COMPUTERS/INTERNET/SECURITY | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

COMPUTERS/INTERNET/SECURITY

Jan 22 22:54

Facebook spent more on lobbying than any other Big Tech company in 2020

In a year when examining the power of the Big Tech companies became a major theme across the federal government, the top five major players spent millions of dollars lobbying Congress on issues ranging from election integrity to immigration.

Tech companies disclosed their lobbying spending for the fourth quarter of 2020 late Thursday night, revealing big swings in spending from 2019 to 2020. Combined, however, the five Big Tech companies (Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft) spent slightly less in 2020 than in the year before at $61.09 million, a 1.8% decrease.

Jan 22 09:11

The new Raspberry Pi Pico is an incredibly powerful little chip for just $4

Raspberry Pi has entered the microcontroller market with the $4 Raspberry Pi Pico, a brand-new piece of hardware based on the company's own custom silicon.

Whereas traditional Pi boards need to be paired with a microcontroller in order to control a physical device – say, a robot or a weather balloon – the Pico bridges this gap between hardware and software by providing a direct analogue connection to the end device.

Jan 22 08:46

Huge Interest In Pizza-Making Robot As COVID Accelerates "Social Distancing Kitchens"

COVID-19 will accelerate technological change that will bring the rise of robotics and artificial intelligence to many industries.

In particular, the restaurant industry, and how one Seattle startup is automating pizza kitchens.

The Picnic Pizza System was rolled out at 2019's CES technology conference in Las Vegas. The robotic pizza-maker fully automates the process of making a pizza. It can make hundreds of customized pizzas, each with different toppings, along with different sizes.

Jan 22 08:36

Aurora And PACCAR Team Up In Autonomous Truck Push

Just last month Uber unloaded its self-driving unit, Advanced Technologies Group, to Aurora to accelerate the development of the Aurora Driver, which is hoping to become the autonomous driving platform powering everything from passenger vehicles to heavy-duty trucks.

Aurora is backed by names such as Amazon and Sequoia with Uber now reportedly holding a more than 25% stake in the company following last month's deal. Aurora was co-founded by Chris Urmson, who headed Google's self-driving division for nearly eight years and is one of the most widely regarded names in the self-driving vehicle space.

Aurora didn't take long to announce its next move following the acquisition of ATG as the company signed a global strategic partnership with trucking giant PACCAR to bring a self-driving trucks powered by the Aurora Driver to market in the coming years.

Jan 22 06:37

Another Mega Group Spy Scandal? Samanage, Sabotage, and the SolarWinds Hack

The devastating hack on SolarWinds was quickly pinned on Russia by US intelligence. A more likely culprit, Samanage, a company whose software was integrated into SolarWinds’ software just as the “back door” was inserted, is deeply tied to Israeli intelligence and intelligence-linked families such as the Maxwells.

In mid-December of 2020, a massive hack compromised the networks of numerous US federal agencies, major corporations, the top five accounting firms in the country, and the military, among others. Despite most US media attention now focusing on election-related chaos, the fallout from the hack continues to make headlines day after day.

The hack, which affected Texas-based software provider SolarWinds, was blamed on Russia on January 5 by the US government’s Cyber Unified Coordination Group. Their statement asserted that the attackers were “likely Russian in origin,” but they failed to provide evidence to back up that claim.

Jan 21 13:30

Tim Cook gifted Trump the 'first' Mac Pro built in the U.S.

Former President Donald Trump once waged war with Apple over tariffs for products made in China. At one point, he said Apple would not be given tariff waivers on Mac Pro parts unless Apple produced them in the U.S.

Now, thanks to Trump's final financial disclosure report as president (via The New York Times' David Enrich), we know that Trump actually owns one of those U.S.-made Macs, as Apple CEO Tim Cook gifted the ex-President a $5,999 Mac Pro.

Jan 21 10:47

Does Your Android Phone Need Antivirus or Malware Protection?

Perhaps when it comes to your precious smartphone, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Your smartphone is indeed a powerful computing device, and there are potential thieves out there who want access to that information for obvious financial reasons. Evidence suggests that more than 350,000 new pieces of malware are generated each and every day—and smartphones are increasingly becoming the target of choice.

For those who let their guard down even for a moment, here are a few examples of what can happen:

Jan 21 10:42

This phishing scam left thousands of stolen passwords exposed through Google search

Operators of a phishing campaign targeting the construction and energy sectors exposed credentials stolen in attacks that were publicly viewable with a simple Google search.

On Thursday, Check Point Research published a blog post describing the campaign, in which stolen information was dumped on compromised WordPress domains.

The recent phishing attack began with one of several fraudulent email templates and would mimic Xerox/Xeros scan notifications including a target company employee's name or title in the subject line.

Jan 21 06:36

THE FALLOUT CONTINUES: REMAKING THE INTERNET: BERNERS-LEE AND RUSSIA

Last Monday you'll recall I blogged about the op-ed piece in TASS by Mr. Dmitri Medvedev, a stable feature and highly placed individual within the Russian government in the past few years. In his article, Mr. Medvedev pointed out the dubious precedent of the American tech-giants censoring Mr. Trump, and implied the necessity for other countries to distance themselves from their social media platforms. In the context of his remarks, he clearly meant to imply that these were some of the blowback or fallout issues stemming from the recent American elections.

But there are more, and they concern the internet itself. These two articles, shared by D.D. and V.T. respectively, concern that blowback regarding the internet more directly:

Jan 20 10:51

Malwarebytes said it was hacked by the same group who breached SolarWinds

Since the same threat actor breached SolarWinds and then moved to poison the company's software by inserting the Sunburst malware into some updates for the SolarWinds Orion app, Kleczynski said they also performed a very thorough audit of all its products and their source code, searching for any signs of a similar compromise or past supply chain attack.

"Our internal systems showed no evidence of unauthorized access or compromise in any on-premises and production environments.

"Our software remains safe to use," Kleczynski added.

Jan 20 09:08

If Martin Luther King Jr. Were Alive Today, Big Tech Would’ve Already Banned Him

Showing the slippery slope of widespread blanket censorship policies is the fact that just days after Trump and his Q base were deplatformed, a man who has devoted his entire life to peace and liberty, Dr. Ron Paul, was also censored. After news of his censorship began to make headlines, Facebook backtracked and claimed it was “a mistake.” But was it really?

In an email to the Free Thought Project, Dr. Paul said he wasn’t “exactly buying their explanation,” adding “It seems like Facebook is testing to see just how far they can go with banning anyone who doesn’t toe the establishment line.”

Indeed, this is a test that we’ve seen play out time and again — a test, in which TFTP has found itself too many times.

If big tech can censor one of the most antiwar and peaceful political figures of our time, imagine what they would have done with this technology during the civil rights movement.

Jan 20 09:04

This New Windows 10 Bug Could Brick Your PC

Don’t do it. Most people aren’t going to experiment with navigating to root Windows 10 folders, but just in case anyone might be digging around in the software guts of their PC, it’s best to stay away from inputting this file path into your browser: “\\.\globalroot\device\condrv\kernelconnect”. It will not only instantly crash your PC, but also give you the dreaded blue screen of death (BSOD), from which your PC might not be able to recover. Do not do it!

According to Tom’s Guide, the bug was recently discovered by Windows security researcher Jonas Lykkegaard, who’s been tweeting about the issue on-and-off since October 2020. Lykkegaard explained that when the above path is opened in Windows 10, regardless of if the user has administrative privileges or not, the system can’t properly check for errors when it tries to connect to the path, resulting in a BSOD crash.

Jan 20 08:34

Executive Order on Taking Additional Steps to Address the National Emergency with Respect to Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities

I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, find that additional steps must be taken to deal with the national emergency related to significant malicious cyber-enabled activities declared in Executive Order 13694 of April 1, 2015 (Blocking the Property of Certain Persons Engaging in Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities), as amended, to address the use of United States Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) products by foreign malicious cyber actors. IaaS products provide persons the ability to run software and store data on servers offered for rent or lease without responsibility for the maintenance and operating costs of those servers. Foreign malicious cyber actors aim to harm the United States economy through the theft of intellectual property and sensitive data and to threaten national security by targeting United States critical infrastructure for malicious cyber-enabled activities.

Jan 20 08:08

Brave implementing IPFS protocol to create a decentralized web browser

The internet has seen much evolution in its relatively short lifespan. A vast number of corporations work tirelessly to earn your precious screen time, with many of their behaviors setting off red flags in regards to user privacy. With distrust constantly rising, Brave is looking to create a more decentralized internet and is using the IPFS protocol to do so.

As first reported by The Verge, Brave will be implementing the IPFS protocol as it furthers its efforts to make a more private and transparent internet experience. Short for InterPlanetary File System, IPFS grabs information from a network of distributed nodes rather than a centralized server, like what we get from HTTP in most other web browsers. In addition to overall faster speeds, using the IPFS protocol could give users access to information previously unavailable.

Jan 20 08:07

'Anti-Facebook' MeWe social network adds 2.5 million new members in one week

There has been a growing movement away from social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter recently.

Users are getting fed up with relentless privacy violations, surveillance capitalism, political bias, targeting, and newsfeed manipulation by these companies.

And other social media platforms are benefitting from this tidal wave. Los Angeles-based social media network MeWe, touted to be the ad-free future of social networking, is currently the No. 1 downloaded social app in the Google Play Store, and the No. 3 downloaded app out of all apps in the store.

Jan 20 08:06

Twitter responsible for half of child abuse material UK investigators found on web platforms

Twitter is responsible for almost half of the child abuse material found by UK investigators being hosted openly on popular tech sites, according to figures seen by the Telegraph.

Statistics from the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) show that 49 percent of the images, videos and url links it found on social media, search engines and cloud services in the last three years were on the social network, making up 1,396 of the total 2,835 incidents found.

Child protection figures warned the each incident could represent hundreds or thousands of images or videos, as they included urls linking back to child abuse websites.

Jan 20 08:05

DuckDuckGo reaches a major milestone in its fight to topple Google

The privacy-centric search engine DuckDuckGo has announced that it has reached a major milestone, confirming that it handled more than 100 million user search queries in a single day for the first time ever. The landmark figure represents a significant moment for the search engine, which was founded back in 2008.

Jan 19 08:49

ADL Hails Big Tech Censors: CEOs Are 'The 4th Branch Of Govt,' 'They're Trying To Hold The Country Together'

America is not held together by the people but by a cadre of CEOs who censor the internet in accordance with the demands of the Anti-Defamation League, according to ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt.

Jan 19 08:47

Advanced Israeli malware: no interaction, no trace

There is advanced Israeli malware that can hack into your device without requiring you to interact with it or leaving a visible trace.

In earlier versions, the malware produced by Israeli spy firm NSO Group required a target to click a link or open a document.

In more recent versions, the targeted person may still receive a message or phone call containing the malware, but their device can be infected without them having to click on anything.

None of that is required any longer.

The phones of dozens of media personnel have been infected with the advanced spyware, the Canadian cybersecurity organization Citizen Lab has revealed.

Suspected government agents used malware produced by NSO Group to hack into the phones of 36 journalists, producers, anchors and executives at Al Jazeera, and the phone of a journalist at the London-based Al Araby between July and August.

Jan 18 15:15

De-Platforming of Gun Sites Is a Dark Harbinger

Surrendering freedoms to a few corporations to arbitrate isn’t just dangerous for the firearm industry. It erodes all of our rights as well as this nation we all dearly love.

Jan 18 08:28

FLASHBACK - Cloud computing is a trap, warns GNU founder Richard Stallman

Web-based programs like Google's Gmail will force people to buy into locked, proprietary systems that will cost more and more over time, according to the free software campaigner

The concept of using web-based programs like Google's Gmail is "worse than stupidity", according to a leading advocate of free software.

Cloud computing – where IT power is delivered over the internet as you need it, rather than drawn from a desktop computer – has gained currency in recent years. Large internet and technology companies including Google, Microsoft and Amazon are pushing forward their plans to deliver information and software over the net.

Jan 18 01:17

WhatsApp growth slumps as rivals Signal, Telegram rise

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Encrypted messaging apps Signal and Telegram are seeing huge upticks in downloads from Apple and Google’s app stores. Facebook-owned WhatsApp, by contrast, is seeing its growth decline following a fiasco that forced the company to clarify a privacy update it had sent to users.

Mobile app analytics firm Sensor Tower said Wednesday that Signal saw 17.8 million app downloads on Apple and Google during the week of Jan. 5 to Jan. 12. That’s a 61-fold increase from just 285,000 the previous week. Telegram, an already-popular messaging app for people around the world, saw 15.7 million downloads in the Jan. 5 to Jan. 12 period, roughly twice the 7.6 million downloads it saw the previous week.

WhatsApp, meanwhile, saw downloads shrink to 10.6 million, down from 12.7 million the week before.

Jan 18 01:14

WhatsApp delays privacy update over user 'confusion' and backlash about Facebook data sharing

WhatsApp has delayed a privacy policy update that caused confusion and backlash among users over fears it could mean broader data sharing with the messaging app’s owner Facebook.

“We’ve heard from so many people how much confusion there is around our recent update. There’s been a lot of misinformation causing concern and we want to help everyone understand our principles and the facts,” WhatsApp said in a blog post over the weekend.

The updates related specifically to features that allow users to message and interact with businesses on WhatsApp. Last year, Facebook announced that businesses using WhatsApp could store and manage their chats with customers using Facebook’s “secure hosting infrastructure.”

Jan 17 10:06

Mexican president, other world leaders denounce Big Tech after Trump’s Twitter ban

Shortly before the announcement, Project Veritas released a video they received from a whistleblower in which Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said that Trump’s ban is only the beginning of further purges that will see significantly more accounts being banned. These purges, he added, will continue after Joe Biden is inaugurated. -- He added that America is extremely divided, as his platform shows, and that his company’s role is to “protect the integrity of that conversation.” Of course, he failed to explain how shutting one side out of a conversation protects its integrity.

Jan 16 07:02

James Murdoch Lambasts Some US Media For Advancing 'Insidious' Forces Amid Capitol Riot

James Murdoch, youngest son of media oligarch Rupert Murdoch, earlier in summer resigned from his position on the board of his father's News Corp media empire, citing "disagreements over the editorial content".

James Murdoch, in an interview with The Financial Times, denounced American media, and Fox News in particular, for advancing what he described as "insidious and uncontrollable forces", and expressing hope that the deadly Capitol havoc will result in a "reckoning" for the media in the US.

“The damage is profound," Murdoch told the FT. “The sacking of the Capitol is proof positive that what we thought was dangerous is indeed very, very much so. Those outlets that propagate lies to their audience have unleashed insidious and uncontrollable forces that will be with us for years.”

Jan 16 03:21

Google cuts off other Chromium-based browsers from its Sync service

Google said today that it caught other Chromium-based browsers piggybacking on its infrastructure and abusing the Chrome Sync service to store their users' data, bookmarks, and browsing history on Google's servers, without approval.

The discovery was made during "a recent audit," Google said today in a short statement.

To prevent future abuse, Google said it plans to limit some of the Chrome APIs (features) that it includes inside Chromium starting March 15, 2021, making them unavailable for any other browser developed on top of the Chromium open-source codebase.

Jan 15 16:42

Big Tech’s Purge is Only Beginning… For Them

Now more than at any other point in history is there the opportunity for a real, properly-built and decentralized social media platform owned by those that hold the governance tokens and not a corporation or organization which is corruptible.

Because we’ve seen how that story ends.

Jan 15 10:58

Windows 10 bug corrupts your hard drive on seeing this file's icon

An unpatched zero-day in Microsoft Windows 10 allows attackers to corrupt an NTFS-formatted hard drive with a one-line command.

In multiple tests by BleepingComputer, this one-liner can be delivered hidden inside a Windows shortcut file, a ZIP archive, batch files, or various other vectors to trigger hard drive errors that corrupt the filesystem index instantly.

Jan 15 10:58

NSA warns against using DoH inside enterprise networks

The US National Security Agency has published today a guide on the benefits and risks of encrypted DNS protocols, such as DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH), which have become widely used over the past two years.

The US cybersecurity agency warns that while technologies like DoH can encrypt and hide user DNS queries from network observers, they also have downsides when used inside corporate networks.

Jan 15 10:51

WHATSAPP SEES SUDDEN DROP IN DOWNLOADS AS MILLIONS TURN TO TELEGRAM AND SIGNAL

Downloads fell by more than 2 million between 5-12 January compared to the previous week, shrinking to 10.6 million.

This is now less than both Signal and Telegram, which saw 17.8 million and 15.7 million downloads respectively during the same time period, data from app analytics firm Sensor Tower revealed.

The dwindling demand for the Facebook-owned app follows widespread dissatisfaction with how it treats user data.

Jan 15 10:42

Quantum internet signals beamed between drones a kilometre apart

Entangled photons have been sent between two drones hovering a kilometre apart, demonstrating technology that could form the building blocks of a quantum internet.

When a pair of photons are quantum entangled, you can instantly deduce the state of one by measuring the other, regardless of the distance separating them. This phenomenon, which Albert Einstein dismissively called “spooky action at a distance”, is the basis of quantum encryption – using entangled particles to ensure communications are secret.

Quantum networks are far more secure than the existing internet because any attempt to eavesdrop changes the state of the photons, alerting the recipient to foul play.

Jan 15 10:33

OneWeb secures new funding from SoftBank to help it take on Elon Musk’s Starlink

LONDON — Less than a year after filing for bankruptcy, U.K. satellite communications firm OneWeb announced it has $1.4 billion in total funding thanks to a new investment from SoftBank and Hughes Network Systems.

Reports suggest the new funding from SoftBank and Hughes is worth around $400 million. OneWeb and SoftBank did not immediately respond to a CNBC request for comment.

Founded in 2012, OneWeb wants to create a network of hundreds of satellites and use them to deliver broadband to everyone in the world, no matter where they are. The company claims its satellite system will be able to deliver affordable, fast, high-bandwidth and low-latency broadband.

The London-headquartered company is competing with Elon Musk’s Starlink, which has launched considerably more satellites and is already conducting trials in the U.S. and the U.K.

Starlink is a subdivision of aerospace manufacturer and space transportation company SpaceX, which was founded by Musk in 2002.

Jan 15 10:21

CONFIRMED: THEY WILL DE-PLATFORM SITES BEYOND THEIR CONTROL VIA DNS.

What is DNS? When you type a site name, it is meaningless to a computer. Your computer sends the site's name to a DNS server and the DNS server then tells your computer what IP address the site is at, and your computer then accesses that IP address. Having the IP address work correctly has to be set up on purpose. Normally you cannot just hit a site's IP and have it load. This site is an exception. This site's IP address is 82.221.129.208 and when you hit only that number, it still loads the most current page.

Jan 15 09:03

Verified Twitter accounts hacked in $580k ‘Elon Musk’ crypto scam

Over the past week, security researcher MalwareHunterTeam has seen an uptick in verified Twitter accounts hacked in a scam promoting another fake Elon Musk cryptocurrency giveaway.

These accounts will reply to tweets, like Elon Musk's below, and promote a scam where Musk is allegedly giving away free cryptocurrency.

The tweets will contain links that redirect to Medium article promoting the fake giveaway. The articles contain further links to the scam landing pages that state if you send bitcoins to the listed address, they will send you back twice the amount.

Jan 15 06:17

WhatsApp Clarifies It Cannot See Your Private Messages

WhatsApp is under fire due to a change in the company's Terms of Service, effective Feb. 8, which now states that WhatsApp will share user data with parent company Facebook.

Users are leaving the platform — one indication is a massive surge of new users into competing messaging service Signal — and now, WhatsApp is mitigating the damage.

"We want to address some rumors and be 100 percent clear we continue to protect your private messages with end-to-end encryption," the company tweeted Tuesday.

In an infographic attached to the tweet, WhatsApp clarifies that it "cannot see your private messages or hear your calls and neither can Facebook." Furthermore, WhatsApp says it "does not keep logs of who everyone is messaging or calling," it "cannot see your shared location and neither can Facebook," and it "does not share your contacts with Facebook."

Jan 15 06:12

WhatsApp's changes to personal data violate users' privacy and pose a threat to national security, according to a court filing in India, the app's biggest market

After widespread backlash from users and privacy activists alike, a petition has been filed in India against WhatsApp's new privacy policy.

The petition, filed in the Delhi High Court, calls on the Indian government to ensure WhatsApp does not share user data with third parties, Bar & Bench report.

WhatsApp informed users on Wednesday that it was updating its terms of service and privacy policies from February 8, 2021.

The messaging platform announced it would start sharing some personal data, including phone numbers and locations, with its parent company, Facebook.

If users don't agree to new terms of service, they will lose access to the app.

A WhatsApp spokesperson told Ars Technica the change was to allow businesses to store WhatsApp chats using Facebook's broader infrastructure. The company says the changes do not impact users in the UK or the EU, and do not affect the privacy of conversations with friends and family.

Jan 15 01:39

China A.I. firms and Huawei filed to patent technology that could identify Uighur Muslims, report says

GUANGZHOU, China — A new report reveals patent applications belonging to Huawei and a group of China-based artificial intelligence companies for systems that can detect people who are part of a Muslim minority group.

The ethnic Uighurs, who live mostly in China’s west, have been identified by the United Nations, United States, United Kingdom and others as a repressed group. Authorities allegedly use widespread surveillance technology to monitor the region’s Uighur population. The Chinese government denies mistreating Uighurs and says those camps are vocational training centers.

IPVM, a U.S.-based research firm that analyzes video surveillance technology, looked at patents in China related to systems that could be used to identify Uighurs’ faces. IPVM jointly published its research with the BBC.

Jan 14 11:54

Controversial AI chatbot is REMOVED from Facebook after saying she 'despised' gay people, would 'rather die' than be disabled and calling the #MeToo movement 'ignorant'

Lee Luda, developed by Seoul-based start-up Scatter Lab to operate within Facebook Messenger, became an instant sensation for its spontaneous and natural reactions, attracting more than 750,000 users after launching late last month.

Luda's AI algorithms learned from data collected from 10 billion conversations on Kakao Talk, the country's top messenger app.

But the chatbot was rapidly embroiled in controversy after a spate of allegations that it had used hate speech towards minorities, eventually forcing the developer to take it offline.

In one of the captured chat shots, Luda said she 'despised' gays and lesbians.

When asked about transgender people, she replied: 'You are driving me mad. Don't repeat the same question. I said I don't like them.'

In another conversation, she said people behind the #MeToo movement were 'just ignorant', noting: 'I absolutely scorn it.'

Jan 14 11:22

MICROSOFT NOT ONLY FUNDS ID2020 BUT THEY ALSO FILED A PATENT FOR A DEVICE CONNECTED TO THE HUMAN BODY FOR BUYING AND SELLING CRYPTOCURRENCY

MICROSOFT PATENT FILING FOR BUYING AND SELLING CRYPTOCURRENCY: Human body activity associated with a task provided to a user may be used in a mining process of a cryptocurrency system. A server may provide a task to a device of a user which is communicatively coupled to the server. A sensor communicatively coupled to or comprised in the device of the user may sense body activity of the user. Body activity data may be generated based on the sensed body activity of the user. The cryptocurrency system communicatively coupled to the device of the user may verify if the body activity data satisfies one or more conditions set by the cryptocurrency system, and award cryptocurrency to the user whose body activity data is verified.

Jan 14 11:20

Twitter Says Internet Shutdowns ‘Violate Basic Human Rights’ — in Uganda

Twitter has spoken out in favor of free speech, and against the shutdown of the Internet — in Uganda.

Twitter’s public policy department tweeted in opposition to reported efforts to shut down internet access ahead of Uganda’s election this week, where President Yoweri Museveni is asking voters for a sixth term. He has been in office for 35 years.

Last week, Twitter banned President Donald Trump from its platform permanently. It also continues to suspend and expel tens of thousands of Trump supporters. Twitter’s main competitor, Parler, was also kicked off Amazon’s servers.

This week, however, Twitter stood up for free speech and the open Internet, arguing that “Access to information and freedom of expression, including the public conversation on Twitter, is never more important than during democratic processes, particularly elections.”

Jan 14 08:19

Best robots at CES 2021: Humanoid hosts, AI pets, UV-C disinfecting bots, and more

Each year, CES features the latest in robotics innovation, and this year is no exception. From disinfecting robots to AI-enabled companions, here are some of the best robots at CES 2021.

Jan 14 05:14

Twitter's Jack Dorsey admits internet companies have too much power and praises bitcoin as a model to change that

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said on Wednesday that banning President Donald Trump was the "right decision for Twitter," but admitted that the internet shouldn't be controlled by a handful of private companies.

In a series of 13 tweets, Dorsey said that online speech resulting in real world harm requires action even if a ban on an account is divisive "and sets a precedent I feel is dangerous." He wrote that if a company like Twitter makes a decision that people don't like, they can go elsewhere, creating an inherent check on its power.

Jan 14 03:03

Report: Jared Kushner 'Intervened' to Stop Pres. Trump From Joining Gab

President Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, "intervened" to stop the President from joining the free speech Twitter alternative Gab after he was banned from every major social media platform, according to a report from CNN.

Jan 13 14:37

SolarLeaks site claims to sell data stolen in SolarWinds attacks

A website named 'SolarLeaks' is selling data they claim was stolen from companies confirmed to have been breached in the SolarWinds attack.

Last month, it was disclosed that network management company SolarWinds suffered a sophisticated cyberattack that led to a supply chain attack affecting 18,000 customers.

According to a joint statement issued by the FBI, CISA, and the NSA, this attack was "likely" conducted by a Russian state-sponsored hacking group who wanted to steal cloud data such as email and files from its victims.

Today, a solarleaks[.]net website was launched that claims to be selling the stolen data from Microsoft, Cisco, FireEye, and SolarWinds. All of these companies are known to have been breached during the supply chain attack.

The website claims to be selling Microsoft source code and repositories for $600,000. Microsoft confirmed that threat actors accessed their source code during their SolarWinds breach.

Jan 13 13:30

QuodVerum Forum

QuodVerum is an open discussion forum. We welcome all ideas and opinions, and will exercise minimum moderation only when we believe laws are being broken. Many of us are "refugees" from other social media and loathe equally the paternalistic thought police at Twitter and Facebook and the open lunacy of Gab. Words are not violence. Use them. But our platform is not a launching pad for criminal activity, harassment or the promotion of violence or bigotry in any form, against any one. Let's reintroduce free and civil discourse.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Another free speech forum opens up.

Jan 13 10:44

Google reveals sophisticated Windows and Android hacking operation

Google published a six-part report today detailing a sophisticated hacking operation that the company detected in early 2020 and which targeted owners of both Android and Windows devices.

Systems running the Windows 10 Anniversary Update were shielded from two exploits even before Microsoft had issued patches for them, its researchers have found.

The attacks were carried out via two exploit servers delivering different exploit chains via watering hole attacks, Google said.

"One server targeted Windows users, the other targeted Android," Project Zero, one of Google's security teams, said in the first of six blog posts.

Google said that both exploit servers used Google Chrome vulnerabilities to gain an initial foothold on victim devices. Once an initial entry point was established in the user's browsers, attackers deployed an OS-level exploit to gain more control of the victim's devices.

Jan 13 08:29

How to use Signal, the private chatting app Elon Musk told people to try

Facebook’s WhatsApp is changing its privacy policy on Feb. 8, when it will begin to share some user information with Facebook, including location, phone numbers, profile names and pictures, when you last logged online and more. People are now flocking to an alternative texting app called Signal that doesn’t collect your data.

Jan 13 08:26

All Roads Lead Through Amazon: Is Anyone At All Concerned At How Easy It Parler Was Shut Down?

A few Big Tech companies acted to remove social media platform Parler over the weekend, but it seems to have found a new company to help try to keep its website operating.

On Monday, Parler registered its field and server to be hosted by Epik, an internet web hosting company known for working with right-leaning websites. Gab, another social media platform popular with conservatives, also uses Epik. A web domain search reveals that Parler is now registered with Epik.

Jan 12 16:34

The Big Chill on Speech (Regarding Ron Paul)

Banning the president of the United States was shocking. Banning Ron Paul is horrifying. It is senseless. Paul is a man of principle and peace. He is 85 and not active in politics. Paul does not incite violence and is a threat to no one. -- How did we go from banning Alex Jones to Ron Paul in the space of two years? The answer is not hard to find. It lies in a principle abandoned. -- This mission was flawed to begin with. (I don’t need Facebook or Twitter to protect me from ideas or discussion, thank you very much, and I suspect most individuals would offer similar sentiments.) But by booting Ron Paul, it becomes clear that “safety” is not the true goal of Big Tech. I suspect it never was.

Jan 12 16:16

The ‘War On Terror’ Comes Home

Last week’s massive social media purges – starting with President Trump’s permanent ban from Twitter and other outlets – was shocking and chilling, particularly to those of us who value free expression and the free exchange of ideas. The justifications given for the silencing of wide swaths of public opinion made no sense and the process was anything but transparent. Nowhere in President Trump’s two “offending” Tweets, for example, was a call for violence expressed explicitly or implicitly. It was a classic example of sentence first, verdict later.

Jan 12 14:00

Third malware strain discovered in SolarWinds supply chain attack

Cyber-security firm CrowdStrike, one of the companies directly involved in investigating the SolarWinds supply chain attack, said today it identified a third malware strain directly involved in the recent hack.

Named Sunspot, this finding adds to the previously discovered Sunburst (Solorigate) and Teardrop malware strains.

Jan 12 11:50

Twitter blacklists European MEDICAL JOURNAL after it published study on ivermectin treatment for Covid-19

Twitter has blocked a link to an article in a peer-reviewed scientific journal that suggested the antiparasitic drug ivermectin could be useful against Covid-19. The platform claims the journal's website is “potentially unsafe.”

Twitter user Karl Denninger (@TickerGuy) posted a link to an observational study in the European Journal of Medical and Health Sciences that found healthcare workers in Dhaka, Bangladesh who were treated with ivermectin as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PreP) were markedly less likely to become infected with Covid-19. Just 6.9 percent of those given the drug tested positive for Covid-19, while a whopping 73.3 percent of those who did not became infected.

Jan 12 11:27

DarkSide ransomware decryptor recovers victims' files for free

Romanian cybersecurity firm Bitdefender has released a free decryptor for the DarkSide ransomware to allow victims to recover their files without paying a ransom.

Jan 12 06:51

Google My Business Post | All You Need to Know

The Google My Business Posts feature helps you collaborate with current and potential customers via your Google Search Business Profile and Maps via posts. You can create and share directly with your customer's updates, deals, new or popular products in stock, or event information.

Advantages of Google My Business Post

When clients have more access to your business information and news, they then make better choices while browsing.

It enables you to:

  • Communicate with your regular consumers directly.
  • Enhance customer experience with timely and accurate information.
  • Promote sales, offers, events, news, and deals for you.
  • Engage your customers via videos and photos.
  • How does it work?

    For the promotion of business profiles, posts often include text, photographs, or videos.

    They're visible for users by:

    Jan 11 18:27

    Elon Musk: People Are Going to be 'Super Unhappy' With Big Tech As 'The De Facto Arbiter of Free Speech'

    Elon Musk, who became the world's richest man last week, is against Big Tech censorship.

    Jan 11 17:51

    Millions of WhatsApp users ABANDON the app and switch to rivals Telegram or Signal ahead of privacy policy update that will force them to share their personal data with Facebook

    The update, which will be released on February 8, affects WhatsApp users in all countries outside of Europe and the UK, where there are strict data protection laws.

    Users in these regions will be required to give their consent for Facebook to access their data, including their phone numbers and information about how they interact with others, in order to continue using the app.

    The requirement will apply regardless of whether or not the WhatsApp user has a Facebook account.

    The news has led many people to jump ship to rival apps, according to data from Sensor Tower.

    When the privacy policy changes were announced on January 7, Telegram picked up nearly 1.7 million downloads and Signal gained 1.2 million downloads, while WhatsApp, which usually dominates, gained just 1.3 million downloads.

    WhatsApp installations also fell approximately 13 per cent to 10.3 million downloads in the first seven days of January, compared to the seven days prior.

    Jan 11 16:18

    Free Speech Platform Gab Reports 750% Increase in Traffic

    In response to the surge in traffic, Gab founder and CEO Andrew Torba gave a concise comment simply stating:

    “Checkmate, Silicon Valley.”

    Jan 11 15:54

    AR15.com, The World's Largest Gun Forum, Knocked Offline After Being 'Booted' From GoDaddy

    The world's largest gun forum was knocked offline on Monday after reportedly being "booted" from the domain registrar GoDaddy.

    Jan 11 14:41

    Google vs DuckDuckGo

    Jan 11 13:30

    Using the internet without the Amazon Cloud

    Amazon servers make up so much of the internet that it can be hard to separate the two. As of last year, Amazon Web Services controlled roughly 40 percent of the cloud market, running the backend for Netflix, Pinterest, Slack and dozens of other services with no visible connection to the company. Because the Amazon partnership is rarely explicit, AWS becomes a kind of invisible infrastructure, like water mains, submarine cables, or any of the other hidden pipes we rely on without seeing.

    When AWS starts to fail — like it did in March and again in June — it can seem like the entire internet is collapsing. Unless you know which services in particular are running on AWS servers, you won’t know difference between an cloud failure and a submarine cable break.

    Jan 11 08:45

    Hacker reveals massive Parler data leak: ALL users’ messages, location info and even driver’s licenses may have been exposed

    Recently shutdown social media app Parler is at the center of a yet another controversy, after allegations surfaced that the totality of its users' personal data was leaked in the wake of the network going offline.

    Parler, a social network popular with conservative audiences, was removed from the internet on Monday, after Amazon kicked the site off its hosting service, citing"a steady increase in this violent content" in the wake of Wednesday's riot at the US Capitol. The decision to pull support came after Apple and Google blocked the social network from their online marketplaces over the weekend.

    Shortly before Amazon's move, a self-described hacker from Austria, going by 'Donk Enby' on Twitter, claimed to have gained access to all of the "unprocessed, raw" video files uploaded to Parler "with all associated metadata." The hacker even included a link to the file library in order to prove that the data leak was real.

    Jan 11 08:44

    IPFS: Interplanetary file storage!

    Jan 11 08:27

    The Guy Who Built The World Wide Web Is Building A 'New Internet', Where You Control Your Data

    Unless you've been living under a rock, you know Tim Berners-Lee is a pretty important dude in the technology world. He's the father of the Internet, responsible for the birth of the World Wide Web as we know it.

    And he hates what it has become. So he's taking some action to fix it.

    You see, for years now Berners-Lee has expressed his distaste at how major corporations have taken what was supposed to be a free environment and placed restrictions on it. He doesn’t like how groups like Facebook, Google, and Amazon have effectively centralized the Internet, nor how they control people’s data. So he’s instead working on a new platform and startup that’s declaring war on Big Tech.

    Jan 11 08:12

    Twitter Plunges After Trump Ban; Parler Site Taken Offline

    As it turns out, Wall Street isn't happy with Twitter's decision to permanently ban President Trump, one of the service's high-profile users. Analysts are afraid the decision could expose Twitter to more regulation, as Mirabaud analyst Neil Campling said the ban could open Twitter up to more regulation under the next administration now that the platform is clearly making editorial decisions about what type of political content is, and isn't, appropriate.

    Traders are clearly worried, as Twitter shares are down 7% in premarket trade, building on losses from after-hours trading on Friday, as well as Sunday night.

    Jan 11 03:38

    Executive Order on Imposing Certain Sanctions in the Event of Foreign Interference in a United States Election

    "By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws...". (Issued on: September 12, 2018)

    Jan 11 03:32

    Situation Update, Dec. 3rd – Trump invokes foreign interference provision of his 2018 executive order, authorizing military response to cyber warfare, see NSPM 13

    And under the 2018 EO, each of the entities engaging in this behavior will have all their assets seized by the U.S. Treasury. Translated into plain language, this means that Twitter, Facebook, CNN, the Washington Post, Google, MSNBC, etc., are all now able to be completely seized, shut down or taken over by the Trump administration, as they all engaged in the defined behaviors outlined in the 2018 EO, which Trump just cited. (12/4/20)

    Jan 10 12:16

    AS CONSERVATIVES FLOCK TO ITS PLATFORM, PARLER KICKED OFF AMAZON SERVERS AND APPLE STORE

    Parler’s chief executive said Saturday night that the social media app was suspended from Apple’s store and will be thrown off Amazon’s servers in a standoff over censoring content.

    Jan 09 17:17

    Parler Faces Extinction As Amazon Employees Demand AWS Stop Hosting

    A coalition of Amazon corporate employees have demanded that the Seattle-based megacorp kick Parler off the Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform unless 'posts inciting violence' are removed, which would force the Trump-friendly Twitter competitor to find another host.

    According to CNBC, an employee advocacy group - Amazon Employees for Climate Justice - said in a Saturday tweet that AWS should "deny Parler services until it removes posts inciting violence, including at the Presidential inauguration."

    Jan 09 08:58

    Convicted Pedophile Marty Weiss Meets Twitter's Standards

    Twitter has standards. Many registered Republicans don't meet these standards. Convicted child rapists like Marty Weiss meet Twitter's community standards.

    Jan 08 12:51

    How Often Should You Reboot Your Computer?

    It’s probably the first thing you try when your computer is acting up: turn it off and back on again. But should you restart or shut down? Well that actually depends on what kind of computer you are using. Shutting down your computer will close out of all the programs you’ve been running and clear the cache, so that when you power back up, the machine is running fresh, as there may have been something in the background that was causing it to move sluggishly (or worse).

    Jan 08 11:52

    Cybersecurity: This 'costly and destructive' malware is the biggest threat to your network

    A spam campaign which targeted over 100,000 users a day over Christmas and New Year has seen Emotet secure its spot as the most prolific malware threat.

    Analysis by cybersecurity company Check Point suggests that Emotet was used to target seven percent of organisations around the world during December.

    Emotet has been active since 2014 and is regularly updated by its authors in order to maintain its effectiveness. The malware started life as a banking trojan but has evolved to become much more than that, providing a complete backdoor onto compromised machines which can then be sold on to other cyber criminals to infect victims with additional malware – including ransomware.

    Jan 07 12:33

    Major ISP Cox Begins Throttling Entire Neighborhoods for 'Excessive Usage'

    Major ISP Cox Communications has begun throttling the connections of entire neighborhoods for what the ISP deems "excessive usage." More specifically, the ISP has begun severely throttling the upstream connections of internet users who consume too much bandwidth for the ISP's liking, even if those users have paid the company extra for faster, unrestricted service.

    Despite ISPs making it repeatedly clear that their networks are handling COVID-19 related strain very well, complaints about the new restrictions have been popping up at Reddit over the last month. While Cox confirmed to Ars Technica that it had started throttling the upstream speeds of entire neighborhoods, it wasn't willing to clarify how many neighborhoods are impacted and just how much data is deemed "excessive" by the cable giant:

    Jan 07 09:54

    SolarWinds fallout: DOJ says hackers accessed its Microsoft O365 email server

    The US Department of Justice confirmed today that the hackers behind the SolarWinds supply chain attack targeted its IT systems, where they escalated access from the trojanized SolarWinds Orion app to move across its internal network and access the email accounts of some of its employees.

    "At this point, the number of potentially accessed O365 mailboxes appears limited to around 3-percent and we have no indication that any classified systems were impacted," DOJ spokesperson Marc Raimondi said in a short press release published earlier today.

    With DOJ employee numbers estimated at around 100,000 to 115,000, the number of impacted DOJ employees is currently believed to be around 3,000 to 3,450.

    The DOJ said it has now blocked the attacker's point of entry.

    Jan 07 07:21

    The Deep State Will Not Dial Down Hacking

    The events surrounding the SolarWinds supply chain breach raise questions about the efficacy of American intelligence services. But going down that rabbit hole is the last thing that the Deep State wants to do. Those intrepid souls who do poke around and ask hard questions typically end up like Congressman Otis Pike; quashed and condemned to obscurity. So maybe it’s no surprise that voices in the commentariat are performing an op-ed kabuki which positions the debate atop a neatly conscribed set of assumptions. Thus avoiding topics that elites might find threatening.

    Full of Sound and Fury

    Jan 05 17:25

    TalkRadio: YouTube reverses decision to ban channel

    YouTube has reinstated TalkRadio's channel on its platform hours after saying it had been "terminated" for breaking the tech firm's rules.

    It said the broadcaster had posted material that contradicted expert advice about the coronavirus pandemic.

    But it explained its U-turn saying it sometimes made exceptions to guidelines that state repeat offenders face a permanent ban.

    TalkRadio said it had yet to be given a full explanation for the affair.

    Jan 05 11:21

    Microsoft plans 'sweeping' design changes to show that Windows 'is back'

    A Microsoft job posting for a Windows software engineer backs up hints that the company is planning a major overall of the Windows interface that's expected to arrive in the second half of 2021.

    Windows Latest spotted the job posting this week, which was posted by Microsoft in October, around the time rumors of its major Sun Valley update for Windows 10 started circulating.

    The job description appears to support reports that the Windows 10 20H2 update will indeed be as major as reported with plans at Microsoft to tell the world that "Windows is BACK".

    Jan 05 05:44

    Not even a ‘highly likely’? Cybersecurity group admits SolarWinds hack came FROM WITHIN THE US, but doubles down on blaming Russia

    Internet security firm FireEye has revealed the enormous SolarWinds hack that left upwards of 250 agencies and businesses unprotected for weeks was launched from inside the US – but that hasn’t stopped them from blaming Moscow.

    The mega-hack, which affected 250 networks including US government agencies, went undetected by Washington’s security systems because it originated within the US, FireEye told the New York Times. But while one might expect this revelation to pour cold water on the metastasizing, baseless claims that Russia was responsible for the intrusion, speculation about the country’s role has only increased.

    Jan 04 12:02

    Five iOS bugs and annoyances Apple needs to fix in 2021

    With every iOS update, I become increasingly convinced that the platform has outgrown Apple's ability to manage it.

    It feels like Apple is more focused on new features than actually fixing and streamlining the platform, and there are aspects of the platform that have seen little to no love in years.

    Jan 04 11:13

    Beware: PayPal phishing texts state your account is 'limited'

    A PayPal text message phishing campaign is underway that attempts to steal your account credentials and other sensitive information that can be used for identity theft.

    When PayPal detects suspicious or fraudulent activity on an account, the account will have its status set to "limited," which will put temporary restrictions on withdrawing, sending, or receiving money.

    A new SMS text phishing (smishing) campaign pretends to be from PayPal, stating that your account has been permanently limited unless you verify your account by clicking on a link.

    Jan 04 11:06

    Backdoor account discovered in more than 100,000 Zyxel firewalls, VPN gateways

    More than 100,000 Zyxel firewalls, VPN gateways, and access point controllers contain a hardcoded admin-level backdoor account that can grant attackers root access to devices via either the SSH interface or the web administration panel.

    The backdoor account, discovered by a team of Dutch security researchers from Eye Control, is considered as bad as it gets in terms of vulnerabilities.

    Jan 04 10:45

    New Video Shows Dominion’s Eric Coomer Admitting Their Voting Machine Systems Are Wireless and Support All Networks

    Dr. Eric Coomer who is responsible for the strategy and Security at Dominion Voting Systems.

    Coomer is a staunch Never-Trumper and Antifa supporter. His Facebook page was littered with Trump-hating propaganda before it was shut down.

    In 2016 Coomer told the Illinois States Board of Elections that it was possible to bypass election systems software.

    Jan 03 10:23

    Adobe Flash Player is finally dead, for real this time

    The Adobe Flash Player plug-in has been officially discontinued, more than a decade after its death warrant was issued by Apple at the original iPhone launch.

    The web browser tool, which brought games, videos, animations and a whole lot of advertisements to the web has now been laid to rest by the software maker.

    Jan 03 10:22

    ELASTIC DIAMONDS COULD HELP QUANTUM COMPUTERS RUN AT ROOM TEMPERATURE

    DIAMONDS ARE ABOUT to have a new best friend.

    Prized by jewelers for its hard exterior and sparkling interior, engineers also fancy them for their electronic properties. Now, scientists have found a way to grow diamonds in the lab that can be stressed and strained — without losing their shape — to give them special, electricity-conducting properties.

    A hundred times thinner than a human hair, these stretchy diamonds can bend up to 10 percent its original shape before springing back — all at a balmy room temperature.

    WHY IT MATTERS — In addition to being tough, diamonds are highly conductive when it comes to both electricity and heat. By creating stretchy diamonds in the lab, the scientists hope to improve upon these features and get them into next-gen electronics — including quantum computer chips.

    Their findings were published Thursday in the journal Science.

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