NSA malware infects 50K nets -- CHINA nears 100-petaflop system -- Silk Road to BITCOIN -- TWITTER's bot problem -- Valuations gone wild

 

November 25, 2013 06:00 PST | 09:00 EST | 14:00 UTC

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>> INVISIBLE KUDZU: NSA infected 50,000 computer networks worldwide with malware: Report, by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai: "The U.S. National Security Agency hacked more than 50,000 computer networks worldwide last year, infecting them with malware used to conduct sophisticated spy operations, according to a top-secret slide leaked by Edward Snowden. The new revelation comes from a 2012 PowerPoint slide published by Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad. The document shows a world map that highlights, among other things, more than 50,000 'world-wide implants' under the category 'CNE' (Computer Network Exploitation) -- NSA jargon for malware infections." Mashable

>>>> NSA infected 50,000 computer networks with malicious software Nrc.nl

>>>> Twitter tightens security against NSA snooping PCWorld

>>>> Tim Berners-Lee says government snooping threatens future democracy InfoWorld

>> THE SYNDICATE: Did Satoshi Nakamoto transfer 1,000 bitcoins to the Silk Road?, by Jeremy Kirk: "Two computer scientists in Israel say a bitcoin transaction now worth more than $1 million suggests a possible link between a creator of the virtual currency and Ross William Ulbricht, the 29-year-old accused of running the Silk Road underground online marketplace. The 1,000-bitcoin transfer was found during an analysis of the movement of the Silk Road's bitcoins... The finding suggests a partnership or investment in the Silk Road on the part of someone involved very early on in Bitcoin... The amount was transferred on March 20 from an account established just a week after the bitcoin network launched in January 2009. Early bitcoin accounts are believed to be controlled by Satoshi Nakamoto, a pseudonym for the person or group of people who created Bitcoin." PCWorld

>> RICKROLL: Claims Google search sells shoppers short, by Richard Waters: "Five out of every six items in the panels shown on a Google search made in America are more expensive than the same items from other merchants hidden deeper in the index, with an average premium of 34 per cent, according to a Financial Times analysis" The FT (paywalled)

>> FLOCK OF BOTS: Inside a Twitter robot factory, by Jeff Elder: "Surrounded by a dozen computers at his home overlooking a golf course near the Las Vegas Strip, Mr. Vidmar has been buying fake accounts and unleashing them on Twitter for six years.... Today, he says he manages 10,000 robots for roughly 50 clients, who pay Mr. Vidmar to make them appear more popular and influential. WSJ (paywalled)

>> INTERNET OF THINGIES: The battle for the connected home is heating up, by Matt Turck: "With the emergence of connected devices, the entire home is being reinvented as a data product, opening great opportunities to entrepreneurs. A whole new generation of startups is rushing in... The irony of this market, not always acknowledged, is that a number of large companies with big brands and existing 'pipes' in our homes, have been unusually innovative. From connected locks to mobile-controlled home automation platforms, large companies such as GE, Comcast or Philips have been offering connected home products for a while now, sometimes at the risk of cannibalizing their own analog products." TechCrunch

>> DEPT OF GINORMOUS: Why the U.S. may lose the race to exascale, by Patrick Thibodeau: "In the global race to build the next generation of supercomputers -- exascale -- there is no guarantee the U.S. will finish first. But the stakes are high for the U.S. tech industry. Today, U.S. firms -- Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Intel, in particular -- dominate the global high performance computing (HPC) market. On the Top 500 list, the worldwide ranking of the most powerful supercomputers, HP now has 39% of the systems, IBM, 33%, and Cray, nearly 10%... China is expected to produce two 100-petaflop size systems as early as 2015, one built entirely from China-made chips and interconnects." Computerworld

>> ME TOO: Apple confirms acquisition of 3-D sensor startup PrimeSense, by Mike Isaac, John Paczkowski: "Apple has completed its acquisition of PrimeSense, the Israel-based company focused on 3-D sensor technology, for a price sources said was around $360 million... finally bringing the semiconductor company responsible for advances in motion and depth capture under Apple's aegis... PrimeSense became widely known in the sensor technology space for its early work with Microsoft's Kinect gaming product, which uses cameras and depth sensors to capture players' motions and incorporate them into Xbox gameplay. (Microsoft now deploys its own homegrown sensor technology for the current generation of Kinect devices, which ship with the recently launched Xbox One.)" [Blogosphere echo chamber count: 100] AllThingsD

>> BUBBLE WATCH: Disruptions: If it looks like a bubble and floats like a bubble ..., by Nick Bilton: "Eight months ago, Snapchat was valued at $70 million. Today, it is valued at $4 billion, even though it has zero revenue. Six months ago, Pinterest was valued at $2.5 billion. Today, it is valued at $3.8 billion -- and no revenue there, either. And last week news broke that Dropbox was said to be seeking a new round of funding that would value the company at $8 billion, up from $4 billion a year ago.... In Silicon Valley, pointing out this sort of thing is considered a bit impolite." NYT Bits

>> CRIMES & MISDEMEANORS: Spam-friendly registrar Dynamic Dolphin shuttered, by Brian Krebs: "The organization that oversees the Internet domain name registration industry last week revoked the charter of Dynamic Dolphin, a registrar that has long been closely associated with spam and cyber crime." Krebs on Security

>> HAPPENING TODAY: Newegg trial: Crypto legend takes the stand, goes for knockout patent punch, by Joe Mullin: "Newegg's courtroom face-off with patent-licensing giant TQP Development is nearing its end. TQP has sued hundreds of companies saying it has patented the common Web encryption scheme of combining SSL with the RC4 cipher. Almost 140 companies have paid TQP a total of more than $45 million. But online retailer Newegg, which has sworn not to settle with 'patent trolls' like TQP, took the case to a jury... A verdict could come by Monday evening." Ars Technica

>>>> Court tosses out bogus patent used against FindTheBest TechDirt

>> THE HAND THAT FEEDS: Mozilla's reliance on Google is increasing: 90% of 2012 revenue came from that one source, by Emil Protalinski: "Mozilla's contract with Google brought in almost $139 million in 2011. Last year, that number was almost $280 million, or more than double in 2012. While Mozilla has signed contracts with other search engines, including Microsoft's Bing, Firefox users clearly still use Google more than the competition." TNW

>> BY THE NUMBERS: Microsoft sells 1 million Xbox One consoles on launch day, by Martyn Williams: "Microsoft says the launch of the Xbox One on Friday has been the most successful yet for its Xbox gaming console family. The company sold 1 million consoles in less than 24 hours, it said, putting it roughly equal with the launch of Sony's PlayStation 4 a week earlier." TechHive

>>>> Why Comcast isn't worried about the Xbox One "Comcast customers already have most of the Xbox's advanced TV functionality. They can already search by show, and while voice search isn't ready yet, it's coming as part of the new X1 platform. More importantly, customers can record and watch TV shows with the Comcast DVR. You can use the Xbox to navigate between TV channels, sure, but if you want to watch something from DVR or on demand, you'll have to pick up the cable remote." The Verge

>>>> Reports of Xbox One disc drive issues increase Kotaku

>> Scientists make cheese from human toe jam The Verge

>> 10 things we learned - or didn't -- from Cisco's Insieme launch Network World

>> Uber drivers to get GM and Toyota financing deals Bloomberg

>> IRS left taxpayer data vulnerable to attack, report says WaPo

>> The ten toughest tasks in development Sitepoint

>> Retailers tracking customers via Wi-Fi suggests that privacy really is dead CSO

>> Clinging to Outlook, only 25 percent of Yahoo employees willing to eat mail "dogfood" (best memo ever!) AllThingsD

>> Say hello to Safeplug, Pogoplug's $49 Tor-in-a-box for anonymous surfing GigaOM

>> Ask.com and Yahoo are the fastest-growing sources of organic search traffic Shareaholic

>> Message app Line hits 300M registered users, up from 200M four months ago -- gunning for 500M in 2014 TechCrunch

>> Things I wish someone had told me when I was learning how to code Cecily Carver

>> COOL: The Evolution of the Web

>> HAD TO RUN IT: Marc Benioff is the Ron Burgundy of tech ValleyWag

>> BITCOIN AT THIS HOUR: $811 Mt Gox

>> TWEET O' THE DAY: "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill" @hunterwalk

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

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