Watch_Dogs “We are Data” – Creepy Cool Big Brother Interactive City Map

wearedata

If you don’t visit any websites today, take the time and visit this one: We Are Data and prepared to be amazed (and totally creeped out)!

According to Ubisoft’s website, in the video game “Watch_Dogs”, Chicago is a smart city where data is used to solve all sorts of complex city problems. To show the amount of real data that is actually available now, they made a big brotherish type website where you can view data from three major cities, in real time. The data is then placed in it’s location on an interactive map.

Watch_Dogs WeareData gathers available geolocated data in a non-exhaustive way: we only display the information for which we have been given the authorization by the sources. Yet, it is already a huge amount of data. You may even watch what other users are looking at on the website through Facebook connect.

You first select a city, then you can select on a blue diamond that gives an exact location in the city. You are then zoomed into an overhead map where you can see traffic lights, ATMs, mobile network locations, etc. Kind of cool, but the creepy factor jumps up as you also see live tweets and other social media information. You can click on the social media icons and see actual posts from people in that area!

wearedata1

This really makes you think, if a video game company can pull this off, what can other organizations do that have different agendas? Imagine an interactive map that provides actual cell phone user data. Or if clicking on the CCTV video icons actually showed you the video from the location.

Sound far fetched?

It really isn’t. What if an interactive map pulled in live cell user data, say from one of those fake cell towers (or from planes) you hear about? Open or easily hacked webcams and CCTV video camera interfaces could be added – ever hear of Shodan? Heck, vulnerable routers or again easily hacked ones could also be made available.

Sadly as a high-tech society, we share way to much information electronically. We also give up a lot of electronic security in the name of convenience. In doing so, we have made big brother type scenarios an actual possibility!

The best thing we can do is make sure our devices are secured and encrypted. Turn off any Geo-Location information, and set privacy features when using social media. Never leave network devices set to the default credentials. And finally, never trust public Wi-Fi!

Advertisements

Iranian Hackers Target US Military Personnel via Social Media

People trust and share way too much on social media sites, and unfortunately this extends to government employees and military troops around the world. Iranian hackers have taken advantage of this and for the last three years have been targeting high ranking officials worldwide by attacking social media accounts using social engineering.

Social Engineering means to attempt to gain access or information from someone by pretending to be someone else or by physiologically manipulating someone to trick them into doing something they normally wouldn’t. Hackers use these techniques to gain account login information, access to a physical location or confidential data, or to gain information that could be used in future attacks.

According to the security firm iSight Partners in Dallas, Iranian hackers pretending to be members of US News media and defense contractors have social engineered high ranking officials via sites like Facebook, Linked-In, YouTube and Twitter since 2011. The firm has tracked the attacks for six months and have been amazed at the depth and persistence of the hackers:

It is such a complex and broad-reaching, long-term espionage campaign for the Iranians, what they lack in technical sophistication, they make up in creativity and persistence,” said iSight Senior Vice President Tiffany Jones.

The targets included a US Navy Admiral and other high ranking officials from the US and also Israel, UK, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Syria.

People share way to much via social media assuming it is a safe environment. Military personnel and government officials around the globe share where they are, what technology they are working on, unit locations and capabilities, and other seemingly innocent data shared with “friends” that could be a gold mind to cyber espionage and social engineering hackers.

Officials should be very wary of unknown social media contacts pressing them for confidential data or account information. High ranking military personnel or those in top secret positions should not use social media sites as resumes or to share where they are or what they are working on.

Some country’s even prohibit soldiers from posting any pictures of themselves in uniform or discussing any military occupation information on social media sites.

Putin and the BLM verses the Power of the Internet

Vladimir Putin has been trying very hard to convince the world that he needs to intervene in Ukraine to “protect” Pro-Russian citizens. Half way around the world, the Bureau of Land Management has tried to convince the US that it is protecting endangered turtles from trespassing cattle in Nevada. Both causes have been undermined by the power of the internet.

Reports have been flooding out of Ukraine of captured Russian intelligence officers, troops operating inside Ukrainian borders with identifying unit patches and tags removed, and even of a Russian bank making $200 and $500 daily payments to Russian “terrorists” working to destabilize the Eastern region of Ukraine.

This video allegedly shows a Russian Army Lieutenant Colonel giving orders to police officers in the Ukrainian town of Horlivka:

Pro-Russian forces have stirred up riots, taken over police and government buildings and have even attacked an airport. All the while about 40,000 Russian combat troops are hanging near Ukraine’s border. This has put Ukraine in a catch-22, either they let the unrest continue and risk civil war, or move against the trouble areas with force risking an invasion by Putin to “protect” Russian citizens like he did in Crimea.

Other than what some call Putin’s propaganda machine, the Russian Times (RT.com), no one is really falling for Putin’s cause. The internet has been saturated with anti-Russian social media posts, revealing pictures of what appear to be Russian troops in Ukraine, and reports of captured Russian operatives.

The outcome has been dramatic. Tens of thousands are protesting in Moscow and the UN even released a report claiming ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine falsely claimed assault.

Closer to home, the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) sent a mini-army of a couple hundred enforcement agents, contract workers, K-9 units and snipers into Nevada to “protect” endangered desert turtles. BLM claimed trespassing free roaming cattle from Clive Bundy’s ranch was putting endangered animals at risk. So they sent a large force in to confiscate the cattle.

Within days the internet was filled with images like this:

 bundy ranch 1st amendment

Apparently the BLM set up fenced in areas for reporters. Well this didn’t go over very well – no one used them and pictures again flooded the internet of the “First Amendment Area” signs with another sign added underneath saying, “The First Amendment is not an Area”. The fenced in areas were removed shortly thereafter.

Report of abuse by Federal officers also flooded the internet. One scuffle ensued between BLM officers and Bundy family members & supporters. A statement to the press by the BLM stated that the scuffle started when a K-9 dog was kicked. But again, this video flooded the interwebs showing that the real story might be different:

You can see from the video that at 23 seconds, a federal agent tackles a 50 year old lady from behind and seems to throw her to the ground. At 1:04 a K-9 officer appears to give both verbal and visual command for his dog to bite, and then again at 1:06.

The protestor seems to kick the dog after he tried to bite him.

Social Media exploded comparing the events in Nevada with Waco Texas and Ruby Ridge. The effect was immediate. People from as far away as New Hampshire began flocking to Nevada to stand in the gap with Clive and his family. This included armed members of several state militia and veteran groups.

The BLM has since stood down and has decided to fight the battle out in court. But again more reports have surfaced via the internet that the BLM wants to remove the cattle so that a Solar Power plant can be installed by a Chinese company, and that it has nothing whatsoever to do with trying to save turtles.

Some websites are claiming that the solar power plant report isn’t true, but it is very odd that the Federal Government would send in such a strong force to protect some turtles from cows. Especially when our southern border which needs additional help seems to get none.

But the truth is that in both cases presented here, the conflict in Ukraine and the BLM’s actions in Nevada, social media has had a huge impact of both public opinion and public action.

Obama’s Facebook and Twitter Compromised by Syrian Hackers

Barack Obama

The Syrian Electronic Army (SEA), a Syrian based hacker group known for redirection and denial of service attacks on media and political targets, briefly altered links from Obama’s social media sites to point to videos created by the SEA.

The attack was made possible not by hacking the websites, but by compromising the link shortening service that the President’s campaign team used on several websites.

According to the SEA’s twitter feed, for a while Twitter eventually blocked the links all together and visitors saw this:

Barack Obama 2

In a series of e-mails to news site Mashable, allegedly the SEA hackers claimed they compromised BarackObama.com by attacking one of the site’s administrators:

“In a follow-up email, the SEA provided screenshots that show how it altered the links in Obama’s social media posts. The group appears to have hacked the email address of Suzanne Snurpus, one of the administrators of BarackObama.com, and it gained access to a control panel for the site.”

For more information see the Mashable website.