Tag Archives | Hacking

The Saga of Captain Midnight: ‘No Regrets’ About Jamming HBO 25 Years Ago (Video)

CaptainMidnightPaul McNamara writes in Network World's BuzzBlog:
John MacDougall, then 25, was the lonely pamphleteer of lore, only instead of paper and ink he was armed with a 30-foot transmission dish, an electronic keyboard, and a burning objection to HBO's decision in 1986 to begin scrambling its satellite signal and charging viewers $12.95 a month. That move and price had offended MacDougall's sense of fair play — and all but halted the sales being generated by his fledgling satellite dish business in Ocala, Fla. So at 12:32 a.m. on Sunday, April 27, he transformed himself into Captain Midnight by commandeering HBO's satellite transmission signal - interrupting a showing of The Falcon and the Snowman — and putting in its place the above protest message that aired for four-and-a-half minutes. The stunt touched off a nationwide manhunt by law enforcement to unmask Captain Midnight and a media circus that has MacDougall's head spinning to this day. He would be caught, plead guilty to a misdemeanor, and receive a wrist slap of probation and a $5,000 fine.
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Russian Jailed For Hacking Highway Sign With Porn

porn-in-moscowYahoo News reports:
MOSCOW (AFP) – A Moscow court jailed a Russian hacker for 18 months after he altered an electronic advertising billboard so that it screened a pornographic video, the RIA Novosti news agency reported Thursday. Hacker Igor Blinnikov stopped traffic in January last year by breaking into a computer system and screening a graphic sex video for around 10 minutes on a video billboard beside a busy highway in central Moscow in the late evening. Blinnikov, who comes from the southern Russian city of Novorossiisk, was found guilty late Wednesday of illegally gaining access to information on a computer and distributing pornographic materials. He called the video prank on Moscow's Garden Ring highway a "joke that went wrong"...
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Sony Banning PlayStation 3 Hackers For Life

250px-PS3VersionsCNET reports:

Sony came down hard on PlayStation 3 hackers today, saying they will be permanently banned from the company’s online services.

“Violation of the system software license agreement for the PlayStation 3 System invalidates the consumer guarantee for that system,” reads a notice posted to Sony’s official PlayStation blog. “In addition, copying or playing pirated software is a violation of international copyright laws. Consumers using circumvention devices or running unauthorized or pirated software will have access to the PlayStation Network and access to Qriocity services through PlayStation 3 system terminated permanently.”

To avoid the lifetime shutout, Sony said, consumers must “immediately cease use and remove all circumvention devices and delete all unauthorized or pirated software from their PlayStation 3 systems.”

In the post, Social Media Manager Jeff Rubenstein said the policy represents an initial response to questions from PlayStation.Blog readers about how Sony plans to deal with breaches of its policy.

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Anonymous: It’s A Trap! (From the Westboro Baptist Church)

Anonymous: It's A Trap!Ms. Smith writes on Network World:

According to Anonymous, Westboro Baptist Church was behind the Open Letter allegedly from Anonymous, and then added fuel to the flames with WBC’s “Bring it” reply. Anonymous warns don’t DDoS, it’s a trap to collect IPs for suing.

Twitter is on fire with the news of an upcoming troll-on-troll feud of Anonymous vs. Westboro Baptist Church. In case you missed it — in an Open Letter, Anonymous allegedly told the anti-gay, fundamentalist Westboro Baptist Church to stop the hate now or else “the damage incurred will be irreversible” and “neither your institution nor your congregation will ever be able to fully recover.” The Topeka, Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church struck back, telling Anonymous to “bring it!” and that God hates “lousy hackers.”

In-between the two, this other Open Letter from Anonymous gained less attention, but told WBC that Anonymous knew it was a trap, and the short-on-money, thrive-on-attention WBC was in fact behind the first Open Letter supposedly from Anonymous.

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South African Thieves Steal Traffic Light SIM Cards To Make Free, Untraceable Calls

traffic_1An impressive slice of outlaw ingenuity: criminals have discovered that SIM cards used in high-tech traffic lights can be harvested and used in mobile phones to make free, untraceable, unlimited calls. Via the Guardian:
Hundreds of lights have been damaged by thieves targeting the machines' SIM cards, which are then used to make mobile phone calls worth millions of South African rand. More than two-thirds of 600 hi-tech lights have been affected over the past two months, according to the Johannesburg Roads Agency, causing traffic jams, accidents and frustration for motorists. The traffic lights use sim cards, modem and use GPRS to send and receive information, a system intended to save time and manpower by alerting the road agency's head office when any lights malfunction. According to Thulani Makhubela, a spokesman for the agency, the robberies have been "systematic and co-ordinated", possibly by a syndicate. An internal investigation has now been launched.
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‘Anonymous’ Hackers Hit U.S. Security Firm

anonymousBBC News reports:

Online activist group Anonymous has targeted an American security firm that claimed to know the identities of its leaders.

The secretive organisation is being investigated in several countries over strikes on Visa, PayPal and others.

Over the weekend Aaron Barr, head of HBGary Federal, said he had discovered the names of its most senior figures.

The group retaliated overnight by breaking into the company’s website and hijacking his Twitter account.

Anonymous, known for being a loosely-knit group, has been involved in a number of high profile online protests and attacks in recent months.

In December, the group launched a campaign in support of Wikileaks that disrupted services at MasterCard, Visa and other companies that had withdrawn support the whistle-blowing website.

The strike led to police investigations around the world, and a number of arrests in Britain and the Netherlands.

Although the individuals who make up the collective claim they do not have a traditional hierarchy, Mr Barr told the Financial Times that he had infiltrated the organisation and uncovered the names and addresses of several senior figures…

For more information, see original article.… Read the rest

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Activists Hijack North Korean Tweets

It seems North Korea’s internet borders are the only ones capable of being breached. Via BBC News:

Hackers have taken over social media sites associated with the North Korean regime, to make derogatory posts.

On 8 January, a Twitter account affiliated to the North’s regime began posting messages calling for an uprising.

Meanwhile a video appeared on the regime’s YouTube channel, depicting heir-apparent Kim Jong-un driving his sports car into women and children.

Users of a popular South Korean website have claimed responsibility.

The attacks coincided with Jong-un’s birthday.

[Continues at BBC News]

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Hackers Targeting Human Rights and Independent Media Groups

CNET News reported last week:

Hackers are increasingly hitting the Web sites of human rights and independent media groups in an attempt to silence them, says a new study released this week by Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society.
ddos-attacks

Based on a survey of 45 groups, the report “Distributed Denial of Service Attacks Against Independent Media and Human Rights Sites” found that a large percentage said they’ve been targeted by distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks from those who disagree with their viewpoints. The Web sites typically have been knocked offline for short periods of time but in some cases have been down for days.

Overall, the survey uncovered reports of 329 attacks against more than 815 Web sites going back to 1998. But more recently, in the 12 months from September 2009 to August 2010, the center received reports of 140 attacks against more than 280 sites. That number likely represents only a small subset of all DDoS attacks, according to the center, since most attacks aren’t reported in the media.

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Cyberpunk on the Small Screen (Video)

CyberpunkGood day, Cybernauts. We've been enjoying this endearing flick for some time, but are just now getting around to posting about it. Cyberpunk is a 60-minute documentary from 1990 that serves as a charming bookend to the William Gibson documentary No Maps for These Territories. While Gibson is featured prominently in this doc, it also expands out to illuminate an entire slice of the late '80s/early '90s culture that used to be featured in the late, great Mondo 2000 magazine. Cyberpunk Review offers these insights:
Cyberpunk is a documentary that looks back at the 80s cyberpunk movement, and more specifically, how this has led to a trend in the “real” world where people were starting to refer to themselves as “cyberpunk.” The documentary sees “cyberpunks” as being synonymous with hackers. A number of writers, artists, musicians and scientists are interviewed to provide context to this movement. The guiding meme, as told by Gibson, is that information “wants” to be free. 60s counter-culture drug philosopher, Timothy Leary, provides a prediction that cyberpunks will “decentralize knowledge,” which will serve to remove power from those “in power” and bring it back to the masses. Many different potential technologies are discussed, including “smart drugs,” sentient machines, advanced prosthetics — all of which serve to give context to the idea of post-humanity and its imminent arrival on the world stage.
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