colinneagle writes “A recent GigaOm report discusses Verizon’s ‘peering’ practices, which involves the exchange of traffic between two bandwidth providers. When peering with bandwidth provider Cogent starts to reach capacity, Verizon reportedly isn’t adding any ports to meet the demand, Cogent CEO Dave Schaffer told GigaOm. ‘They are allowing the peer connections to degrade,’ Schaffer said. ‘Today some of the ports are at 100 percent capacity.’ Why would Verizon intentionally disrupt Netflix video streaming for its customers? One possible reason is that Verizon owns a 50% stake in Redbox, the video rental service that contributed to the demise of Blockbuster (and more recently, a direct competitor to Netflix in online streaming). If anything threatens the future of Redbox, whose business model requires customers to visit its vending machines to rent and return DVDs, it’s Netflix’s instant streaming service, which delivers the same content directly to their screens.” Read more of this story at Slashdot.
An anonymous reader writes “Sony claims that both the new 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch models of its Haswell-equipped Vaio Pro ultrabooks are the world’s lightest. The 11.6-inch model weighs in at 1.9lb (0.87k , where as the 13.3-incher is a little heavier at just 2.33lb (1.06kg). But it’s the battery life on offer here that really makes the new Pros stand out. The 11.6-inch Vaio Pro offers 11 hours of battery life as standard, while the 13.3-inch achieves 8 hours. However, Sony is also offering a sheet battery you can connect to the base of the ultrabooks. On the 13.3-inch Pro that increases battery life to 18 hours, but on the 11.6-inch you get a true day-long amount of juice with 25 hours of battery life claimed.” Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Etherwalk writes “Huang Chengqing, China’s top internet security official, alleged that cyberattacks on China from people in the U.S. are as serious as those from China on the U.S. ‘We have mountains of data, if we wanted to accuse the U.S., but it’s not helpful in solving the problem.’ Huang, however, does not necessarily attribute them to the U.S. government just because they came from U.S. soil, and he thinks Washington should extend the same courtesy. ‘They advocated cases that they never let us know about. Some cases can be addressed if they had talked to us, why not let us know? It is not a constructive train of thought to solve problems.’ In response to the recent theft of U.S. military designs, he replied with an observation whose obviousness is worthy of Captain Hammer: ‘Even following the general principle of secret-keeping, it should not have been linked to the Internet.’” A few experts think China’s more cooperative attitude has come about precisely because the U.S. government has gone public with hacking allegations. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
mask.of.sanity writes “Vulnerabilities in Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV television sets have been found that allow viewers’ home networks to be hacked, the programs they watched spied on, and even for TV sets to be turned into Bitcoin miners. The laboratory attacks took take advantage of the rich web features enabled in smart TVs running on the HbbTV network, a system loaded with online streaming content and apps which is used by more than 20 million viewers in Europe.” Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Yesterday, I wrote about an expert witness’s report on Prenda Law ( previously ), the notorious porno copyright trolls (they send you letters accusing you of downloading porn and demand money on pain of being sued and forever having your name linked with embarrassing pornography). The witness said that he believed that Prenda — and its principle, John Steele — had been responsible for seeding and sharing the files they accused others of pirating. After hearing about this, the administrators for The Pirate Bay dug through their logs and published a damning selection of log entries showing that many of the files that Steele and his firm accused others of pirating were uploaded by Steele himself, or someone with access to his home PC. The Pirate Bay logs not only link Prenda to the sharing of their own files on BitTorrent, but also tie them directly to the Sharkmp4 user and the uploads of the actual torrent files. The IP-address 220.127.116.11 was previously used by someone with access to John Steele’s GoDaddy account and was also used by Sharkmp4 to upload various torrents. Several of the other IP-addresses in the log resolve to the Mullvad VPN and are associated with Prenda-related comments on the previously mentioned anti-copyright troll blogs. The logs provided by The Pirate Bay can be seen as the missing link in the evidence chain, undoubtedly linking Sharkmp4 to Prenda and John Steele. Needless to say, considering the stack of evidence above it’s not outrageous to conclude that the honeypot theory is viable. While this is certainly not the first time that a copyright troll has been accused of operating a honeypot, the evidence compiled against Prenda and Steel is some of the most damning we’ve seen thus far. The Pirate Bay Helps to Expose Copyright Troll Honeypot [Ernesto/TorrentFreak]
Brian Krebs offers an in-depth look at a “cashout” service used by ransomware crooks to get money from their victims. Ransomware is malicious software that encrypts your personal files and demands that you pay a ransom for the key to decrypt them; the crooks who run the attacks demand that their victims buy prepaid MoneyPak cards and send the numbers for them by way of payment. But converting MoneyPaks to cash is tricky — one laundry, which pipes the money through a horse/dog-track betting service — charges a 60% premium. * The ransomware victims who agree to purchase MoneyPak vouchers to regain control over their PCs. * The guys operating the botnets that are pushing ransomware, locking up victim PCs, and extracting MoneyPak voucher codes from victims. * The guy(s) running this cashout service. * The “cashiers” or “cashers” on the back end who are taking the Moneypak codes submitted to the cashing service, linking those codes to fraudulently-obtained prepaid debit cards, and then withdrawing the funds via ATMs and wiring the proceeds back to the cashing service, minus their commission. The cashing service then credits a percentage of the MoneyPak voucher code values to the ransomware peddler’s account. How much does the cashout service charge for all this work? More than half of the value of the MoneyPaks, it would seem. When a user logs in to the criminal service, he is greeted with the following message: “Dear clients, due to decrease of infection rate on exploits we are forced to lift the price. The price is now 0.6. And also, I explained the rules for returns many times, we return only cheques which return on my side if you cash them out after then we lock the account! There are many clients who don’t return anything, and I will work only with these people now. I warn you.” Cashout Service for Ransomware Scammers