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Uber Issues Apology To London

September 26, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

CEO of Uber Dara Khosrowshahi has issued an official apology to Londoners, acknowledging that the company “got things wrong.”

In an open letter to the city, Khosrowshahi promised to listen to London’s as he writes the company’s next chapter.

“On behalf of everyone at Uber globally, I apologize for the mistakes we’ve made,” he said.

The company also called for talks with London’s transport regulator Transport for London on Monday in a bid to improve after it had its license renewal request denied on Friday.

Uber’s Head of Cities for the UK Fred Jones told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme that the company wants to better understand TfL’s concerns, particularly over the way it conducts background checks on drivers and reports serious incidents to the police.

Uber is facing the possibility it will be banned in the city after TfL laid out its concerns while refusing to renew the company’s license to operate in the British capital when it expires on Sept. 30. Uber has 21 days to appeal the decision and is allowed to continue operating throughout the process.

Jones said he understood that it was TfL and not London Mayor Sadiq Khan who had rejected the license, backpedalling from the statements issued by Uber on Friday, which addressed the mayor directly and claimed both he and TfL were making a politically motivated decision.

Following TfL’s announcement on Friday Uber launched a petition, in which the company claimed: “By wanting to ban our app from the capital, Transport for London and their chairman the Mayor have given in to a small number of people who want to restrict consumer choice.” It has so far attracted over 750,000 signatures.

But Jones is now presenting an alternative interpretation. “What’s become clear over the weekend is this was TfL’s licensing decision,” he said. “It’s just not clear for us what their concerns might be.”

Uber is confused by TfL’s accusations over the way background checks are performed, he told the BBC. He also defended Uber’s record for dealing criminal incidents, saying that the Met Police Force had not approached the company directly before making its concerns public.

Skype, WhatsApp Calls Allowed Again In Saudi Arabia

September 22, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

The Saudi government has rescinded its ban on calls made through online apps on Thursday but will monitor and censor them, a government spokesman said.

All online voice and video call services – such as Microsoft’s Skype, Facebook’s WhatsApp and Messenger, and Rakuten’s Viber – that satisfy regulatory requirements were set to become accessible overnight.

However, on Thursday morning, Viber appeared to remain blocked inside the kingdom, and WhatsApp worked only when connected to a wireless network.

 Adel Abu Hameed, a spokesman for telecoms regulator CITC, said on Arabiya TV on Wednesday that new regulations were aimed mainly at protecting users’ personal information and blocking content that violated the kingdom’s laws.

Asked if the apps could be monitored by the authorities or companies, he said: “Under no circumstances can the user use an application for video or voice calling without monitoring and censorship by the Communications and Information Technology Commission, whether the application is global or local.”

Snap Chat Blocks Al Jazeera

September 19, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Snap has stopped allowing news network Al Jazeera to post to Snapchat in Saudi Arabia at the request of the Saudi government, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Snap pulled the Qatari-run news outlet’s Discover Publisher Channel from its app as it violated the country’s law of printed material and publication and anti-cyber crime law.

“We make an effort to comply with local laws in the countries where we operate,” said a Snap spokeswoman in a statement.

Regional censorship of content has affected almost every global social network and internet company, including Google and Facebook, due to local laws that they may be subject to. Media watchdog Freedom House consistently rates Saudi Arabia as “not free” in its annual Freedom on the Net investigation.

“Popular social media and communication apps are not blocked in the country, although authorities have imposed restrictions on their use,” it said in its 2016 report.

Qatar is currently in an ongoing dispute with Saudi Arabia, Eqypt, Bahrain and the UAE, which have accused the country of supporting terrorism. The Al Jazeera ban only affects Saudi Arabia and the publisher’s Snapchat Story continues to be live in the other countries.

Al Jazeera did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Google Launching Mobile Payments In India

September 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Google is gearing up to launch a localized digital payment service in India as early as next week, technology website TechCrunch reported, citing a report from news site The Ken.

The payment service, called Google ‘Tez’, will offer payment options beyond the existing ones like Google Wallet or Android Pay, the report said.

Tez, meaning fast in Hindi, will include support for the government-backed Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and other consumer payment services including Paytm and MobiKwik, according to the report.

Google launched its payment app Android Pay in the United States two years ago.

A spokesman for Google in India did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Google, Facebook Inc and WhatsApp Inc were in talks with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to provide UPI-enabled payment on their platforms, the Mint daily had reported in July.

Drones Aid In The Search For The Missing In London

September 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Police in the London borough of Hackney officially became the first in the capital to utilize a drone to search for a missing person.

The search was part of an eight-week trial being conducted by London’s Metropolitan Police Force, in which drones are being deployed for a number of reasons, including serious traffic collisions, searches for suspects, weapon sweeps and identification of cannabis factories.

In this case, the drone did not help the officers find the missing person. However, it did allow the police to quickly survey a large, open space, saving both time and manpower, according to a tweet by Hackney Police.

The drone used in the trial is an Aeryon Skyranger, which will be used in much the same way police helicopters are used. The advantage of the drone over the helicopter is that it should be able to help in a wider variety of incidents, due to its small size and ability to operate in adverse weather conditions.

“We are committed to working with technology that can assist our officers with the wide range of often difficult and dangerous incidents they deal with on a daily basis,” said the Met’s Commander Simon Bray in a statement.

Did The CIA Spy On Intel’s Partners

September 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

The FBI and Homeland Security, who relied on the CIA for tech support for biometric data, were being targeted by spyware.

According to what is fairly likely to be Russian intelligence leaked to Wikileaks, the CIA wrote a program called ExpressLane, is designed to be deployed alongside a biometric collection system that the CIA provides to partner agencies.

Since 2009 this software has been siphoning data back to the CIA on the off-chance those partners are holding out on them.

ExpressLane masquerades as a software update, delivered in-person by CIA technicians — but the documents make clear that the program itself will remain unchanged. The program siphons the system’s data to a thumb drive, where agents can examine it to see if there’s anything the partner system is holding back. If the partners refuse the phoney update, there’s a hidden kill-switch that lets agents shut down the entire system after a set period of time, requiring an in-person visit to restore the system.

WikiLeaks’s “sources” claim the program was primarily used against US agencies like the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, although the documents themselves do not say that. In fact the CIA doesn’t maintain any significant biometric database of its own, it’s also unclear what the agency would do with any data it obtained. 

WikiLeaks continues to release the agency’s hacking tools as part of the Vault 7 campaign.

Courtesy-Fud

Is The Locky Ransomware Back To Wreak Havoc

August 25, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

The Locky Ransomware is back from the dead with two new strains, security researchers at Malwarebytes have warned.

Locky was one of the three most widely distributed forms of malware in 2016, along with Cryptowall and Cerber, but although ransomware has boomed during 2017, Locky has been largely quiet.

But on 9 August, Locky made a dramatic return, using a new ransom note and file extension, ‘.diablo6’, which it followed up a week later with another variant, with the extension ‘.Lukitus’.

What hasn’t changed, though, is the method of distribution.Rather than rifling through the trove of spilt US National Security Agency exploits, as the groups behind WannaCry and NotPetya did, Locky is distributed via phishing emails containing malicious Microsoft Office files or zipped attachments containing a malicious script.

The new Locky variants, adds Malwarebytes, callback to different command and control servers (C2) and use the affiliate id: AffilID3 and AffilID5.

“Over the last few months, Locky has drastically decreased its distribution, even failed to be distributed at all, then popped back up again, vanished and reappeared once more. The ups and downs of Locky remain shrouded in mystery. One thing time has taught us is that we should never assume Locky is gone simply because it’s not active at a particular given time,” the company warned in a briefing note. 

In 2016, a US hospital was forced to pay $17,000 in bitcoin in order to recover devices that had fallen victim to the Locky ransomware.

Locky is a variant on the Dridex banking Trojan, which is believed to have been behind the theft of around £20m from bank accounts in the UK alone, refitted for ransomware rather than stealing online banking credentials. Both are associated with the Necurs malware distribution botnet.

Back then, security researchers at Proofpoint pointed out the connection between Dridex and Locky.

“While a variety of new ransomware has appeared since the end of 2015, Locky stands out because it is being delivered by the same actor behind many of the Dridex campaigns we have tracked over the past year,” warned the company in an advisory.

“The actors behind Locky are clearly taking a cue from the Dridex playbook in terms of distribution. Just as Dridex has been pushing the limits of campaign sizes, now we’re seeing even higher volumes with Locky, rivalling the largest Dridex campaigns we have observed to date.”

Courtesy-TheInq

Identity Theft In The U.K. Reaches Epidemic Levels

August 24, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Identity theft has reached “epidemic levels” in the UK, as criminals perfect their methods to steal information to get loans or buy stuff online.

Fraud prevention service Cifas today revealed 89,000 identity frauds have been recorded in 2017 so far — a record rise of 5 percent over last year. The number of cases of fraudsters trying to target Brits’ bank accounts or plastic cards has fallen, but scammers are now better at finding your details online and using that information to spend your money without your knowledge.

“Be careful who you give your information to,” warned Detective Superintendent Glenn Maleary, Head of the City of London Police’s Economic Crime Directorate, in a statement. “Always consider whether it is necessary to part with those details. We urge everyone both at home and at work to ensure that they have the right security settings on all of their devices. Be conscious of identity fraudsters and use our protection advice to help stop them in their tracks.”

In the US, the recent 2017 Identity Fraud Study by analysts Javelin Strategy & Research also recorded a record high increase in identity fraud. Fraudsters managed to dupe two million more victims to steal a total of $16 billion.

Japan Advances GPS Ambitions With Latest Satellite Launch

August 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Japan has launched an H-2A rocket carrying a geo-positioning satellite into orbit after a week-long delay, according to an announcement by the government.

The launch of Japan’s third geo-positioning satellite is part of its plan to build a version of the U.S. global positioning system (GPS) to offer location information used for auto-piloting and possible national security purposes.

The government postponed the launch a week ago because of a technical glitch.

“With the success of the third satellite, we have made another step closer for having signals from four satellites in the future,” Masaji Matsuyama, minister in charge of space policy, said in a statement.

The government plans to launch a fourth satellite by the end of the year to start offering highly precise position information by next April.

Japan plans to boost the number of its geo-positioning satellites to seven by 2023, making its system independently operational even if the U.S. GPS becomes unavailable for some reason, a government official said previously.

The satellite was manufactured by Mitsubishi Electric Corp and was blasted into orbit by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd.

China Claims ‘Unbreakable’ Code With Quantum Satellite Transmission

August 11, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

China has transmitted an “unbreakable” code from a satellite to the Earth, heralding the first time space-to-ground quantum key distribution technology has been realized, state media said on Thursday.

China launched the world’s first quantum satellite last August, to help establish “hack proof” communications, a development the Pentagon has called a “notable advance”.

The official Xinhua news agency said the latest experiment was published in the journal Nature on Thursday, where reviewers called it a “milestone”.

The satellite sent quantum keys to ground stations in China between 645 km (400 miles) and 1,200 km (745 miles) away at a transmission rate up to 20 orders of magnitude more efficient than an optical fiber, Xinhua cited Pan Jianwei, lead scientist on the experiment from the state-run Chinese Academy of Sciences, as saying.

“That, for instance, can meet the demand of making an absolute safe phone call or transmitting a large amount of bank data,” Pan said.

Any attempt to eavesdrop on the quantum channel would introduce detectable disturbances to the system, Pan said.

“Once intercepted or measured, the quantum state of the key will change, and the information being intercepted will self-destruct,” Xinhua said.

The news agency said there were “enormous prospects” for applying this new generation of communications in defense and finance.

China still lags behind the United States and Russia in space technology, although President Xi Jinping has prioritized advancing its space program, citing national security and defense.

China insists its space program is for peaceful purposes, but the U.S. Defense Department has highlighted its increasing space capabilities, saying it was pursuing activities aimed at preventing adversaries from using space-based assets in a crisis.

Does Google Truly Invade Your Privacy

July 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

John McAfee has been polled for his opinion on Google. The good news is he has one, it isn’t positive and he is apparently very pleased to give it up.

McAfee is probably at his best when he is passionate about something, and he is obviously passionate about disliking Google. The video, recorded for telly and put on YouTube by John McAfee, shows our man in passionate privacy protection mode.

It’s called “Stop Endangering Our Humanity Or I’m Coming For You,” and is aimed squarely at Google, a firm that he reckons has obsequiously crept its way into our minds, lives and privacy

The good news is, this is just like Invasion USA, the film with Chuck Norris. Though in this case Russia is Google, the USA remains the same and John McAfee is Chuck Norris.

“There is nothing wrong with creating great products, or even building a large company. Success should be rewarded, and never punished. But when success gives way to pure, venal greed we all suffer. Google has become so large, and so powerful, that their greed now threatens to destroy us all,” says the trailer voiceover video description.

“John McAfee has put Google on notice: change your ways or at least one person will be standing in your way. You don’t want to miss this!”

The video, which is something of a tirade, shows McAfee talking about Sentinel a security cure-all that he says could have a switch that turns off Google spiders and its ability to index, and its ability to exist. He does not mince his words.

The video starts with a voiceover clip from mind-bending “I am not a number” show The Prisoner, which sets the tone. Then McAfee compares Google to smoking cigarettes and says that Google has sacrificed privacy on the altar of Mammon and removed his, and your, human dignity.

“I am seriously ticked off about Google’s lack of conscience,” he says. “I will do everything in my power to make sure that the objections of the world are laid squarely at the doorstep of Google.”

McAfee has also posted a photo to Twitter (above) with the message “Are you ready Google.” In it, his tattooed torso is shirtless and he is wearing a scary mask.

We wouldn’t want to be Google.

Courtesy-TheInq

Court Grants FBI Right To Continue Secret Surveillance Requests

July 19, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

The FBI will be allowed to continue sending surveillance orders to tech companies and ban them from disclosing those requests, an appeals court ruled Monday.

Internet company Cloudflare and wireless network operator CREDO Mobile sued the federal government to be allowed to disclose public national security letters they have received. They argued that the letters, which are administrative subpoenas issued by the government to gather information for national security purposes, are unconstitutional because they violate the First Amendment’s freedom of speech protections.

Critics of national security letters — like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which represented Cloudflare and CREDO in the case — say they “allow the FBI to secretly demand data about ordinary American citizens’ private communications and internet activity without any meaningful oversight or prior judicial review.” Companies that receive national security letters, or NSLs, are subject to gag orders, which means they can’t even disclose they’ve received such orders unless the letters become declassified. And those gag orders last indefinitely.

A three-judge panel on a US court of appeals in San Francisco on Monday upheld a lower court ruling that NSLs can remain secret. In their unanimous ruling, they said the Supreme Court “has concluded that some restrictions on speech are constitutional, provided they survive the appropriate level of scrutiny.”

The law behind national security letters considers that disclosing the orders could result in danger to the national security of the US, interference with an investigation, interference with diplomatic relations; or danger to the life or physical safety of any person, the judges said in their opinion.

“We therefore conclude that the 2015 NSL law is narrowly tailored to serve a compelling government interest, both as to inclusiveness and duration,” the opinion said. “Accordingly, we hold that the nondisclosure requirement … survives strict scrutiny.”

Andrew Crocker, an attorney with EFF, said in a statement that he’s disappointed the court “failed to recognize that the NSL statute violates the free speech rights of technology companies that are required to turn over customer data to the FBI and banned indefinitely from ever publicly discussing the requests.”

He added that NSLs prevent companies from being open with their customers.

“Unfortunately, the Ninth Circuit avoided addressing the serious First Amendment problems with NSLs, particularly the fact that they are often left in place permanently,” Crocker said. “We’re considering our options for next steps in challenging this unconstitutional authority.”

The US Justice Department declined to comment on the ruling.

FCC Tightens Rules Regarding ‘Robocalls’

July 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

The Federal Communications Commission intends to further attack those unwanted “robocalls” and is looking at ways to help consumers block them.

On Thursday, the commission voted unanimously to evaluate a system that would allow phone companies to check if a number calling you is legit. The goal is to deter unscrupulous companies that make these automated calls from “spoofing,” or using a fake phone number to trick you into answering their calls.

A call authentication system could help improve third-party apps that allow consumers to block these calls. It could also open the door to phone companies that may want to offer a service to block unwanted calls.

The FCC has already been considering rules that would allow phone companies to block robocalls from unassigned numbers or from numbers that don’t exist.

Ridding the world of robocalls entirely is tricky since some legitimate communications are made using automated call technology, such as messages from schools, weather alerts, public utilities or political organizations. Phone companies don’t want to block legitimate calls that consumers want to receive.

The agency also voted to consider how to prevent unwanted calls after a number has been reassigned. There is currently no way for legitimate companies to know if customers who have agreed to receive their marketing calls are still using a particular number. The FCC wants to get public comment on how phone companies should report when a phone number has been reassigned and how the data could be used.

Robocalls are a big nuisance to consumers with an estimated 2.5 billion automated calls being made per month.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said robocalls are a top consumer complaint. “Americans are mad as hell” that they still get these calls in spite of efforts by Congress and the FCC to stop them, he said. The FCC said it gets more than 200,000 complaints each year concerning unwanted calls, and the Federal Trade Commission said it received roughly 5.3 million complaints about telemarketing calls in 2016.

Pai said the FCC’s latest efforts to curb these calls could make a huge difference in the volume of robocalls consumers get.

Commissioner Mignon Clyburn,agreed. She said the agency must take a “multi-pronged approach, to address this persistent problem.”

The FCC has also been stepping up its enforcement of illegal robocalls. Separately, it voted 2-1 to fine a New Mexico-based company $2.88 million for making unlawful robocalls. Last month, the FCC fined a Florida resident $120 million for allegedly making almost 100 million illegal robocalls in a three-month period.

nVidia Jump Into Digital Mining

July 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Nvidia hopes to take custom away from its rival AMD by building a chip which is designed for digital currency mining.

 AMD’s new  chips have been taken off the shelves as soon as they arrive because digital currency miners want lots of them to make money.  Nvidia has been doing well off the craze, but AMD is finding it difficult to get enough chips out there and this has caused GPU prices to rocket.

Nvidia wants to release graphics cards specifically designed for cryptocurrency. From a product listing on ASUS’ website: “ASUS Mining P106 is designed for coin mining with high-efficiency components — delivering maximum hash-rate production at minimum cost. ASUS Mining P106 enhances the megahash rate by up to 36 per cent compared cards in the same segment that are not tailored for mining.

The new card is also engineered to be seriously durable, enabling 24/7 operation for uninterrupted coin production.” The ASUS Mining P106 uses an Nvidia chip, according to the specifications page on the website. 

Nvidia, AMD and ASUS have not officially announced the digital currency mining cards, according to their website press pages. It is not certain when the cards will be available for sale. Nvidia is likely making the cards designed for this use so that the surging digital currency demand doesn’t affect its ability to serve the lucrative PC gaming market.

Courtesy-Fud

AES Encryption Gets Cracked

July 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Dutch researchers have discovered a way of cracking AES-256 encryption using reasonably cheap gear and wireless tech.

Fox-IT explains that it, and an other company called Riscure, have created a new method for slurping up security that is enabled through proximity and relies on the monitoring of electromagnetic signals in what is known as a side channel attack.

Researchers put together a piece of kit worth less than $200 and were able to wirelessly extract secret AES-256 encryption keys from a distance of one metre. They said that the attack can be carried out by people on all budgets and with all kinds of means.

“The recording hardware can range from extremely high-end radio equipment, down to €20 USB SDRs. We have found that even the cheap USB dongles can be used to attack software implementations!” they said. “This is not a game exclusively for nation states, but also anyone with pocket money and some free time (PDF).”

Usually, such an attack would require direct access and manipulation, but Fox-IT found that it was possible just to swan past the target with a bag of SDR, amplifiers, filters, and an antenna and catch a winner in record time.

“Using this approach only requires us to spend a few seconds guessing the correct value for each byte in turn (256 options per byte, for 32 bytes — so a total of 8192 guesses),” boasts the firm.

“In contrast, a direct brute-force attack on AES-256 would require 2^256 guesses and would not complete before the end of the universe”

The next challenge is distance. Currently, Fox-IT has met reached a goal of 30cm but says that a full meter is a possibility given the right circumstances.

“Our work here has shown a proof of concept for TEMPEST attacks against symmetric crypto such as AES-256. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first public demonstration of such attacks. The low bandwidth requirements have allowed us to perform the attack with surprisingly cheap equipment (€20 radio, modest amplifiers and filters) at significant distances,” it added.

“In practice this setup is well suited to attacking network encryption appliances. Many of these targets perform bulk encryption (possibly with attacker controlled data) and the ciphertext is often easily captured from elsewhere in the network.”

Courtesy-TheInq

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