Monthly Archives: January 2017

ISPs Abandon Copyright Alert System

You may have never even heard of CAS unless you or a family member regularly downloaded and shared copyrighted media. Last week, major ISPs ended their three-year-old “six strikes” program intended to discourage subscribers from sharing pirated movies, music, and TV shows.

The program, started in 2013 and officially termed the Copyright Alerts System, was designed to send out a series of up to six warnings to people who downloaded or uploaded copyrighted content using file-sharing services such as BitTorrent. It was administered by the Center for Copyright Information, a coalition of entertainment companies and major ISPs, which issued a statement last week explaining its decision to terminate the program.

“After four years of extensive consumer education and engagement, the Copyright Alert System will conclude its work,” according to the statement. “The program demonstrated that real progress is possible when content creators, Internet innovators and consumer advocates come together in a collaborative and consensus-driven process. CAS succeeded in educating many people about the availability of legal content, as well as about issues associated with online infringement.”

The program was primarily intended as an educational measure, since it did not require ISPs to cut off service to customers who shared illegal content more than six times. Instead, each ISP would introduce its own mitigation measures, such as throttling Internet speed, if customers did not respond to the notices.

The CAS tracked illegal file sharing using a fairly simple method: content owners scanned torrents for their copyrighted works, and logged the IP addresses of computers that shared them. While the Center for Copyright Information doesn’t elaborate on the CAS’s technical setup, the Electronic Frontier Foundation reported in 2012 that CAS used software from MarkMonitor to scan torrents.

Major ISPs participating in CAS include AT&T, Comcast, Cablevision, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon. Verizon declined to comment, instead referring requests to the Center for Copyright Information, while the other four companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Steven Fabrizio, executive vice president and global general counsel at the Motion Picture Association of America, suggested that CAS was being withdrawn because of its ineffectiveness at targeting the most egregious offenders.In a statement to Variety, he said that CAS “was simply not set up to deal with the hard-core repeat infringer problem. Ultimately, these persistent infringers must be addressed by ISPs under their ‘repeat infringer’ policies as provided in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.”


Could flashing the “peace” sign in photos lead to fingerprint data being stolen?

PeaceSignForeign and domestic media outlets as well as Facebook posts are reporting that photos of one’s fingers flashing either a “peace sign” or “victory sign” are so high resolution today that hackers are capturing them and using the images for identity theft.

This all started on January 9th when researchers at Japan’s National Institute of Infomatics raised alarm bells over the popular 2 fingered pose.

Fingerprint recognition technology is becoming widely available to verify identities, such as when logging on to smartphones, tablets, laptop computers and electronic door locks.

The proliferation of mobile devices with high-quality cameras and social media sites where photographs can be easily posted is raising the risk of personal information being leaked, reports said.

The NII researchers were able to copy fingerprints based on photos taken by a digital camera three metres (nine feet) away from the subject.

“Just by casually making a peace sign in front of a camera, fingerprints can become widely available,” NII researcher Isao Echizen told the Sankei Shimbun newspaper.

Fingerprint data can be recreated if fingerprints are in focus with strong lighting in a picture. Advanced technology was not necessary and anyone could easily copy fingerprints.

Now “whisper around the world” as media outlets caught this story which they embellished as they reported it with headlines such as the following:

How YOUR selfies are allowing crooks to steal your identity… by zooming in on your FINGERS

HD lenses mean thieves can replicate your fingerprints

Celebrities most at risk, but fraudsters could hack smartphones and workplaces.

Although the articles routinely referenced “identity theft” (commonly interpreted to mean unauthorized use of financial accounts and personal identification documents), they also described hypothetical situations in which a fingerprint passcodes could potentially be replicated. In those instances, the “hackers” would require both a rendering of the fingerprints and personal devices belonging to their targets (such as a smartphone or point of sale access) to do any damage.

No evidence has been presented to demonstrate that hackers are currently using photographs to duplicate fingerprints in order to commit crimes or steal identities. The professor quoted on the possibility works with a laboratory that is developing a technology to secure fingerprints, and noted that technology of any sort was not necessary to copy them, as people leave them on surfaces throughout the day.

While the possibility exists that devices could potentially be compromised in this manner, the exaggerated headlines made the threat sound more plausible and immediate than it really is.

Norton Core Router Gives Home Security a New Design

xl-2017-norton-core-router-1Norton by Symantec on Tuesday announced the Norton Core secure router for smart devices in the connected home at CES in Las Vegas.

The router protects up to 20 PCs, Macs, Android and iOS smartphones and tablets on a home network, and unlimited devices connected to the Internet of Things.

It will update its firmware in background mode automatically, but not the firmware on connected devices, said Ameer Karim, general manager of consumer IoT security at Symantec.

Core Functions The router scans incoming and outgoing network packets across the home network, quarantines infected connected devices to a separate network, and alerts the user.

It provides a real time security score on network and connected device security, and gives users tips on strengthening security settings.

The router has customizable parental controls.

Users will be able to manage their home devices remotely from a connected mobile device.

Lost or stolen smartphones won’t pose a security problem because the router is cloud connected, so users can instantly change the password if necessary.

Users also will be able to add a PIN or Touch ID credentials for additional seciruty.

The Norton Core supports Wave 2 WiFi and simultaneously transmits at both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. It uses MU-MIMO technology.

The Norton Core supports speeds of up to 2.5 Gbps for 4K streaming and lag-free gaming.

Stellar WiFi The router combines an omnidirectional antenna design with advanced beam forming to ensure your devices get stellar WiFi anywhere in your home.

It can pause the home network as required, and can identify which devices can and cannot be paused, he said. IoT devices such as alarm systems, door locks, IP cameras, healthcare devices and appliances won’t be paused.

Consumers can preorder the Norton Core now; it will begin shipping in the United States this summer.

The router is priced at $200, which includes a one-year subscription to Norton Core Security Plus. The subscription will cost $10 a year after that.

Layers of Security The Norton Core device raises the question of whether your hardware and software solutions should be integrated into a single platform. Software needs to change so quickly, and it seems like the top security software solutions always change over time.

The Norton Core is designed as a geodesic dome, and there’s a reason why the best routers are funky looking. They need to optimize the number and location of the antennas.

Still, there is no easy answer when it comes to security. You have to have layers of security, and while the Norton Core is a good potential solution … it shouldn’t be the only one you rely on.

Get more information and pre-order here:

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