Recent Entries in Hacking

â..There were two conventional pipe bombs that were found at the same time that this started to unfold,â. said Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis.

The pipe bomb-like devices were reported at both locations just after 1 p.m. and are unrelated to the advertising scheme for Cartoon Networkâ..s â..Aqua Teen Hunger Force,â. police officials said.

In the hospital incident, investigators believe a former hospital employee planted the phony bomb in an office at 185 Harrison Ave. He has been identified but has not been charged, the sources said.

Boston Police bomb squad cops detonated the pipe bomb, which was a very realistic-looking fake, the sources said.

Two fake pipe bombs found not part of marketing stunt - Local & Regional -

Let's get a few facts straight on the Aqua Teen Hunger Force sign fiasco:

1. Attorney General Martha Coakley needs to shut up and stop using the word "hoax." There was no hoax. Hoax implies Turner Networks and the ATHF people were trying to defraud or confuse people as to what they were doing. Hoax implies they were trying to make their signs look like bombs. They weren't. They made Lite-Brite signs of a cartoon character giving the finger.

2. It bears repeating again that Turner, and especially Berdovsky, did absolutely nothing illegal. The devices were not bombs. They did not look like bombs. They were all placed in public spaces and caused no obstruction to traffic or commerce. At most, Berdovsky is guilty of littering or illegal flyering.

3. The "devices" were placed in ten cities, and have been there for over two weeks. No other city managed to freak out and commit an entire platoon of police officers to scaring their own city claiming they might be bombs. No other mayor agreed to talk to Fox News with any statement beyond "no comment" when spending the day asking if this was a "terrorist dry run."

4. There is nothing, not a single thing, remotely suggesting that Turner or the guerilla marketing firm they hired intended to cause a public disturbance. Many have claimed the signs were "like saying 'fire' in a crowded theater." Wrong. This was like taping a picture of a fire to the wall of a theater and someone freaked out and called the fire department.

August J. Pollak -

The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a challenge to federal airport regulations requiring passengers to show identification before they board planes.

The justices, without comment, let stand an appeals court ruling against Libertarian activist and millionaire John Gilmore. Gilmore wanted the court to force the federal government to disclose the policy that requires passengers to produce identification.

Unless the regulations are made public, air travelers have no way to determine if the regulations call for impermissible searches, Gilmore said in court papers. The Justice Department has said that demanding ID protects passengers' safety.

Supreme Court declines challenge to airport ID policy

Web sites that publish inflammatory information written by other parties cannot be sued for libel, the California Supreme Court has ruled.

The ruling late Monday was a victory for a San Diego woman who was sued by two doctors who had complained that she had posted a libelous e-mail on two Web sites.

Some of the Internet's biggest names, including, AOL, eBay, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, took the defendant's side out of concern that a ruling against her would expose them to liability.

Immunity upheld in Web libel cases - Technology & Media - International Herald Tribune

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Tuesday that Congress should require Internet providers to preserve customer records, asserting that prosecutors need them to fight child pornography.

Gonzales and FBI Director Robert Mueller have met with several Internet providers, including Time Warner Inc.'s AOL, Comcast Corp., Google Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Verizon Communications Inc.

The law enforcement officials have indicated to the companies they must retain customer records, possibly for two years. The companies have discussed strengthening their retention periods - which currently run the gamut from a few days to about a year - to help avoid legislation.

PeoplePC - News

Chris Tengi, a technical staff member, asked to look at the key that came with the voting machine. He noticed an alphanumeric code printed on the key, and remarked that he had a key at home with the same code on it. The next day he brought in his key and sure enough it opened the voting machine.

This seemed like a freakish coincidence â.. until we learned how common these keys are.

Chrisâ..s key was left over from a previous job, maybe fifteen years ago. He said the key had opened either a file cabinet or the access panel on an old VAX computer. A little research revealed that the exact same key is used widely in office furniture, electronic equipment, jukeboxes, and hotel minibars. Itâ..s a standard part, and like most standard parts itâ..s easily purchased on the Internet. We bought several keys from an office furniture key shop â.. they open the voting machine too. We ordered another key on eBay from a jukebox supply shop. The keys can be purchased from many online merchants.

Hotel Minibar Keys Open Diebold Voting Machines | CorrenteWire


Update: You may have heard about this, but a while back the FBI/NSA/CIA/Whatever hacked the TrueCrypt code or otherwise compromised this great software. If you're using any version after 7.1a, stop ... right ... now. Get rid of it, and use something else. It's *officially* unsupported.

That said, there are dozens of new encryption tools available, many based on the original, non-compromised version of TrueCrypt. A good sample of those are reviewed on Comparitech.

Just an FYI.


A Free open-source disk encryption for Windows XP/2000/2003
Main Features:

It can create a virtual encrypted disk within a file and mount it as a real disk.

It can encrypt an entire hard disk partition or a device, such as USB memory stick, floppy disk, etc.

Provides two levels of plausible deniability, in case an adversary forces you to reveal the password:
1) Hidden volume
2) No TrueCrypt volume can be identified (TrueCrypt volumes cannot be distinguished from random data).

Encryption algorithms: AES-256, Blowfish (448-bit key), CAST5, Serpent (256-bit key), Triple DES, and Twofish (256-bit key). Supports cascading (e.g., AES-Twofish-Serpent).

Based on Encryption for the Masses (E4M) 2.02a, which was conceived in 1997.

TrueCrypt - Free Open-Source On-The-Fly Disk Encryption Software for Windows XP/2000 and Linux

  The Death of Privacy

The general disinterest in doing little more than the bare minimum to shield consumer privacy extends well beyond companies that are closing up shop. The Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, at the University of Ottawa, recently conducted an in-depth study of 64 major online sites, including those of Inc., Citigroup Inc., Staples Inc., Best Buy Co. Inc. and eBay Inc. The study found that, in general, an alarming number of Web-based operations are sloppy, if not downright negligent, when it comes to privacy practices. According to the CIPPIC report, released in April, "While almost all companies we assessed had a privacy policy and were thus aware of the need to respect customer privacy, many failed to fulfill even basic statutory requirements such as providing contact information for their privacy officers, clearly stating what they do with consumers' personal information and responding to access-to-information requests."

The Death of Privacy

Michael Geist examines two warring proposals for ensuring that Canadian schools' use of the Internet is lawful and concludes that both of them cause more harm than they prevent. On the one hand, Access Canada proposes to collect fees from schools for just looking at the web, a license shakedown that would treat all educational use as a copyright infringement unless you'd paid them for permission to turn on your web-browser.

A seemingly better proposal comes from CMEC, which represents Canada's education ministries: they say that Canadian copyright should be rewritten to carve out a new exception for schools' educational use of the Web.

But Geist shows that this latter proposal comes with lots of potential for harm. If schools need an exception to copyright to look at the Web, what does that say about uses of the Web in businesses, homes, libraries, home tutoring outfits, and elsewhere? Surely reading and studying published documents should be lawful for everyone, not just schools.

Boing Boing: Is it legal to look at the Web in Canada?

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) asked a federal court Wednesday to protect the free speech rights of a website publisher who has suffered years of baseless legal threats over his parody of the Barney and Friends television show.

Since 2002, the Lyons Partnership has repeatedly sent meritless cease-and-desist letters to Stuart Frankel because his website pokes fun at Barney the purple dinosaur, the well-known children's television character. Dr. Frankel, assisted by EFF, responded to these letters in 2002 and 2005, but Barney's lawyers have continued to harass him. The lawsuit filed by Dr. Frankel asks the court to finally resolve the matter by declaring that his parody does not infringe Barney's copyright or trademark rights.

"Barney's lawyers are sending out intimidating lawyer letters to parody websites that are clearly protected by the First Amendment and fair use," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Fred von Lohmann. "It's time for Barney to call off his lawyer armies and get back to entertaining children."

EFF: Breaking News

A federal judge ordered a halt today to the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping of calls between Americans and alleged foreign terrorists, saying the program violates the Constitution as well as a law requiring judicial approval for all electronic surveillance.

"There are no hereditary kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution,'' said U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor in rejecting President Bush's claim that he had the inherent power to authorize the program.

Judge orders stop to warrantless phone wiretapping

EFF: DeepLinks

How can you help prevent damaging privacy invasions like AOL's data leak? Along with spreading the word about this debacle, you can take steps to protect yourself online. Beneath the fold, we've listed some tips and tools that will help keep your search history private.

- Don't put personally-identifying information in your searches, at least not in a way that can be associated with your other searches. You should take the precautions below to avoid giving away your identity to your search engine anyway, but they're especially necessary if you want to do a search to see if your personal information has appeared online or want to do a vanity search for your name.

- Don't use a search engine operated by your ISP. Most ISPs inherently know who their users are, at any given time and over the long run. If you use their default search tool, they know who you are and everything you search for. Use someone else's search tool instead.

- etc...

  The RIAA vs. John Doe

Excellent, a guide to filesharing lawsuits for the rest of us.

The RIAA vs. John Doe, a layperson's guide to filesharing lawsuits - The Digital Music Weblog

Ray Beckerman of Recording Industry vs. The People put together an article that explains how the RIAA's militant enforcement arm legal team find, obtain records on and sue ISP account holders who may or may not have ever been users of P2P applications. It's a great reference, but (no offense intended to Ray) it's dry like a bread-sandwich.

I decided to take a stab at rewriting it in something closer to English than lawyer. In hopes that it would be more accessible.

So, with thanks to Ray Beckerman, let's take a look at The RIAA vs. John Doe, in what I hope serves as a layperson's guide to filesharing lawsuits.

Are there any legal limits to what the executive branch can do in the name of national security, or is it anything goes?

In separate federal lawsuits challenging the warrantless surveillance of American citizens, the Bush administration argues that courts must dismiss cases claiming that the National Security Agency has broken the law because those claims implicate "state secrets."

Wired News: Secrecy Mustn't Crush Rule of Law

From Freedom to Tinker...

Freedom to Tinker - Blog Archive - Syndromic Surveillance: 21st Century Data Harvesting

The recent posts about 21st Century Wiretapping described a government program which captured, stored, filtered and analyzed large quantities of information, information which the government had not previously had access to without special court permission. On reading these posts, it had struck me that there were other government programs that are in the process of being implemented that will also capture, store, filter and analyze large quantities of information that had not been previously available to governmental authorities.
The blossoming of citizen journalism stands as one of the Internet's most exciting developments. With millions of bloggers, tens of millions of Internet posters, and hundreds of millions of readers, online news sources have radically reshaped the way we access our daily news.

The implications of the California decision are profound as they may change more than just journalism. The premise of press-specific legal protections is that journalists do more than just inform ? they keep our leaders and institutions accountable to the public. In order to persuade sources to reveal information hidden from view, they depend upon assurances of absolute confidentiality.

The California court examined the state of online journalism and found that it too deserves the legal protections crafted for the press.

In doing so, it has extended those protections to everyone, effectively stating that we can all play a role in keeping our leaders accountable. We are all journalists now. - We are all journalists now

Access Copyright, a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of intellectual property, has created a cartoon character called Captain Copyright ( which appears to have been borrowed from an already existing concept in Singapore ( Did they get it under license? Michael Geist discusses this and other issues in "The Continuing Adventures of Captain Copyright".

Michael Geist - The Continuing Adventures of Captain Copyright

Last year, the Singapore Intellectual Property Office conducted an IP awareness road show. The star of the show? Captain Copyright, featured in four cartoon shorts warning against copying music, making multiple photocopies, and warning ominously of a world without copyright. If the last cartoon sounds familiar, it might be because that is the same approach used in Access Copyright's Captain Copyright's grade one lesson.

Newark-based internet telephony company, Net2Phone has taken on eBay and its subsidiary peer-to-peer VoIP provider Skype in a lawsuit, alleging that Skype has infringed its patent for the placing of calls over the net.

The law suit, filed in the US District court of Newark, alleges that Skype infringed a patent filed by Net2Phone under US Patent Class 704, which broadly covers data processing encompassing speech signal processing, linguisitics, language translation, and audio compression/decompression.

Like other law suits filed recently against big name companies with deep pockets, the Net2Phone suit is going for broke, seeking damages and an injunction against further infringement, which would basically mean shutting the Skype service down.

iTWire - Skype latest victim of patent suit

Former AT&T technician Mark Klein is the key witness in the Electronic Frontier Foundation's class-action lawsuit against the telecommunications company, which alleges that AT&T cooperated in an illegal National Security Agency domestic surveillance program.

In a public statement Klein issued last month, he described the NSA's visit to an AT&T office. In an older, less-public statement recently acquired by Wired News, Klein goes into additional details of his discovery of an alleged surveillance operation in an AT&T building in San Francisco.

Wired News: Whistle-Blower's Evidence, Uncut

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