November 20th, 2014
02:29 PM ET

Act like a spy to protect your digital privacy

In today’s social media driven world, people’s entire lives are often stored on their smartphones. Email, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, your photo roll, calendar and notes all provide clues to your location, contacts and personal details. It’s a veritable buffet for identity thieves.

Wickr CEO Nico Sell says, “I’ve been lucky enough to be educated by the very best hackers in the world.”

That’s how she learned how easy it is for people to tap into your mobile phone, eavesdrop on your calls and read your text messages.

Concerned about her own digital footprint and the security of her children, Sell created Wickr – a peer-to-peer encryption app. FULL POST

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Filed under: Cyber • Data • Technology
November 13th, 2014
03:48 AM ET

How deep is your data trail?

So I just cleared my Google search history.

I took a peek at my search log ahead of an interview with data privacy expert and Harvard Fellow Adam Tanner, and was simply stunned by the depth of my data trail.

Some companies say they collect user information to provide them with better services.

Tanner says, "They know where you live, work, go to university and they also know sensitive things like what religion you belong to - all with the goal of selling things to you."

As the saying goes, there's no such thing as a free lunch. And in this networked age, we're paying with our personal data.

But Tanner says, "There should be choice and transparency. You should know what you're getting into, and what you're getting in exchange."

March 7th, 2014
02:22 PM ET

Who is the brains behind Bitcoin?

The original paper that proposed Bitcoin is credited to a "Satoshi Nakamoto."

It was widely assumed to be a pseudonym for the team of coders behind the virtual currency.

But then, came this - a blockbuster Newsweek cover story, written by Leah McGrath Goodman, that names Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto as "the mystery man behind the crypto-currency."

The report has generated a lot of controversy, especially among members of the Bitcoin community who say the evidence is insufficient and circumstantial.

And since the revelation, Mr. Nakamoto himself has denied any link to the virtual currency.

So is he truly the brains behind Bitcoin?

That was the first question I posed to Newsweek's Leah McGrath Goodman…

February 6th, 2014
01:59 PM ET

Cybersecurity not "only for the nerds"

You might not worry a lot about cybersecurity, but it's an issue that affects everyone online.

Militaries and governments see cyberattacks as serious threats.

Businesses and individuals can be impacted by data theft. In fact, just last month, 20 million South Koreans had their personal data stolen in a colossal breach.

Why is this happening? And how can we protect ourselves?

I recently spoke with P.W. Singer, Director of The Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence at the Brookings Institution. He's also co-author of the newly released book, "Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What everyone needs to know."

Singer says one factor behind the wave of recent major data breaches is something he calls the "Cybersecurity Knowledge Gap." It refers to political and business leaders tasked with managing cybersecurity but are themselves not cyber-literate.

"This gap is across the board," says Singer." And it's because we have an attitude that - as one White House official said - this is a domain 'only for the nerds.'"

"But we're all on cyberspace, we all depend on it, so we can't treat it as an issue for the I.T. crowd."

In a time of rising security breaches, cyberweapon development, and cyber-exposure as more devices get online, Singer is calling for a fundamental shift in attitude to embrace better "cyber hygiene."

"We teach our kids regular hygiene not just to protect themselves but everyone else they connect with during the day," he says.

"We need the same attitude when it comes to cyber hygiene and our collective responsibility at the global level all the way down to individual citizens and netizens."

It may start with updating your password or upgrading your firewall - just one step forward and away from an age of rising cyber insecurity.

November 4th, 2013
09:20 PM ET

The NSA fury of Google’s Eric Schmidt

The Google Chairman is one angry dude.

Eric Schmidt expressed clear outrage during our interview here in Hong Kong about the revelation that the National Security Agency had spied on the company’s data links.

"I was shocked that the NSA would do this,” Schmidt tells me. “Perhaps it’s a violation of law, but it is certainly a violation of mission.”


November 1st, 2013
05:47 AM ET

Delving into the Deep Web

Earlier this month, U.S. authorities shut down the Silk Road after its alleged operator, Ross Ulbricht, was arrested.

The Silk Road was a very successful online marketplace where people bought and sold illegal goods - from drugs to forged documents, firearms to exotic animals - without getting caught.


It existed in a hidden corner of the Internet called the "Deep Web."

But who built the Deep Web and why?

Click on. The answer will surprise you…

June 14th, 2013
09:15 AM ET

Support for Snowden in Hong Kong

The rally to support NSA leaker Edward Snowden is scheduled for this weekend in Hong Kong.

And Hong Kong legislator Albert Ho will be there. On News Stream, he tells me why the Snowden case matters to the people of Hong Kong:

"Our right to privacy may have been systematically violated by the NSA. We are entitled to seek the truth."

The rally is set for Saturday, June 15 at 3pm in Hong Kong. Organizers plan to march to the U.S. Consulate.

March 21st, 2013
01:30 PM ET

"Rules of the road" for U.S.-China cyberspies

Cyber espionage was on the agenda in Beijing this week as Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met with U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.

Hacking also came up when Lew met China's new president Xi Jinping on Tuesday.

But how big is the threat? Why is China engaging in hack attacks directed at the US? And, as hacking is allegedly happening by both the US and China, how bad is it going to get?

For insight into U.S.-China cyberwarfare, I talked to Christopher Johnson, a senior adviser at the U.S.-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.

He points out that not all the attacks from China are state-sponsored, as there are so-called patriotic hackers and industrial cyber-spies at work as well.

As for any meaningful dialogue between the US and China to set up rules to regulate cyber-warfare, Johnson is optimistic.

"What we're looking for between the two sides in these negotations is a genaral set of rules on the road," he says.

"For example, things like critical infrastructure are red lines for both sides and therefore off the table."

So go ahead and try to hack into my network - just don't hack the hospital.

March 20th, 2013
01:20 PM ET

Witness to a cyber takedown

South Korea has been on heightened alert after a suspected cyber attack on major media outlets and banks.

But what is it like to experience a computer outage that may in fact be a cyber attack?

I talked to Seoul resident and KBS employee Luke Cleary about the massive computer outage in South Korea.

Cleary was among the first to tweet a screengrab of what the outage looked like.

"First I thought it was just my computer, and slowly we started to realize other people in the office were being affected as well," says Cleary.