Submission + - Researcher Turns HDD Into Rudimentary Microphone (bleepingcomputer.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Speaking at a security conference, researcher Alfredo Ortega has revealed that you can use your hard disk drive (HDD) as a rudimentary microphone to can pick up nearby sounds. This is possible because of how hard drives are designed to work. Sounds or nearby vibrations are nothing more than mechanical waves that cause HDD platters to vibrate. By design, a hard drive cannot read or write information to an HDD platter that moves under vibrations, so the hard drive must wait for the oscillation to stop before carrying out any actions.

Because modern operating systems come with utilities that measure HDD operations up to nanosecond accuracy, Ortega realized that he could use these tools to measure delays in HDD operations. The longer the delay, the louder the sound or the intense the vibration that causes it. These read-write delays allowed the researcher to reconstruct sound or vibration waves picked up by the HDD platters. A video demo is here.

"It's not accurate yet to pick up conversations," Ortega told Bleeping Computer in a private conversation. "However, there is research that can recover voice data from very low-quality signals using pattern recognition. I didn't have time to replicate the pattern-recognition portion of that research into mine. However, it's certainly applicable."

Furthermore, the researcher also used sound to attack hard drives. Ortega played a 130Hz tone to make an HDD stop responding to commands. "The Linux kernel disconnected it entirely after 120 seconds," he said. There's a video of this demo on YouTube.

Submission + - Here To Zero: The Real Inside Story Of How Commodore Failed (youtube.com)

dryriver writes: Everybody who was into computers in the 1980s and 1990s remembers Commodore producing amazingly innovative, capable and popular multimedia and gaming computers one moment, and disappearing off the face of the earth the next, leaving only PCs and Macs standing. Much has been written about what went wrong with Commodore over the years, but always by outsiders looking in — journalists, tech writers, not people who were on the inside. In a 34 minute long Youtube interview that surfaced on October 9th, former Commodore UK Managing Director David John Pleasance and Trevor Dickinson of A-EON Technology talk very frankly about how Commodore really failed, and just how crazy bad and preventable the business and tech decisions that killed Commodore were, from firing all Amiga engineers for no discernible reason, to hiring 40 IBM engineers who didn't understand multimedia computing, to not licensing the then-valuable Commodore Business Machines (CBM) brand to PC makers to generate an extra revenue stream, to one new manager suddenly deciding to manufacture in the Philippines — a place where the man had a lady mistress apparently. The interview is a truly eye-opening preview of an upcoming book David John Pleasance is writing called "Commodore: The Inside Story". The book will, for the first time, chronicle the fall of Commodore from the insider perspective of an actual Commodore Managing Director.

Submission + - Process against Facebook starts today in Brussels (deredactie.be)

Koen Lefever writes: In Brussels, the process between the Privacy Committee of the Belgian Federal government and Facebook has started today. The committee thinks that Facebook needs to be clearer about which data it collects and what it does with it. The so-called 'social plug-ins', 'cookies' and 'pixels' are technologies that allow Facebook to monitor surfing behaviour. According to the Privacy Committee, Facebook still too often collects data without the user being aware of it. According to the Privacy Committee, Facebook also tracks people who do not have a Facebook profile via certain cookies.

Submission + - U.S. Weapons Data Stolen During Raid Of Australian Defense Contractors Computers (wsj.com)

phalse phace writes: Another day, another report of a major breach of sensitive U.S. military and intelligence data.

According to a report by the Wall St. Journal, "A cyberattacker nicknamed “Alf” gained access to an Australian defense contractor’s computers and began a four-month raid that snared data on sophisticated U.S. weapons systems.

Using the simple combinations of login names and passwords “admin; admin” and “guest; guest” and exploiting a vulnerability in the company’s help-desk portal, the attacker roved the firm’s network for four months.

The identity and affiliation of the hackers in the Australian attack weren’t disclosed, but officials with knowledge of the intrusion said the attack was thought to have originated in China."

The article goes on to state that "Alf obtained around 30 gigabytes of data on Australia’s planned purchase of up to 100 F-35 fighters made by Lockheed Martin, as well as information on new warships and Boeing-built P-8 Poseidon maritime-surveillance aircraft, in the July 2016 breach."

The stolen data also included details of the C-130 Hercules transport aircraft and guided bombs used by the U.S. and Australian militaries as well as design information “down to the captain’s chair” on new warships for Australia’s navy.

Submission + - Iranian Hacker Defaces Website of UAE's Telecom Regulatory Authority

An anonymous reader writes: An Iranian hacker going with the handle of MoHaMaD VaKeR hacked and defaced the official sub-domain ofTelecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) of United Arab Emirates (UAE), two days ago on 25th Oct 2014.

The targeted sub-domain reportedly belongs to IPV6 training forum.

Hacker left a deface page along with a message on hacked domain, bashing the site admin for poor security.

The reason for targeting TRA’s website was not mentioned anywhere, but abusive words against USA and Israel were left in bold letters. This leads to the conclusion that it was just a random hack, but considering the importance of the institution; it is impossible to ignore it.

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