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Pentagon’s new Cyber Security Tool: Cyber Scorecard

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As reported by Reuters, Pentagon is building a huge electronic system for the purpose of providing intel about vulnerabilities in computer networks, installations, and weapons systems of the military. It is a step to help officials devise better strategies to fix them and comes in the wake of continued cyber-attacks from China and Russia. 

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Cyber-attacks have become increasingly frequent in the age of computers and the Internet. When used to manipulate and tweak the weapons systems of other countries, they can prove to be devastating as they can lead to severe loss of life and property.

Keeping this ever-present threat in mind, the Pentagon is building a cyber ‘scorecard’ to help officials of the military know more about the vulnerabilities in their weapons systems and computer networks so that they are better equipped to detect and deal with cyber-attacks.

The need for establishing such a system was felt when the Pentagon’s director of testing and evaluation, Michael Gilmore, released a critical report earlier this year that discussed the cyber threats that the U.S Defence Department faced, as well as an account of how Russia and China are growing more persistent with their cyber-attacks. The report went on to say that almost all of the major U.S weapons systems were vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

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The aim of this effort is to create a fully automated system that would enhance immediate detection and response to cyber-attacks by the defence officials, but initially the entries to the system need to be made manually.

General Kevin McLaughlin spoke at the annual Billington Cybersecurity Summit about how the Cyber Command has already set up 133 response teams for the purpose and that they would reach the stage of initial operation by the end of 2016. He went on to say that initially the scorecard would concentrate on the major threats like weapons systems fielded before cyber-attacks were known or newer systems that are vulnerable to such attacks.

He said:

There’s probably not enough money in the world to fix all those things, but the question is what’s most important, where should we put our resources as we eat the elephant one bite at a time.

General McLaughlin also said that military officials are now much better aware and prepared to deal with the issue of cyber-threats than they used to be in the past, which shows that the officials recognize and fully understand the gravity of the situation.

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  1. Jim Brown

    September 21, 2015 at 9:20 pm

    This is the translation of what these statements really mean:
    We’ve now documented numerous failures in some of our
    multi-Trillion dollar Nuclear Offensive Attack Systems when
    we got the order to fire them off.
    Apparently, these missiles where not only rendered inert and
    incapable of detonation but were diverted miles off course
    and caused to crash harmlessly into unpopulated areas.
    Upon inspection of the crashed missiles,
    no reason for the failure could be found and the
    missiles mysteriously had only superficial crash damage.

    Upon investigation into the systems’ flight path,
    which was tracked by multiple radar installations,
    it was discovered that at the instant of loss of control
    of the missile, a very small unidentified object was
    tracked following the missiles’ flight path which
    was tracked by radar at speeds exceeding Mach-12 until
    it disappeared from the radar approximately 2 seconds later.

    It has not yet been declassified, but we are quite sure that
    the objects seen on radar are extra terrestrial in nature and
    their purpose is to keep us from destroying the
    planet, and all life on it, with Nukes.

    A budget for solving this problem has not yet been
    established, but it is estimated to be in the
    7 to 9 Trillion dollar range with provisions for
    yearly increases as we see fit.

    This is a very serious problem as our next victims are
    now quite aware that our Nuclear threats mean nothing,
    and with no way to spectacularly stage our next
    False Flag event, these insubordinate third-world
    countries might start getting the idea that they
    really don’t need our worthless Fiat Currency and
    Central Banking System and start doing their own
    thing without the permission of their proper rulers.

    These insignificant Muslim Countries must be taught
    a lesson they will never forget for refusing to play ball
    with the true rulers of this planet.
    They will continue to be bombed into dust until such
    time as they come to their senses and submit to
    the dictates of the Bank.
    Gold backed money will NOT be tolerated!!!
    .
    ……Jim
    .
    .
    .

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Cybersecurity

This Tool Lets you Scan the Dark Web for your (Stolen) Personal Data

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A recently revealed a dark web scanning service was launched in the UK. The service is called OwlDetect and is available for £3,5 a month. It allows users to scan the dark web in search for their own leaked information. This includes email addresses, credit card information and bank details.

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The service reportedly uses online programs and a team of trained experts to scan hundreds of thousands of dark web websites in order to look for their customers’ data. If any personal data is found, the company helps its users act in order to keep themselves safe. It was launched in an attempt to remove reliance on big companies, as users usually only know they were hacked after these companies make it public.

In a few cases, however, the information is revealed a long time after users are hacked. Earlier this year, Yahoo confirmed that, at least 500 million user accounts were compromised by what they believed to be a “state-sponsored actor”. The breach reportedly occurred in 2014, so it took users two years to know they were hacked.

Chairman of the National Cyber Management Centre, and member of OwlDetect’s advisory team, Professor Richard Benham said:

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Today the risk of having your personal information compromised is greater than ever. From messaging apps to online shopping and dating websites, we trust a huge number of companies with our details, and there are endless opportunities for those details to fall into the wrong hands.

Crawling the Deep Web

The deep web is, as we all know, beyond the reach of regular search engines. That may be about to change in the future, as more and more tools keep on claiming to be able to crawl it in search for specific information.

According to their website, this new service has a database of stolen data. This database was created over the past 10 years, presumably with the help of their software and team. A real deep web search engine does exist, however.

A few days ago, Hacked.com reported how the Department of Defense’s deep web search engine was to be enhanced by a recent acquisition. This search engine, named Memex, is reportedly able to crawl 90 to 95% of the deep web, presenting its search results in sophisticated infographics.

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Facebook Looking into “Disrupting Economics” of Fake News Sites

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Facebook

In a Facebook post Friday night, founder of the popular social network Mark Zuckerberg took time to outline the steps the company will take to tackle its “fake news” problem, which has been a hot topic in the wake of the election. One way the social media behemoth plans on doing that is by making sure fake news sites can’t profit. 

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Mr. Zuckerberg calls it “disrupting fake news economics.”

“A lot of misinformation is driven by financially motivated spam,” he posted. “We’re looking into disrupting the economics with ads policies like the one we announced earlier this week, and better ad farm detection.”

Mr. Zuckerberg underscored that Facebook takes “misinformation serious” and reinforced the company’s goal “to connect people with the stories they find most meaningful.”

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The social media tycoon admits “We’ve been working on this problem for a long time.” There’s more work to be done, he says.

“Historically, we have relied on our community to help us understand what is fake and what is not,” he wrote in the long post. “…The problems here are complex, both technically and philosophically. We believe in giving people a voice, which means erring on the side of letting people share what they want whenever possible. We need to be careful not to discourage sharing of opinions or mistakenly restricting accurate content. We do not want to be arbiters of truth ourselves, but instead rely on our community and trusted third parties.”

Mr. Zuckerberg claims the percentage of misinformation is small, then outlines what Facebook will do, including stronger detection, easy reporting by users, third party verification via fact checking organization, warnings for stories flagged as false by other users, and raising bar for articles which appear in related articles suggestions.

“Some of these ideas will work well, and some will not,” he admits. “But I want you to know that we have always taken this seriously, we understand how important the issue is for our community and we are committed to getting this right.”

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Cybersecurity

LastPass Password Manager Goes Free Cross-Platform

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LastPass, arguably the most widely used password manager around is passing on some welcome news to its users. Starting Wednesday, LastPass users will be able to sync their passwords across multiple devices and platforms, for free.

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The cross-platform sync for users’ credentials, previously a perk enjoyed by paying members, will now be enabled for all users and members on the free tier can start using the feature immediately across on multiple devices beyond their desktops or laptops.

Launched in 2008, LastPass has come a long way in becoming a ubiquitous name in password management. Joe Siegrist, founder and general manager of LastPass who made the announcement , sees the move enabling good password habits into becoming the norm. Using a password manager that works everywhere across devices and platforms, he notes, will help users with a strong foundation for securing their identities.

LastPass protects users’ credentials (usernames and passwords) and other data in a vault that’s secured by a master password. The data is encrypted with AES-256 bit encryption with Sha-256 salted hashes, which enables encryption and decryption to take place offline.

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The announcement makes for a significant move for LastPass, the second in as many years. In August 2015, LastPass announced that it would enable users to manage their passwords, for free, on any one device. The popular choice was, of course, between desktops or smartphones. Now, users will merely have to put up with ads to use LastPass on their mobile devices once they’re out and about, away from their desktops or laptops.

Just under a year ago, LastPass was acquired by remote-access management provider LogMeIn, in a deal worth $110 million. This year, LastPass was proven to be vulnerable through a phishing attack. Since the revelation, the company has revamped and strengthened its security framework, before eventually launching its own two-factor authentication app, comparable to the likes of Google Authenticator and Authy.

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