NSA gets SWIFT -- MICROSOFT and Nokia were on eve of WAR -- GOOGLE dumps MySQL -- EV WILLIAMS thinks big


September 16, 2013 06:00 PDT | 09:00 EDT | 13:00 UTC

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>> FOLLOW THE MONEY: NSA spies on international payments: "NSA widely monitors international payments, banking and credit card transactions... NSA also targets the transactions of customers of large credit card companies like VISA for surveillance... SWIFT was named as a 'target,' according to the documents [via Edward Snowden], which also show that the NSA spied on the organization on several levels, involving, among others, the agency's 'tailored access operations' division. One of the ways the agency accessed the data included reading 'SWIFT printer traffic from numerous banks,' the documents show." Spiegel

>>>> Surveillance court orders transparency review of its NSA opinions Computerworld

>>>> Belgian telco says it was hacked, while reports point to NSA or GCHQ GigaOM >> MUTUALLY ASSURED DESTRUCTION: Microsoft was testing Surface Phone while Nokia experimented with Android, by Tom Warren: "While Nokia was testing Android in a variety of different ways, Microsoft was busy experimenting with a Surface Phone... the company built a number of prototype devices to test the viability of such a phone. We're told that Terry Myerson, who now heads the Windows, Windows Phone, and Xbox operating systems, was in charge of the secret Surface phone project... the company had originally considered the idea of its own phone devices as a 'Plan B' if Nokia wasn't successful with Windows Phone." The Verge

>>>> The specter of a Nokia Android phone NY Times (paywalled)

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>> NEOMONEY PIT: World's largest Bitcoin exchange out $10 million, by Robert McMillan: "Mt. Gox, the Japanese-run online trading floor that had $5 million seized by federal agents earlier this year, says that it's out another $5.3 million, fallout from the company's legal dispute with its former U.S. partner CoinLab." Wired

>> BIG BROTHER: FBI admits it controlled Tor servers behind mass malware attack, by Kevin Poulsen: "It wasn't ever seriously in doubt, but the FBI yesterday acknowledged that it secretly took control of Freedom Hosting last July, days before the servers of the largest provider of ultra-anonymous hosting were found to be serving custom malware designed to identify visitors... On August 4, all the sites hosted by Freedom Hosting... began serving an error message with hidden code embedded in the page. Security researchers dissected the code and found it exploited a security hole in Firefox to identify users of the Tor Browser Bundle, reporting back to a mysterious server in Northern Virginia." Wired

>> CRIMES & MISDEMEANORS: Police foil attempt to steal millions from bank using remote control KVM device, by John E Dunn: "Metropolitan Police have foiled an extraordinary plot to steal millions of pounds from a London branch of Santander Bank using a remote control device planted on one of its computers by a bogus maintenance man... A bank source confirmed to press that a KVM (keyboard, video, mouse) was fitted by someone posing as a maintenance worker, something that would have allowed the gang to control that machine remotely." TechWorld

>> MICROSOFT MISCHIEF: Windows 8.1 RTM's MSDN/TechNet release came after an intense internal struggle, by Brad Sams: "Internally at Microsoft, the battle for when to release Windows 8.1 was apparently a highly sensitive subject. There were teams fighting to hold back the platform, mostly for political reasons from what we were told, and then there were groups pushing to get it out as soon as possible, comprised mostly of the developer channels at Microsoft." Neowin

>>>> Microsoft pulls terrible iPhone parody ads Gawker

>> WALL STREET (VERY) OPEN FOR BUSINESS: Twitter grabs spotlight, but tech IPOs were already hot, by Marc Ferranti: "There were 12 tech IPOs in the U.S. in the second quarter, twice as many as in the first quarter... Second quarter IPOs were also up 50 percent year over year, in terms of the number of deals" InfoWorld

>> iTHINK SO: Is free iWork for iOS a threat to Office?, by Paul Thurrott: "I've used iWork many times throughout the years and it's a typical Apple product in that it's big on presentation and light on functionality. But it's also the type of thing that is perfectly adequate for the needs of most users, especially those that don't require Microsoft Office compatibility... I'm not 100 percent convinced that iWork is an Office killer. But... this is something Microsoft needs to take seriously." WinSupersite

>> IF YOU READ ONE MORE THING FROM LAST WEEKEND: Twitter co-founder Evan Williams lays out his plan for the future of media, by Gregory Ferenstein: "Twitter Co-Founder Evan Williams has an ambitious new plan: to shift our daily reading habits away from consuming incremental news bites and towards engaging with enlightened ideas curated by an intelligent algorithm. Ordinarily, such a goal would seem utopian, were it not for the fact that Williams is among a handful of Internet pioneers who have disrupted the media industry multiple times." TechCrunch

>> COMING ATTRACTIONS: FCC to auction 1900 MHz 'H block' spectrum in 2014, by Grant Gross: "The U.S. Federal Communications Commission will sell 10 megahertz of spectrum in the 1900MHz band for commercial mobile services in an auction beginning Jan. 14... The agency set a minimum price for licenses in the so-called H block of $1.56 billion." InfoWorld

>> ESCAPING ORACLE: Google swaps out MySQL, moves to MariaDB, by Jack Clark: "Google is migrating its MySQL systems over to MariaDB, allowing the search company to get away from the Oracle-backed open source database... News of the swap was not an official announcement by Google, it came out during a presentation by Google senior systems engineer Jeremy Cole on the general state of the MySQL ecosystem." The Register

>> COURTSHIP: Kim Dotcom's Mega-lawsuit could make him a multi-millionaire again, by Juha Saarinen: "File-sharing tycoon Kim Dotcom has a plan to become a multi-millionaire again: He's filed a seven-figure lawsuit against the New Zealand government over the spectacular 2012 assault on his mansion, and the electronic spying that preceded it... 'The case will show how the Five-Eyes spy cloud, X-Keyscore and PRISM were utilized in our copyright case,' Dotcom tells Wired. 'Remember, I'm not a terrorist.'" Wired

>> NOT DEAD YET: Microsoft passes 9 million Windows Phone transactions daily, by Emil Protalinski: "The Windows Phone platform has surpassed 9 million transactions [combined total of apps sold, plus in-app purchases] per day... the company revealed a policy change for developers: it will no longer wait to receive app sales proceeds from carriers before issuing payment to developers." The Next Web

>> KNOWLEDGE BOMB: Music business in the post-PC era, by David Gerard: "Record companies complain the Internet will destroy music. Musicians complain that they can't make a living any more. The unsympathetic public, feeling the squeeze themselves, tell them to get a proper job. The problem isn't piracy -- it's competition. There is too much music and too many musicians, and the amateurs are often good enough for the public. This is healthy for culture, not so much for aesthetics, and s*** for musicians." Rocknerd

>> SPEED READ: Git is good for devs, but here are 5 tips on making the transition, by Giancarlo Lionetti: "Adopting next-generation software development technology can yield benefits, if you can just get everyone over the hump of a new system." GigaOM

>> HTML5 ON A STICK: Famo.us finally rolls into (very) private beta, by Greg Kumparak: "Back at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2012, Famo.us announced a Javascript framework for building super complex yet still super-smooth HTML5 apps. They promised to let developers build rich, 3D, Iron-Man-esque interfaces running in the browser at 40 frames per second, no plug-ins required. Almost exactly a year later, Famo.us is finally ready to let in a few of the 57,000 developers that signed up for beta access. Emphasis on 'few'... recently hired Dave Fetterman, one of Facebook's early engineers and one of the founding engineers on Facebook's development platform, as their own VP of Engineering." TechCrunch

>> HOT CONTENT: Conduit, worth $1.4 billion, merges with email startup Perion, worth $153 million, by Mike Butcher: "Conduit, the Israeli-based browser-toolbar and mobile startup estimated to be worth some $1.4 billion, has confirmed it is merging with Perion Network. Conduit's Client Connect business and Perion will combine in an all-stock transaction." TechCrunch

>> STEALTH FINGERTIPS: A review of the CODE keyboard. Ars Technica

>> ROCKET SCIENCE: "Japan has sent a rocket into space with a launch co-ordinated from two laptops in a control centre manned by a crew of just eight people." Sky

>> CODE MONKEY ALERT: Everything .Net programmers know about Asynchronous Programming is wrong. Scott Hanselman

>> REAL-TIME NOSTALGIA: Windows XP is the most-used OS in eight countries. In China, it has a market share (based on Web hits) of 55 percent Neowin

>> THE BOY GENIUS OF ULAN BATOR: NY Times (paywalled)

>> TWEET O' THE DAY: "Hmmm. Once again, didn't make the #Forbes400 list. I expected all those Beanie Babies to be worth a lot more by now." @Scott_Gilmore

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