Snapchat and Skype get HACKED -- NYT defends SNOWDEN -- NEST raises $150M at $2B value -- SWISHER & MOSSBERG's Re/code debuts


January 2, 2014 06:00 PST | 09:00 EST | 14:00 UTC

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>> WYWO: Here's what happened over the holidays while you were snaptextweetingmailing:

> Documents reveal top NSA hacking unit: 'Inside TAO: Tailored Access Operations' Der Spiegel

> 30c3: To protect and infect Jacob (@ioerror) Applebaum

> Apple, Cisco, Dell unhappy over alleged NSA back doors in their gear InfoWorld

> Unencrypted Windows crash reports give 'significant advantage' to hackers, spies Computerworld

> Researchers show why the NSA's phone metadata is far from anonymous The Verge

> U.S. judge says NSA phone surveillance is lawful Reuters

> ACLU sues US government over NSA spying BBC

> Congress gives NSA-controlled US Cyber Command more resources Techdirt

> Apple to shareholders: Vote Icahn off Buyback Island Computerworld

> Apple's Tim Cook must forfeit $4 million in stock, board decides LA Times

> Apple's iOS completely blew away Google's Android for shopping on Christmas Business Insider

> Christmas spike: iOS Downloads and Revenue grew by more than 50% Distimo

> Alibaba to offer telecom services in China Wall Street Journal

> Target: Customers' encrypted PINs were stolen WaPo/AP

> Who's selling credit cards from Target? Krebs on Security

> Target: Deceive first, answer questions later Computerworld

> Judge won't let student challenge electronics searches at US border Ars Technica

> Microsoft files for Mod, Office Mod and Windows Mod trademarks Neowin

> Better angels: 7 tech tycoons who gave very, very generously InfoWorld

>> WHITE HAT ATTACK: Confirmed: Snapchat hack not a hoax, 4.6 M usernames and phone numbers published, by Catherine Shu: "A site called has saved usernames and phone numbers for 4.6 million accounts and made the information available for download. In a statement to us, SnapchatDB says that it got the information through a recently identified and patched Snapchat exploit and that it is making the data available in an effort to convince the messaging app to beef up its security." TechCrunch

> Hackers claim to expose phone information of 4.6 million Snapchat users InfoWorld

> Alleged Snapchat hackers explain how and why they leaked data on 4.6 million accounts The Verge >> OVER AND OUT: Skype's Twitter, Facebook, and blog hacked by Syrian Electronic Army demanding an end to spying, by Ken Yeung: "We're not even through the first day of 2014 and cyber attacks have already made their appearance. Earlier today, a person (or a few people) breached Skype's security and hacked its Twitter account, Facebook page, and blog. The group claiming responsibility is the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA). Its message: end spying on the public... A Skype spokesperson responded to TNW with a statement: 'We recently became aware of a targeted cyber attack that led to access to Skype's social media properties, but these credentials were quickly reset. No user information was compromised.'" TNW

> Skype's social media accounts targeted by hacker group InfoWorld

>> LIBERTY & JUSTICE: Edward Snowden, whistle-blower, by The New York Times editorial board: "Considering the enormous value of the information he has revealed, and the abuses he has exposed, Mr. Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight. He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service. It is time for the United States to offer Mr. Snowden a plea bargain or some form of clemency that would allow him to return home, face at least substantially reduced punishment in light of his role as a whistle-blower, and have the hope of a life advocating for greater privacy and far stronger oversight of the runaway intelligence community." New York Times

>> VALLEY MINDMELD: Can-do vs. can't-do culture, by Ben Horowitz: "The trouble with innovation is that truly innovative ideas often look like bad ideas at the time. That's why they are innovative -- until now, nobody ever figured out that they were good ideas. Creative big companies like Amazon and Google tend to be run by their innovators. Larry Page will unilaterally fund a good idea that looks like a bad idea and dismiss the reasons why it can't be done." Re/code

>> CLOUDY CRASH: IBM spends holiday season wrangling e-tail FAIL, by Simon Sharwood: "Australia's largest department store's website crashed for the week of post-Christmas sales, leaving IBM and possibly Oracle scrambling to fix the mess... In 2008, Oracle published a case study trumpeting that Oracle Retail has been implemented at Myer over several years, to give it 'a unified view of inventory levels, purchasing, and supplier contracts so they could make better buying decisions.' The case study names IBM as the implementation partner. In 2012, IBM let it be known that its WebSphere software would power Myer's new website. That site was put to the test on December 26th, traditionally the opening day for a period of heavy retail discounting in Australia. The site quickly crashed under a rush of mouse-wielding bargain-seekers, many of whom would have chased the exclusive deals offered online. The site stayed down until January 2nd." The Register

>> SIDE-BY-SIDE: Entry-level Mac Pro offers comparable pricing versus OEM PCs, DIY systems more affordable, by Juli Clover: "When comparing the entry-level 3.7GHz quad-core Mac Pro with dual AMD FirePro D300s to both the similarly specced HP Z420 and the Lenovo ThinkStation S30, Anandtech found the Mac Pro to be competitively priced at $3248 (priced with AppleCare) vs. $4490 for the HP and $4373 for the Lenovo. While there are some important distinctions between the computers, such as the fact that the HP system only offers a single FirePro W7000 and supports more displays, the pricing experiment suggests that Apple's pricing is in line with other Ivy Bridge EP systems." MacRumors

>> ALL THINGS D2: Swisher and Mossberg launch 'Re/code'; NBC & Windsor Media are minority investors, by Julia Boorstin: "Veteran technology journalists Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg are launching a new media company, Re/, the new incarnation of the widely followed technology news operation and conference business AllThingsD. The new enterprise is being launched with minority investments from the NBC Universal News Group and Windsor Media... 'We recognize we need more and video expertise. We're glad to be able to have the ability to be on NBC's TV platforms as well as web platforms,' Swisher says." CNBC

> Happy Re/new Year! Re/code

>> MONEY SHOT: Nest raising huge new round from DST, valuing smart home startup at upwards of $2 billion, by Kara Swisher: "Nest's last reported funding round was about year ago, raising $80 million on a post-money valuation of over $800 million.... That was a big number then, although investors have been quickly attracted to the pedigree of its founder and CEO, Tony Fadell, a former Apple exec who has been dubbed the 'father of the iPod.' When Fadell launched the company, he said in an interview that his 'primary focus will be helping the environment by working with consumer green-tech companies.' He delivered first with the Nest, a super-smart thermostat." Re/code

>> BEAGLE ALERT: The top four tech legal cases to watch in 2014, by Cyrus Farivar, Joe Mullin: "The top four cases that we have our eyes on (in no order): the collective challenges to the National Security Agency spying, Megaupload, Silk Road, and Lavabit." Ars Technica

>> STAT DU JOUR: Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 pass 10% market share, Windows XP falls below 30%, by Emil Protalinski: "The latest market share data from Net Applications shows that... Windows 8 gained 0.23 percentage points (from 6.66 percent to 6.89 percent), while Windows 8.1 jumped 0.96 percentage points (from 2.64 percent to 3.60 percent). Meanwhile, Windows 7 gained 0.88 percentage points (from 46.64 percent to 47.52 percent)... Windows Vista gained 0.04 percentage points [!!! -ed] ... Yet the biggest mover was Windows XP: it dropped a huge 2.24 percentage points (from 31.22 percent to 28.98 percent)." [TechBrief notes that Net Applications doesn't measure or report market share -- it massages data about computers that access NA-monitored web sites.] TNW

>> CONTRARIAN: We need to talk about TED, by Benjamin Bratton: "Science, philosophy and technology run on the model of American Idol - as embodied by TED talks - is a recipe for civilisational disaster." [TechBrief thinks this sounds like a good topic for a, um, TED talk.] The Guardian

>> BIG-TIME PLAY TIME: Online gaming services taking a huge holiday beating, by Kevin Parrish: "Looks as though Christmas Day was great for gamers worldwide, as the onslaught of traffic stemming from new hardware activations bombarded the likes of Microsoft's Xbox Live, Sony Entertainment Network, Nintendo's eShop, and even Valve's Steam platform to the point of going offline." Tom's Hardware

>> AOL sells Winamp and Shoutcast music services to online radio aggregator Radionomy TechCrunch

>> Amazon is now charging sales tax in Indiana, Nevada, and Tennessee The Verge

>> Bumped Off: Google acquisitions Bump and Flock to shut down this month TechHive

>> More Microsoft exec departures mark end of a Windows era InfoWorld

>> HP to cut 5,000 more jobs in 2014, bringing total layoff count to 34,000 Ars Technica

>> 5 strategies for the post-holiday BYOD wave InfoWorld

>> Microsoft's Midori: The M# connection ZDNet

>> Some codes and notes about the backdoor listening on TCP-32764 in Linksys WAG200G Elvanderb - GitHub

>> Regulating 23andMe to death won't stop the New Age of genetic testing Wired

>> The best iOS and Android apps Of 2013 TechCrunch

>> 20 of the best productivity apps of 2013 TNW

>> HAD TO RUN IT: Guy who sued Apple for not preventing him from accessing porn now suing A&E and Obama for religious persecution Techdirt


>> TWEET O' THE DAY: "Tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap" @pmarca (Marc Andreessen)

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

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