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Hackers Seed Torrent Trackers With Malware Disguised as Popular Downloads ( 64

An anonymous reader writes: Cybercriminals are spreading malware via torrent distribution networks, using an automated tool to disguise the downloads as trending audio, video and other digital content in an attempt to infect more unsuspecting victims. Researchers at InfoArmor say they have uncovered a malicious torrent distribution network that relies on a tool called RAUM to infect computers with malware. The network begins with a torrent parser, which collects information about some of the most popular torrent files circulating around the web. Computer criminals then apply their RAUM tool to create a series of malicious files. Some are fake copies of those popular torrent files that in reality hide notorious malware such as CryptXXX, Cerber, or Dridex. Others are weaponized torrent files, while others still are parsed torrent files that rely on a high download rating, a reputation which the attackers artificially inflate by abusing compromised users' accounts to set up new seeds.

Comment Re:No It Doesn't (Score 1) 70

This find raises no such question

I respectfully disagree. I'd argue the find suggests that it is theoretically possible to find or interpolate an intact DNA strand from a long extinct creature. That SHOULD raise the question of weather it's right to do so.

It takes time to come to a cultural consensus on these things. The right time to have the conversation is now, not when some grad student shows up at her university's ethics panel saying "I can haz baby Tyrannosaurus Rex?"

That moment is far too late and we'll have lawmakers falling all over themselves in reactionary hysterics. I've seen that movie (pun intended). Let's instead have the sober adult discussions NOW so that when the foreseeable happens we can say "Yep, we knew this was coming, and have given it a lot of thought and..."



Amazon Suddenly Stops Selling Student Loans ( 81

"The promotion has ended," a bank spokesperson said. After more than a year of preparation, Amazon's partnership with Wells Fargo to sell student loans barely lasted six weeks. An anonymous reader quotes Bloomberg: It's another black eye for Wells Fargo's student loan business, which just last week agreed to pay $3.6 million to the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to settle claims that it misled borrowers, illegally charged certain fees, and processed payments in a way designed to maximize late fees. Wells Fargo neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing.
The article cites a consumer advocate who says both Amazon and Wells Fargo were hiding the high costs of the loans, as well as their inflexible terms for repayment, in a "cynical attempt to dupe current students." The Washington Post noted that interest rates for community colleges and for-profit institutions "can climb to nearly 14%."

Comment Re:Technology Buzz Words (Score 1) 89

I realize I'm coming back to this thread late (was travelling, sorry), but in tech writing class we learned that the best practice was to use the pluralization that would apply if we had spelled out the acronym. So in this case "Artificial Intelligences can drive cars" would be the natural sounding construction instead of "Artificial Intelligence can drive cars" where I am referring to multiple separate code bases operating in independent instantiations, as opposed to one central AI coordinating all cars, which could be inferred if I had used the forced-singular construction you are advocating. When in doubt pick the language that is clearer over the 'right' formulation.

Anyways, just wanted to comment.


Comment Re:Technology Buzz Words (Score 3, Insightful) 89

The term AI has become synonymous with "something we'll see in 30 years".

AIs can drive cars and pick people out of pictures and even go back through my google photos album and match my 7 yr old with her baby picture (regardless if it does this by inferring that I only have one kid and therefore this is probably it or through facial recognition or some combination of the two, it's a nifty trick.), and beat a world class human at not only Chess but Go. My 13 yr old self, fresh out of reading Neuromancer would have told you we'd need an AI for that.

Now that we've reached there AI has receded into the future.

I saw the presentation last year DC about what they're attempting to accomplish. They want to write code that without human assistance can analyze a binary, (a neat trick by itself with the halting problem) for weaknesses, develop a patch for them, and at the same time attack its opponents and circumvent their fixes.

The real trick will be tho, the winner from the AI contest goes against the human's at Defcon on CTF. The money is heavily against the AI, but even if it places a good showing, it'll

The other issue is that people mistakenly assume that AI means Human-Level intellect (and usually greater-then human, since most of us couldn't beat a wold class Go player.

It's also separate from consciousness.

A computer that's as smart as a barn owl is artificially intelligent (and would probably be a scary good drone pilot).


Comment Re:What? (Score 1) 118

Yep. If it's actually true that you live in a society where things have degraded to the point that you can't trust the system not to be systemically corrupt, you should probably leave and go somewhere else.

There are checks in any good system, but if you can't have a reasonable expectation that two members of that system won't collude, there's not much that can be done. You have too many defectors, and the particular system you are playing in is headed a bad place and you should probably quit until it gets better.


Comment Re:What? (Score 3, Informative) 118

A valid point, but not really related specifically to encryption. Once evidence of any kind is gathered, how do you know the evidence is entirely original?

I expect you meant "how do we know the evidence is unaltered." Typically a hash of the data is collected at the point of collection and stored along with other details (filename, length, date/time stamp, collector information) with the collected forensics data. So the hash value can be recomputed and verify that whatever file you're looking at is the same as at the point of collection. Additionally, the standard 'chain of custody' checks can be done to verify that that hash never changed at any point in the history of custody after it was collected. If a key is available, the defense could do their own decryption to confirm that the plaintext presented is the same as the plaintext they produce from a file with the correct hash. Min

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