Thursday, February 13, 2014

Drugs, tricks, alliances, and smart rifles

“The black market was a way of getting around government controls. It was a way of enabling the free market to work. It was a way of opening up, enabling people.” Nevertheless we are afraid that the black market that American economist Milton Friedman described differs a lot from those we can find on the Internet today.

To the sites closed last year, Silk Road and Black Market Reloaded, we have to add the recent closure of Utopia by the Dutch authorities. At those hidden markets that run under Tor network’s anonymity, it was possible to obtain almost anything, from weapons or stolen information to false documents or all kind of drugs.

In the Deep web, it is also common the traffic of banking credentials from innocent citizens. One of the methods used by criminals to copy data from a credit card and get its PIN is to place a fake card reader on an ATM and a micro camera that allows them to record the numbers that the victim presses, as it is shown by some guys in the video that accompanies this article.

There is a large list of different technological threats. Therefore, both the private and the public sectors constantly promote new initiatives. Microsoft, on the one hand, has reached three global partnerships with the Organization of American States, Europol and banking technology company FIS in order to fight cybercrime. For its part, the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology, by the White House’s request, has released a set of standards to help assessing security firms and defending companies in U.S. critical industries.

Obsession on security in that country is something well known worldwide. And not just in the cyber environment. In that regard, the U.S. Army is testing a "smart rifle" that allows the shooter to place a virtual tag on a target seen through the weapon's scope. Once the trigger is pulled, it fires only if the rifle is correctly lined up.

Surely the telecom company Verizon would not mind that a commando armed with those smart rifles step into the Brookfield’s building in downtown Los Angeles and shot all the fluorescent lights that have been interfering with its 700Mhz wireless network for months. It will not be necessary though, since the Federal Communications Commission has already warned the building’s owner that could face fines over $ 100,000.


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