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The NSA ended one of its contentious spying programs this weekend

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

The NSA ended one of its contentious spying programs this weekend

Over the weekend, the NSA finally ended its contentiousPHONEmetadata spying program. It was first brought to public scrutiny after NSA contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked documents to journalists about the scale of the US government’s spying, provoking a global debate over privacy andSECURITY. Though hailed as a hero by privacy activists, Snowden is viewed as a traitor by many in the US establishment, and would face trial if he returned home (he’s currently in exile in Russia.) But his leaks have provoked some politicalCHANGES. Key among these is the USA Freedom Act. It means that the NSA is no longer directly collecting millions of Americans’PHONE RECORDS. It actually came into effect this summer — but there was an 180-day grace period. That period ended just before midnight on Saturday, November 28. If the NSA wants this data, it will now have to apply to a FISA (foreign intelligence service) court to get it from one of thePHONE companies. Ewan MacAskill, a Guardian journalist who did some of the earliest reporting on Snowden’s leaks, describes it as a “first step but a modest one.” And he points out a “major” problem for privacy activists: “The reform applies only toPHONE RECORDS. The NSA can continue […]

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Pei: Aggressive invitation rollout for OnePlus 2 coming next weekend

OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei sent out a tweet on Wednesday, apologizing for the one-month delay in rolling out invitations for the OnePlus 2. But Pei made it clear that “an aggressive invite rollout” will start next weekend. That would include Friday, September 4th; Saturday, September 5th and Sunday, September 6th. As you probably know by now, OnePlus employs the invitation system to better match up demand with supply. Because the company sells its phones nearly at cost, it cannot afford to build a large number of units on spec.

The first invitations are going out to major participants in …

View full post on PhoneArena Free Communication Weekend

Starting today, February 1st until February 3rd – is’s Free Communication Weekend. THIS is the time to give a try, especially if you are ready to ditch the usual dating venues and use a system that actually works. is part of the family and is intended for singles looking for serious […]

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Weekend Hacker: Learn To Use An Arduino

The easiest way to make and control your own electronics is through a device called an “Arduino”. This video shows you the basics of getting started with it. Purchase an Arduino — Download Arduino Software — Troubleshooting and other resources —

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2600: @BlueSwirl Please email with details. Our office manager returns from vacation this weekend and we’ll solve this.

2600: @BlueSwirl Please email with details. Our office manager returns from vacation this weekend and we’ll solve this.

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Apple Flashback Trojan infection shows weekend decline

The Flashback Trojan could be on the wane despite infecting as many as 50,000 Apple computers in the UK at its peak, an analysis of the malware’s bot traffic by Kaspersky Lab has concluded.

Kaspersky’s peak infection numbers were 670,000, it said, a verification of the roughly 600,000 figure put out by security company Dr. Web last week. This still makes the incident the largest confirmed Mac malware outbreak yet recorded.

Using traffic ‘captured’ from the botnet by reverse engineering its Command and Control infrastructure, Kaspersky now estimates that roughly 300,000 of the infections were in the US, 94,000 in Canada, 47,000 in the UK, and almost 42,000 in Australia.

A clutch of countries in the EU, plus Mexico and Japan showed levels under 10,000 that probably reflect the website hosts used to spread it.

Exactly what is happening to the botnet now that it is famous is not clear. Kaspersky said it had seen an encouraging decline in the number of active bots to 237,000 over the Easter weekend, but this could reflect only those machines that were trying to connect to the CC servers during the measured time period.

Falling or not, the outbreak has alarmed Apple sufficiently for a company infamous for its tardy security response to issue a Java update for OS X v10.7 and Mac OS X v10.6, recommending that those running earlier versions simply disable the software altogether through the browser.

The company has also said it is planning to issue a tool to detect and remove Flashback (or ‘Flashfake’ as Kaspersky calls it).

Not everyone is impressed with Apple’s response and that criticism is likely to grow if Flashback turns out to be merely chapter one of a new age of (relative) Mac insecurity.

“Apple knew about this Java vulnerability for three months, and yet neglected to push through an update in all that time. The problem is exacerbated because up to now Apple has enjoyed a mythical reputation for being ‘malware free’,” said Kaspersky Lab’s chief security expert, Alexander Gostev.

“Too many users are unaware that their computers have been infected, or that there is a real threat to Mac security.”

Worried Apple users should by updating their Java software, after which they can check for infection at Kaspersky’s site.  The company has offered its own Flashback removal tool.

As long predicted by experts working at security companies sometimes criticised for spreading FUD, Apple’s first major malware problem has come through a weakness routinely used to target Windows users, namely Java. Patching the vulnerability won’t make future attack less likely — as in the PC world new Java flaws keep appearing, demanding continuous vigilance.

Flashback, which can appear as the offer of a fake Flash update, has been around for more than six months although recent versions work using drive-by downloads requiring no user interaction.

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Facebook community forum swamped by spam during Thanksgiving weekend

IDG News Service – Facebook’s community forum was flooded during the Thanksgiving weekend with spam messages that advertised live streaming links for various sporting events.

The aggressive spamming campaign made it difficult for users to get technical assistance from their peers, which is the forum’s primary purpose.

It’s not clear if the accounts that posted the rogue messages were registered specifically for this purpose or were legitimate accounts compromised by spammers. However, judging by the publicly visible information on some of them, their involvement in this type of activity dates back weeks or even months.

One interesting aspect is that most of the affected users have installed what appear to be rogue apps with names such as “Notes” or “Discussion Board.” This opens up the possibility that their accounts were hijacked as a result of older spam campaigns that encouraged them to install those applications.

Even though this live-streaming spam has been going on for quite a while, the attack detected during the Thanksgiving weekend resulted in rogue topics appearing on the forum every single minute, according to a blog that tracks Facebook privacy and security issues.

This was possibly an attempt to take advantage of the fact that U.S. companies are usually understaffed during this period. Facebook did not respond to requests for comment.

The spammed links directed users to websites offering subscription-based Internet TV services and despite what the rogue messages suggested, there was nothing free about their offers.

At the end of October, Facebook published an infographic, which said that spam represents less than 4% of content shared on the social networking website and affects under 0.5% of users on any given day. Of course, for Facebook 0.5% represents over 4 million users, which is a considerable number.

As usual, Facebook users should be wary of all unsolicited messages that ask them to install applications and should carefully review the permissions requested by those apps, as well as their popularity. Users should also immediately notify their friends if they see them spamming unusual messages.

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ProtectMyID: #FF Say hi to our new friends! @DouglasDavidson, @webroot, @marcbarrettmktg, and @onmycredit. Have a great weekend everyone!

ProtectMyID: #FF Say hi to our new friends! @DouglasDavidson, @webroot, @marcbarrettmktg, and @onmycredit. Have a great weekend everyone!

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