US Military Personnel Rail Against Netflix VPN Block

Netflix has faced a furious backlash from users since it initiated its new program to prevent users from accessing geoblocked content using VPNs. Amongst this, one the forgotten victims of the VPN ban are military personnel serving abroad. Stars and Stripes reports that US servicemen and women will be left without one of their few comforts because of Netflix’s VPN block.

While Netflix is aware that military personnel use VPNs to access US content when stationed in foreign bases – “Netflix always exempts U.S. military bases around the world,” Anne Marie Squeo, a spokeswoman for Netflix, said. “They will still be able to access the U.S. catalog.” – there are a great number of servicemembers abroad that don’t live on-base.

“For me Netflix is a way of being home. It boosts your morale by letting you watch the things you would be able to see at home,” Petty Officer 2nd Class Shaundell Wright, a quartermaster with Yokosuka Navy Base’s Port Operations Dispatch, said. “We are already in a foreign country and everything is so different. So, to be able to watch Netflix feels good.”

Accessibility to more countries around the world is great, Petty Officer 2nd Class Jesse Fowler, a hospital corpsman, added, “but I’m mad if I can’t change where my Internet is so I can’t watch my own shows.”

“My VPN hasn’t been blocked,” Petty Officer 1st Class Eric Cutright, a Navy counselor, agreed. “But if it does, I will be pissed. Netflix Bahrain is trash.”

It remains to be seen if Netflix will take its VPN ban seriously, or whether the move is simply a gesture to placate content providers that are concerned about regional licensing agreements being violated.

China May Have Hacked the US Government Again

Hacking is something we see on a regular basis, but news about such events start cropping up more and more lately. But since we do have constant leaks from Edward Snowden, it is natural for news to be centred around US government officials now. The latest points to another hack that led to a big data leak in the US government.

US officials have confirmed at the beginning of May that a big chunk of data, namely about 4 million US citizens, may have been compromised. The data comes from the US Government’s Office of Personal Management and is now deemed one of the biggest hacks in history. But who to suspect are the culprits? Well, the US thinks China has been involved yet again.

But this is not your ordinary hack challenge or small-time theft. While some government servers hold a variety of information, the OPM servers hold sensitive data of about 1.5 million US military personnel, which makes matters a bit worrying, especially for the latter individuals. This is why federal agencies around the country have been on high alert since the servers got hacked.

The hack has also affected 1% of the US population, which although may seem a small percentage, it does pose a significant threat to the country and its security. Since then, the hackers are said to have operated on a weekly basis, but on small-scale attacks. But will we see another big one in the future? What are they targeting this time? Let us know your concerns in the comments below.

Thank you TechRadar for providing us with this information

Pro-ISIS Hackers Take Down French TV Station

TV5Monde, a French TV station that broadcasts around the world, was attacked by ISIS and taken down for around three hours before it could get its stations broadcasting again.

The reports indicate that the stations Facebook page and website were also taken down by the attackers, having network director Yves Bigot stating that the station’s operations were “severely damaged”. However, TV5Monde’s broadcasting, Facebook page and website are now back online.

A similar attack was also registered in the US and like the latter, the jihadist group used the site to issue threats against French soldiers and reveal the identity of their relatives.

France is said to provide air support for anti-ISIS ground forces that recently liberated the Iraqi city of Tikrit, and declared that ISIS must be “wiped out” after the Charlie Hebdo attacks.

The methods used to hack TV5Monde are not clear just yet, but it is confirmed that the attack was issued by the same “Islamic State Hacking Division” who took credit for US military base attacks.

The conclusion was drawn based on the fact that the hackers ‘introduced’ themselves as the “CyberCaliphate” on TV5Monde’s Facebook page.

Thank you Endgadget for providing us with this information

The NSA Has Its Own Special Room for Watching Hardcore Porn

The news may seem a bit awkward, but US forces have found a large stash of adult entertainment content after raiding Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan.

This proves two things, one being that terrorists are perverts and the other may indicate that there are hidden messages in some of the pornographic material. NSA analysts were then tasked to visit the websites frequented by jihadists in search of encrypted messages in the digital porn clips and photos.

“We have terabytes of this stuff,” an US intelligence analyst told The Daily Beast.”It isn’t possible that they are encrypting messages in all of this stuff. Some of these guys are just perverts.”

Watching porn all day long and getting paid for it may seem a great job, but the reality of it is that the content may be disturbing at some point. It is said that not all clips and photos are similar to what you know from PornHub related sites, having some of it including pornographic images of children.

This is why the intelligence agency has a squad of psychiatrists and therapists to help employees tasked with the job of watching these pornographic material cope with what they see.

“They’re being exposed to material that, day in and day out, we’re not exposed to broadly in America,” a senior physician with the CIA’s Office of Medical told Daily Beast.”That has its own sort of impact and own sort of, for lack of a better term, shock value.”

“Typically, for operators working in support of military operations, they’re told, ‘You’re going to see images that might disturb you. Just prepare yourself and realise there are counselling resources available to you,'” an ex-chief of the NSA’s elite Tailored Access Operations group added.

Employees who work with this type of material are not uncommon to go through regular depressions and grief, in addition to feelings of anger and a sense of urgency to track down those responsible.

Thank you News.com.au for providing us with this information

DARPA’s Idea to Replace Batteries with Propane Seems Mad and Genius at the Same Time

Soldiers are becoming more and more reliant on technology and the old-fashioned lithium-ion batteries won’t really do the trick. The US military currently uses the Ultralife UBI-2590 battery pictured below, which weighs in at 1.4kg a piece. However, their capacity is extremely limited and solders need a lot of them to get the job done in the field.

To overcome this issue, DARPA’s Transformative Apps program and their team of engineers from Ultra Electronics have built a lightweight, 350-watt propane generator that is capable of charging its batteries in the field, with the added bonus that it is completely silent.

The idea might not seem such a game changer, but the picture below comparing the old Ultralife UBI-25290 and DARPA’s propane alternative seems to make sense. The screenshots describe that the propane solution is equivalent to 100 Ultralife batteries, which in turn help soldiers reduce the weight load. One Ultralife UBI-2590 battery weighs in at 1.4 kg, while the generator weighs only 5 kg and the tank just 9 kg. There even seem to be smaller 1.8 kg tank alternatives, should the 9 kg propane tank be too much.

Thank you Gizmodo for providing us with this information

Bullet-Sized Homing Missiles Undergoing Tests at Darpa

We have seen a lot of advancements in military equipment and devices in recent years, but it seems that there is more to come. The latest news shows that the US military has been testing .50-calibre bullets with in-flight guidance systems, having the ability to turn the projectiles into small homing missiles.

The miniaturized homing missiles are apparently being made by Darpa’s Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordinance, or EXACTO for short, having them be designed with the ability to adjust their trajectory in-flight in order to hit targets that are not precisely aimed. This means that every bullet can hit any type of target, including moving, high-speed or long-range targets, without the need to compensate with other external factors, such as weather, wind or even elevation in some cases.

“For military snipers, acquiring moving targets in unfavourable conditions, such as high winds and dusty terrain commonly found in Afghanistan, is extremely challenging with current technology. It is critical that snipers be able to engage targets faster, and with better accuracy, since any shot that doesn’t hit a target also risks the safety of troops by indicating their presence and potentially exposing their location.” say Darpa on their website.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vX8Z2MDYX3g[/youtube]

It is said that the EXACTO system is made up of both the bullet and the guidance system which tracks and delivers the projectile to the target. The bullets themselves are said to be the size of a large pen, having them to fit in both .50-calibre snipers and machine-guns. However, the new tech is still far away from reaching the battlefield. While tests show the first ever projectiles and their results in the field, more tests are said to be required in order to make the new tech ready for the actual battlefield.

Thank you Wired for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Ghillies and Stuff and video courtesy of Wired