newsimage2Uh-oh! One of the biggest news publications around is going through a website outage, but unfortunately this isn't a mere server error. Apparently, The New York Times website has been hacked and shut down. Little by little, visitors started noticing around 3 p.m. EST that the website was offline, but the outage is now widespread.

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microsoft-stock-priceEarlier this morning, Steve Ballmer announced that he would be retiring from Microsoft and that the search for a new CEO is now underway. When the head of a major corporation decides that there time at the top of the org chart is up, it’s always quite interesting to see how the stock price moves as this will be a sign of how investors truly felt about the leader.
After the announcement and at approximately 9:25am, Microsoft’s share price surged after the announcement by went up over 9%. This is clearly a sign that investors are happy about the news and likely feel that a new leader will help Microsoft navigate the changing marketplace that Microsoft is now fording.

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pirate2Movies. I love 'em. You love 'em. We all love 'em. Sometimes, however, the desire to see a hot movie (or one of dubious quality that may not be worth the coin) leads people to obtain flicks through not-quite-legal means. And BitTorrent, the super-popular peer-to-peer file-sharing client, is often the vehicle for acquiring those flicks.
The MPAA once stated that movie piracy led to a Hollywood loss of roughly $20 billion dollars per year. Although some have debated the legitimacy of that number, many analysts agree that there's quite a bit of illegal downloading and streaming happening online.

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ballmer displayMicrosoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced Friday that he will retire within the next 12 months.
Shares of Microsoft soared 9% in premarket trading on the news.
"There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time," Ballmer said. "We have embarked on a new strategy with a new organization and we have an amazing senior leadership team."

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microsoft-surface-3Steve Ballmer was forced out of his CEO chair by Microsoft's board of directors, who hit the roof when the company took a $900 million write-off to account for an oversupply of the firm's struggling Surface RT tablet, an analyst argued today.
"He was definitely pushed out by the board," said Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy, in an interview Friday. "They either drove him out, or put him in a situation where he felt he had to leave to save face."

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microsoft logoIn March, the Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. government was looking into allegations of possible bribery involving Microsoft representatives in other countries in exchange for contracts. Today, the paper is reporting that probe has expanded to include similar claims in two more countries.
According to the new report, using unnamed sources, one tipster claimed that in Russia, kickbacks were sent to executives of an unnamed state-owned company to secure a contract from resellers of Microsoft's software. Another tipster claims that a consulting firm, with approval from Microsoft, gave a Pakistan government official and his wife a five-day golf trip to Egypt in exchange for a contract.

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spy-vs-spyInternet giants like Google and Yahoo received millions of dollars from the NSA to cover their surveillance under the PRISM program. These payments occurred after a federal court ruled that surveillance requests the companies handled under the PRISM program were unconstitutional.
The money was meant to cover expenses the companies incurred under court orders mandating the companies assist the NSA in its bulk collection of data, according to a top secret NSA newsletter leaked to the Guardian newspaper by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The document also shows the NSA was anxious to get certifications from the FISA Court to authorize surveillance beyond the possible expiration of the law that authorized that surveillance. The law was set to expire on December 31, 2012, but the NSA received authorizations under that law to continue its surveillance until September 23, 2013.

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nsa-logoNew details have unveiled the true extent of the National Security Agency's internet surveillance programs, including a new shocking statistic: 75% of US internet traffic can be viewed by the NSA. Through telecoms companies, the US Government hunt for possible domestic threats, and through doing so, read our emails and listen to our calls.
The Wall Street Journal today clarified that the main intention of these programs is to spot unusual traffic, which may be entirely foreign but pass through the US. However, to do this, the NSA have had to broaden their reach in scary ways. However, traffic is monitored using complex algorithms with holes which let certain data through, thus, much of what the NSA can access, they ignore.  75% of internet traffic can be monitored, but it doesn't mean that specifically your emails have been read - the NSA likely don't care where you're meeting friends for lunch.

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zune2Poor Steve Ballmer. The burly Microsoft CEO, who announced Friday that he will retire next year, has been the victim of some unfortunate timing.
When he took over leadership of Microsoft in 2000 Ballmer had to follow iconic co-founder Bill Gates, who had built the software titan into the most valuable company in the world. Then Ballmer was blindsided by the swift rise of Steve Jobs and Apple, whose iPod, iPhone and iPad led a mobile revolution and made Microsoft appear slow and out of touch.
More recently, Ballmer has been credited for re-imagining the company's core product with the bold Windows 8 operating system and leading a 2013 revival of the company's once-flagging stock.

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google-blockedWhat happens when the world's largest search engine experiences a five-minute outage? Apparently, a lot. That's exactly what happened on Friday when Google went down from about 3:52 p.m. to 3:57 p.m Pacific time. Some other services went offline as well, but the one that had everyone in a tizzy was search -- and rightfully so. The vast majority of Internet users rely on Google to get them where they want to go on the web every single day. However, the users were far from the only ones suffering during those dark five minutes.

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