By Matthias Inverardi and Diane Bartz FRANKFURT/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama blocked a Chinese investment fund from acquiring the U.S. business of German semiconductor equipment maker Aixtron because the deal posed a risk to American national security, the Treasury Department said on Friday. Obama's executive order barring China's Fujian Grand Chip Investment Fund (FGC) from completing the acquisition of a German company with American assets was one of few such instances in which a U.S. president has blocked a transaction due to national security concerns.
The U.S. government and the private sector must cooperate to improve the security of digital networks, a U.S. presidential commission on cyber security recommended in a wide-ranging report issued on Friday. The commission created by President Barack Obama earlier this year also recommended that the president and Congress accelerate the pace at which technology is updated in the federal sector and that the president appoint an ambassador for cyber security for efforts abroad. Obama said in a statement after meeting the commission's head, his former national security adviser Tom Donilon, on Friday that his administration strongly supported the commission's "thoughtful and pragmatic" recommendations.
By Christian Lowe and Natalia Zinets MOSCOW/KIEV (Reuters) – Russia said on Friday it had uncovered a plot by foreign spy agencies to sow chaos in Russia's banking system via a coordinated wave of cyber attacks and fake social media reports about banks going bust. Russia's domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Security Service (FSB), said that the servers to be used in the alleged cyber attack were located in the Netherlands and registered to a Ukrainian web hosting company called BlazingFast.
China’s county-level police will be able to censor internet coverage of natural and man-made disasters, according to a revised draft of the country’s policing law that the Chinese Public Security Bureau released late on Thursday. China reports a high rate of accidents and natural disasters every year due its vast geography and its relatively low public safety and building standards. Incidents are often met with an outpouring of public grief and anger that the authorities seek to contain using internet controls and state-media coverage focusing on successful relief work.
"Yes! Keith and team are joining Twitter to help lead and strengthen our service!," Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted on Thursday. Jeff Seibert, who was recently head of product, stepped down from in June after being in the role for about five months. Kevin Weil, who now heads Facebook Inc's Instagram product division, was with Twitter for more than five years and was vice-president of product development before Seibert.
Shamoon, the destructive computer virus that four years ago crippled tens of thousands of computers at Middle Eastern energy companies, was used two weeks ago to attack computers in Saudi Arabia, according to several U.S. cyber security firms. CrowdStrike, FireEye Inc, Intel Corp’s McAfee security unit, Palo Alto Networks Inc and Symantec Corp warned of the attacks, though they did not name any victims.
Twitter Inc has signed a major livestreaming deal with its first Asian partner, Globe Telecom Inc of the Philippines, for its two exclusive U.S. National Basketball Association shows, the companies said on Thursday. Globe will advertise on Twitter's livestream of "The Starters" and "The Warmups" to the telecom provider's digital audiences, they said in a statement. The shows, produced by Time Warner Inc's Turner Sports, will air only on Twitter throughout the basketball league's season from late October through June.
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission failed to verify whether futures and swaps brokerage firms have adequate policies to help ward off cyber attacks, an internal CFTC audit found. The audit was completed in October by Brown & Company CPAS and Management Consultants PLLC at the request of the CFTC’s inspector general. It found that the CFTC, in conducting cyber security examinations of the firms, did not employ a “risk-based approach” to “independently test results of the cybersecurity assessments” it did.
One of the world's biggest networks of hijacked computers, which is suspected of being used to attack online banking customers, has been taken down following police swoops in 10 countries, German police said on Thursday. In an internationally coordinated campaign, authorities carried out the raids on Wednesday, seized servers and website domains and arrested suspected leaders of a criminal organization, said police and prosecutors in northern Germany. Officials said they had seized 39 servers and several hundred thousand domains, depriving criminals of control of more than 50,000 computers in Germany alone.
(Reuters) – From awareness campaigns to candle-lit vigils, people around the globe are marking World AIDS Day on Thursday. Each year, people across countries gather on Dec. 1 to promote awareness about the fight against HIV/AIDS and remember those who lost their lives. The hashtag #WorldAIDSDay trended on Twitter as users posted messages and pictures of red ribbons supporters wear to mark the occasion, as well as of people around the world lighting candles for commemoration events. According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), some 36. …
Selena Gomez overtook Taylor Swift as the most-followed celebrity on Instagram, as two of pop's leading women once again dominated the social networking site in 2016. In Instagram's annual rankings released Thursday, Gomez was the most-followed celebrity with 103 million followers, while Swift was second with 93.9 million. Ariana Grande and Beyonce came in third and fourth with 89.6 million and 88.9 million followers respectively, while reality TV star Kim Kardashian took fifth place with 88.2 million followers.
By Sankalp Phartiyal and Tanvi Mehta MUMBAI/BENGALURU (Reuters) – Fashion portal Myntra, part of India's top e-commerce group Flipkart, aims to use smart technology such as artificial intelligence to enhance consumer experience as it looks to drive growth and turn profitable in the next fiscal year. India's e-commerce market is forecast to grow to $188 billion in a decade as more and more of its 1.2 billion people log on to smartphones and PCs in the world's fastest-growing internet services market. Players such as Flipkart and Myntra took a page out of Amazon's playbook to offer cash-burning discounts when they launched in 2007 but are now increasingly tailoring their products and experiences to capture a burgeoning Indian market.
By Philip Blenkinsop BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission proposed simplifying value-added sales tax (VAT) requirements for online retailers on Thursday, the final piece in a series of measures to boost Internet commerce across the European Union. "We are delivering on our promises to unlock e-commerce in Europe … Now we simplify VAT rules: the last piece in the puzzle," said Andrus Ansip, the Commission's vice president for digital affairs. Currently, online traders of goods have to register for VAT in each of the EU countries to which they sell goods, a significant barrier given it can cost about 8,000 euros ($8,500) to comply per country.
(Reuters) – Facebook Inc Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg has donated more than $100 million to the Sheryl Sandberg & Dave Goldberg Family Fund. Sandberg's donation to her donor advised fund comprised 880,000 of Class "A" shares of Facebook, according to a regulatory filing on Wednesday. In December 2015, Zuckerberg made one of the largest pledges in history when he and his wife said they would donate 99 percent of their company shares to charity.
By Heather Somerville SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Comma.ai, the tech startup that recently pulled the plug on its device to give cars limited self-driving capabilities after being reprimanded by U.S. regulators, has opened up its software secrets to the masses. On Wednesday, Comma.ai announced on its website that it had open sourced the software code and robotics research platform for the driver-assistance system the company had planned to start selling at the end of the year, before the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) compelled it to change course. The open-source project may allow Comma.ai founder and well-known hacker George Hotz to deploy his technology without butting up against regulators.