Legal News

Microsoft Uses Courts To Take Down Malicious, Managed DNS Services

Microsoft Corp. has taken action against yet another cyber crime network, taking control of- and shutting down a managed DNS (domain name system) operated by the firm No-IP that were being abused by cyber criminals, the company said on Monday.   The domains were associated with malware families named Jenxcus and Bladabindi that are believed to have infected on some 7.5 million systems, globally. The malicious programs – which are used to spy on the operators of infected systems – use Dynamic DNS services like NO-IP to communicate with command and control systems used to manage infected systems. Dynamic DNS makes the malicious systems more difficult to trace. In a post on Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit blog, Richard Domingues Boscovich, the company’s Assistant General Counsel said that the company had filed a civil case on June 19 naming two foreign nationals: Mohamed Benabdellah and Naser Al Mutairi along with a U.S. company, Vitalwerks Internet Solutions, LLC (doing […]

Bad Actor: With Update, LG Says No Monitoring, No Smart TV!

Customers of consumer electronics giant LG are raising alarm about a recent software update that asks owners to agree to have their viewing behavior tracked and monitored, or see their ‘smart’ TVs made dumb: with access to features like YouTube and Netflix disabled. Owners of some models of LG brand SmartTVs who have applied a recent firmware have taken to blogs to complain about a firmware update for their TVs that prompt them to agree to lengthy new Terms of Service and Privacy Agreements. The revised documents grant LG permission to monitor and record their viewing habits and their interactions with the device, including voice commands. Users who do not agree to the new terms find many of their smart TV features disabled, according to customer testimony and an analysis by one independent IT researcher. The prompt to read and accept a new “Legal Notice,” “Terms of Use” and “Privacy Policy” appears when SmartTV users first […]

China Hacking Indictments Day 2: Now For The Blowback

The big news yesterday was about the U.S. Justice Department announcing the first-ever criminal charges against a foreign country for cyberspying. The news today may well be about China (and other countries) taking retaliatory actions, including similar legal steps against individuals in this country, working on behalf of the NSA, CIA or other government agencies. The Justice Department on Monday announced that a grand jury in the Western District of Pennsylvania indicted five Chinese citizens (PDF) for charges that include computer hacking and economic espionage directed at six American companies in the nuclear power, metals and solar products industries. The indictment alleges that the five defendants conspired to hack into American companies on behalf of competitors in China, including state-owned enterprises.  The stolen information included intellectual property that would allow the Chinese firms to better compete with their American competitors. The hackers also stole confidential information regarding business negotiations and other deals that would aid the Chinese […]


Heartbleed: Technology Monoculture’s Second Act

Say ‘technology monoculture’ and most people (who don’t look at you cross-eyed or say ‘God bless you!’) will say “Microsoft” or “Windows” or “Microsoft Windows.” That makes sense. Windows still runs on more than 90% of all desktop systems, long after Redmond’s star is rumored to have dimmed next to that of Apple. Microsoft is the poster child for the dangers and benefits of a monoculture. Hardware makers and application developers have a single platform to write to – consumers have confidence that the software and hardware they buy will “just work” so long as they’re running some version of Windows. The downside, of course, is that the Windows monoculture has also been a boon to bad guys, who can tailor exploits to one operating system or associated application (Office, Internet Explorer) and be confident that 9 of 10 systems their malicious software encounters will at least be running some version of the […]

Android Wear

Google: Android Wear Isn’t Ready For Health Data

I didn’t get a chance to write about Google’s (big) announcement that it was expanding its Android operating system franchise to wearable products. If you haven’t been following the news: the company unveiled a developer preview of Android Wear, software that will allow developers to outfit wearable devices that can interact with Android devices like mobile phones and tablet.   The announcement is important: it shows Google continuing to grow its footprint in the wearables space beyond the (controversial) Glass technology. In fact, noted tech luminary Robert Scoble and others have wondered aloud whether Google is ready to let Glass go the way of Wave, Buzz and other skunkworks projects. The announcement of Wear and attendant deals with watch makers like Fossil and others suggests that, if nothing else, Google is ready to get out of the wearable hardware business and leave that to companies that are better suited to […]