Hackers Using Fake Police Data Requests against Tech Companies

from Schneier on Security Brian Krebs has a detailed post about hackers using fake police data requests to trick companies into handing over data. Virtually all major technology companies serving large numbers of users online have departments that routinely review and process such requests, which are typically granted as long as the proper documents are provided and the request appears to come from an email address connected to an actual police department domain name. But in certain circumstances ­– such as a case involving imminent harm or death –­ an investigating authority may make what’s known as an Emergency Data […]

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Fake Cops Scammed Apple and Meta to Get User Data

from Wired “Ipsa scientia potestas est,” 16th-century philosopher and statesman Sir Frances Bacon famously wrote in his 1597 work, Meditationes Sacrae. Knowledge itself is power. The aphorism, cliché as it may be, takes on a palpable truth in times of war.  Just ask the people of Mariupol, a city in southeastern Ukraine, where Russia’s devastating attacks have cut off the flow of information in and out of the city. Meanwhile, in Russia, the government has banned Facebook and Instagram amid its crackdown on news without the state’s stamp of approval. But as we explained this week, building a full China-style […]

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Feds Allege Destructive Russian Hackers Targeted US Oil Refineries

from ars technica For years, the hackers behind the malware known as Triton or Trisis have stood out as a uniquely dangerous threat to critical infrastructure: a group of digital intruders who attempted to sabotage industrial safety systems, with physical, potentially catastrophic results. Now the US Department of Justice has put a name to one of the hackers in that group—and confirmed the hackers’ targets included a US company that owns multiple oil refineries. On Thursday, just days after the White House warned of potential cyberattacks on US critical infrastructure by the Russian government in retaliation for new sanctions against […]

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‘Disruption’ Is a Two-Way Street

from Wired BIG TECH AS we know it was built on the ethos of subverting sanctity. Ideas, institutions, service delivery, how I make my chai—nothing could be beyond the reach of technological disruption. In this vision, the tech company was the lean, scrappy, innovative underdog taking on the powerful, entrenched status quo, freeing the consumer from the shackles of history. But tech can no longer claim to be the underdog (if it ever could). So-called tech disruptors today have unchallenged access, funding, and regulatory support (or at least acquiescence). As the current hype of technological disruption reaches the markets of […]

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Rebuffing Cable Lobby, FCC Bans Deals That Block Competition In Apartments

from ars technica The Federal Communications Commission has voted to ban the exclusive revenue-sharing deals between landlords and Internet service providers that prevent broadband competition in apartment buildings and other multi-tenant environments. The new ban and other rule changes were adopted in a 4-0 vote announced yesterday. Although the FCC “has long banned Internet service providers from entering into sweetheart deals with landlords that guarantee they are the only provider in the building,” evidence submitted to the commission “made it clear that our existing rules are not doing enough and that we can do more to pry open the door […]

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Beware the FOMO Bullies of Technology

from The Atlantic Here is my confession: I’m traumatized by a David Letterman clip. It’s from November 1995, and Letterman’s guest is a young, bespectacled Bill Gates. The video starts with a question from the legendary late-night host: “What about this internet thing?” he asks. “What the hell is that, exactly?” Gates, freshly minted as the world’s richest man, gamely tells the host about the wonders of the web—but Letterman isn’t having it. He pooh-poohs a recent announcement that Major League Baseball will broadcast games over the internet: “Does radio ring a bell?” Gates smiles and looks down before explaining […]

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North Korea Hacked Him. So He Took Down Its Internet

from Wired FOR THE PAST two weeks, observers of North Korea’s strange and tightly restricted corner of the internet began to notice that the country seemed to be dealing with some serious connectivity problems. On several different days, practically all of its websites—the notoriously isolated nation only has a few dozen—intermittently dropped offline en masse, from the booking site for its Air Koryo airline to Naenara, a page that serves as the official portal for dictator Kim Jong-un’s government. At least one of the central routers that allow access to the country’s networks appeared at one point to be paralyzed, […]

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Meta’s Failed Giphy Deal Could End Big Tech’s Spending Spree

from ars technica Instagram? Sure! WhatsApp? Go nuts. But don’t mess with GIFs. That’s the strange position taken by Britain’s competition watchdog in choosing to block Meta’s takeover of GIF repository Giphy. Meta, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) ruled, must now sell all the GIFs—just 19 months after it reportedly paid $400 million for them. It’s a bold move—and a global first. Never before has a tech giant been ordered to press undo on a completed deal rather than pay a fine or make promises about how the newly merged businesses would operate. Meta, the parent company of […]

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How TikTok Reads Your Mind

from NYTs There are four main goals for TikTok’s algorithm: ????, ???? (??), ????, and ????, which the company translates as “user value,” “long-term user value,” “creator value,” and “platform value.” That set of goals is drawn from a frank and revealing document for company employees that offers new details of how the most successful video app in the world has built such an entertaining — some would say addictive — product. The document, headed “TikTok Algo 101,” was produced by TikTok’s engineering team in Beijing. A company spokeswoman, Hilary McQuaide, confirmed its authenticity, and said it was written to […]

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Why Can’t People Teleport?

from Wired LET’S FACE IT: Nobody likes to travel. Whether they’re traveling to get to an exotic location for vacation or traveling to work on a daily commute, nobody actually likes the part where they have to travel. The people who say they like to travel probably mean they like to arrive. That’s because being somewhere can be really fun: seeing new things, meeting new people, getting to work sooner so you can go home early and read physics books. The actual traveling part is usually a drag: getting ready, rushing, waiting, rushing some more. Whoever said “it’s the journey, […]

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The Next Cyberattack Is Already Under Way

from The New Yorker In the nightmare, sirens caterwaul as ambulances career down ice-slicked, car-crashed streets whose traffic lights flash all three colors at once (they’ve been hacked by North Korea) during a climate-catastrophic blizzard, bringing pandemic patients to hospitals without water or electricity—pitch-black, all vaccinations and medications spoiled (the power grid has been hacked by Iran)—racing past apartment buildings where people are freezing to death in their beds, families huddled together under quilts, while, outside the darkened, besieged halls of government, men wearing fur hats and Kevlar vests (social media has been hacked by Russia), flashlights strapped to their […]

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How to Completely Disappear From the Internet

from pcmag Some might say the internet was built on anonymity, paving the way for a place where free speech reigns supreme. But after years of learning about who’s snooping into everything we do online, privacy on the web is hardly a given. It’s not just about government spying; it’s also about how much data big companies such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft have collected in order to serve up targeted ads—not to mention how much of your personal data gets scooped up in all the breaches and hacks. There are always going to be good reasons for people to go online […]

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How a Mistake by YouTube Shows Its Power Over Media

from NYTs The email subject line that arrived at 10:19 a.m. on Tuesday carried some of the worst information a small online news outlet can receive: “Novara Media we have removed your channel from YouTube.” Novara had spent years using YouTube to attract more than 170,000 subscribers for its left-leaning coverage of issues like climate change, capitalism and social policy. Suddenly, and without warning, that powerful distribution tool was zapped — leaving people in the newsroom wondering how the organization could survive. “We had this ambient awareness of our dependence on these big tech platforms,” Ash Sarkar, a contributing editor, […]

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‘The Problem Is Him’ Kara Swisher On Mark Zuckerberg’s Crisis And Ours

from NY Mag When Vietnam’s communist rulers gave Facebook an ultimatum to censor anti-government posts earlier this year or leave the country, Mark Zuckerberg personally made the call to appease them. It’s among the damning revelations about the company to emerge from whistleblowers in recent weeks, most of them contained in the so-called Facebook Papers. The trove shows how Facebook knowingly amplified anger and misinformation about the platform and the company’s engineers chillingly identified ways to manipulate the behavior of its 3.5 billion users, meaning about half the planet’s population may ultimately be swayed by the whims of one man. […]

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Facebook Who? Zuckerberg Announces Rebranding As Meta

from ars technica During his Connect 2021 keynote presentation today, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg rolled out the name “Meta” as a new corporate identity reflecting the company’s “new north star—to help bring the metaverse to life.” The name, which Zuckerberg noted comes from the Greek word for “beyond,” is “a new company brand to encompass everything that we do.” That means the company will be “looking at and reporting on our business as two different segments, one for a family of apps and one for work on future platforms,” he said. The name “Facebook,” Zuckerberg said, “just doesn’t encompass everything we […]

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Hackers Keep Targeting the US Water Supply

from Wired IN LIGHT OF all the Facebook news lately—although frankly, when isn’t there any—you may finally be thinking about jumping ship. If so, here’s how to delete your Facebook account. You’re welcome. That’s not all that happened this week, though! Google shed some new light on the Iranian hacking group known as APT35, or Charming Kitten, and how they use Telegram bots to let them know when a phishing lure has a nibble. Speaking of Telegram, a new report shows just how poor a job the messaging service has done keeping extremism off the platform. There was good news […]

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Shift Your Tech Time Horizon

from Seth’s Blog Ten years ago, if you were as good at using networks and software as you are today, most of your peers would have considered you some sort of wizard. The question isn’t whether or not each of us is going to get better at using our tools, the only issue is: how soon? We can choose to live behind the curve or ahead of it. It turns out that there are significant rewards for pushing through discomfort and getting (much) better at all the resources that are suddenly freely available in data acquisition, learning technologies, financial tech, […]

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FCC Plans To Rein In “Gateway” Carriers That Bring Foreign Robocalls To Us

from are technica The Federal Communications Commission hopes to reduce the number of illegal robocalls from overseas with an expansion of rules that require phone companies to implement Caller ID authentication technology and block illegal calls. “Eliminating illegal robocalls that originate abroad is one of the most vexing challenges the commission faces because of the difficulty in reaching foreign-based robocallers and the foreign voice service providers that originate their traffic,” the FCC said. To make a dent in that problem, the FCC is proposing new requirements on domestic gateway providers that accept calls from outside the US. A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking […]

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Google Is Getting Caught In The Antitrust Net

from ars technica Being a global company has its perks. There’s a lot of money to be made overseas. But the biggest US tech companies are finding out that there’s also a downside: every country where you make money is a country that could try to regulate you. It’s hard to keep track of all the tech-related antitrust action happening around the world, in part because it doesn’t always seem to be worth paying close attention to. In Europe, which has long been home to the world’s most aggressive regulators, Google alone was hit with a $2.7 billion fine in 2017, […]

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