Cisco machine gets listed by blackhat org that rents out hacked PCs

Enlarge A computer running inside the corporate network of Cisco Systems is one of about 17,000 machines that is being rented out to online miscreants looking to get a foothold inside Fortune 500 companies, according to a published report. The Windows Server 2003 system uses Microsoft's Remote Desktop Protocol so it can be remotely accessed by anyone with the login credentials. It's listed on, a service that allows anyone in the world to access hacked computers at specific organizations, KrebsonSecurity reported . Remarkably, the username for the box is "Cisco" and the corresponding password is—you guessed it—"Cisco." "Businesses often turn on RDP for server and desktop systems that they wish to use remotely, but if they do so using a username and password that is easily guessed, those systems will soon wind up for sale on services like this one," reporter Brian Krebs wrote. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Dept. of Veterans Affairs spent millions on PC software it couldn’t use

Rolling out new software to a few thousand users is an involved process for any organization. But installing software that affects hundreds of thousands of PCs as part of a response to a data breach while under embarrassing scrutiny is a task that would challenge even the most well-managed IT departments. And, apparently, the Office of Information Technology (OIT) at the Department of Veterans Affairs' answer to that challenge was to sweep it under the rug. After removable hard disks containing unencrypted personal identifying information of  26 million military veterans  were stolen from the home of a VA employee in 2006, then-Secretary of Veterans Affairs   R. James Nicholson mandated that the VA's Office of Information Technology install encryption software on all of the department's notebook and desktop computers. But while the VA purchased 400,000 licensees for Symantec's Guardian Edge encryption software, more than 84 percent of those licenses—worth about $5.1 million, including the maintenance contracts for them—remain uninstalled, a  VA Inspector General's audit  has found. The VA's OIT purchased 300,000 licenses and maintenance agreements for Guardian Edge in 2006 and continued to pay for maintenance on those licenses for the next five years. And in 2011, the VA purchased 100,000 more software licenses from Symantec and extended maintenance on all 400,000 licenses for two years. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Microsoft Urges Businesses To Get Off XP

An anonymous reader writes "It's approximately 11 years since Windows XP was unveiled, and this week Microsoft was still at it trying to convince users that it's time to upgrade. A post on the Windows For Your Business Blog calls on businesses to start XP migrations now. Microsoft cites the main reason as being that support for XP ends in April 2014, and 'most new hardware options will likely not support the Windows XP operating system.' If you run Windows Vista, Microsoft argues that it's time to 'start planning' the move to Windows 8. As this article points out, it's not uncommon to hear about people still running XP at work." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Japan Getting Real-Time Phone Call Translator App

another random user writes with news that NTT Docomo, Japan's largest wireless carrier, will be rolling out a real-time translation app for phone calls on November 1. At launch, the app will translate Japanese into English, Mandarin, and Korean, and later that month it will add French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Thai. No word on Klingon. From the article: "The products have the potential to let companies avoid having to use specially trained multilingual staff, helping them cut costs. They could also aid tourism. However, the software involved cannot offer perfect translations, limiting its use in some situations. ... It provides users with voice translations of the other speaker's conversation after a slight pause, as well as providing a text readout. ... NTT Docomo will soon face competition from France's Alcatel-Lucent which is developing a rival product, WeTalk. It can handle Japanese and about a dozen other languages including English, French and Arabic. The service is designed to work over any landline telephone, meaning the company has had to find a way to do speech recognition using audio data sampled at a rate of 8kHz or 16kHz. Other products — which rely on data connections — have used higher 44kHz samples which are easier to process." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Build an Arduino-Based Hotel Room Master Key Housed in a Dry Erase Marker

A few months back at the Black Hat Security conference Cody Brocious demonstrated how you can easiy open an Onity hotel room lock, the standard system used in many hotel chains, with an Arduino but it was bulky setup and comletely obvious if anyone saw him pull out a lot of electronics. Here's how you can fit that system in a dry erase marker. More »

How to Crack a Wi-Fi Password

Cracking Wi-Fi passwords isn't a trivial process, but it isn't difficult. Learn how it works so you can learn how to protect yourself. More »

Analyst calls AMD “un-investable,” downgrades rating

Another day, and AMD inches even closer to irrelevance . Just one day after the company posted pretty terrible quarterly earnings (“Net loss $157 million, loss per share $0.21, operating loss $131 million"), followed by a 16 percent drop in the company's stock price and job cuts of 1,800 (15 percent of its global workforce), two financial analysts have now downgraded the company. It certainly doesn’t help things that the company’s CFO resigned abruptly last month, either. In a financial analysis report released Friday, Bernstein Research‘s Stacy Rasgon wrote: Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Engineers create gasoline from air and water. Yes, really.

In what sounds more like alchemy than science, a small British company has figured out a way to create gasoline from air and water. To do so, engineers at Air Fuel Synthesis (AFS) produced five litres (1.3 gallons) of the fuel by extracting carbon dioxide from air, and hydrogen from water, which was then combined in a reactor with a catalyst to create methanol. This methanol was then converted into gasoline. More »

Caltech laser accelerometer research may bring fine-tuned position tracking, grocery ads

One way that sensors can track your position without using an array of satellites is by measuring your acceleration as you move around -- but unless you're piloting a jumbo jet, current devices aren't very accurate. Researchers at Caltech hope to change all that with a new, ultra-sensitive accelerometer they developed, which uses laser light to detect motion changes. The scientists managed to shrink a so-called large-scale interferometer down to micro-scale sizes, creating a device "thousands of times faster than the most sensitive sensors used today." That could allow a smartphone with such a micro-sensor to detect your exact position even while inside a grocery store, and flash "ads and coupons for hot dog buns" while you're in the bread aisle, according to Caltech. All that sounds good, but we can perhaps think of more inspiring uses for the new tech. Filed under: Cellphones , Science , Alt Caltech laser accelerometer research may bring fine-tuned position tracking, grocery ads originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 19 Oct 2012 13:44:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink   Tech Eye  |  Caltech  |  Email this  |  Comments

Could Magnetic Ties Be the Death Of the Tie Clip?

Unless you're required to symbolically hang yourself every morning for work, you probably don't have a collection of tie clips for the rare time you do dress up. But with a Magnetie around your neck, you can be assured that both ends won't be flapping about thanks to the power of rare earth magnets. More »