It’s been nearly two weeks since “Heartbleed” first made headlines. Have you changed your passwords? In that time, have you also allowed yourself to wonder whether we’re safer knowing this Internet security flaw existed in the first place?
According to Bloomberg, the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) knew about Heartbleed since 2012, and used it to gather passwords and other sensitive information in the fight against cyberwarfare. It came at a price, however: Millions of Internet users had no idea their personal data was unsecure.
But was it a price worth paying? Moving forward, is it a price worth paying?
“Currently, the NSA has a trove of thousands of such vulnerabilities that can be used to breach some of the world’s most sensitive computers, according to a person briefed on the matter,” the Bloomberg story said. “Intelligence chiefs have said the country’s ability to spot terrorist threats and understand the intent of hostile leaders would be vastly diminished if their use were prohibited.”
Sometimes, the best defense is a good offense. According to the New York Times, intelligence officials say President Obama subscribes to the theory. Do you?
Here are four more stories found on the beat:
Reward by ranking?
Sticking with web security for a moment, Google’s ever-changing search algorithm could apply more favorable rankings to websites that use encryption technology, according to the Wall Street Journal. There is no plan at this time to make the change, but it is under consideration.
“If Google adds encryption to the list,” the report said, “it would give websites a big incentive to adopt it more widely.”
Talk about a potential game-changer. Stay tuned.
If Mark Zuckerberg invites you to his home for a bite to eat, consider it an excellent sign that you’ll soon strike a deal with Facebook’s billionaire founder.
The strategy played a pivotal role in Facebook’s recent acquisition of Oculus, a virtual reality firm. Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe told CNN Money how everything unfolded – fast:
“I would have never thought you could get this size of a deal done that fast, but when you hear that Facebook likes to move fast, that’s their motto, they move fast,” he said.
In days, the $2 billion deal was done. Move over, McDonald’s. That’s one heck of a happy meal.
Big thinkers on campus
Piggybacking off the previous story, this one’s for the next wave of big thinkers: Have a look at the U.S. colleges and universities with superior entrepreneurship programs, according to Mashable.
Fifteen schools from 10 states are represented. As you might expect, California and Massachusetts lead the way with three schools apiece. (Spoiler: There’s also a school down the road from GFI’s Durham, N.C., office.)
Judging was based on several factors, including the number of businesses the schools helped launch and the number of businesses still in operation.
Uncle Sam wants you!
Did you know the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) missed the April 8 deadline for Windows XP support? In other words, a complete migration to Windows 7 failed. As a result, it will pay Microsoft $30 million this year to upgrade remaining PCs, according to Computerworld.
“John Koskinen, the commissioner of the IRS, defended the unfinished migration at the (IRS budget) hearing, saying that his agency had $300 million worth of IT improvements on hold because of budget issues,” the report said.
The article noted that 58,000 of 110,000 Windows-powered machines still run XP. The $30 million tag accounts for custom support, new PCs and migration labor costs.
Hey, at least you know how Uncle Sam is spending your tax dollars.
What’s your take? Leave a comment below.