IL Follows Suit: Employers Right To Ask For Social Media Passwords Codified Into Law

Laptop workJust a few weeks back we relayed the news that Washington State was seeking to codify into law an employer’s right to ask for the social media passwords of their employees. I continue to be amazed both at why such a law was considered in the first place, as well as why there hasn’t been more backlash against it. That said, I imagine the answer to the latter has something to do with the idea that employees and prospective employees could deny that request, so perhaps some people think that there’s little to no impact overall. This, on its face, is obviously silly. Were there going to be no impact to denying the request, employers would never make it in the first place. You have to imagine that an employee, and to a larger extent an applicant, is going to face enormous pressure to give the key to their personal sites away, whether that pressure is real or imagined.


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BlackBerry: tablets dead in five years

Hand holding mobile smart phoneMr Heins said that “In five years I don’t think there’ll be a reason to have a tablet anymore. Maybe a big screen in your workspace, but not a tablet as such. Tablets themselves are not a good business model.”

Tablets have powered Apple and increasingly Samsung to huge profits, so Mr Heins’ suggestions will be met with incredulity in some quarters. But diminishing profit margins on iPads could also indicate that the market will become less attractive over time.

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GE, the world’s largest manufacturer, is on the verge of using 3-D printing to make jet parts.

Plane SilhouetteGeneral Electric is making a radical departure from the way it has traditionally manufactured things. Its aviation division, the world’s largest supplier of jet engines, is preparing to produce a fuel nozzle for a new aircraft engine by printing the part with lasers rather than casting and welding the metal. The technique, known as additive manufacturing (because it builds an object by adding ultrathin layers of material one by one), could transform how GE designs and makes many of the complex parts that go into everything from gas turbines to ultrasound machines.

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55% of net users use the same password for most, if not all, websites. When will they learn?

Vault DoorA study by Ofcom, the UK communications watchdog, has unearthed some appalling statistics which reveal just how badly the general public treat password security.

According to Ofcom’s “Adults’ Media Use and Attitudes Report 2013” report, a poll of 1805 adults aged 16 and over discovered that 55% of them used the same password for most – if not all! – websites.

Why does this matter?

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Ethernet cableSony-backed ISP has announced that it now offers the world’s fastest home broadband service. So-net Entertainment on Monday began offering its “Nuro” fiber-based service to residents in Tokyo and six surrounding areas. The service is available for Y4,980 ($51) per month with a two-year service agreement and a Y52,500 ($535) installation fee. Customers who apply online, however, will have the one-time fee waived. Upload speeds top out at 1Gbps and download speeds come in at a blisteringly fast 2Gbps, double that of Google Fiber.

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Mars One will start recruiting volunteers in July for one-way trip to red planet

Rocket Engines 4Mars One, the ambitious (some might say crazy) project that aims to make the red planet’s colonization into a successful reality TV show, will begin accepting video submissions for its first batch of astronauts in July. In an attempt to separate serious candidates from dreamers, the company plans to institute an entry fee that will vary depending on your native country. It’s reportedly going to top off at $25 though, so hopefuls won’t need to take out a second mortgage to plot out their departure from Earth. The mandatory fee is also a means for Mars One to secure funding for the actual trip and Mars colony buildout.


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Cell-ebration! 40 Years of Cellphone History

cell phone lightsToday’s mobile movement is all about efficiency and multitasking. But with the first cellphone in 1973, you could place a phone call and get a workout at the same time. After all, the phone weighed 2.5 pounds.

The cellphone turned 40 on Wednesday, April 3. Its creator, Martin Cooper, 84, placed the first mobile phone call on the streets of New York City — he phoned his rival, Joel Engel, head of research at Bell Labs. You can imagine how cheeky that exchange was.

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Exclusive: Ongoing malware attack targeting Apache hijacks 20,000 sites

Binary code 2Tens of thousands of websites, some operated by The Los Angeles Times, Seagate, and other reputable companies, have recently come under the spell of “Darkleech,” a mysterious exploitation toolkit that exposes visitors to potent malware attacks.

The ongoing attacks, estimated to have infected 20,000 websites in the past few weeks alone, are significant because of their success in targeting Apache, by far the Internet’s most popular Web server software. Once it takes hold, Darkleech injects invisible code into webpages, which in turn surreptitiously opens a connection that exposes visitors to malicious third-party websites, researchers said. Although the attacks have been active since at least August, no one has been able to positively identify the weakness attackers are using to commandeer the Apache-based machines. Vulnerabilities in Plesk, Cpanel, or other software used to administer websites is one possibility, but researchers aren’t ruling out the possibility of password cracking, social engineering, or attacks that exploit unknown bugs in frequently used applications and OSes.


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