Is There an Upside to Privacy Violations

The Upside to Privacy Violations

PrivacySeveral recent incidents involving privacy violations have provided a glimmer of light among all the doom and gloom.

First came the news that Google had unveiled an alleged child pornographer after discovering kiddyporn images in his Gmail account. While some may condemn Google’s monitoring of images transmitted via its email service, the company has since issued assurances that its inbox scanning is specifically tuned to identify content that may be related to child abuse.

That was followed by reports of similar incidents coming to light, one involving Microsoft and its OneDrive service. Microsoft discovered an image involving a “young girl” which had allegedly been saved to a OneDrive account belonging to a man in his twenties from Pennsylvania. The man was later discovered trying to send two similar illegal images from a Microsoft email address. He was arrested after Microsoft contacted the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s CyberTipline.

While I generally abhor today’s invasive practices, this is one instance where I believe the outcome surely justifies the means.  If giving up a little privacy can help catch these abominations, I’m all for it.

Russian Hackers Amass Over 1 Billion Passwords

HackerThe big hacking story this week involves a Russian crime ring which has amassed the largest known collection of stolen Internet credentials, including 1.2 billion user name and password combinations and more than 500 million email addresses.

The records, discovered by Hold Security, a firm based in Milwaukee, include confidential material gathered from 420,000 websites, including household names and small Internet sites. Hold Security would not name the victims, citing nondisclosure agreements and a reluctance to name companies whose sites remained vulnerable. <source>

Cryptolocker Defeated – New Website Frees Ransomed Files

cryptolockerThe potential devastation caused by CryptoLocker has been well documented; this pernicious ransomware encrypts all of its victims precious files using strong AES-256-bit cryptography, which is virtually impossible to break if you don’t know the private key required to unlock it. Pay the attackers $300, and they’ll give you the key. Don’t pay, and your files stay scrambled forever… that is, until now!

Researchers from FireEye and Fox-IT have managed to recover the private encryption keys used by CryptoLocker, as well as reverse-engineer the code powering the malware itself, which means the files can now be unlocked.

Best of all, the security firms are providing this service for free via the recently launched

The process is very simply: just send the site one of the CryptoLocker-encrypted files from the PC, along with an email address. It’ll scan the file to figure out the encryption specifics, then send you a recovery program and master key which can be used to rescue ransomed data.

Samsung Still Leading U.S. Smartphone Market

SmartphoneAccording to the latest data from Counterpoint Research, Samsung still can’t be beaten in the US smartphone market. Statistics for smartphone shipments during the second quarter of 2014 show Samsung enjoying 36.1%, compared with Apple’s 29.7%.

During the same period in 2013, Samsung accounted for 33.9% of shipments while Apple held 25.9%. LG came in third place with 11% share in this year’s second quarter.

That Apple and Samsung secure the top two spots is no surprise. The companies reign in the smartphone market and, according to Counterpoint, accounted for almost two-thirds of US smartphone shipments last quarter.

AMD to Launch Radeon Branded SSDs

AMD_Radeon_SSDIn April a rumor appeared suggesting AMD was working with Toshiba to create a new range of SSDs that would be sold with Radeon branding. It turns out the rumor is true, and we are set to get three new drives branded Radeon R7 Series SSD.

The R7 drives will use Toshiba’s 19nm MLC NAND combined with an Indilux Barefoot 3 controller. They are basically OCZ Vector 150 drives. Capacities include 120GB, 240GB, and 480GB options, with read and write speeds in the 450-550MB/s range. A generous 5-year warranty is also expected.

An official announcement regarding the Radeon R7 SSDs is expected before the end of August.

ATM – Automated Thanking Machine (video)

In our feel good story of the week; TD Bank in Canada wanted to thank its loyal customers in a way they’d never forget, so they came up with the idea of an “Automated Thanking Machine” which also dispensed gifts. The recipients were handpicked by the bank’s staff and are all people who have been customers for a long time and developed close ties with the people who worked there. Some of them have been through rough times, while others just needed to hear a thank you, or get a well earned pat on the back.

Marketing gimic? Pubicity stunt? Maybe, but it sure put a smile on a lot of faces… you be the judge…




4 thoughts on “Is There an Upside to Privacy Violations”

  1. Though its a good thing that sometimes criminals get caught because of monitoring emails and cloud storage accounts, but its a very unethical and bad thing to do. Its like searching everybody’s house giving the reason that there might be some one who can have illegal things in his or her house. This is just a lame excuse.

    1. Jogs – The monitoring isn’t done by searching through everybody’s emails and cloud storage, that would be logistically improbable anyway. They use an algorithm specifically designed to flag key words and/or specific types of images. A very high percentage of emails and stored data would never be looked at.

      Cheers… Jim

  2. And hopefully Aunty Google will have “algorithm’s” to detect bomb makers, wife beaters, anti-Semitic’s, umm… gun traders, anti-government protestors, thieves, rogues, ummm. Oh yes, Druggies and of course, Liberals and those who think in a terribly rotten way.
    We’ve got them on our list..and they never will be missed..They never will be missed!
    Who needs policemen when Aunty Google the infallible is right here, right now at Jim’s place.
    Good on you Jim.
    Start up a petition to add more to the list why don’t you?

    1. Colin – There is absolutely no need to get personal, I am simply relaying the facts as they have been reported.

      Nowhere, at any time, have I ever advocated any of the things you’ve suggested… they are YOUR words NOT MINE.

      Personally, I would have no problem giving up a little of my privacy if it meant apprehending just one pedophile or child abuser. Maybe you see it differently, but that’s not cause to be rude about it.

      Frankly, I am disappointed and more than a little upset that you should take such an unnecessarily aggressive and confrontational line.

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