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Submission + - Silicon Valley Is the World's Innovation Capital Because of a Legal Technicality

HughPickens.com writes: Natalie Kitroeff writes at Bloomberg that a new study says the secret to Silicon Valley’s triumph as the global capital of innovation may lie in a quirk of California’s employment law that prohibits the legal enforcement of non-compete clauses. Unlike most states, California prohibits enforcement of non-compete clauses that force people who leave jobs to wait for a predetermined period before taking positions at rival companies. That puts California in the ideal position to rob other regions of their most prized inventors, “Policymakers who sanction the use of non-competes could be inadvertently creating regional disadvantage as far as retention of knowledge workers is concerned,” wrote the authors of the study "Regional disadvantage? Employee non-compete agreements and brain drain" (PDF). "Regions that choose to enforce employee non-compete agreements may therefore be subjecting themselves to a domestic brain drain not unlike that described in the literature on international emigration out of less developed countries."

The study, which looked at the behavior of people who had registered at least two patents from 1975 to 2005, focused on Michigan, which in 1985 reversed its longstanding prohibition of non-compete agreements. The authors found that after Michigan changed the rules, the rate of emigration among inventors was twice as a high as it was in states where non-competes remained illegal. Even worse for Michigan, its most talented inventors were also the most likely to flee. "Firms are going to be willing to relocate someone who is really good, as opposed to someone who is average," says Lee Fleming. For the inventors, it makes sense to take a risk on a place such as California, where they have more freedom. "If the job they relocate for doesn’t work out, then they can walk across the street because there are no non-competes

Submission + - Drone operator caught flying between two news helicopters at above 1500 feet

Bomarc writes: KIRO TV news in Seattle, WA is reporting an incident where a person was flying a drone above 1,500 feet, and near (between) two news helicopters. There is video footage of the drone and of the person flying his drone above and between the two news helicopters (reporting on a local fire). The 10 minute video includes clear images of the drone, the operator recovering it.

Submission + - Windows 10's Biometric Security Layer Introduced

jones_supa writes: One of the major concepts of Windows 10 are new security ideas, and though Microsoft has touched on this topic before, it's only now giving us a more comprehensive look in the form of "Windows Hello". This is an authentication system that uses a variety of biometric signatures and combines hardware and software to allow for seamless and secure user recognition and sign-in. According to Microsoft, the ideal scenario here would be for you to simply look or touch a new device running Windows 10 and to be immediately signed up. The software analyzes input from such hardware as fingerprint scanners and infrared sensors to make sure that you are you and not some imposter, and then signs you in without requiring you to enter a password. But the point of Windows Hello isn't only convenience, as the company's blog post notes, but also security. We've heard time and time again how insecure passwords are, and Microsoft is aiming to offer a widely-deployed replacement while still delivering enterprise grade security and privacy.

Submission + - Incomplete Microsoft Patch Left Machines Exposed to Stuxnet LNK Vulnerability (threatpost.com)

msm1267 writes: A five-year-old Microsoft patch for the .LNK vulnerability exploited by Stuxnet failed to properly protect Windows machines, leaving them exposed to exploits since 2010.

Microsoft today is expected to release a security bulletin, MS15-020, patching the vulnerability (CVE-2015-0096). It is unknown whether there have been public exploits of patched machines. The original LNK patch was released Aug. 2, 2010.

“That patch didn’t completely address the .LNK issue in the Windows shell, and there were weaknesses left behind that have been resolved in this patch,” said Brian Gorenc, manager of vulnerability research with HP's Zero Day Initiative. Gorenc said the vulnerability works on Windows machines going back to Windows XP through Windows 8.1, and the proof of concept exploit developed by Heerklotz and tweaked by ZDI evades the validation checks put in place by the original Microsoft security bulletin, CVE-2010-2568.

The vulnerability was submitted to ZDI by German researcher Michael Heerklotz.

Submission + - Mobile Device Crypto Could Lead to a 'Very, Very Dark Place', FBI Dir. Says (threatpost.com) 2

Gunkerty Jeb writes: FBI Director James Comey said Thursday that the recent movement toward default encryption of smartphones and other devices could “lead us to a very, very dark place.” Echoing comments made by law enforcement officials for the last several decades, Comey said that the advanced cryptosystems available today threaten to cripple the ability of intelligence and law enforcement agencies to gather vital information on criminals.

Submission + - National Security Letter Issuance Likely Headed to Supreme Court (threatpost.com)

Gunkerty Jeb writes: The Ninth Circuit appeals court in San Francisco took oral arguments from the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Department of Justice yesterday over the constitutionality of National Security Letters and the gag orders associated with them. The EFF defended a lower court's ruling that NSLs are unconstitutional, while the DoJ defended a separate ruling that NSLs can be enforced. Whatever the court rules, the issue of NSLs is all but certainly headed for the Supreme Court in the not too distant future.

Submission + - RSA's Coviello Calls for Surveillance Reform, Enhanced Privacy (threatpost.com)

Gunkerty Jeb writes: RSA Security executive chairman Art Coviello today at RSA Conference 2014 made his first public comments about the security company’s relationship with the National Security Agency, painting the landmark firm as a victim of the spy agency’s blurring of the lines between its offensive and defensive missions.

A Reuters report in December alleged RSA Security was paid $10 million in a secret contract with the NSA to use encryption software—specifically the Dual EC DRBG random number generator—that the spy agency could easily crack as part of its surveillance programs. The deal goes back nearly a decade to 2006, and according to Reuters, represented one third of the company’s crypto revenue at the time.

Submission + - New 'Mask' APT Campaign Called Most Sophisticated Yet (threatpost.com)

Gunkerty Jeb writes: A group of high-level, nation-state attackers has been targeting government agencies, embassies, diplomatic offices and energy companies with a cyber-espionage campaign for more than five years that researchers say is the most sophisticated APT operation they’ve seen to date. The attack, dubbed the Mask, includes a number of unique components and functionality and the group behind it has been stealing sensitive data such as encryption and SSH keys and wiping and deleting other data on targeted machines.

Submission + - Verizon Transparency Report: Govt Requests Increasing (threatpost.com)

Gunkerty Jeb writes: After months of public calls from privacy advocates and security experts, Verizon on Wednesday released its first transparency report, revealing that it received more than 164,000 subpoenas and between 1,000 and 2,000 National Security Letters in 2013. The report, which covers Verizon’s landline, Internet and wireless services, shows that the company also received 36,000 warrants, most of which requested location or stored content data.

Submission + - EBay Vulnerable to Account Hijacking via XSRF (threatpost.com)

msm1267 writes: eBay users remain vulnerable to account hijacking nearly five months after it was initially informed of a cross-site request forgery flaw by a U.K. security researcher. Ebay has three times communicated to the researcher that the code causing the XSRF situation has been fixed, but it still remains vulnerable to his exploit.

The attack allows a hacker who lures a victim to a website hosting the exploit to change the user's contact information necessary to perform a password reset. The hacker eventually is able to log in as the victim and make purchases on their behalf.

Submission + - NSA Says Snowden Used Legit Access to Steal Data (threatpost.com)

Gunkerty Jeb writes: It’s taken more than six months, but top officials at the National Security Agency are finally discussing some of the details of how former agency contractor Edward Snowden got access to all of the documents he stole and what kind of damage they believe the publication of the information they contain could do. A senior NSA employee tasked with investigating what Snowden did and how he did it said that Snowden simply used the legitimate access he had as a systems administrator to steal and store the millions of documents he’s been slowly leaking to the media, and that the information in those documents could give U.S. enemies a “road map” of the country’s intelligence capabilities and blind spots.

Submission + - The Infamous Zeus Banking Trojan has Gone 64-Bit (threatpost.com)

Gunkerty Jeb writes: Researchers at Kaspersky Lab’s Global Research and Analysis Team spotted a new, 64-bit version of the Zeus trojan that behaves much like its 32-bit contemporaries: it too uses Web injects to steal banking credentials to drain online accounts, steal digital certificates and even log keystrokes. Unlike its contemporaries, this new variety of Zeus is — of course — 64-bit compatible, but also communicates with its command and control server over the Tor anonymity network.

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