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Jan 15, 2020

Microsoft, NSA say security bug affects millions of Windows 10 computers

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, privacy

Microsoft has released a security patch for a dangerous vulnerability affecting hundreds of millions of computers running Windows 10.

The vulnerability is found in a decades-old Windows cryptographic component, known as CryptoAPI. The component has a range of functions, one of which allows developers to digitally sign their software, proving that the software has not been tampered with. But the bug may allow attackers to spoof legitimate software, potentially making it easier to run malicious software — like ransomware — on a vulnerable computer.

“The user would have no way of knowing the file was malicious, because the digital signature would appear to be from a trusted provider,” Microsoft said.

Jan 10, 2020

US Govt Warns of Attacks on Unpatched Pulse VPN Servers

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, privacy

The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) today alerted organizations to patch their Pulse Secure VPN servers as a defense against ongoing attacks trying to exploit a known remote code execution (RCE) vulnerability.

This warning follows another alert issued by CISA in October 2019, and others coming from the National Security Agency (NSA), the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, and UK’s National Cyber Security Center (NCSC).

Pulse Secure reported the vulnerability tracked as CVE-2019–11510 and disclosed by Orange Tsai and Meh Chang from the DEVCORE research team, and by Jake Valletta from FireEye in an April 2019 out-of-cycle advisory.

Continue reading “US Govt Warns of Attacks on Unpatched Pulse VPN Servers” »

Dec 26, 2019

NSA, Army Seek Quantum Computers Less Prone to Error

Posted by in categories: computing, information science, military, privacy, quantum physics

Even ordinary computers flip a bit here and there, but their quantum cousins have a lot more ways to go wrong.

As the power and qubits in quantum computing systems increase, so does the need for cutting-edge capabilities to ascertain that they work. The Army Research Office and National Security Agency recently teamed up to solicit proposals for research that can help do exactly that.

The entities launched a broad agency announcement this week to boost the development of innovative techniques and protocols that allow for Quantum Characterization, Verification, and Validation, or QCVV, of intermediate-scale quantum systems. QCVV is essentially the science of quantifying how well a quantum computer can run quantum algorithms—and experts agree that it’s a necessary step towards useful quantum computing.

Continue reading “NSA, Army Seek Quantum Computers Less Prone to Error” »

Dec 18, 2019

Special Operations Command Made a Mind-Reading Kit For Elite Troops

Posted by in categories: drones, privacy, robotics/AI

The experimental tool is among several that aim to combine sensors and AI to give U.S. operators a new edge.

TAMPA, Florida — As tomorrow’s elite soldiers work to persuade local populations to support them, they may be able to sense how their messages are being received by detecting invisible biometric signals. Or when pinned down by enemy fire, they may make hand gestures to designate targets for close air support, or operate swarms of drones with just a few voice commands.

Those were just a few of the superhuman abilities that researchers at U.S. Special Operations Command recently showed off in a series of demonstrations that brought together sensors, data, and AI, SOFWERX chief technology officer Brian Andrews said Tuesday at Defense One’s Genius Machines event here. SOFWERX is a prototyping and innovation partnership run by SOCOM and a non-profit company called DEFENSEWERX.

Continue reading “Special Operations Command Made a Mind-Reading Kit For Elite Troops” »

Dec 5, 2019

Crack down on genomic surveillance

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, privacy, surveillance

A much broader array of stakeholders must engage with the problems that DNA databases present. In particular, governments, policymakers and legislators should tighten regulation and reduce the likelihood of corporations aiding potential human-rights abuses by selling DNA-profiling technology to bad actors — knowingly or negligently. Researchers working on biometric identification technologies should consider more deeply how their inventions could be used. And editors, reviewers and publishers must do more to ensure that published research on biometric identification has been done in an ethical way.


Corporations selling DNA-profiling technology are aiding human-rights abuses. Governments, legislators, researchers, reviewers and publishers must act.

Nov 6, 2019

Kaspersky identifies mysterious APT mentioned in 2017 Shadow Brokers leak

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, privacy

The NSA had superior insight into foreign nation-state hacking operations than many cyber-security vendors.

Nov 6, 2019

Tipped off by an NSA breach, researchers discover new APT hacking group

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, privacy

DarkUniverse went undetected for at least 8 years. The NSA finally outed it.

Oct 25, 2019

Future Consequences of Cryptocurrency Use: Systemic Investigation of Two Scenarios

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, business, complex systems, counterterrorism, cryptocurrencies, cybercrime/malcode, disruptive technology, economics, education, employment, encryption, finance, futurism, governance, government, hacking, innovation, law enforcement, open access, policy, privacy, security, strategy, terrorism

We face complexity, ambiguity, and uncertainty about the future consequences of cryptocurrency use. There are doubts about the positive and negative impacts of the use of cryptocurrencies in the financial systems. In order to address better and deeper the contradictions and the consequences of the use of cryptocurrencies and also informing the key stakeholders about known and unknown emerging issues in new payment systems, we apply two helpful futures studies tools known as the “Future Wheel”, to identify the key factors, and “System Dynamics Conceptual Mapping”, to understand the relationships among such factors. Two key scenarios will be addressed. In on them, systemic feedback loops might be identified such as a) terrorism, the Achilles’ heel of the cryptocurrencies, b) hackers, the barrier against development, and c) information technology security professionals, a gap in the future job market. Also, in the other scenario, systemic feedback loops might be identified such as a) acceleration of technological entrepreneurship enabled by new payment systems, b) decentralization of financial ecosystem with some friction against it, c) blockchain and shift of banking business model, d) easy international payments triggering structural reforms, and e) the decline of the US and the end of dollar dominance in the global economy. In addition to the feedback loops, we can also identify chained links of consequences that impact productivity and economic growth on the one hand, and shift of energy sources and consumption on the other hand.

Watch the full length presentation at Victor V. Motti YouTube Channel

Sep 30, 2019

The NSA Makes Its Powerful Cybersecurity Tool Open Source

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, privacy

The National Security Agency develops advanced hacking tools in-house for both offense and defense—which you could probably guess even if some notable examples hadn’t leaked in recent years. But on Tuesday at the RSA security conference in San Francisco, the agency demonstrated Ghidra, a refined internal tool that it has chosen to open source. And while NSA cybersecurity adviser Rob Joyce called the tool a “contribution to the nation’s cybersecurity community” in announcing it at RSA, it will no doubt be used far beyond the United States.


No one’s better at hacking than the NSA. And now one of its powerful tools is available to everyone for free.

Sep 19, 2019

Researchers Think It’s a Good Idea to Secure Your Phone Using the One Thing You Perpetually Lose

Posted by in categories: mobile phones, privacy, security

Apple’s FaceID authentication system started moving smartphone users away from relying on fingerprints to secure their mobile devices, which are arguably less secure. But researchers think they’ve come up with an even better biometric tool for protecting a device that uses a part of the body that’s nearly impossible to spoof: a user’s ear canals.

A team of researchers led by Zhanpeng Jin, an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering in the University of Buffalo’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, created a new authentication tool called EarEcho, which is somewhat self-explanatory. The team modified a set of off the shelf earbuds with a tiny microphone that points inside the wearer’s ear, not out towards the world around them. It’s not there to pick up ambient sounds to facilitate a noise-canceling or feature, or even the wearer’s voice for making calls; the tiny mic is instead tuned to listen to the echo of sounds as they’re played and then propagate through the ear canal.

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