From: “Hendricks Dewayne” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Oct 8, 2015 9:23 AM
Subject: [Dewayne-Net] New ‘Vigilante’ Malware Protects Routers Against Security Threats
To: “Multiple recipients of Dewayne-Net” <email@example.com>
[Note: This item comes from friend Steve Goldstein. DLH]
New ‘Vigilante’ Malware Protects Routers Against Security Threats
A vigilante malware changes 10,000 Wi-Fi passwords to make the home routers more secure
By KAVITA IYER
Oct 3 2015
Researchers at the cybersecurity firm Symantec recently discovered a highly virulent piece of malware that actually defends your machine against hackers and even remedies other malware infections.
According to the researchers at Symantec, the custom-built software is nicknamed “Ifwatch” and it is spreading quickly.
“We have not seen any malicious activity whatsoever,” said Symantec threat intelligence officer Val Saengphaibul. “However, in the legal sense, this is illegal activity. It’s accessing computers on a network without the owner’s permission.”
Ifwatch software is a mysterious piece of “malware” that infects routers through Telnet ports, which are often weakly secured with default security credentials that could be open to malicious attack. Instead, Ifwatch takes that opportunity to set up shop, close the door behind it, and then prompts users to change their Telnet passwords, if they are actually going to use the port.
According to Symantec’s research, it also has code dedicated to removing software that has entered the device with less altruistic intentions. Ifwatch finds out and removes “well-known families of malware targeting embedded devices,”
“We have no idea who is behind this — or what their full intention is,” Saengphaibul said. However, it has been found to infect more than 10,000 Linux-based routers, mostly in China and Brazil.
Ifwatch was first discovered by an independent researcher in 2014 and connects routers to a peer-to-peer network that is used to distribute threat updates.
Even though it initially looked like just another botnet, Symantec researchers found Ifwatch was “more sophisticated” than a normal infection. They found that Ifwatch removed well-known families of malware that usually target routers, and it even tells users to change their password and upgrade firmware, which is another way to defend against malicious hackers.
It looks like the Ifwatch’s creator wanted it to be discovered. The Ifwatch author left a comment in the source code that references an email signature used by software freedom activist Richard Stallman, which reads:
“To any NSA and FBI agents reading my email: please consider whether defending the U.S. Constitution against all enemies, foreign or domestic, requires you to follow Snowden’s example.”
The Symantec researchers are quick to point out that Ifwatch is illegal and uses the same backdoors that more malicious hackers enter through. However, after months of investigation, the researchers have found that Ifwatch’s creator has yet to do anything malicious making them wonder whether this altruistic hack is an attempt to improve everyone’s privacy or just a very smart diversion.
Note: This item comes from friend Steve Goldstein. DLH]
From: Steve Goldstein <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: October 6, 2015 at 13:08:40 EDT
To: Hendricks Dewayne <email@example.com>
Subject: UK spies can hack smartphones: Snowden
UK spies can hack smartphones: Snowden
Oct 5 2015
NSA former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden is seen via live video link from Russia on June 23, 2015
British spies can hack into phones remotely with a simple text message and make audio recordings or take photos without owners knowing, former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden said on Monday.
“They want to own your phone instead of you,” the whistleblower said in an interview with the BBC’s Panorama programme, referring to Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) agency.
Snowden claimed that GCHQ used a series of interception tools called “Smurf Suite”, after the blue cartoon characters, The Smurfs.
“Nosey Smurf” enabled spies to switch on a smartphone’s microphone even if the phone was off, he claimed.
Other programmes used by GCHQ were nicknamed “Tracker Smurf” and “Dreamy Smurf”, which allows phones to be switched on and off remotely, Snowden said.
He said the text message sent by GCHQ to gain access to the phone would not be noticed by its owner.
“It’s called an ‘exploit’,” he said.
“When it arrives at your phone it’s hidden from you. It doesn’t display. You paid for it but whoever controls the software owns the phone,” he added.
The BBC said the government had declined to comment in line with usual policy on intelligence matters.
[Note: This item comes from friend David Isenberg. DLH]
Democrats crush Republicans in grammar; Chafee on top
By Paul Singer
Oct 6 2015
Yes, these are fighting words, but here goes: Republicans mangle the English language at twice the rate of Democrats.
According to a new study by the grammar-checking app Grammarly, supporters commenting on Democratic candidates’ Facebook pages made an average of 4.2 mistakes per 100 words compared to 8.7 mistakes for supporters of Republican candidates. The Democratic supporters also showed a larger vocabulary, using on average 300 unique words per 1,000 words, while Republicans used only 245.
The trend is starker when broken out by candidate: The five Democratic candidates — Lincoln Chafee, Jim Webb, Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley and Hillary Clinton — all get better Facebook grammar scores (in that order) than every Republican except Carly Fiorina, whose supporters posted the best grammar scores of any GOP candidate, tying her with Clinton.
Of the entire field, Chafee supporters are most grammatical (while also being rarest), making 3.1 errors per hundred words. Trump supporters are far more numerous but most grammatically challenged, racking up 12.6 boo-boos per hundred words. Fiorina and Clinton meet in the middle at 6.3.
Since we expect people to bellyache about this study, here’s how Grammarly explained their methodology:
We began by taking a large sample of Facebook comments containing at least fifteen words from each candidate’s official page between April, 2015 and August, 2015. Next, we created a set of guidelines to help limit (as much as possible) the subjectivity of categorizing the comments as positive or negative. Since the point of the study was to analyze the writing of each candidate’s supporters, we considered only obviously positive or neutral comments. Obviously negative or critical comments, as well as ambiguous or borderline negative comments, were disqualified.
We then randomly selected at least 180 of these positive and neutral comments (~6,000 words) to analyze for each candidate. Using Grammarly, we identified the errors in the comments, which were then verified and tallied by a team of live proofreaders. For the purposes of this study, we counted only black-and-white mistakes such as misspellings, wrong and missing punctuation, misused or missing words, and subject-verb disagreement. We ignored stylistic variations such as the use of common slang words, serial comma usage, and the use of numerals instead of spelled-out numbers.
Finally, we calculated the average number of mistakes per one hundred words by dividing the total word count of the comments by the total number of mistakes for each candidate.
So — feel free to complain about the results, but please do so with proper grammar.
Here are the full rankings.
[Note: This item comes from friend Bob Frankston. DLH]
From: “Bob Frankston” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: October 6, 2015 at 11:27:05 EDT
To: “Dewayne Hendricks” <email@example.com>
Subject: CITE: The $1 billion city with no residents – CNN.com
There is something special about a smart city so pure that people wouldn’t only spoil it. Perhaps they can compromise and invite Stepford families to “live” there.
This is such a sharp contrast with real cities. In the New Yorker review of Naked Cities Adam Gopnik reported:
… the grid, far from being a long-range plan imposed by a class of managers, was the result more of a shrug, an inconclusive meeting, and a big “Why not?”
CITE: The $1 billion city that nobody calls home
By Kieron Monks
Oct 6 2015
(CNN)In the arid plains of the southern New Mexico desert, between the site of the first atomic bomb test and the U.S.-Mexico border, a new city is rising from the sand.
Planned for a population of 35,000, the city will showcase a modern business district downtown, and neat rows of terraced housing in the suburbs. It will be supplied with pristine streets, parks, malls and a church.
But no one will ever call it home.
The CITE (Center for Innovation, Testing and Evaluation) project is a full-scale model of an ordinary American town. Yet it will be used as a petri dish to develop new technologies that will shape the future of the urban environment.
The $1 billion scheme, led by telecommunications and tech firm Pegasus Global Holdings, will see 15-square-miles dedicated to ambitious experiments in fields such as transport, construction, communication and security.
CITE will include specialized zones for developing new forms of agriculture, energy, and water treatment. An underground data collection network will provide detailed, real-time feedback.
“The vision is an environment where new products, services and technologies can be demonstrated and tested without disrupting everyday life,” says Pegasus Managing Director Robert Brumley.
Without a human population to worry about, the possibilities are endless.
Driverless vehicles could be used on responsive roads, monitored from above by traffic drones. Homes could be designed to survive natural disasters, and fitted with robotic features. Alternative energy sources such as Thorium power could be tested at scale.
“You can bring new things to have them stressed, break them, and find out the laws of unintended consequences,” says Brumley. “This should become like a magnet where people with ideas and technologies come, and not just test but interact.”
The director describes CITE as an “intermediary step” between lab testing a technology and it reaching the public. He believes the process will deliver more market-ready products and address the ‘Valley of Death’ — the shortfall that exists between investment in research and development, and the revenues this generates.
“The US spends billions of dollars on research and gets 2-3% return in commercial products,” says Brumley. “This facility could extend and increase the return.”
[Note: This item comes from friend Geoff Goodfellow. DLH]
Website offers to cancel Comcast for $5
By Aaron Pressman
Oct 5 2015
Cable companies haven’t exactly made it easy for their customers to cancel service — last year, a recording of one couple’s arduous efforts to end their Comcast (CMCSA) service went viral and prompted an apology from the CEO.
So a couple of enterprising young software developers have decided to make the cancellation process a little easier. They’ve created a web site called Airpaper that helps people cancel Comcast cable service without a lengthy phone call that typically involves navigating an endless phone tree maze in hopes of reaching an actual human customer-service representative. The $5 charge just about covers the cost of providing the service, say creators Eli Pollak, 26, and Earl St Sauver, 24.
“We really want to make this kind of tedious process go away,” says St Sauver.
The site works by using a less obvious option for canceling Comcast service. Instead of calling to cancel, the cable carrier also allows customers to write a letter requesting an end to service. The Airpaper site collects the required personal information from a customer and sends a letter to the appropriate Comcast office closest to the customer, the founders explain. So essentially, users are paying $5 for someone else to do the inconvenient task of writing and mailing a letter for them.
The site has been nearly overwhelmed with traffic — the founders won’t disclose how much — since going live on Friday. To announce their service, St. Sauver and Pollak initially just posted a link on Hacker News, a popular site among techies run by venture capital firm Y Combinator. The news next spread to Reddit, prompting another wave of traffic.
“We’ve seen incredible interest,” Pollak says. “An easy Comcast cancellation has really captured people’s interest in a way that even surprised us.”
The developers say the Comcast canceling service is just one example of what they hope to accomplish with Airpaper. At a prior job, the two worked on software to interact with forms from state insurance departments. They quickly found themselves entangled in incompatible formats and wildly different requirements from the 50 different departments.
“There are a huge of amount of things, whether it’s compliance or going to the DMV, folks are required to do that eat up huge amounts of their time and don’t need to take as long as they do,” says St Sauver.
Comcast didn’t respond immediately to a request for comment.
[Note: This item comes from friend Geoff Goodfellow. DLH]
Study: Wi-Fi calling a ‘must have’ for global networks
By Nicole Blanchard
Oct 5 2015
Wi-Fi calling is now a “must have” service for wireless carriers, according to a new report released by Strategy Analytics. The report predicts rapid growth in the technology in the fourth quarter of 2015.
While “the U.K. and Hong Kong have gotten to a point where [Wi-Fi calling] is the standard table stakes,” the technology is still being implemented in the United States, notes the report’s author, Susan Welsh de Grimaldo, director of wireless operator strategies. Competition in a market usually drives operators to embrace technology like Wi-Fi calling, Welsh de Grimaldo said, meaning that, while the service is poised to become standard practice, the variance in markets leaves an exact date unpredictable.
The report found that T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) has been the “leading global operator” pushing for Wi-Fi calling, but the service (along with Sprint (NYSE: S), which offers its own native Wi-Fi calling) was slammed by AT&T (NYSE: T) in a recent FCC filing. AT&T has held off on implementing Wi-Fi calling pending a waiver from the FCC regarding rules that require calling options for deaf and hard of hearing users.
Welsh de Grimaldo said she hopes the FCC acts quickly, as the waiver is one of the few obstacles in the way of widespread Wi-Fi calling in the country. According to the analyst, there is an existing base in the United States that’s capable of Wi-Fi calling but has not yet been enabled.
“It’s not so much obstacles for the implementation of [Wi-Fi calling], but getting it in the hands of more people,” she said. She commended T-Mobile’s strategy of promoting Wi-Fi calling-enabled handsets via its upgrade programs.
According to the report, the driving force for implementing native Wi-Fi calling is improved customer experience and calling coverage in areas where traditional LTE networks and other services are not available.
“Once people make an HD call to someone else with that service and start to realize the quality, they’ll want to access that,” said Welsh de Grimaldo. That noticeable change in service will lead to more loyal subscribers, reduced churn and even new customers, according to the report.
“Wi-Fi has to be an integral part of wireless networks,” she said. “That’s where we’re headed.”
[Note: This comment comes from friend David Rosenthal. DLH]
From: “David S. H. Rosenthal” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: October 5, 2015 at 21:48:08 EDT
Subject: Re: [Dewayne-Net] Re: The five extra words that can fix the Second Amendment
From: Steven Schear <
The Heller decision was a travesty of justice and a self-serving
reading of the constitution by the SC. The implications of the
Miller decision was to raise the obvious question about original
intent: the ability of the common people, who at the founding,
were the “militia” to keep and bear such arms as might be needed
to over-through a government that had gone to bad ends. At that
time these would have included musket and artillery. Today it
should include almost any conventional weapon possessed by our
military. This possession should not be regulated in any way
(e.g., registration) that might enable the State to identify those
possessing such weapons and seize them as Germany seized firearms
during the Nazi ascent.
[Note: This comment comes from friend Shannon McElyea. DLH]
The Nazi ascent is not accurately attributed to gun control – harsh
gun control was enacted before then in 1919, then in 1930. in 1938
they were loosened and provided more weapons actually for the
Naxis. and the laws against jews owning guns was actually after