Articles about Federal

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FCC floats new rules for data lines that bind America's networks

The FCC has put forward a new set of rules governing the data network connections that glue our modern lives together. The proposed red-tape sets out a framework for regulations on specialized business data lines that, for example, hook up ATM networks and wired lines between mobile phone towers. The FCC estimates that such …
Shaun Nichols, 29 Apr 2016
Hacker with face obscured, wearing a hoodie,  works in front of a bank of monitors. photo by Shutterstock

Finance bods SWIFT to update after Bangladesh hack

Security vendors are pushing for a more comprehensive revamp of the SWIFT international inter-bank financial transaction messaging system beyond a update prompted by an $81m hack against Bangladesh's central bank. The loss of $81m (part of an attempted $950m heist) in February’s Bangladesh cyber-heist – reckoned to be the …
John Leyden, 29 Apr 2016

Revealed: The revolving door between Google and the US govt – in pictures

A new project to uncover the symbiotic relationship between Google and the US government has uncovered some mind-boggling details. The Campaign for Accountability (CFA) this week launched the first two of its Google Transparency Projects. One of the projects – a visualisation of the revolving door between Google, the White …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Apr 2016

Gumtree 'fesses up to breach and personal information leak

UPDATE eBay's even tattier tat bazaar Gumtree says it's suffered an attack during which users' personal data was encountered by parties unknown and unauthorised. The Register has seen multiple posts in which members of the site report receiving an email with the following text: “We are writing to let you know that some of your …
Simon Sharwood, 29 Apr 2016
Internet anonymity

US govt quietly tweaks rules to let cops, Feds hack computers anywhere, anytime

On Thursday, the US Supreme Court approved a change to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. It sounds innocuous, but the effects will be felt around the world. Under today's rules, US cops and FBI agents need to know where a computer is before they can get a warrant to directly hack the machine – because they …
Iain Thomson, 29 Apr 2016
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Kids racking up huge in-app bills on Kindles, Android is all your fault, Amazon – US court

A US federal court has ruled against Amazon in its case with the FTC over youngsters breaking the bank with in-app purchases. The Seattle US Western District Court found the retail giant liable for charges children had racked up making in-game purchases on their parents' mobile devices without requiring the proper …
Shaun Nichols, 27 Apr 2016

Theranos lab safety probe

Controversial blood-testing company Theranos repeatedly failed to meet lab standards despite asking for extra time to come into compliance, new documents released by the US federal medical regulator CMS have revealed. The documents [PDF], released under a freedom of information request, highlight "serious deficiencies" at its …
Kieren McCarthy, 26 Apr 2016

Charter can gobble TWC for $78.7bn ... if it bins monthly download caps

FCC boss Tom Wheeler has put out the terms for his watchdog's approval of Charter Communications' $78bn acquisition of Time Warner Cable. Wheeler said Monday that he has passed along a proposed approval order and conditions for the other four FCC commissioners to vote on. "As proposed, the order outlines a number of …
Shaun Nichols, 25 Apr 2016

Meet the malware that screwed a Bangladeshi bank out of $81m

February's hack against Bangladesh's central bank that netted $81m in diverted funds is one of the biggest cyber heists of all time. Now researchers think they've found the malware that did it. A sample of the software nasty was obtained by researchers at defense contractors BAE Systems. The malware appears to have been custom …
Iain Thomson, 25 Apr 2016

More questions than answers, literally, from America's privacy rules

Analysis New privacy rules put forward by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that are intended to give consumers more rights over what ISPs do with their data have left policymakers scratching their heads. When FCC chairman Tom Wheeler announced last month that he would issue a "notice of proposed rulemaking" – or NPRM in …
Kieren McCarthy, 25 Apr 2016

Big Cable threatens to sue FCC: You can't stop us ripping off customers

The US National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) has threatened to sue the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) if it pushes ahead with plans to open up cable boxes. Speaking at a press conference Thursday, the NCTA's president – and former FCC chair – Michael Powell said that the plan to force cable companies …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 Apr 2016

FBI boss: We paid at least $1.2m to crack the San Bernardino iPhone

Vid FBI director James Comey today suggested the Feds paid security experts over a million dollars to crack a San Bernardino killer's iPhone. While speaking at the Aspen Security Forum in the UK, Comey was asked how much his agents paid hackers to break into Syed Farook's iPhone 5C. "More than I will make in the remainder of this …
Chris Williams, 21 Apr 2016

Blighty ranks 38th in World Press Freedom Index

The UK has ranked 38th in the 2016 World Press Freedom Index - a league table of "the degree of freedom available to journalists in 180 countries". Topping the Reporters Without Borders (aka Reporters sans frontières, or RSF) index is Finland, followed by The Netherlands, Norway, Denmark and New Zealand. China, Syria, …
Lester Haines, 21 Apr 2016

Australia admits to running offensive cyber-ops team

The Australian Government has today launched an information security strategy under which AU$230 million will be spent over four years to improve critical infrastructure defences through private and public sector information sharing, innovation security centres, and by bankrolling support for 5000 security tests for businesses …
Darren Pauli, 21 Apr 2016
Still from the Star Trek original series episode "arena" of enterprise using photon torpedo.  Pic copyright:  Paramount Pictures, CBS Studios

FBI's Tor pedo torpedoes torpedoed by United States judge

A ruling by a US federal judge could unravel as many as 1,200 criminal prosecutions of alleged pedophiles by the FBI. Massachusetts District Court Judge William Young today declared that the magistrate judge who issued a warrant authorizing the FBI to infect suspects' PCs with tracking malware lacked the proper authority to do …
Shaun Nichols, 21 Apr 2016
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Not OK, Google! FTC urged to thrust antitrust probe into Android

Advocacy group Consumer Watchdog is calling on the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to follow the European Union's lead and bring antitrust charges against Google Android. The group said that following the European Commission's statement of objections this week against the Chocolate Factory, it would like to see the FTC put …
Shaun Nichols, 20 Apr 2016

US government sued by activists looking for backdoor smoking gun

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is suing the US government to reveal just how it compels tech companies to help agents spy on people. The activist group has hit the Department of Justice (DoJ) with a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit in the US Northern California District Court requesting details on whether …
Shaun Nichols, 20 Apr 2016
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Clucking hell! Farcical free-range egg standard pecked apart by app

It’s often said that you can’t fight City Hall: the concentration of power and politics makes even the most open of political systems fight change tooth and nail. You have to work within the system, it’s said, or the system will fight you - and win. That’s a story the system puts out about itself - far better for all concerned …
Mark Pesce, 20 Apr 2016
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Bio biz Theranos probed

Troubled blood-testing company Theranos has confirmed it is being investigated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the US Attorney's Office over claims it misled investors and government officials. In a letter to its partners, the company said it felt obliged to provide information on ongoing investigations …
Kieren McCarthy, 19 Apr 2016
Prison

Chinese con-artists cop to US military counterfeit chip switch caper

Chinese national Daofu Zhang has pleaded guilty to conspiring to buy top-end field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) stolen from a US Navy base and replacing the swiped silicon with counterfeit duds. Last Friday, in Connecticut's New Haven federal court, Zhang, 40, admitted offering to purchase military-spec chips from a US …
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Big Content seeks to ban Kickass Torrents from Australia

Australia's music industry wants Kickass Torrents blocked by local internet service providers. The Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) has announced legal action in the Federal Court against the site, under last year's amendments to the Copyright Act. Those amendments, in Section 115A of the Act, allow a right to …

House passes broadband bill despite promise of White House veto

The House of Representatives has passed a bill that it claims will prevent federal regulators from setting broadband prices, but critics say it's little more than an effort to undermine net neutrality regulations. During a sometimes heated discussion in Congress on Friday, representatives voted 241-173 to pass HR 2666 – the No …
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Apr 2016
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Feds OK to stalk phones

A court in Cincinnati, Ohio, has ruled that federal agents do not need to get a warrant before collecting people's whereabouts using their smartphones. The US Six Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the FBI was not in the wrong when in 2011 agents pulled the locational records of two men in a robbery investigation. Their …
Shaun Nichols, 14 Apr 2016

Surprise! Tech giants dominate global tax-dodging list of shame

Tech firms are the largest corporate tax dodgers in the US, according to a new report from Oxfam. The charity has published a special report on "how America's dysfunctional tax system costs billions in corporate tax dodging" called Broken at the Top [PDF], and at the top of the top are computer companies. Apple is the number …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Apr 2016
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Theranos faces ban

Troubled blood-testing startup Theranos may lose one of its testing facilities and a functional management team following a damning report by federal health regulators. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has said it will revoke the company's license for its California lab and prevent its owners – Theranos CEO …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Apr 2016
Bank vault

Aussie banks stage secret secret intel sharing meetings

ACSC2016 Carders targeting Australian banks may have a tough time re-using attacks thanks to a regular invite-only gathering of anti-fraud boffins. Adam Cartwright. Image: Darren Pauli, The Register. The information-sharing meetups known as "Interbank" have taken place for about six years. The meetings first included representatives …
Darren Pauli, 14 Apr 2016

Bumbling execs leave tenders on hotel business centre PCs

ACSC2016 Blundering Australian executives have left sensitive financial documents and tenders in the business centre of prominent luxury Canberra hotel, security man Wayne Ronaldson says. Wayne Ronaldson. Photo: Darren Pauli, The Register The documents were left unprotected in the folders of the Windows desktops and contained …
Darren Pauli, 13 Apr 2016
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Obama broadband veto

The White House has said it will veto a Congressional broadband bill for undermining net neutrality rules. H.R. 2666 – aka the No Rate Regulation of Broadband Internet Access Act – purports to put limits on the authority of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to regulate what ISPs can charge. But critics have said …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 Apr 2016

Lauri Love backdoor forced-decryption case goes to court in UK

Alleged hacktivist Lauri Love appeared in a London court on Tuesday in a case that could establish new powers for UK police to compel criminal suspects into handing over encryption keys. Love, 31, faces potential extradition to the US over his alleged involvement in #OpLastResort – the online protests that followed the …
John Leyden, 13 Apr 2016
Selection of Australian banknotes

Retirement funds breached as crims target brokers' un-patched Windows machines

ACSC 2016 Australians are having their retirement savings accounts drained as hackers move to breach broker platforms rather than the tougher target that is banking infrastructure. The Australian Federal Police AFP are investigating a spike in breaches against devices used by brokers who administer boutique, "self-managed" …
Darren Pauli, 13 Apr 2016

Uber hands over info on 12m passengers, drivers to US officials, cops

Uber has produced its first transparency report and called for a public debate over the type and amount of data it is obliged to provide to the authorities. The taxi app company reveals in its report that it received 33 requests from American "regulatory agencies" that covered no less than 11.6 million customers and 583,000 …
Kieren McCarthy, 12 Apr 2016
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Google ads probe blow

Google's attempt to shut down a probe by Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood has been blocked by a US appeals court. Hood, along with other state prosecutors, wanted to investigate whether or not Google was complying with a $500m settlement with the US government. As well as coughing up the chunk of change, the web giant …
Chris Williams, 11 Apr 2016
Man rools out fibre cable from a large wooden cable reel on a suburban street. Pic via Pixabay

We're not in Kansas City anymore, Toto ... Google axes free fiber internet

Google says it will no longer offer free Google Fiber internet in Kansas City, Missouri. As of May 19, customers in the first US city to get Fiber will no longer be able to sign up for the no-charge 5Mbps service, according to a new set of pricing plans. Those who are already on the free plan will be able to keep their …
Shaun Nichols, 11 Apr 2016
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Want a job in security? Lock down US military's supermarkets

The US Department of Defense is looking to form a security team to protect military commissaries from hackers. NextGov has spotted a posting from the Federal Business Opportunities site for an "incident response service" at military commissary shops. According to the job post [Word Doc], the response service contractors will …
Shaun Nichols, 08 Apr 2016

Look who's here to solve the Internet of Things' security nightmare – hey, it's Uncle Sam

The US government is working on a "green paper" – the first step in a formal policy process – on the internet of things (IoT). Titled "The Benefits, Challenges, and Potential Roles for the Government in Fostering the Advancement of the Internet of Things," the policy paper will take a broad look [PDF] at the "potential …
Kieren McCarthy, 08 Apr 2016

Man pleads guilty for serving white hat with DoS, swearbot, sex toys

Oklahoma man Benjamin Earnest Nichols faces up to 10 years jail in a United States federal prison and a US$250,000 fine after pleading guilty to launching a distributed denial of service attack against security consultancy mccrewsecurity.com. Nichols, 37, pled guilty to one count of causing the transmission of a program or …
Darren Pauli, 08 Apr 2016
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Congressman called out for $1,300 video game binge

A member of US Congress is facing scrutiny after he logged more than $1,300 worth of video game purchases as campaign expenses. The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has sent a letter [PDF] to House Representative Duncan Hunter (R-CA) asking the lawmaker and vaping enthusiast to explain why more than four dozen charges from …
Shaun Nichols, 06 Apr 2016
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FBI declines to comment on WhatsApp encryption

The FBI has declined to make a comment on the news Tuesday that WhatsApp is going to offer end-to-end encryption in the next version of its messaging app. WhatsApp's decision to do so was sparked in part by the authorities in the US and Brazil trying to pressure the company to hand over confidential user conversations, and by …
Kieren McCarthy, 05 Apr 2016

EU pushes probe up Google's ad alley

The European Union (EU) is pushing forward with its probe into Google/Alphabet's dominance of the online ad market, with the commissioner in charge suggesting formal charges are on the way. Margrethe Vestager spoke to The Wall Street Journal the day before getting on a plane to visit the US, and said her team was "advancing" …
Kieren McCarthy, 05 Apr 2016

Just how close are Obama and Google? You won’t believe the answer

An ethics watchdog thinks that the FTC may have misled Congress about how it protected Google, and highlights how the White House went into panic mode to limit the damage to the giant ad slinger over a newspaper report last year. Last March, Google learned that the Wall Street Journal was about to publish details of how the …
Andrew Orlowski, 04 Apr 2016
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FAA doubles Section 333-exemption drone ceiling to 400 feet

The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has announced changes to some of the rules governing drones weighing less than 55 pounds (25 kg). The main change relates to the altitude commercial operators can fly at without specific authorisation. Under the new rule, announced here, the blanket authorisation now allows a ceiling of 400 …

SEC chair blasts Silicon Valley for its hokey valuations

The chair of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has given Silicon Valley a poke in the eye concerning its over-valuation of tech stocks. Speaking at Stanford University in the heart of Silicon Valley, Mary Jo White warned that the federal regulator did not look kindly on the wild – and wildly inaccurate – self- …
Kieren McCarthy, 01 Apr 2016
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Holding out for a Jobs: Tim Cook still auditioning for position of Apple god

Apple at 40 Apple is 40 years old. The leader was Steve Jobs, but he's gone and many still don't understand his core idea. The idea was Apple's control over "the user experience". That control is at risk today, and the company's future hangs in the balance as a result under the new leader. How people use things was Jobs' lifelong …

Divided FCC passes ISP privacy rules, overhauls LifeLine

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has passed a pair of important new rules designed to extend broadband service in the US and protect user data. The commission's rulings came after a last-minute delay in its scheduled March 31 meeting, but ultimately ended with both proposals passing. The LifeLine rules will …
Shaun Nichols, 31 Mar 2016

Senator Wyden recalls SOPA fight in bid to defeat encryption-weakening efforts

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) has put out a call to arms to digital rights activists, asking them to join in a SOPA-style effort to defeat upcoming efforts to weaken encryption. In a wide-ranging speech that covered J Edgar Hoover, Miranda Rights, the Founding Fathers and the Amazon Echo, the Oregon Senator warned that despite the …
Kieren McCarthy, 30 Mar 2016

Oracle's website, social media to wear sandwich board of shame over Java SE insecurity

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has signed off a settlement with Oracle over its handling of Java SE updates. The regulator said all four commissioners voted to approve the deal, which requires Oracle to alert everyone visiting its website and social media profiles to the fact that it left old and vulnerable editions of …
Shaun Nichols, 30 Mar 2016
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East Coast: Verizon on the hook for landline hikes. West Coast: AT&T denies hooking $100m for 10Mbps broadband

AT&T and Verizon are taking heat on opposite sides of the US over their networks. In California, AT&T is said to be pursuing a deal that would pay the telecom giant $100m to hook virtually the entire state up to "broadband" internet. California Assembly Bill 2130 will allow the state to fund the expansion of broadband networks …
Shaun Nichols, 29 Mar 2016

Courts cry over cunning call-center criminals crafting convincing cons

US federal courts have alerted Americans to a fresh crop of scams in which conmen are setting up call centers and impersonating government agencies. The advisory describes how criminals are pretending to be US marshals and court agents, demanding victims hand over money for a supposed failure to appear for jury duty. "This …
Shaun Nichols, 29 Mar 2016
Oracle OpenWorld cloud

Oracle v Google: Big Red wants $9.3bn in Java copyright damages

The Oracle v. Google fight over Java took a couple of twists just before the Easter weekend. The database giant now reckons it is owed up to $9.3bn in copyright-infringement damages for Android's use of Java. Meanwhile, the judge in the trial wants to ban Oracle and Google lawyers from scouring jurors' social network profiles …
Chris Williams, 28 Mar 2016

Israeli biz fingered as the FBI's iPhone cracker

An Israeli company has been identified by a newspaper as the "third party" helping the FBI break into a killer's locked iPhone – the phone Apple refused to work with. Cellebrite is a subsidiary of the Japanese Sun Corporation, is based in Israel, and has offices around the world. It was named by the Israeli newspaper Yedioth …
Kieren McCarthy, 23 Mar 2016