Lets talk about things that are horrifying. It’s not every day that we get to see someone so tech savvy that they can develop a device to compromise a computer in seconds. It’s even more impressive and terrifying though when that person disguises it as a fashionable necklace.
Samy Kamkar is someone you never want to mess with while you leave your computer unattended. Frankly, he’s not someone you want to mess with at all. At 17 years old, Kamkar cofounded his communications company named Fonality. The company raised more than $46 million in funding, and Kamkar went on to showcase his technology skills in other interesting ventures.
Kamkar can not only create his own company; he can hack Myspace with the famous worm called Samy and hack a nearby drone with his drone called SkyJack. He can then, of course, control that drone to do his bidding. Kamkar also created Evercookie, a cookie that can never be deleted. Subsequently, Edward Snowden leaked the 2013 documentation noting that the National Security Agency (NSA) utilized Evercookie to track Tor users.
Bottom Line Is Don’t Mess With Samy Kamkar or USBdriveby
But if that’s not enough to sway you from fearing for your technology-based livelihood, maybe the fact that he can hack your computer in a matter of seconds will scare you. That’s right; Kamkar recently created a USB necklace called USBdriveby that plugs into your computer, takes over your keyboard and mouse and takes total control over your computer even after it’s unplugged.
In the video, he utilizes USBdriveby on an Apple computer, but Kamkar said it could easily be utilized on Windows of *nix. In seconds, USBdriveby disables Apple’s operating system firewall, breaks into your DNS settings and gives the hacker complete control. USBdriveby then opens a backdoor to a remote server so when it’s unplugged, remote controls can still be sent.
Oh, and it kindly makes you tea and closes any windows and settings it opened up along the way. I’m lying only about that first part.
“But I have Little Snitch running!” you might say, thinking that the network monitor app will save your computer before the device has any chance to compromise it. Well, that doesn’t matter. USBdriveby uses a series of keystrokes to tell Little Snitch to go back to bed; there’s nothing to see here.
Not only does Kamkar show how this works, he always shows how the code works. In all its terrifying glory, the USBdriveby code is shown piece-by-piece on how it leaves this trail of secret devastation.
Furthermore, Kamkar then takes the time to show off what USBdriveby is made of, allowing anybody to make one of their own at home. It costs only $20 to create, and slips around your neck in a concealing way so you may never be caught.
What does all this mean? Well, keep an eye on what your tech-savvy friends or enemies are wearing around their neck. Oh, and do yourself a favor now and smash your USB ports to pieces, because nothing is safe, yet again, thanks to Samy Kamkar.
Please note that Hacked.com does not advise smashing your USB port. Just be careful.
Images from Shutterstock.
The Pirate Bay is Hijacking PCs to Stealth-Mine Cryptocurrency
For the second time in as many months, The Pirate Bay has been caught mining cryptocurrency on your computer without consent. The torrent platform was actually test-driving cryptocurrency mining in your browser – no doubt a lucrative revenue stream.
The Pirates Are At It Again
The news was later confirmed by Bleeping Computer, which reported that,”The Pirate Bay, the internet’s largest torrent portal, is back at running a cryptocurrency miner after it previously ran a short test in mid-September.”
Estimates indicate that the scheme has earned the pirates a total of $43,000 over a three-week period.
Users had no way to opt their computers out of being test-driven by the torrent network. Back in September, The Pirate Bay got away by telling people it was just a test. The site’s owners cannot use the same excuse this time around.
CoinHive advises websites to let their visitors know their browser is being used to mine cryptocurrency.
“We’re a bit saddened to see that some of our customers integrate CoinHive into their pages without disclosing to their users what’s going on, let alone asking for their permission,” the company said.
The good news is most ad-blockers and antivirus programs will block CoinHive, given its recent abuses. That means not all visitors of The Pirate Pay were being used as a conduit for mining Monero.
Monero Joins Global Crypto Rally
The value of Monero (XMR) shot up nearly 8% on Friday, and was last seen trading at $94.17. With more than 15.2 million XMR tokens in circulation, the total market cap for Monero is $1.4 billion, according to CoinMarketCap. That’s enough for ninth on the global cryptocurrency list.
Twelve cryptos have now crossed the $1 billion valuation mark. A handful of others have made their way north of $500 million.
Coders Safeguard Vulnerable Ethereum Wallets Following Security Breach
Ethereum suffered large-scale security breaches last week after anonymous hackers targeted vulnerable wallets in the network, resulting in the loss of tens of millions of dollars. However, it didn’t take long for a volunteer group of coders to “rescue” the funds in 500 at-risk wallets before the same attackers could get to them too.
White Hat Group Takes Charge
The so-called White Hat Group showed initiative by “rescuing” the funds using the same techniques the thieves employed to compromise $32 million USD worth of ether from three multi-signature wallets. As of Monday, the White Hat Group of ethical hackers was in possession of $86 million worth of ether and an additional $122 million in tokens.
Tokens are digital assets that are sold during an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) fundraising event. They have proven to be extremely popular.
Tens of millions of dollars worth of ether and tokens have already been returned to their owners. The White Hat Group says it will issue full refunds by the end of July.
Blockchain-based trading platform Coindash was also breached last week, resulting in the loss of more than $7 million worth of ether.
Security Breaches Nothing New in Crypto World
For all its benefits, cryptocurrency has been vulnerable to several high-profile security breaches. Last summer, Hong Kong-based Bitfinex was the target of a major attack that resulted in the theft of around $70 million worth of bitcoins. In response, the exchange announced a controversial plans to “socialize” its losses among all users. Each Bitfinex trader was docked 36% as a result.
Bitcoin prices declined sharply following the attack, stopping what had been a blistering summer of gains.
Ethereum Enterprise Alliance
For anyone doubting the potential of the ether, take a look at the list of companies participating in the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA). The EEA is a forum that connects Fortune 500 companies, startups and academics with ethereum subject matter experts. The EEA is made up of multinational banks and some of the world’s biggest technology companies.
The forum has made cyber security a top priority, according to a May 22 press release. In the release, companies like Infosys, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Synechron and others expressed their intent to contribute to the future of ethereum’s security.
Hackers Only Need Seconds to Figure Out Card Details
Experts from Newcastle University in England has found that hackers only need six seconds to figure out the card number, expiry date, and security code for a Visa debit or credit card by simple guesswork, according to a report from The Telegraph.
According to figures from the Office of National Statistics, in the U.K. the number of bank account fraud cases reported up to June 2016, from the beginning of the year, amounted to over 2.3 million.
The researchers found that all that a hacker needs is a computer and an Internet connection. It is believed that hackers simply utilize what is known as a Distributed Guessing Attack enabling them to get around security features that help prevent online fraud.
By using the Distributed Guessing Attack, the system was unable to detect multiple attempts made by hackers.
Process of Elimination
As such, within a matter of seconds hackers were able to determine the correct information on a person’s card by a process of elimination.
Only recently Tesco bank account customers were subjected to hacking after criminals were able to gain access to their accounts. It is believed that these hackers may have used the Distributed Guessing Attack to siphon money from peoples’ accounts.
Payment Cards Remain Vulnerable
Unfortunately, even though Visa debit and credit cards remain popular and convenient forms of payment, they remain vulnerable as well.
And hackers know this, which is why reports of online card fraud are becoming more prevalent in today’s technologically-advanced world.
Visa states though:
The research does not take into account the multiple layers of fraud prevention that exist within the payments system, each of which must be met in order to make a transaction possible in the real world.
However, while this may be the case, it seems something is amiss if cybercriminals can simply determine a person’s card details in six seconds through guesswork.
Bitcoin to the Rescue?
The digital currency bitcoin, however, may provide an answer to this problem.
As a type of digital currency that is held and created electronically with no central bank governing it, bitcoin is considered the cash of the Internet.
Due to its popularity more people are turning to it instead of fiat currency.
It was recently reported that Sweden is considering the issuance of its own digital currency, ekrona, in an effort to address the significant decline of the use of cash in the country.
Whereas India has announced that digital currency will become the new normal in the country as it attempts to reduce the amount of cash transactions with the banning of its biggest banknotes, the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000.
While these are just a few instances of how bitcoin is revolutionizing how we see money, many are quickly catching on to how safe and effective bitcoin is as a form of payment in a world where hackers are gaining easy access to a person’s Visa debit and credit cards.
Featured image from Shutterstock.
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