing in Washington, and Republican and Democratic candidates gearing up for the White House race, Obama did his best in Tuesday's State of the Union address to set the agenda for potential successors wooing voters. Already, potential Republican candidates like Rand Paul and Mitt Romney have signaled that they will devote more attention to helping the less affluent. Hillary Clinton, the likely frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, is already facing heat from Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and others on the left, who worry Clinton may bow to pressure from Wall Street and chip away at financial reforms enacted during Obama's tenure.
Apple’s latest acquisition could make Beats Music even better
- Apple revolutionized the music industry with the iPod and iTunes, but leadership is cyclical and the company fell behind the times as streaming music services like Pandora and Spotify grew more popular. iTunes Radio was Apple’s first real attempt to bring music streamers back to the Apple camp, but it apparently didn’t have quite the impact Apple was looking for… so it bought Beats for $3 billion. Now, Apple has made a new acquisition — a much smaller one, this time — that will reportedly become an important part of the company’s Beats Music streaming service. DON’T MISS: Edward Snowden says secret Apple spyware is the reason he won’t use an iPhone According to a report from The Guardian on Wednesday, Apple has
French newspaper Le Monde says Twitter account hacked
- (Reuters) - French newspaper Le Monde said its Twitter account and publishing tool were hacked by Syrian Electronic Army, an amorphous hacker collective that supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Le Monde sent out a tweet saying it has taken back control of its computers. "We apologize for any fraudulent posts on our behalf." A Twitter Inc spokesman in France said the company did not comment on individual accounts for privacy and security reasons. Representatives at "Le Monde" declined to comment.
China's Dalian Wanda buys 20 pct of Spain's Atletico Madrid
- * Property giant agrees to pay 45 mln euros * Deal to help Dalian diversify, expand in entertainment * Indebted Atletico could gain China sponsors through deal (Adds comment from Atletico CEO) By Matthew Miller BEIJING, Jan 21 (Reuters) - China's biggest property conglomerate, Dalian Wanda Group Co, has bought 20 percent of Spanish soccer champions Atletico Madrid for 45 million euros ($52 million), becoming the first Mainland company to invest in a premier European club. ...
Obama says US vulnerable to cyberthreats without new steps
- President Barack Obama is warning that the U.S. and its economy will be left vulnerable unless Congress acts to prevent hacking. Obama is calling for cybersecurity legislation in his State of the Union ...
Government health care website quietly sharing personal data
- The government's health insurance website is quietly sending consumers' personal data to private companies that specialize in advertising and analyzing Internet data for performance and marketing, The ...
Sony's 'The Interview' surpasses $40 million in digital sales
- LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "The Interview," the Sony Pictures comedy believed to have triggered a cyber attack on the studio, has racked up over $40 million in sales from 5.8 million digital downloads, the studio said on Tuesday. Michael Lynton, chief executive of Sony Corp's entertainment arm, called the $40 million mark "a significant milestone" for the studio's unprecedented online and pay television release, on platforms such as Google Inc's Google Play, Apple Inc's iTunes and Time Warner Cable. The film's digital release on Dec. 24 was cobbled together a week after Sony Pictures shelved a wide release when major theater chains refused to screen the movie due to unspecified threats of violence from hackers. President Barack Obama called the decision to scrap the theatrical release a "mistake" akin to self-censorship.
American who sent $67K to al-Qaida gets 15 years in prison
- NEW YORK (AP) — A New Yorker who sent $67,000 to al-Qaida and pledged his support to the terror group was sentenced Tuesday to 15 years in prison by a judge who cited the defendant's remorse and medical problems that make his incarceration more difficult than others'.
10 awesome paid iPhone apps that are all free downloads right now
- Yesterday’s list of paid iPhone and iPad apps that were on sale for free was a great one, and it was highlighted by the controversial app Neato that Apple had previously thrown out of the app store. Neato is still free along with several other apps on that list, by the way, so you might want to follow this link and snag them before you’re too late. Today, however, we have a fresh new batch of iOS apps that are normally paid but are all on sale for free for a limited time. DON’T MISS: Edward Snowden says secret Apple spyware is the reason he won’t use an iPhone These are paid iPhone and iPad apps that have been made available
Edward Snowden says secret Apple spyware is the reason he won’t use an iPhone
- Is Apple’s wildly popular iPhone series hiding spyware that can collect information about users without their knowledge. As thoroughly as developers have dug through Apple’s iOS code over the past seven and a half years, one would think functionality like that would have been unearthed by now. According to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, however, iPhones are capable of activating “special software” behind the scenes that collects information about users, who are completely oblivious to the fact that their phones are gathering this sensitive data. DON’T MISS: This great iPhone app squeezes an entire music player into one iOS widget, and it’s free Edward Snowden’s lawyer Anatoly Kucherena recently spoke with Russian news agency RIA Novosti, and their conversation spanned several topics. As Russian news
These are the 25 best passwords you can use… if you want to be hacked
- Malicious hackers spend much of their time developing sophisticated attacks and complex new ways to steal people’s credit card numbers, bank account information and other private data. It’s getting more and more difficult to protect ourselves from these hacks, especially when just about anyone can go online and hire a hacker these days. But for many people, all of the hard work these hackers put into ruining our lives is a waste of time, because they make things remarkably easy for hackers by using the worst passwords on the planet. DON’T MISS: These breathtaking aerial photos show New York at night like you’ve never seen it before Each year, SplashData puts together a list of the 25 most commonly used passwords on the Internet.
Amazon doubles down on entertainment with 'indie' movie bet
- Amazon.com Inc is making a high-stakes foray into the challenging realm of independent movies, the latest step in its attempt to move beyond simply distributing digital entertainment content to creating it. Amazon said on Monday it was aiming to produce close to 12 movies a year for theatrical release which would then be available on its Prime video service within two months, significantly faster than the roughly one-year wait it normally faces to stream Hollywood releases. Amazon expects to focus on "indie" movies with budgets of between $5 million and $25 million, spokeswoman Sally Fouts said. While modest compared with Hollywood blockbusters, the move will add to already hefty spending at Amazon, potentially unnerving investors concerned about the company's lack of profitability.
7 smartphones with monster batteries so big, you won’t believe it
- Every single high-profile study in recent years that asks consumers what they want to see improved most in future smartphones is topped by the same thing: battery life. It’s no mystery that the batteries in most modern smartphones simply can’t keep up with all of the technology companies are stuffing into these handsets. Quad- and octa-core processors, ridiculously bright 2K displays and all of the other components in newer phones are huge battery hogs, but battery technology simply can’t move quickly enough to compensate for all of these thin new high-end phones. If you want decent battery life on a smartphone from your carrier, you only have a handful of choices including the Galaxy Note 4 and iPhone 6 Plus. If you
Snowden documents show UK spies stored journalists' emails - report
- The GCHQ eavesdropping agency stored emails from journalists working for several large media organisations, according to documents released by former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden, the Guardian newspaper reported. The emails from the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian, the Sun, Le Monde, NBC, the BBC and Reuters were among 70,000 harvested as part of a 10-minute bulk surveillance exercise on one day in November 2008, the newspaper said. The communications, which ranged from press releases to discussions between reporters and editors about stories, were accessed by a tap on fibre-optic cables, saved by GCHQ and then shared on its intranet as part of a test exercise. The Guardian said new evidence from British intelligence documents revealed by Snowden also showed that a GCHQ information security assessment had listed investigative journalists as a threat along with terrorists and hackers.
WADA to complete Russia doping probe by end of year
- MONTREAL (AP) — The World Anti-Doping Agency says its investigation into allegations of systematic doping in Russia should be completed by the end of the year.
Soccer-China's Wang to take stake in Atletico-reports
- * Billionaire set to acquire 20 percent stake, reports say * Investment estimated at 40 million euros * La Liga champions latest to attract cash (Adds Atletico spokesman) By Iain Rogers MADRID, Jan 19 (Reuters) - Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin has agreed to buy a 20 percent stake in La Liga champions Atletico Madrid, Spanish media reported on Monday. The deal with Wang, who controls the Dalian Wanda Group conglomerate and is a keen soccer fan, will be announced in Beijing on Wednesday, according to the reports in sports dailies Marca and As. Wang has a net worth of $13.2 billion, Forbes said in October, putting him fourth on the magazine's China rich list after he topped the ranking the previous year. Atletico would be the latest La Liga team to attract significant investment from outside Spain following the likes of Malaga and Valencia.