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Submission + - Oracle Sues Oregon Over Troubled Obamacare Website (

itwbennett writes: Blaming 'bureaucratic dysfunction,’ Oracle has sued Oregon for breach of contract, seeking more than $20 million in fees the state is withholding for its work on Cover Oregon, a troubled insurance exchange website developed as part of President Barack Obama's health care policy overhaul. The move is a preemptive strike by Oracle against Oregon, whose governor, John Kitzhaber, has advocated suing Oracle.

Submission + - DARPA Wants To Kill The Password (

jfruh writes: Many security experts agree that our current authentication system, in which end users are forced to remember (or, more often, write down) a dizzying array of passwords is broken. DARPA, the U.S. Defense Department research arm that developed the Internet, is trying to work past the problem by eliminating passwords altogether, replacing them with biometric and other cues, using off-the-shelf technology available today.

Submission + - What Do You Do When Your Mind-Numing IT Job Should Be Automated? (

jfruh writes: Not everyone in tech has a job like Homer Simpson, who's been replaced at various times by a brick tied to a lever and a chicken named Queenie. But many IT workers have come up against mind-numbing, repetitive tasks that probably could be automated. So: what to do about it? Well, the answer depends on how much power you have in an organization and how much your bosses respect your opinion.

Submission + - Google Lowers Search Ranking of Websites That Don't Use Encryption (

itwbennett writes: Google is taking Internet security into its own hands, punishing sites that don't use encryption by giving them lower search rankings. The use of https is now one of the signals, like whether a Web page has unique content, that Google uses to determine where a site will appear in search rankings, although it will be a 'lightweight' signal and applies to about 1 percent of search queries now, wrote Zineb Ait Bahajji and Gary Illyes, both Google webmaster trends analysts, in a blog post.

Submission + - China Cracks Down On Mobile Messaging (

itwbennett writes: China is tightening control over mobile messaging services with new rules that limit their role in spreading news. Under the new regulations, only news agencies and other groups with official approval can publish whatever the government considers political news via public accounts. 'All other public accounts that have not been approved cannot release or reprint political news,' the regulations said. Users of the instant messaging services will also have to register with their official IDs, and agree to follow relevant laws.

Submission + - Massive Russian Hack Has Researchers Scratching Their Heads (

itwbennett writes: Some security researchers on Wednesday said it's still unclear just how serious Hold Security's discovery of a massive database of stolen credentials really is. 'The only way we can know if this is a big deal is if we know what the information is and where it came from,' said Chester Wisniewski, a senior security advisor at Sophos. 'But I can't answer that because the people who disclosed this decided they want to make money off of this. There's no way for others to verify.' Wisniewski was referring to an offer by Hold Security to notify website operators if they were affected, but only if they sign up for its breach notification service, which starts at $120 per year.

Submission + - Monkey Selfie, Aboriginal Language Among Wikipedia Copyright Takedown Requests (

itwbennett writes: Wikimedia, which operates Wikipedia, published its first transparency report Wednesday detailing two years of alteration and takedown requests as well as requests for user data it received. Of the 304 general content removal requests, none were granted, Wikimedia said in a blog post. And while the amount of copyright takedown requests was notably low, the requests that were made included a selfie taken by a black macaque monkey and an entire aboriginal language, among other eyebrow-raising items.

Submission + - Lawsuit Against NetSuite Over 'Manifestly Unusable' Software Dismissed (

jfruh writes: NetSuite faced a potentially ugly situation in which one of its own customers sued because they said they had been bamboozled by aggressive salesmen into buying "manifestly unusable" software. The lawsuit has been settled out of court, but the message that software companies should be anxious about, according to one analyst, is that "in some cases the only way you can get a vendor's attention is to bring in a lawyer."

Submission + - Ex-Autonomy CFO: HP Trying To Hide Truth (

jfruh writes: The fallout from HP's Autonomy acquisition keeps getting more dramatic. Autonomy's ex-CFO is trying to block the settlement of lawsuits that arsoe the botched deal, claiming that HP is trying to hide its "own destruction of Autonomy's success after the acquisition." HP hit back, saying the ex-CFO "was one of the chief architects of the massive fraud on HP that precipitated this litigation."

Submission + - How Your Dropcam Live Feed Being Watched? (

itwbennett writes: Patrick Wardle and Colby Moore, both of whom work for security firm Synack, will show at Defcon how a Dropcam could turn into a Trojan horse. Here are the basics: Moore and Wardle plucked the private and public SSL certificates from the Dropcam they analyzed. With those in hand, it would be possible for them to view videos a person has stored or upload their own videos that would appear to have come from a specific Dropcam. 'It would allow an attacker to basically hijack or take over the video stream,' Wardle said. For its part, Nest, which acquired Dropcam in June, maintains that such an attack would require physical access to a Dropcam: 'The Synack folks were not able to remotely compromise any of our cameras — only ones they had physical access to,' wrote spokeswoman Kate Brinks. But it's not far fetched that an attacker could buy a Dropcam and give it as a gift to someone, essentially a Trojan horse attack that opens up their video to monitoring.

Submission + - Critics To FTC: Why Do You Hate In-App Purchasing Freedom?

jfruh writes: The FTC has moved aggressively recently against companies that make it too easy for people — especially kids — to rack up huge charges on purchases within apps. But at a dicussion panel sponsored by free-market think tank, TechFreedom, critics pushed back. Joshua Wright, an FTC commissioner who dissented in a recent settlement with Apple, says a 15-minute open purchase window produced "obvious and intuitive consumer benefits" and that the FTC "simply substituted its own judgment for a private firm's decision as to how to design a product to satisfy as many users as possible."

Submission + - Judge: US Search Warrants Apply To Overseas Computers (

jfruh writes: Investigators in a criminal case want to see some emails stored on Microsoft's servers in Ireland. Microsoft has resisted, on the grounds that U.S. law enforcement doesn't have jurisdiction there, but a New York judge ruled against them, responding to prosecutors' worries that web service providers could just move information around the world to avoid investigation. The case will be appealed.

Submission + - Japan: Still At The Forefront Of Tech Innovation (

jfruh writes: The rapid rise of Japan's high-tech sector in the 1970s and '80s prompted widespread surprise and more than a little anxiety in the West, with many American sci-fi writers and movie makers depicting a Japanese-dominated near future. The country's economy entered a seemingly permanent recession in the 1990s and it was soon eclipsed by China as the world's #2 economy and source of Western fears about Asian dominance. But Japanese tech companies and enginners keep on innovating in areas ranging from airplanes to tuna.

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