Archive for July, 2011

Millions hit in South Korean hack

Friday, July 29th, 2011

South Korea has blamed Chinese hackers for stealing data from 35 million accounts on a popular social network.

The attacks were directed at the Cyworld website as well as the Nate web portal, both run by SK Communications.

Hackers are believed to have stolen phone numbers, email addresses, names and encrypted information about the sites’ many millions of members.

It follows a series of recent cyber attacks directed at South Korea’s government and financial firms.

Details of the breach were revealed by the Korean Communications Commission.

It claimed to have traced the source of the incursion back to computer IP addresses based in China.

Wave of attacks

The Nate portal gives people access to web services such as email while the Cyworld social site lets people share images and updates with friends and allows them to create an avatar that inhabits a small virtual apartment.

Like many other nations, South Korea has suffered a spate of hacking attacks in recent months. One incident in April targeted a government-backed bank.

A month later, data on more than 1.8 million customers was stolen from Hyundai Capital.

Government ministries, the National Assembly, the country’s military HQ and networks of US Forces based in Korea were also hit.

Earlier this year, the South Korean government drew up a cyber security plan in an attempt to thwart the attackers.

– More…

Innovation Depends on a Robust Manufacturing Sector

Friday, July 29th, 2011

– The world’s largest economy is killing itself and its future because it cannot see that only contries that retain their manufacturing at home can remain wealth generators.

– dennis

– – – – – – – – – – –

When too many companies outsource their manufacturing, the industrial ecosystem can suffer long-term consequences.

It’s called moving up the economic value chain: U.S. companies are increasingly conceiving and creating products that are built elsewhere. Prosaic manufacturing, with its razor-thin profit margins and ruthless competition, has been outsourced to Asia. But researchers who study innovation are starting to see a worrisome after-effect: the ability to innovate sometimes disappears with the manufacturing.

Harvard Business School professors David Pisano and Willy Shih set many businesspeople to rethinking whether manufacturing matters with a 2009 Harvard Business Review article titled “Restoring American Competitiveness.” Besides lamenting that outsourcing manufacturing reduces U.S. job prospects and worsens the trade imbalance, the academics argued that economies where manufacturing skills vanish are less likely to harbor future innovation. Because American companies stopped making LCD displays, for example, there was no domestic expertise to build screens for Amazon’s Kindle reader, even though its crucial technology was developed in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Because expertise in thin-film deposition has moved to Asia with most semiconductor production, Chinese companies have a leg up in solar panel manufacturing.

– More…

Greenland’s ice sheets face new threat

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Substantial warming well below ocean’s surface will pose risk in this century.

Scientists have uncovered a potentially potent risk to Greenland’s ice sheets during the next century and beyond: rapidly warming deep water. The subsurface ocean off Greenland is now expected to warm at roughly double the rate that is projected for such waters globally, including off the coast of Antarctica.

Calling the ocean “the 900-pound gorilla of global warming and climate change,” oceanographer Josh Willis of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., says he’s excited to finally see long-term climate projections homing in on the ocean’s role. “How the oceans affect the great ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica could mean the difference between getting two feet and six feet of sea level rise in the coming century,” observes Willis, who had no role in the new analysis. “So this is a big deal.”

Until now, “no one had noticed that the ocean surrounding Greenland and Antarctica will warm very differently during this century and the next,” says climate modeler Jianjun Yin of the University of Arizona in Tucson, who led the new study, published online July 3 in Nature Geoscience. Although his group’s conclusions come from computer analyses, Yin notes that the study’s projections “are quite consistent with recent observations of subsurface ocean temperatures around Greenland.”

– More…

Hackers hit Italian cyber-police

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Hackers have started to release gigabytes of secret documents stolen from an Italian cybercrime unit.

The 8GB of files has allegedly been taken from the network of the Italian CNAIPIC which oversees the country’s critical IT infrastructure.

In a message announcing the release, the Anonymous hacker group said it received the files from a “source”.

The attack on CNAIPIC is thought to be in retaliation for arrests of Italian members of Anonymous.

Links to the first few confidential files purportedly stolen from CNAIPIC were placed on the Pastebin website. Anonymous claims the files were taken from the evidence servers of CNAIPIC (National Computer Crime Centre for Critical Infrastructure Protection).

The documents include information about government offices such as Australia’s Ministry of Defence and the US Department of Agriculture as well as data about private firms Gazprom, Exxon Mobil and many others.

Preview images also shared by Anonymous reveal the management structure of CNAIPIC, pictures of staff and a long list of all the documents that have been taken.

CNAIPIC has yet to respond to requests for comment.

Officers from Italy’s cybercrime division carried out a series of raids on homes of suspected Anonymous members in early July. Three people were arrested as a result.

– More…

Hackers seize PayPal UK Twitter account

Friday, July 15th, 2011

Hackers seized control of a PayPal Twitter feed for more than an hour on Tuesday, then sent out messages criticizing the payment processor in the second attack of its type in two days.

The hijacking of the PayPalUK Twitter feed came a day after hackers took control of a Fox News feed for more than five hours, then sent false tweets saying that U.S. President Barack Obama had been shot dead.

In PayPal’s case, the attackers sent out messages promoting, a site devoted to what it says is “exposing the nightmare of doing business ‘the PayPal way.'”

The Tweets were removed within a few hours of the hijacking. “Sorry, the profile you are trying to view has been suspended,” Twitter said on its page for the PayPalUK feed.

– more…

Climate change evidence ‘undeniable’

Friday, July 15th, 2011


Disastrous floods, heatwaves, storms and droughts are becoming more frequent because of climate change, and will continue to do so.

Scientists say the world can no longer ignore the link between climate change and extreme weather events, and they are urging countries to face up to the growing risks ahead.

New Zealander Kevin Trenberth, who heads the climate-analysis section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado, said events of the past 18 months had been extraordinary. “It’s as clear a warning as we’re going to get about prospects for the future.”

Last year was the warmest on record and that warming was directly related to increases in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, he said. It brought with it devastating floods in Pakistan and a heatwave in Russia, which resulted in riots around the world because of increased food prices.

Subsequent floods in Sri Lanka, Brazil and Queensland also brought deaths on a huge scale, and Dr Trenberth said scientists were now considering how such extreme events were linked.

Although some aspects of extreme weather were due to natural variation, global warming was now contributing too, with disastrous consequences. “There’s this 5-10 per cent contribution that may be thought of as the straw that breaks the camel’s back.”

The world would experience less snow and more rain, more floods, more heatwaves and consequent wildfires, and more storms featuring hurricanes and tornadoes.

Professor Lionel Carter, of Victoria University’s Antarctic Research Centre, said the effects were being seen on New Zealand’s doorstep, with the Tasman Sea getting warmer, and that warming shifting south.

Antarctica was losing mass, and the West Antarctic ice sheet in particular was causing concern as much of it was below sea level. A change to its mass could see the ice sheet lift off and raise the sea level by three to five metres.

This year was likely to be significant for extreme events such as floods, tornadoes and droughts, he said.

Dr Trenberth said increased temperatures had led to more water staying in the atmosphere. “What we are seeing throughout the world is when it rains, it pours.”

Over the oceans there was now 4 per cent more water vapour than in the 1970s, and sea surface temperatures had increased by about 0.55 degrees Celsius.

“The environment in which all storms form now is different to 30 or 40 years ago because of climate change.”

Professor Martin Manning, of Victoria’s Climate Change Research Institute, said humans were a primary driver for climate change, and the question now was how we dealt with the problem.

Insurance companies were beginning to recognise the trends in extreme weather and pay attention. “They’re getting extraordinarily concerned. They don’t really think what we’re doing at the moment is risk management.”

The world had “pushed way past” the point where local adaptations to climate change were going to be enough, as patterns of extreme events were too widespread. “We’re starting to see global risks being dealt with. It’s a global problem.”

– More…

Pentagon admits suffering major cyber attack in March

Friday, July 15th, 2011


The Pentagon has admitted it suffered a major cyber attack in which thousands of files were taken by foreign hackers.

Deputy Defence Secretary William Lynn said that in a March attack and other breaches, hackers had taken information on “our most sensitive systems”.

The admission came as the Pentagon rolled out a strategy for strengthening US cyber capabilities and addressing threats and attacks in cyberspace.

The plan would treat cyberspace in a similar manner to land, air and sea.

“In the 21st Century, bits and bytes can be as threatening as bullets and bombs,” Mr Lynn said, unveiling the plan.

In a speech at National Defense University in Washington, Mr Lynn said about 24,000 files containing Pentagon data were stolen from a defence industry computer network in March, marking one of the largest cyber attacks in US history.

– more…

During Bush Presidency, Current GOP Leaders Voted 19 Times To Increase Debt Limit By $4 Trillion

Friday, July 15th, 2011

– Politics in the US are so screwed up.   No thought these days of working across the aisle with the other party.   Nope, just bitter partisanship all the way.   I think the Republicans have brought this to a new low.   Read here about their hypocritical efforts to try to control the US government because of their ‘principles’ while risking the world’s financial market/s.  Nice.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

After pushing the government to brink of shutdown last week, Republican Congressional leaders are now preparing to push America to the edge of default by refusing to increase the nation’s debt limit without first getting Democrats to concede to large spending cuts.

But while the four Republicans in Congressional leadership positions are attempting to hold the increase hostage now, they combined to vote for a debt limit increase 19 times during the presidency of George W. Bush. In doing so, they increased the debt limit by nearly $4 trillion.

At the beginning of the Bush presidency, the United States debt limit was $5.95 trillion. Despite promises that he would pay off the debt in 10 years, Bush increased the debt to $9.815 trillionby the end of his term, with plenty of help from the four Republicans currently holding Congressional leadership positions: Speaker John Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl. ThinkProgress compiled a breakdown of the five debt limit increases that took place during the Bush presidency and how the four Republican leaders voted:

June 2002: Congress approves a $450 billion increase, raising the debt limit to $6.4 trillion. McConnell, Boehner, and Cantor vote “yea”, Kyl votes “nay.”

May 2003: Congress approves a $900 billion increase, raising the debt limit to $7.384 trillion. All four approve.

November 2004: Congress approves an $800 billion increase, raising the debt limit to $8.1 trillion. All four approve.

March 2006: Congress approves a $781 billion increase, raising the debt limit to $8.965 trillion. All four approve.

September 2007: Congress approves an $850 billion increase, raising the debt limit to $9.815 trillion. All four approve.

– More…

– Research thanks to Mike S.

Exclusive first interview with key LulzSec hacker

Friday, July 8th, 2011

It was early May when LulzSec’s profile skyrocketed after a hack on the giant Sony corporation. LulzSec’s name comes from Lulz, a corruption of LOL, often denoting laughter at the victim of a prank. For 50 days until it disbanded, the group’s unique blend of humour, taunting and unapologetic data theft made it notorious. But knowing whether LulzSec was all about the “lulz” or if it owed more to its roots as part of Anonymous – the umbrella group of internet subculture and digital activism – was pure speculation. Until now.

Who is “Sabu”?
I’m a man who believes in human rights and exposing abuse and corruption. I generally care about people and their situations. I’m into politics and I try my best to stay on top of current events.

We’ve seen you cast as everything from the greatest of heroes to the most evil of villains. How would you characterise yourself?
It is hard for me to see myself as either. I am not trying to be a martyr. I’m not some cape-wearing hero, nor am I some supervillain trying to bring down the good guys. I’m just doing what I know how to do, and that is counter abuse.

What was your first experience with “hacktivism”?
I got involved about 11 years ago when the US navy was using Vieques Island in Puerto Rico as a bombing range for exercises. There were lots of protests going on and I got involved in supporting the Puerto Rican government by disrupting communications. This whole situation was the first of its kind for the island and the people didn’t expect things to go that route. Eventually, the US navy left Vieques.

How did you get involved with Anonymous?
When I found out about what happened to Julian Assange, his arrest in the UK and so on, I found it absolutely absurd. So I got involved with Anonymous at that point.

– More…

Govt to consider making pay public

Friday, July 8th, 2011

– Bravo, New Zealand.   Many countries say, “Equal pay for equal work”.   But somehow after the political rhetoric and hand waving, it never seems to get done.

– This idea in New Zealand, if implemented, may help to push at least one country to walk its talk.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

The Government will consider a proposal to allow workers to know if they are getting paid less than their colleagues because of their gender, but has concerns about it.

Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Dr Judy McGregor has proposed a new Pay Equality Bill which would require bosses to let staff know pay rates of colleagues.

Pay equity has been a hot topic with the Green and Labour Parties proposing changes and a row over comments by Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA) Northern chief executive Alasdair Thompson that woman got paid less partly because of time they took off because of monthly periods.

His future with the organisation is under discussion.

Prime Minister John Key said today the Government would consider Dr McGregor’s proposal.

“The Government will have a look and we will consider that issue,” he told Breakfast on TV One.

“What you have to be careful of is unintended consequences and privacy issues. So in a very small workplace, you could see how that create real tension.”

– more…