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Posts tagged as “NSA”

Galaxy Backdoor, RIT Offers Open Source Minor & More…

FOSS Week in Review

Java is the target for half of all exploits

We’ve been saying for a couple of years now that Java isn’t safe and have been urging everyone who will listen to disable Java in the browser. As we’ve been saying this, comments to our articles on Java security have filled with folks wagging a finger and “reminding” us that Java is only a threat in the browser, that otherwise Java is safe.

That is wrong. The only time Java is safe is when it’s in a cup. According to an article published on IT World, researchers say that Java is now responsible for fully half of the exploits discovered in December.

SCO & NSA: The Great Digital Whack-A-Mole Game

Other than PJ, there’s not a character from the SCO saga that I would like to meet face to face.

Not Blake Stowell, even though he knows what went down behind closed doors at SCO and is the most likely candidate to tell what really went on inside the company. In those days he was SCO’s Director of Corporate Communications, the person who had to put a palatable spin on his boss’s actions. These days he’s working as PR Director for Omniture, a data mining company with questionable practices that’s owned by Adobe. Before his tenure at SCO he spent time working for Novell (no surprise) and Microsoft.

I especially have no interest in meeting SCO’s old CEO Darl McBride, the thug who now spends his time being President and CEO of Me, Inc., a renaming of SCO Mobility which he purchased for $100,000 in 2010.

Christine HallChristine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Redmond FUDs FOSS While Forking Android & More…

FOSS Week in Review

Botnet steals bitcoins

We figure that any currency that can’t be safely tucked into a mattress isn’t secure, so we haven’t been too quick to jump on the bitcoin bandwagon. Needless to say, we weren’t surprised on Monday when Reuters reported that there’s a botnet on the loose with the aim of stealing the virtual currency.

According to the Chicago based security firm Trustwave, hundreds of thousands of computers have been infected with “Pony” malware to form a botnet going after bitcoin and other virtual currencies. So far, at least 85 virtual wallets have been stolen.

February’s Top Ten

These are the ten most read articles on FOSS Force for the month of February, 2014.

1. Recommending Linux to a Friend by Ken Starks. Published February 21, 2014. Our Mr. Starks explains how he got one nothing-but-Windows user to try and like Linux.

2. Maintenance–The Achilles Heel of Linux by Ken Starks. Published January 30, 2014. Should Linux users fight back again “broken” aspects of their favorite distro because “that’s just the way it is?”

3. KDE Tops Desktop Poll by Christine Hall. February 12, 2014. Visitors to FOSS Force choose KDE as their favorite desktop.

Russia’s Olympic Spying, Comcast Weds Time Warner & More…

FOSS Week in Review

The day we fought back

Tuesday, February 11th, The Day We Fight Back, has come and gone. Whether the event was a success, failure or fell somewhere in between depends on whom you read.

Surprisingly, the biggest naysayer was probably the New York Times, which started an article. “The Day the Internet Didn’t Fight Back,” with the line, “So much for mass protest.” It appears as if the Times’ metric for this judgement was the lack of participation by some sites which took part in the online SOPA protest a couple of years back.

The People Vs the NSA

There is a tablet in my house that blinks whenever my roommate has a message. I know this because for some reason it’s my job to keep it charged for her. It has front and back cameras. The built-in microphone and speakers are capable of holding a conversation in English–probably other languages as well. With what we know now, I must assume that the NSA has the ability to activate the cameras and microphone to run silently in the background, bypassing the light that indicates when the camera is in use.

The same is true of the other computers in my home, but to a lesser degree.

The Day We Fight Back bannerThe Day We Fight Back banner
The Day We Fight Back banner.

The desktop I’m using to write this article doesn’t have a camera or a microphone. Nor does the old Dell laptop that gets used occasionally around the house. My other laptop, a newer Gateway, is equipped with a built-in camera and microphone, but I’ve never managed to get the microphone to work under Bodhi Linux. Not that I’ve tried very hard. I don’t Skype or anything, so a microphone is of very little use to me.

This is probably a good thing as it means the NSA can’t watch or listen to me as I use my desktop or Dell and they can’t eavesdrop when I’m on the Gateway. They can only steal my bank passwords, learn where I store data online and what social networking accounts are connected with me.

Christine HallChristine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Torvald’s Thumbs Up, Gates’ Computer Skills & More…

FOSS Week in Review

Canadians spy at airports

The more we see of the Snowden revelations the more we wonder, when did the English speaking world become a police state?

The latest news was reported January 30th by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), from which we learned that all the electronics eavesdropping hasn’t been being conducted solely by the U.S. and the Brits. The Canadians have had their hand in it too.

It seems that Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC), a Canadian spy agency, has been using the free Wi-Fi at “a major Canadian airport” to track wireless devices, which presumably would include laptops as well as phones and tablets. The surveillance would continue for days after visitors passed through the airport.

Google Beats Troll, Ellison’s Oracle ‘Unbreakable’ & More…

FOSS Week in Review

NSA involved in industrial espionage

Another big non-surprise this week in the continuing saga of the NSA. It appears that our beloved spy agency has been using their secret powers for the purpose of uncovering industrial secrets from foreign companies. So much for the separation of business and state. Reuters reported that in a television interview with a German TV network, Edward Snowden said the agency doesn’t confine its intelligence gathering to items of national security.

“‘If there’s information at Siemens that’s beneficial to U.S. national interests – even if it doesn’t have anything to do with national security – then they’ll take that information nevertheless,’ Snowden said…”

Even the Republicans are jumping on the stop-the-NSA bandwagon, which is rather surprising.

You Say NSA Has Hurt U.S. Tech Sector

Back in the early days of the Snowden affair, when it first became obvious that Microsoft and others had co-operated with the NSA’s agenda to spy on every living human being on the planet who owned a computer, we said this wouldn’t bode well for those who make their living from tech in the U.S. We thought that proprietary software vendors would be most vulnerable due to their lack of transparency, i.e., the lack of available source code, especially after Redmond was exposed for building secret access into Windows.

Back in December, we asked for your opinion in our NSA in the USA Poll.

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