News & Updates

By Uzair Amir

Zcash, a cryptocurrency that debuted on 28th October 2016, is believed to be more anonymous than the overhyped Bitcoin. This new virtual currency has attracted the attention of investors, academics as well as hackers since the latter have managed to use this new currency for their malicious purposes. Reportedly, hackers are installing software on Windows-based computers […]

This is a post from Read the original post: This Malware converts your Computer into a Cryptocurrency Miner


I used to wonder what it was like to be a Bullet Bill, pushed ceaselessly forward in one direction. Now I know.

After playing the first few levels of Super Mario Run at an Apple Store last week, I worried that the game took too many liberties with a series that I’d loved as a certified, website-creating megafan for decades. After spending the better part of a day playing the game in the comfort of my own home, I feel like I’ve been able to enjoy Super Mario Run more on its own terms, even if I feel it’s missing a lot of what makes other Mario games (and even other mobile games) special.

Thinking about Super Mario Run as a platform game (or even as the platform game’s simple mobile cousin, the “endless runner”) isn’t quite right. In practice, it plays more like a freeform rhythm game with platform game clothing. Instead of seeing an encroaching red note and strumming in time on a plastic guitar, you see a sequence of pits, coins, and enemies and have to plan when and how to jump as Mario runs forward ceaselessly.

This can make the first time through any level downright annoying. You’ll miss items you had no chance of seeing and run into enemies that you didn’t have time to anticipate (with the phone held in portrait mode, you can’t see very far in front of you to plan ahead). But the levels are short, each with a strict timer of one to two minutes. Just like in a rhythm game, a few repeat plays help give you a feel for the patterns and paths you want to follow and make it easier to recall what’s coming as soon as you see it.

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Enlarge / A screen grab taken from an AFP TV video on March 24, 2015 shows debris of the Germanwings Airbus A320 at the crash site in the French Alps above the southeastern town of Seyne. The plane, which had taken off from Barcelona in Spain and was headed for Dusseldorf in Germany, crashed earlier in the day with 150 people onboard. (credit: Getty | DENIS BOIS )

Last year, an investigation into a deliberate plane crash in the French Alps that killed 150 made the startling revelation that the aircraft’s pilot suffered from depression and unnoticed suicide attempts. The tragedy prompted researchers to reexamine mental health issues among commercial airline pilots, and, sadly, what they found was that the case was not a one-off.

In an anonymous survey given to nearly 3,500 pilots by Harvard researchers, only 1,848 were willing to answer mental health questions. But of those that did, 233 pilots, or 12.6 percent, met the criteria for clinical depression and 75, or four percent, reported having suicidal thoughts, that is “having thoughts of being better off dead or self-harm,” within the past two weeks. Of the 1,430 pilots that filled out mental health questions and flew a plane in the last seven days, 193, or 13.5 percent, met the criteria for depression.

The findings appear Thursday in the journal Environmental Health.

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Enlarge (credit: Alan Levine/Flickr)

There’s a new Wi-Fi standard in town, and it takes speed to another level. 802.11ad Wi-Fi is rated for data throughput up to 4,600Mbps, or four times faster than the current speed champ 802.11ac. That’s much faster than standard gigabit Ethernet and most home broadband speeds, although—as any Wi-Fi user knows—there’s a big difference between theoretical speed and what’s possible in practice. Still, want to stream high-bitrate 4K, HDR films over Wi-Fi? That won’t be a problem with 802.11ad. Even the best triple-layer UHD Blu-rays top out at 128Mbps bitrates. There’s even a chance it could make high-end wireless virtual reality headsets more practical.

802.11ad will at first be available via a new wave of home routers, a couple of which have already hit the shelves: the Netgear Nighthawk X10 and the TP-Link Talon AD7200. As ever with brand-new tech, the routers demand a hefty premium, with the AD7200 costing an eye-watering £350/$360—that’s as much as even sophisticated mesh-based systems like the Ubiquiti Amplifi. Is 802.11ad Wi-Fi worth the cost? Is there anything you can even reasonably use it for right now? Or should you hold out for the inevitable price drops? Let’s find out.

How does 802.11ad Wi-Fi work?

Like previous versions of Wi-Fi, 802.11ad is an official standard ratified by the Wi-Fi Alliance. Unlike previous versions, however, the tech behind it didn’t come from the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers). Instead, it’s based on tech created by the WiGig (Wireless Gigabit) Alliance, which was officially announced back in 2009, entered draft stage with the IEEE in 2011, and finally emerged as the standard it is today when the WiGig Alliance merged with Wi-Fi Alliance in 2013.

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(credit: Clever Cupcakes)

Less than 24 hours after Yahoo disclosed that one billion of its accounts had personal data stolen by a state-sponsored actor, Verizon is “exploring a price cut or possible exit” from its proposed blockbuster deal to acquire Yahoo, according to Bloomberg.

Back in October, Verizon’s top lawyer told reporters that Yahoo’s September announcement of a data breach of more than 500 million e-mail accounts constituted a potential material impact that would allow for the mobile powerhouse to pull out of the $4.83 billion deal. That arrangement, which was announced in July 2016, has yet to formally close.

Verizon is already the owner of AOL after buying that company for $4.4 billion last year. Buying Yahoo would give the telco control over a second giant of the early Web. The AOL purchase provided Verizon with numerous news sites, a large advertising business, and more than 2 million dial-up Internet subscribers. Yahoo would give AOL a large base of website visitors and still more advertising revenue.

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One of the FBI’s most wanted hackers who was behind the largest theft of financial data has finally been arrested at the JFK airport in New York.

Joshua Samuel Aaron is accused of being part of a hacking group that attacked several major financial institutions, including JPMorgan Chase, and according to the officials, which was “the largest theft of user data from a U.S. financial institution


On Wednesday, a spokesman for President-elect Trump’s transition team told Reuters that the team would not be seeking the names of Department of Energy employees who had attended meetings and conferences on climate change.

“The questionnaire was not authorized or part of our standard protocol,” Trump spokesman Sean Spicer told the news outlet. “The person who sent it has been properly counseled.” Spicer apparently declined to comment any further.

The controversial questionnaire was sent to the DOE last Friday and included dozens of questions about the legal, financial, and organizational structures within the DOE. While the majority of the questions were straightforward, several questions stood out as highly unusual for any administration’s transition team to ask. Specifically, Trump’s team demanded names of individual employees that attended conferences on the social cost of carbon as well as names of employees that attended any Conference of the Parties hosted by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

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The Shadow Brokers group has changed the model of sale, it has put up the NSA’s hacking arsenal for direct sale on an underground website.

The Shadow Brokers – Summary of the events

We have seen the notorious hacker group at the end of October, when the hackers leaked a fresh dump containing a list of servers that were hacked by the NSA-linked group known as Equation Group.

The Equation group compromised these targets using the hacking tools codenamed as INTONATION and PITCHIMPAIR. The ShadowBrokers provided the links to two distinct PGP-encrypted archives, the first one offered for free as a proof of the hack (its passphrase was ‘auctioned’), for the second one the group requested 1 million BTC .codenamed as INTONATION and PITCHIMPAIR. The ShadowBrokers provided the links to two distinct PGP-encrypted archives, the first one offered for free as a proof of the hack (its passphrase was ‘auctioned’), for the second one the group requested 1 million BTC .

The first archive was containing roughly 300MBs of data, including firewall exploits, hacking tools, and scripts with cryptonyms like BANANAUSURPER, BLATSTING, and BUZZDIRECTION.

The security researchers Mustafa Al-Bassam published an interesting post that lists all the exploits, implants, and tools for hacking firewalls (“Firewall Operations”) included in the dump.

The Equation Group ‘s hackers targeted products made by Cisco, Fortigate, Juniper, TOPSEC, and Watchguard.

The majority of files are at least three years old, meanwhile, the newest timestamp dating to October 2013.

Early October, TheShadowBrokers complained that no one seems to be bidding on their precious archive, an alleged member of the hacker group expressed his dissent on the lack of interest in ponying up bitcoins to release the full NSA data dump.

A couple of weeks before the group announced the launch of a crowdfunding campaign for the stolen arsenal because its auction received offers for less than two bitcoins.

The hacker group that’s believed to be behind the high-profile cyber theft of NSA hacking tools and exploits that sparked a larger debate on the Internet concerning abilities of US intelligence agencies and their own security.

Back to the present

Now, once again, the group has changed the model of sale, it has put up the NSA’s hacking arsenal for direct sale on an underground website.

The file offered on the website contains a file signed with the cryptographic key of The Shadow Brokers, confirming the intent of the group in selling the entire NSA arsenal directly to buyers one by one.

Someone using the Boceffus Cleetus online moniker published a post on Medium titled “Are the Shadow Brokers selling NSA tools on ZeroNet?” announcing that the Shadow Brokers hackers are now offering for sale the “NSA tools individually.”

ZeroNet is a decentralized network of peer-to-peer users for hosting websites.

“ZeroNet uses bitcoin cryptography and the BitTorrent network.The BitTorrent website Play hosts a magnet link repository on ZeroNet, which links to copyrighted content. There is a Reddit community which offers support for ZeroNet.” states Wikipedia.

“Well howdy partners! I don’t wanna be getting arrested for passing on fake news and all. I rekon [sic] I ain’t no security professional but I am whutcha might call a ZeroNet enthusiast,” Cleetus writes. ZeroNet is a platform for hosting websites using blockchain and BitTorrent technology.

“Those dastardly ole shadow brokers have themselves a zite on ZeroNet. Yep and fars as I can tell they appears to be sellin NSA tools individually now,” added Cleetus.

The website includes a list of the products available for sale as explained by Joseph Cox from Motherboard.

The items are classified type, the list includes “exploits,” “Trojans,” and “implant-”

Shadow Brokers NSA arsenal

“The site includes a long list of supposed items for sale, with names like ENVOYTOMATO, EGGBASKET, and YELLOWSPIRIT. Each is sorted into a type, such as “implant,” “trojan,” and “exploit,” and comes with a price tag between 1 and 100 bitcoins ($780—$78,000). Customers can purchase the whole lot for 1000 bitcoins ($780,000).” states the post published on Motherboard.

“The site also lets visitors download a selection of screenshots and files related to each item. Along with those is a file signed with a PGP key with an identical fingerprint to that linked to the original Shadow Brokers dump of exploits from August. This newly uncovered file was apparently signed on 1 September; a different date to any of The Shadow Brokers’ previously signed messages.”

“If you like, you email TheShadowBrokers with name of Warez [the item] you want make purchase,” a message on the site reads. “TheShadowBrokers emailing you back bitcoin address. You make payment. TheShadowBrokers emailing you link + decryption password. Files as always being signed,” states the message on the website.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs –  The Equation Group, ShadowBrokers)

The post The Shadow Brokers are offering the NSA arsenal for direct sale appeared first on Security Affairs.

Source: Security affairs

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler at the National Cable & Telecommunications Association conference in Boston, speaking to C-SPAN Senior Executive Producer Peter Slen. (credit: NCTA)

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler today announced he will leave the commission on January 20, the day of President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration.

“Serving as FCC Chairman during this period of historic technological change has been the greatest honor of my professional life,” Wheeler said in a statement issued this morning before the commission’s monthly meeting. “It has been a privilege to work with my fellow Commissioners to help protect consumers, strengthen public safety and cybersecurity, and ensure fast, fair and open networks for all Americans.”

Wheeler thanked President Obama for appointing him as chairman, and praised commission staff for “contribut[ing] to a thriving communications sector, where robust investment and world-leading innovation continue to drive our economy and meaningful improvements in the lives of the American people.”

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Enlarge (credit: Valentina Palladino)

Fitbit confirmed it was buying Pebble for $40 million last week, and now we have our first communication from inside the transition. In a Pebble blog post, written by Jon Barlow, a Pebble watchface developer and member of Pebble’s Developer Evangelist Team, it details that Fitbit will not shutter the company’s services just yet. Pebble software and services will continue to run normally through 2017.

“To be clear, no one on this freshly-formed team seeks to brick Pebble watches in active service,” Barlow writes. “The Pebble SDK, CloudPebble, Timeline APIs, firmware availability, mobile apps, developer portal, and Pebble app store are all elements of the Pebble ecosystem that will remain in service at this time.”

Pebble users will be happy to hear that their watches will still work and continue to receive updates—for now. The post also says that developers are welcome to make and update apps for Pebble devices; it’s hard to believe, however, that many developers would spend more time on apps for a system that will be shut down eventually.

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