CategoriesNewsSocial Media

2600 Magazine Offers $10K for Access to Donald Trump’s Tax Return

The Twitter account that represents 2600 Magazine – The Hacker Quarterly says they will offer $10K for first access to Donald Trump’s tax return. They also say that identities will be protected and provide a PGP key.

Twitter users responded with several funny comments:

There have been many recent attacks on the Democratic National Committee including the Guccifer 2.0/Wikileaks release of DNC emails and more recently a possible hack of some of the party member’s phones. Some say that hackers have been focusing too much on exposing the DNC and not enough on the RNC. Perhaps this is the opportunity they have been waiting for.

2600 has also extended the offer to Trump himself:

CategoriesHackingNewsSocial Media

Hackers Find Exploit and Reactivate LizardSquad’s Twitter Account

On September 2, hackers calling themselves “Spain Squad” used an exploit to take control of several previously suspended Twitter accounts. Among these accounts were usernames like @Hitler, @botnet, @LizardSquad and @1337. Twitter re-suspended all of the breached accounts shortly after the hack, but it is unclear whether or not they are still vulnerable to this exploit.

One of the hackers aligned with Spain Squad tweets about reactivated accounts.
One of the hackers aligned with Spain Squad tweets about reactivated accounts.

“It could be a vulnerability in Twitter’s software, a compromised staff account, or some other explanation. It’s also unclear whether the exploit is still active, or was patched concurrently with the banning of the hijacked accounts.” (Business Insider)

A spokesperson for the hacking group has stated they can do even more than recover old accounts with the exploit they found:

“The new exploit allows Spain Squad to change to suspend active accounts, change a user’s Twitter handle and even take control of active accounts. So far, the group has only demonstrated the ability to recover officially suspended accounts — though all of those have already been re-suspended by the social media company.” (Engadget)

Twitter actively suspends accounts that violate their Terms of Service (TOS). Sometimes these suspensions can be temporary and the user is able to restore their account after acknowledging broken rules and promising not to violate TOS again. Often, the user must delete offending tweets before the account will be restored. Alternatively, a Twitter account can become permanently suspended, which means the account is never to be restored under any circumstances. Restoring access to accounts that were thought to be never again accessible could prove to be profitable for hackers selling screen names that may be valuable. However Spain Squad claims to be non-malicious. Whatever their intent, they were definitely doing some of it for the lulz when they took control of the LizardSquad account:

socialhax hackers poodlecorp lizardsquad skids hack exploit twitter suspended accounts

CategoriesHackingSecurity

Are The Shadow Brokers Like Snowden? Theory Suggests Insider Hack

By now, most of our readers have heard of the Shadow Brokers, the hacker group who obtained a large trove of data from the National Security Agency (NSA) and leaked information about the NSA’s cyber tools. The cyber tools were apparently stolen from the Equation Group, a cyber attack operation who experts believe are part of the NSA.

(Watch a quick overview about the NSA hack – “NSA Reportedly Hacked By Group Called The Shadow Brokers”):

Initially, evidence suggested that the Shadow Brokers were Russian, but a new theory is emerging that whoever is leaking this data might be “a second Edward Snowden… albeit one with different motives” (Fortune). James Bamfield, a journalist who is well known for his publications about United States intelligence agencies, believes that Russia would not want to publish these hacks if they obtained them, because companies would quickly patch their vulnerabilities and the information would soon be worthless to anyone trying to sell the data. He also brings up that the bad English used by the hackers seems to be phony. Furthermore, he suggests that the hacker(s) could be linked to the NSA’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) which is a unit of the surveillance agency that gathers intelligence related to cyber-warfare. He states:

“Rather than the NSA hacking tools being snatched as a result of a sophisticated cyber operation by Russia or some other nation, it seems more likely that an employee stole them. Experts who have analyzed the files suspect that they date to October 2013, five months after Edward Snowden left his contractor position with the NSA and fled to Hong Kong carrying flash drives containing hundreds of thousands of pages of NSA documents.

So, if Snowden could not have stolen the hacking tools, there are indications that after he departed in May 2013, someone else did, possibly someone assigned to the agency’s highly sensitive Tailored Access Operations” (Reuters).

As of now, the “second Snowden” theory is just that – a theory. Most experts still say Russia is behind the hacks. Nevertheless, as Bamford puts it in his commentary – the “NSA may prove to be one of Washington’s greatest liabilities rather than assets.”

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.

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

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