Leaked NSA Malware Is Helping Hijack Computers Around the World

In mid-April, an arsenal of powerful software tools apparently designed by the NSA to infect and control Windows computers was leaked by an entity known only as the “Shadow Brokers.” Not even a whole month later, the hypothetical threat that criminals would use the tools against the general public has become real, and tens of thousands of computers worldwide are now crippled by an unknown party demanding ransom.

The malware worm taking over the computers goes by the names “WannaCry” or “Wanna Decryptor.” It spreads from machine to machine silently and remains invisible to users until it unveils itself as so-called ransomware, telling users that all their files have been encrypted with a key known only to the attacker and that they will be locked out until they pay $300 to an anonymous party using the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. At this point, one’s computer would be rendered useless for anything other than paying said ransom. The price rises to $600 after a few days; after seven days, if no ransom is paid, the hacker (or hackers) will make the data permanently inaccessible (WannaCry victims will have a handy countdown clock to see exactly how much time they have left).

Ransomware is not new; for victims, such an attack is normally a colossal headache. But today’s vicious outbreak has spread ransomware on a massive scale, hitting not just home

— source theintercept.com | Sam Biddle | May 12 2017

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The New McCarthyism

This is how The Journal News reported it: “Activist and educator Angela Davis came to Rockland after all Thursday evening, meeting with North Rockland teens — and hundreds of others — after a planned school-sponsored event unraveled amid criticism that she was too ‘radical’ for the county and its children.

“The event finally took place at Pilgrim Baptist Church, with about 500 people crowded in. There was no prior publicity, a strategic move, organizers said, after the North Rockland school district and then, quietly, St. Thomas Aquinas College in Sparkill pulled out of hosting the civil rights activist because of protests.

“When Davis appeared, before she reached the podium, her audience burst into applause and gave her a standing ovation.”

— source democracynow.org | Dec 02, 2022

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How CIA Agents Covertly Steal Data From Hacked Smartphones (Without Internet)

WikiLeaks has today published the 16th batch of its ongoing Vault 7 leak, this time instead of revealing new malware or hacking tool, the whistleblower organisation has unveiled how CIA operatives stealthy collect and forward stolen data from compromised smartphones.

Previously we have reported about several CIA hacking tools, malware and implants used by the agency to remotely infiltrate and steal data from the targeted systems or smartphones.

However, this time neither Wikileaks nor the leaked CIA manual clearly explains how the agency operatives were using this tool.

But, since we have been covering every CIA leak from the very first day, we have understood a possible scenario and have illustrated how this newly revealed tool was being used.

Explained: How CIA Highrise Project Works#

In general, the malware uses the internet connection to send stolen data after compromising a machine to the attacker-controlled server (listening posts), but in the case of

— source thehackernews.com | Swati Khandelwal | Jul 13, 2017

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How We Know The So-Called “Civil War” Was Not Over Slavery

When I read Professor Thomas DiLorenzo’s article ( http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2017/08/21/lincoln-myth-ideological-cornerstone-america-empire/ ) the question that lept to mind was, “How come the South is said to have fought for slavery when the North wasn’t fighting against slavery?”

Two days before Lincoln’s inauguration as the 16th President, Congress, consisting only of the Northern states, passed overwhelmingly on March 2, 1861, the Corwin Amendment that gave constitutional protection to slavery. Lincoln endorsed the amendment in his inaugural address, saying “I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable.”

Quite clearly, the North was not prepared to go to war in order to end slavery when on the very eve of war the US Congress and incoming president were in the process of making it unconstitutional to abolish slavery.

Here we have absolute total proof that the North wanted the South kept in the Union far more than the North wanted to abolish slavery.

If the South’s real concern was maintaining slavery, the South would not have turned down the constitutional protection of slavery offered them on a silver platter by Congress and the President. Clearly, for the South also the issue was not slavery.

— source paulcraigroberts.org | Paul Craig Roberts | Aug 23, 2017

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Mathematical mystery of ancient Babylonian clay tablet solved

UNSW Sydney scientists have discovered the purpose of a famous 3700-year old Babylonian clay tablet, revealing it is the world’s oldest and most accurate trigonometric table, possibly used by ancient mathematical scribes to calculate how to construct palaces and temples and build canals.

The new research shows the Babylonians, not the Greeks, were the first to study trigonometry — the study of triangles — and reveals an ancient mathematical sophistication that had been hidden until now.

Known as Plimpton 322, the small tablet was discovered in the early 1900s in what is now southern Iraq by archaeologist, academic, diplomat and antiquities dealer Edgar Banks, the person on whom the fictional character Indiana Jones was based.

It has four columns and 15 rows of numbers written on it in the cuneiform script of the time using a base 60, or sexagesimal, system.

— source University of New South Wales | Aug 24, 2017

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Student Suing Yale

A group of current and former students at Yale University have sued the Ivy League school for discriminating against students with mental health challenges in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The lawsuit alleges Yale pressures students to withdraw from the school if they’re suicidal or hospitalized for mental health treatment. Some students who refuse to withdraw are then involuntarily withdrawn.

One plaintiff said authorities at Yale visited her in the hospital after she overdosed on aspirin to urge her to withdraw. When she didn’t, the university involuntarily withdrew her while she was still hospitalized. She was then told she would need a police escort to retrieve her belongings.

The lawsuit alleges Yale has, quote, “treated unequally and failed to accommodate students with mental health disabilities.” The lawsuit goes on to say, quote, “The impact of Yale’s discriminatory policies is harshest on students with mental health disabilities from less privileged backgrounds, including students of color, students from poor families

— source democracynow.org | Dec 05, 2022

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Britain’s proxy war on Russia

UK participation in the Ukraine conflict is far-reaching, involving military and intelligence support, arms supplies and information warfare. But as Ukraine makes gains on the battlefield, Whitehall sees the war not only as a way to defend Kyiv but to ensure the strategic defeat of its rival, Russia – a dangerous strategy.

The Ukraine conflict is also a British one, given the extensive UK role in the war, with Whitehall supporting Kyiv to repel Russia’s brutal invasion in numerous ways outlined in this Explainer.

However, UK governments do not go to war for moral or humanitarian purposes; only for strategic gain. In Ukraine, Whitehall’s main goal is to counter Russia, a power UK governments have long wanted to put back in its box and end Moscow’s independent foreign policy, which challenges NATO’s supremacy in the whole of Europe and, to an extent, the Middle East.

— source markcurtis.info | Mark Curtis | 27 Sep 2022

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The Surveillance Industry Is Killing Democracy

India is rapidly digitising. There are good things and bad, speed-bumps on the way and caveats to be mindful of. The weekly column Terminal focuses on all that is connected and is not – on digital issues, policy, ideas and themes dominating the conversation in India and the world.

Last week, the Financial Times disclosed that the Indian government is making fresh efforts to procure spyware that has a lower footprint than NSO Group’s Pegasus to continue its surveillance of dissenters, opposition leaders and human rights activists. The report claimed that the ability of human rights actors and tech companies to identify and notify users about nation-state surveillance activities has become a point of concern for Indian authorities. The defence department is expected to soon issue a tender and is willing to spend as high as Rs 1,000 crore on acquiring surveillance technologies.

The entities that are expected to lead the bidding process include Quadream, Intellexa and Cognyte. Of these three companies, Cognyte has already been engaging with several law enforcement officials. One such instance was at DIGIPOL 2023, a law enforcement-only conference, in which the National Cyber Security Coordinator, the director of DRDO and

— source thewire.in | Srinivas Kodali | 03/Apr/2023

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How Google has downgraded importance of news websites in search results

News websites saw a significant drop in their prominence on Google search results in 2022, according to data from independent search visibility performance company Sistrix.

Press Gazette analysis of data from the search engine optimisation (SEO) experts reveals that 45 out of the 68 news domains ranked worse in UK Google search results in January of this year compared to the same month in 2022.

Sistrix’s visibility index assigns web domains values based on how well they rank in Google search results. The score draws on organic (unpaid) search results and does not include Top Stories or other Google news platforms such as Discover (a personalised Google content feed on Android devices). A higher score means that a domain appears higher in search results.

Press Gazette used the news domains that appear in our latest UK monthly top 50 list, which ranks news sites based on their number of unique visitors each month. We also included

— source pressgazette.co.uk | Aisha Majid | Feb 2, 2023

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