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Hacking & Security Posts - Page 16

GCHQ boss attacks British media over Snowden leaks

Sir Iain Lobban, the chief of British spy agency GCHQ, has publicly attacked the Guardian over its role in publishing information leaked by ex-NSA agent Edward Snowden.

 

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He asserted that GCHQ and its sister agencies in British intelligence are protecting the UK "despite the best efforts of some of the media." According to the Telegraph, Lobban said at the IA14 cyber security conference: "GCHQ has some world-class intellectual property but you'll understand that even in these revelatory times we really do need major parts of that to remain secret. But we are working to share where we can, including contributing it to the open source community to encourage further development."

 

He went on to claim GCHQ's reputation - despite the role the media has played in exposing its part in the worldwide, online surveillance dragnet - is "helping UK industry." "Allies around the world want to talk to us about cyber security and they want to do business with companies that we can vouch for," he said.

Continue reading 'GCHQ boss attacks British media over Snowden leaks' (full post)

Irish court raises questions on Facebook's relationship with NSA

Ireland's high court has passed a request on to the European Court of Justice to examine Facebook's compliance with data protection rules after its alleged role in providing data to the USA's National Security Agency.

 

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Ireland's High Court has conceded it is not able to force an investigation from the country's data commissioner, which acts as watchdog to companies all across Europe. High Court Justice Gerard Hogan did say this application for review is likely to fail, as the European commission already ruled the USA has provided an "adequate level of data protection." However, the application does bring about questions on whether the EU data protection directive is in line with the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights.

 

"The critical issue which arises is whether the proper interpretation of the 1995 directive and the 2000 Commission decision should be re-evaluated in the light of the subsequent entry into force of article 8 of the EU charter," Hogan said, in a statement which appeared to suggest laws were in dire need of an update for the technology age.

Continue reading 'Irish court raises questions on Facebook's relationship with NSA' (full post)

FBI arrests 20-year-old accused member of NullCrew hacker group

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has arrested Timothy Justin French, 20, an alleged member of the NullCrew hacking group on federal hacking charges. Known online as "Orbit," French contributed to attacks against two unnamed universities and three private companies. He has been charged with conspiracy to commit computer fraud and abuse, a common charge when the federal governments snags hackers.

 

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French was arrested without incident and the FBI is looking for other NullCrew members to prosecute. The FBI used a confidential witness, communicating with NullCrew members on Twitter, Skype and Cryptocat as they built their case against the hackers. During the investigation, the witness learned of past hacking operations, current plans, and future targets, while learning about the group's attack strategies.

 

The NullCrew first popped up on the radar after successfully hacking the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and World Health Organization (WHO), publicly publishing usernames, passwords, and email addresses.

eBay pulls plug on Chinese-made devices with pre-installed spyware

Auction house eBay has banned the sale of smartphones from Chinese manufacturer Star, as the company's N9500 cheap Google Android-powered device ships with the Usupay.D Trojan malware pre-installed. The device tracks phone user activity and cybercriminals can remotely control and manipulate the phone, if necessary.

 

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The only app shown running on the device is the Google Play Store icon, and the malware is completely hidden. After reports showed the phone was compromised, eBay decided to pull all sales of the Star N9500, which has become popular due to its low cost and close design to the Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone.

 

"The options with this spy program are nearly unlimited," said Christian Geschkat, G DATA Product Manager of Mobile Solutions, in a press statement. "Online criminals have full access to the smartphone. G DATA customers reported a detection by our security solutions and thus alerted us to this criminal tactic."

Continue reading 'eBay pulls plug on Chinese-made devices with pre-installed spyware' (full post)

Nokia paid millions in ransom to criminals preparing to release code

Major phone manufacturer Nokia suffered a data breach more than six years ago that led cybercriminals to demand a ransom of a few million dollars. Alarmingly, the criminals stumbled across the mobile Symbian operating system's encryption key, and threatened to make the source code public. Nokia quickly paid the ransom.

 

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Coordinating with the Finnish police, Nokia officials made the drop in central Finland, but authorities lost track of the criminals. It's a felony blackmail case that is years old, but police haven't said if they have new leads in the investigation.

 

Following a drop in Symbian dominance, Nokia later switched to Microsoft Windows Phone OS - and the U.S. based company purchased the Finnish handset manufacturer in early 2014 for $7.6 billion.

Domino's Pizza data held to ransom by hackers

Over 600,000 Domino's Pizza customers in Belgium and France have had their personal data stole, and now an anonymous online bandit says the information will be published unless the company pays a cash ransom.

 

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Phone numbers, email addresses, passwords, names and addresses were all pinched, reportedly from a server propping up an online ordering system the business is about to replace.

 

Somebody listed on Twitter as Rex Mundi has claimed that all the data will find its way online unless Domino's pays 30,000 euros. The account was suspended.

Continue reading 'Domino's Pizza data held to ransom by hackers' (full post)

Growing number of apps let parents control children's smartphones

Children at younger ages are frequently using smartphones or tablets, and that has led to some problems for parents trying to limit technology use. Since 2011, children smartphone and tablet use has tripled, according to Common Sense Media, and that number is expected to only accelerate further.

 

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The DinnerTime Parental Control app, designed for both Apple iPhones and Google Android devices, will let parents pause activity - giving children the chance to finish schoolwork, exercise, finish chores, or other activities. There also is a feature so parents are able to purchase app usage details, giving them a better look at how much time kids are using certain apps on their devices.

 

However, critics say parents should speak with their children about appropriate and inappropriate use of their devices - but that won't slow down the market for apps that provide parents with a better ability to limit technology use.

Svpeng ransomware trojan hijacks smartphones, demands payment

A new Trojan operating in the United States and United Kingdom, dubbed "Svpeng," demands $200 payment after locking smartphone users out of their devices. The likely Russian-made malicious code doesn't steal login credentials yet, but that is the likely next step, according to researchers from Kaspersky Lab.

 

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Users that don't have some type of anti-malware solution on devices are at higher risk, and there are no easy ways to get around the Trojan once it has been installed. Unless a device has been previously rooted, the only other way to remove it is to boot into safe mode and erase all content on the phone.

 

The malware looks for the following mobile apps: USAA Mobile, Citi Mobile, Amex Mobile, Wells Fargo Mobile, Bank of America Mobile Banking, TD App, Chase Mobile, BB&T Mobile Banking, and Regions Mobile.

Continue reading 'Svpeng ransomware trojan hijacks smartphones, demands payment' (full post)

Philippines charges first person under controversial cybercrime law

Karla Martinez Ignacio has the distinction of being the first person indicted in the Philippines under a new cybercrime law, with the government ushering in a new era under its controversial legislation. Ignacio is accused of transferring money into her personal bank account that was earned by fraud, and faces up to six years in prison for her crime if convicted.

 

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The government hopes to crackdown on cyberfraud, child pornography and identity theft - a growing battle by national governments across the world - but critics said political dissidents could be heavily punished. Despite initially being passed in 2012, there was an active protest against the law, which the nation's Supreme Court ruled legal in early 2014.

 

There is a cybercriminal and Internet piracy revolution underway in the Philippines, as a crackdown against Internet-based crime is becoming more prominent. Copyright holders in the Philippines are now receiving greater support from the government, shutting down torrent sites, punishing repeat copyright offenders, and becoming more proactive to help copyright holders.

Movie studios fighting piracy by shortening theatrical release window

Movie studios in Australia will reduce the exclusive theatrical release window from 120 days down to 90 days, trying to limit movie piracy. Specifically, movie studios are still concerned of camcorder piracy - and with a strict clamp on movie rights, it takes some time before films are available via Netflix, Blu-ray and DVD, or other formats.

 

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"This 120 days is not the hard and fast rule anymore and there will be some studios this year that will be coming in around the 90 days," said Simon Bush, Australian Home Entertainment Distributors Association CEO, in a recent interview. "[The studios] don't like the fact that they are losing out a lot of money to piracy."

 

In the United States, movie studios also have tried to shorten movie release windows - to compete with Redbox and other services - with cable and satellite providers expanding pay-per-view rentals of movies on the same day as theater releases.

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