‘ Google Could Face Record Fine for Breaching EU Competition Rules ‘


#AceWorldNews – BRUSSELS – September 22 – Google could face a record fine for breaching EU competition rules, the European Commission’s competition chief has said, warning that its four year investigation into the US search engine could eventually rival the sixteen years spent investigating software rival Microsoft.

google-rankings

Presenting the Commission’s annual competition report in the European Parliament on Tuesday (23 September), Joaquin Almunia said that he had asked Google “to improve its proposals” or face a formal ‘Statement of Objections’, including a possible fine, if its latest offer did not go “in the right direction”.

Google faces a total of twenty complaints from its rivals, including Microsoft.

“Some of the twenty formal complainants have given us fresh evidence and solid arguments against several aspects of the latest proposals put forward by Google,” Almunia told MEPs.

“We now need to see if Google can address these issues and allay our concerns,” said Almunia, although he noted that “Microsoft was investigated for 16 years, which is four times as much as the Google investigation has taken, and there are more problems with Google than there were with Microsoft.”

#ANS2014

‘ Microsoft Cutting Record 18,000 Jobs From Work-Force ‘


#AceWorldNews – UNITED STATES (Silicon Valley) – July 17 – Microsoft will cut a record 18,000 jobs next year, as the company’s new CEO Satya Nadella seeks to boost efficiency, according to a company memo on Thursday.

“The first step to building the right organization for our ambitions is to realign our workforce. With this in mind, we will begin to reduce the size of our overall workforce by up to 18,000 jobs in the next year,” Satya Nadella said in the memo published by Business Insider.

The number made redundant represents 14 percent of the entire Microsoft workforce.

Nadella assured that the layoff will be conducted “in the most thoughtful and transparent way possible.”

“We will offer severance to all employees impacted by these changes, as well as job transition help in many locations, and everyone can expect to be treated with the respect they deserve for their contributions to this company,” he said.

The company is moving to layoff the first 13,000 workers, and most of the employees will be given notice over the next six months, the document added.

“Of that total, our work toward synergies and strategic alignment on Nokia Devices and Services is expected to account for about 12,500 jobs, comprising both professional and factory workers,” it added.

#ANS2014  

' Microsoft Windows XP Will No Longer Get Java Runtime Support '


#AceWorldNews – UNITED STATES (Silicon Valley) – July 14 – Windows XP hold-outs pay attention. If you run the Java runtime on XP, it looks as if the current version is about as good as it gets.

The next version, 7u65 and 8u11, due to ship in the middle of July, will not support or run on XP.

Oracle hasn’t announced this so much as sneaked out the information on its Java support site.

#ANS2014

` US Department of Homeland Security Advises Users of Microsoft’s Explorer Browser to Use Alternatives ‘


#AceSecurityNews – BOSTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security advised computer users to consider using alternatives to Microsoft Corp’s Internet Explorer browser until the company fixes a security flaw that hackers have used to launch attacks.

The bug is the first high-profile security flaw to emerge since Microsoft stopped providing security updates for Windows XP earlier this month.
That means PCs running the 13-year old operating system could remain unprotected against hackers seeking to exploit the newly uncovered flaw, even after Microsoft figures out how to defend against it.

The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team, a part of Homeland Security known as US-CERT, said in an advisory released on Monday morning that the vulnerability in versions 6 to 11 of Internet Explorer could lead to “the complete compromise” of an affected system.

“We are currently unaware of a practical solution to this problem,” Carnegie Mellon’s Software Engineering Institute warned in a separate advisory, that US-CERT linked to in its warning.

FireEye, whose Mandiant division helps companies respond to cyber attacks, declined to name specific victims or identify the group of hackers, saying that an investigation into the matter is still active.

“It’s a campaign of targeted attacks seemingly against U.S.-based firms, currently tied to defense and financial sectors,” said FireEye spokesman Vitor De Souza on Sunday. “It’s unclear what the motives of this attack group are, at this point.

It appears to be broad-spectrum intel gathering.”

Ace Related News:

  1. April 28 – http://tinyurl.com/m4re4p2

#ANS2014

SEA: ` Reportedly obtained Documents that reveal how much Money the `FBI ‘ pay `Microsoft ‘ to view client’s Data ‘


#AceSecurityNews – Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) hackers have reportedly obtained documents that reveal how much money the FBI pays Microsoft each time agents try to obtain or view an individual customer’s communication information.

syrian-hackers-reveal-fbi-microsoft.siThe SEA, a group that has made headlines in the past for infiltrating Western media outlets that it perceives to be against Syrian President Bashar Assad, provided a trove of emails and invoices to the Daily Dot http://www.dailydot.com/news/microsoft-compliance-emails-fbi-ditu/, which analyzed the documents before publishing them.

“The documents consist of what appear to be invoices and emails between Microsoft’s Global Criminal compliance team and the FBI’s Digital Intercept Technology Unit (DITU), and purport to show exactly how much money Microsoft charges DITU, in terms of compliance costs, when DITU provides warrants and court orders for customers’ data,” wrote the Daily Dot’s Kevin Collier and Fran Berman.

“In December 2012, for instance, Microsoft emailed DITU a PDF invoice for $145,100, broken down to $100 per request for information, the documents appear to show,” they went on. “In August 2013, Microsoft allegedly emailed a similar invoice, this time for $352, 200 at a rate of $200 per request.

The latest invoice provided, from November 2013, is for $281,000.”

Daily Dot – RT News – News Sources

Related News – Verge – http://www.theverge.com/2014/3/20/5530630/hacked-invoices-show-how-much-microsoft-charges-the-fbi-for-customer-information

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`Data Hacker’s steal `Three Hundred and Sixty Million Account Credentials’ now on `Black Market’


#AceSecurityNews says one of the largest single personal data hack’s ever? 360 million stolen account credentials found on-line.

Published time: March 01, 2014 01:31

 
Reuters / Kacper PempelReuters / Kacper Pempel
A cyber security firm has reported a “mind boggling” cache of stolen credentials which has been put up for sale on online black markets.
A total of 360 million accounts were affected in a series of hacks, one of which seems to be the biggest in history.

Alex Holden, chief information security officer of Hold Security LLC, said that the firm had uncovered the data over the past three weeks.

He said that 360 million personal account records were obtained in separate attacks, but one single attack seems to have obtained some 105 million records which could make it the biggest single data breach to date, Reuters reports. “The sheer volume is overwhelming,” said Holden in a statement on Tuesday. 

“These mind boggling figures are not meant to scare you and they are a product of multiple breaches which we are independently investigating. This is a call to action,” he added. 

Hold Security said that as well as 360 million credentials, hackers were also selling 1.25 billion email addresses, which may be of interest to spammers. 

The huge treasure trove of personal details includes user names, which are most often email addresses, and passwords, which in most cases are unencrypted. 

Hold Security uncovered a similar breach in October last year, but the tens of millions of records had encrypted passwords, which made them much more difficult for hackers to use. 

“In October 2013, Hold Security identified the biggest ever public disclosure of 153 million stolen credentials from Adobe Systems Inc. One month later we identified another large breach of 42 million credentials from Cupid Media,”
 Hold Security said in statement.

AFP Photo / Justin SullivanAFP Photo / Justin Sullivan

Holden said he believes that in many cases the latest theft has yet to be publically reported and that the companies that have been attacked are unaware of it. He added that he will notify the companies concerned as soon as his staff has identified them. 

“We have staff working around the clock to identify the victims,”
 he said. 

However, he did say that the email addresses in question are from major providers such as AOL Inc, Google Inc, Yahoo Inc, and Microsoft Corp, as well as “almost all” Fortune 500 companies and nonprofit organizations.

Heather Bearfield, who runs cybersecurity for an accounting firm Marcum LLP, told Reuters that while she had no information about Hold Security’s findings, she believed that it was quite plausible as hackers can do more with stolen credentials than they can with stolen credit cards, as people often use the same login and password for many different accounts. 

“They can get access to your actual bank account. That is huge. That is not necessarily recoverable funds,” she said. 

The latest revelation by Hold Security comes just months after the US retailer Target announced that 110 million of their customers had their data stolen by hackers. Target and the credit and debit card companies concerned said that consumers do not bear much risk as funds are rapidly refunded in fraud losses.

RT  

 

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#NSA: ” Obama Administration Announces Agreement with Facebook, LinkedIn, Yahoo, Google and Microsoft but Civil Rights Still Want More”


#AceSecurityNews says Facebook, Google, and others can unveil national security request details, but not until product is two years old. Thus urging `Civil Rights Groups’ to want more!

Published time: February 03, 2014 23:02

Reuters / Pawel KopczynskiReuters / Pawel Kopczynski
Some of the most influential companies in Silicon Valley have unveiled data regarding the national security requests they have received from the US government, detailing how many requests they receive, how many the company responds to, and other details.

The Obama administration announced Monday it had come to an agreement with Facebook, LinkedIn, Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft to allow the companies to disclose some details about the surveillance requests targeting their customers.

Apple released its own transparency report last week.

US Attorney General Eric Holder and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said in a joint statement that the tech companies are now authorized to disclose the “number of national security orders and requests issued to communication providers, the number of customer accounts targeted under those orders and requests and the underlying legal authorities.”

The companies have spent months fighting for such a deal after complaining that the National Security Agency dragnet exposed last year had hurt business.

We filed our lawsuits because we believe that the public has a right to know about the volume and types of national security requests we receive,” the five companies said in a joint statement Monday. “We’re pleased the Department of Justice has agreed that we and other providers can disclose this information. While this is a very positive step we’ll continue to encourage Congress to take additional steps to address all of the reforms we believe are needed.”

Civil liberties activists hold a rally against surveillance of US citizens on January 17, 2014. (AFP Photo / Nicholas Kamm)Civil liberties activists hold a rally against surveillance of US citizens on January 17, 2014. (AFP Photo / Nicholas Kamm)

Reports indicate that, when the first of the Edward Snowden leaks were publicized in June, the White House was reluctant to make any deals with Silicon Valley. But with media pressure mounting and shifting polls proving that a sizable number of Americans are skeptical about the NSA surveillance, administration officials told Politico the time to negotiate had come.

While this aggregate data was properly classified until today, the office of the Director of National Intelligence, in consultation with other departments and agencies, has determined that the public interest in disclosing this information now outweighs the national security concerns that require its classification,” stated Holder and Clapper.

Facebook’s transparency report for the latter half of 2012 and the first six months of 2013 noted that only a “small fraction” of one percent of its users were the target of any surveillance requests.

LinkedIn received “between 0 and 249” national security-related requests in the first six months of 2013. Over the same time period, Microsoft said it was sent under 1,000 national security letters pertaining to fewer than 1,000 accounts.

However, the government still prohibits companies from disclosing surveillance details about a new product until two years after it was launched, a condition that has irked civil liberties advocates calling for wider change.

Brad Smith, Microsoft’s general counsel and the company’s executive vice president for legal and corporate affairs, has said the government agreed to let the companies disclose requests “in bands of a thousand” and only six months after a request was made.

Asking the public and policymakers to try to judge the appropriateness of the government’s surveillance practices based on a single, combined, rounded number is like asking a doctor to diagnose a patient’s shadow: only the grossest and most obvious problem, if even that, will be ever evident,” Kevin Bankston, policy director at the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute, told Politico.

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