Wednesday, March 31, 2010

portland pimps to be 'ultra-high speed' google giunea pig

portland pimps to be 'ultra-high speed' google giunea pigfrom ars technica: The City of Portland, Oregon says it's ready to be one of Google's test run fiber-to-the-home projects, and how: "No city in the USA is as ready as Portland to launch a citywide or scaled test bed for ultra high speed open platform broadband," its response to Google's Request for Proposals proudly declares. "Portland has the history, broad community support, willing businesses, committed local government, and cost-effective, year-round construction metrics."

As we've reported, Google says it's planning to roll out and test "ultra-high speed broadband networks" in various trial areas around the United States. And they sound pretty darned ultra: one gigabit per second, fiber-to-the-home connections "at a competitive price" to cities and regions of 50,000 to ten times that many people.

Portland says if you build it, we will download. But beyond that, why should Google choose that rainy northwestern city where people prefer to rust rather than tan?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

large hadron collider acheives big bangs after initial problems

lhc particle-punisher in record 7tev hypercollisions
from It's official: as this is written, the most powerful particle collisions ever achieved by the human race are taking place inside the great subterranean detector caverns of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). An initial hiccup this morning saw an overly-jumpy automatic protection system quench a magnet and dump one of the beams, but boffins at the colossal 27-km machine's controls fought back to re-establish a ring of lightspeed 3.5 tera-electron-volt (TeV) protons in the affected magno-doughnut in time for lunch.

cern hit problems on start of high energy collisions
large hadron collider hits problems as scientists bid to start high energy collisionsfrom telegraph: Dubbed the world's largest scientific experiment, the giant atom smasher holds the promise of revealing details about theoretical particles and microforces, scientists say. But initial attempts on Tuesday were unsuccessful because problems developed with the beams, said scientists working on the massive machine. That meant that the protons had to be "dumped" from the collider and new beams had to be injected. "It's a very complicated machine and we have ups and downs," said Michael Barnett of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. "Right now we have a down." ... The European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, is trying to use the powerful superconducting magnets to force the two beams to cross, creating collisions and showers of particles. They could have been successful immediately, but such huge machines can be so tricky to run that it could take days.

Monday, March 29, 2010

mi5 'slashing staff' to boost overall computer skills

aging spies unable to use the internet
aging spies unable to use the internetfrom telegraph: Having battled Islamic extremists, Irish Republican terrorists and Russian spies, some of the veteran intelligence officers of MI5 are encountering a foe they cannot master: information technology ... The Security Service is launching an unprecedented round of redundancies to improve the overall level of computer skills among its staff. Despite an expanding budget, MI5 is laying off employees in order to hire new intelligence officers and support staff with better command of information technology and other “deployable” skills. The redundancy programme has set tongues wagging in Whitehall, with civil servants in other departments joking about a “James Bond generation” of elderly spies being put out to pasture because they can’t use the internet and don't understand the world of Twitter or Facebook. The plan was disclosed by Jonathan Evans, the director-general of MI5.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

wikileaks under surveillance over forthcoming military murder video

dutch translation: US authorities deal with wikileaks
wikileaks under surveillance over forthcoming military murder videofrom Employees of whistleblower site Wikileaks claim to be monitored and maintained by employees of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Icelandic authorities. The occasion would be a video, which an air of Americans to see.

On April 5 to Wikileaks at a meeting of the National Press Club in Washington a video showing an attack by the U.S. Air Force. It would involve a murder carried out by the Pentagon. The staff of the site also draw on information from CIA aircraft have as supporting evidence.

Wikileaks claims on Twitter regarding the upcoming screening to be at work. Employees would be monitored by the U.S. and Icelandic authorities. These are photos and videos taken of the employees, an employee is 22 hours would be arrested and tried to get the video.

Employees express on Twitter concern: "If anything happens to us, it is the video of April 5.

The Web site Wikileaks is very controversial, because the documents of governments and companies with scandals reveals. Last year the site was ordered by a U.S. court concluded ten days, because the Swiss bank Julius Baer about his money laundering in the Cayman Islands did not read back online.

That Iceland is involved in the story has to do with the fact that the site is trying to go to escape. Currently there working on a number of legislative amendments, which should provide legal protection for journalists and whistleblowers. This Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, the country attractive to the establishment of data centers to lure.

Wikileaks currently faces major financial problems and trying to secure the continued existence by asking donations.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

US infowar op takes down site used to plan attacks on americans in iraq

surprise: the site was set up & run by cia/saudi intel!
US info war op takes down website used to plan attacks on americans in iraqfrom washington post: By early 2008, top U.S. military officials had become convinced that extremists planning attacks on American forces in Iraq were making use of a Web site set up by the Saudi government and the CIA to uncover terrorist plots in the kingdom.

We knew we were going to be forced to shut this thing down,” recalled one former civilian official, describing tense internal discussions in which military commanders argued that the site was putting Americans at risk. “CIA resented that,” the former official said.

Elite U.S. military computer specialists, over the objections of the CIA, mounted a cyberattack that dismantled the online forum. Although some Saudi officials had been informed in advance about the Pentagon’s plan, several key princes were “absolutely furious” at the loss of an intelligence-gathering tool, according to another former U.S. official...

The Saudi-CIA Web site was set up several years ago as a “honey pot,” an online forum covertly monitored by intelligence agencies to identify attackers and gain information, according to three of the former officials. The site was a boon to Saudi intelligence operatives, who were able to round up some extremists before they could strike, the former officials said.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

defcon 3/18: cyberpocalypse, command & control

US to roll out major broadband policy*
US to roll out major broadband policyearth under attack from invisible star?*
venezuela's chavez calls for internet controls*
google '99.9%' certain to pull china plug*
5 doomsday scenarios for cyberpocalypse*
paypal says sorry to cryptome*
iran arrests 30 accused of US-backed 'cyberwar'*
'boogeyman bomb':
what america needs to know about emp's*

sec says hacker manipulated stock prices*
fbi uses phony profiles on social networks to track suspects*
undercover feds on social networking sites raise questions*
your new facebook friend: the irs*
revised cybersecurity bill introduced in senate*
1 in 4 uk schoolkids admits hacking*
uk clinic opens for children addicted to video games & internet*
could terrorists on the net be next dot com bubble?*
US cyber command preparations under way, general says*

austin hacker disables more than 100 cars remotely

is there a 'repo man' meme going around?
austin hacker disables more than 100 cars remotelyfrom threat level: More than 100 drivers in Austin, Texas found their cars disabled or the horns honking out of control, after an intruder ran amok in a web-based vehicle-immobilization system normally used to get the attention of consumers delinquent in their auto payments.

Police with Austin’s High Tech Crime Unit on Wednesday arrested 20-year-old Omar Ramos-Lopez, a former Texas Auto Center employee who was laid off last month, and allegedly sought revenge by bricking the cars sold from the dealership’s four Austin-area lots...

The dealership used a system called Webtech Plus as an alternative to repossessing vehicles that haven’t been paid for. Operated by Cleveland-based Pay Technologies, the system lets car dealers install a small black box under vehicle dashboards that responds to commands issued through a central website, and relayed over a wireless pager network. The dealer can disable a car’s ignition system, or trigger the horn to begin honking, as a reminder that a payment is due. The system will not stop a running vehicle...

First rolled out about 10 years ago, remote immobilization systems are a controversial answer to delinquent car payments, with critics voicing concerns that debtors could suffer needless humiliation, or find themselves stranded during an emergency. Proponents say the systems let financers extend credit to consumers who might otherwise be ineligible for an auto loan.

Austin police filed computer intrusion charges against Ramos-Lopez on Tuesday.

Monday, March 15, 2010

black-cyber-operations on the rise

black-cyber-operations on the risefrom dodbuzz: Black-Cyber-Operations have become all too common, launching highly sophisticated cyber actions against their targets that go undetected for months or years. A black operation is generally accepted worldwide by militaries and intelligence agencies to represent specific types of covert operations typically involving activities that are either secret or of questionable legitimacy and often violate international law and demand deniability.

Russia began developing black-cyber-ops teams as far back as the early 1990s. But Russia is not the only military with these capabilities. A Chinese black-ops team is credited with the design and execution of theTitan Rain” initiative that long went unchecked and undetected deep inside the U.S. Department of Defense networks. This cyber event is said to be second only to the cyber attack that hit the Pentagon in 2008 and impacted both theaters of operation (Afghanistan and Iraq).

These highly specialized teams are rarely talked about in the open media, but sometimes come up in quiet, off-line conversations at conferences. Recently, at a cyber warfare event, the lunch break conversation turned to cyber weapons. “If I were to start a business today, I would start a black-cyber-ops and cyber weapons development organization,” I told those sitting nearby. Somebody (from a three letter organization) leaned over, tapped me on the shoulder and said, “I’ll be your first customer.”

As the conversation went on, another said, “We need the equivalent of a Cyber Blackwater” (or Xe). While there are black-cyber-ops organizations around the world and cyber arms developers and dealers, this appears to be an underserved market niche. Given the attention cyber warfare is now receiving, you can bet there will be more such organizations going active in the next few years.

FACT: Black-Cyber-Ops are often used for political, military, intelligence and business reasons.

FACT: The only difference between a cyber weapon and a security or capacity testing tool is the intent of the individual using it.

FACT: There is a reference to at least one Black-Cyber-Ops Conference that was said to involve the Israeli Military and the Mossad.

meet US cybercom: why the US is fielding a cyber army

meet US cybercom: why the US is fielding a cyber armyfrom bbc: The US is in the process of creating a unified cyber command, to fight the wars of the future. The Pentagon has no doubt that the next conventional war will include a cyber element.

Looking out of a window in London's Canary Wharf, Daniel Kuehl gestures randomly towards a high-rise. "Let's just assume that somewhere in that building there are a bunch of cyber systems, networks, routers, that are militarily important to take out," he said. "Which would you think would be the better way of doing it in terms of this neighbourhood? To make it stop working through a bunch of key strokes or to put a laser-guided, 1,000-lb weapon through the third floor and blow it to shreds? We're really good at that second operation - but there might be some advantages to doing it the first way."

The Pentagon is creating its first fully fledged cyber command - USCybercom - to improve its ability to wage war with key strokes...

Not everyone is convinced of USCybercom's military value. One US official at the London conference said that if cyber warfare was a WMD it was only a weapon of "mass disruption, not destruction".

But the US Senate is expected to confirm Lt Gen Keith Alexander, who also heads the US National Security Agency (NSA), as head of USCybercom in the near future.

If this happens, he will rise to the rank of a four-star general, and his new command will get its badge and take its place in the military.

"Believe me, creating an organisation led by an officer of that rank is not easy," says Daniel Kuehl. "It's not simple and it's not done unless there are perceived to be very, very pressing reasons for doing so. We are deadly serious about this."

Saturday, March 13, 2010

'virtual flag terrorism' is next threat

webster tarpley: US readies cyberwar, virtual flag terrorism
from russia today: Cyber wars and cyber security are no longer fictional plots from science fiction movies. They are very real and very serious concerns for the American people, being tracked by politicians and the government in Washington. Webster Tarpley gives his opinion on the seriousness of the cyber threat.

related: china warns google over search censorship

Thursday, March 11, 2010

ex-tsa worker sent virus to sabotage terror watchlist computers

ex-tsa worker sent virus to sabotage terror watchlist computersfrom 9news: Federal prosecutors have charged a former Transportation Security Administration employee with attempting to sabotage terror watch list computers. Douglas Duchak, 46, of Colorado Springs, faces two charges of attempting to damage protected TSA computers.

Duchak pleaded not guilty and was released from custody. The suspect allegedly tried to send a virus into the computer system's servers, after learning he would be terminated, 9Wants to Know confirms. The computer system includes the government's no-fly list.

Duchak worked at the TSA's Colorado Springs Operation Center where the government loads computers with data received from the federal government's Terrorist Screening Database and the U.S. Marshal's Service Warrant Information Network, according to a U.S. Attorney's office spokesman.

Duchak worked at the Colorado Springs Operations Center from August 2004 to Oct. 23, 2009 as a data analyst.

Federal prosecutors say Duchak was not successful in his attempt to introduce a virus into the computer system, but if he had been successful it "would have caused damage affecting a computer used by the United States government in furtherance of national security," according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

"Prosecution of the defendant is critical to protecting the integrity of the government's security databases," said U.S. Attorney David M. Gaouette. Duchak is expected to appear in Denver federal court Wednesday afternoon. If convicted, he faces 10 years in prison for each count. This case was investigated by the TSA, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.

"While this threat was an attempted internal attack on a cyber based system by a U.S. citizen, the FBI will invest the time, resources, and hard work necessary to pursue prosecution of these cases," FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Denver office Jim Davis said. "The tampering with a computer that is used as a tool to protect National Security of the United States will not be tolerated," he said.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

defcon 3/9: einstein, cybershield & serious defects

download: comprehensive national cybersecurity initiative

obama's cybersecurity initiative puts nsa in driver's seat*
obama's cybersecurity initiative puts nsa in driver's seatfmr dni calls for 're-engineering' the internet*
time's running out - einstein's coming:
cybershield disclosed by white house

uncle cyber sam wants you*
cyberczar schmidt says 'there is no cyberwar'*
cyberwar may have same impact as well-placed bomb*

cybersecurity program has serious defects, gao says*
mars phobos flyby a success*
pentagon-backed venture aims for 'google underground'*
cyberwar declared as china hunts for the west's intelligence secrets*
korean baby dies as parents raise virtual child online*
global agency reconsiders .xxx for porn sites*
woman tries to shut down cern over apocalypse fears*
internet aids terrorist recruiting & radicalization, pentagon says*

majority of the world believes internet access is 'a fundamental right'

majority of the world believes internet access is 'a fundamental right'from bbc: Almost four in five people around the world believe that access to the internet is a fundamental right, a poll for the BBC World Service suggests.

The survey - of more than 27,000 adults across 26 countries - found strong support for net access on both sides of the digital divide.

Countries such as Finland and Estonia have already ruled that access is a human right for their citizens.

International bodies such as the UN are also pushing for universal net access.

"The right to communicate cannot be ignored," Dr Hamadoun Toure, secretary-general of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), told BBC News. "The internet is the most powerful potential source of enlightenment ever created." He said that governments must "regard the internet as basic infrastructure - just like roads, waste and water ... We have entered the knowledge society and everyone must have access to participate."

The survey, conducted by GlobeScan for the BBC, also revealed divisions on the question of government oversight of some aspects of the net.

Web users questioned in South Korea and Nigeria felt strongly that governments should never be involved in regulation of the internet. However, a majority of those in China and the many European countries disagreed.

In the UK, for example, 55% believed that there was a case for some government regulation of the internet.

download: bbc/globescan internet poll [477kb PDF]

Monday, March 8, 2010

large hadron collider 'performing well'

large hadron collider 'performing well'from ria novosti: A detailed check of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) running at a low energy has showed that it is "performing well," the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) said on its website Thursday.

The world's most powerful atom smasher was restarted Saturday. The first protons were injected into the LHC following a pre-New Year technical shutdown and traveled in both directions successfully.

"The circulating beams marked the end of a 10 week particle-free hiatus for the world's largest particle accelerator, during which LHC scientists and engineers have prepared the machine for its biggest challenge yet, particle collisions at an energy of 7 trillion electron volts (TeV). The beams also mark the beginning of the LHC's first long run, expected to last until at least mid-year 2011," Symmetry magazine said last week.

In 2011, the collider will be shut down again to prepare it for its intended collision energy of 14 TeV.

The $4.9 billion international LHC project has involved more than 2,000 physicists from hundreds of universities and laboratories in 34 countries since 1984. Over 700 Russian physicists from 12 research institutes have taken part.

Experiments using the LHC were suspended in September 2008 shortly after a successful start, due to a malfunction of two superconducting magnets and a subsequent helium leak into the tunnel housing the device.

Work to repair and upgrade the collider after the breakdown cost almost $40 million and took more than a year. A system to protect it from such accidents, named the Quench Protection System, was installed, and the first beams were injected into the LHC on November 20 last year.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

dark, dangerous asteroids found lurking near earth

dark, dangerous asteroids found lurking near earthfrom new scientist: An infrared space telescope has spotted several very dark asteroids that have been lurking unseen near Earth's orbit. Their obscurity and tilted orbits have kept them hidden from surveys designed to detect things that might hit our planet.

Called the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), the new NASA telescope launched on 14 December on a mission to map the entire sky at infrared wavelengths. It began its survey in mid-January.

In its first six weeks of observations, it has discovered 16 previously unknown asteroids with orbits close to Earth's. Of these, 55% reflect less than one-tenth of the sunlight that falls on them, which makes them difficult to spot with visible-light telescopes. One of these objects is as dark as fresh asphalt, reflecting less than 5% of the light it receives.

Many of these dark asteroids have orbits that are steeply tilted relative to the plane in which all the planets and most asteroids orbit. This means telescopes surveying for asteroids may be missing many other objects with tilted orbits, because they spend most of their time looking in this plane.

Fortunately, the new objects are bright in infrared radiation, because they absorb a lot of sunlight and heat up. This makes them relatively easy for WISE to spot.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

internet overtakes print in US news consumption

internet overtakes print in US news consumptionfrom arstechnica: The Internet has surpassed newspapers as a primary way for Americans to get news, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project. That makes the Internet the third most popular news platform overall, with many connected users taking advantage of nontraditional consumption methods such as social media postings, personalized news feeds, and getting their news on-the-go. National and local TV stations still dominate the news cycle for most Americans, but the Internet now stands third in the list, ahead of national and local newspapers. Additionally, the majority of news consumers say they use two to five websites per day to get their fix - a number we think sounds about right - but a surprisingly high number (21%) rely on that one favorite site to get everything they need.

download: 'understanding the participatory news consumer' [2.7mb PDF]