Study highlights serious security threat to many internet users

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have identified a weakness in the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) of all Linux operating systems since late 2012 that enables attackers to hijack users’ internet communications completely remotely.
Such a weakness could be used to launch targeted attacks that track users’ online activity, forcibly terminate a communication, hijack a conversation between hosts or degrade the privacy guarantee by anonymity networks such as Tor.



University collects medical samples via drones in Madagascar

In this July 27, 2016 image made from a video provided by Vayu, Inc., residents from Ranomafana, Madagascar, watch before a drone containing medical samples takes off on a test flight from their remote village, which can only be reached on foot. Long Island’s Stony Brook University, which has been working in the Indian Ocean island nation off eastern Africa for nearly three decades and maintains a research station there, has teamed with Michigan startup company Vayu, Inc. to ship laboratory samples via drone for analysis. Stony Brook officials say this is one of the first efforts involving the small unmanned aircraft that can land and takeoff. (Stony Brook University/Vayu Inc. via AP)

The team made its first successful run of the drone technology in late July.

Diagnosis of ailments, like tapeworm disease, which causes life-threatening seizures and contributes to malnutrition in villages on the island, can now be completed within a few hours, said Dr. Peter Small, founding director of Stony Brook’s Global Health Institute.

The drones are about the size of a large picnic table and have two sets of wings. They take off and land like helicopters and have a flight range of about 40 miles. Blood and other medical samples can be secured in small compartments in the body of the aircraft.

Drones are being used in other parts of the developing world to deliver medications and other supplies to remote areas, but Stony Brook officials say theirs is one of the first efforts involving a small unmanned aircraft that actually lands in remote villages and returns quickly to a laboratory.



Hackers Say They Hacked NSA-Linked Group, Want 1 Million Bitcoins to Share More

A mysterious hacker or hackers going by the name “The Shadow Brokers” claims to have hacked a group linked to the NSA and dumped a bunch of its hacking tools. In a bizarre twist, the hackers are also asking for 1 million bitcoin (around $568 million) in an auction to release more files.

“Attention government sponsors of cyber warfare and those who profit from it!!!!” the hackers wrote in a manifesto posted on Pastebin, on GitHub, and on a dedicated Tumblr. “How much you pay for enemies cyber weapons? […] We find cyber weapons made by creators of stuxnet, duqu, flame.”

The hackers referred to their victims as the Equation Group, a codename for a government hacking group widely believed to be the NSA.



Researchers Map Locations of 4,669 Servers in Netflix’s Content Delivery Network

A group from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) traced server names to identify 4,669 Netflix servers in 243 locations around the world. The majority of those servers still reside in the United States and Europe at a time when the company is eager to develop its international audience. The United States also leads the world in Netflix traffic, based on the group’s analysis of volumes handled by each server. Roughly eight times as many movies are watched there as in Mexico, which places second in Netflix traffic volume. The United Kingdom, Canada, and Brazil round out the top five.


Google Login Issue Allows Credential Theft

Attackers can add an arbitrary page to the end of a Google login flow that can steal users’ credentials. or alternatively, send users an arbitrary file any time a login form is submitted, due to a bug in the login process.

A researcher in the UK identified the vulnerability recently and notified Google of it, but Google officials said they don’t consider it a security issue. The bug results from the fact that the Google login page will take a specific, weak GET parameter.

“Google’s login page accepts a vulnerable GET parameter, namely ‘continue’. As far as I can determine, this parameter undergoes a basic check,” Aidan Woods, the researcher who discovered the bug, wrote in an explanation of the flaw.

The login page checks to ensure that the parameter points to **, but doesn’t determine which Google service the parameter is pointing to.

“The application fails to verify the type of Google service that has been specified. This means that is is possible to seamlessly insert any Google service at the end of the login process.”

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