Tuesday, August 13, 2013

FBI suspected of cyber-attack on anonymous web-hosting and email services

FBI suspected of cyber-attack on anonymous web-hosting and email services

By Mark Blackwood
12 August 2013
On August 5 malicious software (malware) in the form of a Java Script (JS) attack code was discovered embedded in multiple websites hosted by the anonymous hosting company Freedom Hosting (FH), the largest hosting company on the anonymous Tor network. Initial research into the malware by experts suggests that it originated from and returned private data back to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or other US government agencies.
The malicious script was specifically designed to attack and exploit vulnerabilities within the Firefox 17 web browser, included within older versions of the Tor Browser Bundle (TBB), which allows for anonymous Internet access.

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An announcement of the attack was made by the Tor Anonymity project, which stated, “An attack that exploits Firefox vulnerability in JavaScript has been observed in the wild. Specifically, Windows users using the Tor Browser Bundle (which includes Firefox plus privacy patches) appear to have been targeted.” It advised anyone using an older version of the Tor Browser Bundle (TBB) to update to the latest August 9 release immediately.
The detection of the malicious code coincided with the arrest of Eric Eoin Marques, the alleged administrator of FH, on suspicion that the company, which hosts a vast array of servers, had been hosting sites linked to child pornography. Shortly after Marques’ arrest every website hosted by FH was taken offline simultaneously, including the anonymous email service Tor Mail.
Owing to the fact that the TBB can inhibit the collection of data on a person’s online activities and connect it to his or her name, address, age, phone number, etc., the software has become increasingly popular, as has the free anonymous means of online communication offered by Tor Mail.
This is especially the case in the wake of the US government’s persecution of whistleblower Edward Snowden. The former intelligence contractor exposed mass internet surveillance by the US government’s National Security Agency (NSA) and its allies internationally. For disclosing these activities, Snowden has been subjected to an unprecedented international manhunt, stripped off his passport, and forced to seek temporary asylum in Russia.
TBB is used to access services on the “deep net” (servers not indexed by standard search engines) such as Tor Mail, which until August 5 had the capacity to enable anyone to safely leak information relating to government corruption, oppression and human rights abuses, without fear of being detected or having their anonymity compromised.
The goal of Tor Mail was to provide for free a completely anonymous means of email communication to anyone who needed it. As such, it had earned a reputation as being the most anonymous email operation online.
The servers accessed by Tor, now portrayed as an arena inhabited solely by criminal elements, have been used widely by human rights groups, journalists, whistle-blowers, protesters and political dissidents worldwide, as well as members of the wider public who value their right to privacy.
That is why the circulation of a malicious code that has the capacity to unmask and compromise a person’s anonymity is of great concern to those who have relied on the TBB and Tor Mail as a means of anonymous communication.
Claims that the attack only affects, or should be of concern to, those engaged in criminal activities online is false. http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/08/12/torm-a12.html

Every Important Person In Bitcoin Just Got Subpoenaed By New York's Financial Regulator

Things are getting serious for Bitcoin this month: a federal judge declared it real money, Bloomberg Bloomberg gave it an experimental ticker (XBT), and New York’s financial regulator announced an interest in regulating it. Declaring Bitcoin “a virtual Wild West for narcotraffickers and other criminals,” the New York State Department of Financial Services is stepping into the sheriff’s boots.
“We believe that – for a number of reasons – putting in place appropriate regulatory safeguards for virtual currencies will be beneficial to the long-term strength of the virtual currency industry,” said NYSDFS superintendent Benjamin Lawsky in a statement.

The department is starting out by subpoenaing 22 digital-currency companies and investors to get a lay of the Bitcoin land. They sent letters to the major Bitcoin players asking them to hand over information regarding their money laundering controls, consumer protection practices, source of funding, pitch books (for Bitcoin start-ups) and investment strategies (for Bitcoin investors).  The recipients of the subpoenas are nationwide and include everyone on the “people making real money on Bitcoin” list, such as Bitcoin exchanges and processors, “ mining equipment” maker Butterfly Labs, and major investors, such as the Winklevosses, Marc Andreessen & Ben Horowitz, and Google’s venture fund. (Full list below.)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Ben Swann - War In Yemen!: U.S. Navy Is Soliciting 12 More Drones For Possible Yemen Strikes

August 12, 2013

According to FedBizOpps.gov, the U.S. Navy is soliciting “12 Light Observation Aircraft to Yemen for use by the Yemeni Air Force (YAF) equipped with EO/IR sensor.”
You can find, here, the request.

Ron Paul states in his weekly column that over the past two weeks the U.S. has launched at least eight drone attacks in Yemen, in which dozens have been killed.
“It is the largest U.S. escalation of attacks on Yemen in more than a decade,” said Paul.
Paul cites that there have been previous reports of civilian deaths due to drone attacks, but the U.S. denies that there were any civilian deaths.

Read more: http://benswann

Spying scandal sets back U.S. chances for fighter jet sale to Brazil

By Anthony Boadle and Alonso Soto

BRASILIA (Reuters) - U.S. hopes of clinching a coveted deal worth more than $4 billion to sell 36 fighter jets to Brazil have suffered a setback with recent revelations that the United States collected data on Brazilian Internet communications.

When U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry sits down with Brazilian officials in Brasilia on Tuesday to prepare a state visit to the White House by President Dilma Rousseff, the sale of the warplanes will not be on the agenda, a Brazilian source said.

"We cannot talk about the fighters now ... You cannot give such a contract to a country that you do not trust," a high-level Brazilian government official told Reuters on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Put away that cellphone: Israeli study highlights cancer risk

Researchers find evidence that changes leading to cell mutations are much more prevalent among heavy talkers

A study by Tel Aviv University has shown, for the first time, a clear connection between cellphone use and higher risk of cancer.
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Although cellphones are generally regarded as potentially carcinogenic, scientific studies on the issue have been inconclusive until now, a report on the study posted Monday on Science Blog noted.
The study was published in the scientific journal “Antioxidants and Redox Signaling.” The results, while dramatic, do not establish a direct relationship between cellphone use and cancer development among users, but rather open up new lines of research and establish a clear connection between long-term cellphone use and potentially detrimental side effects on health that can cause molecular changes that can lead to cancer.
In the study, researchers from TAU, Rabin Medical Center and the Technion studied the salivary glands of 20 long-term heavy cellphone users, defined as a mean of 12 years of 30 hours per week of use, and 20 deaf subjects who did not use cellphones or used them only for text messaging.
The researchers hypothesized that because cellphones are generally placed quite close to the salivary glands when used for calls, the effects on cancer risk could be determined by analyzing the saliva of users.
They found that compared to the non-users, the cellphone users’ saliva showed much higher indications of oxidative stress, a process which is regarded as a major risk factor for cancer.