Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 24, 2013

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Education 'Respect' redefined: Teen boys forced to role-play as homosexual lovers. A sex education curriculum being used in a Minnesota public school district has angered the community and for good reason: In one lesson, students role-playe as an “out” homosexual, or a closeted homosexual who wants to have sex with him, and the teacher is expected to punish any pushback. John Paczkowski in News on December 30, 2013 at 6:49 am PT After a wild run last week that saw them soar to an all-time high of $74.73, shares of Twitter are crashing brutally back to earth. The company’s stock tumbled more than six percent in early trading Monday, falling to $59.43.

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 24 2013 Youtube

Earlier this year, hackers broke into the networks of marketing and press release distribution service PR Newswire, making off with usernames and encrypted passwords that customers use to access the company’s service and upload news releases, KrebsOnSecurity has learned.

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The stolen data was found on the same Internet servers that housed huge troves of source code recently stolen from Adobe Systems. Inc., suggesting the same attackers may have been responsible for both breaches. Date and time stamps on the stolen files indicate that breach at PR Newswire occurred on or after March 8, 2013.

Presented with a copy of the purloined data, PR Newswire confirmed ownership of the information. The company said that later today it will begin the process of alerting affected customers and asking them to change their account passwords. The company says its investigation is ongoing, but that the data appears to be related to a subset of its customers from Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India.

In a statement being sent to customers today, PR Newswire said it is “conducting an extensive investigation and have notified appropriate law enforcement authorities. Based on our preliminary review, we believe customer payment data were not compromised.”

As with the investigation into the Adobe breach, this author had significant help from Alex Holden, chief information security officer at Hold Security LLC. While there are no indications that the attackers did anything malicious with the PR Newswire data, Holden said the bad guys in this case could have used it to wreak financial havoc. The company’s customer list reads like a Who’s Who of PR firms and Fortune 1000 firms.

“It’s unsettling to imagine the possible outcomes if the stolen data fell into the hands of any groups that are trying to affect political and economic stability,” Holden said. “Misleading PR statements on behalf of major companies could disrupt stock markets, injure a company’s reputation, and affect consumers.”

News of the breach at PR Newswire comes amid shenanigans elsewhere in the press release industry. On Oct. 11, Cision AB, a Swedish press-release distributor, took a PR hit of its own after a fake release caused two biometric companies’ shares to soar and led to a police report.

According to this story from Bloomberg, in 2006, PR Newswire said it distributed a false statement about Innotrac Corp. (INOC), a call-center and warehouse services operator. In 2000, Emulex Corp. (ELX) shares plunged after a different release-distribution service published a fictitious press release that said the company reversed a fourth-quarter profit to a loss.

Tech thoughts daily net news – october 24 2013 day of week

In a written statement to KrebsOnSecurity, PR Newswire said that at this point there is no evidence to suggest that the intrusion into its networks was in any way related to what happened with Cision last week.

“PR Newswire has protocols and redundancies in place that are designed to minimize the risk of distributing fraudulent press releases, including both technological and human safeguards prior to issuing any release,’ the statement reads. “The database contains approximately 10,000 records; however, there is only a minority of active users on this database. Those users represent an even smaller number of customers, as each customer generally has multiple usernames. PR Newswire decided to implemented a mandatory password reset for all customers with accounts on this database as a precautionary measure.”

As astute readers may have gathered already, PR Newswire and Adobe were not the only companies whose data was found on the hackers’ server. Stay tuned for more updates on that front.

Update Oct. 17, 11:42 a.m. ET: Holden now says the breach at PR Newswire might extend further than previously thought. “There is evidence, dated February 13, 2013, of a large-scale attack targeting PR Newswire’s multiple networks hitting over 2,000 IP addresses using ColdFusion exploits,” Hold Security noted in a news release. In a previous story, I described how the hackers thought to be responsible for this attack and the theft of source code from Adobe and other targets specialized in attacking ColdFusion vulnerabilities.

Late Start May Be Tempering China Mobile’s iPhone Preorders

Tech thoughts daily net news – october 24 2013 day

But what will sales look like after the 5s and 5c officially launch?

John Paczkowski in Mobile
December 30, 2013 at 10:17 am PT

News Byte

Twitter’s Tanking

John Paczkowski in News on December 30, 2013 at 6:49 am PT

After a wild run last week that saw them soar to an all-time high of $74.73, shares of Twitter are crashing brutally back to earth. The company’s stock tumbled more than six percent in early trading Monday, falling to $59.43. The reason? That’s not entirely clear, though perhaps investors are realizing that there’s no fundamental business change with which to rationalize last week’s run.

2013 Was a Good Year for Chromebooks

John Paczkowski in Mobile on December 29, 2013 at 2:12 pm PT

New data from NPD suggests that Chromebooks accounted for 21 percent of all commercial notebook sales. World

BlackBerry Pulls Latest Twitter for BB10 Update

John Paczkowski in Mobile on December 29, 2013 at 5:58 am PT

The update had been available for just 10 days.

Apple CEO Tim Cook Made $4.25 Million This Year

John Paczkowski in News on December 28, 2013 at 12:05 pm PT

… but he lost another $4 million in performance-based stock awards.

Apple Asks Judge to Keep Patent Pressure on Samsung

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 24 2013 Full

John Paczkowski in Mobile on December 28, 2013 at 5:00 am PT

Apple wants discontinued Samsung devices banned — and for good reason.

Apple Explains Why Icahn’s Buyback Proposal Should Be Shot Down

John Paczkowski in News on December 27, 2013 at 3:43 pm PT

“The company is one of the largest dividend payers in the world and has the largest share repurchase authorization in history.”

News Byte

Rdio Killed the Vdio Star

John Paczkowski in News on December 27, 2013 at 12:56 pm PT

Not even a year old, and already Vdio is taking a dirt nap. Rdio said on Friday that it is scrapping the nascent video-streaming platform with which it had hoped to take on Netflix and Hulu. “Despite our efforts, we were not able to deliver the differentiated customer experience we had hoped for, and so Vdio is now closed,” the company said in a message to users of the service. Evidently, Rdio’s bottom line has taken precedence over its dreams of becoming a global entertainment streaming platform.

Nokia Yanks Here Maps From Apple’s App Store

John Paczkowski in Mobile on December 27, 2013 at 9:52 am PT

Nokia says iOS 7 harms the Here experience.

U.S. Christmas Day Shoppers Bought More on iOS Than Android

John Paczkowski in News on December 27, 2013 at 6:06 am PT

Does a unit of market share matter if it’s not being used?

News Byte

BlackBerry Shares Sink on Lazaridis Letdown

John Paczkowski in Mobile on December 26, 2013 at 1:14 pm PT

Evidently some folks really did believe BlackBerry co-founder Mike Lazaridis was going to swoop in like a deus ex machina and return the dilapidated smartphone pioneer to its former glory. Shares in the sadly diminished company closed down nearly nine percent at $7.05 on the revelation that Lazaridis has abandoned his, let’s face it, largely fantastical bid for the company, and reduced his combined stake with co-founder Doug Fregin to below five percent from eight percent.

Amazon Prime Tops Dozens of Members

Posted by John Paczkowski in Commerce, December 26, 2013 at 10:45 am PT

Dark Tower: A Mac Pro Review Roundup

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 24 2013 Youtube

Posted by John Paczkowski in News, December 26, 2013 at 6:30 am PT

World Net Daily

iPhones Dominate Sales at All Four Major U.S. Carriers

Posted by John Paczkowski in Mobile, December 13, 2013 at 3:05 am PT

Cisco Loses Microsoft-Skype Challenge in EU

Posted by John Paczkowski in News, December 11, 2013 at 7:25 am PT

iOS 7 Adoption Already at 74 Percent

Posted by John Paczkowski in Mobile, December 6, 2013 at 4:45 am PT

J.P. Morgan Warns of UCard Data Breach

Posted by John Paczkowski in News, December 5, 2013 at 2:59 pm PT

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 24 2013 Calendar

How Many iPhones Can Apple Sell on China Mobile? (Spoiler: Lots)

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 24 2013 Day Of Week

Posted by John Paczkowski in Mobile, December 5, 2013 at 8:17 am PT

BlackBerry Desperation Campaign Continues

Posted by John Paczkowski in Mobile, December 5, 2013 at 2:38 am PT

Like Last Year’s Kindles, This Year’s Kindles Also the Best-Selling Kindles Ever

Posted by John Paczkowski in Mobile, December 4, 2013 at 9:05 am PT

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 24 2013 Day

I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik

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