Google, the tech giant supposedly guided by its “don’t be evil” motto, has been funding a growing list of groups advancing the agenda of the Koch brothers.
Organizations that received “substantial” funding from Google for the first time over the past year include Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, the Federalist Society, the American Conservative Union (best known for its CPAC conference), and the political arm of the Heritage Foundation that led the charge to shut down the government over the Affordable Care Act: Heritage Action.
In 2013, Google also funded the corporate lobby group, the American Legislative Exchange Council, although that group is not listed as receiving “substantial” funding in the list published by Google.
U.S. corporations are not required to publicly disclose their funding of political advocacy groups, and very few do so, but since at least 2010 Google has chosen to voluntarily release some limited details about grants it makes to U.S. non-profits. The published list from Google is not comprehensive, including only those groups that “receive the most substantial contributions from Google’s U.S. Federal Public Policy and Government Affairs team.”
Hackers have attempted more than a dozen attacks on HealthCare.gov, the struggling website at the center of President Obama’s signature healthcare law, according to published news reports citing a top US official.
All of the attacks, which occurred from November 6 through November 8, failed and remain under investigation, Acting Assistant Homeland Security Secretary Roberta Stempfley of the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications told a US House of Representatives committee Wednesday. She said she was also aware of the recent discovery of software designed to overload HealthCare.gov with more traffic than it could handle. As was the case when it was first spotted last week, there’s no evidence that the DIY denial-of-service tool was ever actively used.
“We received about 16 reports from HHS that are under investigation and one open source report about a denial of service,” Stempfley told members of the House Homeland Security Committee, according to this report from CNN.
The epic blunder that led to the publication of more than 130 million encrypted Adobe passwords is generating security alerts at some unlikely websites now that researchers have figured out how to decrypt significant portions of the massive trove.
Members of Facebook’s security team have already combed through the cache to identify users who used the same login credentials on both the Adobe and Facebook sites, and in some cases they have mandated password resets based on that analysis, KrebsonSecurity’s Brian Krebs reported. A spokesman told him it was a routine measure Facebook employees take to safeguard user accounts following big breaches.
Indeed, the practice makes sense. Adobe’s use of reversible cryptography using a semi-transparent encryption mode has allowed researchers to decipher a large number of passcodes. Last week, password security expert Jeremi Gosney published a list of the top 100 Adobe passwords, and as usual, it was topped by dogs such as “123456”, “123456789”, and “password”. If the credentials are this easy for whitehats to come by, there’s nothing stopping blackhats from doing even better since they have so much more to gain. Armed with a user e-mail and corresponding Adobe password, they’re free to try the combination to hijack accounts on other sites and then use them in spam and phishing campaigns, along with other fraudulent schemes.
Anatoly Kucherena, a lawyer for former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden, says his client has found a technical support job at a Russian website.
Kucherena told the RIA Novosti news agency Thursday that Snowden starts his new job on Friday. Kucherena declined to name the company that has hired Snowden but says it’s a major Russian website.
Snowden was granted asylum in Russia in August after being stuck at a Moscow airport for more than a month after flying there from Hong Kong. His whereabouts in Russia remain secret.
What if this was all a cunning plan by the NSA to place an agent inside a Russian Website?
It would be irresponsible not to ask.
Moscow (CNN) — Weeks after getting asylum in Russia, Edward Snowden now has a job there, one of his lawyers says.
Snowden, the U.S. national security contractor turned leaker, will start a job Friday with a major Russian website, his attorney Anatoly Kucherena told CNN Thursday.
Kucherena declined to name the employer for security reasons. He told Russian state-run news agency RIA Novosti that Snowden would perform maintenance for the site.
Europe falls out of love with Obama over NSA spying claims
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Intel directors: Snowden is a traitor
Snowden, a 30-year-old former government information technology contractor, collected information on spy programs — in which the National Security Agency mined phone and Internet metadata from thousands of people inside and outside of the United States — and exposed the programs to the media.
LinkedIn released a new product today called Intro. They call it “doing the impossible”, but some might call it “hijacking email”. Why do we say this? Consider the following:
Intro reconfigures your iOS device (e.g. iPhone, iPad) so that all of your emails go through LinkedIn’s servers. You read that right. Once you install the Intro app, all of your emails, both sent and received, are transmitted via LinkedIn’s servers. LinkedIn is forcing all your IMAP and SMTP data through their own servers and then analyzing and scraping your emails for data pertaining to…whatever they feel like.
“But that sounds like a man-in-the-middle attack!” I hear you cry. Yes. Yes it does. Because it is. That’s exactly what it is. And this is a bad thing. If your employees are checking their company email, it’s an especially bad thing.
Why is this so bad? Here’s a list of 10 reasons to start:
Facebook needs to make violent video unacceptable permanently. Un freaking believable.
Facebook is allowing videos showing people being decapitated to be posted and shared on its site once again.
The social network had introduced a temporary ban in May following complaints that the clips could cause long-term psychological damage.
The US firm confirmed it now believed its users should be free to watch and condemn such videos. It added it was, however, considering adding warnings.
One suicide prevention charity criticised the move.
When China’s Sichuan province was hit by a major earthquake in April 2012, users of China’s Twitter clone, Sina Weibo, lit up the Internet with tweets about the disaster.
In 2011, when one of China’s high speed trains crashed into another train, and plunged off a viaduct in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, killed 40, hundreds of Weibo users tweeted photos and accusations that authorities were trying to cover up malfeasance by burying some of the damaged cars.
Earlier this month, Typhoon Fitow flooded Yuyao, a medium-sized city in Zhejiang. Sina Weibo was comparatively quiet, probably because of new government efforts to stifle expression on the service.
But that was then. On Oct. 7, Typhoon Fitow hit China’s eastern coast, bringing the heaviest rainfall in a century down on Yuyao, a city of over 800,000 people in wealthy Zhejiang province. More than 70 percent of the city’s downtown lay submerged, according to state media. Authorities immediately dispatched disaster relief teams after the flood hit, providing emergency generators for hospitals and feeding displaced locals, though some residents in rural parts of Yuyao reportedly went days without aid. But, oddly, they didn’t take to Weibo to gripe. With Yuyao, China’s once-powerful social media seems to have lost its voice. While the 2012 Sichuan Earthquake, which killed at least 180 people, drew an estimated 5 million comments on Weibo, the flooding in Yuyao generated only an estimated 170,000 posts on the same platform.
What happened? An ongoing government crackdown on online expression — including a Sep. 9 law that expands the definition of defamation to include vaguely defined “online rumors” read 5,000 times or shared more than 500 times — has raised the stakes for online expression. Meanwhile, Beijing is trying to bolster trust in traditional media, which it largely controls. To do this, it is trying to sideline influential Weibo users like investor Charles Xue (11.9 million followers) and former Google China chief Kai-Fu Lee (51.8 million followers), both of whom have commented frequently on politics and current affairs.
Xue was detained in August, accused of sex crimes. He later appeared on national TV, apologizing for “spreading rumors” and overstepping his responsibilities as a citizen. techinasia.com His arrest and recantation was to serve as an example for other, less influential micro-bloggers. Don’t criticize the government, or else.
There’s probably nothing worse for a major company than getting hacked. Just ask Adobe. But when the company in question is a provider of security software, well the embarrassment factor goes through the roof. And it’s definitely not good news for consumers who rely on the company’s software products to keep them safe online.
The website of AVG, makers of one of the world’s most popular free anti-virus products, was apparently hacked by a pro-Palestinian group earlier today, and fellow antivirus company Avira has also just suffered the exact same fate.
According to security expert Graham Cluley, visitors to AVG’s site shortly after the attack occurred were “greeted by a patriotic rendition of the Palestinian national anthem (courtesy of an embedded YouTube video) and a message from a group calling itself ‘KDMS Team’”.
It began as an ordinary purse snatching. On an early Baltimore morning in 1976, a local street thug crouched alongside his green Monte Carlo, pretending to change a flat, biding his time. Finally, a young woman passed by walking alone to her suburban home. Smith wrenched her handbag from her grasp, jumped into his car and tore off down the street before the young victim could glimpse his license plate.
The perp, Michael Lee Smith, was apprehended weeks later, thanks in part to the police department’s use of a machine known as a “pen register” to track the threatening phone calls the assailant had started making to his victim. The court wrangling that followed, however, would continue for three years, and eventually land on the docket of the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1979 the court upheld Smith’s conviction, and his 10-year prison term.
Almost 35 years later, the court’s decision — in a case involving the recording of a single individual’s phone records — turns out to be the basis for a legal rationale justifying governmental spying on virtually all Americans. Smith v. Maryland, as the case is titled, set the binding precedent for what we now call metadata surveillance. That, in turn, has recently been revealed to be the keystone of the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of U.S. telephone data, in which the government chronicles every phone call originating or terminating in the United States, all in the name of the war on terror.
“When they started quoting Smith in the NSA investigation and inquiry, I was flabbergasted,” says James Gitomer, who was one of Smith’s two lawyers at the Supreme Court. “I don’t think this case should be used as the foundation to justify the NSA. It doesn’t apply.”