Hacker's tweet led FBI to issue warning for airlines in US

In response to the claims and reports of the recent United Airlines incident, The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has issued a warning to all the airlines to be on the lookout for hackers. It follows an onboard tweet from Chris Roberts, pro hacker and the founder of One World Labs.

Roberts, a researcher specializing in the security of commercial airplanes, was detained by FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) agents while deplaning his United Airlines flight from Denver to Syracuse, New York. This action was taken after he tweeted a joke about taking control of the plane’s engine-indicating and crew-alerting system, which provides flight crews with information in real-time about an aircraft’s functions, including temperatures of various equipment, fuel flow and quantity, and oil-pressure.

The computer expert tweeted: “Find myself on a 737/800, lets see Box-IFE-ICE-SATCOM, ? Shall we start playing with EICAS messages? 'PASS OXYGEN ON' Anyone ? :)”. This apparently caught the attention of Federal authorities who confiscated Robert’s iPad, MacBook Pro, and storage devices after questioning him for four hours.


Roberts stated that he was perturbed by the actions of the US law enforcement as he has been demonstrating vulnerabilities in the avionics system used on modern airplanes and telling CNN that he could connect a computer under his seat to view data from the aircraft’s engines, fuel and flight-management systems. And he is not the only one, according to an article by Forbes, Thomas Lim, head of security consultancy Cose Inc, has repeatedly been checked going through airports in recent years. On a flight from New York to Taipei, he was searched of all his belongings at the airport in Anchorage.

United Airlines has now banned Chris Roberts from all its flights.

Moreover, in a notification reported by the Wired Magazine, the FBI advised airlines to report any suspicious activity i.e. passengers connecting unknown wires and cables, or tampering or the forced removal of covers to network connection ports, along with reporting any evidence of suspicious behaviour concerning aviation wireless signals, including social media messages with threatening references to onboard network systems, automatic dependent surveillance systems (ADS-B), aircraft communications addressing and reporting systems (ACARS) and air traffic control networks.

WordPress 4.1.2 version released, fixes critical security bugs


Wordpress 4.1.2 is the latest version of WordPress to be released to the public. A critical security release for all previous versions, WordPress 4.1.2 fixes as much as four other security issues.
The earlier versions of WordPress including version 4.1.1 were affected by a serious critical cross-scripting vulnerability, which could enable anonymous users to compromise a site. This was reported by Cedric Van Bockhaven and fixed by Gary Pendergast, Mike Adams and Andrew Nacin of the WordPress security team.

Discovered by Michael Kapfer and Sebastian Kraemer of HSASec, files with invalid or unsafe names could be uploaded in version 4.1 and higher.

In WordPress 3.9 and higher, a very limited cross-site scripting vulnerability could be used as a part of a social engineering attack. It was discovered by Jakub Zoczek.  

Some plugins were vulnerable to an SQL injection vulnerability. Four hardening changes, including better validation of post titles within the Dashboard were discovered by J.D.Grimes, Divyesh Prajapati, Allan Collins, Marc-Alexandre Montpas and Jeff Bowen.

To download WordPress 4.1.2, the update can be updated automatically from the Dashboard and simply click “Update Now”. Sites that support automatic background updates are already updating to WordPress 4.1.2.

Researchers discover fingerprint flaw on Samsung Galaxy S5


Photo Courtesy: Mobilesyrup website
Despite the various efforts made to secure biometric information on Samsung Galaxy S5 by the Android phone makers, hackers can still take copies of fingerprint which is used to unlock the phone set, said researchers.

Tao Wei and Yulong Zhang, researchers at FireEye, a security firm, said that even though there is a separate secure enclave for the information on the phone, it is possible to grab the biometric data before it reaches that safe area which allows hackers to copy people’s fingerprints for further attacks.

Wei and Zhang, who conducted research on Galaxy S5 including other unnamed Android devices, will be presenting their findings at the RSA conference on April 24.

The researchers said that in order to clone the fingerprints, the hackers don’t have to break the protected zone where the data is stored. They just have to collect data from the device’s fingerprint sensor.

According to them, any hacker can easily clone fingerprints from the phone sets. They have to get user-level access and run a program as root. They wouldn’t need to go deeper on Samsung Galaxy S5 because the malware needs only system-level access.

And once the hackers break the operating system of the phone, they can easily read the fingerprint sensor. Then, the hackers get the data from which they can generate an image of fingerprint. After that, those hackers can do whatever they want.

After finding the flaw on the phone, the researchers had contacted Samsung. However, they did not get any updates or measures to fix the vulnerability from the company.

They said that it is better to update Android version in order to get protected from this vulnerability because it is not resident on Android 5.0 or later versions.

"Samsung takes consumer privacy and data security very seriously. We are currently investigating FireEye’s claims,” said a spokesperson for Samsung via email to Forbes.

Although, there are various security concerns about biometric, it is going to be the primary form of authentication on mobile phones.

It is said that Microsoft is testing out a range of biometric options for its upcoming Windows 10 operating system. 

However, Wei and Zhang said they only tested Android devices as of now.

They said that not all of the Android phones below 5.0 with fingerprint authentication were affected but this vulnerability is likely to spread among other phone companies as well.  Like HTC One Max, Motorola Atrix, Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Edge, Galaxy S6, and Huawei Ascend Mate 7.

“We only tested a limited number of devices. While we expect the issue is more widespread, we are not sure,” the FireEye spokesperson said in an email to Forbes

GTA V users accounts have not been hacked but change passwords to ensure safety


In a response to a number of reports from Grand Theft Auto V (GTA V) users who said their Social Club accounts have been hacked and even modified, Rockstar Games Social Club (RGSC), a hub for GTA V and other games, has confirmed that the accounts have not been hacked.

However, the user can change his/her password in order to prevent his/her account from hacking in the future.

After receiving numbers of complaints about hacking, which did not allow the users to log in to their accounts and they cannot play games, via twitter the authority concerned sent a statement to Kotaku Australia.

According to the statement, their accounts have not been hacked. It seems that some unknown users or website tried to access another’s user accounts using email and password combinations. However, the company is in the process of repairing the affected account in to the original. It also suggested the users not to share their Social Club account username and password to other multiple websites. They should keep different passwords and usernames for their different accounts.

“We are responding to customers, whose accounts got affected, to reinstate full user access within 24 hours of contacting Customer Support. Please keep looking at the Rockstar Support website for more information and updates,” mentioned in the statement.

Earlier, it was said that more than 2500 GTA V users account have been hacked. People were facing problem in drivers, download speeds from Steam, FPS hiccups while playing games.

Similarly, many users complained as the RGSC took a lot of time to take any initiative.

A GTA V user wrote on the Rockstar Support page, “I purchased the game before it got released and got my pre-order bonus. Everything was great until Wednesday night, when I received an email saying that my email address and password on social account has been changed.”

He added that he immediately emailed Rockstar Support. When he did not get any reply, he called the support team.  They gave him a ticket number 3579087 and said it was escalated. Since then, he hasn’t received any information on how long will it take to get back his account.

Hackers get to Prince's facebook page

Prince's Facebook page made a quick re-appearance on the social media site on Saturday for few hours before being it was taken down for being a hacked one.

Prince, who has been in the music industry for about forty years had avoided social media until last year. In an era where reaching close to the audience has been the aim of most musicians, Prince chose to avoid the buzz of online socializing. It was only in 2014 October that he opened a Facebook page and hosted a fan Q&A but  replied to only one question before taking the page down in November.

He even shut his Twitter account and deleted videos from the official You Tube account. The page was activated with promises of new music, but then it started being self-deprecating and rude with messages like " My name is Prince and I don't care about my fans, I put my hit and run pause on tour so I can be the true asshole I am." Some were funny as well, with one saying, “Bring omelets to my next show, free entry.”

The surge of insulting and absurd messages pointed towards a hack and the page was promptly taken down by the site.

The AirDroid Lesson: Don't let apps take over your life

The popular android app AirDroid which lets users organize their lives by  providing the remote ability to send text messages, edit files, manage other apps and perform GPS tracking suffers from a serious authentication flaw which allows attackers to take control over user's activities.

Th flaw can be exploited  to take photos of the victim via the phone’s camera, track the victim via GPS or harass the victim’s friends and family via contacts.Anything that the app has permission to access to can be accessed by the remote attacker.

The mode of attack is very simple, the attacker would send a innocent-looking link to the user which if clicked leads to the webpage of the attacker. The attacker thus assumes control over the user's phone and can activate the phone's camera to take photos of the user and taunt the user.

This bug has been fixed as of now but the security risk it posed raises questions on how much should an app be permitted to know.

Often for the sake of convenience we offer personal information to the apps thus compromising our security. The long list of permissions that an app asks for is also cumbersome for many users to scan through and they just hit agree.  One never knows how many vulnerabilities are lurking in the apps we freely download and use and how those vulnerabilities can be exploited to take over our daily activities.One must be careful of the things they are agreeing to while installation.

Constant vigilance is the key.

Millions of ID’s and Password’s stolen to access online shopping website

The Metropolitan Police Department have found  IDs and passwords of 5.06 million people on computer servers, that it seized in connection with unauthorized access through proxy server by a Chinese group,reports the Japan news.

While investigating MPD found that Chinese fraud group obtained the personal information of about 60,000 people was used to log into online shopping sites. The server contained three kinds of hacking tools.

The proxy servers contains the computer code that automatically attempts unauthorized access to online shopping sites to check whether the IDs and passwords can be used.

There has been no report of financial damage from the illegal use of the IDs and passwords, they  have asked the companies to check whether there is any purchases were made using stolen user information.

A LINE official said: “It is greatly regrettable that our customer information was leaked illegally and could be used inappropriately. We'd like to implement safety measures and make efforts to improve our services.”

Researchers claim hack of Israeli military network

Blue Coat Systems Inc, a network solution provider based in California, has claimed that they have detected a hack in Israel's military network.

According to them, the hack seems to be a four month job and is an espionage campaign that skillfully packages existing attack software with trick emails.

The hack seems to be a job of Arabic-speakimg hackers as researchers at Blue Coat have found that programming tools used to hack the network had a default Arabic setting. They suspect the hackers might be working on a small budget as most of their code has been sourced from previous existing versions of hacking software.

Israeli defense minstry spokerperson said that Military officials were "not aware of hacking on IDF operational networks."

"Not all targeted attackers need advanced tools," Blue Coat wrote in a draft paper shared with Reuters. "As regional conflicts continue, cyber threats from groups of various skill levels will also accompany the conventional armed conflicts."

Valve new policy to control spam cases and phishing on Steam


Photo Courtesy: Steam
With an aim to control spam cases and phishing on Steam, Valve, an entertainment software and technology company, has come up with a new policy under which people won’t get Steam’s features, unless they have a minimum of $5 worth of games in their library, or more in the store.

It is believed that Valve’s new policy is to ensure that the user is an actual gamer or not.

It is said that once the new policy gets implemented, current and new users will find huge restriction on their Steam accounts. However, those people who have spent $5 in the past or more in the store won’t have to face such restriction.

Although, people can play games without paying $5, they cannot send friend invitations, open a group chat, vote on Greenlight, Steam Reviews and Workshop items, participate in the Steam Market, post frequently in the Steam Discussions, gain Steam Profile Levels (Locked to level 0) and Trading Cards, submit content on the Steam Workshop, post in an item's Steam Workshop Discussions, access the Steam Web API, use browser and mobile chat.

Tom Sykes, who writes for PC Gamer, wrote that if anyone has 200 Steam games on his/her game library, then he/she won’t face restrictions. But, the new policy would affect people who only use Steam with disc-based retail games.

He added that by activating retail game on Steam won't prevent account restrictions. People can use buy different features by their own currency. Their currency will be converted into dollars using daily exchange rates.

Teenagers suspected of hacking Belgian and French websites


Photo Courtesy: The Local France
Two teenagers, who were suspected of hacking the websites of Belgian and French newspapers last week, would have a court hearing, authorities said on April 17.

The websites of Le Soir, La Libre Belgique, La Dernière Heure, the Sudpresse group, the French regional publications, including La Voix du Nord, and Union de Reims and l'Ardennais, which sites were disabled during the attacks, were targeted.

According to the prosecutors, five-year prison sentence will be given to those two teens, if the prosecutors find them guilty. Similarly, those persons will have to pay a fine of up to 100,000 euros and also to have to compensate for the damages.


In a statement Brussels prosecutors said that the regional unit of computer crime managed to identify the two teens, who are 18 and 16 years old, behind the cyber attacks on Sunday and Monday.

The hacking, which took place on Sunday evening, forced the Le Soir to close down its website for several hours.

The Belgian media group Rossel and the Belgian group IMP filed a police complaint last week.

The authorities carried out three raids in Belgium. During the raids, they discovered one address which linked to the attacks.

An examining magistrate has been investigating the case. They will try to find out, if others are involved or not in the attacks, the authorities said.

In a video by an anonymous group of Belgian, said that it had identified one of the teens as an adolescent who lives in Belgium and loves playing games.

The group, which is said to be hackers’ group, said it shared information with the police as it was protecting freedom of expression.