Security expert says surveillance cameras can be hacked

A U.S. security expert says he has identified ways to remotely attack high-end surveillance cameras used by industrial plants, prisons, banks and the military, something that potentially would allow hackers to spy on facilities or gain access to sensitive computer networks.

Craig Heffner, a former software developer with the National Security Administration who now works for a private security firm, said he discovered the previously unreported bugs in digital video surveillance equipment from firms including Cisco Systems, D-Link Corp and TRENDnet.

“It’s a significant threat,” he said in an interview. “Somebody could potentially access a camera and view it. Or they could also use it as a pivot point, an initial foothold, to get into the network and start attacking internal systems.”

He plans to demonstrate techniques for exploiting these bugs at the Black Hat hacking conference, which starts July 31 in Las Vegas.

Heffner, who now works as a vulnerability researcher with a firm known as Tactical Network Solutions in Columbia, Maryland, said that he has discovered hundreds of thousands of surveillance cameras that can be accessed via the public Internet…

Cisco, D-Link and TRENDnet said they would take any appropriate action that might be needed to secure their equipment after the Black Hat presentation.

Isn’t that thoughtful?

I thought every geek watched PERSON OF INTEREST? You’d suppose since the hacking of security cameras has been a significant, recurrent portion of every episode of the series – that companies making their profits from security camera hardware might have checked the integrity of their systems by now.

Or not. They could just rely on the government to keep them safe.

Governor billed taxpayers for sunscreen, dog vitamins


“I’m the ideal Republican candidate for President”

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife used taxpayer money to pay for sunscreen and dog vitamins, the Washington Post reported on Monday, a disclosure that comes as the Republican leader is said to be under scrutiny by the FBI.

The newspaper, citing spending records it obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, also said the McDonnells used state employees to run personal errands for their adult children and billed the state for deodorant, shoe repairs and a digestive system “detox cleanse.”

The Washington Post has previously reported that McDonnell, who has been mentioned as a possible presidential contender in 2016, was under investigation by the FBI and a grand jury over a $15,000 catering bill from his daughter’s wedding in 2011 that was paid for by a campaign donor…

The governor has acknowledged that he stayed at the Roanoke, Virginia, home of the campaign donor, Jonnie Williams, and drove Williams’ Ferrari sports car back to Richmond.

Williams is the chief executive of Star Scientific Inc, a nutritional supplements maker in the Richmond area.

According to the Washington Post, the FBI is looking into whether the governor’s office helped advance the business interests of Williams in exchange for the gifts…

You have to love Republican family values – as practiced. The same hypocrites who prate all through election cycles about honesty and old-fashioned virtue – once they get into office the regal greed they foreswear takes priority in every aspect of their lives.

India to send world’s last telegram. Full Stop.

In 1850, the British inventor William O’Shaughnessy — who would later become famous for his early experiments with medical cannabis — sent a coded message over a telegraph line in India. His telegram would usher in a new age of communication in and for India, connecting the country in a way that had never before been possible.

Now, sometime on July 14, 2013, someone in India will have a dubious honor: he or she will send the country’s last telegram. The Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, India’s state-run telecom company, will shutter is telegram service, bringing the long era of Indian telegraphy from a dash … to a full stop.

The shuttering of the service is not surprising. In a country that has quickly embraced, if not fully adopted, mobile technologies, the telegram has become largely redundant as a method of quick, long-distance communication. BSNL’s telegram service had been losing money — and lots of it — for years. “We were incurring losses of over $23 million a year because SMS and smartphones have rendered this service redundant,” said Shamim Akhtar, general manager of BSNL’s telegraph services…

At their peak in 1985, 60 million telegrams were being sent and received a year in India from 45,000 offices. Today, only 75 offices exist, though they are located in each of India’s 671 districts through franchises. And an industry that once employed 12,500 people, today has only 998 workers…

Unions of the labor variety, given all that, have urged Indian telecom minister Kapil Sibal to keep the telegram service running, even as a shadow of its former self. “It is a valued service and should be kept as a skeleton service and preserved as a heritage,” one union told The Hindu. But niche uses weren’t enough to convince the BSNL to keep its doors — and its telegraph lines — open. The telegram service is a business. And like most business, an end to profitability means, simply an end. Or in this case: a STOP.

May as well put it to rest. Would you buy a car because it can play 8-track tapes?

Gran gets prison time along with her sons – for drug trafficking

A grandmother in Liverpool was sent to prison Friday…for helping her sons launder the proceeds from their heroin trafficking business.

Christine Fitzgibbon, 60, was given a two-year sentence at a hearing in Crown Court in Manchester, The Liverpool Echo reported. Her son, Jason, 40, got 16 years and his younger brother, Ian, 39, 14 years and six months.

The brothers were arrested in 2011 when police foiled a plan to import a large quantity of heroin from Turkey. Investigators said the drugs had a street value of 7 million pounds.

“The drug dealing involved huge quantities of both heroin and ecstasy,” Paul Mitchell, the prosecuting lawyer said. “It involved the importation of multi-kilogram quantities of the drugs into this country and then the onward supply of those drugs. The scope of the enterprise was truly breathtaking.”

Mitchell said investigators seized large amounts of cash, some of it found in Christine Fitzgibbon’s home, and described her as the family “banker.” The Department of Work and Pensions said she was collecting benefits while enjoying a large income from her sons’ business.

As the slogan so aptly states, “A family that preys together stays together”.