By 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.
By 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.
By 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.
By 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.
(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. ...
By 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.
By 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).
India 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'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".
By 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.
(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.
Actor 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.
(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.
Uber 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.