Updated: A million German routers knocked offline by failed Mirai botnet attack

Nearly a million customers of telecoms company Deutsche Telekom AG began experiencing network outages, possibly to due hacker sabotage.

Deutsche Telekom said that an outage of service to nearly one million customers over the weekend was possibly a botched attempt to capture a massive botnet.

Deutsche Telekom’s head of IT security Thomas Tschersich, speaking to German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel, blamed the outages that hit 900,000 customers over the 26 November weekend on hackers who tried and failed to recruit those customers’ routers into a botnet. Continue reading

FBI Warns Nation-State Cyber Attacks Are Continuing

This will continue until America is either crippled beyond repair, or until America decides to abandon its “patch and pray” reactive measures that do almost nothing against future threats, and become proactive.

 

Government and private networks hit by sophisticated cyber espionage

Foreign government hackers are continuing to target U.S. government and private sector computer networks in sophisticated cyber attacks, the FBI warned in an alert sent this week.

“Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) cyber actors continue to target sensitive information stored on U.S. commercial and government networks through cyber espionage,” the FBI said in the May 11 notice.

The term “APT actor” is a euphemism for state-sponsored or highly sophisticated cyber attackers, usually involving connections to foreign militaries or intelligence services. Continue reading

Only One of Six Air Force F-35s Could Actually Take Off During Testing

During a mock deployment at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho, just one of the $100 million Lockheed Martin F-35s was able to boot its software successfully and get itself airborne during an exercise designed to test the readiness of the F-35, FlightGlobal reports. Nonetheless, the Air Force plans to declare its F-35s combat-ready later this year.

Details surrounding the failed exercise were disclosed earlier this week in written testimony presented to Congress by J. Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon’s chief weapons tester. Continue reading

Los Angeles Hospital Pays Ransom in Bitcoins to Network Hackers

An update from yesterday’s article:

 

LOS ANGELES—A large Los Angeles hospital chose to pay hackers who were holding its computer network hostage, a move its CEO said was in its best interest and the most efficient way to end the problem.

Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center showed uncommon transparency in saying Wednesday that it paid the 40 bitcoins — or about $17,000 — demanded when it fell victim to what’s commonly called “ransomware.”

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F-35 Stealth Fighter Still Has 419 ‘Deficiencies,’ Manager Says

The head of the U.S. Defense Department’s F-35 program said the number of “deficiencies” in the stealth fighter jet’s hardware and software is decreasing but that hundreds of technical challenges remain.

Speaking to reporters last week in his offices in Arlington, Virginia, Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan discussed a range of issues affecting the Pentagon’s biggest weapons program at nearly $400 billion, including the hundreds of lingering deficiency reports, or DRs, known as “technical debt” in acquisition parlance.

There are 419 things that we have yet to decide with the war fighters how we’re going to fix them, whether we’re going to fix them and when we’re going to fix them,” he said. The figure was three times higher a few years ago and “we think the technical debt that we have — the deficiencies that we have — are things that we can handle … within the next two years,” he said. Continue reading

The F-35’s Terrifying Bug List

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AP / RICK BOWMER

 

The Pentagon’s top testing official has weighed and measured the F-35 and found it wanting.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, the most expensive military program in the world, is even more broken than previously thought. The jet can’t tell old parts from new ones, randomly prevents user logins, and trying to eject out of it will likely result in serious neck injury and maybe death. A Pentagon office is warning that the plane is being rushed into service. Continue reading

China vows to speed up military overhauls in bid to build up ‘modern army’

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Soldiers of China’s People’s Liberation Army march during a military parade in Beijing in September. Photo: Reuter

 

Plan sets 2020 goal for progress in building modern armed forces

The ruling Communist Party will speed up overhauls of the military’s hardware and software, state media reported yesterday, adding it aimed to reach its reform target by 2020.

The pledge was contained in a communiqué issued nearly a week after the party’s Central Committee met to decide on the 13th five-year plan.

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A disaster foretold — and ignored

LOpht’s warnings about the Internet drew notice but little action

The seven young men sitting before some of Capitol Hill’s most powerful lawmakers weren’t graduate students or junior analysts from some think tank. No, Space Rogue, Kingpin, Mudge and the others were hackers who had come from the mysterious environs of cyberspace to deliver a terrifying warning to the world.

The making of a vulnerable Internet: This story is the third of a multi-part project on the Internet’s inherent vulnerabilities and why they may never be fixed.

Part 1: The story of how the Internet became so vulnerable
Part 2: The long life of a ‘quick fix’

Your computers, they told the panel of senators in May 1998, are not safe — not the software, not the hardware, not the networks that link them together. The companies that build these things don’t care, the hackers continued, and they have no reason to care because failure costs them nothing. And the federal government has neither the skill nor the will to do anything about it.

Continue reading

Merkel office’s computers hit by cyberattack — report

German premier’s office targeted in Trojan Horse infection, shortly after spyware found at hotels hosting Iran talks

A computer in German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s legislative office was hit by a cyberattack that targeted the country’s lower house of parliament in May, the Bild newspaper reported on Sunday.

The daily, which did not cite its sources, said the cyberattack was broader and greater than originally anticipated and the Bundestag struggled to control it. Continue reading

Germans Are Paranoid that the US Is Spying on Their Data

The idea of personal data privacy is deeply ingrained in German culture. Germans even have a word for it: Datensparsamkeit, the principle of only collecting the bare minimum of data necessary.

In June 2014, the German Bundestag, or national parliament, canceled its internet-service contract with US telecom Verizon, opting to entrust its data to German company Deutsche Telekom, instead. The alleged tapping of Angela Merkel’s personal cell phone in Dec. 2013, has led the German chancellor to compare the NSA to the East German secret police, and German citizens remain outraged at the NSA’s actions in their country—just yesterday, Apr. 23, national news magazine Der Spiegel revealed (link in German) that the agency had monitored Western European businesses for more than a year. Continue reading

Smart cities the world over ripe for hacking, expert says

So-called smart cities, with wireless sensors controlling everything from traffic lights to water management, may be vulnerable to cyberattacks, according to a computer security expert.

Last year, Cesar Cerrudo, an Argentine security researcher and chief technology officer at IOActive Labs, demonstrated how 200,000 traffic control sensors installed in major hubs like Washington, New York, Melbourne and Lyon were vulnerable to attack. Mr. Cerrudo showed how information coming from these sensors could be intercepted from 1500 feet away — or even by drone — because one company had failed to encrypt its traffic.

Just last Saturday, Mr. Cerrudo tested the same traffic sensors in San Francisco and found that, one year later, they were still not encrypted. Continue reading

The F-35 Has To Phone Texas Before Taking Off

The U.S. military ran the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter through a series of tests aboard the USS Nimitz super carrier in San Diego in early November. It performed adequately, with one exception — it needed to send its diagnostic data to Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, Texas, before taking off. If the most recent exercises are any indication, the F-35 may need to phone home every time it sets out on a mission.

First, the good news. The plane flew through its aerial paces well enough and passed a majority of its flight tests. Continue reading

Everything Is Broken

Software is so bad because it’s so complex, and because it’s trying to talk to other programs on the same computer, or over connections to other computers. Even your computer is kind of more than one computer, boxes within boxes, and each one of those computers is full of little programs trying to coordinate their actions and talk to each other. Computers have gotten incredibly complex, while people have remained the same gray mud with pretensions of godhood. Continue reading

Exclusive: Pentagon report faults F-35 on software, reliability

(Reuters) – A new U.S. Defense Department report warns that ongoing software, maintenance and reliability problems with Lockheed Martin Corp’s F-35 stealth fighter could delay the Marine Corps’ plans to start using its F-35 jets by mid-2015.

The latest report by the Pentagon’s chief weapons tester, Michael Gilmore, provides a detailed critique of the F-35’s technical challenges, and focuses heavily on what it calls the “unacceptable” performance of the plane’s software, according to a 25-page draft obtained by Reuters. Continue reading

DOE Plugs Energy Rating for Homes, Similar to MPG Rating for Cars

(CNSNews.com) – The Energy Department on Tuesday is rolling out new, improved software to help Americans measure the energy efficiency of their homes.

DOE says its energy-scoring software — called the Home Energy Scoring Tool — is like a vehicle’s mile-per-gallon rating because it allows homeowners to compare the energy performance of their homes to other homes nationwide. It also provides homeowners with suggestions for improving their homes’ efficiency. Continue reading