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08/12/2017

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The attack took place in the summer but JP Morgan only copped to it in a securities filing in October having refused to comment on reports of the attack at the time. A rather basic mistake by the bank's security team not a zero-day assault was reported to have been the source of the breach.US retailer Home Depot admitted the details of 56m customer payment cards had been exposed between April and September after malware was installed on its point-of-sale systems. The malware was a variant of BlackPOS that targets point of sale systems running Windows, installed on Target POS in 2013 and that was responsible for swiping details of 70m people.Home Depot, which operates 1,800 stores across the US, believes customers’ names and contact details were swiped but not credit and debit card details.Firms weren't getting the message, and seemed to think "it" couldn't happen to them.Social networks got a dab of the hacks: shifty coders claimed to have lifted usernames and phone numbers of 4.6m Snapchat users, taking advantage of a vulnerability in the service that the social network had dismissed as “theoretical.”

Ebay, a perennial favourite, warned hundreds of millions of users to change their passwords after its customer database was compromised.The system was cracked after somebody obtained an eBay employee’s log-in credentials and succeeded in penetrating the corporate network.Sony is tops for hackers, too, only this time state-sponsored attackers were in the frame: a group calling itself Guardians of Peace, miffed at Sony Pictures’ The Interview film about the assignation of tiny dictator Kim Jong-Un, crippled the company’s networks, pinching employee’s details and posting them online along with five un-released films posted to file-sharing sites and a string of emails that proved embarrassing for all concerned (here, here and here) and that helped sustain the gossip press.Sony Pictures was reported to have launched a DDoS attack on sites holding the stolen film material, using Amazon's AWS as its base. North Korea denied it sponsored the attack, but welcomed it with Sony initially killing plans to release the flick. Sony, however, relented - showing the film on a select basis.The US government was said to have launched a revenge cyber attack knocking the Hermit Kingdonm offline but the real culprit was more likely China: China Unicom is North Korea's main supplier and the People Republic the Communist state's biggest ally. Bejing was likely whipping the rogue state to heel as the whole Interview incident escalated.

As of writing, the Facebook page of the MM Hair Academy that so grievously insulted Jong-Un’s barnet had escaped the attention of the GoP.We’ve come to expect disruption from Apple: the plucky firm has consistently punched above its weight, up-ending personal music players, mobile phones, and personal computers with the iPod, iPhone and iPad. Is money next? With iOS 8.1 in October the Cupertino gadget king released Apple Pay, letting owners of the Apple Watch and skinny and reputedly bends-to-breaking-point iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus make payments when their device is held next to a store scanner.Those accepting Apple Pay included US outlets of Subway and McDonalds, Groupon and Uber, and - naturally - Apple’s 258 US retail stores, plus 500 banks. Apple Pay works using an NFC chip in the device with touch finger-print sensor.Mobile payments is a fragmented scene, with banks such as Barclays in the UK already offering services - PingIt - that’s available for Apple and Android phones from the respective app stores.As Apple was revving up the PR machine in September a UK smartphone payment scheme called Weve from EE, O2 and Orange and unveiled in February was abandoned and the participants ran for cover in the face of Apple’s beach landing, unable to agree on how the mobile wallet should operate. Google, meanwhile, already has its own mobile payment system with PayPal also available on your smartphone.

And then there was PayPal. PayPal, started in 1998 by Peter Thiel and Max Levchin, was bought by eBay in 2002, and has become ensconced as online auctioneer’s payments wing. PayPal shifted $180bn in revenue in 2013, and accounting for 41 per cent of eBay’s revenue and 36 per cent of its profits. But in September, eBay said it would spin out its payments arm.So why split? Was eBay rattled at the prospect of owning PayPal with Apple now on the field? Was eBay stripping down to focus its attention on Chinese e-commerce shop Alibaba, which went public in September in one of the world’s largest IPOs - $25bn. Twelve years after buying PayPal, CEO John Donahoe believed nothing more could be done together and both face different challenges. Either way, it will have satisfied eBay activist investor Carl Ichan, who’d lobbied for the split.For all that, the Apple payments menace failed to materialize in 2014: the vast majority of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus users who could have used Apple Pay on Black Friday in November didn’t. More than 90 per cent didn’t even bother trying it.

Fourteen years after it was released, Microsoft finally stopped fixing and updating Windows XP on April 8. From April 9, anybody with a PC still running Windows XP was on their own against hackers and any new viruses. UK.gov was one of those, woefully unprepared for the date and a Reg investigation found tens of thousands of PCs across Whitehall and the NHS would miss the April cut off to migrate. That meant everything with a network or internet connection was vulnerable to hacking or infection: patient systems, government records - the lot.In financials services, The Reg found two thirds of the UK’s 60,000 cash machines would also miss the date. Banks are stuck between realizing their return on ATMs, which can cost tens of thousands of pounds, and not wanting to put Windows 8 on the machines. In the meantime, the fall back is: ATMs are safe because they don’t connect to the internet.Things weren’t so tidy in the UK government and nobody at the top was taking a lead: Whitehall left it to the departments and to the NHS. The NHS passed the buck further - down to local organisations - hospitals and trusts to upgrade. Finally, our investigation revealed how Number 10 cut a lifeline deal with Microsoft: Redmond providing custom support and fixes for civil service laggards, but it came at extra cost to the tax payer.

Microsoft’s standard price was $200 per PC doubling in year two; UK.gov reckoned on an overall price of £5.6m for a 12-month contract. The problem was that with so much legacy and so little co-ordination and leadership, could UK.gov be shot of Windows XP by April 2015?The internet is stuffed with pictures of animals, but animals taking pictures? Now, that’s different. A 2011 photo of a black macaque on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi was picked up by print news titles and circulated the web during the summer. This wasn’t just any photo, however, the cheeky primate took it himself - grabbing the lens from professional photographer David Slater in a moment of human-simian interaction when Slater was on assignment shooting the monkey and his mates.Once it hit the web Wikipedia nationalized the photo, making it free to WorldDog thereby ensuring Slater didn’t receive a penny in royalties while the Wikimedia Foundation rejected Slater’s unsurprising request to take down the photo. The open-rights crowd sprung to Wikipedia’s defense, arguing the rights of “public domain” and heaping scorn on the selfish Slater. The story followed the photo in sending the internet into meltdown.Months later the episode is dust but it highlighted an important issue: Yes, the animal took the photo but the shot was clearly part of Slater’s work.

Web firms like Wikipedia rely completely on free content to trade - in this case a photo. It’s the model of Google and all social networks. Wikimedia Foundation couldn’t afford to back down, but there was something distasteful about the sight of a global organization with $60m in cash rolling over the smaller business. Developer event of the year? Completion of HTML 5 done after eight years, landing at a tickle over 1,300 pages. Possibly.The next chapter of the W3C’s ubiquitous mark-up language was actually finished ages ago - it’s just last few were spent nailing down developing tests to ensure conformity.What helped it seem done was Steve Jobs: he deployed HTML5 as a weapon in his war against Adobe’s Player in 2010. His war uncorked an outpouring of hype as others exploited the HTML5 angle in everything from web to smart client. Meantime, Apple, Microsoft, Adobe had already been feeding into products.But HMTL5 wasn’t what all wanted, and had produced a pronounced split between idealists and realists: yes, HTML5 brings integrated video freeing us from proprietary players and arcane coding techniques and yes it embraces SVG, but HTML5 also wraps in a framework for DRM - anathema to some, reality to others.

Web libertarians said a standard for DRM would harm interoperability, a claim that cut W3C to its quick and dragged in web daddy Tim Berners Lee who in 2013 defended the addition saying fragmentation of the web would happen if a DRM spec hadn’t been included.People did a double take when Microsoft cast its developer crown jewels to the masses and open-sourced .NET. Conceived as Microsoft’s answer to Java and unveiled by Bill Gates in 2000, .NET was Microsoft’s great architecture for client, server and web. At that time, Microsoft was fighting open source tooth and nail.But like Java in these latter years .NET is mentioned in the same breath as the word “legacy” with the sex and excitement around web languages and specs and open source. In a world of devices and data-centers that’s not a healthy place to be in, so Microsoft released the .NET framework class libraries and core to open source on GitHub under an MIT licence with Microsoft - in a further journey from its Windows-only history - committing to put .NET on Linux and OSX.

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