Tech wrap: Government bringing knife to cyber gun fight?

June 16, 2011

A recent wave of computer network attacks has boosted concerns about U.S. vulnerability to digital warfare. The Obama administration is racing on multiple fronts to plug the holes in the U.S. cyber defense, focusing on an expanded effort to safeguard its contractors from hackers and building a virtual firing range in cyberspace to test new technologies.

However, the overall gap appears to be widening, as adversaries and criminals move faster than the government and corporations can respond, officials and analysts say.

Microsoft has made available a Windows 7-compatible test version of the software behind its hit Kinect motion-sensing game device, in the hope that developers will invent a host of “hands-free” features for standard PCs.

Microsoft was at first hostile to such attempts, but by releasing a beta version of the Kinect software development kit it is showing that it is interested to see what developers will make of the technology.

Any chance of Taobao trying to cash in on the internet IPO craze was squashed when the Alibaba Group said it had reorganized China’s largest e-commerce website into three separate companies.

The move to split Taobao comes as Alibaba founder Jack Ma grapples with its major shareholders, Yahoo Inc and Japan’s Softbank, over ownership of Alipay, another of the group’s crown jewels.

Ma has not ruled out taking Alibaba public in the future, but analysts said the listing could take a few years, meaning Yahoo will have a longer wait to unlock the value of its prized Chinese asset.

Research In Motion hopes the details of the new BlackBerry and the strong sales of its PlayBook tablet will offset the barrage of criticism that it has fallen behind tech giants Apple and Google when it reports after the bell.

RIM has made big promises in an aggressive full-year earnings outlook, but without a launch date for a more powerful touchscreen version of its business workhorse, the Bold smartphone, and with Torch and Storm smartphone upgrades still just rumors, investors are growing more nervous.

James Ledbetter take an in-depth look at Groupon’s effect on small businesses and finds out that while it may be a boon for some, others are claiming that their relationship with the discount site has been nothing short of a nightmare.

Felix Salmon, meanwhile, has a look at the various legal pitfalls facing Groupon and other coupon sites.

According to results of a recently released Pew Research Center survey, Facebook users are more trusting, have more close friends, and are more politically-engaged.

This news seems to fly in the face of the popular notion that cultivating “Facebook friends” will harm people’s ability to make friends offline.

Join the MediaFile blog network


No comments so far

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see