Mar 17 18:42

The terrifying bug that could allow hackers to access your MacBook WITHOUT a password

Google Chrome Remote Desktop allows users to access their desktop via another computer or smartphone.

If the Mac has guest access enabled, then this can provide a back-door to get hold of password-protected information.

CPR's analyst noticed that by signing in as a guest user, hackers can jump into other sessions, including those started by an administrator account.

For it to work, guest access must be enabled on Mac by the main account holder – the feature is not switched on by default.

Mar 17 18:36

Driverless cars could be stopped in their tracks by solar storms, experts say

Scientists say driverless cars, if designed in a way that’s too reliant on GPS, may suffer complications during powerful space weather events, making it difficult to carry out their functions as intended.

According to Scott McIntosh, director of the high-altitude observatory at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, engineers must prepare driverless cars for changes in solar activity.

If they’re too reliant on GPS to get to their destinations, they’ll be unable to do so if a solar storm disrupts the connection, causing them to all have to pull over and wait it out, the expert told Bloomberg.

Magnetic particles from coronal holes could also cause disruptions.

Mar 17 12:11

Pentagon and DARPA Seek Predictive A.I. to Uncover Enemy Thoughts

By Nicholas West

I’ve recently been covering the widening use of predictive algorithms in modern-day police work, which frequently has been compared to the “pre-crime” we have seen in dystopian fiction. However, what is not being discussed as often are the many examples of how faulty this data still is...

Nevertheless, according to an article in Defense One, the Pentagon wants to use these potentially flawed algorithms to read enemy intentions and perhaps even to take action based on the findings...

Mar 17 10:51

Brit retailer Currys PC World says sorry for Know How scam

Currys PC World today apologised for forcing customers to pay an extra £40 for pre-configuration on their laptops that they didn't request – a dodgy practice brought to light by consumer charity Which?

Since 2015 more than a hundred customers have complained to Which? about the aggressive sales tactic.

Despite ordering online or going to a store after seeing an advertised price, customers were told that only laptops already loaded with an operating system, etc remained in the shop, which meant they had to pay more.

One punter was ordered to pay an extra £40 or she'd be sold a blank laptop, Which? said. When another refused to cough and drop the extra cash, the staff member said they would have to charge them £20 for the USB stick.

Mar 17 10:45

Whois? More like WHOWAS: Domain database on verge of collapse over EU privacy

An effort to resolve conflicts between upcoming European privacy legislation and the global Whois service for domain names has, predictably, failed, raising fears that cybercriminals will take advantage of the impasse.

At the end of a week of meetings hosted by domain-name overseer ICANN, the US-based organization's proposed interim model lies in tatters, and there is no sign of a forthcoming solution before the May 25 deadline, when the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect.

Industry insiders fear that, without agreement, the Whois service, which publicly lists full contact details of domain-name registrants, will effectively shut down in order to avoid fines and possible lawsuits under the Euro rules.

That would leave law enforcement and intellectual property lawyers, among others, unable to access registrant details, and potentially give cybercriminals a larger window to carry out crimes.

Mar 17 10:44


I’m happy to report some good news coming out of New Orleans thanks to the excellent investigative reporting of Ali Winston with The Verge.

As I reported two weeks ago, Winston helped to uncover a secret predictive policing program that had been ongoing for 6 years by the New Orleans PD in cooperation with CIA-connected Palantir Technologies. The program had been designed to operate behind the cover of a philanthropic partnership orchestrated by political operative James Carville so as to avoid having to disclose the details to citizens and even to their elected representatives in the city council. Now it appears that the intrepid reporting of Ali Winston has led to the abrupt cancelling of the program just a short time after the initial article was published.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

This is investigative reporting, done right; bravo, Mr. Wilson, bravo!!

Mar 17 10:06


The UN has decided it's possibly Facebook's fault things are going so badly in Myanmar. Muslims have been fleeing the country in droves thanks to Myanmar security forces engaging in widespread acts of violence (including rape) against them, urged on by hardline nationalist monks.

For all intents and purposes, Facebook is Myanmar's internet. Loosening of restrictions on social media access has resulted in a large portion of the population getting all their news (along with all the hate speech the UN is complaining about) via the social media giant. The UN is looking into genocide accusations but has decided to speak up against Facebook first.

Marzuki Darusman, chairman of the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, told reporters that social media had played a “determining role” in Myanmar.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Instead of wiping out logical opinions which differ from that of the "official narrative" in this country, perhaps Facebook should be focused on wiping out true hate speech against the Rohingyas on line in Myanmar.

And speculatively, was some kind of "financial arrangement"created by the government of Myanmar with Facebook to insure that the hate speech against the Rohingyas stayed up, and did not get self-censored?!?

Just curious.

Mar 16 12:40

Amazon turns over record amount of customer data to US law enforcement

The company's fifth transparency report reveals more customer data was handed to US law enforcement in the first-half of last year than ever before.

Mar 16 09:59

Bitcoin Miners Now On The Verge Of Losing Money

A recent report by Fundstrat’s Tom Lee notes that Bitcoin (BTC) mining earnings are currently almost breaking even, as the activity has temporarily become less profitable the midst of the current decline in the markets, CNBC reported yesterday, March 15.

Lee notes in the report that the current figure for the cost of mining one bitcoin is $8,038, while BTC is trading marginally higher than that at press time.

Mar 16 09:52

How Israel is becoming the world’s top cyber superpower

Although Israel makes no cars of its own, the world's top auto-security companies are all Israeli. The country also receives roughly one-fifth of the world's global private investment in cyber security. As independent and state-sponsored hackers wreak havoc, Israel continues to revolutionize its military and lead the way in the field.

To start, the Israeli Defense Force recruits the best and brightest coders and hackers as teens, to funnel them into their elite cyber warfare units.

“Because going to the service is compulsory, you can look at the Israeli army as the largest HR organization in the world,” said Roni Zehavi, the CEO of CyberSpark, a government initiative that serves as an innovation incubator.

Mar 16 09:50


While they always stopped short of official allegations in the past, US officials have, since 2016, repeatedly insinuated that Russia had been trying to hack the US electrical grid. Thursday say the Trump Administration directly making those allegations for the first time.

This new report appears to be timed to come out with new US sanctions against Russia, which cited “malicious cyberattacks” as one of their justifications. The allegations, however, stem from accusations which have been out since the Obama Administration-era, and have long since been discredited.

The report itself is largely just a whitepaper on how hacking in general works, with scant mention of what Russia is even alleged to have done. The report dates the incidents to “since 2016,” however, and the description clearly mirrors the much vaunted Burlington Electric hack in Vermont in 2016.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

I would politely suggest that the Trump administration has "jumped the proverbial shark" with this accusation, which absolutely cannot be proven.

IF this was a trial balloon to get the American public to buy in to an actual shooting war with Russia, it was way too weighted down with the lead of illogic and massive inconsistencies to succeeed.

That the Administration would actually think the American people would buy in to this, is more than a little terrifying.

Mar 16 09:47

Trojanized BitTorrent Software Update Hijacked 400,000 PCs Last Week

A massive malware outbreak that last week infected nearly half a million computers with cryptocurrency mining malware in just a few hours was caused by a backdoored version of popular BitTorrent client called MediaGet.

Dubbed Dofoil (also known as Smoke Loader), the malware was found dropping a cryptocurrency miner program as payload on infected Windows computers that mine Electroneum digital coins for attackers using victims' CPU cycles.

Mar 16 09:46

Pre-Installed Malware Found On 5 Million Popular Android Phones

To check if your device is being infected with this malware, go to Android system settings? App Manager, and then look for the following possible malware package names: (????)
com.changmi.launcher (????) (??WIFI??)

If any of above is in the list of your installed apps, simply uninstall it.

Mar 16 08:34

“Internet Bill of Rights” concept gains traction…

Webmaster addition: We don;t need an internet Bill or Fights. We need the original Bill of Rights to be respected by the US Government!

Mar 16 08:33

New Orleans Cancels Secret Pre-Crime Police Program After Media Exposure

By Nicholas West

I’m happy to report some good news coming out of New Orleans thanks to the excellent investigative reporting of Ali Winston with The Verge.

As I reported two weeks ago, Winston helped to uncover a secret predictive policing program that had been ongoing for 6 years by the New Orleans PD in cooperation with CIA-connected Palantir Technologies. The program had been designed to operate behind the cover of a philanthropic partnership orchestrated by political operative James Carville so as to avoid having to disclose the details to citizens and even to their elected representatives in the city council. Now it appears that the intrepid reporting of Ali Winston has led to the abrupt cancelling of the program just a short time after the initial article was published...

Mar 16 07:18

How Facebook protects Israel

The Israeli authorities are exerting pressure on Facebook to comply with more of their demands.

Earlier this month, members of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, discussed how to suppress content of which they disapproved on the social media website.

One objective was to get Facebook to ban pictures of Ahmad Nasser Jarrar, a Palestinian extrajudicially executed by the Israeli army in February. Human rights groups have concluded that the military sought to kill, rather than arrest, Jarrar, a suspect in the shooting death of an Israeli settler in the occupied West Bank.

Uri Maklev, an Israeli lawmaker, claimed there is a “correlation between social networks and terror operations,” and that “Facebook is responsible for what is being done on its platform” and must do “everything to remove such content.”

According to Israel’s state attorney office, the Israeli government requests an average of 12,000 cases of content to be removed from Facebook each year.

Mar 16 06:57

Confirmed: Facebook’s Recent Algorithm Change Is Crushing Conservative Sites, Boosting Liberals

Facebook’s much-publicized demotion of publishers’ content in users’ news feeds has negatively impacted conservative-leaning publishers significantly more than liberal-leaning outlets, an analysis by The Western Journal has revealed.

Liberal publishers have gained about 2 percent more web traffic from Facebook than they were getting prior to the algorithm changes implemented in early February.

On the other hand, conservative publishers have lost an average of nearly 14 percent of their traffic from Facebook.

This algorithm change, intentional or not, has in effect censored conservative viewpoints on the largest social media platform in the world. This change has ramifications that, in the short-term, are causing conservative publishers to downsize or fold up completely, and in the long-term could swing elections in the United States and around the world toward liberal politicians and policies.

Mar 16 06:50

BEX ALERT - In a first, U.S. blames Russia for cyber attacks on energy grid

The Trump administration on Thursday blamed the Russian government for a campaign of cyber attacks stretching back at least two years that targeted the U.S. power grid, marking the first time the United States has publicly accused Moscow of hacking into American energy infrastructure.

Beginning in March 2016, or possibly earlier, Russian government hackers sought to penetrate multiple U.S. critical infrastructure sectors, including energy, nuclear, commercial facilities, water, aviation and manufacturing, according to a U.S. security alert published Thursday.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

The computers that control critical systems like power stations are NOT connected to the global internet.

We had a power outage here on Oahu yesterday afternoon, and everyone was laughing and saying, "It's the Russians! It's the Russians!"

Mar 15 18:11

Pump & dump? Crypto market crashes in suspiciously delayed reaction

The cryptocurrency market crashed on Thursday with bitcoin plunging to a five-week low. The broad sell-off followed Google's plan to ban cryptocurrency advertising the day before.


However, the Thursday’s fall in cryptocurrencies has shown that the market reacts on bearish news either belatedly or it acts independently from the news at all. There has been speculation that a small number of big investors are colluding on manipulating prices.

Under the so-called pump-and-dump strategy, a specific asset is pushed hard and investors are promised large returns. After prices peak, the owners and early investors quickly sell as many shares as possible, while the others lose. This is not illegal since the cryptocurrency market is not regulated.

Mar 15 17:21

MSM Pushes for More Censorship Over Fear of Digitally Altered Video

By Phillip Schneider

As we are now deep into 2018, the war on free speech hasn’t gone away, but rather changed pace. In a recent article from CBS, the relatively new phenomenon of digitally altered video is to blame for a potential “global nuclear war.”

Riding off the back of the recent phenomenon of “Deep Fakes,” where celebrities heads were being pasted onto lewd and suggestive bodies to create videos which never really happened, we’re now seeing a wave of doctored political content aimed to poke fun at politicians like Trump and Putin. CBS has confirmed that socials media giants Facebook and Reddit have begun “looking for ways to regulate” altered content...

Mar 15 16:44

YouTube To Introduce Conspiracy Theory Debunking Information Boxes On Videos

By Aaron Kesel

YouTube has announced a crackdown on conspiracy themed videos, which will soon feature informative debunking boxes linking back to Wikipedia and other sources, Yahoo News reported.

In light of the recent conspiracy driven narratives after shootings, with many claiming mere minutes after an event that a situation was a false flag attack, YouTube has taken measures into its own hands...

Mar 15 13:13


US retail giant Walmart has filed a patent for robotic bees that it hopes will be able to pollinate crops just like their real-life counterparts. The ‘robo-bee’ could provide a solution to the ongoing decline of bee populations.

Mar 15 11:52

Smart baby monitors, security cameras and thermostats can be hacked in just MINUTES using a simple Google search

A number of internet-connected home gadgets can be hacked in minutes using a simple Google search.

'Smart' baby monitors, security cameras and thermostats were accessed by cyber security researchers who tracked down their access passwords online.

They said that the ease with which criminals or paedophiles can take control of devices in the home is 'truly frightening'.

Mar 15 10:53


Earlier this year, Valery Colong Nyiwung lost $10,000 in just three months — almost 10 times the annual per capita income of Cameroon. And it wasn’t from playing the ponies. The only bet the tech entrepreneur made seemed to have winning odds: co-founding ActivSpaces, one of Cameroon’s leading technology hubs and an enterprise — naturally — that’s heavily reliant on reliable internet service. Nyiwung’s bad luck was to establish his company in a West African country where the government “requests” that telecommunications companies shut down the internet whenever it wants to stifle political dissent in certain parts of the country.

Mar 15 10:47

FEC introduces proposal to change digital political ad requirements

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) introduced a draft proposal Wednesday that would amend regulations on online political advertising.

The two new proposals would change rules around internet communication disclaimers and change the agency’s definition of “public communication.”

“Both proposals are intended to give the American public easy access to information about the persons paying for and candidates authorizing these internet communications, pursuant to the Federal Election Campaign Act,” the draft proposal reads.

Currently, public communication is defined by the FEC as excluding internet communications, except for paid advertising on a website. The agency wants to expand this to reflect how the internet has changed and exists across platforms now across different types of apps on a range of devices like tablets, smartphones, computers and TVs.

Mar 15 08:31

Europe’s digital single market hits the Bulgarian rocks

When Mariya Gabriel became the EU’s digital czar last July, tech insiders gritted their teeth and hoped for the best.

Here was a young MEP from not-quite-wired Bulgaria, suddenly put in charge of Europe’s digital strategy. Her mandate was nothing less than completing the digital single market (DSM), a €415 billion plan to make the EU a global tech hub.

What could go wrong?

As it turned out, quite a lot. Nine months after Gabriel began, lobbyists and EU officials ticked off their reasons for being disappointed in her leadership: plans to lift audiovisual geo-blocking restrictions risk being heavily watered down; discussions on telecoms reforms are floundering, despite a recent spectrum compromise; and attempts to broker a copyright overhaul for the digital age are similarly stuck in the mud.

“It’s extremely difficult to change or shift [the DSM],” said Czech Liberal MEP Dita Charanzová of Gabriel’s work. “She doesn’t have political weight.”

Mar 14 18:49

Patch LOSE-day: Microsoft secures servers of the world. By disconnecting them

Microsoft’s Tuesday patch-fest may have reacted quite negatively with Windows Server 2008 R2 running VMware, leaving servers offline and administrators scrambling to recover IP addresses.

Twitter user @Sikorsky78 noted the problem just after the patches hit:

It seems that the latest MS patches ate my vmxnet3 adapters on Windows 2008R2 :(. Any one else?#WindowsUpdates #Windows2008R2 #VMware
— Wouter Hindriks (@Sikorsky78) March 14, 2018

Before long, the forums were alive with harassed sys admins dealing with similar problems, with a number of Reddit threads springing up discussing the issue.

The problem appears to afflict machines configured with static IP addresses.

Mar 14 18:46

YouTube plan to use Wikipedia against crackpots hits snag

In Austin, Texas, on Tuesday, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki told the audience at the South by Southwest Interactive conference that the social video site plans to defuse conspiracy theory content by pairing it with corrective information culled from Wikipedia – a site editable by more or less anyone.

However, she neglected to inform Wikipedia, which on Wednesday reacted with bemusement.

Mar 14 14:13

London Mayor Tries To Justify Mass Censorship By Reading Mean-Tweets

London Mayor Sadiq Kahn read a list of half-dozen racist tweets about himself to a crowd at the annual SXSW festival in Austin, TX Monday.

"I say kill the mayor of London and you'll be rid of one Muslim terrorist," Khan quoted to the audience. "I'd pay for someone to execute Sadiq Khan."

Kahn, the first Muslim mayor of a Western capital, implored tech companies to censor "hate speech," - which has recently become a catchall from everything from death threats to opposing longstanding symbols of actual oppression, such as hijabs.

The London mayor said he didn't want to be "portrayed as a victim" or "ask for sympathy." Instead, he wants to tech companies to police people's feelings by going further in "making the internet free of hate speech."

"But ask yourself this: What happens when young boys and girls from minority backgrounds see this kind of thing on their timelines or experience this themselves?" said Khan.

Mar 14 13:04

ADL Creepy New Ad Promotes Censorship Under Online Hate Index

By Aaron Kesel

The ADL has released a creepy George Orwell 1984-esque video expressing that there is an increase of online hate and how to tackle it. The video shows bubbles that include labeling hate speech such as 9/11 truth, conspiracy, First Amendment, men’s rights and many more. Oh and ironically also the topic of this article – censorship...

Mar 14 12:30

Mobile license pilot study to allow police to 'ping' cellphone for a license

Delaware could be among the first states to use mobile driver's licenses.

The Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles has launched a mobile driver's license pilot study that will run for six months, according to a release from the Delaware Department of Transportation.

The six-month pilot study will include about 200 state employees and stakeholders.

“Delaware is among the first states to test a mobile driver’s license, and we’re excited to help move this new technology forward,” said Gov. John Carney said in the release.

Transportation Secretary Jennifer Cohan believes the pilot will help the state how mobile driver's licenses work in real-world scenarios.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

And how do they plan to keep hackers from pinging people's driver license info.

Mar 14 12:11

Police Use of Facial Recognition Technology on Trial in Florida Court

By Derrick Broze

A Florida appeals court is set to become the first court to determine whether police are legally allowed to use facial recognition software to find suspects.

Florida’s First District Court of Appeals will take on a case involving law enforcement use of facial recognition technology to catch a drug dealer. Specifically, the court will determine whether police are allowed to use the facial recognition software to catch suspects without notifying them of the technology...

Mar 14 11:50

Amazon’s Initiative: “Digital Assistants”, Home Surveillance and Data

Dolls connected to the internet; sex toys linked to the world wide web; and, of course, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos haunting you in the home with Alexa, a talking digital assistant connected with the speaker Echo. Alexa, this happy searching missionary, scouring and gathering intelligence for that weighty mother ship, Amazon, all used in the name of profit and customer experience.

For one thing, Alexa shows how sources of inspiration, entertainment and variety have shifted. Like the search-hungry connected doll, Amazon’s Alexa, after being woken from digital slumber via Echo, conveys material through Amazon’s servers, where the audio is analysed. The command is thereby sent back to the Echo device. Both the voice audio and the response, is stored and linked to the user’s account.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

I would never have such a device in our home, although I understand that cell phones can still record, even when they are not in use, but I haven't quite figured out how to break my reliance on it as a business tool.

Mar 14 11:09

Verizon Forced to Repair Broadband Infrastructure It Has Literally Let Fall Apart

A new settlement requires Verizon to replace bad cable, defective equipment, and faulty back-up batteries

Webmaster's Commentary: 

We have the same problem with Spectrum. We pay for 300 mbps service but only get 60 mbps. When I complain, they insist it must be something wrong with my equipment.

Mar 14 10:34

Verizon Forced to Repair Broadband Infrastructure It Has Literally Let Fall Apart

A new settlement requires Verizon to replace bad cable, defective equipment, and faulty back-up batteries—and to take down 64,000 double telephone poles or pole stumps.

A half-decade ago, Verizon executives decided they’d try and convert a stodgy old telecom monopoly into a sexy new advertising juggernaut. To accomplish this goal, Verizon bought both AOL and Yahoo, mashed them together into a new brand named Oath, and promised to challenge Google and Facebook’s dominance of online advertising.

But Verizon’s clumsy pivot has resulted in millions of frustrated DSL customers up and down the east coast who say Verizon’s fascination with video advertising has resulted in a systemic neglect of its core businesses.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

This is the new model; use aging, non-performing equipment; sign people up for the alleged "next generation" of communications, then not deliver.

Here on Oahu, we have never received the level of bandwidth we were promised by Spectrum, when they bought out Oceanic Time Warner.

This is a systemic problem in this country.

The Communications Workers of America should be thanked for documenting the reality of this practice, and forcing Verizon to at least begin to live up to the promises it made to its customers in Pennsylvania and the state of New York.

Mar 14 10:25

Defense Agency To Begin Moving Classified Data to Amazon's Secret Cloud After Protest

Microsoft withdrew a bid protest that allows U.S. Transportation Command to begin migrating data to Amazon’s secret cloud region.

Mar 14 10:22


There’s a new, proposed backdoor to our data, which would bypass our Fourth Amendment protections to communications privacy. It is built into a dangerous bill called the CLOUD Act, which would allow police at home and abroad to seize cross-border data without following the privacy rules where the data is stored.

This backdoor is an insidious method for accessing our emails, our chat logs, our online videos and photos, and our private moments shared online between one another. This backdoor would deny us meaningful judicial review and the privacy protections embedded in our Constitution.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

On Facebook or on line, I never state anything that isn't pure vanilla; I use Mike's website for what may be considered the more controversial stuff, but I back it up with as much fact as I can find.

The truth of the business is, we are all constantly surveilled, and the reality of the protections for speech, which used to be guaranteed by the 4th Amendment to the Constitution, has been eviscerated.

Because of this reality, meaningful 21st century communication has been reduced to sign language under a completely opaque tent.

Mar 14 10:05

'Give me bitcoins or prepare to die': Shocking video shows how retail robots could be hacked to display PORN, demand ransom, and curse out customers

If you thought typical cyberattacks were scary, think again.

Security researchers have discovered a new vulnerability in popular robots that allows hackers to manipulate how the robots talk, move and process information.

Using a ransomware attack, cybercriminals can make robots angrily demand bitcoin as ransom for personal data, display hardcore porn and even insult you with curse words.

The ransomware can be used to compromise both of SoftBank's humanoid robots, Pepper and NAO.

Mar 14 09:00

Microsoft Admits It Incorrectly Upgraded Some Windows 10 Users to v1709

Microsoft admitted last week that it incorrectly updated some Windows 10 users to the latest version of the Windows 10 operating system —version 1709— despite users having specifically paused update operations in their OS settings.

The admission came in a knowledge base article updated last week. Not all users of older Windows versions were forcibly updated, but only those of Windows 10 v1703 (Creators Update).

This is the version where Microsoft added special controls to the Windows Update setting section that allow users to pause OS updates in case they have driver or other hardware issues with the latest OS version.

Mar 14 08:31

Samba settings SNAFU lets any user change admin passwords

Samba admins: get patching and/or updating. Unless you’re content to have your admin passwords overwritten by, well, anyone else using Samba.

That’s the gist of an advisory warning that “On a Samba 4 Active Directory domain controller (AD DC) any authenticated user can change other users' passwords over LDAP, including the passwords of administrative users and service accounts.”

“Samba vendors and administrators running affected versions are advised to upgrade or apply the patch as soon as possible,” the advisory adds.

Mar 13 18:05

British Government Is Trying to Censor the Internet by the Back Door

The Times reported that government minister; Matt Hancock is pushing for all social media websites to verify the age of anyone using their services. Matt Hancock wants for everyone to have to use their passports in order verify their age but one big issue with this proposal is that many people don’t have a passport, especially children. This would to many people no longer being able to use social media websites due to a lack of a passport.

Basically, Matt Hancock wants everybody to have to use a passport to sign into social media, for this, he is using the classic think of the children argument.

Mar 13 17:48

Researchers Point to an AMD Backdoor—And Face Their Own Backlash

But in an unusual move, the CTS researchers shared their full findings with AMD only a day before going public, practically blindsiding the company. The typical disclosure window lasts for months, to give affected manufacturers a chance to address the issues. They also released their paper with almost no technical details that would allow anyone to reproduce the attacks they describe. And CTS includes an unusual disclaimer on its website that it may have "an economic interest in the performance of the securities of the companies" implicated in its reports, raising concerns from security analysts that they could benefit from a drop in AMD's stock price.

"It's kinda hard to parse it all at face value, because I don't think they are acting in good faith, and the lack of details makes it unverifiable," wrote Ben Gras, a hardware security researcher at the Free University of Amsterdam. "It makes me worry that even the impact may be reported in an inflated way."

Mar 13 17:44

Firefox Gets Privacy Boost By Disabling Proximity and Ambient Light Sensor APIs

Stating with Firefox 60 —expected to be released in May 2018— websites won't be able to use Firefox to access data from sensors that provide proximity distances and ambient light information.

Firefox was allowing websites to access this data via the W3C Proximity and Ambient Light APIs.

But at the start of the month, Mozilla engineers have decided to disable access to these two APIs by default. The APIs won't be removed, but their status is now controlled by two Firefox flags that will ship disabled by default.

This means users will have to manually enable the two flags before any website can use Firefox to extract proximity and ambient light data from the device's underlying sensors.

Mar 13 17:37

Google Will Prioritize Stories for Paying News Subscribers

Google users who subscribe to newspapers will find articles from those publications appearing higher in their search results, part of the tech giant’s efforts to help media companies find and retain paying readers, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Alphabet unit will also begin sharing search data that show who’s most likely to buy a subscription, said the people, who asked to be anonymous because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly. Google executives plan to disclose specific details at an event in New York on March 20, according to the people. Google declined to comment.

Mar 13 12:34

Digital Papers Please: New Reports of TSA Searching Computers and Cellphones for DOMESTIC Flights

By Nicholas West

Despite being roundly hated by the traveling public, the TSA continues to trample upon anyone unfortunate enough to cross their path. Whether it is the physical searches that are sometimes tantamount to sex crimes, or forcing foreign travelers to take books, magazines and food out of their bags for inspection, there seems to be no end in sight for how far they are willing step...

Now, however, an exclusive report from the Guardian seems to indicate that even the pretense of preventing a foreign terror attack is being done away with as internal U.S. flight travelers are reporting the same warrantless requests to inspect their digital devices. These findings have spurred the ACLU of Northern California to file a new lawsuit against the TSA...

Mar 13 11:55

A brief history of censorship and how it’s playing out now

Censorship has been considered a legitimate instrument for controlling the political and social position of the masses for centuries. It did not dawn in our current Orwellian state. With the massive YouTube channel bans, social media limitations of reach, shadow banning, and ...

Mar 13 07:28

Experts warn digitally-altered 'deepfakes' videos of Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, and other world leaders could be used to manipulate global politics by 2020

Top tech firms have been cracking down on savvy internet users who continue to create fake, AI-assisted porn of many of Hollywood's leading ladies.

But now it seems the videos, also known as 'deepfakes,' have taken an even darker turn.

'Deepfakes' hobbyists have begun using the technology to create digitally-altered videos of world leaders, including President Donald Trump, Russian president Vladimir Putin, former president Barack Obama and former first lady and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Experts warn the videos could be realistic enough to manipulate future elections and global political as soon as 2020.

Mar 13 07:18

America's Troll Farm Media

Despite all the smoke and mirrors, most Americans seem to see where the stenographers of corporate capitalism are taking us. A recent Gallup poll found that while 84% of Americans see media as “critical” or “very important” to democracy, only 28% see the corporatist mainstream news media (MSM) as actually supporting democracy. They’re right on both counts of course. The quality of a democracy is only as good as the information people have to make informed judgements about public policy and politicians.

Mar 13 07:13

U.S. Supreme Court: GPS Trackers Are a Form of Search and Seizure

When the government places a location monitor on you or your stuff, it could be violating the Fourth Amendment.

Mar 13 06:20

Questions for TSA after reports of laptop and phone searches on domestic flights

There are a growing number of reports of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) searching the electronic devices of passengers on domestic flights in the US, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which has sued the federal agency for records.

The ACLU Foundation of Northern California filed a lawsuit against the TSA on Monday demanding that the government disclose its policies for searching the computers and cellphones of domestic travelers, arguing that anecdotal accounts have raised concerns about potential privacy invasions.

“We’ve received reports of passengers on purely domestic flights having their phones and laptops searched, and the takeaway is that TSA has been taking these items from people without providing any reason why,” the staff attorney Vasudha Talla told the Guardian. “The search of an electronic device has the potential to be highly invasive and cover the most personal details about a person.”

Mar 13 05:55

Masturbation hacks and consent advice: how YouTubers took over sex education

When Lily was at school, she remembers the boys and girls being separated for a sex education class. The boys were given one booklet; the girls another. “In the boys’ booklet, there was a section on masturbation and there wasn’t in the girls’ booklet,” she says. “A girl put her hand up and said: ‘Why don’t we have that?’ and one of the teachers said: ‘Girls don’t do that, that’s disgusting.’ It shouldn’t be a shameful thing to talk about. It can be a bit awkward and embarrassing, but we should be talking about it.”

Mar 13 05:54

Muslim Cyber Army: a 'fake news' operation designed to derail Indonesia's leader

Police in Indonesia believe they have uncovered a clandestine fake news operation designed to corrupt the political process and destabilise the government.

In a string of arrests across the archipelago in recent weeks, authorities have revealed the inner workings of a self-proclaimed cyber-jihadist network known as the Muslim Cyber Army (MCA).

The network is accused of spreading fake news and hate speech to inflame religious and ethnic schisms; fan paranoia around gay men and lesbians, alleged communists and Chinese people; and spread defamatory content to undermine the president.

Police say the network was orchestrated through a central Whatsapp group called the Family MCA.

Mar 13 05:07


Video from Australian Brendan O'Connor. Brendan has spent time in Australian and New Zealand jails for telling the truth.

In addition to what Brendan reports it's interesting to note that the hard-wired back-door recently discovered was in Intel X86 CPUs manufactured after 2008. 2008 was the year Intel started manufacturing these CPUs in Israel.

Now you, too, can disable Intel ME 'backdoor' thanks to the NSA

Mar 12 16:26

Potent malware that hid for six years spread through routers

Researchers have discovered malware so stealthy it remained hidden for six years despite infecting at least 100 computers worldwide.

Slingshot—which gets its name from text found inside some of the recovered malware samples—is among the most advanced attack platforms ever discovered, which means it was likely developed on behalf of a well-resourced country, researchers with Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab reported Friday. The sophistication of the malware rivals that of Regin—the advanced backdoor that infected Belgian telecom Belgacom and other high-profile targets for years—and Project Sauron, a separate piece of malware suspected of being developed by a nation-state that also remained hidden for years.

Mar 12 16:22

Microsoft again forced upgrades on Win10 machines specifically set to block updates

When Microsoft released Win10 Pro Creators Update, version 1703, it included the ability to control updates. Some would argue (and I still do) that the ability to readily block updates is the most important feature of 1703 — and the single reason why individual Window 10 customers should spring for Win10 Pro, instead of Win10 Home.

Now, for the third time since its release in April 2017, Microsoft has simply ignored those blocks and moved machines on to the Fall Creators Update, version 1709, without warning or explanation.

Confirmation of the latest fiasco arrived last Friday evening, as part of a note appended to the end of a Knowledge Base article, KB 4023814.

Mar 12 16:17

SESTA Bill Will Not Prevent Sex Trafficking But Will Silence Online Speech

House Bill 1865, known as FOSTA, passed with an overwhelming majority last week. The vote on Senate Bill 1639, the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA), is expected this week. While the sponsors of these bills contend that they are aimed at stopping sex trafficking, neither bill actually helps sex trafficking victims confront their abusers and instead both focus on curtailing online speech. Even sex workers oppose the bills, which are likely to make consensual sex work more dangerous. The National Coalition Against Censorship joins with our allies in the free speech community to oppose this bill.

The goal of the SESTA bill–preventing the exploitation of children and adults by abusive traffickers–is laudable. Unfortunately that is not what this bill will actually do. The bill centers on internet communications and applies overly broad restrictions that will chill protected free speech online.

Mar 12 16:14

MOSQUITO Attack Allows Air-Gapped Computers to Covertly Exchange Data

Air-gapped computers are believed to be the most secure setup wherein the systems remain isolated from the Internet and local networks, requiring physical access to access data via a USB flash drive or other removable media.

Dubbed MOSQUITO, the new technique, discovered by a team of researchers at Israel's Ben Gurion University, works by reversing connected speakers (passive speakers, headphones, or earphones) into microphones by exploiting a specific audio chip feature.

Two years ago, the same team of researchers demonstrated how attackers could covertly listen to private conversations in your room just by reversing your headphones (connected to the infected computer) into a microphone, like a bug listening device, using malware.

Mar 12 14:32

Coincheck Hackers Have Already Laundered 40% of 500 Million Stolen NEM

The hackers behind the record-setting Coincheck theft have successfully laundered 40 percent of the approximately 500 million NEM tokens (XEM) they stole from the exchange in January, cybersecurity consultants say.

Citing research from Tokyo-based consultancy group L Plus, Nikkei reports that the hackers have laundered an estimated 200 million XEM, worth $79.3 million on the open market at the time of writing.

However, it is likely the hackers made far less than that figure, as evidence indicates the funds were likely laundered through dark web channels since the NEM Foundation and reputable cryptocurrency exchanges have been working together to blacklist the stolen funds.

Mar 12 08:20

The internet will be 'weaponised at scale' by criminals unless Google and Facebook are better regulated, warns web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee

'In recent years, we've seen conspiracy theories trend on social media platforms, fake Twitter and Facebook accounts stoke social tensions, external actors interfere in elections, and criminals steal troves of personal data,' Berners-Lee wrote in an open letter marking the 29th anniversary of his invention.

The concentration of power among a small number of platforms - including Twitter, Facebook and Google - has caused these problems to get worse, he said.

These companies 'control which ideas and opinions are seen and shared'.

'What was once a rich selection of blogs and websites has been compressed under the powerful weight of a few dominant platforms,' Berners-Lee wrote.

Mar 12 07:19

'More dangerous than nukes': Elon Musk still firm on regulatory oversight of AI

The man building a spaceship to send people to Mars has used his South by Southwest appearance to reaffirm his belief that the danger of artificial intelligence is much greater than the danger of nuclear warheads.

Mar 12 06:43

Sadiq Khan Warns Silicon Valley on ‘Hate Speech’ and Fake News, Blames Donald Trump

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has warned major technology companies such as Facebook and Twitter to do more on the issue of “hate speech,” or face fines and greater regulation.

Talking to the BBC ahead of the South by Southwest (SXSW) technology festival in Austin, Texas, Khan said that companies must be “chivvied and cajoled to take action.”

“We have evolving economies, which means we should have evolving regulations,” he said. “For too long politicians and policymakers have allowed this revolution to take place around us and we’ve had our heads in the sand.”

Mar 11 18:09

Auto manufacturers are asleep at the wheel when it comes to security

Cars are getting smarter every year but their increasing computational power isn’t being backed up by good IT security practices – hacking them is child’s play.

That’s the conclusion of a series of speakers at the Kaspersky Security Analyst Summit. These security researchers have demonstrated how easy it is to introduce software into vehicles to steal data, take control of vital functions, get around alarm and electronic key systems and even crash the car.

“Most cars these days are essentially computers running on four wheels,” said Stefan Tanase, principal security researcher at Romanian network testing shop Ixia.

“The only difference is when you have a problem with computer it won’t affect your physical security, but a car can put your life in danger and automotive security is something that the industry needs to take seriously.”

Mar 11 18:01

Only Half of Those Who Paid a Ransomware Were Able to Recover Their Data

A massive survey of nearly 1,200 IT security practitioners and decision makers across 17 countries reveals that half the people who fell victim to ransomware infections last year were able to recover their files after paying the ransom demand.