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  1. The MPA, Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, Homeland Security's National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center and other groups have signed an agreement to collaborate on content protection efforts and launch a new public awareness campaign to deter citizens from engaging in IPTV, general streaming, and torrent-based piracy. In 2017, the MPA joined forces with dozens of entertainment industry companies to form the huge anti-piracy coalition Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE). Two years later, the MPA bolstered its already considerable ranks with the addition of Netflix, an existing ACE member. Together with Amazon, the Hollywood studios and their partners are now engaged in legal action to bring down as many piracy platforms as they can, with a focus on IPTV and streaming. Thus far, however, ACE and MPA actions have lacked a visible or obvious connection to law enforcement and government entities. A corresponding, coordinated public awareness aspect has been missing too but that all changed this week with the announcement of yet more partnerships at a very high level. MPA and Partners Sign MoU With ICE IPR Center Late Wednesday, Homeland Security’s U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that its IPR Center, the MPA, ACE, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Innovation Policy Center plus industry marketing group CTAM, had formed a broad coalition to pool their content protection efforts. During what is described as a virtual ceremony, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by Derek N. Benner, Executive Associate Director for Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and Karyn Temple, Senior Executive Vice President and Global General Counsel for the MPA. The stated aim of the new partnership is to use the combined resources of the groups to support Homeland Security Investigations and the IPR Center’s digital piracy investigations, including resource and information sharing with external anti-piracy groups. “Now more than ever, collaboration and partnerships between content creative industries and law enforcement agencies are essential to combat digital piracy and protect consumers,” Benner said. “Through this partnership, the IPR Center and its private sector partners will implement an aggressive multi-layered strategy to restore the digital ecosystem, educate consumers on the dangers of illegal streaming, enforce the nation’s intellectual property rights laws, and dismantle criminal enterprises that operate on the internet – thinking they are untouchable and above the law.” Public Awareness Campaign Alongside the signing of the MoU, the new coalition also launched a brand new public service awareness campaign. While the anti-piracy groups and law enforcement bodies tackle large-scale pirates using legal mechanisms, they hope to convince consumers of illicit content – who keep these services alive – to stop using them. Via the new ‘StreamSafely‘ portal, it’s hoped that the visual entertainment industries can convince mainly IPTV and streaming users to stop frequenting pirate services. The approach will come as no surprise. MALWARE! MALWARE! MALWARE! After perhaps growing more than a little bit tired of attempting to get pirates to think of the creators, the latest trend is to get pirates to think of themselves. The main goal of this campaign is no different and the StreamSafely portal is neck-deep in warnings about malware. Indeed, there are a number of videos, presented by TV host and journalist Katie Linendoll, among others, claiming that signing up to a piracy site or service is a dangerous thing to do. If users want their machines infected, bank details, social security numbers, and indeed their entire identities stolen by criminals, piracy is the way to go, the site claims again and again. But will consumers find the message credible? While the message is nothing new and may have some merits in certain circumstances, the alleged scale of the problem isn’t supported by much evidence. While the campaign links to various reports that claim malware is a problem, the site nor these linked papers provide any hard specifics to support the numerous claims. PSA’s are designed to be simple and easy to consume but many tech-savvy consumers aren’t easily swayed. This could be countered by providing precise evidence and specifics of malware and identity theft in relation to pirate platforms. It would also send a powerful message if malicious services were actually named alongside details of what they have supposed to have done. To date, this hasn’t happened. Nor have there been any efforts to explain the precise mechanisms through which these alleged dangers manifest themselves. Taking this important step would build confidence that the campaign is about protecting consumers, not just copyright holders. It would also have the desired deterrent effect. There are literally no downsides. The Campaign Does Have its Merits There are certain aspects of the StreamSafely campaign that aren’t up for debate. Given their very nature, legal services such as Netflix are absolutely safe to use and users can be very confident indeed that any personal or financial information provided to the platform won’t be criminally abused. The other issue, and this is a big one, is the unreliable nature of the illicit streaming market, particularly IPTV. Experienced users of such services tend to dig in their heels at this point and argue that they have few problems, but most consumers aren’t so savvy. Services do go down and people do lose money, sometimes considerable amounts. “Seemingly inexpensive piracy devices, apps or websites often get shut down for distributing pirated content, leaving users in the lurch,” the campaign says. It’s a message that will resonate with thousands of IPTV and app-based pirates whose services have disappeared and taken their money. The malware angle needs much more work. Next Post Source: TorrentFreak
  2. Homeland Security cybersecurity agency says update Google Chrome as attackers hone in on new security flaws. Within the space of just three short weeks, Google has patched no less than five potentially dangerous vulnerabilities in the Chrome web browser. These are not your common vulnerabilities either, but rather ones known as zero-days. A zero-day being a vulnerability that is being actively exploited by attackers while remaining unknown to the vendor or threat intelligence outfits. Once the vendor becomes aware of the security flaw, day zero, it can start to mitigate against exploitation but not before. The attackers, therefore, have a head start. What do we know about these zero-day Chrome flaws? The latest two zero-days to be discovered are classed as high-severity in nature and affect Chrome for Windows, Mac and Linux. The precise details of CVE-2020-16013 and CVE-2020-16017 have not yet been made public as Google restricts access to such information until the majority of users have updated. However, the Department of Homeland Security cybersecurity agency, CISA, has advised that an attacker "could exploit one of these vulnerabilities to take control of an affected system." I can confirm that CVE-2020-16013 relates to the V8 JavaScript engine for Chrome and involves an incorrectly handled security check. Exploitation would most likely require an attacker to direct the victim to a malicious web page. CVE-2020-16017, on the other hand, would appear to be a memory corruption vulnerability within the Chrome website sandboxing feature known as Site Isolation. CISA urges users to update Google Chrome in light of ongoing attacks The bad news is that attackers already know precisely what the vulnerabilities are and how to exploit them. CISA has confirmed that the security vulnerabilities have been "detected in exploits in the wild." Unsurprisingly, CISA is encouraging users to apply the necessary updates that Google has been rolling out this past week, as soon as possible. That should be the good news, of course, but life is never that simple. Automatic updating ensures that Chrome is updated to the latest version once the browser is restarted. Not everyone will have automatic updates enabled, and not all of those who do will reboot Chrome on a regular basis. Users should go to the Help option from the 'three-dot' menu upper right and select About Google Chrome. This will kickstart the download of the latest version if not already downloaded and prompt you to restart the browser. The latest version, as I write, being 86.0.4240.198 (Official Build) to be precise. The dangers of being slow to update apps Here's the thing: some people are slow to update their browsers, which leaves an attack window open for days, weeks, or even longer in some cases. This is particularly apparent when it comes to the Chrome browser app. When Google very quickly updated Chrome following one of the zero-day vulnerabilities from earlier in the month, CVE-2020-16010, users were slow to secure themselves. "24 hours after the updated version of Chrome was available on the Play Store," Hank Schless, senior manager of security solutions at Lookout, told me, "we observed that roughly half of Android users had updated their app." As well as the automatic update issue mentioned before, Schless points to older Android devices that don't support the updated software as being partly to blame. "Out-of-date mobile devices can be just as dangerous as out of date apps," he says, "this leaves the user's personal or work data open to attackers that exploit vulnerabilities patched in later versions of the mobile app or operating system." I have reached out to Google concerning the spate of zero-day vulnerabilities across the last few weeks and will update this article if any statement is forthcoming. Source
  3. The Department of Homeland Security has been purchasing cellphone location data and using it to track activity near the US-Mexico border, according to The Wall Street Journal. The data has reportedly led to arrests after law enforcement saw where people were crossing the border and traced the data back to specific people. The location data comes from a commercial database composed of information compiled on users by marketing companies. Advertisers and app developers are often able to gather far more information than a user might realize, such as once they’ve granted an app permission to use their location for a more legitimate use, like checking the weather. All of this data collection can lead to an incredibly revealing portrait of an individual’s behavior being created, even though they might have little idea that they, theoretically, consented to the information being shared. It also means that the government can obtain very revealing data on a broad swath of people without going through the courts or relying on questionable legal precedents. It can just buy the information outright, like anyone else can. The Department of Homeland Security confirmed to the Journal that it had purchased the data. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection are reported to have used the data but did not specifically acknowledge doing so. The Journal says the data came from Venntel, a company that calls itself a “pioneer in mobile location information” that “supports our national interests through technological innovation.” Venntel indicated that the Department of Homeland Security was a customer but otherwise declined to comment to the Journal. The New York Times recently highlighted just how revealing this information can be. With access to a database of cellphone location data, reporters were able to track even high-profile individuals in great detail. “We followed military officials with security clearances as they drove home at night. We tracked law enforcement officers as they took their kids to school,” wrote Stuart A. Thompson and Charlie Warzel. Source
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