spy & security

Full of win

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Today, credit cards are on supersale. Pageler says that means a big breach just happened.

Strangely, platinum credit cards on the site are selling for less money than gold cards. […]

The bots send out emails, and between 5 percent and 10 percent of recipients open the attachment, which lets the crooks in.

{ NPR | Continue reading }

On a day of the week with a y in it

He booted up a smartphone in a Moscow café and watched as unidentified attackers immediately began to cyber-assault it.

{ Slashdot | Continue reading }

In the idle darkness comes the bite

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{ When a shopper enters Reebok’s flagship store in New York City, a face-detection system analyzes 10 to 20 frames per second to build a profile of the potential customer. The algorithms can determine a shopper’s gender and age range as well as behavioral and emotional cues, such as interest in a given display (it tracks glances and the amount of time spent standing in one place). Reebok installed the system, called Cara, in May 2013; other companies are following suit. Tesco recently unveiled a technology in the U.K. that triggers digital ads at gas stations tailored to the viewer’s age and gender. | Popular Science | full story }

Ivan Ilych saw that he was dying, and he was in continual despair

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People whose cellphones move at a certain clip across city parks between 5:30 and 8:30 every morning are flagged by Viasense’s algorithm as “early morning joggers.” When you give your smartphone permission to access your location, you may be sharing a lot more than you realize.

{ WSJ | Continue reading }

We show that easily accessible digital records of behavior, Facebook Likes, can be used to automatically and accurately predict a range of highly sensitive personal attributes including: sexual orientation, ethnicity, religious and political views, personality traits, intelligence, happiness, use of addictive substances, parental separation, age, and gender. […]

Table S1 presents a sample of highly predictive Likes related to each of the attributes. For example, the best predictors of high intelligence include “Thunderstorms,” “The Colbert Report,” “Science,” and “Curly Fries,” whereas low intelligence was indicated by “Sephora,” “I Love Being A Mom,” “Harley Davidson,” and “Lady Antebellum.” Good predictors of male homosexuality included “No H8 Campaign,” “Mac Cosmetics,” and “Wicked The Musical,” whereas strong predictors of male heterosexuality included “Wu-Tang Clan,” “Shaq,” and “Being Confused After Waking Up From Naps.” Although some of the Likes clearly relate to their predicted attribute, as in the case of No H8 Campaign and homosexuality, other pairs are more elusive; there is no obvious connection between Curly Fries and high intelligence.

Moreover, note that few users were associated with Likes explicitly revealing their attributes. For example, less than 5% of users labeled as gay were connected with explicitly gay groups, such as No H8 Campaign, “Being Gay,” “Gay Marriage,” “I love Being Gay,” “We Didn’t Choose To Be Gay We Were Chosen.” […]

Predicting users’ individual attributes and preferences can be used to improve numerous products and services. For instance, digital systems and devices (such as online stores or cars) could be designed to adjust their behavior to best fit each user’s inferred profile. Also, the relevance of marketing and product recommendations could be improved by adding psychological dimensions to current user models. For example, online insurance advertisements might emphasize security when facing emotionally unstable (neurotic) users but stress potential threats when dealing with emotionally stable ones.

{ PNAS | PDF }

related { PhD candidate in sociology explains his experiences working for Facebook }

photo { Albert Moldvay, A woman shops for a fur coat at Bergdorf Goodman in New York City, 1964 }

‘Repression is the only lasting philosophy.’ –Charles Dickens

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American and British spies have infiltrated the fantasy worlds of World of Warcraft and Second Life… […] The spies have created make-believe characters to snoop and to try to recruit informers, while also collecting data and contents of communications between players. […]

By the end of 2008, according to one document, the British spy agency, known as GCHQ, had set up its “first operational deployment into Second Life” and had helped the police in London in cracking down on a crime ring that had moved into virtual worlds to sell stolen credit card information. […]

Even before the American government began spying in virtual worlds, the Pentagon had identified the potential intelligence value of video games. The Pentagon’s Special Operations Command in 2006 and 2007 worked with several foreign companies — including an obscure digital media business based in Prague — to build games that could be downloaded to mobile phones, according to people involved in the effort. They said the games, which were not identified as creations of the Pentagon, were then used as vehicles for intelligence agencies to collect information about the users.

{ ProPublica | Continue reading }

related { A Single Exposure to the American Flag Shifts Support Toward Republicanism up to 8 Months Later }

What would you do if you were not afraid?

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{ FBI can secretly turn on laptop cameras without the indicator light. }

photo { Daniel Ehrenworth }

Stars — they’re just like us

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{ How Much is Your Gmail Worth to Attackers? | The Value of a Hacked Email Account }

three tommix, soldiers free, cockaleak and cappapee

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The first thing I did after I heard about the highly classified NSA PRISM program two years ago was set up a proxy server in Peshawar to email me passages from Joyce’s Finnegans Wake.

{ John Sifton/Warscapes | Continue reading | Thanks Aaron }

Is your name Michael Diamond? No mine’s Clarence from downtown Manhattan the village.

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After checking your bank account, remember to log out, close your web browser, and throw your computer into the ocean.

[…]

For those of you using a smartphone or tablet, the process for securely closing your banking session is very similar, except that you should find the nearest canyon and throw your device into that canyon. We then recommend simply scaling down the cliff face, locating the shattered remnants of your device, and spending the next few weeks traversing the country burying each individual piece in separate holes of varying depths several hundred miles apart.

{ The Onion | Continue reading | Thanks Tim }

related { As digital data expands, anonymity may become a mathematical impossibility. }

Reeve Gootch was right and Reeve Drughad was sinistrous

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Are all telephone calls recorded and accessible to the US government? A former FBI counterterrorism agent claims that this is the case.

{ Guardian | Continue reading }

images { 1. Dave Willardson, Rolling Stone, 1976) | 2. Bug, 1975 }

Some men just want to watch the world burn

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Hijacking airplanes with an Android phone

By taking advantage of two new technologies for the discovery, information gathering and exploitation phases of the attack, and by creating an exploit framework (SIMON) and an Android app (PlaneSploit) that delivers attack messages to the airplanes’ Flight Management Systems (computer unit + control display unit), he demonstrated the terrifying ability to take complete control of aircrafts by making virtual planes “dance to his tune.”

{ Net Security | Continue reading }

art { Cy Twombly, Untitled, 1971 }

Red and green will-o’-the-wisps and danger signals

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Paula Broadwell,who had an affair with CIA director David Petraeus, similarly took extensive precautions to hide her identity. She never logged in to her anonymous e-mail service from her home network. Instead, she used hotel and other public networks when she e-mailed him. The FBI correlated hotel registration data from several different hotels — and hers was the common name. […]

The Internet is a surveillance state. Whether we admit it to ourselves or not, and whether we like it or not, we’re being tracked all the time. Google tracks us, both on its pages and on other pages it has access to. Facebook does the same; it even tracks non-Facebook users. Apple tracks us on our iPhones and iPads. One reporter used a tool called Collusion to track who was tracking him; 105 companies tracked his Internet use during one 36-hour period. […]

If the director of the CIA can’t maintain his privacy on the Internet, we’ve got no hope.

{ Bruce Schneier/CNN | Continue reading }

related { We were hacked: Here’s what you should know. }

photo { Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin }