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White House shares manipulated Infowars video to justify CNN press ban

Read this slowly: The White House’s press secretary has tweeted a manipulated video shared by the editor-at-large of conspiracy theorist outlet Infowars to attempt to justify its decision to suspend the press credentials of CNN’s chief white house correspondent. CNN’s Jim Acosta had his press pass pulled by the White House earlier today after press secretary Sarah Sanders claimed he had “plac[ed] his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job”. Acosta disputes this. The journalist had being trying to continue asking president Trump questions during a contentious exchange at a White House press briefing. During this exchange Trump cut over him verbally — saying “that’s enough” — at which point a female White House intern moved towards Acosta and attempted to take the microphone out of...

Yahoo agrees $50M settlement package for users hit by massive security breach

One of the largest consumer internet hacks has bred one of the largest class action settlements after Yahoo agreed to pay $50 million to victims of a security breach that’s said to have affected up to 200 million U.S. consumers and some three billion email accounts worldwide. In what appears to be the closing move to the two-year-old lawsuit, Yahoo — which is now part of Verizon’s Oath business [which is the parent company of TechCrunch] — has proposed to pay $50 million in compensation to an estimated 200 million users in the U.S. and Israel, according to a court filing. In addition, the company will cover up to $35 million on lawyer fees related to the case and provide affected users in the U.S. with credit monitoring services for two years via AllClear, a package that would retail for a...

Fake news ‘threat to democracy’ report gets back-burner response from UK gov’t

The UK government has rejected a parliamentary committee’s call for a levy on social media firms to fund digital literacy lessons to combat the impact of disinformation online. The recommendation of a levy on social media platforms was made by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee three months ago, in a preliminary report following a multi-month investigation into the impact of so-called ‘fake news’ on democratic processes. Though it has suggested the terms ‘misinformation’ and ‘disinformation’ be used instead, to better pin down exact types of problematic inauthentic content — and on that at least the government agrees. But just not on very much else. At least not yet. Among around 50 policy suggestions in the interim report — which the committee put out quickly exactly to call ...

Khashoggi’s fate shows the flip side of the surveillance state

It’s been over five years since NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden lifted the lid on government mass surveillance programs, revealing, in unprecedented detail, quite how deep the rabbit hole goes thanks to the spread of commercial software and connectivity enabling a bottomless intelligence-gathering philosophy of ‘bag it all’. Yet technology’s onward march has hardly broken its stride. Government spying practices are perhaps more scrutinized, as a result of awkward questions about out-of-date legal oversight regimes. Though whether the resulting legislative updates, putting an official stamp of approval on bulk and/or warrantless collection as a state spying tool, have put Snowden’s ethical concerns to bed seems doubtful — albeit, it depends on who you ask. The UK’s post-Snowden Investigato...

The New York Times sues the FCC to investigate Russian interference in Net Neutrality decision

The ongoing saga over the FCC’s handling of public comments to its net neutrality proposal continues after The New York Times sued the organization for withholding of information that it believes could prove there was Russian interference. The Times has filed multiple Freedom of Information Act requests for data on the comments since July 2017, and now, after reducing the scope of its requests significantly was rejected, it is taking the FCC to court in a bid to get the information. The FCC’s comment system keeled over in May 2017 over during the public feedback period as more than 22 million comments were posted. Plenty of those were suspected of using repeated phrases, fake email addresses and even the names of deceased New Yorkers. The FCC initially falsely claimed the outage was becaus...

This is what Americans think about the state of election security right now

A wide-ranging new poll yields some useful insight into how worried the average American feels about election threats as the country barrels toward midterms. The survey, conducted by NPR and researchers with Marist College, polled 949 adult US residents in early September across regions of the country, contacting participants through both landlines and mobile devices. The results are a significant glimpse into current attitudes around the likelihood of foreign election interference, election security measures and how well social media companies have rebounded in the public eye. Attitudes toward Facebook and Twitter As the most recent dust settles around revelations that Russia ran influence campaigns targeting Americans on social media platforms, just how much do US voters trust that Faceb...

Russian arms manufacturer Kalashnikov unveils its answer to Tesla

The Russian weapons manufacturer Kalahsnikov, best known for making the AK-47 machine gun, has unveiled a fleet of electric and hybrid cars, buggies and motorcycles this week — including an electric vehicle that the company says will rival Tesla. While it’s a noble goal to take competitive aim at the world’s most famous electric vehicle brand, the retro-styled concept car, dubbed the CV-1, bears a closer resemblance to another, more infamous car from the Soviet era… the Trabant. That’s a vehicle, by the way, whose Fahrvergnügen is best illustrated by the Conan O’Brien’s demonstration below. [embedded content] The CV-1 is based on the retro-IZH-21252 model known as the “Combi” and is a test bed for Kalashnikov’s electric drive train, which the company said was developed in-house. The Combi ...

Facebook and Twitter remove hundreds of accounts linked to Iranian and Russian political meddling

Facebook has removed hundreds of accounts and pages for what it calls “coordinated inauthentic behavior,” generally networks of ostensibly independent outlets that were in fact controlled centrally by Russia and Iran. Some of these accounts were identified as much as a year ago. In a post by the company’s head of cybersecurity policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, the company described three major operations that it had monitored and eventually rolled up with the help of security firm FireEye. The latter provided its own initial analysis, with more to come. Notably, few or none of these were focused on manipulating the 2018 midterm elections here in the states, but rather had a variety of topics and apparent goals. The common theme is certainly attempting to sway political opinion — just not in Ohio...

Russian hackers already targeted a Missouri senator up for reelection in 2018

A Democratic senator seeking reelection this fall appears to be the first identifiable target of Russian hacking in the 2018 midterm race. In a new story on the Daily Beast, Andrew Desiderio and Kevin Poulsen reported that Democratic Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill was targeted in a campaign-related phishing attack. That clears up one unspecified target from last week’s statement by Microsoft’s Tom Burt that three midterm election candidates had been targeted by Russian phishing campaigns. The report cites its own forensic research in determining the attacker is likely Fancy Bear, a hacking group believed to be affiliated with Russian military intelligence. “We did discover that a fake Microsoft domain had been established as the landing page for phishing attacks, and we saw metadata tha...

Department of Justice indicts 12 Russian intelligence officers for Clinton email hacks

Just days before President Trump is set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Department of Justice has leveled new charges against 12 Russian intelligence officers who allegedly hacked the Democratic National Committee and the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton . The charges were released by Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who’s leading the investigation into Russian election tampering because of the recusal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions from the investigation. In January of last year, the intelligence community issued a joint statement affirming that Russia had indeed tampered with the U.S. presidential elections in 2016. Now the investigation is beginning to release indictments. Three former campaign aides for the president’s campaign have already p...

Naspers is in talks to invest in Southeast Asia’s Carousell

Naspers, the South Africa-based firm that famously backed Chinese giant Tencent in its infancy, is in talks to invest in Singapore-based startup Carousell, according to two sources with knowledge of discussions. Carousell offers a mobile app that combines listings with peer-to-peer selling across Southeast Asia, Taiwan and Hong Kong. That makes it well-aligned with Naspers’ portfolio, which features some of the world’s largest classifieds services including OLX, which covers 45 countries, Letgo in the U.S. and Avito in Russia. TechCrunch understands that Naspers is pursuing a deal with Carousell with a view to making it the firm’s key play in Southeast Asia and other parts of the APAC region. Discussions are at a relatively early stage so it isn’t clear what percentage of the company that ...

Canadian Yahoo hacker gets a five-year prison sentence

After pleading guilty in November, the Canadian hacker at least partially to blame for the massive Yahoo hack that exposed up to 3 billion accounts will face five years in prison. According to the Justice Department, the hacker, 23-year-old Karim Baratov, worked under the guidance of two agents from the FSB, Russia’s spy agency, to compromise the accounts. Those officers, Dmitry Dokuchaev and Igor Sushchin, reside in Russia, as does Latvian hacker Alexsey Belan who also was implicated in the Yahoo hack. Given their location, those three are unlikely to face consequences for their involvement, but Baratov’s Canadian citizenship made him vulnerable to prosecution. “Baratov’s role in the charged conspiracy was to hack webmail accounts of individuals of interest to his coconspirator who was wo...