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N.S.A. Tapped Into North Korean Networks Before Sony Attack, Officials Say (New York Times)

Photo Kim Heung-kwang, a defector, said that in the early 1990s, North Korean computer experts had an idea: Use the Internet to attack the nation’s foes. Credit Jean Chung for The New York Times Continue reading the main story Share This Page Continue reading the main story WASHINGTON — The trail that led American officials to blame North Korea for the destructive cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment in November winds back to 2010, when the National Security Agency scrambled to break into the computer systems of a country considered one of the most impenetrable targets on earth. Spurred by growing concern about North Korea’s maturing capabilities, the American spy agency drilled into the Chinese networks that connect North Korea to the outside world, picked through connections in Malaysia favored by North Korean hackers and penetrated directly into the North with the help of South Korea and other American allies, according to former United States and foreign officials, computer experts later briefed on the operations and a newly disclosed N.S.A. document . Continue reading the main story Related Coverage Prominent North Korean Defector Recants Parts of His Story of Captivity JAN. 18, 2015 F.B.I. Says Little Doubt North Korea Hit Sony JAN. 7, 2015 U.S. Said to Find North Korea Ordered Cyberattack on Sony DEC. 17, 2014 North Korea Denies Role in Sony Pictures Hacking DEC. 7, 2014 U.S. Weighs Response to Sony Cyberattack, With North Korea Confrontation Possible DEC. 18, 2014 A classified security agency program expanded into an ambitious effort, officials said, to place malware that could track the internal workings of many of the computers and networks used by the North’s hackers, a force that South Korea’s military recently said numbers roughly 6,000 people

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Turkey threatens to block Twitter unless Twitter blocks the account of a newspaper that circulated leaked documents (Sebnem Arsu/New York Times)

Continue reading the main story Share This Page Continue reading the main story ANKARA, Turkey — Turkish officials threatened to shut down Twitter in the country unless the social-media company blocked the account of a left-wing newspaper that had circulated documents about a military police raid on Turkish Intelligence Agency trucks that were traveling to Syria last January. The demand came on Thursday, a day after a local court in Adana, a southern Turkish province, issued an order barring coverage of the investigation, hinting at the possibility of an overall ban on social media networks where documents on legal proceedings of the raid have been circulated. The court argued that publication of the information violated national security and interfered with a continuing inquiry. Turkish government officials strongly denied opposition claims that the intelligence agency’s trucks had carried weapons for extremists fighting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Instead, the trucks were trying to deliver humanitarian aid for the Turkmen minority in Syria, who had been stranded in the conflict since 2011, officials said. Networks like Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus complied with the court order on Wednesday, removing content from accounts to avert a shutdown, Turkish news outlets reported. But the BirGun newspaper, as well as other Twitter users, continued to challenge the ban by posting new messages. Twitter refused to block the newspaper’s account but did block specific messages that BirGun had posted showing images of leaked documents in which the military police were said to have confirmed that the trucks contained weapons and explosives. The documents also said the weapons were destined for Al Qaeda. “Out of the almost 60,000 tweets on the account, Twitter withheld access in Turkey to the small number of tweets that discussed the national security issue referenced in the order,” said Nu Wexler, a Twitter spokesman, who added, “We continue to work diligently to protect the rights of our users and preserve access for millions of Twitter users in Turkey.” Both Twitter and YouTube were blocked in Turkey in March after leaks of what were said to be government plans for a secret military operation in Syria. Twitter was reactivated after two weeks and YouTube after two months. Vindu Goel contributed reporting from San Francisco. A version of this article appears in print on January 17, 2015, on page A10 of the New York edition with the headline: Turkey Threatens to Block Social Media Over Released Documents.

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9 hobbies anyone can master in 2015 – Mashable

Mashable 9 hobbies anyone can master in 2015 Mashable Some may want to lose 15 pounds, others are interested in getting through a reading list or traveling to the Grand Canyon. Your motives might be different, but the key to success is always the same: In order to do what we want, we have to start doing it.

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Intel pledges to increase diversity of its US workers by 2020, will invest $300M to support broader workforce (Jessica Guynn/USA Today)

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich delivers a keynote address in front of an image of a 3D Systems Cube 3-D printer at the 2014 International CES at The Venetian Las Vegas on Jan. 6, 2014, in Las Vegas. . (Photo: Ethan Miller, Getty Images) 26 CONNECT LINKEDIN EMAIL MORE SAN FRANCISCO — Intel has set an aggressive goal of dramatically increasing the diversity of its U.S. workforce by 2020. It's also pledging $300 million to fund the hiring and retention of women and underrepresented minorities, the largest investment yet in diversity by a technology company. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich made the announcement during his keynote speech at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Tuesday night. He said he was addressing the one word that could change the technology industry for the better: inclusion. "It's time to step up and do more. It's not good enough to say we value diversity," Krzanich said. Intel will aim for its U.S

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Monster sues Beats; CEO Noel Lee claims he and Monster invented the technology behind Beats By Dr. Dre headphones (Mike Snider/USA Today)

Monster Cable CEO Noel Lee. (Photo: H. Darr Beiser, USAT) 31 CONNECT 2 LINKEDIN EMAIL MORE Monster, which co-designed the original Beats By Dr. Dre headphones, is filing suit against Beats Electronics, the firm acquired by Apple in May and co-founded by musician Dr. Dre and producer Jimmy Iovine. The audio tech company and its CEO Noel Lee say in the suit that he and Monster invented the technology behind the Beats By Dr. Dre headphones. The suit claims that Iovine and Dre (Andre Young) committed fraud in pirating the headphones away from Lee and Monster. The suit, filed in San Mateo (Calif.) County Superior Court, charges that the Beats co-founders concealed the role of Monster and Lee in designing and engineering the headphone line, as well as educating them about engineering, manufacturing, distributing, and selling the headphones that Monster and Lee invented. After severing ties with Monster, Beats was purchased by Apple for $3 billion. But as the Beats co-founders made millions, Monster lost millions from its investment in the rise of Beats, the suit charges. Had Lee retained his original 5% interest in Beats, his total stake in the Beats-Apple deal would have been worth over $100 million, the suit alleges. When contacted, Apple said that it did not have comment on the suit.

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Snapchat’s curated "Our Story" posts from worldwide New Year’s Eve celebrations will be displayed on screens in Times Square (Emily…

Photo Snapchat’s “Our Story” combines user posts to document events. New Year's Eve is next. Credit John Minchillo/Associated Press Continue reading the main story Share This Page Continue reading the main story This New Year’s Eve, there is a new 24-hour countdown. Snapchat — the app with ephemeral messages that is popular with people younger than 25 but relatively obscure to the over-45 set — is planning to document the final moments of 2014 and the ushering-in of 2015 with a very public global presentation. A team of Snapchat curators will stitch together photos and videos from the app’s users at celebrations in Dubai, New York City, St. Petersburg, Russia, and other posts around the world to create a documentarylike view of how people are experiencing New Year’s Eve. (The photos and videos will be included only if users give their permission.) Users will be able to see the piece in the live section of the app. Snapchat also will distribute the New Year’s Eve story to video screens in Times Square, the first time that the service will send its content from the app to another medium. After 24 hours, that entire story — just like the New Year’s Eve Champagne, confetti and fireworks — will disappear. Photo Snapchat featured user photos to document the Philadelpia Dog Show in November. “It is very much in the moment,” said Emily White, Snapchat’s chief operating officer. “That is part of the excitement about it. It is the chance to be part of something that is happening now.” The initiative underscores Snapchat’s under-the-radar but fast-growing prominence on the media landscape, especially among teenagers and young adults. The app started about three and a half years ago as a service that allowed people to send pictures that would disappear seconds after being viewed.

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Competition among mobile phone carriers leads to constantly shifting plans, confused consumers (Brian X. Chen/New York Times)

Photo Shopping for cellphones at Best Buy in Dunwoody, Ga. The introduction of no-contract plans set off a competition in phone deals. Credit David Tulis/Associated Press Continue reading the main story Share This Page Continue reading the main story SAN FRANCISCO — One wireless phone plan allows customers to upgrade to a new phone in less than two years. Another allows a pool of data to be shared across multiple devices. Yet another offers unlimited data, but only at slower Internet speeds. All these perks are there for the taking, yet the average wireless phone bill continues with its monthly sting. Confused yet? Welcome to the confounding world of wireless phone billing plans. Even executives at the wireless phone companies say their industry has created a Tower of Babel of competing plans, with highly specific requirements and offerings and even, in many cases, unique language buried in the fine print. For cellphone customers, all this competition has meant they will occasionally receive more for their money, or they might even obtain a better deal when they switch to a different phone carrier. But with that savings opportunity has come the risk of phone bill surprises even for knowledgeable consumers.

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W3C to recommend allowing companies with whom users show an "intention to interact", like a Facebook login, to track them, weakening…

Continue reading the main story Share This Page Continue reading the main story HAYMARKET, Va. — FOUR years ago, the Federal Trade Commission announced, with fanfare, a plan to let American consumers decide whether to let companies track their online browsing and buying habits. The plan would let users opt out of the collection of data about their habits through a setting in their web browsers, without having to decide on a site-by-site basis . The idea, known as “Do Not Track,” and modeled on the popular “Do Not Call” rule that protects consumers from unwanted telemarketing calls, is simple. But the details are anything but. Although many digital advertising companies agreed to the idea in principle, the debate over the definition , scope and application of “Do Not Track” has been raging for several years. Now, finally, an industry working group is expected to propose detailed rules governing how the privacy switch should work. The group includes experts but is dominated by Internet giants like Adobe, Apple, Facebook, Google and Yahoo. It is poised to recommend a carve-out that would effectively free them from honoring “Do Not Track” requests. If regulators go along, the rules would allow the largest Internet giants to continue scooping up data about users on their own sites and on other sites that include their plug-ins, such as Facebook’s “Like” button or an embedded YouTube video.

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FTC charges data broker LeapLab with selling consumers’ financial details to fraudsters (Natasha Singer/New York Times)

Photo Jessica Rich, left, the director of the F.T.C.’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. Credit Philip Scott Andrews/The New York Times Federal regulators are cracking down on information resellers who hawk personal details about consumers to companies that might illegitimately exploit that information. This week, the Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit claiming that LeapLab, a data broker in Nevada, sold intimate details about several hundred thousand people, including their Social Security numbers and bank account numbers, to marketers and other companies that had no legitimate need for that data. One of the data purchasers, Ideal Financial Solutions of Las Vegas, reportedly used the records it bought to make unauthorized withdrawals from consumers’ bank accounts, according to a separate federal lawsuit. The complaints are part of a multiyear government crackdown on fraudulent debt collection and other scams that target people in financial distress. But the case against LeapLab indicates that federal regulators are now widening their investigation to include the middlemen who traffic in the kind of closely held consumer details that can make consumers vulnerable to financial scams. “We have been targeting the actual fraudsters for years. Now we are really trying to move behind the scenes and target the data brokers,” Jessica L. Rich, the director of the F.T.C.’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a phone interview on Tuesday. “The message is that selling consumers’ highly sensitive data to third parties, with either the knowledge or a strong suspicion that they have no legitimate need for it, violates the law.” The complaint charged that LeapLab obtained files on hundreds of thousands of consumers who were applying for payday loans from lead generators. These are companies that set up consumer-friendly sites, typically asking users to provide their contact information and specific financial details, with the goal of marketing access to potential customers to businesses like payday lenders and insurers. According to the complaint, LeapLab bought payday loan applications containing consumers’ names, addresses, phone numbers, employer name, Social Security numbers, bank account numbers and bank routing numbers. But federal regulators say that the company sold only about 5 percent of those records to online lenders, who paid $10 to $150 to acquire each loan application

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JPMorgan data breach entry point identified, one server didn’t use two-factor authentication (New York Times)

Photo A hack attack affected JPMorgan Chase this summer. Credit Mike Segar/Reuters The computer breach at JPMorgan Chase this summer — the largest intrusion of an American bank to date — might have been thwarted if the bank had installed a simple security fix to an overlooked server in its vast network, said people who have been briefed on internal and outside investigations into the attack. Big corporations like JPMorgan spend millions — $250 million in the bank’s case — on computer security every year to guard against increasingly sophisticated attacks like the one on Sony Pictures. But the weak spot at JPMorgan appears to have been a very basic one, the people said. They did not want to be identified publicly because the investigation into the attack is incomplete. The attack against the bank began last spring, after hackers stole the login credentials for a JPMorgan employee, these people said. Still, the attack could have been stopped there. Most big banks use a double authentication scheme, known as two-factor authentication, which requires a second one-time password to gain access to a protected system. But JPMorgan’s security team had apparently neglected to upgrade one of its network servers with the dual password scheme, the people briefed on the matter said. That left the bank vulnerable to intrusion. The oversight is now the focus of an internal review at JPMorgan that seeks to identify whether there are any other unguarded holes in the bank’s vast network, several of the people briefed on the matter said, adding that, internally, the episode is seen as an embarrassment. The relatively simple nature of the attack — some details of which have not been previously reported — puts the breach in a new light. In August, when Bloomberg News first reported on the attack, which ultimately compromised some account information for 83 million households and small businesses, the bank’s security experts and the Federal Bureau of Investigation feared a sophisticated adversary

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YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki encourages experimenting with professional content and new business models, like subscription-based Music Key, to grow…

Continue reading the main story Share This Page Continue reading the main story This fall, Susan Wojcicki, the chief executive of YouTube, appeared on a panel at Vanity Fair’s inaugural technology conference in San Francisco. Sitting on the same stage at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts where Steve Jobs once introduced the iPad to the world, she discussed the future of the media with Richard Plepler, the chief executive of HBO. At one point, the moderator asked Ms. Wojcicki if she thought cable television would still be around in 10 years. She paused for a moment before answering, with a bit of a sly smile, “Maybe.” The crowd laughed, even though just about everyone in the packed auditorium knew she was only half-joking. Photo Susan Wojcicki, the chief executive of YouTube, has quietly become one of the world’s most powerful media executives. Credit Matthew Millman for The New York Times If cable TV is gone in a decade, Ms. Wojcicki and the global digital video empire over which she presides will be one of the main causes. YouTube, founded in 2005 as a do-it-yourself platform for video hobbyists — its original motto was “Broadcast Yourself” — now produces more hit programming than any Hollywood studio. Smosh , a pair of 20-something lip-syncing comedians, have roughly 30 million subscribers to their various YouTube channels. PewDiePie, a 24-year-old Swede who provides humorous commentary while he plays video games, has a following of similar size. The list goes on and on

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Apple Pay now supports 90% of US credit cards in terms of purchase volume (Mike Isaac/New York Times)

Photo SunTrust bank is among the companies that recently agreed to work with Apple Pay. Credit Erik S. Lesser/European Pressphoto Agency The list of companies working with Apple Pay continues to grow. On Tuesday, Apple announced that in recent weeks the company had signed up dozens more banks, retail stores and start-ups to adopt Apple Pay, the company’s new e-commerce product, which allows customers to buy things with little more than a wave of their iPhone. The new companies that recently agreed to work with the service include SunTrust, Barclaycard and USAA. Ten more banks, including TD Bank North America and Commerce Bank, will back the new form of payment on Tuesday. With the new additions, Apple says it supports the cards that represent about 90 percent of the credit card purchase volume in the United States. Staples, the big-box office supplies retailer, now accepts Apple Pay at its 1,400 United States locations. Chain grocers like Winn-Dixie and Albertsons take it, too. And on Friday, Amway Center, the home to the Orlando Magic basketball team, will accept Apple Pay at many of its retail and food and beverage stands during games. Other companies have given hints that the service has legs .

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Survey reveals most technology companies’ privacy policies do not cover employee access to user data (BuzzFeed)

Traditionally, privacy worries for consumers and tech companies have been limited to keeping information secure from third parties or hackers. But a series of internal abuses show that tech company employees often have universal access to user information, as well as reason — be it pure voyeuristic curiosity or, in the worst cases, a vendetta — to look at our whereabouts, spending, and of the most private corners of our lives. Fears of employee data abuse are founded, from the highest levels of government intelligence down to car-sharing apps. In 2013, reports revealed over a dozen instances in the past ten years in which NSA employees abused NSA surveillance to collect data on love interests, referred to internally as “Loveint.” At tech companies, where security measures and training are largely more relaxed, employees surveilling the location histories of ex-lovers, real-time tracking roommates, and looking at activity logs of friends of friends, is not only a plausible fear, but a new reality. Just last month, a New York Uber executive was investigated and reprimanded for tracking the whereabouts of a BuzzFeed News reporter without her permission. For all the careful consideration and legal maneuvering of tech company terms of service and privacy policies, those documents rarely mention the weakest point in any company’s security infrastructure: its employees. Clear, plainspoken explanations of employee access to user data are rarely, if ever, present in a privacy policy. But the reality is that thousands of tech company employees across the world now have unfettered access to our most personal data. BuzzFeed News reached out to 29 major technology companies, including social networks, fitness trackers, and dating, payment, messaging, music, mapping, and music apps with ten specific questions about their internal privacy policies with regard to user data. Out of the 29 companies, only 13 responded. Of the 13 that responded, three companies didn’t offer comment. Responses from the other ten manifested a wide range of views: some took the inquiry seriously; others offered boilerplate responses, and a significant percentage of the companies chose to remain silent. All told, the collective responses offer a complex and, in many cases, unsettling survey of the current data privacy landscape. BuzzFeed News sent the same set of ten straightforward questions to all 29 companies. Here is the list in full: Do you have a privacy policy regarding employee access to user location, financial, and other account data, if so what is it?

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Chicago regulators approve plan to create Uber-like taxi hailing app; similar plan in New York is pending vote (Mike Isaac/New York Times)

Photo A New York City council member has proposed an app that would let residents “e-hail” city cabs. Credit Todd Heisler/The New York Times If you can’t beat them, join them. Regulators in Chicago have approved a plan to create one or more applications that would allow users to hail taxis from any operators in the city, using a smartphone. In New York, a City Council member proposed a similar app on Monday that would let residents “e-hail” any of the 20,000 cabs that circulate in the city on a daily basis. It is a new tack for officials in the two cities, a reaction to the surging use of hail-a-ride apps like Uber and Lyft. Regulators in New York have not yet voted on the bill on the e-hail app, which was first proposed by Benjamin Kallos, a councilman who represents the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island. In Chicago, the plan to create such apps is part of the so-called Taxi Driver Fairness Reforms package, a plan backed by a taxi union and City Council members that would update regulations around taxi cab lease rates and violations like traffic tickets, among others. The city is expected to solicit third-party application developers to build the official app or set of apps. The City Council gave no further details on its selection criteria, nor did it give information on how the initiative would be financed. “These reforms represent what is necessary to further modernize this growing industry,” Rahm Emanuel, Chicago’s mayor, said in a statement. William Morris Endeavor, the talent agency where Mr. Emanuel’s brother Ari is co-chief, is an investor in Uber. In just five years, Uber and Lyft, start-ups based in San Francisco, have shook up the taxi and limousine industry, offering a more tech-savvy approach to ride-sharing.

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