Ashley Madison CEO Steps Down, Reporter Finds Clues To Hacker’s Identity

Dave Knott writes: Following the recent hacks on the infidelity website Ashley Madison, Noel Biderman has stepped down as CEO of both AshleyMadison.com and its parent company. Avid Life Media Inc., the company that owns the site and many others, announced Biderman’s move in a short press release on Friday: “Noel Biderman, in mutual agreement with the company, is stepping down as chief executive officer of Avid Life Media Inc. (ALM) and is no longer with the company. Until the appointment of a new CEO, the company will be led by the existing senior management team.” Before the data hack, the company was planning an IPO in London that would have taken in as much as $200 million from investors. According to regulatory filings, the company had $115 million in revenue last year, more than four times the amount it obtained in 2009.

Meanwhile, in related news, Brian Krebs (the reporter who first uncovered the hack) says he has uncovered clues to the possible identity of the hacker.
Krebs says he noticed the Twitter account operated by a known hacker recently posted a link to Ashley Madison’s stolen proprietary source code before it was made public. Intrigued by the poster’s apparent access, he examined the account’s posting history and noticed a predilection for the music of Australian hard rock band AC/DC. This jibes with the behavior of the hacker(s), who had displayed threatening messages on the computers of Ashley Madison employees, accompanied by AC/DC song Thunderstruck. In a series of tweets, the owner of the account, one Thadeus Zu, appears to deny that he was behind the hack, and indeed makes several suggestions that the account itself isn’t even run by one person, but is instead an amalgam of like-minded digital vigilantes.
The NY Times also reports that people whose details were contained in the leak are beginning to face threats of blackmail.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

German Intelligence Traded Citizen Data For NSA Surveillance Software

An anonymous reader sends news that Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, the BfV, was so impressed with the NSA’s surveillance software that they were willing to “share all data relevant to the NSA’s mission” in order to get it. “The data in question is regularly part of the approved surveillance measures carried out by the BfV. In contrast, for example, to the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, the BfV does not use a dragnet to collect huge volumes of data from the Internet. Rather, it is only allowed to monitor individual suspects in Germany — and only after a special parliamentary commission has granted approval. … Targeted surveillance measures are primarily intended to turn up the content of specific conversations, in the form of emails, telephone exchanges or faxes. But along the way, essentially as a side effect, the BfV also collects mass quantities of so-called metadata. Whether the collection of this data is consistent with the restrictions outlined in Germany’s surveillance laws is a question that divides legal experts.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Tech Nightmares That Keep Turing Award Winners Up At Night

itwbennett writes: At the Heidelberg Laureate Forum in Germany this week, RSA encryption algorithm co-inventor Leonard Adelman, “Father of the Internet” Vint Cerf, and cryptography innovator Manuel Blum were asked “What about the tech world today keeps you up at night?” And apparently they’re not getting a whole lot of sleep these days. Cerf is predicting a digital dark age arising from our dependence on software and our lack of “a regime that will allow us to preserve both the content and the software needed to render it over a very long time.” Adelman worries about the evolution of computers into “their own species” — and our relation to them. Blum’s worries, by contrast, lean more towards the slow pace at which computers are taking over: “‘The fact that we have brains hasn’t made the world any safer,’ he said. ‘Will it be safer with computers? I don’t know, but I tend to see it as hopeful.'”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

How To Keep Microsoft’s Nose Out of Your Personal Data In Windows 10

MojoKid writes: Amid the privacy concerns and arguably invasive nature of Microsoft’s Windows 10 regarding user information, it’s no surprise that details on how to minimize leaks as much as possible are often requested by users who have recently made the jump to the new operating system. If you are using Windows 10, or plan to upgrade soon, it’s worth bearing in mind a number of privacy-related options that are available, even during the installation/upgrade. If you are already running the OS and forgot to turn them off during installation (or didn’t even see them), they can be accessed via the Settings menu on the start menu, and then selecting Privacy from the pop-up menu. Among these menus are a plethora of options regarding what data can be gathered about you. It’s worth noting, however, that changing any of these options may disable various OS related services, namely Cortana, as Microsoft’s digital assistant has it tendrils buried deep.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Ashley Madison Hack Claims First Victims

wired_parrot writes: Toronto police are reporting that 2 unconfirmed suicides have been linked to the data breach. This follows pleas from other users of the site for the hackers to not release the data before it was exposed- an anonymous gay Reddit user from Saudi Arabia, where homosexuality is illegal, pleaded for the data to be kept private: “I am about to be killed, tortured, or exiled,” he wrote. “And I did nothing.” And when The Intercept published a piece condemning the puritanical glee over the data dump, one user who commented on the article said she’s been “a long term member” of the site because her spouse’s medical condition has affected their intimate life. Her spouse knows she’s engaged with other Ashley Madison members, she says, but now fears she will likely lose friends and have to find a new job now that her association with the site is out there.
Ashley Madison has now offered a $380,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the hackers who leaked the data. Security researcher Troy Hunt has also posted about the kind of emails he’s received from users after the data leak.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Spotify was dumb, but its privacy policy really wasn’t that bad

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“Education is when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get if you don’t.”

That was folk singer and activist Peter Seeger talking about the difference between education and experience. He could also just as well have been talking about Spotify and its instantly reviled new privacy policy.

Those who didn’t read what the music service had in store for the information on their phones would surely have gotten an education. Of course, the one who really got schooled was Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, who has spent the last 24 hours issuing apologies and mending customer fences. Read more…

More about Privacy, Spotify, Music, Tech, and Apps Software


Spotify plans to begin looking through your phone, so users are in panic mode

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A new privacy policy from Spotify introduced with little fanfare has sparked a backlash against the streaming music service, as online security concerns persist in the wake of the AshleyMadison hack.

Earlier this week, Spotify quietly announced that it plans to begin looking through your phone, tracking your location and even following your activity on Facebook in an effort to provide a more personalized experience

Those new data collection efforts have already pushed some users to cancel their accounts, including Minecraft creator Markus Persson — whose searing objection to the new privacy policy even drew a response from Spotify CEO Daniel Ek. Read more…

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More Ashley Madison Files Published

An anonymous reader writes: A second round of Ashley Madison data was released today. The data dump was twice as large as the first time, which was bad enough for “19 Kids and Counting” star Josh Duggar, and includes some of CEO Noel Biderman’s email as well. The release of the cheating sites data has spawned a small scammer industry as people scramble to find a way to have their information deleted from the leaks. Wired reports: “The new release is accompanied by the note: ‘Hey Noel, you can admit it’s real now.’ The message is likely a response to assertions made by the company’s former CTO this week, who tried hard to convince reporters after the first leak occurred that the data dump was fake.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Silent Circle’s Blackphone 2 Landing In September

Blackphone2 Silent Circle showed off the second generation of its pro-privacy Android-hardened smartphone, the Blackphone, back in March at the Mobile World Congress tradeshow — touting a summer launch for the device. In the event, it’s still not launched, and the company has now quietly put up a pre-order page on its website, for a September release. Read More