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  • CIA to make sweeping changes, focus more on cyber ops: agency chief

    The lobby of the CIA Headquarters Building in McLean, VirginiaBy Mark Hosenball WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Central Intelligence Agency will make one of the biggest overhauls in its nearly 70-year history, aimed in part at sharpening its focus on cyber operations and incorporating digital innovations, CIA director John Brennan said. Brennan said he is creating new units within the CIA, called "mission centers," intended to concentrate the agency's focus on specific challenges or geographic areas, such as weapons proliferation or Africa. The CIA director said he also is establishing a new "Directorate of Digital Innovation" to lead efforts to track and take advantage of advances in cyber technology to gather intelligence. Historically, electronic eavesdroppers at the National Security Agency have been at the cutting edge of digital innovation within the U.S. government.




  • U.S. charges three in ring that stole one billion email addresses

    A lock icon, signifying an encrypted Internet connection, is seen on an Internet Explorer browser in ParisBy Lindsay Dunsmuir and Jim Finkle WASHINGTON/BOSTON (Reuters) - Two Vietnamese citizens and a Canadian have been charged with running a massive cyberfraud ring that stole 1 billion email addresses, then sent spam offering knockoff software products, the U.S. Department of Justice said on Friday. The Justice Department described the hacking spree as "one of the largest" data breaches uncovered in U.S. history. It declined to name the email companies that were victimized, though it appeared that the breaches included a massive 2011 attack on email marketing firm Epsilon. Security blogger Brian Krebs reported that Epsilon, a unit of Alliance Data Systems Corp, was among the victims.




  • Microsoft warns Windows PCs also vulnerable to 'Freak' attacks

    Microsoft Corp shareholders look at Microsoft products before the start of the annual shareholders' meeting in Bellevue, WashingtonBy Jim Finkle BOSTON (Reuters) - Hundreds of millions of Windows PC users are vulnerable to attacks exploiting the recently uncovered "Freak" security vulnerability, which was initially believed to only threaten mobile devices and Mac computers, Microsoft Corp warned. News of the vulnerability surfaced on Tuesday when a group of nine security experts disclosed that ubiquitous Internet encryption technology could make devices running Apple Inc's iOS and Mac operating systems, along with Google Inc's Android browser vulnerable to cyber attacks. Microsoft released a security advisory on Thursday warning customers that their PCs were also vulnerable to the "Freak" vulnerability.




  • Family sues Amazon.com, others over Ohio student's caffeine overdose death

    A just-delivered Amazon box is seen on a counter in Golden, ColoradoBy Kim Palmer CLEVELAND (Reuters) - The family of a Northeast Ohio high school senior who died of a caffeine overdose last year filed a wrongful death lawsuit on Friday against several companies including Amazon.com Inc, which shipped the supplement. The state court lawsuit contends Amazon and six apparently related Arizona-based companies violated Ohio safety laws by manufacturing, distributing or selling powdered caffeine. Amazon declined to comment on the lawsuit. Logan Stiner, 18, died in May of a cardiac arrhythmia and seizure due to acute caffeine toxicity shortly before he was set to graduate from high school, Lorain County Coroner Dr. Stephen Evans said.




  • Computing, telecoms industries set on collision course
    By Eric Auchard and Leila Abboud BARCELONA (Reuters) - Telecom network gear makers are on a collision course with Silicon Valley computing giants as software and cloud computing have begun to change the way operators from AT&T to China Mobile run their networks. As networks move to relatively standard hardware, formerly entrenched equipment groups must increasingly compete for contracts with the likes of Cisco, Hewlett-Packard and VMware, as well as a slew of startups. At the annual Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, the brewing battle was apparent in dozens of partnership and product announcements. Likewise, some equipment makers talked tough about their rivalry with information technology (IT) groups as the operators make greater use of cloud computing - running software networks and storing data remotely on centralized servers.

  • LightSquared preps for tough trial on latest bankruptcy plan
    By Nick Brown NEW YORK (Reuters) - LightSquared gained momentum this week in its effort to end its three-year bankruptcy after a judge dealt a blow to its main creditor and adversary, Charles Ergen, ahead of a week-long trial on its latest debt restructuring plan. LightSquared, the would-be wireless provider owned by Phil Falcone's Harbinger Capital Partners hedge fund, on Monday will begin seeking U.S. Bankruptcy Court approval for a plan to exit Chapter 11, repay lenders and transfer some equity to Fortress Investment Group and Centerbridge Partners. LightSquared must convince bankruptcy Judge Shelley Chapman, in New York, that the plan is fair to creditors. The company filed for Chapter 11 and shelved its planned wireless network in May 2012, when the Federal Communications Commission revoked its spectrum license over concerns of interference with global positioning systems.

  • Amazon opens store on Alibaba's online marketplace Tmall

    A box from Amazon.com is pictured on the porch of a house in Golden(Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc has opened an online store on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's fast-growing online marketplace, Tmall.com as it seeks to expand in China, an Alibaba spokesman said. Alibaba's Tmall offers virtual storefronts and payment portals to merchants. Several western retailers, including Zara owner Inditex, Britain's Burberry and ASOS, have joined TMall this year as they look to boost their presence in China. ...




  • U.S. says inaction on online piracy risks public safety

    Alibaba Group Executive Chairman Ma reacts while giving a speech at National Taiwan University in TaipeiBy Krista Hughes WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. trade office on Thursday urged a crackdown on website name registrars who fail to take action against sellers of illegal goods such as counterfeit medicines and warned that turning a blind eye puts public safety at risk. The U.S. Trade Representative also said it is keeping an eye on China's Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's  consumer shopping website for sales of fake and pirated goods, but refrained from reinstating the site on its piracy blacklist. Representatives of Alibaba, the world's largest e-commerce company, had no immediate comment. USTR named a domain name registrar, a company which manages the registration of internet names, for the first time in its annual "notorious markets" list as an example of concern about some registrars not taking action to block or suspend sites selling illegal goods.




  • U.S. third bitcoin auction spurs more demand with 34 bids

    A Bitcoin (virtual currency) paper wallet with QR codes and coins are seen in an illustration picture taken at La Maison du Bitcoin in ParisBy Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. Marshals Service on Thursday held its third auction of bitcoins seized from Ross Ulbricht, convicted of operating black-market website Silk Road, with a sale of 50,000 units attracting higher demand than the previous auction. The government had 14 registered bidders for the 34 bids received, said Marshals Service spokeswoman Lynzey Donahue. The bitcoins on the auction block are valued at $13.9 million at current prices. The six-hour online auction began at 8 a.m. EST (1300 GMT).




  • Ride-sharing firm Uber pulling out of San Antonio over regulations
    By Jim Forsyth SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) - Ride-sharing firm Uber plans to pull its service in San Antonio as of April 1 after the city council there voted to revise some of the city's transportation regulations, but not enough for Uber's liking, the company said on Thursday. In December, after nearly a year of sometimes heated debate, San Antonio approved rules that would give smartphone-enabled ride services the right to compete with regular taxi drivers, but with regulations largely fashioned by the taxi industry. San Antonio, the seventh largest U.S. city in terms of population and with a major convention trade, later rolled back many of the regulations.

  • Pentagon to focus more on hack-proofing weapons
    By Andrea Shalal WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Cyber attacks on U.S. weapons programs and manufacturers are a "pervasive" problem that requires greater attention, the top U.S. arms buyer said Thursday, saying that he would add cybersecurity to the Pentagon's guidelines for buying weapons. "It’s about the security of our weapons systems themselves and everything that touches them. It’s a pervasive problem and I think we have to pay a lot more attention to it," Defense Undersecretary Frank Kendall told Reuters after a speech to the American Society of Naval Engineers in Washington. Kendall said he planned to add cybersecurity to the next phase of his "better buying power" initiative, and was also working on a special section on cybersecurity requirements to be added to the Pentagon's guidelines for buying weapons.

  • Mandarin Oriental says credit card systems compromised in cyberattack
    Hotel operator Mandarin Oriental International Ltd said on Thursday that it was the victim of a cyberattack and that it found malicious software on credit card systems at "an isolated number" of hotels in the United States and Europe. The company said in a statement on its website that it was working with credit card companies, law enforcement and forensic experts as it investigates the matter.

  • India asks YouTube to remove Delhi rape film

    British filmmaker Udwin speaks during a news conference in New DelhiIndia has asked YouTube to remove all links to a controversial documentary about the gang rape and murder of a woman in Delhi after banning its broadcast, a government official told Reuters on Thursday. Leslee Udwin's "India's Daughter" features an interview with Mukesh Singh, one of four men sentenced to death for the rape and torture of a 23-year-old woman on a moving bus in December 2012. "We just forwarded the court order and asked them (YouTube) to comply," an official at the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology told Reuters. It was still possible to view the documentary on websites such as YouTube after British broadcaster BBC aired it outside India on Wednesday.




  • Britain should turn to middle-aged mums to be spies of the future: report

    Blears leaves Downing Street for weekly cabinet meeting at Westminster in central LondonBritain's security agencies should look to recruit more middle-aged women and mothers to be new spies and should target websites popular with parents to find them, an influential committee of lawmakers said on Thursday. The Intelligence and Security Committee, which oversees the work of Britain's three spy agencies, said it was crucial there was more diversity if the security services were to be able to address the threats facing the country. "If all intelligence professionals are cut from the same cloth, sharing similar backgrounds and similar characteristics, then they are likely to share 'unacknowledged biases' which will circumscribe both the definition of problems and the search for solutions," said Hazel Blears, one of the committee members. Although two women have headed Britain's MI5 domestic spy agency, Blears said many of those in middle management at the security services had "a very traditional male mentality and outlook".




  • Alien abduction? Stolen by Russia? MH370 theories keep coming

    A woman writes a message on a board for family members of passengers onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 at the MCA headquarters in Kuala LumpurBy Jane Wardell SYDNEY (Reuters) - A year on from the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, an extraordinary amount of key data remains unknown - fuelling conspiracy theories and heated online debate about one of aviation's biggest mysteries. The resulting theories range from the wild - alien abduction, MH370 and its doomed fleetmate MH17 were the same plane - to sober, science-based arguments that the plane is in the southern Indian Ocean, but not necessarily in the current search area. "It's amazing how much information we don't have after looking at this case for all this time," said Jeff Wise, an aviation expert whose recently published Kindle book 'The Plane That Wasn't There' reached No.1 on Amazon's bestseller lists.




  • China backs e-commerce expansion in win for Alibaba, JD.com
    China will back e-commerce development and guide international expansion by Chinese internet companies, Premier Li Keqiang said on Thursday, in an endorsement for firms such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and JD.com Inc . Addressing the opening of China's annual parliamentary meeting in Beijing, Li broadly laid out China's "Internet Plus" strategy, which includes promoting cloud computing, online banking, mobile internet, along with logistics to help e-commerce expansion.

  • HBO in talks with Apple, Google to launch streaming service: reports

    The Apple logo is pictured on the front of a retail store in the Marina neighborhood in San Francisco(Reuters) - HBO network is in talks with Apple Inc, Google Inc and some other companies to be its launch partner for the highly anticipated HBO Now video streaming service, according to two media reports. The service's retail price is expected to be $15 a month and will launch next month, timed to the season premier of HBO's blockbuster series "Game of Thrones," the International Business Times reported, citing sources familiar with the matter. HBO, ramping up plans for an a-la-carte version of its premium channel, is in talks with at least five companies including Apple and Google to distribute the Web-only service, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter. TiVo Inc, which makes digital video recorders, is in discussions with HBO about distributing the service, Chief Executive Tom Rogers told Bloomberg.




  • Leonardo DiCaprio partners with Netflix for documentary projects

    Actor Leonardo DiCaprio is pictured during a ceremony to be named a "United Nations Messenger of Peace" with a special focus on climate change at the United Nations headquarters in the Manhattan borough of New YorkActor Leonardo DiCaprio is the latest high-profile name to partner with Netflix Inc, as he and his production company Appian Way will produce a documentary and a series that will premiere exclusively on the digital streaming service, the company said on Wednesday. DiCaprio, who worked with Netflix on the Oscar-nominated documentary "Virunga" about the Democratic Republic of Congo's rare mountain gorillas, will act as a producer or executive producer for the projects that will focus on the environment and conservation. "This partnership is a natural extension of our incredible relationship with Leo on 'Virunga,'" Ted Sarandos, Netflix's chief content officer, said in a statement.




  • Factbox: One year on, MH370 theories abound
    Speculation about what happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 ranges from sober, science-based arguments to outlandish conspiracy theories. Here are some of the most prominent: CRASHED IN SOUTHERN INDIAN OCEAN Official investigators used analysis from British firm Inmarsat of "pings" to its satellite from MH370, combined with data direct from the plane before it stopped transmissions, to conclude the plane had flown south after it dropped off Malaysian military radar and crashed in the southern Indian Ocean. A British captain, Simon Hardy, says the plane did a fly-by of the pilot's home island of Penang before flying repeatedly in and out of Malaysia and Thailand to confuse air traffic controllers.

  • HBO in talks with Apple to launch video streaming service: report

    The Apple logo is pictured on the front of a retail store in the Marina neighborhood in San Francisco(Reuters) - HBO is in talks with Apple Inc to be its launch partner for the highly anticipated HBO Now video streaming service, according to a report in Wednesday's International Business Times. The service is expected to launch next month, timed to the season premier of HBO's blockbuster series "Game of Thrones," according to the report, which cited sources familiar with the matter. "We know there’s great anticipation around our standalone streaming service," an HBO spokesman said in a statement. Time Warner, which owns the HBO pay-TV service, announced the video streaming service in October in order to hold onto or attract subscribers who are ditching pricey cable television subscriptions.




  • Online fashion company Farfetch raises $86 million from DST Global, others
    (Reuters) - British online luxury fashion company Farfetch said it raised $86 million from investment firm DST Global and existing shareholders, valuing the company at $1 billion. Farfetch, which brings together more than 300 of the world's top designer boutiques on its website Farfetch.com, has raised a total of more than $195 million. The company will use the funds to launch local language websites, including those in German, Korean and Spanish, it said in a statement. ...

  • Uber says reviewing Japan city service after transport ministry ban

    An illustration picture shows the logo of car-sharing service app Uber on a smartphone next to the picture of an official German taxi signUber Technologies Inc is reviewing its ride sharing service in the southern Japanese city of Fukuoka after the transport ministry said it had banned the pilot project, citing potential legal concerns. The halt is the latest to affect San Francisco-based Uber, which is fighting bans in many countries across the world for alleged violations including using unlicensed drivers. Uber's month-old Fukuoka service pays drivers who use cars registered for personal use to ferry around passengers, a business model that potentially violates the Road Transportation Act, transport ministry official Hidetaka Sakai told Reuters.




  • Italy approves plan to boost broadband networks
    The Italian government approved a plan on Tuesday to bring its high-speed broadband network into line with European Union targets, but it held back from forcing operators to replace their copper-wire networks with fiber-optic cable. Italy faces growing pressure to strengthen its telecommunications infrastructure and digital sector to help improve the performance of an economy that has been in virtual stagnation for two decades. "We are creating a plan to give our country the digital infrastructure, the digital highways like any other European country," Industry Minister Federica Guidi told reporters.

  • U.S. watchdog chairman defends new broadband regulations
    By Leila Abboud and Alina Selyukh BARCELONA/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New rules to tighten regulation of U.S. broadband providers are not too invasive and are needed to defend consumers' interests and openness on the internet, the chairman of the U.S. telecommunications industry watchdog said on Tuesday. Some telecom and cable companies exaggerated when they complained the moves would harm them or cripple innovation on the web, Tom Wheeler, the head of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), said at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Last Thursday, U.S. regulators approved the strictest-ever rules on internet providers, who in turn pledged to battle the new restrictions in the courts and Congress, saying they would discourage investment and stifle innovation.

  • Cybersecurity company Novetta Solutions up for sale: sources
    Novetta Solutions LLC, a provider of software and IT services to the U.S. intelligence community, is exploring a sale which could value it at more than $650 million, including debt, according to people familiar with the matter. Novetta's sale process comes as cuts in U.S. government spending, particularly in the areas of defense and security, have hit companies that rely on government contracts, spurring consolidation in the industry. Arlington Capital Partners, Novetta's private equity owner, has hired investment banks Morgan Stanley and Houlihan Lokey on an auction for the company, the people said this week. Representatives for Novetta, Arlington Capital Partners, Morgan Stanley and Houlihan Lokey declined to comment.

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