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You can buy Google's $50 set of Titan security keys now

by Shari Ebsworth (2020-01-30)


The incident is reminiscent of a 2014 security breach in which a hacker got into actresses' online storage accounts and grabbed their nude photos. In a scandal dubbed "The Fappening" (a combination of internet slang for masturbation and happening), Ryan Collins used a phishing scheme that gave him illegal access to more than 100 Apple iCloud and Gmail accounts, including ones belonging to Jennifer Lawrence, Kirsten Dunst, Kaley Cuoco and Kate Upton, among others.

Kim_Novak_1957.JPGThese biometric technologies are getting pushed into the mainstream after a series of high-profile cyberhacks shone a spotlight on password weaknesses. Remember "The Fappening" in 2014? That's when hacker Ryan Collins guessed the passwords of celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence and Kaley Cuoco, and used those passwords to grab nude photos from their Apple iCloud or Google accounts.

Reports claim that some of the passwords were obtained as a result of a 2012 hack against professional networking site LinkedIn. In mid-May, LinkedIn announced that hackers stole and released more than 100 million members' email and password combinations.

"By illegally accessing intimate details of his victims' personal lives, Mr. Collins violated their privacy and left many to contend with lasting emotional distress, embarrassment and feelings of insecurity," David Bowdich, the assistant director in charge of the FBI's Los Angeles Field Office, said in a statement.

For three years, Professor celebjihad John Chuang, co-director of the university's BioSENSE Lab, and his graduate students have been working to identify people through their brainwaves. The result is called a passthought, and it could eventually become the ultimate personal ID protector.

But the tech giant could not say how the alleged breach occurred and failed to offer any guarantee to its hundreds of millions of customers worldwide that the service is safe to use. Meanwhile, it quietly issued a 'patch', or fix, for the alleged 'Find My iPhone' bug.

Hacks against website and social media accounts aren't unusual, and hackers often go after celebrities for notoriety and in an attempt to embarrass them publicly. A major part of the problem is that people often use passwords that are easy to guess, and they use the same ones across multiple sites. That leaves them vulnerable to hackers who procure even one password.

"[Collins] was charged today with felony computer hacking related to a phishing scheme that gave him illegal access to more than 100 Apple iCloud and Gmail accounts, including those belonging to members of the entertainment industry in Los Angeles," according to a statement from the Justice Department. Jennifer Lawrence, Kirsten Dunst, Kaley Cuoco and Kate Upton, among others, confirmed the photos were authentic.

"A number of other online services have seen millions of passwords stolen in the past several weeks, and we know far too many people use the same password for multiple things online," a Twitter spokesman said in a statement. "We recommend people use a unique, strong password for Twitter. We detail other steps people can take to keep their accounts secure on our help center here."

The more accurate term, though, is "non-consensual pornography" (NCP). This term allows for content obtained without consent (like with a hidden camera or a recording of a sexual assault), as well as doctored images and AI-generated deepfake videos.

'This is a flagrant violation of privacy,' Lawrence's publicist Liz Mahoney wrote in a statement. 'The authorities have been contacted and will prosecute anyone who posts the stolen photos of Jennifer Lawrence.'

I think, therefore I am
Back at UC Berkeley, Curran unclamps the electrodes from my head. One thing I learn: Only you think your thoughts the way you do. That might sound like philo­sophy, but it's actually hard math.

Leak: A new wave of 'naked' celebrity pictures have been leaked online, including ones allegedly featuring Jessica Brown Findlay (right). A video, reportedly showing Jennifer Lawrence (left), has also been leaked online

Black was one of several celebrities caught in a hoax in which Twitter accounts of famous peeps were compromised. Other celebrities whose accounts were taken over included musician Keith Richards and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

The $50 set comes with both the USB and Bluetooth versions of the Titan security key. CNET got an exclusive hands-on with the Titan keys when Google announced them in July and we tested them with Gmail, Twitter and Facebook accounts.

The latest massive breach was exposed Sunday. About 412 million accounts from Adult Friend Finder -- a company describing itself as the "world's largest sex and swinger community" -- were hacked. Earlier this fall, Yahoo revealed that half a billion customer accounts were breached. And last month, legions of hacked Internet of Things devices were behind a massive DDoS attack that took temporarily took down popular websites. A-lister celebrities and even Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg have felt the wrath of hackers.