AfterDawn: Tech news

News written by James Delahunty

AfterDawn: News

Pirate Bay co-founder to appeal Swedish domain seizure

Written by James Delahunty @ 25 May 2015 10:50

Pirate Bay co-founder to appeal Swedish domain seizure An original founder of the Pirate Bay will challenge the seizure of the piratebay.se and thepiratebay.se domain names, it has been confirmed.

Fredrik Neij will appeal the Swedish court's ruling that ordered the two domain names to be seized by the Swedish government. Neij is not interested in the domain names himself though, instead he has concerns with how the court came to the decision to order the seizure.

The court had identified Fredrik Neij as the holder of the two domain names, even though they are held under a third party's name. Since Neij has been prohibited under threats of sizeable fines not to be associated with the operation of the Pirate Bay, and he is due to be released from prison soon, being identified as being the holder of the Pirate Bay domains by a court of law could complicate things.

"The prosecution has alleged two things. One is that crimes have been committed via The Pirate Bay. Fredrik Neij really has no views on this. The second is that he is involved in The Pirate Bay operation," said lawyer Jonas Nilsson.

With Neij's release on the horizon, it is in his self-interest to reject any determination by a court of law that he is in any way involved with the administration of the Pirate Bay.





AfterDawn: News

Netflix bills customers multiple times in error

Written by James Delahunty @ 25 May 2015 6:29

Netflix bills customers multiple times in error A Netflix billing glitch has resulted in some customers reporting that their accounts were charged the monthly fee for the service multiple times in a single day.

The error seems to be limited to customers in Australia and New Zealand. One customer reported that he had been charged 11 times on Sunday by Netflix, before going into redraw.

Another customer in New Zealand tweeted that, "Netflix just charged me my monthly fee of $12.99 FOUR TIMES IN ONE DAY," adding that "And they're trying to charge me again but it won't let them because they've taken all the f***ing money out of my account."

Netflix said the problem has only affected a small number of its users in the region.

"While no extra money was withdrawn from users' accounts, it may take several days for the authorisations to drop from users' bank accounts," Neflix said in a statement.

"Members may contact Netflix customer service if they have additional issues. We regret any inconvenience related to the problem."





AfterDawn: News

Fake Minecraft 'scareware' apps found on Google Play

Written by James Delahunty @ 25 May 2015 6:26

Fake Minecraft 'scareware' apps found on Google Play Useless 'Minecraft' apps promising cheats and other materials on the Google Play store were actually laced with scareware warnings about non-existent viruses.

Over 600,000 Android users installed at least one of the malicious apps. The goal of the apps is to get an unsuspecting user to sign up for a premium SMS service at a cost of 4.80EUR per week.

ESET reported its discovery last week on its blog, detailing over 30 different apps that had managed to get through Google's malware filter, Bouncer. They were uploaded to the market over the past 9 months from different developer accounts, though they all likely come from the same source.

"According to public data from the Google Play store, several of them were installed between 100.000 500.000 times and the total number of installations of all 33 scareware applications lies between 660.000 and 2.800.000," ESET Malware Researcher, Lukas Stefanko, writes.

The apps have pretty much no functionality. Instead, any interaction with the apps just brought up warnings about dangerous virus infections. Eventually, the app would prepare a text message in the phone's default SMS application, appearing to be a code to activate an antivirus product. In reality, if the user sends it, they will sign up for a premium SMS service at a cost of 4.80 EUR per week.

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AfterDawn: News

Teen pleads guilty to harassing, swatting gamers

Written by James Delahunty @ 25 May 2015 6:19

Teen pleads guilty to harassing, swatting gamers An eight-hour long "swatting" live stream on YouTube leads police to a 17 year old, later charged with extortion, criminal harassment, making false police reports and more.

The Canadian cannot be named due to his age, but reports say he identified as part of the group Lizard Squad. He was accused of harassing targets he found on League of Legends and on Twitter, usually because they wouldn't accept his friend request.

Victims had their personal information, including financial records, posted online. The worst of all offences he admitted to was swatting, in which a false report would be made to police with the goal of getting a heavily armed response unit to show up the victim's location.

In one case, a University of Arizona student dropped out after multiple cases of swatting against her and her family.

The teen was eventually tracked down by police after tips were received about an 8 hour long YouTube live stream in which he had multiple people swatted.

He faces sentencing on June 29.

NOTE: Image accompanying the article is a screenshot of swatting occurring during a live stream. It is not linked to this particular case.





AfterDawn: News

Nintendo Wii 'likely' started home fire, investigators say

Written by James Delahunty @ 24 May 2015 17:16

Nintendo Wii 'likely' started home fire, investigators say A fire that damaged an RV home and burned up much of its owners possessions earlier this week was likely started by an Nintendo Wii console, according to fire investigators in Colorado Springs.

A news report by a local NBC news channel KOAA 5 quoted the fire department as saying all other possible sources of ignition for the blaze had been ruled out. "I got a phone call from the neighbors saying my camper was on fire," Trevor Pellegrin said.

"When I opened the door, I got thrown back by thick black smoke and flames."

The roof was damaged by the flames, as well as clothes that ignited and the man's television had started to melt. The Wii console was rendered a charred ugly mess. Luckily, Pellegrin managed to save some of his personal items but lost a lot to the fire.

The Wii console was switched off, but still plugged into an electrical outlet when he left. Typically games consoles are left plugged in by owners 24/7.

On very rare occasions, home entertainment electronics are linked to fires, but it's often a case of an overloaded electrical outlet or problems with wiring.


More info: www.koaa.com
Video report: www.kktv.com

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AfterDawn: News

U.S. ISP ordered to identify BitTorrent users

Written by James Delahunty @ 24 May 2015 17:14

U.S. ISP ordered to identify BitTorrent users A court in the United States has ordered an Internet Service Provider to produce personal details of account holders linked to IP addresses allegedly used to pirate music using BitTorrent software.

Cox Communications must identify the account holders behind the "Top 250" IP addresses from a total of more than 150,000 IP addresses. BMG and Round Hill Music sued Cox last year claiming that the ISP had forfeited protection under the DMCA's safe harbor provisions by failing to disconnect repeat infringers.





AfterDawn: News

Android reset flaw affects 500 million+ devices

Written by James Delahunty @ 24 May 2015 17:13

Android reset flaw affects 500 million+ devices The factory reset option in the Android mobile operating system may not be as reliable as you'd think, according to new research.

Using the factory reset is common when giving away / selling an old smartphone or tablet, clearing out personal information so the new owner can start afresh, and the previous owner can rest assured that all personal information is wiped.

But.. what if the data is not wiped properly? A study from Cambridge University has raised doubts about the reliability of this function across Android hardware. It focused on tests performed on 21 devices from five manufacturers, running different versions of the popular operating system.

Unfortunately, the researchers could successfully recover partial data after the factory reset was carried out. Even with Full Disk Encryption, some data recovery was still achieved.

In 80 percent of the devices, the researchers could recover the master token required to access Google services. They could also recover login information for other services, as well as images, videos, contacts and so on.

There are a variety of reasons for the problem, with one being manufacturers failing to include adequate drivers that would be needed to properly erase the internal memory, or removable flash memory of a device.

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AfterDawn: News

Google: Why we send piracy settlement letters to Fiber users

Written by James Delahunty @ 24 May 2015 14:21

Google: Why we send piracy settlement letters to Fiber users Google forwards anti-piracy notices and settlement demand letters to Google Fiber subscribers, even though other Internet Service Providers in the U.S. choose now to, and here's why.

The search giant claims that it sends users the information as part of its commitment to transparency. Other ISPs don't forward settlement demand notices to their subscribers, since the offences referenced are still only allegations.

Google's decision to forward these notices to subscribers of its super-fast Fiber broadband raised a few eyebrows.

"When Google Fiber receives a copyright complaint about an account, we pass along all of the information we receive to the account holder so that they're aware of it and can determine the response that's best for their situation," a Google spokesperson said, reports TorrentFreak.

The spokesperson did go on to say that Google believes there are "better options" to fighting piracy than targeting individual users.

Firms such as CEG-TEK attempt to monetize the notice systems in place in the U.S. and other regions by demanding settlements from Internet users for alleged incidents of copyright infringement. Some ISPs feel that it is better not to forward these demands to their customers.





AfterDawn: News

Adult Dating Site hacked, sensitive user information leaked

Written by James Delahunty @ 24 May 2015 14:17

Adult Dating Site hacked, sensitive user information leaked Earlier this week, it was reported that adult dating website Adult Friend Finder had been compromised and sensitive information on nearly 4 million users was stolen.

The data breach was reported by Channel Four in the UK.

Adult Friend Finder claims to have around 64 million users around the globe. In this leak, leaked information includes IP addresses, e-mail addresses, dates of birth, post codes and even seuxal preferences and other sensitive information.

Worse, data that was leaked even included information from accounts that had been deleted from the service by user request.

Shortly after the data breach, affected users were targeted with spam and malware-laced e-mails. There are also concerns that leaked information may be used for blackmail purposes.

"We have already begun working closely with law enforcement and have launched a comprehensive investigation with the help of leading third-party forensics expert, Mandiant," the firm said earlier this week.





AfterDawn: News

Pirate Bay loses another domain name

Written by James Delahunty @ 24 May 2015 14:11

Pirate Bay loses another domain name The Pirate Bay has lost another domain name just days after a Swedish court ordered the seizure of piratebay.se and the piratebay.se.

In response, the Pirate Bay registered SIX new domain names ending in .GS, .LA, .VG,. AM, .MN and .GD. The new logo on the evasive torrent site features a Lernaean Hydra - a mythical monster from Greek mythology that sports multiple heads - and the new domain names.

It then went on to troll Prosecutor Fredrik Ingblad for wasting time and public money in pursuing its two Swedish domain names.





AfterDawn: News

Google: Why 'Security Questions' suck for security

Written by James Delahunty @ 22 May 2015 0:36

Google: Why 'Security Questions' suck for security After some really interesting research results, Google is raising awareness about how unreliable "Security Questions" are for legitimate login authentication, password recovery and more.

Providers of Internet services have long asked their users to provide answers to questions about themselves which may be used for identity verification later. Typically, these questions are asked if a login is suspicious (unfamiliar location etc.) or as a layer of a password recovery process.

It turns out that this is an extremely unreliable layer of security. Hundreds of millions of secret question and answer combinations were analysed by Google, with the goal of (among other things) determining how likely it would have been for an attacker to guess the answers correctly.





AfterDawn: News

Racism and the White House: What happened with Google Maps this week?

Written by James Delahunty @ 21 May 2015 23:16

Racism and the White House: What happened with Google Maps this week? Google Maps was at the center of Internet outrage this week with demands for apologies, and heads to roll, in an unfortunate set of circumstances that associated 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue with racist search terms.

It emerged that searches of "n****r house" or "n****r king" in Google Maps brought up the home of Barack Obama, and Google very quickly responded with an investigation. In the meantime, the story took off and all eyes were on the Mountain View giant.

It's not as if racism is new to the Internet; let's be honest this place is full of assholes, but for it to appear as a top result in such an important Google service raised questions. How could this happen? How could Google let it happen?

Unsurprisingly, it was down to the aforementioned assholes that roam the digital plains and spread their toxicity wherever they can be seen. It's no secret that Google is constantly probing the web and using that crowdsourced pile of data to drive features of its services.

Yeah, you can already see where this is going!

In online discussions of the White House, racist slurs were used frequently enough for Google's systems to strongly associate them with the location. That crowdsourced data scoured from every corner of the web mixed with some offensive search terms in Google Maps produced a very embarrassing result for Google, and one that was offensive to a lot of people.

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AfterDawn: News

Watch Delta Airlines' meme-packed safety video

Written by James Delahunty @ 21 May 2015 22:00

Watch Delta Airlines' meme-packed safety video Delta Airlines has turned to Internet memes to get you to pay attention to the safety instructions for its aircraft.

The memes will bring back some memories, including that damn dancing baby from the late 90s that caused so much fuss. It also includes nods to Mentos & Coke madness, the Evolution of Dance, Keyboard Cat, Peanut Butter Jelly Time and of course that wide-scale study of human psychology that was the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Oh and of course, no meme video would be complete without a goat screaming when it learns that you can't smoke on and airplane.

Well, cringe or laugh, here it is.

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AfterDawn: News

Google sending piracy settlement notices to Fiber subscribers?

Written by James Delahunty @ 21 May 2015 21:53

Google sending piracy settlement notices to Fiber subscribers? Google Fiber subscribers who have used their super-fast Internet service to download and share copyright infringing files could soon hear from the Mountain View giant.

According to TorrentFreak, Google has been sending copyright infringement notices to subscribers whose accounts have been flagged by third parties for piracy activity. Controversially, TF alleges that Google is also forwarding settlement demands from Rightscorp and CEG TEK.

Settlements are offered to Internet users ranging from $20 to $300.

Other ISPs in the United States, including Comcast and Verizon, do not forward such settlement demands to subscribers, given that the subscribers are only alleged to have committed a crime and there's typically no evidence to hold the account hold personally responsible.

Along with the demands from Rightscorp and CEG TEK, Google also warns users that repeated violations of its Terms of Services - which expressly prohibits copyright infringement - can result in remedial action including service termination.

Read more at TorrentFreak





AfterDawn: News

YouTube supports 60fps live streaming in HTML5 player

Written by James Delahunty @ 21 May 2015 19:43

YouTube supports 60fps live streaming in HTML5 player Smooth! In a move aimed at Amazon's Twitch and others in the growing arena of video game streaming, YouTube now supports 60fps in 1080p.

Google's video giant previously added support for 60fps videos, which was welcomed and embraced by gamers. In HD, the difference between 30fps and 60fps is very noticeable for some fast action content. Now YouTube has added the same support for streaming game footage, using a HTML5 player in compatible browsers.

"When you start a live stream on YouTube at 60fps, we'll transcode your stream into 720p60 and 1080p60, which means silky smooth playback for gaming and other fast-action videos," YouTube's creator blog announced.

"We'll also make your stream available in 30fps on devices where high frame rate viewing is not yet available, while we work to expand support in the coming weeks."

Any app using YouTube's live streaming API can add a new high frame rate flag to enable 60fps streaming.

Additionally, the HTML5 player supports variable speed playback, enabling viewers to skip backwards and then increase the playback rate to 1.5x or 2x to catch up to live.

Twitch - which cost Amazon almost $1 billion to acquire - claims to have reached an average of 100 million viewers per month. Google was considering buying Twitch before Amazon swooped in, and now wants its YouTube platform to eat its audience instead.






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