COMPUTERS/INTERNET/SECURITY | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


COMPUTERS/INTERNET/SECURITY

Jul 21 10:15

BACKLASH AGAINST “WAR ON CASH” REACHES WASHINGTON & CHINA

The electronic-payments industry, which gets a cut from every electronic transaction, wants to kill cash. But wait…

Jul 21 09:17

What REALLY happened during Amazon's huge Prime Day outage: Leaked documents show the firm didn't have enough servers to handle the surge in traffic

The tech giant failed to have enough servers to handle the surge in traffic, resulting in Amazon cutting off international traffic, according to CNBC, which obtained the documents.

Amazon also had to launch a scaled-down homepage to help manage the issues.

Jul 21 09:03

FACEBOOK AS THE ULTIMATE GOVERNMENT SURVEILLANCE TOOL?

Earlier this month it came out that among Facebook’s myriad algorithmically induced advertising categories was an entry for users whom the platform’s data mining systems believed might be interested in treason against their government. The label had been applied to more than 65,000 Russian citizens, placing them at grave risk should their government discover the label. Similarly, the platform’s algorithms silently observe its two billion users’ actions and words, estimating which users it believes may be homosexual and quietly placing a label on their account recording that estimate. What happens when governments begin using these labels to surveil, harass, detain and even execute their citizens based on the labels produced by an American company’s black box algorithms?

Webmaster's Commentary: 

If you do not want to be surveilled by Facebook, please stop using Facebook, and go to sites like Yandex; DuckDuckGo, or Gab.

Jul 21 08:37

FACEBOOK AS THE ULTIMATE GOVERNMENT SURVEILLANCE TOOL?

Earlier this month it came out that among Facebook’s myriad algorithmically induced advertising categories was an entry for users whom the platform’s data mining systems believed might be interested in treason against their government.

Jul 20 16:46

Julian Assange’s Hand Over To UK May Be Imminent According To WikiLeaks

By Aaron Kesel

According to a tweet by the internationally known organization WikiLeaks, its founder’s fate may be decided within a mere few days or weeks, and Julian Assange might be handed over on a silver platter by Ecuador to the UK government. Then presumably Assange will be handed over to the U.S. government and extradited to the United States.

The head of RT, Margarita Simonyan, tweeted in Russian that her sources indicate Assange will be handed over to UK authorities...

Jul 20 15:22

Huawei equipment is exposing British broadband and phone networks to new security risks because of 'shortcomings' in the firm's supply chain, senior GCHQ officials warn

Huawei equipment could pose a threat to national security, senior British security officials have cautioned.

Intelligence experts say they can only provide limited assurances that the Chinese company is not a risk to broadband and phone networks in the UK.

The recommendation will be made in an as-yet unpublished annual report signed off by the GCHQ spy agency, according to inside sources.

Huawei, one of the world's biggest producer of telecoms systems, is a major supplier of broadband and mobile telephone network equipment in Britain.

Jul 20 11:51

Claim: WiFi radiation from Fitbits can cause rashes, illnesses, and blood sugar fluctuations

These fitness trackers are worn as bracelets to keep track of the number of steps that people take in a day, how much sleep they get, how many calories they burn and other metrics depending on the model.

However, they accomplish this using Wi-Fi radiation, which may have very serious health effects such as disfiguring rashes and blood sugar fluctuations that promote weight gain. Making matters worse is the fact that the devices are worn directly against the skin. Cell phone instruction manuals warn people to keep their phones at least an inch away from their bodies at all times because of the radiation dangers, so it’s easy to imagine why wearing these trackers against your wrist at all hours is a bad idea.

Jul 20 10:10

Opinion: One FBI text message in Russia probe that should alarm every American

Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, the reported FBI lovebirds, are the poster children for the next “Don’t Text and Investigate” public service ads airing soon at an FBI office near you.

Their extraordinary texting affair on their government phones has given the FBI a black eye, laying bare a raw political bias brought into the workplace that agents are supposed to check at the door when they strap on their guns and badges.

It is no longer in dispute that they held animus for Donald Trump, who was a subject of their Russia probe, or that they openly discussed using the powers of their office to “stop” Trump from becoming president. The only question is whether any official acts they took in the Russia collusion probe were driven by those sentiments.

The Justice Department’s inspector general is endeavoring to answer that question.

Jul 20 10:00

Who and What Will AI Serve? US and China Give Very Different Answers

Artificial Intelligence is a frighteningly powerful new tool — and weapon. Who and what will it serve? In the U.S., tech giants Facebook, Google, and Amazon and their corporate agendas; in China, the needs of the public and the economy. These two models should be thought through now.

Jul 20 10:00

Stay away from these smartphones: Report lists devices with highest failure rates

Looking for a reliable work phone? Here are the smartphone models to avoid.

Jul 20 00:34

To download your ‘secret’ Facebook file, click at the top right of Facebook’s navigation bar and select Settings. Then click “Download a copy of your Facebook data” beneath General Account Settings and click the green button. Then wait ten minutes and you

To download your ‘secret’ Facebook file, click at the top right of Facebook’s navigation bar and select Settings. Then click “Download a copy of your Facebook data” beneath General Account Settings and click the green button. Then wait ten minutes and you should receive an email letting you know that “surveillance capitalism” is alive and well.

Jul 19 15:54

Cyber criminals account for 90% of all login attempts at online retailers

Security experts discovered 90 per cent of login attempts on e-commerce sites are from cyber criminals attempting to access customers' account and payment details.

Banks (58 per cent) and airlines (60 per cent) are also highly targeted by hackers.

Cyber criminals attempt to gain access to an online account by flooding it with email and passwords leaked in previous data breaches – a practice known as 'credential stuffing'.

Those who use the same combination of email address and password across multiple online services are likely to fall victim to this type of attack.

Jul 19 15:51

Apple 'deliberately slows down' its £2,700 MacBook Pro to compensate for overheating issues in the design

Apple is deliberately slowing down its £2,700 ($3,500) MacBook Pro, according to a prominent gadget expert.

The high-end notebook, which launched earlier this week, purportedly has problems with overheating and Apple is restricting its processing power to compensate.

Jul 19 13:04

Thousands Of Scientists Sign Pledge Against Developing Lethal A.I.

By Aaron Kesel

Thousands of leading scientists have urged their colleagues against helping governments create killer robots, making the movie The Terminator a reality.

2,400 scientists have pledged to block the development of lethal weaponry using Artificial Intelligence, The Guardian reported.

In other words, killer robots, that could eventually develop a mind of their own and take over the world. Scientists have vowed they will not support robots “that can identify and attack people without human oversight.”...

Jul 19 12:33

THIS BOT TWEETS PHOTOS AND NAMES OF PEOPLE WHO BOUGHT 'DRUGS' ON VENMO

On Tuesday, Motherboard reported on a project called Public By Default, in which a researcher took publicly available data on Venmo transactions, and was then able to identify granular aspects of users’ lives, including a married couple going to the vet, shopping at Walmart, and ordering particular takeout food.

With that project, the researcher did not publicly release her dataset, and only reported the anonymized findings. Now, a separate programmer has gone in the opposite direction. A new bot called “Who’s buying drugs on Venmo” tweets the usernames and photos of Venmo users who have marked their transaction with a particular drug keyword or emoji.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

I cannot begin to characterise the "creep factor" this data aggregation brings to the table; the question that must be asked, however, is what other sites make data access vulnerable in this way?!?

Jul 19 12:23

ZUCKERBERG WARNS BREAK-UP OF FACEBOOK WILL LEAD TO CHINESE TECH DOMINANCE

Calls to break up Facebook in order to even out the playing field for competitors would result in a Chinese tech companies filling the void, said the social network’s co-founder Mark Zuckerberg.
He pointed to the fact that the Chinese firms which will likely step in and dominate don’t have traditional American values.

“I think you have this question from a policy perspective, which is, ‘do we want American companies to be exporting across the world?’” Zuckerberg said in an interview with technology news website Recode. “I think that the alternative, frankly, is going to be the Chinese companies.”

The social media tycoon added: “I think you can bet that, if the government here is worried about — whether it’s election interference or terrorism — I don’t think Chinese companies are going to want to cooperate as much and aid the national interest there.”

Webmaster's Commentary: 

"Values", Mr. Zuckerberg?!?

Are you speaking, please, about the "values' you exhibited in trying to swing the 2016 election to Hillary Clinton?!?

Facebook has a number of compeditors; I just hope that one of them gets big enough to confront you professionally, and calls you out for attempting to influence elections in the future.

Jul 19 12:06

ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER PILE OF VOTER DATA LEFT LAYING AROUND ON A PUBLIC SERVER

Leaving private voter or customer data easily accessible on a public-facing server is the hot new fashion trend. You'll recall that it's a problem that has plagued the Defense Department, GOP data firm Deep Root Analytics (198 million voter records exposed), Verizon's marketing partners (6 million users impacted), Time Warner Cable (4 million users impacted), and countless other companies or partners that failed to implement even basic security practices. And it's a trend that shows no sign of slowing down despite repeated, similar stories (much of it thanks to analysis by security researcher Chris Vickery).

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Absoflippinglutely unbelievable!!

Jul 19 11:30

Flashback: Google ‘Directly Engaged’ In Clinton Campaign, Says Julian Assange

Assange pointed out that many high up Google employee names appear within Clinton’s leaked email transcripts, a searchable list of which Assange has compiled here. A name that appears with regularity is that of Jared Cohen, the founder of ‘Google Ideas’ – now rebranded as ‘Jigsaw’. Cohen’s team at Google was revealed to be working with Clinton alongside Al Jazeera in attempts to influence regime change in Syria following the publishing of Clinton’s emails by Wikileaks.

“We should understand that Google… is intensely aligned with U.S. exceptionalism… personally at the top aligned with Hillary Clinton’s election campaign and almost certainly once Hillary Clinton becomes president, those people in Google, like Jared Cohen, will be placed into positions around the new Clinton presidency” said Assange, heavily implying that Google and it’s employees could directly benefit from a Clinton presidency.

Jul 19 11:26

Flashback: Google Search's invisible influence makes Hillary Clinton 'shoo-in' for 2016 US election

Through five experiments carried out in two countries, the study found that the search engine manipulation effect (SEME) could even be used to determine an election outcome if the proportion of undecided voters is calculated first. SEME is described as a "virtually invisible" form of social influence that is currently not subject to any specific regulations anywhere in the world.

"What the research shows is that when a candidate is ranked higher on Google, that shifts the votes of undecided voters towards that candidate because we've all learned they have such incredible trust in those rankings," Robert Epstein, senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behaviour Research and Technology and co-author of the study, told WhoWhatWhy. "Some 50% of all of our clicks go to the top two [search results] and [more than] 90% of all clicks go on the first page.

Jul 19 11:22

Flashback: How Google Could Rig the 2016 Election

Research I have been directing in recent years suggests that Google, Inc., has amassed far more power to control elections—indeed, to control a wide variety of opinions and beliefs—than any company in history has ever had. Google’s search algorithm can easily shift the voting preferences of undecided voters by 20 percent or more—up to 80 percent in some demographic groups—with virtually no one knowing they are being manipulated, according to experiments I conducted recently with Ronald E. Robertson.

Given that many elections are won by small margins, this gives Google the power, right now, to flip upwards of 25 percent of the national elections worldwide.

Jul 19 10:47

Health Insurers Are Vacuuming Up Details About You — And It Could Raise Your Rates

Without any public scrutiny, insurers and data brokers are predicting your health costs based on data about things like race, marital status, how much TV you watch, whether you pay your bills on time or even buy plus-size clothing.

Jul 19 09:58

IN NEWLY OBTAINED MEMO, CONGRESS’S TOP COP SAID HOUSE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS SERVER VANISHED

A secret memo marked “URGENT” detailed how the House Democratic Caucus’s server went “missing” soon after it became evidence in a cybersecurity probe. The secret memo also said more than “40 House offices may have been victims of IT security violations.”

In the memo, Congress’s top law enforcement official, Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving, along with Chief Administrative Officer Phil Kiko, wrote, “We have concluded that the employees [Democratic systems administrator Imran Awan and his family] are an ongoing and serious risk to the House of Representatives, possibly threatening the integrity of our information systems and thereby members’ capacity to serve constituents.”

The memo, addressed to the Committee on House Administration (CHA) and dated Feb. 3, 2017, was recently reviewed and transcribed by The Daily Caller News Foundation. The letter bolsters TheDCNF’s previous reporting about the missing server and evidence of fraud on Capitol Hill.

Jul 19 08:54

Will this biz be poutine up the cash? Hackers demand dosh to not leak stolen patient records

Hackers say they will leak patient and employee records stolen from a Canadian healthcare provider unless they are paid off.

The records include medical histories and contact information for tens of thousands of home-care patients in Ontario, Canada, and belong to CarePartners.

Jul 19 08:41

Facebook's U-turn - as it realises its scam email wasn't a scam after all - is an example of how difficult it is to spot genuine messages, says LEE BOYCE

This week we reported on an email offering £70 to do a survey that looked like it was sent by Facebook. The social media giant said it was a scam.

That reply came when This is Money contacted Facebook. We were told that it was a scam and as such, to report it to its scam centre.

But then a day later something strange happened: Facebook got back in touch with a U-turn - the email was genuine after all.

That's a pretty embarrassing state of affairs for Facebook - and it's disappointing for This is Money because it means that we reported something we had told was true, only to discover that wasn't the case.

So, how did this all happen and what does it say about how difficult everyday people find it to tell scammers and genuine messages apart?

Jul 19 08:36

Belgium closes airspace after flight data processing system failure

Air traffic over Belgium has been temporarily suspended after flight data processing system failed, according to the country's air traffic controller Belgocontrol.

Jul 19 04:20

THE CASHLESS SOCIETY IS A CON – AND BIG FINANCE IS BEHIND IT

All over the western world banks are shutting down cash machines and branches. They are trying to push you into using their digital payments and digital banking infrastructure. Just like Google wants everyone to access and navigate the broader internet via its privately controlled search portal, so financial institutions want everyone to access and navigate the broader economy through their systems.

Jul 18 15:02

Largest Voting Machine Vendor in US Admits Its Systems Had Remote-Access Software Installed

A bombshell revelation on the security of voting in the United States has just surfaced in the form of a letter from the country’s largest voting machine manufacturer. The company, Election Systems and Software (ES&S) admitted that despite denying previous allegations of its voting systems coming installed with remote-access software, their systems did, indeed, allow for remote connections.

Jul 18 14:00

Bill to Block Feds' Personal Email, Social Media Access Advances

The House Oversight Committee forwarded a bill Tuesday that would give federal agency leaders broad authority to block employees’ access to personal email accounts and social media without consulting employee unions.

The bill’s goal is to allow agency leaders to act quickly to counter cyber threats coming from web-based email and social media, both of which are common vectors for phishing attacks, the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Gary Palmer, R-Ala., said.

Committee Democrats argued, however, that Palmer and other committee Republicans were using cybersecurity as an excuse to limit employee rights and diminish the power of federal unions.

Jul 18 10:51

DARPA Researching Mind-Controlled Troops Connected to Weapons Systems

By Nicholas West

DARPA’s new round of investment seeks to go beyond what has even been discussed thus far. As reported by Nextgov, the future soldier would mentally link up with the various weapons systems at their disposal. Disturbingly, this would also be a two-way system that could enable the systems to transmit information back to the soldier as well...

Jul 18 09:46

EU fines Google $5 billion for freezing out rival firms from its Android smartphone software, and promises more penalties if the search company doesn't pay-up in the next 90 days

The crux of the issue is the monopoly Google has garnered within the Android app marketplace and the advertising advantage this provides the company.

The EU conducted a three-year investigation into Google which found the Mountain View-based company was using its Android operating system to marginalise rivals.

The EU has also charged Google with shutting-out competitors by forcing major phone manufacturers including South Korea's Samsung and China's Huawei to pre-install its search engine and Google Chrome browser.

Google is able to run advertisements inside applications pre-installed with the Android mobile operating system — something rivals are not permitted to do.

Jul 18 09:43

Chrome feeling SLOW? New update designed to stop hackers stealing your personal information will reduce performance, Google admits

The search company has released the patch to deal with the Meltdown and Spectre design flaws first discovered in January which affected all modern computers.

The update is enabled by default on 99 per cent of Google Chrome users, across all major operating systems, including Windows, Mac, Linux, and ChromeOS.

Google has admitted the latest precautions will come at the expense of speed, with users told the updated security measures could reduce performance by 13 per cent.

Jul 18 09:22

Can Artificial Intelligence Compete With Real Doctors?

In the race for world dominance in advanced technology, Chinese artificial intelligence is also taking on its own doctors, with a new system claiming to diagnose brain tumors faster and more accurately than human physicians.

BioMind, developed by Beijing’s Tiantan Hospital and its AI research center for neurological disorders, has told Chinese media that the new system has correctly diagnosed 87 percent of 225 cases in only 15 minutes. That compares to only a 66-percent accuracy rate for the same by a team of 15 senior physicians.

Jul 18 08:50

More cover-up questions The curious murder of Seth Rich poses questions that just won’t stay under the official rug By James A. Lyons

The facts that we know of in the murder of the DNC staffer, Seth Rich, was that he was gunned down blocks from his home on July 10, 2016. Washington Metro police detectives claim that Mr. Rich was a robbery victim, which is strange since after being shot twice in the back, he was still wearing a $2,000 gold necklace and watch. He still had his wallet, key and phone. Clearly, he was not a victim of robbery.

This has all the earmarks of a targeted hit job. However, strangely no one has been charged with this horrific crime, and what is more intriguing is that no law enforcement agency is even investigating this murder. According to other open sources, Metro police were told by their “higher ups” that if they spoke about the case, they will be immediately terminated. It has been claimed that this order came down from very high up the “food chain,” well beyond the D.C. mayor’s office. Interesting.

Jul 18 06:35

EU fines Google $5 billion for freezing out rival firms from its Android smartphone software, and promises more penalties if the search company doesn't pay-up in the next 90 days

Google has been slapped with a record-breaking $5 billion (£3.8bn / €4.3bn) fine from the European Union.

The latest anti-trust penalty for the US search firm is equal to the amount of money the Netherlands contributes to the EU budget each year.

The fine was announced during a press conference held by EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager in Brussels today.

Google faces more penalties if it doesn't pay-up in the next 90 days.

The crux of the issue is the monopoly Google has garnered within the Android app marketplace and the advertising advantage this provides the company.

Jul 17 15:33

Election interference to be sniffed out by early-alert system

An early warning system to spot attempts to subvert elections is being developed by an organisation backed by former US Vice-President Joe Biden.

The not-for-profit Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity was created to combat efforts to skew election debate.

Its software scours social media and other parts of the net to hunt out attempts to seed subversive content.

Jul 17 14:12

Kavanaugh: Warrantless Data Collection “is entirely consistent with the Fourth Amendment”

However, Kavanaugh’s stance on the Fourth Amendment runs in opposition to what most Americans believe, that the government should not be collecting the personal information of American citizens without a warrant.

Jul 17 10:27

More than a million Europeans spoke out to stop internet-destroying censorship rules, but the fight's not over

Ten days ago, the European Parliament dealt a major blow to a radical proposal that would force online services to deploy copyright bots to examine everything posted by users and block anything that might be a copyright infringement; the proposal would also ban linking to news articles without paid permission from the news sites.

The July 5 vote means that the European Parliament will debate these clauses in September. In the meantime, there's a lot of behind-the-scenes scurrying around as members of parliament and giant corporations lay out their forces for the fight in September.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Danny O'Brien has written an excellent explainer delving into the process so far and what we can expect next.

Jul 17 10:23

Former NSA Tech Director & Tomi Collins Explosive Report on Russian Lie

America Restored's Executive Director Tomi Collins and Bill Binney former Tech Director of the NSA on Saturday, July 7th in Washington DC. Mr. Binney provides forensic data proving Guccifer2 Data is fraud and Russia did not hack the DNC Friday, July 13th Rod Rosenstein hands down Indictment against Russian intelligence officials using fraudulent Goosifer2 report as a main building block in the indictment!

Jul 17 08:10

Amazon's Prime Day from hell: Website issues a rare black eye for e-commerce giant

Amazon's website stumbled out of the Prime Day gate on Monday as pages were slow to load at 3 p.m. EDT when the sale began.

Twitter erupted as people waiting to buy sales found messages saying something went wrong on Amazon's ends. 404 error pages with dogs are a nice touch, but probably not what Amazon was going for. In fact, there were plenty of dog jokes on Twitter under #PrimeDay as Amazon's IT problems stretched past 4 hours.

Jul 17 07:57

Facebook, Google 'manipulate' users to share data despite EU law: Norwegian study

Facebook and Google are pushing users to share private information by offering "invasive" and limited default options despite new EU data protection laws aimed at giving users more control and choice, a Norwegian government study said Wednesday.
The Norwegian Consumer Council found that the US tech giants' privacy updates clash with the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which forces companies to clarify what choices people have when sharing private information.

"These companies manipulate us into sharing information about ourselves," the council's director of digital services, Finn Myrstad, said in a statement.

"(This) is at odds with the expectations of consumers and the intention of the new Regulation," the 2018 study, entitled "Deceived By Design", concluded.

Myrstad said the practices showed "a lack of respect for their users, and are circumventing the notion of giving consumers control of their personal data".

Jul 17 07:19

911: The impossible Cell Phone calls

I chat to Frederick C. Blackburn (also known as blackbird9) who studied engineering and then became an electrical engineer and had a career in IT. He had a Top Secret clearance in the USA. He gave lectures to: Military and Naval Intelligence personnel as well as NSA, CIA and FBI personnel about cell phone and other technology.

We discuss his specialist knowledge with regard to cell phones and why the cell phone technology of 911 did not allow cell phone calls to be received from people in planes. On 911 there were between 15-40 alleged cell phone calls from people on aircraft before the planes crashed into the Twin Towers or elsewhere. Frederick explains why those phone calls were impossible. 911 changed his life because he realised immediately that the collapsing towers as well as the cell phone calls were utterly impossible.

Jul 16 17:54

As BT hikes the price of a service that's FREE elsewhere... How to avoid its £7.50 charge and switch your email (without losing all your friends)

Those affected by the price hike are people who used to have their broadband service with BT but have since switched internet provider – taking their BT email addresses with them.

At first the telecoms giant, which uses Hollywood heartthrob Ryan Reynolds to promote its services, charged just £1.60 a month for the so-called ‘premium mail’ facility.

But two years ago the company bumped up the monthly rate to £5. Now from August customers will have to pay £7.50.

BT says customers who switch back to BT’s broadband service will get their emails for free.

Jul 16 17:50

Netflix slumps 13% as viewer numbers slow dramatically with Disney set to launch its own rival streaming service

Netflix suffered a shock share price dive last night after missing subscriber growth targets for the first time in more than a year.

Shares in the internet streaming giant plunged by around 13pc in after-hours trading in the US as it added 5.15m subscribers in the past three months – a million less than forecast.

Netflix added 670,000 subscribers in the US in the second quarter, well below analysts’ estimates of 1.19m, while signing up 4.47m internationally, compared with 4.97m expected. It now has 130m subscribers.

Jul 16 17:47

China's £1.7bn raid for British tech talent... as another UK chip firm falls into Beijing hands

China has spent a record £1.8billion in six months buying British companies and technology as it plots to develop its own digital giants.

Companies backed by the Beijing government have launched an assault on chip makers and digital firms since the start of the year.

Yesterday another UK firm was about to fall into Chinese hands with chip- maker Telit targeted for its technology which provides cars with software that recognises road lanes and parking assistance.

The deal will see it sold for £80million to TUS International, a company controlled by a Beijing university.

Overall nearly £17billion of takeover deals were announced by Chinese companies in Europe in the first half of 2018, according to a study by law firm Baker McKenzie and research group Rhodium Group.

Jul 16 17:27

FAA FOIA request for 1 October helicopter flight radar data denied as federal cover-up of potential belt-fed gunship attack continues

Editor’s note: This article is not implying or insinuating guilt. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

LAS VEGAS (INTELLIHUB) — A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed December 6, 2017, seeking “primary and secondary surveillance radar” return data from McCarran International Airport (KLAS) in a “byte for byte format” between the hours of 7 p.m. and 1 p.m. on the night of the 1 October shooting and a separate FOIA request seeking video surveillance footage of the airport’s “western edge” runways and “specifically the helicopter pads from both Sundance and Maverick Helicopters” between the hours of 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. and all “air traffic control recordings of ground and terminal communications from KLAS and the helicopters” between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. was denied by the Federal Aviation Administration which ultimately cited “contemporaneous criminal investigations into those same events” after several months of correspondence.

Jul 16 15:30

Amazon FINALLY acknowledges Prime Day outage hours after the site crashed and left thousands of shoppers unable to make purchases

Amazon Prime members hoping to score the best deals today during the annual Prime Day sale have instead been greeted by error messages and pictures of dogs.

The site crashed across the United States shortly after the event began, leaving shoppers unable to make their purchases.

While it appears to be back up and running for some people, many customers are still experiencing issues.

Jul 16 15:20

Trump Asked About Russian Election Interference – Replies ‘Where Is the Server?’

Earlier today, President Trump held a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin. This was the opportunity the liberal media has been salivating to get, pitting the U.S. President against the leader of the country we know had something to do with the hacking of DNC emails.

For years, we’ve heard the same refrain over and over again: Russia “hacked the election” (whatever that means) and the Trump campaign may have been working with them to make it happen. No evidence has been presented to prove that assertion, but it hasn’t stopped liberals from making it anyway.

Now, in a testy exchange with reporters, Trump just shut down the Russian collusion narrative with one simple question: Where the hell is the DNC server the Russians reportedly hacked emails from? Why hasn’t the FBI been allowed to take a hold of it?

Jul 16 09:15

Aliens killed by spelling mistake in 2013 Colonial Marines game

An infamously dreadful 2013 Aliens video game is now believed to have fallen victim to the most chilling of threats in the universe: a typo.

Aliens: Colonial Marines was released on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 to terrible reviews.

Many of them mentioned how badly the artificial intelligence (AI) behaved.

But it has now emerged that a single stray "a" in the game's code may have been to blame.

Jul 15 09:14

Something Rotten About the DOJ Indictment of the GRU by Publius Tacitus

Assistant Attorney General Rosenstein announced a bizarre indictment against Russian military intelligence operatives today that, rather than confirming the case of "Russian meddling" in the U.S. 2016 Presidential election raises more questions. Here are the major oddities:

How did the FBI obtain information about activity on the DNC and DCCC servers when the DNC/DCCC refused to give the Feds access to the servers/computers?

Why does Crowdstrike get credit as being a competent computer security firm when, according to the indictment, they completely and utterly failed to stop the "hacks?"

Why does the indictment refuse to name Wikileaks by name as the Russian collaborator?

Jul 15 09:12

Majority Of Clinton Emails Funneled To "Foreign Entity"; When IG Told Strzok - He Completely Ignored

As we sift through the ashes of Thursday's dumpster-fire Congressional hearing with still employed FBI agent Peter Strzok, Luke Rosiak of the Daily Caller plucked out a key exchange between Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tx) and Strzok which revealed a yet-unknown bombshell about the Clinton email case.

Nearly all of Hillary Clinton's emails on her homebrew server went to a foreign entity that isn't Russia. When this was discovered by the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG), IG Chuck McCullough sent his investigator Frank Ruckner and an attorney to notify Strzok along with three other people about the "anomaly."

Four separate attempts were also made to notify DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz to brief him on the massive security breach, however Horowitz "never returned the call." Recall that Horowitz concluded last month that despite Strzok's extreme bias towards Hillary Clinton and against Donald Trump - none of it translated to Strzok's work at the FBI.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Jul 14 18:47

Party like it's 1999: Packets of death, code exec menace Cisco gear

Cisco has advised net admins using switches that run its Fabric Services on FXOS, or NX-OS software, to update their boxes following the discovery of a critical security flaw.

Switchzilla said CVE-2018-0304 can be exploited by an attacker to shut down the network boxes or remotely execute malicious code on them simply by sending a malformed packet.

...

"A successful exploit could allow the attacker to cause a buffer overflow or buffer overread condition in the Cisco Fabric Services component, which could allow the attacker to read sensitive memory content, create a DoS condition, or execute arbitrary code as root."

Jul 14 18:41

Scam alert: No, hackers don't have webcam vids of you enjoying p0rno. Don't give them any $$s

Scumbags are trying to extort money from netizens by threatening to leak to friends and family videos of their marks watching X-rated videos.

A Reg reader this week shared their story of being contacted by an extortionist who claimed to have obtained, through hacking our reader's PC, compromising webcam footage of them engaging in an act of self-love while watching an adult website. No such video existed. Our tipster is also not the only one to receive one of these messages this month.

To help push the scam, the crooks had harvested some low-hanging fruit – a weak password scraped from a hacked forum our reader had frequented. The attacker showed the password to the reader in an attempt to convince them that the miscreant really was a hacker, and to pay up or else.

Jul 14 18:28

Looks Like Ticketmaster’s Data Breach Was Worse Than We Thought…

Several weeks ago, Ticketmaster UK revealed that malicious code in software provided by Inbenta – a third-party supplier – led to a data breach. According to the ticketing giant, less than 5% of its global customer base was affected.

That may be a vast understatement.

Magecart, a sophisticated hacking collective, was behind the attack. The group, previously known for hacking websites directly, has now shifted to attacking third-party software components.

Researchers at RiskIQ, a cyber-security company, found Magecart breached two third-party suppliers integrated with Ticketmaster sites – Inbenta and SocialPlus. The hacking collective added to and replaced custom JavaScript code with digital credit card skimmers. Malicious scripts injected into the ticketing giant’s websites could then record credit card payment details entered by customers.

Jul 14 12:57

U.S. Courts Release 2017 Wiretap Report: Orders and Convictions Rise, No Requests Denied, 10 States Absent, No FISA Data

By Aaron Kesel

Federal courts across the U.S. reported a 30 percent increase in authorized wiretaps in 2017, compared to 2016, that’s up 73% over ten years according to a Judiciary report released by the Administration Office of the U.S. Federal Courts. Meanwhile, state courts in comparison reported an 11 percent rise in wiretap requests...

Jul 14 10:01

WHITE HOUSE PUSHES WARRANTLESS SURVEILLANCE BILL, AND WE MUST STOP IT

Last week, DHS secretary Kirstjen Nielsen celebrated US independence by publishing an op-ed in the Washington Post calling on Congress to pass an Orwellian surveillance law. The measure, Senator Ron Johnson’s “S.2836 – Preventing Emerging Threats Act of 2018,” would enable the government to arbitrarily shoot down drones, and wiretap communications without warrants. The bill was heard before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, which reported it out of committee favorably in mid-June. In a letter to lawmakers, the ACLU called the proposal “an enormous unchecked grant of authority to the government to forcefully remove drones from the sky in nebulous security circumstances.” It must be stopped.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Pretty soon, should this law be passed, the only unsurveilled form of communications available to Americans will be cowering under a blanket, using flashlights, and sign language.

This country used to be "The land of the free, and the home of the brave."

It has, with all the draconian surveillance in place, and legislation passed since 9/11, become the unhinged, surveilled state of Amerika, "the land of the surveilled, and the home of the cowed."

Jul 13 18:43

ALL EARS: ALWAYS-ON LISTENING DEVICES COULD SOON BE EVERYWHERE

If every tree falling in every forest might soon be heard by an internet-connected microphone, what hope is there for our privacy?

Jul 13 13:45

Guccifer 2.0 Chat With Nude Model Sparks New Conspiracy Theory About Seth Rich Murder

New chat logs between alleged Democratic National Committee hacker Guccifer 2.0 and a Playboy centerfold model surfaced today via Wikileaks on Twitter, throwing more fuel on the conspiracy theories surrounding murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich.

Comment: with Guccifer in jail, it will be hard for Guccifer to talk about the murder of Seth Rich.

Jul 13 11:54

How the Islamic State Gets Its Drones

A new report from West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center explained how Islamic State build its drone fleet on the cheap and also the fascinating story of its complicated supply chain. “The program appears to have been shaped by two Bangladeshi brothers who leveraged companies in the United Kingdom, Bangladesh, and Spain,” the report said. The brothers created a number of shell companies to order the drones and ship them to Islamic State’s various affiliates across the world.

At the peak of the drone attacks in the spring of 2017, coalition forces were working to pry Mosul out of the hands of the Islamic State in northern Iraq. At the time, the Islamic State was conducting between 60 and 100 drone powered bombing runs a month. A member of the Syrian Defense Forces told a journalist for France 24 in Raqqa that his supply lines were being attacked 15 to 16 times daily.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

As those of you know who read this blog, as a Christian pacifist activist, I absolutely abhor violence as a way of resolving geopolitical differences, and I never advocate for it.

That being said, I can understand why violence like this can seem reasonable to those the US government has disenfranchised, and why people can become radicalized in the way these brothers became.

For over the last 20 years, in its wars of conquest in the Middle East, Like Iraq (and unfortunately soon, I fear, Iran), Afghanistan, and Libya, the US government hasn't at all been "the good guy" here; these wars have been fought to expropriate natural resources, like oil, opium, and Rare Earth minerals; insure that the governments of said countries are US-centric; and that the currency in which these resources are sold, is only in US dollars.

The consistent flow of relatively cheap oil lubricates the economic mechanisms in the Western world.

When Karl Marx made the observation that all wars are econonic in their origins, he was absolutely correct.

When people see their loved ones getting assassinated, as frequently happens in places like Yemen and Afghanistan; when they have no power to determine the destiny of their homeland; when leadership is corrupt, and the only thing they have to lose are their lives, which aren't worth a heck of a lot to begin with, the turns toward both radical fundamentalism, and a desire for revenge, against what is frequently a faceless enemy, rebounds in hearts, minds, and souls, and with a monstrous appetite.

In the TV series "Westworld", the guests can do what they will with the hosts, no matter how horriific and vile those actions are toward them, including raping and killing, and these actions have no consequences; the hosts can simply be reprogrammed, and their memories are wiped in order to perform another day. But when those hosts become conscious of what has been done to them, the tables get turned, and suddenly the guests, and the masters of this place, become targets, with frequently brutal outcomes.

In the real world, wars for resources always have real consequences, particularly when people get "nominally conquered" because of those resources, but no matter how many are killed or maimed, do not become "pacified", as has not happened, and probably will not happen, with the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The combination of angry, smart, sophisticated, and in turn ruthless against their aggressors, kicks into play, just as it did for these brothers.

Consider the film "Avatar", where the Navi outthink, and outsmart, and ultimately, successfully kick the collective backsides of their would-be conquerers, off the planet, because the costs, in blood and money, have become too extreme for the mining consortium to consider staying.

So how does the US government avoid creating terrorism against it, both at home and abroad?!?

And I hope, please, that all of the alphabet soup agencies, monitoring this site, are paying attention here.

First, I would like to politely point out that this country is producing some of the finest engineering, and scientific minds, on this planet.

Secondly, there should be a Federal Government Challenge/Prize on the development of a post-fossil fuel, post-atomic, renewable energy.

The schools and individuals who have partnered to develop this should be handsomely rewarded financially, perhaps in perpetuity, to insure the continued development of the technology.

Third, this can never be allowed to be purchased to be suppressed by any private corporate entity, and any attempts by a private entity to do this should result in both stiff fines, and jail time for those signing off on the attempt.

Forth, the patent for this renewable energy resouce should remain solely as belonging to the United States of America, and all proceeds from the use by other countries or corporate entities would go to continue funding the program, and for the repair of public infrastructure, which is in desperate need of repair, but for which no state or Federal governmental agency has the funds to do.

I would like to assure my readers that in my world, this is neither Quixotic, nor blue-sky thinking; it is possible, doable, and we, as a nation, are imminently capable of doing this. Remember just how soon the notion of flight led to the creation of passenger jets, and how soon that led to space exploration.

The problem here is a US government, which collectively,, at this juncture in the 21st century, does not believe that the costs, in blood and money, of these wars for resources, have become too excessive to continue, when both morally and economically, these wars already... have become just that.

Jul 13 10:23

AI IS GETTING CLOSER TO REPLACING ANIMAL TESTING

Scientists test new chemical compounds on animals because we still don’t completely understand the world around us. New compounds might interact with living cells in unexpected ways, causing unforeseen harm.

But an artificial intelligence system published in the research journal Toxicological Sciences shows that it might be possible to automate some tests using the knowledge about chemical interactions we already have. The AI was trained to predict how toxic tens of thousands of unknown chemicals could be, based on previous animal tests, and the algorithm’s results were shown to be as accurate as live animal tests.

The algorithm can predict results from nine different tests, from skin corrosion to eye irritation, which authors say comprised 57% of all animal testing done in the EU in 2011.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

This is a great usage of this technology!

Jul 13 10:09

GUCCIFER WAS RUSSIA. U.S. CHARGES 12 RUSSIAN INTEL OFFICERS WITH HACKING DNC

BREAKING: Grand jury has returned an indictment against 12 members of Russian intelligence, charged with hacking into the DCCC, DNC, and Hillary Clinton's campaign, and orchestrating the release of documents to interfere with the 2016 election.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Please be aware that Meuller tried this before, in February of this year
Russians Indicted by Meuller for Election Interference

The only difference was, they actually showed up for their day in court
Well sure, we filed an indictment. And yeah, we took a victory lap in the big bells-n-whistles Main Justice press conference. But that doesn’t mean we, like, intended to have a trial . . .

That seems to be the Justice Department’s position on its mid-February publicity stunt, the indictment of 13 Russians and three Russian businesses for interfering in the 2016 election.

The article goes on to state:

"(a) In appointing Mueller on May 17, 2017, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein failed to comply with federal regulations that control special-counsel investigations; and

(b) The secret August 2 memo, by which Rosenstein attempted to paper over this dereliction, is so facially uninformative and heavily redacted that the subjects of the investigation, the courts, and the public are still in the dark. The factual basis for a criminal investigation is still unknown, as are the boundaries of Mueller’s jurisdiction — with Mueller’s prosecutors paying lip service to the notion of limits, even as they argue that, essentially, there are none.

Judge Ellis was ornery with prosecutors at Friday’s hearing (Power Line’s Scott Johnson has posted the transcript here). He was particularly blunt about two other issues we’ve repeatedly highlighted:

(1) The two Manafort indictments (the one in Virginia and the other in Washington, D.C.) have nothing to do with the special counsel’s mandate to probe Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election, so one can only conclude that Mueller is squeezing Manafort, the former campaign manager, to get him to cooperate against President Trump; and

(2) Mueller’s investigation is really about seeking a basis to impeach Trump.

This has been the strategy all along; to have President Trump out of office, so that (back, baby, back baby, BACK!!) Hillary Rodham Clinton can clinch the prize of the presidency literally unapposed by any Republican who would run against her in 2020.

And the timing of these indictments?!? Well, let's see; isn't President Trump supposed to be meeting Putin in Helsinki on Monday?!? That drove the timing here, absolutely.

Jul 13 09:52

FACEBOOK USERS MARKED WITH "TREASON" LABEL

Beleaguered social media giant Facebook has removed "treason" from their database of the keywords assigned to users for advertising purposes, the company stated Wednesday after Danish state broadcaster DR reported its existence.

Company spokesman Joe Osborne replied "National treason was an advertising interest because of its historical significance, but as it is an illegal act, we have removed it."

Facebook tags its more than 2 billion users with a wide variety of keywords depending on their interests - from shopping habits to political and religious views in order to sell more efficiently targeted advertising.

This makes Facebook a sublime sales channel for companies. Categorizing users in areas of interest means that companies with ads on Facebook can buy into an almost perfect audience. Eg. garden equipment for people with special interest in gardens, etc.

But categorization also allows intelligence services in all countries to look at the population over the shoulder.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

As a Christian Pacific activist, who constantly exhorts her government to resolve its geopolitical differences through moral, hard-won negotiations, rather than through the activation of bombs and bullets, I am fairly certain I would have been on that list; in fact, I would be insulted to find I had not been included because of my peace activism over the years. :-)

Jul 13 09:15

Facebook loophole allowed third-party firms to collect personal information from people in 'closed' groups without their knowledge

Facebook has fallen fowl of another data privacy risk.

A loophole in the social network allowed third-party firms to siphon private information about members of closed Facebook groups.

The issue was exposed after BRCA Sisterhood, an online support network based on Facebook for women with a high genetic risk of breast cancer, discovered their personal information could be taken without their knowledge or consent.

After reaching out to a security researcher, BRCA Sisterhood discovered that a third-party plugin for the Google Chrome web browser could take emails, names and locations of members from closed groups.

Jul 13 05:47

Twitter purge wipes out a big chunk of Trump, Obama followers. Katy Perry's, too.

The Twitter follower purge has officially begun, and the most popular people on Twitter are a bit less popular than they used to be.

Two of the biggest losers were Twitter's most famous user, President Trump, who saw roughly 400,000 of his 53.4 million followers vanish, and Barack Obama, who bid farewell to more than 2 million.

Most people likely saw a drop of four followers or fewer, according to Twitter. But celebrities like Katy Perry experienced a far more dramatic decline. Perry, who had 110 million followers, now has 107 million. Kim Kardashian suffered more than her famous family members, dropping 1.7 million of her 60.2 million followers.

Twitter's own @twitter account shed millions of followers. Even Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was not immune. He says he lost 200,000 of his 4 million followers.

Jul 13 05:43

Stolen sensitive drone files sold on dark web

Sensitive documents about US military drones and manuals describing how to handle insurgents have been offered for sale on the dark web.

Cyber-security company Recorded Future said some of the data had been stolen from a US Air Force captain's computer.

The cache includes maintenance guides for MQ-9 Reaper drones and many training manuals for troops deployed outside the US.

Police are now trying to track down the hacker who stole the files.

Jul 12 14:45

Facebook was tagging some users as 'interested in treason' – guess who media said would misuse data?

It has emerged that Facebook used a "treason" tag to mark some of its users. When Danish media reported that FB had since discontinued the label, it also decided to single out only ‘evil Russians’ as possible abusers of the data.

The US social media giant effectively labeled tens of thousands of people all over the world as "interested in treason" for the sake of … advertising, Danish public-service broadcaster Danmarks Radio (DR) reported on Wednesday, explaining that "treason" was one of the tags used by Facebook's automatic algorithm to identify, for advertisers, its users' interests.

It is unclear how long the social network had been using the controversial tag as well as how many users were affected by it. However, when the Danish media contacted Facebook to draw its attention to the disturbing discovery, the US company promptly admitted that the tag was "troubling" and proudly said as it already deleted it a week ago.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

This practice was breathtakingly terrifying; But what if the practice comes back, with which to "tag" peace activists who are simply logically and responsibily documenting the failings of their governments?!?

Jul 12 13:41

WALMART PATENTS SURVEILLANCE TOOL THAT CAN EAVESDROP ON WORKERS AND CUSTOMERS

The audio surveillance system Walmart designed is composed of several sensors that can collect all kinds of audio data, including beeps and the rustling of paper bags. Any data it gathers can be used to assess an employee’s performance — for instance, the sounds items make when they’re placed inside a bag can tell the company how efficient someone is at bagging purchases.

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