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Archive for the ‘privacy’ category

Nov 6, 2019

Kaspersky identifies mysterious APT mentioned in 2017 Shadow Brokers leak

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, privacy

The NSA had superior insight into foreign nation-state hacking operations than many cyber-security vendors.

Nov 6, 2019

Tipped off by an NSA breach, researchers discover new APT hacking group

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, privacy

DarkUniverse went undetected for at least 8 years. The NSA finally outed it.

Oct 25, 2019

Future Consequences of Cryptocurrency Use: Systemic Investigation of Two Scenarios

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, business, complex systems, counterterrorism, cryptocurrencies, cybercrime/malcode, disruptive technology, economics, education, employment, encryption, finance, futurism, governance, government, hacking, innovation, law enforcement, open access, policy, privacy, security, strategy, terrorism

We face complexity, ambiguity, and uncertainty about the future consequences of cryptocurrency use. There are doubts about the positive and negative impacts of the use of cryptocurrencies in the financial systems. In order to address better and deeper the contradictions and the consequences of the use of cryptocurrencies and also informing the key stakeholders about known and unknown emerging issues in new payment systems, we apply two helpful futures studies tools known as the “Future Wheel”, to identify the key factors, and “System Dynamics Conceptual Mapping”, to understand the relationships among such factors. Two key scenarios will be addressed. In on them, systemic feedback loops might be identified such as a) terrorism, the Achilles’ heel of the cryptocurrencies, b) hackers, the barrier against development, and c) information technology security professionals, a gap in the future job market. Also, in the other scenario, systemic feedback loops might be identified such as a) acceleration of technological entrepreneurship enabled by new payment systems, b) decentralization of financial ecosystem with some friction against it, c) blockchain and shift of banking business model, d) easy international payments triggering structural reforms, and e) the decline of the US and the end of dollar dominance in the global economy. In addition to the feedback loops, we can also identify chained links of consequences that impact productivity and economic growth on the one hand, and shift of energy sources and consumption on the other hand.

Watch the full length presentation at Victor V. Motti YouTube Channel

Sep 30, 2019

The NSA Makes Its Powerful Cybersecurity Tool Open Source

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, privacy

The National Security Agency develops advanced hacking tools in-house for both offense and defense—which you could probably guess even if some notable examples hadn’t leaked in recent years. But on Tuesday at the RSA security conference in San Francisco, the agency demonstrated Ghidra, a refined internal tool that it has chosen to open source. And while NSA cybersecurity adviser Rob Joyce called the tool a “contribution to the nation’s cybersecurity community” in announcing it at RSA, it will no doubt be used far beyond the United States.


No one’s better at hacking than the NSA. And now one of its powerful tools is available to everyone for free.

Sep 19, 2019

Researchers Think It’s a Good Idea to Secure Your Phone Using the One Thing You Perpetually Lose

Posted by in categories: mobile phones, privacy, security

Apple’s FaceID authentication system started moving smartphone users away from relying on fingerprints to secure their mobile devices, which are arguably less secure. But researchers think they’ve come up with an even better biometric tool for protecting a device that uses a part of the body that’s nearly impossible to spoof: a user’s ear canals.

A team of researchers led by Zhanpeng Jin, an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering in the University of Buffalo’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, created a new authentication tool called EarEcho, which is somewhat self-explanatory. The team modified a set of off the shelf earbuds with a tiny microphone that points inside the wearer’s ear, not out towards the world around them. It’s not there to pick up ambient sounds to facilitate a noise-canceling or feature, or even the wearer’s voice for making calls; the tiny mic is instead tuned to listen to the echo of sounds as they’re played and then propagate through the ear canal.

Sep 16, 2019

Was SHA-256 cracked? Don’t buy into retraction!

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, encryption, government, hacking, internet, mathematics, military, privacy, security, software

SHA-256 is a one way hashing algorithm. Cracking it would have tectonic implications for consumers, business and all aspects of government including the military.

It’s not the purpose of this post to explain encryption, AES or SHA-256, but here is a brief description of SHA-256. Normally, I place reference links in-line or at the end of a post. But let’s get this out of the way up front:

One day after Treadwell Stanton DuPont claimed that a secret project cracked SHA-256 more than one year ago, they back-tracked. Rescinding the original claim, they announced that an equipment flaw caused them to incorrectly conclude that they had algorithmically cracked SHA-256.

All sectors can still sleep quietly tonight,” said CEO Mike Wallace. “Preliminary results in this cryptanalytic research led us to believe we were successful, but this flaw finally proved otherwise.

Continue reading “Was SHA-256 cracked? Don’t buy into retraction!” »

Sep 11, 2019

Silicon Valley’s final frontier for mobile payments — ‘the neoliberal takeover of the human body’

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, finance, mobile phones, privacy

Biometric mobile wallets — payment technologies using our faces, fingerprints or retinas — already exist. Notable technology companies including Apple AAPL, +2.62% and Amazon AMZN, +0.26% await a day when a critical mass of consumers is sufficiently comfortable walking into a store and paying for goods without a card or device, according to Sinnreich, author of “The Essential Guide to Intellectual Property.”

Removing the last physical barrier — smartphones, watches, smart glasses and credit cards — between our bodies and corporate America is the final frontier in mobile payments. “The deeper the tie between the human body and the financial networks, the fewer intimate spaces will be left unconnected to those networks,” Sinnreich said.

Sep 6, 2019

Can Bitcoin Transactions be Made Private?

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, privacy

The blockchain is public, yet a Bitcoin wallet can be created anonymously. So are Bitcoin transactions anonymous? Not at all…

Each transaction into and out of a wallet is a bread crumb. Following the trail is trivial. Every day, an army of armchair sleuths help the FBI. That’s how Silk Road was brought down.

The problem is that some of that money eventually interacts with the real world (a dentist is paid, a package shipped or a candy is purchased at a gas station). Even if the real-world transaction is 4 hops before or after hitting the “anonymous” wallet, it creates a forensic focal point. Next comes a tax man, an ex-spouse or a goon.

The first article linked below addresses the state of tumblers (aka “mixers”). They anonymize an open network by obfuscating the trail of bread crumbs.

Continue reading “Can Bitcoin Transactions be Made Private?” »

Aug 9, 2019

NSA’s reverse-engineering malware tool, Ghidra, to get new features to save time, boost accuracy

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, engineering, privacy, robotics/AI

Just five months ago at the RSA conference, the NSA released Ghidra, a piece of open source software for reverse-engineering malware. It was an unusual move for the spy agency, and it’s sticking to its plan for regular updates — including some based on requests from the public.

In the coming months, Ghidra will get support for Android binaries, according to Brian Knighton, a senior researcher for the NSA, and Chris Delikat, a cyber team lead in its Research Directorate, who previewed details of the upcoming release with CyberScoop. Knighton and Delikat are discussing their plans at a session of the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas Thursday.

Before the Android support arrives, a version 9.1 will include new features intended to save time for users and boost accuracy in reverse-engineering malware — enhancements that will come from features such as processor modules, new support for system calls and the ability to conduct additional editing, known as sleigh editing, in the Eclipse development environment.

Aug 3, 2019

How to Hack a Face: From Facial Recognition to Facial Recreation

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, information science, mobile phones, privacy, robotics/AI, surveillance

Given that going viral on the Internet is often cyclical, it should come as no surprise that an app that made its debut in 2017 has once again surged in popularity. FaceApp applies various transformations to the image of any face, but the option that ages facial features has been especially popular. However, the fun has been accompanied by controversy; since biometric systems are replacing access passwords, is it wise to freely offer up our image and our personal data? The truth is that today the face is ceasing to be as non-transferable as it used to be, and in just a few years it could be more hackable than the password of a lifetime.

Our countenance is the most recognisable key to social relationships. We might have doubts when hearing a voice on the phone, but never when looking at the face of a familiar person. In the 1960s, a handful of pioneering researchers began training computers to recognise human faces, although it was not until the 1990s that this technology really began to take off. Facial recognition algorithms have improved to such an extent that since 1993 their error rate has been halved every two years. When it comes to recognising unfamiliar faces in laboratory experiments, today’s systems outperform human capabilities.

Continue reading “How to Hack a Face: From Facial Recognition to Facial Recreation” »

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