Archive for January, 2014

Developer loses his single-letter Twitter handle through extortion by a hacker: the horror side of social media



30 January 2014 –  Naoki Hiroshima, creator of Cocoyon and a developer for Echofon, writes at Medium that he had a rare one-letter Twitter username – @N – and had been offered as much as $50,000 for its purchase. “People have tried to steal it. Password reset instructions are a regular sight in my email inbox” he writes Hiroshima. “As of today, I no longer control @N. I was extorted into giving it up.” 

Hiroshima writes that a hacker used social engineering with Paypal to get the last four digits of his credit card number over the phone then used that information to gain control of his GoDaddy account. Most websites use email as a method of verification. If your email account is compromised, an attacker can easily reset your password on many other websites: “By taking control of my domain name at GoDaddy, my attacker was able to control my email.” 

Hiroshima received a message from his extortionist: “Your GoDaddy domains are in my possession, one fake purchase and they can be repossessed by godaddy and never seen Read more

German TV: Edward Snowden says NSA is also involved in industrial sabotage

NSA industrial espionage


26 January 2014 – The National Security Agency is involved in industrial espionage and will take intelligence regardless of its value to national security, Edward Snowden has told a German television network. A lengthy interview was broadcast tonight by German public broadcaster ARD TV. It quotes Snowden as saying the NSA does not limit its espionage to issues of national security and citing the German engineering firm Siemens as one target.

“If there’s information at Siemens that’s beneficial to US national interests – even if it doesn’t have anything to do with national security – then they’ll take that information nevertheless”, Snowden said. The interview was recorded in Russia where Snowden has claimed asylum. Snowden also told the German public broadcasting network he no longer has possession of any documents or information on NSA activities and has turned everything he had over to select journalists. He said he did not have any control over the publication of the information, ARD said.

Reports that the NSA monitored Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone have added to anger in Germany, which … Read more

Coming soon! Weapons systems that kill according to algorithms! What fun!


9 January 2013 – Mark Gubrud has another great piece exploring the slippery slope we seem to be traveling down when it comes to autonomous weapons systems. ‘Autonomous weapons are robotic systems that, once activated, can select and engage targets without further intervention by a human operator. Advances in computer technology, artificial intelligence, and robotics may lead to a vast expansion in the development and use of such weapons in the near future. Public opinion runs strongly against killer robots. But many of the same claims that propelled the Cold War are being recycled to justify the pursuit of a nascent robotic arms race. Autonomous weapons could be militarily potent and therefore pose a great threat.… Read more