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According to US reports, military drones may be virus-infected

12 October 2017

As Wired.com reports, in september security system has indentified a virus in drone control systems at a military base in Nevada.

A virus or a keylogger has infected the “Predator” and the “Reaper” drone control software.

Military representatives are not entirely sure whether it was an intentional hack or some random infection.

The behavior of the drones was not affected, so it is too soon to recall the plot of the game “Call of Duty: Black Ops II”.

Still, the military data may be compromised.

If you discover a virus on your home computer, do not beat yourself up. Even the most secure places in the world are not safe from them.

RoboRoach: Controllable cockroaches

8 November 2013

tarakan-300x225In exactly two months a special device called RoboRoach will be on sale in the U.S. that allows people to control cockroaches from their smartphones. The set will cost about $90.

The Blaberus giant cockroach is not included, but is easily found in pet stores and from breeders: this variety is a popular food for exotic animals.

A tiny microcontroller is attached to the back of a live cockroach so that it touches its antennae. The smartphone is connected via BlueTooth. An app that directs the microcontroller lets you set the amplitude and type of impulses sent to the cockroach’s antennae.

RoboRoach, by Backyard Brains, is an educational project for studying the fundamentals of neurobiological experiments.

Earlier this summer a similar project was conducted at the University of North Carolina, although this didn’t focus on education, but rather more practical applications — search operations, for example.

NSA: collection of mobile users’ location data

8 November 2013

Keith Alexander, head of United States National Security Agency, confirmed that in 2010, NSA used experimental equipment to collect information about the location of mobile subscribers.

In 2011, the process was officially suspended, but the agency’s head does not deny the possibility of resuming it in the future: “It may be something that this country might need in the future.“

On the eve of this announcement, senator Ron Wyden inquired about such practices, but Keith replied that their agency has never collected such information and had no plans to do that.

The news caused outrage with the senator — he said that the government kept concealing facts about monitoring all aspects of the citizens’ rights.

Users are leaving Facebook

8 October 2013

Facebook: possible information leakAccording to Daily Mail, there is an interesting tendency in England and USA: users no longer use social networks. Recently, over 11,000,000 users have deleted their Facebook accounts.

Daily Mail is a popular daily newspaper that has been in circulation in the United Kingdom since 1896. It is the second largest newspaper in the country.

The main reasons for leaving social networks are the urge to protect privacy and fear of Internet dependency.

Analysts associate this tendency with Wikileaks and Snowden, who revealed that USA National Security Service tracks network users.

The ex-users of Facebook usually explain their motives by saying that they have lost interst.

The US National Security Agency purchases exploits

8 October 2013

We recently learned about an annual contract between the US NSA and the French company VUPEN, according to which the French supplied the NSA with access to their database of vulnerabilities and exploits for targeted attacks against systems and sites.

Thanks to the Freedom of Information Act in the US, it was learned that this contract was signed as early as September 2012.

It also came to light that VUPEN cooperates with other NATO representatives, as well. According to an employee of the company, they actually do sell access to their data to the military and intelligence agencies.

Among hackers, however, this revelation caused mixed reaction since VUPEN’s database is not known for being either cheap or up-to-date, i.e. it is possible to obtain more complete and up-to-date information for less money. It was assumed that it is not the main channel for obtaining exploits, just one of them.

Android: Google knows your Wi-Fi passwords

8 October 2013

Michael Horowitz, an IT security expert, has published an article titled “Google Knows Nearly Every Wi-Fi Password in the World”. The article explains that Google servers currently store unencrypted passwords from nearly all access point that Android devices have ever connected to.

According to research, there are over 1 billion Android devices in the world. Each of these devices stores Wi-Fi access point passwords in a way that allows Google (and, therefore, secret services, for instance) access them.

Moreover, default Android settings allow these passwords to be stored and sent to Google’s servers in an unencrypted plain text form (for backup purposes).

Gaining access to a Wi-Fi network is the least one can do with this information at hand.

Free keylogger for android secretly watches over the phones of your children or staff members, recording calls, camera, spy on SMS, MMS, WhatsAPP, internet activity, calendar, contacts, and geodata (GPS).

Vulnerability found in smart toilets

13 September 2013

Toilet hackedA great and rather unique piece of news for our “madness and information security” section – experts have found a software vulnerability in a line of smart toilets.

The vulnerability was found in Japanese Lixil Satis toilets, but it was discovered by American (not British!) experts from Trustwave SpiderLabs.

Some features of Japanese toilets include music playback, automatic seat lifts, automatic flushing, personal settings and toilet usage statistics.

The equipment is controlled with a special Android application via Bluetooth. The essence of the vulnerability is that the developers used a single PIN code for connecting to the toilets – 0000. The code can be used by anyone to connect to any model of this line of toilets.

To do this, one needs to download the My Satis all from Google Play, install it on the phone and locate a Lixil Satis toilet within the Bluetooth working range.

Ultimate information security

13 September 2013

The Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration has recently demonstrated extreme zeal in maintaining ultimate information security on its own premises.

A preliminary analysis showed that 146 of the department’s 250 computers were infected with a virus. As it turned out later, this early information was completely wrong – just two computers had problems.

However, the they took it very seriously, even too seriously. To defend against the spreading virus, the company’s management decided to physically eliminate all “infected” equipment, including computers, keyboards, mice, printers, surveillance cameras, TV’s and so on.

The total damage caused by this decision (investigation, deployment of an interim infrastructure, planning, purchasing of new equipment and recycling of old devices) reached 2.7 million dollars, exactly a half of the department’s budget.

An interesting approach to a seemingly simple problem, isn’t it?

Free keylogger for android secretly watches over the phones of your children or staff members, recording calls, camera, spy on SMS, MMS, WhatsAPP, internet activity, calendar, contacts, and geodata (GPS).

Google Hangouts: a step towards closed protocols

9 July 2013

Corporate SecretsGoogle decided to replace the Google Talk IM platform with Google Hangouts that has very limited XMPP (Jabber) support and no option for disabling the logging of user’s chats.
A number of experts criticized this decision, since, in their opinion, it denotes the transition from free to closed proprietary protocols.

Messengers are already being updated – and that includes both desktop applications, their web counterparts (found in Gmail and Google+, for example) and mobile apps.

The main difference between the protocols is the lack of the server-to-server federation standard support that allowed users to use alternative message exchange servers or even create their own ones to be 100% sure of the confidentiality of their communications. From now on, all messages will be sent via Google’s servers and be logged there as well.

The consequences this may lead to are obvious.

IT security experts are calling to Google to revert to open standards, make the Google Hangouts specifications public and publish the source code for creating a personal server.

Interception of Gmail messages: FBI’s key priority

9 July 2013

gmail-300x200Speaking at an event organized by the American Bar Association, Andrew Weissman, an FBI counsel, called the development of a legal base for monitoring major online services the top priority of the bureau in 2013.

The current legal foundation for online surveillance is a part of a law that grants secret services access to email and chat services and is called the “Wiretap Act”. It enables the FBI to monitor users’ activities on the provider level. However, most Internet services encrypt data connections between users and the server, thus rendering FBI surveillance partially useless.

Weissman mentioned Gmail, Google Voice, Dropbox and built-in chats in many games as examples of such services.

Therefore, FBI can legally compel Gmail, for instance, to assist in intercepting some information, but it does not oblige Gmail employees to mandatory actions, so the efficiency of FBI investigations in limited. This happens because the Act only applies to providers, who must install FBI equipment in their data centers. Online services are currently out of reach for the bureau.

According to Weissman, FBI will be working hard on new legislation, which, once adopted, will considerably broaden their authority.

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