All posts tagged “Risk”

YouTube in a ‘fire drill’ over risk of celebrity defections to Facebook

Today, The Wall Street Journal relays information from insiders at Google who say “YouTube has been in a fire drill” trying to secure its most popular users and prevent them from fleeing to more generous rivals. That means bonuses for signing multiyear deals that secure YouTube limited-time exclusives on new content, or alternatively, bonuses tied to the traffic performance of videos.

Competing with YouTube is hard. It’s the home of user-generated video on the web and has nurtured a number of hugely popular stars whose earnings now stretch into the millions of dollars each year. The value of those compelling personalities has grown even higher this year thanks to companies like Yahoo actively recruiting YouTube’s stars for competing…

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Will we ever know if this widely-used contraceptive increases the risk of HIV infection?

A team of international researchers has gone begging for four years, looking for funding for a trial to settle a troubling question: does Depo-Provera, one of the most widely used hormonal contraceptives in Sub-Saharan Africa, increase a woman’s risk of HIV infection? The strange thing is that other scientists hope they will never run their trial.

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The Home Depot says that up to 56 million credit cards may be at risk from hacker attack

It’s been a few weeks since home goods retailer The Home Depot confirmed that it was the victim of a hacker attack that potentially put customer credit card information at risk, and now the company is admitting just how big that breach was. According to a new press release issued today, approximately 56 million credit cards may have been compromised, even more than the 40 million that were accessed in the attack on Target last year.

The Home Depot’s investigation shows that the attack took place between April and September of this year and that it was the result of some “custom” malware that The Home Depot’s security partners say had never been used before. The company also noted that shoppers on its website were safe — the malware in…

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Credit card details at risk as The Home Depot confirms it was hacked

The Home Depot today confirmed that its payment systems were breached by hackers earlier this year. The company is yet to outline the details of the attack, but used vague language to suggest that customers who used credit or debit cards at its retail stores in the US and Canada over the last five months may have had their card details compromised. The breach appears to have been carried out using a similar method to recent attacks on companies such as TargetP.F. Chang’s, and Neiman Marcus. The perpetrators of such attacks uploaded malicious software to cash registers and other point-of-sale systems in order to siphon off card details, which could be sent off-site and could be used to make fraudulent purchases.

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Security flaw puts all Internet Explorer users at risk, exposes Windows XP

If you’re still using a 12-year-old operating system, a new security flaw discovered in Internet Explorer should cause you quite a bit of consternation. Microsoft published a security advisory today warning its customers that a vulnerability in all versions of Internet Explorer (6 through 11) could let hackers gain full user permissions over your computer, allowing them to install programs, view and delete data, and much more simply by visiting a website.

That’s not good, but at least anyone using Internet Explorer on a modern version of Windows will likely see a patch within a couple weeks’ time. Since Microsoft finally ended support for Windows XP on April 8th, it will not receive an update. This is the first known security flaw since…

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Antarctic ice at greater risk of melting than presumed, spy satellite data shows

It’s long been acknowledged that climate change is having an impact on some of the world’s ice sheets: glaciers in Greenland, for instance, experienced massive ice loss due to above-average temperatures last year, and a recent report suggests that the Arctic might be entirely ice-free as early as 2020. Now, a fascinating new study reveals that a massive ice sheet thought to be immune from climate change might be more vulnerable than previously believed.

Researchers out of Durham University used declassified satellite imagery, dating back to 1963, to examine how East Antarctica responds to temperature changes. The East Antarctic ice sheet is the largest in the world, with some regions more than 2.5 miles thick and at elevations higher…

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Are Smartphones Putting Your Data At Risk?

Editor’s note: This is a contributed post by Linda Waters, a blogger who is enthusiastic about cutting-edge mobile technologies, truly unique apps and cell phone tracking software. She is a marketing executive at

With the unprecedented popularity of smartphones and other mobile devices, it is becoming increasingly easy for businesses to conduct their daily operations on a global scale. It is no longer obligatory for employees to be in the office at all times and inter-office communications can easily be conducted worldwide.

Regrettably, with this increase in mobile communications comes an increase in the vulnerability of sensitive information. It would be easy to blame the mobile manufacturers, but the truth of the matter is that the majority of the blame lies with the users of such devices.

It doesn’t matter how aware we are of the potential threat, it is human nature to think that it will never happen to us and as a result we are all fairly lax when it comes to our mobile device password protection and checking the credibility of apps and file downloads. This opens us up to a whole range of cyber threats.

Data Vulnerability

For the average user the threat of data being stolen from our smartphones is serious enough. It can result not only in identity theft, but also in credit card fraud, plus our smartphones may become unusable thanks to viruses and other malicious codes. However, when these threats target business users they become even more dangerous.

Vital Statistics

According to the annual ‘State of the Net’ report, it is estimated that around 20% of 234 million active cell phones in the United States are smartphones. In the past 12 months, around 7 million of these smartphones were damaged, lost or stolen.

Over 5.5 million were affected by ‘undesirable behavior’ including unauthorized text messages, intercepted data and other security threats. Given that 39% of 100 million adult phone users do not take even the most basic of security precautions this is not surprising.

Data-Laden Gadgets

These figures confirm that data vulnerability relating to smartphones is a very real concern. There is a huge amount of data being stored on smartphones. And since it is becoming the norm for companies to issue employees with smartphones to allow them to stay connected wherever they go, the threat has been elevated.

Employees are getting access to confidential business communications and holding onto sensitive data with their mobile devices. Without proper security in place, the data can be wrested from their hands in no time.

Common Threats For Smartphones

Jeff Fox, the technology editor of Consumer Reports, says that anyone who makes use of a smartphone is placing a great deal of trust not only in the manufacturer and the wireless carrier, but also in a multitude of app developers, mobile advertisers and the phone’s operating system.

With so many parties involved, it is best that the users themselves take precautions to ensure that their phones remain safe from any potential threats. The three most common of these threats are:

  1. Loss or theft of unprotected smartphones.
  2. Malicious downloads including apps and message attachments.
  3. Suspicious links and websites.

Losing a Smartphone

When a smartphone is lost or stolen, there is the opportunity for whoever finds/take it to access all of the data stored on the device. This might include such information as banking details, personal information and sensitive business documentation. In the wrong hands this information can be used to commit fraud or to damage the business in question.

This is why it is important to use passwords and screen-locks at a minimum, although it is also advisable to have other security measures in place.


Downloading Infected Apps

In terms of malicious downloads it is becoming increasingly more common for malicious codes to be embedded into apps. Even apps from trusted sources like the App Store and Google Play may present problems. For one thing, an increasing number of apps are being used to collect data and track user activity. If this activity includes logging onto any secure server, or using financial information then this can present a big problem.

According to ZDNet columnist Ken Hess, the number of app-related threats is steadily increasing and threats are also becoming much smarter. One example is the increase in so-called ‘staged exploits’ which work in small stages to try and confuse anti-malware tools. These often appear to be harmless updates making them difficult to spot and even more difficult to uninstall.

Phishing Links

One of the downsides of using a smartphone to surf online is that you cannot hover over links to see where they lead, the way you can on a PC. And it is common for cyber criminals to send links in SMS, emails or even on suspicious websites in order to lure people into clicking on malicious links which are designed to harvest data or download a virus or trojan. If you do not trust it, don’t click it.

While the three mentioned above are among the most common threats, but they are by no means the only ones. There are many dangers out there for those using smartphones including public wifi, malicious qr codes and data interception by hostile operator networks.

Protecting The Data Stored On Your Smartphone

There are a number of very basic steps that can be taken to protect data stored on your smartphone. These include:

  • using screen-locks
  • implementing password protection
  • being careful about using public Wi-Fi networks
  • installing apps to help locate your lost phone

However, since most threats are not even detectable to the average user it is also wise to take additional steps to secure your data.

Keep It Trackable

For years business owners have been using mobile phone-tracking apps to monitor employees to reduce abuse of company phones for personal calls or to catch those who are behaving inappropriately. However, these apps can also be used as an added security measure.

There are many such tools which also allow remote commands to be sent via SMS to lock the target phone or even to wipe the data if the phone is lost or stolen. It is also possible to track the phone’s location through GPS.


As long as there are Internet-enabled devices there will be those who exploit them to harm other people. However, with the help of education about best practices relating to security, and some additional security tools like mobile spy software, it is possible to reduced these threats to a minimum and keep your data from being compromised.

Ingestible LifeMonitor pill warns firefighters that risk succumbing to heat stress

Fireman shutterstock

A new data-transmitting pill could save the lives of firefighters by providing a warning when their vitals are showing signs of heat stress. Researchers in Australia gave the Equivital EQ02 LifeMonitor pill to 50 firefighters during a rescue training exercise and monitored their core body temperature . That information is delivered to a device on each firefighter’s chest (which itself tracks skin temperature and heart / respiratory rates) and then sent to an external computer a safe distance from the blaze.

If any of those vitals were increasing at an alarming rate, the system would theoretically allow individual firefighters to be pulled out and given time to rest up — avoiding serious risks like unconsciousness and even cardiac…

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Careless health care cybersecurity puts patient info at risk, says Washington Post


A new report from The Washington Post says that while the US health care industry might have some of the country’s most sensitive personal information, failure to use rudimentary safeguards like disk encryption and password protection means it has some of the worst information security — “about like retail,” according to a government IT security specialist. “It is an industry with the least regard, understanding and respect for IT security of any I’ve seen,” said Johns Hopkins researcher Avi Rubin.

“It was possible to hack a secure drug-dispensing cabinet from a web browser.”

While hospitals might not provide the same juicy target for hackers as financial institutions, the array of personal information in patients’…

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Huawei and ZTE pose national security risk according to US Congressional report

huawei logo

Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and ZTE Corp., China’s two biggest makers of telecommunications equipment, are facing intense scrutiny thanks to a US House Intelligence Committee report. Speaking on 60 Minutes, Committee chairman Mike Rogers urged businesses to “find another vendor if you care about your intellectual property; if you care about your consumers’ privacy, and you care about the national security of the United States of America.” The report is the result of an 11-month fact-finding mission, and will be officially released at a Monday morning press conference, although some news organizations have managed to get an advance look.

“Cannot be trusted to be free of foreign state influence”

According to Reuters, which received…

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