Skyway Recommended December 16th to 29th

This week: Top-secret NSA unit infiltrates computers; Sharks Tweeting?; Target Data Breach Bringing Down Everybody, including Hackers; Advisers urge Obama to Curb NSA Data Mining; Target Hack Exposes 40 million Credit Cards; Mobile Payments Raise Consumer Protection Issues.

Each Monday (okay, we missed last week — Merry Christmas!) we’ll pass on links to articles we thought were well worth reading from the previous week, for those who live where we do (British Columbia, Canada), work like we do (high speed business internet), and think about things we do (internet trends, internet privacy, internet censorship, cutting-edge technology, etc.). If you don’t want to wait ’til Monday, we usually tweet and link to these as we come across them

The GuardianNSA ‘hacking unit’ infiltrates computers around the world – report

A top-secret National Security Agency hacking unit infiltrates computers around the world and breaks into the toughest data targets, according to internal documents quoted in a magazine report on Sunday. Details of how the division, known as Tailored Access Operations (TAO), steals data and inserts invisible “back door” spying devices into computer systems were published by the German magazine Der Spiegel. Read More…

The Wire | Tweeting Sharks Could Help Save Aussie Surfers

Scientists in Western Australia (WA) have equipped at least 320 sharks with transmitters that update a Twitter feed when the shark nears shore, meaning that technology is one step closer to finally defeating sharks. Read More…

The Wire | Target’s Massive Data Breach Is Bringing Everyone Down, Even Hackers

Earlier this month, Target disclosed that 40 million credit cards used at its retail locations were compromised in the second largest retail data breach in U.S. history. Now the company, its customers and even hackers selling the stolen credit card information are dealing with the fallout, and everyone — with the possible exception of the criminals who pulled off the stunt and Brian Krebs, who broke the story and is flexing his cyber security bona fides on the Target crime beat — is worse off. Here’s a quick roundup of how the Target debacle is affecting every identifiable party involved. Read More…

NY Times | Advisers Urge Obama to Sharply Curb N.S.A. Data Mining

A panel of outside advisers urged President Obama on Wednesday to impose major oversight and some restrictions on the National Security Agency, arguing that in the past dozen years its powers had been enhanced at the expense of personal privacy. Read More…

Computer World | Target says hackers likely accessed 40 million cards

Target has confirmed that data from about 40 million credit and debit cards was stolen at its stores between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15. The statement from the retailer Thursday follows reports that thieves had accessed data stored on the magnetic stripe on the back of credit and debit cards during the Black Friday weekend through card swiping machines that could have been tampered with at the retailer’s stores, a practice known as card skimming. Read More…

Financial Consumer Agency of Canada | Mobile Payments Raise Consumer Protection Questions

The introduction of mobile payments (m-payments) could have an impact on Canadian financial consumers. The consumer protections that apply to m-payments depend on the underlying source of funds and the type of firm(s) providing the service. Since m-payments attract a variety of service providers, the consumer protection obligations vary across the ecosystem. As a result, not all m-payments in Canada are protected equally. By bringing a new medium as well as new business models and participants into the market, m-payments could pose new risks for consumers and could alter the application of the existing consumer protection framework. Download/Read PDF.

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