CategoriesHackingNews

Hacker Steals User Data from Epic Games Forums

The usernames and email addresses of over 800,000 Epic Forums users were stolen by a hacker. According to Leakedsource.com, the attack happened on August 11. The hacker obtained the data by exploiting “a known SQL injection vulnerability found in an older vBulletin forum software, which allowed the hacker to get access to the full database” (ZDNet). In addition to the usernames and email addresses, the database contains scrambled passwords, IP addresses, birth dates, and activity such as posts, comments and private messages. Access tokens for Facebook were also breached. Epic Games has stated that the scrambled passwords will not be not easily crackable.

An Epic Games Spokesperson says that passwords do not need to be changed for the Unreal Engine and Unreal Tournament forum but a “compromise of our legacy forums covering Infinity Blade, UDK, previous Unreal Tournament games, and archived Gears of War forums revealed email addresses, salted hashed passwords and other data entered into the forums. If you have been active on these forums since July 2015, we recommend you change your password on any site where you use the same password.”

Epic’s Forums were also hacked last year.

CategoriesHackingNews

Did Another Hacker Steal NSA Exploits from the Shadow Brokers?

A Twitter user who goes by @1×0123 claims to have stolen the data that The Shadow Brokers hacked from the NSA.

nsa hacker

Gizmodo reached out to the hacker and were unable to verify their claims. However, back in April, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, gave them praise for reporting a vulnerability which may lend some credibility.

The hacker says they just need “some money to pay bills and stuff” and offered to share 50% of it with Gizmodo if they wanted to make an offer.

CategoriesHackingNewsSecurity

Facial Recognition gets “Hacked” Thanks to Facebook

Facial recognition technology is utilized in many different systems. Biometric software is used in facial recognition tools for security purposes and other applications such as social media marketing. Algorithms use a statistical approach to identify facial features – and facial recognition is increasingly used as a crime-fighting tool. In the future it could be used to monitor employee attendance at work, to enhance security measures at ATMs and to prevent voter fraud. Many privacy advocates see a problem with this technology because it could quickly turn us into a surveillance society.

University of North Carolina researchers have discovered a way to get around facial recognition security. By using a virtual reality (VR) system to develop 3D models of the face, they were able to trick the biometric security measures. They did this with just a handful of photos found on Facebook and were able to fool the systems more than half the time (Newsweek).

Clearly this is a huge security flaw in the technology which means other types of “verifiable data” would need to be used for authentication in order for facial recognition to be a feasible option. One technique that could be used is the detection of infrared radiation which would be given off by a real face, not a 3D model (Techworm).

For more information on how facial recognition technologies work, check out this video from Brit Lab:

CategoriesBitcoinHackingNews

A Seized Silk Road Wallet is Moving Bitcoin to the NSA Hackers

Last week, a group called the “Shadow Brokers” claimed to have hacked the NSA – stealing their code, exploits and spy tools. They leaked bits of information on GitHub and claimed the information was stolen from the Equation Group, a group who most believe is a computer surveillance wing of the NSA. The Shadow Brokers says they will auction off the data to the highest bidder. Leaks from Edward Snowden have demonstrated that this hack is legit. (The Register) Security experts believe that the hacker group is Russian.

Now it appears that there are some Bitcoin moving from a seized Silk Road wallet to the Shadow Broker’s auction. This leads some experts to believe that “the US government is potentially bidding to prevent stolen NSA exploits and tools from ending up in the wrong hands”. It could also mean that the government might be making an attempt to trace where the Bitcoins are going. Additionally, it must be noted that the co-founder of a major Bitcoin investigation company says that payments are also going in the other direction. This could simply indicate that spam is being sent in very small payments to famous addresses. (ZDNet)

So far, the Shadow Brokers have collected around $1000 in Bitcoin payments – a far cry from the 1 million Bitcoins they have demanded (which would be worth just over a half a billion $USD at the time of this writing). The U.S. government seized several thousand Bitcoin when shutting down Silk Road, so this may be their source of funds when dealing with the Shadow Broker hackers.

Learn more about the Shadow Brokers hack of the NSA here:

CategoriesHackingNewsSocial Media

Anonymous Hacker Brings Harambe Back to Life on Twitter

On Saturday, the Cincinnati Zoo director, Thane Maynard’s Twitter account was breached. The hacker changed Maynard’s profile photo to a pic of Harambe.

harambe hacker

Harambe was a silver-backed gorilla who was shot and killed at the Cincinnati Zoo when a 3 year old boy fell into the gorilla’s enclosure. Many people online had strong opinions about this story ranging from believing the parents of the child should be held accountable for Harambe’s death to supporting the killing of the gorilla because the child was in danger. Some even believed the child was in no danger and that both lives could have been spared. Anthropologist and UN Messenger of Peace, Jane Goodall says that the Harambe story “highlighted the danger of zoo animals in close proximity to humans and the need for better standards of care.” (Wikipedia)

The hacker who took over the Cincinnati Zoo director’s account also tweeted Harambe sympathizing hashtags such as #JusticeForHarambe and #DsOutForHarambe. The hack continues on through Sunday – the hacker telling the zoo employees to beg for their account back. Twitter user @prom has taken responsibility for the hack and says he doesn’t “worry about legal consequences at all.” (Cincinnati.com)

harambe hack prom

harambe hack

WATCH VIDEO – Gorilla zoo boy: did Harambe at Cincinnati Zoo deserve to die?:

Photo Credit: Julia Koefender – Flickr Creative Commons

CategoriesNewsOpinion

Should Uber Drivers be Fingerprinted in Background Checks?

I’ve heard a LOT of talk recently about Uber and Lyft’s pending exit from the Austin, TX marketplace, and I can’t say that I blame them. On one hand — Government “regulation,” only stifles competition… but on the other, when one realizes that just about -anybody- can become a driver for either of these companies so long as they have a 2005+ model vehicle, the idea of fingerprinting potential drivers (IMO) does not seem too far fetched.

Allow me to explain:

When you go to work for Yellow cab, for example, you become a licensed; bonded driver. In short, Yellow Cab knows exactly who you are, where you’ve lived, as well as have access to your (criminal) background information (which INCLUDES your Fingerprints). To me it’s a safety issue — as a passenger, I would think that knowing your driver is a rational; sane, functional member of society would be quite settling as it alleviates the “what if’s,” associated with climbing into a stranger’s car.

Sadly, responsibility has never actually been part of Uber or Lyft’s business plan. They would much rather you [sic, the driver] assume any and all liability wherein they [sic, the Company] are held in no way responsible for their utter & complete disregard for proper working conditions, accommodations, etc. As far as I’m concerned, their whole entire platform is digital ; it’s not like they really require brick & mortar office buildings, etc. in order to conduct their daily routines —- it’s not too much to ask for them [sic, the Company] to properly vet the individuals representing them, else they risk hiring the Zodiac Killer.
Austin, TX for the win..

More: Uber, Lyft set to leave Texas city over fingerprinting rule – MSN.com

CategoriesInternetNews

AdBlock Plus Wants you to Pay for what you Read Online

Online publishers often hate ad-blockers like AdBlock Plus. Owners of smaller blog sites complain that they get little to no revenue from the work they produce. You may have also noticed some major news sites like Forbes and Wired have restricted access to their articles unless you turn off your ad-blocker or pay a monthly fee.

There are advantages to ad blockers, however. It keeps the readers safe from malicious ads that can harm your computer and from tracking URLs that invade privacy. It also preserves the original design of the page and doesn’t display annoying loud or flashing ads. There are also a large number of sites that don’t filter adult ads, which makes browsing at work or in public very difficult.

Recently, AdBlock Plus has announced that they are teaming up with a company called Flattr. Flatter is founded by Peter Sunde, one of the original co-founders of The Pirate Bay. AdBlock Plus and Flatter plan to implement a solution that they feel will make both advertisers and readers happy. The team will release a product called “Flattr Plus” that will allow readers to decide which content they want to pay for.

How will it work? The platform will let users to fund the content they wish to see within a set monthly budget. The money spent will be distributed to publishers based on engagement of their material. It is unclear at this point how exactly they plan to track engagement, since many people click on things they don’t mean to, or wish they hadn’t. There are also plenty of instances where readers leave tabs open for long periods of time.

Publishers will have to sign up with Flattr Plus in order to get paid. One problem with this is that Flattr Plus could decide to exclude websites they don’t like or disagree with, which would make it unfair for many users on the Internet.

Would you pay for a service like Flattr Plus in order to eliminate ads from your browsing experience? Some say they will simply switch to another ad-blocking service such as Ublock.

Photo Credit: Francisco Osorio

CategoriesNewsScience

Can a “Brain Map” Decode Our Inner Thoughts?

There is a lot we don’t know about the human brain and our understanding of how they process language is still a pretty big mystery to us. Currently, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley are building a “semantic atlas” of the brain in order to interpret how it organizes words and language. These studies are “based on a brain imaging study that recorded neural activity while study volunteers listened to stories from “The Moth Radio Hour.” (Laboratory Equipment – National Science Foundation)

At least one third of the brain power that goes on inside of our cerebral cortex is used for processing language. This means language makes up a very large part of our inner thoughts. Researchers have been able to map detailed images of how the brain organizes words by having participants listen to an emotionally-charged radio program. The participants brain activity was monitored and measured using MRI. They found that different parts of the brain respond differently when different words were heard. Researchers were then able to categorize word “types” with the areas of the brain they most affected. For example social words and words related to numbers tend to activate different parts of the brain. These organizational structures seemed to be consistent among the multiple individuals.

Learn how words “light up” parts of the brain when studied in the MRI scan:

While it may seem a bit creepy that equipment could essentially “read” our thoughts, it would be helpful for victims of stroke, brain damage and other patients who have trouble communicating vocally. I hate to think, however, how having the ability to map the cerebral cortex could be misused.

According to DigitalTrends, there were only 7 volunteers that participated in this study. More research and a larger sample study are needed to better understand these findings.

Featured Image Credit: KylaBorg

CategoriesNewsSocial Media

If Facebook Paid you, Would you Post More?

Facebook recently circulated a survey that suggests they might pay users for sharing content on their personal profile. This might remind people of Tsu, a social media company that “shares revenues with its users and those who invited them into tsu”:

Over the past year, Facebook’s users have shared 21% less personal updates according to Inc.com and 5.5 percent of sharing is down overall. CNET once showed us how “Facebook Fatigue” is a real thing and this could be a way to get social media users excited about posting on Facebook again.

There is little information on how and when Facebook plans to implement paying users for sharing. It might not even be available to everyone. Like Adweek suggests, it might only be for verified accounts. Facebook already pays some creators for sharing videos. One thing Facebook needs to do is to catch up with YouTube on finding and eliminating stolen videos. They have recently announced that they’re about to test a tool “to help stop freebooting“. Facebook should probably take care of this first, before they potentially start paying people for stolen content.

According to Facebook’s survey, some of the ways users could make money is through revenue sharing, donation butons, advertising, branded content and a “tip jar”.

Will more thought be put into Facebook content if users are paid for what they share? Or will people be scrambling to post any stupid thing they think might go viral?

CategoriesNewsSmart PhonesSocial Media

Facebook Messenger Adds New VoIP Feature

From Gadget Diary: “Facebook Group calling is now available and you can easily do a conference call using the feature.” Here is a sneak peak into the new Facebook Messenger Group Calling app:

Over the next 24 hours, Facebook is going to roll out a new VoIP feature that will allow its users to make group calls to each other. According to TechCrunch, you’ll be able to call up to 12 people simultaneously and it will ring to all of their apps at the same time. If a potential participant misses the call, they will have the option to join up by tapping a phone icon once they’re back at their phone. Video chat is┬ánot available yet, so it isn’t really a replacement for Skype or Google Hangouts at this time. However, calls can be made to any Facebook user anywhere in the world free of charge – which may be attractive to users who currently spend a lot of money on long distance calls.

Some people prefer to not have Facebook Messenger installed on their phones because it’s known to violate their privacy by tracking all kinds of phone data and is also a huge drain on both iPhone and Android phone batteries. Could this be a way for the company to get more people to install the app? Would you be willing to reinstall the app to save money on phone charges, or would you utilize one of the many other free VoIP services available? Do you think it’s a good idea to be able to call so many people at once with Facebook messenger? It could take ‘drunk-dialing‘ to a whole new level.