NSA goes QUANTUM to crack eveything -- CES will be a wearables fest -- FACEBOOK hit with email-mining suit -- SNAPCHAT finally wakes up


January 3, 2014 06:00 PST | 09:00 EST | 14:00 UTC

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>> GHOST SIGHTINGS: NSA seeks to build quantum computer that could crack most types of encryption, by Steven Rich, Barton Gellman: "According to documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the effort to build 'a cryptologically useful quantum computer' -- a machine exponentially faster than classical computers -- is part of a $79.7 million research program titled 'Penetrating Hard Targets.' Much of the work is hosted under classified contracts at a laboratory in College Park, Md... With such technology, all current forms of public key encryption would be broken, including those used on many secure Web sites as well as the type used to protect state secrets... 'It seems improbable that the NSA could be that far ahead of the open world without anybody knowing it,' said Scott Aaronson, an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology." [TechBrief ref: See "Chicken Little"] WaPo

> Confused about the NSA's quantum computing project? This MIT computer scientist can explain. WaPo

>> COMING ATTRACTIONS: Wearable tech at CES 2014: Prepare your body parts for an onslaught of options, by Jon Phillips: "Wearable technology. It's an exploding product category in desperate need of a category-defining product. And now, with the Consumer Electronics Show upon us (Jan 7-10, Las Vegas), we get to see whether some company, any company, can release an uncompromised, mainstream consumer hit in 2014." TechHive

> Go ahead, CES 2014 - prove there's tech I want to wear TechCrunch

> CES unveil: YouTube goes 4K, Google signs up long list of hardware partners for VP9 support GigaOM

> Google's VP9 video codec gets backing from ARM, Nvidia, Sony and others, gives 4K video streaming a fighting chance TechCrunch

>> SHOCKED, SHOCKED: Facebook faces lawsuit for allegedly scanning private messages, by John Ribeiro: "Facebook has been accused of intercepting private messages of its users to provide data to marketers, according to a class-action lawsuit filed in a federal court in California. The social networking company scanned plaintiffs' private messages containing URLs and searched the website identified in the URL for 'purposes including but not limited to data mining and user profiling,' according to the complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The company does not engage in the practice to facilitate the transmission of users' communications via Facebook, but to enable it to mine user data and profit by sharing the data with third parties such as advertisers, marketers, and other data aggregators, the complaint said." [TechBrief anxiously awaits Microsoft's negative ad campaign, "Faceboogled"] InfoWorld

>> MONEY SHOT: Mandiant, which rooted out Chinese hackers for the NYT, is being snapped up for nearly $1 billion, by Brian Fung: "Mandiant became a household name last January when The New York Times revealed its role in tracking down alleged Chinese hackers lying dormant within the Times's network. The Washington Post has also hired Mandiant to analyze and defend its own IT resources. Now Mandiant is being acquired by another major player in the space. FireEye, Inc. has purchased the Alexandria-based firm in a $989 million mix of stock and cash, executives said Thursday. The deal, which closed on Dec. 30, involves 21.5 million shares of FireEye and $106.5 million in cash." WaPo

>> BEHIND THE CURTAIN: How Netflix reverse engineered Hollywood, by Alexis Madrigal: "To understand how people look for movies, the video service created 76,897 micro-genres. We took the genre descriptions, broke them down to their key words, ... and built our own new-genre generator... Using large teams of people specially trained to watch movies, Netflix deconstructed Hollywood. They paid people to watch films and tag them with all kinds of metadata. This process is so sophisticated and precise that taggers receive a 36-page training document that teaches them how to rate movies on their sexually suggestive content, goriness, romance levels, and even narrative elements like plot conclusiveness." The Atlantic

>> AMATEUR HOUR: Snapchat finally addresses New Year's Eve leak: "Company will let users opt out of Find Friends feature, but noticeably does not apologize... The breach reportedly resulted in a total of 4.6 million user names and passwords being leaked... It may have taken a couple of days for Snapchat to finally address the situation, but they finally did so in a blog post on Thursday. The company said it would be taking steps to prevent such incidents from happening again in the future, though it noticeably did not offer any kind of apology for allowing the leak to take place." VatorNews

> The hackers who revealed Snapchat's security flaws received one response from the company...four months later Forbes

>> BIG PICTURE: The Windows killer: Chromebook, by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: "NPD, a retail market analysis company, reports that sales of Chromebooks exploded from zilch in 2012 to more than 20% of the U.S. PC market in 2013. This helped push overall notebook PC growth up by 28.9%.... Meanwhile, Windows notebooks sales were as flat as a pancake, and Mac sales shrank by 7%. At the same time, overall PC sales declined in 2013 by a record 10.1%." Computerworld

>> DERP: Replacement and new Surface Pro 2 devices being sent out with upgraded specs, includes newer CPU, by Ron: "Microsoft's Surface Pro 2 has been the center of attention since the December 2013 firmware update release. Numerous Surface Pro 2 owners were facing issues installing the update, poor battery life, and various other issues. Microsoft has since pulled the update and has promised an alternative update after the holidays. However, if you were frustrated with the issues caused by the December update, you likely returned your device and received a replacement. It appears that some Surface Pro 2 owners received a newer model, featuring a newer CPU." WinBeta

> Modern-style Firefox for Windows 8 pushed back to March PCWorld

>> With $130M of bitcoin wealth and plans to sell, the FBI could rattle the virtual currency cage Pando

>> Groupon finalizes $260 million deal for Ticket Monster, LivingSocial's Korean business Re/code

>> David Cameron's Internet porn filter is the start of censorship creep The Guardian

>> Global IT spending outlook 'better but subpar' for 2014, Forrester says Computerworld

>> Samsung stock closes down 4.6%, cutting $8B off its market value as investors worry TechCrunch

>> PopCap CEO to retire, cofounder will take over the Plants vs. Zombies studio VentureBeat

>> It's time to get over the BYOD obsession InfoWorld

>> AT&T to offer $200 credit to T-Mobile switchers, in preemptive jab at rival GeekWire

>> China's Xiaomi sells 18.7 million smartphones in 2013, up 160% from a year earlier TNW

>> Massively upgraded FreeBSD 10 to be released next week InfoWorld

>> Twitter SVP Chris Fry breaks down how his engineering org works Re/code

>> The private cloud is giving way to the public cloud InfoWorld

>> Here's the first job ad we've seen for a bitcoin trader at a hedge fund Business Insider

>> HAD TO RUN IT: Kanye West now has his own cryptocurrency and it's called Coinye West Time

>> BITCOIN: $887 Mt.Gox

>> TWEET O' THE DAY: "If anyone is having a bad day, remember in 1976 Ronald Wayne sold his 10% stake in Apple for $800. Now it's worth $58,065,210,000." @ImLeslieChow

FEED ME, SEYMOUR: Comments? Questions? Tips? Shoot mail to Trent or Woody. Follow @gegax or @woodyleonhard.

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