Technology News

  • The Securities and Exchange Commission has adopted rules to require public companies to disclose within four days all cybersecurity breaches that could affect their bottom lines. Delays will be permitted if immediate disclosure poses serious national security or public safety risks. The new rules, passed by a 3-2 vote on Wednesday, also require publicly traded companies to annually disclose information on their cybersecurity risk management and executive expertise in the field.

    July 26, 2023
  • The Biden administration and major consumer tech players are launching an effort to put a nationwide cybersecurity certification and labeling program in place. The program announced Tuesday is to help consumers choose smart devices that are less vulnerable to hacking. Officials liken the new U.S. Cyber Trust Mark initiative to the Energy Star program, which rates appliances’ energy efficiency. The initiative will be overseen by the Federal Communications Commission. Industry participation is voluntary. Amazon, Best Buy, Google, LG, Logitech and Samsung are among industry participants. The labels are for products including baby monitors, home security cameras, fitness trackers, TVs and smart climate control systems. The labels could be ready by next year.

    July 18, 2023
  • The chair of the Federal Trade Commission has defended her aggressive legal strategy toward the country’s biggest technology companies as she appeared before the House Judiciary Committee. House Republicans have charged that the agency has become overzealous and politicized under President Joe Biden. Agency head Lina Khan appeared before the Judiciary Committee Thursday for the first time amid her court battles with the companies. Republicans said she is “harassing” Twitter since its acquisition by Elon Musk, arbitrarily suing large tech companies and declining to recuse herself from certain cases. Khan pushed back, arguing that more regulation is necessary as the companies have grown and that tech conglomeration could hurt the economy and consumers.

    July 13, 2023
  • U.S. officials say state-backed Chinese hackers foiled Microsoft’s cloud-based security and hacked the email of officials at multiple U.S. agencies that deal with China ahead of Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s trip to Beijing last month. The surgical, targeted espionage accessed the mailboxes of a small number of individuals at an unspecified number of U.S. agencies and was discovered by the State Department. Officials said none of the breached systems were classified. The hack was disclosed late Tuesday by Microsoft, which said email accounts were haced at about 25 organizations globally beginning in mid-May. A U.S. official said the number of U.S. organizations impacted was in the single digits.

    July 12, 2023
  • A judge on Tuesday prohibited several federal agencies and officials of the Biden administration from working with social media companies about “protected speech,” a decision called “a blow to censorship” by one of the Republican officials whose lawsuit prompted the ruling.

    July 04, 2023
  • An Army combat veteran with extensive cybersecurity and counterterrorism experience is taking over as one of the nation’s top election security officials. Jen Easterly, the director of the U.S. Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency, made the announcement Friday. In the position, Cait Conley will coordinate with federal, state and local officials responsible for ensuring elections are secure ahead of the 2024 election. Conley takes over duties from Kim Wyman, who will depart at the end of July. Wyman joined the agency after the 2020 election in which CISA leadership was blasted by former President Donald Trump for countering false claims about the vote.

    June 30, 2023
  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says the development of artificial intelligence is a “moment of revolution” that requires swift action from the government. Schumer said Wednesday that he is working on ambitious bipartisan legislation dealing with AI. Worries about artificial intelligence systems outsmarting humans and running wild have intensified in recent months with the rise of a new generation of highly capable AI chatbots such as ChatGPT. President Joe Biden convened a group of technology leaders in San Francisco to debate what he called the “risks and enormous promises” of artificial intelligence.

    June 21, 2023
  • President Joe Biden has convened a group of technology leaders in San Francisco to debate the risks and promises of artificial intelligence. The Biden administration is seeking to figure out how to regulate the emergent field of AI, looking for ways to nurture its potential for economic growth and national security and protect against its potential dangers. Biden says, “We’ll see more technological change in the next 10 years that we saw in the last 50 years,” adding that “AI is already driving that change.” His meeting Tuesday included eight technology experts from academia and advocacy groups.

    June 20, 2023
  • Officials say about 100 letters containing suspicious white powder have been sent to lawmakers and other public officials across Kansas. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation on Sunday upped the initial tally from 30 letters to about 100. No injuries have been reported. A Facebook post from the agency says preliminary tests are negative for common dangerous toxins. In emails sent to legislators and obtained by The Topeka Capital-Journal, the director of Legislative Administrative Services said the Kansas Highway Patrol had informed his office of the letters, which contain a return address of either Kansas City or Topeka.

    June 19, 2023
  • U.S. officials say the Department of Energy is among a small number of federal agencies compromised in a Russian cyber-extortion gang’s global hack of a file-transfer program popular with corporations and governments. They say the impact is not expected to be great. Jen Easterly, director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, told reporters that the hacking campaign was short, opportunistic and caught quickly. A senior CISA official said neither the U.S. military nor intelligence community was affected. Known victims to date include Louisiana’s Office of Motor Vehicles and Oregon's Department of Transportation.

    June 16, 2023
  • Iranian hackers broke into to a system used by a U.S. municipal government to publish election results in 2020 but were discovered by cyber soldiers operating abroad and kicked out before an attack could be launched, according to U.S. military and cybersecurity officials. The system involved in the previously undisclosed breach was not for casting or counting ballots, but rather one that was used to report unofficial election results on a public website. The breach was revealed during a presentation Monday at the RSA Conference in San Francisco, which is focused on cybersecurity. Officials did not identify the municipality targeted.

    April 25, 2023
  • The federal government will “not hesitate to crack down” on harmful business practices involving artificial intelligence, the head of the Federal Trade Commission warned Tuesday in a message partly directed at the developers of widely-used AI tools such as ChatGPT. FTC Chair Lina Khan joined top officials from U.S. civil rights and consumer protection agencies to put businesses on notice that regulators are working to track and stop illegal behavior in the use and development of biased or deceptive AI tools. Amid a fast-moving race between tech giants such as Google and Microsoft in selling advanced AI tools, Khan also raised the possibility of the FTC wielding its antitrust authority to protect competition.

    April 25, 2023
  • Step into a U.S. military recreation hall at a base almost anywhere in the world and you’re bound to see young troops immersed in the world of online games. The enthusiasm military personnel have for gaming — and the risk that carries — is in the spotlight after a 21-year-old Massachusetts Air National Guardsman was charged with illegally taking and posting highly classified material on a social media platform that started as a hangout for gamers. Online gaming forums have long been a particular worry of the military because of their lure for young service members. And U.S. officials are limited in how closely they can monitor those forums to make sure nothing on them threatens national security.

    April 14, 2023
  • The U.S. government will restrict its use of commercial spyware tools that have been used to surveil human rights activists, journalists and dissidents around the world. President Joe Biden's order responds to growing U.S. and global concerns about programs that can capture text messages and other cellphone data. Some programs — so-called “zero-click” exploits — can infect a phone without the user clicking on a malicious link. While the U.S. and other governments routinely collect huge amounts of data, advocates warn that the commercial spyware market creates new opportunities for abuse and repression.

    March 27, 2023
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