September 19, 2017

"Wikileaks has released a new cache of documents which it claims detail surveillance apparatus used by the Russian state to spy on Internet and mobile users."

tech crunch: It’s the first time the organization has leaked (what it claims is) material directly pertaining to the Russian state. by Natasha Lomas

'As ever, nothing is straightforward when it comes to Wikileaks. And founder Julian Assange continues to face charges that his radical transparency organization is a front for Kremlin agents (charges that stepped up after Wikileaks released a massive trove of hacked emails from the DNC last year at a key moment in the U.S. presidential election).

'So it’s entirely possible Wikileaks/Assange is here trying to deflect from such charges by finally dumping something on Russia.

'Safe to say the Twitter arguments are already breaking out (e.g. see this tweet comment thread).

'And it’s not possible at this point to verify the veracity and/or value of the documents Wikileaks is releasing here.'

"The rise of cyber-bullying and monopolistic business practices has damaged trust in the internet, pioneering entrepreneur Baroness Lane-Fox has told the BBC."

BBC: The founder also called for a "shared set of principles" to make the web happier and safer.

'She said the internet had done much good over the last 30 years.

'But she said too many people had missed out on the benefits and it was time to "take a step back".

'"The web has become embedded in our lives over the last three decades but I think it's reached an inflexion point, or a sort of midlife crisis," she told Radio 4's Today programme.'

"For a long time, security experts have warned that text messages are vulnerable to hijacking — and this morning, they showed what it looks like in practice."

the verge: A demonstration video posted by Positive Technologies (and first reported by Forbes) shows how easy it is to hack into a bitcoin wallet by intercepting text messages in transit. by Russell Brandom

'The group targeted a Coinbase account protected by two-factor authentication, which was registered to a Gmail account also protected by two-factor. By exploiting known flaws in the cell network, the group was able to intercept all text messages sent to the number for a set period of time. That was enough to reset the password to the Gmail account and then take control of the Coinbase wallet. All the group needed was the name, surname and phone number of the targeted Bitcoin user. These were security researchers rather than criminals, so they didn’t actually steal anyone’s bitcoin, although that would have been an easy step to take.

'At a glance, this looks like a Coinbase vulnerability, but the real weakness is in the cellular system itself. Positive Technologies was able to hijack the text messages using its own research tool, which exploits weaknesses in the cellular network to intercept text messages in transit. Known as the SS7 network, that network is shared by every telecom to manage calls and texts between phone numbers. There are a number of known SS7 vulnerabilities, and while access to the SS7 network is theoretically restricted to telecom companies, hijacking services are frequently available on criminal marketplaces.'

"Of all the kinds of bacteria, some are charming and beneficial, others are malicious and dangerous—and then there are the ones that are just plain turds."

ars technica: That’s the case for Mycoplasma hyorhinis and its ilk. by Beth Mole

'Researchers caught the little jerks hiding out among cancer cells, gobbling up chemotherapy drugs intended to demolish their tumorous digs. The findings, reported this week in Science, explain how some otherwise treatable cancers can thwart powerful therapies.

'Drug resistance among cancers is a “foremost challenge,” according to the study’s authors, led by Ravid Straussman at the Weizmann Institute of Science. Yet the new data suggest that certain types of drug-resistant cancers could be defeated with a simple dollop of antibiotics alongside a chemotherapy regimen.

'That said, the findings are still mostly from lab and animal experiments. It will be a while before the results are repeated and confirmed in human cancer cases, then possibly translated into new clinical practices for treating certain types and cases of cancers.'

"Potential role of intratumor bacteria in mediating tumor resistance to the chemotherapeutic drug gemcitabine" by Leore T. Geller, et al. here