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City Honors break-in yields computer to thieves

Thieves broke into City Honors School early Saturday and stole a computer, Buffalo police said. The theft happened at about 3:05 a.m. Saturday when burglars broke a side window and gained entrance into the school on East North Street, according to police reports.

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Hacker’s Tiny Spy Computer Cracks Corporate Networks, Fits In An Altoid Tin

In its smallest version, Kevin Bong’s “Mini Pwner” spy router can fit inside an Altoids tin.

The next time an unexpected “repairman” cruises past your company’s security desk, you might want to check inside his tin of mints or pack of cigarettes. Especially if he’s also carrying an ethernet cable.

Kevin Bong, a Wisconsin-based security researcher and penetration tester, has developed what he calls the Mini Pwner, a spy computer smaller than a smartphone designed to be inconspicuously plugged into an ethernet port to gain access to a corporate network, feeding information back to a nearby hacker over its wifi signal. Bong sells a kit for the mini spy node for $99, but he also explains on his website how to put one together independently with just a TP-Link router running the open source OpenWRT software, a USB thumb drive, and a battery pack–components that add up to less than $40.

The result is a network cracking tool that’s just two inches square by one inch thick. Or with a bit more hardware fiddling, the Mini Pwner can even be removed from the TP-Link router’s plastic case and reassembled small enough to fit in an Altoids tin–a variant that Bong calls the “Minty Pwner.” (He admits the metal case might interfere with the router’s signal if it’s left inside.)

Bong says he built the Mini Pwner, whose name refers to the hacker lingo “to pwn” meaning to hack or gain control of a target, to aid in his day-to-day work sussing out clients’ security vulnerabilities as a penetration tester for the Brookfield, Wisconsin consultancy Synercomm. “The easiest way to get into a company is still to walk in looking professional and talk your way into a wiring closet,” says Bong. “Once this thing is configured, you can plug it in to the network you’re attacking and connect back to the router itself from the parking lot.”

Once it’s plugged into an open ethernet port on a wall, in a server closet or even into one of a company’s IP phones, the Mini Pwner is designed to run simple scanning tools including Nmap and dSniff that allow a hacker to map out a company’s network and passively collect information. More importantly, it can create a VPN connection so that a nearby hacker can connect to the tiny router’s wifi signal, tunnel into the target network, and run hacking tools like Metasploit to gain further access. The battery pack offers at least four hours of hacking time, Bong says, but a USB port on the Pwner can also be hooked up to power the device indefinitely.

The full “Mini Pwner” kit. The version inside the TP-Link router case is shown at top right, with an iPhone at bottom right for comparison.

The Mini Pwner is hardly the only small, cheap spy computer available to digital intruders: Other slightly larger devices like the Pwnie Express or the F-BOMB are designed to be plugged into wall sockets, or in the latter case even thrown or dropped onto a target from a flying drone, tunneling out of the target’s own wifi network to reconnect to the hacker. The Wifi Pineapple, by contrast, creates a “honeypot” wireless signal that’s designed to tempt unsuspecting users, stealing their data when they connect to its network. And some penetration testing applications such as the Android Network Toolkit run on Android phones, allowing a hacker to merely walk into a building with a phone and run exploits targeting vulnerable machines.

All of those devices are marketed as penetration testing devices rather than tools for illegal hacking. But as with any penetration test, Bong says the intrusion tricks are designed to make potential victims aware of methods that are available to less ethical hackers, too.

“Hacking doesn’t just mean someone sitting on a laptop somewhere,” says Bong. “You have to protect your ports, watch the people who come in the front door, and look at what’s plugged into your network. This stuff is out there.”





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View full post on National Cyber Security » Computer Hacking

Suspected computer hackers arrested in France

Gang alleged to have to have broken into corporate networks in France, Russia and Iceland
Experts at SophosLabs have welcomed the news that French authorities have arrested a total of 22 people suspected of running an international hacking gang that broke into business networks in France and overseas.

According to French media reports, the 22 alleged hackers were arrested in Paris, southern and central France following a four month investigation involving over 90 members of the police force.

The arrested members of the alleged gang are said to be all under 25 years of age, with one reported to be only 13 years old. According to media reports, the gang were members of an internet forum of some 200 hackers where they were seen bragging about their “successes”.

Police have said that it is not clear at the moment what the motivation for the hacking was, although some data was reportedly destroyed on company networks. If found guilty of destroying data and degrading network performance in affected companies the hackers could face a maximum of five years in jail.

“One of the disturbing facts about this story is that 16 of the 22 people arrested are under 18 years old,” said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. “While the authorities must be applauded for investigating cases like this, we should also question what is going wrong with our education of young people to make them think that computer hacking might be an acceptable way to behave. More has to be done to teach children in school how to use their computer skills responsibly.”

According to official statements, 34 businesses in France, Iceland and Russia were allegedly affected by the hacking, but at present only seven firms have registered a formal complaint.

“Companies not only need to be on their guard to defend their systems against cybercriminals and internet hackers, they must also be prepared to report crimes when they occur,” explained Cluley. “If individuals and businesses don’t come forward and report an offense, the authorities can find it hard to put together a concrete case against the perpetrators.”

Sophos recommends all computer users protect themselves with a consolidated solution which can control network access and defend their networks, email and web gateways against the threats of hackers, malware, spyware and spam.

About Sophos

Sophos enables enterprises all over the world to secure and control their IT infrastructure. Sophos’s network access control, endpoint, web and email solutions simplify security to provide integrated defenses against malware, spyware, intrusions, unwanted applications, spam, policy abuse, data leakage and compliance drift. With over 20 years of experience, Sophos protects over 100 million users in nearly 150 countries with its reliably engineered security solutions and services. Recognized for its high level of customer satisfaction and powerful yet easy-to-use solutions, Sophos has received many industry awards, as well as positive reviews and certifications.

Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK

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UK Legal Services Computer Investigation, computer forensics, cell site and expert witness testimony

Site review of Compute Forensics is the de-facto service provider of computer forensics,computer investigation/examination, mobile phone forensics, data recovery and cell site analysis location services. Our strength is to convey complex ideas in plain English to our customers that vary from agents of the UK courts also the public/private sector. We perform expert witness testimony in UK courts with confidence. All our Computer Forensic analyst’s have courtroom experience.

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Court narrows reach of computer fraud law

By Terry Baynes and Jonathan Stempel (Reuters) – A U.S. appeals court rejected the government's broad reading of a computer fraud law to prosecute workers who steal from company computers, saying it could …

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Computer Worker Stole Chip Designs

Federal prosecutors in Boston say a 36-year-old man has pleaded guilty to charges stemming from allegations that he secretly downloaded key computer chip manufacturing and design documents from chipmaker Intel Corp. while looking for a job elsewhere.

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Keep Your Computer Safe—Without Losing Speed—With VIPRE Internet Security 2012

You must have security software. Without a firewall and an antivirus program running in the background at all times, your computer could be working for a criminal instead of for you.

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Computer virus may target Indian firms in Dubai?

Dubai, April 2 (IANS) A computer virus from China has been targeting users in India as well as in China, and as many Indian companies are based in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), they need to be 'extra careful', an expert has said.

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View full post on National Cyber Security » Virus/Malware/Worms

Computer system dropped after $500 million spent

The plug has been pulled on one of the biggest boondoggles in California history – the effort to build a $2 billion computer system linking the state's 58 county courts. It never worked, and some say it was doomed from the start. The program had run so amok,…

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