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What's new at the crossroads of culture, technology and science
Curated by Artur Alves
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Powerful NSA hacking tools have been revealed online

Powerful NSA hacking tools have been revealed online | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
The cache mysteriously surfaced over the weekend and appears to be legitimate.
Artur Alves's insight:
«Several of the exploits were pieces of computer code that took advantage of “zero-day” or previously unknown flaws or vulnerabilities in firewalls, which appear to be unfixed to this day, said one of the former hackers. The disclosure of the file means that at least one other party — possibly another country’s spy agency — has had access to the same hacking tools used by the NSA and could deploy them against organizations that are using vulnerable routers and firewalls. It might also see what the NSA is targeting and spying on. And now that the tools are public, as long as the flaws remain unpatched, other hackers can take advantage of them, too.»
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Gigabytes of user data from hack of Patreon donations site dumped online

Gigabytes of user data from hack of Patreon donations site dumped online | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
The inclusion of source code and databases suggests breach was extensive.
Artur Alves's insight:

Hacking and publishing user data for fun and profit continues to erode trusted networks. This time, it was Patreon, a crowdfunding service used by artists, journalists, etc.

 

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Hackers have published almost 15 gigabytes' worth of password data, donation records, and source code taken during the recent hack of the Patreon funding website.

At least passwords were encrypted with 2048-bit RSA, hashed via bcrypt, and salted.

The data has been circulating in various online locations and was reposted here by someone who said it wasn't immediately possible to confirm the authenticity of the data. Security researcher Troy Hunt has since downloaded the archive file, inspected its contents, and concluded that they almost certainly came from Patreon servers. He said the amount and type of data posted by the hackers suggest the breach was more extensive and potentially damaging to users than he previously assumed.

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Hackers Lurking in Vents and Soda Machines

Hackers Lurking in Vents and Soda Machines | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Companies are finding that their greatest cybersecurity threats can hide in third-party systems, like networked air-conditioning equipment.
Artur Alves's insight:

"Companies have always needed to be diligent in keeping ahead of hackers — email and leaky employee devices are an old problem — but the situation has grown increasingly complex and urgent as countless third parties are granted remote access to corporate systems. This access comes through software controlling all kinds of services a company needs: heating, ventilation and air-conditioning; billing, expense and human-resources management systems; graphics and data analytics functions; health insurance providers; and even vending machines."

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How Hackers Steal Trade Secrets By Targeting Smaller Companies

How Hackers Steal Trade Secrets By Targeting Smaller Companies | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Verizon's annual data breach investigation finds that Chinese hackers are going after small organizations in order to steal the trade secrets of their larger partners.
Artur Alves's insight:

"Discovering data breaches was not easy for most organizations. Verizon found that the time from compromise to discovery took months, and sometimes years.

Verizon worked with 18 organizations worldwide in gathering data for the report. The groups included national computer emergency response teams and law enforcement agencies."

 

Interestingly, some easy steps can drastically improve information security, so it is up to the companies to reinforce info security literacy in order to avoid social engineering and brute force attacks.

 

"No one found any cutting-edge methods used by attackers to break into networks, so organizations can go a long ways toward protecting themselves by focusing on the basics, such as stronger passwords and educating employees about bogus email."

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Rebooting Computer Crime Law Part 1: No Prison Time For Violating Terms of Service

Rebooting Computer Crime Law Part 1: No Prison Time For Violating Terms of Service | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Artur Alves's insight:

"Here is the CFAA's greatest flaw: the law makes it illegal to access a computer without authorization or in a way that exceeds authorization, but doesn't clearly explain what that means. This murkiness gives the government tons of leeway to be creative in bringing charges. "

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What the New York Times hack tells us about the layer cake of hacking

The infiltration of the American newspaper by hackers reckoned to be working for the Chinese government is a demonstration of the layered model of hacking: from noisy to silent, amateur to professional.
Artur Alves's insight:

For months, the Grey Lady was the target of a very sophisticated attack. The hacking underworld is locked in a very serious conflict, not to be confined to Anonymous.

"For the government hackers, anonymity - the real sort, rather than the mask-wearing, visible Anonymous sort - is an essential currency. They have to remain invisible both in their daily life, and their online life."

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Cosmo, the Hacker 'God' Who Fell to Earth | Gadget Lab | Wired.com

Cosmo, the Hacker 'God' Who Fell to Earth | Gadget Lab | Wired.com | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it

"With his group, UGNazi (short for “underground nazi” and pronounced “you-gee” not “uhg”), Cosmo took part in some of the most notorious hacks of the year. Throughout the winter and spring, they DDoS’ed all manner of government and financial sites, including NASDAQ, ca.gov, and CIA.gov, which they took down for a matter of hours in April. They bypassed Google two step, hijacked 4chan’s DNS and redirected it to their own Twitter feed, and repeatedly posted Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s address and Social Security number online. After breaking into one billing agency using social-engineering techniques this past May, they proceeded to dump some 500,000 credit card numbers online. Cosmo was the social engineer for the crew, a specialist in talking his way past security barriers. His arsenal of tricks held clever-yet-idiot-proof ways of getting into accounts on Amazon, Apple, AOL, PayPal, Best Buy, Buy.com, Live.com (think: Hotmail, Outlook, Xbox) and more. He can hijack phone numbers from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and your local telco."

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George Hotz, Sony, and the Anonymous Hacker Wars

George Hotz, Sony, and the Anonymous Hacker Wars | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Martyrs win devotees, and soon Hotz had gained the allegiance of the most notorious hackers: a group called Anonymous...
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Anonymous hackers could be Islamic State's online nemesis

Anonymous hackers could be Islamic State's online nemesis | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Anonymous strives to bring down IS propaganda before it reaches the masses.
Artur Alves's insight:

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Anonymous has been prosecuted for cyber attacks in many countries under cybercrime laws, as their activities are not seen as legitimate protest. It is worth mentioning the ethical debate around hacktivism, as some see cyber attacks that take down accounts or websites as infringing on others’ freedom of expression, while others argue that hacktivismshould instead create technologies to circumvent censorship, enable digital equality and open access to information.

In striving to tackle networks such as IS, Anonymous takes the position that it is fighting against those who coordinate or commit crimes against humanity (“We will unite humanity” the Anonymous video following the Paris attacks promises viewers). Its ideology therefore seeks to be inclusive and reflect a common humanity, which embraces open, fluid identities that are not restricted to nationality, religion or ethnicity.

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Despite Wave of Data Breaches, Official Says Patient Privacy Isn’t Dead

Despite Wave of Data Breaches, Official Says Patient Privacy Isn’t Dead | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Yet another health insurer reported a massive data breach this week, affecting the financial and medical information of 11 million people. We asked the head of the federal agency tasked with investigating these issues whether the notion of patient privacy was outmoded.
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New Targets for Hackers: Your Car and Your House

New Targets for Hackers: Your Car and Your House | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Hackers and security researchers are exploring vulnerabilities to break through the high-tech security of homes or cause car accidents.
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South Korea on alert for cyber-attacks after major network goes down

South Korea on alert for cyber-attacks after major network goes down | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Computer systems of banks and broadcasters are interrupted, with fingers immediately pointed at North Korea
Artur Alves's insight:

"The computer networks of three broadcasters - KBS, MBC and YTN - and two banks, Shinhan and Nonghyup, froze at around 2pm local time. Shinhan said its ATMs, payment terminals and mobile banking in the South were affected. TV broadcasts were not affected."

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Federal Reserve hacked

Federal Reserve hacked | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
US central bank confirms intrusion after hacktivist group Anonymous was claimed to have stolen 4,000 bankers' details
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Hackers launch assault on Israeli government websites

Hackers launch assault on Israeli government websites | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it

"Israeli officials count 44 million attacks on government sites since bombardment of Gaza began – but only one succeeds...

Cyber-attacks launched following the start of the Israeli offensive knocked some sites offline for a short period of time at the end of last week and resulted in others being defaced with pro-Palestinian messages.

Anonymous said on Saturday that it had taken down or erased the databases of nearly 700 Israeli private and public websites, including that of the Bank of Jerusalem finance house."

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US National Security Agency boss asks hackers to make internet more secure

US National Security Agency boss asks hackers to make internet more secure | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
General Keith Alexander stresses common ground between US officials and hackers at Def Con gathering in Las Vegas...
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Q&A: Hacker Historian George Dyson Sits Down With Wired’s Kevin Kelly

Q&A: Hacker Historian George Dyson Sits Down With Wired’s Kevin Kelly | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
The two most powerful technologies of the 20th century—the nuclear bomb and the computer—were invented at the same time and by the same group of young people. But while the history of the Manhattan Project has been well told, the origin of the computer is relatively unknown. In his new book, Turing’s Cathedral, historian George Dyson, who grew up among these proto- hackers in Princeton, New Jersey, tells the story of how Alan Turing, John von Neumann, and a small band of other geniuses not only built the computer but foresaw the world it would create. Dyson talked to wired about the big bang of the digital universe.
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