Snowden Offers Grim Assessment of State of Internet Security, Privacy

Today's topics include Edward Snowden's take on digital security today, the results of a new Microsoft study on internet cyber-scams, VMware gets behind Google's open-source container management system, and Canonical says its Ubuntu OpenStack and Ceph storage systems are now available on ARM servers.

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was a keynote speaker at the SecTor conference, even if he didn't attend in person. Via a live web conference link, Snowden delivered a talk on the state of internet security and privacy.

His estimation was grim. Offensive cyber technology has surpassed current defenses. Today, attackers aren't worried about being detected because it's so easy to compromise systems while difficult to detect them.

Meanwhile, government surveillance grows more comprehensive. Compared to a generation ago, monitoring individuals or even groups is cheaper and requires less manpower. Snowden recommended implementing two-factor authentication, full-disk encryption, password management systems and secure operating systems. He also lauded the efforts of civil liberties organizations to advocate for individual rights and online privacy.

As tech users get savvier, cyber-scammers are growing increasingly sophisticated in their attempts to con people out of money. Younger computer users who have grown up with technology are less likely to fall prey to familiar tech support scams, but according to a new study from Microsoft, even cyber-savvy youth fall pretty to these cons.

Fraudsters that use pop-ups, unsolicited email and scam websites are still pulling in money by duping innocent users. In fact, two-thirds of internet consumers worldwide have experienced a scam in the past year, and a fifth were duped into interacting with the scammer, which resulted in 10 percent of these consumers losing money.

The three largest target countries were India, China and the U.S.

Kubernetes, the Google-developed and open-source container management system, has become popular with a diverse community. Now, VMware, which provides cloud and virtualization software and services, is joining in by using Kubernetes on its VMware Photon platform.

This follows the late September release of Kubernetes 1.4, which added new security features.

The Photon Platform includes Photon OS, a Linux operating system for container deployment, and the Photon Controller, which provides a control plane for container deployment.

Canonical announced that it has released a version of the Ubuntu Linux desktop and indicated that other software components for data centers will soon be commercially available on servers powered by ARM's 64-bit chip server architecture.

This gives ARM more support in its strategy to become a primary alternative to Intel's data center systems. Canonical officials noted an increasing demand from Ubuntu users for more software options capable of working with the data center hardware they're running. With a growing focus on scale and automation, Ubuntu and the ARM architecture should answer that users are requesting.

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