hacking

Tech news from around the web:

  • Amazon has announced it is to sell its Kindle e-reader for $25 less than the lowest current list price — with adverts and other types of sponsored content, PaidContent reports.  The first companies to advertise include Buick, Chase, Olay, and Visa and the promotions will appear on either the screen saver or the bottom of the home page.

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Tech news from around the web:

  • Hacking group Anonymous has launched a series of attacks against Sony, bringing down several of the company’s sites and the PlayStation Network, PlayStation LifeStyle reports. The attacks were launched in response to Sony’s earlier legal action against a group of PS3 hackers including Geohot.

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Joseph Menn

Apple’s iPhone is more vulnerable to phishing attacks than users might realise because it can obscure the true addresses of the websites that phone owners are visiting. Read more

Tech news from around the web:

  • Google has taken steps to deal with a spate of malicious Android applications that were posted on the official Android Market and other third-party websites, AllThingsDigital reports. The attacks, which took place last week, have prompted Google to remotely kill off the malicious applications on Android handsets.

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Tech news from around the web:

  • Zynga, the company behind online games FarmVille and CityVille, is in talks on an investment that would value it at nearly $10bn and could pave the way for an initial public offering next year, the New York Times’ DealBook reports. The company is in discussion  with T. Rowe Price and Fidelity Investments, among other investors, for a round of financing near $500m.

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Tech news from around the web:

  • Microsoft says it is still considering whether to offer Office on Apple’s App store for its Mac computers, says AllThingsDigital.
  • Mashable reports that the Motion Picture Association of America, working with Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN, has cracked down on the file-sharing of pirated films and TV programmes by shutting down 12 “torrent” websites in the US and at least 39 sites abroad by filing copyright violation complaints with the sites’ hosting providers. 

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Tech news from around the web:

  • Mark Zuckerberg’s fan page on Facebook appears to have been hacked, TechCrunch reports. A strange message appeared on the page on Tuesday and generated more than 1,800 likes and nearly 500 comments before Facebook took it down:

Let the hacking begin: If facebook needs money, instead of going to the banks, why doesn’t Facebook let its users invest in Facebook in a social way? Why not transform Facebook into a ‘social business’ the way Nobel Price winner Muhammad Yunus described it? http://bit.ly/fs6rT3 What do you think? #hackercup2011

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Joseph Menn

Normally in the business of making others embarrassed, Nick Denton’s Gawker Media empire had some awkward explaining to do itself on Monday after hackers breached the database containing hundreds of thousands of usernames and passwords that people used to comment on the sites in the network.

Gawker executives, who had initially denied the breach, were forced to reverse course and apologise after the hackers posted a large batch of the passwords online. The intruders also took Gawker’s own source code and perused internal chats and employee e-mails, which in turn provided log-in credentials for Google Apps, taking a similar trajectory to the 2009 electronic break-in at Twitter that unearthed sensitive financial information. Read more

Joseph Menn

One of the best-known networks of compromised personal computers, assembled largely through deceptive web links sent from Facebook accounts, earns its proprietors about $2m a year.

That’s one of the conclusions in a study released Friday by Information Warfare Monitor researcher Nart Villeneuve, who won access to archives of the software that the Russian criminals used to control the program known as Koobface, which is an anagram of Facebook. Read more

Joseph Menn

A researcher on Thursday posted software tools that he said would enable widespread eavesdropping on calls made over GSM networks with less than $2,000 worth of equipment.

Speaking at the second day of the Black Hat technology security conference in Las Vegas, researcher Karsten Nohl, who had previously reported that he had cracked GSM encryption, said he was distributing the tools free in order to pressure carriers to make fairly simple changes to fix the vulnerability. Read more

Joseph Menn

More than a hundred innocuous-looking wallpaper applications for Android handsets have been harvesting users’ phone numbers and SIM card information and sending them off to a Website based in China, researchers said Wednesday at the Black Hat tech security conference in Las Vegas.

The wallpapers–background pictures of ponies, basketball scenes and the like–have been downloaded more than a million times, the researchers said in highlighting growing concern about potential for malicious applications on Android, Apple’s iPhone and other smartphones that are rapidly gaining popularity. Read more

Joseph Menn

Most of the organised hacking rings aiming at bank fraud these days are stealing login credentials and then taking advantage of the relatively recent opportunities provided by online account access, wire transfers and other means for mis-shipping electronic funds.

But a newly discovered Russian group was using networks of compromised personal computers and techniques for hacking into databases to write $9m in counterfeit checks, thought until now to be the purview mainly of old-time loners. Read more

Joseph Menn

In what may be the first of many such formal disclosures, Intel included an unusual admission in its annual 10k filing to the SEC on Tuesday: It had been subjected to a “sophisticated incident” of computer hacking that might have been an act of “industrial or other espionage”.

The top semiconductor manufacturer said that the incident in question occurred last month, around the same time Google made a startling and more detailed announcement along similar lines. Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy said there was no definitive link between the attempt to break into Intel and the spying campaign that targeted Google and as many as 30 other technology companies, including Adobe and Symantec. Read more

An editorial in Tuesday’s Financial Times says China’s policy towards technology companies shows it knows how to tilt markets to its advantage – to the disadvantage of others.

Whereas national security once required controls on what technology could be exported, today it increasingly requires a critical look at what is imported. If the world converges to the standards China requires, computers everywhere risk being at the mercy of its willingness to refrain from cyberattacks. A recent infiltration of Google’s systems, allegedly with Beijing’s involvement, puts that willingness very much in doubt. Read more

Joseph Menn

Albert Gonzalez, a onetime star informant for the US Secret Service, pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy charges in the largest known identity theft case to date. He stands to be sentenced to more than 15 years behind bars at hearing scheduled for March.

Mr Gonzalez formally entered the plea in US District Court in Boston in a case brought over the penetration of multiple retail chains and Heartland Payment Systems, a credit card and debit card processor that prosecutors said coughed up more than 130m records. Read more

Joseph Menn

More than 10,000 user names and passwords for Hotmail and other Microsoft services were anonymously posted over the weekend at a free site for programmers, it was reported Monday, prompting security experts to recommend that users change their passwords.

Microsoft said it was investigating the posting to a coding site called pastebin.com, which hinted at a much bigger password collection: according to tech news site Neowin.net, the account names all started with A or B. Read more