62 per cent of top IT and security professionals in the US already believed the government was spying on their cloud-based data before the Prism scandal hit the news, according to a new survey. Data security firm Voltage Security carried out the research by asking 300 senior engineers from the financial services, retail, healthcare and insurance industries their thoughts on government surveillance of cloud storage solutions. "The focus on securing sensitive data, while maintaining regulatory compliance, is becoming even stronger as a result of the surveillance activities over the last few weeks," Voltage commented. "People are growing stronger in their beliefs that security, privacy and compliance are not just a tactical, 'check the box' activity that they have to do, but rather is a strategic process that adds tremendous value in their ability to securely communicate at all levels." There has, however, been no evidence from the NSA slides leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden that Prism secretly collects business' data.
BlackBerry has cut 250 jobs at its headquarters in Canada as it continues to slash costs, with the man in charge of the unsuccessful PlayBook tablet one of those to depart. "This is part of the next stage of our turnaround plan to increase efficiencies and scale our company," a BlackBerry spokesperson said. A further statement from the Waterloo, Ontario-based company confirmed the losses were in the company's new product testing facility that supported its manufacturing, research and development teams. Workers were given their notice on Tuesday and the departures come just two weeks after CEO Thorstein Heins pleaded for patience over the company's rebuilding process. The cuts weren't completely unexpected, with noises emanating from the firm that more departures were being considered after the company's gloomy quarterly results last month. The most high profile departure was that of David J. Smith, executive vice president of mobile computing at BlackBerry, with a source close to him confirming that he made the decision over the past few weeks.
Five men have been charged with hacking into major corporate networks in what is being dubbed the largest hacking data breach in US history. New Jersey Attorney Paul J. Fishman unsealed an indictment on Thursday against four Russians and one Ukrainian that sees them facing jail terms of up to 30 years as well as millions of dollars in fines. Fishman's office released a statement that accused them of a "worldwide hacking and data breach scheme that targeted major corporate networks, stole more than 160 million credit card numbers, resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in losses and is the largest such scheme ever prosecuted in the United States." Companies such as Nasdaq, 7-Eleven, JetBlue, and Carrefour, are among the victims with just three of them accounting for losses of $300 million (£195 million). The charge sheet accuses Vladimir Drinkman, 32, and Alexandr Kalinin, 26, both from Russia, of focusing on gaining access to the corporation's systems and getting past network security. All five defendants are accused of conspiracy to commit wire fraud that carries a maximum jail time of 30 years and a $1 million (£650,000) fine, as well as conspiracy to gain unauthorised access to computers that has a five year jail stretch and a $250,000 (£162,000) fine.
Finally, Nokia and London-based mentorship programme Entrepreneur First (EF) have today announced a new partnership. The tie-up will see EF's 2013 Cohort develop new ideas, applications, and startups around the Finnish firm's JobLens career services software in exchange for financial sponsorship. JobLens is a Windows Phone 8 app that utilises augmented reality technology to overlay localised job vacancy data on to Nokia HERE CityScape maps. It is currently available in the UK, US, and Canada and launched back in June. Nokia will join Entrepreneur First's prestigious list of partners, which also includes the likes of Microsoft, BSkyB, Experian, the City of London Corporation, and the Silicon Valley Bank. The unveiling of the collaboration is set to coincide with EF's Innovation Day, during which Nokia representatives will deliver a presentation to the Cohort outlining JobLens. "Through the Entrepreneur First Cohort, Nokia is honoured and excited to engage some of the most innovative and agile minds in the UK. We want to challenge these young minds to imagine how JobLens can be enhanced and refined to address UK unemployment, a challenge that unfortunately all too many countries are combatting," commented Bryan Biniak, VP of app development at Nokia.