COMPUTERS/INTERNET/SECURITY | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


COMPUTERS/INTERNET/SECURITY

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

Jul 04 07:20

Is your phone WATCHING you? Apps aren't secretly listening to your private conversations but some will record video of everything you do

Researchers have uncovered that smartphone applications record video footage and screenshots of your activity and then send the recordings to third parties.

In some cases, the secretive filming captures personal information of users, including their zip or postcode.

...

Researchers caught one app - the US Deliveroo-style service GoPuff - recording the screens of users and sending the footage to mobile analytics firm Appsee.

The app, which has been downloaded more than 100,000 times from the Google Play Store, took footage of a screen that asked for a customers to list their zip code.

GoPuff's privacy policy did not notify users their screens could be recorded while using the smartphone app.

Jul 04 07:03

Spotify Is Issuing Refunds to Subscribers Who Felt Spammed by Drake

Spotify is now refunding at least some subscribers who felt spammed by ‘Drake ads’ this past weekend.

Drake is laughing all the way to the bank. Spotify, on the other hand, may have some cleaning up to do. Now, a highly-vocal group of angry subscribers are demanding refunds, and it looks like Spotify is giving it to at least some of them.

The issue isn’t that Drake’s Scorpion was getting promoted on Spotify. It’s that Spotify was pushing this album into every nook and cranny of the platform, and effectively spamming users who had little interest in the artist.

Not everyone likes Drake or rap. Hence the irritation.

Jul 03 13:37

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 03 12:00

Cyber Command moves closer to a major new weapon

The Air Force issued a formal proposal earlier this month for the Department of Defense’s long-awaited cyber weapon system, known as the Unified Platform, sources tell Fifth Domain.

DoD officials have said the Unified Platform is one of U.S. Cyber Command’s largest and most critical acquisition programs to date. Industry officials have said it is necessary to conduct cyber operations and is critical to national security.

Jul 03 09:14

Facebook document dump reveals it shared data with 52 companies, some based in China

Facebook has confirmed that it shared user information with 52 companies that manufacture hardware and software, including some based in China.

The social media giant made the disclosure in a 747-page report it provided Friday to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The list features major American tech companies such as Amazon, Apple and Microsoft. But it also includes Chinese firms such as Alibaba, Huawei, Lenovo, Oppo and TCL -- the last four of which have been flagged by U.S. intelligence as national security threats.

In its report, Facebook said that it had severed data access partnerships with 38 of the 52 companies. Eight more partnerships -- including with Nokia, Samsung, and Yahoo -- were to be discontinued by the end of October. Facebook said that six partnerships -- with Alibaba, Amazon, Apple, Mozilla, Opera and the accessibility app Tobii would continue.

Jul 03 09:14

Experts warn that your phone really is listening to you

Under the guise of convenience, it seems we’ve all been inviting Big Brother into our homes (and our pocket and purses) with open arms. Smartphones and all their associated apps, gadgets and other trinkets of technology proclaim to make life easier: Your phone can now tell you where your car is parked and how far away you are; it will automatically tell you how long your commute to work will be and it can even offer you alternate routes.

These feats are no doubt impressive — but for those who still value their personal privacy (and freedom, honestly), the absence of a true “private” life is unnerving. Your phone (and Google, and Facebook) is always watching: It knows where you’ve been, where you are and where you want to go, it knows who you’re talking to and what restaurant you went to for dinner. The omniscient, omnipresence of the digital world is indeed highly concerning.

Jul 03 09:07

Gmail users beware! Third-party developers are READING your private messages, data privacy investigation reveals

Your private emails are being read by third-party Gmail app developers, an investigation into data privacy has revealed.

Developers behind a number of popular online services designed to work with Gmail trawl through private messages sent and received from your email address, it claims.

It is common practice for some of these third-party app creators to instruct employees to read personal emails.

One app, which is designed to help users manage their Gmail inbox, lets employees read 'thousands' of emails, the Wall Street Journal investigation found.

According to experts, this 'dirty secret' is now common practice among some firms.

Jul 03 09:06

Claims of an expanded federal probe into the Cambridge Analytica data scandal wipe $12bn off Facebook's value

Shares of Facebook fell 2 percent on Tuesday, after a report that a federal probe on the data breach linked to Cambridge Analytica had been broadened and would include more government agencies.

Jul 03 09:05

Android smartphone WARNING: Popular 'battery saving' app is a hoax designed to steal your location, phone numbers and text messages

Android smartphone owners should be on the lookout for an app that promises to save your battery, but instead steals your personal data.

Security experts discovered that 'Advanced Battery Saver' – which was distributed via the Google Play Store – can access your location, phone numbers and messages.

Worse still, this information can be used by hackers to steal your payment details and even potentially blackmail victims.

Security experts have warned users who have downloaded the app to purge their handset using anti-virus software to avoid any future problems.

Jul 03 08:05

Ransomware: Not dead, just getting a lot sneakier

Last year, high-profile incidents like the WannaCry ransomware outbreak made the file-encrypting malware internet enemy number one.

WannaCry was not alone of course: the NotPetya attack followed just weeks later, and this was followed by a third -- albeit much smaller -- ransomware outbreak dubbed Bad Rabbit which hit Russia and Eastern Europe in September.

And all the while other, less high-profile ransomware attacks have occurred on a regular basis, causing trouble for organisations around the world, like the Locky ransomware which disrupted the networks of a hospital. Other ransomware, like Cerber ransomware, was available 'as-as-service' to almost anyone who wanted to make money this way.

Jul 03 07:49

Facebook shared private data with 61 companies

Facebook continued to share data with more than 60 companies despite concerns about the quiz app commissioned by Cambridge Analytica.

The social network gave 61 companies a year to wean themselves off the rich data provided by Facebook through its API, including Nike, UPS, dating app Hinge, a social marketing service, a Russian internet giant and avariety of news networks after it grew concerned that developers could be abusing the function.

Jul 03 07:47

Does DoD know how to supply intel for cyber ops?

Cyber has been an official domain of warfare for nearly a decade, yet the Department of Defense is still learning how to integrate it with operations. And some members of Congress are concerned the traditional military intelligence organs to this day don’t understand intel support to cyber ops.

The House Armed Services Committee is directing that a briefing on the subject must take place by December 1, 2018. The briefing — delivered by the under secretary of defense for intelligence, in coordination with the Defense Intelligence Agency and the military services — is expected, according to a provision in the committee’s annual defense policy bill, to address multiple issues, including:

Efforts to standardize a common military doctrine for intelligence preparation of the battlefield for cyber operations;

Efforts to develop all-source intelligence analysts with the capability to support cyber operations; and

Jul 02 18:03

Samsung phones are spontaneously texting users’ photos to random contacts without their permission

Bad news for Samsung phone owners: some devices are randomly sending your camera roll photos to your contacts without permission. As first spotted by Gizmodo, users are complaining about the issue on Reddit and the company’s official forums. One user says his phone sent all his photos to his girlfriend. The messages are being sent through Samsung’s default texting app Samsung Messages. According to reports, the Messages app does not even show users that files have been sent; many just find out after they get a response from the recipient of the random photos sent to them.

Jul 02 17:33

Bitcoin price latest: BILLIONS lost from rival cryptocurrencies as ‘DEAD LIST’ hits 800

The failure of the 800 coins is expected to have burnt though billions of dollars with companies raising a massive $3.8 billion via ICOs in 2017.

However, the money lost could yet increase with a massive $13.7billion raised the first six months of 2018. Contelegraph warn that some $1 billion of that was raised by coins that are now considered ‘dead’.

For those who put money into obscure cryptocurrencies the misery is set to continue with Bloomberg warning last month that most money has been sunk into “scams”.

Predicting more misery for investors, analyst Aaron Brown, said: “There has obviously been significant fraud and hype in the ICO market. I have seen 80 percent of ICOs were frauds, and 10 percent lacked substance and failed shortly after raising money.

“Most of the remaining 10 percent will probably fail as well.”

Jul 02 14:28

Walt Disney is developing humanoid 'stuntbots' to take over from actors in films and theme parks during dangerous stunts

Known as 'stuntbots', the robots could also be used in live theatre shows at Walt Disney owned theme parks and resorts.

Stuntronics are autonomous, self-correcting aerial performers capable of making on-the-go corrections during high-flying stunts to ensure they also land safely.

Jul 02 14:28

Trump: Why Didn't The FBI Take The DNC's Servers To Investigate Alleged "Russian" Hacking?

In an interview Sunday on Fox Business, President Trump questioned why the FBI never got access to the Democratic National Committee's servers to investigate the claim that "Russians" hacked into their computers.

Jul 02 11:38

Austrian court says YouTube is partly liable for copyright breaches

An Austrian court has ruled that video-sharing platform YouTube can be held partly liable for copyright breaches in videos uploaded by its users, in a ruling that may have far-reaching implications.

In a judgement issued on Tuesday and confirmed to AFP on Thursday, Vienna's commercial court said that YouTube had played an active role in spreading such content and therefore could not claim the status of "neutral intermediary", according to the ruling cited by the Ploil-Boesch law firm.

The firm is acting on behalf of Austria's Puls 4 television station, which brought a case against YouTube in 2014 over the unauthorised presence of its content on the site.

Puls 4 and its lawyers said they had established YouTube's complicity in spreading the content through a "painstaking" analysis of how the site works.

Jul 02 11:16

NSA Deletion of Call Records Is Raising Questions

The National Security Agency is deleting more than 685 million call records the government obtained since 2015 from telecommunication companies in connection with investigations, raising questions about the viability of the program.

The NSA’s bulk collection of call records was initially curtailed by Congress after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked documents revealing extensive government surveillance. The law, enacted in June 2015, said that going forward, the data would be retained by telecommunications companies, not the NSA, but that the intelligence agency could query the massive database.

Now the NSA is deleting all the information it collected from the queries.

Jul 02 10:57

Masters of the Universe: Facebook Accused of Data Leak via Quiz App – Again

Social media Master of the Universe Facebook has once again been accused of leaking users personal information via a quiz app over a period of at least two years.
In a situation echoing the Cambridge Analytica scandal earlier this year, Facebook has been accused of leaking the personal info of their users via a quiz app on their platform. Politico reports that the application is called Nametests.com and has been running Facebook quizzes for years, but the application left the personal data of Facebook users who have used the app unprotected on its website, leaving the info vulnerable to third parties who may wish to steal the info.

Jul 02 09:07

Homeland Security subpoenas Twitter for data breach finder's account

Homeland Security has served Twitter with a subpoena, demanding the account information of a data breach finder, credited with finding several large caches of exposed and leaking data.

The New Zealand national, whose name isn't known but goes by the handle Flash Gordon, revealed the subpoena in a tweet last month.

The pseudonymous data breach finder regularly tweets about leaked data found on exposed and unprotected servers. Last year, he found a trove of almost a million patients' data leaking from a medical telemarketing firm. A recent find included an exposed cache of law enforcement data by ALERRT, a Texas State University-based organization, which trains police and civilians against active shooters. The database, secured in March but reported last week, revealed that several police departments were under-resourced and unable to respond to active shooter situations.

Jul 02 08:59

NSA deleting hundreds of millions of call records, raising questions about surveillance program’s viability

The National Security Agency (NSA) is purging what appears to be hundreds of millions of phone records collected by U.S. telecom companies that the agency had acquired since 2015.

The agency released a statement on Thursday saying it began deleting records in May after "analysts noted technical irregularities in some data received from telecommunications service providers."

The records date back to 2015 and were obtained under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

The statement added that "the root cause of the problem has since been addressed" for future call record collecting.

In a written follow-up statement to the Associated Press, the NSA said it is "following a specific court-authorized process," but technical irregularities resulted in the production of some call records that the NSA "was not authorized to receive."

Jul 02 08:33

Dr Symantec offers quick and painless check for VPNFilter menace on routers

VPNFilter, discovered by security researchers at Cisco Talos back in May, is estimated to have hijacked half a million IoT devices such as routers and network-attached storage (NAS) devices. The malware is capable of infecting enterprise and home routers, accessing encrypted web traffic and establishing a backdoor on compromised devices. The full list of impacted routers is available via Symantec here.

VPNFilter installs a plugin which monitors and modifies web traffic sent through the infected router, allowing cybercriminals to inject malicious content, render routers inoperable or steal passwords and other sensitive user information. The botnet also presents a clear and present danger to internet hygiene more generally since it might easily be turned into a powerful DDoS tool.

Jul 02 08:14

Facebook confirms MORE data sharing partnerships in new document to US Congress, revealing 52 companies had access to user's photos, gender, friends, hometown, and more

The social network submitted documents to the US government which revealed it had data-sharing agreements with 52 hardware and software companies.

These firms - including UPS, dating app Hinge and others - had access to details, including a user's gender and birthday as well as details about their friends.

Jul 02 05:42

GOOGLE, MICROSOFT, ORACLE ET AL. GANG UP ON AMAZON FOR $10BN PENTAGON PRIZE

For many years, the cloud quadrille of Amazon’s AWS, Microsoft’s Azure, Google Cloud and IBM SmartCloud has been engaging in rounds of fierce price wars in a bid to dominate both market share and mindshare. The cloud race has also frequently featured a healthy dose of ivory tower jousting and demagoguery.

Jul 02 05:39

GOOGLE, MICROSOFT, ORACLE ET AL. GANG UP ON AMAZON FOR $10BN PENTAGON PRIZE

For many years, the cloud quadrille of Amazon’s AWS, Microsoft’s Azure, Google Cloud and IBM SmartCloud has been engaging in rounds of fierce price wars in a bid to dominate both market share and mindshare. The cloud race has also frequently featured a healthy dose of ivory tower jousting and demagoguery.

Jul 01 22:06

No Warrant? No Problem! New SCOTUS Ruling Does Not Apply To Real Time Location Tracking

Original analysis by a female Faust.

'Fine Print' Of Recent Supreme Court Ruling Exempts, May Actually Encourage Wholesale Warrantless Tracking Of Cell Phones, Despite MSM Characterization

• It does NOT apply to real-time location data - so patterns can be reassembled after new tracking.

• It does NOT apply to data collected by the private sector - so data can be — easily — bought or traded.

• It does NOT apply to investigations related to national security - and remember, most invocations of the Patriot Act have involved drugs, not terrorism.

Read more

Jul 01 20:01

WHAT YOU AREN'T BEING TOLD ABOUT THE NEW SCOTUS RULING

...MAY HURT YOU.

Recently the Supreme Court ruled that to access to the vast amount of information, logged by your cellphone many times per minute on exactly where you have been and for how long, that the cellphone provider keeps for five years, a warrant is required. Fantastic. Obvious, right?

Well, no, and more importantly, as a privacy "win," understanding the new ruling is counter-intuitive. Reports on the ruling barely mention certain things as they rush to soothe an American public justifiably edgy after all the post Snowden lies. Such as:

    it does NOT apply to real-time location data - so patterns can be reassembled after new tracking
    it does NOT apply to data collected by the private sector - so data can be bought or traded
    it does NOT apply to investigations related to national security - and remember, most invocations of the Patriot Act involved drugs, not terrorism

Private entities regularly share their data with the government, without a warrant, and even if they didn't, a trivial amount of real-time location tracking will reestablish the behavioral patterns of most individuals with alarming accuracy. Enough to discover most if not all of their important social affiliations. Include the call metadata, and you have nearly all of it; track their friends for a week, and, without a warrant, but with the info already available, I am sure the degree to which their privacy has been infringed upon exceeds that with which the Founding fathers felt comfortable.

For more detailed analysis, information, and links to sources, please visit No Warrant, No Problem: New SCOTUS Ruling Does Not Apply To Real Time Location Tracking.

Jul 01 10:26

CONGRESSMAN INVESTIGATING FISA ABUSE, AWAN SAYS DOJ SPYING ON HIM

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) says that agents working for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein have been spying on his office, Gohmert told WMAL's "Morning on the Mall" Friday.

“I don’t doubt for a minute that he has people who have been looking into my background. I’ve been told as much by some other folks,” said the Congressman, who added that he did not believe such an operation was overseen by Rod Rosenstein personally.

“There’s always deniability,” he said.

Gohmert recounted a fiery exchange with Rosenstein during Congressional testimony last week in which the Congressman grilled the Deputy AG over not having read a FISA warrant renewal he signed.

"If I were a FISA judge," Gohmert told WMAL, "now that we have him on record refusing to say that you even read it - I would never accept an application signed by you again, because you don't even know what you were signing"

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Although the gentleman has said some things which have absolutely made me wince, in this instance, he is most probably completely correct.

Jun 30 10:04

WHY TECH WORKER DISSENT IS GOING VIRAL

SILICON VALLEY HAS a long and secretive history of building hardware and software for the military and law enforcement. In contrast, a recent wave of employee protests against some of those government contracts has been short, fast, and surprisingly public—tearing through corporate campuses, mailing lists, and message boards inside some of the world’s most powerful companies.

The revolt is part of a growing political awakening among some tech employees about the uses of the products they build. What began as concern inside Google about a Pentagon contract to tap the company’s artificial-intelligence smarts was catalyzed by outrage over Trump administration immigration policies. Now, it seems to be spreading quickly.

Within a few days in late June, employees from Microsoft, Amazon, and Salesforce publicized petitions urging their CEOs to cancel or rethink lucrative contracts with US Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and local police departments.

Jun 30 10:00

NSA Purges Hundreds of Millions of Call and Text Records

The National Security Agency has purged hundreds of millions of records logging phone calls and texts that it had gathered from U.S. telecommunications companies since 2015, the agency has disclosed. It had realized that its database was contaminated with some files the agency had no authority to receive.

The agency began destroying the records May 23, it said in a statement. Officials had discovered “technical irregularities” this year in its collection from phone companies of call record details, or metadata showing who called or texted whom and when, but not what they said.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

I think the NSA has realized they have collected more data than can be realistically analysed!

Jun 30 09:31

Exactis leaks the private details of 340 MILLION people to cyber criminals, including their phone numbers and home addressees, in a one of the biggest security breaches of its kind

Hackers have been handed an easy win, thanks to a little known marketing firm that collected data on millions of Americans and leaked it online.

It's not known exactly how many people were caught up in the data breach, but 340 million files were uploaded to a publicly accessible server.

The records include home addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and other sensitive information for named individuals.

They also record their hobbies, interests and habits, as well as the number, age, and gender of any children they have.

The leak is thought to be one of the biggest recent security breaches of its kind.

'It seems like this is a database with pretty much every US citizen in it,' said security researcher Vinny Troi who uncovered the breach.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

I think it is time for a class action lawsuit, to teach these data companies to take better care of the data they collect on us.

Jun 30 07:57

AMAZON’S FUSION WITH THE STATE SHOWS NEOLIBERALISM’S DRIFT TO NEO-FASCISM

MPN spoke to Yasha Levine, the author of “Surveillance Valley,” and Monthly Review editor John Bellamy Foster about the rise of the Amazon.com empire and the merger of Big Data, finance capitalism, and the U.S. state apparatus.

Jun 29 08:21

Bitcoin price update: BTC FALLS - Will bitcoin continue to fall? Is the BOOM over?

Bitcoin dropped another 3.50 percent today to trade at $5,889.60.

The rest of the market has suffered heavily, with Ethereum trading for $4,111.50, Ripple going for $0.43 and Litecoin going for $73.73.

The market has seen significant losses over the last two weeks after a series of major hacks, with many analysts predicting the prices to drop even further.

Jun 29 08:17

Israel's Internet Censorship War - If Americans Knew

An exposé on Israel's detailed projects – some public, some covert – to influence what people see on the Internet, and what they don't. From the article, "How Israel and its partisans work to censor the Internet"

Webmaster's Commentary: 

YouTube not only has a warning on this video for "inappropriate content" but they disabled embedding (and comments) as well, thereby proving the video's claims!.

Jun 29 07:48

Massive Data Leak Could Affect 300 Million Americans

Earlier this month, the renowned security researcher Vinny Troia announced that he discovered an unsecured database containing around 340 million individual records. According to Troia, the database included profiles of a few hundred million Americans belonging to Exactis, a Florida-based marketing and data-aggregation firm.

Troia told Wired that the catch contains about two terabytes of data that includes personal information of almost every American adult, along with millions of businesses.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE WITH YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA