Mozilla Unveils Its First Four Internet of Things Projects

Today's topics include the introduction of Mozilla's first IoT projects, the $1.35 million fine imposed on Verizon by the FCC, the U.S. Supreme Court's rejection of Apple's appeal of a $435 million judgment in an antitrust case and why the first Mac ransomware poses little risk for users.

Mozilla announced the first of its Internet of things projects that are evolving out of the remains of it once-promising Mozilla Firefox OS operating system initiative. Ari Jaaksi, Mozilla's senior vice president for connected devices, unveiled the first four IoT "experiments" in a March 1 post on the Mozilla Blog.

The first four experiments include Project Link, a "personal user agent that understands your preferences for how you want to interact with the world of devices in your home, and automate your connected world for you," according to Jaaksi's post.

Verizon has been fined $1.35 million by the Federal Communications Commission for using special data headers, or "supercookies," to track the online activities of millions of its mobile customers from 2012 to 2014.

The fine, which was announced by the FCC on March 7, resulted from an investigation the agency conducted into the use of supercookies after critics complained about the practice about three years ago. The unique identifier headers (UIDHs), or supercookies, were inserted into the mobile Internet traffic of Verizon customers without their knowledge or consent to deliver targeted ads from Verizon and third parties, according to the FCC.

Apple must pay out about $450 million to U.S. consumers and states to settle claims that it illegally conspired with publishers to raise ebook prices starting in 2010.

Apple will have to make the payments after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Apple's final appeal by declining to hear arguments in the antitrust case, according to a March 7 announcement by the U.S. Department of Justice.

A ransomware group targeted Mac users with the first fully functional malware program capable of encrypting users' data and effectively holding it for a ransom, according to security technology company Palo Alto Networks.

The ransomware was programmed to demand 1 Bitcoin, or about $412, to provide the encryption key to unlock the data, according researchers who studied the malware. Users of the open-source Transmission BitTorrent client, who downloaded the latest version of that software on March 4, may have infected their system with the malware, dubbed KeRanger by Palo Alto Networks.

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