COMPUTERS/INTERNET/SECURITY

Oct 31 10:53

FBI Holds Secret Meeting To Scare Congress Into Backdooring Phone Encryption

In September, both Apple and Google announced plans to encrypt information on iOS and Android devices by default. Almost immediately, there was a collective freakout by law enforcement types. But, try as they might, these law enforcement folks couldn't paint any realistic scenario of where this would be a serious problem. Sure, they conjured up scenarios, but upon inspection they pretty much all fell apart. Instead, what was clear was that encryption could protectusers from people copying information off of phones without permission, and, in fact, the FBI itself recommends you encrypt the data on your phone.

But it didn't stop FBI director James Comey from ignoring the advice of his own agency and pushing for a new law that would create back doors (he called them front doors, but when asked to explain the difference, he admitted that he wasn't "smart enough" to understand the distinction) in such encryption.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Breakable encryption means the FBI can spy on law abiding citizens, but as we proved with our NSA challenges, real criminals and terrorists will remain invisible.

Oct 31 10:31

What happens when your friend’s smartphone can tell that you’re lying

In just a few weeks, the next installment of “The Hunger Games” will arrive in movie theaters. The latest in a long line of films to depict a future all-knowing or controlling government — think “1984” or “Minority Report” — the dystopian tale will likely be a runaway hit. But the power to seem all-knowing – or at least know more than do now – may soon lie in technology that’s already in the palm of your hand.

We are nearing a point where our smartphones will be able to recognize a face or voice, in real life or on-screen. And identification is only the most basic of the possibilities. Many app-makers are experimenting with software that can also analyze – able to determine someone’s emotions or honesty just by a few facial cues.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Smart phones have the power to run voice-stress software. But what worries the powers that be is not that we will use it on each other, but on THEM!

Oct 31 10:14

Privacy Groups to Present Oral Argument in NSA Spying Case on Nov. 4

Court Should Rule That Mass Telephone Records Collection Is Unconstitutional in Klayman v. Obama

Activist Post

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) will appear before a federal appeals court next week to argue the National Security Agency (NSA) should be barred from its mass collection of telephone records of million of Americans. The hearing in Klayman v. Obama is set for 9:30 am on Tuesday, Nov. 4 in Washington, D.C...

Oct 31 09:55

Possible problems at Facebook

31 October: Problems at Facebook
Facebook is having issues since 9:00 AM EDT. Are you also affected? Leave a message in the comments.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

The good news. Facebook is now fully cooperating with NSA.

The bad news: The interface was written by the same people who did the Obamacare website! :)

Oct 31 09:42

Dating Website Sued for Making Fake Lovers

The Federal Trade Commission filed suit against a British-based dating company alleging that it created fake automated profiles to trick paid members into believing that they were receiving texts from other real people on its several dating websites.

The FTC alleged that JDI Dating created the fake profiles, tricking new users into thinking they were getting text messages from real humans. The profiles, though, were connected to automated "flirting" software.

Users were enticed to sign up by being offered free memberships to the various sites, and upon first login, the flirty texts would flood a new user's inbox. But new users were unable to reply to any messages unless they upgraded to the paid service. Fees from $10 to $30 a month were charged to a new user's credit card to give them the capability to engage in messaging other members.

Oct 31 09:28

Millions of websites hit by Drupal hack attack

In its "highly critical" announcement, Drupal's security team said anyone who did not take action within seven hours of the bug being discovered on 15 October should "should proceed under the assumption" that their site was compromised.

Anyone who had not yet updated should do so immediately, it warned.

However, the team added, simply applying this update might not remove any back doors that attackers have managed to insert after they got access. Sites should begin investigations to see if attackers had got away with data, said the warning.

"Attackers may have copied all data out of your site and could use it maliciously," said the notice. "There may be no trace of the attack." It also provided a link to advice that would help sites recover from being compromised.

Mark Stockley, an analyst at security firm Sophos, said the warning was "shocking".

Oct 31 08:07

Isolated computer to be hacked with only a cellphone at Denver cybersecurity conference

Security researchers at Ben Gurion University have found a way to infiltrate a closed network to lift data from an isolated computer using little more than a cellphone’s FM radio receiver.

To evade air-gap security measures, keylogging app Airhopper, as its known, uses radio frequencies to transmit data from a computer, all by exploiting the computer's display.

“This is the first time that a mobile phone is considered in an attack model as the intended receiver of maliciously crafted radio signals emitted from the screen of the isolated computer,” according to a release by Ben Gurion University.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

So, Israel's university TEACHES computer hacking!

Oct 31 05:54

UPDATE 2-Hungary's Orban puts Internet tax on hold after huge protests

BUDAPEST, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban froze plans on Friday to impose a tax on Internet traffic, climbing down in the face of massive street protests and warnings from the European Union that the levy was a mistake.

Opponents of the tax, who said it would have hurt consumers already struggling with a faltering economy, described the U-turn as a major victory. But Orban's announcement was unlikely to end discontent among liberal Hungarians who accuse him of being an autocrat and are frustrated there is no prospect of removing him until elections in 2018. Recent anti-tax rallies have been a catalyst for broader anti-government protests.

Oct 30 22:52

Bypassing encryption: Italian firm ‘sells global spyware to police, governments

The latest encryption measures adopted by Google and Apple to beef up users’ security seem futile in light of firms like Hacking Team, which are offering software that allows authorities to bypass encryptions on personal devices.

Oct 30 15:25

FBI Attends Secret House Meeting to Discuss Access to iPhones

The Obama administration is ramping up its campaign to force technology companies to help the government spy on their users. -- FBI and Justice Department officials met with House staffers this week for a classified briefing on how encryption is hurting police investigations, according to staffers familiar with the meeting.

Oct 30 14:44

FBI Quietly Seeks Broader Hacking Powers

The FBI is seeking to expand its hacking and surveillance powers through "an apparently backdoor route," the Guardian reported Wednesday, a move that civil liberties groups say could infringe upon constitutional rights.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has proposed (pdf) an amendment to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, having to do with warrants for remote access to electronic data. The rule changes, according to the DOJ, would make it easier for law enforcement "to investigate and prosecute...crimes involving Internet anonymizing technologies," such as Tor.

Oct 30 11:18

How much is whatreallyhappened.com worth?

estimated worth, $ 13,805,000

Webmaster's Commentary: 

UPDATE: Only 24 hours after I posted the above link, the estimated value for whatreallyhappened.com has gone from $13.8 million to just over $10 million. I guess "someone" doesn't like there to be any indication of this website's popularity and reach to be out there!

Oct 30 11:18

The End of Free Speech: FEC Democrats Move to Kill Political Dissent

Democrats on the Federal Election Commission (FEC) are planning to introduce new regulations regarding political content on the internet, in order to kill free speech and political dissent. The decision of intent, which was announced late Friday, came about after an anti-Obama video posted to Youtube raised the ire of Democrats who found themselves powerless to stifle it as it was not a paid-for political ad, which would have brought it under existing FEC regulations.

Oct 30 09:40

Social Media Surveillance Expands as IBM Taps Twitter

Joe Wright
Activist Post

Public outrage about the global spy network continues to be ignored as corporations and governments announce open partnerships in harvesting all of our data. Social media is one particular playground for data brokers who feast upon the information we "willingly" provide...

Oct 30 09:04

Amazon-CIA $600 Million Deal Facing Scrutiny: ‘What’s the CIA Doing on Amazon’s Cloud?’

A billboard challenging Amazon to fully disclose the terms of its $600 million contract to provide cloud computing services for the Central Intelligence Agency has been unveiled at a busy intersection near Amazon’s Seattle headquarters.

The billboard’s launch — asking “the $600 million question: What’s the CIA Doing on Amazon’s Cloud?” — marks the escalation of a campaign by the online activist organizations RootsAction.org and ExposeFacts.org. The groups are calling for accountability from Amazon in an effort to inform the public of serious privacy implications of the Amazon-CIA collaboration. (ExposeFacts.org is a project of the Institute for Public Accuracy.)

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Given that CIA and Amazon are swapping tongue kisses these days, it becomes understandable why Alexa, owned by Amazon, is rigging the rankings of independent media websites lower and pushing up rankings of pro-government websites.

Oct 30 07:25

The 7 Privacy Tools Essential to Making Snowden Documentary CITIZENFOUR

by Parker Higgins

What needs to be in your tool belt if you plan to report on a massively funded and ultra-secret organization like the NSA? In the credits of her newly released CITIZENFOUR, director Laura Poitras gives thanks to a list of important security resources that are all free software.

We've previously written about CITIZENFOUR and Edward Snowden's discussion of his motivation to release closely guarded information about the NSA. Here's a closer look at the seven tools she names as helping to enable her to communicate with Snowden and her collaborators in making the film...

Oct 30 07:01

Three Spooky Ways You're Being Spied on This Halloween

Nadia Kayyali
Electronic Frontier Foundation

It’s that time of year when people don sinister masks, spray themselves with fake blood, and generally go all out for a good fright. But here at EFF, we think there are plenty of real-world ghouls to last all year-round. Fortunately, we won’t let them hide under your bed.

Sometimes our work sounds like science fiction, but the surveillance techniques and technology we fight are all too real. Here are some of the beasts hiding in your backyard that we’ve been fighting to expose...

Oct 30 06:41

License Plate Privacy Breached

Washington — After the Department of Homeland Security canceled a plan for broad law enforcement access to a national license-plate tracking system in February, officials established a new policy that required similar plans be vetted by department privacy officers to ensure they do not violate Americans’ civil liberties.

Two months later, however, officials with DHS’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency bypassed the privacy office in purchasing a one-year subscription for a commercially run national database for its Newark field office, according to public contract data and department officials.

Oct 29 15:54

Secrets of how car thieves use hi-tech scanners to reprogramme electronic keys and swipe top executive models to be revealed by BBC Watchdog

The secret of how criminals are using easy-to-buy electronic scanners to steal some of Britain’s most popular executive cars in under 60 seconds – and without a scratch - is to be controversially revealed on screen by investigators at BBC Watchdog.

Experts say it highlights a major flaw in the security of leading luxury cars – including BMWs, Audis and Land Rovers.

More than 1,000 stolen have been taken this way in the past year in London alone. The problem has become so severe that some insurers are refusing to give cover if cars are parked on public streets.

BBC watchdog said their programme and demonstration ‘reveals just how easily thieves can program blank keys and steal high-end cars’.

Oct 29 15:30

You can run, but you can’t hide: Google expands its real-world surveillance system with Google Fit

The company has developed an application that allows Android smartphone owners to collect health-related information in one place. It’s called Google Fit, and besides challenging Apple’s HealthKitservice, it also represents Google’s efforts to gather real-world data to complement the information it already has about the digital world.

Oct 29 09:13

Legendary Hacker Leaks Government Plan To Take Over Internet

Oct 29 07:42

FB For Currency Scams? EU May Probe Bankers’ Social Media

Traders accused of currency manipulation at some of the world’s biggest banks may soon have their social media data handed over to authorities conducting the investigation.

All of the bankers’ communications will be handed over to investigators to discover if banks have been tampering with currency interbank rates on the $5.3 trillion-a-day foreign exchange market, Bloomberg reported citing unnamed source.

Oct 29 07:35

HTML5 reaches ‘recommendation’ status

The World Wide Web Consortium today has elevated the HTML5 specification to ‘recommendation’ status, giving it the group’s highest level of endorsement, which is akin to becoming a standard.

But Jeff Jaffe, CEO of the W3C, was quick to point out that work on the Web is far from complete.

HTML5 is a critical piece in terms of importance to the next generation of Web technology in general, according to Jaffe. “I think back to what the Web originally was, which was accessing static documents from Web pages. Today, it’s what we call the Open Web Platform for building distributed applications, characterized by rich media – video, audio and graphics – natively available in browsers,” he said.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

I experimented with HTML5 in writing Claire's music website and the overall portal to our online "empire." The problem I ran into is that various smart phones and tablets, although claiming to support HTML5, did not actually support the full specifications, only enough HTML5 to be able to advertise they supported HTML5, and in many cases the pages would not display correctly.

Oct 29 07:26

Hackers breach White House computer network

The White House is confirming a “sustained” cyberattack on its computer network which lasted for almost two weeks.

US authorities are investigating the breach of the computer network used by officials of the Executive Office of the President.

The Washington Post cited sources as saying hackers linked to the Russian government were believed to be behind the cyberattack.

White House officials have not yet blamed anyone for the breach. They have not commented on how much data, if any, was stolen.

Oct 29 06:29

Hungary Rocked by Huge Protest over Controversial Internet Tax

Tens of thousands of Hungarians flocked to the streets of the capital Budapest to protest plans of the government to levy the Internet.

Demonstrations were held on Tuesday evening despite the cabinet's assurances only Internet providers will be charged, since critics, and the opposition as well, argue the move would hurt Hungary's digital economy and also affect household consumers by raising Internet bills.

About 35 000 to 40 000 people gathered in downtown Budapest according to Hungarian media outlets cited by Germany's Zeit, just two days after a smaller demo was held Sunday.

Oct 28 15:10

Are FBI and NCTC Trying to Pressure Prosecutors to Charge the Second Intercept Source?

Citing “law enforcement and intelligence sources who have been briefed on the case,” Michael Isikoff reports that the government has identified “the second leaker” — a source of information on drone targeting and terrorist watchlisting for The Intercept.

Oct 28 14:00

US sues AT&T, alleges severe throttling of unlimited data customers

The Federal Trade Commission has sued AT&T for promising unlimited data to wireless customers and then throttling their speeds by as much as 90 percent, the FTC announced Tuesday.

All major carriers throttle certain customers during times and places of congestion, as we've reported previously. AT&T seems to have earned the FTC's wrath by throttling customers regardless of whether they were trying to use their phones in congested areas, however. As we've also written, AT&T was throttling unlimited subscribers regardless of network conditions until July, when it changed its policy. Throttling was enforced once users hit 3GB or 5GB of data per month.

Oct 28 10:32

255Tbps: World's fastest network could carry all of the internet's traffic on a single fiber

A joint group of researchers from the Netherlands and the US have smashed the world speed record for a fiber network, pushing 255 terabitsper second down a single strand of glass fiber. This is equivalent to around 32 terabytes per second — enough to transfer a 1GB movie in 31.25 microseconds (0.03 milliseconds), or alternatively, the entire contents of your 1TB hard drive in about 31 milliseconds.

Oct 28 07:54

Fed up, US cities take steps to build better broadband

State and local governments aren't typically known for leading the way on technology. Remember that West Virginia library that uses a $20,000 router for a building the size of a trailer?
But all that’s changing fast, at least at the municipal level—and the demand for broadband is what's driving this shift. No longer content to let residents suffer from poor Internet access, cities and towns saw a need to boost their tech savvy. Now many are partnering with technologists in order to take matters into their own hands.

Oct 28 07:40

The highly sophisticated hacking of Sharyl Attkisson's computers

They met at a McDonald’s in Northern Virginia at the beginning of 2013, and the source (she dubs him Number One) warned her about the threat of government spying. During their next hamburger rendezvous, Big Mac told Attkisson, then a CBS News reporter constantly at odds with the Obama administration, that he was “shocked” and “flabbergasted” by his examination of her computer and that this was “worse than anything Nixon ever did.”

Oct 28 06:40

Snowden 2.0: Report says FBI Has Identified "Second Leaker" of Govt Secrets

The U.S. government has identified the person it believes is the so-called "second leaker" who has given over classified national security documents to some of the same journalists who have reported on many of the documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden this year, a news report claimed on Monday.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Rather than let the FBI pick them off one at a time, everyone with secrets needs to go public at the exact same time.

Oct 28 06:33

Watch your attachments: Microsoft Office bug lets hackers take over computers

A dangerous new security vulnerability has been discovered in Microsoft’s Office software, threatening to hijack users of virtually every existing version of Windows.

The bug in question affects programs like Word, PowerPoint, and Excel – and could allow an intruder to gain access to and control over a user’s entire computer.

Already, Microsoft has discovered that hackers are using the bug to hack computers through PowerPoint. Windows users should be wary of opening PowerPoint files sent via email unless they completely trust the original source, the company wrote in an online security advisory. Even in cases involving trusted sources, it has advised to not open the files received unexpectedly.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

And the mighty NSA cannot find these crooks either, can they?

Oct 27 13:31

California Cops Passed Around Explicit Photos Harvested From Arrestees' Phones

Another argument for default phone encryption: to keep criminals from accessing your personal photos and sharing them with others.

CHP Officer Sean Harrington, 35, of Martinez… confessed to stealing explicit photos from the cellphone of a second Contra Costa County DUI suspect in August and forwarding those images to at least two CHP colleagues. The five-year CHP veteran called it a "game" among officers, according to an Oct. 14 search warrant affidavit.

Going beyond the relation of these incidents to both search warrants and encryption-by-default, this episode of casual power abuse also implicates another hot button topic located at the intersection of policework and technology: revenge porn.

Oct 27 07:42

Hungarians revolt against internet tax (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Furious with the government plan to impose tax on Internet data traffic, thousands of Hungarians rallied in front of the Economy Ministry in Budapest to protect the freedom of the internet from the 'anti-democratic' measure.

Tens of thousands gathered in front of the Economy Ministry building on Sunday, urging the politicians to scrap the plan that will see internet service providers (ISPs) pay 150 forints ($0.62) for every gigabyte of data traffic transferred over their networks.

Oct 27 07:24

Spy Wars: CIA Vs. Congress | Jesse Ventura Off The Grid - Ora TV

Oct 27 07:18

Kano: A kit to build a computer and a new creative generation

Kano's Alex Klein tells TechRepublic about why people of all ages, not just kids, want to understand the tech they take for granted.

Oct 27 07:18

Peekaboo, I See You: Government Authority Intended for Terrorism is Used for Other Purposes

Mark Jaycox
Electronic Frontier Foundation

The Patriot Act continues to wreak its havoc on civil liberties. Section 213 was included in the Patriot Act over the protests of privacy advocates and granted law enforcement the power to conduct a search while delaying notice to the suspect of the search. Known as a “sneak and peek” warrant, law enforcement was adamant Section 213 was needed to protect against terrorism. But the latest government report detailing the numbers of “sneak and peek” warrants reveals that out of a total of over 11,000 sneak and peek requests, only 51 were used for terrorism. Yet again, terrorism concerns appear to be trampling our civil liberties...

Oct 27 07:14

CVS follows Rite-Aid, shuts off Apple Pay

Last Thursday drug store chain Rite Aid Inc. (RAD) reportedly stopped accepting payments made through the just launched Apple Pay system from Apple (AAPL). On Saturday, CVS Health (CVS) was reported to have followed suit at its CVS pharmacy stores.

The issue appears to be a conflict between Apple Pay and a mobile payment system called CurrentC that is being developed by a retailer-owned mobile technology outfit called Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX). Unlike Apple Pay, CurrentC does not use an NFC chip, but instead generates a QR code that is displayed on the merchant's checkout terminal. Customers who have already linked their bank accounts to the CurrentC system scan the QR code from the terminal and the transaction is completed.

Oct 26 18:32

Protest against the world's first internet tax in Hungary

More than 10,000 people marched in Budapest on Sunday to demand the scrapping of a proposed tax on Internet usage that critics of Prime Minister Viktor Orban call his latest anti-democratic measure.

Oct 26 16:43

Cryptography of the cryptocracy: Of gods and computers

In January of 2014, IMF Chief Christine Lagarde gave a speech that was lost on most of her audience and amongst the media. She stated:

Oct 26 11:16

French "hate speech" lawsuit leading to worldwide online censorship

A little over a year after a French court forced Twitter to remove some anti-Semitic content, experts say the ruling has had a ripple effect, leading other Internet companies to act more aggressively against hate speech in an effort to avoid lawsuits.

The 2013 ruling by the Paris Court of Appeals settled a lawsuit brought the year before by the Union of Jewish Students of France over the hashtag #UnBonJuif, which means “a good Jew” and which was used to index thousands of anti-Semitic comments that violated France’s law against hate speech.

Since then, YouTube has permanently banned videos posted by Dieudonne, a French comedian with 10 convictions for inciting racial hatred against Jews. And in February, Facebook removed the page of French Holocaust denier Alain Soral for “repeatedly posting things that don’t comply with the Facebook terms,” according to the company. Soral’s page had drawn many complaints in previous years but was only taken down this year.

Oct 26 08:49

Australian government warrantless data requests pass 500,000

The Australian communications watchdog has revealed that Australian government agencies are accessing more data than we previously thought.

Oct 26 07:30

US government surrenders control of ICANN - Fox News Live

Oct 26 06:51

Free apps used to spy on millions of phones: Flashlight program can be used to secretly record location of phone and content of text messages

Millions of people are being spied on by free apps they have installed on their mobile phones, security experts have warned.

Many flashlight apps which allow a device to be used as a torch also secretly record the most sensitive personal information.

This may include the location of the phone, details of its owner and their contacts, and even the content of text messages.

The data is then transmitted to market research companies and advertising agencies to track user’s shopping habits, experts claim.

But it is also suspected that criminal gangs, hackers and identity thieves have developed torch apps of their own to obtain personal data about consumers which could give them access to their bank accounts.

Oct 25 10:04

Dems on FEC move to regulate Internet campaigns, blogs, Drudge

In a surprise move late Friday, a key Democrat on the Federal Election Commission called for burdensome new rules on Internet-based campaigning, prompting the Republican chairman to warn that Democrats want to regulate online political sites and even news media like the Drudge Report.

Oct 25 07:31

Cops Need to Obey Facebook’s Rules

Nadia Kayyali and Dave Maass
Electronic Frontier Foundation

Facebook scolded the Drug Enforcement Administration this week after learning that a narcotics agent had impersonated a user named Sondra Arquiett on the social network in order to communicate and gather intelligence on suspects. In a strongly worded letter to DEA head Michele Leonhart, Facebook’s Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan reiterated that not only did the practice explicitly violate the site’s terms of service, but threatened Facebook’s trust-based social ecosystem...

Oct 25 07:27

Researcher Finds Tor Exit Node Adding Malware to Binaries

A security researcher has identified a Tor exit node that was actively patching binaries users download, adding malware to the files dynamically. The discovery, experts say, highlights the danger of trusting files downloaded from unknown sources and the potential for attackers to abuse the trust users have in Tor and similar services.

Oct 25 07:26

Hey Paypal, why do you need access to my microphone, camera and photos?

Who actually checks the permissions of applications they're installing? A little while ago a Paypal update stalled because it required extra permissions. This is what happens if an app you have already installed wants more power. I was more than a little surprised with what I found.

Oct 25 07:21

California cop accused of stealing nude photos from woman’s cell phone

A California Highway Patrol officer has been accused of stealing nude photographs of a woman he pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence, and investigators recommend filing criminal charges against him.

Court documentsobtained by the Contra Costa Times show that investigators have learned Sean Harrington, a 35-year-old CHP officer and five-year veteran of the force, illegally forwarded various nude photographs to himself after gaining access to the young woman’s phone. The investigator for the Contra Costa District Attorney is recommending that they bring felony computer theft charges against Harrington.

Oct 25 06:58

Almost 400 Dairy Queen stores targeted in malware hack

A type of malware that has been used to steal personal financial data from consumers at retail stores apparently is spreading rapidly.

Infections of the point-of-sale malware, known as “Backoff,” jumped 57% from August through early September and then another 27% in September, according to a report released this week by the security company Damballa.

“Backoff” a specific type of point-of-sale malware designed to secretly steal online banking credentials by scraping computers’ RAMs for leftover credit card data after a payment card is swiped, according to Ankit Anubhav, a research scientist at McAfee Labs, an Intel Corp. company.

Oct 25 06:20

Indian Air Force asks personnel not to use Xiaomi phones as these are believed to be transferring data to their servers in China and could be a security risk

"F-secure, a leading security solution company, recently carried out a test of Xiaomi Redmi 1s, the company's budget smartphone, and found that the phone was forwarding carrier name, phone number, IMEI (the device identifier) plus numbers from address book and text messages back to Beijing," says an advisory issued by the IAF to its personnel.

Oct 24 18:31

Average United States Download Speed Jumps 11.03Mbps In Just One Year to 30.70Mbps

The most recent average US download speed from Ookla Speedtest for October 2014 is 30.70Mbps. In October 2013 the average speed was just 19.67Mbps. Globally the average download speed is 21.03Mbps up from 15.61Mbps in October 2013. In 2012 the average speed was 13.17Mbps down globally and 15.42Mbps in the US.

Oct 24 16:01

800 million Twitpic photos to vanish from the web Saturday

Some of Twitter’s most defining moments have been shared through images; from the U.S. Airways plane that landed on the Hudson River, to the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that crippled the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince.

But many of those images will disappear from Twitter Saturday after Twitpic – once one of the most used image sharing services for Twitter – shuts down for good.

Oct 24 15:53

New Evidence of the NSA Deliberately Weakening Encryption

We already knew quite a lot about what they’ve been doing. The NSA’s 2013 budget request asked for funding to “insert vulnerabilities into commercial encryption systems”. Many people now know the story of the Dual Elliptic Curve pseudorandom number generator, used for online encryption, which the NSA aggressively and successfully pushed to become the industry standard, and which has weaknesses that are widely agreed by experts to be a back door. Reuters reported last year that the NSA arranged a secret $10 million contract with the influential American security company RSA (yes, that RSA), who became the most important distributor of that compromised algorithm.

Oct 24 13:59

Revealed: Google's links to US govt

One of the world's largest internet companies, Google 'should be a serious concern' internationally, WikiLeaks co-founder and Editor-in-chief Julian Assange says, revealing its connections and donations to the White House.

"Google is steadily becoming the Internet for many people. Its influence on the choices and behavior of the totality of individual human beings translates to real power to influence the course of history," Assange writes in his article, an extract from which is published in Newsweek.

Oct 24 13:56

Snowden's Motivation: What the Internet Was Like Before It Was Being Watched, and How We Can Get There Again

Laura Poitras’ riveting new documentary about mass surveillance gives an intimate look into the motivations that guided Edward Snowden, who sacrificed his career and risked his freedom to expose mass surveillance by the NSA. CITIZENFOUR, which debuts on Friday, has many scenes that explore the depths of government surveillance gone awry and the high-tension unfolding of Snowden’s rendezvous with journalists in Hong Kong. One of the most powerful scenes in the film comes when Snowden discusses his motivation for the disclosures and points to his fundamental belief in the power and promise of the Internet:

Oct 24 09:37

How the govt’s shadow Internet kills yours

The US government has a shadow Internet between its laboratories, which boasts incredibly fast connection speeds. The Energy Department just announced it will be extending access to it across the pond to its allies in Europe. Meanwhile, American citizens are forced to keep fighting for net neutrality and semi-decent access speed. The Resident discusses.

Oct 24 07:55

FTDI admits to bricking innocent users' chips in silent update

Hardware hackers and security researchers are furious at chip maker FTDI for issuing a silent update that bricks cloned FTDI FT232 [USB to UART] chips.

The chip is extremely common on a wide variety of devices and there is no way of knowing at this time which devices have cloned chips -- and the tainted supply chain could hit anyone.

FTDI appears to have used a recent Windows update to deliver the driver update to brick all cloned FTDI FT232s.

FTDI's surprise new driver reprograms the USB PID to 0, killing the chips instantly.

The hardware hackers at Hack A Day first reported that a recent driver update deployed over Windows Update is bricking cloned versions of the very common FTDI FT232 [USB to UART] chip.

In response to increasing anger and criticism from security researchers on Twitter, FTDI admitted using the remote kill switch and is adamant that this move is necessary to fight counterfeiting.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Oh yes, let's punish the end user who may not even know his product has a counterfeit chip by killing his hardware!

Does FTDI not understand that the counterfeiters will go on selling their chips anyway not caring if they eventually fail? Look at the flood of fake 128G SD cards hitting the market. These are actually 8G chips reprogrammed to identify themselves as 128G to the computer. Every time a particular brand is identified as phony, the counterfeiters simply change their company name, change the packaging, and go right on selling their products, not caring that they will not actually work. FTDI's stunt will harm a lot of innocent end users and will not stop the counterfeiters. It won't even slow them down. Someone needs to be fired for this mistake!

Oct 23 17:53

New Exploit of Sandworm Zero-Day Could Bypass Official Patch

During our investigation, we found that the Microsoft’s official patch (MS14-060, KB3000869) is not robust enough. In other words, attackers might still be able to exploit the vulnerability even after the patch is applied. Users who have installed the official patch are still at risk.

Oct 23 16:24

World's First Robot Pilot Ready to Replace Humans

As if the use of drones and A.I. autonomous systems aren't controversial enough, now researchers in South Korea claim to have developed a humanoid robot called Pibot that can fly any type of aircraft...

Oct 23 10:59

Atlanta airport WiFi users are barred from transmitting “hateful or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable” material

The following constitutes examples of violations of this AUP. You agree NOT to use the Wi-Fi System to:

Transmit any material (by uploading, posting, email or otherwise) that is unlawful, threatening, abusive, harassing, tortuous, defamatory, obscene, libelous, invasive of another’s privacy, hateful or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable; ...

Webmaster's Commentary: 

That "otherwise objectionable" could mean pretty much anything, including WRH!

Oct 23 10:50

Protect Yourself from Electronic Spying with 'Surveillance Self-Defense'

Activist Post

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) launched its updated "Surveillance Self-Defense" report today, a comprehensive how-to guide to protecting yourself from electronic spying for Internet users all over the world...

Oct 23 10:37

ZION’S INTERNET WAR

Over the past few years more than 5 million readers have been directed to this Blog via links at What Really Happened. These people are not strangers to what is known as a DOS Attack which renders a particular site ‘unavailable’ for a given time period. For years now, WRH readers have occasionally been denied access to the site because of these attacks. They have not been the only victim of these frequent attacks, other wonderful sites such as Uruknet have also suffered from them. One can show their appreciation to these sites by visiting them frequently and even better, by contributing financially to them. Their continued existence depends on your support.

Oct 23 10:15

'PhotoMath' app uses recognition technology to solve your math homework for you

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Works better than Common Core!

Oct 23 10:06

Hackers use Ebola outbreak to trick users into downloading malware

CRIMMINALS are taking advantage of the recent Ebola outbreak to trick unsuspecting web users into downloading malware sent in emails that purport to come from the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Uncovered by security researchers at Trustwave, the malware was flagged when it appeared that criminals had crafted bogus WHO emails encouraging people to open a .RAR attachment to find out how they can protect themselves against Ebola.

Trustwave said that once the attachment has been clicked on, it downloads malware onto the victim's machine.

Oct 23 07:00

It’s Not Just Spying – How The NSA Has Turned Into A Giant Profit Center For Corrupt Insiders

Last week, two very important stories came out; one from Reuters and the other from Buzzfeed. They both zero in on how current NSA employees are using their expertise and connections to make big money in the private sector while still working at the NSA. Let’s start with the Reuters story, which covers former NSA-head Keith Alexander’s business relationship with the NSA’s current Chief Technical Officer, Patrick Dowd.

Before we get into the meat of this story, I want to set the stage with a little background. In case you forgot, Keith Alexander launched his own cyber-security firm, IronNet Cybersecurity Inc., earlier this year.

Oct 23 05:46

CryptoWall Ransomware: Millions Exposed to Cybercrime Threat via Yahoo, Match.com, AOL and Other Websites

A sophisticated cyber-crime campaign is leaving millions of people vulnerable to having malware installed on their computers simply by visiting high profile websites such as Yahoo, Match.com, and AOL.

The campaign is using the fast-growing method of 'malvertising' to spread a pernicious form of malware called ransomware - in this case CryptoWall 2.0 - which encrypts all the files on the hard drive of a victim's computer, and if the victim doesn't pay a ransom by deadline, those files are lost forever.

Research by security company Proofpoint indicates that up to 3 million people would have been exposed to the malvertisments since the campaign was first detected on 18 September, 2014.

WEBMASTER ADDITION: And of course, the mighty NSA cannot find these criminals.

Oct 22 19:00

Hackers Roamed Around JPMorgan Chase's Financial Records for 2 Months

Earlier this month, approximate 76 million households—or roughly half of the households in America—were unhappy to hear their JPMorgan Chase accounts had been compromised. Those 76 million households will be equally unhappy to learn that the hackers who broke in were wandering around the bank's servers for two months. Two whole months!

Oct 22 18:58

Hungary wants to tax internet data transfers

Late on Tuesday, the Hungarian government proposed a controversial way of dealing with a national budget deficit: taxing internet service providers for data transfers sent over the web. Under the new tax provisions, providers would pay 150 forints — the equivalent of about 62 cents — for every gigabyte of information transferred, a cost that could quickly add up.

Bend over and spread 'em!

Oct 22 18:54

Apple Pay Glitch Causes Bank of America Customers to Be Charged Twice for Purchases

With Apple Pay positioned as a brand new service that requires banks, credit card companies, and vendors to all work together, it seems that some glitches in the system are inevitable.

Some Bank of America customers have been running into a serious problem when using Apple Pay to make purchases, with two charges showing up on their credit card statements. A CNN report from this morning first suggested that multiple Bank of America customers had been double charged, which Bloomberg later confirmed. Hundreds of customers are said to be affected.

Oct 22 18:53

Watch That Windows Update: FTDI Drivers Are Killing Fake Chips

The FTDI FT232 chip is found in thousands of electronic baubles, from Arduinos to test equipment, and more than a few bits of consumer electronics. It’s a simple chip, converting USB to a serial port, but very useful and probably one of the most cloned pieces of silicon on Earth. Thanks to a recent Windows update, all those fake FTDI chips are at risk of being bricked. This isn’t a case where fake FTDI chips won’t work if plugged into a machine running the newest FTDI driver; the latest driver bricks the fake chips, rendering them inoperable with any computer.

Oct 22 18:40

Brookings Institution: Our Cyborg Future – Law and Policy Implications

This may be the first time the Supreme Court has explicitly contemplated the cyborg in case law—admittedly as a kind of metaphor. But the idea that the law will have to accommodate the integration of technology into the human being has actually been kicking around for a while.

Oct 22 15:00

Forex-Rigging Fines Could Hit $41 Billion Globally: Citi

“Extrapolating European and, more importantly, U.S. penalties from a previous global settlement suggests to us a total potential global settlement on this key issue,” they said in the note.

Probes into allegations that traders rigged foreign-exchange benchmarks could cost banks as much as $41 billion to settle,Citigroup Inc. (C) analysts said.

Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) is seen as probably the “most impacted” with a fine of as much as 5.1 billion euros ($6.5 billion), Citigroup analysts led by Kinner Lakhani said yesterday, estimating the Frankfurt-based bank’s settlements could reach 10 percent of its tangible book value, or its assets’ worth.

Oct 22 10:04

Apple’s Mac computers can automatically collect your location information

Apple has begun automatically collecting the locations of users and the queries they type when searching for files with the newest Mac operating system, a function that has provoked backlash for a company that portrays itself as a leader on privacy.

Oct 22 09:49

Public Records RC §149.43 Phone Call with Summit Cty. Clerk of Courts on Reimer Arnovitz IOLTA Account.

I have documented proof in courts of law and from my own experience that Ohio Foreclosure Mill Reimer, Arnovitz Chernek & Jeffrey have been telling lies since 1977. I also have substantial reason to believe that the odds are good that the goods are odd when it comes down to their IOLTA accounts as noted in prior videos.

I am now going to receive copies of canceled checks from the Summit County Clerk of Courts regarding the close out foreclosure files. From what I understand Reimer's clients are now demanding strict accounting because of ethical concerns.

Oct 22 09:16

Fake news sites are using Facebook to spread Ebola panic

These sites claim to be satirical but lack even incompetent attempts at anything resembling humor. They’re really fake news sites, posting scary stories and capitalizing on the decontextualization of Facebook’s news feed to trick people into sharing them widely. On Facebook, where stories look pretty much the same no matter what publication they’re coming from, and where news feeds are already full of panicked school closures, infected ISIS bogeymen, and DIY hazmat suits, the stories can fool inattentive readers into thinking they’re real. Panicked, they share, spreading the rumor farther and sending more readers to the story, generating ad revenue for the site.

It’s proving to be a very successful strategy, particularly for a site called the National Report, which saw its traffic spike to 2 million unique visitors yesterday according to Quantcast.

Oct 22 06:43

Mass Surveillance Destroys Freedom

It’s longstanding. It’s institutionalized. It’s lawless. It has nothing to do with domestic or foreign threats. Or anything related to national security.

America’s only enemies are ones it invents. It spies globally. It watches everyone. It monitors allies. It’s for control.

Oct 21 15:51

Pew Study: Drudge Report More Trusted Than CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS

A Pew Research study has found that the Drudge Report, the most pre-eminent independent media source on the web, is trusted by the American public more than CNN, MSNBC, ABC, or CBS.

Oct 21 15:02

Mass Surveillance Destroys Freedom

It’s longstanding. It’s institutionalized. It’s lawless. It has nothing to do with domestic or foreign threats. Or anything related to national security.

America’s only enemies are ones it invents. It spies globally. It watches everyone. It monitors allies. It’s for control.

It’s for economic advantage. It’s to be one up on foreign competitors. It’s for information used advantageously in trade, political, and military relations.

Oct 21 14:59

Staples investigates possible data breach

In what could be the latest data breach to strike U.S. retailers, Staples Inc. said it is investigating “a potential issue involving credit card data.”

Oct 21 13:10

How Federal Agents Illegally Force Twitter, Google, and Banks to Turn Over Private Customer Data Without a Proper Warrant

Earlier this week, FBI Director James Comey gave an interview to 60 Minutes during which he revealed a flawed understanding of personal freedom. He rightly distinguished what FBI agents do in their investigations of federal crimes from what the NSA does in its intelligence gathering, when the two federal agencies are looking for non-public data.

Oct 21 12:26

nationalreport.net is a fake news site we have encountered before

The site nationalreport.net is best ignored. This is a site where leftist provocateurs post fake news stories in the hopes that patriotic conservatives will latch onto to them and embarrass themselves by passing them around as true.

Oct 21 09:47

32 Cities Want to Challenge Big Telecom, Build Their Own Gigabit Networks

More than two dozen cities in 19 states announced today that they're sick of big telecom skipping them over for internet infrastructure upgrades and would like to build gigabit fiber networks themselves and help other cities follow their lead.

Oct 21 07:50

The Troubling Arguments from the Gov't in Smith v. Obama NSA Spying Case

Nadia Kayyali
Electronic Frontier Foundation

We’ve filed our reply brief in the appeal of Smith v. Obama, our case challenging the NSA’s mass telephone records collection on behalf of Idaho nurse Anna Smith. The case will be argued before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal on December 8, 2014 in Seattle, and the public is welcome to attend.

Another case challenging the telephone records program, Klayman v. Obama, will be argued on November 4 in Washington DC before the DC Circuit and EFF will be participating as an amicus.

We thought we’d highlight three of the more outrageous arguments the government made, and our responses debunking them...

Oct 20 22:38

Invisible Biometrics: Your Voice is Your New ID

Waking Times

In a recent article, “In The Internet of Things YOU Will Be The Key,” I outlined the many ways that the human body will become the next generation identification system. The move to give everyone a global unique ID that can be verified across nearly all human activity has been in the works for some time, with defense contractors such as Lockheed Martin becoming a global leader in biometric identification. The applications are pervasive.

Oct 20 18:31

Facebook tells DEA: Stop impersonating users

Sondra Arquiett was unaware as the DEA masqueraded as her while speaking to her friends. The DEA even posted photos of her with her son and another photo of her alone in panties and a bra.
She has sued the DEA agent who set up the account. The Justice Department is backing him up, claiming federal agents have the right to do such things.

Oct 20 18:27

Officials warn 500 million financial records hacked

Federal officials warned companies Monday that hackers have stolen more than 500 million financial records over the past 12 months, essentially breaking into banks without ever entering a building.

Oct 20 18:13

Phone Hackers Dial and Redial to Steal Billions

Bob Foreman’s architecture firm ran up a $166,000 phone bill in a single weekend last March. But neither Mr. Foreman nor anyone else at his seven-person company was in the office at the time.

“I thought: ‘This is crazy. It must be a mistake,’ ” Mr. Foreman said.

It wasn’t. Hackers had broken into the phone network of the company, Foreman Seeley Fountain Architecture, and routed $166,000 worth of calls from the firm to premium-rate telephone numbers in Gambia, Somalia and the Maldives. It would have taken 34 years for the firm to run up those charges legitimately, based on its typical phone bill, according to a complaint it filed with the Federal Communications Commission.

Oct 20 17:59

GET OFF THE CLOUD! IBM Plunges as CEO Abandons 2015 Earnings Forecast

International Business Machines Corp. plunged the most in more than four years after abandoning an earnings forecast for 2015, as the company struggles to transform fast enough to handle the shift to cloud computing.

Oct 20 15:59

Microsoft warns users to kill botched KB 2949927 patch

After yanking botched patch KB 2949927, which failed to install on some machines, Microsoft is now warning users to uninstall the update -- even though there has been no mention of problems after the patch is installed.

Microsoft released KB 2949927 as part of its ill-fated batch of October "Update Tuesday" patches. On Wednesday I wrote about the first patch that showed widespread problems, KB 2952664, which failed to install with error 80242016. I followed up on Thursday with details about four more patches causing problems:

Oct 20 15:06

Your email isn’t as private as you think

Employers must respect the privacy of employees’ communications, but there are exceptions.

You may think that private emails from private accounts, and private messages from private social media accounts, are just that – private. You may also think that your employer cannot discipline you for their contents. You may be wrong.

Oct 20 14:54

New trolling laws 'threaten freedom of speech'

If you threaten somebody’s life on the internet or you threaten them with a serious crime you can be done for it, you can do prison time for that. So nobody understands quite why are the laws being proposed in this way. It is particularly savage because there is a degree of hypocrisy about these charges of online terrorism. From the very people who are bombing others around the world, it is a little strange. There is a kind of moral panic here, a political panic, could be seen by politicians to deal with what is really a small-scale social problem.

Oct 20 13:19

Nearly half of cardholders likely to avoid stores hit by data breaches

As data breaches exposing consumer credit card, debit card and other personal information become more common, nearly half of cardholding shoppers say they're reluctant this holiday season to return to stores that have been hacked, according to a new survey by CreditCards.com.

Forty-five percent of respondents with credit or debit cards said they would definitely or probably avoid one of their regular stores over the holidays if that retailer had experienced a data breach. Sixteen percent said they definitely would not return to a retailer if the store had been hacked and 29 percent said they probably would not shop at such stores. Just one in eight said they are more likely to shop with credit cards this season.

Oct 20 13:12

Social Media giants will hand over info about suspected 'terrorist' activity

Social media outlets Facebook, Twitter and YouTube will be asked by the UK government to automatically hand over information about suspected extremists who use their online services.

Tech giants Google and Microsoft will take part in government talks where senior policy advisors are expected to request outlets routinely turn over information about suspected online terrorist activity.

Oct 20 12:26

Data Secrecy Company Accused of Sharing Information with Media and Military

Whisper – a new social network that claims to provide anonymity – has been accused of secretly tracking users. The allegations were made by the Guardian newspaper, provoking renewed scrutiny of a multitude of data privacy claims made by software companies.

Oct 20 10:12

Kickstarter Suspension of ''Anonabox'' Highlights Popularity of Privacy Tech

by TechSwarm

An open-source networking device that would allow you to connect to the Internet anonymously via Tor has been suspended by Kickstarter due to apparent violations of Kickstarter's guidelines.

According to Wired, the anonabox team misled funders about the origins of some of the components as well as the more serious accusation that "the router’s default settings left its wireless network open and included a hardcoded root password that would leave users vulnerable to spying or compromise by hackers."

The anonabox was intended to be a plug-and-play $50 item that anyone could install and enjoy full encryption and anonymity instantly. Obscured by the story about anonabox's violations, however, is the real story: the amount of funding it received before it was pulled...

Oct 20 09:46

Virginia Police Have Been Secretively Stockpiling Private Phone Records

While revelations from Edward Snowden about the National Security Agency’s massive database of phone records have sparked a national debate about its constitutionality, another secretive database has gone largely unnoticed and without scrutiny.

The database, which affects unknown numbers of people, contains phone records that at least five police agencies in southeast Virginia have been collecting since 2012 and sharing with one another with little oversight. Some of the data appears to have been obtained by police from telecoms using only a subpoena, rather than a court order or probable-cause warrant. Other information in the database comes from mobile phones seized from suspects during an arrest.

Oct 20 09:09

Microsoft pulls faulty Windows Patch Tuesday fix

Microsoft has pulled a fix for a flaw affecting Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008, following the discovery of "unexpected behaviour" associated with it.

Microsoft announced the move in a revision on its threat advisory, just days after releasing the fix. The "behaviour" associated with the fix remains unknown, although Microsoft recommends uninstalling it as soon as possible.

"Microsoft recommends that customers experiencing issues uninstall this update. Microsoft is investigating behaviour associated with this update, and will update the advisory when more information becomes available," read the advisory.

Oct 20 08:25

Edward Snowden and the Golden Age of Spying

Here’s a Ripley’s Believe It or Not! stat from our new age of national security. How many Americans have security clearances? The answer: 5.1 million, a figure that reflects the explosive growth of the national security state in the post-9/11 era. Imagine the kind of system needed just to vet that many people for access to our secret world (to the tune of billions of dollars).

We’re talking here about the total population of Norway and significantly more people than you can find in Costa Rica, Ireland, or New Zealand. And yet it’s only about 1.6% of the American population, while on ever more matters, the unvetted 98.4% of us are meant to be left in the dark.

Oct 20 08:21

Google changes 'to fight piracy' by highlighting legal sites

Google thwarts piracy with search algorithm changes

NO WORRIES, GOOGLE KNOWS IF YOUR SITE IS NAUGHTY OR NICE

Oct 20 07:43

Internet Morality and Policing Harassment: Punishing the Trolls

It has been in the works for some time, but the British government is showing keenness to enact laws that will punish those guilty of Internet “trolling”. According to Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, “This is a law to combat cruelty – and marks our determination to take a stand against a baying cyber-mob.”

Oct 20 05:55

Florida court: Come back with a warrant to track suspects via mobile phone

In a rare decision, the Florida Supreme Court ruled last Friday that law enforcement must get a warrant in order to track a suspect’s location via his or her mobile phone.

Many legal experts applauded the decision as a step in the right direction for privacy.

"[The] opinion is a resounding defense of our right to privacy in the digital age," Nate Freed Wessler, staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement. "Following people’s movements by secretly turning their cell phones into tracking devices can reveal extremely sensitive details of our lives, like where we go to the doctor or psychiatrist, where we spend the night, and who our friends are. Police are now on notice that they need to get a warrant from a judge before tracking cell phones, whether using information from the service provider or their own ‘stingray’ cell phone tracking equipment."

Oct 19 18:16

Britain threatens Internet 'trolls' with two years in jail. Justice Secretary Chris Grayling told the Mail on Sunday newspaper: "This is a law to combat cruelty—and marks our determination to take a stand against a baying cyber-mob."

People found guilty of Internet "trolling" in Britain could be jailed for up to two years under government proposals outlined on Sunday, following a number of high-profile case of abuse on Twitter.

Oct 19 16:01

Using Carfax to Kick a Dirty Car Dealer to the Curb at Trial.

My old friend and client Jason Bromberg describes the lengths that a dirty scumbag foreign car dealer went through before settling our case in the 1990's. Funny how this case doesn't appear in the Franklin County Court records search but fuck it, we were there, it happened just as he says it did :)

This was another all-too-quick visit with Jason Bromberg, the man who will always be my brother. In an upcoming video he tells the story to his cousin about how we crushed All Foreign Auto, who bailed on the first day of trial regarding the fact that they knew the Mercedes 300D they sold him had indeed been spanked. We overheard them talking about it when we stopped in one day, then I found the prior owner through Carfax, which was kind of new back then in 1997.

Oct 19 09:20

Feds Continue Orwellian Surveillance of Social Media

Joe Wright
Activist Post

Even amid the public outrage and pushback in the wake of whistleblower revelations about the global spy network, the establishment continues to push forward with justifications about why it is in our best interest to be under their constant watch.

Social media is a playground for data harvesters of all stripes, but it is now apparent that it is becoming the single most pursued line of open surveillance...

Oct 19 07:00

FBI Director Warns Google and Apple "If You Don't Decrypt Phones, We'll Do It For You"

The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution is crystal clear in meaning.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

FBI Director, James Comey, an Obama appointment, does not give a damn what the Constitution says.

Oct 18 18:20

China Hires As Many As 300,000 Internet Trolls To Make The Communist Party Look Good

The Chinese government doesn't just censor its internet. It actually pays people to leave fake comments that make the country - and its communist regime - look good.
After reading "Blocked on Weibo" by Chinese researcher Jason Q. Ng, we recently learned China's version of Twitter, Sina Weibo, banned the phrase "50 cents." It references China's "50 Cent Party," a group of ordinary citizens hired by the government to post internet comments spinning that day's news in China's favor.

Oct 18 17:07

Cyber-Espionage and Trade Agreements: An Ill-Fitting and Dangerous Combination

Jeremy Malcolm
Electronic Frontier Foundation

Yesterday's leak of a May 2014 draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement revealed the addition of new text criminalizing the misuse of trade secrets through "computer systems", as mentioned in our previous post about the leak. This is a significant revelation, because we also know that trade secrets are planned for inclusion in the EU-US free trade agreement, TTIP (the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership). The revelation of the proposed text in the TPP provides a good indication that the same kind of language will likely also appear in TTIP. Frighteningly, this text contains no protections to safeguard the public interest.

Today we delve into this provision and its background in more depth...

Oct 18 12:16

Updated Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP)

Activist Post

WikiLeaks has released a second updated version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Intellectual Property Rights Chapter. The TPP is the world's largest economic trade agreement that will, if it comes into force, encompass more than 40 per cent of the world's GDP. The IP Chapter covers topics from pharmaceuticals, patent registrations and copyright issues to digital rights. Experts say it will affect freedom of information, civil liberties and access to medicines globally...

Oct 18 12:12

World's First Biometric Credit Card Will Arrive in 2015: Pay with Your Fingerprint

Nicholas West
Activist Post

In a recent article, "In The Internet of Things YOU Will Be The Key," I outlined the many ways that the human body will become the next-generation identification system. The fear of identity theft and cyber-banking crime has been the latest sales pitch to encourage accepting identity tech such as vein scanners, facial recognition, voiceprints, iris scans - even tears - as well as their attendant databases.

Another data point to note in the evolution of biometric ID is that Mastercard is now partnering with a Norwegian company called Zwipe to introduce the first fully biometric credit card, which will dispense with a PIN and instead use a fingerprint sensor for verification...

Oct 18 10:23

South Korea prepares for 10Gbps broadband; transfer 1GB file in 0.8 seconds

While AT&T and Verizon argue over an FCC proposal that would set 10Mbps as America’s new minimum speed to qualify as “broadband,” South Korea is positioning itself to introduce 10Gbps fiber service.

Oct 18 09:29

Kickstarter Freezes Anonabox Privacy Router Project for Misleading Funders

On Friday afternoon Kickstarter suspended the crowdfunding campaign for Anonabox, an initiative to sell a tiny, $45 router that would run all a user’s online traffic over the anonymity network Tor. The idea tapped into an explosive demand for simple privacy technology, and earned more than 10 times its modest goal in hours. But as funders shoveled more than half a million dollars into the project, they also began to pick apart Anonabox’s claims of creating custom hardware, as well as the promised security of its software. Soon, many were calling for the project to be cancelled, and asked others to report its shortfalls to Kickstarter staff, who now say they’ll cancel all investors’ pledges.1

Oct 18 08:29

The FBI Is Dead Wrong: Apple’s Encryption Is Clearly in the Public Interest

The Edward Snowden revelations of massive secret government surveillance and the string of data breaches at large U.S. companies have increased awareness among the American people about the need to protect the privacy of their electronic data. While public pressure has so far had no affect on U.S. law, it has prompted many technology companies to increase the security of their products, most notably Apple’s encryption systems on its new iPhone 6. This change significantly improves the protection of personal data that is stored on the device, but it also places a narrow set of information beyond the reach of anyone, including the government, and makes other communications information slightly more difficult to access.

Oct 18 08:00

Iran expert helping develop IoT platform

An Iranian expert and postdoctoral fellow at the University of British Colombia is helping develop a revolutionary platform for a new technology called the Internet of Things (IoT).

Ali Kashani, the Vancouver-based Energy Aware Technology’s vice president of software, is helping the company develop the Neurio platform, billed as a revolutionary new technology that makes an ordinary home smart.

The evolution of the IoT involves the embedding of sensors in physical objects. The sensors are, in turn, linked through networks to computers that analyze the vast amounts of data they produce.

Neurio’s development, however, has drawn upon the fact that all electronic devices have a power signature, hence just enlisting the help of a Wi-Fi power sensor.

Kashani has described Neurio as the “brain of the home,” not a “fancy” remote control, like other smart-home products.

Oct 18 08:00

Microsoft to cut 18K jobs worldwide

The US software giant Microsoft has announced plans to slash 18,000 jobs from its global workforce in 2015, the largest cuts in the company’s 39-year history.

Oct 18 07:00

Obama’s credit card denied at restaurant on New York City trip

President Obama came perilously close to having to wash some dishes on his recent trip to New York.

Mr. Obama revealed Friday that his credit card was rejected when he went to pay for his meal at a New York restaurant during the U.N. General Assembly gathering last month.

“Apparently they thought there was some fraud going on,” Mr. Obama joked at a meeting Friday with employees of the Consumer Financial Protection Board, adding that “even I am affected” by the difficulties of dealing with the American financial system. The remarks were picked up by the C-SPAN feed of the event.

Oct 18 05:59

Revealed: how Whisper app tracks ‘anonymous’ users

The company behind Whisper, the social media app that promises users anonymity and claims to be “the safest place on the internet”, is tracking the location of its users, including some who have specifically asked not to be followed.

The practice of monitoring the whereabouts of Whisper users – including those who have expressly opted out of geolocation services – will alarm users, who are encouraged to disclose intimate details about their private and professional lives.

Oct 17 13:30

FBI Director: Government Surveillance 'Enhances Liberty'

In a speech on Thursday, FBI director James Comey invoked "national security and public safety" to push for more permissive government surveillance policies, claiming new encryption technologies are poised to leave law enforcement agencies "in the dark" as they try to hunt down terrorists and child molesters.

Civil liberties watchdogs criticized Comey's claims, saying that the encryption tools would have no bearing on police and FBI operations, and that privacy is a federally guaranteed right.

Oct 17 12:45

Thousands Of MacBooks Made In 2011 Have Self-Immolating Graphics Cards

Models of Apple’s higher-end portable computer, the MacBook Pro, have come to the end of their three-year extended warranties. That leaves their owners at the mercy of Apple when something goes wrong, and at minimum thousands of the computers have had the same computer-killing problem with their graphics processing unit. Apple has not publicly admitted that the machines have a problem.

Of course, MacBook Pro owners are people who have spent at least $2,500 on a computer designed for serious graphics work. That means that they’re probably media professionals or serious amateurs, and able to make YouTube videos making fun of the situation with really great production values.

Oct 17 08:33

FBI director to citizens: Let us spy on you

The expanding options for communicating over the Internet and the increasing adoption of encryption technologies could leave law enforcement agents “in the dark” and unable to collect evidence against criminals, the Director of the FBI said in a speech on Thursday.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

I am going to take it from the above that FBI Director James B. Comey is tacitly admitting that our series of NSA encryption challenges did in fact defeat the NSA cryptographers.

So, Comey is trying to revive an idea from 1995 and declare that any encryption system not authorized for use by the government (meaning not including a back door for them to use) is a "weapon" whose purpose must be assumed to be criminal, and therefore punishable. Better copy off those code snippets in my challenge while you still can!

The new attitude is "Use A Secret Decoder Ring: Go To JAIL!"



The government wants us to trust them that they are only going to spy on criminals, but we already know this is a lie. The FBI and other US Intelligence agencies have been caught stealing personal data for cronies of the President and their own personal profit. The Fourth Amendment says that the government cannot peek into your personal life absent an actual accusation of a crime and given the tsunami of evidence that the government is not complying with its Constitutional limits, We The People have every right to secure our business secrets, photos of our scantily clad partners, my Aunt Mary's Top Secret Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, and everything else from a government that is itself the biggest criminal organization in the country.

Oct 17 04:54

Los Angeles court got license plate reader ruling totally wrong, groups say

Two activist groups have filed an appeal in their lawsuit against the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department to access one week’s worth of license plate reader data. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California (ACLU SoCal) lost their case before a Los Angeles Superior Court judge last month.

In May 2013, the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and the Electronic Frontier Foundation sued the law enforcement agencies in an attempt to compel the agencies to release a week’s worth of LPR data from a particular week in August 2012.

Oct 16 12:01

Amazon.com Targeted by Censors

• Thought police “gatekeeper mafia” pushing book-selling behemoth to censor content.

Amazon, the billion-dollar online bookseller, stands as a test case in regard to whether free expression or Orwellian suppression will reign supreme in America. Currently, nearly every type of book is available on Amazon. Only graphic pornography is banned. But certain forces are working tirelessly in an attempt to curtail free access to certain types of political and historical writings found on the retail giant’s website.

Oct 16 08:48

Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods

Businesses should not need to notify consumers that their personal data has been lost or stolen if the data has been encrypted, EU ministers have said.

Ministers in the Justice and Home Affairs Committee of the EU's Council of Ministers backed the plans as part of a wider partial agreement reached last week on reforms to EU data protection laws.

Oct 16 08:20

Parents may be held liable for children’s Facebook posts

The parents of two children who posted defamatory comments about a fellow student in a fake Facebook account are heading to court, which will determine whether parents should be liable for their children’s internet activity.

The parents of seventh-grade students Dustin Athearn and Melissa Snodgrass learned this the hard way after their children created a fake Facebook page under the name of fellow student Alexandria (Alex) Boston. Dustin and Melissa, with the help of a “Fat Face” app, distorted Alex’s features, while also making offensive comments about the girl.

Oct 16 06:26

NSA Documents Suggest a Close Working Relationship Between NSA, U.S. Companies

Newly disclosed National Security Agency documents suggest a closer relationship between American companies and the spy agency than have been previously disclosed.

The documents, published last week by The Intercept, describe “contractual relationships” between the NSA and U.S. companies, as well as the fact that the NSA has “under cover” spies working at or with some U.S. companies.

Oct 16 05:21

YouTube has potentially infected over 100,000 users during the past 30 days

YouTube has become a daily habit for millions all over the world, but it looks like there has been some malicious activity on the website -- which may have affected more than 100,000 users over a 30 day period.

According to Trend Micro, they have been monitoring the activity on YouTube over the past couple of months and have found that the attack comes in the form of ads that are present on the site. While the ads themselves have no malicious content, the issue seems to occur when the ad is clicked. Although these ads should be monitored and screened by YouTube, some have seemed to slip through the cracks, redirecting to malicious websites that could cause infections. While this all sounds fairly simple, the actually process for passing off a malicious site for something legitimate is fairly complex.

Oct 15 15:53

Windows 7 patch KB 2952664 fails with error 80242016

I think Microsoft MVPs TaurArian and dvk01 nailed it:

If you don't intend to update the Windows 7 computer to either windows 8 or Windows10 TP, then uninstall the buggy KB2952664 update. It isn't needed... This is the sort of update that should be offered ONLY when you intend to update as part of the pre check by Microsoft when you do a compatibility check on a new OS to see if it will be suitable.

Oct 15 14:20

BBC spends more than £200,000 on staff iPhone training

The BBC has reportedly spent 200,000 pounds training its staff to use iPhones, according to figures released under the Freedom of Information Act. Over three years, 783 employees took part in training courses costing 300 pounds per person.

It was also revealed that over the past two years the BBC has spent 2.5million pounds on state of the art technology for employees. In total, the BBC bought 4,266 iPhones, 427 iPads and 815 MacBooks between January 2012 and October 2013.

Oct 15 08:40

Ebola.com Owner Wants $150,000 For Rights To Domain Name

Las Vegas-based entreprenuer Jon Schultz paid $13,500 for the rights to Ebola.com back in 2008.

Now he hopes to make a killing off the disease's domain and figures his asking price is more than reasonable.

Oct 15 04:49

Obamacare website won’t reveal insurance costs for 2015 until after election

Those planning to purchase health insurance on the Obamacare exchange will soon find out how much rates have increased — after the Nov. 4 election.

Oct 14 17:30

Rise of 'voiceprint' ID technology has privacy campaigners concerned

Identification of people through speech could dent trust in anonymous services, like crime hotlines and phone counselling

Oct 14 17:20

Researchers find new web encryption bug, warn of 'Poodle' attack

Jeff Moss, founder of the Def Con hacking conference and an advisor to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, said that successful attackers could exploit the bug to steal session cookies in browsers, taking control of accounts for email providers, social networks and banks that use that technology.

To do that, however, they would need to launch a "man-in-the-middle" attack, placing themselves in between the victim and the websites they were visiting. One common approach is to create a rogue WiFi "hot spot" in an Internet cafe, he said.

Matthew Green, assistant research professor at Johns Hopkins University's department of computer science, said this vulnerability was not as bad as either Heartbleed, which allowed hackers to snoop or steal large quantities of data, or Shellshock, which could give attackers remote control of computers.

Oct 14 12:50

Drop Dropbox? Concern after alleged 7-million account hack

The passwords of nearly 7 million Dropbox accounts have been seized through third-party services and 400 directly leaked on Pastebin, with promises of more leaks following bitcoin donations. Dropbox denies a hack.

Oct 14 09:12

Chat logs reveal FBI informant’s role in hacking of Sun newspaper

The FBI is facing questions over its role in a 2011 hacking attack on Rupert Murdoch’s Sun newspaper in the UK after the publication of chat logs showed that a man acting as an agency informant played a substantial role in the operation.

In July 2011, a group of hackers known as Lulzsec – an offshoot of Anonymous – posted a fake story about the death of Murdoch, penetrated several News International (now News UK) corporate sites, and claimed to have obtained gigabytes of material from the company’s servers.

Oct 14 08:29

Kmart shops hit by payment card hack attack

Cash registers at 1,200 Kmart stores were infected with malware that scooped up payment card numbers for over a month, reports the retailer.

In a statement, Kmart said the security breach was discovered on 9 October and that the malware had been operating since early September.

An initial investigation suggests the cyber-thieves stole credit and debit card numbers.

So far, it is not clear how many cards and customers have been affected.

Oct 14 07:07

Censorship Alert: the Alternative Media Harassed by the NSA

Google’s Safe Browsing List, which blocks websites and flags them as containing malware, is increasingly used as a mechanism for the censoring of independent media and the falsification of history. It is an alarming development that, left unchallenged, puts the survival of any independent newspaper, blog, TV or radio station at risk. Over the past months the list has apparently been used to target websites critical of U.S.’ involvement in the wars in the Middle East, U.S.’ involvement in Ukraine and independent media who are publishing material that is critical of Zionism

Oct 14 06:46

NSA 'Core Secrets' leak points to spies working within companies

New documents leaked by Edward Snowden suggest the National Security Agency (NSA) has agents working under deep cover in US and foreign companies.

First published by The Intercept on Friday, the highly-classified document points to the NSA having a small group of well-placed and heavily-vetted insiders, whose mission is to infiltrate commercial companies and work from within.

"How do you know the NSA is not sending people into your data centers?" the publication cited the American Civil Liberties Union's Chris Soghoian as saying.

Oct 14 05:28

Private donors supply spy gear to cops

In 2007, as it pushed to build a state-of-the-art surveillance facility, the Los Angeles Police Department cast an acquisitive eye on software being developed by Palantir, a startup funded in part by the Central Intelligence Agency's venture capital arm.

Originally designed for spy agencies, Palantir's technology allowed users to track individuals with unprecedented reach, connecting information from conventional sources like crime reports with more controversial data gathered by surveillance cameras and license plate readers that automatically, and indiscriminately, photographed passing cars.

Oct 14 04:41

Disturbing mystery affecting your favorite news sites…

watchdog news websites are scratching their heads and trying to make sense of the latest data released by a California company that measures website traffic.

Oct 14 03:29

Propaganda war of Islamic extremists is being waged on Facebook and internet message boards, not mosques - Robert Fisk

Ever since the Pentagon started talking about Isis as apocalyptic, I’ve suspected that websites and blogs and YouTube are taking over from reality. I’m even wondering whether “Isis” – or Islamic State or Isil, here we go again – isn’t more real on the internet than it is on the ground. Not, of course, for the Kurds of Kobani or the Yazidis or the beheaded victims of this weird caliphate. But isn’t it time we woke up to the fact that internet addiction in politics and war is even more dangerous than hard drugs?

Oct 13 17:28

Censorship Alert: the Alternative Media Harassed by the NSA

Google’s Safe Browsing List, which blocks websites and flags them as containing malware, is increasingly used as a mechanism for the censoring of independent media and the falsification of history. It is an alarming development that, left unchallenged, puts the survival of any independent newspaper, blog, TV or radio station at risk. Over the past months the list has apparently been used to target websites critical of U.S.’ involvement in the wars in the Middle East, U.S.’ involvement in Ukraine and independent media who are publishing material that is critical of Zionism.

Oct 13 14:30

PARENT ALERT! NSF Awards Grant for Data Mining Children

The National Science Foundation has awarded grants of $4.8 million to several prominent research universities to advance the use of Big Data in the schools.

Benjamin Herold writes in Education Week:

"The National Science Foundation earlier this month awarded a $4.8 million grant to a coalition of prominent research universities aiming to build a massive repository for storing, sharing, and analyzing the information students generate when using digital learning tools."

Oct 13 12:25

NSA agents may have infiltrated the global communications industry

Leaked Snowden documents published by Laura Poitras and Peter Maass in The Intercept describe the NSA's SENTRY EAGLE program describe six programs aimed at weakening the capacity of people all over the world to communicate in private.

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