Top Stories for the Week of September 13, 2016

  • Episode 469
  • September 13, 2016
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Here are the stories we're following for the week of Tuesday September 13, 2016


The operators of the vDOS "DDOS for Hire" service have been arrested

The operators of the vDOS "DDOS for Hire" service have been arrested

One of the more popular cyberattack peddlers just came crashing down. Israeli law enforcement has arrested Yarden Bidani and Itay Huri as part of an FBI investigation into their alleged control of vDOS, one of the most popular paid attack platforms. According to information unearthed by security guru Brian Krebs from a third-party hack targeting vDOS, the two teens raked in at least $618,000 launching "a majority" of the distributed denial of service campaigns you've seen in recent years. The platform itself is also offline, although that's due to one of vDOS' victims (BackConnect Security) using a bogus internet address claim to stem the flood of traffic hitting its servers.

Bidani and Huri weren't exactly careful about covering their tracks, Krebs says. The pair hosted vDOS on a server connected to Huri, and its email and SMS notifications pointed to the two. They even wrote a technical paper on DDoS attacks, while Bidani's old Facebook page references the AppleJ4ck pseudonym he used to conduct vDOS business. And if that weren't enough, vDOS refused to target any Israeli site since it was the owner's "home country."

Both suspects are out on bail, although they won't have much freedom. Officials have placed them under house arrest for 10 days, confiscated their passports and barred them from using any telecom devices for 30 days. It's unclear if they face extradition to the US.

The bust isn't going to stop paid denial of service attacks. As Bidani and Huri demonstrated, it doesn't take much more than a botnet and some basic business savvy to get started. However, it may put a temporary dent in the volume of those attacks -- and it'll certainly spook vDOS competitors who've been careless about hiding their activities.

Source: www.engadget.com

Sent to us by: Jeff Weston


Google is offering Uber competitor pricing on Maps.

Google is offering Uber competitor pricing on Maps.

Google announced Thursday that it's adding new ride-hailing partners to Maps.

Uber was already integrated into Maps. Now, users will also be able to see price estimates for Lyft and some more region-specific options such as Gett in New York City, all without leaving the Maps app.

Basically, Google just created the first-ever ride-hailing price comparison tool.

Uber's partnership with Google is different from their API, which has seen sites like Harvard startup Urbanhail blocked for offering competitive pricing. With Google however, it is a direct integration and doesn't use Uber's API, so it's not a violation of the terms of use.

Google has partnered with other ride-hailing services through Maps before — Ola in India and 99Taxis in Brazil, among others — this is the first time it's adding direct competitors to Uber in the US.

So why Uber was willing to work with Google to build a price comparison tool, while simultaneously blocking startups like Urbanhail?

The most likely reason is because Uber needs Google. Google Maps has hundreds of millions of users, so this means more exposure and more riders for Uber — the price comparison aspect is just an unfortunate side effect that Uber has to accept, or risk losing that exposure.

Source: www.businessinsider.com

Sent to us by: Jeff Weston


The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 has been recalled, because it might catch on fire.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 has been recalled, because it might catch on fire.

Airline passengers have been warned by US authorities not to switch on or charge their Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones when on board the plane.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) also advised against packing the phones into any checked-in luggage.

Samsung recalled the phone last week after reports emerged of the device exploding during or after charging.

Qantas and Virgin Australia have also told customers not to charge or use the phone during flights.

Samsung said it would speed up shipments of replacement Galaxy Note 7 phones to ease safety concerns.

Samsung has said that battery problems were behind the phones catching fire, but that it was difficult to work out which phones were affected among those sold.

The phone was launched last month and has been otherwise generally well-received by consumers and critics.

Some 2.5 million Note 7s have been shipped globally.

Samsung has said customers who have already bought the phone will be able to swap it for a new one and that it would take about two weeks to prepare replacement devices.

Source: www.bbc.com

Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash


A robot has been used to operate in a man's eye, with perfect results.

A robot has been used to operate in a man's eye, with perfect results.

Surgeons have used a robot to operate inside the eye and restore sight - in a world first.

A team at Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital used the device, controlled via a joystick, to remove a membrane one hundredth of a millimetre thick.

Surgeons hope the procedure will pave the way for more complex eye surgery than is currently possible with the human hand.

The patient Dr. Bill Beaver, is a 70 year old from Oxford. He says he is delighted to be the first person to undergo the robot eye procedure.

The surgery was successful: Dr Beaver's central vision in his right eye has been restored.

He said: "The degeneration in my vision was very scary and I was fearful I would lose my sight entirely - so for this intervention to take place so effortlessly is a real godsend."

Source: www.bbc.com

Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash


Weaponized drones are now legal in North Dakota.

Weaponized drones are now legal in North Dakota.

Armed drones could be used by police in the US state of North Dakota after local lawmakers legalised their use.

While they will be limited to “less than lethal” weapons, tear gas, tasers, rubber bullets and pepper spray could all be used in theory by the remote controlled flying machines.

In a classic case of unintended consequences, the original sponsor, Republican state representative Rick Becker said he was unhappy with the way legislation turned out.

His original intention was to prevent law enforcement officials from using the unmanned aerial vehicles from conducting surveillance on private property without a warrant.

“In my opinion there should be a nice, red line: Drones should not be weaponised,” he said.

The original draft of the House Bill 1328 said: “A state agency may not authorize the use of, including granting a permit to use, an unmanned aircraft armed with any lethal or non-lethal weapons, including firearms, pepper spray, bean bag guns, mace, and sound-based weapons.”

However, the state's police union amended the Bill, limiting the ban to only lethal weapons, meaning that sounds cannons or rubber bullets could be used on police drones.

It is unclear whether local police departments will use weaponised drones, even though they are technically legal.

Source: www.independent.co.uk

Sent to us by: Jeff Weston


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