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friendly_iconoclast

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Member since: Fri Sep 8, 2006, 11:47 AM
Number of posts: 13,784

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How the NSA snooped on encrypted Internet traffic for a decade

http://arstechnica.com/security/2016/08/cisco-firewall-exploit-shows-how-nsa-decrypted-vpn-traffic/


In a revelation that shows how the National Security Agency was able to systematically spy on many Cisco Systems customers for the better part of a decade, researchers have uncovered an attack that remotely extracts decryption keys from the company's now-decommissioned line of PIX firewalls.

The discovery is significant because the attack code, dubbed BenignCertain, worked on PIX versions Cisco released in 2002 and supported through 2009. Even after Cisco stopped providing PIX bug fixes in July 2009, the company continued offering limited service and support for the product for an additional four years. Unless PIX customers took special precautions, virtually all of them were vulnerable to attacks that surreptitiously eavesdropped on their VPN traffic. Beyond allowing attackers to snoop on encrypted VPN traffic, the key extraction also makes it possible to gain full access to a vulnerable network by posing as a remote user.

BenignCertain's capabilities were tentatively revealed in this blog post from Thursday, and they were later confirmed to work on real-world PIX installations by three separate researchers. Before the confirmation came, Ars asked Cisco to investigate the exploit. The company declined, citing this policy for so-called end-of-life products. The exploit helps explain documents leaked by NSA contractor Edward Snowden and cited in a 2014 article that appeared in Der Spiegel. The article reported that the NSA had the ability to decrypt more than 1,000 VPN connections per hour.

"It shows that the NSA had the ability to remotely extract confidential keys from Cisco VPNs for over a decade," Mustafa Al-Bassam, a security researcher at payments processing firm Secure Trading, told Ars. "This explains how they were able to decrypt thousands of VPN connections per minute as shown in documents previously published by Der Spiegel
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Sat Aug 20, 2016, 01:49 AM (3 replies)

Yup! The NSA Got Hacked

Source: The Atlantic

After a never-before-seen group announced it was in possession of a trove of malware developed by the elite hacking arm of the National Security Agency early this week, professional security researchers began working to try and determine whether the code the group released was truly developed by the NSA.

Working off of hints they found in the code, which was released by a group calling itself the “Shadow Broker,” researchers guessed it was authentic—but new documentation straight from the source appears to confirm the code’s provenance.

According to NSA documents obtained by Edward Snowden and reviewed by The Intercept, several elements in the released code line up with details in the agency’s own manuals and materials.

One manual, for example, instructs agents to use a specific 16-character string, “ace02468bdf13579,” to track a certain strain of government-developed malware as it makes its way through networks. That string shows up character-for-character in one of the leaked hacking tools, “SECONDDATE.”

Read more: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/08/yup-the-nsa-got-hacked/496643/



Curiouser and curiouser...
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Fri Aug 19, 2016, 02:36 PM (13 replies)

Baltimore terminates contract with attorney accused of neo-Nazi ties

Source: Baltimore Sun

The city has terminated its one-year contract with an attorney accused of neo-Nazi ties effective immediately, the Office of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said Thursday in a statement.

Glen Keith Allen, 65, was a contract employee who worked on complex litigation as needed, officials said

The city began investigating Allen's background after the Southern Poverty Law Center reported that he had a history of supporting the neo-Nazi National Alliance.

"Allen's history with organized racism and anti-Semitism is deep," Heidi Beirich, the center's intelligence project director, wrote this week on the center's website. "Records obtained by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) show he was a dues-paying member of the National Alliance for years.

Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-city/bs-md-ci-allen-attorney-20160818-story.html
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Thu Aug 18, 2016, 02:35 PM (2 replies)

Watch these Trump supporters agree that putting shock collars on Mexicans is a great idea

One can only hope that this is a put-on- but given the demonstrated nature of
Don the Con and his Trumpkins, there's a good chance it isn't...

https://boingboing.net/2016/08/16/watch-these-trump-supporters-a.html

"We wanted to see how far we could push Trump's loyal supporters," says Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. So his team invited a group of Trumpkins to attend a focus group meeting where they were shown some fake Trump campaign ads, voiced by a convincing Trump impersonator.

The attendees were not told that the commercials were fake, even though the ads had proposals that were crazy, even by Trump standards: outlawing abortion everywhere except in depressed areas like Atlantic City, trapping Mexican day laborers in porta-potties and shipping them back to Mexico, locking shock collars on the neck of every Mexican citizen in Mexico so they'd get zapped if they tried to go past an invisible electric fence on the US-Mexico border.

The focus group members seemed a little surprised at first, but quickly came around to the seeing the logic of these proposals, and expressed their support. One woman was concerned about the dog collar proposal, though. She said the Mexicans were likely to cut off the dog collars and sell them.

This video is like a scary Milgram experiment.


Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Tue Aug 16, 2016, 04:39 PM (17 replies)

White House sets new fuel-efficiency standards for heavy-duty trucks, vans and buses

Thanks to DUer DonViejo for posting this originally in Latest Breaking News:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10141551746

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/08/16/white-house-sets-new-fuel-efficiency-standards-for-heavy-duty-trucks-vans-and-buses/?utm_term=.6e8ede449e19

Source: The Washington Post

The Obama administration on Tuesday finalized new fuel-economy standards for large trucks, buses and other heavy-duty vehicles, the latest in a series of efforts aimed at slashing greenhouse gas emissions and weaning the nation from its dependence on fossil fuels.

The new requirements affect a class of vehicles that includes school buses, large pickup trucks, delivery and passenger vans, garbage trucks and long-haul tractor-trailers. These heavy- and medium-duty vehicles represent only about 5 percent of total highway traffic but account for 20 percent of transportation-related fuel consumption and carbon emissions. Administration officials said they expect that when the new standards are fully implemented in coming years, they will cut more than 1 billion tons of carbon pollution from the atmosphere, save nearly $170 billion in fuel costs and reduce oil consumption by an estimated 84 billion gallons.

“The standards promote a new generation of cleaner, more fuel-efficient trucks by encouraging the development and employment of new and advanced cost-effective technologies through model year 2027,” said Gina McCarthy, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, which developed the new rules in conjunction with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. “These standards are ambitious and achievable, and they will help ensure the American trucking industry continues to drive our economy — and at the same time protect our planet.”

The White House previously has undertaken efforts to curb pollution from cars and light trucks, aircraft, power plants and air conditioning and refrigeration units, in an effort to meet pledges to reduce overall emissions in the United States by at least 26 percent by the year 2030, compared with 2005 levels. During his first term, President Obama also put in place the first national policy to increase the fuel economy of medium- and heavy-duty trucks with model years between 2014 and 2018. Tuesday’s regulations build on those early measures.


We will see medium- and heavy-duty hybrid trucks in the near future,
as most of them are used in stop-and-go service, where hybrids excel.
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Tue Aug 16, 2016, 01:33 PM (0 replies)

Life in Nauru detention: a dark, wretched Truman Show without the cameras

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/aug/13/life-in-nauru-detention-a-dark-wretched-truman-show-without-the-cameras

There is horror in the Nauru files and then there is banality: countless records documenting squabbles between children, lost possessions, late buses and toilet blocks running out of soap. In the engineered society of an offshore immigration detention centre, there is drama, tedium and the unrelenting surveillance of Big Brother or The Truman Show – but without the cameras rolling.

The Nauru files catalogue an inordinate amount of suffering, abuse and anguish among the detained asylum seekers, but these are not the only stories. Because of the requirement that staff file reports on every classifiable incident, the thousands of entries document what everyday life is like in the dystopian world created by the Australian-backed companies running the camp.

How notable incidents were defined and graded was vague and changed over time. Strict reporting timeframes meant a worker sometimes had to choose between responding to a major incident and rushing to file a report within 30 minutes, to avoid a financial penalty to their organisation. As a result many incident reports designated “minor” make for horrifying reading

The files are littered with reports about children – in particular a core group of troubled kids under the age of 10 – fighting, throwing rocks and acting dangerously by leaning out of bus windows and running across the road. Much of it is mundane.




Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Sat Aug 13, 2016, 02:00 AM (1 replies)

Another example of moral harm caused by a gun, this time in in Colorado:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10028093339
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Fri Aug 12, 2016, 02:44 PM (23 replies)

The Nauru Files: 2,000 Leaked Reports Reveal Scale of Abuse of Children

This is disgusting:

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/aug/10/the-nauru-files-2000-leaked-reports-reveal-scale-of-abuse-of-children-in-australian-offshore-detention


More than 2,000 leaked incident reports from Australia’s detention camp for asylum seekers on the remote Pacific island of Nauru – totalling more than 8,000 pages – are published by the Guardian today. The Nauru files set out as never before the assaults, sexual abuse, self-harm attempts, child abuse and living conditions endured by asylum seekers held by the Australian government, painting a picture of routine dysfunction and cruelty...

..."The reports range from a guard allegedly grabbing a boy and threatening to kill him once he is living in the community to guards allegedly slapping children in the face. In September 2014 a teacher reported that a young classroom helper had requested a four-minute shower instead of a two-minute shower. “Her request has been accepted on condition of sexual favours. It is a male security person. She did not state if this has or hasn’t occurred. The security officer wants to view a boy or girl having a shower.”

Some reports contain distressing examples of behaviour by traumatised children. According to a report from September 2014, a girl had sewn her lips together. A guard saw her and began laughing at her. In July that year a child under the age of 10 undressed and invited a group of adults to insert their fingers into her vagina; in February 2015 a young girl gestured to her vagina and said a male asylum seeker “cut her from under”.

In the files there are seven reports of sexual assault of children, 59 reports of assault on children, 30 of self-harm involving children and 159 of threatened self-harm involving children.

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Fri Aug 12, 2016, 01:24 PM (1 replies)

Some inconvienent statistics for MA rifle ban supporters:

Per the FBI's Uniform Crime Report "Crime In The United States"

https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s

Murder
by State, Type of Weapon

All figures are for Massachusetts

https://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2007/data/table_20.html

Rifles 1

Handguns 65

Knives or cutting instruments 31

Hands, fists, feet, etc. 14

https://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2008/data/table_20.html

Rifles 2

Handguns 59

Knives or cutting instruments 49

Hands, fists, feet, etc. 3

https://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2009/data/table_20.html

Rifles 2

Handgun 47

Knives or cutting instruments 40

Hands, fists, feet, etc. 7


https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/tables/10tbl20.xls

Rifles 0

Handguns 52

Knives or cutting instruments 50

Hands, fists, feet, etc. 10

https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/table-20

Rifles 0

Handguns 52

Knives or cutting instruments 30

Hands, fists, feet, etc. 9

https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2012/crime-in-the-u.s.-2012/tables/20tabledatadecpdf

Rifles 0

Handguns 32

Knives or cutting instruments 33

Hands, fists, feet, etc. 6

https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2013/crime-in-the-u.s.-2013/tables/table-20/table_20_murder_by_state_types_of_weapons_2013.xls

Rifles 2

Handguns 35

Knives or cutting instruments 41

Hands, fists, feet, etc. 7

https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2014/crime-in-the-u.s.-2014/tables/table-20

Rifles 0

Handguns 33

Knives or cutting instruments 34

Hands, fists, feet, etc. 3

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Sun Aug 7, 2016, 01:39 AM (23 replies)
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