A blog post at Symantec
this week is turning heads after the team uncovered a new, previously undetected piece of malware that has been used for years to spy on government operations. Dubbed "Regin," Symatec states that the construction of the malware "displays a degree of technical competence rarely seen," resulting in the malware remaining largely undetected since it arrived on the scene back in 2008.
The EFF this week unveiled Let’s Encrypt
, a new certificate authority (CA) initiative the company is building alongside Mozilla, Cisco, Akamai, IdenTrust, and researchers at the University of Michigan. According to an EFF blog post
, Let's Encrypt aims to speed up the deployment of HTTPS by automatically issuing and managing free certificates for any website that needs them.
Claiming to be the fastest and largest Free Wi-Fi deployment in the world, New York City this week announced LinkNYC
, an initiative the city promises will provide Wi-Fi at speeds of a gigabit. The initiative will replace the city's aging pay phones with Wi-Fi hotspots and device charging stations, with the project funded by bright display ads that will pitch services to passers by.
According to a company post to the Time Warner Cable blog
, the company has completed their "Maxx" upgrades in New York City and Los Angeles. Said upgrades involve not only improved video services and a new "Enhanced DVR
," but significantly faster speeds.
With the debate coals already hot due to the President's surprisingly clear support for Title II
, Sonic.Net CEO Dane Jasper adds some wood to the fire in a blog post
suggesting we also take this opportunity to bring back unbundling. Net neutrality violations are only a symptom of limited competition, argues Jasper, something that could be fixed if the country returned to discarded rules requiring that incumbent ISPs open up their infrastrcuture to competitors.
Verizon has agreed to pay $1.37 million to settle an investigation into the company's FiOS billing practices in Maryland. According to the The Baltimore Sun
, the settlement settles a six-year investigation into misleading Verizon promotions (like those televisions the company had a hard time ponying up years back
) incorrectly charged early termination fees, and instances where Verizon failed to adequately outline equipment fees. "Verizon's activities when it was rolling out FiOS established it as one of our office's biggest complaint generators," Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler said in a statement. "I'm pleased that Verizon is changing its marketing practices to accurately reflect the total cost of its services and that a significant number of consumers will receive restitution as a result of this agreement."
The Electronic Freedom Foundation last week filed a petition with the Librarian of Congress and the Copyright Office to extend and expand six different exemptions to the DMCA, covering everything from the right to bypass car DRM -- to the right to continue tinkering with games no longer supported by the developers. In a blog post
the EFF notes the group also urged the Librarian of Congress “to extend and expand the exemption that allows you to ‘jailbreak’ your phone from those restrictions, without running afoul of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).”
In January of last year unlocking your cellphone technically became illegal
after the Librarian of Congress removed it from the DMCA exception list.
Less than a month after a controversial anonymizing router named anonabox was suspended from Kickstarter
for a misleading promotional campaign, it appears to have popped back up over at Indiegogo. DailyDot
notes that the router has already raised nearly $16,000 on Indiegogo
, the new promotion rather ambiguously stating the pulled kickstarter campaign received ample "scrutiny and criticism." The developers say they've learned from the original effort and have made a number of changes to the Tor-powered router:
• All new totally custom circuit board avalable nowhere else in the world
• Redesigned outer case and smaller form factor (images of the new case will be posted in the updates!)
• Hardened version of OpenWrt the Open Source Operating system,
• Latest version of Tor software and more secure configuration.
• Automatic updates of Tor software (no need to configure!)
The original campaign contained a number of claims that the device was a very unique and secure prototype, despite the fact it appeared to be a copy of an existing $20 router with some very standard off-the-shelf Chinese parts.
Earlier this week Comcast suffered what was a widespread outage
related to the company's new X1 platform, knocking out television services for a significant number of Comcast customers across a wide variety of cities. Several days later (aka yesterday), Comcast customers had to deal with another massive television outage
that impacted customers in Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston and New York City.
Verizon's ActionTec routers have never been what you'd call cutting edge
, the company taking an extraordinarily long time to even offer 802.11N Wi-Fi functionality (and when they finally did, only offering 2.4Ghz). The company is making some significant strides in being more cutting edge with this week's release of the company's new FiOS Quantum Gateway, which will provide significantly faster speeds than older gear.
During the recent rash of Comcast horror stories, Tim Lee posted this piece
exploring what it's like visiting one of Comcast's service centers which, much like the company's historically-bad phone support, isn't a particularly enjoyable experience. Comcast's now eliminating the need for you to visit one of their 500 service centers in order to return gear, striking a new deal with UPS that lets to drop off your equipment at most UPS locations. According to the announcement
, you can drop off your equipment and they'll wrap and ship it back to Comcast at no additional charge. Comcast states this new effort is "just one example of the work Comcast is doing to rethink every aspect of the customer experience."
For a moment there Apple's new AppleSIM -- which allows iPad users to easily compare plans and switch carriers without swapping out the SIM -- looked like it might be immensely disruptive
. It becomes less impressive once you notice that Verizon isn't supporting the technology at all and AT&T is preventing it from working as intended
Last November we noted story continues..
that Time Warner Cable, historically a bit sluggish when it comes to next-gen broadband upgrades, was considering a brand refresh named "Maxx" that would include significant speed and TV improvements. In addition to bumping select markets
to 300 Mbps (Los Angeles, New York, Austin, Charlotte, Dallas, Hawaii, Kansas City, Raleigh, San Antonio and San Diego), that will include a fancy new DVR that the company unveiled this week in Los Angeles and New York City.
According to a new schedule posted to their website
, CableLabs is prepped to host a DOCSIS 3.1 "plugfest" in "a multi-vendor environment" during the week of December 1. The company also plans to host a follow up interoperability testing session during the week of January 19, 2015. Most of the 1 Gbps promises you're seeing made by companies like Cox
will rely on the DOCSIS 3.1 standard, which isn't expected to see significant commercial deployment until sometime in 2016. Back in September CableLabs said they were slightly ahead of schedule
with development of the standard, which will take significantly less time to deploy than it did to design.
Anonymous sources tell Benzinga
that Lenovo could announce an acquisition bid for Blackberry as soon as this week. According to the anonymous sources, Lenovo is expected to offer around $15 per share, with a deal being completed at around $18 per share. Rumors of a possible acquisition of Blackberry have circulated for several years, occasionally supported by statements of interest from Lenovo execs. Lenovo of course acquired Motorola Mobility from Google back in January of this year
for $3 billion.
One thing of particular note to our readers during Apple's unveiling of new iPads
yesterday is the new Apple SIM, which Apple didn't mention at all -- yet most analysts believe has a real chance to disrupt the industry. Installed on iPads with embedded Wi-Fi and cellular radios, Apple notes
their new Apple SIM allows users to float between carriers without having to replace the SIM card.
A Google filing with the SEC this week
indicates that Google is exploring the possibility of a variety of wireless broadband technologies across a number of spectrum frequencies, including millimeter-wave. Google's interest in wireless hasn't been much of a secret; the company acquired wireless Seattle startup Alpental Technologies
back in June (founded by ex-Clearwire folks), and a report back in April
indicated that Google was interested in potentially forming an MVNO as a supplement offering alongside or instead of Google Fiber. This particular filing appears to hint at shorter distance technologies for last mile, likely as an inexpensive way to service MDUs or apartment buildings.
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