bug bounty

Apple to Hire New Hackers

Apple announced last Thursday that it was preparing to initiate its first ever bug bounty program, which will begin in September. Head of Apple security engineering and architecture Ivan Kristic revealed the program during his demonstration at the Black Hat security conference that took place in Las Vegas last week.

bugThe project will allegedly be more focused on high level service and quality over speed and quantity. Those hoping to participate in the program will have to wait for invitations at first, as the program will be limited to a very exclusive set of researchers.

That said, Apple does plan to work with a wide variety of other researchers on a case-by-case basis, and even the exclusive program is set to expand as time goes on.

According to Chenxi Wang, chief strategy officer at Twistlock, the bug bounty program “signifies how important it is to have community-based security versus an exclusive in-house security program.”

“To their credit they have done a great job in the quality and security of their software,” she continued, “but even Apple can’t do it alone. They need the collective brain power of the hacking community to help.”

The bug bounty program will offer the bounties for which the program is named. Hackers can receive up to $200,000 for any vulnerabilities they find in boot firmware components, $100,000 for any flaws they isolate that allow for the extraction of confidential material from the Secure Enclave Processor, up to $50,000 for finding vulnerabilities that could allow hackers to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges or that could allow unauthorized access to iCloud account data on Apple servers, and up to $25,000 for finding flaws that would make it possible for hackers to access a sandboxed process to user data outside that sandbox.

Apple added that if hackers were to find vulnerabilities outside of these categories, they would potentially still be eligible for a large cash reward.

bug2“With programs like this, there are two approaches,” explained Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group. “One is to actually find problems and fix them; the other is to use the program to create the impression you’re secure by providing big bounties to do things you believe can’t actually be done.”

According to Enderle, Apple’s bounty program “appears to be the latter case, which is why it’s both so restrictive and has such seemingly large bounties… This appears mostly targeted at undoing the damage the FBI did to Apple’s security reputation when they broke into an iPhone some time ago.”

According to program manager at Stratecast/Frost & Sullivan Michael Jude, when the government successfully hacked into terrorist Syed Farook’s iPhone earlier this year, “it showed that Apple can be breached.”

“Apple’s now in an arms war with the government,” Jude explained. “They need to improve security quickly and show people they’re taking it seriously. By engaging independents, Apple can provide an even stronger incentive to work within its community.”

Whether Apple’s bug bounty program is a success will depend on a variety of factors, from the level of talent that the bounties attract to the level of sophistication of the security software on the operating system itself.


Trumps Promises, Threaten Net Neutrality

Unless you have been living under a rock, on Mars you cannot escape every word that comes out of Donald Trumps mouth. No matter what the case it was hard to look at the events that took place in Chicago last week at a Donald j  Trump rally where a kind of uncomfortable yet totally predictable racially driven social unrest took place. Where Donald Trump where was set to speak in from of thousand of people where they eventually ended up throwing punches and inciting the violence and hatred which was encouraged by the campaign and from the words of lips of Donald Trump himself. Most notable we can remember him saying that he would pay the legal fees of anyone who attacked a protester he did not agree with. The Scence ended up being so Chaotic and problematic that they ended up cancelling the event citing security concerns resulting from Trump’s nonsense. We are reverting to antiquated Laws to justify illegal activityhfhfhf

It was a a glaringly fallacious it would be very surprising were in not coming from the lips of the very own Donald J Trump; and lets be honest this was in no way even close to the first well publicized act of violence at a Donald J Trump event. Infact, it is not even amont the top 10 but hey whos counting. But it wouldn’t matter if they ever did or did not, Trump supporters are a force of violence and that is what they are encouraged to be.

When we consider what Trumps america might look like for America but to a certain extent for its longevity the health of the internet and Net Neutrality we must take pause and consider what is going to happen to the internet this thing that is Global is very much an american phenominia and based very much in a few miles of the south bay. “The Internet is the best fact-checker and the best bias-confirmer ever invented,” says Michael Lynch, professor of philosophy at University of Connecticut and author of the new book The Internet of Us. “It’s both things at once.”

Trump has clearly streached and very much basterized and killed the truth on many occasions so some consider how can this happen?“From a contradiction, you can derive anything,” Lynch says. “You get people to a point where they’re receiving contradictory signals, and they start to just ignore the bit that seems inconsistent with their own beliefs.”sdfgasdg

If elected Trump will wage war, but it will not be with foreign entities as we all fear, it will be on ourselves, it will be on the very way we exchange and convey information with one another. He wants to make a world where he is free from criticism in a kind of fascist totalitarian regime where in no one will criticize in fearing the wrath of libel. This is not what the internet stands for, and the internet is not supposed to stand for anything other than freedom; freedom to say whatever you want without fear of some psychopath wrath.

george washington

The 227-year-old Law at the Center of the Encryption Debate

One of the many ways the internet is changing our brains includes our perception of our own privacy. What’s ironic is that now, in our space-age internet-information age, our legal and federal system is using precedents for our behavior that were set over two centuries ago

A law created at the same time as federal courts themselves is now at the center of one of the most public encryption debates to ever take place.

Namely, the debate between Apple CEO Tim Cook and the FBI, who are requesting via federal magistrate that Apple write custom software that will allow the FBI to help break into a phone it seized from one of the terrorists of the San Bernadino terrorist attack.

tim cookApple has stated that it is unwilling to write such a software, as it would constitute purposefully creating a serious security flaw in its own privacy protections and make vulnerable the millions of customers that rely on Apple encryption for their privacy.

Now the government has brought into play the All Writs Act, a part of the Judiciary Act of 1789 that actually created the court system. A “writ” is a formal order. To bring the age of the law further into perspective, George Washington signed it into law.

The entirety of the statue is as follows:

“a) The Supreme Court and all courts established by Act of Congress may issue all writs necessary or appropriate in aid of their respective jurisdictions and agreeable to the usages and principles of law.

b) An alternative writ or rule nice may be issued by a justice or judge of a court which has jurisdiction.”

According to this act, courts have the power to issue orders that do not fall under a pre-existing law. The act serves as a procedural tool for courts dealing with strange issues that haven’t been covered by laws yet, which definitely made sense when the justice system and entire country were new and forming. However, some believe that this law should not be used to allow the government to go against existing laws or take action when there’s no laws today.

After all, as one gizmodo writer put it, “A judge can’t issue an order for Tim Cook to execute Jony Ive or to move to a condo in Yonkers. It’s not that broad.”

According to a precedent set by the Supreme Court in 1948, the law is “a legislatively approved source of procedural instruments designed to achieve ‘the rational ends of law.'”

The act is not used frequently in modern courts, and when it has surfaced in some military courts recently, the courts overwhelmingly ruled that they did not have authority under All Writs.

fbiiiNowadays, the act is generally used to “effectuate” a search warrant, as the FBI is attempting to use it now. The FBI wants to search that San Bernadino terrorist’s phone, and it’s trying to use All Writs to force Apple to help.

This has worked before. All Writs has already been used to force Apple to help law enforcement unlock iPhones, in fact that has happened 70 times.

Unfortunately, there is only one judge that questions this house of All Writs. When the government tried to get Judge Ornstein to authorize surveillance using All Writs in 2005, the judge said that that interpretation “invites an exercise of judicial activism that is breathtaking in its scope and fundamentally inconsistent with my understanding of the extent of my authority.” Ornstein has questioned whether All Writs was appropriate for Apple’s San Bernadino encryption issue as well.


How the Internet is Changing Our Brains

“The Internet is an interruption system. It seizes our attention only to scramble it,” claimed Nicholas Carr in The Shallows: What the Internet is Going to Our Brain. His work was highly skeptical of the effect of internet access on human society, making it a provocative and highly controversial read.

The tech boom has brought with it a lot of negativity and paranoia regarding the devices that have been invented. Paranoia might be too degrading of a word; a lot of the security risks that people bring up regarding the Internet of Things and the easily carried out identify thefts that now are all commonplace are totally valid.

That said, there must be a way to use the internet for the purpose of furthering humankind. Perhaps the only way of finding that ideal method is by better understanding exactly how the internet affects us so that we can optimize that effect to the best of our abilities. Unfortunately there isn’t a huge amount of data out there regarding long-term trends since the internet was recently invented. But here’s what scientists have found:

brainThe Internet is capable of interacting with your brain similarly to the way that drugs interact with your brain. That means if you’re someone who tends to have an addictive personality or have struggled with drug and alcohol addiction before, you’re more likely to deal with cravings to be constantly plugged into your computer as well. One 2011 study reported by the Telegraph showed that some people had withdrawal symptoms simply from unplugging from their technology for a single day.

“The majority of people we see with serious Internet addiction are games- people who spend long hours in roles in various games that cause them to disregard their obligations,” explained Dr. Henrietta Bowden Jones, an Imperial College, London psychiatrist who runs a clinic for Internet addicts and problem gamblers.

Her report brings to mind the tragic story of two children two were totally neglected by their gaming-addicted parents, who were eventually charged with child abuse.

The internet is also capable of making people feel more lonely and jealous, which is kind of a no-brainer; it makes it easier to see other people in their most successful moments. Apparently researchers have even gone so far as to name the phenomenon “Facebook depression.”

Access to the internet for those who are vulnerable to depression and suicide will increase their risk of a self-harming incident as well.

brain2Internet use may be associated with increased memory problems as well; the information overload of the internet makes it difficult to file information away where it can be stored effectively.

“When they’re in situations where there are multiple sources of information coming from the external world of emerging out of memory, they’re not able to filter out what’s not relevant to their current goal,” Dr. Anthony Wagner said of people trying to split their attention on the internet. Wagner is an associate professor of psychology at Stanford. “That failure to filter means they’re slowed down by that irrelevant information.”

However, the internet can boost brain function. Apparently a 2008 study showed that the use of Internet search engines can actually stimulate neural activation patterns and potentially increase brain function for older adults.

iowa caucus

Tech Changes Iowa’s Political Landscape

The Iowa caucus has always been about more than casting votes; since becoming the “first in the nation” to vote in the primaries in 1972, the coming of the caucus has always led Iowans to hold assemblies in schools, community centers, and neighborhood homes to discuss the candidates of either party and which presidential hopeful has the most to give to the state.

These events were originally as tech-less as they sound, but this year’s go around is timed with the societal changes that have come along with smartphones and the incessant rise of social media.

twitter iowa caucus“We all have smartphones, and we not only tweet regularly, but we have Instagram and YouTube and video cameras in our pockets,” comments Professor Rachel Paine Caufield, a professor of political science at Drake University in Des Moines. “This will be a caucus that’s documented in a way no previous caucus has been documented.”

The Iowa caucus is different for Republicans and Democrats. For the Republican caucus, Iowans gather in their percents and cast private votes. Those votes are tallied and their numbers determine how many delegates each candidate receives at the party’s nominating convention, which takes place in July.

The Democratic caucus operates differently: When the Iowans assemble in their individual precincts, they publicly declare their support of whichever candidate by dividing themselves into sections within an assembly room. Then they mix again, attempting to convince friends, family and neighbors to join their cause or in turn being convinced to join the causes of other candidates. Apparently this process involves everything from begging to free cookies. If any group ever loses the minimum amount of people to become viable, that group dissolves and its members must then pick a new group with which to align. That’s when the real fun begins.

“It’s a weird parallel universe where stuff that would never fly in any other aspect of politics all of a sudden becomes really normal,” explained Crystal Patterson, a former digital team member of Clinton’s 2008 campaign.

At the end of the assembly, the number of members in each camp are written down and a formula is used to determine how any delegates each candidate will receive.

This year, we can add Twitter to the occasion. Twitter will allow for caucus-goers to understand how their candidate is doing in other districts, which can in turn influence their own home-town support. Statistics have shown that people tend to want to join the majority.

“Our voting calculations in our own heads change depending on which candidates are doing well,” Caufield explained. “We’re going to have a lot more information about that this time around.”

Adam Sharp is Twitter’s head of new, government and elections. He believes that Twitter will help people to understand the entire democratic process better this election, especially that of Iowa:

“The fair weather supporters of the candidates, hoping they neighbors speak for them, will now have more visibility to see and understand how critical their vote is when they are getting those real time reports,” he explained.

bernie sandersTech is also expected to allow for more accurate recording, a much-needed change considering Republican leadership actually declared the wrong victor (Mitt Romney instead of Rick Santorum) in 2012. Microsoft has built a reporting app that they hope will allow for fewer embarrassing mishaps. The app will also flag inconsistencies in the data, such as a strangely large turnout four a district or missing precincts. Microsoft predicts that the biggest challenge will be simply beating the learning curve for the app; the company is used to developing software that can handle huge amounts of information.

The Iowa Democratic party will also be holding a tele-caucus for the first time ever this year.

Campaigns are also developing new technology for caucus counting. Bernie Sanders’ campaign has apparently built an app that allows precinct captains to track how preference groups change over the course of the night, information that will surely prove helpful to presidential hopefuls as primaries continue on through the nation.

“If we did well ind districts where there was a candidate who’d didn’t get viability, and we’re able to peel those people off, we’ll be able to surface that information in real time,” explained Pinky Weitzman, the digital director of Sanders’ Iowa campaign.

anonymous v trump

Anonymous Sets Target on Trump

Anonymous seems to have its fingers in every political pie from here to the Middle East. A month or so after declaring war on ISIS, Anonymous has released it has an additional target: Donald Trump.

This week’s most recent video posting revealed that Anonymous will commit itself to fighting back against Trump’s most recent proposal to ban all Muslim people from traveling to the United States.

“This policy is going to have a huge impact. This is what ISIS wants,” explained the masked member of anonymous. “Donald Trump, think twice before you speak anything. You have been warned, Donald Trump.”

optrumpTheir anti-Trump plan is aptly named #OpTrump and is aimed at removing the internet footprint of the tycoon-turned-politician. International Business Times reported that the operation has resulted in a denial of service attack on trumptowerny.com that lasted for hours last night.

A denial of service attack (DoS) comprises of an attack that renders a machine or network resource unavailable to its intended users. This can be a temporary or indefinite condition intended to interrupt or suspend services of a host connected ot the internet.

Coincidentally, today is also Anonymous’s “Anti-ISIS Day of Rage”, which urges people to troll ISIS by using the twitter hashtag “#Daeshbags, Daesh being the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State.

Whether insulting ISIS is actually helpful or interesting is up for debate.. in general, the threat that Anonymous poses to ISIS is likely somewhat negatable, especially since the U.S. Federal Government and United Nations are doing everything they can and still running into issues.

Donald Trump may be more at Anonymous’s level; if they manage to screw with his campaign to the extent that he can’t continue his consistent output of hate speech and all the propaganda that conservatives love, Anonymous could actually slow down the momentum crucial to Trump’s campaign.

Anonymous is not alone in terms of grass-roots movements to stop Trump and show intense feelings of lack-of-support. Today marks the second day of circulation of the most popular petition in the UK. It proposes that Trump not be allowed to to travel to the United Kingdom and has already been signed by 458,230 UK citizens.

The petition was released in direct response to Trump’s statements regarding a country-wide ban on Muslim people traveling to the US and constitutes an effort to give him a taste of his own medicine. It’s currently so popular that Parliament actually has to discuss the issue; by law, once a petition hits over 100,000 signatures, the government must respond to it.

trump petitionIf Trump were banned from traveling to the UK, it wouldn’t actually be the first time that the UK closed its borders to individuals in reaction to their “unacceptable behavior.” Also banned from the UK are Martha Stewart, Chris Brown and Mike Tyson.

It’s more common for the UK to ban people on the basis of their use of hate speech. One such example is the ban of Stephen Donald Black, a Ku Klux Klansman responsible for founding the white supremacist internet group Stormfront. After Trump’s comments, Stromfront was forced to upgrade its servers in response to the torrent of new viewers checking out the site.

data recovery process

5 Hard Drive Data Recovery Tips For Media Failure

External hard drives can fail in a number of ways. They may suffer from low power, motor failure, media failure or cable failure. This article deals purely with media failure, the most common problem that hard drives are likely to suffer from. This is when media blocks stored on the hard drive malfunction and the drive controller avoids using them. Here are five tips to help you if your hard drive suffers from media failure.

Tip #1. Identify The Problem

Media failure is the most common problem that hard drives are likely to suffer from. Your first task is to identify that your hard drive is suffering from this issue. Your hard drive may be suffering from a low power issue, motor failure or even cable failure. All four issues may cause a drive to fail to boot. If your drive un-mounts spontaneously or generates clicking noises, this indicates that media failure is not the sole cause and there are other factors at play.

Tip #2. Don’t Use File System Recovery If You Think There Is A Hardware Problem

You must proceed cautiously when attempting to recover data from an external hard drive. If there is an audible clicking sound and you believe that the hardware such as the disk or disk head may have an issue, you should not use a file system recovery program or recovery software. This may destroy your data and the hardware. There is the possibility that data on the hardware becomes unrecoverable even if you subsequently take the drive to a specialist data-recovery company.

Tip #3. Cool The Drive

Your hard drive’s hardware controller has an algorithm that looks at data in blocks and checks them against a forward error correction (FEC) checksum. The FEC is used to recover blocks that contain corrupted data. Data recovered in this way is rewritten in another location, thus causing the media failure error where the drive fails to read the data a number of times and the original signal is weak. Professional data recovery experts can acquire the data and reallocate the original block to fix the media failure. Therefore, your best chance of saving the data is to prevent your hard drive from overheating. You should cool your drive to preserve the data before taking it to a recovery specialist.

Tip #4. Back Up What You Can

If you can boot your drive and it operates without any issues, you can usually rule out head motor failure, low power or cable failure. If you have media failure, the best approach is to back up what you can. Secure the data you can access and leave the data that cannot be accessed.

Tip #5. Isolate Which Files Are Causing The Error And See A Specialist

The final tip for recovering data is to try to pinpoint where the media failure is occurring. Type ‘cat filename > /dev/null’ and monitor your console output or system log to see whether the data can be read successfully. The block data should be reallocated and the files should cause no further errors. If they do, you should visit a hard drive recovery expert in Edmonton.


Media failure is the more common hard drive error but problems during recovery can be catastrophic. The wrong approach can make the data unrecoverable so it may be best to consult a professional from the outset.

investigatory powers bill

UK Spy Bill Worries Internet Users

The UK has finally released the first draft of its controversial Investigatory Powers Bill, a massive document that attempts to update and clarify what rights authorities have to access public data in the interest of combating crime.

The document’s main goal is to make the argument that since authorities already have the right to access information regarding that private phone calls people have made, it follows suit for them to also have the right to find out what websites and chat apps people use.

Accordingly, the bill proposes that authorities be able to bypass obtaining a warrant if they want to check people’s “internet connection records.”uk surveillance

They wouldn’t be able to see exactly what content was being made at whatever web addresses, but they would know what websites a person visited and at what time. For example, they could know if a person visited Instagram or Facebook, but not which specific web pages the person viewed or whether or not that person sent a message or left a comment.

They would access this information via network providers. The bill would require provider to maintain connection records for a year and then wipe those records clean immediately after a year has passed. Providers would need to create a log of IP addresses so that they can track and organize which devices participate in what activity.

Service providers aren’t crazy about the idea. Adrian Kennard, director of Bracknell-based internet provider Andrews & Arnold, had this to say:

“It is going to be costly and require a lot of equipment, but the big issue is that this is mass surveillance of the public.”

A warrant would remain necessary in the case of authorities wanting more specific browser history, such as which Facebook pages were looked at. Law enforcement officials would also be restricted in terms of determining whether someone had visited a medical website or mental health website. Even information about what news someone gets would necessitate a warrant.

“They would only be able to make a request for the purpose of determining whether someone had for example accessed a communications website, an illegal website or to resolve an IP address where it is necessary and proportionate to do so in the course of a specific investigation,” explained Home Secretary Theresa May.

Privacy-advocates take issue with the bill for a number of reasons. Not only are they disturbed by the push for such large-scale public surveillance by the government, but they’re afraid of the information being stored in the first place.

The bill would create files where data is stored regarding the pornography sites a person might visit, for example. Other examples of potentially sensitive browser history includes pirated media websites or political and religious sites.

If the information is being stored somewhere by service providers, realistically more than the government could potentially access it. Cryberattacks are on the rise, and cybercriminals tend to enjoy releasing private information to the embarrassment of their victims.ashley madison

Take the hack on Ashley Madison for example. Hackers stole information regarding members of the adultery-enabling dating website and threatened to release it if the website didn’t shut down completely. Ashley Madison didn’t comply, and the emails and personal information of its users were eventually released publically.

Most hacks aren’t so ethics-based, so just storing such sensitive information could put even honorable people at risk.


Tips for Choosing the Best Security Systems for Your Home

When you want to provide security for your family, you should think of installing a home security system. There are many products in the market that promise to offer what you want but the truth is that very few actually provide exactly what you need. When you are looking for total security that will meet all your needs, you need to partner with a company that will install a system that has all the best features. At Smart Home Audio Visual, we will custom design a system that meet your security needs.

Advanced technology

When you are looking for an easy to use system that is both versatile and effective, you can choose from a wide range of options including the wireless self-monitored systems. The best alarm systems can allow you to monitor your home from any location. You can install sensors in any part of the home or outside the home to ensure total security. Advanced technology will allow you to have peace of mind because you know what is happening in your home even in your absence. An alarm hooked to your phone or computer can alert you if there is someone trying to gain access into your home.

High-resolution cameras

A Security System that is perfect for home protection comes complete with the ability to record activities in your home. This type of evidence is very important for proving any case conclusively. The high-resolution cameras are water resistant and the high quality images are a definite advantage. You can connect the systems to the TV or computer monitor to record anything you want for up to one month. The system even has night vision capabilities to ensure that you get images when it is dark. The fact that there is no extra cost to view the video makes the system quite cost effective.

Installing panic buttons

If intruders get into your premises when you are home, it helps to have strategically placed panic buttons that can help you to summon for help. You can prevent the intruders from taking off with your property by pressing a button. The home security system can be very useful for protecting your family and property and you can monitor the movements of any intruders while you remain safe. Apart from protecting your home from burglars, a panic button can come in very handy if you have a medical condition. You can get help right away if you fall ill or are unable to get to the phone.

When you decide to install a home security system, you should consider different factors including your budget, the size of the home and your needs. You should learn the most important concepts to consider when making the purchase. Many people today are looking to enhance their home security without disrupting the way they live. This usually means installing systems that they can monitor conveniently at any time. To find the ideal security system for your home, contact us today for your motion sensors and real time CCTV monitoring system.


Bringing The Full Theatre Experience Home

For most people going out to the cinema and having the full theatre experience rate right up there with life’s most memorable experiences. It is no longer required to reserve seats, dress uncomfortably and watch the memory challenged grapple for the silence button when their mobile jumps into action. The experience is now available in your home with all the little annoyance removed but keeping the pleasures and in some instances enhancing them. Come with and let us hit the PLAY button together.

Be at home with a theatrical touch

There is a good reason why the term “home cinema” did not make the grade. Today a home theatre has much more to offer than the cinema down the exhaust-smoke filled lane. Apart from showing films with great viewing quality the home theatre is also the place where family and friends congregate to enjoy a shared passion. This can range from watching the next episode in the latest TV series to listening to a surround sound concert of your favourite group. Surfing on YouTube and making a Skype call can all be accomplished without leaving the comfort of your chair.

The map is not the journey

Having a fully functional home theatre installed is not something that can be done by looking at a “7 Easy Steps” website. The problems associated with designing and implementing a home theatre system are the same as those experienced when networking high-tech components. They all work seamlessly together but only if they are set up and connected in one way out of the myriad of possibilities. Finding your way home is not so easy when it comes to this type of theatre. The shortest route is to locate the experts who do this on a daily basis and know how to hit a home run.

Vision and sound

The advice from the experts is indispensable. They know the ons and offs of television when it boils down to plasma versus LED and why 1920 is different from 1280. They are done with having the surround system working long before the cows come home. They don’t trip up when it gets to cables and know their way around Bluetooth and the Orange Book. Years of experience has taught them how to have a safety net planned when the network starts rolling out.

And then there’s more

After the TV and speakers have made their debut it is time for Blu-ray, laptops, tablets, control panels and comfortable seats as we hit the home stretch. The professional home theatre consultants can even provide custom lighting and show you how to have multiple windows with different content in each to satisfy the different priorities of the family members to make them feel right at home. It is the perfect integration of all the separate components that turns watching just another movie into a quality theatre-like experience.