Technology

Hackers are going after your online bank account, report says

Banking and finance sites have the greatest risk for getting hacked, a new report says. The worst vulnerabilities were found in banking and finance web applications tested by Positive Technologies, a firm that provides Internet security products for businesses. “Greater complexity results in more opportunities” for hackers, according to the Positive Technologies report, which said banking applications are some of the most complex. The hackers primary target is the average user. “The number-one threat is attacks that target web application users,” the report said. A whopping 87 percent of banking web applications tested by Positive Technologies were susceptible to these attacks. Government app users are also big targets because they tend to be less security-savvy, making them easy victims, the report said. “We gained access to personal data of 20 percent of the applications that process user information, including bank and government websites,” the report added. The most common vulnerability was Cross-Site Scripting, which allows attackers to perform phishing attacks, which can result in malware infection. In a phishing attack, the hacker sends, for instance, an email pretending to be a trusted entity like a bank or major shopping site, hoping to dupe you into clicking on the malicious link. Denial of service (DOS) attacks – which block access to a web site or service – are common. In 75 percent of e-commerce web applications, there are vulnerabilities enabling DoS attacks, Positive Technologies said. “Denial of service is especially threatening…High-profile e-commerce web applications receive large amounts of daily visits, increasing the motivation for attackers to find vulnerabilities to turn against users,” the report said. In separate report released earlier this month, Positive Technologies said employees are often the gateway for attacks. An alarmingly high percentage of employees download malicious files, click phishing links, and even correspond with hackers, the report said. Positive Technologies testers pretended to be hackers by sending emails to employees with links to websites or forms that required password entry, the report said. Of the 3,332 messages sent, 17 percent of these messages would have led to a compromise of the employee’s computer, and possibly, the entire company. The most effective method was to send an email with a phishing link. In that case, 27 percent of recipients clicked on the link. “Users often glance over or ignore the address, leaving them unaware that they are visiting a fake website,” the report said.

China engaged in massive theft of US technology, analysts reveal

China is engaged in large-scale theft of American research and technology from universities, using spies, students, and researchers as collectors, experts told Congress on Wednesday. Compounding the technology theft, the administration of President Barack Obama weakened U.S. counterintelligence efforts against foreign spies by curbing national-level counterspy efforts, a former counterintelligence official disclosed during a House hearing. Michelle Van Cleave, former national counterintelligence executive, said shortly after the creation of the office of the director of national intelligence in 2004, a national counterspy program against foreign spies was restricted during the administration of President George W. Bush. “Unfortunately, the backsliding continued under President Obama,” Van Cleave told two subcommittees of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee. Van Cleave said a directive issued by then-DNI James Clapper in 2013 and still in force reduced the national counterintelligence program authority by directing all counterspy programs to be run by individual departments or agencies. “The national head of counterintelligence was rebranded director of a security and CI center, his duties further dissipated by the fixation on leaks and insider threats driven by the grievous harm done by Snowden, Manning, et al,” Van Cleave said, referring to intelligence leakers Edward Snowden, an NSA contractor, and Army Sgt. Bradley Manning. “Gone was any dedicated strategic [counterintelligence] program, while elite pockets of proactive capabilities died of neglect,” she said. “Read between the lines of existing CI guidance and you will not find a whiff of a national-level effort left, other than caretaker duties such as taking inventory and writing reports.” Several intelligence and security experts testified during the hearing that China poses the most significant threat of technology theft from an estimated $510 billion spent annually on U.S. research and development. “China has a government-directed, multi-faceted secret program whose primary task is technology acquisition, as well as a highly refined strategy to develop and exploit access to advantageous information through the global telecommunications infrastructure,” Van Cleave said. Along with Russian intelligence agents, Chinese technology spies have developed specific lists of technology for theft. Beijing uses clandestine agents, front companies, and joint research ventures in the theft program. “Indeed, the United States is a spy’s paradise,” Van Cleave said. “Our free and open society is tailor-made for clandestine operations.”

Indeed..  To read more of this outstanding, yet shocking, analysis by best-selling author Bill Gertz, click on the text above.  Bill knows his stuff..

Kennedy dynasty faces a reckoning as controversial film hits theaters

The Kennedy dynasty faced a reckoning Friday, when a film hit theaters resurrecting the shocking details surrounding a late-night deadly car crash at Chappaquiddick Island that has haunted America’s most powerful political family since 1969. “Chappaquiddick” opened in movie theaters across the U.S., drawing all eyes to the Kennedy family as the film renews questions about the controversial incident at the island off Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts in 1969. After the assassinations of both his brothers, former Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., was slated to carry the family’s political aspirations, even mulling a run for president of the United States. But the movie tells the story of the incident that stopped that potential campaign in its tracks—depicting the involvement of Kennedy, then 37, in the fatal July 19, 1969 car accident that claimed the life of a young campaign strategist, Mary Jo Kopechne. At approximately 12:50 a.m., Kennedy and Kopechne, 28, were driving back from a party hosted by a cousin of Kennedy on Martha’s Vineyard following the Edgartown Regatta, in which Kennedy had sailed. Kennedy’s car plunged 10 feet off of a bridge and into a pond, killing Kopechne and giving Kennedy “a slight concussion.” Kennedy told police that he was “unfamiliar with the road,” came up to a narrow bridge, and said the car “went off the side of the bridge.” According to a description from a 1969 New York Times article, the road approaching the bridge is “narrow” with “no warning sign on the approach.” Kennedy also told police that he had “no recollection” of how he got out of the car, which sank, landing with the roof resting on the bottom. Kennedy said that he “came to the surface and repeatedly dove down to the car in an attempt to see if the passenger was still in the car,” noting he was “unsuccessful in the attempt.” Police said there was “apparently no criminal negligence involved in the accident itself.” The accident, though, was not reported by Kennedy, but rather by a mother of a little boy who saw the overturned car in the pond when he was fishing. Kennedy later described his failure to report the incident to police for 10 hours as “indefensible.”

Agreed!!   For more, click on the text above..

NASA awards Lockheed Skunk Works $247.5M supersonic X-plane

Supersonic commercial air travel may once again become a reality under a partnership between NASA and Lockheed Martin. The American space agency announced on Tuesday that it awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works to design, build and flight test the Low-Boom Flight Demonstrator (LBFD), an X-plane that will be used by NASA to find ways to bring supersonic jet travel back to the skies. The cost-plus-incentive-fee contract is valued at $247.5 million. Lockheed’s secretive Skunk Works will build the full-scale experimental X-plane to be about as loud as a closing car door, addressing noise concerns. A preliminary design was crafted as part of NASA’s Quiet Supersonic Technology (QueSST) effort. The aircraft will travel at about 940 miles per hour and cruise at 55,000 feet. Current regulations ban commercial supersonic travel over land, something that contributed to the demise of the Anglo-French supersonic Concorde. That aircraft began commercial service in the 1970s and lasted until the early 2000s. “We look forward to applying the extensive work completed under QueSST to the design, build and flight test of the X-plane, providing NASA with a demonstrator to make supersonic commercial travel possible for passengers around the globe,” Peter Iosifidis, Low-Boom Flight Demonstrator program manager at Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, said in a statement on Tuesday. NASA said it will accept the aircraft from Lockheed in late 2021 and will fly it over select U.S. cities starting in mid-2022, collecting community responses to the flights. The data will be provided to U.S. and international regulators to use in considering new sound-based rules for supersonic flight over land. The contract comes a month after the Trump administration – which has been a proponent for NASA – requested full funding for the program in its fiscal year 2019 budget proposal. Lockheed’s Skunk Works has partnered with America’s space agency for years and was awarded a contract in February 2016 for the preliminary design of the X-plane aircraft.

Very cool!!     🙂

Facebook Really Is Spying on You, Just Not Through Your Phone’s Mic

“Can I try the Cole Haans in a size 8?” Later that night on Facebook: An advertisement for Cole Haan pumps. OK, maybe a coincidence. “What’s the best high-tech scale?” my wife asks aloud. Five minutes later on Instagram: An ad for scales. Wait, are they listening? “Get the little red Sudafed pills,” my mom says after I sneeze. That afternoon: An advertisement for Sudafed PE. Yep, they’ve even wiretapped my bodily functions. A conspiracy theory has spread among Facebook and Instagram users: The company is tapping our microphones to target ads. It’s not. “Facebook does not use your phone’s microphone to inform ads or to change what you see in News Feed,” says Facebook. Yeah, sure, and the government swears it isn’t keeping any pet aliens at Area 51. So I contacted former Facebook employees and various advertising technology experts, who all cited technical and legal reasons audio snooping isn’t possible. Uploading and scanning that much audio data “would strain even the resources of the NSA,” says former Facebook ad-targeting product manager Antonio Garcia Martinez. “They would need to understand the context of what you are saying—not just listen for words,” says Sandy Parakilas, a former Facebook operations manager. I believe them, but for another reason: Facebook is now so good at watching what we do online—and even offline, wandering around the physical world—it doesn’t need to hear us.

Click on the text above for more..

CNN slammed for glowing puff piece about Kim Jong Un’s sister at Olympics

CNN is getting dragged online for writing a glowing puff piece about North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s sister appearing at the Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea — with a headline claiming she was “stealing the show.” The article, published Saturday afternoon, began with these cooing words about the woman who gave South Korean President Moon Jae-in an invite to visit North Korea: “If ‘diplomatic dance’ were an event at the Winter Olympics, Kim Jong Un’s younger sister would be favored to win gold. With a smile, a handshake and a warm message in South Korea’s presidential guest book, Kim Yo Jong has struck a chord with the public just one day into the PyeongChang Games.” It barely referenced the North Korean regime’s murderous ways — and critics called out CNN for it. Still, despite the almost-immediate backlash from people on both sides of the political aisle, CNN has not taken down its story. When Fox News reached out for comment, CNN would not say whether it would remove the story or discipline any editors over the controversial article. CNN anchor Chris Cuomo defended his left-leaning network by throwing in a dig at President Donald Trump. He tweeted to one reader, “You don’t think having a President who lies about what is ‘fake’ and actively maligns the free press out of convenience is a bigger reason for animosity toward us than how some decide to cover this?” He also bashed a Reuters story on Kim Yo Jong, writing, “This is a murderous regime that is stifling a population. Progress has to be evidenced by a lot more than this no?” Jonathan Chait, writer for New York magazine, mockingly cheered the CNN piece: “Also stealing her country’s meager wealth to live in opulence while they starve. But doing it in style. You go, girl!” Conservative commentator Michelle Malkin chimed in, tweeting: “Next up: An EXCLUSIVE @CNN investigative report on Kim Jong Un’s sister’s workout playlist, favorite boba tea flavors, and nighttime skin care routine. #SLAYGIRLFRIEND” Fox News’ Brit Hume tweeted: “Does this puff piece mean she’s gotten over her dictator brother’s murder of her other brother?” Speaking for the millennial audience, David Mack of BuzzFeed tweeted: “yasss kweeen! werk it as you oppress your people! gettttt that crime against humanity, gurlllll!” The CNN piece did mention at one point that Kim Yo Jong’s brother, the North Korean Supreme Leader, “has ruled with an iron fist since coming to power,” running prison camps and killing senior officers to preserve his power. The article did not mention the reign of terror brought about by their father, Kim Jong Il.

Black box set to revolutionize the search for life beyond Earth

In the world’s driest desert, an unassuming black box called “Espresso” is about to begin a very big mission: scouring the universe for planets like ours to find signs of life beyond Earth. Espresso, an instrument known as a spectrograph, has a humble appearance that belies its cutting-edge technology: it is the most precise instrument of its kind ever built, 10 times stronger than its most powerful predecessor. In the Atacama desert, in northern Chile, Espresso will be hooked up to four telescopes so big that scientists simply named them the Very Large Telescope, or VLT. Together, they will search the skies for exoplanets — those outside our own solar system — looking for ones that are similar to Earth. The Atacama is a particularly good place for this kind of exploration. Its skies are completely cloudless most of the year, which is why the highly respected European Southern Observatory, which runs the VLT program, set up shop there in the first place. In fact, many of the world’s major telescopes are located in the area. By 2020, the Atacama is expected to be home to about 70 percent of the world’s astronomy infrastructure. Espresso stands for Echelle Spectrograph for Rocky Exoplanet and Stable Spectroscopic Observations. It will analyze the light of the stars observed by the VLT, enabling it to determine whether planets orbit around them, and important information about those planets themselves: what their atmosphere is like, whether they have oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide, and whether there is water — all essential for supporting life. “Espresso will be available on all four telescopes at once, which is something that had never been done before. That means the likelihood of finding planets similar to Earth in mass and size, or the conditions for life, are greater,” said Italian astronomer Gaspare Lo Curto.

Very cool!!   🙂