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America’s Cyber Espionage Project Isn’t About Defense. It’s About Waging War

Getty Images“What we really need is a Manhattan Project for cybersecurity.” It’s a sentiment that swells up every few years in the wake of some huge computer intrusion—most recently the Sony and Anthem hacks. The invocation of the legendary program that spawned the atomic bomb is telling. The Manhattan Project is America’s go-to shorthand
Publish At:2015-02-18 22:05 | Read:3599 | Comments:0 | Tags:Threat Level

Why the US Government Is Terrified of Hobbyist Drones

A staff member from DJI Technology demonstrates the DJI Phantom 2 VIsion+ drone. Kin Cheung/APIf you want to understand why the government freaked out when a $400 remote-controlled quadcopter landed on the White House grounds last week, you need to look four miles away, to a small briefing room in Arlington, Virginia. There, just 10 days earlier, officials
Publish At:2015-02-06 12:20 | Read:3228 | Comments:0 | Tags:Danger Room Threat Level drones Security

Why I Hope Congress Never Watches Blackhat

From left, Chris Hemsworth and director/producer Michael Mann on the set of Blackhat. Frank Connor/Legendary Pictures and Universal PicturesWhat a strange time. Last week I was literally walking the red carpet at the Hollywood premiere of Michael Mann’s Blackhat, a crime thriller that I had the good fortune to work on as a “hacker adviser” (my a
Publish At:2015-01-16 19:55 | Read:2967 | Comments:0 | Tags:Threat Level

The FBI Used the Web’s Favorite Hacking Tool to Unmask Tor Users

Cheryl Graham/Getty ImagesFor more than a decade, a powerful app called Metasploit has been the most important tool in the hacking world: An open-source Swiss Army knife of hacks that puts the latest exploits in the hands of anyone who’s interested, from random criminals to the thousands of security professionals who rely on the app to scour client networks
Publish At:2014-12-16 15:35 | Read:3285 | Comments:0 | Tags:Enterprise Threat Level

8 Tools to Help You Unleash Your Lock-Picking Potential

Snap gun Also called a pick gun, this tool hits all the tumblers in a lock simultaneously with a sharp rap. It’s billed as a quick-entry device, but actually takes considerable practice to master, and is largely supplanted today by bump keys. Liana Bandziulis/WIRED Snap gun Also called a pick gun, this tool hits all the tumblers in a lock simultaneously w
Publish At:2014-12-05 09:35 | Read:10652 | Comments:0 | Tags:Gadget Lab Threat Level gallery lock picking

Two Dudes Prove How Easy It Is to Hack ATMs for Free Cash

Getty ImagesWhen a small-time Tennessee restaurateur named Khaled Abdel Fattah was running short of cash he went to an ATM machine. Actually, according to federal prosecutors, he went to a lot of them. Over 18 months, he visited a slew of small kiosk ATMs around Nashville and withdrew a total of more than $400,000 in 20-dollar bills. The only problem: It wa
Publish At:2014-11-14 13:45 | Read:3415 | Comments:0 | Tags:Threat Level ATM Bank Robbers heist password

Apple’s iPhone Encryption Is a Godsend, Even if Cops Hate It

Then One/WIREDIt took the upheaval of the Edward Snowden revelations to make clear to everyone that we need protection from snooping, governmental and otherwise. Snowden illustrated the capabilities of determined spies, and said what security experts have preached for years: Strong encryption of our data is a basic necessity, not a luxury.And now Apple, th
Publish At:2014-10-08 16:50 | Read:3347 | Comments:0 | Tags:Threat Level

Finding a Video Poker Bug Made These Guys Rich—Then Vegas Made Them Pay

Michael FribergJohn Kane was on a hell of a winning streak. On July 3, 2009, he walked alone into the high-limit room at the Silverton Casino in Las Vegas and sat down at a video poker machine called the Game King. Six minutes later the purple light on the top of the machine flashed, signaling a $4,300 jackpot. Kane waited while the slot attendant verified
Publish At:2014-10-07 14:01 | Read:4832 | Comments:0 | Tags:Magazine Threat Level computer fraud fraud gambling Hacking

Why the Heyday of Credit Card Fraud Is Almost Over

Jim Merithew/WIREDIn 1960, an IBM engineer named Forrest Parry was developing a new type of ID card for the CIA when he had an epiphany: Why not make each card a tiny data storage device in and of itself? He cut a short length of half-inch wide magnetic tape from a reel and wrapped it around a blank plastic card, secured it with Scotch tape, and then, at hi
Publish At:2014-09-25 21:20 | Read:5101 | Comments:0 | Tags:Threat Level

Your Anonymous Posts to Secret Aren’t Anonymous After All

SecretWhite hat hacker Ben Caudill is halfway through his sandwich when he casually reaches over to his iPhone, swipes the screen a few times, then holds it up to me. “Is that you?” he asks.It is, but nobody was supposed to know. He’s showing me one of my posts to Secret, the popular anonymous sharing app that lets you confess your darkest
Publish At:2014-08-22 10:00 | Read:4638 | Comments:0 | Tags:Threat Level

NSA Has Been Hijacking the Botnets of Other Hackers

NSA slide via The InterceptThe NSA doesn’t just hack foreign computers. It also piggybacks on the work of professional for-profit hackers, taking over entire networks of already-hacked machines and using them for their own purposes.That’s one of the surprising details to emerge from the latest Edward Snowden leaks.The big disclosure in today&rsqu
Publish At:2014-08-09 18:36 | Read:3685 | Comments:0 | Tags:Threat Level

Google Takes Wi-Fi Snooping Scandal to the Supreme Court

Damian Spain/FlickrThe biggest U.S. internet wiretapping program outside the NSA may be headed to the Supreme Court.Google is asking the high court to rule on the legality of the company’s past sniffing of unencrypted Wi-Fi traffic in neighborhoods around the country as part of its Street View program. An appeals court last September found that the sni
Publish At:2014-08-09 18:36 | Read:3201 | Comments:0 | Tags:Threat Level

Booking Video: Aaron Swartz Jokes, Jousts With Cops After MIT Bust

“What are you here for?” a police officer asks casually as he worries the handcuffs off Aaron Swartz’s wrists.“I don’t know,” Swartz replies. “I was riding down the street. Some guy took my bike, and I was arrested.”The exchange opens a 45 minute police booking video that shows Swartz at the moment his life beg
Publish At:2014-08-09 18:36 | Read:3386 | Comments:0 | Tags:Threat Level Aaron Swartz

Snowden’s Email Provider Loses Appeal Over Encryption Keys

Lavabit founder Ladar Levison. Image: Gage Skidmore/FlickrA federal appeals court has upheld a contempt citation against the founder of the defunct secure e-mail company Lavabit, finding that the weighty internet privacy issues he raised on appeal should have been brought up earlier in the legal process.The decision disposes of a closely watched privacy case
Publish At:2014-08-09 18:36 | Read:2746 | Comments:0 | Tags:Threat Level app

Snowden’s First Move Against the NSA Was a Party in Hawaii

Edward Snowden. Photo: Barton Gellman for The Washington Post, via GettyIt was December 11, 2012, and in a small art space behind a furniture store in Honolulu, NSA contractor Edward Snowden was working to subvert the machinery of global surveillance.Snowden was not yet famous. His blockbuster leaks were still six months away, but the man destined to confron
Publish At:2014-08-09 18:36 | Read:3205 | Comments:0 | Tags:Threat Level


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