Friday, July 1, 2011

OHIO: Take Your Gun To The Bar And Talk Politics and Hacking Is Becoming A Way Of Life.

OHIO: Take Your Gun To The Bar And Talk Politics and Hacking Is Becoming A Way Of Life.

A group of British hackers today took down al-Qaeda's communication network and websites, preventing the terrorist organization from posting online messages and videos.
The hacks started a few days ago and they have temporarily crippled al-Qaeda's Internet influence. These attacks on al-Qaeda are reminiscent of similar attacks the group suffered earlier this month when British intelligence officers replaced the group's instructions on how to make bombs with cupcake recipes. Who says the British aren't funny?

Experts expect al-Qaeda to get its websites back under control within the next few days, but also commented that these hackers were obviously well coordinated and used some highly sophisticated techniques in taking the sites down.

This week's hackers were believed to be government sponsored, which would explain the high-level expertise these white hats showed. The U.K. government allegedly was also behind this month's cupcake recipe hacks, and it is generally believed that it sponsored those hackers as well, encouraging them to mess with al-Qaeda.

NyancatIt just goes to show that not all hackers are out to expose security flaws or steal your personal information. It warms my Internet heart to see the hackers stand up against groups like al-Qaeda and be a general thorn in its side. Honestly though, after all the LulzSec and Anonymous hacks lately, I half expected the al-Qaeda websites to be replaced with looping video of NyanCat. [Via MSNBC]

Bitcoin Reviewed: Clever, Controversial Financial/Social Experiment

John Lennon wanted us to imagine a world with no countries; when the European Union started happening in earnest, one of the first things they did was create the Euro. Having a common currency is a great way to bring down geographical barriers and create a shared economy. And with audacity that feels like it's drawn straight out of one of William Gibson's cyberpunk novels, that's what Bitcoin(free) sets out to do.

Don’t let Bitcoin’s utilitarian appearance deceive you: This is a bold attempt at changing how we think about money. Bitcoin works like a peer-to-peer file-sharing application, only instead of transferring files, the nodes on the network transfer data about financial transactions. Each node on the Bitcoin network has its own unique identifier. To send someone money, simple use the client to specify an amount, paste in their ID, and the money is sent on its way.

Of course, before you can do that, you need to get some Bitcoins to send. This isn't monopoly money: There are only so many Bitcoins in existence, and they have value that can be measured in more common currency (US Dollars, for example). The Bitcoin economy is still forming, so Bitcoins are being slowly created, or "mined" in Bitcoin parlance. Since one of Bitcoin's key tenets is that there should be no central issuing authority, the clients are doing the mining, effectively creating new money out of thin air.

At first glance, that seems very much off--kind of like printing your own Dollar bills at home. But mining new Bitcoins is a temporary affair--the rate of mining is hard-coded into the application, and will slowly taper off until at last, no more coins will be mined and the system will stabilize at 21 million Bitcoins.

Mining your own coins is an extremely slow process. It's not supposed to be fast. To actually start using Bitcoin as a form of online currency, you should first find out if there are any businesses that you'd like to work with which accept Bitcoin payments. Bitcoin's community wiki lists dozens of businesses that accept this new form of currency, with more being added constantly.

Once you've found someone you'd like to pay, you should purchase some Bitcoins to pay them with. This is done using an online currency exchange. There are a number of Bitcoin currency exchanges, again, all listed on Bitcoin's Wiki. At first, paying with "real" money for a virtual form of currency may leave you with an uneasy feeling. But once you've used your Bitcoins to pay for a valuable service, you would see that Bitcoin is just like any other form of currency, only it's not centrally controlled in any way.

One last caveat: Bitcoins are stored in a "wallet," which is nothing but an encrypted file on your computer. There is no central bank, and losing this file means you've lost all of your Bitcoins. So if you do use Bitcoin for anything serious, be sure to constantly back up this file to protect. Encryption might not go amiss either, as the Allinvain heist suggests. Digital wallets are vulnerable to hacks, and Symantec recently reported a Bitcoin-stealing Trojan.

Bitcoin may not be ready for prime time yet, and the system can seem too appealing for certain types of underhanded dealings (untraceable, anonymous money, anyone?). In fact, some US senators are even trying to shut it down, for just that reason. But even if Bitcoin itself gets shut down--unlikely as that may seem--I believe it is a sign of things to come. If you have any interest in foreign exchange or monetary systems, you would do well to give Bitcoin a quick spin.
Hacking season is not over yet. Even though LulzSec, the group of hackers who made a name for themselves by hacking Sony, Nintendo, and PBS among others, called it quits on Saturday, another group wants to pick up the slack.

After announcing the end of its activities, Lulzsec encouraged its 281,870 Twitter followers to follow the account of Anonymous, another hacking organization, which on Monday published new materials on counter-hacking tools and addresses of U.S. FBI locations. Anonymous also picked up more than 60,000 Twitter followers over the past 24 hours.

Acknowledging LulzSec's retirement, the group released a torrent file containing all the data it obtained over the past seven weeks, including data from prominent targets such as the CIA, U.S. Senate, Sony, and AOL.

Even though LulzSec has been active for only 50 days, the hacking group garnered a significant amount of media attention: "For the past 50 days we've been disrupting and exposing corporations, governments, often the general population itself, and quite possibly everything in between, just because we could," the group says in a goodbye note.

Anonymous is the hacking group that was alleged (but denied any involvement) to be behind the massive Sony PlayStation Service hack earlier this year.

The files Anonymous released Monday include documents and hacking and counter-hacking tools. The data weighs in at 625MB and its exact source is not mentioned, except a link to the CDI Sentinel program page, which provides free cybersecurity training using a mobile computer lab.

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Lulzsec: A Short History of Hacking
By Eric MackPCWorld    Jun 27, 2011 9:16 AM

Over the weekend, the hyperactive group of hackers who call themselves Lulzsec announced they are breaking up the band, while also claiming that their "50-day cruise" had been planned all along.

Rumor is that Lulzsec members may be blending back into the bigger "Anonymous" collective from whence they allegedly came, leading many to suspect that the announcement of the group's disbanding may actually be more about rebranding.

Lulzsec drew lots of attention to itself over the past two months with a string of high-profile hacks, culminating in the arrest of a British teen who apparently hosted IRC channels for the group. To see how Lulzsec rose so quickly, check out this brief history:

May 7 - Lulz Security establishes a presence on Twitter, tweeting and posting its first hack online, claiming to have gotten ahold of a database of contestants from the Fox TV show X Factor. Lulzsec follows up a few days later with more sales and internal data gleaned from

May 30 - After hacks of Sony in Japan and a British ATM database, Lulzsec scores its first big publicity coup by posting a fake story on the PBS website, which claimed that Tupac Shakur was alive and well in New Zealand.

June 2 - Lulzsec posts personal data for more than a million users from a handful of Sony websites,mostly from, including passwords, e-mail addresses and thousands of music codes and coupons.

June 3 - The "Lulz Boat" sets a course for the government, targeting security organizations that work with the FBI and other agencies. It claims to have acquired more than 100 passwords from Infragard.

June 10 - The group posts 26,000 e-mail/password combos encouraging the public to try out the combos on Facebook and elsewhere for fun and "profit."

June 13-20 - Lulzsec appears to be hitting its stride, with a busy weekhacking into the U.S. Senate's website, stealing the account information of more than 200,000 users from video game maker Bethesda, claiming to have temporarily brought down the CIA's website, and going after more security agencies in the U.S. and UK.

June 23 - In protest of Arizona's controversial anti-immigration law, Lulzsec posts internal documentsand information from the state's Department of Public Security.

June 26 - Less than a week after the arrest of a British teen tied to Lulzsec's IRC channel's, the group says it is fading away with a press release filled with an atypical amount of seriousness rather than parting lulz.

See more like this: hackers,  online security

Anonymous Launches 'Wikileaks' For Hackers

The hacktivist group Anonymous has launched a WikiLeaks-type site to boost efforts to leak "material(s) of interest" to the public.
The "HackerLeaks" site seeks to provide a "safe, secure and anonymous" way for hackers to disclose sensitive information they may come across.
"In both security as well as overall strategy, HackerLeaks is closely modeled on WikiLeaks. Our first priority is to provide a safe, secure - and anonymous way for hackers to disclose sensitive information.
Our team of analysts first carefully screens each submission for any possible trace of the senders identity," the founders of the site said. 
"Our second commitment is to ensure that each and every leak receives the maximum exposure possible in order to achieve the most profound political impact for the risks taken by those submitting material. To that end, we work with media outlets all over the world," they added. 
As of Friday afternoon (Manila time), HackerLeaks has been making its "disclosures" public on a href=" " target="_blank"> 
Hacktivist group Anonymous said HackerLeaks "openly invites" data thieves to upload documents for screening and possible publication. 
It noted that since the initial dump of State Department cables on WikiLeaks, there have been few "WikiLeaks-sized scoops." 
"So instead of waiting for insider whistleblowers, the hacker movement Anonymous hopes that a few outside intruders might start the leaks flowing," it said ( /2011/06/anonymous-launches-wikileaks-for.html). 
Earlier this week, a hacker sub-group People’s Liberation Front launched two new leaking sites, and 
First leak 
Anonymous said that one of the hackers involved, Commander X, received the site's first submission: a list of the personal details of Orlando officials including addresses, home values, incomes and other data. 
The leak came as Anonymous has been engaged in what it calls “Operation Orlando," attacks on Orlando-based targets including Orlando and the websites of the Orlando Chamber of Commerce and Universal Studios. 
The attacks were in retaliation for arrests of Orlando workers for the non-profit Food Not Bombs. 
Connection to media outlets 
Commander X said that Anonymous and the PLF have already established connections to the media outlets that can help better expose important data, and that they hope to also provide “unique and enlightening analysis." 
“We just wanted to make our own offering, compete in the disclosure marketplace and maybe fill a unique role if we can," he said. 
He said part of that unique role is that HackerLeaks will be legal, despite publishing hacked materials. 
“We don’t obtain this material. We merely publish it. This violates no sane law anywhere," he said. — TJD, GMA News

By the CNN Wire Staff Washington (CNN) -- A special prosecutor has recommended a criminal probe into the deaths of two prisoners in CIA custody but cleared US interrogators of wrongdoing in 99 others, the Justice Department announced Tuesday. ...See all stories on this topic »

Criminal Accountability Pursued Abroad

July 1, 2011, New York – Yesterday, the U.S. Justice Department announced that it will drop 99 out of 101 C.I.A. detainee torture cases that had been under preliminary review by Federal Prosecutor John Durham. While the deaths of only two detainees will lead to criminal investigations, the U.S. probe into the CIA’s interrogation, rendition and detention of detainees “is not warranted”, according to Attorney General Eric Holder.

Attorney General Holder claimed that the Department of Justice has now “thoroughly examined the detainee treatment issue.” The Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following statement in response to the announcement:

“The Department of Justice’s announcement that it is closing investigations into nearly all the cases of CIA torture and abuse that were under review confirms that the United States is committed to absolving itself of any responsibility for its crimes over the past decade. And while it comes as no surprise by now, it is yet another instance where the Obama administration has given precedence to politics over principle and its domestic and international legal obligations, even for torture.

The Justice Department’s decision to open criminal investigations into the deaths of only two detainees does not suffice to demonstrate the United States’ willingness to hold American torturers accountable. Criminal as these deaths were, selecting two high-profile cases that received major media attention, while closing the book on all other cases, does not amount to justice, but rather to a public show.

In fact, the United States has actively and successfully blocked all forms of redress in U.S. courts for hundreds of victims of the U.S. torture program. To date, no victim of post-9/11 policies has been allowed his day in court. This past Monday, the Supreme Court refused to hear the case of Abu Ghraib torture survivors brought against private military contractors for their role in torture, upon the recommendation of the U.S. Acting Solicitor General. Canadian rendition victim Maher Arar was similarly denied the chance to have his claims of torture reviewed on the merits in a U.S. court.

The United States is also actively fighting a civil lawsuit filed by relatives of the men who died in Guantánamo in 2006, where new evidence suggests an official cover-up of the cause and circumstances of the deaths.

The investigation led by Mr. Durham was already unacceptably narrow in scope. The investigation was limited to reviewing the conduct of low-level CIA agents who acted within the scope of the “torture memos” and other Office of Legal Counsel memoranda of the Bush administration, and explicitly excluded the chief architects of the torture program and other senior officials. The motto of American Chief Prosecutor of the Nuremberg Trials, Justice Robert Jackson: “We do not accept the paradox that legal responsibility should be the least where power is the greatest” clearly no longer holds within the Obama Department of Justice.

CIA Director and future Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta declared, “we are now finally about to close this chapter of our agency’s history.” If this is the case, then we can equally affirm that this marks an end to the U.S.’s claim that no other country may exercise jurisdiction over crimes of torture perpetrated by Americans. Where justice is denied in the Unites States, universal jurisdiction and the Convention Against Torture allow prosecutions in other nations.

CCR is currently actively engaged in a case opened last April in Madrid, Spain on behalf of several former Guantánamo plaintiffs, investigating the U.S.’s “authorized and systematic plan of torture.” Try as it might, the United States will have a harder time making its case outside of this country. Impunity does not always cross borders."

Lisa Baron's Salacious Memoir

The former Republican PR aide's new book isn't quite a tell-all, though it says a lot about its author.

Life of the Party: A Political Press Tart Bares All, the new memoir by former GOP PR aide Lisa Baron, begins on a note both intriguing and revolting. "When people find out that I worked for Ralph Reed during the 2000 Republican presidential primary in South Carolina, they always ask the same thing: Was it true Ralph told voters that Senator John McCain fathered a black child?" she writes. "And my answer is always the same,

'How would I know? I was in a Greenville hotel room giving Ari Fleischer a blow job.”

Ohio To Allow Concealed Guns in Bars 

New law also permits carrying firearms into malls and stadiums.

Because nothing goes better than guns and crowded places, Ohio’s Republican Gov. John Kasich signed a bill on Thursday that will allow gun owners to carry concealed firearms into bars and other places where alcohol is served.
Reuters reports that gun owners will now be permitted to carry concealed handguns into licensed establishments, including shopping malls and sporting venues. The law prohibits gun owners from consuming alcohol or being intoxicated when they carry their weapons into bars. This is probably a good idea.
Businesses retain the right to ban concealed weapons if they choose. The Cincinnati Bengals have indicated that they will prohibit spectators from bringing firearms to the stadium, which is also probably a good idea given how depressed Bengals fans normally get right around the second week of the regular season.
The law also permits gun owners with concealed carry licenses to transport loaded handguns in motor vehicles without securing them. 
Meanwhile, a law allowing Wyomingites to carry concealed firearms without a permit goes into effect Friday, the Billings Gazette reports. 
Wyoming state joins Alaska, Arizona, and Vermont in allowing citizens to carry concealed handguns without undergoing background checks or firearms training, according to the Gazette.  

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