Just when you thought the story of antivirus king John McAfee–who’s wanted for questioning by Belizean police for the murder of his neighbor Gregory Faull–couldn’t get any stranger, dude goes and starts a blog about how he’s managed to evade police by posing as a dolphin carving peddler who sticks tampons up his nose.
In a blog called Who is McAfee?, which suspiciously resembles a marketing ploy for the upcoming graphic novel about his life The Hinterland, Mr. McAfee spares no details in describing exactly what it’s like to be on the run from authorities in Central America.
Gmail has improved its search capabilities, making it possible to now search for emails by size or specific date parameters. This should make finding all those embarrassing emails you sent to your ex even easier. [Gmail Blog]
NY Senator Charles Schumer proposed an initiative yesterday that would create two new high school diplomas that focus on promoting high-tech industries. Gotta start ‘em young? [Press Connects]
The Queen of England prefers the Galaxy Note over the iPad for some unknown reason. [CNET]
Here’s something to alarm you before 9 a.m.: Mat Honan, the Wired writer who was famously hacked, on why passwords are basically useless in protecting your personal information. [Wired]
Americans are too prudish to get into the spirit of fancy butt-washing Japanese toilets. [Priceonomics]
Twitter Uh Oh
Those who received an email from Twitter warning that they should reset their passwords might greet this admission in Twitter’s status blog with some irritation. Twitter admits: yeah, they kind of screwed that up.
Don’t get too mad, though–Twitter only had our best interests at heart. It’s just that in a fairly normal investigation of compromised accounts, someone at Twitter HQ may have gotten a little carried away:
Hack Hack Hack Hack It Apart
Superstorm Sandy washed and blew away some polling places and displaced thousands of residents in New York and New Jersey. New Jersey, in an effort to make sure every voice is heard, has enabled voting via email.
New York didn’t want to go with the email voting option because officials feel it might be vulnerable to fraud.
Writing in Norman’s “Security Exposed” blog, Norman’s vice president and GM Darin Andersen examines the problem of email voting.
Mr. Andersen writes that polling machines may have their own security problems but admits there hasn’t been reliable evidence of hacker interference in previous elections. However, Mr. Andersen is wary of email voting:
When mathematician Zachary Harris received an email from a Google headhunter asking if he was “open to confidentially exploring opportunities” with the search giant, Mr. Harris was skeptical. He checked the email’s headers–the thicket of traffic data hidden in every message we receive–and saw that though the message was authentic, Google had a problem.
The New York City Police want to help you find your lost or stolen iPhone, which is nice! That’s why the NYPD will implement something called Operation ID, beginning Friday, September 21st–not coincidentally the date the iPhone 5 goes on sale. The police will be on point for that, too:
Privacy is Dead
“CryptoParty” sounds like an event involving strangers in balaclavas and Guy Fawkes masks sipping cocktails and staring unblinkingly at each other. That might be fun, but a CryptoParty is really, according to this wiki, a gathering of “Interested parties with computers and the desire to learn to use the most basic crypto programs.” CryptoParties are practical efforts to assist private citizens in learning how to combat what many activists contend is a creeping Orwellian surveillance state in developed countries worldwide.
In a post published a few days ago, the Australian edition of SC Magazine elaborated:
Flame I'm Gonna Live Forever
Humanity’s fear of “war without end” has yet to be completely fulfilled in the analog world, but state-sponsored cyber warfare has been afoot for years and is only getting worse. That’s one takeaway from cyber security expert Pete Warren’s report in The Guardian on government-created malware.
Mr. Warren consulted a number of anonymous security experts with military ties to get a sense of how long major governments have been developing nefarious software packages like Flame, Duqu and Stuxnet. Some systems, writes Mr. Warren, “have been under development since at least 1996.” Moreover, the United States and its allies aren’t the only nations with skin in the malware game:
It may seem that the government keeping an eye on every bit of data flowing across the Internet is an improbably vast form of surveillance, too expensive to manage. Ars Technica informs us that it is terrifyingly easy to nose around inside all our emails, chats and site visits, using a series of functions that include deep packet inspection (DPI). DPI is hardware capability that has been used by no less than that paragon of democracy, the Libyan government under Muammar Gaddafi.
Deep packet inspection is useful because it keeps networks safe. However, it can also reveal the entirety of a web user’s digital trail. If your data flashing through your Internet provider’s routers is like a car going through a stoplight, data packet inspection is performing the function of the traffic cam that captures your plate number. But when used for snooping, data packet inspection doesn’t just snapshot a random packet, it works full-time. This is why DPI’s usefulness in probing data was feared by opponents of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).
As Ars Technica’s Sean Gallagher reports, however, deep packet inspection is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to total data surveillance. There are services, Gallagher writes, that offer “Google-sized surveillance“:
Hack Hack Hack Hack It Apart
This weekend, a group of hackers claiming solidarity with Anonymous performed a huge data dump of 1 million records. Speaking for Team GhostShell, black hat hacker DeadMellox evoked a metal vibe, writing, “All aboard the Smoke & Flames Train,” before listing targets of the dump.