A roundup of the latest high-tech news “Hot Off the Wire” from The Associated Press and Local Tech Wire:
- FBI to probe AT&T e-mail breech
NEW YORK — The FBI said Thursday that it is investigating a data breach at AT&T (NYSE: T) that exposed the e-mail addresses of more than 114,000 owners of the Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPad, including government officials.
The agency said it is looking into "the potential cyber threat" from the breach.
AT&T Inc. said it has no comment. The Dallas-based phone company acknowledged Wednesday that it had exposed the e-mail addresses through a Web site, and had closed the breach.
The vulnerability only affected iPad users who signed up for AT&T’s "3G" wireless Internet service.
An AT&T Web site could be tricked into revealing an iPad owner’s e-mail address when supplied with a code associated with their particular iPad. A hacker group that calls itself Goatse Security said it got the site to cough up more than 114,000 e-mail addresses by guessing which codes would be valid.
The group said it contacted AT&T and waited until the vulnerability was fixed before going public with the information. AT&T said the problem was fixed Tuesday but that it was alerted to it by a business customer.
Apple Inc., the maker of the iPad, has not commented on the breach, referring all questions to AT&T.
AT&T has apologized and said it will notify all iPad users whose e-mail addresses may have been accessed. It noted that the only information hackers would have been able to steal using the attack were users’ e-mail addresses. But that can be enough to launch an effective attack, since the attacker also knows that the person receiving the e-mail is an iPad user and an AT&T customer and would expect to receive e-mail from Apple and AT&T about their accounts.
Criminals could use that knowledge to trick them into opening e-mails that plant malicious software on their computers.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s e-mail address was among those exposed, but the billionaire media mogul shrugged it off Thursday and said he didn’t understand the fuss.
"It shouldn’t be pretty hard to figure out my e-mail address," Bloomberg said, "and if you send me an e-mail and I don’t want to read it, I don’t open it. To me it wasn’t that big of a deal."
- HP spends $1.6M on lobbying
WASHINGTON — Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HP)spent $1.6 million to lobby the U.S. government in the first quarter on a smorgasbord of issues including federal spending on technology, enforcement of immigration laws and health care reform.
The amount was nearly double HP’s $840,000 lobbying tab from the first quarter of 2009. HP spent $710,000 on lobbying in the fourth quarter of 2009.
Kristy Sternhell, formerly a counsel to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, was among the people who lobbied on behalf of HP, which is the world’s biggest technology company by revenue.
HP said in its latest lobbying-disclosure form, filed with the House clerk’s office, that it lobbied Congress and various government agencies. Those agencies included the Homeland Security and Labor departments, which HP lobbied on immigration-related issues, including legislation involving the creation of a computer network to verify that workers in the U.S. are legally able to work. Other agencies included the Health and Human Services department and the Federal Reserve System.
HP’s $1.6 million tab ranked among the highest for technology companies in the latest period.
Other big-time Silicon Valley tech firms spent less. Google Inc. spent $1.4 million in the first quarter to lobby the federal government on issues including its decision to stop censoring search results in China, and Oracle Corp. spent $1.1 million, in part on regulatory issues concerning its recent acquisition of Sun Microsystems.
However, Microsoft Corp., consistently one of tech’s biggest lobbying spenders, spent more than HP – $1.7 million on lobbying in the latest period.
- Akami buys cloud content delivery company
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Online content delivery company Akamai Technologies Inc. said Thursday that it has purchased Velocitude, a company that uses cloud computing to deliver content to smartphones.
Akamai said the addition of Cambridge, Mass.-based Velocitude means that it will be able to improve the quality of the how its clients’ sites and apps look on smartphones and other portable devices.
Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.