Hacker Claims He Controlled The Outcome Of Mexico’s Election

We hear stories and watch movies about hackers, from the news that large companies like TalkTalk have their information accessed to hacking lottery terminals, we’ve heard it all. That was until a hacker who’s currently in jail has come forward saying he was even responsible for rigging the outcome of Mexico’s election.

Amongst his claims of controlling the outcome of Mexico’s election, Andrés Sepúlveda, a known hacker currently serving a 10-year sentence in prison for hacking Colombia’s 2014 presidential election, claims he was paid to ensure that Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary (PRI) candidate won the country’s election back in 2012. Claiming to have hired a team of hackers he states that his team installed malware on the routers at the PRI main opponents headquarters, giving them access to emails, campaign schedules, and speeches before they were even complete.

Sepúlveda claims that using hand-written accounts and 30,000 twitter bots he used the obtained information to adjust the playing field, giving the PRI candidate the upper hand. If that wasn’t enough, Sepúlveda states that they used fake 3am calls from rivals to help dissuade voters on the eve of the election.

Noting that some of the candidates he has helped over the year may not even be aware of his actions or the illegal methods used to obtain their upper hand, Sepúlveda now works on behalf of the government to help “track and disrupt drug cartels” as well as using his twitter skills to identify ISIS recruits on the social media site.

With a full account of his tale, Bloomberg has shared Sepúlveda’s story and have tried to validate what they can, including an anonymous source who “substantially confirmed Sepúlveda’s accounts” regarding the political consultant Juan José Rendón.

Electronic Arts Might Have a Woman on the Cover of FIFA 16 This Year

Electronic Arts is working on the latest FIFA 16 title, as it is every year, but this year should be different. EA has looked into adding female players in the FIFA titles, but this year the company will finally do it. But this comes with another question, which is who will be featured on the regional covers of FIFA 16?

The timing for the big change couldn’t be perfect too. The recent success of the World Cup in Canada and the US team’s victory has fans hyped up for the title. Also, to choose the regional top players, EA has devised a voting system. We see a lot of candidates being proposed in France, Latin America, Mexico and the UK. However, surprisingly, we see only women candidates being proposed for the Australian cover. The only options chosen for Australian are Kyah Simon, Steph Catley and Katrina Gorry.

Last year, FIFA’s cover consisted of two players from the specific region, alongside all-star Lionel Messi. However, this year might be extremely different, given that women’s teams will also be featured. Will we see regional covers consisting of top male and female players appearing alongside? That would be the best option to consider, however EA is said to reveal their plans in the near future. Until then, what do you think? How should EA display this year’s cover?

Thank you Polygon for providing us with this information

Drone Crashed Smuggling 6lbs of Meth on US-Mexico Border

Drones are becoming a pretty big subject of debate at the moment. Law makers are hastily trying to figure out how to regulate them, thanks to issues with privacy, aviation, commercial use and the safety of those walking beneath them. But one thing we don’t see in the press all too often, is when drones try to smuggle illegal drugs across borders.

One such drone tried, but failed. In a big way. The drone you see in the image above was found in a Mexican car park, not too far from the US border. It was carrying 2.7kg of methamphetamine – clearly a load too heavy for this dji Spreading Wings 900.

According to Mashable, the border authorities estimate that 150 drones have been involved with smuggling drugs into the US since 2012 – something that will no doubt be of concern to US lawmakers. It wouldn’t be surprising to see stories like this used as arguments against more liberal drone regulations, with the FAA and the FCC already looking at much more stringent rules for RC pilots.

Source: Mashable Via: Gizmodo

USA Intends to Provide Internet to Villages via Laser

According to US technology news website, TechnologyReview, several US communications carriers are going to pilot a technology which will see a laser beam internet up to speeds of 2 Gbps through the air – meaning underground cables don’t need to be laid. This advanced laser and millimeter wave technology is said to be a replacement for conventional fiber, utilized in situations where the population is sparsely populated – including remote US towns and African Villages.

Why not mobile technology? The reports claim that although mobile technology is generally a good alternative, cables will still need to be run to telephone towers tracing to the ‘internet backbone’  – providing a huge cost for manufacturers. This new laser and millimeter technology will allow these US communications carriers to beam a data transmission at a distance of up to 10 kilometers without the need to dig trenches or erect towers. The first countries to be testing this technology are the United States, Mexico, Nigeria and some parts of Africa.

AOptix is the original inventor of this capability, claiming that they believe laser communications will provide an ideal alternative to optical fiber – once again due to the costing nature of laying cables. Data shows that in New York City, the cost of laying just one kilometer of fiber optic cable can cost up to $800,000.

This isn’t a simple point a to point b device either. AOptix claims that you can set up multiple devices to be set as a relay, allowing for 10km worth of transmission to take place per unit. There are a few possible issues with this technology that they haven’t covered in their releases however. How much do these units cost and do they need line-of-sight?

The announcement of this new technology also could have military use, but we’re very interested to know if it needs direct line-of-sight to function.

Image courtesy of Chiphell

SpaceX Granted Permission to Build Spaceport in Texas

SpaceX have just been given approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to build their massive 56.5 acre spaceport on the Gulf of Mexico, right on the Texas-Mexico border. Of course there is still a lot of work to be done, such as building the damn thing, but it’s a massive step towards making their spaceport a reality.

The FAA issued a Record of Decision, which means that the agency would be willing to grant launch licenses to the company, allowing them to operate out of the new site. The FAA says that it would be likely that any requests from SpaceX to launch as many as 10 of their Falcon 9 rockets and two Falcon Heavy rockets per year from the privately owned site. Meaning they could theoretically have a launch each month.

SpaceX still need approval from several other agencies, including the Texas Department of Transportation complete their site plan, as they’ll be wanting to build new roads, utility lines and more. Yet with the most important part, being allowed to launch rockets, their plans should be pretty easy from here on out.

SpaceX currently launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, but the new plan means they’ll be able to play around with their space toys on their own turf and timeline.

Thank you Motherboard for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Motherboard.

All Snowden Files Rumored To Be Published in July

Multiple tweets from the digital library site Cryptome indicates that further, if not all, of Edward Snowden’s NSA files will be published later on this month. Vague ‘predictions’ on the site indicate that “during July all Snowden docs released”, followed by “July is when war begins unless headed off by Snowden full release of crippling intel. After war begins not a chance of release,”.

Other indications from Cryptome point to two upcoming events, the Hackers On Planet Earth (HOPE) event in New York City starting July 18, and the Aspen Institute’s yearly Security Forum following after the previous event, where former NSA directors Keith Alexander and Michael Hayden have been stated to attend. Former United States Department of Defense staff person, Daniel Ellsberg, the man who leaked the “Pentagon Papers” during the Vietnam War, is rumored to have a role in the possible Cryptome release. He is apparently scheduled to a keynote address at HOPE, having Cryptome tweeting that whoever wants more information about the Snowden docs should stayed tuned to that event for his speech and another from a ‘special’ guest.

In addition to the given information, it appears that a journalist from Vocativ has been in contact with Cryptome in order to get more details. His correspondence with the founder of Cryptome appears to have a back and forth approach to whether or not the events will be the point of release for the Snowden documents. There is however a reference to a ‘kick-spy’ Kickstarter camping started by the site last month, having raised already over $14,000.

A more interesting statement is seen at the end of the correspondence, where it says that “all of the documents will be released to kickstart the war on terrorism, in Iraq, in Iran, in North Korea, in the Holy Land, across Africa, Caribbean Drug Sea, the US-Mexican border, and the areas of operations always on alert in DC, Fort Meade and Colorado Springs.”

Vocativ has also released an article based on the given information. The most notable fact in the given article is said to be that Cryptome’s founder “has also ducked inquiries about how (or from whom) Cryptome received the document,” and “did not respond directly to questions about what the content of those leaked documents would reveal, other than to say that there may exist some ‘technical documents’ used ‘to combat technology’ of spying well beyond those promoted for ‘public debate’.”.

Thank you RT for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of RT

The word iPhone becomes banned in Mexico after trademark ruling

We hear enough these days about how Apple is taking on Samsung for the nth reason yet again, but over the last few months there has been another case brewing with Apple, but this time it is against them. In Mexico, a company known as iFone S.A. de C.V. registered their name way back in 2003, where their business model is to provide bespoke services to call centres and businesses. The key fact here is that Apple did not register their mobile handset; the iPhone until later in 2007.

All around the world, the word iPhone is close to a household name and whilst there are a few small time spin offs, particularly in China, for the most part it is what it is. This can’t be said for Mexico however as iFone S.A. de C.V. have been upholding their case with the Mexican Intellectual Property Agency, urging them to ban the later Apple name due to the fact that it is pronounced in the exact same way and therefore there is no way to distinguish between the two.

After months of debate and arguments flowing around the table, last Thursday a ruling was settled in favor of iFone, meaning that mobile phone carriers are no longer allowed to use the work iPhone in any of their contracts or advertisements and to rub salt into the wounds, each carrier has to pay a fine of $104,000 – even though they were not the ones who decided on the name, they simply act as a third-party that sells the products.

Whilst the ban is effective as of now, Apple are allowed to set an appeal to the ruling, in hope that they can once again have the word in circulation, however the chance of this happening is as much as that of Apple themselves not suing someone else in the future and if that was not enough, there is word that the Mexican firm could meet Apple in the courts, where they would sue them for anything up to an estimated $1.5B.

Considering this is not the first time that the word iPhone has landed an argument over who has the rightful ownership over it, whilst Apple may have made the word a household name, perhaps finding a more local alternative such as iTeléfono may be more appropriate – there’s no mistaking between the two that way – they’re phonetically different so surely that would be acceptable? Time will tell I guess.

Source: Fudzilla, Image courtesy nixsense.net

21 Countries And Rising Have Joined Anti-NSA UN Resolution Discussions

RT reports that 21 countries have joined in draft discussions at the UN for an anti-NSA resolution to be passed. In the discussions are the following nations: Argentina, Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, France, Germany, Guyana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Norway, Paraguay, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Uruguay and Venezuela. The resolution seeks to condemn indiscriminate and extra-territorial surveillance and rectify that with independent oversight of all electronic monitoring.

The resolution was proposed earlier this week by Germany and Brazil, two of the largest and most vocal critics of the USA’s global spying operations. While the document does not single out the USA or NSA specifically, the rhetoric is clearly a direct attack on the NSA’s exposed global surveillance practices.

The draft resolutions states that UN members are “deeply concerned at human rights violations and abuses that may result from the conduct of extra-territorial surveillance or interception of communications in foreign jurisdictions.” and that “illegal surveillance of private communications and the indiscriminate interception of personal data of citizens constitutes a highly intrusive act that violates the rights to freedom of expression and privacy and threatens the foundations of a democratic society.”

Image courtesy of Joshua Lott / Getty Images / AFP

Mexican Village Sets Up Its Own Mobile Network For 1/13th The Cost Of A Major Network

One telecoms giant didn’t feel they owed anything to a tiny Mexican village, the people asked for mobile coverage and the big guys turned them away. Not being happy with this ruling the people took the matter into their own hands, built their own mobile network and discovered that they can run it 13 times cheaper than the basic plans offered by major telecoms providers in Mexico City… sticking it to the man or what!

Villa Talea de Castro may only have 2500 citizens, but now that it is equipped with its own mobile network, it has earned a great spot in the history books, at least for beating the local major telecoms company, America Movil. Red Celular de Talea (RCT) into the ground 13 times over.

The service was setup thanks to a joint venture between the local universities, civil organizations and indigenous groups, it costs just 15 pesos/USD $1.12 per month to sign up. It runs a 900 Mhz GSM radio tower, with software capable of receiving/transmitting calls, registering phone numbers, billing and bets of all locals can call numbers in the US cheaply thanks to VoIP features.

The only downside is that calls are capped at 5 minutes due to bandwidth issues, but it is a great start and for a population that was cut off from the world of mobile networks it must be liberating to have such connectivity at all.

Will other towns and cities take up their own networks? I certainly hope so and just like people in the UK setting up their own fiber optic broadband this could mark the start of a big shift in the industry.

Thank you Vyralize for providing us with this information.

Image coutesy of Vyralize.

NSA Spied On Countries In Latin America

The NSA has been spying on the whole world, that’s not news to anyone. However, on the back of the USA trying to exert pressure on Latin America to not accept Edward Snowden’s asylum these latest revelations could deal a fatal blow to the USA. O Globo reports that the USA has been spying extensively on Latin America. Countries like Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela, Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador (and probably the rest of Latin America) have all been regular spying targets of the NSA.

Apparently the NSA hasn’t limited its spying operations to just military affairs and has also been stealing trade secrets from the Latin American oil industry, notably Venezuela. Latin America was targeted by “PRISM” and “Boundless Informant”. PRISM enables access to emails, chat logs and voice calls through American-based internet companies and Boundless Informant is capable of cataloguing phone calls and internet access.

The USA reportedly used PRISM to collect data regarding oil and military purchases fropm Venezuela and energy and narcotics from Mexico. Other victims of “lower level” spying were Venezuela, Argentina, Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Paraguay, Chile, Peru and El Salvador. No doubt this latest revelation will spur more Latin American countries into offering Edward Snowden asylum. Investigations are already taking in Brazil over the reported intelligence breaches.

Image courtesy of Gringos.com

 

Ancient Mayan City Revealed In Mexican Jungle By Archaeologists

A Live Science report has revealed that Archaeologists have just discovered a Mayan City that originates from A.D. 600 to A.D. 900. This means that the time period in question coincides with the late classic Maya period. The city is located in the Yucatan Peninsula’s Campeche province and that particular region has been home to several discoveries of Mayan complexes and artefacts over the years.

Researchers were first aware of the possibility of a city in this region after studying aerial photographs.

“With aerial photographs examined stereoscopically, we found many features that were obviously architectural remains. From there we took the coordinates and the next step was to locate the ancient alleys used by tappers and loggers to reach the area,” archaeologist Ivan Sprajc stated

This city reportedly covered some 54 acres and was apparently heavily populated and very complex. Researches found remains of ball courts, plazas, homes, altars and other structures. Estimates say some of the Pyramids located there were up to 23 metres high. The site has been named Chactún by the archaeologists who discovered it.

“It is one of the largest sites in the Central Lowlands, comparable in its extent and the magnitude of its buildings with Becan, Nadzcaan and El Palmar in Campeche” Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History said in a statement.

Image courtesy of Live Science / National Institute of Anthropology and History

Morris The Cat Running To Be Mayor Of A Mexican Town!

While people’s discontent for politicians is often expressed in a diverse range of ways, Mexicans have taken it that one step further according to a NY Daily News report. The Mexican town of Xalapa has a new candidate for the town’s mayoralty – Morris the cat. The cat’s owner, Sergio Camacho, says his cat is the symbol of the discontent towards Mexican politicians.

In Xalapa, Eastern Mexico, Morris the cat is riding the social media wave and attracting the support of unhappy voters. His slogan “Tired of Voting for Rats? Vote for a Cat” has caught the imagination of quite a few people in Xalapa and across the world. This has sparked a trend across Mexico of people nominating their pets and farm animals to run in the July the 7th elections being held in 14 states.

Xalapa, the capital of the Mexican state Veracruz, is a city of 450,000 people that has reportedly been troubled by drug violence, corruption, scandals and brutal murders of media workers.

Despite the light-hearted and fun nature of Morris the cat the overall sentiment is quite clear – there is discontent towards the current political system. At some stage you’ve got to hope that the people of Xalapa grab a reality check because if they want to change how things work then the last thing that is going to do any good is wasting their vote on a cat. In my opinion they should be getting together to encourage participatory reforms of the state governance process or they should develop new parties and candidates to put forward in the election.

What are your thoughts on this story?

Image courtesy of Stringer/Mexico/Reuters