Posts tagged ‘Other’

TorrentFreak: Pirate Bay Launches Mobile Site, Teases More Expansions

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

pirate bayOne of The Pirate Bay’s strengths has been its resilience. No matter how hard the movie and music industries try, the site remains operational.

Over the years the Pirate Bay site has undergone many changes to make it harder to shut down. The tracker was put into retirement, torrents were traded in for magnet links, and the site moved its servers to the cloud.

What remained the same, however, was the site’s general appearance and its lack of support for mobile devices. That changes today.

The Pirate Bay has just debuted a new site for mobile devices. The Mobile Bay offers a much more usable interface to browse the torrent site on mobile devices.

Previously mobile users were simply presented with a smaller version of the regular Pirate Bay site, which was coded long before smartphones and tablets became popular. With banners on both sides it was rather hard to navigate on smaller devices.

The mobile version doesn’t change the overall appearance much, but it’s definitely more readable and easier to navigate.

The new vs. old mobile look
tpb-mob-oldnew

Users on mobile devices are now redirected to the new Mobile Bay domain, which will exist next to the regular site. People have the option to continue using the old layout if they prefer, but The Pirate Bay team doesn’t see any reason why people would.

“The normal version of the site renders like crap on mobile devices,” the TPB team told us.

The Mobile Bay is one of the largest visible updates to the site in years, but according to The Pirate Bay it’s only the beginning. Behind the scenes the TPB team is working on a series of new niche sites that will provide extra features and make it easier to find content.

The TV, movie and music sections on The Pirate Bay will each get their own dedicated sites. The TV site, for example, will allow users to see a complete overview of all episodes per show, download season packs, and more.

Another new project in the pipeline is the RSSbay which will support personalized RSS feeds enabling people to launch torrents remotely.

“We will add more features later on, such as personal RSS feeds so users can browse torrents at work or school, and start the downloads at home,” the TPB team tells us.

Aside from improving the user experience, the other advantage of these separate domain names is that TPB can’t be taken out as easily.

“We’re trying to separate the site into different domain names to make it more resilient. In the event one domain get taken down, there will be plenty others left,” the TPB team says.

As always with the Pirate Bay, it will be hard to predict how long it will take before these new sites will see the light of day, but the mobile edition is live now.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

Raspberry Pi: Exploring computing education in rural schools in India

This post was syndicated from: Raspberry Pi and was written by: Helen Lynn. Original post: at Raspberry Pi

Earlier this year, the Raspberry Pi Foundation supported a University of Cambridge team of two researchers, Dr Maximilian Bock and Aftab Jalia, in a pilot project exploring the possibilities of providing computing access and education in rural schools in India. Working with local organisations and using an adaptable three-day programme, they led two workshops in June 2014 introducing students and teachers to computing with the Raspberry Pi. The workshops used specially designed electronics kits, including Raspberry Pis and peripherals, that were handed over to the partner organisations.

Karigarshala students connect Raspberry Pis and peripherals The first workshop took place at Karigarshala Artisan School, run by Hunnarshala Foundation in Bhuj, Gujarat; the attendees were a group of 15-to-19-year old students who had left conventional education, as well as three local instructors. The students started off with very little experience with computers and most had never typed on a keyboard, so a session introducing the keyboard was included, followed by sessions on programming, using the Raspberry Pi camera module and working with electronics.

Karigarshala students mastering hardware control of an LED via the Raspberry Pi GPIO

Karigarshala students mastering hardware control of an LED via the Raspberry Pi GPIO

Students chose to spend their evenings revisiting what they had learned during the day, and by the end of the course all the students could write programs to draw shapes, create digital documents, connect electronic circuits, and control components such as LEDs using the Raspberry Pi.

Chamoli students practise on their own using a TV as a monitor

Chamoli students practise on their own using a TV as a monitor

The second workshop welcomed six- to twelve-year-old pupils of the Langasu Primary School in the remote Chamoli district, Uttarakhand, along with three of their teachers. This younger group of students followed a programme with more focus on activities featuring immediate feedback — for example, Sonic Pi for live-coding music — alongside programming and electronics tasks. As they learned, students soon began teaching other students.

Weather station/forecaster
Battery-operated inverter
Pi-controlled chores robot

In an Ideas Competition held at the end of the workshop, entries reflected students’ engagement with the Raspberry Pi as a device with which to build solutions: an inverter system to deal with frequent power outages, a weather station that gives warnings, a robot to assist with menial chores.

The Cambridge team’s “Frugal Engineering” approach, delivering computing education without the need for elaborate infrastructure, proved very successful in both schools. Hunnarshala Foundation has decided to integrate the Raspberry Pi into its vocational training curriculum, while students at Langasu Primary School will not only carry on learning with Raspberry Pis at school but will be able to borrow self-contained Raspberry Pi Loan Kits to use at home. The Cambridge team remains in touch with the schools and continues to provide off-site support.

September 2014 and February 2015 will see the team build on this successful pilot with induction workshops in three new schools, as well as follow-up visits to evaluate the use of Raspberry Pi in past project sites and to provide support and resources for expanding the programmes.

SANS Internet Storm Center, InfoCON: green: Windows Previous Versions against ransomware, (Thu, Jul 24th)

This post was syndicated from: SANS Internet Storm Center, InfoCON: green and was written by: SANS Internet Storm Center, InfoCON: green. Original post: at SANS Internet Storm Center, InfoCON: green

One of the cool features that Microsoft actually added in Windows Vista is the ability to recover previous versions of files and folders. This is part of the VSS (Volume Shadow Copy Service) which allows automatic creation of backup copies on the system. Most users “virtually meet� this service when they are installing new software, when a restore point is created that allows a user to easily revert the operating system back to the original state, if something goes wrong.

However, the “Previous Versions� feature can be very handy when other mistakes or incidents happen as well. For example, if a user deleted a file in a folder, and the “Previous Version� feature is active, it is very easy to restore a deleted file by clicking the appropriate button in the Properties menu of the drive/folder that contained the deleted file. The user can then simply browse through previous versions and restore the deleted file, as shown in the figure below:

Previous Versions tab

You can see in the figure above that there are actually multiple versions of the Desktop folder that were saved by the “Previous Versions� feature. A user can now simply click on any version he/she desires and browse through previous files.

How can this help against Cryptolocker and similar ransomware? Well simply – when such ransomware infects a machine, it typically encrypts all document files such as Word and PDF files or pictures (JPG, PNG …). If the “Previous Versions� feature is running, depending on several factors such as allocated disk space for it as well as the time of last snapshot (since “Previous Versions� saves files comparing to the last snapshot, which would normally take place every day), you just might be lucky enough that *some* of the encrypted files are available in “Previous Versions�.

Monitoring “Previous Versions� activities

As we can see, by using this feature it is very simple to restore previous files. This is one of the reasons why I see many companies using this feature on shared disks – it can be very handy in case a user accidentally deleted a file.

However, there are also security implications here. For example, a user can restore a file that was previously deleted and that you thought is gone. Of course, the user still needs access rights on that file – if the ACL does not allow him to access the file he won’t be able to restore it, but in case an administrator set ACL’s on a directory, which is typically the case, and everything else below it is inherited, the user might potentially be able to access a file that was thought to be deleted.

This cannot be prevented (except by changing ACL’s, of course), so all we can do in this case is to try to monitor file restoration activities. Unfortunately, Windows is pretty (very?) limited in this. The best you can do is to enable Object Access Audit to see file accesses and then see what a particular user accessed. That being said, I have not been able to stably reproduce logs that could tell me exactly what version the user accessed – in some cases Windows created a log such as the following:

Share Information:
                Share Name:                    \\*\TEST
                Share Path:                    \??\C:\TEST
                Relative Target Name:          @GMT-2014.07.02-11.56.38\eula.1028.txt

This is event 5145 (“A network share object was checked to see whether client can be granted desired access�), and it is visible which copy was accessed but, as I said, I was not able to have this event generated by this constantly.

Conclusion

The “Previous Versions� feature is very handy in cases when you need to restore a file that was accidentally deleted or modified and can sometimes even help when a bigger incident such as a ransomware infection happened. Make sure that you use this feature if you need it, but also be aware of security implications – such as the fact that it automatically preserves deleted files and their modified copies.

Finally, for some reason Microsoft decided to remove, actually modify this feature in Windows 8. The “Previous Versions� tab does not any more exist in Explorer (actually it does, but you need to access files over a network share). For saving local files Windows 8 now use a feature called “File History�. It needs to be manually setup and it needs to have an external HDD which will be used to save copies of files. This is definitely better since, if your main HDD dies, you can restore files off the external one, but keep in mind that it needs to be setup manually. Finally, if you use EFS to encrypt files, the “File History� feature will not work on them.


Bojan
​bojanz on Twitter

INFIGO IS

(c) SANS Internet Storm Center. https://isc.sans.edu Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

TorrentFreak: Online Store Can Sell ‘Used’ Ebooks, Court Rules

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

tomskabinetPeople who buy an MP3, digital movie or an eBook assume that they have the right to do whatever they want with it, but copyright holders see things differently.

Platforms that allow people to resell digital goods are meeting fierce resistance from the entertainment industries, who view them as a threat to their online business models.

For example, the major record labels previously pointed out that MP3s are simply too good to resell, as they don’t deteriorate in quality. Similarly, movie studios complained that the ability to sell “used” videos would kill innovation.

The book industry is also concerned and in an attempt to counter this threat several publishers launched a lawsuit against Tom Kabinet, an online marketplace for used eBooks based in the Netherlands.

The publishers fear that the site will negatively impact their business, and that it can’t prevent people from reselling pirated copies. The companies asked the Amsterdam Court for a preliminary injunction against Tom Kabinet, but the request was denied this week.

The Amsterdam Court concluded that selling used eBooks is a legal grey area and not by definition illegal in Europe.

Previously the EU Court of Justice previously ruled that consumers are free to resell games and software, even when there’s no physical copy. That case applied to licensed content, which is different from the Tom Kabinet case, so further investigation is needed to arrive at a final verdict.

The court therefore dismissed the publishers’ claims and ordered them to pay €23.469,56 in legal fees. Tom Kabinet, meanwhile, is still allowed to facilitate the sale of used eBooks.

It’s clear that the publishers didn’t get the result they hoped for. In fact, things have gotten worse, as Tom Kabinet’s visitor numbers have exploded. Shortly after the verdict was announced the site went offline because it couldn’t handle the surge in traffic.

These connectivity issues have been fixed now, and the site’s owner is happy with the outcome thus far.

“There is still a long way to go before legislation is clear on eBooks, but we’ve made a pretty good start,” Tom Kabinet informed TorrentFreak.

The publishers on the other hand are considering further steps, and it’s likely that the case will head to a full trial in the future.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Director Wants His Film on The Pirate Bay, Pirates Deliver…

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

suzyDutch movie director Martin Koolhoven sent out an unusual request on Twitter a few days ago.

While many filmmakers fear The Pirate Bay, Koolhoven asked his followers to upload a copy of his 1999 film “Suzy Q” to the site.

“Can someone just upload Suzy Q to The Pirate Bay?” Koolhoven asked.

The director doesn’t own all copyrights to the movie himself, but grew frustrated by the fact that his film is not available through legal channels.

The TV-film, which also features the film debut of Game of Thrones actress Carice Van Houten, was paid for with public money but after the music rights expired nobody was able to see it anymore.

The main problem is with the film’s music, which includes tracks from popular artists such as The Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix. This prevented the film from being released in movie theaters and on DVD, and the TV-network also chose not to extend the licenses for the TV rights.

Since the music was no longer licensed it couldn’t be shown anymore, not even on the websites of the public broadcasters.

“To me, it felt like the movie had died,” Koolhoven tells TorrentFreak.

Hoping to bring it back to life, Koolhoven tweeted his upload request, and it didn’t take long before the pirates delivered. Within a few hours the first copy of the film was uploaded, and several more were added in the days that followed.

“I had no idea the media would pick it up the way they did. That generated more media attention. At first I hesitated because I didn’t want to become the poster boy for the download-movement. All I wanted was for people to be able to see my film,” Koolhoven says.

Unfortunately the first upload of the movie that appeared on The Pirate Bay was in very bad quality. So the director decided to go all the way and upload a better version to YouTube himself.

“I figured it would probably be thrown off after a few days, due to the music rights issue, but at least people could see a half decent version instead of watching the horrible copy that was available on The Pirate Bay,” Koolhoven tells us.

Interestingly, YouTube didn’t remove the film but asked the director whether he had the right to use the songs. Since this is not the case the money made through the advertisements on YouTube will go to the proper rightsholders.

“We’re a few days later now and the movie is still on YouTube. And people have started to put higher quality torrents of Suzy Q on Pirate Bay. Even 720p can be found, I’ve heard,” Koolhoven notes.

While the director is not the exclusive rightsholder, he does see himself as the moral owner of the title. Also, he isn’t shying away from encouraging others to download and share the film.

In essence, he believes that all movies should be available online, as long as it’s commercially viable. It shouldn’t hurt movie theater attendance either, as that remains the main source of income for most films and the best viewing experience.

“I know not everybody cares about that, but I do. The cinema is the best place to see movies. If you haven’t seen ‘Once Upon a Time in the West’ on the big screen, you just haven’t seen it,” Koolhoven says.

In the case of Suzy Q, however, people are free to grab a pirated copy.

“Everyone can go to The Pirate Bay and grab a copy. People are actually not supposed to, but they have my permission to download Susy Q,” Koolhoven said in an interview with Geenstijl.

“If other people download the movie and help with seeding then the download time will be even more reasonable,” Koolhoven adds.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

Raspberry Pi: YRS Festival of Code 2014 – around the UK and at Pi Towers

This post was syndicated from: Raspberry Pi and was written by: Ben Nuttall. Original post: at Raspberry Pi

Young Rewired State is a network of coders around the world. Every year an event is held in the UK to give young people the opportunity to collaborate while working on a project to make something interesting with open data, and to learn skills while exposed to new technologies.

yrs-foc-2014

The Festival of Code is a week where volunteer-led centres around the country play host to local kids (18 and under) who work in teams, guided by mentors from industry, to create a software application, a web app, a game, a phone app or even a hardware hack that utilises an open data set to provide a solution to a real world problem. It takes place next week: 28 July – 3 August 2014.

Participants spend most of the week at their local centre where they’re introduced to each other and to the mentors, they’re shown some data sets they have available, they get in to teams and start working on their project. Throughout the week they are introduced to new technologies and given short talks from mentors and other volunteers to help them find the right tech to solve their problems. On Friday all centres travel to Plymouth for the weekend where they present their projects.

yrs4

Last year the overall winners of the Festival of Code were Tom Hartley and Louis Brent-Carpenter, whose hack was a service to provide navigational and other information to cyclists using a series of handlebar-mounted LEDs – powered by a Raspberry Pi – known as PiCycle.

yrs-picycle

Alongside Best in show there are other categories: Best example of codeBest example of design, Code a better country, and the Should exist award. I’d just like to point out that the winners of last year’s Best example of code were mentored by me in Manchester: contag.io.

yrs6

Here’s a video showing my centre’s experience:

Come join us for the best week of your summer! Meet up at local centres, be mentored, introduced to open data, build awesome games, apps, hardware and websites, and show off your hack at the weekend in Plymouth!

from the Festival of Code poster – download from festivalofco.de

If you’re 18 or under and want to participate, sign up at festivalofco.de now. We’re running a centre at Pi Towers in Cambridge – so if you’re local to us you’ll be assigned to our centre and you’ll be lucky enough to spend a week at our offices!

If you’re over 18 (even quite a lot over 18) you can sign up as a mentor - centres can always use an extra pair of hands, and you’ll have a great time!

Oh, and Stephen Fry is a fan:

There are also YRS events in Berlin, New York CitySingapore and elsewhere!

SANS Internet Storm Center, InfoCON: green: New Feature: “Live” SSH Brute Force Logs and New Kippo Client, (Wed, Jul 23rd)

This post was syndicated from: SANS Internet Storm Center, InfoCON: green and was written by: SANS Internet Storm Center, InfoCON: green. Original post: at SANS Internet Storm Center, InfoCON: green

We are announcing a new feature we have been working on for a while, that will display live statistics on passwords used by SSH brute forcing bots. In addition, we also updated our script that will allow you to contribute data to this effort. Right now, we are supporting the kippo honeypot to collect data. This script will submit usernames, passwords and the IP address of the attacker to our system.

To download the script see https://isc.sans.edu/clients/kippo/kippodshield.pl .

The script uses a new REST API to upload logs to our system. To use it, you will need your API key, which you can retrieve from https://isc.sans.edu/myinfo.html (look in the lower half of the page for the “report parameters”).

For data we are collecting so far, see https://isc.sans.edu/ssh.html .

If you have any other systems then kippo collecting similar information (we like to collect username, password and IP address), then please let me know and I will see if we can add the particular log format to this client.

By contributing your logs, you will help us better understand who and why these attacks are performed, and what certain “must avoid” passwords are. Note for example that some of the passwords these scripts try out are not necessarily trivial, but they may be common enough to be worth while brute forcing targets.

Johannes B. Ullrich, Ph.D.
STI|Twitter|LinkedIn

(c) SANS Internet Storm Center. https://isc.sans.edu Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

TorrentFreak: The UK Did *NOT* Just Decriminalize File-Sharing

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Andy. Original post: at TorrentFreak

From next year people in the UK can download and share whatever they like. Movies, music and video games. You name it – it’s a free-for-all download bonanza with zero consequences other than four friendly letters asking people to try Netflix and Spotify.

In fact, the UK government has even gone as far as decriminalizing online copyright infringement entirely, despite risking the wrath of every intellectual property owner in the land.

That was the message doing the rounds yesterday in the media, starting on VG247 and going on to overload Reddit and dozens of other sites. Even Russia’s RT.com got in on the fun.

VG247

Except it’s not fun at all. It’s completely untrue on countless levels and to suggest otherwise puts people at risk. Let’s be absolutely clear here. Copyright infringement, whether that’s on file-sharing networks or elsewhere, is ILLEGAL in the UK. Nothing, repeat NOTHING, has changed.

As detailed in our previous article, VCAP is a voluntary (that’s the ‘V’ part) agreement between some rightsholders and a few ISPs to send some informational letters to people observed infringing copyright.

This means that the mainstream music labels and the major Hollywood studios will soon have an extra option to reach out to UK Internet users. However, whenever they want to – today, tomorrow or next year – any of the copyright holders involved in VCAP can still file a lawsuit or seek police action against ANYONE engaged in illegal file-sharing – FACT.

What makes the original VG247 report even more inaccurate is its headline: “Britain just decriminalised online game piracy.” If we’re still laboring under the illusion that VCAP is somehow the reason behind the government’s “decriminalization” of piracy, understand this – video game companies are not even part of the VCAP program.

Worst still, the biggest financial punishment ever ordered by a UK court was a default judgment in 2008 issued to – wait for it – a person who illegally file-shared a single video game. The case was a farce, but the judgment stands and the law on which it was based has not changed. There is nothing stopping any video game company from doing this again once VCAP starts, properly this time.

But why stop at video games? Porn companies/trolls aren’t involved in the VCAP scheme either and any of those could head off to court to obtain the identities of people they want to sue. It’s happening in the UK. There’s a VCAP-style scheme in the United States too, often referred to as “six strikes”, and that has done nothing to stop companies like Malibu Media filing lawsuits almost every day.

Voluntary agreements avoid the complication of changing the law, that’s their entire point. They offer helpful mechanisms that the law does not already provide. For example, UK ISPs are not expressly required to forward infringement notices to users under current law, yet VCAP means that some rightsholders, not all, will get that ‘right’.

So which other sectors are not involved in VCAP so therefore cannot rely on the assistance it provides? Well, thousands of smaller record labels and film companies for a start. They tend to be outside the walls of the BPI and MPA so do not enjoy the fruits of their lobbying. While these smaller outfits tend to stay away from litigation, they could soon have fresh options.

Piracy monetization firm Rightscorp works with many smaller companies and has recently indicated an interest in the UK. “We are getting a great reception from everyone we have spoken to [in the UK],” the company’s Robert Steele said in May. Whether Rightscorp will be able to pull this off is an entirely different matter, but since file-sharing of copyrighted material remains illegal in the UK, the company has a chance.

The other issue is how the VCAP warnings will be presented to alleged infringers. While they have a focus on education, it would be incredible if they contained the text “The UK has just decriminalized file-sharing, that’s why we have sent you this letter.” It would be even more amazing if the ISPs agreed to pass them on if file-sharing was no longer an offense.

While no laws have been changed, in some instances it’s probably fair to say that VCAP will make it less likely that people will be pursued by the major record labels and movie studios in the UK. It doesn’t eliminate the threat, however.

Try this. Head off to your local Odeon, Showcase or UCI this coming weekend, set up a camcorder, and see if you can get a really sweet copy of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Begin uploading this to The Pirate Bay and while it’s seeding send an email to the Federation Against Copyright Theft containing your personal details.

VCAP friendly letter incoming or a police raid? Yeah, thought so.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

Errata Security: Um, talks are frequently canceled at hacker cons

This post was syndicated from: Errata Security and was written by: Robert Graham. Original post: at Errata Security

Talks are frequently canceled at hacker conventions. It’s the norm. I had to cancel once because, on the flight into Vegas, a part fell off the plane forcing an emergency landing. Last weekend, I filled in at HopeX with a talk, replacing somebody else who had to cancel.

I point this out because of this stories like this one hyping the canceled Tor talk at BlackHat. It’s titled says the talk was “Suddenly Canceled”. The adverb “suddenly” is clearly an attempt to hype the story, since there is no way to slowly cancel a talk.
The researchers are academics at Carnegie-Mellon University (CMU). There are good reasons why CMU might have to cancel the talk. The leading theory is that it might violate prohibitions against experiments on unwilling human subjects. There also may be violations of wiretap laws. In other words, the most plausible reasons why CMU might cancel the talk have nothing to do with trying to suppress research.
Suppressing research, because somebody powerful doesn’t want it to be published, is the only reason cancelations are important. It’s why the Boston MTA talk was canceled, because they didn’t want it revealed how to hack transit cards. It’s why the Michael Lynn talk was (almost) canceled, because Cisco didn’t want things revealed.  It’s why I (almost) had a talk canceled, because TippingPoint convinced the FBI to come by my offices to threaten me (I gave the talk because I don’t take threats well). These are all newsworthy things.
The reporting on the Tor cancelation talk, however, is just hype, trying to imply something nefarious when there is no evidence.

TorrentFreak: Vuze Releases Leap, a Simple and Lightweight Torrent Client

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

Vuze_bw_logoVuze is one of the most recognized BitTorrent brands. Their client is used by millions of people each day and has a steadily growing user-base.

In recent years Vuze’s core BitTorrent client has evolved into an advanced download solution with every complex feature heavy BitTorrent users could wish for.

The downside of being so complete is that the application can be quite overwhelming to newcomers. In addition the application is somewhat of a resource hog. The Vuze team has taken these complaints to heart and coded “Vuze Leap,” a brand new client that is both simple and lightweight.

“We sought to deliver a simpler experience as a counterpart to the powerful, full-featured core Vuze BitTorrent Client that has pleased millions of users for years. Even with file-sharing being a part of internet usage for years, we continued to hear, from some users a desire to have a simpler experience that was less resource intensive,” Vuze’s Claude Tolbert tells TorrentFreak.

Today the first Vuze Leap beta is unveiled to the public. The torrent client works out of the box. Users are presented with a big search box which they can use to search for torrents without having to leave the application.

leap_beta_home_screen-s

When a search term is entered, Vuze Leap will automatically search for matching content on Google, the Internet Archive and elsewhere. This can then be downloaded with a single click.

After a download is completed users can play media files directly from the client, or navigate to the download folder as they would do with other torrent clients. Vuze Leap automatically categorizes files into various categories to keep the library organized.

leap_beta_find_screen-s

Vuze’s new BitTorrent client is best suited to less tech-savvy users who don’t necessarily need all the advanced features the core Vuze client has to offer. Through its simpler interface Vuze Leap should make BitTorrent more accessible to people who are new to torrents.

“We believe that Vuze Leap extends usability to users who may be new to filesharing or don’t require the power and functionality that the core Vuze BitTorrent Client provides. However, both provide an outstanding experience to users,” Tolbert says.

TorrentFreak tested the application and it works as advertised. It certainly feels much lighter and faster than the core Vuze client. The built-in search is handy as well, although users may have to scroll down to get the best search results, which often come from Google.

The application is currently only available for Windows but support for other operating systems is expected to follow in the future.

Those who are interested in taking Vuze Leap for a spin can download the latest beta release after signing up for the beta test. The download link comes with the confirmation email.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

LWN.net: Spencer: The Community Team

This post was syndicated from: LWN.net and was written by: ris. Original post: at LWN.net

Rick Spencer introduces
Ubuntu’s community team. “First, we created the role Community Team
Manager. Notice the important inclusion of the word “Team”. This person’s
job is not to “manage the community”, but rather to organize and lead the
rest of the community team members. This includes things like project
planning, HR responsibilities, strategic planning and everything else
entailed in being a good line manager. After a rather competitive interview
process, with some strong candidates, one person clearly rose to the top as
the best candidate. So, I would like formally introduce David Planella as
the Community Team Manager!
” Michael Hall, Daniel Holbach, and
Nicholas Skaggs are the other members of the team.

Raspberry Pi: Art Showcase: Escape III

This post was syndicated from: Raspberry Pi and was written by: Rachel Rayns. Original post: at Raspberry Pi

Hey all! It’s Rachel again. I have another amazing Art Showcase for you. This time Neil Mendoza explains how he and Anthony Goh brought these animated bird sculptures to life with the help of a Raspberry Pi, some Arduinos and lots of old mobile phone parts.

I really love this one XD – read right to the bottom if you want to see the birds in action. Over to Neil…

image00

Mobile phones are ubiquitous in today’s society, but often their use has unintended consequences, intruding into and changing social situations, distancing people in in real life by dragging them into the digital world.  They are also a massive source of electronic waste.  A few years ago this inspired Anthony Goh and me (Neil Mendoza) to create an installation that takes cast-off devices and suggests an alternate reality in which these unwanted phones and noises become something beautiful, giving them a new life by creating an experience that people can share together in person.  The Barbican recently asked commissioned us to create a new flock of birds for their awesome Digital Revolution exhibition.  Here’s a little tech breakdown of how they work.

image01

In previous versions, the birds were independent, but this time we decided to have a Raspberry Pi at the heart of the installation controlling them all.  This gave us the most flexibility to animate them independently or choreographed them together.

The exhibition is travelling so we wanted the installation to be as easy to set up as possible to so we decided to make each bird talk to the Raspberry Pi over ethernet.  This means that communications are reliable over long distances and each bird is self-contained and only needs a power and data cable connected to it.

The next challenge to overcome was to figure out how to call a bird.  In previous incarnations, each bird included a functioning mobile phone that you could call.  However, as there is no reception in the gallery, we decided to include a different era of phone junk and make people call the birds with a rotary phone from the 1940s.  The system looks something like this…

image03

To make the phone feel phoney, the receiver is connected to a serial mp3 player, controlled by an Arduino that plays the appropriate audio depending on the state of the installation, e.g. dialling tone, bird song etc.  The Arduino also reads numbers that from the rotary dial and if one of the birds’ numbers is dialled it sends it over ethernet to the Raspberry Pi.

The iBirdBrain app running on the Raspberry Pi is written in openFrameworks.  When iBirdBrain receives a number from the phone, it wakes the appropriate bird up and tells it to move randomly.  It then picks an animation created using James George’s ofxTimeline and plays it with some added randomness.  The current state of each part of the bird is sent every frame over ethernet as a three byte message:

Byte 1: Type, e.g. ‘s’ for servo

Byte 2: Data 1, e.g. servo index

Byte 3: Data 2, e.g. servo angle

image02

So the status of the app could be seen quickly without needing to SSH into the Pi we decided to use a PiTFT screen.  To begin with we rendered the OpenGL output of the app to the PiTFT screen, however as the screen runs at 20 FPS this created an unnecessary bottleneck.  In the end, we decided to set the screen up so that it would render the console output from the openFrameworks app.  After that, the app ran at a solid 60 FPS.  Outputting a '\r' character to the console goes back to the beginning of the line, so I used this to create a constantly updating console output that didn’t scroll, e.g.:

cout << ‘\r’ << statusMessage;

The birds themselves each contain an Arduino.  They speak ethernet using an ENC28J60 ethernet module and this library.  To start with I used TCP but running a TCP stack along with all the other stuff we were asking the bird to do, proved a little too much for its little brain so we moved to using UDP as it requires less memory and processor cycles.  An ID for each bird was programmed into the EEPROM of the Arduino.  That way, there only needed to be one firmware for all the birds, the birds themselves would then set all of their data, IP address, peripherals etc based on their ID.

Each bird has multiple parts that are controlled by the Arduino, servos for the wings and heads, piezo sounders, Neopixels and a screen for the face.

Escape III is on display at Digital Revolution until 14th September at the Barbican in London – I’m so excited, I’m going next week!

If you can’t make it, you can see the birds here:

TorrentFreak: Torrent Sites Stay Blocked Long After World Cup Ends

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Andy. Original post: at TorrentFreak

stopstopWhile news of site blockades breaks every month (oftentimes more frequently) reports that sites have been unblocked are far less regular events.

In fact, it’s becoming apparent that aside from isolated instances, once websites get put on national blocklists in the UK or Italy, for example, it is unlikely that they will become readily available again.

Since no one in power is lobbying for blocked sites to be removed from censorship filters, sites such as The Pirate Bay and KickassTorrents will probably remain blocked indefinitely. There are no immediately obvious time-out events attached to these injunctions and there’s certainly no one prepared to go to court to argue over the details.

Such sunset clauses are important though, as India is finding out.

Back in July a TV network owned by Sony went to court in India to have hundreds of sites blocked at the ISP level after they allegedly made World Cup matches available online without permission.

The 472 sites requested was reduced to 219 after an appeal by ISPs, but the injunction was still one of the broadest to date anywhere in the world. Whether it reduced piracy or placed money in Sony’s back pocket is anyone’s guess, but now – long after the World Cup ended – the blockades are still in place.

Medianama says it has carried out tests and discovered that The Pirate Bay, Mega.co.nz, TorrentHound, LimeTorrents and TorrentFunk among dozens of others are still inaccessible through local ISPs.

The news outlet also contacted Multi Screen Media, the Sony company behind the blocks, asking whether the company had asked for the blocks to be removed and why Dotcom’s Mega was targeted. The company did not respond.

While some will argue that having sites blocked is a legitimate response to online piracy, it is difficult to maintain that stance long after any infringements cited in court cases have ended. That said, ex parte hearings are by their nature one-side, so it’s unlikely anyone will be looking out for the rights of their rivals anytime soon.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Six Android Piracy Group Members Charged, Two Arrested

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Andy. Original post: at TorrentFreak

usdojAssisted by police in France and the Netherlands, in the summer of 2012 the FBI took down three unauthorized Android app stores. Appbucket, Applanet and SnappzMarket all had their domains seized, the first action of its type in the Android scene.

For two years the United States Department of Justice has released information on the case and last evening came news of more charges and more arrests.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division announced the unsealing of three federal indictments in the Northern District of Georgia charging six members of Appbucket, Applanet and SnappzMarket for their roles in the unauthorized distribution of Android apps.

SnappzMarket

Joshua Ryan Taylor, 24, of Kentwood, Michigan, and Scott Walton, 28, of Cleveland, Ohio, two alleged members of SnappzMarket, were both arrested yesterday. They are due to appear before magistrates in Michigan and Ohio respectively.

An indictment returned on June 17 charges Gary Edwin Sharp II, 26, of Uxbridge, Massachusetts, along with Taylor and Walton, with one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement. Sharp is also charged with two counts of criminal copyright infringement.

It’s alleged that the three men were members of SnappzMarket between May 2011 through August 2012 along with Kody Jon Peterson, 22, of Clermont, Florida. In April, Peterson pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement. As part of his guilty plea he agreed to work undercover for the government.

Appbucket

Another indictment returned June 17 in Georgia charges James Blocker, 36, of Rowlett, Texas, with one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement.

A former member of Appbucket, Blocker is alleged to have conspired with Thomas Allen Dye, 21, of Jacksonville, Florida; Nicholas Anthony Narbone, 26, of Orlando, Florida, and Thomas Pace, 38, of Oregon City, Oregon to distribute Android apps with a value of $700,000.

During March and April 2014, Dye, Narbone and Pace all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement.

Applanet

applanetA further indictment June 17 in Georgia charges Aaron Blake Buckley, 20, of Moss Point, Mississippi; David Lee, 29, of Chino Hills, California; and Gary Edwin Sharp II (also of Appbucket) with one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement.

Lee is additionally charged with one count of aiding and abetting criminal copyright infringement and Buckley with one count of criminal copyright infringement.

All three identified themselves as former members of Applanet. The USDOJ claims that along with other members they are responsible for the illegal distribution of four million Android apps with a value of $17m. Buckley previously launched a fund-raiser in an effort to fight off the United States government.

“As a result of their criminal efforts to make money by ripping off the hard work and creativity of high-tech innovators, the defendants are charged with illegally distributing copyrighted apps,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell.

“The Criminal Division is determined to protect the labor and ingenuity of copyright owners and to keep pace with criminals in the modern, technological marketplace.”

A statement from the FBI’s Atlanta Field Office indicates that the FBI will pursue more piracy groups in future.

“The FBI will continue to provide significant investigative resources toward such groups engaged in such wholesale pirating or copyright violations as seen here,” Special Agent in Charge J. Britt Johnson said.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

SANS Internet Storm Center, InfoCON: green: OWASP Zed Attack Proxy, (Mon, Jul 21st)

This post was syndicated from: SANS Internet Storm Center, InfoCON: green and was written by: SANS Internet Storm Center, InfoCON: green. Original post: at SANS Internet Storm Center, InfoCON: green

Affectionately know as ZAP the OWASP Zed Attack Proxy in an excellent web application testing tool. It finds its way into the hands of experienced penetration testers, newer security administrators, vulnerability assessors, as well as auditors and the curious. One of the reasons for its popularity is the ease of use and the extensive granular capability to examine transactions. While some may know ZAP as a fork or successor to the old Paros proxy,it is so much more. Roughly 20% of the code base remains from Paros, meaning that the remainder is new code! Also, ZAP is one of the most active free open source projects around! There are so many excellent features, for example the automated scanner and the interception proxy. That is just for starters. ZAP is:

•Free, Open source
•Involvement is actively encouraged
•Cross platform
•Easy to use
•Easy to install
•Internationalized
•Fully documented
•Works well with other tools
•Reuses well regarded components.

Did I mention free?

ZAP has many features, some developed in the Google Summer of Code (GSoC) over the years. For penetration testers ZAP has many new features such as Zest support and ZAP integration, Advanced access control testing and user access comparison, Advanced Fuzzing, SOAP web service scanning, and more.

I gave a talk about ZAP at SANSFire recently, the slides can be found at: https://isc.sans.edu/diaryimages/BustacapinawebappwithOWASPZAPSANSFIRE2014.pdf

Cheers,
Adrien de Beaupré
Intru-shun.ca Inc.

I will be teaching SANS Sec560 Network Penetration testing in Albuquerque, NM

(c) SANS Internet Storm Center. https://isc.sans.edu Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

The Hacker Factor Blog: How Conspiracies Begin

This post was syndicated from: The Hacker Factor Blog and was written by: The Hacker Factor Blog. Original post: at The Hacker Factor Blog

There’s an ongoing trend with big news events. First, many news reports are so eager to be “first!” that they will report unvetted information as fact. This coincides with the news broadcasts that report baseless speculation as fact. Shortly after that comes the slow trickle of real information. Unfortunately, this real information is typically buried under fake reports and random conspiracy theories.

Add in a war scene that already has propaganda and false reports, and you have the makings for a lot of confusion and false information.

MH17

Let’s start with the only facts that nobody seems to be debating.

On 17-July-2014, Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over the Ukraine. The plane was struck by Russian Buk — a type of surface to air missile (SAM).

Currently, the news reports (that can be vetted) are showing indications that one side (Russia) is totally lying about the facts, preventing access to the debris, and interfering with the investigation. You just know that, when a second government-sponsored news reporter publicly quits because she refuses to report the false information coming out of the Kremlin, the propaganda has got to be really bad.

Rapid Reports

Shortly after the reports about the airliner were made public, a few details came out on social media. A couple of people asked me to evaluate a picture found on Facebook. This picture comes from Cor Pan’s facebook page. He was a passenger on flight MH17 and he posted one of the last photos of the airplane prior to take-off.

Sadly, when any major event happens, we receive false reports and people who make stuff up just for the shock factor. I was asked to determine if this picture is real. And since the passenger manifest had not, at the time, been made public, we couldn’t just look for his name. Is this picture real or a hoax?

The problem with everything at Facebook is that pictures get stripped, resaved, and passed around. It is relatively easy for someone to create a fake Facebook page just for the shock value. And no amount of metadata analysis on a Facebook image will identify even a real photo as being real.

Fortunately, there are other data points we can analyze. For example, last month Facebook rolled out a new JPEG compression system. This system leaves very distinct JPEG attributes that are detectable. Evaluating the picture shows these artifacts and indicates that it was uploaded recently — this is not an old picture at Facebook. However, if someone downloads a photo and then uploads it, it will be processed by the new JPEG encoder and it will look “new”.

The other clue comes from the Facebook profile itself. This picture was uploaded to Facebook on Thu, 17 Jul 2014 09:03:30 GMT. This timestamp comes from the HTTP metadata’s “Last-Modified” field. According to news reports, the flight took off around 10:15 GMT from Schiphol airport near Amsterdam, or about 75 minutes after the photo was posted to Facebook. This creates a very narrow timeframe: the person arrived at the airport, snapped the photo and posted it shortly before the flight, then the flight took off and was shot down hours later (14:15 GMT).

Since it’s virtually impossible to predict a horrific event such as this, this posting to Facebook — which predates the flight and mentions someone believed to be on the flight — has every reason to appear to be real.

Or to put it another way, had the Facebook account been created after the plane was destroyed, or the photo posted after the explosion, then we would have been certain it was fake. Similarly, if the photo was posted long before the flight, it would likely be fake. However, this is not the case, so we can conclude that it appears to be real.

Falsifying Data

In contrast to this picture, some of the short video clips that claim to show MH17 crashing predate the event and are posted days later. These indicate inconsistent timelines and identify many of the video clips as fake. A few of these fakes have been debunked in the Open Newsroom.

It did not take long for some people to start intentionally evaluating pictures incorrectly in order to propagate conspiracies. For example, Shane Kimmins tweeted a screenshot from Peter J Kuehlen. (Peter claims to be an “Oil Armageddon specialist”, but I think he’s a certified paranoid nutjob. And since Kimmins is gullible enough to believe what Kuehlen says, well, it means Kimmins can’t be very intelligent even if he is very vocal.)

Here’s the screenshot that Kimmins posted to Twitter:

In this posting, Kuehler asks, “How come fotoforensics show the date of January 25 2012 for the making of this picture?” The answer is really simple: it doesn’t.

The FotoForensics metadata for this picture identifies a color profile attached to this picture. Facebook attaches the same color profile to every uploaded picture (that’s one of my complaints about Facebook). You can clearly see that the “Profile Copyright” says “FB”, indicating Facebook. An ICC Profile is just a file that gets embedded with the picture during a resave. The profile creation date says “2012:01:25 03:41:57″ — so Facebook created their color profile back in 2012 and has been attaching it to every uploaded picture ever since then. (I even have a tutorial that describes how ICC Profiles work.)

Since Facebook strips out metadata, we don’t know the actual time this photo was taken. In contrast, the Facebook HTTP header tells us that the photo was uploaded 75 minutes before the flight. We don’t know when the photo was taken; we only know when it was uploaded to Facebook.

Conspiracy Corner

When I pointed this out to Shane Kimmins that the timestamp did not indicate when the photo was created, he tweeted back a reply that shows willful ignorance and a desire to further propagate his paranoid and conspiratorial views.

The two links that Kimmins provided point the Clues Forum. This forum seems to spend nearly all of their time propagating paranoid fantasies and seeing who can come up with the best conspiracy. One of the postings even has “A Little Trivia“, where they point out three airplane crashes that included the deaths of AIDS researchers. This has led to the conspiracy that someone is systematically killing leaders in AIDS research.

As my friend, Mr. Masters, put it:

Given enough data to cherry pick, any asinine idea can be supported. I think there is evidence that planes crash. Here we have three cases of flights and all three fell from the air and killed everyone. Coincidence?

Kimmins tweeted one other message that really irked me. He wrote:

While I do permit people to use FotoForensics in an unsupervised fashion, I also actively debunk the most gross examples of misuse for supporting conspiracies. I repeatedly debunked the Birthers, who believe so strongly that Obama’s birth certificate is fake, that they will explicitly and intentionally make up fake findings in order to support their claims. I have debunked staged and faked Syrian war photos and conspiracies related to other missing aircraft. (And that’s just the start of the list. I have plenty of blog entries where I debunk photos and conspiracies, and even a few where I debunk conspiracies by proving photos are real.)

Unfortunately, these false flags planted by Kimmins, Kuehler, and their ilk are dwarfed by the flood of misleading photos associated with the Ukraine on social sites like Twitter and Facebook, along with the insane cover-up statements coming out of Russia regarding MH17. When it comes to staged pictures, misrepresented photos, and false facts, Kimmins/Kuehler are wannabe’s, while the manipulators in Syria are mostly amateurs. Make no mistake: the Russians are the professionals, but even they can get tripped up. I’ll cover some of these other forms of propaganda in future blog entries.

Krebs on Security: Banks: Card Breach at Goodwill Industries

This post was syndicated from: Krebs on Security and was written by: BrianKrebs. Original post: at Krebs on Security

Heads up, bargain shoppers: Financial institutions across the country report that they are tracking what appears to be a series of credit card breaches involving Goodwill locations nationwide. For its part, Goodwill Industries International Inc. says it is working with the U.S. Secret Service on an investigation into these reports.

goodwillHeadquartered in Rockville, Md., Goodwill Industries International, Inc. is a network of 165 independent agencies in the United States and Canada with a presence in 14 other countries. The organizations sell donated clothing and household items, and use the proceeds to fund job training programs, employment placement services and other community-based initiatives.

According to sources in the financial industry, multiple locations of Goodwill Industries stores have been identified as a likely point of compromise for an unknown number of credit and debit cards.

In a statement sent to KrebsOnSecurity, Goodwill Industries said it first learned about a possible incident last Friday, July 18. The organization said it has not yet confirmed a breach, but that it is working with federal authorities on an investigation into the matter.

“Goodwill Industries International was contacted last Friday afternoon by a payment card industry fraud investigative unit and federal authorities informing us that select U.S. store locations may have been the victims of possible theft of payment card numbers,” the company wrote in an email.

“Investigators are currently reviewing available information,” the statement continued. “At this point, no breach has been confirmed but an investigation is underway. Goodwills across the country take the data of consumers seriously and their community well-being is our number one concern. Goodwill Industries International is working with industry contacts and the federal authorities on the investigation. We will remain appraised of the situation and will work proactively with any individual local Goodwill involved taking appropriate actions if a data compromise is uncovered.”

The U.S. Secret Service did not respond to requests for comment.

It remains unclear how many Goodwill locations may have been impacted, but sources say they have traced a pattern of fraud on cards that were all previously used at Goodwill stores across at least 21 states, including Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

It is also not known at this time how long ago this apparent breach may have begun, but those same financial industry sources say the breach could extend back to the middle of 2013.

Financial industry sources said the affected cards all appear to have been used at Goodwill stores, but that the fraudulent charges on those cards occurred at non-Goodwill stores, such as big box retailers and supermarket chains. This is consistent with activity seen in the wake of other large data breaches involving compromised credit and debit cards, including the break-ins at Target, Neiman Marcus, Michaels, Sally Beauty, and P.F. Chang’s.

TorrentFreak: Google Targets ‘Pirate’ Searches to Promote Legal Content

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

googlepirateadOver the past few years the entertainment industries have repeatedly asked Google to step up its anti-piracy efforts.

One of the most often heard complaints is that pirated content sometimes ranks better than legal alternatives. Copyright holders want Google to remedy this situation by promoting legal content through higher placement in search results.

“Search engines should address the distortive search practices that result in listings and rankings that favor substantially infringing sites,” the MPAA complained earlier.

While it seemed that Google had rejected the boosting of legal offerings in results, it appears that the company is now taking measures to address copyright holder concerns.

Google has quietly rolled out an update that places banner ads for Google Play and other content platforms above the regular search results if people search for piracy related terms. The banners in question show up on searches for a title of a movie or TV-show in combination with keywords such as “torrent,” “BitTorrent,” or “DVDrip.”

As shown below, the first organic result is still a “pirate” site, but the legal options are now clearly visible through the inserted banner.

“Breaking Bad Torrent”
breakingtorrent

Initially these new ads were displayed in most of the US and UK. The availability was limited after TorrentFreak reached out to Google before the weekend, but they are still visible to us from a California IP-address.

It’s unknown how Google picks the keywords but the banner is also shown when searching for the video format “avi” and even “putlocker,” a popular file-hosting service.

The ads do not appear when searching for the movie or TV-show titles alone. They are specifically triggered by the extra ‘piracy’ keyword. For example, the banner shows up when searching for “Noah DVDrip” but not for “Noah DVD,” “Noah rent“, “Noah buy” or Noah paired with a random word.

Noah DVDrip
noahdvdrip1

In addition to piracy related keywords the ads also appear for more generic searches where pirate sites traditionally rank very high. These include words such as “download,” “watch,” “online” and “view” which often have unauthorized sites in the top results.

The “Noah watch” search below is a good example where a banner is placed above the first result, which in this case links to infringing material.

Noah Watch
noahwatch

TorrentFreak contacted Google but the company couldn’t say why the ads are displayed for these piracy related keywords. A spokesman did confirm that the ads appear for “various searches” and that they are the same format as the Knowledge Graph ads that were rolled out late last year.

“These ads will appear after various searches that include specific movie, TV, and music titles,” a Google spokesman told us.

Since the availability of the banners was limited overnight the company may still be experimenting with the setup. Unfortunately, Google couldn’t comment further on our findings.

Promoting legal content through ads would make sense for Google, as that would satisfy some of the copyright holders’ demands without changing the actual search results. On top of that, it can be quite useful to users as well.

Whether the banners will be able to steer people away from pirate sites has yet to be seen though.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week – 07/21/14

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

Need-for-SpeedThis week we have three newcomers in our chart.

Need For Speed is the most downloaded movie this week.

The data for our weekly download chart is estimated by TorrentFreak, and is for informational and educational reference only. All the movies in the list are BD/DVDrips unless stated otherwise.

RSS feed for the weekly movie download chart.

Ranking (last week) Movie IMDb Rating / Trailer
torrentfreak.com
1 (3) Need For Speed 7.1 / trailer
2 (5) The Other Woman 6.5 / trailer
3 (1) Transcendence 6.4 / trailer
4 (2) Noah 6.3 / trailer
5 (…) Transformers: Age of Extinction (HDTS) 6.3 / trailer
6 (…) Brick Mansions 5.9 / trailer
7 (4) Sabotage 6.0 / trailer
8 (…) The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Webrip) 7.4 / trailer
9 (7) Rio 2 6.7 / trailer
10 (10) X-Men: Days of Future Past (HDCAM) 8.5 / trailer

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

Anchor Managed Hosting: Why OpenStack matters

This post was syndicated from: Anchor Managed Hosting and was written by: Bart Thomas. Original post: at Anchor Managed Hosting

OpenStackI’m excited about OpenStack. “But you’re a cloud computing nerd anyway,” you say. “Why should we care?” I’ve worked in a few cloud businesses over the years in both London and Sydney, watching cloud computing evolve from niche technology to mainstream buzzword. So, yes I can get disproportionally excited about things that may seem boringly technical and nerdy to others.

You’re probably not that interested in the capabilities of an Intel 12 core Xeon E5-2697v2 CPU, for example. But I think OpenStack is different, and something all businesses should be aware of, because it’s going to change the way you manage your business data and hosting. This open source cloud platform is on the cusp of disrupting the cosy, established world of the proprietary cloud providers, just as they themselves disrupted the traditional IT vendors of the ’90s and ’00s. Now is the perfect time for OpenStack.

Open source technologies are widely accepted and supported by industry and big business — partly because it plays well with other systems (interoperability), but also because open source technology is a more cost-effective way of meeting the ever-growing demand for cloud services.

The rise of OpenStack is going to place more pressure on cloud providers to be more cost-effective and more flexible, without compromising the increasingly high levels of performance you require. And that has major ramifications for all businesses. These are your expectations we need to exceed. In short, OpenStack means there are fewer excuses for providers offering merely average performance in return for high management fees.

The OpenStack community

OpenStack is a collaborative group of open source projects that provide the building blocks for a cloud ‘Infrastructure as a Service’ (IaaS) platform. IaaS is the engine that supports all modern software development and delivery. The flexibility and scope of these projects make OpenStack ideal for building public, private and hybrid clouds. It can adapt to pretty much any cloud architecture you need.

Meanwhile, the vibrant and rapidly growing community of developers behind OpenStack means it continues to build momentum. Every six months, a week-long OpenStack community summit decides the roadmap for the following six months. Just recently, 4,500 developers, customers and vendors from all over the world came together for the May 2014 summit; up from around 1800 attendees only a year before.

This followed OpenStack’s ninth release in April, codenamed Icehouse, which included code contributed by more than 1,200 active developers from around the world. Not many proprietary platforms can draw upon that kind of backing or scope of expertise. The Icehouse release includes more than 300 new features and 3000 bug fixes. Juno, the 10th release, will be available in October 2014, and is rumoured to include improved support for Docker (containers), Hadoop, Trove Database as a Service, a new Queue service and bare metal server provisioning, among other things.

Like Linux before it (one of the most successful software implementations in history), the success of OpenStack can be largely attributed to these open source foundations.

Widespread Industry Support

OpenStack has deep support across a range of industries; including academic partners, enterprises, non-profits and massive technology companies. Hewlett Packard, Red Hat, IBM, Ubuntu, AT&T, Ericsson, NASA, Rackspace, Cisco, Dell, VMware, Intel, Samsung, NEC, Hitachi, Juniper — all have adopted OpenStack. And now Anchor joins the list.

These companies each invest enormous amounts of time and money into the OpenStack ecosystem, validating and extending the adoption of OpenStack’s open standards, further driving the growth of the platform. There can be no greater example of the sheer scalability and power of OpenStack than CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research. CERN deals in very, VERY big data, stored, managed, rendered and processed in a private cloud powered by OpenStack. The CERN cloud is so large, it is expected to grow to 15,000 hypervisors and up to 300,000 virtual machines within the next 12 months.

Competition and Innovation

The wide range of vendors joining the OpenStack community further drives innovation. And today, software innovation is critical to build and preserve competitive advantage, no matter which industry you are in. The open standards and open source foundations of OpenStack allow for rapid innovation, unfettered by proprietary systems, corporate secrets and closed business models.

Openness means you, me or anyone else can develop, move, integrate and deliver applications however we see fit. No fear of restrictions and no chance of becoming locked into a particular vendor. OpenStack may be four years old, but the IaaS sector is still an evolving technology. As IaaS continues to mature, standardisation becomes increasingly important. Open source standards and APIs are now the accepted norm in the IT industry, placing OpenStack in a powerful position. That means OpenStack is defining the cloud infrastructure standards of the future. And that affects all of us.

The post Why OpenStack matters appeared first on Anchor Managed Hosting.

TorrentFreak: Another Argument Against The “Artist Must Get Paid” Nonsense

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Rick Falkvinge. Original post: at TorrentFreak

copyright-brandedWhen I was travelling recently, an interesting point came up. A colleague of mine didn’t mind buying copies of culture (games, movies, etc.), but always bought them second-hand – specifically so the copyright industry shouldn’t get any money.

I realized immediately that this point torpedoes the most common fallacy against culture-sharing completely: that of the artist having some sort of “right to money” when you enjoy work that they once created. There are many ways to show that as a complete fallacy, some more convoluted than others (planned economy, libraries, market value, street musicians…) but I realized this is one of the most straightforward yet.

Nobody, especially not technophobic dinosaurs, object to second-hand book and record shops. And yet, when somebody buys there, the author or musician doesn’t get a cent – and we think that’s completely in order, just as completely without question.

When this sinks in, you realize that it was never about the money at all in the first place. It was merely about what the self-appointed cultural elite saw as their territory and their habits, where they can allow others to tread or deny them the privilege. Second-hand shops have always been a central part of a cultural rich life. The Internet is something completely new (well, perhaps not anymore) that denies the old elite the privilege of having their established ways remain the norm.

And yet, there it is in black and white. There is no connection at all between “you enjoying a fine work” and “the artist getting paid”. None whatsoever. When you’re buying something at a second-hand store and enjoying it, the original writer doesn’t get a cent, and everybody thinks that’s okay. (Even if a few people in the copyright industry are trying to outlaw second-hand sales, they’re not being very successful at it.)

So try this conversation the next time a self-appointed Guardian Of The Ways criticizes the good art of sharing culture and knowledge:

- You shouldn’t enjoy somebody’s work without paying them for it.

- That’s nonsense. Second-hand bookstores and record stores are the backbone of a rich culture, and people are enjoying fine works there without the artist getting a cent.

- But, but, the artist got money when somebody originally bought it!

- Yes, maybe so, but that’s not what you said. You said that somebody must pay the artist to have a right to enjoy their work. That’s clearly not true.

At that point, the argument is derailed, and they will probably talk about how the Interwebs should be outlawed instead. Try it, it’s fun!

About The Author

Rick Falkvinge is a regular columnist on TorrentFreak, sharing his thoughts every other week. He is the founder of the Swedish and first Pirate Party, a whisky aficionado, and a low-altitude motorcycle pilot. His blog at falkvinge.net focuses on information policy.

Book Falkvinge as speaker?

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: BPI Rejects Use of Spotify-Owned “Stay Down” Pirate Tool

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Andy. Original post: at TorrentFreak

There are hundreds of millions of pirate files inhabiting the Internet and it’s fair to say that many of those are music tracks. As a result, the world’s leading record labels, who together claim 90%+ of the market, spend significant sums making those files more awkward to find.

For sites like The Pirate Bay, which point-blank refuses to remove any torrents whatsoever, the labels have little option than to head off to Google. There the search giant will remove Pirate Bay links from its indexes so that users won’t immediately find them.

However, rather than engaging a link whack-a-mole, the best solution by far is to remove the content itself. Perhaps surprisingly, many of the world’s leading file-lockers (even ones labeled ‘rogue’ by the United States), allow copyright holders direct back-end access to their systems so they can remove content themselves. It doesn’t really get any fairer than that, and here’s the issue.

This week, while looking at Google’s Transparency Report, TF noticed that during the past month massive file-hosting site 4shared became the record labels’ public enemy number one. In just four weeks, Google received 953,065 requests for 4shared links to be taken down, the majority of them from record labels. In fact, according to Google the BPI has complained about 4shared a mind-boggling 6.75 million times overall.

So, is 4shared refusing to cooperate with the BPI, hence the group’s endless complaints to Google? That conclusion might make sense but apparently it’s not the case. In fact, it appears that 4shared operates a removal system that is particularly friendly to music companies, one that not only allows them to take content down, but also keep it down.

“Throughout the years 4shared developed several tools for copyright owners to protect their content and established a special team that reacts to copyright claims in timely manner,” 4shared informs TorrentFreak.

“We don’t completely understand BPI’s reasons for sending claims to Google instead of using our tools. From our point of view the best and most effective way for copyright holders to find and remove links to the content they own is to use our music identification system.”

To find out more, TF spoke with the BPI. We asked them to comment on 4shared’s takedown tools and in the light of their existence why they choose to target Google instead. After a few friendly back-and-forth emails, the group declined to comment on the specific case.

“We prefer to comment on our overall approach on search rather than on individual sites, which is to focus on known sources of wide scale piracy and to use a number of tools to tackle this problem,” a BPI spokesman explained.

“Notice-sending represents just one part of the measures available to us, along with site blocking and working with the Police to reducing advertising on copyright infringing sites.”

We asked 4shared to reveal other copyright holders using their system, but the site declined on privacy grounds. However, it’s clear that the BPI isn’t a user and 4shared have their own ideas why that might be.

“It’s possible that BPI goes for quantity not quality,” TF was told.

“If they are trying to increase the number of links in reports or for PR reasons, they probably use a bot to harvest and send links to Google despite the fact that such an approach may also result in false claims.”

The “PR” angle is an interesting one. Ever since Google began publishing its Transparency Report rightsholders have used it to demonstrate how bad the piracy problem is. Boosting those numbers certainly helps the cause.

But is it possible, perhaps, that the BPI doesn’t trust the 4shared system. They didn’t answer our questions on that front either but it seems unlikely since 4shared uses EchoPrint, a solution purchased by Spotify earlier this year.

“Our music identification system which is based on Echoprint technology will not only find all matching content but will also restrict sharing of all potential future uploads of such content,” 4shared concludes.

Take-down-and-stay-down is the Holy Grail for anti-piracy companies. It’s a solution being pushed for in the United States in the face of what rightsholders say is a broken DMCA. On that basis there must be a good reason for the BPI not wanting to work with 4shared and it has to be said that the company’s “PR” theory proves more attractive than most.

The volume of notices in Google’s Transparency Report provide believable evidence of large-scale infringement and it’s certainly possible that the BPI would prefer to have 4shared blocked in the UK than work with the site’s takedown tools.

We’ll find out the truth in the months to come.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: RIAA Now Bullying Fully Licensed, Zero Revenue Music Site

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Andy. Original post: at TorrentFreak

tapesLast Wednesday we reported a particularly miserable situation between the RIAA and a near 20-year-old radio fansite.

Around since 1996, ReelRadio is a service dedicated to streaming historical radio shows, specifically decades-old ‘aircheck’ demo recordings which were often used to showcase radio announcers before being placed in the archives.

ReelRadio isn’t some ‘rogue’ site determined to avoid paying artists. The site does its bit by paying a proper license, but last week the RIAA decided that it needed to more strictly enforce its terms. Trouble is, those terms are so restrictive that not only will the site have to drastically reduce its user experience in order to comply, in some instances it may actually prove impossible to meet the terms.

Sadly, TorrentFreak has discovered that ReelRadio isn’t on its own. The RIAA has also been contacting other sites with demands for compliance. On July 11, PatesTapes.com, a site dedicated to vinyl-to-tape-to-digital mixtape archives created by Charles Pates, also received a letter from the industry group.

“The demands are almost exactly the same as what ReelRadio is reporting – remove ‘archived recordings’ after two weeks and ‘archive recordings’ must be longer than five hours. In our case, saying what is in the recording before it plays is a no-no,” PatesTapes’ Dennis Wallace informs TF.

What makes the RIAA’s pressure even more unpalatable is the entirely not-for-profit nature of PatesTapes. In fact, the site deliberately generates absolutely no revenue whatsoever yet chooses to pay ASCAP, BMI and SoundExchange a total of $5,000 in licensing fees to keep things above board.

“It’s a total labor of love,” Wallace told TF.

“[The site] has a small but passionate following (a steady 200 listeners per day over several years), and the typical listener would put on a tape and let it auto-play from tape to tape within the same category over the course of the next several hours,” Wallace explains.

Now, however, the future of the site is in the balance. Earlier this week it seemed almost certain that PatesTapes would be closing down but now the team is taking time out to assess their position.

“We had a meeting and we’ll be trying to revive the site rather than shutting down. We’re moving from a ‘pick your tape’ model to more of a ‘pick you stream’ model, based on a longer set list. We are going to be running this past legal minds so we can be more sure about any subsequent challenge,” Wallace adds.

Characteristically for the RIAA, the letter sent to both PatesTapes and ReelRadio concludes with a threat.

“If we do not hear from you by August 22, 2014, we will assume that you do not intend to remedy the violations and will take whatever measures we feel are necessary,” the RIAA warns.

At this point it’s worth noting the contrast between the RIAA’s dealings with the world’s biggest file-sharing sites and the hobbyist services highlighted above. The former pay not a cent in licensing fees and yet carry on unhindered, business as usual, millions of copyrighted items available. The latter, who are paying thousands of dollars in licenses, for little to nothing in return, just to have fun, are having their existences threatened.

It appears that being small and being honest is not only interpreted as a weakness, but also as an opportunity to pull in even more revenue. The question is, however, how many sites like these will simply close down and take their money with them.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: UK ISPs and Copyright Holders Praise New Piracy Warning System

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

pirate-cardIn an effort to curb online piracy, earlier this year the movie and music industries reached agreement with the UK’s leading ISPs to send warnings to alleged copyright infringers.

As we previously revealed, the Voluntary Copyright Alert Programme (VCAP) will only apply to P2P file-sharing and will mainly focus on repeat infringers.

The monitoring will be carried out by a third-party company and unlike other warning systems there won’t be any punishments. The main purpose of the warnings is to alert and educate copyright infringers, in the hope they will move over to legal alternatives.

The program was officially announced today and received support from all parties involved, including the UK Government which is financially backing the measures. Without exception they all praise the warning system and the accompanying educational campaign.

“It is fantastic that the UK creative community and ISPs have come together in partnership to address online copyright infringement and raise awareness about the multitude of legitimate online services available to consumers. We are also grateful to the UK Government for backing this important new initiative,” the MPA’s Chris Marcich comments.

Thus far BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media have agreed to send warnings to customers whose connections are being used for unauthorized file-sharing. Commenting on the collaboration, all four ISPs praised the educational nature of the VCAP program.

“BT is committed to supporting the creative industries by helping to tackle the problem of online piracy while ensuring the best possible experience for its customers. That’s why we’ve worked very hard with rights-holders and other leading ISPs to develop a voluntary programme based on consumer education and awareness which promotes the use of legal online content.” BT Consumer CEO John Petter says.

Lyssa McGowan, Director of Sky Broadband, is equally delighted by the anti-piracy agreement.

“As both a content creator and ISP, we understand how vital it is to tackle online copyright infringement in order to protect future investment in content. As a result, we’re pleased [...] to help make consumers aware of illegal downloading and point them towards the wide range of legitimate sites where they can enjoy great content,” she notes.

The comments from the other ISPs, copyright holder groups, and the Government, are all variations on the same theme. The parties praise the new awareness campaign and note that the main goal is to convert consumers to legal alternatives through education.

The question that remains, however, is how genuine all this positivity really is.

While the scheme is being overwhelmed with praise, the parties also announced that the first warning emails will not be sent out before next summer, possibly even later. These delays are a thorn in the side of both copyright holders and the Government, suggesting that negotiations behind the scenes are less uplifting.

This also shows in earlier comments from the Prime Minister’s IP advisor Mike Weatherly who said that it’s already time to think about VCAP’s potential failure. He suggested that the program needs to be followed by something more enforceable, including disconnections, fines and jail sentences.

More background and details on the planned piracy warning are available in our previous VCAP overview article.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Dotcom’s MEGA Blocked in Italy Over Piracy Concerns

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

mega Italian authorities and the local entertainment industry are continuing their war on piracy with yet another round of broad website blockades.

This week Court of Rome Judge Constantino De Robbio ordered all local Internet providers to restrict access to 24 websites including Kim Dotcom’s Mega.co.nz. The list further includes several other cloud storage sites such as Firedrive (formerly known as Putlocker) and even Russia’s largest email provider Mail.ru.

The broad anti-piracy measures were requested by a small independent Italian movie distributor Eyemoon Pictures. The company complained that the sites in question distributed two films, “The Congress” and “Fruitvale Station,” before they were released in Italian cinemas.

It appears that the injunction was issued without a very careful investigation of the true nature of the sites. Kim Dotcom’s Mega.co.nz is known to be very responsive to takedown notices, and the targeting of Russia’s largest email providers is even more baffling.

In a comment Mega CEO Stephen Hall tells TorrentFreak that Mega views the blockade as disproportionate and illegal. The company operates an EU and DMCA compliant takedown process which allows copyright holder to remove infringing files swiftly.

“We believe that the blockade adopted by the Italian Prosecutor is illegal. The blocking order was placed on the basis of a complaint by a small distributor for two films and the effect of the total block is obviously disproportionate,” Hall says.

Hall further points out that the measures are easily circumvented by using Google DNS or any other non-ISP DNS provider. However, the company hopes that it can have the blockade reversed via soon-to-be-filed appeal.

“Mega is taking steps to ensure that our Italian customers regain access to their files without first having to fiddle with their nameserver settings by filing an appeal next week,” Hall adds.

TorrentFreak contacted Fulvio Sarzana, a lawyer specialized in Internet and copyright disputes, who told us that the scope of the preliminary injunction is rather broad.

“This is the second-largest website blocking order in Italy, but certainly the most important one considering the names involved,” Sarzana says.

The lawyer is opposed to the measures and welcomes site owners who want to appeal the blockades.

“I see website blocking through DNS and IP-address as a form of censorship. The block can not distinguish between licit and illicit files. It’s like using a bomb broad-spectrum to hit only one person, the collateral damage is very obvious,” Sarzana notes.

The sites affected in today’s actions have an option to appeal the Court’s decision, which has been done before with success.

Earlier this year Rome’s Court of Appeals recalled a blocking order against the video streaming site Filmakerz.org, arguing that it was too broad. In its order the Court specified that partial blocking of a specific URL is preferred over site-wide bans, and that copyright-infringing sites must have a for-profit angle.

The full list of blocked domain names is as follows:

cineblog01.net, cineblog01.tv, ddlstorage.com, divxstage.eu, easybytez.com, filminstreaming.eu, filmstream.info, firedrive.com, mail.ru, mega.co.nz, movshare.sx, nowdownload.ag, nowdownload.sx, nowvideo.sx, piratestreaming.net, primeshare.tv, putlocker.com, rapidvideo.tv, sockshare.com, uploadable.ch, uploadinc.com, video.tt , videopremium.me and youwatch.org

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.