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BUSINESS
August 21, 2013 | By Paresh Dave
Remember the sneaky trick played by software makers? Download a free program and somehow it would automatically install an unwanted "search toolbar" on your computer's Internet browser. That annoying ploy hasn't disappeared on mobile phones. At least 50 million Android smartphones have downloaded a free app from the Google Play store called Brightest Flashlight Free that installs an unnecessary search feature on phones. The app activates a phone's camera light when launched - helpful.
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BUSINESS
August 20, 2013 | By Paresh Dave
Last year, Oakland resident Samantha Matalone Cook wanted to find a better way to teach kids about science, technology and engineering. An educator, writer and artist who home schools her three kids, Cook and some friends hatched a concept they called Hacker Scouts. The idea was to teach kids a range of concepts such as soldering, building electrical circuits, robotics and even sewing. The kids would form guilds and, as they completed projects, earn badges.  In an era when the Maker Movement is a growing phenomenon, Hacker Scouts spread like crazy.
BUSINESS
August 15, 2013 | By Paresh Dave
A hacker group briefly took control of portions of the Washington Post, Time and CNN websites on Thursday after breaking into an article recommendation service used by the news outlets. The Syrian Electronic Army took credit for the breach, with one member telling the Daily Beast that its ongoing assault on news websites is part of a campaign to call out Twitter for repeatedly shutting down the army's account. The member said the group has opened up its 16th Twitter account . The SEA posted screen shots showing that it had entered an administration portal for Outbrain, an article recommendation service that sends visitors to websites by recommending their content at the bottom of online articles of big publishers such as the Post.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 25, 2013 | By Joseph Serna
Stanford University's Internet technology database was hacked and school officials are suggesting students and staff reset their passwords as a precautionary measure. School officials made the announcement in a campus-wide email. “We do not yet know the scope of the intrusion, but we are working closely with information security consultants and law enforcement to determine its source and impact,” read a message posted on the school's website Thursday. “We are not aware at this time of any protected health information, personal financial information or Social Security numbers being compromised, and Stanford does not conduct classified research,” the message continued.
BUSINESS
July 25, 2013 | By E. Scott Reckard
Five Russians and a Ukrainian face federal criminal charges of hacking into the computers of major payment processors, retailers and financial institutions, stealing more than 160 million credit card numbers and causing hundreds of millions of dollars in losses. It is the largest such scheme ever prosecuted in the United States, federal authorities said in unsealing indictments Thursday in Newark, N.J., and Manhattan. Victimized firms ranged from 7-Eleven, Wet Seal and JetBlue to Visa Jordan, Diners Singapore and the Nasdaq stock market, authorities said.
BUSINESS
July 25, 2013 | By Paresh Dave
At least 2 million people received the email May 16 notifying them that an order they had just made on "Wallmart's" website was being processed, though none of them had done any such thing. Still, thousands of people clicked on the link in the email, taking many of them to a harmless Google search results page for "Walmart. " Others weren't so fortunate. The link led to the invisible download of malware that covertly infected their personal computers, turning them into remotely controlled robots for hackers, according to email security firm Proofpoint Inc. These sorts of "phishing" attacks are not only becoming more common but also are getting more lethal, with fake emails becoming harder to distinguish from real ones.
BUSINESS
July 18, 2013 | By Paresh Dave
Saying they took advantage of an out-of-date Wordpress system, members of a Syrian cyber-hacking group are claiming they swiped reams of user data this week from crowdsourced online phonebook Truecaller . In a statement Thursday, the Swedish startup acknowledged a "cyberattack" but offered few details. It said that attackers retrieved tokens that -- when paired with a secret passphrase - gives third-party websites access to individuals' Facebook, Google and other social media accounts.
BUSINESS
July 18, 2013 | By Paresh Dave
Two hackers from Irvine gained access in April to the air conditioning and water systems of a Google Inc. office in Sydney, Australia. Because Google had failed to install a security patch to a software program that remotely tracks and controls building systems, the hackers could have easily raised the office's temperature to an unbearable level or caused water pipes to burst by increasing pressure. Luckily for Google, the hackers were working for Cylance Inc., an Irvine company that has been grabbing headlines for uncovering security holes that could allow malicious hackers to do serious damage to crucial infrastructure such as hospitals, oil pipelines and banking systems.
BUSINESS
July 18, 2013 | By Paresh Dave
The demand stunned the hospital employee. She had picked up the emergency room's phone line, expecting to hear a dispatcher or a doctor. But instead, an unfamiliar male greeted her by name and then threatened to paralyze the hospital's phone service if she didn't pay him hundreds of dollars. Shortly after the worker hung up on the caller, the ER's six phone lines went dead. For nearly two days in March, ambulances and patients' families calling the San Diego hospital heard nothing but busy signals.
BUSINESS
July 4, 2013 | By Paresh Dave
Be prepared to freak out. Applications recently released by researchers from two universities can give Gmail users a good sense of how valuable their email accounts might be to malicious hackers and law enforcement investigators. Cloudsweeper , developed at University of Illinois at Chicago, scans emails to find any mention of passwords or password resets. Based on the black market price for the type of account details found in the email data, Cloudsweeper tells the user how much his or her Gmail account is worth to a hacker.
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