Posts Tagged ‘internet’

Reports: Google to Invest $1B in SpaceX |

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

Google is on a mission to deliver Internet access to underserved areas, and it’s now reportedly looking to Elon Musk and his SpaceX team for help.

The Web giant is gearing up to make a huge investment in the rocket maker as part of an effort to develop satellites that could beam low-cost Internet to areas of the world that currently don’t have it, according to a new report from The Information, citing several unnamed people “familiar with the talks.”

“The price and terms Google and SpaceX are discussing couldn’t be learned although one person familiar with them said Google has agreed to value SpaceX north of $10 billion and that the size of the total round, which includes other investors, is very large,” the report notes.

The Wall Street Journal corroborated the rumor, and added that the investment could total roughly $1 billion. At this point, it’s still unclear what exact stake Google will wind up with in the rocket maker.

And the World Your Balloon

Google Drones

Satellite Strung From the Moon

Facebook Drones

The Space In Between


If the deal goes through, it wouldn’t be Google’s first effort to spread Internet access to unconnected areas of the world. The Silicon Valley giant over the past several years has been experimenting with using high-flying balloons and drones to help establish Internet access in areas that are very difficult to wire up, like jungles, archipelagos, and mountains.

With its Project Loon effort, Google is deploying large helium balloons equipped with antennas that offer 4G-like signals to homes and phones some 12 miles down below. Rival Facebook has similar ambitions, and is also looking at looking at drones, satellites, and lasers to assist in providing Internet access worldwide.

via Reports: Google to Invest $1B in SpaceX | News & Opinion |

Hackers pop German steel mill, wreck furnace | The Register

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

Talented hackers have caused “serious damage” after breaching a German steel mill and wrecking one of its blast furnaces.The hack of the unnamed mill, detailed in the annual report of the German Federal Office of Information Security, was pulled off after a victim fell for a phishing email.Hackers then pivoted to the production network, a feat that should not be possible according to best practice that requires separation between industrial control systems and the public internet.”The result was that a blast furnace could be shut down,” the agency wrote in a report (page 31, Deutsche).”The attackers were knowledgeable in conventional IT security and had extensive knowledge of applied control and production processes.”

The advanced persistent threat hackers specifically targeted industrial plants but their location was not specified.The attacks likely demonstrated the mill had not employed sufficient separation of internet-facing and critical production networks.Attacks against industrial control systems were common but public reporting of resulting physical damage was rare.In June, Finnish malware probers F-Secure reported that remote access trojans had infected manufacturers of industrial control and SCADA software in France, Germany and Russia by a group that was not considered overly advanced.Last year, Trend Micro researcher Kyle Wihoit proved the hacker interest in industrial systems through a SCADA honeypot that was attacked within 18 hours of being established on the public internet.

Vendors have throughout the year pushed out patches for various industrial control systems. Patching however could due to configurations and dependencies be difficult to near impossible to complete for some operators. ®

via Hackers pop German steel mill, wreck furnace • The Register.

​Elite US hackers shut down Syrian internet trying to snoop on traffic – Snowden

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Syrian Internet and TAO

An elite team of US government hackers left Syria without internet, when they tried to hack one of the cores routers but instead crashed it, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden said.

The three-day nationwide internet blackout in war-torn Syria in November 2012, which was blamed on either the government or the rebels, depending on who you listened to, was actually the doing of the Tailored Access Operations (TAO), a group of hackers in the employment of the US National Security Agency.

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden told the story to Wired magazine as it was preparing its cover story on MonsterMind, a US software designed to detect cyber-attacks and hit back in response.

via ​Elite US hackers shut down Syrian internet trying to snoop on traffic – Snowden — RT News.

US senator urges FCC net neutrality hearings outside Washington | Reuters

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

net neutrality

The FCC is working to write new so-called "net neutrality" rules that regulate how Internet service providers ISPs manage traffic on their networks. In January, a federal court struck down their previous version.More than 1 million comments have poured into the FCC on the issue, many of them in opposition to the rules tentatively proposed by the FCC. The proposed rules, while prohibiting ISPs from blocking any content, suggest allowing some "commercially reasonable" deals where content providers could pay ISPs to ensure smooth and fast delivery of their traffic.The FCC is now planning six roundtable discussions in September and October at its offices in Washington, where the public can meet with FCC staff to talk about the proposed rules and how they may be changed.Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont, urged to expand the FCC’s roundtables to other parts of the country, which the FCC has done in the past on other controversial issues such as changes to the rules restricting who can own how many and what kinds of media outlets in local markets."Most of those who had commented on the proposed rules online will not be able to come to Washington to participate in the roundtables that have been scheduled, but their voices are more important than industry lobbyists and Members of Congress," Leahy wrote to Wheeler.

via US senator urges FCC net neutrality hearings outside Washington | Reuters.

‘Internet Speeds by State’ map is out. How did your state fare? : Tech Times

Monday, August 11th, 2014

is almost always the first thing that’s compromised when major providers would intentionally throttle speed and concerned individuals would openly debate on net neutrality.In the U.S., Internet speed varies in every state. One state has managed to stand out with the highest average internet speed recorded.Among all the states and territories in the U.S., it is Virginia that tops the list. With an average Internet speed of 13.7 megabits per second, Virginia becomes the state with the speediest Internet access.The information is based on the recent annual State of the Internet report by Akamai, a cloud services provider. Its clients would include some of the world’s largest corporations. In order to have a visual representation, Broadview Networks, another cloud services provider, produced a map by pulling the state by state data from the report. The top 10 states, ranked according to Internet speed in megabits are: 1. Virginia 13.7; 2. Delaware 13.1; 3. Massachusetts 13.1; 4. Rhode Island 12.9; 5. District of Columbia 12.8; 6. Washington 12.5; 7. New Hampshire 12.3; 8. Utah 12.1; 9. Michigan 11.8; and 10. Connecticut 11.7.

via 'Internet Speeds by State' map is out. How did your state fare? : PERSONAL TECH : Tech Times.

Visit the Wrong Website, and the FBI Could End Up in Your Computer | WIRED

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

big brother

Security experts call it a “drive-by download”: a hacker infiltrates a high-traffic website and then subverts it to deliver malware to every single visitor. It’s one of the most powerful tools in the black hat arsenal, capable of delivering thousands of fresh victims into a hackers’ clutches within minutes.

Now the technique is being adopted by a different kind of a hacker—the kind with a badge. For the last two years, the FBI has been quietly experimenting with drive-by hacks as a solution to one of law enforcement’s knottiest Internet problems: how to identify and prosecute users of criminal websites hiding behind the powerful Tor anonymity system.

The approach has borne fruit—over a dozen alleged users of Tor-based child porn sites are now headed for trial as a result. But it’s also engendering controversy, with charges that the Justice Department has glossed over the bulk-hacking technique when describing it to judges, while concealing its use from defendants. Critics also worry about mission creep, the weakening of a technology relied on by human rights workers and activists, and the potential for innocent parties to wind up infected with government malware because they visited the wrong website. “This is such a big leap, there should have been congressional hearings about this,” says ACLU technologist Chris Soghoian, an expert on law enforcement’s use of hacking tools. “If Congress decides this is a technique that’s perfectly appropriate, maybe that’s OK. But let’s have an informed debate about it.”

The FBI’s use of malware is not new. The bureau calls the method an NIT, for “network investigative technique,” and the FBI has been using it since at least 2002 in cases ranging from computer hacking to bomb threats, child porn to extortion. Depending on the deployment, an NIT can be a bulky full-featured backdoor program that gives the government access to your files, location, web history and webcam for a month at a time, or a slim, fleeting wisp of code that sends the FBI your computer’s name and address, and then evaporates.

via Visit the Wrong Website, and the FBI Could End Up in Your Computer | Threat Level | WIRED.

Facebook App Brings Free Internet To Zambia – InformationWeek

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

While more than 85% of people around the world live in areas with cellular coverage, only 30% actually access the Internet. Social networking giant Facebook — along with CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s project — announced a new app Thursday that aims to close that accessibility gap.

The app, available first to Airtel subscribers in Zambia, gives users free access to 13 websites including AccuWeather; Google Search; Go Zambia Jobs; Wikipedia; WRAPP, a women’s rights app; and, of course, Facebook.

The initiative, which Zuckerberg announced last summer, aims to bring Internet access to the 4.25 billion people who lack it. Facebook product management director Guy Rosen said in a blog post that this app will be a stepping stone in connecting the rest of the world.

"Affordability and awareness are significant barriers to Internet adoption for many, and today we’re introducing the app to make the Internet accessible to more people by providing a set of free basic services," he said. "By providing free basic services via the app, we hope to bring more people online and help them discover valuable services they might not have otherwise."

via Facebook App Brings Free Internet To Zambia – InformationWeek.

GM Rolls Out Pricing 4G LTE Service – ($5.00/day!)

Monday, May 12th, 2014


The 2015 Chevrolet Malibu will be the first 4G LTE-equipped GM vehicle starting June. AP

General Motors Co. GM is rolling out an a-la-carte pricing menu, betting consumers are willing to pay a little extra to turn their cars into a Wi-Fi hot spot.

For $5 a day, GM vehicle owners can access 4G LTE high-speed connectivity allowing their occupants to do everything from access the Internet to download movies. GM will offer the feature through its OnStar service, although it is AT&T Inc. T +0.14% that will handle the connection. Both companies would share in the revenue.

It is a big gamble for the auto maker, especially since most Americans already use smartphones or iPads to connect to the Internet while riding in vehicles. Skeptics have also questioned why people would pay for yet another wireless service.

“It’s a bit of a trial and error to see what sticks with consumers,” said Thilo Koslowski, an analyst at Gartner Group IT -0.23% who follows connected-car developments. “Companies will initially face a consumer reaction of ‘I already have a data plan with my phone.’ That means that the in-vehicle experience has to be better, faster and more robust. If that is not strong enough, prices will have to drop.”

via GM Rolls Out Pricing 4G LTE Service –

Internet security researchers use Heartbleed bug to target hackers | Fox News

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Anti-malware researchers have turned the tables on cyber criminals by using the Heartbleed bug to gain access to online forums where hackers congregate.

The bug is a flaw in a key piece of security technology used by more than 500,000 websites had been exposing online passwords and other sensitive data to potential theft for more than two years.

Among the websites affected by the bug were private, password-protected hacker forums, Steven K, a French anti-malware researcher, told the BBC. The researcher said he was able to gain access to the sites by using specially-written tools to target them.

“Not many people have the ability to monitor this forum, but Heartbleed exposed everything,” Steven K added, referring to one such website.

Researchers can use the bug to grab conversations from chatrooms where hackers share data, but run the risk of facing criminal charges for malicious hacking, the BBC reports.

“This work just goes to show how serious Heartbleed is,” said Charlie Svensson, a computer security researcher at Sentor. “You can get the keys to the kingdom, all thanks to a nice little heartbeat query.”

Meanwhile, a new poll released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center said most Americans have been trying to protect themselves from the bug, but a group nearly as large is unaware of the threat.

via Internet security researchers use Heartbleed bug to target hackers | Fox News.

FBI Keeps Internet Flaws Secret to Defend Against Hackers – Bloomberg

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

The Obama administration is letting law enforcement keep computer-security flaws secret in order to further U.S. investigations of cyberspies and hackers.The White House has carved out an exception for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agencies to keep information about software vulnerabilities from manufacturers and the public. Until now, most debate has focused on how the National Security Agency stockpiles and uses new-found Internet weaknesses, known as zero-day exploits, for offensive purposes, such as attacking the networks of adversaries.The law enforcement operations expose a delicate and complicated balancing act when it comes to agencies using serious security flaws in investigations versus disclosing them to protect all Internet users, according to former government officials and privacy advocates.

The FBI also hacks into computers and networks of adversaries using what are known as remote access operations coordinated by a team at the bureau’s facility in Quantico, Virginia, said a former government official. Most of the malware and computer exploits used are available for purchase online and the operations are authorized by warrants specifying devices targeted, the official said in a phone interview.

via FBI Keeps Internet Flaws Secret to Defend Against Hackers – Bloomberg.