The Wall Street Journal (paywall) reports that the FBI payed more than $1m to get into the San Bernardino terrorist's iPhone after Apple refused to create software to bypass its encryption. The Washington Post reports that a one-off $1.3m price tag was admitted, obliquely, by FBI Director James Comey by comparison with his own salary.
Federal authorities have not publicly revealed who helped the FBI unlock the San Bernardino iPhone, which was at the center of an extended fight between the government and Apple. The Justice Department had maintained that only Apple could help it access the phone without erasing all of its data before abruptly saying it had gotten help from an outside party and no longer needed Apple’s assistance.
According to people familiar with the issue, the FBI cracked the phone with the help of professional hackers who were paid a one-time flat fee. Law enforcement officials have said recently that the FBI has found no links to foreign terrorists on the phone, though they are still hoping that geolocation data on the device could help reveal what the attackers did during an 18-minute period after the shooting.
The FBI's attempts to compel Apple's cooperation backfired after CEO Tim Cook publicly accused the Bureau of exploiting the case to try and gain backdoor access to iPhones in general. The phone ultimately yielded no useful information.
“But it was, in my view, worth it,” the FBI director said of what it cost to access the phone’s data. Read the rest
A bizarre glitch in Super Mario World, and an incredible amount of patience, and the SNES classic is transformed into Flappy Bird.
It's incredible to watch SethBling in action. Once the glitch (triggered by giving Mario too many power-ups) is active, machine code can be arbitrary rewritten in memory by carefully moving Mario around. This code can, ultimately, be executed. The process takes an hour of careful pixel-perfect actions in the game world, which becomes stranger and more nightmarish as Mario's universe-editing rituals proceed.
Welcome to the weirdest, most painful, most existentially-nightmarish IDE—and a reminder that our own reality is probably an abandoned simulation waiting for someone to take too many power-ups and turn it all into a sadistic casual game.
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A pair of self-described teen stoner hackers say they breached an AOL account used by CIA Director John Brennan, the New York Post reported today.
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Self-proclaimed Ashley Madison hackers the Impact Team today released what looks like another 20 gigabytes of ill-gotten data. The just-dropped “other shoe” includes emails from the cheater-dating website's CEO.
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Ashley Madison is a social network for people who want to cheat on their spouses. It's been hacked and "large caches of user data posted online," reports Krebs on Security.
The privacy of some 37 million account-holders is at stake, though the bulk of the dataset is apparently being withheld and its contents remain uncharted territory.
The social network's boss, bless his stupid nylon socks, thinks that he'll be able to take their "intellectual property" off the 'net.
Reached by KrebsOnSecurity late Sunday evening, ALM Chief Executive Noel Biderman confirmed the hack, and said the company was “working diligently and feverishly” to take down ALM’s intellectual property. Indeed, in the short span of 30 minutes between that brief interview and the publication of this story, several of the Impact Team’s Web links were no longer responding.
“We’re not denying this happened,” Biderman said. “Like us or not, this is still a criminal act.”
The claimed hackers say they were motivated by the site's hypocrisy. Ashley Madison apparently had a "remove your data from our servers for a fee" wheeze going on—a practice unnervingly reminiscent of some revenge porn operators.
The Next Web's Abhimanyu Ghoshal.
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The Impact Team said that the ‘full delete’ feature didn’t actually wipe profiles as advertised and that it brought ALM $1.7 million in revenue last year.
The hackers said:
Users almost always pay with credit card; their purchase details are not removed as promised, and include real name and address, which is of course the most important information the users want removed.
The BBC reports that after two "hackers" spotted security holes in its website, United rewarded them with a million miles each.
One security expert said the scheme was a big step forward for online security. Read the rest
"Schemes like this reward hackers for finding and disclosing problems in the right way. That makes the internet safer for all of us," said security consultant Dr Jessica Barker.
"Bug bounties are common in tech companies as they tend to understand online security a bit more, but other industries are catching up," said Dr Barker.
The so-called unlimited cash out operations used hacked debit cards with withdrawal limits removed to make ATMs spew money.
The password management service was hacked last week, but its layers of security prevented a serious breach. Here's what users should do to make sure they're unaffected.
Tl;dr: change your master password.
LastPass says in its blog entry, “Encrypted user vaults were not compromised.” This is a critical fact because changing your master password will immediately make the stolen password information useless. If crackers had stolen vaults, they would be able to churn on them forever or return to them to the future and crack them with more advanced or powerful technology. Since people often don’t change passwords for years at a time or forever, that could have still been a risk.
LastPass also advises changing your password at any other account for which you use the identical password
Photo: Shutterstock. Read the rest
If technical descriptions of how they achieved the amazing graphical feat flew over your head, this pictorial explanation makes clearer just how insane this thing is.
The idea that such multi-color trickery was possible came to me some time ago, as I was looking at reenigne's code for patching up composite CGA emulation in DOSBox; messing with that patch during development gave me a much better picture of composite CGA's inner workings. When I had ironed out the basic concept for this hack, I divulged it to reenigne for 'peer review' and for testing on real hardware. Soon enough, we had an improved recipe:
Take two familiar (though officially undocumented) tweaks. Blend to an even mixture producing a new effect.
Add one crucial new trick – an ingredient of reenigne's devising.
Test and calibrate until blue in the face.
It's also a great look at the workings of CGA for the interested but nontechnical layman.
Released at the Revision 2015 demo party, 8088 MPH is a vision of previously undiscovered possibility (a perfect entrypoint to the 19A0s!)—there's even MOD music, including digital samples, at 6:40m, like it's just no big deal at all to do that with 1981 hardware
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It's not so much that the scammers themselves are becoming better at their jobs, just that off-the-shelf scripts are so much more powerful
. [NYT] Read the rest
According to a leaked NSA document, the spy agency can snoop on personal iPhone communications
such as SMS messages, location and cellular data. Though any
device could be compromised likewise given the physical access required, the document demonstrates that the NSA a) is actually doing it, and b) is working on (and may also have successfully developed) remote hacks. Apple says it has never worked with the NSA to create a backdoor in any of its products
and is unaware of the shenanigans. [Daily Dot] Read the rest
Valentin Squirelo and friends at HackerLoop built a miniature model of the flying house from UP! outfitted with a Raspberry Pi computer and floated it above Paris where it posted live photos to Instagram. This was particularly interesting because generally photos can only be uploaded to Instagram via the official iOS or Android app. HackerLoop worked around that limitation. HackerLoop's #Upstagram Read the rest
You know how some media love "he said, she said" journalism? The kind in which any issue, no matter the facts or relative degrees of extremism, is narrated in perfect equilibrium between two opposed, yet indistinguishably-intractable sides. Doesn't that stuff suck? OK! Cool.
Moving on, Slate's Daniel Engber has an interesting article up today about how Democrats and Republicans all hate science just as much as one another: "Willful ignorance of science is a bipartisan value." Read the rest
YouTube makes available a set of different-sized thumbnails for every video through its API, but sometimes you just need to grab 'em and go. So I made a plain-jane widget to grab what's available, at-a-glance, for any given YT URL
. Enjoy! Read the rest
Yesterday, GoDaddy went down, taking with it countless hosted sites. A hacker claimed credit
, gaining the attention of the entire tech press. But his story was soon debunked
: a DNS configuration mistake was the real cause. At Threat Level, Robert McMillan recounts the greatest hacks that never were
. Read the rest
Jason Torchinsky of Jalopnik shows how to turn old car parts into a video game controller.
The idea came to me while adjusting the mirrors in a car, and realizing that the little mirror-control joystick was better than many video game joysticks I used. I then had a waking dream of the grand possibilities of playing old videogames with control pads sourced from cars. The dream was a beautiful, fantastical vision of a world we could all achieve. I woke up hours later behind a CVS, and headed straight to a junkyard to make this dream real.
Super-sleuth readers may note that in the final project I used a seat control panel instead of a mirror controller. There's a reason for that. When I got the mirror control pads and joysticks home and tested them, I uncovered one of the auto industry's darkest secrets: the "up" and "left" directions on mirror controllers are THE SAME DAMN THING. They're wired together! Think of all the times you've thought you were adjusting your mirror up, not left, thinking you were hot shit? IT'S ALL BEEN A FILTHY LIE. So I soon learned to look elsewhere. Luckily, 70s-80s American cars provided the solution, since they're full of funny little chrome joysticks for seat controls and other various duties.
How to turn old car parts into a video game controller Read the rest