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.

Insulting cops online now illegal in Canadian town

Image of Canadian policeman courtesy of Shutterstock

One Facebook voice cries out in a resounding act of insulting civil disobedience: "Suck it up, buttercup!"

Police can access phone location data without a warrant, US court rules

Phone. Image courtesy of Shutterstock

The decision leaves the country stuck with a mishmash of laws and privacy advocates who hope that the Supreme Court takes on the issue.

Accused game hacker flees to Europe, says he can't afford defence

Accused game hacker flees to Europe, says he can't afford defence

The Australian, who's fled to Europe, was 17 when he allegedly took part in the heist of unreleased gaming and Apache helicopter training software.

Apple confirms: tattooed wrists confuse Watch

Apple confirms: dark tattoos befuddle Watch

Some dark wrist tattoos can block the Apple Watch from measuring heart rates and can then turn into a passcode-demanding pain in the wrist.

Police arrest Virginia Tech student over Yik Yak threat

Virginia Tech

It's an anonymous messaging app that's not all that anonymous. That's a good thing in this case, given that the Yak alluded to the anniversary of a mass murder.

Microsoft age-guessing tool goes on a metadata-slurping, viral spree

How Old

It will presumably get more accurate with time. But for now, you can see how well it does with your selfies. Or your cat's selfies. Or a snapshot of that face on your toast that sort of looks like a panda.

Woman arrested after hijacking PCs, showing hardcore porn to victims

Rat. Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Some of the victims were kids. She allegedly posted videos showing her startled victims as she talked to them over their speakers.

Anonymous sharing app Secret shuts down

Anonymous sharing app Secret shuts down

Secret was supposed to be different from its anonymous sharing kin, Yik Yak and Whisper. What went so wrong, so fast?

iPad crash grounds dozens of American Airlines flights

American Airlines. Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Swapping 35-lb. kitbags full of paper for svelte tablets sounds great, until the tablets crash and there's no paper backup.

Hollywood gets Piracy app Popcorn Time blocked in the UK

Piracy app Popcorn Time blocked in the UK

The UK High Court has ordered internet service providers (ISPs) to block Popcorn Time, a piracy app that's as easy to use as Netflix.

Remotely operated surgery robot is easy to e-hijack, researchers find

Raven II robot

"Jerky" movement can be caused by tampering with packets. Not a good adjective when you're talking about surgery!

Judge chided for Facebook posts that triggered mistrial in "boy in the box" case

social-media-250

A Texas judge has been chewed out for making Facebook posts about a case that resulted in a mistrial, and has been ordered to get trained on "proper and ethical use of social media" by judges.

Google blushes over Google Maps showing Android icon urinating on Apple icon

Google blushes over Google Maps showing Android icon peeing on Apple icon

These pranks are pretty easy to pull, and Google's got its work cut out when it comes to blocking vandalism.

Tesla and Elon Musk Twitter accounts and website hijacked, free Teslas offered

Tesla Twitter

The website and Twitter account for sleek electric automaker Tesla Motors was taken over and defaced on Saturday, as was Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s personal Twitter account.

Police-taunting Facebook selfie poster jailed

Aaron Bee

Aaron Bee started posting the nyah-nyah images on Facebook after police put out an appeal asking for his whereabouts. Cue lots of pictures of Bee gesturing at police, their cars and a police station and a misspelled hashtag of #theystillcarntcatchme.

Student jailed for using keylogger to up his exam marks

Mortar board. Image courtesy of Shutterstock

A university student who plugged keyloggers into his school's computers to snatch staff passwords, access the exam application and jack up five test scores has been jailed.

How to secure your baby monitor

Baby monitor. Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Two more families say they've had baby monitors turned into nursery-room eavesdropping bugs. Here's how to button up your baby's security, camera, Wi-Fi, router and all.

New 'Clear' app helps you erase your online mistakes

Surprised man. Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Sure, we'd love to wipe away those rude/racy/rebellious posts, but how erasable is erasable? Two phrases come to mind: "screen capture" and "digital archive!"

Man guns down computer after getting fed up with Blue Screen of Death

Dead computer

A Colorado man administered what we assume to be the highly unusual remedy of lead slugs in an alley behind his homeopathy store.

'Aaron's Law' back in Congress to bring "long overdue" fix of US hacking law

aaron-swartz-wikipedia-250

The proposed overhaul of the infamous Computer Fraud and Abuse Act would focus penalties on malicious computer crime.