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Demand for teen hackers rises


Shivam Subudhi is 15 and lives in London. Three years ago, he was so inspired by the movies he was watching that featured hackers, he coded a simple port scanner revealing network doors that might let a hacker enter uninvited. "I decided to put my skills into practice for the first time," Subudhi says, "by pentesting my school network and website." Penetration testing is also known as ethical hacking and involves probing networks, systems, and sites looking for security vulnerabilities that could be exploited by an attacker. It was this activity that, unsurprisingly, brought Subudhi to the attention of the deputy headteacher. That teacher was also an IT enthusiast and introduced the budding hacker to the Cyber Discovery program; a £20 million ($24 million) U.K. government-backed scheme to teach kids how to be cybersecurity superheroes. Could your kid be next?

Teenage hackers sought by government Cyber Discovery program

Back in 2017, the U.K. government issued a tender to run a £20m Cyber Schools Programme as part of the National Cyber Security Strategy 2016-2021 created to reduce the cyber skills gap by encouraging young people to pursue a career in the profession. The SANS Institute bid for this contract was successful, having run similar programs in the U.S. and able to demonstrate the success of using a "gamified" learning model.

"SANS is by far the largest and most trusted provider of cybersecurity training in the world," James Lyne, CTO at the SANS Institute says, "so we have a wealth of experience, training content and expert instructors." In the first year the Cyber Discovery program saw some 23,000 youngsters from the U.K. aged between 14 and 18 taking part in the initial assessment phase, and around 12,000 qualifying to participate in the primary learning phases, "CyberStart Game" and "CyberStart Essentials." The following year, 29,000 took part and 14,000 qualified. Registration for the third year of Cyber Discovery is now open and Lyne anticipates a significant increase in participation, not least as the entry age has now dropped to 13.

WikiLeaks‘ founder Assange arrested after seven years hide out inside Ecuador embassy







British police has finally arrested the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy in London after Ecuador government withdrew asylum citing his bad behavior. 

The arrest has closed the seven year long dramatic stint which could end up in landing in a United States prison as he is facing  a hacking conspiracy charge.

According to an indictment Assange conspired with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to steal, and publish classified documents. 

Soon after his arrest, Assange appeared before Westminster Magistrates’ Court, where District Judge Michael Snow found  him guilty for breaching his bail conditions, flatly rejecting his assertion that he had not had a fair hearing and a reasonable excuse for not appearing.

“Mr. Assange’s behavior is that of a narcissist who cannot get beyond his own selfish interests,” Snow said. “He hasn’t come close to establishing ‘reasonable excuse.’”

While, Assange waved to the public from the gallery as he was taken to the cells. His next appearance would be on May 2 via prison video-link for his extradition case.

Whereas his attorney, Jennifer Robinson, said he will fight any extradition to the U.S.

“This sets a dangerous precedent for all journalist and media organizations in Europe and around the world,” she said. “This precedent means that any journalist can be extradited for prosecution in the United States for having published truthful information about the United States.”

London hackers may be behind ransomware attack on Lucknow hotel

In a first-of-its-kind ransomware attack in Lucknow, cybercriminals breached and blocked the computer system of The Piccadily, a five-star hotel in the capital of Uttar Pradesh, and demanded a ransom to allow data access. Ransomware is a malware unleashed into the system by a hacker that blocks access to owners till ransom is paid.

The hotel management lodged an FIR with the cyber cell of police and also roped in private cyber detectives to probe the crime and suggest a remedy.

The hotel’s finance controller in Alambagh, Jitendra Kumar Singh, lodged an FIR on March 9, stating the staff at the hotel was unable to access the computer system on February 27 around 11:45 pm when they were updating monthly business data. This was followed by screen pop-ups which read — Oops, your important files are encrypted. The staff initially ignored the pop-ups and rebooted the system following which it crashed. Later, the hotel management engaged a software engineer to track down the malfunction after which it came to light the system has been hit by ransomware.

Nodal officer of the cyber cell deputy superintendent of police (DySP) Abhay Mishra said the case happens to be first of its kind of ransomware attack in the city. The demand for ransom in such cases are also made through ‘Bitcoin’, he said. “They are investigating into the matter, but are yet to make any breakthrough,” Singh told TOI. The staff initially ignored the pop-ups and rebooted the system following which it crashed.

The cyber cell of Lucknow police believes the ransomware attack could have been made from London. Sleuths of the cyber cell made these claims after authorities of the Piccadily said they had been getting frequent phone calls from London-based number after the attack.

Singh said, “We received for calls from the same number a day after the attack. The callers inquired about the ransomware attack and asked about the progress in the case. Later, they also agreed to offer assistance.”