COMPUTERS/INTERNET/SECURITY | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


COMPUTERS/INTERNET/SECURITY

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.

Jul 12 13:07

SOROS-FUNDED NONPROFIT’S YOUTUBE CHANNEL GETS A PASS ON COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT ALLEGATIONS

Right Wing Watch, a left-wing nonprofit aimed at exposing the “extreme agenda” of conservatives, owns a YouTube channel that consists entirely of other people’s videos, yet after several copyright disputes, YouTube has yet to delete the channel.

The nonprofit is owned by People For the American Way, which is funded by George Soros’ Open Society Initiative. The Daily Caller News Foundation review of the Right Watch’s channel found that of the almost 450 videos, not one of them appears to be its own original video.

This by itself would not be a problem if Right Wing Watch provided commentary to the clips they upload, but the channel is completely void of it. The videos are simply clips of other, many times copyrighted, videos.

Videos Right Wing Watch often re-uploads include from channels like Fox News, InfoWars, small Catholic television networks, and various popular conservative personalities on YouTube.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Hey, apparently being George Soros means never having to say you're sorry... even if what you are doing is wildly illegal!!

Jul 12 10:51

Scuba diver finds iPhone lost at sea for two days - after TEXT lights it up

A scuba diver was stunned to make an unexpected find at the bottom of the sea - when an iPhone lit up when it received a text.

Incredibly the device still had more than 80% of its charge, despite being dropped to the seabed two days earlier.

It has now been reunited with its Canadian owner after it was dropped by a kayaker close to the coast in Dorset.

Cerys Hearsey's attention was drawn to the phone when she noticed a flash of light on the seabed about 30ft down.

It was in a waterproof case and still had 84% battery life.

Jul 12 10:44

‘Anubis’ malware steals money posing as Google Play official app, cybersecurity experts warn

Malware designed to steal login information for banking apps, e-wallets, and payment cards from smartphones has found its way onto the Google Play Store, posing as a legitimate app, cybersecurity experts have uncovered.

The Anubis malware – apparently taking its name from Anubis, the ancient Egyptian god of the dead – lures in victims by pretending to offer services ranging from online shopping to live stock market monitoring.

It’s believed that at least 10,000 people have downloaded the malicious app – although it’s unknown how many Android users have subsequently been infected with the malware.

Once granted accessibility rights by the user, the malicious program uses keylogging to record login details for banking apps. Anubis can also take screenshots of the user’s display.

Jul 12 10:24

Wrap your car key fob in TINFOIL to stop thieves unlocking your vehicle using terrifying signal hijacking scams, warn security experts

Car owners should wrap their key fob in tinfoil to stop thieves unlocking their vehicles, a security expert has warned.

A terrifying signal hijacking scam dubbed 'relay theft' means criminals can use radio devices to 'read' car keys from outside your home.

However, the key to stopping such attacks is to create a 'faraday cage' which means criminals cannot track the electromagnetic signals - and tinfoil does just that.

Jul 12 09:54

Will AI "Change the World" Or Simply Boost Profits?

The hype about artificial intelligence (AI) and its cousins Big Data and Machine Learning is ubiquitous, and largely unexamined. AI is going to change the world by freeing humankind from most of its labors, etc. etc. etc.

Let's start by asking: who owns all this AI? This raises two other questions:who benefits as "software eats the world" (to use Marc Andreesen's pithy phrase), and to what purpose is all this technology being applied?

The answers are painfully obvious: large global corporations, many of which function as quasi-monopolies (Facebook, Google et al.), are the owners of these new technologies, and the purpose being pursued is to maximize profits and secure a monopoly that insures high profits into the future.

The hype takes two predictable pathways, one Jetson-cartoonish euphoria and the other dystopian ruin. Self-driving vehicles will change the world in wonderful ways by eliminating the source of accidents: human error.

Jul 12 07:16

Hackers are caught selling codes to access AIRPORT security systems on the dark web for just £7

The stolen passwords could allow anyone to access the airport's remote desktop protocol (RDP).

This allows employees to work access airport systems outside the local network.

Had the codes fallen into the wrong hands, they could have compromised passenger safety, allowing criminals to create havoc at the airport.

For instance, if hackers had airport RDP access, it would allow them to control security cameras from anywhere in the world.

They could also potentially change the airport's heating, lighting ventilation and air conditioning systems remotely.

The airport affected has not been named and it appears the codes have now been taken offline.

Jul 11 15:30

Hacker selling US military documents online... because someone forgot to change a default password

Sensitive military documents have been put up for sale in online hacking forums after someone forgot to change a default password, according to a security firm that discovered the breach.
Documents for sale include maintenance manuals for servicing MQ-9 Reaper drones, training manuals describing deployment tactics for improvised explosive devices (IEDs), documents detailing tank platoon tactics and an M1 ABRAMS tank operation manual, Bleeping Computer reported.

Security firm Recorded Future discovered the documents for sale online and said the hacker who stole them was selling the information for the surprisingly low bargain price of between $150 and $200.

Jul 11 15:20

CHINA, RUSSIA, AND THE US ARE ALL BUILDING CENTERS FOR MILITARY AI

Russia and the United States are moving closer to opening their own centers for military-related research into artificial intelligence, as China did in the spring of last year. But the three governments have differing approaches. The U.S. Joint Artificial Intelligence Center aims to apply lessons from an Air Force pilot project to other military services, while the Chinese approach fuses civilian and military research and Russia’s efforts are closely directed from the Kremlin.

Jul 11 10:09

New road signs can detect mobile phones are being used in vehicles

Road signs that know when a mobile phone is being used in a moving vehicle are being installed in Norfolk, in a bid to tackle usage behind the wheel.

The system, which can tell the difference between active phone calls and other activities based on the strength of a signal and how long it lasts, flashes up a red warning signal to drivers when it detects a call.

The technology cannot yet log number plates or be used to help catch offending drivers, but it is hoped it will act as a deterrent.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

What if the phone is being used by a passenger?

Jul 11 09:29

The Surveillance Economy and Its Discontents

In 2016, Amazon Web Services released Rekognition, a service that lets users analyze digital imagery in order to identify objects, including faces, based on a machine-learning algorithm.

The company has touted uses for this product that include identifying triggering content in images, determining emotions in an image, cashier-less grocery stores (which they have implemented in Amazon Go) — and, most worrisome, “public safety.”

The implications of this technology are eerily dystopian. The software is designed to identify up to 100 faces in an image or video, and can identify the emotions and actions of subjects. In the hands of the police, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or the National Security Agency (NSA), this poses an existential risk to privacy, oppressed groups, left organizations and any other targeted person.

Jul 11 06:35

Arch Linux PDF reader package poisoned

Arch Linux has pulled a user-provided AUR (Arch User Repository) package, because it contained malware.

If you're an Arch Linux user who downloaded a PDF viewer named "acroread" in the short time it was compromised, you'll need to delete it. While the breach isn't regarded as serious, it sparked a debate about the security of untrusted software.

The user repository included the acroread package, which had been abandoned by its maintainer. Someone using the handle “xeactor” adopted the package and modified it to download malicious scripts from a remote server.

Jul 10 15:04

Ross Ulbricht Denied Supreme Court Petition as Alleged Silk Road Co-Conspirator Faces Extradition to U.S.

By Derrick Broze

Nearly five years after his arrest for his role in the creation of the Silk Road online marketplace, Ross Ulbricht was denied a hearing with the U.S. Supreme Court.

On Thursday June 28, the highest court in the United States refused to hear arguments from Ross Ulbricht’s attorneys regarding his 2015 conviction and double-life sentence for his role in managing the Silk Road website. The online marketplace allowed users to buy products – legal and illegal – using Bitcoin until it was shut down by the federal government in 2013. Ulbricht was arrested on October 2, 2013 and charged with a range of felonies related to running an alleged criminal empire. In February 2015 he was found guilty and eventually sentenced to two life sentences plus 40 years...

Jul 10 14:39

New App “Report It, Don’t Ignore It” Encourages Students To Spy On Each Other

By Aaron Kesel

The “Report It, Don’t Ignore It” application released by Henderson County Public Schools is encouraging students to spy on each other and report suspicious activity within the app, Blue Ridge Now reported.

Henderson County students in the upcoming school year will be able to report their peers to administrators using their smartphones...

Jul 10 11:33

'Disaster for Internet Freedom': Trump Supreme Court Pick Despises Net Neutrality But Loves Mass Surveillance

In addition to the mountain of much-discussed reasons the American public should be alarmed by President Donald Trump's Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh—from his anti-abortion views to his past opinions favoring the interests of big polluters—advocacy groups are warning that the 53-year-old judge's established record of hostility to net neutrality and support for mass surveillance shows that his confirmation would spell "disaster for internet freedom."

"Trump's SCOTUS pick Brett Kavanaugh is an enemy of net neutrality and has sided with big cable companies in the lower courts," noted Demand Progress on Twitter following Trump's official selection of Kavanaugh Monday night, citing his previous argument that net neutrality rules violate the free speech of internet service providers.

Jul 10 09:35

New terror law risks criminalising curiosity, parliamentary committee warns

Viewing terrorist content online more than three times will become a terrorist offence under the new Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill.

This is designed to address a loophole in the law which saw people stream terrorist material on websites such as YouTube without storing it on their own devices.

However the new law could criminalise academics and journalists "as well as those with inquisitive or even foolish minds", a parliamentary committee has warned.

Jul 10 00:08

Smart Technology That Tracks People Through Walls Raises Privacy Concerns

A team of researchers from MIT have developed and tested a technology called RF-Pose, which uses artificial intelligence to track and identify the postures and movements of individuals through solid walls.

Jul 09 18:18

Microsoft might not support Windows XP any more, but GandCrab v4.1 ransomware does

Miscreants have developed the first strain of ransomware worm capable of infecting legacy systems, such as Windows XP and 2003.

The infamous WannaCry outbreak, which severely affected the UK's NHS, showed just how much damage ransomware can do.

Subsequent tests showed that in most cases WannaCry could only crash – rather than infect – Windows XP systems, which remained in use by the health service connected to MRI scanners and the like, despite being retired by Microsoft years ago. Extended support for Windows XP ended in April 2014.

A new version of the GandCrab (v4.1) ransomware has an SMB exploit spreader that works against XP and 2003, as well as later versions of Windows.

Jul 09 18:03

Twitter shares plunge after report says it has suspended 70 MILLION fake accounts, fueling concerns around user growth

Twitter's stock took a beating on Monday after a report highlighted just how many accounts it has suspended to stave off bots and trolls.

The social media giant has purged more than 70 million accounts from its platform in May and June, according to the Washington Post.

Pressure has been mounting on the firm to address the spread of fake accounts, abuse and harassment of on its platform.

But the new data has raised concerns that its efforts to curtail bots and other malicious accounts may lead to a noticeable slump in user growth.

Jul 09 14:05

Lebanese Tourist Sentenced To Eight Years In Prison For Facebook Post; Iranian Teens Arrested Over Dance Videos

By Aaron Kesel

The crackdown on human rights and freedom of thought and expression is quickening. A Lebanese tourist was recently arrested and sentenced in Egypt to eight years in prison for a Facebook post. Meanwhile, teens in Iran are being detained for posting videos to Instagram...

Jul 09 10:41

Smart home gadgets in domestic abuse warning

A list offering guidance to those affected by smart home devices being used to control or harass them within abusive relationships has been published online.

It is largely aimed at women.

A recent report by the New York Times detailed examples of "technology-facilitated abuse".

This involves devices being activated remotely in order to cause fear or confusion - such as remotely altering the temperature or locking doors.

A woman who runs a shelter for victims of domestic violence in the US told the newspaper some were "losing control" of their own homes.

Jul 09 09:32

A Siri-ous issue? No need for 'Russian spies', when 'stupid boy' UK ministers have smartphones

It was one of the funniest things we'd ever seen in Parliament. UK Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson was heckled by his own mobile phone while giving a statement on Syrian "democratic forces" last week.

But amid the laughter, the incident raises some serious security concerns about new technology, which up to now have largely been ignored.

At the time of the Profumo affair (when it was revealed that the Minister of War John Profumo had been sleeping with a model who was also sleeping with the Russian naval attache), the joke doing the rounds was that the government had spent so much time looking for Reds under the bed, it had forgotten to look inside the bed.

Fast forward to 2018 and the joke is this: The UK Defense Minister has spent so much time warning us about the Russian "threat" to UK cyber security, he forgot to switch Siri off on his new iPhone.

Jul 09 09:27

DomainFactory Hacked—Hosting Provider Asks All Users to Change Passwords

The breach initially happened back in last January this year and just emerged last Tuesday when an unknown attacker himself posted a breach note on the DomainFactory support forum.

It turns out that the attacker breached company servers to obtain the data of one of its customers who apparently owes him a seven-figure amount, according to Heise.

Later the attacker tried to report DomainFactory about the potential vulnerability using which he broke into its servers, but the hosting provider did not respond, and neither disclosed the breach to its customers.

In that situation, the attacker head on to the company's support forum and broke the news with sample data of a few customers as proof, which forced DomainFactory to immediately shut down the forum website and initiate an investigation.

Jul 09 09:15

Creating Dystopia: The Greatest Threats Humanity Faces

Since robots first taking over industrial manufacturing, people have worried that they’ll replace us. But now, with the explosion of artificial intelligence applications, our jobs are more under threat than ever before.

Automated technology monitors and control production and manufacturing. Drones and driverless cars are taking over transportation and delivery services. Artificial intelligence acts as a personal assistant within our phones and devices, and controls smart home automation with the internet of things.

By 2030, between 75 million and 375 millions could be automated. As automation takes away the jobs of up to 14% of the workforce, and consolidates resources, massive economic inequality could result.

Jul 09 09:13

Shocking security lapse as running app Polar Flow exposes the locations and personal details of 6,400 spies and personnel at MI6, the White House and GCHQ

A running app has exposed the names and locations of spies and military personnel at MI6, the White House and GCHQ - the second such security lapse this year.

Fitness tracking app Polar Flow revealed the whereabouts of 6,400 users exercising at sensitive intelligence and government facilities around the world.

Locations exposed by the software's jogging heat maps include military bases and airfields, nuclear weapons storage sites and embassies.

Jul 09 09:13

Smart technology sees through walls to track and identify people

A group of researchers and students at MIT have developed an intelligent radar-like technology that makes it possible to see through walls to track people as they move around, a development that could prove useful for monitoring the elderly or sick as well as for other applications — but that also raises privacy concerns.

Tests show that the technology, known as RF-Pose, can reveal whether someone is walking, sitting, standing or even waving — and can identify individuals from a known group with a success rate of 83 percent. Its developers say it could prove useful for law enforcement, search and rescue, and — perhaps most important — health care.

Jul 09 09:12

Massive Timehop data breach exposes the private details of 21 MILLION users including names, email addresses and phone numbers

A massive data breach on Timehop has exposed the private details of more than 21 million users.

The service links to users' social media accounts to resurface memories from their old social media posts.

However, the company has revealed that its cloud computing service was recently hacked and the data of 21 million users was stolen.

Most of the data included user names and email addresses.

Around 4.7 million people - or one in five affected users - may have also had their phone number compromised.

Jul 09 07:19

Windows 10 after three years: A greatly improved report card

As Windows 10 approaches its third birthday, it's maturing steadily. A worldwide installed base of more than 700 million active users is impressive, but what will it take to convince Windows 7 users to switch? Here's my report card.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

The biggest problem with Windows 10, based on my experience, is that setting aside having to learn a whole new (and less efficient) user interface is that many of the software packages we use on Windows 7 won't run on Windows 10. In this economy, buying a new version of what one already has is unattractive, especially with the new business model of renting your software month to month instead of a perpetual license.

Jul 07 10:16

Choosing a Raspberry Pi OS? Here's the definitive list

Whether you want to use the $35 Raspberry Pi computer as a media center, retro games console or desktop PC -- the credit card-sized device has got you covered.

But that's only the start of what the smash-hit machine is capable of.

As a board meant for tinkerers, who aren't scared of dropping down to the command line or breaking out the soldering iron, it's no surprise the Pi can run all manner of weird and wonderful systems.

This list rounds up the free systems that are available, from easy-to-use desktop systems aimed at novice users to powerful systems designed for those familiar with the command line.

Jul 07 10:04

THIS IS WHAT WAR PROPAGANDA LOOKS LIKE IN THE AGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA

I’ve been noticing videos going viral the last few days, some with millions of views, about Muslim women bravely fighting to free themselves from oppression in the Middle East. The videos, curiously, are being shared enthusiastically by many Republicans and pro-Israel hawks, who aren’t traditionally the sort of crowd you see rallying to support the civil rights of Muslims. What’s up with that?

Well, you may want to sit down for this shocker, but it turns out that they happen to be women from a nation that the US war machine is currently escalating operations against. They are Iranian.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Color me completely unsurprised by these moves.

Jul 06 16:41

Facial Recognition Tech Company Refuses to Sell to Governments

By Derrick Broze

The CEO of a company that makes facial recognition software has publicly stated that his company will not sell to law enforcement or governments.

In recent months controversies have erupted over various tech companies contracting with the various law enforcement and military agencies. At Google, employees publicly expressed their distaste for the company’s contract to provide the U.S. Department of Defense with Artificial Intelligence technology. The frustration was so high that some Google employees actually quit. Amazon was also faced with internal strife as a group of employees circulated an internal letter to CEO Jeff Bezos (who also owns the Washington Post, a newspaper with close ties to U.S. intelligence agencies) demanding that he stop selling Amazon’s Rekognition facial recognition software to law enforcement...

Jul 06 10:16

The Rot at the Heart of DOJ’s Sweetheart Deal for Imran Awan

Here's the A, as explained by House sergeant-at-arms Paul Irving and House chief administrative officer Phil Kiko in a six-page, Feb. 7, 2017, memo marked "URGENT" and addressed to the House Committee on Administration:

Irving and Kiko said their investigation found "'numerous and egregious violations of House IT security' by members of the Awan family, including using Congress members' usernames and 'the unauthorized storage of sensitive House information outside the House ... These employees accessed user accounts and computers for offices that did not employ them, without the knowledge and permission of the impacted member's office,' the Irving/Kiko memo said, adding, 'Four of the employees accessed the Democratic Caucus computers 5,735 times.'

"More than 100 office computers were open to access from people not on the office's staff, it said," according to Daily Caller News Foundation's Luke Rosiak, who first reported the document.

Jul 05 17:52

Country band slams Facebook for 'censoring' song about 'unity and patriotism' after the firm rejected its paid ads due to 'political content'

The song, called I Stand for the Flag, is intended to convey a message of ‘unity and patriotism,’ according to the Wes Cook Band, who refuted Facebook’s decision this week, saying: ‘We believe patriotism is not political.’

A screenshot shared by the Nashville-based band shows attempts to boost the new music video’s reach using Facebook’s paid ads were rejected.

Facebook has since reversed its position – but not before sparking harsh backlash from the band and hundreds of its followers.

Jul 05 17:45

Google's plan to replace call center workers with its controversial Duplex AI revealed

When Google first introduced its phone-calling digital concierge Duplex in May, some thought it sounded too human, while others worried that it would secretly record calls with people.

Despite the massive backlash over the system, it appears Google is pushing ahead with plans to replace call center workers across the globe with its AI.

According to The Information, Google is already in talks with customers, including a major insurance firm, about creating call center versions of the system.

Jul 05 15:22

Sony posts whole movie on YouTube in trailer's place

Thousands of people watched a film posted in its entirety to YouTube by its US distributor before the apparent mistake was tackled.

Sony Pictures Entertainment had labelled the video as being a trailer for the movie Khali the Killer.

But its 90 minute duration acted as a giveaway that the upload contained more than just highlights from the film.

The video was wiped after being online for more than six hours but not before news of its availability had spread.

Jul 05 15:21

Social media apps are 'deliberately' addictive to users

A former Facebook employee made a related point.

"Social media is very similar to a slot machine," said Sandy Parakilas, who tried to stop using the service after he left the company in 2012.

"It literally felt like I was quitting cigarettes."

During his year and five months at Facebook, he said, others had also recognised this risk.

"There was definitely an awareness of the fact that the product was habit-forming and addictive," he said.

"You have a business model designed to engage you and get you to basically suck as much time out of your life as possible and then selling that attention to advertisers."

Jul 05 15:09

YouTuber in row over copyright infringement of his own song

Paul had been contacted by YouTube to advise him that one of his videos had been flagged for copyright infringement, but in his own words, "this was a little different".

The copyright he had apparently infringed upon was his own.

"It said what song I was infringing on," Paul explained. "What I found was quite shocking.

"Someone took my track, added vocals and guitar to make their own track, and uploaded it to YouTube, but I got the copyright infringement notice!"

He had been accused of plagiarising his own music - and worse, all the money that video was earning would now be directed towards the person who copied his content.

Jul 05 13:54

How smart TVs in millions of U.S. homes track more than what's on tonight

Samba TV has struck deals with roughly a dozen TV brands — including Sony, Sharp, TCL and Philips — to place its software on certain sets. When people set up their TVs, a screen urges them to enable a service called Samba Interactive TV, saying it recommends shows and provides special offers “by cleverly recognizing onscreen content.” But the screen, which contains the enable button, does not detail how much information Samba TV collects to make those recommendations. 67

Samba TV declined to provide recent statistics, but one of its executives said at the end of 2016 that more than 90 percent of people opted in.

The big draw for advertisers — which have included Citi and JetBlue in the past, and now Expedia — is that Samba TV can also identify other devices in the home that share the TV’s internet connection.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

This just sounds more than a little creepy to me.

Jul 05 13:38

U.S. Supreme Court Silently Passes Law — Internet Tax Collection — Will Kill Small Businesses

By Aaron Kesel

U.S. President Donald Trump has vowed to drain the swamp in Washington, DC and claims to be for the people, so much so that he just encouraged imposing yet another tax on American citizens' backs by raising corporate retail prices. A new Internet collection tax will allow states to collect -- (steal, rob, plunder) [taxation is theft] you get the point -- from any retailer across the U.S. who sells products online. In short, the newly approved law will kill small businesses...

Jul 05 12:07

POLICE CHIEF TRIES TO BLAME NEWSPAPER SHOOTING ON THE LOSS OF SOCIAL MEDIA MONITORING TOOL, BUT IT DOESN'T ADD UP

The acting police chief of the Anne Arundel County Police Department said a controversial tool could've helped investigators track down the Capital Gazette gunman before his deadly rampage. Geofeedia is a social media intelligence tool that helps identify a user’s location based on where they post to their social media account. Acting police chief William Kampf said his department lost access to the tool, which has limited their abilities to track individuals like suspected gunman Jarrod Ramos.

Jul 05 10:00

New Virus Decides If Your Computer Good for Mining or Ransomware

Security researchers have discovered an interesting piece of malware that infects systems with either a cryptocurrency miner or ransomware, depending upon their configurations to decide which of the two schemes could be more profitable.

Jul 05 09:51

Illinois to Assault the Entire Internet – They May End Up With Businesses Refusing to Deal With People in Illinois

The Supreme Court’s decision to allow every state to tax the internet is complete insanity. Sources in Illinois are warning that the state is bankrupt and it now intends to wage an all-out assault upon the internet. They may, in the end, simply force many small companies to REFUSE to do business with anyone who lives in Illinois. From a business perspective, all you get are costs. They do not pay you to collect their taxes, and in the end, they subject you to huge fines, penalties, and prison for a job that amounts to indentured servitude. Where are the class action lawyers to make that argument? On top of that, if a policeman from New Jersey has NO JURISDICTION to arrest someone in another state, then how can the state impose forced employment on persons from other states? Constitutionally they cannot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They also violate the Commerce Clause.

Jul 05 09:48

Chrome, Firefox pull invasive browser extension

Firefox and Chrome have removed a browser extension from their stores following revelations it was phoning home with users' web-surfing histories.

The "Stylish" plug-in gained popularity because it let users configure sites' appearance, rather than accepting the designers' decisions.

However – stop us if you've heard this one before – the code changed hands last year and the new owners expanded its data slurping activities.

Jul 05 09:47

US Declaration of Independence labeled hate speech by Facebook bots

The incident highlights two things.

Firstly, The Vindicator says the takedown was automated. As Facebook’s pledged to clean up hate speech and fake news with automation, The Social Network™ clearly has work to do to get this right.

Second, The Vindicator wrote that “… the removal of this morning’s post puts The Vindicator in a quandary about whether to continue with posting the final two parts of the Declaration scheduled for tomorrow and Wednesday. Should Facebook find anything in them offensive, The Vindicator could lose its Facebook page.”

And that’s a worry because “Some Vindicator stories … attract thousands of page views, but usually only after links to them are shared on Facebook. Plus, many bits of information are shared by the newspaper through Facebook alone.”

Which shows, again, that Facebook’s decisions can change the fate of a business. And now those decisions are being made by tone-deaf robots.

Jul 05 09:31

Are YOU being watched by your TV? Millions of Smart TVs track everything you watch, and tell advertisers exactly which devices are inside your home

Smart TVs could be siphoning your private viewing habits for use by advertisers.

Millions of internet connected sets can track what viewers watch and use this knowledge to make personalised recommendations on other shows they may enjoy.

These details are invaluable to marketers and can also be used to send targeted ads to other internet connected devices in the home.

One firm behind such software, Samba TV, claims its system is installed on 14.4 million Smart TV households worldwide.

Worse still, the software has the capacity to reach-out to other Wi-Fi-enabled devices that reside on the same wireless network, bringing the total number of devices accessible by Samba TV to some 72 million.

Jul 05 09:30

FIRST OF ITS KIND UNIVERSITY STUDY PROVES WITHOUT A DOUBT THAT YOUR PHONE IS SPYING ON YOU

For years, conspiracy theories about smart phones listening to users without their permission to show them advertisements have abounded. While some researchers have shown this could happen, a first of its kind study just found something far more insidious. Academics at Northeastern University have just proven that your phone is recording your screen—as in taking video—and uploading it to third parties.

For the last year, Elleen Pan, Jingjing Ren, Martina Lindorfer, Christo Wilson, and David Choffnes ran an experiment involving more than 17,000 of the most popular Android apps using ten different phones. Their findings were alarming, to say the least.

Jul 05 08:46

Memes Are Safe: European Parliament Rejects Controversial EU Copyright Law

The EU Copyright Directive, which is aimed at protecting the intellectual property of people who author material that is uploaded to the internet, has come under criticism because it could effectively lead banning parody content on the world wide web, such as viral memes, for example.

Members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg have rejected the copyright directive, with 318 voting against, 278 in favor and 31 abstaining.

Article 13 of the directive, which was rejected by European MPs, states that online media would be liable if its users upload or publish unlicensed content, including photos, videos, source code or music. According to the bill, such actions would require either that a license fee be paid, that the content be pre-filtered or that it be automatically censored.

Jul 05 08:24

Rise of the machines: has technology evolved beyond our control?

The voice-activated gadget in the corner of your bedroom suddenly laughs maniacally, and sends a recording of your pillow talk to a colleague. The clip of Peppa Pig your toddler is watching on YouTube unexpectedly descends into bloodletting and death. The social network you use to keep in touch with old school friends turns out to be influencing elections and fomenting coups.

YouTube to clamp down on disturbing kids' videos such as dark Peppa Pig
Read more

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Jul 05 07:50

This password-stealing malware just added a new way to infect your PC

A powerful form of malware which can be used to distribute threats including Trojans, ransomware and malicious cryptocurrency mining software has been updated with a new technique which has rarely been seen in the wild.

Distributed in spam email phishing campaigns, Smoke Loader has been sporadically active since 2011 but has continually evolved. The malware has been particularly busy throughout 2018, with campaigns including the distribution of Smoke Loader via fake patches for the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities which emerged earlier this year.

Like many malware campaigns, the initial attack is conducted via a malicious Microsoft Word attachment which tricks users into allowing macros, enabling Smoke Loader to be installed on the compromised system and allowing the Trojan to deliver additional malicious software.

Jul 04 12:26

Meet Hadrian, The Brick Laying Robot That Will Make Construction Workers Obsolete

Across the US, cities are independently passing measures to implement a $15 minimum wage - or mandating higher wages with an eye toward one day achieving that goal. But low-wage workers who are celebrating their fatter paychecks should enjoy the feeling while it lasts...because the more expensive workers become, the faster employers will work to replace those human workers with robots who can do the same job for a fraction of the cost.

Jul 04 11:28

Former US Envoy to Moscow Calls Intelligence Report on Alleged Russian Interference ‘Politically Motivated’

Did the U.S. “intelligence community” judge that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election?

Most commentators seem to think so. Every news report I have read of the planned meeting of Presidents Trump and Putin in July refers to “Russian interference” as a fact and asks whether the matter will be discussed. Reports that President Putin denied involvement in the election are scoffed at, usually with a claim that the U.S. “intelligence community” proved Russian interference. In fact, the U.S. “intelligence community” has not done so. The intelligence community as a whole has not been tasked to make a judgment and some key members of that community did not participate in the report that is routinely cited as “proof” of “Russian interference.”

Webmaster's Commentary: 

This whole report was misdirection to insure that The Clinton Foundation, and what was done with the "Pay to Play" issue here, never got properly documented or reported, and to put the onus on President Trump, to have allegedly "colluded" with the Russians in tampering with the 2016 election.

Jul 04 10:33

Imran Awan Gets Sweetheart Plea Deal; DOJ Won't Prosecute Alleged Spy Ring, Cybercrimes

The Department of Justice won't prosecute Imran Awan, a former IT administrator for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and dozens of other Democrats, for allegations of cybersecurity breaches, theft and potential espionage, as part of a plea agreement one one count of unrelated bank fraud.

After the entry of your client’s plea of guilty to the offense identified in paragraph 1 above, your client will not be charged with any non-violent criminal offense in violation of Federal or District of Columbia law which was committed within the District of Columbia by your client prior to the execution of this Agreement -Awan Plea Agreement

Awan withdrew hundreds of thousands of dollars after lying on a mortgage application and pretending to have a medical emergency that allowed him to drain his wife's retirement account. He then wired large sums of money to Pakistan in January, 2017.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

IF this deal does not prove to the American people how politicized and corrupt the DOJ has become, nothing, unfortunately, will!!

Jul 04 10:33

Imran Awan Pleads Guilty to Making False Statement on Loan Application – THEN DOJ SHUTS DOWN EVERYTHING RELATED TO DEMOCRAT SERVER SCANDAL

On Tuesday morning, criminal Pakistani IT worker, Imran Awan pleaded guilty to making a false statement on a loan/credit application.

The Feds subsequently shut down everything else related to the IT scandal.

The Pakistani spy ring that infiltrated the House Dems is one of the biggest scandals in US history, yet here we are watching another egregious breach of security go unpunished, because Democrats are involved.

President of Judicial Watch, Tom Fitton has been fighting the Imran Awan case along side of investigative reporter for The Daily Caller, Luke Rosiak.

Tuesday morning, Fitton spoke out.

Fitton tweeted: Breaking: Arwan (sic) pleads guilty this morning to making false statement on loan/credit application. Feds shutting down everything else related to Awan Brothers House IT scandal.

Jul 04 10:22

'Coding' cockup blamed for NHS cough-up of confidential info against patients' wishes

Confidential information on 150,000 NHS patients has been distributed against their wishes for years due to a "coding error" by healthcare software supplier TPP.

NHS Digital, the body that oversees the healthcare service's use of data, fessed up to the bungle – which saw data on the affected patients used in ways they had specifically requested it wasn't – this week.

It affects patients who registered what is known as a type 2 opt-out – which says clinical information can't be used for anything other than their own care – between March 2015 and June 2018 at a GP surgery that used TPP's SystmOne software.

According to NHS Digital, a coding error in the SystmOne application meant that the opt-out information was not sent to NHS Digital, and so the body used the information for other purposes, such as research or clinical audits.

Jul 04 09:52

Researcher Successfully Hacked In-Flight Airplanes - From the Ground

It's been four years since researcher Ruben Santamarta rocked the security world with his chilling discovery of major vulnerabilities in satellite equipment that could be abused to hijack and disrupt communications links to airplanes, ships, military operations, and industrial facilities.

Santamarta has now proven out those findings and taken his research to the level of terrifying, by successfully hacking into in-flight airplane WiFi networks and satcom equipment from the ground. "As far as I know I will be the first researcher that will demonstrate that it's possible to hack into communications devices on an in-flight aircraft … from the ground," he says.

Jul 04 09:15

FACEBOOK BUG COULD HAVE UNBLOCKED PEOPLE YOU PREVIOUSLY BLOCKED

When you choose to block someone on social media, it's usually for a good reason. Maybe you just don't get along with them, they post upsetting content or maybe they have harassed you in the past. Whatever the reason, most Facebook users probably want the people they block to stay blocked.

That was not the case for 800,000 Facebook users.

The social media giant said in an announcement on Monday that the privacy settings for these users had been affected for eight days, from May 29 to June 5. The bug allowed people who had been previously blocked on Facebook and the Messenger app, to become unblocked, giving them to see and message the profiles of those that had blocked them.

While the bug has since been fixed, during that period, 83 percent of people affected by the glitch had one person become unblocked, while the rest had to deal with a few more unwelcome guests.

Facebook further explained the bug on Twitter:

Webmaster's Commentary: 

OUCH!!

Jul 04 09:06

Facebook was built to be addictive to children: Former manager compares social network to a slot machine, while the creator of the Like button confesses the tool can be devastating to a users' sense of self-worth

Facebook was designed to be addictive – and specifically target children, a former manager has admitted.

The ex-employee made the confession during a BBC Panorama investigation into Silicon Valley companies, like Facebook, and their desire to make products that are deliberately addictive.

Sandy Parakilas told the BBC the goal behind CEO Mark Zuckerberg's company was to 'addict' people at 'an incredibly young age'.

He likened the popular social network to a slot machine.

Another whistleblower, Leah Pearlman, who was part of the team that designed the 'Like' button, believes using Facebook made her feel lonely and insecure.

Jul 04 09:02

Facebook just contradicted its long-held view it's not a publisher, as part of a lawsuit against a former app startup

'I consider us to be a technology company' Mark Zuckerberg recently told the US Congress when asked about the status of his world-conquering social network.

However, Facebook this week contradicted its long-held view that it is not a publisher, as part of its defence during a lawsuit against a former startup, Six4Three.

...

Facebook's decision to define itself as a publisher – a 180° turn from its previous position – could result in greater pressure for the company to take control of any material that appears on its platform.

The decision to define itself as a publisher would give the Menlo Park-based firm protection over its editorial decisions under the first amendment of the US constitution, a useful tactic in its ongoing high profile lawsuit against Six4Three.

Jul 04 08:49

Eliminating Construction Workers: Brick by Brick

Webmaster's Commentary: 

I note that there is some kind of glue applied to the bottom of the bricks, but nothing to the ends, which means the spaces between the bricks will allow wind and rain to get in.

Jul 04 08:16

Mom tracks down missing 'sex trafficked' daughter, 16, with help of social media activists

after Facebook video of man assaulting her goes viral and police dismiss her complaints

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