When you buy a new smartphone, you expect it to be bug and malware free, leaving the job of filling the device with useless or malicious software to you. The Department of Homeland Security, however, has admitted on the record that manufacturers might be taking care of that task for you, before the phone reaches your stores.

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In an effort to show how well it is already doing to fend off daily attacks from an infinite swarm of hackers, Microsoft now wants its users to know that has a brand new way of protecting them. Unlike the previous updates which fixed and patched security vulnerabilities in the software of the system, this new method of security protects against the human aspect of computer security, or in other words, finally helps fight the human exploits that usually gets most users in trouble.

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In this capitalist society, almost anything and everything can be bought, or at the very least temporarily rented. Whether it be a home, car, or even a forehead, there is a price on almost everything. But unlike the few rent-able aforementioned objects, the topic of this story is renting something that the owner is unaware of—a personal computer for the purpose of committing cyber crime.

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smartgridAs cyber security becomes increasingly important in the fabric of American culture and government, more money and research is being put towards securing the smart grid. This so-called smart grid refers to the system that delivers electricity from suppliers to consumers using two-way digital technology. This is modernized electrical system being used to address problems of energy independence, global warming, and emergency resilience issues. Cyber attacks on such a system could

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satelliteSatellites can give us access to high speed Internet in even the most remote locations, such as in the middle of the dessert, on a a boat at sea, or even the Arctic. Unfortunately, with this great convenience, comes a great liability since hackers can easily break into these feeds to use them. Now, a Spanish cyber security researcher named Leonardo Nve, is presenting proof that not only is it easy and cheap (around $75) to hack into and use these satellite connections, but that it’s also easy for hackers to gain access to private networks, intercept satellite Internet users’ requests for web pages, replace them with spoofed sites, and they can do all of this anonymously.

“What’s interesting about this is that it’s very, very easy,” says Nve. “Anyone can do it: phishers or Chinese hackers … it’s like a very big Wi-Fi network that’s easy to access.”

Nve’s research proves that anyone using satellite Internet is not as safe as they think they are. A hacker that knows how to do this can set up fake websites designed to look and act like the real thing and steal your password information or install malicious software on your computer. So far, Nve has tested this out on geosynchronous satellites aimed at Europe, Africa and South America, but he says that there is little doubt that the same tricks would work on satellites facing North America or anywhere else.

What makes these attacks possible is that these satellite’s signals are usually left unencrypted due to logistical and legal issues with scrambling the signal. Encrypting the signal would make it much harder for companies to communicate with each other, and also has to do with the satellites sending out a signal to more than one country at a time. Different countries have different laws that have to do with Internet satellites, and it has been tough making them all agree on the same laws about how this hidden layer of the satellite security should be encrypted.

Even though there is nothing the companies and have nations agreed on yet, and it would take a lot of work, something has to be done. Nve’s work shows us just how vulnerable our satellite Internet is, and that if some ill-intended hackers or enemy states would start using this against us, it could potentially cause a lot of damage to both regular civilians and government agencies using satellite Internet.

(Via Forbes)

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hide Google offers users a free, superior online experience and services such as email, search, maps, etc. in exchange for your web browsing privacy. Now thanks to an independent security researcher who goes by the name Moxie Marlinspike, you can get all of Google’s freebies without having to sacrifice your privacy. He just launched a Firefox plug-in called Googlesharing, which gives users access to Google’s online services while cloaking their identity from the company’s data collection tools. The way that it works is it sends your Internet requests through another computer that hides your identity and mixes it up with those of other users.

“Each identity looks like a normal user, but everything is mixed up between identities so Google can’t track any individual” says Marlinspike.

Googlesharing hides your online privacy from everyone but one person: Marlinspike himself, and in case you don’t even trust him, he offers the source code to you for free to create your own proxy.

“If you don’t trust us, you can find someone who you do trust,” he says.

But is all this really necessary? Or are these the people that use proxy services like this one just paranoid? Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt tells us that the fears of governments using our web history to try to convict us of crimes might just be true:

“If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in hidebagthe first place… The reality is that search engines–including Google–do retain this information for some time and it’s important, for example, that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act and it is possible that all that information could be made available to the authorities”

Googlesharing is not the only proxy you can use to keep your online identity safe, there are others like Tor, which provides increased security, but slows you down a bit since it redirects all your Internet requests through 3 different servers. Other sites like Ixquick.com or Scroogle.com only offer to keep your searches private, but not any other of Google’s services.  For the most ease of use, and without sacrificing speed, try out Googlesharing.

(Via Forbes)

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indiahackIndia’s security chief, M.K. Narayanan,  is claiming that Chinese hackers have attempted to hack into India’s most sensitive government office. Tensions between China and India have been resizing lately ever nice India’s relationship with the U.S. has improved to the point that the U.S. is poised to be selling them billions of dollars worth of weapons. Although there is no way for the Indian office to now for sure, they are pretty sure that the attacks originated from China.

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