The popularity of Apple products combined with the out-of-reach pricing for some has been misused by con men to fool the people of Ceres in California's Central Valley into buying "iPads" that were actually floor tiles.

ipad-flooring-tile

According to the Ceres Police Department, numerous reports have been filed by people who were approached by scammers offering the tablets for an "out of the box" discounted price. The product in question was merely a floor tile matching the size of an iPad with an Apple logo and bubble wrap to make it look like the real deal.

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spying NSAA new paper published Monday by the New America Foundation demonstrably destroys the US government claim that bulk metadata collection is useful. (Three US senators made the same claim back in November 2013.) The paper’s lead author is Peter Bergen, a journalist and terrorism analyst who famously interviewed Osama bin Laden for CNN in 1997.

The 32-page document (PDF) closely examines the 225 cases in which terror suspects were:

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dataThe hacker group known as the Syrian Electronic Army claims in a new post on its Twitter account that it "didn't finish our attack" on Microsoft. The group has claimed responsibly for briefly taking over control of the official Skype, Twitter, Facebook and blog on New Year's Day. Last weekend, the SEA also said it hacked into the official Microsoft News Twitter and blog, along with the Xbox Support Twitter and Instagram accounts.

  The new message comes at the same time as a new statement from Microsoft, which admits that an unknown amount of its company email accounts were hacked into by the SEA. According to The Verge, a Microsoft spokesperson stated, "A social engineering cyberattack method known as phishing resulted in a small number of Microsoft employee social media and email accounts being impacted. These accounts were reset and no customer information was compromised."

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targetTarget, the popular US retailer is under heavy fire once again as it discloses further security breaches that have exposed its customers’ credit cards and personal information.

You might remember that just before the end of last year, Target disclosed that it had been hacked and up to 40 million credit cards had been compromised by the breach. Things could only get better from there, right? Wrong. The retailer has now disclosed than an addition 70 million folks may have had their personal information stolen from the company’s database.

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atmThe world's ATM machines will soon face a major issue on April 8th: The end of support for their operating system. According to BusinessWeek, 95 percent of active ATMs in the world, or nearly all of the 420,000 currently operating in the United States, run on Windows XP - a system which Microsoft is officially ending support for in under 90 days.

Despite being one of the most frequently used consumer technologies in the world, many ATMs run on outdated operating systems. and with the April 8th deadline looming, their owners must make the upgrade. But this may be easier said than done for many of the machines, which run on outdated hardware that may struggle to keep up with a newer OS, like Windows 7. According to Suzanne Cluckey, the editor of ATM Marketplace, "A lot of ATMs will have to either have their components upgraded or be discarded altogether and sold into the aftermarket—or just junked."

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All the recent revelations about the NSA and its spying programs have created a lot of anger and mistrust around the world, and most of all online. As such, the Internet has appointed a day in which a special kind of mass protest will take place.

A group of companies, organizations and general users of the internet have banded together and declared February 11th as the day of protest against all the electronic mass surveillance that has recently come to light.

the day we fight back

February 11th is a month after the anniversary of Aaron Swartz’s passing and the protest is also in his honor. Besides regular Internet users, the protest will be joined by Mozilla, Reddit, Boing Boing, EFF, and a slew of other NGOs and privacy organizations.

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intel logo 2Chipmaker Intel has announced plans to reduce its current workforce by about five percent by the end of 2014 as the company tries to change some of its business practices in the face of falling PC shipments.

Reuters quotes Intel company spokesperson Chris Kraeuter as saying the decisions were "part of aligning our human resources to meet business needs." Intel currently has about 108,000 employees which means that by the end of 2014 over 5,000 people won't be working there anymore. Some of those staff members will depart due to early retirement and attrition, according to Kraeuter.

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United States-based television provider Time Warner Cable lost 215,000 subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2013, according to reports. The company, which is one of the largest television service providers in the U.S, has reported these losses amidst a potential bid for takeover by other service providers including Charter Communications, which according to Bloomberg may announce a $62 billion dollar bid for ownership of the company.

Time WarnerHQ

While Time Warner is still the second largest organization in the industry, these reported losses may only mean bad news - in the entirety of 2013 Time Warner lost around 825,000 subscribers, up almost 300,000 from 2012. And while other companies may seek to gain a stronger foothold in the market in light of the losses, industry leader Comcast has reported a slight gain in subscribers for the first time in over half a decade.

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net neutrality 4The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued a ruling today that strikes down many of the Federal Communication Commission's rules concerning net neutrality regulations on ISPs, which went into effect over two years ago. The decision could lead to Internet providers offering preferential treatment in terms of faster traffic to certain sites, or even the right to block traffic to some websites.

The three judge panel split 2-1 on today's decision, which said that the FCC overstepped its bounds when it tried to regulate the activities of ISPs.  The regulator did not classify those businesses as "common carriers", unlike how they label phone companies. In their decision today, the appeals court stated, "Because the Commission has failed to establish that the anti-discrimination and anti-blocking rules do not impose per se common carrier obligations, we vacate those portions of the Open Internet Order."

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police intercetor 1Joshua Rogers, a 16-year-old from Victoria State, managed to find a security hole that allowed him to access a database with more than 600,000 records about users who made purchases through the Metlink web site run by the Transport Department.

The site only contained information on public transport timetables but the database contained the full names, addresses, home and mobile phone numbers, email addresses, dates of birth, and a nine-digit extract of credit card numbers used at the site, according to The Age newspaper in Melbourne.

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