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Communications

Piracy Phishing Scam Targets US ISPs and Subscribers (torrentfreak.com) 20

According to a report on TorrentFreak, an elaborate piracy phishing operating is tageting US ISPs and subscribers. Scammers are reportedly masquerading as anti-piracy company IP-Echelon and rightholders such as Lionsgate to send fake DMCA notices and settlement demands to ISPs. From the report:TorrentFreak was alerted to a takedown notice Lionsgate purportedly sent to a Cox subscriber, for allegedly downloading a pirated copy of the movie Allegiant. Under threat of a lawsuit, the subscriber was asked to pay a $150 settlement fee. This request is unique as neither Lionsgate nor its tracking company IP-Echelon is known to engage in this practice. When we contacted IP-Echelon about Lionsgate's supposed settlement offer, we heard to our surprise that these emails are part of a large phishing scam, which has at least one large ISPs fooled. "The notices are fake and not sent by us. It's a phishing scam," IP-Echelon informed TorrentFreak. For a phishing scam the fake DMCA notice does its job well. At first sight the email appears to be legit, and for Cox Communications it was real enough to forward it to their customers.U.S. law enforcement has been notified and is currently investigating the matter.
Businesses

Russia Lawmakers Pass Spying Law That Requires Encryption Backdoors, Call Surveillance (dailydot.com) 104

A bill that was proposed recently in the Russian Duma to make cryptographic backdoors mandatory in all messaging apps, has passed. Patrick Howell O'Neill, reports for DailyDot:A massive surveillance bill is now on its way to becoming law in Russia. The "anti-terrorism" legislation includes a vast data-eavesdropping and -retention program so that telecom and internet companies have to record and store all customer communications for six months, potentially at a multitrillion-dollar cost. Additionally, all internet firms have to provide mandatory backdoor access into encrypted communications for the FSB, the Russian intelligence agency and successor to the KGB. The bill, with support from the ruling United Russia party, passed Friday in the Duma, Russia's lower legislative house, with 277 votes for, 148 against, and one abstaining. It now moves to Russia's Federal Council and the Kremlin, where it's expected to pass into law.
AT&T

Net Neutrality Advocates To FCC: Put the Kibosh On Internet Freebies (cnet.com) 138

An anonymous reader cites a CNET report:Net neutrality advocates demand action. Representatives from Fight the Future, the Center for Media Justice and Free Press on Friday hand-delivered a 6-foot tall package containing 100,000 letters of complaint to the Federal Communications Commission. They ask the agency to take action against AT&T, Comcast, T-Mobile and Verizon for violating the agency's Open Internet order by offering so-called zero-rating service plans. While the practice offers some benefits to customers, critics say it violates the agency's Net neutrality principles, which requires all services on the internet be treated the same. They claim it puts smaller competitors at a disadvantage and highlights the fact that data caps are unnecessary. Carriers say they are simply experimenting with new business models that will make their service more affordable for consumers.
Communications

Senate Report Says Charter, Time Warner Cable Overcharges Its Customers (broadcastingcable.com) 94

According to an investigation by a U.S. Senate, Charter and its new subsidiary Time Warner Cable have been overcharging customers at least $7.2 million per year for equipment and service. Time Warner Cable over-billed customers nationwide an estimated $639,948 between January and April period this year. This projects the sum to a yearly total of $1,919,844. Charter admitted that it overbilled its customers by "at least $442,691 per month." A report on BroadcastingCable states:The study found that "Time Warner Cable estimates that, in 2015, it overbilled 40,193 Ohio customers a total of $430,393 and 4,232 Missouri customers a total of $44,152," while "Charter estimates that it has annually overcharged approximately 5,897 Missouri customers a total of $494,000 each year. Charter does not provide service in Ohio." The report also said that Charter and Time Warner Cable have taken steps to correct the situation as a result of the investigation.
Communications

Senate Rejects FBI Bid For Warrantless Access To Internet Browsing Histories (zdnet.com) 208

Zack Whittaker, reporting for ZDNet:An amendment designed to allow the government warrantless access to internet browsing histories has been narrowly defeated in the Senate. The amendment fell two votes short of the required 60 votes to advance. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) switched his vote at the last minute. He submitted a motion to reconsider the vote following the defeat. A new vote may be set for later on Wednesday. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) introduced the amendment as an add-on to the commerce, justice, and science appropriations bill earlier this week. McCain said in a statement on Monday that the amendment would "track lone wolves" in the wake of the Orlando massacre, in which Omar Mateen, who authorities say radicalized himself online, killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in the Florida city. The amendment, which may be reconsidered in the near future, aims to broaden the rules governing national security letters, which don't require court approval. These letters allow the FBI to demand records associated with Americans' online communications -- so-called electronic communications transactional records.
Government

Invoking Orlando, Senate Republicans Set Up Vote To Expand FBI Spying (reuters.com) 654

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell set up a vote late on Monday to expand the FBI's authority to use a secretive surveillance order without a warrant to include email metadata and some browsing history information. The move, made via an amendment to a criminal justice appropriations bill, is an effort by Senate Republicans to respond to last week's mass shooting in an Orlando nightclub after a series of measures to restrict guns offered by both parties failed on Monday. Privacy advocates denounced the effort, saying it seeks to exploit a mass shooting in order to expand the government's digital spying powers. The amendment would broaden the FBI's authority to use so-called National Security Letters to include electronic communications transaction records such as time stamps of emails and the emails' senders and recipients. NSLs do not require a warrant and are almost always accompanied by a gag order preventing the service provider from sharing the request with a targeted user. The amendment filed Monday would also make permanent a provision of the USA Patriot Act that allows the intelligence community to conduct surveillance on "lone wolf" suspects who do not have confirmed ties to a foreign terrorist group. A vote is expected no later than Wednesday, McConnell's office said. Last week, FBI Director James Comey said he is "highly confident that [the Orlando shooter] was radicalized at least in part through the internet."
Communications

Russian Bill Requires Encryption Backdoors In All Messenger Apps (dailydot.com) 202

Patrick O'Neill quotes a report from The Daily Dot: A new bill in the Russian Duma, the country's lower legislative house, proposes to make cryptographic backdoors mandatory in all messaging apps in the country so the Federal Security Service -- the successor to the KGB -- can obtain special access to all communications within the country. [Apps like WhatsApp, Viber, and Telegram, all of which offer varying levels of encrypted security for messages, are specifically targeted in the "anti-terrorism" bill, according to the Russian-language media. Fines for the offending companies could reach 1 million rubles or about $15,000.] Russian Senator Elena Mizulina argued that the new bill ought to become law because, she said, teens are brainwashed in closed groups on the internet to murder police officers, a practice protected by encryption. Mizulina then went further. "Maybe we should revisit the idea of pre-filtering [messages]," she said. "We cannot look silently on this."
Communications

FCC To Vote On Spectrum For 5G Wireless Networks (reuters.com) 38

5G has been in the news for years, but it's not available for commercial use just yet. Things will become clearer this week. The Federal Communications Commission will vote on July 14 to decide new rules to identity and open spectrum for next-generation high-speed 5G wireless applications. Reuters reports: FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said if the FCC "approves my proposal next month, the United States will be the first country in the world to open up high-band spectrum for 5G networks and applications." He said the FCC also will seek comments on opening other high-frequency spectrum bands. Policymakers and mobile phone companies say the next generation of wireless signals needs to be 10 to 100 times faster and be far more responsive to allow advanced technologies like virtual surgery or controlling machines remotely.
Businesses

Time Warner Cable Suspends Broadband Upgrades After Merger (dslreports.com) 72

Karl Bode, reporting for DSLReport: Time Warner Cable has confirmed that the company has suspended its "Maxx" broadband and TV upgrades while the dust settles from Charter's $79 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks. Time Warner Cable's Maxx upgrades not only deliver faster top speeds up to 300 Mbps, but a notably overhauled improvement to the company's set top box interface. But Time Warner Cable has been telling company support techs and engineers that the upgrades were actually put on hold as of May 26. "[...] All speed increases and customer communications were placed on a temporary hold beginning Thursday, May 26," states the internal communication. "Once the updated launch schedule is determined, updated hub schedules will be posted to KEY and area management will be notified. Customers will continue to receive notification when the new speeds are available in their hubs."
Encryption

Non-US Encryption Is 'Theoretical', Claims CIA Chief In Backdoor Debate (theregister.co.uk) 312

Iain Thomson, writing for The Register: CIA director John Brennan told U.S. senators they shouldn't worry about mandatory encryption backdoors hurting American businesses. And that's because, according to Brennan, there's no one else for people to turn to: if they don't want to use U.S.-based technology because it's been forced to use weakened cryptography, they'll be out of luck because non-American solutions are simply "theoretical." Thus, the choice is American-built-and-backdoored or nothing, apparently. The spymaster made the remarks at a congressional hearing on Thursday after Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) questioned the CIA's support for weakening cryptography to allow g-men to peek at people's private communications and data. Brennan said this was needed to counter the ability of terrorists to coordinate their actions using encrypted communications. The director denied that forcing American companies to backdoor their security systems would cause any commercial problems.
Communications

Municipal Fiber Network Will Let Customers Switch ISPs In Seconds (arstechnica.com) 184

An anonymous reader shares an Ars Technica report: Most cities and towns that build their own broadband networks do so to solve a single problem: that residents and businesses aren't being adequately served by private cable companies and telcos. But there's more than one way to create a network and offer service, and the city of Ammon, Idaho, is deploying a model that's worth examining. Ammon has built an open access network that lets multiple private ISPs offer service to customers over city-owned fiber. The wholesale model in itself isn't unprecedented, but Ammon has also built a system in which residents will be able to sign up for an ISP -- or switch ISPs if they are dissatisfied -- almost instantly, just by visiting a city-operated website and without changing any equipment. Ammon has completed a pilot project involving 12 homes and is getting ready for construction to another 200 homes. Eventually, the city wants to wire up all of its 4,500 homes and apartment buildings, city Technology Director Bruce Patterson told Ars. Ammon has already deployed fiber to businesses in the city, and it did so without raising everybody's taxes.
Space

SpaceX's Falcon 9 Crashes Into Droneship (cbsnews.com) 130

SpaceX failed to successfully land its Falcon 9 on a drone ship at sea on Wednesday. Prior to today's crash, the company was able to conduct three successful experimental landing of its used rocket in a row. SpaceX founder Elon Musk noted that the booster rocket had a RUD (rapid unscheduled disassembly, he explained) on droneship. From a CBS News report: It was the California rocket company's fifth unsuccessful drone-ship landing after three straight successes, one in April and two in May. Including a successful landing at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station last December, SpaceX's recovery record now stands at four successes in nine attempts. But the landing attempt was a strictly secondary objective. The mission's primary goal, the launch of two powerful all-electric communications satellites, was a complete success and regardless of the loss of the first stage, company engineers expected to collect valuable data as they continue their push to make such landings routine.
Security

Telegram Bug Allows Attackers To Crash Devices, Jack Up Phone Bills (grahamcluley.com) 50

An anonymous reader writes: Researchers have uncovered a vulnerability in Telegram, a popular instant messaging client with over 100M active monthly active users, that attackers could exploit to crash unsuspecting users' devices and jack up their mobile phone bills. To prevent malicious users from abusing the app, Telegram limits text messages to a specific range of characters -- each message must consist of at least one character, and it may not exceed 4,096 characters. But according to Iranian security researchers Sadegh Ahmadzadegan and Omid Ghaffarinia, those limitations can easily be circumvented. The two researchers note in a blog post that a programming error allows a sender to successfully transmit a message with arbitrary length to a receiver. That large file can, in turn, cause the phone to crash or stop working due to a lack of memory. It can also eat up a user's monthly data allotment if they are connected to their mobile network and not Wi-Fi.Telegram is yet to acknowledge the vulnerability, let alone provide a fix for it.
Communications

Tom Wheeler Defeats the Broadband Industry: Net Neutrality Wins In Court (bloomberg.com) 165

Andrew M Harris and Todd Shields, reporting for Bloomberg: The Federal Communications Commission won a major appeals court ruling supporting its efforts to prevent broadband Internet service providers from favoring some types of web traffic over others. The Washington-based court Tuesday denied challenges to the federal government's so-called net neutrality regulations, which were backed by President Barack Obama. The ruling hands a victory to those who champion the notion of an open internet where service providers are prevented from offering speedier lanes to content providers willing to pay for them. It's a defeat for challengers including AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and Comcast Corp., which said the rule would discourage innovation and investment.FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said, "Today's ruling is a victory for consumers and innovators who deserve unfettered access to the entire web, and it ensures the Internet remains a platform for unparalleled innovation, free expression and economic growth. After a decade of debate and legal battles, today's ruling affirms the Commission's ability to enforce the strongest possible internet protections -- both on fixed and mobile networks -- that will ensure the internet remains open, now and in the future."
Communications

Scientists Amplify Light Using Sound On a Silicon Chip (phys.org) 21

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Phys.Org: Yale scientists have found a way to greatly boost the intensity of light waves on a silicon microchip using the power of sound. Writing in the journal Nature Photonics, a team led by Peter Rakich describes a new waveguide system that harnesses the ability to precisely control the interaction of light and sound waves. "Silicon is the basis for practically all microchip technologies," said Rakich, who is an assistant professor of applied physics and physics at Yale. "The ability to combine both light and sound in silicon permits us to control and process information in new ways that weren't otherwise possible." Rakich said combining the two capabilities "is like giving a UPS driver an amphibious vehicle -- you can find a much more efficient route for delivery when traveling by land or water." "Figuring out how to shape this interaction without losing amplification was the real challenge," said Eric Kittlaus, a graduate student in Rakich's lab and the study's first author. "With precise control over the light-sound interaction, we will be able to create devices with immediate practical uses, including new types of lasers." The researchers said there are commercial applications for the technology in a number of areas, including fiber-optic communications and signal processing. The system is part of a larger body of research the Rakich lab has conducted for the past five years, focused on designing new microchip technologies for light.
Twitter

Anonymous Posts Pornography To Hijacked ISIS Twitter Accounts (softpedia.com) 189

An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: Softpedia is reporting that a member of the Anonymous collective "has been hijacking accounts for the most active ISIS supporters, the ones involved in online recruitment, and has been plastering their profiles with naked women and peaceful messages." Anonymous is also using the hijacked accounts to monitor "protected" tweets from ISIS, and they're reporting hundreds of thousands of other ISIS profiles to Twitter. But Anonymous is also defacing 161 of the hijacked accounts, saying they're "Adding our own images and basically showing them 'We are in control'... we are creating confusion and distrust..." There are a few things that the Islamic State fear. One is women and the second is Porn."
Encryption

Bitdefender Finds 'Hypervisor Wiretap' For Reading TLS-Encrypted Communications (helpnetsecurity.com) 86

Orome1 quotes a report from HelpNetSecurity: Bitdefender has discovered that encrypted communications can be decrypted in real-time using a technique that has virtually zero footprint and is invisible to anyone except extremely careful security auditors. The technique, dubbed TeLeScope, has been developed for research purposes and proves that a third-party can eavesdrop on communications encrypted with the Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol between an end-user and a virtualized instance of a server.
Bitdefender says the new technique "works to detect the creation of TLS session keys in memory as the virtual machine is running." According to HelpNetSecurity, this vulnerability "makes it possible for a malicious cloud provider, or one pressured into giving access to three-letter agencies, to recover the TLS keys used to encrypt every communication session between virtualized servers and customers. CIOs who are outsourcing their virtualized infrastructure to a third-party vendor should assume that all of the information flowing between the business and its customers has been decrypted and read for an undetermined amount of time."
Wireless Networking

Bluetooth 5 With 2x More Range and 4x Better Speed Coming Next Week (arstechnica.com) 94

Bluetooth is about to get more powerful. Mark Powell, executive director of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group noted in a newsletter that Bluetooth 5 will debut on June 16. The new incarnation of wireless standard offers "double the range and quadruple the speed of low energy Bluetooth transmissions." From an Ars Technica report: It also adds "significantly more capacity to advertising transmissions," which is more exciting than it sounds because it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with what you normally think of when you think of "advertising." In the Bluetooth spec, an "advertising packet" allows Bluetooth devices to send small snippets of information to other Bluetooth devices even if the two aren't actually paired or connected to one another.It's currently unclear whether existing devices will be able to support the new standard.
Government

US Agency Lines Up Broad Support For ICANN Transition (pcworld.com) 64

An anonymous reader quotes a report from PCWorld: A U.S. agency has lined up broad support for its plan to end the government's oversight of the Internet's domain name system, despite opposition from some Republicans in Congress. The U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) on Thursday released statements of support for a plan to end its oversight of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Among supporters of a plan, developed by the ICANN community, to transition ICANN's domain name coordination functions to a multistakeholder governance model are Amazon.com, Google, Cisco Systems, Microsoft, Facebook, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Computer and Communications Industry Association. NTIA on Thursday announced it had reviewed the community proposal and found it meets the agency's criteria for allowing the ICANN privatization plan to move forward. The community plan maintains the openness of the Internet and maintains the security and stability of the DNS, said NTIA Administrator Lawrence Strickling. It does not replace NTIA's oversight with another government organization, he said, although that's been a fear of some critics of the NTIA plan. On Wednesday, Ted Cruz proposed a bill, the Protecting Internet Freedom Act, that would prohibit the U.S. government from relinquishing its role with respect to overseeing the web's domain name system (DNS), unless explicitly authorized by Congress.
Network

A Solution To the Security Guidelines Proposed By FCC For Home Routers (imgtec.com) 55

An anonymous reader writes: Back in March 2015, the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a security document that included a series of provisions related to the use of wireless devices. In order to comply with these security guidelines, some manufacturers of home routers and other networking equipment decided to lock down the software powering these devices. This caused an outcry from the open source community who demanded that the FCC and manufacturers would not restrict the free use of the operating system and associated software running on their devices. Now Imagination Technologies is presenting a proof of concept demonstration that addresses the next-generation security requirements mandated by the FCC and other similar agencies. The demo makes use of a feature of MIPS Warrior CPUs called multi-domain, secure hardware virtualization. This technology allows developers to create system-wide, hardware-enforced trusted environments that are much secure compared to current solutions. The platform used for the demonstration runs three virtual machines (VMs) on a MIPS P-class CPU integrated in a router-type evaluation kit; this approach securely separates the OpenWrt operating system from the Wi-Fi driver, allowing them to co-exist in isolation and thus comply with the FCC guidelines.Ars Technica has more details.

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