Posts Tagged: ‘hackers’

If Spielberg and Lucas were to remake Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and set it in present day, our intrepid hero might be attempting to free thousands of computers rather than children from enslavement. According to ZDNet, Internet security firm Kaspersky Labs discovered some malicious code — aka malware — out in the wild that forces computers to mine for bitcoins. So what does that actually mean?

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My very first assignment at HowStuffWorks.com was to update an article already on the site. It was How E-voting Works. As I researched the subject, I became concerned that an e-voting system could be manipulated in such a way that it’d be difficult or even impossible to detect the tampering. I appreciate that an e-voting system could be more convenient and efficient than a paper-based system. And it’s clear that no system is tamper-proof — even paper ballots can be conveniently misplaced, miscounted or even altered. But when a vote is just ones and zeros I worry that drastic alterations could happen on an unprecedented scale.

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Fox News reported this morning that the FBI, in coordination with other law enforcement agencies around the world, has captured several members in the loose hacker group called LulzSec. The hacktivist group caught a lot of attention last year as they targeted multiple companies, governments and organizations in a series of high-profile attacks. The motives behind the attacks were sometimes difficult to pin down. Sometimes it was because the members of LulzSec felt their targets had acted in an unethical or unfair way and should be punished. At other times, it seemed more like LulzSec just wanted to show how flimsy cyber security measures could be.

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This morning, I read an Associated Press report about hackers associated with the group Anonymous posting information about current and retired police chiefs in West Virginia. According to the report, the hackers released this information in response to cases of police brutality. They also posted a message saying that police chiefs are victimizing the people who pay their “exorbitant salaries.”

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What a night. Nothing really illustrates the power of the Internet like a massive, semi-coordinated series of attacks on dozens of Web sites over the course of a few hours. That’s what’s going on as I write this blog post and it all stems from seven people targeted by the Department of Justice and the FBI. Those seven people were named in an indictment that charges them with crimes ranging from copyright violation to money laundering. According to CNET, if found guilty they could receive a prison sentence of up to 20 years.

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Wow, it’s true. If you type a word often enough, it starts to lose its meaning. But before I start to use the word hack as a koan in a meditation session, I thought it would be a good idea to do a quick news roundup of some hacking stories. Not all hacks are created equal the use of the words hack, hackers and hacking can sometimes be misleading.

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Welcome to the first of what I hope will be many news roundups of what’s going on in the tech world today. Below are some of the interesting stories developing in technology, accompanied by a little unbiased, objective and mature commentary from yours truly. Let’s get to it!

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I read over at NPR that Sony is facing a $3.2 billion-dollar loss this year. That’s bad news for the company, which had projected to climb out of a recent series of losses to return to profitability. And there are two big reasons why Sony won’t be seeing profits this year. One is due to the tsunami that hit Japan. The other is the recent attacks on the PlayStation Network (PSN). Together, these events cost the company billions of dollars.

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PlayStation owners will have to wait a while longer before regaining access to the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services. According to an official blog post on the PlayStation blog, the company began internal testing of the network last week. But until Sony is satisfied that the new security measures are working properly, the company won’t restore partial network service to the public. And Bloomberg reports that Sony executives are assuring users that full service to the network will return by May 31st. A blog post from April 27th said that Sony hoped to restore service within a week. But that was before Sony was fully aware of the extent of the security breach.

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This video (once you get past the introduction) is fascinating. A high-level hacker named Samy Kamkar takes you through his thinking, and his techniques, for breaking the 160-bit session cookie used on Facebook. He calls it the “discovery and execution of entirely new web classes of attacks.” This allows him to impersonate someone else on […]

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