Posts tagged software

Christopher Soghoian: Government surveillance — this is just the beginning



Christopher Soghoian: Government surveillance — this is just the beginning


TED video capture

TED video capture


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Published by TED

About: Privacy researcher Christopher Soghoian sees the landscape of government surveillance shifting beneath our feet, as an industry grows to support monitoring programs. Through private companies, he says, governments are buying technology with the capacity to break into computers, steal documents and monitor activity — without detection. This TED Fellow gives an unsettling look at what’s to come.

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design — plus science, business, global issues, the arts and much more.
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A Chinese Rebellion – How Activists are Stamping QR Codes on Currency to Fight Censorship




By Michael Krieger

A Chinese Rebellion – How Activists are Stamping QR Codes on Currency to Fight Censorship


One of the most productive trends I have witnessed in 2014 to-date, consists of the increasingly creative ways that activists around the world are fighting back against the status quo (Bitcoin stole the show in this regard last year). The first example of this emerged from within the Ukraine, where protestors are holding up mirrors in front of police forces in order to show them exactly what they have become and what they look like. Here are three powerful examples:







While I am not naive enough to think this simple act will change the world, it is a very good start and a tactic activists around the world should emulate. It is far more effective than running around in a violent orgy destroying property. The only thing that serves to do is encourage the police to meet violence with violence, and it also turns a large percentage of the populace against the activists. By reflecting their images back upon them through the use of mirrors, the police are forced to see how ridiculous they look in comparison to the poorly dressed, freezing cold serfs they have been paid to control by the ruling oligarchy.

Interestingly, Chinese activists have discovered their own form of non-violent, creative and effective resistance. They are stamping QR codes on the national currency with a message to ”scan and download software to break the Internet firewall.” Brilliant.

More from Boing Boing:

An anonymous anti-censorship group is stamping Chinese banknotes with a QR code and the message “Scan and download software to break the Internet firewall.” The stamps encode a URL for Freegate, a firewall-busting service. The stamps are widely suspected to be the work of Falun Gong, an outlawed religious sect that has a long history of supplying anti-censorship technology inside of mainland China, both to supply access to its own censored websites and to advertise the virtues of its belief-system to Chinese Internet users who are more interested in beating censorship than religion.

Full article here.

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When Refrigerators Attack



When Refrigerators Attack


1-20-2014 5-53-46 PM

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Published by NextNewsNetwork

About: In the first proven attack of its kind in history, a refrigerator has been used to hack into computers. The home appliance was used to send spam emails in a cyber-attack in December.

From December 23rd through January 6th, smart home electronics were infected with botnet software, which connected the devices through the internet. The connections also scooped up the processing power of routers, televisions and multimedia centers.

Evidence of the hacking was uncovered by the security firm Proofpoint. The groups stated that home appliances are often less secure than PC, tablets and other devices. This could make them a more common target for hackers as the next generation of devices becomes more popular.

David Knight, spokesman for ProofPoint, said “Many of these devices are poorly protected at best and consumers have virtually no way to detect or fix infections when they do occur. Enterprises may find distributed attacks increasing as more and more of these devices come online and attackers find additional ways to exploit them.”
The emails sent carried the malware used to grow the size of the network. Until recently, most computer experts considered such attacks to be a theoretical possibility. This is the first time such an attack has been carried out.

At the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month, manufacturers showed off a number of new internet-connected devices, including a smart toothbrush. Google recently purchased Nest, a manufacturer of intelligent smoke alarms.

By the year 2020, as many as 30 billion internet-connected devices will be in use around the world.

Knight said, “I don’t think a consumer should be expected to know and fix if their refrigerator has been compromised. The industry is going to have to do a better job of securing these devices.”

With the market for home appliances growing so quickly, stories of hacking such devices will soon become common. Just be glad that for now, you can get a glass of orange juice out of your refrigerator without hearing about a multimillion dollar inheritance from a Nigerian prince.

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Tech Corps Form Alliance to Push the Internet of Everything




By Susanne Posel
Occupy Corporatism


Tech Corps Form Alliance to Push the Internet of Everything



If the AllSeen Alliance (ASA) has it their way, all of our home appliances, cars and computers will be speaking to each other because of open source frame working that has become the cornerstone of consumer electronics.

This software framework was developed by Qualcomm under project AllJoyn which was intended to connect and interact with systems regardless of whether or not the manufacturer installed an operating system in the unit.

Supporters of the ASA are:

• Linux Foundation
• Cisco
• D-Link
• Haier
• LG Electronics
• Panasonic
• Sharp


Jim Zemlin explained: “Qualcomm has contributed the AllJoyn code to the AllSeen Alliance, which will own the copyright, allowing the project to take on a broader scope. The open source community can also contribute.”

Called the Internet of Everything (IoE), ASA views their project as “h an open, universal development framework supported by a vibrant ecosystem and thriving technical community.”

The concept of IoE “is based on the idea that devices, objects and systems can be connected in simple, transparent ways to enable seamless sharing of information across all of them. As no single company can accomplish the level of interoperability required to support the Internet of Everything and address every day, real-life scenarios, a cross-industry effort is needed to deliver new experiences to consumers and businesses.”

The shared framework would link your car to your coffeemaker and your cellphone to make these devices interoperable and communicative; regardless of whether to not the manufacturer intended this to be true.

Navetas , a UK start-up, is working on a new smart meter that will track energy use by distinguishing between a television, refrigerator and other household appliances.

Called energy disaggregation, the computer algorithms learn how much power each appliance in a home uses and how often it is used.

This information can be sent to a smartphone and to the utilities corporation.

Chris Saunders, chief executive officer of Navetas, explained the technology: “We go into a process where we identify the core elements of an appliance — for instance, we can identify heating loads, induction motor loads, consumer electronics loads and things like that. We then look at associations between all of those within the home to piece together what is occurring, and to identify discrete appliances.”

Jason Huntley, an information technologies consultant in the UK revealed how the LG smart television sends customer surveillance data to LG Electronics Inc.

Huntley explained: “the company continued to collect which channel he was watching even after he disabled the information collection feature. The (LG) server acknowledges the successful receipt of this information back to the TV. The information appeared to be sent to LG unencrypted.”

In a part of the menu called “collection of watching info” Huntley discovered that regardless of turning the option off, data was still being sent to LG computer servers.

Huntley commented: “That’s a terrible implementation of the idea. It still sends the traffic but labels it saying I didn’t want it to be sent. It’s actually worse, I think, than if they’d not offered the opt-out in the first place since it allows the user to believe nothing is being sent.”

Other data stored included:

• Customer names of files
• Unique identification customer information
• Specialized tracking numbers for the specific TV

By utilizing a USB external drive, all this information could be taken directly from the unit.
LG responded to Huntley, saying: “As you accepted the Terms and Conditions on your TV, your concerns would be best directed to the retailer.”

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About the author:

Susanne Posel Chief Editor, Investigative Journalist Radio Host: The Region 10 Report, Live Thursdays 1-3PM PST on American Freedom Radio.


FBI pressures Internet providers to install surveillance software



FBI pressures Internet providers to install surveillance software



At least one service provider is fighting this, which is good. Whether this company will prevail is another thing. Indeed many within government probably wonder if a “private” communications company should even exist in this country. How is the government supposed to keep us safe if any information at all is kept out of government hands?


The U.S. government is quietly pressuring telecommunications providers to install eavesdropping technology deep inside companies’ internal networks to facilitate surveillance efforts.

FBI officials have been sparring with carriers, a process that has on occasion included threats of contempt of court, in a bid to deploy government-provided software capable of intercepting and analyzing entire communications streams. The FBI’s legal position during these discussions is that the software’s real-time interception of metadata is authorized under the Patriot Act.

Attempts by the FBI to install what it internally refers to as “port reader” software, which have not been previously disclosed, were described to CNET in interviews over the last few weeks.

Click here for the article.

Teenage Prodigy Spurns MIT, Chooses Entrepreneurship



Teenage Prodigy Spurns MIT, Chooses Entrepreneurship



SALT LAKE CITY – Delian Asparouhov, a teenage prodigy from Utah, won honors in math, science, and robotics, and at 14 wrote a revolutionary software program for his father’s company.

The Bulgarian immigrant comes from an exceptionally well-educated family in which he was expected to get an advanced college degree. His father, Tihomir Asparouhov, earned a doctorate in mathematics from the California Institute of Technology, and his mother, Elena, is an associate professor of finance at the University of Utah.

After high school, Delian was accepted at MIT – but he has since dropped out to launch a health care App called Nightingale, which will use mobile phones to help patients manage their medications.

Asparouhov developed the app with MIT student Eric Bakan – and their idea won a $100,000 fellowship funded by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. The Thiel Fellowship is given each year to about 20 students under age 20 to drop out of college and develop a business idea.

MUST VIEW VIDEO: Digital Carjackers Show Forbes How Michael Hasting’s Car Could Have Been Remotely Carjacked



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Digital Carjackers Show Forbes How Michael Hasting’s Car Could Have Been Remotely Carjacked


Hasting’s isn’t mentioned in the video, just a demonstration of how a car can be remotely carjacked.

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The research on this was done as a result of funding by the Pentagon, which Forbes writer Andy Greenberg tells us was commissioned to, ahem, “to root out security vulnerabilities”:

This fact, that a car is not a simple machine of glass and steel but a hackable network of computers, is what Miller and Valasek have spent the last year trying to demonstrate. Miller, a 40-year-old security engineer at Twitter, and Valasek, the 31-year-old director of security intelligence at the Seattle consultancy IOActive, received an $80,000-plus grant last fall from the mad-scientist research arm of the Pentagon known as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to root out security vulnerabilities in automobiles.


Related post:

DARPA PM Kathleen Fisher, High Assurance Systems

Murder Mystery(?) Michael Hastings and a CyberSecurity Firm Called Endgame



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Murder Mystery(?) Michael Hastings and a CyberSecurity Firm Called Endgame



Reports are beginning to surface about a connection between the reporter Michael Hastings and a mysterious cybersecurity firm known as Endgame.
Hastings has been linked to Barrett Brown, who the government alleges is the leader of the hacker group Anonymous. Brown is in jail and is being held without bail. The web site Free Barrett Brown reports:

Having previously been raided by the FBI on March 6, 2012 and not charged with any crime in relation to that incident, on September 12, 2012 Barrett Brown was again raided and this time arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation while he was online participating in a Tinychat session. He was subsequently denied bail and detained without charge and adequate medical treatment for over two weeks while in the custody of US Marshals. In the first week of October 2012, he was finally indicted on three counts.

These charges are related to alleged activities or postings on popular websites such as Twitter and YouTube, in which he postured for the return of property which was taken from him in March, and expressed frustration at the targeted campaign against him and a member of his family. The Department of Justice issued a press release at the time.

On December 4, 2012 Barrett was indicted by a federal grand jury on twelve additional counts (see: DOJ press release) related to data from the Stratfor breach.

Also, according to the web site,  Hastings was planning to interview Brown:

Before his untimely death, Hastings was working on a story about Barrett, announcing mysteriously to his followers “Get ready for your mind to be blown.” Hastings had been in touch with Barrett’s lawyers, and intended to interview him in June for the story. Barrett has been in prison for 281 days pending trial, and faces over a hundred years imprisonment for what Hastings called ”trumped up FBI charges regarding his legitimate reportorial inquiry into the political collective known sometimes as Anonymous.”

Before his suspicious death in a fiery car crash, Hastings seemed to confirm this planned interview, in a tweet and hinted it was relative to a very big story:

@ronbryn @BarrettBrownLOL working on it. there was an election, and still a few wars going on. but get ready for your mind to be blown.
— Michael Hastings (@mmhastings) January 24, 2013

Barrett, at the time he was arrested,was studying Endgame. The Nation reports:

  Brown began looking into Endgame Systems, an information security firm that seemed particularly concerned about staying in the shadows. “Please let HBGary know we don’t ever want to see our name in a press release,” one leaked e-mail read. One of its products, available for a $2.5 million annual subscription, gave customers access to “zero-day exploits”—security vulnerabilities unknown to software companies—for computer systems all over the world. Business Week published a story on Endgame in 2011, reporting that “Endgame executives will bring up maps of airports, parliament buildings, and corporate offices. The executives then create a list of the computers running inside the facilities, including what software the computers run, and a menu of attacks that could work against those particular systems.” For Brown, this raised the question of whether Endgame was selling these exploits to foreign actors and whether they would be used against computer systems in the United States. Shortly thereafter, the hammer came down.

The FBI acquired a warrant for Brown’s laptop, gaining the authority to seize any information related to HBGary, Endgame Systems, Anonymous and, most ominously, “email, email contacts, ‘chat’, instant messaging logs, photographs, and correspondence.” In other words, the FBI wanted his sources.

So what is Endgame? According to Darker Net:



Related posts:

The Michael Hastings Wreck–Video Evidence Only Deepens The Mystery

More Questions in the Death of Reporter Michael Hastings

Michael Hastings Cremated, Family Never Requested; Wife Has Hired Private Detective

Reporter: Very Unusual Intense Hot Fire in Hastings Car Crash

Crashes of Convenience: Michael Hastings

Added Info: The Mysterious Death of Journalist Michael Hastings

Reporter Who Brought Down General Stanley McChrystal Is Dead at 33

Software guru McAfee arrested in Guatemala



The Associated Press   Posted: Dec 5, 2012 10:20 PM ET   Last Updated: Dec 6, 2012 1:54 AM ET

Software guru McAfee arrested in Guatemala

Software company founder John McAfee, 67, has been identified as a ‘person of interest’ in the killing of his neighbour in Belize. The anti-virus company founder is seeking political asylum in Guatemala. (Moises Castillo/Associated Press)

Software company founder John McAfee was arrested by police in Guatemala on Wednesday for entering the country illegally, hours after he said he would seek asylum in the Central American country.

The anti-virus guru was detained at a hotel in an upscale Guatemala City neighbourhood with the help of Interpol agents and taken to an old, three-story building used to house migrants who enter the country illegally, said Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez Bonilla.

It was the latest twist in a bizarre tale that has seen McAfee refuse to turn himself in to authorities in Belize, where he is a person of interest in the killing of a neighbour, then go on the lam, updating his progress on a blog and claiming to be hiding in plain sight, before secretly crossing the border into Guatemala.

“He will be in danger if he is returned to Belize, where he has denounced authorities,” said his lawyer in Guatemala, Telesforo Guerra. “His life is in danger.”

Guerra said he would ask that a judge look at McAfee’s case as soon as possible. “From them moment he asked for asylum he has to have the protection of the Guatemalan government.”


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