Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Twitter Suspends 376K Accounts Tied to Terrorism | Investopedia

Twitter Suspends 376K Accounts Tied to Terrorism | Investopedia
Do I look like a fucking terrorist? 



Twitter Suspends 376K Accounts Tied to Terrorism

Twitter Inc. (TWTR) disclosed Tuesday it had suspended hundreds of thousands of accounts for violations related to the promotion of terrorism.

According to the social media network, it suspended 376,890 accounts between July 1 and Dec. 31, 2016, and a total of 636,248 accounts from Aug. 1, 2015, through Dec. 31, 2016. Twitter said of the suspensions, 74% of the accounts were identified by internal, proprietary spam-fighting tools while less than 2% of the suspensions came from requests by a government. Twitter released the information in its transparency report, which it has issued twice a year since 2012. While Twitter had previously given updates about the suspension of accounts associated with terrorism and extremism in blog posts, this marks the first time it included the numbers in the report. Twitter plans to include suspension numbers in future transparency reports, as well.

Stepping Up Policing

While Twitter has previously engaged in suspending accounts that are associated with terrorism, in recent months it's been stepping up its policing of its social media network to weed out abusive and violent behavior. For Twitter, the stakes are high. With advertisers increasingly spending their ad dollars on competing social networks like Facebook Inc. (FB), Twitter has to give companies reasons to want to advertise on its social network. (See also: Twitter: CEO Dorsey Facing Calls to Step Down.)

In February, the embattled social media company quietly started rolling out a feature that temporarily limits a user's Twitter reach if they break the rules such as cursing out a lawmaker or otherwise engaging in abusive or bad behavior. The new feature, which was first reported by BuzzFeed, basically puts the user in a timeout where only people in his or her network can view their tweets for a limited period of time. The feature was put to use in a prominent way shortly after news reports surfaced about it when David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan leader's Twitter account was suspended for a temporary period of time without Twitter giving a reason for the penalty. Twitter and Facebook have come under attack for not doing enough to prevent abusive behavior on their social networks and have been increasingly taking steps to counter that.



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Hacked Twitter Accounts Post Swastikas, Pro-Erdogan Content - Bloomberg

Hacked Twitter Accounts Post Swastikas, Pro-Erdogan Content - Bloomberg


Hacked Twitter Accounts Post Swastikas, Pro-Erdogan Content

As Dutch voters head to the polls on Wednesday, a swath of high-profile Twitter accounts have been hacked, with the attackers posting content supporting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in his feud with Germany and the Netherlands.

Turkish-language hashtags reading "NaziGermany" and "NaziHolland" appeared on the verified Twitter accounts of German newspaper Die Welt, Forbes Magazine, BBC North America, and Reuters Japan. Also targeted were the Twitter accounts of the European Parliament, French politicians like Alain Juppé, and Sprint Corp.'s Chief Executive Officer and President Marcelo Claure, among others.

Hi everyone - we temporarily lost control of this account, but normal service has resumed. Thanks.

— BBC North America (@BBCNorthAmerica) · Washington, DC

"We are aware of an issue affecting a number of account holders this morning," said Twitter Inc. company spokeswoman Kaori Saito. "We quickly located the source which was limited to a third party app. We removed its permissions immediately. No additional accounts are impacted." 

An Amsterdam-based startup said it's investigating if it's the source of the postings. Twitter Counter, a marketing tool that allows people and companies to track their popularity on Twitter, said it's now blocking people from postings through its system while it studies the issue. The company says it has more than 2 million users and tracks more than 350 million Twitter accounts.

"Our app has been used. It's pending further investigation," said Twitter Counter CEO Omer Ginor. "We are aware of the situation and have started an investigation into the matter." 

Twitter shares fell 2 percent to $15.01 at 10:11 a.m. in New York. They have declined 6 percent so far this year.

"Individual hacks like this one, in isolation, are unlikely to have much impact on Twitter," said Cyrus Mewawalla, managing director at CM Research. "But the sheer volume of these kind of events will have a damaging impact. Twitter and other social media sites are on the verge of a regulatory backlash that could ultimately impact their business model."

Twitter Counter, founded in 2008, reported an attack in November in which accounts from Sony Corp., Viacom Inc., Microsoft Corp. and others were compromised and posting spam messages. Twitter Counter apologized and said it had fixed the problem. 

Ginor said the company had reached "95 percent certainty" that it had fixed the problem after being hacked in November. The company couldn't be sure a hacker was "still lurking in the shadows, just waiting for the opportunity." 

The incidents show the indirect ways hackers can take over a company's Twitter feed. Twitter Counter is one of many companies that plug into Twitter to provide marketing and analytics tools for people, businesses and other groups. Companies including Time Inc., Netflix Inc., Chevron Corp. and YouTube use Twitter Counter, according to its website.

"With the current political conflict between The Netherlands and Turkey, we have observed an increase in takeovers of high profile social media accounts," said Jens Monrad, senior intelligence analyst at cybersecurity company FireEye Inc.

The attack comes just a day after German Chancellor Angela Merkel's government increased the pressure on social networks, including Facebook Inc. and Twitter, to curb the spread of fake news and malicious posts, weighing fines of up to 50 million euros ($53 million) for companies that fail to delete illegal content in a timely manner. Her government is taking malicious posts on social media increasingly seriously ahead of the Sept. 24 election in Europe's biggest economy.

The tweets Wednesday included a swastika and described the attack as a "little Ottoman slap." "See you on April 16," they read, referring to the date of Turkey's referendum to grant more powers to Erdogan, and finish with: "What did I write? Learn Turkish."

A four-minute video attached to the tweets begins with an Erdogan speech in which he says: "If we're going to die, let's die like men." It then features scenes from various Erdogan speeches, starting with his showdown with then-Israeli President Shimon Peres in Davos in 2009, as a campaign song chanting his name, "Recep Tayyip Erdogan," plays in the background.

BBC North America has since tweeted that it "temporarily lost control" of its account, but normal service has resumed. Some of the tweets have been deleted.

"Attackers always look for the weakest link of the chain," said Matt Suiche, founder of United Arab Emirates-based cyber-security startup Comae Technologies. "Third party platforms are perfect targets. It makes lots of sense."



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Big Twitter hack – Swastikas and propaganda for Turkish president

Big Twitter hack – Swastikas and propaganda for Turkish president
And I'm the one who gets suspended? 



Big Twitter hack – Swastikas and propaganda for Turkish president

Big Twitter hack – Swastikas and propaganda for Turkish president

Hackers took control of several prominent Twitter accounts today, posting swastikas and slogans supporting Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The hashtags #Nazialmanya and #Nazihollanda (NaziGermany and NaziHolland) were used in tweets, reported Bloomberg.

According to the report, the tweets said the attack was a "little Ottoman slap." Followed by, "See you on April 16," referring to the date of Turkey's referendum to grant more powers to Erdogan.

Tweets end with, "What did I write? Learn Turkish."

Twitter Counter said hackers used a flaw in its application to gain access to several high-profile accounts.

"Assuming this abuse is indeed done using our system, we've blocked all ability to post tweets and changed our Twitter app key," said Twitter Counter.

An hour later it said: "The Twitter Counter application is blocked on Twitter. If this activity continues, then we strongly believe it's not just through us."

Tweets containing a swastika and pro-Erdogan sentiments appeared on the Twitter accounts of Unicef, Amnesty International, Die Welt, Forbes Magazine, BBC North America, and Reuters Japan.

Bloomberg reported that attackers also targeted the accounts of the European Parliament, French politician Alain Juppé, and CEO of Sprint Marcelo Claure.

NaziGermany and NaziHolland Twitter hack - Amnesty International

Now read: WikiLeaks to share CIA hacking tools with tech firms



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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Survey Reveals Alarming Trend About CyberSecurity Advice | Inc.com

Survey Reveals Alarming Trend About CyberSecurity Advice | Inc.com


Survey Reveals Alarming Trend About CyberSecurity Advice

Survey shows that people with little knowledge are often advising others about cybersecurity

A survey conducted late last year by cybersecurity firm, Sophos, produced several scary findings - including that many people giving cybersecurity advice may be woefully unqualified to do so.

The survey, which polled 1,250 individuals in the US, UK, Germany, Austria and Switzerland, found that while about half of all of the people surveyed were not familiar with email phishing scams, or perceived such attacks to comprise a minimal threat, 55 percent of those surveyed said that they advise someone else on matters related to data security.

Think about that for a moment. There are people who are not familiar with phishing, or who do not perceive it to be a significant risk, who are providing cybersecurity advice to other people. Contrast these advice givers' perception with reality - nearly all major breaches begin with social engineering attacks, with one recent study finding that over 90% of such attacks commence with some form of phishing (sometimes following social-media oversharing, which helps criminals craft effective spear phishing emails). Making matters worse, of the 55% who are advising other people, 25 percent were not confident that the people whom they were advising use anti-virus software, and 14 percent stated that they were not confident that the people properly back up their data properly either.

If this survey is accurate, there are a lot of vulnerable people out there - many of whom are likely also providing bad cybersecurity advice to other people!

What should you do?

When you need information security advice, ask someone who knows information security.

Sometimes you may have to pay - but the ounce of prevention can be worth many tons of cure.

Think about it like this: If you would not seek medical advice for a serious condition from anyone but a doctor, and would not seek legal advice for a serious legal matter from anyone but a lawyer, and would not seek help with a serious accounting issue from anyone but an accountant, why would you solicit cybersecurity advice from someone who is not properly trained and experienced? The risks are simply too great.



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Cyber War I has already begun

Cyber War I has already begun - The Boston Globe

Cyber War I has already begun

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks in this video made available Thursday March 9, 2017. Assange said his group will work with technology companies to help defeat the Central Intelligence Agency's hacking tools. Assange says "we have decided to work with them, to give them some exclusive access to some of the technical details we have, so that fixes can be pushed out." (WikiLeaks via AP)

WikiLeaks via AP

Julian Assange's WikiLeaks last week released an enormous cache of documents stolen from the Central Intelligence Agency.

To each American administration, its war. Which will be Donald Trump's?

There is good reason to fear it could be the Second Korean War, with craziness in North Korea and chaos in the South. Or it could be yet another quagmire in the Middle East. Trump's most excitable critics keep warning that World War III will happen on his watch. But I am more worried about Cyber War I — especially as it has already begun.

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Last week's cyberattack was just the latest directed against the United States by WikiLeaks: the release of an enormous cache of documents stolen from the Central Intelligence Agency. To visit the WikiLeaks website is to enter the trophy room of what might be called Cyberia. Here is the "Hillary Clinton Email Archive," there are "The Podesta Emails." Not all the leaked documents are American, to be sure. But you will look in vain for leaks calculated to embarrass the Russian government. Julian Assange may still skulk in the Ecuadorean embassy in London. But the reality is that he lives in Cyberia, an honored guest of President Vladimir Putin.

In Washington they are worried, and with good reason. "We're at a tipping point," according to Admiral Michael S. Rogers, head of the National Security Agency and US Cyber Command. Cyber activities are now number one on the director of national intelligence's list of threats. This is not just about WikiLeaks. The Pentagon alone reports more than 10 million attempts at intrusion each day.

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In recent years, the United States has found itself under cyberattack from Iran, North Korea, and China. Yet these attacks were directed against companies (notably Sony Pictures), not the US government. Last year, using WikiLeaks and the Romanian blogger "Guccifer 2.0" as proxies, the Kremlin launched a sustained assault on the American political system itself.

Let's leave aside the question of whether or not the Russian interference decided the election in favor of Donald Trump. The critical point is that Moscow was undeterred. For specialists in national security, this is only one of many features of cyberwar that are perplexing. Accustomed to the elegant theories of "mutually assured destruction" that evolved during the Cold War, they are struggling to develop a doctrine for an entirely different form of conflict, in which there are countless potential attackers and multiple gradations of destructiveness.

For Joseph Nye of Harvard's Kennedy School, deterrence may be salvageable, but that can only be true now if the United States is prepared to make an example of an aggressor. The three alternative options Nye proposes are simply to ramp up cyber security, to try to "entangle" potential aggressors in trade and other relationships (so as to raise the cost of cyberattacks to them), or to establish global taboos against cyber like the ones that have (mostly) held against biological and chemical weapons.

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Nye's analysis is not very comforting. Given the sheer number of cyber aggressors, defense seems doomed to lag behind offense. And the Russians have proved themselves to be indifferent to both entanglement and taboos, even if China seems more amenable to Nye's approach.

How scared should we be of Cyberia? For Princeton's Anne-Marie Slaughter, our hyper-networked world is, on balance, a benign place and the "United States . . . will gradually find the golden mean of network power." At the other extreme is Joshua Cooper Ramo, whose book "The Seventh Sense" argues for the erection of real and virtual "gates" to shut out the Russians and other malefactors. But Ramo himself quotes the three rules of computer security devised by the NSA cryptographer Robert Morris Sr.: "RULE ONE: Do not own a computer. RULE TWO: Do not power it on. RULE THREE: Do not use it." If we all ignore those rules, how will any gates keep out the likes of Assange?

An intellectual arms race is on to devise a viable doctrine of cybersecurity. My ten cents' worth is that those steeped in the traditional thinking of national security will not come up with it. A realistic goal is not to deter attacks or retaliate against them but to regulate all the various networks on which our society depends so that they are resilient — or, better still, "anti-fragile," a term coined by Nassim Taleb to describe a system that grows stronger under attack.

Those, like Taleb, who inhabit the world of financial risk management, saw in 2008 just how fragile the international financial network was: The failure of a single investment bank nearly brought the whole system of global credit to its knees. The rest of us have now caught up with the bankers and traders; we are all now as interconnected as they were nine years ago.

Like the financial network, our social and business networks are under constant attack from fools and knaves, and there is nothing we can do to stop them. The most we can do is design and build our networks so that the ravages of Cyberia cannot trigger a complete outage.

Donald Trump's war has already begun: It is Cyber War I. Like all wars, its first casualty was truth. Unlike other wars, it will have no last casualty, as it is a war without end. Get used to it. Or get rid of your computer.

Niall Ferguson is a senior fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.


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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Hundreds of High-Profile Twitter Accounts Hacked through 3rd-Party App

Hundreds of High-Profile Twitter Accounts Hacked through 3rd-Party App


Hundreds of High-Profile Twitter Accounts Hacked through 3rd-Party App

In a large-scale Twitter hack, thousands of Twitter accounts from media outlets to celebrities, including the European Parliament, Forbes, BlockChain, Amnesty International, UNICEF, Nike Spain and numerous other individuals and organizations, were compromised early Wednesday.

The compromised Twitter accounts is pushing a disturbing spam message written in Turkish comparing the Dutch to the Nazis, with Swastikas and a "#NaziHollanda" or "#Nazialmanya" (Nazi Germany) hashtag, and changed some of the victims' profile pictures to an image of the Turkish flag and Ottoman Empire coat of arms.

In addition to the message, the hackers are also posting a link to a YouTube video and the Twitter account Sebo.
According to the latest reports, this weird Twitter activity on numerous high-profile accounts is the result of a vulnerability in the third-party app called Twitter Counter.

Twitter Counter is a social media analytics service that helps Twitter users to track their stats and also offers a variety of widgets and buttons.
"We're aware that our service was hacked and have started an investigation into the matter. We've already taken measures to contain such abuse", Twitter Counter said on Twitter.
However, the company has made it very clear that no "Twitter account credentials (passwords)" or "credit card information" has been compromised, as the company does not store this information on users.
Twitter Counter is actively working on fixing the issue over its end.
"Assuming this abuse is indeed done using our system, we've blocked all ability to post tweets and changed our Twitter app key," the company said on Twitter.
Although many of the compromised Twitter accounts have seemed to have taken back control from hackers, the embarrassed tweets are still visible on many compromised accounts.

Forbes appears to have regained access to their Twitter accounts, but are still in the process of getting fully restored. For instance, Forbes Twitter account has an egg avatar, at the time of writing.

How To Protect Your Twitter Account

twittercounter
Since the attack appears to be coming through a vulnerability in the third-party app, users are advised to revoke permission to this app, as well as other unnecessary third party apps.

If you have ever used Twitter Counter, you should:

  • Go to "Settings and Privacy."
  • Click on the "Apps" section.
  • Revoke the third-party access to Twitter Counter.
  • Remove old apps that are no longer in use or ones you don't recognise.

Also, if you haven't yet, you are strongly advised to enable two-factor authentication on your account via the account settings section of Twitter. This will help you protect your accounts against password attacks in the future.

Besides enabling 2FA, always choose a strong password for your accounts. If you are unable to create and remember different passwords for each site, you can use a good password manager.


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US Charges Two Russian Spies and Two Hackers for Hacking 500 Million Yahoo Accounts

The Hacker News — Cyber Security, Hacking News

US Charges Two Russian Spies & Two Hackers For Hacking 500 Million Yahoo Accounts

Wednesday, March 15, 2017
The Hacker News

The 2014 Yahoo hack disclosed late last year that compromised over 500 million Yahoo user accounts was believed to be carried out by a state-sponsored hacking group. Now, two Russian intelligence officers and two criminal hackers have been charged by the US government in connection with the 2014 [...]



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Survey Reveals Alarming Trend About CyberSecurity Advice | Inc.com

Survey Reveals Alarming Trend About CyberSecurity Advice | Inc.com


Survey Reveals Alarming Trend About CyberSecurity Advice

Survey shows that people with little knowledge are often advising others about cybersecurity

A survey conducted late last year by cybersecurity firm, Sophos, produced several scary findings - including that many people giving cybersecurity advice may be woefully unqualified to do so.

The survey, which polled 1,250 individuals in the US, UK, Germany, Austria and Switzerland, found that while about half of all of the people surveyed were not familiar with email phishing scams, or perceived such attacks to comprise a minimal threat, 55 percent of those surveyed said that they advise someone else on matters related to data security.

Think about that for a moment. There are people who are not familiar with phishing, or who do not perceive it to be a significant risk, who are providing cybersecurity advice to other people. Contrast these advice givers' perception with reality - nearly all major breaches begin with social engineering attacks, with one recent study finding that over 90% of such attacks commence with some form of phishing (sometimes following social-media oversharing, which helps criminals craft effective spear phishing emails). Making matters worse, of the 55% who are advising other people, 25 percent were not confident that the people whom they were advising use anti-virus software, and 14 percent stated that they were not confident that the people properly back up their data properly either.

If this survey is accurate, there are a lot of vulnerable people out there - many of whom are likely also providing bad cybersecurity advice to other people!

What should you do?

When you need information security advice, ask someone who knows information security.

Sometimes you may have to pay - but the ounce of prevention can be worth many tons of cure.

Think about it like this: If you would not seek medical advice for a serious condition from anyone but a doctor, and would not seek legal advice for a serious legal matter from anyone but a lawyer, and would not seek help with a serious accounting issue from anyone but an accountant, why would you solicit cybersecurity advice from someone who is not properly trained and experienced? The risks are simply too great.



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Beware This New Gmail Scam That Is Tricking Even Tech-Savvy Users | Inc.com

Beware This New Gmail Scam That Is Tricking Even Tech-Savvy Users | Inc.com


Beware This New Gmail Scam That Is Tricking Even Tech-Savvy Users

Here is what you need to know in order to stay safe from a new, sophisticated phishing attack.

Hackers have launched a new phishing attack that is tricking even tech-savvy users. Here is what you need to know in order to protect yourself.

The attack works like this: Hackers who have breached someone's email account look through the emails in it for correspondence containing attachments. They then send emails from the compromised account -- impersonating the account's owner -- with each email leveraging similarities to prior correspondence, so as to make the new messages seem legitimate and familiar. For example, the phishing emails may use a subject line that was used in the past.

The hackers embed an image of an attachment used in the past into each phishing email, but configure the image to open not the attachment but, rather, a phishing page that looks like a Google login. Because the user is opening a Gmail attachment, the presentation of a phony Gmail login page does not seem alarming -- especially when the person opening the attachment feels that he or she has been viewing a "safe and familiar" correspondence. Of course, once the new victim enters credentials into the phony Google login page the criminals utilize them to access their victim's account. The attack has likely been going on for about a year with increasing intensity.

How can you stay safe?

  1. Always think twice before entering login credentials -- ask yourself why you are being asked for them. If you are already reading Gmail, why all of a sudden are you being asked for your Gmail credentials?
  2. Do not log in to sites via log-in pages generated by clicking links. For any site on which you will enter sensitive information, always reach it by entering its URL into the Web browser.
  3. To get the attachment to open a phony Google login page, hackers use a data:text URL -- beginning something like "data:text/html,https://accounts.google.com/." While that may appear to be related to Google, any URL that starts data:text is not a link to a website but rather content to be displayed locally. Never enter passwords or other sensitive information into any webpage with a data:text URL.
  4. Enable multi-factor authentication. If somehow you fall prey to a Gmail phsihing attack and give criminals your log-in name and password, multi-factor authentication will continue to protect your account. Without access to your phone, for example, criminals would be unlikely to be able to access your email even if they know your password.
  5. Businesses worried about similar types of attacks should consider deploying anti-phishing technology. Green Armor's Identity Cues (which I co-invented), for example, helps ensure that a real log-in page looks different for every user and can only be generated by legitimate Web servers. Technology of that sort would make it obvious to users -- consciously or subconsciously -- that the bogus log-in page is illegitimate.
  6. Do not rely on warnings by Web browsers: The red warning used on insecure web pages, the certificate warnings used for invalid certificates, and the "unsafe site" message may not appear for data:text URLs. (Web browser companies should change this -- any data URL should display a warning.)

What do others in the information security industry have to say about the Gmail scam?

John Gunn, VP of communications, VASCO Data Security

"As attack methods become more sophisticated -- as this attack demonstrates -- defenses must keep pace or the number of victims will continue to grow. Passwords are 30-year old technology and they merely provide a false sense of security with no real protection. 2017 must be the year that the industry replaces passwords with multi-factor authentication."

Christian Lees, CISO, InfoArmor

"Threat actors have extreme creativity and time in their favor when it comes to the never-ending campaigns available to compromise user accounts. Applying several layers of security -- much like enterprise organizations commonly use today -- is not difficult to achieve. It requires: 1) Utilizing modern identity theft monitoring programs that enable users to monitor for breached credentials that likely offer threat actors passage into the compromised account, allowing them to quickly change credentials; and 2) Enabling two-factor authentication to detour the threat actor's access into the compromised account. This step additionally safeguards unsuspecting victims that may spawn from the compromised account."

Balázs Scheidler, co-founder and CTO, Balabit

"Phishing techniques are improving and can be so elaborate that they can scam even tech-savvy people such as privileged users, who have access to sensitive corporate assets. Should such an account be compromised, attackers can cause a lot of damage. Clearly, holding the credential for an account may not be enough to ensure that the logged-in user is indeed the legitimate user. The actual user's behavior is the one thing that helps security professionals discover misused accounts by automatically spotting behavioral differences between an intruder and a legitimate user's baseline. Behavior analytics can identify exactly those cases where malicious actors use stolen credentials, and can prevent resulting data breaches."

Bert Rankin, CMO, Lastline

"Unfortunately, constantly evolving and improving phishing attacks are now a way of online life for all of us. For those enterprise IT administrators with the mission of protecting the organization, educating employees is not enough. It can sometimes take just one accidental, well-meaning click on a malicious email to inflict irreversible damage to the whole organization. In addition to employee education and awareness about how phishing attacks work and how to identify a suspicious email, it is an imperative that IT put filtering mechanisms in place that use technology -- not people -- to sort, test and eliminate such malicious emails before they even have a chance to test the eyes of the employees."

Jeff Hill, director of product management, Prevalent

"Today's disturbing reality is that there is no effective defense for a well-conceived phishing attack. Reliance on email communication, the sheer volume of it, and the frenetic pace of life combine to create a superbly fertile environment for cyber attackers to exploit. The challenge is to detect the intrusion quickly after the inevitably successful phishing attack, shut it down, and make it very difficult for bad actors to access sensitive information in the interim even if they gain access the network."



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Hundreds of Twitter Accounts Hacked to Show Swastikas. Here is What You Need to Know. | Inc.com

Hundreds of Twitter Accounts Hacked to Show Swastikas. Here is What You Need to Know. | Inc.com

Hundreds of Twitter Accounts Hacked to Show Swastikas. Here is What You Need to Know.

Hundreds of Twitter accounts including those of major brands and institutions were compromised today--here is what you need to know to keep your account safe.

What happened?

Hundreds of Twitter accounts -- including verified accounts belonging to major brands and institutions such as Forbes, Duke University, Amnesty International, and Nike Spain - were apparently compromised early today - and tweeted a message containing both a Nazi swastika and a message in Turkish. The message references next month's Turkish referendum that would grant Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, more power, and refers to "Nazi Germany" and "Nazi Holland," possibly alluding to the recent diplomatic strain between the Netherlands and Turkey when Dutch officials prevented Turkish diplomats from speaking at a rally of Turkish ex-pats.

Some of the hacked accounts also had their banner images set to display the Turkish flag.

The attack does not appear to have come from anyone actually breaching an account at Twitter - but rather through a vulnerability in a third-party app called Twitter Counter (or The Counter) whose users grant rights to the app to access their Twitter accounts.

What you need to do?

Both Twitter and Twitter Counter claim to have already contained the abuse, so, theoretically, you don't need to do anything.

That said, if you want to remove the app's access to your account, go to Twitter's "Settings and privacy" configuration and check what apps appear in the "Apps" section. If you see Twitter Counter, you can disable it.

The current breach however, should serve as a reminder that it may be wise to periodically disable access for any apps there that you do not use that have access your social media accounts. Apps can be extremely valuable, can sometimes improve security (full disclosure: my own firm, SecureMySocial, uses a Twitter app to do this, and could have auto-deleted the offensive tweets as a result), and are integral to the social media ecosystem, but there is no reason to leave access available to apps that you are not using.

Dwayne Melancon, Vice president of Products at Tripwire, even mentioned to me that people might want to schedule to review social-media-connected apps when they change their clocks (a 21st century parallel to changing smoke detector batteries).

What lesson should be learned?

In general, this episode should serve as a remember that because information-systems are inter-connected, hackers can often breach one system by exploiting weaknesses in another. This phenomenon is not relevant just to social media - to steal money from your bank account, for example, a hacker may need to compromise only a system linked to one of your accounts, rather than hack the bank actually holding the account. Likewise, to gain access to any of your accounts that allow passwords to be reset via email all a hacker has to do is breach your email account. As such, it is important to remember to treat any account linked to a sensitive account as sensitive.

Below - UNICEF USA Tweet discussing the hacking, with a response showing the original offensive post.

Gli hacker turchi colpiscono @Twitter @unicefusa pic.twitter.com/lbLdmCvbri

-- Roberto Petrocca (@Agenzia_Funebre) March 15, 2017


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DARPA’S Take on the IoT Battery Problem: N-ZERO

DARPA'S Take on the IoT Battery Problem: N-ZERO

DARPA'S Take on the IoT Battery Problem: N-ZERO

A first look at the Near Zero Power RF and Sensor Operation (N-ZERO) program.

‍" A 10th Mountain Division soldier keeps an eye out for enemy activity from an observation post outside Forward Operating Base Tillman in the Paktika province of Afghanistan. If military researchers are successful in unplugging the sensors required to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance around forward operating bases, they also might spur commercial Internet of Things technologies." — via afcea.org

IoT is a broad term, encompassing a wide range of use cases across consumer, commercial, government, and military sectors. Some IoT applications require powerful sensors and devices with high-bandwidth connections, generating huge volumes of data that's fed into machine learning algorithms to create helpful insights. Other IoT applications require less powerful sensors and devices that can last extended periods of time on battery life, perhaps using LPWAN technology to communicate since high-bandwidth isn't as critical.

DARPA's N-ZERO program is aimed at the latter, specifically in a military setting. The key idea is to reduce power consumption by enabling dormant mode, such that the machine only "wakes up" when prompted by an event of interest.

The idea is effectively similar to how many of the LPWAN technologies extend battery life. SigFox and LoRa-based systems send updates to its gateways only few times a day, minimizing the power needed to take in data and transmit accordingly. Cellular IoT protocols such as LTE-M and NB-IoT also use extended discontinuous repetition cycle (eDRX) and power saving mode (PSM) to become idle and save power.

The subtle difference between LPWAN devices and N-ZERO lies in the military's focus on persistent sensing. On battle grounds, troops must detect vibration, light, sound, or other signals to act quickly. Instead of scheduling the sensors to send data at fixed intervals, these military-grade sensors must be constantly receiving input, yet retain the capacity to enter dormant mode to conserve power. The research is focused on two areas:

  1. Asleep-yet-aware sensors that awaken upon an interrupt event.
  2. RF receivers that constantly listen for transmission, but consume little power when a transmission event isn't occurring.

The goal is to consume less than 10 nW during this dormant phase, a 1000x improvement over our current state-of-the-art sensors. The 10 nW threshold was chosen since the battery passively loses 10 nW of power on its own, also known as passive self-discharge.

On the receiver side, DARPA wants to gradually sense up to -100 dBM signals. The technology seems to be a variant of code division multiple access (CDMA) technology, which is what our cell phones use. We can expect this to be similar to cellular IoT or even Ingenu's proprietary technology.

Finally, the team wants to limit false positive rates, citing a specific goal of detecting a generator less than 3 feet away in a rural setting with 95% accuracy. High accuracy is important, not only for military reasons, but also for extending battery life as transmission causes more power consumption.

DARPA hopes to generalize this technology to commercial uses in detecting damage to critical infrastructure, automobiles, industrial control system, medical devices, and climate monitoring systems. Given how Siri's technology was born out of a DARPA program, we can look forward to how this will add onto existing LPWA solutions.


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    Product Engineer @Leverege | Venture for America Fellow | Cameron Crazie. Learning about IoT, ML, AI and translating them for humans: leverege.com/newsletter.

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  • ^ed 

    Lauri Love, Former Glasgow University student accused of US hacking: 'I could die behind bars'

    Former Glasgow University student accused of US cyber-hackings: 'I could die behind bars' - Glasgow Live

    Former Glasgow University student accused of US cyber-hackings: 'I could die behind bars'

    Lauri Love, 31, could face up to 99 years in prison if he is found guilty of hacking into US agencies, including the Federal Reserve and the FBI.

    Lauri Love arrives for his extradition hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London
    Lauri Love arrives for his extradition hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London

    Alleged computer hacker Lauri Love fears he will die behind bars after Home Secretary Amber Rudd authorised his extradition to the US.

    M Love, 31, who has Asperger syndrome, spoke of his fears as his father called for "British justice for a British citizen".

    The former Glasgow University student is alleged to have stolen huge amounts of data from US agencies including the Federal Reserve, the US Army, the Department of Defence, Nasa and the FBI in a spate of online attacks in 2012 and 2013.

    US authorities have been fighting for Mr Love, who lives with his parents near Newmarket in Suffolk, to face trial on charges of cyber-hacking, which his lawyers say could mean a sentence of up to 99 years in prison if he is found guilty.

    The Home Office said Ms Rudd had "carefully considered all relevant matters" before signing an order for Mr Love's extradition on Monday.

    Mr Love told the Daily Mail: "I don't think much of my future life prospects. I face decades and decades behind bars and at worst I may die.

    "We were kind of expecting this but it's still a disappointment and a kick in the gut. I've got to watch my mental health now and make sure I have support. We will put as much as we can into the appeal."

    Mr Love, who could face the possibility of three separate trials in different jurisdictions, has 14 days to apply for permission to appeal against the decision.

    Responding to the announcement, Mr Love's father, the Rev Alexander Love, told the Press Association: "It was going to happen - it was inevitable - but it's still painful. I cannot begin to express how much sorrow it causes me."

    He added: "All we are asking for is British justice for a British citizen."

    It is alleged that between October 2012 and October 2013 Mr Love caused "millions of dollars"' worth of damage by placing hidden "backdoors" within the networks he compromised, allowing them to return and steal confidential data.

    Mr Love, who also suffers from depression and eczema, has said that a jail term in the US could cause his health to deteriorate and would lead to a mental breakdown or suicide.

    Sarah Harrison, director of the Courage Foundation, which runs Mr Love's defence fund and support campaign, said the decision to send him for trial in the US under Donald Trump's command "beggars belief".

    Ms Harrison said: "I am dismayed to hear that Lauri Love's extradition request has been approved, as this puts him directly in harm's way and fails to protect his human rights.

    "The US has ruthlessly persecuted hackers and digital activists for years and nobody expects that to improve under President Trump. Theresa May set a good example by protecting Gary McKinnon (another alleged hacker with Asperger syndrome) back in 2012.

    "For a Home Secretary in her government now to willingly send a brilliant and vulnerable UK citizen to Donald Trump's America beggars belief."



    ^ed