North Korea has confirmed the rumors that Kim Jong-un's uncle, Jang Song Thaek, was indeed removed from power, and the government is now going out of its way to prove his guilt. Pyongyang's state news agency, KCNA, broadcasting images of the formerly powerful family member being physically removed from a party session attended by hundreds of delegates. Previous reports based on South Korean media indicated that the brother-in-law of the late Kim Jong Il recently lost his job as the vice chairman of the National Defense Commission, and that at least two of his close aides were publicly executed. KCTV playing out Uncle Jang's arrest, with angry KCNA lady pic.twitter.com/xGo240djHH — KCNA Watch (@KCNAWatch) December 9, 2013
A new document released by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden explains how the NSA uses Canada as its spying errand boy. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reports the NSA often works hand-in-hand with the Communications Security Establishment Canada, our northern neighbor's answer to the NSA, on a number of fronts. The two agencies have a "close co-operative relationship," the document states. While parts of the document establish Canada as its own separate spying operation, certain passages make clear the Canadians will perform at the beck-and-call of the much more powerful NSA. Canada occasionally opens "covert sites at the request of NSA," to surveil countries the U.S. cannot access, where polite Canadians are diplomatically welcome:
Software company FireEye reported on Tuesday, that the breaches began in 2010 and may still be ongoing. Though FireEye did not call out specific nations, The New York Times identified Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, and Portugal as victims of the breach. In 2011, "The attackers sent their targets emails with a link that claimed to contain naked photos of Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, wife of former President Nicolas Sarkozy of France."
By Jim Finkle BOSTON (Reuters) - Chinese hackers eavesdropped on the computers of five European foreign ministries before last September's G20 Summit, which was dominated by the Syrian crisis, according to research by computer security firm FireEye Inc The hackers infiltrated the ministries' computer networks by sending emails to staff containing tainted files with titles such as "US_military_options_in_Syria," said FireEye, which sells virus fighting technology to companies. For about a week in late August, California-based FireEye said its researchers were able to monitor the "inner workings" of the main computer server used by the hackers to conduct their reconnaissance and move across compromised systems. FireEye lost access to the hackers after they moved to another server shortly before the G20 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia. FireEye said it believes the hackers were preparing to start stealing data just as the researchers lost access.
By Jonathan Allen NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York University withdrew its claim on Monday that a close supporter of Chen Guangcheng, a Chinese dissident affiliated with the university through this summer, had tried to spy on Chen by giving him an iPad and iPhone loaded with hidden spyware, saying it was a "misunderstanding." The spyware claims followed Chen's accusation in June that NYU was making him leave the school as a result of pressure from China's government. NYU said Chen, who arrived at the school in May 2012 after escaping house arrest in China and seeking refuge at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, was mistaken. A few days after Chen's accusation against NYU, Reuters reported that several of Chen's NYU colleagues believed that Bob Fu, a pastor and a religious-freedom activist who is one of Chen's closest supporters, attempted to spy on Chen. The NYU colleagues said they believed Fu gave Chen an iPad and iPhone that were purposefully loaded with hidden software allowing Fu to secretly track Chen's communications and movements.
Eight tech giants have joined forces demanding NSA reform in a “Global Government Surveillance Reform” campaign, including AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo, The Hill reports. The companies have expressed their requests in an open letter to Obama and members of Congress, and listed five governing principles that should be used for surveillance reform on the campaign’s website. The companies ask the government to limit the scope of data collection and surveillance to “specific, known users for lawful purposes,” instead of grabbing data in bulk from Internet communications. The tech giants also demand oversight, accountability and transparency when it comes to governmental spying activities. Furthermore, the companies ask for a free flow of information between countries, as
The latest story gleaned from National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden's leaks is less menacing and more whimsical, like the plot for a spy comedy. Here's how The Guardian's James Ball — who collaborated on the story with The New York Times and Pro Publica — begins his story: To the National Security Agency analyst writing a briefing to his superiors, the situation was clear: Their current surveillance efforts were lacking something. Mark Mazzetti at The New York Times and Pro Publica's Justin Elliott note with evident mirth that agents from the FBI, CIA, and Britain's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) also "entered terrain populated by digital avatars that include elves, gnomes, and supermodels."
WASHINGTON (AP) — A longtime adviser to the U.S. Director of National Intelligence has resigned after the government learned he has worked since 2010 as a paid consultant for Huawei Technologies Ltd., the Chinese technology company the U.S. has condemned as an espionage threat, The Associated Press has learned.
By Michael Martina BEIJING (Reuters) - Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop downplayed tensions over China's controversial air defense zone, which has also rankled the United States, Japan and South Korea, after meeting her Chinese counterpart on Saturday. "Australia is concerned that there be peace and stability in our region and we don't want to see any escalation of the tensions," Bishop told reporters following four hours of talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. It is in our interests, and indeed in the interests of a number of countries in our region, that there be peace and stability in the East China Sea, the South China Sea, and the region more generally." Bishop said discussion of the ADIZ only took up a "small proportion" of time in talks with Chinese leaders. "Australia's words and actions on the issue of China's air defense zone have damaged the mutual trust between the two sides," state news organization Xinhua reported Wang as saying.
By Dan Levine SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A group of 13 defendants who had been charged in a cyber attack on PayPal's website pleaded guilty and admitted to the December 2010 attack over PayPal's suspension of WikiLeaks accounts. Following the release of a large amount of classified documents by WikiLeaks, PayPal suspended its accounts so that the anti-secrecy website could no longer receive donations. In retribution, the group "Anonymous" coordinated and executed denial-of-service attacks against PayPal. EBay's PayPal unit is a service that facilitates the electronic transfer of money between parties.
Royal Bank of Scotland said its banking platform was briefly attacked by hackers on Friday, causing problems for some customers trying to access online accounts, just days after a more serious technology crash. RBS said a surge in internet traffic directed at its NatWest website at about 1130 GMT was a deliberate attempt to disrupt its service. Banks typically do not comment on such events, but RBS released a statement to customers after a system crash on Monday left more than 1 million customers unable to withdraw cash or pay for goods. "Due to a surge in internet traffic directed at the NatWest website, customers experienced difficulties accessing some of our sites today ... at no time was there any risk to customers," RBS said.
By Joseph Menn SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp said on Thursday it had disrupted the largest network of compromised personal computers, involving some 2 million machines around the world, since it stepped up its battle against organized online criminals three years ago. The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant filed a lawsuit in Texas and won a judge's order directing Internet service providers to block all traffic to 18 Internet addresses that were used to direct fraudulent activity to the infected machines. Law enforcement in many European countries served warrants at the same time, seizing servers expected to contain more evidence about the leaders of the ZeroAccess crime ring, which was devoted to "click fraud." Such rings use networks of captive machines, known as botnets, in complicated schemes that force them to click on ads without the computer owners' knowledge. The schemes cheat advertisers on search engines including Microsoft's Bing by making them pay for interactions that have no chance of leading to a sale.
By Joseph Menn SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp pledged late Wednesday to fight in court any attempt by U.S. intelligence agencies to seize its foreign business customers' data under American surveillance laws, one of a series of steps aimed at reassuring nervous users abroad. "We are committing contractually to not turning it over without litigating that issue," Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith said in an interview. However, Microsoft has turned over data on non-U.S.-based individuals using its email and other services, as required under FISA laws. Microsoft and other companies are suing the government for the right to disclose how frequently that happens.
By David Henry and Jim Finkle NEW YORK/BOSTON (Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co is warning some 465,000 holders of prepaid cash cards issued by the bank that their personal information may have been accessed by hackers who attacked its network in July. The cards were issued for corporations to pay employees and for government agencies to issue tax refunds, unemployment compensation and other benefits. JPMorgan said on Wednesday it had detected that the web servers used by its site www.ucard.chase.com had been breached in the middle of September. Bank spokesman Michael Fusco said that since the breach was discovered, the bank has been trying to find out exactly which accounts were involved and what information may have been compromised.
President Obama, the most powerful man in the world, is stuck with cumbersome and faulty technology that might have been impressive half-a-decade ago. We're talking about his bulky old BlackBerry jam-packed with extra security measures. Yesterday in a speech at the White House, the President joked that the Secret Service doesn't allow him to use an iPhone — even though his daughters Malia and Sasha are addicted to theirs. "I'm not allowed for security reasons to have an iPhone," he told a group of young people.
Cyber security firm Trustwave announced on Tuesday that nearly 2 million online accounts have been hacked, compromising the privacy of user of Facebook, Yahoo, Google, Twitter, and payroll service company ADP in nearly 100 countries. According to Trustwave, the violation was likely achieved using keylogging malware, began on October 21, and is possibly ongoing. CNN reports that Trustwave has alerted affected users of the security breach. Trustwave says that roughly 1.58 million website logins, 320,000 email accounts, and several other credentials were stolen.
By Joseph Menn SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp pledged late Wednesday to fight in court against any attempt by U.S. intelligence agencies to seize its foreign customers' data under American surveillance laws, one of a series of steps aimed at reassuring nervous users abroad. The maker of the world's most popular computer operating system said it had never turned over any such data under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and did not believe that authorities are entitled to the information if it is stored abroad. "We are committing contractually to not turning it over without litigating that issue," Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith said in an interview with Reuters. Smith also said that Microsoft would dramatically increase the amount of encryption it uses for internal traffic, following similar moves by Google Inc and Yahoo Inc in the wake of reports that the National Security Agency had tapped into their facilities overseas without oversight by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
It looks as though hackers have managed to swipe user names and passwords from some of the world’s biggest social networking and email platforms… again. Per CNN, security firm Trustwave claims that hackers have stolen more than 2 million Facebook, Google, Twitter and Yahoo user names and passwords through malicious keylogging software that’s been installed in an unknown number of computers. Facebook users have been the biggest victims of the malware so far, as an estimated 318,000 Facebook accounts have been compromised so far along with 70,000 Google-related accounts, 60,000 Yahoo accounts and 22,000 Twitter accounts. Trustwave says that it’s notified all affected companies about the security breach.
By Mia Shanley and Olof Swahnberg STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Fingerprint Cards is aiming to sell its identity technology to most of the world's biggest smartphone makers, which are likely to follow Apple in offering touch recognition for mobiles from next year. Apple's September launch of the iPhone 5S was the first smartphone with a fingerprint identity touch sensor, provided by AuthenTec, part of Apple.
By Andrew Osborn and Peter Griffiths LONDON (Reuters) - Britain will clear Chinese telecoms equipment firm Huawei to run a UK-based cyber security center if it agrees to tighter rules to allay spying and hacking fears, a person familiar with the matter said on Wednesday. Huawei supplies software and equipment which channels phone calls and data around Britain and has found itself at the center of a debate, particularly in the United States, over whether it is a risk for governments to allow foreign suppliers access to their networks. Last year, the U.S. House Intelligence Committee urged U.S. telecoms companies not to do business with Huawei because it said potential Chinese state influence on the firm posed a security threat. Australia's government upheld a ban in October on Huawei bidding for work on its National Broadband Network, citing security agency advice.
The past two months have not been kind to the credibility of Barack Obama and his administration. Millions of cancelations made a mockery of Obama's promise that people could keep their health insurance, and documents uncovered by the media over the past several weeks show that administration officials knew it to be false even while they repeated the claims. But instead of slowing down, the Obama administration is trying to squeeze even more people into this dysfunctional system. This week, President Obama and his White House advisers surveyed the damage done by ObamaCare, and decided that the best solution is... a series of sales pitches.
The heads of two U.S. Senate committees overseeing national security have expressed concern to the Obama administration over a recent network supply deal between China's Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and Washington ally South Korea. South Korea, which hosts some 28,000 U.S. soldiers to deter potential provocation from North Korea, said Huawei's deal to supply mobile network equipment does raise security concerns, but it had no immediate plan to look into the issue. LG Uplus Corp, South Korea's third-largest mobile carrier, added Huawei to its fourth-generation mobile network vendor list in October to boost competition. We don't have any plan to look into Huawei's deal at this point," the official said.
South Africa's Vodacom Group opened its first office in Ethiopia on Tuesday, eyeing a foothold in a nation which is the last remaining large market on the continent to maintain a state monopoly in telecoms. Africa's rapidly expanding telecoms industry has come to symbolise its economic growth, with subscribers across the continent totalling almost 650 million last year, up from just 25 million in 2001, according to the World Bank. Ethiopia's state-run Ethio Telecom signed a $1.6 billion deal in July and August with Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE Corp to expand mobile phone infrastructure, including rolling out 4G services in the capital. But Addis Ababa has ruled out liberalising its telecoms sector, saying the 6 billion birr it generates each year is being spent on vital infrastructure projects.
By Jim Finkle BOSTON (Reuters) - A U.S. senator has asked 20 of the world's biggest automakers for information on how they secure their vehicles from cyber attacks, in light of reports by security experts who say they have identified ways to hack into cars. Edward Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, asked the companies to respond to a series of questions including how they test electronic components and wireless networks to make sure that attackers cannot gain access to onboard networks. He cited recent research by security experts who uncovered cyber vulnerabilities in cars that they said hackers might be able to exploit to cause them to crash.
Windows XP is now more than 12 years old but according to data from Net Applications, it is still used on more than 31% of desktop and laptop computers around the world. Those tens of millions of PC users could be in for a very rude awakening next year once Microsoft cuts off support for the aged operating system. Microsoft itself even warned users of the imminent tsunami of viruses and other malware that will inevitably wash over XP stragglers once it stops issuing updates and fixes for the OS. Now, a recently discovered critical zero-day flaw has been acknowledged in a Microsoft support document that could cause serious problems for XP users. “The vulnerability is an elevation of privilege
Computer scientists have developed an audio malware prototype that’s capable of establishing communication between devices that do not have an active network connection, Ars Technica reports. Instead, the lab-created malware uses the built-in microphones and speakers to send out a high-frequency signal from an infected computer to a different source. While it has limited use and can only send 20 bits of data per second to up to 65 feet the audio malware concept can still be used to send out significant data, including user and passwords for certain systems. Additionally, the distance can be increased by adding more attacker-controlled devices to repeat the audio signal. The research, published in the Journal of Communications, proves that computers that aren’t connected to
A Wisconsin man was sentenced on Monday to two years probation after he admitted taking part in a cyber attack sponsored by the hacker group Anonymous against Kansas conglomerate Koch Industries in February 2011, federal prosecutors said. Eric J. Rosol, 38, also was ordered by the U.S. District Court in Wichita, Kansas, to pay $183,000 restitution for waging the attack on Koch Industries's, which is led by billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch who are prominent contributors to conservative political causes. Americans for Prosperity, a group founded by David Koch, launched an advertising campaign to support the proposed curbs.
If there’s one legacy Internet protocol that really needs to go, it’s the password. Given how easy it’s become for hackers to decipher most passwords and how annoying it’s become to memorize multiple passwords that all require capital letters, numbers and symbols, it’s only a matter of time before some enterprising tech company comes up with a way to get rid of the password nuisance once and for all. Forbes contributor Amadou Diallo writes that Google and Yubico are working on a USB dongle called the YubiKey Neo that will essentially act as a skeleton key for all of your online accounts. You’ll need to set up a user name and PIN to access the YubiKey but from there the device
International law enforcers shut down more than 700 online stores selling counterfeit goods in Europe and the U.S. as part of an annual Cyber Monday piracy sting. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued a press release outlining the successes of the operation, which appears to have borrowed its name from a low-budget action flick sequel: Operation In Our Sites, Project Cyber Monday IV resulted in the seizure of 297 domain names from undercover operations conducted by (Homeland Security Investigations) HSI offices around the country. This is the fourth year that the IPR Center has targeted websites selling counterfeit products online in conjunction with Cyber Monday.
By Aaron Maasho ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Ethiopia's state-run Ethio Telecom said on Thursday it had picked Huawei Technologies Co Ltd , the world's second largest telecom equipment maker, to roll out a high-speed 4G network across the capital Addis Ababa. The introduction of the service is part of a $1.6 billion deal signed in July and August between the Ethiopian firm, Huawei and ZTE Corp., China's second-biggest telecoms equipment maker, to expand mobile phone infrastructure throughout the Horn of Africa country. "In terms of allocation, Huawei will be responsible for the expansion of 4G in Addis Ababa, including other mobile services - the 2G, 3G, IP and the like," Abdurahim Ahmed, Ethio Telecom's head of communications, told Reuters.
The CTIA on Wednesday announced that the database system for lost smartphones launched by the country’s main mobile operators back in April 2012 is finally complete, beating the initial November 30th deadline by a few days. The database will allow local carriers to block the activation of 4G and 3G smartphones not just in the U.S. but also abroad, as it will also integrate with similar databases from international carriers. But San Francisco district attorney George Gascón believes that the new database will not be that effective. “The UK tried a national registry and has not slowed down thefts,” he told The Verge. Last week, the same Gascón testified that the same carriers who helped build the CTIA database, including