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Censorship

Inside the North Korean Data Smuggling Movement 61

Posted by timothy
from the western-imperialists-violating-the-kim-family's-rights dept.
Sparrowvsrevolution writes A new Wired magazine story goes inside the North Korean rebel movement seeking to overthrow Kim Jong-un by smuggling USB drives into the country packed with foreign television and movies. As the story describes, one group has stashed USB drives in Chinese cargo trucks. Another has passed them over from tourist boats that meet with fishermen mid-river. Others arrange USB handoffs at the Chinese border in the middle of the night with walkie talkies, laser pointers, and bountiful bribes. Even Kim assassination comedy The Interview, which the North Korean government allegedly hacked Sony to prevent from being released, has made it into the country: Chinese traders' trucks carried 20 copies of the film across the border the day after Christmas, just two days after its online release.
Communications

Vandalism In Arizona Shuts Down Internet and Phone Service 132

Posted by Soulskill
from the can't-stop-the-signal-unless-you-have-wiresnips dept.
schwit1 sends news that vandalism on the outskirts of Phoenix, Arizona knocked out internet and telephone service for hours across much of the state's northern region. ATMs, credit card functionality, and emergency services were all affected. Officers are trying to determine who cut through a pipe containing a fiber-optic cable on the outskirts of the city, leading to the outage on Wednesday, which hit northern Phoenix and large parts of the north of Arizona. ... The four-inch-thick pipe, which carries a CenturyLink cable, was found sliced through in an area where it is exposed to the elements as it crosses a desert wash about a quarter of a mile from a residential area, Holmes said. Police said the investigation is in its early stages, but that the pipe may have been vandalized by thieves looking to steal metal.
Security

Fighting Scams Targeting the Elderly With Old-School Tech 98

Posted by samzenpus
from the going-back dept.
itwbennett writes Sharp is launching a pair of landline phones designed to counter a growing form of fraud in Japan that preys upon the elderly. The 'ore ore' ('it's me, it's me') fraudsters pretend to be grandchildren in an emergency and convince their victims to send money, generally via ATM. Sharp's new phones are designed to alert seniors to the dangers of unknown callers. When potential victims receive that are not registered in the internal memory of Sharp's new phones, their LED bars glow red and the phones go into anti-scam mode. An automated message then tells the caller that the call is being recorded and asks for the caller to state his or her name before the call is answered.
Crime

3 Million Strong RAMNIT Botnet Taken Down 23

Posted by samzenpus
from the bring-it-down dept.
An anonymous reader writes The National Crime Agency's National Cyber Crime Unit worked with law enforcement colleagues in the Netherlands, Italy and Germany, co-ordinated through Europol's European Cybercrime Centre, to shut down command and control servers used by the RAMNIT botnet. Investigators believe that RAMNIT may have infected over three million computers worldwide, with around 33,000 of those being in the UK. It has so far largely been used to attempt to take money from bank accounts.
United States

US Govt and Private Sector Developing "Precrime" System Against Cyber-Attacks 55

Posted by samzenpus
from the knowing-is-half-the-battle dept.
An anonymous reader writes A division of the U.S. government's Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) unit, is inviting proposals from cybersecurity professionals and academics with a five-year view to creating a computer system capable of anticipating cyber-terrorist acts, based on publicly-available Big Data analysis. IBM is tentatively involved in the project, named CAUSE (Cyber-attack Automated Unconventional Sensor Environment), but many of its technologies are already part of the offerings from other interested organizations. Participants will not have access to NSA-intercepted data, but most of the bidding companies are already involved in analyses of public sources such as data on social networks. One company, Battelle, has included the offer to develop a technique for de-anonymizing BItcoin transactions (pdf) as part of CAUSE's security-gathering activities.
Biotech

Police Use DNA To Generate a Suspect's Face 100

Posted by Soulskill
from the it's-the-generic-looking-ones-you've-gotta-watch dept.
An anonymous reader writes: The NY Times has a pair of articles about a technology now being used in police investigations: computer generation of a suspect's face from only their DNA. Law enforcement in South Carolina had no pictures or descriptions of a man who murdered a mother and her daughter, but they had some of his DNA. From this, a company named Parabon NanoLabs used a technique called DNA phenotyping to create a rough portrait of the suspect's facial features, which the police then shared with the public.

The accuracy of these portraits is still an area of hot debate — most of them look rather generic. The NY Times staff tested it with a couple of their employees, circulating the DNA-inspired portraits and seeing if people could guess who it was supposed to be. None of the ~50 employees were able to identify reporter John Markoff, and only about 10 were able to identify video journalist Catherine Spangler. But even though the accuracy for a person's entire face is low, techniques for specific attributes, like eye color, have improved greatly. Of course, the whole situation raises a slew of civil liberties questions: "What traits are off limits? Should the authorities be able to test whether a suspect has a medical condition or is prone to violence should such testing be possible?"
Cellphones

In Florida, Secrecy Around Stingray Leads To Plea Bargain For a Robber 241

Posted by timothy
from the it-looks-just-like-a-snipe dept.
schwit1 writes The case against Tadrae McKenzie looked like an easy win for prosecutors. He and two buddies robbed a small-time pot dealer of $130 worth of weed using BB guns. Under Florida law, that was robbery with a deadly weapon, with a sentence of at least four years in prison. But before trial, his defense team detected investigators' use of a secret surveillance tool, one that raises significant privacy concerns. In an unprecedented move, a state judge ordered the police to show the device — a cell-tower simulator sometimes called a StingRay — to the attorneys. Rather than show the equipment, the state offered McKenzie a plea bargain. Today, 20-year-old McKenzie is serving six months' probation after pleading guilty to a second-degree misdemeanor. He got, as one civil liberties advocate said, the deal of the century.
Crime

Al-Shabaab Video Threat Means Heightened Security at Mall of America 241

Posted by timothy
from the worst-case-scenarios dept.
Reuters and other news outlets carry the news that the Minnesota's gigantic Mall of America is under heightened security after a video threat posted online by terrorist group Al-Shabaab. Also at CNN and CBS News. According to Reuters' version of the story: The U.S. homeland security chief said on Sunday he takes seriously a threat made by Somali-based Islamist militants against shopping malls, including the Mall of America in Minnesota, and urged people going there to be careful. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson was reacting to a video released by al Shabaab appearing to call for attacks on Western shopping areas, specifically mentioning Mall of America, the West Edmonton Mall in Canada and London's Oxford Street. ... Mall officials issued a statement about the threat made by the group, saying they are monitoring events with the help of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. "Mall of America has implemented extra security precautions, some may be noticeable to guests, and others won’t be," the officials said.
Crime

Chicago's Red Light Cameras Now a Point of Contention for Mayoral Candidates 93

Posted by timothy
from the man-vs-the-state's-electronic-proxy dept.
The same system of red-light cameras in Chicago that was shown last year to have been generating bogus tickets is still around -- but now, reports Reuters, it's a political punching bag for opponents of Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel in an upcoming election. "[Emanuel], who supports the nation's largest automated camera system, is polling slightly under the 50 percent plus one vote he needs to avoid a run-off against the second-highest vote-getter. Three of the four challengers seeking to topple Emanuel say the cameras should go. Emanuel's closest rival, Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, who is polling at about 20 percent, said he would only keep cameras that have been proven to reduce accidents. .... Chicago has red-light cameras at 174 intersections and 144 speed cameras near schools and parks around the city. They have brought in $500 million since 2003, according to media reports, a figure Chicago has neither confirmed nor disputed.
Crime

Wired On 3-D Printers As Fraud Enablers 207

Posted by timothy
from the phoney-numbers-can-be-as-big-as-you-want dept.
An anonymous reader writes Citing a report from the Gartner Group estimating $100 billion in intellectual property losses within five years, Joshua Greenbaum warns of "the threat of a major surge in counterfeiting" as cheap 3-D printers get more sophisticated materials. Writing for Wired, Greenbaum argues that preventing counterfeiting "promises to be a growth market," and suggests that besides updating IP laws, possible solutions include nanomaterials for "watermarking" authentic copies or even the regulation of 3-D printing materials. Major retailers like Amazon are already offering 3-D print-on-demand products — though right now their selection is mostly limited to novelties like customized bobbleheads and Christmas ornaments shaped like cannabis leaves. Apropos: Smithonian Magazine has an article that makes a good companion piece to this one on the long political history of the copy machine, which raised many of the same issues being rediscovered in the context of 3-D printing.
Privacy

When It Comes To Spy Gear, Many Police Ignore Public Records Laws 78

Posted by timothy
from the muck-rocks! dept.
v3rgEz writes What should take precedence: State public records laws, or contractual agreements between local police, the FBI, and the privately owned Harris Corporation? That's the question being played out across the country, as agencies are strongly divided on releasing much information, if any, on how they're using Stingray technology to collect and monitor phone metadata without judicial oversight.
Crime

Credit Card Fraud Could Peak In 2015 As the US Moves To EMV 449

Posted by samzenpus
from the better-cards dept.
dkatana writes Some analysts expect fraud to increase this year as thieves will step up their efforts to capture more credit card details before the Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) standard conversion goes into full throttle. The next time U.S. cardholders receive a new card it will probably be equipped with an EMV chip, and most likely be contactless. The U.S. is finally making the transition to secure cards based on the European EMV standard, mostly because the liability shift imposed by the three big credit card brands — Visa, MasterCard and American Express. The European Union, where EMV became standard ten years ago, has the lowest level of credit card fraud in the world, while the U.S. accounted for 47.3% of the worldwide payment card fraud losses but generated only 23.5% of total volume.
Crime

Russian Man Extradited To US For Heartland, Dow Jones Cyberattacks 88

Posted by Soulskill
from the justice-takes-its-time dept.
itwbennett writes: A Russian man accused of high-profile cyberattacks on Nasdaq, Dow Jones, Heartland Payment Systems and 7-Eleven has been extradited to the U.S. and appeared in court in Newark, New Jersey on Tuesday. Vladimir Drinkman, 34, of Syktyykar and Moscow, Russia was charged for his alleged role in a data theft conspiracy that targeted major corporate networks and stole more than 160 million credit card numbers, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a press release. Drinkman appeared Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey and entered a plea of not guilty to the 11 counts he faces. His trial is scheduled to begin in April.
Crime

Kim Dotcom's Lawyer Plays Down Megaupload Worker's Guilty Plea 102

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-biug-deal dept.
mrspoonsi writes with the latest from Kim Dotcom. "Kim Dotcom's US lawyer has denied that a guilty plea by one of the Megaupload's former employees has major implications for his client's case. Andrus Nomm was sentenced to a year in jail after pleading guilty on Friday to conspiracy to commit copyright infringement while working for the now defunct file-sharing site. The US is currently trying to extradite Mr Dotcom, who founded Megaupload, from New Zealand to stand trial. Mr Dotcom denies wrongdoing. The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has alleged that Megaupload's staff had "operated websites that wilfully reproduced and distributed infringing copies of copyrighted works" over a period of five years, causing more than $400m (£260m) of harm to copyright owners. Nomm — a 36-year-old Estonian citizen — agreed to this damages estimate as part of his plea, according to a press release from the DoJ. He had been living in the Netherlands before he travelled to Virginia to make the deal with the US authorities. The DoJ added that Nomm had acknowledged that through his work as a computer programmer for Megaupload, he had become aware of copyright-infringing material being stored on its sites, including films and TV shows that had contained FBI anti-piracy warnings. It said he had also admitted to having downloaded copyright-infringing files himself. "This conviction is a significant step forward in the largest criminal copyright case in US history," said assistant attorney general Leslie Caldwell."
Crime

Bank Hackers Steal Millions Via Malware 131

Posted by Soulskill
from the crime-doesn't-pay-except-when-it-does dept.
An anonymous reader writes: When cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab was called in to investigate ATMs that had begun dispensing cash without input from users, they expected to find a simple problem. Instead, they found the ATMs were just the tip of the iceberg. The bank's internal computer systems were completely compromised, and in addition to the slow but steady siphoning of funds through physical machines, a criminal group was quietly transferring millions of dollars into foreign bank accounts. A report set to be published on Monday shows the attack extended to over 100 banks in 30 nations.

"Kaspersky Lab says it has seen evidence of $300 million in theft from clients, and believes the total could be triple that. But that projection is impossible to verify because the thefts were limited to $10 million a transaction, though some banks were hit several times. In many cases the hauls were more modest, presumably to avoid setting off alarms." Kaspersky Lab is unable to name the banks involved because of non-disclosure agreements, and no banks have come forward to acknowledge the breach. "The silence around the investigation appears motivated in part by the reluctance of banks to concede that their systems were so easily penetrated, and in part by the fact that the attacks appear to be continuing."
Crime

MegaUpload Programmer Pleads Guilty, Gets a Year In Prison 188

Posted by Soulskill
from the first-domino-falls dept.
An anonymous reader writes When MegaUpload was shut down a few years back, seven of the company's employees were indicted by the U.S. We heard a lot about Kim Dotcom's court proceedings, but not much about the others. A few days ago, we received word that programmer Andrus Nomm has been arrested in Virginia. This came as a surprise to everyone involved. MegaUpload attorney Ira Rothken said it was likely Nomm had made a deal with the Feds. Now, we know for sure: Nomm has pleaded guilty to felony copyright infringement and was sentenced to a year and a day in prison. In a statement, the Department of Justice said they will continue to pursue his co-conspirators.
Government

Tech Industry In Search of Leadership At White House Cyber Summit 44

Posted by Soulskill
from the innovating-new-ways-to-share-your-data dept.
chicksdaddy writes: President Obama travels to Stanford University on Friday to join Apple CEO Tim Cook in talking about the need for more private-public sector cooperation to fight cyber crime. But technology industry executives attending the White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection complain that a major obstacle to cooperation is a lack of legislative action that clarify the rules of the road for private firms when it comes to sharing information about customers with the government and each other.

The controversy over government surveillance has put the ball in the government's court, said Michael Brown, RSA's Global Public Sector Vice President. "They need to articulate what amount of access to private information is 'appropriate and legal' for law enforcement and the government," Brown said. "It's not just about 'when, where, and how.' They also need to clearly articulate 'why' – for example: this is a matter of public safety and this is the only way we can get this information."

Also on the to-do list, say executives: a re-writing of the 80s-era Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and a federal data breach notification law that creates a consistent, national standard. Currently, 48 states have passed such laws, creating a compliance mess for private firms that discover they have leaked customer data.
Cellphones

Smartphone Theft Drops After Spread of Kill Switches 190

Posted by Soulskill
from the stated-purposes-and-unstated-purposes dept.
alphadogg writes "Thefts involving smartphones have declined dramatically in three major cities since manufacturers began implementing 'kill switches' that allow the phones to be turned off remotely if they are stolen, authorities said on Tuesday. The number of stolen iPhones dropped by 40 percent in San Francisco and 25 percent in New York in the 12 months after Apple added a kill switch to its devices in September 2013. In London, smartphone theft dropped by half, according to an announcement by officials in the three cities.
The Internet

The Dark Web Still Thrives After Silk Road 79

Posted by Soulskill
from the when-you-outlaw-internets,-only-the-outlaws-will-have-internets dept.
HughPickens.com writes: Russell Berman writes at The Atlantic that the government may have won its case against Silk Road's Ross Ulbricht, but the high-profile trial gave a lot of publicity to the dark web. Both the number of sites and the volume of people using them have increased since Silk Road was shuttered. "Just as on the rest of the internet, users on the dark net are very quick to move on to new things and move away from those products and websites that seem stale and old," says Adam Benson. The cat-and-mouse game between users of the dark web and law enforcement appears to be shifting as well. Newer dark sites (two major ones are Agora and Evolution) are likely to protect their servers by basing them in countries "hostile to U.S. law enforcement," says Nicholas Weaver. "The markets will keep moving overseas, but law enforcement will keep going after the dealers," Weaver says, referring to the people who actually ship and deliver the drugs sold online.

Evolution Marketplace is a much different animal than Silk Road, according to Dan Palumbo. Evolution sells "weapons, stolen credit cards, and more nefarious items that were forbidden on both versions of Silk Road. Silk Road sold a lot of dangerous things, but operators drew the line at their version of 'victimless crimes,' i.e. no child pornography, weapons, or identity theft. Now, four of the top five DarkNet Marketplaces sell weapons while three of the top five sell stolen financial data." This is a darker DarkNet and it speaks to the challenge facing law enforcement as they knock one set of bad actors offline, another comes along with bigger and bolder intentions.
Bitcoin

Another Bitcoin Exchange Fraud 53

Posted by timothy
from the whereas-governments-debase-the-money-instead dept.
Ellie K writes Bitcoin exchange MyCoin has vanished — leaving $387 million in investor funds unaccounted for. MyCoin is a Hong Kong-based virtual currency trading exchange. Bitcoin exchanges are no stranger to controversy. Mt. Gox closed in February 2014, filing for bankruptcy and leaving investors approximately $500 million out of pocket. Others were 'cyberattacked' including Flexcoin, Poloniex and Bitcurex.