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Yandex Maps Blurs Military Installations Which Brings Attention to Secret Facilities

Russia's premier mapping service, Yandex Maps, has started blurring images of all military installations in Israel and Turkey. This includes small military installations in the middle of cities that weren't previously known to be a military property. Now anyone can just look on the Yandex maps and find all the secret military installations in Israel and Turkey. Of course Russia doesn't have its secret military installations blurred out as this would immediately bring attention to them.

Fortunately (from an OSINT perspective), this has had the unintended effect of revealing the location and exact perimeter of every significant military facility within both countries, if one is obsessive curious enough to sift through the entire map looking for blurry patches. Matching the blurred sites to un-blurred (albeit downgraded) imagery available through Google Earth is a method of "tipping and cueing," in which one dataset is used to inform a more detailed analysis of a second dataset. My complete list of blurred sites in both Israel and Turkey totals over 300 distinct buildings, airfields, ports, bunkers, storage sites, bases, barracks, nuclear facilities, and random buildings.

Posted by cageymaru December 11, 2018 6:25 PM (CST)

Google CEO Tells Lawmakers That It Has No Plans to Launch Chinese Search Engine

Google CEO Sundar Pichai has told a U.S. congressional panel Tuesday that it has no plans to relaunch its search engine in China. "But he added that internally Google has 'developed and looked at what search could look like. We've had the project underway for a while. At one point, we've had over 100 people working on it is my understanding.'" Google employees have been vocal in their disapproval of project Dragonfly, the internal name for the censored Chinese search engine.

"Right now, there are no plans to launch search in China," Pichai told the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee. Pichai said there are no current discussions with the Chinese government. He vowed that he would be "fully transparent" with policymakers if the company brings search products to China.

Posted by cageymaru December 11, 2018 2:14 PM (CST)

Intel is Allegedly Shipping 14nm Products With MRAM

Alternative non-volatile memory technologies like MRAM are a hot area of research, and some companies like Everspin are already producing MRAM products for niche use cases. However, a recent report by EE Times claims that Intel is shipping products made on a "22FFL" process with "the first FinFET-based MRAM technology." Intel itself didn't mention anything about their customers, and only describe the process as "production ready." Meanwhile, Samsung and Global Foundries say they introduced MRAM into manufacturing processes of their own. MRAM probably won't show up in consumer desktop products anytime soon, but the fact that it's (allegedly) shipping in some commercial 14nm product, and that competitors are taking an interest in it, is huge step forward.

In addition to being seen as a promising candidate for standalone devices to replace memory chip stalwarts DRAM and NAND flash - which are facing serious scaling challenges as the industry moves to smaller nodes - MRAM, which is a non-volatile memory, is appealing as an embedded technology replacement for flash and embedded SRAM because of its fast read/write times, high endurance, and strong retention... In its paper, Intel said that its embedded MRAM technology achieves 10-year retention at 200 Celsius and endurance of more than 10^6 switching cycles. The technology uses a 216 x 225 mm 1T-1R memory cell. Samsung, meanwhile, described its 8-Mb MRAM with endurance of 10^6 cycles and retention of 10 years.

Update 12/11/2018: Wikichip reports that Intel's 22FFL process is actually a "relaxed" version of their regular 14nm processes. The article was updated accordingly. Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas December 11, 2018 12:48 PM (CST)

Watch Google's CEO Sundar Pichai Testify Before Congress

Google chief executive Sundar Pichai testifies before the House Judiciary Committee on Alphabet Inc. unit's social media practices.

After a year of avoiding the spotlight -- and the political scrutiny that's befallen his peers at Facebook and Twitter -- Pichai is set to deliver his first-ever testimony to Congress on Tuesday. The appearance is shaping up to be a major test of Pichai's skills in managing the company's reputation at a time when several of Silicon Valley's biggest names are in crisis -- and when many of Google's employees are in revolt.

Posted by cageymaru December 11, 2018 12:10 PM (CST)

Fortnite, PUBG and Other Games Allegedly Banned in China

Citing a Reddit thread, PCGamesN reports that popular games like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, Paladins, Fortnite, and H1Z1 have been been banned in China, while others like World of Warcraft, Overwatch, Diablo and League of Legends require "corrective action." According to the Reddit post, the 20 new games that were reportedly being "reviewed" by the government were actually existing titles. Reddit can be a sketchy source, but an independent report from seems to corroborate the claims. Experts note that this is bad news for publishers inside and outside of China. Ironically, the government crackdown could also encourage Chinese publishers to start pushing their games overseas.

The analysts warns that this does not bode well for anyone wanting to release in China. "Indications are that existing games with commercial licenses are not exempt from review, meaning more disruption for the market running into 2019," the firm wrote. "This will mean additional costs for publishers and developers looking to operate their games in China, even those with existing popular and commercially successful titles many of which appear to need changes to satisfy the regulators that they are suitable for younger players." The firm also notes that if the Ethics Committee is re-reviewing previously released titles, the waiting list for new games hoping to release in China "likely to be longer than expected", predicting the impact could be felt "deep into 2019."

Posted by alphaatlas December 11, 2018 11:41 AM (CST)

Bad Default Configurations Leave Ethereum Wallets Exposed

According to a ZDNet report, bad default configurations in popular Ethereum software are leaving users' wallets wide open to exploitation, and hackers are taking advantage of it. The misconfiguration exposes the standard JSON-RPC interface commonly found in Ethereum software to the internet, which allows attackers to easily scan for vulnerable clients and issue commands, such as wallet transfers. ZDnet claims that scans for the vulnerable port ramped up at least a week ago. While the value of Ethereum has plunged to less than 10% of what it was worth in January, according to CoinMarketCap, all the ETH in circulation is still worth over $9 billion USD. Thanks to Schtask for the tip.

However, the problem with port 8545 isn't new. Back in August 2015, the Ethereum team sent out a security advisory to all Ethereum users about the dangers of using mining equipment and Ethereum software that exposes this API interface over the Internet, recommending that users take precautions by either adding a password on the interface, or using a firewall to filter incoming traffic for port 8545. Many mining rig vendors and wallet app makers have taken precautions to limit port 8545 exposure, or have removed the JSON-RPC interface altogether. Unfortunately, this wasn't an industry-concerted effort, and many devices are still exposed online. But despite warnings from the Ethereum team, many users have failed to check Ethereum clients about this issue.

Update 12/11/18: 360 Netlab claims that over $20 Million in Ethereum has been stolen already. Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas December 11, 2018 8:59 AM (CST)

New Google+ API Bug Affects 52 Million Consumers and Enterprise Customers

A new Google+ API bug has been discovered and it affects 52 million consumers and enterprise customers. Google discovered the bug and believes that no app developers knew of or exploited the system in the 6 days that the bug was present. This discovery has made Google rethink the August 2019 shutdown date for Google+. A decision has been made to expedite the shutdown of the social media service to April 2019. The consumer version of Google+ will be sunsetting in 90 days. Although the bug shared information that may have been set to not-public, it didn't share information such as financial data, national identification numbers, passwords, or similar data typically used for fraud or identity theft. We reported on the first security breach and closing of Google+ earlier this year.

With respect to this API, apps that requested permission to view profile information that a user had added to their Google+ profile--like their name, email address, occupation, age (full list here)--were granted permission to view profile information about that user even when set to not-public. In addition, apps with access to a user's Google+ profile data also had access to the profile data that had been shared with the consenting user by another Google+ user but that was not shared publicly.

Posted by cageymaru December 10, 2018 7:25 PM (CST)

Mobile Apps Track Your Movements and Its All for Sale

The NY Times is reporting on mobile apps that track your movements after users agree to enable location services to get local news, weather, and other information. These apps collect data from a user every 2 seconds or up to 14,000 times a day for the purpose of selling the data to hedge funds, advertising agencies, retail outlets and more. This "anonymous data" includes the location of your home address so it is easy to cross reference the address with public records. Location companies say that people's data is fair game after agreeing to the privacy policy. They reiterate that it is a fair deal as customers are willing to give up their data in exchange for free services. Personal injury lawyers are buying advertisements from ad firms that are clients of tracking location companies. When they detect a person in an emergency room, the advertising sent to the phone is customized to target people who might have been in an accident. The NY Times was able to use the anonymous data to correctly identify nuclear plant employees, nurses, a police officer working on a homicide case, jail workers, teachers, AA members, weight watchers members, etc. Some of the people they tracked were willing to discuss their feelings on data collection in the article. More than 1,200 apps contain the tracking code. "Location data companies pay half a cent to two cents per user per month, according to offer letters to app makers reviewed by The Times."

Businesses say their interest is in the patterns, not the identities, that the data reveals about consumers. They note that the information apps collect is tied not to someone's name or phone number but to a unique ID. But those with access to the raw data -- including employees or clients -- could still identify a person without consent. They could follow someone they knew, by pinpointing a phone that regularly spent time at that person's home address. Or, working in reverse, they could attach a name to an anonymous dot, by seeing where the device spent nights and using public records to figure out who lived there.

Posted by cageymaru December 10, 2018 2:58 PM (CST)

Soulja Boy Is Selling a Console That's Basically an Overpriced Emulator

American rapper Soulja Boy, who has "played games all his life," has decided to expand his brand and capitalize on the gaming industry with two new products, the "SouljaGame Handheld" and "SouljaGame Console." Polygon and Waypoint have concluded that they are just clever scams, however: the rapper appears to be selling potentially illegal emulation consoles identical to those produced by Anbernic, but at a significant markup.

As far as we can tell, Soulja Boy is selling these products on his site, just with his name attached. He’s also selling them at a markup; both the console and handheld cost $199.99, although they’re on sale for $149.99 and $99.99 respectively. Meanwhile, AliExpress has the direct-from-Anbernic versions for $105.99 and $72.99. We’ve contacted Soulja Boy’s press team for further information about the SouljaGame products, and we’ll update once Soulja Boy tells ’em, and then tells us in return.

Posted by Megalith December 09, 2018 4:20 PM (CST)

Google Employee Found Dead inside NYC Headquarters

Scott Krulcik, a 22-year-old Google software engineer, was found unconscious at his work terminal Friday inside the company’s NYC headquarters. EMS workers attempted to revive him, but he was pronounced dead at the scene. "His body did not show any signs of trauma, and there did not appear to be criminality involved, authorities said."

Neighbors at his West 11th Street walk-up were stunned to hear of his death. "Oh my gosh. That’s so sad. I ran into him from time to time in the hallway," said one resident who said he moved into the building last fall. "He looked just like he did in his photos. Such a nice young, vibrant man." He lived on the fifth floor with a roommate, who was also a Google engineer and, like Krulcik, a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Posted by Megalith December 09, 2018 10:25 AM (CST)

California Officially Becomes First in Nation Mandating Solar Power for New Homes

The Golden State’s Building Standards Commission has approved legislation that requires any California home built in 2020 or later be solar powered. "Energy officials estimated the provisions will add $10,000 to the cost of building a single-family home, about $8,400 from adding solar and about $1,500 for making homes more energy-efficient. But those costs would be offset by lower utility bills over the 30-year lifespan of the solar panels."

"These provisions really are historic and will be a beacon of light for the rest of the country," said Kent Sasaki, a structural engineer and one of six commissioners voting for the new energy code. "(It’s) the beginning of substantial improvement in how we produce energy and reduce the consumption of fossil fuels." The new provisions are expected to dramatically boost the number of rooftop solar panels in the Golden State. Last year, builders took out permits for more than 115,000 new homes -- almost half of them for single-family homes.

Posted by Megalith December 08, 2018 11:10 AM (CST)

Bethesda Support Ticket System Leaked Customer Information

Today's data leak of the day comes from... Bethesda. Recently, Bethesda promised to give buyers of Fallout 76's $200 Power Armor edition a real canvas bag. But to do that, customers had to create a support ticket and submit proof of purchase, which allegedly included a receipt containing credit card information, phone numbers, home addresses, and more. After submitting the tickets, users started to notice that they could see everyone else's tickets, as well as the proof they submitted. Naturally, this started to blow up on Twitter, Reddit, YouTube, and Bethesda's official forums. PCGamesN says Bethesda's support site went down when they first noticed the issue, and that the receipts included credit card numbers, while Bethesda customer support claims that the issue is now "fixed". Thanks to Ocellaris for the tip.

When Bethesda offered to send out canvas bag replacements for those who bought the Fallout 76 Power Armor Edition, I'll admit that I thought the problems were resolved and the saga of the canvas bag was done for. Clearly, that belief was a naive one.

Posted by alphaatlas December 05, 2018 7:54 PM (CST)