The four major wireless providers in the United States have partnered with the Federal Communications Commission in an effort to curb cell phone theft, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday. The wireless companies will build a central database of stolen cell phones, which will track phones that are reported as lost or stolen and deny them voice and data service. The goal of the database is to reduce crime by making it very difficult to use a stolen device. Verizon Wireless and Sprint currently block phones that are reported stolen from being reactivated. AT&T and T-Mobile do not, although all four carriers have now agreed to be part of the new database. Members of Congress are also expected to propose legislation to make it a crime to alter a cell phone’s unique identification number, according to the report. Similar stolen-phone databases are already in place in the U.K., Germany, France and Australia. While crime hasn’t completely stopped, the number of incidents has apparently declined. Carriers will roll out individual databases within six months that will be centralized over a 12-month period, with smaller regional wireless providers expected to join the database over the next two years. More →
This may come as a shock considering how seriously Facebook takes your privacy, but if you’re a Facebook user with one of Facebook’s mobile applications installed on your iPhone or one of several other smartphones, you’ve been robbed. Each and every contact stored on your phone is probably now also stored on Facebook’s servers, as was re-re-rediscovered by Facebook users this past week. Whether or not people in your contact list even have Facebook accounts, their names and phone numbers are likely now in Facebook’s possession. There is probably a clause buried deep within Facebook’s terms and conditions that makes this invasion of your privacy OK on paper, but odds are still pretty good that it’s not OK with you. Complete instructions outlining how to remove all of your contacts’ phone numbers from your Facebook account can be found below. Whether or not the data will be completely wiped from Facebook’s servers is unclear, but we’ll leave that for the lawyers to figure out.
UPDATE: A Facebook spokesperson delivered the following official statement to BGR via email: “Rumors claiming that your phone contacts are visible to everyone on Facebook are false. Our Contacts list, formerly called Phonebook, has existed for a long time. The phone numbers listed there were either added directly to Facebook and shared with you by your friends, or you have previously synced your phone contacts with Facebook. Just like on your phone, only you can see these numbers.”
Sega has confirmed that personal data from 1.3 million user accounts was stolen during a recent security breach, according to Reuters. Hackers obtained email addresses, encrypted passwords, birth dates, and names of Sega Pass network users. Unlike Sony’s recent security breach, however, the hackers did not access credit card data. As a result of the attack, Sony has pulled its Sega Pass network offline. “We are deeply sorry for causing trouble to our customers. We want to work on strengthening security,” Yoko Nagasawa, a Sega spokeswoman, said. Lulzsec, the hacker group behind Sony’s attack, has not taken credit for the Sega breach. More →
A small group of hackers calling themselves LulzSec on Thursday claimed to have breached a Sony website and gained access to personal information belonging to over 1 million Sony customers. The group posted a statement claiming it did not have the resources to download the massive database tied to SonyPictures.com, but it provided samples of the data accessed in order to prove the breach was real. The Associated Press contacted several of the purported victims using phone numbers posted by LulzSec, and it was able to confirm with multiple victims that the data, which included account passwords, was authentic and accurate. Sony has not yet confirmed the breach, though a company spokesperson did say Sony is currently investigating the claims. This new breach is the latest in a string of hacks on various Sony networks that have compromised personal data belonging to over 100 million Sony customers. More →
Here’s something we don’t see everyday — Vodafone New Zealand has tweeted that it’s delaying the launch of the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play after a “major security breach.” According to the carrier’s official Twitter account, the shipment of Xperia Play units was stolen at some point on its way to the carrier. It’s unclear who pulled it off or how the heist took place. Vodafone has not provided any other details as to how long the launch will be delayed. More →
Sony has announced that it’s starting to bring its services back online after a major security breach leaked the credit card data and personal information of over a hundred million users. The first step for Sony’s PlayStation Network members is a firmware update that’s been issued for the PlayStation 3. After applying the patch, PS3 users will be prompted to change their PSN passwords. “Please note that these services will take a bit of time to be turned on and rolled out to the whole country,” the company said in a blog post Saturday. “The process has begun and some states are being turned on now, so please be patient as we reach your city and state.” More →
On its PlayStation Network blog today, Sony gave an official statement on when the PlayStation Network will be back online. The short answer is “at least a few more days.” Sony has also promised that both Qriocity and PSN should be available by May 31, however, so it could take a bit longer, too. Both networks went down after Sony suffered a massive security breach during which hackers stole 12.3 million credit card numbers and compromised personal data from 101 million accounts. “I know you all want to know exactly when the services will be restored,” Sr. Director, Corporate Communications & Social Media Patrick Seybold wrote on Sony’s PSN blog. “At this time, I can’t give you an exact date, as it will likely be at least a few more days. We’re terribly sorry for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience as we work through this process.” More →
Sony on Wednesday responded to a congressional inquiry regarding major cyberattacks against its Qriocity, PlayStation Network, and Sony Online Entertainment businesses that leaked loads of personal information, including credit card numbers, to hackers. The hackers were able to breach Sony’s security while another group, dubbed “Anonymous” mobbed its servers with denial-of-service (DoS) attacks. “Whether those who participated in the denial of services attacks were conspirators or whether they were simply duped into providing cover for a very clever thief, we may never know,” Sony said in its letter to Congress, noting that it still has no idea who hacked its systems. A total of 101 million accounts across Sony’s multiple networks were compromised as Sony became the “victim of a very carefully planned, very professional, highly sophisticated criminal cyberattack designed to steal personal and credit card information for illegal purposes,” the company said. According to The Wall Street Journal, 12.3 million credit card numbers were stolen, 5.6 million of which belonged to users in the United States. So far Sony has not confirmed that the credit card numbers have been used illegally. The firm hopes to get its gaming networks back online as soon as possible. More →
Nikkei.com on Monday reported that an online Sony gaming network has once again fallen victim to a cyberattack. This time, the attack may have exposed the credit card numbers of thousands of Sony customers from around the world. According to the report, over 12,700 customer credit card numbers were stolen during a breach of Sony’s online gaming network, Sony Online Entertainment. According to Nikkei.com, Sony discovered the possible attack on Sunday. Sony recently suffered a similar attack on its PlayStation Network, which was offline for days as a result of the breach. Though Sony has yet to confirm this new incident publicly, the Sony Online Entertainment portal has been taken offline while Sony investigates the matter. More →
Charges have been filed by federal prosecutors in Seattle against a Microsoft employee accused of wire fraud. Robert D. Curry was arrested Tuesday morning and charged with stealing $515,000 from Microsoft using a series of wire transfers sent from Microsoft to Curry’s bank account. According to Curry, the transfers were payments for services rendered but prosecutors contend that Curry provided no such services. According to the charges, Curry created a shell company and used one of Microsoft’s vendors, which was unaware of Curry’s actions, to funnel money into his account between April and November last year. The FBI claims Curry collected a series of fraudulent payments from Microsoft, having misled the company by claiming the payments were being made to Microsoft vendor Pentad Solutions. Prosecutors say Curry used the stolen funds to pay for high-end audio equipment, credit card bills and a ski vacation. More →
Following Google’s recent admission that it accidentally stole passwords, emails and other personal information with its Street View cars, the Federal Trade Commission has decided not to issue any fines. Earlier this week, Google confirmed accusations that its Street View cars — the vehicles Google uses to take Street View images for its popular Google Maps service — inadvertently stole sensitive personal data from various homes with open Wi-Fi networks. Wednesday, the FTC confirmed that a resulting investigation did not find cause to fine Google for its unlawful actions. FTC director for consumer protection David C. Vladeck said the following in a letter to Google:
Google has made assurances to the FTC that the company has not used and will not use any of the payload data collected in any Google product or service, now or in the future. This assurance is critical to mitigate the potential harm to consumers from the collection of payload data. Because of these commitments, we are ending our inquiry into this matter at this time.
Earlier this week, news circulated that retail copies of the highly anticipated Activision title Call of Duty: Black Ops had been stolen from a printing press in Alabama. Reports were confirmed Wednesday as a video showing off a stolen disk along with a few moments of game play was posted to YouTube. If there were still any questions as to the authenticity of the disk, Activision answered those questions when it ordered the removal of the aforementioned video along with several images depicting the unreleased game. Call of Duty: Black Ops will be the latest addition to Activision’s wildly successful Call of Duty franchise. It is expected to break numerous sales records when it launches ahead of the holidays next month on November 9 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows PCs. Hit the jump to watch the official game trailer. More →
We’ve seen pretty wild iPhone thefts in the past, some involving serious injury, but you just know it’s bad when Interpol gets involved. Thousands of iPhone 3GS’ were stolen from a Belgian warehouse through a hole in the roof directly above the smartphones, and they’re now surfacing in Russia. The iPhone 3GS is definitely going to be a hot commodity there because of the vast grey/black market and because the 3GS hasn’t been officially released in Russia. If you’re planning on grabbing one of the hot phones, you should think twice. Interpol already has a list of the IMEI numbers on the stolen phones so it’s a matter of time before people start getting caught. We’re just wondering how many of those iPhones might be recovered. More →