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Most nuclear plants not prepared for cyber attack, says Chatham House

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Most nuclear power plants around the world are not well prepared for cyber attacks, according to a report by international affairs think tank Chatham House. Many of the control systems used for nuclear plants, including those in the UK, are not well protected and are “insecure by design” said the report, which was based on an 18-month study of cyber defences in nuclear power plants around the world. The UK is leading cyber security in the international critical national infrastructure community, David Willacy, manager of digital risk and security at energy operator National Grid, told a Cyber Security Summit in London in July 2015. “But there is still a desperate need for real cultural change in the energy sector in the UK and elsewhere. Those in the energy sector need to realise they are no longer just engineering companies, but that they are IT engineering companies, because power networks are now completely reliant on IT to operate, and that security is only as good as the weakest link,” he said. A key finding of the report was that the infrequency of cyber security incident disclosure at nuclear facilities makes it difficult to assess the true extent of the problem and may lead nuclear industry personnel to believe there are few […]

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Don’t expect HTC to promise monthly security updates says company executive Jason Mackenzie

With rival smartphone manufacturers like LG and Samsung promising monthly security updates along with Google (for its Nexus devices), HTC Americas president Jason Mackenzie sent out a tweet yesterday that called such updates “unrealistic.” The monthly updates were a response to the Stagefright vulnerability, which first started getting noticed in July. At its peak, Stagefright left 95% of Android handsets open to attack. Hackers could use the exploit to take control of the microphone and the cameras on an Android phone, and grab personal information, all from a malicious MMS.

Early in August, …

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DxOMark says the Sony Xperia Z5’s camera is the best it’s tested so far

Earlier this month, when it announced the Xperia Z5, Sony said that the handset would come with “the best camera in a leading smartphone.” While we’ve yet to review the Z5 (the device hasn’t been released), the folks over at DxOMark – a website that’s well known for rating all kinds of camera sensors – have already tested the smartphone, not long after testing the brand new Google Nexus 6P.

As it turns out, DxOMark gave the Xperia Z5 the best mobile photo and video scores to date: 88 and 86, respectively, putting it slightly ahead of the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge (88 and 84, respectively) and …

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Next OnePlus phone will be a mid-range model says company executive

The upcoming OnePlus handset that company co-founder Carl Pei said would launch before Christmas, is a mid-range model that will be priced in a range between $180-$300. That comes from a report in today’s Economic Times, which quotes OnePlus India GM Vikas Agarwal as saying that the device is going to be released before the end of the year. The executive adds that while it will be a global release, the phone will be focused on Indian consumers.

Agarwal also said that it would be a lifestyle and fashion product, and would not be considered a flagship phone. That dovetails with a comment made …

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Analyst says Xiaomi Mi 5 could be launched before the year is out

Earlier this year, electronic industry analyst Pan Jiutang predicted that the first handset to contain the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset would be the Xiaomi Mi 5. The analyst figured that Qualcomm’s new high-end chip would be sent to manufacturers in December, with the first phones to use the Snapdragon 820 rolling out in March. But Mr. Pan has revised his forecast, and now sees the new Xiaomi flagship getting released as soon as December. That is, if Qualcomm has enough product to send out.

For Xiaomi, it has been well over a year since the launch of the Xiaomi Mi 4. That is a lifetime …

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Sprint CEO Claure says that the carrier would be stronger if merged with a cable company

Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure told Reuters on Thursday, that the nation’s fourth largest carrier would be a much tougher challenger to Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile if it were merged with a cable company. The recent acquisition of Cablevision doesn’t leave any more strong acquisition candidates in the industry, so telecommunication companies have no choice but to look at merging with wireless carriers if they want to get larger.

Sprint is 82% owned by Japan’s SoftBank Group, which out bid Dish Network to buy a 78% stake in Sprint back in July 2013. The value of the transaction was $21.6 billion. …

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Google must remove search results globally, else face huge fines, France says

Right to be forgotten : Google must remove search results globally, or face big fines says French regulator

The French data regulator rejected Google’s appeal against the global enforcement of “right to be forgotten” removals, which is related to last year’s ruling wherein an European court said that citizens could request that links about them be taken down from search results.

Number of reasons for the rejection were provided by the President of the Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL), France’s data protection authority that included the fact that European orders to de-list information from search results could be easily misled, if links were still available on Google’s other domains.

The CNIL had ordered Google in May to apply RTBF removals not only to the company’s European domains such as or, but to the search engine’s global domain

Google appealed the order in July, which has now been rejected by the CNIL. Google must now remove tens of thousands of search results from and other global domains. The ruling also applies to other search engines, like Bing and Yahoo.

In a previous statement, Google had said that the ruling is “a troubling development that risks serious chilling effects on the web.” However, rejecting this claim in a public statement, CNIL said that “this decision does not show any willingness on the part of the CNIL to apply French law extraterritorially. It simply requests full observance of European legislation by non European players offering their services in Europe.”

Google has said that its processed more than a quarter of one million requests to delist more than one million links since the ruling, and has removed 41.6% of the URL requests it has processed so far.

The Index on Censorship has previously at the same time said that removing results from search engines was “akin to marching into a library and forcing it to pulp books.” Also, many of the newspapers have reported that their articles have been removed from search results because of the European court’s new right.

After the ruling, Google reiterated its opposition to the legal decision. “As a matter of principle, we respectfully disagree with the idea that one national data protection authority can assert global authority to control the content that people can access around the world.”

According to The Guardian: “CNIL will likely begin to apply sanctions including the possibility of a fine in the region of €300,000 against Google, should the company refuse to comply with the order. Under incoming French regulation the fine could increase to between 2% and 5% of global operating costs.” Google’s total operating costs were just under $50 billion for 2014, so most likely the fine could be from $1 billion to $2.5 billion (€900 million to €2.2 billion).

As far as CNIL is concerned, Google must now comply with its order. “Otherwise, the President of the CNIL may designate a Rapporteur who may refer to the CNIL’s sanctions committee with a view of obtaining a ruling on this matter.” Those sanctions could be severe.

If Google is fined by CNIL in this way, the search engine could then go to the Conseil d’Etat, the supreme court for administrative justice, to appeal the decision and fine.

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Thanks to encryption, we may never spot space aliens says Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden says encryption will make Earth and Earthlings invisible to extraterrestrials

The anti-encryption lobby has just got a new fan. After the government agencies, who are against encryption for obvious reasons, Edward Snowden has spoken out against encryption albeit for a different reason altogether.

Edward Snowden, the US government whistleblower, feels that encoding may make it hard or even impossible to recognize signals from alien species from cosmic background radiation.

Snowden on Friday night appeared on the astrophysicist and science communicator Neil deGrasse Tyson’s StarTalk podcast from Moscow, via a robot video link called a “beam remote presence system”.

In 2013, Snowden leaked classified information from the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). The information revealed numerous global surveillance programs, many run by the NSA and the Five Eyes with the cooperation of telecommunication companies and European governments. The documents were leaked to media outlets including the Guardian.

On June 21, 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice unsealed charges against Snowden of two counts of violating the Espionage Act and theft of government property. On June 23, he flew to Moscow, Russia, where he reportedly remained for over a month. Later that summer, Russian authorities granted him a one-year temporary asylum which was later extended to three years. As of 2015, he was still living in an undisclosed location in Russia while seeking asylum elsewhere.

In a frank interview with Tyson, Snowden said that following the terrorist attacks of 11 September, 2001, he signed up for the US army.

“It took a very long time for me to develop any kind of skepticism at all even to the most over-extended claims of the extension of programs or policies [by the US security services],” he said.

During the course of the conversation, it turned to the likelihood that data encoding may be making it difficult to interrupt communications from aliens.

“If you look at encrypted communication, if they are properly encrypted, there is no real way to tell that they are encrypted,” Snowden said. “You can’t distinguish a properly encrypted communication from random behaviour.”

Continuing on this, Snowden said that as human and alien societies get more complex and shift from “open communications” to encoded communication, the signals being broadcast will rapidly stop looking like identifiable signals.

“So if you have an an alien civilization trying to listen for other civilizations,” he said, “or our civilization trying to listen for aliens, there’s only one small period in the development of their society when all their communication will be sent via the most primitive and most unprotected means.”

Snowden later said that alien messages would be so encoded that it would deliver them unidentifiable, “indistinguishable to us from cosmic microwave background radiation”. Human race in that case would not be even aware that it had got such communications.

“Only,” Tyson replied jovially, “if they have the same security problems as us.”

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Kremlin Says Hackers Attacked Putin Website

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Hackers made a “very powerful” attack on the Kremlin website on Sunday, the Russian government said on Monday. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov linked the attack to regional elections in Russia on Sunday in which the opposition sought to challenge government-allied politicians in the one region it was allowed to run. Peskov said the election commission’s website came under attack on Sunday morning. “Given that, you will certainly be interested to know that from 5 to 10 am on Sunday a very powerful attack was simultaneously carried out on the Russian president’s website,” Peskov told reporters. “Defense systems worked though it was not easy, the attack was rather strong.” He said had no information on who might have been behind the attack. Russia has a hacking criminal underground and the United States regularly accuses Russian, as well as Chinese, hackers of attacks. Experts say Russiangovernment-backed hackers target U.S. government computers as well as help spread Moscow propaganda at a time of dire relations between Kremlin and the West over the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, human rights and other issues. Source:

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Vodafone’s ‘unforgivable’ hacking of journalist’s phone must be investigated, says union

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Australia’s Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance has called on the privacy commissioner to investigate the circumstances of the “unforgivable” hacking of a journalist’s phone data. On Saturday the Australian published leaked emails that detailed how a day after Fairfax journalist Natalie O’Brien revealed a serious data breach by Vodafone in 2011, there were discussions at Vodafone about unauthorised access to her call charge records and text messages. The company admitted on Sunday that O’Brien’s phone was accessed by an employee. The company claimed this was done for “privacy reasons” and to determine if criminal behaviour had occurred. It denied engaging in any “improper behaviour”. The company said in a statement it had commissioned a top accounting firm to investigate the incident, which found there was “no evidence” Vodafonemanagement had instructed an employee to access O’Brien’s phone records. On Monday MEAA chief executive officer Paul Murphy said the breach was shocking and called on the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) to investigate the circumstances. He also called on Vodafone to release the details of the internal investigation into the breach. “I was shocked that such a flagrant breach would occur, and then apparently be covered up,” he said. “It’s […]

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