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Feds tracked down Russian spam kingpin with help from his iCloud account

February 6, 2018 Alex 0

An affidavit unsealed today shows Apple’s unexpected role in bringing a Russian spam king to justice. Once listed as one of the ten worst spammers in the world, Peter Levashov allegedly ran the Kelihos botnet under the alias “Severa,” renting out access to spammers and other cybercriminals. But despite Levashov’s significant efforts at anonymity, court records show that federal agents had been surveilling his iCloud account since May 20th, 2016, funneling back crucial information that may have led to his arrest.

The affidavit (embedded below) lays out Severa’s role in administering the Kelihos spam botnet, and how server records, Jabber messages and online payments led investigators to Levashov. Two Kelihos-linked servers seized in…

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Here are four things we learned from Elon Musk before the first Falcon Heavy launch

February 6, 2018 Alex 0

Less than a day before the first scheduled launch of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy, CEO Elon Musk took questions about the rocket from reporters during a short news conference. He reiterated warnings about the potential failure of the mission, and added that his biggest worry is about how the three rocket boosters will behave next to each other. He added that if this launch is successful, the next one could be ready in three to six months. He also clarified some outstanding details about the Falcon Heavy’s first flight — and it wouldn’t be Elon Musk if he weren’t making a few wild proclamations about the near future of SpaceX.

Falcon Super Heavy
Musk was asked whether SpaceX can increase the Falcon Heavy’s performance over time, much like it…

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The Cloverfield Paradox should have been a comedy — and almost is one

February 6, 2018 Alex 0

Spoiler warning: this review largely avoids specific plot spoilers for The Cloverfield Paradox, but it does discuss some things that don’t happen in the movie, which might be considered a form of spoiler too.

The best horror movies work because they evoke the things that scare us most — not specifically monsters or murderers, but universal fears like helplessness, isolation, violence, and the unknown. The smartest horror movies, though, the ones that stick with us longest, also work because their stories hold together. At the core of every great horror movie is some meaningful conflict that explains why bad things are happening, and that adds fears deeper and richer than just bump-in-the-night. Alien has its inimical corporation, willing…

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The battle of the damning emails begins with Waymo v. Uber opening statements

February 6, 2018 Alex 0

“Cheat codes. Find them. Use them,” said Travis Kalanick in April 2016, according to meeting notes dredged up during discovery in Waymo v. Uber. It’s just one of countless embarrassing quotes paraded out today during opening statements.

It’s been almost a year since Waymo first filed suit here in San Francisco. The intervening months have been a scorched-earth death match of litigation, with so many lawyers billing countless hours that the courtroom this morning was packed full of them, with hardly any room for the public. Journalists and spectators alike were crowded into an overflow room.

Why so much interest in a tech trial? Waymo v. Uber is putatively about LIDAR — a laser-based technology that can be used by self-driving cars to…

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Man sues T-Mobile for allegedly failing to stop hackers from draining his cryptocurrency account

February 6, 2018 Alex 0

A man sued T-Mobile on Sunday, claiming that the company’s lack of security allowed hackers to enter his wireless account last fall and steal cryptocoins worth thousands of dollars.

Carlos Tapang of Washington state accuses T-Mobile of having “improperly allowed wrongdoers to access” his wireless account on November 7th last year. The hackers then cancelled his number and transferred it to an AT&T account under their control. “T-Mobile was unable to contain this security breach until the next day,” when it finally got the number back from AT&T, Tapang alleges in the suit, first spotted by Law360.

After gaining control of his phone number, the hackers were able to change the password on one of Tapang’s cryptocurrency accounts and steal…

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