Month: January 2024

Apple accuses UK gov’t of ‘unprecedented overreach’ on privacy

In the name of security, the UK government may well have put a cybersecurity target on the nation’s back, with Apple once again warning that proposed changes to the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 are a “serious and direct threat to data security and information privacy.

“We are deeply concerned about the amendments to the Investigatory Powers Bill currently before Parliament, which will put the privacy and security of users at risk," Apple said in a statement. “This is an unprecedented overreach by the government and, if implemented, the UK new user protections could be secretly vetoed globally, preventing us from ever delivering them to customers.”

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Russia hacks Microsoft: It’s worse than you think

Another day, another hack of Microsoft technology. Ho-hum, you might think, this has happened before and will happen again — as surely as the sun rises in the morning and sets at night.

This time is different. Because this time the targets weren’t Microsoft customers, but rather the top echelons of Microsoft itself. And the hacker group, called Midnight Blizzard, or sometimes Cozy Bear, the Dukes, or A.P.T. 29, is sponsored by Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (and has been since at least 2008).

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10 must-have security tips for digital nomads

Ive been a digital nomad since 2006. Since then, I’ve spent more time abroad than in the United States, working all the while, no matter where. And I’ve learned a lot about safety, security and privacy in specific locations on the European, African, and American continents — often the hard way.

Lots of people travel for business or vacation. The difference with digital nomads abroad (and bleisure and workcation travelers) is that you’re more likely to be carrying your most expensive electronics, more likely to be staying at an Airbnb than a hotel, and more likely to be in serious trouble if you lose work computers and devices (not to mention passports and your wallet).

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The most significant number from Samsung’s Galaxy S24 announcement

My goodness, there's a lot to be said about Samsung's newly announced Galaxy S24 family of flagship Android devices.

Aaaaand, spoiler alert: We won't be saying most of those things here, in this column, today.

Now, don't get me wrong: Samsung's latest and greatest Galaxy models have tons of good stuff going for 'em. From the eye-catching hardware to the specs to end all specs, Samsung rarely holds back with its top-of-the-line Android offerings. And this year's devices appear to be no exception.

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3 exceptional Android privacy power-ups

In many ways, privacy has become a bit of a conceptual buzzword — something that, similar to the AI craze of the moment, is as much about marketing a broad idea to people as it is anything specific or practical.

But all opportunistic hype aside, privacy absolutely does matter — once you dig in past that silly outer layer and actually think about what, exactly, you want to achieve. And here in the land o' Android, you've got plenty o' potential-packed possibilities to ponder.

Today, I want to draw your attention to one area where a teensy bit of effort can give you an awful lot of added privacy advantages — and that's in the ever-evolving domain of web browsing on your favorite Android gadget.

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How OpenAI plans to handle genAI election fears

OpenAI is hoping to alleviate concerns about its technology’s influence on elections, as more than a third of the world's population is gearing up for voting this year. Among the countries where elections are scheduled are the United States, Pakistan, India, South Africa, and the European Parliament.

“We want to make sure that our AI systems are built, deployed, and used safely. Like any new technology, these tools come with benefits and challenges,” OpenAI wrote Monday in a blog post. “They are also unprecedented, and we will keep evolving our approach as we learn more about how our tools are used.”

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Failed unsubscribes could be a clue your data’s out of control

Anyone who's eveer tried to unsubscribe to an email list knows that "unsubscribe" button never seems to work — except to verify your email account is working. But what if that failure arises from something more problematic than an unethical person ignoring the request?

What if it is the latest symptom of the overly distributed data problem?

That's the same issue that undermines compliance and legal discovery rules such as GDPR’s Right To Be Forgotten rule. It’s also the same problem that makes it all-but-impossible for enterprises to have current and comprehensive datamaps. 

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For Patch Tuesday, 48 updates, no zero-day flaws

Microsoft has eased us into the new new year with just 48 updates for the Windows, Office and .NET platforms. There were no zero-days for January, and no reports of publicly exposed vulnerabilities or exploited security issues.

Developers of complex, line-of-business applications might need to pay particular attention to how Microsoft has updated the Message Queue system. Printing has been patched and minor updates to bluetooth and Windows shell sub-systems (shortcuts and wallpaper) require some testing before deployment.

The team at Readiness has crafted a useful infographic that outlines the risks associated with each of the updates for this January release.

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Security tips for Apple-using workers in co-working spaces

For Apple-using workers on the go, especially if you frequent shared co-working spaces or public places, don't assume you're as secure as you think you are.  

Co-working spaces are particularly under threat, in part because criminals have already figured out that the people using them are good targets for data theft, ransomware, and more.

They’ve also realized that at least some of those working from such spaces might well be part of, or connected with, larger corporate entities — meaning a successful data heist could unlock the gates to greater and more profitable kingdoms. There are useful resources from government and industry aimed at helping workers lock down their devices and data. In the US, for instance, the National Institute of Standards and Technology has published a useful guide to explain some of the risks, while the US Office of Personnel Management offered up even more useful advice.

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Will super chips disrupt the ‘everything to the cloud’ IT mentality?

Enterprise IT for the last couple of years has grown disappointed in the economics — not to mention the cybersecurity and compliance impact — of corporate clouds. In general, with a few exceptions, enterprises have done little about it; most saw the scalability and efficiencies too seductive.

Might that change in 2024 and 2025?

Apple has begun talking about efforts to add higher-end compute capabilities to its chip, following similar efforts from Intel and NVIDIA. Although those new capabilities are aimed at enabling more large language model (LLM) capabilities on-device, anything that can deliver that level of data-crunching and analytics can also handle almost every other enterprise IT task. 

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