Wikileaks dropped a bomb on Texas-based “global intelligence company” Stratfor late Sunday with “The Global Intelligence Files,” a dump of over 5 million hacked emails containing confidential information about Stratfor’s informers, psych ops, pay-offs and the methods they use to make the payments. Anonymous has proudly taken credit for the hack via @YourAnonNews:
War is raging in Crimea. It is marked by all characteristics we have come to expect of modern warfare. Irregular troops, in and out of uniform, conducting operations in urban centers, supported by technology, televised all over the world in full HD. On top, is waged a layer of what we’ve come to know as cyberwar. A relatively new domain of warfare, its tactics are more likely to be borrowed from the hacker community than from militaries of old. The theft and manipulation of information trump destroying targets.
What’s most interesting, however, has less to do with how, and much more to do with who is fighting this cyberwar.
On the Town
Facebook is going to pony up $20 million to some users who were included in its “Sponsored Stories” ad program without receiving their permission. [Wired]
Apple is reportedly going to unveil an iPhone trade-in program in anticipation of the new model coming in September. [AllThingsD]
Alexis Ohanian is going on the offensive and denying rumors that he did work for controversial intelligence agency Stratfor despite a Wikileaks dump that Reddit users are insinuating otherwise. [Daily Dot]
According to a Pew Research study, 10 percent use their smartphones as their sole connection to the Internet. We pity their Facebook experience. [TechCrunch]
Um, get excited for the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch coming next week? [GigaOM]
Privacy is Dead
“Have you ever watched Star Wars?” A volunteer in a Maker Camp t-shirt asked a kid walking through this afternoon’s Geek Street Fair at 14th Street Park. When she paused, he whipped out a slinky, connected it to some sort of noise distortion machine, and suddenly there were the familiar laser sounds. For his efforts, he got a shy brace-faced smile.
Google hosted several geeky groups for the event this afternoon, including Maker Camp, the New York Hall of Science and the American Museum of Natural History. (The latter brought skulls!) For good measure the company invited various summer programs from around the city, so the small public space was packed with kids milling around in identifying t-shirts–the Jamaica YMCA, Medgar Evers College, ASPIRA.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has begun implementing a $1 billion face recognition program that will probably scare everyone outside of law enforcement. NewScientist reports that the Next Generation Identification (NGI) program will lump iris scans, biometrics, DNA and even voice prints into one formidable profiling tool and some states are already using the program in a limited fashion. The whole thing will be in effect across the country in about 2 years. NewScientist addresses the privacy problem:
Anonymous has pretty much had all it can take of The New York Times’s bullshit and it’s not going to take it anymore. That’s the upshot of this “Anonymous Declaration of #OpNYT” posted on Pastebin sometime late yesterday. #OpNYT certainly sounds ominous, but as Gawker’s Adrian Chen noted in a tweet, “Anonymous’ press releases get somehow get longer-winded every time.”
This long-windedness makes it tough to parse what the eternally seething hacktivist collective is trying to say. In this instance Wikileaks, Stratfor and HBGary are all name-checked before the declaration segues into, inevitably, the Orwellian global surveillance system currently loathed by privacy activists everywhere, TrapWire. The Times’s minimal coverage of TrapWire (a system apparently controlled by the Cubic Corporation, which is referenced below) appears to have pushed Anonymous’s “epic invective” button:
Hacktivist collective Anonymous has teamed with a group called The Peoples Liberation Front (PLF) to begin a unified assault against a new nemesis: all-seeing Orwell-approved surveillance system TrapWire. In a press release published today, they explain why TrapWire should make everyone nervous:
Hack Hack Hack Hack It Apart
PayPal may launch a product to compete with ousted cofounder Jack Dorsey’s Square [GigaOM]
Secret startup in Mississippi, Twin Creeks, has developed technology they claim can cut the cost of solar cells in half [Technology Review]
Social transparency investment platform eToro raises $15 million in a venture round led by Spark Capital [TechCrunch]
Hacker group “The Consortium” breaks into porn site Digital Playground and steals the data of 70,000 customers including names, email addresses and credit card information [Adult Video News]
A New York man is suing Apple for misrepresenting Siri’s performance in TV ads [The Register]
FBI: $700 thousand dollars of unauthorized charges were made on credit cards compromised during the Stratfor hack [CNET]
Yahoo sues Facebook for patent infringement [AllThingsD]
When Hackers Attack
This morning, officials on two continents raided top members of the hacker group LulzSec, an offshoot of Anonymous. According to a Fox News exclusive, the evidence used against them had been gathered by Hector Xavier Monsegur or “Sabu,” who was outed as LulzSec’s leader last June. Sources told Fox that Sabu had been working with the government for months.
Under the alias “Sabu,” Mr. Monsegur, an unemployed, 28-year-old father of two, “allegedly commanded a loosely organized, international team of perhaps thousands hackers from his nerve center in a public housing project on New York’s Lower East Side.”
Mr. Monsegur apparently started working as a cooperating witness when he was identified by the FBI and pleaded guilty to “hacking-related charges” in August, in a case that will be unsealed today.
Speaking to a cyber-security professionals in San Francisco, F.B.I. director Robert Mueller named what the feds see as America’s emergent number 1 threat: cyber-terrorism. Mr. Mueller first sounded this warning note in testimony given in January to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
In his remarks at the R.S.A. Conference Thursday, the A.P. reports Mr. Mueller listed losses to cyber-criminals: “We are losing data, we are losing money, we are losing ideas and we are losing innovation,” he said. Mr. Mueller also told attendees that together they “must find a way to stop the bleeding.”