FBI Sends Hacker, Who Helped Them Bust Hacker Market, Behind Bars



Last week, as part of coordinated law enforcement efforts in 20 countries, FBI agents in Pittsburgh led the largest global effort to date to take down Darkode – an online, password-protected forum in which hackers and other cyber-criminals convened to buy, sell, trade and share information, ideas, and tools to facilitate unlawful intrusions on others’ computers and electronic devices. Through Operation Shrouded Horizon, more than 70 people were arrested around the world; David Hickton, the US Attorney for Western Pennsylvania, said that criminal charges were filed against 12 Americans associated with the illegal computer hacking forum.
darkode
28-year-old Rory Stephen Guidry, a Louisiana man, was one of the 12 alleged cybercriminals arrested in the raid. He was charged with computer fraud and selling botnets—large collections of computers taken over by malware that give the botnet operator complete control over them—on Darkode, which the investigators said was the largest-known English language malware forum in the world until the FBI got a court order to shut it down.
However, according to a hacker with direct knowledge of the investigation, Guidry was working with the FBI as a paid informant and helped the FBI bust Darkode.
The hacker and Guidry, who served as informants for the US government in earlier investigations, were first approached by the FBI about gaining administrative access to Darkode in 2013. Before becoming a member of Darkode, federal officials said prospective members were allegedly vetted through a process in which an existing member invited a prospective member to the forum. The prospective member would then be required to present the skills or products that he or she could bring to the group to infect and control computers and electronic devices.
J. Keith Mularski, the FBI’s supervisory special agent for cyber-crime in the Pittsburgh office, told reporters that Operation Shrouded Horizon started about 18 months ago when investigators in Pittsburgh brought a case against a group of criminals writing malware to infect computers. Agents developed a ‘source’ inside the ring and leveraged that contact to start an undercover operation aimed at Darkode. They were able to become Darkode members by posing as criminals and acquiring illicit goods.
Guidry stole Lizard Squad’s botnet, the one used to bring down Xbox Live and the Playstation Network on Christmas Day in 2014, and posted it on Darkode. Guidry’s supply of the stolen botnet code played a key role in gaining the community’s trust. However, the FBI sent him behind bars “for utilizing his botnet to infect malware on systems for malicious activities and to allow infected systems of other hackers to connect to his botnet to obtain updates of malware for malicious activities.”

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FBI Created Spyware Able To Monitor Activities Of A Targeted TOR User



It was back in July of 2012 that the FBI, through their contractor Pradeep Lal, employed Hacking Team to create a piece of malware that could monitor the activities of users of the TOR Browser. Now, after 3 years, the emails that contain the information pertaining to this communication and the malware creation by the Hacking Team have been released by a hacker who was able to access this information.
The intent of the FBI contractor was to monitor the activities of an individual that the FBI was targeting. Though they could access the information, such as the websites visited by the target using other browsers, they were not able to get information about the websites that were being accessed through the TOR Browser.
(NOTE: TOR is a highly efficient browser for anonymously browsing the internet. It allows users to access websites through a network of nodes, without leaving any trace of their IP addresses on the websites they visited.)
The malware, created by the Hacking Team, installs itself on the target’s computer but it was not able to access a lot of information initially. It was later developed further, to execute an action in the background when the targeted user used the TOR Browser, and instead of directing searches from the user through the TOR network, the malware would directly lead to access to the intended website. This allowed the malware to access the browsing details of the target(s).
Don’t be alarmed, this in no way compromised the functionality of the TOR network itself, since the malware could not access any data from TOR, nor could it monitor other user activities through TOR. However, incidents like these depict the interests of governments in accessing personal information of private individuals and should be viewed as a threat to their privacy.

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Google May Be Forced To Reveal Its Algorithm



The internet’s largest search engine provider, Google, has been asked to reveal its secret search algorithm — soon, the very core of Google may not be a secret anymore. In France, there is a law under consideration that would push the search engine leader (and all search engines) to unveil its greatest possession — the algorithm. The Financial Times has stated that the French federal government is creating a policy in the French Senate that could potentially force Google to release the information regarding the technique it utilizes to rate internet websites and display search results.
Zaaa French Pawlimenth
Image Source: Google Image – The EU’s competition commissioner, is to say that the US group will soon be served with a formal charge sheet alleging that it breached antitrust rules by diverting traffic from rivals to favour its own services, according to two people familiar with the case.
The Upper House of the French Senate is expected to pass the law soon that would allow the French National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority to keep an eye on Google’s search and ranking practices. Recently, the Wall Street Journal circulated an article that laid out challenging accusations of the French Federal Telecommunications Regulatory Authority’s incompetence in testing Google for its ‘unjust’ lookup formula. Adding to this, is the fact that the functions of their search ranking algorithms have already shown they provide reasonable and nondiscriminatory outcomes. Google has the majority share of the search industry in France, and although this new law is not aimed at Google alone but ALL search engines, it does appear to be directed straight at Mountain View and Google.
“The authorities are well informed of the issues. It is a concern of guaranteeing fairness. [To] Too many businesses Google is viewed as bottleneck. The net is securing around Google.” –Catherine Morin Desailly, the seat of the Senate’s Culture, Education and Communications committee.
Anondos
Image Source: Google Image – Revealing our algorithms — our intellectual property — would lead to the gaming of our results, which would be a bad experience for users. – Google Spokesman.
On the other side of the nation, the European Union maintains its harshness towards Google and is likely to accuse the lookup engine of dishonestly promoting its very own services. This step might damage Google in a big way and Google, obviously, is not too happy about it.
Financial Times further writes that this step must be observed, increasing bitterness for Silicon Valley in the European Union. In the past, American-based tech companies have been accused of taxation larceny, unethical business practices and much more. One of the most intriguing cases, was the idea of being ‘forgotten’ (or ‘removed’ from the web) which required Google to create an option for the people wanting to be forgotten.


Will reveal its search algorithm? Tell us what do you think!
As previously mentioned, Google’s search engine algorithm is the core of Google, and they will most certainly be trying to find a way to avoid this law. This particular algorithmic rule is the secret to its popularity and impact. It is not clear how Google will respond just yet, but if they are unable to evade the law then they might very well cease search capabilities in France, the way it did in Spain last year as a result of some limitations.

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More than 50 percent of the Internet users now use Facebook



Facebook has seen tremendous acceptability over the last decade. It is the most popular social networking site. The success of Facebook can be gauged from the fact that Orkut closed its operations last year and now Facebook is the undisputed champion of the Social Media world.
Out of the total population of 3 billion people who access the internet, 1.49 billion people access Facebook at least once a month. That is around half the population of the internet users. The number is so staggering that it is around 13 percent of the total population of the world!
The phenomenal growth of Facebook can be attributed to the multiple functions and modes through which Facebook can be accessed. It can be accessed as easily on a mobile device as it can be on a desktop or a laptop. There are more mobile Facebook users than the ones who access it over their computer. Off these 1.49 billion users, 65 percent access Facebook daily.
These numbers are reflected in the financial success of Facebook that earned revenue of US$ 4.04 billion in the previous quarter. It is an increase of 39 percent year on year basis. The largest chunk of the revenue of Facebook comes from advertisements. Advertisers have understood the potential of this social media giant and are trying to cash onto its success. With the widest reach that Facebook has, it gives tremendous opportunity to these advertisers to spread their wings globally and offer their products and services to the consumers worldwide.
Facebook is indeed the global social media giant. It is the single largest entity in the world that is accessed by around 1.5 billion people. Now that is even larger than the entire population of China which is 1.35 billion!

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Chinese hackers group hacks United Airlines



A group of Chinese hackers hacked the database of United Airlines and gained access to a large volume of information. They successfully got the access to a lot of sensitive information that included details of the passengers flying on the places of United Airlines. Also, they got the access to other important details about United Airlines including details of their Merger and Acquisition deal.
The data security was breached in the end of May and early June; however the details were revealed only recently on 29th July. It is believed that the group of hackers that breached the security of the United Airlines is the same that hacked into the database of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) as well as the health insurance company Anthem. The Office of Personnel Management is the human resources division of the federal government of the United States of America and the security breach led to compromise of the details of over 4 million federal government officials.
The Department of Defence of the United States government has been blaming Chinese hackers for these hacking activities and it is believed that this Chinese group has the backing of the Chinese government. The Chinese government however has denied the allegations stating that they are not supporting any hacking group and they themselves are as much victim of hacking as their US counterparts.
The breach of the United Airlines database was identified by Chris Roberts, who is a US cyber security researcher. A program to detect hacking activities was launched in May under the title Bug Bounty Program. Those hackers who could reveal the vulnerabilities in the cyber security of the companies will be paid for the said purpose.
The growing menace of cybercrime breach has been posing increasing threats to not just large corporates like the United Airlines but also even the federal governments of some of the most powerful countries in the world. It is high time that governments across the world recognise this threat seriously and take corrective measures.

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By downloading Windows 10 you are allowing Microsoft to spy on you


Downloading Windows 10? Here are a few things you should know about

Windows 10 : Privacy issues that come with it and PDF Manual for understanding the Microsoft’s new Operating System

Window 10 has finally arrived on many users PC/Laptops and they must be busy exploring the Microsoft’s latest offering. There are a lot of things users of Windows 10 should be aware of, and one of them is privacy while other is understanding the features of Windows 10.
We had already warned you that Windows 10 Technical Preview, when it was launched, was a keeping track of everything the beta tester did within the operating system. However as it was a TP, Microsoft had a right to know about the behaviour of its operating system through user feedback before the final product launch.
But now, Microsoft has released the final version of Windows 10 and it has come out with a brand new Privacy Policy and Service Agreement which users should carefully read to know about the implications of privacy if they use Windows 10.
The Privacy Policy will go into effect from 1st August and here are a few controversial points which you should know about.
First of all by downloading and installing Windows 10, you give Microsoft very broad power to collect things you do, say and create while using its software. The data collection is quite ambiguous but one thing is certain, Windows 10 will be reporting back many things that you do, to the Microsoft servers back at Redmond.

Data syncing by default

Microsoft will sync settings and data by default with its servers. This includes your browser history, favorites and the websites you currently have open as well as saved app, website and mobile hotspot passwords and Wi-Fi network names and passwords. This is pretty much like how Google Chrome sync works, however, if you are not comfortable with sharing your usage habits you can deactivate it from settings.

Cortana

As with the Windows 10 Technical Preview, the Microsoft’s personal virtual assistant, Cortana is a online snooping antennae for Microsoft. Which means it shares everything you do when you use it. However you have allow it to do just that because ironically it cant function in all its glory without collecting such data. Microsoft privacy statement is quite indicative of this fact :
To enable Cortana to provide personalized experiences and relevant suggestions, Microsoft collects and uses various types of data, such as your device location, data from your calendar, the apps you use, data from your emails and text messages, who you call, your contacts and how often you interact with them on your device.
Cortana also learns about you by collecting data about how you use your device and other Microsoft services, such as your music, alarm settings, whether the lock screen is on, what you view and purchase, your browse and Bing search history, and more.”

Advertising ID :

Windows 10 generates a unique advertising ID for each user on each device. That can be used by developers and ad networks to profile you and serve commercial content. Like data sync, you can turn this off in the Setting menu > Privacy> general > Change privacy option
Disabling all the buttons in the Change privacy options will opt you out from the Microsoft advertising network.

Encryption key backed up to OneDrive

Another one of those necessary requisites but the one that you should be aware of. When device encryption is turned on, Windows 10 automatically encrypts the drive its installed on and generates a BitLocker recovery key. That’s backed up to your OneDrive account.

You empower Microsoft to disclose your data once you download Windows 10

Read this part carefully. Upon agreeing to the service agreement and privacy policy you basically allow Microsoft to disclose your data to anyone it wishes to. Though realistically that may never happen but this is one controversial aspect of the privacy policy.
We will access, disclose and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications or files in private folders), when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary to protect our customers or enforce the terms governing the use of the services.

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Government of India bans 857 websites on grounds of ‘morality and decency’


Leaked order suggests 857 websites blocked in India and not all are adult websites

The government of India seems have taken a heavy handed approach to the porn ban which we reported on Friday. It was reported that ISPs had started blocking Porn websites like Pornhub, Clips4Sale, Xvideos etc on a secret directive from the Department of Telecommunications.
However it seems that the Indian government has erred big time  if one goes by the leaked copy of the order which reveals that some of websites that are blocked cannot be classified as adult websites by any iota of imagination.
The leaked copy of the purported order issued by the Department of Telecommunications was made by public by Pranesh Prakash, policy director at Centre for Internet and Society (CIS).

The confidential order dated July 31, 2015 addressed to all Internet service licensees asks for the “disablement” of 857 URLs” under “the provision of section 7913)(b) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 as the content hosted on these websites relate to morality, decency as given in Article 19(2)of the Constitution of India.”
As pointed above many of the sites in the list of 857 can actually be classified as pornographic websites or for that matter, even as adult websites. The list includes the likes of College Humor that is a popular comedy website and 9GAG, a social sharing website.
In the order, the DoT has directed the ISPs to “take necessary action as per the direction of the DeitY (Department of Electronics and Information Technology)” and have been prevented from reproducing the compliance letter with instructions to keep the contents of the letter confidential.
Last month, the Supreme Court had declined to block pornography websites in India and Chief Justice of India (CJI) HL Dattu too observed that banning the watching of pornography at home would be a violation of Article 21, the Right to Personal Liberty.
The list of the blocked websites can be found here.

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Hactivists hack Donald Trump’s website and use it to pay tribute to Daily Show’s Jon Stewart



United States Presidential candidate, Donald Trump’s website hacked by Hacktivists to post a tribute to Jon Stewart.

The group of Canadian hacktivists called TelecomixCanada have hacked and defaced United States Presidential candidate and controversial billionaire, Donald Trump’s website.
The defaced page which is still available online here contains a message for Jon Stewart of theDaily Show for his steady criticism of Donald Trump, and starts with “Your Moment of Zen, Mr Stewart.” 
Your Moment of Zen, Mr Stewart http://www.trump.com/_common/2007/HTML_Editor/document.html  With thx from all of us to all of you cc: @TheDailyShow @iamjohnoliver :)-


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Russian Cop Rams Car Into Oncoming Vehicle to Save Lives of 300 Children



On Saturday, a caravan of 9 buses was traveling back from a children’s summer camp through the city of Abakan, the capital of the Khakassia Republic in southern Siberia when a cop—who is now being hailed as a hero—did the unthinkable.
Aleksandr Kosolapov, a Russian police officer, was accompanying the convoy of approximately 300 children when a reckless driver in the opposite lane began to veer into the path of the kids. As the onrushing Toyota Caldina, which was accelerating at a dangerously high speed, inched closer across the dividing line and ultimately into the wrong lane on the Abakan-Ak-Dovurak highway, Officer Kosolapov knew he had a decision to make—and he had to make it without hesitation.
Without regard for his own life, the 39-year-old man, who was entrusted to escort the busloads of children back home without injury, swerved his Ford Focus patrol car in-between the lead bus and the out-of-control vehicle. The calculated but devastating collision left both vehicles completely totaled and the officer with serious injuries.
‘The officer quickly assessed the situation and risking his own life, he managed to prevent a head-on collision,’ said Khakassian police“As a result of the massive collision the patrol car was literally turned into a pile of metal. According to the experts, it’s a miracle the police officer is still alive.” 
Officer Kosolapov is now conscious and in stable condition.


As for the five passengers—one of whom was a 10-year-old boy—who were inside of the crashed Toyota; they all survived the wreck and miraculously sustained only minor injuries.
None of the children aboard the buses were harmed.
Authorities are now reviewing the incident and have opened a criminal case under article “Violation of a person driving a vehicle, traffic rules or operation of vehicles, resulting in the infliction of serious harm to human health,” against the careless driver.

Image via: Abakan News

Image via: Abakan News

Image via: Abakan News

Image via: Abakan News
Officer Alexander Kosolapov

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Anonymous Attacks Taiwan, Shuts Down Government Websites




In order to show solidarity with Taiwan students protesting against China-centric high school curriculum, a group of hackers – Anonymous Asia – took down the websites of Taiwan’s Ministry of Education, Office of the President, National Academy of Education Research, and Ministry of National Defense on August 1.
The #OpTaiwan, a coordinated effort that included hackers from Anonymous branches in the Philippines, Canada, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China and the United States, is believed to be linked to the controversial curriculum revisions to senior high school textbooks implemented by the Ministry of Education under the ruling Kuomintang government.
The curriculum changes disputed by protesters include a reference to Taiwan being “recovered by China” instead of “given to China” after the end of Japanese occupation in 1945. The 50-year period of Japanese rule is also referred to as an era when “Japan occupied” the island, replacing the previous phrase “Japan governed”. The protesters argue that the changes whitewash the repressive authoritarian period under single-party KMT rule and inserts a China-centric ideology. The Democratic Progressive Party accuses President Ma Ying-jeou’s Kuomintang Party (KMT) of being “cold-blooded” and calls for the curriculum changes to be rescinded.

Anonymous Asia
Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) · 88,155 Likes
 · August 1 at 4:59am · Edited · 
thank you for all to join the operation
Convener and movie maker
‪#‎Hize‬@taiwan
‪#‎Taiwan‬ ,we can hear your cries
It's just the beginning

We are Anonymous
We are Legion
We do not forgive
We do not forget
Expect us    
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
Anonymous Asia
Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) · 88,155 Likes
 · August 1 at 9:35am · 
Target down
中華民國國防部
目標已死
‪#‎optw‬
         



Anonymous Asia
Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) · 88,155 Likes
 · August 1 at 9:21am · 
教育部全球資訊網
Target down
目標已死
‪#‎optw‬
http://check-host.net/check-report/82a25c


   
Anonymous Asia
Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) · 88,155 Likes
 · August 1 at 9:14am · 
國家教育研究院
Target down
目標已死
‪#‎optw‬
http://check-host.net/check-report/82a1fe




It is time to stand up and guard Taiwan, guard our children, fine-tuning is the beginning of brainwashing education,” Anonymous wrote on Facebook. “Taiwan’s government and the police, if you insult or hurt the demonstrators, we will attack the Taiwanese government websites, please treasure we give you the opportunity to withdraw from the front lines, this is not a threat, it’s a promise,” thevideo posted on YouTube warned.
Li Tsai-yen, Director, Department of Information and Technology Education, Ministry of Education, confirmed that the Ministry’s website was crippled for more than 14 hours on Saturday due to two waves of attacks by hackers. The first wave struck shortly after 1 am and lasted until about 6 am, while the second began at around 2 pm and continued deep into the night, he said, adding that the attacks came from “all directions” and was the largest the ministry had seen in recent years. The DDoS attack is under investigation.
On August 2, around 800 protesters staged a protest outside Taiwan’s Ministry of Education demanding Minister Wu Se-hwa’s resignation and scrapping of the curriculum changes. The protesters also ripped apart the new versions of textbooks printed under the new curriculum guidelines.





It is time to stand up and guard Taiwan, guard our children, fine-tuning is the beginning of brainwashing education,” Anonymous wrote on Facebook. “Taiwan’s government and the police, if you insult or hurt the demonstrators, we will attack the Taiwanese government websites, please treasure we give you the opportunity to withdraw from the front lines, this is not a threat, it’s a promise,” thevideo posted on YouTube warned.
Li Tsai-yen, Director, Department of Information and Technology Education, Ministry of Education, confirmed that the Ministry’s website was crippled for more than 14 hours on Saturday due to two waves of attacks by hackers. The first wave struck shortly after 1 am and lasted until about 6 am, while the second began at around 2 pm and continued deep into the night, he said, adding that the attacks came from “all directions” and was the largest the ministry had seen in recent years. The DDoS attack is under investigation.
On August 2, around 800 protesters staged a protest outside Taiwan’s Ministry of Education demanding Minister Wu Se-hwa’s resignation and scrapping of the curriculum changes. The protesters also ripped apart the new versions of textbooks printed under the new curriculum guidelines.

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