Friday, August 31, 2007
Two sniffer dogs trained in Northern Ireland are the toast of New York law enforcement after uncovering a cache of counterfeit DVDs.
Lucky and Flo picked up the scent of hidden DVDs including the Bourne Ultimatum and Underdog during raids on three retail outlets in the city.
Three people were arrested and charged with trademark counterfeiting.
"Man's best friend has become a DVD counterfeiter's worst nightmare," said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
The labradors were trained by a handler who usually teaches dogs to find bombs.
Whereas before Hollywood bosses would have invested big money on canine talent like Lassie or Rin Tin Tin, nowadays piracy is a huge threat to the movie business. Malaysia imprinted their paws in plaster in a Hollywood-style tribute Lucky and Flo are owned by the Motion Picture Association, which spent US $17,000 on training them.
Although they can sniff the chemicals used to make CDs and DVDs, they cannot distinguish between genuine and fake discs.
The reason why they are so effective is that they can lead handlers to boxes of discs labelled as other items.
Security officials may take a whole day to examine such containers, but it takes Lucky and Flo just 10 minutes to sniff out discs.
The dogs are fresh from a stint in Malaysia, which proved so successful that local media reported movie pirates had offered a bounty to anyone who eliminated them.
Since March, they have uncovered 1.9m DVDs, three DVD replicating machines and 97 compact disc burners, and 26 people were arrested on suspicion of copyright violations.
MPAA trained the dogs and police are using them to find people that are carrying CDs? Not illegal CDs, but even CDs....
Is carrying a homemade CD enough to consitute "Probable cause to search"? I guess it all has to do with a "person's reasonable expectation of privacy".
Silly to say the least....scary to say the most.
BAGHDAD (AFP) — Iraq said on Friday that it hopes other armed groups will follow Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's decision to freeze his militia as Sunni Arabs expressed optimism the ban would reduce attacks on them.
The suspension of the dreaded Mahdi Army's activities was "an opportunity for other militias of different political affiliations" to lay down their arms and help reduce bloodshed in the country, the prime minister's office said.
On Wednesday, Sadr ordered the militia to suspend its activities for six months after allegations that it was involved in deadly firefights in the shrine city of Karbala during a major Shiite festival the previous day.
At least 52 people died and 300 were wounded in Tuesday's clashes between police and gunmen which forced authorities to abort a revered Shiite pilgrimage.
Sadr denied any role in the violence but quickly ordered a freeze on his militia.
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's office said his decision would help in stabilising Iraq and be an example for other militant groups.
"The Sadr movement is an important political power in Iraq and will remain active in the political process," the premier's office said.
The statement was at pains to stress that Baghdad was not blaming Sadr's men for the Karbala carnage but only expecting them to "chase those elements who committed the crimes."
Over the past 18 months, the Mahdi Army has been accused of slaughtering Sunni Arabs since the brutal Shiite-Sunni sectarian conflict broke out in February 2006.
UNITED NATIONS (AFP) — Potentially hazardous chemicals mistakenly shipped from an Iraqi chemical weapons plant have been found in a UN building but experts insisted Thursday that they posed no immediate risk.
UN deputy spokeswoman Marie Okabe said that while winding down their activities, United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) inspectors discovered "gram quantities of certain liquid substances including phosgene (COCl2)," which she described as "potentially hazardous."
The metal and glass containers were first located last Friday at the UNMOVIC office near the UN headquarters.
But it was only Wednesday that an inventory of the items was recovered and showed that one of the items may contain phosgene suspended in oil, which an UNMOVIC statement called "an old generation chemical warfare agent."
Phosgene is a colorless, poisonous industrial chemical used to make plastics and pesticides. It was used extensively during World War I as a choking agent.
With cooling and pressure, phosgene gas can be converted into a liquid so that it can be shipped and stored. When liquid phosgene is released, it quickly turns into a gas that stays close to the ground and spreads rapidly, according to the US Centers for Disease Control.
Okabe said the UNMOVIC office area was screened with chemical weapons detection equipment and no toxic vapors were found.
She later told reporters that three containers containing the chemicals were turned over to the US Federal Bureau of Investigation Thursday afternoon for analysis.
UNMOVIC said in a statement that an initial probe revealed that the substances had been recovered from a former Iraqi chemical weapons facility, Al Muthanna, by inspectors in 1996.
CHICAGO (Reuters)—Imagine cramming 30,000 full-length movies into a gadget the size of an iPod.
Scientists at IBM said on Thursday they had moved closer to such a feat by learning how to steer single atoms in a way that could create building blocks for ultra-tiny storage devices.
Understanding and manipulating the behavior of atoms is critical to harnessing the power of nanotechnology, which deals with particles tens of thousands of times smaller than the width of a human hair.
"One of the most basic properties that every atom has is that it behaves like a little magnet," said Cyrus Hirjibehedin, a scientist at International Business Machines Corp.'s Almaden Research Center in San Jose, California.
"If you can keep that magnetic orientation stable over time, then you can use that to store information. That is how your hard drive works," Hirjibehedin said in a telephone interview.
"What we are trying to understand is how this fundamental property works for a single atom."
Hirjibehedin and colleague Andreas Heinrich studied this property—known as magnetic anisotropy—in individual iron atoms using a special microscope developed at IBM.
"What we've been able to do is to look at an iron atom on a copper surface and to move that magnetic orientation around," Heinrich said.
Now they are looking for an atom that remains stable over a long time. "We have a couple of ideas but we don't really know which ones will work out," Hirjibehedin said.
"In the very long run, we're shooting for data storage on a very tiny scale," he said.
For more juicy details, see their official paper on the discovery....
Large Magnetic Anisotropy of a Single Atomic Spin Embedded in a Surface Molecular Network
Thursday, August 30, 2007
On to the tools....
On August 29, Insecure.org released Nmap 4.22 SOC6 Beta was released. See the changelog for all the details.
On August 24th, Wine 0.9.44 was released.Wine is an Open Source implementation of the Windows API on top of X, OpenGL, and Unix. See the release announcement for all the details.
On August 23rd, Tenable released NessusClient 3.0.0 Beta 3. This new beta fixes several buglets and now offers the ability to convert older scans results from NessusGUI.exe (on Windows) and NessusClient 1.0.x (Linux) to the new .nessus file format.
On August 23rd, SQLNinja v0.1.3 was released. Sqlninja is a tool targeted to exploit SQL Injection vulnerabilities on a web application that uses Microsoft SQL Server as its back-end.
On August 23rd, Paint.NET 3.10 was released. Paint.NET is free image and photo editing software for computers that run Windows.
SP 800-48 Revision 1 (PDF) provides an overview of wireless networking technologies and gives detailed information on two standards commonly used in office environments and by mobile workforces: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.11a/b/g and IEEE 802.15.1, better known as Bluetooth. The publication seeks to assist organizations in reducing the risks associated with these forms of wireless networking. SP 800-48 Revision 1 updates the original version of SP 800-48, which was released in November 2002. SP 800-48 Revision 1 complements, and does not replace, SP 800-97, Establishing Wireless Robust Security Networks: A Guide to IEEE 802.11i. People seeking information on IEEE 802.11i should consult SP 800-97 (PDF).
"I ran for school board where I live this past fall and created some TV commercials including this one with a 'Star Wars' theme. A few months ago VH1 grabbed the commercial from YouTube and featured it in a segment of its show 'Web Junk 2.0.' Neither VH1 or its parent company Viacom told me they were doing this or asked my permission to use it, but I didn't mind it if they did. I thought that Aries Spears's commentary about it was pretty hilarious, so I posted a clip of VH1's segment on YouTube so that I could put it on my blog. I just got an e-mail from YouTube saying that the video has been pulled because Viacom is claiming that I'm violating its copyright. Viacom used my video without permission on their commercial television show, and now says that I am infringing on their copyright for showing the clip of the work that Viacom made in violation of my own copyright!"
Normally, I try not to post things that I find on /. or Digg...because well, everyone has seen them already..but this was just too good to pass up. I am no lawyer, but it sounds like both of them could fall under the Fair Use doctrine....however, Chris noted in his Slashdot article that he " didn't mind it if they did" use his video therefore this could be used to kill any countersuit if it falls under the Estoppel doctrine.
It is nice to have ex-EFF friends ;)
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
The FBI has quietly built a sophisticated, point-and-click surveillance system that performs instant wiretaps on almost any communications device, according to nearly a thousand pages of restricted documents newly released under the Freedom of Information Act.
The surveillance system, called DCSNet, for Digital Collection System Network, connects FBI wiretapping rooms to switches controlled by traditional land-line operators, internet-telephony providers and cellular companies. It is far more intricately woven into the nation's telecom infrastructure than observers suspected.
It's a "comprehensive wiretap system that intercepts wire-line phones, cellular phones, SMS and push-to-talk systems," says Steven Bellovin, a Columbia University computer science professor and longtime surveillance expert.
DCSNet is a suite of software that collects, sifts and stores phone numbers, phone calls and text messages. The system directly connects FBI wiretapping outposts around the country to a far-reaching private communications network.
Many of the details of the system and its full capabilities were redacted from the documents acquired by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, but they show that DCSNet includes at least three collection components, each running on Windows-based computers.
The $10 million DCS-3000 client, also known as Red Hook, handles pen-registers and trap-and-traces, a type of surveillance that collects signaling information -- primarily the numbers dialed from a telephone -- but no communications content. (Pen registers record outgoing calls; trap-and-traces record incoming calls.)
DCS-6000, known as Digital Storm, captures and collects the content of phone calls and text messages for full wiretap orders.
A third, classified system, called DCS-5000, is used for wiretaps targeting spies or terrorists.
Be careful what you joke about at the water cooler in Germany these days -- even a dig about a password stuck to a PC monitor could be considered breaking a new anti-hacker law that went into effect this month.
Under the new law, such a joke could be construed as making the password "accessible." And that's just the beginning. If a customer tells a sales clerk at a German office supply store that he's going to use his newly-purchased Windows XP software to hack into a bank, the clerk could get busted for selling him the OS.
These are the types of extreme scenarios being played out over and over by German security vendors and researchers who are still trying to figure out just what the controversial new Section 202c StGB of the country's computer crime laws really means to their business and their research.
Many security people say the law is so flawed and so broad and that no one can really comply with it. "In essence, the way the laws are phrased now, there is no way to ever comply... even as a non-security company," says researcher Halvar Flake, a.k.a. Thomas Dullien, CEO and head of research at Sabre Security.
Phenoelit, a German researcher Website that contained the default passwords of various network products, recently handed its content over to a U.S. site operator, mainly because the password list is now illegal under the new law.
The German law has even given some U.S. researchers pause as well. It's unclear whether the long arm of the German law could reach them, so some aren't taking any chances: The exploit-laden Metasploit hacking tool could fall under German law if someone possesses it, distributes it, or uses it, for instance. "I'm staying out of Germany," says HD Moore, Metasploit's creator and director of security research for BreakingPoint Systems.
"Just about everything the Metasploit project provides [could] fall under that law," Moore says. "Every exploit, most of the tools, and even the documentation in some cases."
Moore notes that most Linux distros are now illegal in Germany as well, because they include the open-source nmap security scanner tool -- and some include Metasploit as well.
Pakistan's President, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, has agreed to step down as the country's military chief during negotiations on a power-sharing deal with Pakistan's former prime minister and opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, she told CNN Wednesday.
"This is no longer an issue in the negotiations, because General Musharraf recognizes that it is very difficult to move to a transition towards democracy when there's a chief of army staff ruling the country," Bhutto told CNN.
"I think he wants to make the right decision, so I expect he's going to take the uniform off."
Pakistani cabinet minister Sheikh Rashid confirmed that Musharraf has agreed to step down as army chief.
Today we received an e-mail from Microsoft, requesting the immediate take-down of the download page, which of course means that AutoPatcher is probably history. As much as we disagree, we can do very little, and although the download page is merely a collection of mirrors, we took the download page down.
We would like to thank you for your support. For the past 4 years, it has been a blast. Unfortunately, it seems like it's the end of AutoPatcher as we know it.
Autopatcher has been around for four years, and I have never heard of MS coming down on them...until now. Back in late 2006, Microsoft started to release their own ISO-9660 DVD5 image files which contains bundled patches for users which require them offline.
I guess MS didn't like the idea of Autopatcher making money off of their patches....
Answer - Release Autopatcher for free
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
George Hotz's unlocked iPhone isn't ringing non-stop anymore with interview requests -- and he finally got a decent night's sleep.
But the last three days have been a whirlwind of TV and media appearances for the Bergen Academies graduate.
The Glen Rock teenager rocked the tech world last week with claims to be the first person to unlock Apple's iPhone, freeing it from exclusive use on AT&T's network.
News of his achievement, which Hotz posted on his blog and was first reported in The Record in Friday's editions, catapulted the 17-year-old to international fame.
By late Friday afternoon, Hotz was telling his tale on CNBC, a reporter for The New York Times had called him and he had been interviewed for National Public Radio's "All Things Considered."
That was only the beginning. Over the weekend, he traded one of his two unlocked iPhones for a snazzy new Nissan 350Z sports car. Someone created a biographical entry for him on Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia. And Kevin Mitnick, one of the world's most famous computer hackers, e-mailed him his phone number. (They spoke for half an hour, Hotz said).
Hotz, who juggled media interviews as he headed north Saturday with his parents to freshmen orientation at Rochester Institute of Technology, was matter-of-fact about his rather lengthy 15 minutes of fame.
"It's been fun," Hotz said Monday as he shopped for a new computer router at a Rochester Best Buy with his parents.
"Things are settling down -- and no lawyers have called," joked his father, also George Hotz.
He put one of his two unlocked phones on eBay but canceled the auction Saturday after fraudulent bidders pushed the price into the tens of millions. Hotz said he doubted those bids as soon as he saw them.
After canceling the bids, Hotz was contacted Saturday morning by Terry Daidone, founder of Kentucky-based Certicell, a supplier of used cellphones, who offered to trade a new Nissan and three 8GB iPhones for the iPhone. Hotz said he wants to give iPhones to the other members of his Web-based group, Dev Wiki, who helped him figure out the hack.
Hotz plans to fly to Kentucky at the end of the week to meet Daidone, then home to pick up the new car Saturday and drive back up to Rochester.
The electrical engineering whiz, who graduated from Bergen Academies, took apart a car which is still in pieces in his parents' back yard. He said he would "probably not" take this one apart. He amended that quickly -- "probably not right away; I'm going to be careful when I take this one apart."
-------------------------------GeoHot has been given his own Wikipedia entry as well.
This press release issued August 22 may not look like much, but it announces a new project that -- and I'll word this carefully to avoid drifting into hyperbole -- could forever change the world as we know it.
I'll explain: Gallium Nitride is a semiconductor material that can transform that cell phone in your pocket into a high powered microwave transmitter. It could render the iPhone about as sophisticated as my first digital wristwatch.
The only reason it's not in the mass market today is because manufacturing the material is so expensive that it would cost you as much to buy a cell phone as a new car (although, with the iPhone, clearly that gap is already narrowing).
But this press release announces that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is seeking to seed the development of a low-cost manufacturing technique that will soon make Gallium Nitride far more affordable to produce. Assuming the method works, this will certainly benefit electronics consumers like you and me, but also, not least, the US military.
Military electronics already operate in the highest bands of the spectrum, but are usually powered by very large travelling wave tubes to generate the necessary voltage. Cheaper Gallium Nitride chips are the military's ticket to the next wave of advances in radar, electronic warfare, communications and surveillance technology. It's also fair to wonder if perhaps Gallium Nitride is the key to finally making directed energy weapons as operationally feasible as bullets, bombs and missiles.
Those with long memories may recall this has all happened once before. In the mid-1980s, DARPA seeded the development of a new manufacturing technique to lower the cost of producing Gallium Arsenide semiconductors to replace silicon. The arrival of this material made it possible to pack a transmitter powerful enough to make cellular phones possible in the first place.
Gallium Nitride (GaN) based blue laser diodes are used in the Blu-ray disc technology, and in devices such as the Sony PlayStation 3.
A line of USB drives sold by Sony installs files in a hidden folder that can be accessed and used by hackers, a Finnish security company charged Monday, raising the specter of a replay of the fiasco that hit Sony's music arm two years ago when researchers discovered that its copy protection software used rootkit-like technologies.
Free IT resource
According to F-Secure, the fingerprint-reader software included with the Sony MicroVault USM-F line of flash drives installs a driver that hides in a hidden directory under "c:\windows". That directory and the files within it are not visible through Windows' usual APIs, said F-Secure researcher Mika Tolvanen in a posting to the company's blog Monday.
"[But] if you know the name of the directory, it is possible to enter the hidden directory using [the] Command Prompt, and it is possible to create new hidden files," said Tolvanen. "There are also ways to run files from this directory."
All of this -- and the fact that the directory goes unspotted by some antivirus scanners -- is similar to the Sony BMG rootkit case in late 2005. Then, researchers spotted rootkit-like cloaking technologies used by the copy-protection software Sony BMG Music Entertainment installed on PCs when customers played the label's audio CDs. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) alleged that Sony had violated federal law and settled with the company earlier this year. Before that, Sony paid out nearly $6 million to settle cases with U.S. states.
"This isn't the same code, recycled," said Mikko Hypponen, F-Secure's chief research officer, in an interview Monday. "Sony doesn't do any of its own development in this area; it looks like a Chinese company did it. But the similarities lie in the fact that like the Sony BMG rootkit, this software uses a hidden folder and hides files in it."
More important, he said, is another trait shared by both. "This can be used to hide malware," Hypponen charged.
By mid-November 2005, less than two weeks after the first reports that the Sony BMG copy protection software used rootkit-style technologies, Trojan horses using the Sony code to hide from security software popped up in the wild. Hypponen is convinced the same thing can happen here. "This will be trivial to use," he said.
Bad Sony...Bad Sony. See the full F-Secure blog post here.
Monday, August 27, 2007
(Stevie Ray Vaughan Statue in Austin Tx. - Photo: Herronstock.com)
Dallas' own Stevie Ray Vaughan died in a helicopter crash following a show with Eric Clapton at Alpine Valley, Wisc.
In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Stevie Ray Vaughan #7 in their list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.
Thanks to my brother for the reminder....
Make sure you visit the Stevie Ray Vaughan Statue overlooking Town Lake next time you are in Austin, TX (photo above).
When it comes to protecting digital content holders from the hordes of naughty file grabbers, you'll be hard pressed to find a more zealous partner than Apple. So we were surprised to learn that Apple's Safari browser makes it easy to download MP3 files hosted on MySpace that are supposed to be limited to streaming only.
MySpace programmers have taken pains to obfuscate the location of the MP3 file music artists embed into their MySpace profiles. Until now, pirates had to use programs like Ethereal or Burp to divine where a tune was stored. But thanks to a Safari feature called the Activity Window, that cumbersome process is no longer necessary.
We read Dave Shanley's writeup of the technique and were able to replicate the process, although with a few minor modifications.
The bloggers at Profit42 posted instructions that they claim will get the upcoming version of Mac OS X, code-named "Leopard," running on generic Wintel hardware. Two catches: It's illegal to do, and they won't tell you where to get the software, because that would be illegal, too.
Make sure you use Firefox to view Profit42. ;)
The owners of the now infamous cut price Russian MP3 retail site AllofMP3 have posted that the site will soon recommence trading.
The announcement follows a Russian court decision August 15 that found AllofMP3’s previous CEO was not guilty of breaching Russian copyright laws, and therefore the AllofMP3 service was legal.
EMI, NBC Universal and Time Warner had led the legal case against AllofMP3, with the US Government previously threatening to escalate the dispute regarding AllofMP3 to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
According to AllofMP3, “The service will be resumed in the foreseeable future.”
NASA's twin Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity are starting to move again after being immobilised for six weeks by severe dust storms.
The storms hit in late June, just as Opportunity was poised to enter the 800-metre-wide Victoria crater, which may contain crucial geological records of past conditions on Mars.
Lofting dust high in the atmosphere, the storms blocked precious sunlight needed for the rover solar panels to generate power. Both rovers had to stop driving, and Opportunity was so starved of power that its handlers worried it might freeze to death during the cold Martian night.
Now, the storms have finally receded and both rovers are about to start driving towards much-anticipated targets.
"The opacity of the atmosphere is decreasing - the available sunlight is going up slowly," says rover scientist Ray Arvidson of the University of Washington in St Louis, US.
NEW DELHI: Pakistan’s Islamist media published a series of explicit calls for violence against India in the six weeks before the Hyderabad bombings — a development that analysts believe reflects the weakening of General Pervez Musharraf’s regime, and raises fears of a renewed wave of terror strikes.
In an editorial published in the Jamaat-e-Islami-affiliated Daily Jasarat’s August 19 Friday supplement, the newspaper demanded that the “slogan of jihad should reverberate in every nook and corner of Pakistan. If Pakist an allows jihadis to infiltrate into India then Kashmir could be liberated in six months.”
“Within a couple of years,” the newspaper asserted, “the rest of the territories of India could be conquered as well, and we can regain our lost glory. We can bring back the era of Mughal rule. We can once again subjugate the Hindus like our forefathers.”
Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, in turn, used the July 20 rape and murder of north Kashmir teenager to call for escalated violence. “The Indian Army,” he wrote in July 22 article published on the terror group’s website, “is raping the daughters of Islam. How can we tolerate this? We will kill every single soldier of the Indian Army and take revenge for the honour of our sisters. Let India deploy more soldiers in Kashmir so that our mujahideen have more pigs to hunt.”
According to Islamist publications, these calls for violence are legitimised by what they characterise as a global war against Islam and Pakistan. “India and other foreign powers,” Saeed told a congregation at Lahore’s al-Qadsia mosque on July 20, “are involved in the recent spate of bomb blasts in Pakistan. Only India could be behind the recent attacks because only a Hindu could do it. No Muslim can think of shedding the blood of another Muslim.”
----------------------------Hafiz Mohammad Saeed has clearly been under a rock for quite some time. Muslims are killing Muslims in Iraq, Pakistan, Morocco, Somalia, Philippines...basically anywhere that Al-Qaeda has a franchise.
US users of the popular Torrent search site TorrentSpy can use the site no more—at least not for now. TorrentSpy has begun to block all searches by US visitors, instead redirecting search requests to a page with the headline "TorrentSpy Acts to Protect Privacy." The page says that TorrentSpy has chosen to block US visitors because of an "uncertain legal climate in the US regarding user privacy and an apparently tension between US and European Union privacy laws."
The story extends back to early 2006 when TorrentSpy was named in a lawsuit by the MPAA as providing illegal access to copyrighted works. But the real drama started when a judge ordered the site to begin logging user information and turn it over to the MPAA in June. This was not something that TorrentSpy previously did, as the site claimed it did not retain full IP logs. Regardless, since the data could be collected, the MPAA wanted it.
In a major scientific advance, U.S. researchers have used human embryonic stem cells to repair damaged heart tissue in rats that had suffered cardiac arrests.
The "thrilling" accomplishment, released in a study yesterday, seems to overcome two of the most persistent and perplexing hurdles that have thwarted use of the promising embryonic cells for organ repair.
"One was how to coax the human embryonic stem cell to turn into (heart) cells," says Dr. Charles Murry, director of cardiovascular biology at the University of Washington's Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine. The other was to keep them alive after transplantation.
"Embryonic stem cells can turn into hundreds of different cell types and the trick was to turn them into the cell type of interest, to the exclusion of all this other stuff. It's like getting the roulette ball to go into the right slot in the wheel."
The study was published yesterday in the journal Nature Biotechnology.
Chinese premier Wen Jiabao described reports of Chinese hackers breaking into German computers as a matter of "grave concern" and said Monday that his country will cooperate with Germany to resolve the matter.
Jiabao's comments, made during a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Beijing, were prompted by a report published two days earlier in the German news magazine Der Spiegel claiming that Chinese hackers had been able to infect German government computers with spyware.
Merkel said that for Chinese relations with industrialized countries to move ahead, everyone needs to "respect a set of game rules" and "protect intellectual property rights."
Security experts from Germany's Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) and Federal Data Protection Office discovered Trojan horse programs in computers used in several government ministries, including the Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Economics and the Research and Development Ministry, as well as Merkel's office, the report in Der Spiegel said.
Although the first Trojan horse software was detected in May, there are continued attempts to sneak spyware into government computers via the Internet, according to Spiegel.
Security experts monitoring data traffic were able to stop the transmission of a 160G-byte file from a German ministry to China, but no one would say if hackers succeeded in stealing other files, the magazine reported.
BSI and the Federal Data Protection Office declined to comment.
A spokesman at the Federal Ministry of the Interior, while declining to comment on the Spiegel story specifically, said that the federal government, in general, is aware of increased efforts to steal information from computers in the private and public sectors.
"We are making a huge effort to ensure that government systems remain protected from outside attacks," the spokesman said. "So far, we've been able to avoid any damage."
I don't ever remember the Chinese government giving public support to the US to stop Titan Rain...ohhh, maybe that means these guys aren't working for the government. ;)
So the Chinese government is just as eager to find them as the Germans are....so they can get a look at those download files as well. Very interesting.
iphoneunlocking.com, a subsidiary of UniquePhones (www.uniquephones.com). was poised and ready to release remote software unlocking services for the iphone today at 12 noon EST. The sale of unlocking codes is on hold after the company received a telephone call from a Menlo Park, California, law firm at approximately 2:54 a.m. this morning (GMT).
After saying they were phoning on behalf of AT&T, the law firm presented issues such as copyright infringement and illegal software dissemination. Uniquephones is taking legal advice to ascertain whether AT&T was sending a warning shot or directly threatening legal action. The logistics of different continents as well as it being a weekend factors into how the situation develops.
Until an assessment is made of the potential of legal action, Uniquephones is unable to release the unlocking software for sale. The company spokesperson also said that the company would also be evaluating what to eventually do with the software should they be legally denied the right to sell it. A substantial delay caused by any legal action would render the unlocking software a less valuable commodity as well as creating unforeseen security issues for the company.
JERUSALEM, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- An Israeli security official on Sunday warned the cabinet that Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) is planning to carry out a mega-terror attack against Israel.
A deputy chief of Israel security agency, Shin Bet, made the warning while speaking to cabinet ministers, said local daily Yedioth Ahronoth on its website.
The Hamas headquarters in Damascus has ordered its members in the West Bank to carry out a mass casualty attack in Israel, the security official named only "Y" was quoted as saying.
According to him, the Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip is experiencing "deep strategic complications", due to the movement's frustrations in gaining legitimacy in the international arena and controlling internal affairs after its violent takeover of Gaza in June.
This situation increases the risk that Hamas will change its policy on suicide attacks in Gaza, the West Bank and abroad, said the official.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
LONDON: Over 500,000 names on the DNA database are false, misspelt or incorrect, the government has admitted.
Ministers have disclosed that one in seven of the genetic profiles on the controversial database is a “replicate”, raising alarming questions about the integrity and accuracy of the entire system.
Around 4mn names are on the database, which is the biggest in the world, and holds details of rapists, murderers, and suspects arrested but not charged.
Thousands asked to give their details to police upon arrest have given false names or alternative spellings of their names. In other cases, mistakes have been made in the spelling of names.
Some files include names belonging to someone else, or names of people who do not exist. Altogether there are 550,000 “replica” files.
MPs have questioned whether the false data could lead to innocent people, whose names may have been maliciously given to police by suspects, being questioned about crimes they have not committed.
The revelation has led to fresh calls for an inquiry into the integrity of the system which has been dogged by controversy.
The government admits it does not know how many files in total are inaccurate: it has only calculated those with replica DNA samples elsewhere on the system.
Lynne Featherstone, the Liberal Democrat MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, called for an urgent investigation and questioned why so much inaccurate information was on the system.
“If the database is to be of any use, then it has to be accurate. DNA data is open to abuse and this could allow people who mean no good to do no good. The more failsafe the police regard DNA, the easier it is to set someone up,” she said.
TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Iran said that it has developed a new 900-kilogram (2,000-pound) smart bomb and that it will start industrial-scale production of the bomb today.
The guided bomb, named Qased (Messenger), can be deployed by Iran's F-4 and F-5 fighter jets and will be officially unveiled next week, Iranian defense ministry said.
The bomb, equipped with a smart guiding system, is produced by few countries due to the advanced technical know-how required for its production and Iran is the last in the chain of countries which have succeeded in developing the technology.
Qased has been successfully tested by such fighter jets as F4 and F5.
The Iranian defense ministry also said that several other production lines for manufacturing different military tools and arsenals would go operational next week on the occasion of the Week of Government.
Iran launched its own arms development program during its 1980-88 war with Iraq in response to a US-led arms embargo, and since 1992 the country has produced its own tanks, armored personnel carriers, and missiles.
Earlier this month, Iran said it had started industrial-scale production of its own fighter jet, known as Azarakhsh or Lightning. The Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Mostafa Mohammad Najjar said here today that his ministry would soon start industrial-scale production of the second generation of the same fighter jet called Saeqeh (Thunderbolt).
Iran last year test-fired an "ultra-horizon" missile, two powerful torpedoes and a Fajr-e Darya missile capable of avoiding radars and hitting several targets simultaneously using multiple warheads during extensive military maneuvers in the Persian Gulf.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Defense Department said Friday it was proposing to sell Israel advanced missiles and aviation fuel worth up to $642 million and tank kits to Egypt worth up to $847 million.
Israel is also interested in up to 30 Harpoon anti-ship missiles built by Boeing Co. and 500 AIM-9M Sidewinder short-range air-to-air missiles built by Raytheon, the notice said.
Taken together, the cost of the three missile packages could be as high as $334 million if all options are exercised.
In addition, Israel is seeking up to 90 million gallons of JP-8 aviation fuel and 42 million gallons of diesel fuel at an estimated combined cost of $308 million, the defense agency said.
The proposed sale of the aviation fuel will enable Israel, the closest U.S. Mideast ally, to maintain its aircrafts' operational capabilities, the agency said.
It said Egypt was seeking up to 125 MIA1 Abrams tank kits, including thermal viewers, firepower enhancements and armor upgrades, potentially worth up to $847 million.
The proposed sale would boost the output of an Abrams tank co-production program, started in 1988, from its current 880 tanks, to 1,005, the agency said. The prime contractor would be General Dynamics Corp., it said.
The United States has longstanding commitments to Israel and Egypt, which in 1979 became the first Arab state to make peace with Israel.
Earlier this month, the Bush administration offered Israel a record $30 billion, 10-year military aid package described as strengthening a regional bulwark against Iran.
CAIRO (AFP) - European diplomats in four-wheel drive cars have caused millions of dollars worth of damage to a fossilised whale lying for millions of years in the Egyptian desert, a security source said on Sunday.
"Whale Valley officials have informed the authorities that people from two diplomatic corps vehicles destroyed the fossil," the source told AFP after the destruction was discovered around 150 kilometres (95 miles) south of Cairo.
Two cars drove into the protected area on Friday and then refused to stop when asked to do so by wardens who nevertheless got the vehicles' registration numbers which the source said were from "a European country."
"The damage is more than 10 million dollars," the source said.
The site, known as Wadi Hitan (Whale Valley), was home to whales around 40 million years ago when the area was ocean. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to hundreds of of whale fossils.
The US and UK may like to believe that they are leading the war on terror globally, but the country that has had to face the worst of terrorist attacks on its own soil, barring war-torn Iraq, is India.
In fact, India has since 2004 lost more lives to terrorist incidents than all of North America, South America, Central America, Europe and Eurasia put together. All of these vast swathes of the globe lost a total of 3,280 lives in terrorist incidents between January 2004 and March this year. India alone lost 3,674 lives over the same period of three years and three months.
In yesterday's edition of TOI, in our front page lead report on the Hyderabad blasts, we had said that terror groups have left India with perhaps the highest number of civilian victims of terror (apart from war-torn countries like Iraq).
Later, on Sunday, when we looked in detail at the worldwide numbers, we found India not only had the highest number of deaths after Iraq, but also the highest number of terror-related incidents and injured among all countries (again, barring Iraq) — more than all the war zones around the globe. India has been hit by terrorists at will and with chilling regularity — Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Malegaon, Varanasi, J&K — the list is endless. It's only on one count — hostages taken by terror groups — that India's at No 3, to Iraq's No 2. Guess which country was No 1? Nepal, that too by a huge margin, thanks to large-scale kidnappings by Maoists.
Indeed, if one had to pick a terrorist hotspot on the globe it would have to be South Asia. Outside of Iraq, 20,781 people were killed in terrorist violence between January 2004 and March 2007, according to data available from the Worldwide Incidents Tracking System (WITS) of the US National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC). Almost half of them, 9,283 to be precise, were killed in South Asia.
Pakistan has successfully test fired a new air-launched cruise missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads, the military said on Saturday.
A statement said the Ra'ad weapon "has been designed exclusively for launch from a variety of Pakistan's air platforms, providing these with a strategic stand-off capability on land and at sea."
Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's president, and Shaukat Aziz, prime minister, congratulated those involved in designing the new weapon, the statement continued.
"Pakistan's defence will continue to be strengthened as an imperative of national security," the two leaders were quoted as saying.
The military said the new missile, which has a range of 350km and uses stealth technology, is as accurate as Pakistan's longer-range Babur cruise missile, a version of which was test fired in July.
Chinese media is reporting that the missile is a Hatf-8 type Air Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM) named Raad, which means "Thunder". See video of the test launch at Chinaview.cn
To enjoy the spectacular total eclipse of the moon Tuesday morning, you need a plan.
You may want to go to bed early Monday and rise to watch the show — beginning after midnight and continuing until dawn. Of course, you may want to stay up late, then sleep in.
Total lunar eclipses always occur at full moon when the moon is behind the Earth from the sun and the Earth's long shadow is cast upon the moon. The somewhat darkening phase begins a few minutes before 1 a.m. Tuesday.
At 1:51 a.m., the moon starts entering the Earth's umbra, which is the darkest part of a shadow. The moon gets progressively darker as it moves deeper into the umbra and becomes fully eclipsed at 2:52 a.m. Theoretically, the moon should disappear from sight during totality because it is completely buried in the Earth's shadow. That rarely happens. Instead, the moon becomes a gorgeous copper color.
The moon starts to leave totality at 4:22 a.m. and fully leaves the umbral shadow at 5:24 a.m. Because of twilight, the sky will start brightening between 4:30 and 5 a.m., lessening the beauty of the last part of the eclipse.
So grab a lawn chair and get ready to enjoy the show.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
LASHKAR GAH, Afghanistan, Aug. 25 — Afghanistan produced record levels of opium in 2007 for the second straight year, led by a staggering 45 percent increase in the Taliban stronghold of Helmand Province, according to a new United Nations survey to be released Monday.
The report is likely to spark renewed debate about the United States’ $600 million counternarcotics program in Afghanistan, which has been dogged by security challenges and endemic corruption within the Afghan government.
“I think it is safe to say that we should be looking for a new strategy,” said William B. Wood, the American ambassador to Afghanistan, commenting on the report’s overall findings. “And I think that we are finding one.”
Mr. Wood said the current American programs for eradication, interdiction and alternative livelihoods should be intensified, but he added that spraying poppy crops with herbicide remained “a possibility.” Afghan and British officials have opposed spraying, saying it would drive farmers into the arms of the Taliban.
While the report found that opium production dropped in northern Afghanistan, Western officials briefed on the assessment said, cultivation rose in the south, where Taliban insurgents urge farmers to grow poppies.
Although common farmers make comparatively little from the trade, opium is a major source of financing for the Taliban, who gain public support by protecting farmers’ fields from eradication, according to American officials. They also receive a cut of the trade from traffickers they protect.
In Taliban-controlled areas, traffickers have opened more labs that process raw opium into heroin, vastly increasing its value. The number of drug labs in Helmand rose to roughly 50 from 30 the year before, and about 16 metric tons of chemicals used in heroin production have been confiscated this year.
SUKHUMI, Georgia: A plane of uncertain origin went down over Abkhazia, a top official of the separatist region said Saturday, a day after Georgia said its forces fired on a plane believed to be Russian that had violated the country's airspace.
Georgia's claim Friday further escalated tensions with Russia, which had soared earlier in the month when Georgia said a Russian bomber dropped a missile on a Georgian village; the missile did not explode. In both cases, Russia denied that its planes had violated Georgian air space.
If Georgia did shoot down a Russian plane, it would be the most serious incident in years between the countries.
In the latest claim, Georgia said it fired on Wednesday at a plane over Upper Abkhazia, a remote and ruggedly mountainous area adjacent to separatist-controlled Abkhazia. Authorities said the plane was believed to have crashed.
On Saturday, the chief of staff of separatist Abkhazia's military, Anatoly Zaitsev, told reporters that a plane or its fragments definitely had crashed Wednesday and that he had seen the plane himself.
"The aircraft was going down, a volley of blueish smoke was coming after it and there were two large fragments flying behind its tail from inertia for a while. One of them is believed to have fallen in the lower part of the Kodori Gorge," he said. The gorge runs from Georgian territory into separatist-controlled territory.
He did not specify what kind of plane it was. But Sergei Shamba, the foreign minister of Abkhazia's internationally unrecognized government, said the plane "most likely" belonged to Georgia, the RIA-Novosti news agency reported.
A Russian air force spokesman, Col. Alexander Drobyshevsky, said on Russia's Channel 1 TV Saturday that Georgia's claim Friday was "the latest provocation aimed against us."
Slashdot had a small post about this yesterday but I've spoken with one of the researchers about it so thought I'd add a little more detail.
A group of Israeli and Belgian researchers found a vulnerability in the algorithm that is used to secure anti-theft digital key systems in numerous vehicles, including those made by such companies as Honda, Ford, General Motors, Mercedes Benz and Jaguar. With that information they were able to devise an attack to crack the code of anti-theft keys.
With just an hour of remote access to the digital key of one car made by a manufacturer, the researchers say they are able not only to crack the unique code for that specific key but can also determine the key initialization process used to code the digital keys for all of the cars made by that manufacturer. From there, it's pretty simple for them to crack the unique code of another car made by that company.
"There is one master key from which is derived the key for each car a company makes," says Orr Dunkelman, a researcher from the University of Leuven in Belgium who worked on the project with four colleagues.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Iranian police have closed more than 20 barbers' shops in the capital Tehran.
The authorities say the barbers were encouraging un-Islamic behaviour by offering Western hairstyles, tattooing and also eyebrow-plucking for men.
Police say they have inspected more than 700 shops during a two-week crackdown in the city.
The move is part of an annual campaign against what is known locally as bad hijab, or un-Islamic clothing, that this year is also targeting men.
Hundreds of women and men have already been cautioned.
Police say that as well as avoiding Western hairstyles and make up, barbers should not pluck customers' eyebrows.
The closure of the shops comes several months after barbers were warned that they could lose their licences if they did not comply.
Georgian forces have fired at an aircraft they believed to be Russian after it violated Georgian airspace, a senior government official said.
Tbilisi could not confirm whether the plane was shot down, but said that a nearby section of forest, in Abkhazia's Kodori Gorge, was on fire.
Russia dismissed the claim, and an air force spokesman called it "the latest provocation aimed against us".
The two ex-USSR states' relations have been strained since a 2006 spy row.
Earlier this month, Georgia said that two Russian planes had violated its border around the same area.
In a separate incident, Georgia also claimed a Russian plane had dropped a missile near the capital, Tblisi.
Russia strongly denied the accusations.
Those waiting for a solution to use the iPhone on a network other than AT&T may have found it: a six-man team of researchers has claimed to crack the SIM lock. This means the iPhone will work on T-Mobile and other GSM carriers overseas.
The crack was produced by iPhoneSIMfree.com, which has invited press organizations to allow the group to unlock their phones for them. Tech Web log Engadget was one of them, and it wrote a post Friday describing the process.
No date for public release has yet been set for the software. However, such an application would likely be well received by those who may want the phone yet balk at the idea of signing a contract with AT&T.
It also appears that Apple was already ready for this eventuality: when unlocked, the phone still will perform as advertised save for visual voicemail. New settings appear which allow the user to select preferred network and EDGE usernames and passwords. All other functions work except for YouTube, which requires some additional work.
In addition, the unlock is upgrade and restore resistant, the group says. If true, this would make it difficult for Apple to retaliate against unlockers by locking them out of their phones.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
MANILA: The Philippine Armed Forces plan to ask the management of the popular Internet video-sharing website YouTube to remove two video clips of Al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf rebels seeking funds and support, military spokesmen said yesterday.
The video clips about the rebel group, responsible for some of the worst terrorist attacks in the Philippines, were posted as the military stepped up offensives on its strongholds in the southern province of Basilan and nearby Jolo island.
“We would try to make some effort to address the website management to stop this,” Marine Corp spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Ariel Caculitan said.
Caculitan said YouTube might be unwittingly spreading the terrorist doctrines of the Abu Sayyaf by allowing the videos to be shown. “These are considered terrorists, and by allowing ... the terrorists to get support from other people or groups globally, it’s not a good thing for us,” he admitted.
The Armed Forces earlier dismissed the YouTube posting as an “act of desperation.”
According to Lieutenant Colonel Bartolome Bacarro, chief of the military’s public information office, the clips were taken from a one-hour video. The speakers used Arabic in an apparent attempt to appeal to wealthy would-be benefactors from the Middle East.
The clips showed Abu Sayyaf founder Abdurajak Janjalani as well as younger brother and replacement Khadaffy Janjalani. Abdurajak Janjalani was killed by security forces on Basilan in 1998 while his brother died last year on Jolo.
Abu Sayyaf is designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. State Dept. Abu Sayyaf commonly uses kidnapping as a way to collect ransom payments. Most of its victims are Filipinos, but has attacked Americans as well.
(AP) - ALGIERS, Algeria-Al-Qaida in North Africa denied Wednesday it was behind a car bomb attack earlier this month that severely wounded a former militant leader.
In a statement faxed to Arabic-language media in Algiers, the group said it did "not give the order for the execution of an attack targeting Mustapha Kertali."
Kertali, a former leader of the Islamic Salvation Army who has supported efforts in recent years by Algeria's president to end extremist violence, lost a leg in a car bomb attack in the northern city of Larbaa on Aug. 14.
"It happened without our knowing it," said the statement, signed by the group's head, Abdelmalek Droudkel, also known as Abou Mossaab Abd el-Woudoud. It said "firm instructions" had been given to the group's local cells not to attack former militants.
Al-Qaida in North Africa = Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)
Venezuela's congress, dominated by the president's allies, has backed constitutional changes that would allow Hugo Chavez to govern indefinitely.
After six hours of debate on Tuesday, Cilia Flores, the National Assembly leader, said Chavez's proposed charter changes, including lifting presidential term limits, received "majority approval".
Flores did not say how many of the assembly's 167 legislators voted for the reforms, but said they were preliminarily approved on first reading with overwhelming support.
Final approval is expected within three months before the "reforms" are put to a public referendum.
But Luis Miquilena, a former mentor to Chavez, urged Venezuelans to reject the proposed constitutional changes, saying the president would use them to govern indefinitely.
Miquilena, who headed a popularly elected, pro-Chavez assembly that drafted Venezuela's existing constitution, called his former ally's new reform proposal "a constitutional fraud" aimed at giving him "perpetual power".
"The essential point of this reform is based on the idea of permitting Mr Chavez to continue in power indefinitely," Miquilena told a news conference.
The 88-year-old former labour leader once was commonly referred to as Chavez's closest adviser. But he quit his cabinet in 2002 and has periodically criticised the president since.
The National Assembly has been firmly pro-Chavez since the opposition boycotted a 2005 vote.
The reforms, if approved, would extend presidential terms from six to seven years and allow Chavez to run again in 2013.
Chavez has said he could serve until 2021 or beyond, but only if the public continues to back him at the ballot box.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
The CIA is to open a communications tool for its staff, modelled on social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace, the Financial Times reports.
The project, known as A-Space, aims to improve the way that intelligence agents communicate, it said.
Officials believe that the online workplace will allow staff to better analyse information together.
However to ease fears of undercover workers having their cover blown, participation will be voluntary.
Users of Google Earth will now have a new feature that lets them turn their gaze to other worlds, Google announced Wednesday.
Sky, a tool included in the newest version of Google Earth, allows users to view and navigate their way through high-resolution images of 100 million individual stars and 200 million galaxies. It also offers seven layers of information on celestial phenomena, including sections on constellations, the life cycle of a star and photos from the Hubble space telescope.
"We're excited to provide users with rich astronomical imagery and enhanced content that enables them to both learn about what they're seeing above and tell their own stories," Lior Ron, Google product manager said in a press release. "By working with some of the industry's leading experts, we've been able to transform Google Earth into a virtual telescope."
The feature is only accessible on the newest version of Google Earth, which can be downloaded from the company's website. Users can either select "Switch to Sky" from the "view" menu in Google Earth, or click the Sky button on the Google Earth toolbar. The interface and navigation are similar to that of standard Google Earth.
Google created Sky by piecing together images from several sources, including the Space Telescope Science Institute, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, CalTech's Palomar Observatory and the United Kingdom Astronomy Technology Centre.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) - Police said an Egyptian hijacker who commandeered a Turkish passenger plane together with a Turkish citizen had received training at an al-Qaida camp and wanted to be flown to Iran and to join al-Qaida in Afghanistan, the state-run Anatolia news agency reported Monday.
The two men, wielding a fake bomb and claiming al-Qaida ties, hijacked the plane early Saturday after it took off from northern Cyprus, and held passengers and crew hostage for more than four hours before surrendering peacefully at the Turkish Mediterranean resort Antalya.Police said the 33-year-old Eyptian, Mommen Abdul Aziz Talikh, had also served time at the same prison in Saudi Arabia with a senior al-Qaida member, called Ahmad, who was sentenced to life in prison for helping to organize the Sept. 11 attacks, Anatolia said.
Police did not say at which al-Qaida camp or which country Talikh received training, the agency said. Police also did not say why Talikh was jailed in Saudi Arabia.
LONDON (Reuters) - Boys like blue, girls like pink and there isn't much anybody can do about it, researchers said on Monday in one of the first studies to show scientifically that there are gender-based color preferences.
Researchers said these differences may have a basis in evolution in which females developed a preference for reddish colors associated with riper fruit and healthier faces.
Recent studies have suggested there is a universal preference for "blue," and there has not been much previous evidence to support the idea of sex differences when picking colors, said Anya Hurlbert, a neuroscientist at Newcastle University who led the study.
In the study, the researchers asked a group of men and women to look at about 1,000 pairs of colored rectangles on a computer screen in a dark room and pick the ones they liked best as quickly as possible.
Afterwards, Hurlbert and colleagues plotted the results along the color spectrum and found that while men prefer blue, women gravitate towards the pinker end of the blue spectrum.
"Women have a very clear pattern. It's low in the yellow and green regions and rises to a peak in the purplish to reddish region," she said.
Hurlbert believes women's preference for pink may have evolved on top of a natural, universal preference for blue."When you add it together you get the colors they intrinsically like, you get bluish red, which is sort of lilac or pink," she said.
TEHRAN, Iran - A detained Iranian-American academic was suddenly released from a notorious Tehran prison Tuesday after spending months behind bars on charges of endangering Iranian national security - allegations her family vehemently denies.
Haleh Esfandiari, the 67-year-old director of the Middle East program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, had been jailed in Tehran's Evin prison since early May after enduring months of intense interrogations. She was released after her elderly mother used the deed to her Tehran apartment to post bail, relatives said.
"I'm very happy. It was unexpected. I thank all those who made efforts to make it possible for me to go home," Esfandiari told Iranian television. The footage showed her walking out of the prison and meeting family members in a car on a nearby street.
Mohammad Shadabi, an official at the Tehran prosecutor's office, said Esfandiari had been released on $333,000 bail, but he could not say whether she would be allowed to leave Iran.
Esfandiari was detained Dec. 30 after three masked men holding knives threatened to kill her on her way to Tehran's airport to fly back to the U.S., the Wilson Center has said. The men took her U.S. and Iranian passports, making her unable to leave the country, the center said.
Bentonville (AR) - Wal-Mart announced today that it has begun selling unprotected MP3 fies at its online music store at prices that still undercut most other DRM-ridden tracks.
Wal-Mart, the country's largest music retailer, said Universal Music and EMI Music are among the flagship record labels participating in its new music download service.
The DRM-free tracks carry a price of 94 cents each. That's still five cents less than the standard price for a song with copy protection on Apple's iTunes or Sony's Connect, the two top online music sellers. Wal-Mart's online music store charges 89 cents for music tracks embedded with proprietary DRM (digital rights management).
iTunes began selling a selection of DRM-free music earlier this year at $1.09 per track. Amazon and Emusic are among the other digital download stores that have moved into the unprotected MP3 music market.
Sony Connect is the biggest online store to not move into the emerging music market. Sony's record label Sony BMG has likewise refused to offer legal versions of its music without some sort of copy protection.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A former Oklahoma State University student has been accused of being part of a group of computer hackers who copy, modify and distribute copyrighted material online.
Joseph Ryan Hershberger, 28, has been indicted on federal conspiracy and copyright infringement charges as part of the Justice Department’s focus on enforcing intellectual property rights.
Hershberger, of Austin, Texas, is accused of downloading more than $40,000 worth of pirated software between 2000 and 2004 while a student at OSU, the indictment states.
Hershberger earned a master’s degree in electrical engineering at OSU in 2005 and currently works as a computer programmer. He pleaded not guilty when he was arraigned in U.S. District Court on Monday.
Prosecutors allege that Hershberger is a member of the “warez scene,” an organized group of people who since the early 1990s have worked together to “crack” the copyright protection of movies, games, music and software and distribute them to others, according to the Justice Department.
Authorities have zeroed in on a Ukrainian man they suspect played a key role in the sale of many credit card numbers stolen from TJX Cos. in what is considered the biggest corporate data breach to date.
Officials hope the recent arrest of Maksym Yastremskiy will be a breakthrough in the investigation of who hacked into systems at TJX and other companies, said Greg Crabb, a program manager in the global investigations division of the US Postal Inspection Service. The service is among various law enforcement agencies trying to track down hackers who made off with more than 45 million credit and debit card numbers from TJX starting in 2005.
Crabb said Yastremskiy allegedly sold card numbers through online forums hosted overseas, sometimes in Cyrillic or that were password protected. He is likely the largest seller of stolen TJX numbers, Crabb said.
Prices ranged from $20 to $100 per stolen card, and the cards were sold in batches of up to 10,000, depending on factors like the credit limits of the consumer accounts being traded. Crabb said Yastremskiy is associated with at least one other Ukrainian man previously charged with similar crimes, though unrelated to the TJX case.
"These guys are selling the good stuff," Crabb said.
It's unclear whether Yastremskiy is the mastermind behind the TJX breach itself. Yastremskiy's capture was first reported several weeks ago, though a link to TJX hasn't been made until now. Turkish police arrested him at a nightclub in the resort of Kemer, according to a French summary of a report by Turkish news agency Anatolia. The agency quoted a police official who said Yastremskiy is "one of the world's important and well-known computer pirates."
This is good news indeed. Is this guy the mastermind behind the hack? Off the top of my head, I would say most likely not...but he is in the middle tier at least and he might know someone in a higher tier.
The July arrest of the ring in FL was a very low level tier arrest...but just like in a classic narcotics bust, they are walking up the stack (or chain).
LONDON, Aug. 17 -- British authorities on Friday disclosed four new London locations, including a Moroccan restaurant and a lap-dancing club, at which investigators have found the kind of radiation that killed former Russian intelligence agent Alexander Litvinenko in November.
The investigation stretched over 47 locations, the Westminster City Council said. The newly disclosed sites were Hey Jo, a lap-dancing club in central London; Litvinenko's personal Mercedes; Dar Marrakesh, the restaurant; and a gray Mercedes taxi.
Investigators have been aided by a series of positive readings for polonium-210 radiation, marking a trail along which the killer or killers and victim moved. Of the 47 locations examined, including eight aircraft, radiation was found at 27 sites, the Westminster council said.
At the Hey Jo nightclub, traces of radiation were found on seats, cushions and cubicle doors, officials said. At the Moroccan cafe, traces were found on the fabric of a hookah pipe's handle and on a cushion cover.
Dave West, owner of Hey Jo, said in an interview that Litvinenko "came in one night with about two or three men, all Russian. I said hello, shook their hands, like I do to many customers." West said that the club was popular with Russian businessmen and that he had met Litvinenko on several occasions.
He said that investigators were slow in locating his club; they arrived there about seven weeks after Litvinenko died, after tracing his credit card receipts.
Monday, August 20, 2007
On August 20th, Pidgin 2.1.1 was released. Pidgin (formerly Gaim) is an all-in-one IM client that resembles AIM. Gaim lets you use AIM, ICQ, Yahoo, MSN, IRC, Jabber, Zephyr, and Gadu-Gadu all at once. Make sure you grab a copy of Off-the-Record v3.1.0.
On August 16th, CCleaner v2.00.475 Beta was released. CCleaner is a freeware system optimization and privacy tool. It removes unused files from your system - allowing Windows to run faster and freeing up valuable hard disk space. It also cleans traces of your online activities such as your Internet history.
On August 16th, GnuPG v2.0.6 was released. The GNU Privacy Guard (GnuPG) is GNU's tool for secure communication and data storage. It can be used to encrypt data, create digital signatures, help authenticating using Secure Shell and to provide a framework for public key cryptography. It includes an advanced keymanagement facility and is compliant with the OpenPGP and S/MIMEstandards. This is maintenance release with a few minor enhancements.
On August 16th, AVG Anti-Virus Free v7.5.484 was released. This release improved polymorphic viruses detection and fixed a problem with detection of multiple threats in certain cases.
On August 15th, Core Security released Pass-The-Hash Toolkit v1.0. The Pass-The-Hash Toolkit contains utilities to manipulate the Windows Logon Sessions maintained by the LSA (Local Security Authority) component. These tools allow you to list the current logon sessions with its corresponding NTLM credentials (e.g.: users remotely logged in thru Remote Desktop/Terminal Services), and also change in runtime the current username, domain name, and NTLM hashes (YES, PASS-THE-HASH on Windows!).
On August 10th, Sensepost released Wikto v2.0.2778-19003. Wikto is Nikto for Windows - but with a couple of fancy extra features including Fuzzy logic error code checking, a back-end miner, Google assisted directory mining and real time HTTP request/response monitoring. This new release includes a new shiny GUI and was completely built on the .Net 2 Framework. Registration is required for download, but I would suggest Bugmenot.com.
On August 4th, Immunity Sec released Immunity Debugger v1.0. Immunity Debugger is a powerful new way to write exploits, analyze malware, and reverse engineer binary files. It builds on a solid user interface with function graphing, the industry's first heap analysis tool built specifically for heap creation, and a large and well supported Python API for easy extensibility. It looks and feels like OllyDbg with a strange bit of advertising added. Registration is required for download, but I would suggest Mailinator.com. BTW, Immunity Debugger does not contain a backdoor which e-mails all your details....
Scully is a client interface to MSSQL and MySQL database servers. No more need for MSSQL/MySQL client libraries to be installed and no more need to setup an ODBC connection either. Simply add IP/Hostname, username, password, port and database name and SQL away. Scully also performs password brute forcing for MySQL and MSSQL.
SSHatter v0.2 is password brute forcer for SSH.
Roma, Texas--- U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working outbound enforcement operations at the Roma, Texas International Bridge seized an arsenal of shoulder weapons, an assortment of ammunition and of related accessories.
On August 15, 2007 at 1500 hours, CBP officers working outbound enforcement operations at the Roma, Texas International Bridge seized several shoulder weapons, a handgun, an assortment of ammunition and several ammunition magazines. Roma CBP officers were conducting outbound operations when they came in contact with a 1999 Freightliner tractor trailer rig. Prior to the trailer rig exiting the U.S. to enter, the Republic of Mexico, officers conducted a routine examination of the driver, tractor trailer and of export documents/commodities.
While conducting an intensive examination of the trailer contents, officers found hidden within the various commodities, (1), 30-06 Remington rifle, (4), 12- gauge shotguns (3 Remington and 1 Benelli), (1), 30-30 caliber Marlin rifle, (1), MAK 9mm handgun, 8,024 rounds of live ammunition and 10 ammunition magazines. The driver, a 49-year old Mexican citizen and resident of Reynosa Tamaulipas, Mexico was not arrested but an investigation continues. The shoulder weapons, handgun, ammunition and accessories to include the tractor trailer rig were seized.
Roma Port Director, Cris Cantu said, "Our officers are doing great outbound enforcement work." Cantu further said, "This is an example of the excellent work our officers are doing."
These weapons were crossing the border out of Texas and not into Texas...but still, very interesting.
A Marine Corps bomb unit was called in by California police who found an Iraqi-style rocket propelled grenade stashed in a stolen van.
The weapon was detonated Friday inside the vehicle, which had been reported stolen a few weeks ago and had just been returned to its owner, the Orange County (Calif.) Register reported Saturday.
Ernie Adkins of Laguna Niguel, Calif., was inspecting his newly returned customized Ford E350 van when he found the weapon in the overhead rack.
Orange County bomb squad deputies summoned Marines from nearby Camp Pendleton, who likely had a lot more experience with the weapons known as RPGs, a favorite of Iraqi insurgents.
There was no word on how much damage was caused to Adkins' van or how the RPG got there.
TEHRAN, 20 August 2007 — Gunmen took as many as 30 people hostage in southeast Iran yesterday after burning vehicles and shooting at passengers, news agencies said, an incident blamed on rebels Tehran has previously linked to Al-Qaeda.
The attackers then took the hostages across the border into Pakistan, state television said.
Some media sources gave lower figures for the number of people seized in the early morning on a road in Sistan-Baluchestan, a volatile eastern border province notorious for frequent clashes between security forces and drug smugglers. The ISNA and Fars news agencies said 30 people were taken hostage, while the state broadcaster said 12 people were seized.
Col. Mohammad Javad Asna-Ashari said the perpetrators belonged to a group led by Abdolmalek Rigi, who Iran has blamed for several other attacks in the southeast of the country, Fars said.
Jundollah (God’s Soldiers), a shadowy Sunni group led by Rigi, in February claimed responsibility for an attack on a bus owned by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards that killed 11 people and it has also been blamed for other violence in the region.
Officials have said Rigi was a cell leader of Osama Bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda network in Iran.
Iranian media is reporting that all hostages have been released in an operation by the Pakistani police.
Of course, the Iranian Interior Minister, Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi, tagged the incident as a psychological operation...indirectly pointing the finger at the US, Britian and other western nations.