The Circuit: China hacks, broadband speeds, international cybercrime bill

LEADING THE DAY: Security experts from McAfee Security revealed Wednesday that they have found evidence of a wide range of cyber attacks on the United States that appear to have originated from China, The Washington Post reported. The firm used logs to trace hacks perpetrated on more than 70 corporations and government organizations over several months. McAfee’s report named the Associated Press, the International Olympic Committee, the United Nations secretariat and the U.S. Department of Energy Department as victims of the hacks.


A chart of average upload and download speeds as a percentage of advertised speeds, by carrier (Federal Communications Commission )

The study, the first nationwide comprehensive look at residential broadband, found that peak period download speeds varied from a high of 114 percent of advertised speed to a low of 54 percent of advertised speed. Upload speeds, the report found, were largely unaffected by peak periods.

On average, the report said, Verizon Fiber provided the highest download speed as compared to its advertised rate, whereas Cablevision had the lowest.

Thirteen of the country’s top Internet service providers participated in the study: AT&T, Cablevision, CenturyLink, Charter, Comcast, Cox Communications Frontier, Insight Communications Co, Mediacom Communications, Qwest Communications, Time Warner, Verizon DSL, Verizon Fiber, and Windstream.

Cybercrime bill: Sens. Kristin Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) introduced a bill Tuesday intended to compel all countries to combat cybercrime. The International Cybercrime Reporting and Cooperation Act would identify countries that are not doing enough to fight cybercrime or work with the U.S. to do so. If countries fail to meet certain criteria under the act, the president would be encouraged not to supply aid to those countries.

The act would also require that the State Department and embassies devote more resources to combating cybercrime.

Patent reform: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid filed for cloture on the House version of the patent reform bill immediately following the August recess. The Senate passed a version of the bill — which would change the way the U.S. patent system awards patents and uses its funds — in March.

In a statement, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who introduced the bill, said, “The time has come to send the America Invents Act to the President’s desk to be signed into law.  I hope all Senators will join me, again, in passing this important bill after the August recess.”

Facebook acquires e-book startup: Facebook has acquired an e-book company, Push Pop Press, the small startup announced Tuesday. In a statement on its Web site, the publishing company said that Facebook is not planning to get into the e-book game, meaning it’s likely that the social network is interested in Push Pop Press for its programming and iPad expertise. The company is best-known for publishing former vice president Al Gore’s book “Our Choice,” for the iPad.

AOL releases iPad magazine: AOL released a daily magazine for the iPad Tuesday, which customizes content based on user interests.”Editions” lets readers decide which sections of the periodical to read and which ones to skip by selecting keywords in each article. It also features a calendar function and local news and weather. The app is free and available for download in the iTunes store.

LightSquared hearing postponed: A hearing on the effect of LightSquared’s broadband network, originally scheduled for Wednesday morning, has been postponed.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.

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