World Cyberwar: Six Internet News Stories in 2015 Blur the Line Between Sci Fi and Reality


2015 ‘s war for hearts and minds has already seen multiple battles between corporations, governments, vigilantes and mysterious online entities wielding unprecedented power – and some of the coolest fucking screen names history has ever known. The year is young but a slew of stories about cyber security have already , attacks being thwarted and the various ideologies espoused by the parties at play. Take a look at the  motivations, methods and legality of this year’s already impressive new and ongoing battles about controlling the planet’s massive and sometimes unpredictable information flow.

Fight for the Future scores a big win for Net Neutrality, says article in The Boston Globe. The globe article focused on Tiffiniy Cheng, Evan Greer and their circle of friends fighting back as corporations lobby congress for the right to control internet content and speed based on price. The group took on the persona of Fight for the Future an entity whose advocacy and diverse, respectable support includes activists, tech startups, and some big names like Netflix. The message resonated and warranted legitimate response from President Obama, and the Federal Communications Commission and went on to thwart a powerful telecommunications lobby. Read more about Fight for the Future.

Anonymous attacks Isis. Isis displays a formidable mastery of social media and has been able to consistently use twitter and other platforms to recruit, spread misinformation, threaten and administer propaganda. While the corporate and international communities struggle about the free speech issues, nebulous internet mob, Anonymous, cut through the bureaucracy when, On Feb 9th, Anonymous released a communique through one of their usually preferred untraceable channels.

We will hunt you, Take down your sites, Accounts, Emails, and expose you…

 

 From now on, no safe place for you online…
 You will be treated like a virus, And we are the cure…
 We Own The Internet…
 We are Anonymous, We are Legion, We do not forgive, We do not forget, Expect us.
-Now, Some of ISIS’s Twitter accounts, Sites, Emails that were Exposed & Destroyed by  Anonymous, RedCult team:

The message then proceeded to list over a thousand social media accounts. Can Anonymous do them real damage? -#OpISIS

NSA’s Equation Group is the confirmed author of nls_933w.dll malware, a software that has the ability to write itself into firmware, making it effectively impossible to  remove from susceptible hardware. This kind of infection can persist even after extreme measures are taken, such as an operating system re-installation or a complete harddrive wipe and reboot. The nls_933w.dll virus “exceeds anything we have ever seen before,” Says the russian security company, Kasperspy. Kasperspy’s Security Analyst Summit in Mexico suggested destroying an infec​ted disk is the only way to truly get rid of it once it’s installed.

Kasperspy vs. Equation Group: Private Corporate Security links Invasive Malware to Nation Security Agency CyberOp

Hunter Moore is going to jail but not for the right reasons. Hunter Moore plead guilty to a felony charge after it was proven in court he solicited hackers to obtain private sexual photos of various female victims. That he is punished for hacking into private accounts to steal photos might seem like the USA is at least setting precedent for  future sex-related leaks and related hacks, but purveyors of revenge porn continue to enjoy degrees of legality that change from state to state. The root of the problem is that revenge porn and consent issues related to nude leaks and pornography are relatively new issues that many states have no written law forbidding. The tides are changing toward the victims’ favor on this one, though, making Hunter Moore a cautionary tale for other scumbags and a historical first. The internet generally responded with a, “SMDH. Welcome to the archives, you scumbag of a footnote.” Check out the creep’s plea deal here.

Leaks, Revenge Porn, Consent and the Future of Privacy in the Information Age

AT&T claims to be able to help make torrents faster but is there a catch? AT&T’s patent claim regarding fastlane technology is pretty straightforward about  how it works; user data is used to see which files the P2P network members are sharing the most in order to manage the giant piece of the bandwith pie represented by torrents. 20% of all web traffic my be torrents. Is fastlane good for the filesharing community or are the faster speeds the sugar coating on the hard pill to swallow: A loss of privacy and a blow against the golden age of pirated media?

Read more about AT&T:

AT&T’s Patent Allows Faster Torrents – for Less Privacy

Lenovo says it got rid of a dangerous “superfish” maleware exploit but third party security researchers are able to detect its continued presence with a new piece of security software. This one is a mess: Lenovo actually shipped PCs with pre-installed software called “Superfish” seemed like obvious malware that leaves the PCs vulnerable to third party access. Programmers working at the disreputable company CloudFlare(one of the least secure hosts of 2014) were able to build a security testing site called Badfish. Lenovo PC users can  test their machines to see if superfish is present. Salvaging a relatively decent PC from security hell might be worth it but turning to Cloudflare for help doesn’t sit right with many users. like, my computer might have a soft spot and I have to go to the people who were named one of the top ten least secure and have been linked to multiple credit card and identity theft scandals. I dunno, man…

Read more:

How could Lenovo have Missed Preloaded Superfish Adware’s Obvious Security Risk?

Jonathan Howard
Jonathan is a freelance writer living in Brooklyn, NY

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