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Police Begin Placing Warning Adverts on ‘Pirate’ Sites

cityoflondonpoliceFor a year, City of London Police have been working with the music and movie industries on initiatives to cut down on the consumption of pirated content online.

Operation Creative employs a multi-pronged approach, seeking to educate consumers while making life difficult for sites that operate unlicensed services.

Many unauthorized sites generate revenue from advertising, so the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) informs potential advertisers on how to keep their promotions away, thus depriving sites of cash. Another key aim is to stop users from getting the impression that pirate sites have “big brand” support when household names are seen advertising.

Today, PIPCU officially announced the launch of another angle to their ad strategy. As reported by TF in April, police are now placing their own ads on pirate sites to warn users that the site they’re using has been reported.

“This new initiative is another step forward for the unit in tackling IP crime and disrupting criminal profits,” said Head of PIPCU, DCI Andy Fyfe.

“Copyright infringing websites are making huge sums of money though advert placement, therefore disrupting advertising on these sites is crucial and this is why it is an integral part of Operation Creative.”

Sample police ad

As shown below, the BBC has published a PIPCU-supplied screenshot of how the ads look on an unauthorized MP3 site known as


In our tests we couldn’t replicate the banners, despite dozens of refreshes, so it’s possible the site took action to remove them. Needless to say, we did see other advertising, and very interesting it was too.

Ironically, by clicking album links on Full-Albums we were presented with ads from BearShare, a music service that struck deals with the RIAA in the last decade. As can be seen from the screenshot below, the service places the major labels’ logos prominently to attract customers, even when accessed from a UK IP address.


TF checked with the BPI on the licensing status of the service in the UK and will update this article when their statement arrives, but as can be seen from this quote from the BearShare site, they claim to be legal.

“Using BearShare is 100% legal. The service employs state of the art filtering technology, and is approved by the major record labels and RIAA. Downloading from BearShare is entirely legal, and will not get you in any kind of trouble whatsoever,” the service says.

If Bearshare is licensed, this raises the possibility that the labels are indirectly financing ads on pirate sites themselves, something they’ll want to quickly remedy.

Ads on other sites

PIPCU, who have partnered with content verification technology provider ‘Project Sunblock’ to place the warning ads, say their banners are “now replacing a wide range of legitimate brand adverts on infringing websites.”

So, determined to find examples of the police advertising, we began moving through sites with the most copyright complaints as per Google’s Transparency Report.

Unfortunately we were unable to view a single PIPCU banner. However, as shown in the screenshot below, we did get some interesting results on MP3Juices, a site for which the BPI has sent 1,206,000+ takedowns to Google.


Skybet is not only a subsidiary of broadcasting giant BSkyB, but the company is also a leading member of the Federation Against Copyright Theft. In turn, FACT is a key Operation Creative partner. While Sky Bet wasn’t the only gambling advertiser on the site, this ad placement means that BSkyB are currently helping to finance the very sites that PIPCU are trying to close down.

There’s absolutely no suggestion that Sky or the major labels via Bearshare are deliberately trying to finance pirate sites, but the above examples show just how difficult it’s going to be to keep major brand’s advertising off these sites, even when they are acutely aware of the problems.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

Misusing Digital Certificates

Excerpt from the post “How Cybercrime Exploits Digital Certificates” which details means and motivation of illicit activities which abuses digital certificates.

Digital certificates have been misused many times during recent years. Bad actors abused them to conduct cyber attacks against private entities, individuals and government organizations. The principal abuses of digital certificates observed by security experts:

Man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks

Bad actors use digital certificates to eavesdrop on SSL/TLS traffic. Usually these attacks exploit the lack of strict controls by client applications when a server presents them with an SSL/TLS certificate signed by a trusted but unexpected Certification Authority.

SSL certificates are the privileged mechanism for ensuring that secure websites really are who they say they are. Typically, when we access a secure website, a padlock is displayed in the address bar. Before the icon appears, the site first presents a digital certificate, signed by a trusted “root” authority, that attests to its identity and encryption keys.

Unfortunately web browsers, due to improper design and lack of efficient verification processes, accept the certificates issued by the trusted CA, even if it is an unexpected one.

An attacker that is able to obtain a fake certificate from any certification authority and present it to the client during the connection phase can impersonate every encrypted web site the victim visits.

“Most browsers will happily (and silently) accept new certificates from any valid authority, even for web sites for which certificates had already been obtained. An eavesdropper with fake certificates and access to a target’s internet connection can thus quietly interpose itself as a ‘man-in-the-middle’, observing and recording all encrypted web traffic traffic, with the user none the wiser.”

Digital Certificates 1

Cyber attacks based on signed malware

Another common cyber attack is based on malware signed with stolen code-signing certificates. The techniques allow attackers to improve avoidance techniques for their malicious codes. Once the private key associated with a trusted entity is compromised, it could be used to sign the malicious code of the malware. This trick allows an attacker to also install those software components (e.g. drivers, software updates) that require signed code for their installation/execution. One of the most popular cases was related to the data breach suffered by security firm Bit9. Attackers stole one of the company’s certs and used it to sign malware and serve it. The certificate was used to sign a malicious Java Applet that exploited a flaw in the browser of targeted browser.

Malware installed illegitimate certificates

Attackers could use also malware to install illegitimate certificates to trust them, avoiding security warnings. Malicious code could for example operate as a local proxy for SSL/TLS traffic, and the installed illegitimate digital certificates could allow attackers to eavesdrop on traffic without triggering any warning. The installation of a fake root CA certificate on the compromised system could allow attackers to arrange a phishing campaign. The bad actor just needs to set up a fake domain that uses SSL/TLS and passes certificate validation steps. Recently, Trend Micro has published a report on a hacking campaign dubbed “Operation Emmental”, which targeted Swiss bank accounts with a multi-faceted attack that is able to bypass two factor authentication implemented by the organization to secure its customers. The attackers, in order to improve the efficiency of their phishing schema, used a malware that installs a new root Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate, which prevents the browser from warning victims when they land on these websites.

Digital Certificates 2

CAs issued improper certificates

Improper certificates are issued by the CAs and hackers use them for cyber attacks. In one of the most blatant cases, DigiCert mistakenly sold a certificate to a non-existent company. the digital certificate was then used to sign malware used in cyber attacks.

Read the Full Article “How Cybercrime Exploits Digital Certificates”  on the Infosec Institute.

Pierluigi Paganini

Security Affairs –  (Digital Certificates, cybercrime)

The post Misusing Digital Certificates appeared first on Security Affairs.

Changing Unipolar Steppers To Bipolar


If you’ve been a good little hacker and have been tearing apart old printers like you’re supposed to, you’ve probably run across more than a few stepper motors. These motors come in a variety of flavors, from the four-wire deals you find in 3D printer builds, to motors with five or six wires. Unipolar motors – the ones with more than four wires – are easier to control, but are severely limited in generating torque. Luckily, you can use any unipolar motor as a more efficient bipolar motor with a simple xacto knife modification.

The extra wires in a unipolar motor are taps for each of the coils. Simply ignoring these wires and using the two coils independently makes the motor more efficient at generating torque.

[Jangeox] did a little experiment in taking a unipolar motor, cutting the trace to the coil taps, and measuring the before and after torque. The results are impressive: as a unipolar motor, the motor has about 380 gcm of torque. In bipolar mode, the same motor has 800 gcm of torque. You can check that video out below.

Filed under: hardware

ThunderSoft Slideshow Factory is an incredibly easy-to-use software package that lets you make slideshow from your pictures and videos!

ThunderSoft Slideshow Factory is an incredibly easy-to-use software package that lets you make slideshow from your pictures and videos! You can add transition effects, apply captions, play music, use clip art, and more! With over 70 different animated templates, it’s easy to create slideshows and publish as SWF movie, Executable, Screen Saver and video files. You can upload video slideshow on youtube, even create HTML5 video for your website.

ThunderSoft Studio provides Special Price for GAOTD users to get standard license of ThunderSoft Slideshow Factory, (just $9.99)!

Note: the best IdeaInformer suggestion will be rewarded with the Slideshow Factory life-time license and templates pack!

Kaspersky uncovered the complex infrastructure of Koler ransomware

Researchers at Kaspersky Lab issued a report on the Koler ransomware, which is targeting both Android devices and desktop browsers.

Experts at Kaspersky Lab published a report titled “Koler—The Police Ransomware for Android” that examines how bad actors behind the Reveton campaign have operated, Koler ransomware recently targeted Android users. The report on the Koler malware is more focused on the sophisticated infrastructure the Reventon team has used for its malicious campaign.

In May 2014, French researcher Kafeine, discovered new mobile ransomware named AndroidOS.Koler.a, the attack starts when victims will visit a pornographic website on their Android device, then they are redirected to a site which host a malicious .apk file used by criminals to lock the device’s screen and demands payment of a fee between $100 and $300.

Most of the visitors of pornographic website are from the US, a limited number of visits coming from the UK, Canada and Europe.

“Through these stats, we also confirmed that the campaign started in April 2014. At the time of our analysis, the landing website had received 196,619 visitors.”

Be aware, the installation of Koler ransomware is not automatic and requests victim intervention.

The malicious app requests for its installation a significant number of permissions, including the ability to access the Internet, read phone status and identity, to run at startup and to prevent the phone from sleeping.


Koler campaign findings 2

July 23, something strange happened, the command and control server began sending uninstall commands to mobile devices infected by Koler malware. Only the mobile component used by Reventon team was apparently dismantled.

The expert noticed that while Koler ransomware is not a particularly complex malware, the infrastructure used for the criminal campaign is very versatile and complex.

“We believe this kind of infrastructure is a perfect example of how well prepared and dangerous these campaigns are. They are now targeting, but are not limited to, Android users. The attackers can quickly create a similar infrastructure thanks to its intricate automation, changing the payload or targeting different users,”“The attackers have also created many different ways of monetizing their campaign in a true multi-device schema.” states the report.

The distribution infrastructure used to spread the malware was far more complex than expected, it relies on a TDS (Traffic Distribution System) that targets both mobile devices and desktop visitor.

“That includes redirections to browser-based ransomware and the Angler exploit kit.” stated the report.

Koler campaign findings

The experts uncovered another interesting feature implemented by the Reveton team, is the way it automated the creation of
new pornography sites and the redirection of traffic.

“They also used their malware as a service through an API to obtain new landing sites to distribute their browser-based ransomware and exploit kit websites.”

The network of porn websites is used by attackers to redirecting victims to the main controller domain of the campaign (videosartex[].us), which collects all the requests and redirects to either the mobile payload at the hxxp://, a browser-based ransomware site, or an Angler Exploit Kit site using the Keitaro traffic distribution system.

Koler POST

“We should keep in mind this [Angler] exploit kit is one of the tools of choice of Team Reveton. The use of Port 2980, which is not usual among other exploit kits, is one of the distinctive aspects of this exploit kit,”“The Angler exploit kit has exploits for Silverlight, Adobe Flash and Java. The use of Silverlight is quite common in Angler.” the report said.

Victims are advised not to pay the requested fee, who paid it never received an unlocking code or uninstall instructions.

“We believe this kind of infrastructure is a perfect example of how well prepared and dangerous these campaigns are. They are now targeting, but are not limited to, Android users. The attackers can quickly create a similar infrastructure thanks to its intricate automation, changing the payload or targeting different users. The attackers have also created many different ways of monetizing their campaign in a true multi-device schema.” closes the report.

Pierluigi Paganini

Security Affairs –  (Koler, ransomware)

The post Kaspersky uncovered the complex infrastructure of Koler ransomware appeared first on Security Affairs.

Standard Model: An Overview of Particle Physics.

The Standard Model of Particle Physics: A Lunchbox’s Guide by Dave Fehling

The quantum world is notoriously difficult to comprehend. As Niels Bohr famously stated, “Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it.” One of the things we pride ourselves on here at FQTQ is breaking down those complex topics into something easily digestible. So, we’re going to try to wrangle the impossible, starting with the Standard Model of Particle Physics.

Before we get down into the nitty gritty, here is some back-story. Back in 1896, a gentleman by the name of Joseph J. Thompson (or JJ, as I will refer to him) discovered something rather unusual. You see, back then, people knew about the periodic table of elements (although it did not quite look like what it does today, for obvious reasons). Everyone at the time knew that Hydrogen was the element with the least mass within the periodic table of elements. Then JJ got a hold of a pretty nifty device which enabled him to measure the mass of the particles passing through it. He noticed that these particles were thousands of times less massive than the Hydrogen atom. Now, how can that be, if hydrogen truly had the least mass of all the atoms? And here’s where we say congratulations  to JJ–He just discovered the sub-atomic particle now known as the Electron (a particle that all of us are, more or less, familiar with). However (a brief fun fact), the name of this particle ultimately came from an Irish physicist, George F. Fitzgerald.

Over in Manchester, England in 1911, another gentleman named Ernest Rutherford used the decay of radioactive elements to produce beams of particles, which he fired at a thin gold foil. Why? Because science. Really though, he expected that the Alpha particles would  just go right through the foil, but surprisingly, one in every thousand or so bounced back. After thinking about the reasoning behind this bounce back, Rutherford came to the conclusion that there had to be something small and very dense within the foil that was causing the deflection. Hence, the nucleus of the atom. He also discovered that most of the atom is composed of 99% empty space (technically, this “empty space” is really a soup of a lot of things that average out to zero; however, that’s making things a bit more complicated than they need to be, for the time being) . Rutherford and his partner James Chadwick continued to do the similar experiments, and in 1932  they discovered that the nucleus of an atom was made of two particles, protons and neutrons.

Quarks basics by Jefferson Lab

Quark basics by Jefferson Lab

Fast forward to the late 1930′s. At this time, scientist were hard at work trying to make sense of many different phenomena that couldn’t be explained by just these three particles (particularly within cosmic rays). The problem was that cosmic rays were unpredictable and couldn’t be depended on because no one knew when and where they would show up. This paved the way for the Particle Accelerators to come into the picture. These devices were essentially a way to make cosmic rays in a laboratory. Next thing you know, people were discovering new particles left and right. So many of them were being discovered that scientists were running out of names to call them. Eventually, in the 1960s, all of these discoveries led to what we now know as “The Particle Zoo.” It was a confusing and chaotic time (to say the least,) and American Physicist Murray Gell-Mann is credited for bringing order and structure to physics once more. He had noticed patterns within each of the particles and was able to group them together in their respective symmetry. He noticed that all protons, neutrons, and fundamental particles were built of the same building blocks, which he named “quarks”. Quarks are ultimately the elementary particle that are a fundamental constituent of matter.

And there we have it. The basics of the Standard Model. Of course, there is more to add…a lot more, in fact; however, quarks seem like a fitting place to end for the time being.

Hijacking Cromecast With The Rickmote Controller

rick-astelyWith a simple $35 dongle that plugs right into your TV, it’s possible to enjoy your favorite TV shows, YouTube channels, and everything else Chromecast has to offer. Being a WiFi enabled device, it’s also possible to hijack a Chromecast, forcing your neighbors to watch [Rick Astley] say he’s never going to give you up.

The rickmote, as this horrible device is called, runs on a Raspberry Pi and does a lot of WiFi shennaigans to highjack a Chromecast. First, all the wireless networks within range of the rickmote are deauthenticated. When this happens, Chromecast devices generally freak out and try to automatically reconfigure themselves and accept commands from anyone within proximity. The rickmote is more than happy to provide these commands to any Chromecast device, in the form of the hit song from 1987 and 2008.

Video demo of the rickmote below, along with a talk from ToorCon describing how the hijacking actually works.

Filed under: home entertainment hacks, wireless hacks

Clay 3D Printer Keeps It Simple

Clay 3D Printer

Artist [Jonathan] has built a 3D printer specifically for printing in clay. The part count is kept to a minimum and the printer was designed to be made with basic tools and beginner skills. The intent was to not require access to a plastic 3D printer in order to build this printer. Although this build’s goal was clay printing, the extruder could certainly be swapped out for a typical plastic printer version.

This Delta uses quite a bit of MDF. The top and bottom plates are MDF, as are the bearing carriages and extruder mount plate. 12mm rods are solely responsible for the support between the top and bottoms plates as well providing a surface for the LM12UU linear bearings. These bearings are zip tied to the MDF bearing carriages. The 6 arms that support the extruder mount plate are made from aluminum tubing and Traxxas RC car rod-ends. NEMA17 motors and GT2 belts and pulleys are the method used to move the machine around.

Getting the clay to dispense was a tricky task. Parts scavenged from a pneumatic dispensing gun was used. If you are unfamiliar with this type of tool, think: Power Caulk Gun. Clay is fed into the re-fillable syringes and an air compressor provides the 30 psi required to force the clay out of the nozzle. The pressure alone controls the rate of clay flow so it is a little finicky to get the extrusion rate correct. Depending on the size of the final sculpture, 1 to 2mm diameter nozzles could be used. For larger work, 1mm layer height works well. For the smaller pieces, 0.5mm is the preferred layer height.

The electronics used here are pretty standard for 3D printing, an Arduino Mega with a RAMPS shield. The firmware is a slightly modified Marlin variant. One minor problem was overcome, even though the nozzle is not heated, it was found that the 100K thermistor still had to be connected to the RAMPS board to keep the firmware happy. [Jonathan] has made all of his build files, software and firmware available on his page for other to use to make their own clay printer.

via 3D Printer Plans

Filed under: 3d Printer hacks

Georgia Tech launches early warning system for cyberthreats

Georgia Institute of Technology's applied research arm has launched an early warning system to help organizations prepare for possible cyberattacks.

The Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) developed the open source system called BlackForest, which will complement the institute's malware and spear-phishing intelligence systems.

[Georgia Tech warns of emerging threats in cloud, mobile]

GTRI describes BlackForest as being on the "cutting edge" of anticipating when cybercriminals may be planning a distributed denial-of-service attack or the latest malware variations under development.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

How Does Gravity Make Things Fall? (Video)

We’ve all seen videos like this that help us vidsualize gravity, but how does it actually work?

Youtuber EdwardCurrent created a video that talks about this. Gravity is still a product of the warping of spacetime, but how does that warping actually make things fall? Edward’s spacetime graph will help answer that very question.

New products of the week 07.21.14

Tapestry provides accurate, structured classification of US neighborhoods based on proven segmentation methodology and socioeconomic and demographic characteristics.

Building A True Unix Keyboard


compact keyboards that do away with a third of the keys you would usually find on a normal-sized keyboard are all the rage now, but for [jonhiggs], they weren’t good enough. There is a long tradition of Unix shortcuts these compact keyboards don’t pay attention to – CTRL-A being the Home key, and CTRL-D being the Page Down key. To fix this horrible oversight of Unix history, [jon] tore apart one of these compact keyboards, rewired the switch matrix, and made his own perfect keyboard.

The keyboard [jon] is using is a Filco Minila, a very nice and high quality keyboard in its own right.  After mapping out the switch matrix, [jon] wired all the switches up to a Teensy 2.0 loaded up with the TMK firmware. This is a pretty standard way of building a custom keyboard, and [jon] could have just cut a switch plate and installed panel-mount switches and wired up the matrix and diodes point to point. The case for the keyboard is constructed out of Lego.

Because this is a true, modern Unix keyboard, [jon] needed to connect this keyboard to a box running his *nix of choice. He’s doing this in the most future-retro way possible, with an Amazon EC2 instance. This project isn’t done yet, and [jon] is hoping to add an ARM dev board, an iPad Retina display, battery, and SSD, turning this into a completely homebrew laptop designed around [jon]‘s needs.

Filed under: peripherals hacks

Friday Eye Candy: USGS Launches Historical Topographic Map Explorer

Esri and the USGS have partnered to bring to life more than 178,000 maps dating from 1884 to 2006.

Massive New Tool Lets You Look at Maps of Your Town Over 100 Years

Esri and the USGS have partnered to bring to life more than 178,000 maps dating from 1884 to 2006.

31 Things All ’00s Girls Are Still Trying To Get Over

RIP Nick and Jessica’s relationship.

Literally every single moment in A Walk to Remember.

Literally every single moment in A Walk to Remember.

:: Starts bawling just thinking about it.::

Warner Bros. Studios

When your FAVORITE from American Idol got voted off.

When your FAVORITE from American Idol got voted off.

Where is the justice in this world?!?

Kevin Winter / Getty Images Entertainment

Someone already having the screen name you wanted.

Someone already having the screen name you wanted.

WHO HAS XoHugsNKisses4u? I will find them.


Or someone already using your Hotmail email address.

Or someone already using your Hotmail email address. is already taken. So you settled for And you're still a little miffed.

Microsoft / Via

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Awesome Geo Technology – 10 Cool things seen at Esri UC 2014

Roundup of great technology seen at the Esri User Conference.

Green Going Gone: The Tragic Deforestation of the Chaco

GIS analysts are searching satellite maps for signs of fresh deforestation in South America's Gran Chaco forest.

California High-Speed Rail: Some Views From the Valley

Esri map shows the planned first phase of construction, starting north of Fresno and running down to Bakersfield.

26 Things You Will Only See In Los Angeles

“Does this place have valet for bikes?”

A 24-hour taco delivery service.

Having this valet option.

Tropical cellphone towers.

View Entire List ›

Esri’s Director of Solutions Discusses Apps, Simplicity and Passion

Quick insights on how Esri tools have become so easy to use.