Crosby, Stills & Nash's unused theme song for War Games (1983)

Crosby, Stills & Nash recorded this theme song for War Games, the seminal hacker film of 1983. The tune was heard in movie trailers and in this promotional video that aired on MTV but was apparently pulled from the film. The song, "War Games," was included on the band's album Allies. From the lyrics:

I am not so sure What you want me for Either your machine Is a fool, or me

Now there is no time to wait No time to think it over Take the path, believe the math You'll tell me when it's over

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How a fishing guide's WordPress site became home to half a million fraudulent pages

Ned Desmond shares the scary story of how a small site he managed that advertised fishing expeditions ended up with 565,192 scam pages. He also suggests five ways to avoid the same fate. Read the rest

Trump to sign yet another trash executive order, this time on 'the cyber'

'President' Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order addressing cybersecurity today, Reuters reports in an item that cites "two sources familiar with the situation.” The EO is expected to be Trump's first action to address what he called a top priority of his administration during the Presidential campaign.

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Software platform for 1,000 cannabis businesses crashed over the weekend

Last week a software platform used by 1,000 cannabis businesses crashed. The CEO of MJ Freeway says the outage was caused by an "unprecedented, malicious attack."

From Fortune:

An MJ Freeway spokesperson told the Globe last week that the attack was specifically targeted at MJ Freeway, which is based in Denver. The company reports that it has received no ransom demands, suggesting that the attack could have been personally or politically motivated.

MJ Freeway, which serves more than 1,000 clients, is one of the most prominent startups providing technical infrastructure for the booming legal marijuana industry. In a 2015 Bloomberg profile, the company’s services were described as something like SAP or Oracle for weed, with features like automatic sales reports, staff scheduling, and crop data tracking.

(Thanks, Julian!) Read the rest

How one guy lost millions of dollars of bitcoin to a hacker

A hacker called up T-Mobile and convinced the customer service representative that he was Jared Kenna. T-Mobile believed the hacker and transferred Kenna's phone number from T-Mobile to another carrier. Once the hacker had Kenna's phone number he took over about 30 of Kenna's accounts, which had been protected with 2-factor authentication. The accounts included "two banks, PayPal, two bitcoin services — and, crucially, his Windows account, which was the key to his PC." In short order the hacker stole "millions" of dollars worth of Kenna's bitcoin.

From Laura Shin's article in Forbes:

Kenna was so early in bitcoin that he remembers when he would plug his computer into the network and see only four other computers running it. Now, there are more than 5,000. Computers supporting the network are slated into a competition to win bitcoin roughly every 10 minutes. In the early days, the payout was 50 bitcoin each time; now it’s 12.5. Kenna recalls that at a certain point, when he was “only” winning 50 bitcoins a day, he stopped supporting the network, thinking it wasn’t worth it. At today’s price, he was giving up on $40,000 a day.

Though he did have some bitcoins in online services, particularly since his businesses accept bitcoin as payment, he kept almost all his bitcoins on an encrypted hard drive. “It was essentially my never-sell-this-until-it-goes-to-a-billion-dollars nest egg,” he says. He had kept it offline for most of the past several years, but had connected that device in recent weeks to move them somewhere more secure and sell some.

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Watch "Terminal Madness," 1980 TV special about personal computers

In 1980, WMTV in Madison, Wisconsin produced this feature about early personal computers and the geeks who loved them. I enjoyed the discussion of The Source, which was the first online experience I ever had.

George Martin, who posted the video to YouTube, writes: "About halfway through the video there is a segment filmed at my home showing how I had programmed a Cromemco Z-2 computer to control lights and appliances."

(Thanks, UPSO!)

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Why are hackers so political?

Gabriella Coleman is the "hacker anthropologist" whose book on the anthropology of Anonymous is among the best books on hacking I've ever read; her new paper in Current Anthropology, From Internet Farming to Weapons of the Geek, poses a fascinating question: given that hackers are as well-paid and privileged as doctors, lawyers and academics, how come hackers are so much more political than other members of the professional elites? Read the rest

NSA contractor Harold Thomas Martin to face espionage charges over 50TB of "stolen code"

A former Booz Allen Hamilton contractor who worked with the National Security Agency will face charges of espionage in a case involving 50 terabytes or more of highly sensitive NSA data the government says were stolen.

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A second hacker group is targeting SWIFT bank system users with malware, Symantec warns

Cybersecurity firm Symantec said today a second hacking group has been trying to rob banks with phony SWIFT messages. That same method nabbed $81 million in a high-profile attack on the central bank of Bangladesh earlier this year.

Jim Finkle at Reuters reports:

Symantec said that a group dubbed Odinaff has infected 10 to 20 organizations with malware that can be used to hide fraudulent transfer requests made over SWIFT, the messaging system that is a lynchpin of the global financial system.

Symantec's research provided new insight into ongoing hacking that has previously been disclosed by SWIFT. SWIFT Chief Executive Gottfried Leibbrandt last month told customers about three hacks and warned that cyber attacks on banks are poised to rise.

SWIFT and Symantec have not identified specific victims beyond Bangladesh Bank. Symantec said that most Odinaff attacks occurred in the United States, Hong Kong, Australia, the United Kingdom and Ukraine.

Symantec promises to share technical information about Odinaff with banks, governments and other security firms involved in the SWIFT system. Read the rest

Meet 2 real-life guys behind Donald Trump's "400 pound hacker" stereotype

At the first presidential debate this week, GOP nominee Donald Trump fat-shamed a fictional IT character he made up. Speaking about a series of hacks on Democratic National Committee organizations, Trump said, “I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, OK? You don’t know who broke in to DNC.”

Trump's mean trope of a hacker “sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds” is nothing new to “XXL and greater” sized information security professionals.

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White House orders Russia hack investigation, Congress wants to know if Trump is involved

Anonymous U.S. intelligence sources cited by NBC News say the White House has ordered a special intelligence task force to look into Russia's recent hacks of various Democratic political organizations.

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Unsuccessful hack targeted New York Times in Moscow, FBI blames Russia

U.S. officials are investigating online security attacks that targeted reporters at The New York Times in Moscow. A U.S. official said Tuesday that the Times was among various U.S. news organizations targeted. CNN was first to report the story, and the Times has since confirmed and corrected some details.

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Hacker claims $20K in dark web sales of leaked 'World-Check' terrorism watchlist

Ever wonder if it's really a good idea for there to be “terrorism watch lists” created by for-profit businesses, with no accountability to the privacy rights of ordinary citizens like you and me?

The best-known of these, Thomson Reuters' “World-Check,” recently leaked to the so-called dark web. The database is compiled from public sources, and is sold by Thomson Reuters to vetted clients in government, intelligence agencies, banks, law firms, and the like.

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Don't let the government hack your computer. Tell Congress to stop changes to #Rule41.

“The U.S. government wants to use an obscure procedure—amending a federal rule known as Rule 41— to radically expand their authority to hack,” the EFF says. “The changes to Rule 41 would make it easier for them to break into our computers, take data, and engage in remote surveillance.

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'Spam King' Sanford Wallace gets 2.5 years in prison for 27 million Facebook scam messages

A hacker who called himself 'Spam King' and sent 27 million unsolicited Facebook messages for a variety of scams has been sentenced to 30 months in jail.

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Syrian hacker accused of attacking U.S. for Assad extradited for federal court in Virginia

A man the U.S. says is a hacker aligned with the government of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad will appear in a federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, on Tuesday. An unnamed source with U.S. law enforcement told reporters today that the accused hacker, 36 year old Peter Romar, was extradited to the US and flown from Germany to Dulles International Airport on Monday.

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Turns out the U.S. military really is dropping “cyber bombs” on ISIS

There's been an awful lot of talk about “cyber pathogens” and “cyber bombs” lately from the mouths of American officials discussing terrorism, and how we will vanquish it. President Obama mentioned “cyber ops” against Islamic State terrorists in one recent address. Today, we know a little more about what was behind last week's cyber-hawkish hacking headlines.

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