Cybersecurity is a fairly common buzz word used in Washington these days. It is tossed around to scare people that are ignorant of the way computer systems work so that legislation that is exceptionally pro-corporate friendly and anti-consumer can be pushed through. The latest of these is the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act. This handy little bit of law just passed through the US senate on the 28th (74 to 21) and allow corporations to share customer data with the US government and other companies without any consequences for doing so. This effectively removes any recourse customers or users have about the sharing of their personal information.
According to Ars Technica, the U.S. Homeland Security closed a key account for mobile payment associated with Bitcoin Stock Exchange Mt. Gox. This is the account Dwolla owned by Mutum Sigillum (Mt. Gox property) from which resources are paid to the account of Mt. Goxa which is the largest Bitcoin exchange on the Internet. For those who do not know, Dwolla was the easiest way of buying Bitcoin as other services for online payment, such as PayPal, for example, do not give the option to purchase Bitcoin.
The system of Copyright, Patents and Trademarks has a long history in the US and around the world. Originally the system was developed to protect the individual inventor or artists. It allows them to benefit from their work or inventions for a limited period of time as a form of compensation for bringing a new technology or art to the world. This system worked very well when it was individuals who were seeking the protection. Patent laws at the time also required that the inventor be able to demonstrate their inventions before the patents were granted.
Yesterday we wrote an article where we described how a military drone could be hacked through the use of GPS spoofing. This morning we received an email from one of the people involved in the actual event with some clarifications. First despite original reports (and some addition information we were given) the drone that was used for the demonstration was not a military class drone. It was one that the University of Texas purchased. It is still fairly sophisticated and is the same kind used by law enforcement. The team did this to point out serious issues with commercial drones before there is a rewrite of the FAA rules governing this new class of vehicles. You can check out the original story about for more information on the hack.
**********UPDATE 7/1/2012 - We have heard from Both Vanguard Defense Industries and Todd Humphreys from the University of Texas. The Drone in quesstion was NOT purchased from Vanguard. The University of Texas declined to state how they did purchase it from, but commented that the vulnerability exists in any drone that uses Civil GPS systems. ******************
As someone that has followed the online “hacking” community since its infancy (war dialing anyone) I can say with a fair amount of confidence that the guys what kicked it all off (Like Steve Wozniak) would be proud of where some of the movement has gone. In the early 80’s War Dialing was something of a fun sport, you dialed a range of numbers until a computer answered and then you tried to talk to it. A lot of the activity was aimed at “corrupt businesses and government agencies” right alongside the people looking to just do it because it was something new and exciting.
When we first started to hear rumblings about Microsoft’s next version of Windows we were told that it would be positioned as the center piece of a connected home. Now at the time we took this to mean an internal environment with connectivity to gaming consoles, media centers (or hubs) and of course Windows Home Server. What we did not expect was for Microsoft to shovel the cloud and their cloud based services down the consumer’s throats.
The Department of Homeland Security has issues some very unusual warnings for companies that handle the US Natural Gas Pipelines. The three Amber warnings claim that a concerted intrusion attempt is being made on the command and control centers for this infrastructure service that is responsible for roughly 25% of the power produced in the US. What makes these warnings unusual is the detail and the fact that companies have been told not to do anything to block the intrusions unless they threaten the actual operation of the service.
After working so very hard (and unsuccessfully) to convince everyone that CISPA (Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act) would not be like SOPA and that it is all good for everyone, it seems that the lawmakers involved in it just could not resist adding in a special little touch. There is an amendment to CISPA that would grant the Department of Homeland Security some brand new powers over all that data.