Hacker attack cripples al-Qaida on Web

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Computer hackers shut down al-Qaida’s ability to communicate its messages to the world through the Internet, interrupting the group’s flow of videos and communiqués, according to a terrorism expert.

“Al-Qaida’s online communications have been temporarily crippled, and it does not have a single trusted distribution channel available on the Internet,” said Evan Kohlmann, of Flashpoint Global Partners, which monitors the group’s communications.

The attack was carried out within the past few days by unknown hackers targeting al-Qaida’s Internet communications systems. It was “well coordinated and involved the use of an unusual cocktail of relatively sophisticated techniques,” Kohlmann said.

Android app offers Wi-Fi hacking of Facebook accounts

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Sometimes seeing is believing. The FaceNiff Android app, released earlier this month, allows anyone to snoop on traffic on Wi-Fi networks and even hijack Facebook accounts. Sounds bad, but this video demo drives the message home by showing just how easy it is to do:

The app, which works on Android phones that have been rooted, offers “one-touch hacking,” says Kevin Mahaffey, founder and chief technology officer at mobile security firm Lookout. The technique isn’t new–it’s akin to a mobile version of the Firesheep Firefox extension released last year–but it makes it super easy and mobile.

Massive botnet ‘indestructible,’ say researchers

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A new and improved botnet that has infected more than four million PCs is “practically indestructible,” security researchers say.

“TDL-4,” the name for both the bot Trojan that infects machines and the ensuing collection of compromised computers, is “the most sophisticated threat today,” said Kaspersky Labs researcher Sergey Golovanov in a detailed analysis Monday.

“[TDL-4] is practically indestructible,” Golovanov said.

“I wouldn’t say it’s perfectly indestructible, but it is pretty much indestructible,” said Joe Stewart, director of malware research at Dell SecureWorks and an internationally-known botnet expert, in an interview today. “It does a very good job of maintaining itself.”

Because TDL-4 installs its rootkit on the MBR, it is invisible to both the operating system and more, importantly, security software designed to sniff out malicious code.

But that’s not TDL-4’s secret weapon.

What makes the botnet indestructible is the combination of its advanced encryption and the use of a public peer-to-peer (P2P) network for the instructions issued to the malware by command-and-control (C&C) servers. “The way peer-to-peer is used for TDL-4 will make it extremely hard to take down this botnet”.

Samsung asks U.S. to ban iPad, iPhone imports

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Samsung asked the U.S. International Trade Commission to ban the importation of Apple’s iPhones, iPads and iPods, ratcheting up its dispute against Apple.

The filing, dated Tuesday, says Apple’s iPhone, iPod digital music player and iPad tablet infringe on five of Samsung’s patents involving telecommunications standards and user interface inventions.

Samsung also filed a new patent lawsuit against Apple in a Delaware federal court on Wednesday,

The complaints are the latest salvo in a growing legal battle between the two consumer electronics giants.

In April, Apple sued Samsung in a California federal court, claiming the South Korean firm’s Galaxy line of mobile phones and tablets “slavishly” copies the iPhone and iPad.

Samsung then countersued in California, and Apple last week filed another lawsuit in South Korea. An Apple spokesman could not be immediately reached on Wednesday.

Hackers steal personal data of military, gov personnel

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Hackers breached the security of a defense industry news website and stole sensitive subscriber information that could be used in attacks targeting the US military and its contractors.

Gannet Co., publisher of DefenseNews, disclosed the bad news in an advisory published Monday. Data exposed included subscribers’ first and last names, usernames, passwords, email addresses, and in many cases military duty status, paygrade, and branch of service.

Oracle’s Java plan trapped in last century

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Oracle’s roadmap for Javas 7 and 8 shows it recognizes the world is pulling away and leaving Java with last-century concepts and ideals. Java 7 is meant to set the foundation for a cloud-friendly platform, but the real cloud-ready features won’t make an appearance until Java 8 in 2013 at the earliest.

While Larry and company can’t be blamed for the years of stagnation suffered by both the platform and language under Sun Microsystems, the problem faced isn’t that Java lacks the technology to work nicely in the cloud: the problem is, as ever, one of perception.

Java is either not “enterprise” enough for cloud computing – apparently lacking the required widgets – or it’s too enterprisey and therefore not cool enough to join the likes of Ruby and Python.


Hackers break into Arizona police computers

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Computer hackers who previously broke into a U.S. Senate server and brought down the CIA web site struck an Arizona police web site on Thursday, releasing dozens of internal documents over the Internet.

Lulz Security, saying it opposed a tough anti-immigration law in Arizona, said it was releasing documents that related to border control and other law enforcement activities. Its headline was “Chinga La Migra,” Spanish for a more profane way of saying “Screw the Immigration Service.”

It released about a half a gigabyte of data, including account names, passwords and contact information for several people. Reuters was able to reach two of them to establish that they were accurate.

A scan of the dozens of files released revealed what appeared to be security bulletins from other law enforcement agencies, internal planning documents and even routine reports on traffic incidents.

Google at the center of antitrust probes

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Google Inc found itself at the center of multiple government investigations on Thursday into whether it is using its dominance in search advertising to scotch competition.

At least three state attorneys general have started antitrust investigations into Google, a source familiar with the matter said.

The source declined to elaborate on the details of the investigations by the attorneys general of California, Ohio and New York as they were still in the early stages.

The attorneys general investigation into Google was first reported by the Financial Times, citing people familiar with the investigations.

The news of the attorneys general investigation emerged on the same day the Wall Street Journal reported that the internet search giant is about to receive the civil equivalent of a subpoena from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission as part of a probe into the company’s Internet search business.

The company, which dominates U.S. and global markets for search advertising, has been accused by competitors of favoring its own services over rivals in its search results.


Hostage-Taker Updated Facebook During Armed Standoff

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Jason Valdez, 36, took to Facebook via his smart phone during a 16-hour-long armed standoff with SWAT teams at a motel in Ogden, Utah. His first Facebook status update read: “I’m currently in a stand off wit these shady azz niggaz from old, kinda ugly but ready for whatever, I love u guyz and if I don’t make it out of here alive that I’m in a better place and u were all great friends….” Later Valdez posted a photo of himself and a woman he was holding hostage, with the following tag: “Got a cute ‘HOSTAGE,’ huh.”

As bizarre as all this sounds, the surprising thing is how much sense it actually makes (from a criminal’s point of view). Valdez was not only able to use Facebook to communicate with his friends and loved ones; he also received information from a friend warning him about a SWAT team member hiding in nearby bushes and advising him to “stay low.” While this is obviously illegal (I wouldn’t be surprised if the sympathetic poster has been arrested) at the time it may have been very useful to Valdez, allowing him to circumvent the communications blackout usually enforced by police in these situations.

Like most armed standoffs, there was no escape for Valdez in the end: he shot himself in the chest as the SWAT team stormed the motel, and is now in critical condition. His hostage was freed, unharmed, so there is a happy ending to the story.


Google Announces ‘Instant Pages’ In 32 Languages

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Google’s launch of Google Instant last year was somewhat limited in its scope. At today’s Inside Search event Google Fellow Amit Singhal revealed some recent developments in Instant Search, which currently saves users between 2-5 seconds in each search. Google Instant will now be available in 32 languages and over 69 domains on desktop and mobile. Today it will be launching in all of Latin America, which means in 16 new domains.

The Instant Search feature is also now available on Google’s “Image Search,” working by changing the images as you enter search queries.

Singhal also announced “Instant Pages,” or what Singhal calls “the next big leap in Google Instant.” Instant Pages prerenders search results, allowing you to click on a search result and have it load instantly, as opposed to having to wait for four seconds.


Google Maps Navigation to get offline mode?

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Dutch tech site All About Phones claims that Google Maps Navigation will get a true offline mode later this summer. In December the Android app received an update that cached routes and the surrounding areas, but without a data connection you still couldn’t enter a new destination. A source inside the Dutch telco industry said that Google would remove the requirement for coverage


Microsoft To End Support For Windows Vista SP1

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft support for Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) will end on July 12, 2011. From that date onward, Microsoft will no longer provide support or free security updates for Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1).

Windows Vista Authorized Replication Ends October 11, 2011
This date is two years after the General Availability (GA) of Windows 7. Going forward all Windows products will follow a standardized End of Sales schedule which sets the End of Sales date for the previous Windows version at the start of the General Availability (GA) of the new Windows version. Once the new Windows Operating System (OS) reaches the set GA date, the previous version will remain available for two years after this date.

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