The Unfolding Boston Marathon Bombing Story and Internet Coverage, Observed from the Perspective of a U.S. Citizen in Europe 25,393 views (comments)
The moment I heard about the Boston Marathon bombing, I did what many people did: I immediately sought out as much information as possible online. I watched the now widely dispersed videos of the bomb exploding, I looked at the gruesome pictures of victims of the attacks, and I read countless articles about the unfolding tragedy. It is of course trite to observe that the internet has fundamentally altered the way people consume news, breaking or otherwise, but the importance of this fact, however obvious it may be, was made especially vivid to me as I watched the story of the Boston Marathon bombing unfold over the last few days from England, where I am currently in graduate school.
Technology, Social Media, and the Boston Marathon Bombing 588 views (comments)
The Boston Marathon bombing, like most tragedies, has prompted countless reflections and questions; some of this soul-searching has been quite general - how is humanity capable of both ruinous evil and heroic good? - and some of it is quite specific - how many people where injured, who are they, exactly how did they get hurt? The much-discussed topic of how technology and social media have impacted the response to the Boston Marathon killings is both general and specific. It is general in that people are asking expansive questions about what role, if any, amateurs armed with computers and an internet connection should play in an active terrorist investigation, and it is specific in that, regardless of how you answer the first question, amateurs are playing a role in an active terrorist investigation, zeroing in on the minutest details of the thousands of photos of the crime scene floating around the internet. We'll attempt to navigate between the two poles, exploring the intersection of technology, social media, and the Boston Marathon bombing details that have emerged so far.
Value of Zynga, Maker of Farmville and Mafia Wars, Plummets, Pulling Facebook Down with It 569 views (comments)
Things are not looking good for Zynga, the developer of popular Facebook games like Farmville, Mafia Wars, and Hidden Chronicles. At the close of the market yesterday, the value of Zynga stock had decreased by more than a third, to $3.18 a share, which likely led to a devaluation of Facebook stock, down eight percent after late trading yesterday. Zynga is doing no better today: at the close of the market, the value of Zynga is hovering around $3.17 a share. Shortly after the Zynga IPO that took place last December, Zynga stock was worth nearly four times as much.
Grum Zombie Botnet Shut down, Says Spam-Fighting Researcher Atif Mushtaq 583 views (This
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Grum, the world's third-largest botnet, has been shutdown, according to one of the security researchers who helped take the botnet offline, Atif Mushtaq. Mushtaq, who works for the "malware intelligence lab" FireEye, announced the good news on the security company's blog yesterday after two intense days battling Grum. You may see less spam related to cheap "Cilais," "Vigara," or "Levtira" (misspellings of Cialis, Viagra, and Levitra, respectively) and fewer unwanted messages advertising Rolex watches as a result of the Grum botnet shutdown. With a command and control server in the Netherlands, and additional servers in countries such as Panama and Russia, taking down Grum required international coordination and effort.
When Should You Change Your Password? 720 views (comments)
It seems like every week brings news of a new hacking, which in turn means that usernames, email addresses, and passwords are constantly being posted online by hackers, and this inevitably leads to a simple question: when should you change your password? Or, to frame the question in a slightly different way, how often should you change your password? In general, you should change your password about as frequently as you can tolerate changing your password. As long as you can keep track of your various passwords, there isn't any disadvantage associated with changing it (besides the fact that changing your password can be a bit of a pain). Now, however, there is at least one definite answer to the question posed above: you should change your password when ShouldIChangeMyPassword.com tells you to.
Yahoo Hacked by D33D Company, Breach Extends to Users of Gmail, Hotmail, AOL and Other Email Providers 1,310 views (This article has 1 comment)
There was talk over the last week or so that Yahoo had been hacked, but what wasn't mentioned during this period of speculation was that the potential hacking not only affected Yahoo users, but also users of Gmail, Hotmail, AOL, MSN, Comcast, Verizon, SBC Global, Live.com, and BellSouth. Today, Yahoo confirmed that it has in fact been hacked, indicating that a file with over 400,000 usernames and passwords - taken from various accounts, not just Yahoo accounts - was compromised by a group of hackers known as D33D Company and posted online. The data has since been taken offline.
Rex Mundi Publishes Hacked Personal and Private Information of Loan Applicants after AmeriCash Refuses to Pay ‘Idiot Tax’ 742 views (comments)
A couple of weeks back, the hacker group Rex Mundi blackmailed AmeriCash Advance, demanding that the payday lender give the group around $20,000. If AmeriCash Advance didn't pay up, Rex Mundi would publish the thousands of loan-applicant records it stole from the payday lender. Now, a couple of weeks later, AmeriCash Advance hasn't paid the extortion fee, so Rex Mundi did in fact publish all those loan-applicant records. This is a newsworthy story in its own right, but what really makes it important is that it reveals how utterly unsecured so much of our private information (Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, banking data, etc.) is. And our private information and other data are not just vulnerable to skilled hackers - it's vulnerable in general because it is often so poorly protected.
Apple Store Employees Refuse to Sell iPad, iPhone to Iranian Customers 850 views (comments)
Lots of people love Apple, but not Sahar Sabet and Zack Jafarzadeh, two potential customers at different Apple stores in Georgia who were prevented from buying an iPad and iPhone, respectively, for fear that they (the Apple products) will end up in Iran. Iran and the United States are not close, which is why the U.S. holds a complete embargo against Iran, placing it in the company of Cuba, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria. This means that U.S. goods, like iPads and other Apple products, cannot be exported or sold from the United States to these countries, and a U.S. person is prohibited from doing the same no matter where they are in the world.
Google Identifies 3.5 Million Malicious Sites Per Year (That’s 9500 New Malicious Sites a Day!) 654 views (comments)
Google is hard at work on a lot of things, including one of the most important and difficult things of all: improving Internet security. Five years ago, Google introduced Safe Browsing, an effort designed to protect Internet users - people who browse with Chrome, Firefox, or Safari, as well as anyone who searches the Web with Google - from malware and phishing. Through this effort, Google detects, among other things, 9,500 malicious sites every day. Allow us to repeat that: Google detects 9,500 malicious sites every day.
Reveal Day: New Top-Level Domain Names will Change the Internet Forever 766 views (comments)
Reveal Day is today, and, not surprisingly, much was revealed today. In particular, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced not only some of the new top-level domain names, but also which companies applied for them. By as early as the start of next year, a host of new top-level domain names - like .app, .news, .music, and .movie - will join the ubiquitous .com at the end of URLs. We have all grown accustomed to writing ".com" at the end of URLs (and occasionally ".net" and ".org"), but once these new TLDs (as "top-level domains" are often called) are brought online by ICANN, the average users' Internet experience may become more complicated.
Drop in Facebook Gamers Lowers Zynga Share Price 705 views (comments)
As goes Facebook, so goes the world of social media - perhaps not the whole world of social media, but certainly those companies intricately intertwined with Facebook, like Zynga, the creator of popular (at least for now) Facebook games like "Farmville," "Hidden Chronicles," and "Mafia Wars." Zynga shares have declined steadily over the last few months as fewer Facebook users play games through the social media platform. This week has been particularly unkind to Zynga, whose share price dropped 10 percent on Tuesday alone. What's wrong with Zynga? Are Zynga shares not worth what they once were? Will Zynga shares continue to decline in value?
Facebook Shareholders Sue Mark Zuckerberg for Insider Trading and Failure to Disclose Material Information 825 views (comments)
Investors who bought stock in Facebook are upset, leading them to do what upset investors do best: file a lawsuit against the person and/or company that allegedly wronged them. In this case, the person is CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg and the company is Facebook (along with a few banks that helped with the Facebook IPO), and the wrongdoing alleged is insider trading, and failure to disclose relevant information (i.e., that Facebook was not worth as much as the IPO price suggested). Not long ago, Zuckerberg and his brainchild Facebook were widely admired and praised. He was the king of technology - a Harvard dropout turned billionaire - but uneasy lies the head that wears a crown. Now Zuckerberg, having officially been sued for insider trading in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, has lost much of his esteem.
How Much is Facebook Worth? 826 views (comments)
To anyone who follows technology in particular or business in general, it has become clear that the Facebook IPO (Initial Public Offering) was, to put it lightly, a major disappointment. The Facebook IPO was supposed to be a financial victory that fit neatly into the timeline (no pun intended) of one of the most successful technology companies in history. But since going public, the value of Facebook shares (and by extension, of course, the value of Facebook as a company) have plummeted. This is not how things were supposed to go. But Facebook is young and the company has plenty of time to recover, so we wanted to cut through the negative press about the IPO to examine where Facebook shares are potentially going and where they have been. Basically, what is Facebook worth, and just as importantly, what should Facebook be worth?
Video Search Engine Blinkx Forms Partnership with Movie Clip Search Engine AnyClip, but What Exactly are Blinkx and AnyClip? 867 views (comments)
The video search engine Blinkx expanded its offerings today after signing a deal with AnyClip, another video search engine whose database is focused exclusively on movie clips. Through the new partnership with AnyClip, Blinkx was able to add tens of thousands of clips from various films to its searchable database. With the addition of these new movie clips, Blinkx now has over 35 million hours of video content on its site. This is big news in the video search engine business, and it sounds like a good partnershhip, but two questions: What is Blinkx? What is AnyClip?
What Facebook Knows About You 1,073 views (This article has 1 comment)
At this point, most of us know that Facebook collects an enormous amount of personal information about its users. Facebook relentlessly absorbs data - unfathomable amounts of data - that it saves and then uses for various purposes, like targeted advertising. But what kind of personal information does Facebook collect? How much personal information does Facebook have about you? What, in short, does Facebook know about you?
Facebook IPO Expected on May 17 1,000 views (comments)
The Facebook IPO will be the IPO (Initial Public Offering) to end all IPOs, or at least that's what you would think based on the hype surrounding it, and now May 17 is the day on which it is scheduled to occur, according to dozens of news sources. Over-hyped or not, the Facebook IPO is definitely a big deal - it very well could be the biggest Internet IPO in history, although this depends on what Facebook is worth (or what it is perceived to be worth by investors on the day the company's stock goes on sale). Regardless, it will almost certainly make several Facebook employees, especially founder Mark Zuckerberg, very, very rich. It will also be constantly speculated about before the IPO happens, and endlessly discussed thereafter. Now is as good a time as any to join the chorus.
Cascade Insights: Microsoft Hotmail Beats Google Gmail and Yahoo Mail at Blocking Spam 2,138 views (This
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Microsoft Hotmail, the world's largest email provider, is better at blocking spam than Google Gmail and Yahoo Mail, according to a study released by the independent research firm Cascade Insights. The study only tested these companies - the so-called big three email providers - and was sponsored by Microsoft, which funded the research to combat their bad reputation for allowing loads of spam into users' inboxes.
Email Providers Unite to Fight Spam and Fraudulent Messages 1,257 views (comments)
Several email providers that normally compete with one another, like Google Gmail and Microsoft Hotmail, have teamed up in an effort to better protect email users from spam and fraudulent messages. The new system is called DMARC, short for Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance. With a united front, the war against spam may have a powerful new weapon.
Watson the IBM Computer Wins Jeopardy! Challenge, Beating the Game’s Two Greatest Players 2,564 views (comments)
The IBM computer Watson won a three-day Jeopardy! tournament tonight, convincingly beating the two greatest Jeopardy! players of all time in an event that was billed by some as a "Man vs. Machine" showdown.
IBM Computer Watson Dominates Human Contestants In Second Night of Jeopardy! Challenge 2,069 views (comments)
The IBM computer Watson destroyed all-time Jeopardy! greats Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter tonight, finishing the second round of competition with a commanding lead that will be hard to overcome in tomorrow's IBM Jeopardy! finale.
IBM Computer Watson is Tied with Human Competitor On Jeopardy! After First Round 2,298 views (comments)
Watson, an IBM computer (or supercomputer) that serves as a highly-advanced Question Answering system (QA system), is tied with Brad Rutter, the all-time Jeopardy! money winner (3.2 million) who has never lost a game of Jeopardy!, after the first round of the game show concluded tonight.
Instantly Google with Google Instant Search – Google Instant Search Explained 2,690 views (comments)
Today's Google news is all about the new Google Instant Search 'type to search' feature, or, as its friends call it, Google Instant. You may be asking yourself "aren't searches on Google already instant?", and it's true that there are few things that take less time than a Google search. A quick action should no longer be measured against how quickly you can say "Jack Robinson" – we do things faster on the Internet these days, and Google is largely to thank. A Google search, in short, is a paradigmatic example of an almost instant human act. (It didn’t take me more than a couple seconds to figure out that I was trying to reference a saying involving a guy named "Jack Robinson," for example.)
Lawsuit Filed Over Airport Searches of Laptops and Cell Phones 2,412 views (This article has 1 comment)
When you’re going through the security gates at an airport, you’re most likely resigned to the fact that your bag will be searched, regardless of whether there is a reason to do so. But what about your computer, laptop, or cell phone, with the overwhelming amount of personal information it contains – do you expect that to be searched? You should, as Lisa Wayne found out the hard way when her laptop was whisked away and subjected to a half-hour search. It turns out this is fairly routine. Now a law suit has been filed by Wayne and others to out a halt to this practice (some would say 'abuse') by the TSA and Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Today’s Children Will Have to Change Their Names to Escape Their Digital Past, Says Google CEO 2,677 views (This article has 1 comment)
Will today’s children have to change their names to escape their digital past? In a nutshell, this disturbing possibility is what Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, suggested could happen in a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, as reported by the Daily Telegraph.