UK Goes on the Cyber Offense

The UK government has announced it is building a “Cyber Reserve” to protect itself, and now it has a few more details to divulge reports Engadget.

Rather than focusing on defending the country from attacks, it’ll also have an “offensive capability” says the BBC. Speaking to the Daily Mail, Defense Secretary Philip Hammond said Britain needs to be able to “strike back in cyber space against enemies who attack us, putting cyber alongside land, sea, air and space as a mainstream military activity.”

In December last year, Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said 93% of large corporations and 76% of small businesses had reported a cyber breach in 2012.

Perhaps Lockheed should contract with GCHQ to prevent cyber attacks on the F-35 Program. Chinese hackers accessed F-35 designs after breaking into U.S. systems. China, which is modernizing its military, is investing in ways to overcome the U.S. military advantage, reports the Washington Post.

The $1.5 trillion F-35 program, the most expensive in military history, has been plagued by cost overruns and delays. The F-35 program uses suppliers in 46 states to provide political support.

Of course GCHQ may not be amenable to do contract work for Boeing or Lockheed, since AirBus has had its own cyber attacks.

“The Department of Defense does engage” in computer network exploitation, according to an e-mailed statement to the Washington Post from an NSA spokesman. “The department does ***not*** engage in economic espionage in any domain, including cyber.”

But documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward J Snowden reveal that American intelligence agencies are conducting offensive cyberoperations against other nations, even as Obama administration protests attacks on American computer networks by China, Iran and Russia.

U.S. intelligence services are making routine use of government-built malware that differs little in function from the “advanced persistent threats” that U.S. officials attribute to China, according to reports by the Washington Post.

NSA Stores Social MetaData on US Persons

On Saturday, the New York Times reported that the NSA was using its metadata troves to build profiles of US citizens’ social connections, associations and in some cases location, augmenting the material the agency collects with additional information bought in from the commercial sector, which is is not subject to the same legal restrictions as other data.

The NSA is storing the online metadata of millions of internet users for up to a year, regardless of whether or not they are persons of interest to the agency, reports The Guardian today.

The ability to look back on a full year’s history offers the NSA the potential to find information on people who have later become targets. But it relies on storing the personal data of large numbers of internet users who are not, and never will be, of interest to the US intelligence community, reports The Guardian.

Newly declassified documents show that both Martin Luther King Jr. and Muhammad Ali were targets of NSA surveillance, from 1967 to 1973, reports The Washington Post. New York Times satirist Art Buchwald and Washington Post columnist Tom Wicker also landed on the list, along with two senators.

The NSA in 2010 and 2011 conducted a secret pilot project to test the collection of bulk data about the location of Americans’ cellphones, but the agency ultimately decided against putting such a program into play for now, reports the NY Times.

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AT&T: Eliminate Landline Competition

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson has called upon the FCC to hasten its review of the carrier’s bid to retire its PSTN and move to all-wireless networks for consumers, which would do away with traditional public phone lines. The carrier also wants to move its networks from what it call expensive data centers to a more efficient cloud-based design, reports ComputerWorld.

Stephenson, at a Goldman Sachs conference said, “there’s no guidance on how to move the industry from an old, archaic technology to a modern technology.”

Stephenson said that he’s encouraged that incoming FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler “knows how fast [the wireless industry] moves …and knows that regulations can actually slow the rate.”

AT&T said on Monday that it will launch its own fiber-powered, super-fast home Internet service on December 1 in Austin, a city that Google has said it would deploy its own speedy Google Fiber service. It would start with speeds of 300 megabit per second, before upgrading customers to 1 gigabit per second next year.

In the first six months of this year, Verizon’s nonwireless business made only $87 million in operating profit, reports the NY Times. That’s paltry compared with the business’s roughly $20 billion in sales.

As of September 2013, Verizon FiOS, their fiber initiative was available in 16 states. Verizon has passed 18 million homes with 5 million customers, but is now winding down their FiOS expansion. Much of Verizon’s FiOS unit was sold to Frontier Communications.

In the first 6 months of the year, Verizon Wireless brought in roughly twice as much revenue as their landline business, but it made close to $13 billion in operating profit.

Wireless service is much more profitable than landline service. That’s partly because landline service has been regulated since 1913, while the wireless business generally has not.

By eliminating regulations – and the landline competition – carriers now stand to make a killing. Tom Wheeler may be the carrier’s best friend.

Intel Scraps OnCue for 2013

Intel’s plan to stream video to paying subscribers has been scaled back recently to satisfy channel owners, and its goal to introduce the service, called OnCue, by the end of this year has been scrapped, says the NY Times. Intel says it now hopes to introduce it in 2014.

AllThingsD reported last week that Intel Media has sought to bring on Amazon and Samsung as strategic backers as part of a plan to help keep the project alive. OnCue would feature a BBC iPlayer-like catch-up service, allowing consumers to watch anything they missed within the last seven or so days.

“Over the Top” video subscribers would be broadband customers of a wired provider (like Time Warner Cable) or a wireless provider (like Sprint).

Sony’s plan has been shrouded in mystery. Like Intel, it has yet to announce licensing deals for any channels — and without those deals, the companies have nothing. Sony has reportedly reached a preliminary Internet distribution deal with Viacom, whose networks include MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central.

Earlier this year, Google showed interest in a so-called over-the-top TV service, too, but those talks have apparently cooled for the time being, reports the NY Times.

Charter Communications CEO Tom Rutledge is doubtful a “virtual MSO” will ever get off the ground. That’s because TV programmers are “not going to get any incremental customers out of it” by just shuffling subscribers from cable to Internet services. “If it’s a replacement service, it’s not incremental.”

“This time it is really true that content is king,” said Mike Vorhaus, the president of Magid Advisors, a unit of the media consulting firm Frank N. Magid Associates.

Facebook and Twitter Link with TV Networks

Facebook is battling with Twitter to dominate online conversation around television, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Facebook will begin sending weekly reports to America’s four largest television networks this week, offering a glimpse of how much chatter their shows are generating on the social network. The reports will reveal how many “actions” — likes, comments, or shares — a television episode has inspired on Facebook and how many members participated in an action.

Facebook, which will not make the results generally available, will share the data reports with ABC, NBC, Fox, and CBS, and a small number of select partners.

Facebook and Twitter are in a heated fight to own the go-to hub for television shows. In recent months, both companies have tried to bolster their relationships with television networks during live and television events.

Twitter, which has been gearing up for its initial public offering, is expected to begin to distribute the “Nielsen Twitter TV Rating,” its first measurement report in partnership with media measurement giant Nielsen, on Monday. The report will measure how many people participated in a conversation about a particular show, and how many people saw those tweets.

Earlier this month, Facebook unveiled a new program to allow select media partners, such as CNN, to tap its public feed and see activity related to certain keywords.

According to Nielsen and NM Incite’s latest Social Media Report, consumers continue to spend more time on social networks than on any other category of sites—roughly 20 percent of their total time online via personal computer (PC), and 30 percent of total time online via mobile.

Social Media Report 2012 says total time spent on social media in the U.S. across PCs and mobile devices increased 37 percent to 121 billion minutes in July 2012, compared to 88 billion in July 2011.

Twitter, with more than 200 million members worldwide, has filed to go public reports Bloomberg, moving closer to the most highly anticipated offering since Facebook.

Apple: Most Valuable Brand

Apple is the new most valuable brand in the world , according to a report by Interbrand, a corporate identity and brand consulting company owned by the Omnicom Group.

The report estimates the value of the Apple brand at $98.3 billion, up 28 percent from the 2012 report. The value of the Coca-Cola brand also rose, by 2 percent to $79.2 billion, but that was not sufficient to give Coca-Cola a 14th year as Interbrand’s most valuable brand, reports the NY Times.

Although “Coca-Cola is an efficient, outstanding brand marketer, no doubt about it,” Mr. Frampton said, Apple and other leading technology brands have become “very much the poster child of the marketing community.”

The brand in second place: Google, rose from fourth place last year.

In fact, of the top 10 Best Global Brands for 2013, five are in technology: Apple; Google; Microsoft, No. 5, unchanged from last year; Samsung, 8, compared with 9 last year; and Intel, 9, compared with 8 last year. I.B.M. — No. 4 in 2013, down a notch from 2012 — is ranked as a business services brand. Otherwise, technology would account for six of the top 10.