Wednesday, December 17, 2014

‘The Interview’ premiere canceled in wake of Sony hacker ‘9/11-style’ terror threats

from The premiere of ‘The Interview’, the comedy ridiculing the North Korean leadership, has been canceled in New York, allegedly due to a 9/11-style terror threat. But US security officials say “there is no credible intelligence” of an attack at this time.

The Sunshine Cinema in Lower East Side has made the decision to cancel the Thursday showing. 

Alarm over a possible attack was sparked by threats from the group responsible for the infamous Sony Pictures hacks. They started with releasing celebrity and executive emails and financial details, but have graduated to a 9/11-style terror threat in the event the premiere takes place. 

'The Interview' has already been blamed for its political effects when the embarrassing Sony hacks began – an angry letter from the North Korean leadership to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called it “an act of war.”
It was first thought the data leaks were all the work of North Korea, as the timing appeared suspicious. And North Korea earlier threatened “merciless retaliation” if the film were ever released. Although North Korea praised the hack, it denied involvement. The FBI confirmed this. 

RELATED: Sony hackers leak new data as FBI says no North Korea trace 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Pirate Bay Shutdown Has Had Virtually No Effect on Digital Piracy Levels

from The Pirate Bay was deep-sixed this week in its home port of Stockholm, Sweden, after cops raided a data center hosting the world’s most famous piracy organization. But its absence appears to have put hardly a dent in global piracy activity over the last four days.

On Monday, Dec. 8, a total of 101.5 million Internet worldwide were engaged in torrent downloads of relevant titles tracked by anti-piracy firm Excipio (including movies, TV shows, music, videogames, software and other digital media). On Dec. 9, Swedish law-enforcement authorities — acting on a complaint from an anti-piracy group based in the country — descended on a Web-hosting facility used by Pirate Bay and confiscated its servers and other equipment.

The result: The total number of IP addresses engaged in peer-to-peer downloads of content tracked by Excipio dropped slightly from 99.0 million on Dec. 9 to 95.0 million and 95.6 million the following two days, before bouncing back to 100.2 million on Friday, Dec. 12. That’s roughly in line with the daily average of 99.9 million since Nov. 1, according to Excipio.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

#NewWorldNextWeek - The #Sony Pictures Hack: Everything We Know So Far

from Sony’s hacking story has been a long, confusing one to follow. Leaks have seemed endless since first starting and more crazy details have emerged in the last week than we’ve ever seen from the company.

We still don’t know who hacked Sony Pictures, but the FBI is working to track down the source of the leaks. Here’s a timeline of what’s happened with Sony and what we know so far.

November 21: Anonymous hackers send email to Sony Pictures CEO, Michael Lynton, along with other executives warning of “great damage by Sony Pictures” and that the company will be “bombarded as a whole” if they don’t pay money.

November 24: Story breaks that Sony Pictures’ computers show “hacked by GOP” message and attackers threaten to release data if demands were not met by a deadline of 11:00 PM GMT. It’s not clear what the demands of the hackers were, but the deadline came and went with no immediate release of data.

November 28: Recode reports that Sony Pictures is looking to point blame on North Korea for the attack.

November 29: Variety reports that the Sony Pictures hack could be related to the release of “The Interview,” a comedy film that depicts Seth Rogen assasinating North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un. Reuters reports that North Korea threatened Sony Pictures with a “merciless countermeasure” if it releases the film.

December 1: Torrents of unreleased Sony Pictures films appear online. “Annie”, “Mr. Turner”, “Still Alice” and “To Write Love on Her Arms” which are planned for 2015 were discovered on popular file sharing websites. Sony Pictures begins working with the FBI to find attackers.

December 2: The first data leak by GOP appears on a text-sharing website.  This first leak contained financial information about staff, including the salaries of many top executives inside Sony.

December 3: The second data leak by GOP appears on text-sharing websites. The second leak came with a “bonus” containing plain-text passwords stored by Sony, along with the company’s security certificates and other credential data. Fusion reported that this same leak also contained the salaries of staff at financial firm Deloitte.

December 4: A huge amount of marketing slide decks leak that detail Sony’s reasoning for releasing films, how it can market them with associated products and a lot more.

Cicret Bracelet Will Turn Your Arm Into A Tablet

from A new Cicret bracelet can detect your gestures and projects a screen onto the skin, so you can take calls, check your emails, read books, all from your arm.

Designed by Paris-based design company, the prototype bracelet can remotely connect with a mobile device and emits the interface onto the wearer’s arm. The prototype comes with a projector and a row of eight proximity sensors that pick up your finger movements allowing you to read emails, play games, answer calls and check the weather on the surface of the skin.

The device will be packed with an accelerometer and a vibration module, along with an LED for notifications. The device will support Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and a Micro USB port for connectivity.

The company has shared a promotional video on its site which has got over 4 million views on YouTube. The video shows the physical interaction between user and product, with the user swiping and tapping through the various applications and communicating with their smartphone via their forearm. However the company has clarified that the prototype will be ready in the next 2-3 weeks and the images shown in the video are mocked up, for demonstration purpose only.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Red Planet Shows Signs of Life

from Press TV: NASA’s Curiosity rover has sent back scientific data suggesting new evidence of water on Mars.

The rover released pictures indicating that the Gale Crater on Mars used to be a huge lake of water far back in history.

With the new evidence of water, the Red Planet must have been suitable for some form of life in ancient times. 

NASA also maintains that Mount Sharp in Mars was shaped by sediments within a lake bed.

This interpretation of the rover’s findings suggest that the Red Planet used to have a climate which could produce long-lasting lakes at different locations, Curiosity deputy project scientist, Ashwin Vasavada, and his colleagues said in a statement.

If our hypothesis for Mount Sharp holds up, it challenges the notion that warm and wet conditions were transient, local, or only underground on Mars,” explained Vasavada, who works at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena.

Curiosity project scientist, John Grotzinger, from the California Institute of Technology, also said, "We are making headway in solving the mystery of Mount Sharp. Where there's now a mountain, there may have once been a series of lakes."

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Rise of AdBlock Reveals A Serious Problem in the Advertising Ecosystem

from Seeing a threat to their ecosystem, French publishers follow their German colleagues and prepare to sue startup Eyeo GmbH, the creator of anti-advertising software AdBlock Plus. But they cannot ignore that, by using ABP, millions of users actively protest against the worst forms of advertising. 

On grounds that it represents a major economic threat to their business, two groups of French publishers are considering a lawsuit against AdBlockPlus creator Eyeo GmbH. (Les Echos, broke the news in this story, in French).

Plaintiffs are said to be the GESTE and the French Internet Advertising Bureau. The first is known for its aggressive stance against Google via its contribution to the Open Internet Project. (To be clear, GESTE said they were at a “legal consulting stage”, no formal complaint has been filed yet.) By his actions, the second plaintiff, the French branch of the Internet Advertising Bureau is in fact acknowledging its failure to tame the excesses of the digital advertising market.

Regardless of its validity, the legal action misses a critical point. By downloading the plug-in AdBlock Plus (ABP) on a massive scale, users do vote with their mice against the growing invasiveness of digital advertising. Therefore, suing Eyeo, the company that maintains ABP, is like using Aspirin to fight cancer. A different approach is required but very few seem ready to face that fact.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Taiwan, A Canary In The Coalmine Of Cyber Warfare

from For the past two weeks, entertainment giant Sony Pictures has had its computers paralysed by a cyber attack that has resulted in unreleased movies and thousands of confidential documents being released.

Taiwan can claim the dubious honour of being one of the most hacked, if not the most hacked, places in the world. The computers of its government, businesses and research centres are bombarded by attempts to infiltrate them to steal sensitive information, probe defences and explore their inner workings. 

So hacked is Taiwan that employees of some government ministries are issued with two sets of computers - one connected to the internet, and a second that remains offline for security reasons.

Eight out of ten top-tier government agencies "are either targeted for a long time or have been compromised", says Benson Wu, co-founder of Taipei-based analysis and security company Xecure Lab. Many bugs and tactics "are being exercised and verified in Taiwan before they are used in other countries". And where are those raids coming from? "The attack frequency and targets are highly related to the political situation" between Taiwan and China. Taiwan's Chinese-language networks make a perfect target for hackers from the People's Republic, Wu says. 

Drone ‘near miss’ with passenger plane close to Heathrow airport investigated

from Air safety chiefs have investigated the first near miss between a passenger jet and a drone near Heathrow airport, amid fears that drones could pose a danger to commercial flights.

The UK Airprox Board (UKAB), which will publish its findings on Friday, is expected to record an incident risk rating of A – the highest of five categories – defined as a “serious risk of collision”.

The report, seen by the Sunday Times, said the pilot of an Airbus A320 spotted the drone, which failed to show up on air traffic control systems, at 2.16pm on 22 July while flying at an altitude of 700ft.

The pilot reported the incident to the UKAB, which launched an inquiry, but the owner of the drone has never been identified.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Bad weather delays Japan asteroid probe lift off

from Bad weather will delay the launch of a Japanese space probe on a six-year mission to mine a distant asteroid, just weeks after a European spacecraft's historic landing on a comet captivated the world

Hayabusa2 had been set to blast off aboard Japan's main H-IIA rocket from Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan on Sunday.

But thick cloud expected over the weekend means scientists need to postpone the launch, a statement by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said.

"The new launch day will be announced as soon as it is determined," it added.

The 31 billion yen ($260 million) project is sending a probe towards the unpoetically-named 1999 JU3 asteroid in deep space. 

It will blast a crater in the asteroid to collect virgin materials unexposed to millennia of solar wind and radiation, in the hope of answering some fundamental questions about life and the universe.