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Colin Powell's Private Email Account Has Been Hacked ( 248

According to The New York Times, Former Secretary of State Colin Powell has been hacked and a password-protected archive of his personal emails has been published by DC Leaks. The Verge reports: DC Leaks is the same site that first published emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee, which many took as an explicit effort to influence the U.S. election process. Many experts in the U.S. intelligence apparatus have attributed that attack to the Russian government, although no public attribution has been made. Thus far, there's no evidence tying Powell's hack to Russia, and similar hacks have been carried out by mischievous teens without government affiliation. The immediate result of the hack has been political fallout for Powell himself. Last night, BuzzFeed News reported on an email in which Powell called Republican nominee Donald Trump a "national disgrace," and another in which he said the candidate was "in the process of destroying himself."

Guccifer 2.0 Releases More DNC Documents ( 333

For the past several months, the hacker who calls himself "Guccifer 2.0" has been releasing documents about the Democratic National Committee. Today, he has released a new hoard of documents. Politico reports: The hacker persona Guccifer 2.0 has released a new trove of documents that allegedly reveal more information about the Democratic National Committee's finances and personal information on Democratic donors, as well as details about the DNC's network infrastructure. The cache also includes purported memos on tech initiatives from Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine's time as governor of Virginia, and some years-old missives on redistricting efforts and DNC donor outreach strategy. Most notable among Tuesday's documents may be the detailed spreadsheets allegedly about DNC fundraising efforts, including lists of DNC donors with names, addresses, emails, phone numbers and other sensitive details. Tuesday's documents regarding the DNC's information technology setup include several reports from 2010 purporting to show that the committee's network passed multiple security scans. In total, the latest dump contains more than 600 megabytes of documents. It is the first Guccifer 2.0 release to not come from the hacker's WordPress account. Instead, it was given out via a link to the small group of security experts attending [a London cybersecurity conference].

Stanford Engineers Propose A Technology To Break The Net Neutrality Deadlock ( 199

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Phys.Org: Stanford engineers have invented a technology that would allow an internet user to tell network providers and online publishers when and if they want content or services to be given preferential delivery, an advance that could transform the network neutrality debate. Net neutrality, as it's often called, is the proposition that internet providers should allow equal access to all content rather than give certain applications favored status or block others. But the Stanford engineers -- Professor Nick McKeown, Associate Professor Sachin Katti and electrical engineering PhD Yiannis Yiakoumis -- say their new technology, called Network Cookies, makes it possible to have preferential delivery and an open internet. Network Cookies allow users to choose which home or mobile traffic should get favored delivery, while putting network operators and content providers on a level playing field in catering to such user-signaled preferences. "So far, net neutrality has been promoted as the best possible defense for users," Katti said. "But treating all traffic the same isn't necessarily the best way to protect users. It often restricts their options and this is why so-called exceptions from neutrality often come up. We think the best way to ensure that ISPs and content providers don't make decisions that conflict with the interests of users is to let users decide how to configure their own traffic." McKeown said Network Cookies implement user-directed preferences in ways that are consistent with the principles of net neutrality. "First, they're simple to use and powerful," McKeown said. "They enable you to fast-lane or zero-rate traffic from any application or website you want, not just the few, very popular applications. This is particularly important for smaller content providers -- and their users -- who can't afford to establish relationships with ISPs. Second, they're practical to deploy. They don't overwhelm the user or bog down user devices and network operators and they function with a variety of protocols. Finally, they can be a very practical tool for regulators, as they can help them design simple and clear policies and then audit how well different parties adhere to them." The researchers presented a technical paper on their approach at a conference in Brazil.

Edward Snowden Makes 'Moral' Case For Presidential Pardon ( 387

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Edward Snowden has set out the case for Barack Obama granting him a pardon before the U.S. president leaves office in January, arguing that the disclosure of the scale of surveillance by U.S. and British intelligence agencies was not only morally right but had left citizens better off. Speaking on Monday via a video link from Moscow, where he is in exile, Snowden said any evaluation of the consequences of his leak of tens of thousands of National Security Agency and GCHQ documents in 2013 would show clearly that people had benefited. "Yes, there are laws on the books that say one thing, but that is perhaps why the pardon power exists -- for the exceptions, for the things that may seem unlawful in letters on a page but when we look at them morally, when we look at them ethically, when we look at the results, it seems these were necessary things, these were vital things," he said. "I think when people look at the calculations of benefit, it is clear that in the wake of 2013 the laws of our nation changed. The [U.S.] Congress, the courts and the president all changed their policies as a result of these disclosures. At the same time there has never been any public evidence that any individual came to harm as a result." In his wide-ranging interview, Snowden insisted the net public benefit of the NSA leak was clear. "If not for these disclosures, if not for these revelations, we would be worse off," he said. But Snowden still wants to return to the U.S. and seems confident, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, that it will happen. "In the fullness of time, I think I will end up back home," he said.

Are Governments Denying Internet Access To Their Political Opponents? ( 149

"Keeping your enemies offline can cripple their chances of overthrowing you," reports the MIT Technology Review. Slashdot reader schwit1 quotes their article: Whether or not your ethnic group has political power is a crucial factor determining your access to the Internet, according to a new analysis. The effect varies from country to country, and is much less pronounced in democratic nations. But the study, published today in Science, suggests that besides censorship, another way national governments prevent opposing groups from organizing online is by denying them Internet access in the first place, says Nils Weidmann, a professor of political science at the University of Konstanz in Germany.
Researchers used a geolocation database to create a map showing subnetwork activity for a large volume of internet traffic, then compared it with geographic data for the world's ethnic groups. "They concluded that excluded groups had significantly lower access compared to the groups in power, and that this can't be explained by other economic or geographic factors (like living in rural vs. urban areas)... 'You don't have to censor if the opposition doesn't get access at all.' "

Facebook Co-Founder Commits $20 Million To Help Defeat Trump ( 459

Mat Honan reports: Dustin Moskovitz, the billionaire co-founder of Facebook and Asana, announced on Thursday that he intends to give $20 million to a "number of organizations" to help Democrats, and Hillary Clinton, win in 2016. Moskovitz published a fiercely-worded Medium post arguing that Republican nominee Donald Trump is "running on a zero-sum vision" and that his attempts to woo economically disenfranchised voters "are quite possibly a deliberate con, an attempt to rally energy and support without the ability or intention to deliver." He also wrote that while he and his wife, Cari Tuna, have previously voted for Democrats in presidential elections, this is the first time they endorsed a candidate and donated. The move represents a sharp break with Asana and Facebook board member, Peter Thiel, a Trump delegate who spoke at the Republican National Convention and earlier this week published an op-ed in the Washington Post in support of the Republican nominee.

AAPS Doctors Run Survey On Hillary Clinton's Health ( 629

schwit1 PR Newswire: Concerns about Hillary Clinton's health are "serious -- could be disqualifying for the position of President of the U.S.," say nearly 71% of 250 physicians responding to an informal internet survey by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS). About 20% said concerns were "likely overblown, but should be addressed as by full release of medical records." Only 2.7% responded that they were "just a political attack; I have confidence in the letter from her physician and see no cause for concern." While more than 81% were aware of her history of a concussion, only 59% were aware of the cerebral sinus thrombosis, and 52% of the history of deep venous thrombosis. More than 78% said the health concerns had received "not enough emphasis" in the media, and only 2.7% that there had been "too much emphasis." Nearly two-thirds said that a physician who had a concern about a candidate's fitness to serve for health reasons should "make the concerns known to the public." Only 11% said a physician should "keep silent unless he had personally examined the patient," and 10% that the candidate's health was "off limits for public discussion." A poll of 833 randomly selected registered voters by Gravis Marketing showed that nearly half (49%) were not aware of the "well documented major health issues that Hillary Clinton has." Nearly three-fourths (74%) were unaware of Bill Clinton's statement that Hillary suffered a "terrible" concussion requiring "six months of very serious work to get over." The majority (57%) thought that candidates should release their medical records.

Researcher Gets 20 Days In Prison For Hacking State Websites As Political Stunt ( 85

An anonymous reader writes from a report via Softpedia: David Levin, 31, of Estero, Florida will spend 20 days in prison after hacking two websites belonging to the Florida state elections department. Levin, a security researcher, tested the security of two Florida state election websites without permission, and then recorded a video and posted on YouTube. The problem is that the man appearing in the video next to Levin was a candidate for the role of state election supervisor, running for the same position against the incumbent Supervisor of Elections, Sharon Harrington. Harrington reported the video to authorities, who didn't appreciate the media stunt pulled by the two, and charged the security researcher with three counts of hacking-related charges. The researcher turned himself in in May and pleaded guilty to all charges. This week, he received a 20-day prison sentence and two years of probation. In court he admitted to the whole incident being a political stunt.

White House Names Retired Air Force General As First Cyber Security Chief ( 36

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: The White House on Thursday named a retired U.S. Air Force general as the government's first federal cyber security chief, a position announced eight months ago that is intended to improve defenses against hackers. Gregory Touhill's job will be to protect government networks and critical infrastructure from cyber threats as federal chief information security officer, according to a statement. President Barack Obama announced the new position in February alongside a budget proposal to Congress asking for $19 billion for cyber security across the U.S. government. Touhill is currently a deputy assistant secretary for cyber security and communications at the Department of Homeland Security. He will begin his new role later this month, a source familiar with the matter said. Grant Schneider, who is the director of cyber security policy at the White House's National Security Council, will be acting deputy to Touhill, according to the announcement. wiredmikey adds from a report via SecurityWeek.Com: The White House today announced that Brigadier General (retired) Gregory J. Touhill has been named the first Federal Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). Back in February, President Barack Obama unveiled a cybersecurity "national action plan" (CNAP) which called for an overhaul of aging government networks and a high-level commission to boost security awareness. As part of the plan, the White House said it would hire a federal CISO to direct cybersecurity across the federal government. General Touhill is currently the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity and Communications in the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The key hire comes at a time when the government needs cybersecurity talent more than ever. Earlier this week a report published by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee said the data breaches disclosed by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) last year were a result of culture and leadership failures, and should not be blamed on technology.

New Snowden Leaks Reveal More About NSA Satellite Eavesdropping ( 100

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Newly published documents from Edward Snowden have shed more light on American surveillance operations in the UK. The Intercept details how the NSA and GCHQ used information gathered by Menwith Hill Station, a massive but tightly sealed facility that intercepts satellite data transmissions worldwide. Among other things, the files appear to include evidence that links UK-based surveillance to American anti-terrorism campaigns outside official combat zones. While many surveillance efforts focus on the internet's connective "backbone" cables, Menwith Hill intercepts wireless signals, using an array of antennae and U.S. government satellites to capture up to 335 million pieces of metadata in a 12-hour period. Previous reports -- including an earlier Snowden leak -- have already revealed some of its capabilities. But The Intercept includes more details, particularly about the UK's involvement in "capture-kill" operations against suspected terrorists. It describes how the GHOSTHUNTER program traced the location of targets "when they log onto the internet," often in internet cafes. A different program called GHOSTWOLF, which let the NSA and GCHQ monitor traffic from Yemeni internet cafes, is part of a plan to "capture or eliminate key nodes in terrorist networks" by tracking their locations. This leak fuels existing suspicions that the UK's role in American covert drone strikes is greater than it admits -- potentially implicating it in the civilian deaths that have resulted. GCHQ told The Intercept that all its work "is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework," and "is entirely compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights."

US Investigating Potential Covert Russian Plan To Disrupt November Elections ( 531

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Washington Post: U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies are probing what they see as a broad covert Russian operation in the United States to sow public distrust in the upcoming presidential election and in U.S. political institutions, intelligence and congressional officials said. The aim is to understand the scope and intent of the Russian campaign, which incorporates cyber-tools to hack systems used in the political process, enhancing Russia's ability to spread disinformation. The effort to better understand Russia's covert influence operations is being coordinated by James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence. The Kremlin's intent may not be to sway the election in one direction or another, officials said, but to cause chaos and provide propaganda fodder to attack U.S. democracy-building policies around the world, particularly in the countries of the former Soviet Union. U.S. intelligence officials described the covert influence campaign here as "ambitious" and said it is also designed to counter U.S. leadership and influence in international affairs. One congressional official, who has been briefed recently on the matter, said "Russian 'active measures' or covert influence or manipulation efforts, whether it's in Eastern Europe or in the United States" are worrisome. It "seems to be a global campaign," the aide said. As a result, the issue has "moved up as a priority" for the intelligence agencies, which include the FBI and Department of Homeland Security as well as the CIA and the National Security Agency. Their comments came just before President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin talked privately about cyberspying and other matters on the sidelines of the Group of 20 talks in China.

Climate Deal: US and China Join Paris Climate Accords ( 163

An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes the BBC: The US and China -- together responsible for 40% of the world's carbon emissions -- have both formally joined the Paris global climate agreement... It will only come into force legally after it is ratified by at least 55 countries, which between them produce 55% of global carbon emissions. Before China made its announcement, the 23 nations that had so far ratified the agreement accounted for just over 1% of emissions. This will put pressure on G20 nations over the weekend to move faster with their pledge to phase out subsidies to fossil fuels...
There's a G20 summit starting on Sunday, and the BBC's environmental analyst reports that the accord "will just need the EU and a couple of other major polluters to cross the threshold." Its ultimate goal is to stop global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius -- "well above the aspirational 1.5C heating that the UN accepts should really be the limit" -- though U.K. researchers report that already 2016 temperatures may be rising 1.1C above pre-industrial levels.

Feds Spend Nearly $500K To 'Combat Online Trolling' ( 184

mi writes: Washington Free Beacon reports: "The National Science Foundation is spending roughly half a million dollars to combat 'online trolling.' A joint project by Northwestern and Northeastern universities is examining how to create 'trolling-free environments' on the internet. The researchers define online trolls as those who try to influence public opinion by boosting 'misleading' and 'inauthentic comments.'" Just how can the "misleading" and "inauthentic" speech be eliminated by the government without violating the First Amendment? "Today almost every browser click that users make is collected by numerous trackers associated with a variety of online services (e.g., advertising networks, online social networks, e-commerce platforms)," a grant for the project states. "Users have often expressed concern about the lack of privacy and control over their personal data. Nonetheless, despite a substantial effort to expose and control this prevalent behavior, the reality is that users keep accepting updated online privacy policies, which in turn grant the gathering of more personal data. This project explores re-using this extensive tracking infrastructure for the benefits of both the users themselves and web services, with a goal of preventing online trolling (scenarios in which various groups deploy tactics to influence public opinion on the internet, by leaving biased, false, misleading, and inauthentic comments, and then artificially amplifying their ratings). The project aims to show how the tracking infrastructure can be re-used as a user 'fingerprint,' allowing a lightweight and privacy-preserving form of identification for third-party web sites." The lead researchers on the project, Aleksander Kuzmanovic from Northwestern University, and Alan Mislove from Northeastern University, said: "Public opinion is of paramount importance in any society. It is thus not a surprise that many governments, political parties, and various other groups deploy tactics to influence public opinion on the internet, a practice commonly referred to as trolling." They say their work could help combat "troll armies" used by Russia and China.

Clinton's First Email Server Was a Power Mac Tower ( 223

An anonymous reader shares with us an excerpt from a report via Ars Technica: As she was being confirmed as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton contacted Colin Powell to ask him about his use of a Blackberry while in the same role. According to a Federal Bureau of Investigations memorandum published today (PDF), Powell warned Clinton that if it became public that she was using a Blackberry to "do business," her e-mails would be treated as "official" record and be subject to the law. "Be very careful," Powell said according to the FBI. "I got around it all by not saying much and not using systems that captured the data." Perhaps Clinton's troubles began when she switched from a Blackberry-hosted e-mail account to an account on her domain -- a domain hosted on an Apple Power Mac "G4 or G5" tower running in the Clintons' Chappaqua, New York residence. The switch to the Power Mac as a server occurred the same month she exchanged messages with Powell. The Power Mac, originally purchased in 2007 by former President Clinton's aide Justin Cooper, had acted as the server for and Cooper managed most of the technology support for Bill Clinton and took charge of setting up Hillary Clinton's new personal mail system on the Power Mac, which sat alongside a firewall and network switching hardware in the basement of the Clintons' home. But the Power Mac was having difficulty handling the additional load created by Blackberry usage from Secretary Clinton and her staff, so a decision was made quickly to upgrade the server hardware. Secretary Clinton's deputy chief of staff at the State Department, Huma Abedin, connected Cooper with Brian Pagliano, who had worked in IT for the secretary's 2008 presidential campaign. Cooper inquired with Pagliano about getting some of the campaign's computer hardware as a replacement for the Power Mac, and Pagliano was in the process of selling the equipment off.

The Unsettling Relationship Between Russia and Wikileaks ( 271

schnell writes: The New York Times is reporting on the informal but seemingly symbiotic relationship between Russian hackers attacking American targets and Wikileaks (Warning: may be paywalled) as their favorite spot for disseminating the embarrassing results. New York Times reports: "American officials say Mr. Assange and WikiLeaks probably have no direct ties to Russian intelligence services. But the agendas of WikiLeaks and the Kremlin have often dovetailed." When it comes to embarrassing the U.S. government, Russia and Wikileaks' Julian Assange doubtlessly have common interests. But the reporters' analysis of leaks over the past several years raises a question of whether this is just a natural alliance of a source for incriminating documents and a motivated publisher, or does Wikileaks focus on the U.S. and downplay revelations about authoritarian regimes like Russia's as a result of the cozy relationship? nickovs adds: The New York Times is reporting how Russia often benefits when Julian Assange reveals the West's secrets. The article discusses Assange's change in stance regarding Russia over the years and how the Kremlin appears to support, and benefit from, the leaks that he publishes. The New York Times reports: "United States officials say they believe with a high degree of confidence that the Democratic Party material was hacked by the Russian government, and suspect that the codes may have been stolen by the Russians as well. That raises a question: Has WikiLeaks become a laundering machine for compromising material gathered by Russian spies? And more broadly, what precisely is the relationship between Mr. Assange and Mr. Putin's Kremlin?" Daily Mail (non paywalled source) reports: "In 2010 Assange was arrested in London on allegations of rape stemming from Sweden and released on bail. He described the arrest as a plot to extradite him to the U.S. where he could be investigated over the diplomatic cables leak, which greatly harmed American relations with the rest of the world while Clinton was Secretary of State. Putin also called the charges against Assange 'politically motivated' and said he is being 'persecuted for spreading the information he received from the U.S. military regarding the actions of the USA in the Middle East, including Iraq.' Russian officials have also suggested that Assange be given a Nobel Prize, and in 2012 paid to stream his TV show on state-backed network Russia Today. The Times also claims that Assange was offered a visa by Russia in 2011, though WikiLeaks has denounced this as false..."

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