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schwit1 (797399) writes "Speaking off the record, senior intelligence officials have told the New York Times, CNN, and other news agencies that North Korea was "centrally involved" in the hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE).
It is not known how the US government has determined that North Korea is the culprit, though it is known that the NSA has in the past penetrated North Korean computer systems.
Analysis of code shows it used knowledge of Sony's Windows network to spread and wreak havoc.
Previous analysis of the malware that brought down Sony Pictures' network showed that there were marked similarities to the tools used in last year's cyber-attack on South Korean media companies and the 2012 "Shamoon" attack on Saudi Aramco. While there was speculation that the "DarkSeoul" attack in South Korea was somehow connected to the North Korean regime, a firm link was never published." Link to Original Source top
Reaction to the Sony Hack Is 'Beyond the Realm of Stupid'
schwit1 (797399) writes "Are these hackers terrorists? Are they cyberterrorists?
There's two layers to it now. There's the definition of terrorism and the reaction to it, which has been a combination of being both insipid and encouraging to future acts.
The first is what has already happened. Sony has labeled what happened to it as cyberterrorism and various media have also described it as cyber terrorism. The reality is having your scripts posted online does not constitute a terrorist act. The FBI describes it as an 'act that results in violence.' Losing your next James Bond movie script that talks about violence is not the same thing as an act of violence.
What has happened to Sony already does not meet the definition. They're saying 'This is an act of war.' We're not going to war with North Korea over this act just because Angelina Jolie is now mad at a Sony executive. Acts of war have a different standard.
schwit1 (797399) writes "A leaked legal memo reveals a plan for blacklisting pirate sites at the ISP level
Most anti-piracy tools take one of two paths: they either target the server that's sharing the files (pulling videos off YouTube or taking down sites like The Pirate Bay) or they make it harder to find (delisting offshore sites that share infringing content). But leaked documents reveal a frightening line of attack that's currently being considered by the MPAA: What if you simply erased any record that the site was there in the first place?
To do that, the MPAA's lawyers would target the Domain Name System (DNS) that directs traffic across the internet." Link to Original Source top
Voyager 1 on the edge of the solar system ... and this time we mean it
schwit1 (797399) writes "If you’ve already bought tickets for Super Bowl XLIX or are looking forward to watching it with your friends and family, you may be surprised to learn that there is a chance it might not be played. Congress first needs to make a decision on renewing a piece of legislation that you possibly never have heard of: TRIA—the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act.
TRIA was signed into law in 2002 in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, establishing a risk-sharing partnership between the federal government and the insurance industry that made terrorism insurance widely available to U.S. businesses—among them, organizers of sporting events. Without federal support, most insurers had been unwilling to offer coverage. TRIA was renewed in 2005 and in 2007. It is set to expire on Dec. 31 unless Congress renews it. With two weeks until the deadline, the clock is ticking." Link to Original Source top
Denmark claims North Pole via Greenland ridge link
schwit1 (797399) writes "Scientific data shows Greenland's continental shelf is connected to a ridge beneath the Arctic Ocean, giving Danes a claim to the North Pole and any potential energy resources beneath it, Denmark's foreign minister said.
Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard said Denmark will deliver a claim on Monday to a United Nations panel in New York that will eventually decide control of the area, which Russia and Canada are also coveting." Link to Original Source top
schwit1 (797399) writes "People who own all-electric cars where coal generates the power may think they are helping the environment. But a new study finds their vehicles actually make the air dirtier, worsening global warming.
"It's kind of hard to beat gasoline" for public and environmental health, said study co-author Julian Marshall, an engineering professor at the University of Minnesota. "A lot of the technologies that we think of as being clean... are not better than gasoline."
Hybrids and diesel engines are cleaner than gas, causing fewer air pollution deaths and spewing less heat-trapping gas. Ethanol isn't so green, either." Link to Original Source top
Harold Brooks, a meteorologist with the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Okla., said there’s no consistent reason for the three-year lull — the calmest stretch since a similar quiet period in the late 1980s — because weather patterns have varied significantly from year to year. While 2012 tornado activity was likely suppressed by the warm, dry conditions in the spring, 2013 was on the cool side for much of the prime storm season before cranking up briefly in late May, especially in Oklahoma, SPC meteorologist Greg Carbin said. Then, activity quickly quieted for the summer of 2013.
The senator, Alain Gournac, who is a veteran member of the French Parliamentary Space Group, said he had written French Economy and Industry Minister Emmanuel Macron to protest Airbus’ negotiations with Hawthorne, California-based Space Exploration Technologies Corp. for a late 2016 launch instead of contracting for a launch on a European Ariane 5 rocket. “The negotiations are all the more unacceptable given that, at the insistence of France, Europe has decided to adopt a policy of ‘European preference’ for its government launches,” Gournac said. “This is called playing against your team, and it smacks of a provocation. It’s an incredible situation that might lead customers to think we no longer have faith in Ariane 5 — and tomorrow, Ariane 6.”
schwit1 (797399) writes "Attorney General Eric Holder has decided against forcing a reporter for the New York Times to reveal the identity of a confidential source, according to a senior Justice Department official. The reporter, James Risen, has been battling for years to stop prosecutors from forcing him to name his source for a book that revealed a CIA effort to sabotage Iran's nuclear weapons program.
The government wanted Risen's testimony in the trial of a former CIA official, Jeffrey Sterling, accused of leaking classified information." Link to Original Source top
schwit1 (797399) writes "It's small. It's bright yellow, and it's capable of cracking Wi-Fi passwords, eavesdropping on your cell phone calls and reading your text messages. It's a spy drone and it just landed in Washington, D.C.
Long-time friends and former Air Force buddies, Mike Tassey and Rich Perkins, describe their state-of-the-art cyber drone as hard to take down, hard to see and virtually hard to detect.
They built it in a garage, using off the shelf electronics to prove a drone can be used to launch cyber-attacks." Link to Original Source top
Fury at Airbus after it hints the A380 may be mothballed
schwit1 (797399) writes "Airbus plunged deeper into crisis yesterday as customers reacted with fury to its suggestion that it may stop producing the fabled A380 super-jumbo in 2018 because of poor sales. The prospect of the European plane-maker, which employs thousands of workers in the UK, mothballing the giant passenger airliner sent shockwaves through the aviation industry yesterday and triggered a major fall in the company’s share price.
Sales of the A380 have been sluggish because of a limit to the number of routes where a 500-seater is needed. No airline has ordered A380s at all this year, while in July, the Japanese carrier Skymark Airlines cancelled the six it had ordered.
Chief financial officer Harald Wilhelm started the speculation frenzy when reports emerged that he had told investors Airbus might have to discontinue the plane unless it can invest in improvements to make it more attractive to customers. Although analysts and rivals have suggested it for some time, it was the first time the manufacturer had talked publicly about the humiliating possibility.
He said the A380 manufacturing programme would break even next year but not into 2018 without new engine types. That decision on the engine has to be made soon, because it would normally take about four years – and $2bn – to develop." Link to Original Source top
Congress grants US authorities unlimited access to every person's communications
schwit1 (797399) writes "The legislation was passed yesterday 325-100 via a voice vote, a green light for what Congressman Justin Amash describes as “one of the most egregious sections of law I’ve encountered during my time as a representative”.
The bill allows the private communications of Americans to be scooped up without a court order and then transferred to law enforcement for criminal investigations.
The legislation effectively codifies and legalizes mass warrantless NSA surveillance on the American people, with barely a whimper of debate." Link to Original Source top
schwit1 (797399) writes "The Army's ever-growing use of unmanned aerial systems has gotten to the point where two of the most commonly used UAS are getting their own airport.
The service's Corps of Engineers at Fort Worth, Texas, has awarded a $33 million contract to SGS to build a 150-acre unmanned aircraft launch and recovery complex at Fort Bliss for Grey Eagle and Shadow UAS." Link to Original Source top
schwit1 (797399) writes "NATO allies sent patrol planes to help Britain scour the waters off its western Scottish coast after a submarine's periscope was spotted, in a search reminiscent of the Cold War, media reported." Link to Original Source top
Treasury Department Seeking Survival Kits For Bank Employees
schwit1 (797399) writes "The Department of Treasury is seeking to order survival kits for all of its employees who oversee the federal banking system, according to a new solicitation.
The emergency supplies would be for every employee at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), which conducts on-site reviews of banks throughout the country. The survival kit includes everything from water purification tablets to solar blankets.
The government is willing to spend up to $200,000 on the kits, according to the solicitation released on Dec. 4.
The survival kits must come in a fanny-pack or backpack that can fit all of the items, including a 33-piece personal first aid kit with “decongestant tablets,” a variety of bandages, and medicines." Link to Original Source top
schwit1 (797399) writes "Four companies won approval Wednesday to fly commercial drones to conduct aerial surveys, monitor construction sites and inspect oil flare stacks, the Federal Aviation Administration announced.
The approvals for Trimble Navigation, VDOS Global, Clayco Inc. and Woolpert Inc. come as the FAA drafts comprehensive regulations for drones to share the skies with passenger planes.
"The FAA's first priority is the safety of our nation's aviation system," FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said. "Today's exemptions are a step toward integrating (unmanned aerial systems) operations safely."" Link to Original Source top
Feds Plan for 35 Agencies to Help Collect, Share, Use Electronic Health Info
schwit1 (797399) writes "This week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the release of the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan 2015-2020, which details the efforts of some 35 departments and agencies of the federal government and their roles in the plan to "advance the collection, sharing, and use of electronic health information to improve health care, individual and community health, and research."" Link to Original Source top
schwit1 (797399) writes "The proposed rules would require that a drone owner would have to get certified as a pilot, “certification that can cost $10,000 and demand many hours flying aircraft that control nothing like a little drone.”
“Knowing the proper flap setting on a short runway approach for a Cessna 172 doesn’t do any good for a DJI Phantom [an inexpensive and popular commercial drone],” said Matt Waite, a University of Nebraska professor and founder of the Drone Journalism Lab. “A lot of people out there already running businesses in conflict with FAA policy, who don’t have pilot licenses, are probably looking at this like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.'”
Gee, here we have a new industry that is growing and prosperous, with many people coming up with creative ideas for using drones that none of its inventors ever dreamed of, and the government wants to step in and control it, regulating it to a point where it can’t even exist legally. Isn’t that nice of them?"
schwit1 (797399) writes "The Department of Homeland Security is poised to ditch all records from a controversial network monitoring system called Einstein that are at least three years old, but not for security reasons. DHS reasons the files — which include data about traffic to government websites, agency network intrusions and general vulnerabilities — have no research significance.
But some security experts say, to the contrary, DHS would be deleting a treasure chest of historical threat data. And privacy experts, who wish the metadata wasn’t collected at all, say destroying it could eliminate evidence that the government wide surveillance system does not perform as intended.
The National Archives and Records Administration has tentatively approved the disposal plan, pending a public comment period." Link to Original Source