Millions of records stolen: Marriott International, one of the world’s largest hotel chains, has reported a data breach affecting up to 500 million customers, the Washington Post reports. The breached database includes information on guests staying at Sheraton, Westin and St. Regis hotels. The 500 million records lost makes it the second largest data breach reported.
Encryption debate back yet again: U.S. deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, best known for overseeing the investigation into President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, has renewed the Department of Justice’s long-term call for encryption workarounds in tech products, Wired.com reports. Addressing critics of encryption backdoors, Rosenstein said: “Just because people are quick to criticize you does not mean that you are doing the wrong thing. Take it from me.”
Countering view: Meanwhile, Robert Anderson, a former top cyber official at the FBI, said that since leaving the agency and working on cybersecurity issues, he now understands why tech companies would oppose government efforts to break encryption. Companies “entrusted by the clients who have given them information” have a responsibility to protect it, he said in an FCW.com story.
Someone’s watching you: Chinese Internet companies have begun to keep detailed records of users’ personal information and online activities, CNN.com reports. Under new government rules, companies are required to log the activities of users posting in blogs, microblogs, chat rooms, videos, and webcasts.
Virtual taxes: In an effort to attract blockchain businesses, Ohio will accept tax payments in bitcoin, the blockchain-powered virtual currency, CNBC.com says. That may not be such a good idea, however, given that the value of bitcoin has fallen about 70 percent this year.
Secure phishing: Nearly half of all phishing websites now feature the secure padlock icon that supposedly indicates a safe e-commerce site, Krebs on Security says. The padlock indicates the data transmitted is encrypted, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a legitimate site, Krebs notes.
Advancing AI: Artificial Intelligence will improve in 2019 with more advanced chatbots, AI recruiting tools for hiring departments, and AI-based intelligent search, Entrepreneur.com writes. Coming soon, in addition to speaking to Alexa, you’ll also be able to talk to your car, TV, refrigerator, and even your lamps, the writer suggests.