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The Upload: Your tech news briefing for Friday, January 9

The Upload: Your tech news briefing for Friday, January 9

CISPA is back! ... Snowden says hack-backs are a bad choice ... Google wants a cut of the US insurance market... and more

Georgia Tech researchers Alenka Zajic and Milos Prvulovic use an AM/FM radio to pick up side-channel signals from a cell phone, which could be used to learn what computations are being done by the device.

Georgia Tech researchers Alenka Zajic and Milos Prvulovic use an AM/FM radio to pick up side-channel signals from a cell phone, which could be used to learn what computations are being done by the device.

CISPA rises from the grave

After privacy concerns derailed this controversial legislation in the U.S. Senate, CISPA will be re-introduced Friday by a senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, reports The Hill. Maryland Representative Dutch Ruppersberger said he's bringing the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act back to the floor in response to the Sony hack, blamed on North Korea.

Cyber-retaliation is a dumb idea, says NSA's most famous former contractor

Edward Snowden says that the U.S. has the most to lose in a cyber conflict and shouldn't engage in retaliatory hacking. Among Snowden's bombshell disclosures in 2013 was information on cyberattacks by the U.S. on other countries including China. He told an interviewer for a Nova TV program that the U.S. may even have more to lose than other nations if cyber-war becomes an accepted norm.

Revamped ransomware is frustrating security researchers

File this under product enhancements we don't want to see: The notorious CryptoWall ransomware has been revamped to make it harder to detect and study. "It keeps evolving," says Earl Carter, a researcher with Cisco Talos who co-authored a blog post detailing the "ransomware on steroids."

Twitter video product may be weeks away

Twitter is just weeks away from taking the wraps off a native video feature, Re/code reported, citing unnamed sources. It will apparently let users shoot, edit and post video within the app, and is likely to put a time limit on clips -- possibly 20 seconds.

Video is key to Facebook, too

Facebook picked up QuickFire Networks, a startup that will bring it video compression technology, it said on Thursday.

Spellcheckers can't keep a secret

Researchers studying electronic signal leaks from computers -- which can be can be spied on from a few feet away -- found that word processing programs emit weak signals until you use your spell checker: "It turns out that spellchecking is orders of magnitude more activity than you would normally get for just a simple key press," says Milos Prvulovic of the Georgia Institute of Technology. He and others are working on a three-year project to figure out how these signal leaks can be prevented by redesigning hardware and software.

Google aims at U.S. insurance market

Google is planning to launch a pilot for an auto insurance comparison shopping site in the U.S., says a Forrester researcher. The Internet giant, which already runs an insurance comparison shopping website in the U.K., may also acquire CoverHound, an insurance platform in San Francisco, to get off to a quick start.

Watch now

Take a tour of the highlights of this week's CES show with IDG's weekly World Tech Update, on location in Las Vegas.

One last thing

The Internet of Things looks like a big pile of cash to tech companies, but it could also be a giant headache if standards don't get settled quickly. Meet a CTO who came to CES on a mission: he wants the big IT vendors to get their acts together on IoT protocols.


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