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Droning along with a hack attack

Droning along with a hack attack
August 5, 2015

Drones could help hack into personal computers, and, according to emails posted by WikiLeaks, military contractors may want to do that. Boeing and Hacking Team were in talks earlier this year to plant malware on drones to perform such activities, according to emails stolen from Hacking Team in July. How this could work: An al-Qaeda operative is hiding in the foothills of another country, which may or may not be protecting him from U.S. detection. The U.S. military could try hacking into that government’s network to look for intelligence by putting an unmanned drone in the air equipped with malware to fly over sites with computers. That kind of hardware on an unmanned aircraft would give the user the ability to conduct cyber warfare and espionage in ways that formerly required close proximity with the target, according to those analysts. Source: The Washington Post

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School days, school days

PayPal co-creator Max Levchin’s money-lending service Affirm wants to help programmers-to-be pay for “the Harvard’ of coding boot camps.” Affirm will offer financing for Hack Reactor students, allowing them to pay for their studies over the course of up to 18 months. The interest rates range between 6 and 20 percent APR. Earlier this year, Affirm launched partnerships with short-term educational institutions General Assembly, Bloc, Kaplan’s Dev Bootcamp, and Metis to offer students access to a similar financing program. Source: Venture Beat

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Burnt kernals in the popcorn

A part of the popular Popcorn Time application is vulnerable to hacking attacks, researcher Antonios Chariton says, allowing a man-in-the-middle attacker to gain control of a target machine. Popcorn Time is one of the most popular file-sharing applications on the market, with millions using multiple variants of the Netflix-style tool every day. Chariton says since the app uses Cloudflare infrastructure for part of its setup, it’s difficult to block Popcorn Time without banning the Cloudflare website. But since the request to Cloudflare is initiated over plain HTTP, the request and the response can be changed by “someone with a Man In The Middle position (Local Attacker, Network Administrator, ISP, Government, etc.),” Chariton says. Source: TorrentFreak

Paved with good intentions

The Dark Web was created by the U.S. Navy to protect confidential military secrets and have open-source intelligence gathering. It used a program called TOR, using a labyrinth network of virtual tunnels. By avoiding a direct connection, TOR allows individuals to share public networks without compromising privacy. It soon was adopted by journalists and activists in countries such as Iran and Syria where information often is censored. This time last year, it was believed that there were only 18,000 products on the Dark Web. Today, there are nearly 69,000 products listed across 10 major black markets; two thirds of the inventories are drugs. The rest of the products include weapons, stolen credit card accounts, human organs and malware. There also are human-trafficking sites. The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has built a program called Memex to crack down on sex-trafficking rings and other commerce on the Dark Web. Source: al Jazeera America

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Banking on trouble

ATMs on bank property are under escalating attack by organized criminals who are inserting “skimmers” that gather card data. The crook then prints out a fake card with your data, and PINs are collected via tiny pinhole cameras. Credit-reporting group FICO has reported that attacks on ATMs on bank property jumped 174 property year over year in the first part of 2015. Attacks on nonbank machines jumped 315 percent in the same period. Matters are so serious that on July 23, ATM maker NCR issued an alert to its customers that said, “NCR is tracking an increasing frequency of card skimming attacks in both the U.S. and in Mexico.” NCR said that direct losses globally due to ATM skimming are $3 billion. Source: MSN

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Not a healthy outlook

A home health care provider “started to use information that she obtained from her applicants, individuals that she was supposed to be hiring,” said U.S. Postal Inspector Keith Moore. As the contact person, Debra Bush had access to each job applicant’s personal information, including Social Security numbers, dates of birth and other personal information, Moore said. She also was targeting some patients, he said. “She actually stole information from some of her hospice patients without their knowledge,” Moore said. Bush was sentenced to probation. Source: KSNV, Las Vegas

Hacks pay off for honest investors

Is an exchange-traded fund comprised of 32 cybersecurity solution providers a good investment? The PureFunds Cybersecurity ETF (HACK) is a new ETF that started late last year. Its impressive statistics (as of June 30) include a six-month average return in net asset value of 19.32 percent, with a 26.09 percent return since its inception in November. This ETF is beating the single-digit returns of the Standard & Poor’s 500 index by a wide margin. Source: U.S. News

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