Articles by Lisa Vaas

About Lisa Vaas

I've been writing about technology, careers, science and health since 1995. I rose to the lofty heights of Executive Editor for eWEEK, popped out with the 2008 crash, joined the freelancer economy, and am still writing for my beloved peeps at places like Sophos's Naked Security, CIO Mag, ComputerWorld, PC Mag, IT Expert Voice, Software Quality Connection, Time, and the US and British editions of HP's Input/Output. I respond to cash and spicy sites, so don't be shy.

Revenge porn hits two high profile boyfriends where it hurts

Voodoo doll. Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Former NSA analyst and vocal NSA supporter John Schindler had his pink parts exposed by a lover in an extramarital affair, and a state representative's chief of staff was outed by a porn star ex-girlfriend and subsequently resigned. Revenge porn might typically target women, but these cases clearly show that we're all vulnerable when it comes to sharing explicit content.

Is that Google Glass wearer stealing your iPad passcode?

Tablet. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

What about the one with a smartwatch? Snoopers can catch your code from nearly 10 feet away with Google Glass or Samsung's smartwatch and from almost 150 away using a HD camcorder, thanks to researchers' custom-coded, shadow-tracking recognition algorithm.

Carwash POS systems hacked, credit card data drained

Carwash POS systems hacked, credit card data drained

Police in the US state of Massachusetts have busted what they say is a gang of thieves who were buying stolen credit cards and using them to buy gift cards that were then sometimes exhausted of their balance, washed clean of data and reloaded with more stolen credit card data.

US House votes "overwhelmingly" to cut funding of NSA surveillance

NSA surveillance funding cuts OKed by US House

A strong majority of the US House have voted to cut funding for surveillance on citizens or for planting backdoors that let the government slip past encryption that's supposed to shield communications.

'Yo' app hacked by college students, hires one of the hackers

'Yo' app hacked by college students

A Georgia Tech student claims he and two roommates were able to get any user's phone number, that they texted the founder (who, he said, called him back), to spam any user, and to send any text they want. Now it looks like one of them will be working for the company.

Email gaffe unmasks 'anonymous' bidders in Bitcoin auction

Possible Bitcoin bidders outed by US government's "reply all" glitch

Somebody at the US Marshals Service goofed, cc'ing a list of 40 people who'd written to inquire about what was supposed to be an anonymous auction of the Bitcoins seized in the Fed's raid on Silk Road.

Google forced to e-forget a company worldwide

Google forced to e-forget a company worldwide

Perhaps inspired by Europeans winning the right to be forgotten in Google search results last month, a Canadian court has ruled that Google has to remove search results for a Canadian company's competitor, not just in Canada but around the world.

Does Facebook's Slingshot commit true imagicide? Or is it another Snapchat?

Does Facebook's Slingshot commit true imagicide?

"Disappear forever" didn't mean much when Snapchat said it. Neither Snapchat nor Facebook's newly released Slingshot stops anybody from taking a screenshot or snapping a photo of the receiving device with another camera, for one thing.

Is a Facebook death threat a true threat? Supreme Court to decide

Is a Facebook death threat a true threat? Supreme Court to decide

The US Supreme Court will re-examine a case in where a man made death threats against his ex-wife on Facebook, giving us a federal decision on whether threats made online need to be made with real intent, or whether they just have to be taken seriously by a reasonable person who's threatened.

France World Cup team training session snooped on by a "spy drone"

France buzzed by World Cup "spy drone"

France is shaking its fist at what it thinks may have been a spy drone buzzing its football team as it practiced for Sunday's opening game. FIFA is investigating.

User-shaming robot Pic Nix banned by Instagram

Instagram quickly nixes user-shaming service Pic Nix

The plus: it used a nifty, Arduino-powered xy plotter that mimicked a human hand keying in an Instagram post on an actual iPhone. The minus: it allowed users to diss each other's posts without having the 'nads to do it to people's faces.

"Kind of creepy" personality test crunches your Facebook verbiage

Faces. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

The tool analyses language for signs of extroversion ("party!!") introversion ("computer") and more. This could be a dream come true for targeted marketing and a hell on earth for privacy.

Google's after your health data with 'Google Fit' service

Dumbbells. Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Google's reportedly about to jump into the growing fitness data marketplace - a mosh pit that consumer advocates are already calling a privacy nightmare - to wrestle with Apple and Samsung for the data getting created by fitness trackers and health-related apps.

How to 'double your money on PayPal!' and why you should NOT try it

How to 'double your money on PayPal!' and why you should NOT try it

There's a loophole in PayPal's terms of service that can profit those silly enough to commit fraud and think that the police won't come knocking.

Facebook to let advertisers see where you're surfing

Facebook to let advertisers see where you're surfing

Like many services already do, Facebook's now going to mix in our browsing histories with the advertising stew. It's also introducing a tool that lets us see (and edit) the dossiers they keep on us, so we can finally get a glimpse into why they think we like what they seem to think we like.

US court finds warrantless tracking of mobile phones unconstitutional

US court finds warrantless tracking of mobile phones unconstitutional

In what the ACLU calls a "huge victory", an appeals court on Wednesday ruled that such warrantless search violates the US Constitution.

Here's what bugging your own office NSA-style can reveal

Eavesdropping. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

A US reporter for National Public Radio found that NSA-style broad surveillance enabled by a pen-testing device and software crunching picked up on his research (in spite of Google's default search encryption), intercepted uncut interview tape, ferreted out his interview subjects' phone numbers and email addresses, and more.

FCC DoSed into silence as John Oliver roused net neutrality trolls

Silence. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Within hours of the comedian's brilliant, 13-minute rant, the FCC's comment section was crushed by a database DoS attack. The DoS rendered the site incapable of accepting any public comment at all, be it trollery or sanity.

14-year-olds find manual online, hack an ATM during their school lunch hour

14-year-olds find manual online, hack an ATM during their school lunch hour

The bank didn't believe the kids - who are both commendable white hats! - until they presented documents showing things like how much cash was in the machine.

Kim Dotcom offers $5M (£3M) for whistleblower help

Dotcom offers $5M (£3M) for whistleblower help

Megaupload's founder is offering mega-bucks to anybody who can help him prove his long-argued contention that Hollywood studios illegally set US authorities on him.