It’s ironic that government surveillance might push the public to embrace technology pioneered by the Department of Defense. But so it is: new metrics from The Tor Project show that use of the online anonymity service has exploded since early June: up more than 100 percent, from just over 500,000 global users to more than 1.2 million. Why the sudden surge in privacy conscious Internet users? It would be easy to connect the dots between revelations about the U.S. government’s omnibus data gathering program PRISM and the sudden desire of Internet users to sacrifice some speed and performance for the privilege of having their online doings passed through The Onion Router. Still, it’s not clear that this is the case. To be sure: growth is being seen across the board, not just in active users, but in the number of ToR clients running, the data suggests. There are steep increases […]
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One of the big challenges to the growth of the “Internet of Things” is access. It goes without saying that, without access to the Internet, almost all of the benefits of connected devices disappear. Your smart phone becomes a dumb phone. Your ‘net connected watch or running shoes or car scream into the void – trying desperately to connect to a network that isn’t there. Here in the U.S., that problem has typically been addressed by routing traffic through 3G or – depending on where you live – 4G wireless networks. However, access to those networks is spotty, especially in the sparsely populated Western U.S. According to a survey by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), much of the Western U.S. is a 3G wasteland, with little or no access to broadband wireless networks. One solution is to tap the loose network of residential broadband subscribers, allowing them to peel […]
A survey conducted by the firm Rapid 7 has found evidence that widespread vulnerabilities and insecure configuration of ubiquitous networking components known as serial port (or “terminal”) servers, may expose a wide range of companies and critical assets – including point of sale terminals, ATMs and industrial control systems – to remote cyber attacks.(*) The vulnerable devices connected hardware like retail point-of-sale systems at a national chain of dry cleaners, providing direct access to employee terminals from which customer payment information could be accessed. Other exposed systems were used to monitor the location of cargo containers, train cargo as well as HVAC and industrial control systems, Rapid7 said. In the Rapid7 survey, over 114,000 unique IPs were identified in a scan using the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), the vast majority manufactured by one company: Digi International. If left unaddressed, the vulnerable devices give remote attackers direct, administrative access to hardware devices […]
Denial of Service attacks are experiencing a surge in power and duration in the first months of 2013, with Iran joining China and The United States as a top source of the crippling online attacks. The power of distributed denial of service (or DDos) attacks – measured in packets per second – jumped 718 percent in the first three months of 2013, compared to the final three months of 2012, the security firm Prolexic reported on Wednesday. The average bandwidth used in DD0S attacks reached 32.4 million packets per second, overwhelming Internet service providers (ISPs), carriers and content delivery networks designed to mitigate the effects of sudden Internet traffic surges. The data comes from Prolexic’s DD0S Report for the first quarter of 2013. That firm, based in Hollywood, Florida, has become a go-to firm for companies that find their web sites on the receiving end of DDoS attacks. The average attack bandwidth totaled […]
Botnets are mostly linked with spam e-mail campaigns, denial of service attacks and data theft. But global networks of compromised hosts can be used for a variety of ends – not all of them malicious. That was the idea behind “Internet Census 2012,” a stealth project by an unnamed and unknown researcher/hacker to map the entire IPV4 Internet address space using a massive network of compromised devices. The results, published in the form of a research paper, underscore the problem of unsecured embedded devices, including set top boxes, home routers and critical infrastructure, with the hacker able to locate and compromise these systems, creating a botnet of more than 420,000 nodes. According to a copy of the report, the project grew out of an experiment to locate unprotected devices online using nmap, the open source scanning tool. By compromising each vulnerable host and then enlisting it to scan for other […]