The source of the NSA leaks have finally been identified, and 29 year old Edward Snowden has come forward as the man responsible. Snowden went on record during an interview with The Guardian, and he answered several questions to help us understand his motivation behind the leaks, and what he hopes it will accomplish.
With the hyper-advanced Flame malware wreaking havoc in the Middle East, researchers are pondering if it's related to the Stuxnet worm that devastated Iranian nuclear facilities -- and trying to figure out who made the darned thing. Well, if Flame is related to Stuxnet, the second question can be answered with a fair amount of certainty, as the New York Times released a long, detailed report today claiming that Stuxnet is a joint U.S - Israeli venture created during Bush's time in office and continued by the Obama administration.
American businesses are scrambling to protect their brand names before .xxx Internet domains launch in December, and the $200ish fee has a few them feeling a bit peeved. What's rubbing them the wrong way is the potential for cybersquatters to cherry pick high profile brand names and turn them into sultry websites. A person could, for example, scoop up Nike.xxx and get creative with the company's "Just Do It" slogan, or Reebok.xxx with its "Life is short, play hard" tagline.
Government officials will have to find something else to do during work hours than visit those other 'Tube video sites following a recent vote in the U.S. House of Representatives to block viewing or downloading porn.
Seems like a no-brainer, but in typical government fashion, it took a 111-page amendment to get the point across, along with some controversial wording.
"None of the funds made available in this act may be used to maintain or establish a computer network unless such network blocks the viewing, downloading, and exchanging of pornography," the bill states on the second to last page.
The problem with that, says John Morris, general counsel for the Center for Democracy and Technology in Washington, D.C., is "how broad the reach of this is, and will lead to constitutional problems and economic problems." Morris used the example of a mom-and-pop business landing a contract to deliver toilet paper to a military base that includes overhead. In this scenario, they would have to pay to filter their computer networks, even though no one but the owner would ever use it.
That wasn't the only point of contention.
"The Supreme Court has made clear that government attempts to eliminate sexually explicit speech on the Internet raises serious free speech concerns," said Laura Murphy, director of the ACLU's Washington legislative office. "Congress should not pass such vague and potentially speech-restrictive provisions that are constitutionally suspect."
Ultimately, Congress voted in favor of the legislation by a 239-182 vote.
Today, the U.S. government said it would formally ask China for an explanation for the China-based cyber-attacks that took place last week, targeting Google and 33 other large U.S. companies in the technology, financial, and defense sectors.
“We will be issuing a formal démarche to the Chinese government in Beijing on this issue in the coming days, probably early this week,” State Department spokesman P.J. said, “It will express our concern for this incident and request information from China as to an explanation of how it happened and what they plan to do about it.”
The step was taken by the U.S. because of the highly sophisticated nature of the attack. According to Dmitri Alperovitch, Vice President of Threat Assessment for McAfee, “We have never ever, outside of the defense industry, seen commercial industrial companies come under that level of sophisticated attack. It’s totally changing the threat model.”
According to Alperovitch, the attack used nearly a dozen pieces of malware, and several levels of encryption to bore into the depths of company networks. “The encryption was highly successful in obfuscating the attack and avoiding common detection methods. We haven’t seen encryption at this level.”