e dot dot dot
a mostly about the Internet blog by

May 2020
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
         
           


Documents Show NSO Group Is Pitching Its Malware To US Local Law Enforcement Agencies

Furnished content.


Infamous Israeli malware developer NSO Group is currently being sued by Facebook for using WhatsApp as its preferred attack vector. Malicious links and malware payloads are sent to targets, allowing government agencies -- including those in countries with horrendous human rights records -- to intercept communications and otherwise exploit compromised phones.NSO has argued it can't be sued for the things done by its customers, all of which appear to be government agencies. The company says those actions are protected by sovereign immunity. NSO insists it only sells the malware. It does not assist its customers with target acquisition or malware deployment. Documents filed by Facebook say otherwise. NSO appears to deploy malware through servers it owns or rents in the United States, suggesting it is actually more involved in its customers' actions than it has sworn in court.Like any business, NSO Group wants more customers. It's not content to sell exploits to questionable governments that have used its offerings to target journalists, lawyers, activists, and dissidents. It wants to do business in the United States, where there are thousands of potential law enforcement customers.Some details of NSO's stateside push emerged a few years ago, when reports showed the DEA had met with NSO to discuss its offerings. Motherboard has obtained additional documents indicating NSO is courting local law enforcement as well.

NSO Group, the surveillance vendor best known for selling hacking technology to authoritarian governments, including Saudi Arabia, also tried to sell its products to local U.S. police, according to documents obtained by Motherboard.[...]"Turn your target's smartphone into an intelligence gold mine," a brochure for the hacking product, called Phantom, reads. The brochure was made by Westbridge Technologies, "the North American branch of NSO Group," it says. Motherboard obtained the document and related emails through a public records act request.
"Phantom" is just US branding for NSO's "Pegasus" -- the hacking tool sold to foreign governments that's at the center of Facebook's lawsuit. According to the marketing documents sent to the San Diego Police Department, Phantom turns targeted phones into a steady stream of intercepted communications. The software allows police to grab emails, text messages, contact lists, track the device's location, and surreptitiously activate the phone's camera and microphone. Once a phone is compromised, encryption is no longer a problem, as NSO's sales materials point out.Pitching a tool this powerful to the San Diego PD had a predictable response:
After talking to the company in a phone call, SDPD Sergeant David Meyer told Westbridge in an email that the hacking system "sounds awesome."
The PD's statement says the department is always looking at products that could aid them in investigations. But as tempting as this one was, it was out of the PD's price range.
In his email, Sergeant Meyer added, "we simply do not have the kind of funds to move forward on such a large scale project."
That the NSO Group is seeking US law enforcement customers isn't a surprise. But the nation's police agencies should try to be selective about who they purchase from. NSO has sold malware to serial human rights abusers and one would hope US agencies would voluntarily choose not to buy from a company with such shady clientele. Unfortunately, this single sampling of law enforcement documents shows at least one cop shop showed interest in buying what NSO was selling, and was only held back by budgetary constraints.

Read more here

posted at: 12:00am on 16-May-2020
path: /Policy | permalink | edit (requires password)

0 comments, click here to add the first



Hey, Epic, If you're Going To Boldly Give Away A Historically Popular Game For Free, Make Sure You Can Handle The Demand

Furnished content.


The Epic Store is still around, still rocking its exclusivity deals with game publishers, and is still trying really hard to unseat Valve's Steam as the dominant PC gaming platform of choice. Truthfully, the news about the ongoing battle between Steam and Epic has sort of quieted down. That ultimately is probably not a good sign for Epic. If there is unseating to be done, it's going to have to be done loudly, publicly, and with much coverage in the press.Which is perhaps why Epic recently decided to strike a deal with Rockstar to give away Grand Theft Auto 5 for free. Yes, free as in you pay no money and yet own the game forever. Rockstar's reasoning behind this is quite easy to understand: the company already made a hilarious sum of money selling the game for nearly a decade and the game's ecosystem and players have since moved into the online MMO realm where the game now makes hilarious sums of money via microtransactions. More players means more revenue for Rockstar.And for the Epic Store, this is sort of free game is a great way to entice gamers to your store, gin up a chunk of new user adoption, and really show the public how great your PC games store performs--, oh son of a bitch.

The Epic Games Store went offline on Thursday morning as users anticipating the launch of Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto 5 for free on the platform overloaded its servers. News of the game’s free release leaked early on Wednesday on the Epic Games Store Twitter account.The website and launcher both went down just before 11 a.m. EDT, when the Premium Edition of the game for Windows PC was scheduled to go live. “We are currently experiencing high traffic on the Epic Games Store,” Epic Games said on Twitter.
On the one hand: yay, the strategy worked and tons of people flocked to the Epic Store to get the free game. On the other hand: crap, the strategy also backfired, because now a whole bunch of people's first impression of the store is that it's unstable and cannot support the public demand. Whoops.This seems to be something of a trend for Epic. Great on the marketing and PR messaging, much less great on the execution. And quite frankly, it's not as though Epic shouldn't have known it was going to have a stampede on its hands.
Despite being six and a half years old, GTA 5 is clearly still popular. It goes beyond just the game being available for free, too: 2019 was one of Rockstar Games’ best sales years for GTA 5. GTA 5 was initially released in September 2013 on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and again in 2014 on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. In 2015, it came to Windows PC. With the PC launch, the game found a new audience with the modding scene and in Grand Theft Auto Online. The game’s popularity on Twitch ballooned in the past year with role-playing servers in GTA Online.
Now, as of the time of this writing, 2pm CST, the problems seem to have been fixed. I know this because I went and got the game for free myself, even though I already own it on my console. And, while this was my first time on the Epic Store myself, you'll have to go elsewhere for my take on how good or bad the store itself is.But as for this marketing strategy by Epic? I give it a meh.

Read more here

posted at: 12:00am on 16-May-2020
path: /Policy | permalink | edit (requires password)

0 comments, click here to add the first



May 2020
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
         
           







RSS (site)  RSS (path)

ATOM (site)  ATOM (path)

Categories
 - blog home

 - Announcements  (1)
 - Annoyances  (0)
 - Career_Advice  (0)
 - Domains  (0)
 - Downloads  (3)
 - Ecommerce  (0)
 - Fitness  (0)
 - Home_and_Garden  (0)
     - Cooking  (0)
     - Tools  (0)
 - Humor  (1)
 - Notices  (0)
 - Observations  (1)
 - Oddities  (2)
 - Online_Marketing  (146)
     - Affiliates  (1)
     - Merchants  (1)
 - Policy  (1879)
 - Programming  (0)
     - Browsers  (1)
     - DHTML  (0)
     - Javascript  (5)
     - PHP  (0)
     - PayPal  (1)
     - Perl  (37)
          - blosxom  (0)
     - Unidata_Universe  (22)
 - Random_Advice  (1)
 - Reading  (0)
     - Books  (0)
     - Ebooks  (1)
     - Magazines  (0)
     - Online_Articles  (4)
 - Resume_or_CV  (1)
 - Reviews  (1)
 - Rhode_Island_USA  (0)
     - Providence  (1)
 - Shop  (0)
 - Sports  (0)
     - Football  (1)
          - Cowboys  (0)
          - Patriots  (0)
     - Futbol  (1)
          - The_Rest  (0)
          - USA  (1)
 - Windows  (1)
 - Woodworking  (0)


Archives
 -2020  June  (4)
 -2020  May  (49)
 -2020  April  (48)
 -2020  March  (47)
 -2020  February  (46)
 -2020  January  (48)
 -2019  December  (44)
 -2019  November  (52)
 -2019  October  (49)
 -2019  September  (46)
 -2019  August  (52)
 -2019  July  (55)


My Sites

 - Millennium3Publishing.com

 - SponsorWorks.net

 - ListBug.com

 - TextEx.net

 - FindAdsHere.com

 - VisitLater.com