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UK Man Creates Fake Website to Initiate Jail Release

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Neil Moore, who was held at the UK’s Wandsworth Prison for defrauding large organizations in excess of £1.8 million, recently made use of his voice impersonation skills yet again. While imprisoned, he managed to create a fake website and e-mail account using an illicit mobile phone number.

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His case was on remand, meaning under review, at the time, making this a most foolish move, since the chance of his case being overturned existed at the time, but now he faces new charges of which he will most certainly be found guilty.

Also read: Hacker Claims FBI Threatened Prison If He Didn’t Work For Them

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Fake Website

phone hackMoore reportedly created a website very similar to the official court website, and then sent an e-mail to prison officials with instructions for his release. Unbelievably, the scheme worked, and the deception was not uncovered until three days later, when investigators in his on-remand case of fraud went to interview him. The 28-year-old East Londoner then turned himself in three days later.

“Ingenious”

The UK court heard prosecutors testify:

A lot of criminal ingenuity harbours in the mind of Mr Moore. The case is one of extraordinary criminal inventiveness, deviousness and creativity, all apparently the developed expertise of this defendant.

The judge reacted by calling Neil Moore’s creative criminality “ingenious.”

In addition to the fraud charges, wherein prosecutors say that Moore used four different aliases pretending to be from Barclays Bank, Lloyds Bank, and others in order to defraud large organizations of great sums of money, Moore now faces a count of “escape from lawful custody.” He has pleaded guilty to all charges and final sentencing will commence on April 20th.

Ingenious indeed, and likely not to be repeated by others in the future. Prison officials will likely be cracking down on contraband in UK prisons, to include mobile phones. In other prison systems, it is possible to deny prisoners any contact with the outside world for very arbitrary reasons, so it can be assumed the UK prison system may do the same.

What hasn’t been discussed is what punishment, if any, of the officials who released Moore face. After all, their gullibility was a pre-requisite to the success of his scam. A quick check of the details of the release instructions could have revealed the scam.

British Steven Jay Russell?

This incident is reminiscent of the 1990s antics of Texan Steven Jay Russell, who repeatedly managed to escape jail as well as get his longtime boyfriend Phillip Morris released by pretending to be a judge.

Russell was the subject of the 2009 film I Love You Phillip Morris starring Jim Carrey. The film gets some of the details wrong, such as how Russell faked AIDS, when he actually faked a heart attack in order to get to a hospital, where he then impersonated officials who told the hospital it was okay to release him.

Russell was eventually, finally arrested in 1998 in Florida by US Marshalls and later sentenced to 144 years in prison. To this day, he is on 23-hour-a-day maximum security lock down to prevent his escaping again.

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Electronics

Nanotechnology Breakthrough: Carbon Nanotubes Outperform Silicon Electronics

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nanotechnology

University of Wisconsin–Madison materials engineers have created carbon nanotube transistors that, for the first time, outperform state-of-the-art silicon transistors. This breakthrough points the way to future high-performance nanotube electronics.

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Bugs

Video: Stagefright Returns; 500 Million Android Devices at Risk

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A new variant of the dreaded Android-based Stagefright bug has been successfully exploited by security researchers who showed a proof-of-concept of phone getting hacked remotely. The newly discovered Stagefright bug affects users running Android Lollipop, versions 5.0 and 5.1.

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Israeli software security research company NorthBit has, in a detailed research paper, revealed that it has exploited the dreaded Stagefright Android bug which has, in the past, put a billion user devices at risk.

The complete research paper can be found here. [PDF]

The exploit, titled ‘Metaphor’ is shown running in a proof-of-concept video. The target is Google’s Nexus 5, a flagship device on Google’s stock line of Android products. NorthBit has also revealed that it has tested the exploit on other popular Android phones including the Samsung Galaxy S5, the LG G3 and the HTC One.

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Fundamentally, the exploit can be triggered by simply visiting a malicious web page as the video shows below.

Stagefright is Back

The name ‘Stagefright’ comes from the namesake software library used by the Android system to parse together media such as videos. It is written in C++ and built inside the system.

It can be exploited by a malicious MMS, as a previous version of the Stagefright bug has shown. In this case, a webpage is shown to execute malicious code on targeted devices.

Google routinely plugs these vulnerabilities with monthly releases for Nexus phones and releases the source code for the patch. However, Android phone manufacturers who implement their own skinned versions of Android aren’t usually in a hurry to release patches and this leaves millions of devices at risk.

As things stand, about 36 percent of the 1.4 billion active Android phones and tablets are currently running Android 5 or 5.1. The numbers reveal that a little over 500 million Android devices running Lollipop are at risk.

The first Stagefright bug was discovered by a security researcher in July 2015, when it was revealed that the vulnerability left up to 95 percent of all Android devices (!) open to exploit.

The second variant of the Stagefright bug was discovered not long after in the same year, when a vulnerability could be exploited via an encoded .mp4 or .mp3 file sent using MMS. 950 million devices were left vulnerable to the bug.

Google has already released its security bulletin that includes system ROMs for Nexus devices along with the patch for all other Android devices, for the month in the first week of March. It is yet to be seen if the newest vulnerability hastens Google into releasing another patch this month.

A spokesperson for Google wasn’t immediately available for comment at the time of publishing.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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Hacking

Video: Hacker Uses Smartphone to Hack a Connected Car

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An associate professor and white-hat hacker, Hiroyuki Inoue, has demonstrated a proof-of-concept showing cars that are equipped with internet-connected devices can be hacked and even remotely controlled by wielding a smartphone.

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In an experiment, Hiroyuki Inoue, an associate professor at Hiroshima City University’s Graduate School of Information Sciences, Japan, has proved that connected cars can be remotely hacked with a smartphone application. The associate professor and hacker used a 2013 Toyota Corolla Fielder Hybrid for the demonstration, as reported by the Japan Times.

It is important to note that the exploit isn’t one to affect cars that are still driven as manufactured in stock as their onboard computers do not have internet connectivity.

However, Inoue warns that cars that have been modified and enhanced with internet devices privately could potentially be hacked. The claim comes during a time when many major automobile manufacturers including those in Japan are experimenting and even actively developing self-driving vehicles.

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Another Connected Car, Hacked

Putting together a Wi-Fi device as a contraption with parts available commercially that cost him about ¥10,000 (approx. USD $82). He also developed a smartphone application that was used to – among other hacks – remotely control the car.

Inoue connected the Wi-Fi device to a commonly found terminal located under the Toyota’s steering wheel. Such terminals are routinely used to plug in monitoring devices during a car’s maintenance. Once connected, Inoue discovered that the car’s computer contained unencrypted data that controlled critical functions such as the vehicle’s engine, brakes and other functions.

As the video shows, the associate professor was able to manipulate the speedometer reading on the dashboard even though the car was stationary while parked.

Inoue said:

 Important (data) communication was in full view from outside. Other cars could also be subject to hacking in the same way.

Furthermore, he was also able to replicate a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack by inundating the car’s computer with a large amount of requests and data. Unsurprisingly, the action led to a complete paralysis of the vehicle, despite the accelerator being stepped on by the driver. The white-hat hacker was also able to raise and lower windows with the smartphone application reigning in control of the on-board computer.

Also read: $32 Hacking Device Opens Car & Garage Doors

In light of the news, an official representing the Japanese Automobile Manufacturers Association confirmed that the collective industry will work on cybersecurity measures in tandem with the government.

Hiroyuki Inoue confirmed that the details of his exploit will be further revealed during a three-day cybersecurity symposium that commenced on Tuesday in Okinawa, Japan.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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