Thursday, December 19, 2013

Mum, I don't want to go to the school toda

Mum, I don't want to go to the school today

Who has not ever felt overwhelmed by finals during his student days? Surely more than one thought about delivering a false bomb warning to provoke the evacuation of the building and basically not take the test (or at least delay it).

Though one thing is to fantasize about it and quite another to put it into practice. A Harvard student faces a sentence of up to five years in prison for sending an anonymous email with a bomb threat that had the authorities at bay for several hours. He tried to hide his trace using the Tor network, but unfortunately for him, the university tracks all connections to Tor from its facilities.

Tor is a network of volunteers around the world and some servers that encrypt and hide information to keep it away from prying eyes. Therefore, it has become a mainstay of the "deep web". These Internet sites apparently hidden from the normal user, are also the meeting point for all kinds of criminals.

Anyway the skills and knowledge that Harvard’s lad needed for doing so have nothing to do with the ones demonstrated by the cybercriminals behind the security breach suffered by the Washington Post for the second time in three years. Chinese hackers obtained usernames and encrypted passwords of the newspaper’s employees.

However, this does look not very important when compared to the massive theft of credit card data of millions of Target ’s customers in the U.S. In this case, it seems that criminals managed to tamper up to 40,000 magnetic stripe card readers across the country.

Nevertheless the first prize is for the fraud discovered in Brazil. Imagine you're going to withdraw some money from an ATM, you introduce your card and type your PIN quietly, but it does not deliver the money you requested. You may think that the machine is out of funds. What you will never think is that the ATM is a fake one placed over an original one. Must be seen to be believed!

But if the fake cash machine looks like something bizarre, it is not less strange some tests that were conducted on encryption systems by some researchers. Placing a microphone near to a computer CPU, they were able to decrypt the keys for RSA 4096 bits, one of the most secure encryption algorithms.


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