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.

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.

Google to flag 'right to be forgotten' censored search results

Google to flag 'right to be forgotten' censored search results

Google is reportedly planning to put an alert on the bottom of every page where links have been removed in the wake of the recent "right to be forgotten" court ruling.

Facebook stupidity leads to largest gang bust in NYC history

Facebook stupidity leads to largest gang bust in NYC history

Social media was the perfect place to brag about four years of alleged stabbings, assaults, robberies, shootings and murders, via hundreds of Facebook updates, direct messages, mobile phone videos, and calls made from Rikers Correctional Facility to plot the deaths of rival gang members.

Feds swoop in, snatch mobile phone tracking records away from ACLU

Feds swoop in, snatch mobile phone tracking records away from ACLU

After the Feds seized the surveillance records, US Marshals then moved the physical records 320 miles away, meaning the ACLU wouldn't be able to learn how, and how extensively, police use snooping devices.

Medical centre staff post woman's STD diagnosis on Facebook

Medical centre staff post woman's syphilis diagnosis on Facebook

A woman whose medical record was posted to a Facebook group named "Team No Hoes" is suing the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, two employees and a former boyfriend who allegedly talked the healthcare workers into posting the screenshot.

Facebook troll jailed for posting he was 'glad' teacher was murdered

Facebook troll jailed for posting he was 'glad' teacher was murdered

A Facebook troll has been jailed after posting he was "glad" a much-loved UK teacher, Ann Maguire, got "stabbed up".

Google says half of email is sent unencrypted

Open padlock. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

It's been an encryption-intensive start to the week - good news for all of us who are wary of snooping.

Facebook's new audio feature won't snoop on us, it says

Not listening. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Listening in and identifying your TV and music is opt-in only, Facebook's security head honcho said, and no, he wouldn't want it in his pocket either if it was recording everything going on around him.

Myspace emails cringe-worthy old photos to lure users back

Embarrassed man. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Myspace is sending users one or two photos in a seemingly desperate attempt to convince people that it still exists, to intrigue former users, to embarrass them, and/or to send them hurtling back to the site on search and destroy missions.

Prankster fakes pick axe murder for Google Street View

Pick axe on Street View

It took over a year for somebody to complain about the image. If you're worried that Big Brother is watching, think of it as consolation that he's not too quick on the uptake.