Apr 12

Related info:

- Dutch Government To Pay Microsoft ‘Millions’ To Extend Windows XP Support


- IRS Misses XP Deadline, Pays Microsoft Millions For Patches (Computerworld, April 11, 2014):

Tax collector has 58,000 PCs still running the aged XP; will spend $30M to upgrade to Windows 7

Computerworld – The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) acknowledged this week that it missed the April 8 cut-off for Windows XP support, and will be paying Microsoft millions for an extra year of security patches.

Microsoft terminated Windows XP support on Tuesday when it shipped the final public patches for the nearly-13-year-old operating system. Without patches for vulnerabilities discovered in the future, XP systems will be at risk from cyber criminals who hijack the machines and plant malware on them.

Continue reading »

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Apr 05

- Dutch government to pay Microsoft ‘millions’ to extend XP support  (Dutch News, April 4, 2014):

The Dutch government has signed a ‘multi-million euro’ deal with Microsoft for continued support for its Windows XP systems, according to website Webwereld.

Between 34,000 and 40,000 Dutch national government civil servants are still using computers equipped with Windows XP, even though Microsoft is ending its support for the programme this month.

Continue reading »

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Mar 15

- How the NSA Plans to Infect ‘Millions’ of Computers with Malware (The Intercept, March 12, 2014):

By Ryan Gallagher and Glenn Greenwald

Top-secret documents reveal that the National Security Agency is dramatically expanding its ability to covertly hack into computers on a mass scale by using automated systems that reduce the level of human oversight in the process.

The classified files – provided previously by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden – contain new details about groundbreaking surveillance technology the agency has developed to infect potentially millions of computers worldwide with malware “implants.” The clandestine initiative enables the NSA to break into targeted computers and to siphon out data from foreign Internet and phone networks.

Continue reading »

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Jan 03

nsa-321

- NSA seeks to build quantum computer that could crack most types of encryption (Washington Post, Jan 2, 2014):

In room-size metal boxes ­secure against electromagnetic leaks, the National Security Agency is racing to build a computer that could break nearly every kind of encryption used to protect banking, medical, business and government records around the world.

According to documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the effort to build “a cryptologically useful quantum computer” — a machine exponentially faster than classical computers — is part of a $79.7 million research program titled “Penetrating Hard Targets.” Much of the work is hosted under classified contracts at a laboratory in College Park, Md.

“If you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don’t understand quantum mechanics,” said the late Nobel laureate Richard Feynman, widely regarded as the pioneer in quantum computing. The science video blog Vertiasium tries to help make sense of it.

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Nov 27

- If this doesn’t terrify you… Google’s computers OUTWIT their humans (The Register, Nov 15, 2013):

‘Deep learning’ clusters crack coding problems their top engineers can’t

Analysis Google no longer understands how its “deep learning” decision-making computer systems have made themselves so good at recognizing things in photos.

This means the internet giant may need fewer experts in future as it can instead rely on its semi-autonomous, semi-smart machines to solve problems all on their own.

Continue reading »

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Nov 24

- NSA infected 50,000 computer networks with malicious software (NRC, Nov 23, 2013):

The American intelligence service – NSA – infected more than 50,000 computer networks worldwide with malicious software designed to steal sensitive information. Documents provided by former NSA-employee Edward Snowden and seen by this newspaper, prove this.

A management presentation dating from 2012 explains how the NSA collects information worldwide. In addition, the presentation shows that the intelligence service uses ‘Computer Network Exploitation’ (CNE) in more than 50,000 locations. CNE is the secret infiltration of computer systems achieved by installing malware, malicious software.

Continue reading »

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Oct 28


YouTube

Description:

This is Game 1 of the 1997 rematch Kasparov vs Deep Blue. IBM’s Man vs. Machine event was held in May of 1997 in New York City, New York. This rematch between World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov and IBM supercomputer Deep Blue has been called “the most spectacular chess event in history”.

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Sep 25

See also:

- Linus Torvalds Talks Linux Development at LinuxCon (eWeek, Sep 18, 2013):

NSA Backdoor

Torvalds was also asked if he had ever been approached by the U.S. government to insert a backdoor into Linux. Torvalds responded “no” while nodding his head “yes,” as the audience broke into spontaneous laughter.


- Who rooted kernel.org servers two years ago, how did it happen, and why? (Ars Technica, Sep 24, 2013):

Maintainers of Linux still haven’t delivered promised autopsy of serious breach.

More than two years after unknown hackers gained unfettered access over multiple computers used to maintain and distribute the Linux operating system kernel, officials still haven’t released a promised autopsy about what happened.

The compromise, which began no later than August 12, 2011, wasn’t detected for at least 16 days, a public e-mail and interviews immediately following the intrusion revealed. During that time, attackers were able to monitor the activities of anyone using the kernel.org servers known as Hera and Odin1, as well as personal computers belonging to senior Linux developer H. Peter Anvin. The self-injecting rootkit known as Phalanx had access to a wealth of sensitive data, possibly including private keys used to sign and decrypt e-mails and remotely log in to servers. A follow-up advisory a few weeks later opened the possibility that still other developers may have fallen prey to the attackers.

Continue reading »

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Jun 20

FYI.


- Skynet rising: Google acquires 512-qubit quantum computer; NSA surveillance to be turned over to AI machines (Natural News, June 20, 2013)

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Feb 18

- The computer that never crashes (New Scientist, Feb 14, 2013):

A revolutionary new computer based on the apparent chaos of nature can reprogram itself if it finds a fault

OUT of chaos, comes order. A computer that mimics the apparent randomness found in nature can instantly recover from crashes by repairing corrupted data.

Dubbed a “systemic” computer, the self-repairing machine now operating at University College London (UCL) could keep mission-critical systems working. For instance, it could allow drones to reprogram themselves to cope with combat damage, or help create more realistic models of the human brain.

Everyday computers are ill suited to modelling natural processes such as how neurons work or how bees swarm. This is because they plod along sequentially, executing one instruction at a time. “Nature isn’t like that,” says UCL computer scientist Peter Bentley. “Its processes are distributed, decentralised and probabilistic. And they are fault tolerant, able to heal themselves. A computer should be able to do that.”

Continue reading »

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Feb 14

- How to turn living cells into computers (Nature, Feb 13, 2013):

Genetic system performs logic operations and stores data in DNA.

Synthetic biologists have developed DNA modules that perform logic operations in living cells. These ‘genetic circuits’ could be used to track key moments in a cell’s life or, at the flick of a chemical switch, change a cell’s fate, the researchers say. Their results are described this week in Nature Biotechnology1.

Synthetic biology seeks to bring concepts from electronic engineering to cell biology, treating gene functions as components in a circuit. To that end, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge have devised a set of simple genetic modules that respond to inputs much like the Boolean logic gates used in computers.

Continue reading »

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Jan 14

- Ethiopian kids hack OLPCs in 5 months with zero instruction (DVICE, Oct 30, 2012):

What happens if you give a thousand Motorola Zoom tablet PCs to Ethiopian kids who have never even seen a printed word? Within five months, they’ll start teaching themselves English while circumventing the security on your OS to customize settings and activate disabled hardware. Whoa.

The One Laptop Per Child project started as a way of delivering technology and resources to schools in countries with little or no education infrastructure, using inexpensive computers to improve traditional curricula. What the OLPC Project has realized over the last five or six years, though, is that teaching kids stuff is really not that valuable. Yes, knowing all your state capitols how to spell “neighborhood” properly and whatnot isn’t a bad thing, but memorizing facts and procedures isn’t going to inspire kids to go out and learn by teaching themselves, which is the key to a good education. Instead, OLPC is trying to figure out a way to teach kids to learn, which is what this experiment is all about.

Continue reading »

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Dec 19

- Connecticut school shooting: police fail to recover data from Adam Lanza’s computer (Telegraph, Dec 18, 2012)

Police have been unable to recover data from gunman Adam Lanza’s computer after the 20-year-old deliberately sabotaged the machine’s hard-drive, investigators have said.

Forensic experts revealed the software had been smashed so extensively that attempts to retrieve potentially crucial evidence such as emails had failed.

A joint effort to piece together the remains of the hard-drive, reported to have been damaged with a screwdriver or hammer, was undertaken by both Connecticut State police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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Nov 17

Start watching from 03:50 into the video.

For my German speaking readers: The translation is terrible, but still better than nothing.

Related info:

- Former Royal Navy Microwave Weapons Expert And UK Intelligence Services Agent Dr. Barrie Trower: Dangers And Lethality Of Microwave Technology (Video – 2:19:36)

- Former Royal Navy Microwave Weapons Expert: NWO TECHNOLOGY UPDATE – Deadly Mobile Phones & The Worst Genocide Ever Committed – The Dangers Of Wi-Fi To Women And Children (Video)



YouTube

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Nov 11

- “The Worm Turns” As Chevron ‘Infected’ By Stuxnet Collateral Damage (ZeroHedge, Nov 10, 2012):

“I don’t think the US government even realized how far it had spread” is how the collateral damage from the Iran-attacking Stuxnet computer virus is described by Chevron. The sleep San-Ramon-based oil giant admitted this week that from 2010 on “we’re finding it in our systems and so are other companies… so now we have to deal with it.” It would seem that little consideration for just how viral this cyber warfare tactic has become and this news (reported by Russia Today) is the first time a US company has come clean about the accidental infection. Discovered in 2010, the Stuxnet worm was reported with all but certainty to be the creation of the United States, perhaps with the assistance of Israel, to set back Iran’s nuclear enrichment program as a preemptive measure against an eventual war. In a June 2012 article published by The New York Times, government agents with direct knowledge of Stuxnet claimed that first President George W. Bush, then Barack Obama, oversaw the deployment of the worm as part of a well-crafted cyberassault on Iran. On the record, the federal government maintains ignorance on the subject of Stuxnet, but perhaps Chevron sums up the impact of Stuxnet best (given the escalating Iranian enrichment program): “I think the downside of what they did is going to be far worse than what they actually accomplished.”

Via Russia Today:

America’s cyberwar is already seeing collateral damage, and it’s hitting the country’s own billion-dollar companies. Oil giants Chevron say the Stuxnet computer virus made by the US to target Iran infected their systems as well.

Continue reading »

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Oct 20

Related info:

- Study: Ban Under-Threes From Watching TV – Children’s Obsession With TV, Computers And Screen Games Is Causing Developmental Damage As Well As Long-Term Physical Harm

- Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt: Smart Meters & EMR – The Health Crisis Of Our Time (Video)

- Former Royal Navy Microwave Weapons Expert And UK Intelligence Services Agent Dr. Barrie Trower: Dangers And Lethality Of Microwave Technology (Video – 2:19:36)

- Former Royal Navy Microwave Weapons Expert: NWO TECHNOLOGY UPDATE – Deadly Mobile Phones & The Worst Genocide Ever Committed – The Dangers Of Wi-Fi To Women And Children (Video)


- A sad ending for the children’s bedtime story: Declining attention spans mean they could become a thing of the past (Daily Mail, Oct 18, 2012):

Bedtime stories are dying out as children’s attention spans shrink, a survey found today.

A declining ability to concentrate is threatening children’s enjoyment of reading, according to a poll of teachers and parents.

One in four parents of young children admit they never read a bedtime story or only do so once every six months.

Parents report that their children are more interested in screen-based activities such as watching TV, playing computer games and surfing the web.

Teachers say that growing claims on children’s attention are undermining their ability to concentrate for long periods.

Ninety-one per cent of teachers polled said children’s attention spans were shorter than ever before in the classroom.

Continue reading »

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Oct 10

- Ban under-threes from watching television, says study (Guardian, Oct 9, 2012):

Doctors should curb amount of time children spend watching television to prevent long-term harm, say paediatricians

Doctors and government health officials should set limits, as they do for alcohol, on the amount of time children spend watching screens – and under-threes should be kept away from the television altogether, according to a paper in an influential medical journal published on Tuesday.

A review of the evidence in the Archives Of Disease in Childhood says children’s obsession with TV, computers and screen games is causing developmental damage as well as long-term physical harm. Doctors at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, which co-owns the journal with the British Medical Journal group, say they are concerned. Guidelines in the US, Canada and Australia already urge limits on children’s screen time, but there are none yet in Britain.

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Sep 24

FYI.


- Does The Internet Make You Dumb? Top German Neuroscientist Says Yes – And Forever (Welt, Sep 12, 2012):

BERLIN – Dr. Manfred Spitzer knows that people find his arguments provocative. In his first book, he warned parents of the very real dangers of letting their children spend too much time in front of the TV. Now, in a second book called Digitale Demenz [Digital Dementia], he’s telling them that teaching young kids finger-counting games is much better for them than letting them explore on a laptop.

Spitzer, 54, may be a member of the slide-rule generation that learned multiplication tables by heart, but his work as a neuropsychiatrist has shown him that when young children spend too much time using a computer, their brain development suffers and that the deficits are irreversible and cannot be made up for later in life.

South Korean doctors were the first to describe this phenomenon, and dubbed it digital dementia – whence the title of Spitzer’s book. Simplistically, the message can be summed up this way: the Internet makes you dumb. And it is of course a message that outrages all those who feel utterly comfortable in the digital world. In the aftermath of the publication of Spitzer’s book, they have lost no time venting their wrath across Germany.

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Aug 23

- US government developing ultimate cyber weapon; Prime-factoring quantum computing makes encryption obsolete (Natural News, Aug 20, 2012)

The U.S. government is making steady progress on a game-changing technology that would give it the most powerful weapon ever devised in the realm of cyber warfare and information dominance. The weapon is called a “prime-factoring quantum computer,” and a small-scale version of the game-changing technology has already been demonstrated by researchers at UC Santa Barbara, where qubits — quantum bits of computational potential — factored the number 15 into its prime factors three and five.

So what, you say? Can’t any fifth grader do the same thing?

But hold on: Every digital encryption algorithm used today depends in the extreme mathematical difficulty of factoring (the prime numbers of) very large numbers. When you buy something on the internet, for example, your credit card number is sent to the merchant using something called “SSL encryption” which typically uses a 40-bit, 128-bit or sometimes even a 256-bit encryption algorithm. Anyone who might intercept your web form data would not be able to extract your credit card number unless they decrypted your encrypted data. This task requires extraordinary computing power.

For example, using “military grade” 512-bit encryption means that it would take a supercomputer longer than the age of the known universe to decrypt your file and expose your secrets. This is why the U.S. military uses such encryption. It’s virtually unbreakable given today’s computers.

But quantum computers have the spooky ability to process complex decryption algorithms using what some scientists believe are computational bits which coexist in an infinite number of parallel universes. You feed the quantum computer a decryption task, and it “calculates” the answer in all possible parallel universes. The correct answer then emerges in this universe, seemingly magically.

Quantum computing appears to break the laws of physics… yeah, it’s spooky Continue reading »

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Jun 20

See also:

- Flame Steals Data Even When Computers Are Not Connected To The Internet

- Flame Virus Developed By U.S. Government

- Kaspersky At Cyber Security Conference: ‘It’s Not Cyber War, It’s Cyber Terrorism And I’m Afraid It’s Just The Beginning Of The Game … I’m Afraid It Will Be The End Of The World As We Know It’

- Kaspersky Lab: Flame And Stuxnet Virus Share Common Origin

- Obama Ordered The Stuxnet Attack On Iran’s Nuclear Facilities – And Yes: This Is An Act Of War!

- President Obama Ordered Stuxnet Attacks On Iran Nuclear Facilities

- US And Israel Created Stuxnet, Lost Control Of It

- Flame Super-Virus Threatening To Cripple Entire Nations Has ‘Hallmarks Of The NSA’



- Israel, US collaborated in creation of ‘Flame’ virus to slow Iran’s nuke efforts, report says (FOX News, June 19, 2012):

Israel and the United States collaborated in the development of the powerful computer virus dubbed the “Flame,” which briefly affected Iran’s key oil industry, an official with knowledge of the effort said.

The Washington Post reports that the massive piece of malware, which collected critical intelligence information from Iran, was created with the aim of slowing the country’s suspected nuclear weapon development.

The Worm.Win32.Flame threat, or “Flame” for short, was likely built by the same nation-state responsible for the Stuxnet virus that targeted Iran’s nuclear power plant in 2010. Many suspect Stuxnet was the work of Israeli intelligence.

Continue reading »

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Jun 14

- Flame Steals Data Even When Computers Are Not Connected to the Internet (Occupy Corporatism, June 13, 2012):

Experts specializing in malware from Bitdefender have uncovered a special capability in Flame’s code that allows the virus to steal data from computers that are not connected to the internet or networked machines.

Flame can move stolen data to a USB memory stick plugged into an infected harddrive. Bitdefender assert that this ability has never been witnessed before. This cyberespionage virus will move stolen information to an USB outlet, then seemingly wait for the chance to upload it to the malware controllers once the infected computer links to the internet.

Continue reading »

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Jun 05

- Microsoft Update and The Nightmare Scenario (F-Secure, May 4, 2012):

About 900 million Windows computers get their updates from Microsoft Update. In addition to the DNS root servers, this update system has always been considered one of the weak points of the net. Antivirus people have nightmares about a variant of malware spoofing the update mechanism and replicating via it.

Turns out, it looks like this has now been done. And not by just any malware, but by Flame.

The full mechanism isn’t yet completely analyzed, but Flame has a module which appears to attempt to do a man-in-the-middle attack on the Microsoft Update or Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) system. If successful, the attack drops a file called WUSETUPV.EXE to the target computer.

This file is signed by Microsoft with a certificate that is chained up to Microsoft root.

Except it isn’t signed really by Microsoft. Continue reading »

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Jun 02

- Confirmed: US and Israel created Stuxnet, lost control of it (Ars Technica, June 1, 2012):

In 2011, the US government rolled out its “International Strategy for Cyberspace,” which reminded us that “interconnected networks link nations more closely, so an attack on one nation’s networks may have impact far beyond its borders.” An in-depth report today from the New York Times confirms the truth of that statement as it finally lays bare the history and development of the Stuxnet virus—and how it accidentally escaped from the Iranian nuclear facility that was its target.

The article is adapted from journalist David Sanger’s forthcoming book, Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power, and it confirms that both the US and Israeli governments developed and deployed Stuxnet. The goal of the worm was to break Iranian nuclear centrifuge equipment by issuing specific commands to the industrial control hardware responsible for their spin rate. By doing so, both governments hoped to set back the Iranian research program—and the US hoped to keep Israel from launching a pre-emptive military attack.

Continue reading »

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May 31

Related info:

- Flame Super-Virus Threatening To Cripple Entire Nations Has ‘Hallmarks Of The NSA’


- Iran claims to have beaten ‘Flame’ computer virus (Telegraph, May 30, 2012):

Iran claims it has defeated a powerful computer virus that has boasted unprecedented data-snatching capabilities and could eavesdrop on computer users, a senior official said.

Ali Hakim Javadi, Iran’s deputy Minister of Communications and Information Technology, told the official IRNA news agency that Iranian experts have already produced an antivirus capable of identifying and removing “Flame” from computers.

Continue reading »

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May 31

- Was Flame super-virus created in the US? Cyber weapon threatening to cripple entire nations has ‘hallmarks of the NSA’ (Daily Mail, May 31, 2012):

  • Cyber experts: Spyware too sophisticated to have come from anywhere else

The Flame computer virus which is threatening to bring countries to a standstill is too sophisticated to have been created anywhere other than the U.S., it was claimed today.

As the United Nations prepares to issue its ‘most serious warning’ to guard against the superbug, cyber experts said it carried all the markings of a U.S. espionage operation.

Specifically, they have pointed the finger at the highly secretive National Security Agency.

Continue reading »

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May 10

- Microsoft bans Firefox on ARM-based Windows, Mozilla says (CNET News, May 9, 2012):

Raising the specter of last-generation browser battles, Mozilla launches a publicity campaign to seek a place for browsers besides IE on Windows devices using ARM chips.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Microsoft muscles aside other browsers and cements the dominance of Internet Explorer. The browser market, deprived of competition, stagnates.

That, of course, is what happened during the first browser war of the 1990s and beyond, on personal computers. Today, Mozilla’s top lawyer warned that Microsoft’s behavior threatens a repeat of history, because it’s telling Mozilla that it’s barring Firefox from forthcoming Windows 8 machines that use ARM processors.

“They’re trying to make a new version of their operating system which denies their users choice, competition, and innovation,” said Harvey Anderson, Mozilla’s general counsel. “Making IE the only browser on that platform is a complete return to the digital dark ages when there was only one browser on the Windows platform.”

Anderson has been discussing the matter with his counterparts at Microsoft, but the company hasn’t budged, he said. Anderson also detailed concerns in a blog post.

Microsoft declined to comment for this story.

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Apr 15

- Hacking Expert David Chalk Joins Urgent Call to Halt Smart Grid (Market Watch, April 12, 2012):

“100% certainty of catastrophic failure of energy grid within 3 years”

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Apr 12, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) — The vulnerability of the energy industry’s new wireless smart grid will inevitably lead to lights out for everyone, according to leading cyber expert David Chalk. In an online interview for an upcoming documentary film entitled ‘Take Back Your Power’ ( www.ThePowerFilm.org ), Chalk says the entire power grid will be at risk to being taken down by cyber attack, and if installations continue it’s only a matter of time.

“We’re in a state of crisis,” said Chalk. “The front door is open and there is no lock to be had. There is not a power meter or device on the grid that is protected from hacking – if not already infected – with some sort of trojan horse that can cause the grid to be shut down or completely annihilated.”

“One of the most amazing things that has happened to mankind in the last 100 years is the Internet. It’s given us possibility beyond our wildest imagination. But we also know the vulnerabilities that exist inside of it. And then we have the backbone, the power grid that powers our nations. Those two are coming together. And it’s the smart meter on your home or business that’s now allowing that connectivity.”

Chalk also issued a challenge to governments, media and technology producers to show him one piece of digital technology that is hack-proof.

Continue reading »

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Feb 25

- The Kill Switch Comes to the PC (Bloomberg/Businessweek, Feb. 16, 2012):

Janne Kytömäki, a Finnish software developer, was cruising Google’s (GOOG) Android Market for smartphone apps last year when he noticed something strange. Dozens of best-selling applications suddenly listed the same wrong publisher. It was as if Stephen King’s name had vanished from the covers of his books, replaced by an unknown author. Kytömäki realized the culprit was a piece of malware that was spreading quickly, and he posted his findings online.

Google responded swiftly. It flipped a little-known kill switch, reaching into more than 250,000 infected Android smartphones and forcibly removing the malicious code. “It was sort of unreal, watching something like that unfold,” says Kytömäki, who makes dice simulator apps. Kill switches are a standard part of most smartphones, tablets, and e-readers. Google, Apple (AAPL), and Amazon (AMZN) all have the ability to reach into devices to delete illicit content or edit code without users’ permission. It’s a powerful way to stop threats that spread quickly, but it’s also a privacy and security land mine.

With the rollout of the Windows 8 operating system expected later this year, millions of desktop and laptop PCs will get kill switches for the first time. Microsoft (MSFT) hasn’t spoken publicly about its reasons for including this capability in Windows 8 beyond a cryptic warning that it might be compelled to use it for legal or security reasons. The feature was publicized in a widely cited Computerworld article in December when Microsoft posted the terms of use for its new application store, a feature in Windows 8 that will allow users to download software from a Microsoft-controlled portal. Windows smartphones, like those of its competitors, have included kill switches for several years, though software deletion “is a last resort, and it’s uncommon,” says Todd Biggs, director of product management for Windows Phone Marketplace.

Microsoft declined to answer questions about the kill switch in Windows 8 other than to say it will only be able to remove or change applications downloaded through the new app store. Any software loaded from a flash drive, DVD, or directly from the Web will remain outside Microsoft’s control. Still, the kill switch is a tool that could help Microsoft prevent mass malware infections. “For most users, the ability to remotely remove apps is a good thing,” says Charlie Miller, a researcher with the security company Accuvant.

Continue reading »

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Feb 03

- Threat from new virus-infected emails which take over your PC even if you DON’T open their attachments (Daily Mail, Feb. 2, 2012):

A new class of cyber attack is threatening PCs – emails which infect PCs without the user having to open an attachment.

The user will not even be warned this is happening – the only message that appears is ‘loading’.

The email automatically downloads malicious software into your computer from elsewhere the moment a user clicks to open it.

The mails themselves are not infected – and thus will not ‘set off’ many web-security defence packages.

Security experts say that the development is ‘particularly dangerous’.

Continue reading »

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Dec 09

- Microsoft Can Remotely Kill Purchased Apps (PCMag, Dec. 8, 2011):

Microsoft’s terms of service for its Windows Store allows the company to remotely “kill” or remove access to a user’s apps for security or legal reasons, it said.

As noted by Computerworld, Microsoft’s terms of service for the Windows store will technically allow the company to cut off access to apps, even if the user purchased them.

Microsoft unveiled an app store for Windows 8 apps, on Tuesday. The key ingredients of the Windows Store are easy app discovery from within and without the online marketplace, built-in app trials with quick upgrade paths, support for both x86 and ARM-based hardware, and a flexible business model, Microsoft’s Antoine Leblond said then.

Microsoft addresses the possibility that it might remove apps under the heading, “Can Microsoft remove apps or data from my device?”

“We may change or discontinue certain apps or content offered in the Windows Store at any time, for any reason,” the company says. “Sometimes, we do so to respond to legal or contractual requirements. In cases where your security is at risk, or where we’re required to do so for legal reasons, you may not be able to run apps or access content that you previously acquired or purchased a license for.

“In cases where we remove a paid app from your Windows 8 Beta device not at your direction, we may refund to you the amount you paid for the license,” Microsoft added. “Some apps may also stop working if you update or change your Windows 8 Beta device, or if you attempt to use those apps on a Windows 8 Beta device with different features or processor type. You are responsible for backing up the data that you store in apps that you acquire via the Windows Store, including content you upload using those apps. If the Windows Store, an app, or any content is changed or discontinued, your data could be deleted or you may not be able to retrieve data you have stored. We have no obligation to return data to you. If sign in information or other data is stored with an expiration date, we may also delete the data as of that date.”

Continue reading »

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