Panetta speaks on cyberwarfare: Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Thursday night that the Defense Department would be responsible for defending the country against a cyberattack, The Washington Post reported. Under new rules for cyberwarfare, Panetta said, the Pentagon would also defend private-sector companies against major attacks.

Panetta warned that attacks against Middle Eastern energy companies were the most destructive private-sector attacks to date and that those attacks have triggered growing concern inside national security agencies, the report said.

Galaxy Nexus ban overturned: The U.S. Court of Appeals on Thursday overturned a sales ban on the Galaxy Nexus with harsh words for U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, saying that the district court had “abused its discretion” by deciding to implement the ban in June.

As Bloomberg reported, the ban was put into place in part because Koh ruled that a search feature in the Nexus may violate Apple’s patents and could cause the company to lose sales. The appeals court said that Apple provided “limited” evidence of harm.

Softbank could be Sprint’s white knight: Sprint Nextel said Thursday that it is considering selling a majority stake to Japan’s SoftBank, the latest deal among industry underdogs who are scrambling to catch up to telecom giants Verizon Wireless and AT&T.

The Overland Park, Kan., company declined to provide details about the potential deal to The Washington Post, but analysts who follow Sprint, the nation’s third-largest wireless carrier, said it would probably receive about $13 billion for selling a 75 percent stake to SoftBank.

“Adding SoftBank into the equation opens up a number of possibilities for Sprint, including taking over Clearwire and perhaps making other wireless acquisitions down the road to improve its standing in the evolving 4G market relative to Verizon and AT&T in particular,” Jeff Silva, a senior analyst at Medley Global Advisors, told The Post.

Mobile location data:A study released Thursday by the Government Accountability Office suggests that the government could do more to protect consumer privacy when it comes to mobile device location data.

Industry self-regulation practices, the report contended, are not strong enough to provide consumers with enough information about how data are collected and shared with third-party companies.

The report suggested that the National Telecommunications and Information Administration work with stakeholders to put more specific rules in place. It also recommended more guidance from the Federal Trade Commission.