Archive for the ‘Biz & IT’ Category

AT&T takes some Time Warner shows off Netflix, makes them exclusive to HBO Max

July 9th, 2019
A Star Wars Death Star battle station with AT&T's logo and the names of Time Warner properties.

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson)

AT&T will start restricting some Time Warner shows to its own streaming service, despite previously telling the government that it would distribute Time Warner content as widely as possible.

WarnerMedia, the division AT&T created when it bought Time Warner, today announced a new online streaming service called "HBO Max." HBO Max will debut in the spring of 2020 and include exclusives that will no longer be available on other streaming platforms.

HBO Max will have exclusive streaming rights to all episodes of Friends, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and Pretty Little Liars. Friends and Pretty Little Liars are currently available on Netflix, so they'll both leave that service by the time HBO Max launches.

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Posted in AT&T, Biz & IT, hbo max, Policy, time warner | Comments (0)

T-Mobile says it can’t be sued by users because of forced-arbitration clause

July 9th, 2019
Signs outside a T-Mobile store in New York City describe the company as

Enlarge / A T-Mobile store in New York City. (credit: Getty Images | helen89)

T-Mobile US is trying to force customers into arbitration in order to avoid a class-action lawsuit that accuses the phone carrier of violating federal law by selling its customers' real-time location data to third parties.

T-Mobile yesterday filed a motion to compel arbitration in US District Court in Maryland, saying that customers agreed to terms and conditions that require disputes to be handled in arbitration instead of courts. The two plaintiffs named in the lawsuit did not opt out of the arbitration agreement, T-Mobile wrote.

"As T-Mobile customers, each Plaintiff accepted T-Mobile's Terms and Conditions ('T&Cs')," T-Mobile wrote in a memorandum of law. "In so doing, they agreed to arbitrate on an individual basis any dispute related to T-Mobile's services and to waive their right to participate in a class action unless they timely opted out of the arbitration procedure outlined in the T&Cs. Neither Plaintiff elected to opt out. Accordingly, Plaintiffs have brought their grievances to the wrong forum and their claims should be dismissed in favor of arbitration."

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Posted in Biz & IT, class action, location data sales, mandatory arbitration, Policy, t-mobile | Comments (0)

Report: Russian intel started the Seth Rich rumor to cover for DNC hack

July 9th, 2019
Mary Rich, the mother of slain DNC staffer Seth Rich, gives a press conference in Bloomingdale on August 1, 2016. SVR agents jumped on Seth Rich's death as an opportunity to launch a disinformation campaign, according to a new report.

Enlarge / Mary Rich, the mother of slain DNC staffer Seth Rich, gives a press conference in Bloomingdale on August 1, 2016. SVR agents jumped on Seth Rich's death as an opportunity to launch a disinformation campaign, according to a new report. (credit: Getty Images)

Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR, or Sluzhba Vneshney Razvedki Rossiyskoy Federatsii), the successor to the Soviet KGB's First Chief Directorate, is the keeper of the KGB's legacy of "active measures." The group engages in political warfare using subversive operations to weaken the United States and links between NATO allies. And according to a new report from Yahoo News' Michael Isikoff, the SVR played a particularly underhanded role in activities leading up to the 2016 US presidential election in order to create a counter-narrative to the exposure of other Russian intelligence agencies' hacking operations at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). The SVR wanted to spin a conspiracy theory about the death of DNC staffer Seth Rich—a conspiracy theory that promoted Rich as the source of DNC and Clinton campaign emails published by Guccifer 2.0 and WikiLeaks.

This fabricated narrative had Rich being killed not in a botched robbery, as Washington DC police had found, but by a hit squad hired by Hillary Clinton as retribution for leaking campaign emails to WikiLeaks. This conspiracy theory was planted through various websites and later promoted by InfoWars' Alex Jones and other "alt-right" media outlets. Ultimately, it was even promoted within the Trump administration as investigations by the Justice Department into the DNC and Clinton email hacks went forward.

Julian Assange suggested that Rich was a source—and was killed as a result—in an interview with Dutch television. He made those suggestions even though he knew that WikiLeaks had received the emails after Rich was killed. Assange's suggestion spurred additional speculation, which was also fueled by posts from a Twitter account: @TEN_GOP, a fake Tennessee Republican account. @TEN_GOP was one of several accounts run by the Internet Research Agency, the organization in St. Petersburg that ran the Russian social media disinformation campaign leading up to, and in the wake of, the 2016 presidential elections.

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Posted in Biz & IT, clinton campaign email hacks, DNC Hack, Policy, Russian election interference, Russian intelligence, SVR | Comments (0)

Russian spy sub crew prevented nuclear accident at cost of their lives

July 8th, 2019
A man in uniform squats by a freshly dug grave.

Enlarge / ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - JULY 6, 2019: A Russian Navy officer by a grave during a funeral of the 14 Russian Navy officers killed by the July 1 fire on a deep-water research submersible in the Barents Sea, at the Serafimovskoye cemetery. (credit: Valentin Yegorshin/TASS/Getty Images)

On July 1, 14 Russian sailors—most of them senior officers with ranks equivalent to captain, commander, or lieutenant commander in the US Navy—died in an accident aboard a small nuclear-powered submarine designed for operations near or on the sea floor. The submarine Losharik (named after a Russian children's book character who is a horse made of juggling balls) was operating in the Barents Sea when the accident took place.

According to a Russian Navy statement published by TASS, the 14 "died in Russian territorial waters as a result of inhaling combustion products aboard a research submersible vehicle designated for studying the seafloor and the bottom of the World Ocean in the interests of the Russian Navy after a fire broke out during bathymetric measurements." The officers died while combating the fire.

In a statement delivered on July 3 from the Russian North Fleet's base in Severomorsk, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that three crew members and a civilian aboard the sub survived the disaster. The crew members who died, he said, "acted heroically in the critical situation. They evacuated a civilian expert from the compartment that was engulfed by fire and shut the door to prevent the fire from spreading further and fought for the ship's survival until the end."

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Posted in battery fire, Biz & IT, fires at sea, Losharik, Policy, Russian navy, Russian submarine disaster, Submarines | Comments (0)

Amazon plans nationwide broadband—with both home and mobile service

July 8th, 2019
An illustration of the Earth, with lines circling the globe to represent a telecommunications network.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Olena_T)

Amazon is seeking government permission to launch 3,236 broadband satellites that would cover nearly all of the United States and much of the rest of the world.

Amazon subsidiary Kuiper Systems filed its application with the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday last week, saying it intends to cover all of the US except most of Alaska.

"The Kuiper System covers the area between 56°N and 56°S latitudes," the Amazon subsidiary told the FCC. "Accordingly, customers throughout [the] continental US, Hawaii, and all US territories will have access to Kuiper System services. So too will customers in many other countries within the coverage area. The Kuiper System will not provide FSS [fixed-satellite service] in the majority of Alaska, however, because the state's high latitude is outside of the coverage area."

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Posted in amazon fcc, Biz & IT, Policy, satellite broadband | Comments (0)

Penetration testing takes on new meaning when cyber meets Harlequin

July 5th, 2019
You had me at "cyber."

Enlarge / You had me at "cyber."

This week, my wife and favorite librarian Paula brought home a new acquisition specially for me: An Innocent to Tame the Italian, a recent book from the Harlequin Presents imprint. Author Tara Pammi's previous books—which include Sicilian's Bride for a Price and Sheikh's Baby of Revenge—share a somewhat politically incorrect leitmotif of foreign sexual intrigue. If you're wondering: no, romance novels are generally not my speed.

But the back-of-the-book tease for this work declared otherwise:

For brooding tech billionaire Massimo Brunetti, a cyberattack on his company is unacceptable. After tracking down the savvy Manhattan hacker, he's stunned to find gorgeous genius Natalie Crosetto. Yet naive Nat isn't the saboteur. To uncover who she's protecting, Massimo returns to Italy—with Nat playing his fake fiancée! But this untamable Italian might have met his match in innocent Nat, who challenges him... and tempts him beyond reason!

"You had me at cyber," I told Paula.

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Posted in Biz & IT, Gaming & Culture, hacking, Harlequin, Penetration Testing, romance | Comments (0)

The Internet broke today: Facebook, Verizon, and more see major outages

July 3rd, 2019
The Internet this week, more or less

Enlarge / The Internet this week, more or less (credit: (modified))

Last week, Verizon caused a major BGP misroute that took large chunks of the Internet, including CDN company Cloudflare, partially down for a day. This week, the rest of the Internet has apparently asked Verizon to hold its beer.

Cloudflare went down again for half an hour yesterday, and this time, it was the company's own fault—we're still waiting on a full post-mortem, but the short version is that a firewall regular expression rule targeting malicious Javascript spiked the firewalls' CPU usage, crippling throughput and causing widespread HTTP 502 errors. Microsoft's Office365 also seems to have experienced a multi-hour partial outage yesterday, with the service working over some ISPs and routes but not others for about four hours.

Facebook and its properties WhatsApp and Instagram have suffered widespread outages relating to image display for most of today. The problem seems to be bad timestamp data being fed to the company's CDN in some image tags; when I looked into the broken images littering my own Facebook timeline, I discovered different timestamp arguments embedded in the same URLs. Loading an image from with bad "oh=" and "oe=" arguments—or no arguments at all—results in an HTTP 403 "Bad URL timestamp".

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T-Mobile enemy Dish could help save the T-Mobile/Sprint merger

July 3rd, 2019
A technician in a hard hat stands next to a Dish Network service vehicle.

Enlarge / A field service specialist for Dish Network prepares to install a satellite TV system at a residence in Denver, Colorado, on Aug. 6, 2013. (credit: Getty Images | Bloomberg)

T-Mobile US and Sprint are reportedly near a deal to sell spectrum, wholesale network access, and Sprint's Boost Mobile subsidiary to Dish as part of an attempt to gain government approval of their merger. But US antitrust officials reportedly want bigger concessions before they'll approve the T-Mobile/Sprint combination.

T-Mobile's purchase of Sprint would leave the US with three instead of the current four major wireless carriers. The Department of Justice, which could sue to block the deal, has apparently pushed T-Mobile to make divestitures that would set up a fourth major carrier to replace Sprint. That has left T-Mobile negotiating with Dish, which opposed the T-Mobile/Sprint merger. The companies' feud is a two-way street, with T-Mobile repeatedly criticizing Dish for buying spectrum and not using it.

"[T-Mobile owner] Deutsche Telekom, Dish, and the DOJ are close to an agreement, and a deal could be finalized by next week, according to people familiar with the matter," CNBC reported yesterday.

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Posted in Biz & IT, DISH, merger, Policy, Sprint, t-mobile | Comments (0)

D-Link agrees to new security monitoring to settle FTC charges

July 3rd, 2019
D-Link agrees to new security monitoring to settle FTC charges

Enlarge (credit: Penn State / Flickr)

Router and webcam maker D-Link has agreed to implement a new security program to settle charges it failed to safeguard its hardware against well-known and preventable hacks and misrepresented its existing security regimen.

Tuesday’s agreement settles a 2017 complaint by the US Federal Trade Commission that alleged D-Link left thousands of customers open to potentially costly hack attacks. The hardware maker, the FTC said, failed to test its gear against security flaws ranked among the most critical and widespread by the Open Web Application Security Project. The 2017 suit also said that, despite the lack of testing and hardening of its products, D-Link misrepresented its security regimen as reasonable.

Specific shortcomings cited by the FTC included:

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Posted in Biz & IT, d-link, Federal Trade Commission, FTC, routers, vulnerabilities, webcams | Comments (0)

Georgia court systems recovering from apparent Ryuk ransomware

July 2nd, 2019
A ransom note is plastered across a laptop monitor.

Enlarge / The latest victim of an apparent wave of Ryuk ransomware has managed to fend off paying attackers, but not everyone is getting away unscathed. (credit: Getty Images)

A spokesman for Georgia's Administrative Office of the Courts has confirmed that the AOC's information technology team discovered ransomware on the organization's servers on Saturday. While the spokesman could not provide specific details about the ransomware involved in the attack, its characteristics are consistent with the Ryuk ransomware that has struck multiple companies and government agencies over the past few months—including at least two Florida cities.

Bruce Shaw, communications and outreach specialist for the AOC, told Ars that a file containing contact information for the ransomware operators was left on the affected servers but that no specific ransom was demanded. "After an assessment of our system, it was determined that it would be best to take our network offline," Shaw said.

The attack's affects were isolated to servers providing the AOC's applications—including case management. "Individual courts' networks are not affected," Shaw said. "Only courts who use applications hosted by our network might experience some delay in their local operations. Our understanding is that all courts are operational, but some processes normally handled by our applications may be impacted."

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Posted in Baltimore ransomware attack, Biz & IT, Florida ransomware, Georgia, ransomware, ryuk | Comments (0)