Web

Pre-election, Obama quietly signed off on new rules for cyber security

pre election obama quietly signed off on new rules for cyber securityHere’s something you didn’t hear amidst all the shouting about the economy, Benghazi and whether or not Chris Christie should have been so warm towards the President before last week’s US Presidential Election: President Obama signed off on what’s being described as a “secret directive” that allows American forces to more aggressively go after cyberattacks on the US in mid-October, effectively redrawing the government’s definition of cyberterrorism and its appropriate response.

The Washington Post broke the story earlier today, reporting on what is officially called “Presidential Policy Directive 20,” a classified directive that, the newspaper explains, “establishes a broad and strict set of standards to guide the operations of federal agencies in confronting threats in cyberspace.” Termed “the most extensive White House effort to date” in dealing with cyberattacks on the country, PPD20 attempts to redefine what constitutes “offensive” and “defensive” responses to such attacks, explicitly making clear where the line is between the two, as well as laying out a process to ensure that network operations outside direct governmental or defense control are protected in the case of attack.

According to one anonymous source described as “a senior administration official,” what PPD 20 does “really for the first time, is it explicitly talks about how we will use cyber operations. Network defense is what you’re doing inside your own networks. . . . Cyber operations is stuff outside that space, and recognizing that you could be doing that for what might be called defensive purposes.” A second anonymous source within the administration says that it is “an enormous step forward,” in part because “it should enable people to arrive at more effective decisions.” (It shouldn’t be considered a license to over-reach, however; one of the anonymous sources is also quoted as saying that “We always want to be taking the least action necessary to mitigate the threat… We don’t want to have more consequences than we intend”).

Amongst the changes made clear in PPD 20, the report says, is the shift from severing a link between a targeted domestic computer and an overseas server responsible for an attack. “[Previously] that was seen as something that was aggressive, particularly by some at the State Department,” said a defense official, pointing to the belief that such a move could be seen by some as affecting other Internet services or somehow stepping on the toes of the country responsible for hosting the offensive server.

Presidential Policy Directive 20 is an attempt to update the previous administration’s guidelines on how to deal with cyber terrorism, “National Security Presidential Directive 38: National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace,” which President George W. Bush signed in July 2004, and has been reportedly welcomed by cyber defense experts as a necessary boost to the US’ cyber security efforts.

Computing

Skype doubles its group video chat limit to 50 participants

Skype now allows for up to 50 people in video and audio chats, double that of before. And instead of ringing everyone as a way to get a group call started, you can now send unobtrusive notifications to get everyone’s attention.
Gaming

From fatalities to new characters, here's what we know about Mortal Kombat 11

Mortal Kombat 11 releases April 23 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Here is everything we know about NetherRealm's latest fighting game, including its characters.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Movies & TV

Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker: Everything we know so far

Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker's first teaser trailer and plot details have arrived. Here's everything we know about the movie before it premieres in December 2019.
Gaming

Feeling nostalgic? Here are the 25 best Sega Genesis games

Although the company has since fallen into obscurity, Sega was an indisputable titan throughout the '90s. That said, here are 25 best Sega Genesis games that helped define its fabled decade.
Web

From pranksters to pop stars, these are the 10 biggest YouTube channels

For better or worse, YouTube celebrities have had a profound impact on popular culture. From comedy channels, to gaming let's plays, and musicians, they all garner tens of millions of subscribers. These are the most popular.
Health & Fitness

Microsoft says it’s closing its HealthVault patient records service

Microsoft has announced it is closing its HealthVault service, which offered a way for individuals to store and share their health records with medical professionals. Users are advised to act soon if they want to save their data.
Social Media

How a two-year-old Facebook post may lead to jail time for a visitor to Dubai

If you enjoy sounding off on social media, you might want to check through your posts prior to any trip to Dubai after a British woman was arrested there for comments made on Facebook two years ago.
Movies & TV

No TV? No problem. Here's how to watch the NCAA championship game online

Whether you want to watch the Big Dance on your phone or on your smart TV, we have the lowdown on all the ways to watch March Madness you can handle. Grab your foam finger and some nachos.
Photography

Back off, photo thieves: Flickr alerts photographers to image theft with Pixsy

Worried about someone swiping your photo off Flickr? The image sharing platform can now integrate with Pixsy accounts to alert photographers when a photo is used without permission by using artificial intelligence to scour the web.
Social Media

Facebook’s tributes section serves as an online memorial for deceased users

Death doesn't stop Facebook users from sharing memories, and now those memorialized posts have a dedicated spot on the network. Facebook Tribute is a section on memorialized profiles for users to write posts and share memories.
Social Media

How to protect yourself from GoFundMe scams before donating

Can you spot a GoFundMe scam? While the fundraising platform says scams make up less than a tenth of one percent of campaigns, some do try to take advantages of others' charity -- like a case last year that made national news.
Computing

House votes to restore net neutrality rules, but effort faces long odds

The U.S. House of Representatives has approved the Save the Internet Act, a measure intended to restore net neutrality rules that were repealed in 2017 by the Federal Communications Commission.
Web

Search all of Craigslist at once with these great tools on web and mobile

Not finding what you need in your local area? Craigslist can be great for finding goods and services from further afield too. All you need do is learn these tips for how to search all of Craigslist at once.