Increasingly high-profile security attacks – most recently, a data breach at US restaurant chain PF Chang that was attributed to a 'highly sophisticated criminal operation' even as gangs hit more businesses through remote accounts – were kindling interest in encryption and other less high-profile technologies amongst high-level executives, by some accounts. Encryption was gaining ground as US government use of wiretaps grew and a government privacy oversight board concluded that the NSA's surveillance is both legal and effective. This, despite indications from whistleblower Edward Snowden that most of the data the NSA collects is from people who are not actual targets of criminal investigations.
Interest in security issues was also growing as the Internet of Things continues to take form – offering new opportunities for people on both the good and bad sides of the fence. Yet as warnings emerged that 1 in 7 US debit cards was exposed due to security breaches during 2013, some were advising that the cloud offered a great opportunity to improve security by consolidating corporate data around corporate email infrastructure – a lowest common denominator approach that echoes claims by security firm Avecto that many IT staff are consistently overrating the importance of certain security technologies.
Microsoft, for its part, was involved in another high-profile takedown of a security network it said was involved in cybercriminal attacks, but admitted it made a technical error that disabled the network of Internet service provider No-IP and had other knock-on effects too. Even as No-IP wrestled back control of some of the domains Microsoft seized (eventually regaining all 23), the software giant also boosted anti-snooping protection in Outlook.com and OneDrive, even as it announced it would resume sending email-based security notifications.
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