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IDG Contributor Network: Microsoft to release Windows Defender Security Center in April

Microsoft has announced that as part of the Creator’s Update coming in April, it will introduce a new security service called Windows Defender Security Center, which is designed to act as a dashboard for all of your security features, including third-party security. The Security Center is already available to Windows Insiders using preview builds of Windows 10.

Though Windows Defender has never been a top-flight performer in detecting malware compared to vendors like Trend Micro and Kaspersky (see the latest AV Comparatives in PDF format), Microsoft has stuck with it, and it does make for a decent second line of defense. With the Security Center, Microsoft is expanding beyond mere malware detection into overall system security.

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Pompeo sworn in as CIA chief amid opposition from surveillance critics

Mike Pompeo was sworn in late Monday as the new director of the Central Intelligence Agency amid protests from surveillance critics who worry about his conflicting views on a number of key issues.

The oath of office was administered by Vice President Mike Pence after the Senate voted in favor of his confirmation in a 66-32 vote.

Critics of Pompeo, a Republican representative from Kansas, are concerned that he may weigh in with the government on a rollback of many privacy reforms, including restrictions on the collection of bulk telephone metadata from Americans by the National Security Agency under the USA Freedom Act. There are also concerns that the new director may try to introduce curbs on the use of encryptionand bring in measures to monitor the social media accounts.

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Apple quashes bugs in iOS, macOS and Safari

Apple on Monday updated macOS Sierra to 10.12.3, patching 11 security vulnerabilities and addressing a graphics hardware problem in the latest 15-in. MacBook Pro laptop.

At the same time, Apple released iOS 10.2.1, an update that fixed 18 security flaws, the bulk of them in WebKit, the foundation of the baked-in Safari browser.

According to Apple's typically terse update documentation, macOS 10.12.3 "improves automatic graphics switching on MacBook Pro (15-in., October 2016)." Another fix addressed "graphics issues" on both the 15-in. and the smaller 13-in. sibling when encoding in Adobe Premiere Pro; that bug attracted attention after a video showing a notebook wildly cycling through colors went viral.

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Yahoo pushes back timing of Verizon deal after breaches

Verizon’s planned acquisition of Yahoo will take longer than expected and won’t close until this year’s second quarter, the internet company said on Monday.

The $4.8 billion deal was originally slated to close in the first quarter, but that was before Yahoo reported two massive data breaches that analysts say may scrap the entire deal.

Although Yahoo continues to work to close the acquisition, there’s still work required to meet closing the deal's closing conditions, the company said in an earnings statement, without elaborating.

Verizon has suggested that the data breaches, and the resulting blow to Yahoo’s reputation, might cause it to halt or renegotiate the deal.

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IBM Security to buy risk-visualization firm Agile 3 Solutions

IBM Security plans to buy San Francisco-based Agile 3 Solutions, which makes software for visualizing data risk for analysis by senior executives.

The deal is expected to close within weeks, but the financial terms were not released. It will include the purchase of Ravy Technologies, an Agile 3 subcontractor based in India.

Agile 3’s software identifies risks to business programs and assets, and enables actions to head off possible exploits that could affect business processes. It provides a dashboard for measuring compliance with regulations and legislation.

IBM Security customers will be able to buy Agile 3 technology as a service through IBM Data Security Services or as features rolled into IBM Guardian, the company’s data-protection software. The company says the addition of the software will help identify and protect critical data.

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The essential guide to anti-malware tools

It's a sad fact of life in IT nowadays that some form of preparation for dealing with malware is part and parcel of what systems and network administrators must do. This goes above and beyond normal due diligence in warding off malware. It includes a proper appreciation of the work and risks involved in handling malware infections, and acquiring a toolkit of repair and cleanup tools to complement protective measures involved in exercising due diligence. It should also include at least two forms of insurance – one literal, the other metaphorical – that can help avert or cover an organization against costs and liabilities that malware could otherwise force the organization to incur.

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(Insider Story)
WikiLeaks urges hackers to leak Trump's tax returns

After President Trump backpedaled on multiple election promises to release his tax returns, WikiLeaks urged people to get hold of them and anonymously send them to WikiLeaks, so the tax returns could be leaked online.

The call to leak Trump’s tax returns came after Kellyanne Conway, a senior advisor to the president, told ABC’s This Week that Donald Trump has no intentions of releasing his tax returns. “The White House response is that he’s not going to release his tax returns,” she said. “We litigated this all through the election.”

Despite a poll which showed Americans do want to see Trump’s returns, Conway suggested, “People didn’t care; they voted for him, and let me make this very clear: most Americans are — are very focused on what their tax returns will look like while President Trump is in office, not what his look like.”

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Lavabit developer has a new encrypted, end-to-end email protocol

The developer behind Lavabit, an email service that noted leaker Edward Snowden used, is releasing source code for an open-source, end-to-end encrypted email standard that promises surveillance-proof messaging.

The code for the Dark Internet Mail Environment (DIME) standard will become available on Github, along with an associated mail server program, said its developer, Ladar Levison, on Friday.

DIME will work across different service providers and perhaps crucially will be "flexible enough to allow users to continue using their email without a Ph.D. in cryptology," said Levison.

To coincide with its launch, Levison is also reviving Lavabit. The encrypted email service shut down in 2013 when federal agents investigating Snowden demanded access to email messages of his 410,000 customers, including their private encryption keys.

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Researchers propose a way to use your heartbeat as a password

Researchers at Binghamton State University in New York think your heart could be the key to your personal data. By measuring the electrical activity of the heart, researchers say they can encrypt patients' health records.  

The fundamental idea is this: In the future, all patients will be outfitted with a wearable device, which will continuously collect physiological data and transmit it to the patients' doctors. Because electrocardiogram (ECG) signals are already collected for clinical diagnosis, the system would simply reuse the data during transmission, thus reducing the cost and computational power needed to create an encryption key from scratch.

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