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According to the FSB unnamed foreign hackers are planning to undermine Russian Banks with cyber attacks and PSYOPS via social media.

The Kremlin is accusing unnamed foreign hackers of plotting to undermine the Russian banks in the country.

The Russian Government believes that foreign powers plan to conduct a PSYOps to destabilize the banks. Hackers could combine the diffusion of fake documents about the status of Russian banks with massive cyber attacks.

The news was spread by the Russia’s intelligence service, the FSB. According to the Russian intelligence, a group of servers in the Netherlands and leased to the Ukrainian web hosting firm BlazingFast were ready to launch an assault next Monday.

“Russia’s domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Security Service (FSB), said that the servers to be used in the alleged cyber attack were located in the Netherlands and registered to a Ukrainian web hosting company called BlazingFast.” reported the Reuters.

“The attack, which was to target major national and provincial banks in several Russian cities, was meant to start on Dec. 5, the FSB said in a statement.”

russian banks

Servers physically located in the Netherlands and leased to BlazingFast, a Ukrainian web-hosting firm, were primed to launch an assault next Monday.

“It was planned that the cyber attack would be accompanied by a mass send-out of SMS messages and publications in social media of a provocative nature regarding a crisis in the Russian banking system, bankruptcies and license withdrawals.” reads a statement issued by the FSB. 

“The FSB is carrying out the necessary measures to neutralise threats to Russia’s economic and information security.”

The Russia’s central bank confirmed to the Reuters agency that it was aware of the imminent threat, for this reason, it is working with the security services.

“The situation is under control. Banks have been given necessary guidance,” the central bank said. “Banks have been given necessary guidance.”

Anton Onoprichuk, the director of the firm BlazingFast, told Reuters that he was not aware of the alleged plan of attack, neither the FSB nor any other intelligence agency had been in touch with him.

Recently Russian banks were targeted by a series of massive DDoS attacks powered by the Mirai IoT botnet.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – Russian banks, hacking)

The post FSB accuses foreign hackers of plotting to undermine the Russian banks appeared first on Security Affairs.

Source: Security affairs

Enlarge / The iPad Air 2 and Mini 4. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

Apple’s Activation Lock feature, introduced in iOS 7 in 2013, deters thieves by associating your iPhone and iPad with your Apple ID. Even if a thief steals your device, puts it into Recovery Mode, and completely resets it, the phone or tablet won’t work without the original user’s Apple ID and password. This makes stolen iDevices less valuable since they become more difficult to resell, and it has significantly reduced iPhone theft in major cities.

The feature has been difficult to crack, but a new exploit disclosed by Vulnerability Lab security analyst Benjamin Kunz Mejri uses a buffer overflow exploit and some iPad-specific bugs to bypass Activation Lock in iOS 10.1.1.

When you’re setting up a freshly reset iPad with Activation Lock enabled, the first step is to hit “Choose Another Network” when you’re asked to connect to Wi-Fi. Select a security type, and then input a very, very long string of characters into both the network name and network password fields (copying and pasting your increasingly long strings of characters can speed this up a bit). These fields were not intended to process overlong strings of characters, and the iPad will gradually slow down and then freeze as the strings become longer. During one of these freezes, rotate the tablet, close its Smart Cover for a moment, and then re-open the cover. The screen will glitch out for a moment before displaying the Home screen for a split second, at which point a well-timed press of the Home button can apparently bypass Activation Lock entirely (but it will have to be extremely well-timed, since the first-time setup screen will pop back up after a second).

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(credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft’s 12 days of deals holiday season promotion starts at 12am Pacific on Monday, December 5. Each day has a different special offer, and some of the savings sound pretty big.

On two different days, including the opening Monday, certain Intel systems will be discounted by as much as $1,000. Certain Dell machines will be discounted by as much as 40 percent on the 11th day of the promotion, and, on the last day, Microsoft is cutting up to $200 off the Surface Pro 4 while throwing in a free $159 Type Cover.

There will be promotions covering tablets, laptops, Xbox One consoles, games, and even the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift VR headsets at various times through the month. Offers will be available online and in-store while stocks last, with the promotion of the day changing at midnight Pacific each day.

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Enlarge / Paris as seen through a veil of smog, taken in early October. (credit: Getty Images | PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP)

You have to feel for the Europeans out there who own small diesel-engined cars. For years, car companies and governments have extolled the breed, discounting the fuel and promoting it as the way to achieve economical vehicles with acceptable carbon emissions. Then it turns out that diesel emissions—which include a lot more than just CO2—are actually really bad for us. Plus, cheating appeared to be rampant within the industry.

After pushing diesel cars for so long, a volte-face is now underway, including measures to ban diesel engines from Paris, Athens, and Madrid (as well as Mexico City, which we do realize is not in Europe).

The plan, announced in Mexico City during the C40 Mayors Summit which took place this week, follows restrictions recently enacted by the Parisian mayor to clean up that city’s air quality. Over in Japan, Tokyo actually banned diesel engines at the turn of the century, although advances in engine technology and emissions controls have seen that relaxed in recent years.

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Enlarge / You’re doing it wrong. (credit: Charles Nadeau)

The current leadership of the US House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology has a fraught relationship with climate science. Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), who chairs the committee, has used its subpoena powers to target NOAA climate scientists whose temperature dataset he does not like. He has also gone after the attorneys general of New York and Massachusetts, who are pursuing a securities fraud investigation of ExxonMobil related to its public denial of climate change.

On Thursday, the committee’s Twitter account hopped on this anti-climate-science bandwagon. It tweeted a link to a story titled “Global temperatures plunge. Icy silence from climate alarmists” that was published by Breitbart—the hard-right, white-nationalist-supporting news outlet that saw its chairman, Steve Bannon, become President-elect Donald Trump’s chief strategist.

The article was written by James Delingpole, a columnist who has made a career out of insult-laden polemics against climate science. (In an episode of BBC’s Horizon, Delingpole famously admitted that he never reads scientific papers and called himself “an interpreter of interpretations.”) In this case, Delingpole mostly tacked a few put-downs onto quotes from a Daily Mail story written by David Rose—who also has a long history of writing deeply misleading stories about climate science.

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Enlarge (credit: Mambembe Arts & Crafts on Flickr)

When 20-year-old Lan Cai was in a car crash this summer, it was a bad situation. Driving home at 1:30am from a waitressing shift, Cai was plowed into by a drunk driver and broke two bones in her lower back. Unsure about how to navigate her car insurance and prove damages, she reached out for legal help.

The help she got, Cai said, was less than satisfactory. Lawyers from the Tuan A. Khuu law firm ignored her contacts, and at one point they came into her bedroom while Cai was sleeping in her underwear. “Seriously, it’s super unprofessional!” she wrote on Facebook. (The firm maintains it was invited in by Cai’s mother.) She also took to Yelp to warn others about her bad experience.

The posts led to a threatening e-mail from Tuan Khuu attorney Keith Nguyen. “If you do not remove the post from Facebook and any other social media sites, my office will have no choice but to file suit,” he told her, according to a report in the Houston Press on the saga.

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Enlarge / Uber’s iOS popup asking for new surveillance permissions. (credit: David Kravets)

As promised, Uber is now tracking you even when your ride is over. The ride-hailing service said the surveillance—even when riders close the app—will improve its service.

The company now tracks customers from when they request a ride until five minutes after the ride has ended. According to Uber, the move will help drivers locate riders without having to call them, and it will also allow Uber to analyze whether people are being dropped off and picked up properly—like on the correct side of the street.

“We do this to improve pickups, drop-offs, customer service, and to enhance safety,” Uber said. In a statement, the company said:

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(credit: Aurich Lawson)

The Federal Communications Commission has reached a preliminary conclusion that AT&T is violating net neutrality rules by using data cap exemptions to favor DirecTV video on its mobile network.

The FCC yesterday also expressed concerns to Verizon about that carrier’s similar data cap exemption policies, but the examination of Verizon is in a slightly earlier stage.

The FCC first raised the issue with AT&T a few weeks ago, and AT&T defended its practices in a response. But rather than satisfying the commission’s concerns, AT&T’s response “tends to confirm our initial view that the Sponsored Data program strongly favors AT&T’s own video offerings while unreasonably discriminating against unaffiliated edge providers and limiting their ability to offer competing video services to AT&T’s broadband subscribers on a level playing field,” said a letter to AT&T yesterday from Jon Wilkins, chief of the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau.

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Enlarge / A screenshot from Racer, the driving simulation software used for the task. (credit: Racer)

Despite how much noise pop psychology makes about being left-brained or right-brained, the brain is really a very cohesive unit. The right and left hemispheres have some differences, but they communicate with each other via dedicated neural connections that bridge the two halves of the brain.

Some people, though, have the two halves of their brains separated as a treatment for severe epilepsy. What’s remarkable is that this has fewer effects than you might imagine. Although there certainly are differences in how a split brain behaves, people who have this surgery tend to behave largely as we’d expect anyone else to, and they’re actually better at certain kinds of dual tasks.

These split-brained individuals are interesting because they can help us understand how the brain processes information and how it integrates or separates tasks that are running concurrently. For instance, we know that the two hemispheres in a split brain have to process tasks separately from each other (the connection between them is gone, remember), with each hemisphere unaware of what the other one is up to.

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