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Top Stories for the Week of August 9, 2016

  • Episode 464
  • August 9, 2016
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Here are the stories we're following for the week of Tuesday August 9, 2016


One of the largest torrent meta search engines in the world has shut down suddenly and without warning.

One of the largest torrent meta search engines in the world has shut down suddenly and without warning.

Torrentz.eu, one of the world's largest torrent sites, has announced "farewell" to its millions of users. The meta-search engine, which hosted no torrents of its own but linked to other sites including The Pirate Bay, has decided to cease its operation. The surprise shutdown marks the end of an era.

Founded in 2003, Torrentz has been a stable factor in the torrent community for over 13 years.

With millions of visitors per day the site grew out to become one of the most visited torrent sites, but now this reign ends, as the popular meta-search engine has announced its shutdown.

On Friday and without warning, Torrentz disabled its search functionality. At first sight the main page looks normal but those who try to find links to torrents will notice that they’re no longer there.

Instead, the site is now referring to itself in the past tense, suggesting that after more than a decade the end has arrived.

“Torrentz was a free, fast and powerful meta-search engine combining results from dozens of search engines,” the text reads.

The site’s user are no longer able to login either. Instead, they see the following message: “Torrentz will always love you. Farewell.”

Torrentz itself never hosted any torrent files but did have a takedown procedure in place, allowing copyright holders to take down infringing links.

Not all rightsholders were happy with the site though. Both RIAA and MPAA have reported the site to the U.S. Government in recent years, which repeatedly placed it in its annual “Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets.”

With Torrentz.eu and KickassTorrents both shutting down, the torrent comunity lost two of the largest sites in a period of three weeks.

Source: torrentfreak.com


Chip and pin debit and credit cards have been shown to be insecure.

Chip and pin debit and credit cards have been shown to be insecure.

Credit card companies for the most part have moved away from “swipe and signature” credit cards to chip and pin cards by this point; the technology is supposed to provide consumers with an added layer of security is beginning to see some wear, according to researchers.

Nir Valtman and Patrick Watson, researchers with NCR Corporation, staged a series of malicious transactions in a talk at Black Hat last week, demonstrating how they could capture Track 2 data and bypass chip and pin protections.

The standards' intent is to prevent the duplication of cards and crack down on stolen card usage, but doesn’t prevent that card data from being used or modified elsewhere.

In their first demonstration, the duo used a Raspberry Pi to capture Track 2 data packets in real time. Via a passive man-in-the-middle compromise, they picked up two interactions from data entered into a pinpad running flawed production software that’s currently in use at at least one unspecified vendor.

While the researchers claimed they had spoken with the vendor and asked them to implement TLS connections, they were told it couldn’t be done as they ran old hardware.

The two also showed how chip and pin cards aren’t immune to hacks: The garbled data can be transformed into readable bits and data.

Attackers could compromise a pinpad by injecting a form and quickly change it back to a customized “Welcome!” message.

Valtman warns therefore that consumers should never re-enter their PIN, as it’s a telltale giveaway that a pin pad may have been compromised.

Source: threatpost.com

Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash


Thousands of seismic sensors monitoring geological activity are vulnerable to cyber attack.

Thousands of seismic sensors monitoring geological activity are vulnerable to cyber attack.

Thousands of seismic sensors monitoring geological activity are vulnerable to cyber attack.

The poor security controls around the way the sensors transmit data were detailed in a presentation at the Def Con hacker convention.

Researchers found ways to fool and overload sensors so monitoring systems would get wildly inaccurate readings.

The findings have been reported to the US computer emergency organisation that oversees national infrastructure.

Bertin Bonilla is a security expert based in Costa Rica who, with colleague James Jara, carried out the research.

Mr Bonilla said the network of sensors came to light during a different project that tried to find and map smart devices connected to the net to create a search engine for the Internet of Things.

The devices stood out because of the distinctive fingerprint of data they surrendered to scanning software and because of their location.

He said, "These devices are located in extreme environments like the middle of the ocean and around active volcanoes."

Closer scrutiny revealed that it was easy to connect to the sensors, each of which costs $30,000, and see the data they were gathering and transmitting.

Tracing links to central servers that collate data revealed a series of flaws, including common default passwords, that could be exploited by attackers to take control of the network.

They were even able to establish a root shell--the highest level of privilege on the system.

Mr Bonilla said the risks associated with the network and sensors were low but the easy access might be of interest to particular types of attackers.

He detailed, "These devices measure natural disasters. Abusing them could lead to financial sabotage for a specific company or country."

Nanometrics, the company that makes the sensor system that was probed disputed the researchers' findings, saying, "We have always recommended to our customers that they change the factory default passwords and when using the systems on real-time communications networks, they limit access to known IP addresses and/or use VPN software."

Source: www.bbc.com

Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash


IBM's Watson artificial intelligence has "saved a woman's life" - having successfully and accurately diagnosed her rare form of Leukemia.

IBM's Watson artificial intelligence has "saved a woman's life" - having successfully and accurately diagnosed her rare form of Leukemia.

IBM's Watson has done everything from winning at Jeopardy to cooking exotic meals, but it appears to have accomplished its greatest feat yet: saving a life.

University of Tokyo doctors report that the artificial intelligence diagnosed a 60-year-old woman's rare form of leukemia that had been incorrectly identified months earlier.

The analytical machine took just 10 minutes to compare the patient's genetic changes with a database of 20 million cancer research papers, delivering an accurate diagnosis and leading to proper treatment that had proven elusive.

Watson has also identified another rare form of leukemia in another patient, the university says.

It'll likely take a long while before Watson and other AI systems are regularly providing advice at hospitals, but we can imagine a future where human doctors won't have to spend ages sifting through research to identify an obscure disease -- they'd just plug in the right data and start the healing process.

Source: www.engadget.com

Sent to us by: Jeff Weston


ESET is recommending Windows 10 Anniversary Update users disable Windows Defender.

ESET is recommending Windows 10 Anniversary Update users disable Windows Defender.

Last week, Microsoft issued the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, which includes changes to the manner in which security status is presented to home users. The change does not affect Enterprise users.

On the home versions, Windows Defender now displays a user’s protection status as “off” if any non-Microsoft antivirus protection, including ESET, is in use. Additionally, Windows Defender advises the user to remove their non-Microsoft antivirus protection.

In a statement to ESET partners, ESET has recommendend against the removal of ESET security products. This goes for other antimalware products as well.

ESET will not issue a proactive market-facing statement at this time, but recommends disabling the Windows Defender product and notifications, and they've whipped together a page for Windows 10 users afflicted with the warning outlining why users should not uninstall their antimalware product. On the page, users are presented with the following warning: "Despite what Windows Defender might suggest, ESET is still protecting you and removing it will not make you more secure."

To find out more, visit cat5.tv/eset

Source: www.eset.com


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