hacking

Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht, in jail for life, draws a photo of his prison cell

Ross Ulbricht, the creator of The Silk Road darknet marketplace, is serving a double life sentence plus forty years with no possibility for parole for "money laundering, computer hacking, conspiracy to traffic fraudulent identity documents, and conspiracy to traffic narcotics by means of the Internet." [Wikipedia] Above, a detail from his incredible drawing of his cell and cellmate in the Tucson United States Penitentiary.

In a Medium essay titled Life in a Box, Ross writes:

Try, if you can, to imagine being in this 65-square-foot cell, just you, your cellie and a pet mouse. Mail comes in and out. You get the occasion visit or phone call, but otherwise this and the prison is your universe. Now imagine living here day after day. You lay down in the bunk at night and wake up in it every morning. You eat here. Some days you weep here. Year after year, this is it. No breaks, no weekend off, and you are told you will never be let out, ever. What can one live for under these conditions? Surprisingly, there is much. At the very least, I know that rarefied states of mind, states of pure bliss that dedicated monks experience after many years of devotion, are available to me if I live a spiritual life in here. I know also that all the world’s knowledge is still available to me between the covers of books (some I was reading at the time I drew “Life in a Box” can be seen stacked on my bunk).

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DOJ indicts 80, many based in Nigeria, in business email scam and money laundering

The Justice Department today announced indictments for 80 individuals on charges they ran a massive business email and money laundering scam that operated in part out of Southern California.

DoJ's 145-page indictment was unsealed Thursday, and charges 80 named individuals with conspiracy to commit mail and bank fraud, plus aggravated identity theft and money laundering.

More than a dozen individuals were arrested during raids on Thursday, most of which took place in the greater Los Angeles area.

News of the early-morning Southern California raids on Thursday were first reported by LA's ABC7 News.

Zack Whittaker at TechCrunch:

But it’s not immediately known if the Nigerian nationals will be extradited to the U.S., however a treaty exists between the two nations making extraditions possible.

U.S. Attorney Nicola Hanna said the case was part of an ongoing effort to protect citizens and businesses from email scams.

“Today, we have taken a major step to disrupt criminal networks that use [business email scam] schemes, romance scams and other frauds to fleece victims,” he said. “This indictment sends a message that we will identify perpetrators — no matter where they reside — and we will cut off the flow of ill-gotten gains.”

These business email compromise scams rely partly on deception and in some cases hacking. Scammers send specially crafted spearphishing emails to their targets in order to trick them into turning over sensitive information about the company, such as sending employee W-2 tax documents so scammers can generate fraudulent refunds, or tricking an employee into making wire transfers to bank accounts controlled by the scammers.

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Interoperability and Privacy: Squaring the Circle

Last summer, we published a comprehensive look at the ways that Facebook could and should open up its data so that users could control their experience on the service, and to make it easier for competing services to thrive. Read the rest

Compromised speakers can be forced to play tones so loud that the speakers start to melt

Security research Matt Wixey from PWC UK tried putting different kinds of consumer speakers -- noise canceling headphones, smart speakers, parametric speakers -- in an anechoic chamber after infecting them with malware that caused them to emit tones beyond those intended by the manufacturer. Read the rest

Purposely stalling 20% of cars in Manhattan could trigger total gridlock

If a hacker targeting connected cars in Manhattan could randomly stall 20% of them during rush hour, total gridlock would ensue. “This isn't just bad traffic where you are an hour late. It becomes impossible to get from point A to point B,” says Georgia Institute of Technology researcher Peter Yunker who ran a study on the "cyberphysical risks of hacked internet-connected vehicles." From IEEE Spectrum:

Not all cars on the road would need to be self-driving and Internet-connected for such paralysis to occur. For example, if 40 percent of all cars on the road in Manhattan were online and autonomous, hacking half of those would suffice.

...Cities without large grids—-Atlanta, Boston, and Los Angeles, to name a few—were more vulnerable to gridlock from such attacks.

Yunker and his colleagues cautioned that they considered only static situations where roads were either blocked or not blocked. Future research with more dynamic models would likely show that blocked roads would spill traffic over into other roads. Given such effects, it might be possible to trigger gridlock by stalling much less than 20 percent of all cars, Yunker says.

image: Shutterstock/View Apart Read the rest

"IBM PC Compatible": how adversarial interoperability saved PCs from monopolization

Adversarial interoperability is what happens when someone makes a new product or service that works with a dominant product or service, against the wishes of the dominant business. Read the rest

Looking to jump into an IT career? Learn faster online.

The field of internet technology is wide open, for those who know their way around it. And with the infrastructure that drives it changing every day, the best way to learn is to dive right in - with a credible guide, of course. Here are 8 online courses in IT, networking and security that will give you the latest know-how and get you armed for the job market fast.

The A to Z Cyber Security & IT Certification Training Bundle

This course pack teaches you to defend systems of any size from any angle, with dedicated classes on cloud security, GSEC certification, SQL injection and more. The complete A to Z Cyber Security & IT Certification Training Bundle is now $39.

The Ultimate Cisco Networking Expert Certification Training Bundle

Big networks use Cisco, and they invariably need a lot of nimble minds to manage it. These nine courses cover everything you need to launch and maintain a Cisco network: CCNP routing, IPv4 and MPLS protocols, the works. Get the Ultimate Cisco Networking Expert Certification Training Bundle now for $31.

The Complete IT Project Management Certification Bundle

If you've got the foundation of IT knowledge but not the certification, this bundle will bridge the gap. You'll get courses that not only teach you to ace most CompTIA and Microsoft exams but give you a firm foundation in project management methodologies like PRINCE2 that will allow you to move up the ranks. Pick up the Complete IT Project Management Certification Bundle for $29. Read the rest

Massive trove of Russian spy-agency docs hacked from private sector contractor and passed onto media

Sytech is a private sector contractor to FSB, the Russian spy-agency that is the successor to the KGB; on July 13th, hacking group 0v1ru$ defaced Sytech's site and claimed to have hacked their internal network and stolen their files -- this week, the Russian hacking group Digitalrevolution began to pass these files on to Russian media, claiming to have 7.5TB of data in all, making it the largest breach of any Russian spy agency in history. Read the rest

Learn to play guitar like one of the most influential musicians of the 1970s

You might recognize Wilko Johnson's  as Ser Ilyn Payne from Game of Thrones, but that role's small potatoes compared to his musical legacy. As the lead guitarist and song writer for the British pub rock band Dr. Feelgood, Johnson's choppy, percussive style of playing is considered to be one of the earliest influences of the early UK punk scene. When you listen to Joe Strummer hacking away with his axe in The 101ers, you're hearing Wilko.

In this brief video filmed back in 2012, Wilko demonstrates the ins and outs of the fierce, economic playing style that helped give rise to The Sex Pistols and The Clash. I've been a fan of the man for decades and, last week, was fortunate enough to spend a good chunk of time chatting with him. Look for my interview with Wilko to pop up on the site at some point in the near future.

Image courtesy of Abigail Elizabeth Photography Read the rest

Youtube's ban on "hacking techniques" threatens to shut down all of infosec Youtube

Once upon a time, companies were able to insist -- with a straight face -- that the real problem with the security defects in their products was the researchers who went public with them, warning customers and users that the products they were trusting were not trustworthy. Read the rest

Trump poll numbers went up each time Russian Internet Research Agency Twitter accounts became active: Study

Yes, Russian internet propaganda and military disinformation attacks may really have elected Trump.

Zuckerberg claims lack of U.S. action on 2016 Russian election interference inspired Iran and others

Looks like Facebook has decided that going on the offensive is better when it comes to government regulation. Read the rest

Learn how to become an ethical hacker with this in-depth training

When it comes to large computer systems, not one of them is fully secure. Even with constant updates to the platforms that keep vital networks humming, there's always a back door. And companies are willing to pay handsomely to effective bouncers that can keep an eye on them.

Call them ethical hackers or white hat hackers, they're the cybersecurity experts that are constantly on the lookout for vulnerabilities to sensitive networks - the better to patch them up and keep them safe. There's not likely to be a drop in demand for these extremely specialized techs anytime soon. And if you've thought about joining their ranks, there's actually a course dedicated to bringing any coder up to speed: The Ultimate Ethical Hacking A to Z Certification Bundle.

You'll find tutorials in cyber-security for any system out there, but nothing that drills down quite so far as this master class, while also giving you an overview of hacking with principles that can be applied to any platform. The opening lessons in the bundle give a birds-eye view of security by showing you what the most common targets of any hacker are, and the routes they use to attack them. You'll be able to set up a practice lab at your own computer - a contained environment where you can practice the techniques you learn without fear of harming your own system or anyone else's.

As your skills progress, you'll learn specific techniques for detecting weak spots in Python, including the ability to write scripts that comb internal systems and raise red flags for you. Read the rest

Cult of the Dead Cow: the untold story of the hacktivist group that presaged everything great and terrible about the internet

Back in 1984, a lonely, weird kid calling himself Grandmaster Ratte' formed a hacker group in Lubbock, Texas. called the Cult of the Dead Cow, a name inspired by a nearby slaughterhouse. In the decades to come, cDc would become one of the dominant forces on the BBS scene and then the internet -- endlessly inventive, funny and prankish, savvy and clever, and sometimes reckless and foolish -- like punk-rock on a floppy disk. Read the rest

KPMG is in the middle of an unbelievably dirty cheating scandal that keeps on getting uglier

KPMG is one of the "Big Four" accounting firms: that means that whenever a plan for a business or a public project has a box that says, "Make sure no one is cheating," it means that you hire KPMG or one of its rivals to come in and check the books and make sure that everything is on the level. If you can't trust the accounting firm, the whole thing falls apart. Read the rest

Artist paints playful shadow art on sidewalks

Artist Damon Belanger's "Shadow Art" installations are making the rounds on the internet and for good reason, they're terrific! Using grey paint designed for concrete patios, he first created these street art pieces on commission back in 2016. They're a permanent installation, so you can still find all 22 of the fantastical shadows, ranging from anthropomorphic flowers to critters to abstract designs, on the downtown sidewalks of Redwood City, California.

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In use... #redwoodcity #visitredwoodcity #shadowart

A post shared by Damon Belanger (@dmn.belanger) on May 29, 2016 at 9:32pm PDT

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#redwoodcity #cityofredwoodcity #publicart #streetart #visitredwoodcity #rwcparks #redwoodcityshadowart #shadowart

A post shared by Damon Belanger (@dmn.belanger) on Jun 8, 2016 at 7:46pm PDT

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Dog the Cat. One of about twenty shadow art pieces I painted in downtown #redwoodcity. #rwcparks #visitrwc #redwoodcityshadowart #publicart #shadowart

A post shared by Damon Belanger (@dmn.belanger) on May 21, 2016 at 11:23pm PDT

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Robo Band. One of about twenty shadow art pieces I painted in downtown #redwoodcity. #rwcparks #visitrwc #redwoodcityshadowart #publicart #shadowart

A post shared by Damon Belanger (@dmn.belanger) on May 21, 2016 at 11:28pm PDT

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Hydrant @ El Camino. One of about twenty shadow art pieces I painted in downtown #redwoodcity. #rwcparks #visitrwc #redwoodcityshadowart #publicart #shadowart

A post shared by Damon Belanger (@dmn.belanger) on May 21, 2016 at 11:33pm PDT

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Parking Monkey. One of about twenty shadow art pieces I painted in downtown #redwoodcity.

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Become a travel expert with this jetsetter's crash course

Heading abroad? Even if it's just a short trip, there's a lot to prepare for. Travel can be incredibly rewarding, but it can tricky to navigate different cultures and lodging arrangements - and even trickier to do it cheaply.

Before you go shopping for suitcases, here's our pick for a good first investment: The Ultimate Travel Hacker Bundle 2019.

This package of nine online courses covers the essential aspects of travel and can be useful even for those who've been around the globe a time or two. There are crash courses on Spanish and Chinese, plus lessons on how to navigate Airbnb and maximize your airline rewards. Best of all, the entire thing is up for grabs on a "pay what you want" basis. Make an offer, and any amount gets you part of the bundle. Beat the average price, and you take home the whole thing.

Here's a breakdown of what's included:

Become a Digital Nomad - Tips for keeping all your info safe and accessible anywhere you roam. Travel Hacking Mastery: Fly Around the World for Cheap - Find out how you can save on airline tickets by signing up for the right credit cards, all while keeping your score intact and skirting fees. The Abroaders Guide to Points & Miles - Booking the right flights to boost your rewards and reduce ticket prices by up to 90%. Chinese Made Easy: Understand 65% of Chinese In 10 Hours - A language boot camp that lets you speak conversational Mandarin in less than a day. Read the rest

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