FBI Says Hackers Have Had Access to Government Systems Since 2011

While trying to gain access to iPhones and emails, the FBI are having to deal with a wholly different threat. Their own systems have been compromised and a group of hackers has had access to governments systems since 2011.

The report that has been raised shows that a group that security experts believe to be APT6 has managed to hack and steal government secrets for years without being noticed. The alert lists a range of websites used in order to launch phishing attacks against the networks and dates the activities as far back as 2011.

APT6 (Advanced Persistent Threat 6) is a codename that has been given to a group of hackers believed to work for the Chinese government and are known for their consistently advanced techniques and the results they provide.

While the controlled by the hackers were “suspended” in December last year, this doesn’t mean that the hackers have been removed from the network, or that they don’t have other ways to access the system after 5 years of unauthorised activity within it.

Michael Adams, an information security expert, spoke with Motherboard and seemed less than impressed with the latest report, going on to say that it “looks like they were in for years before they were caught, god knows where they are. Anyone who’s been in that network all this long, they could be anywhere and everywhere”. Adams showed disbelief that this could happen, even asking the question “how many times can this keep happening before finally realize we’re screwed?”

State sponsored or not, hackers in a secure network is a bad thing, unknown hackers in a secure network is beyond worrying about because of the kinds of systems that rely on and act as if the network should be secure.

Another Near Miss as Drone Flies Close to Jet at Heathrow

Drones are a wonderful piece of technology and the more we advance them the more we can do. I mean, they have created a drone that works both in the air and even underwater. How can we not find uses for drones that can be deployed at sea, both above and below the sea line? The problem being is that a select few are ruining the experience for everybody, with drones being used and damaging everything from the Empire State building to cutting out power for residents in LA.  The most recent in a long stream of incidents is a near encounter when a drone flew within 30 feet of a jet that was landing at Heathrow.

The Airbus A319 was landing at Heathrow Airport in September while it was on approach to land. The pilot reported that it went so close as 25 yards left of the cockpit and only 20 feet above. The incident was reported to the police and classed as a meeting risk category A, the highest risk that two objects meet short of actually colliding. The worrying part is that the drone was flying at 500 feet, while the legal limit for drones in the UK is 400 feet, with anything beyond that being considered controlled airspace.

This isn’t the first time that a drone has almost collided with an airplane, and given the risk to both the crew and passengers of the craft and those on the ground, drone pilots performing these kind of stunts, putting others at risk, are the reason that the FAA has pushed for drone registration in the USA.

Australia to Look at Hi-Tech Anti-Shark Methods

We’ve seen the films, the ones with the giant sharks coming up to the beach or the boat. It’s a natural fear, and one that Australia has dealt with for many years, New South Wales has over a dozen shark attacks which has resulted in Australia looking at new ways to deterring the predators from their beaches.

With the announcement of $16 million AUD (around £7.57 million) in the area of shark mitigation strategies over the next five years, with $3.5 million being dedicated to shark spotting techniques. Aiming to replace the helicopters currently used for the task, drones and sonar buoys could soon be used to provide advance warning of the threat and would send texts to nearby lifeguards giving them time to evacuate people from the water.

Alternatives have included tagging sharks and mapping their locations, giving you live updates on when the creatures approach the beaches. Sadly though this option has been put on the back burner due to the need to tag every single shark, a task that is a little against the numbers.

With advancements in technology and reductions in cost, anti-shark drones and buoys are now viable for large scale projects and with several prototypes and areas marked out for testing we could soon see them in action.

Windows 10 Desktops Will Soon Be Able to Talk to Mobiles

Microsoft wants to provide a complete and unified infrastructure with Windows 10 and the newest feature in this area is being tested with internal builds at the moment. The new feature is naturally for Cortana and just that feature will soon be able to send texts from your desktop and notify you the same place about missed calls on your mobile phone.

The feature is currently neither available in published nor insider builds, so you don’t need to go searching for it yet. The guys from WinBeta got a chance to play around with the latest internal build of Windows 10 and that is how we’re able to show you a video of it in action. Build 10565 for desktops includes an option to alert you when you miss a phone call as well as let you send a reply text message back; all voice controlled.

This is a really cool feature and I am sure that it is one that will make a difference for Windows 10 users, at least once it has been rolled out and polished. In the test, it took 11 minutes for the desktop to notify the tester about the missed call.

We all have so many gadgets in our homes, but none of them work together on their own. We can sync content between them, but that’s about as far as it goes. With a feature like this and Windows’ vision of a unified system, a smarter setup is on the way. Why should I pick up my phone to use it, if it’s all connected? For example, imagine you put on your headset and just ask Cortana to call someone and it will do so via your mobile phone. That and many other tasks could become a lot easier once devices start to talk to each other.

Free Wi-Fi Hits the Streets of New York… In Bins?

A lot of companies were looking into providing free Wi-Fi, a project that seems to have been of big interest as of late. However, nobody would have predicted where free Wi-Fi would come from
on the streets of New York. Would you have thought that your regular street bin would also be an access point in the near future? I thought so.

Bigbelly is a company based in Massachusetts who deals with waste management. Their first project was to put in place ‘smart’ bins that would signal when they are full or become smelly, so the latter would have more priority and be taken care of swiftly and efficiently. However, the company seems to have an even bigger project up their sleeve.

The company apparently teamed up with Downtown Alliance to place Wi-Fi hotspots inside the bins. This means that New York residents will have free Wi-Fi on the streets, thanks to their bins! Tests were performed daily and the results came as a big success. They say that the hotspots are able to hold a lot of simultaneous connections, the size of a small business, with speeds of 50 to 75 Mbps. Another amazing thing about the free Wi-Fi providing smart bins is that they do not get interference from radio towers or other wireless access points, since they are placed at ground level.

The project may give free Wi-Fi to citizens, but it may help do even more. It is said that the smart bins would help the government collect data about waste management or display public service announcements and alerts. Tests will still be performed throughout the year to make sure that nothing major crops up, but the project does seem a great success and the company is now looking to expand the project even further, provided that sponsors are found and willing to help the project financially. So what is your take on this? Let us know in the comments below.

Thank you The Huffington Post for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of UC Santa Barbara Department of Geography

Traffic Alerts and Alternate Routes Now Available in Google Maps

If you are planning to take a trip in the near future or are already on the road, you might consider taking a look at what Google Maps has to offer. The search giant has just updated its maps app with a new traffic alert and alternate route feature.

The new features will aid users on the road by providing some more details and alerts for unusual traffic conditions, road congestions, and even suggestions for alternate paths to take. But lets expand a bit more on that. Once you enter a destination, the app can now work solutions around roadblocks and warn you of upcoming congestions.

To make it easier, once the app knows you are heading towards heavy traffic, it automatically offers some alternatives to save you some time. If you still choose to go and stay in line with the others trapped in traffic, the app will also offer you an estimated time you will be stuck there. The latter might be neat, but why get stuck in traffic in the first place?

While the above might seem something that you see in most apps today, there’s still a key feature that makes it stand out. Aside from the alerts and suggestions, the Google Maps app will now tell you a ‘why’. By that I mean that the app will tell you why the road ahead is blocked or why it decided to give you this alternative route and not another one. Pretty neat, huh?

Thank you SlashGear for providing us with this information

Google Lets You Manage Its Cloud Platform from Your Smartphone

Google appears to be testing a beta console version for Android smartphones and tablets that helps its customers monitor services in the cloud while commuting between places. The company states that a Cloud Console for Apple’s iOS will be expected to be released later this year as well.

The app is said to let users set up alerts, manage Google cloud platform resources and access health graphs to gain insights into the performance and availability of their cloud-powered applications on Google’s Cloud Monitoring feature. The console is also said to integrate with Cloud Monitoring to enable automated incident tracking when system metrics deviate.

One example of how the app works is generating alerts about Google Compute Engine instances when the expected load exceeds 50% CPU for one hour, should the users set an alert with the latter condition.

“When investigating an issue, you often need to check the health and properties of your resources, such as running state, zone or IP,” Michael Thomsen, product manager at Google, stated.

Users are said to be able to also do a number of core operations such as changing the App Engine version or starting or stopping a Compute Engine instance, having the App Engine be Google’s platform-as-a-service for running applications. For those interested in the application, it is currently available on the Google Store and accessible from here.

Thank you PCWorld for providing us with this information

Facebook to Introduce Missing Child AMBER Alerts

Facebook has announced that it will begin including alerts regarding missing children into American Facebook news feeds. The company announced a partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the US organisation behind the famous AMBER alert programme.

Alerts will appear only in people’s News Feeds (no push notifications) and will only be limited to people in the area relative to the child that is currently missing.  Facebook says that users may see very few alerts each year, so nobody should be worried about their News Feed being clogged up.

AMBER alerts were introduced in 1996 with the aim of reducing the number of missing children. More than 720 children have been found thanks to the system that has until now been used via road signs, text messages and television.

The Facebook alerts will be much more detailed than the traditional alerts delivered via television, digital traffic signs and text messages, as they will include pictures, background information regarding the child’s circumstances and links to the NCMEC website.

Source: The Verge

 

YO App Used for Notifying People About Missile Strikes in Israel

Increasingly popular social media application, Yo, the application which lets you say ‘YO’ to another friend may seem ridiculous to some smartphone users, but in fact it is apparently used for more complicated things than just ‘yo-ing’ around.

The Times of Israel apparently has stated that some developers are now using Yo as a means of notifying people when terrorist attacks are happening in the country. It is said that the notification will be triggered on all devices using the Yo app and are subscribed to the Red Alert: Israel group.

For those who use Red Alert to stay notifying of such activities probably know that the group even has their own standalone application which sends more detailed push notification about the same type of terrorism activities happening in the country.

Though this may seem useless given that a standalone app for Red Alert exists, it might not be for some users if other countries. The Red Alert standalone application is said to work only when you are in Israel, having a limited audience. With its partnership with the Yo application, users can now receive push notifications outside the Israeli borders, having friends and family abroad notified immediately as on the Red Alert app.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information