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Hacking. Hackers. Disinformation campaigns. Encryption. The Cyber. This stuff gets complicated really fast, but Motherboard spends its time embedded in the infosec world so you don't have to. Host Ben Makuch talks every week to Motherboard reporters Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai and Joseph Cox about the stories they're breaking and to the industry's most famous hackers and researchers about the biggest news in cybersecurity.
Zoom's Boom In Popularity Reveals Privacy Issues
This time of pandemic and social isolation is introducing a lot of new normals to us all. While we’re all holed up in our apartments, the need to interact with our friends and the outside world hasn’t just suddenly ended. In fact, people are FaceTiming and setting up Google Hangouts just to feel normal.
But one app, that I never even heard of until now, seems to be coming out on top as the choice video conferencing platform: Zoom.
And its services have allowed us all to have chaotic Zoom parties with twelve friends screaming on top of each other. But as Motherboard's Joseph Cox has reported, the app, has a host of privacy issues.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Apr 02, 2020|
How Amazon Has Continued To Exploit Its Workers During the Pandemic
Right now, many people are sitting indoors quarantined from the world, stocked up on supplies and watching way too much Netflix. Some might even feel the impulse to order goods to their doorstep. So they fire up their Amazon Prime accounts and order some quarantine trinkets.
Before this plague happened that whole process seemed completely normal. But behind that push of a button an entire workforce of Amazon workers, some with no health insurance or a union protecting their employment, are struggling through their orders knowing the virus is either in their fulfillment centers or is about to be. In fact, it already happened in New York City at one of Amazon’s Queen’s based warehouses: A worker fell ill with COVID-19, employees were sent out of the premises, the factory was then sprayed, and three hours later it was business as usual.
This week we’re talking to Lauren Kaori Gurley of Motherboard to discuss how the workers of Amazon, headed by the single richest man in the entire world, are faring during this very trying time.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Mar 26, 2020|
How Governments Might Use Coronavirus to Chip Away At Our Privacy
Yes, friends, this week’s CYBER podcast was recorded from the comfort of our apartments. Because, well, the global pandemic.
Today on the show, we thought it would be important to discuss how coronavirus will affect state and corporate surveillance. Yes, because, like 9/11 and the quick enactment of the Patriot Act, there is already evidence of a boom for the spy industry. One company is advertising tech that leverages video surveillance software it says can spot people who have a fever, while the Israeli government has already given Shin Bet (its internal police agency) access to secretive cellular data to see who coronavirus positive patients have interacted with in an effort to stem the disease.
In other words, sometimes companies react to crises by exploiting a business opportunity and governments might look to increase their Big Brother powers. Motherboard editor-in-chief Jason Koebler joins host Ben Makuch on the show.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Mar 19, 2020|
This Small Company Has Turned Utah Into a Surveillance Panopticon
It’s cliche to say it, but it’s true, we’re living in a frighteningly similar world to George Orwell’s 1984. Where it’s not just people that are spies, but everything can be a spy. And people are making money off of it to fuel this Big Brother world. It’s a panopticon of mass surveillance and here at Motherboard, Jason Koebler and Emanuel Maiberg broke the news of yet another company hawking its dystopian services.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Mar 12, 2020|
North Korea's Hackers Are Still Active, and What Data Clearview AI Has on You
In late 2014, North Korean hackers made their blockbuster debut in popular culture after the infamous Sony hack. It was one of those watershed cybersecurity moments when a hacking story finally dominated news headlines with a made for Hollywood plot: A Seth Rogen stoner comedy catching the ire of the Hermit Kingdom so much so that Kim Jong Un deployed his team of skillful hackers to embarrass the movie company that made the film.
Even when the NSA confirmed North Korea was the culprit, people still openly wondered how a country virtually shut off from world markets by a series of international sanctions and with less than 1 percent of its population actually on the internet, could afford or train elite hackers?
But then North Korean hackers struck again by allegedly creating the globally impactful WannaCry ransomware attack in 2017, and then yet again by apparently stealing money from a South Korean cryptocurrency exchange not long after that—further showing that the country is a hacking threat.
On today’s CYBER we have Shannon Vavra from CyberScoop News, who covers geopolitics and cyberwarfare, to talk about what North Korean hackers are up to these days and how the U.S. government is responding to them.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Mar 05, 2020|
How Cameo’s Private Celebrity Videos Were Open to the World
It used to be that if you wanted to interact with your favourite celebrity you’d have to do elaborate things like camp out near a red carpet in Hollywood, lying in wait, until you finally got the chance to scream-ask Queen Bey for her autograph amongst a gaggle of other fans.
Well, in 2020, like everything else in this world, including our dating lives, our health, and voting there’s an app for paying celebrities to give you personalized shoutout videos. That’s right, the app Cameo provides you a list of celebrities ranging from Snoop Dogg to Michael Rappaport, that you can select, pay, and then receive everything from a personalized ‘happy birthday’ to a ‘get well soon’ from your favourite celeb.
But through a flaw in its website's design, a security researcher discovered that many of these personal videos were available to anyone, including those that had been set to 'private'. Motherboard then wrote code to find the private videos en masse.
Joseph Cox, Motherboard reporter of cybercrime and sketchiness extraordinaire, tells CYBER how he broke the story and got Gilbert Gotfried to verify the flaw on Cameo’s site with a personal message using that lovable voice of his.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Feb 27, 2020|
Jeff Bezos’ Meteoric Rise, and Kickstarter’s Historic New Union
When we think of the titans of industry, we used to think of names like Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Vanderbilt. But today, in 2020, we have new names that dominate the world economy: Zuckerberg, Cook, Musk, and Thiel. Above them stands one man: Jeff Bezos. Although those names control industries that are less obvious than the sprouting giant steel bridges or skyscrapers of the Second Industrial Revolution, their products arguably have just as big of an impact on our lives.
Silicon Valley has become the epicenter of innovation and industry, where apps and devices dictate what our very society looks like. But lately, the sheen is coming off of these monolithic, billion-dollar companies.
And while giants like Facebook have faced questions about how its platform was used to manipulate our political system and Apple has been criticised for its abusive labor practices in China, one company is only recently coming under the collective microscope: Amazon.
Jeff Bezos’ empire has enjoyed a meteoric rise. And now, Amazon has become one of the most powerful, single corporate entities in the entire world. But what does that mean for all of us?
In an excellent new documentary for PBS’s FRONTLINE, journalist James Jacoby examines Amazon with a fine toothed-comb. From its treatment of its factory workers, Ring, to Alexa, and asking the same question throughout: Has Amazon gone too far? This week, we have Jacoby on the show to tell us more.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Feb 20, 2020|
Stealing Luxury Cars Has Never Looked So Easy
Luxury cars, like everything else in this entire world, including sex toys, pacemakers, firearms, the electric grid, and ISIS, can be hacked. But most people aren't hackers, which is why a device that can automatically hack a keyless entry vehicle by the push of a button is quite useful for car thieves
The so-called “relay attack” is ideal for the era of increasingly digitized vehicles, requires something called a “keyless repeater” to fake the signal of the keys to a targeted car and ultimately gain entry. After that, it’s as easy as what Whiz Khalifa once said in his famous song "Black & Yellow’:" No keys, push to start.
And the keyless repeater is sold online for a few thousand dollars by a man who goes by the alias “EvanConnect” who shared a video of the whole process with Motherboard reporter Joseph Cox. It turns out that his device can specifically be used to hack snazzy cars made by upscale companies like Mercedes Benz, Rolls Royce, and Fiat.
This week on CYBER, Cox is back on the show to tell us about this whole sketch relay attack and how it all works.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Feb 13, 2020|
The Truths Behind UFOs, and The App That Blew Up The Iowa Caucus
On this week's CYBER Cipher, we have Breaking News about the app that delayed the Iowa Caucus results, how it was made, and the company that made it.
But first: it’s finally here. And I know it’s slightly off brand, But. I. Do. Not. Care. Because, who needs cybersecurity when aliens could exist? THEY COULD INVADE? Whatever they are or could be, here at Motherboard we have one of the best reporters on the UFO beat on the planet, MJ Banias. And recently he’s done some groundbreaking reporting on, well, aliens. But he’s done it in such a way that has peaked the interest of skeptics and made something that is normally thought to be conspiracy theory fodder, something to take seriously.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Feb 06, 2020|
Drugs, Cannibals, and Identity Theft: The Truth Behind The Dark Web
The Dark Web has been around for as long as the internet has existed, but most people still don't know what it actually is. From easily obtained illicit drugs to rumors of cannibalism and human trafficking, it's been difficult for the average person to separate fact from fiction. On this week's Cyber, we've invited VP of Research at Terbium Labs and Dark Web expert Emily Wilson to talk us through what the Dark Web actually is, a few of its most infamous websites, and how it's a part of more people's everyday lives.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Jan 30, 2020|
Jeff Bezos Is Hacked and Uber Is Capitalism at its Worst
In a special breaking edition of Cyber Cipher, Joseph Cox sits down with us to go over the alleged hacking of Jeff Bezos' phone by Saudi Arabia. After the break we have one of Motherboard’s newest reporters on the Uber beat, Edward Ongweso Jr., to tell us all about Uber and its troubles. When Uber truly came onto the scene in the mid-2010s it completely up ended an entire, century-old cab industry. And revolutionized the way we pay for taxis, how we hail them and how we interact with them. But behind the thin-veneer of a shiny, billion dollar rideshare company is a host of real problems from employment standards to driver abuses.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Jan 23, 2020|
Whatever Happened To Anonymous?
At its height, the hacktivist collective known as Anonymous was the bane of Scientologists, the FBI, CIA, Mastercard, Paypal, Middle Eastern dictatorships, and in its latest effective iterations, even ISIS.
But in recent years, Anonymous has all but disappeared. It leaves a legacy: It single-handedly brought back the Guy Fawkes mask as a true symbol of civil disobedience, was the obvious inspiration for the hit TV show Mr. Robot, and is also associated with all sorts of more nefarious and negative aspects of trolling culture. In its wake, hacktivism hasn’t dried up altogether, either, with entities like Phineas Fisher still making headlines and taking up its mantle as an online vigilante force challenging the powerful.
This week on CYBER we have Biella Coleman, a professor of anthropology at McGill University in Montreal who wrote the comprehensive book on the group—Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous—to talk about what became of the infamous collective.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Jan 16, 2020|
Iranian Hacker Hysteria
If you’re at all plugged into the global news cycle, you’ll know the U.S. assassinated Iran’s General Qassem Soleimani, a commander in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and leader of the secretive Quds Force.
Since that night, experts have been wondering what the blowback from Tehran will be. Naturally, in the age of cyberwarfare, people are getting pretty worried about the threat of Iranian hackers, who, if you were to believe some newscasts, are practically hiding in your modem.
There are some real and some overblown threats from Iranian hackers now facing the U.S. In fact, the Department of Homeland Security issued a warning that it was logging increased cyberattacks emanating from the Iranian regime on American networks.
But how worried should we be?
On this week’s CYBER we have Motherboard reporter Joseph Cox who is already tracking alleged Iranian hackers defacing American websites, to discuss what Tehran’s hackers are actually capable of hacking.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Jan 09, 2020|
Re-run: Edward Snowden on Julian Assange, the Mueller Report, and Press Freedom
On this week's CYBER we're re-upping our longform interview of none other than Mr. Edward Snowden, a person who might've affected the infosec world more than any singular human over the last decade. We'll be back next week with a fresh new episode for our 2020 season.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Jan 02, 2020|
Trolls, Hackers, Spies: The Cyber Decade
It occurred to us at Motherboard that for this final episode of CYBER in the 2010s we could recount the year in stories that we’ve done. The real scoops, traffic hogs, and think pieces. But then again, this is the decade that changed infosec. This was the decade that made hackers critical players on the world stage, our personal digital information sacred, and our political systems fixed into some strange, social media hellscape.
Since its founding in 2009, Motherboard has seen it all with you.
So on this episode of CYBER, our dear editor-in-chief Jason Koebler and host Ben Makuch will take you through from the beginning of the decade to its end: from Guy Fawkes masks, strings of weaponized code to your brain being manipulated by a Facebook ad.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Dec 26, 2019|
The Hacker In My Ring Camera: A Tale of Trolls And A Podcast
Imagine installing security cameras in your house to protect your family. Then one day those cameras start talking to you. Trolling you, in fact.
After last week when the news broke that Amazon’s super sketchy security camera company Ring, had its products compromised, Motherboard got even more scoop: There’s a livestream-podcast over a Discord channel where hackers take over people's Ring cameras and use their speakers to troll its owners in the comfort of their own homes.
Then Motherboard tested the security of Ring and found, well, Ring accounts are lacking basic security measures.
On this week’s CYBER we have our reporter Joseph Cox, who broke the stories, to tell us more.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Dec 19, 2019|
Where Our Cell Phones Go When We Recycle Them
This week we talk to Adam Minter, author of “Secondhand,” about the end-of-life supply chain for our cell phones, computers, and all the other stuff we keep in our houses.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Dec 12, 2019|
How Big Telcos Just Made Your Phone Easier To Hack
Researchers learned that telecom companies are implementing the successor to SMS in vulnerable ways, making everyone’s text messages unsafe.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Dec 06, 2019|
The CYBER Cypher EP
On this week's episode we introduce the newly named "Cypher" part of the show where we round up the tech stories of the week that we think you need to know. On deck we discuss infamous hacker Phineas Fisher and an actual investigation called: "Who farted?"
We'll be off next week for Thanksgiving, because Ben is going back to Canadia. Good luck eating too much, everyone!For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Nov 21, 2019|
How Scary Is Critical Infrastructure Hacking?
Some of the most fascinating hacks are the types that don’t just pwn a shady malware company, the trade secrets of America or embarass the Democratic National Committee, but the kinds that target water systems, nuclear power plants and the oil and gas sector.
Critical infrastructure hacking was brought into the public psyche by former Secretary of State and CIA director, Leon Panetta, in a much taunted 2012 speech where he warns of a coming “Cyber Pearl Harbour.”
On this week’s CYBER we have Selena Larson, a former CNN reporter and cyber threat intelligence analyst working over at Dragos which is a leading cybersecurity company that specializes in critical infrastructure security, to tell us what we should be realistically worried about and if she believes Panetta’s speech has any merit in 2019.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Nov 14, 2019|
How Google Torpedoed A Cybersecurity Rising Star
It’s the classic story of a corporate giant swallowing up a darling startup into its ranks and destroying its core business.
Originally a spawn of the Alphabet company—Google’s parent umbrella—Chronicle was a cybersecurity startup considered by many to be a game changer: it was going to leverage machine learning and Alphabet’s endless supply of malware samples and technical data via Google, and fuse it into an over the counter product that infosec units in companies all over the world could use to make the Internet better for everyone.
It seemed, to many, this was a cybersecurity company that wasn’t hawking snakeoil, but a real, helpful product. And part of its allure was that Chronicle would not join its corporate overlord outright, but instead remain independent of Google.
Then it was announced they were going to join Google and everyone jumped ship. Now, as one employee put it, “Chronicle is dead.” In other words, one of the cybersecurity industry's most promising startups is falling apart after one of the most profitable companies in the world took it over.
This week we have Lorenzo Francheschi Bichierrai on the show to tell us about the internal struggles of Chronicle.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Nov 07, 2019|
The Assassination of Blogger Martin Kok
The tale started with an encrypted phone company, Morroccan gangsters, the Scottish mafia, and a blogger. It ended with an assassination outside of a sex club in Amsterdam.
Last week, Motherboard reporter Joseph Cox broke the news that MPC—a Scottish company that hawked special encrypted phones that could evade police surveillance—had been connected to the murder of crime blogger Martin Kok. Kok was a former criminal himself who had previously served a jail sentence for two murders.
Kok’s crime blogging had gotten him on the wrong side of the Gillespie brothers, two Scots who are still operating a highly sophisticated drug and gun running operation connected to South American cartels, as well as Morroccan gangster associates. They allegedly hatched a successful plan to kill him in December 2016.
On this week’s episode of CYBER, Cox goes into detail about how this criminal syndicate carried out Kok's murder, and what it means for crime in 2019 when the mafia isn’t buying encrypted phones, but making them for itself.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Oct 31, 2019|
Inside the U.S. Cyber Army
The U.S. military prides itself on being one of the most powerful militaries on the face of the earth. The best trained, the best equipped with the latest wartech, the most mobile, with a power projection around the world. It’s why, sadly, as the Bureau of Investigative Journalism—which tracks U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Somalia—maintains that the American military has killed as many as over 12,000 people in targeted strikes since 2004. Of those numbers, close to 1,800 are civilians and up to nearly 400 of that number, are kids.
There’s even been consideration on whether or not the U.S. military could have at on point taken on the entire world in the kinetic reality of ground, air, and sea war.
But in 2019, the American war machine doesn’t simply need soldiers,helicopters, or F-22s. It needs hackers to infiltrate secure networks, to spy, or disrupt critical infrastructure of an enemy during any given military operation.
In order to professionalize and certify its importance within the military, the Department of Defense officially elevated “Cyber Command” as its cyberspace force in 2018 to do just that, giving it the distinction of being one of its eleven “unified combatant commands.”
In other words, USCYBERCOM (as its known for short) joins other permanent forces that are designated across DoD with a broad mandate during times of peace and war. For example, the special forces has its own Special Forces Command, while AFRICOM looks after African centric military operations.
According to its mission statement, USCYBERCOM first defends DoD assets, then it’s responsible for “providing support to combatant commanders for execution of their missions around the world, and strengthening our nation's ability to withstand and respond to cyber attack.”
Already there are media reports showing USCYBERCOM coordinating hacking operations against ISIS with the help of the NSA and carrying out a top secret “strike” on Iranian government propaganda wings in response to Tehran’s attacks on a Saudi oil field.
|Oct 24, 2019|
Girls Do Porn
The operators of a site called Girls Do Porn have been indicted on charges of sex trafficking. Meanwhile, 22 women have sued the company, saying they were coerced into doing porn. How did the company get away with it for so long?For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Oct 17, 2019|
How Neo-Nazi Terrorists Are Organizing Online
Neo-Nazi terrorists are taking a page from ISIS' playbook and carrying out calculated, horrific, mass casualty attacks all over the world to shock and scare of the public.
And they’re taking another tip from the infamous terrorist group: using internet savvy and encrypted networks to spread propaganda, recruit new members, and ultimately orchestrate terrorism. They have even used famous jihadist images of Osama bin Laden in their propaganda and glorify ISIS videos.
After a spate of high-profile deplatforming campaigns on more mainstream social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, the far-right retreated to the more covert corners of the internet, taking up on platforms like Minds. Recently, and similarly to ISIS, neo-Nazis have begun using Telegram for everything from shitposting to coordinating terrorist activities.
On this week’s CYBER we’ve got VICE News reporter Tess Owen to talk about her scoop on neo-Nazi terror and its relationship to Telegram.
Follow Ben on Twitter.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Oct 10, 2019|
Lyft and Uber Are Having a Terrible, Awful, No-Good Time
The last few months have been decidedly horrible for rideshare apps Uber and Lyft, which were once the darlings of Wall Street investors who contributed billions of dollars in venture capital to help them disrupt an entire industry.
Now, there’s trouble on the horizon.
Lyft has been sued for sexual assault by at least 26 passengers in recent months. One driver was allowed to continue operating on the platform after a truly horrifying incident: He and several other men allegedly took a passenger intended for Crown Heights to a park in New Jersey, where they violently assaulted her. Another driver was permitted by Lyft to continue giving over 700 rides after severely beating one of his passengers, stomping his head into the ground.
Lyft users are alleging a robotic and inefficient complaint system shows Uber’s biggest rival cares more about profits than the safety of its clients.
Then, there’s Lyft rival Uber, which has been posting major losses after the biggest IPO of 2019.
Now. the question is: are rideshares unsafe and unfit for our current world? On today’s episode of CYBER, new Motherboard reporter Lauren Kaori Gurley tells us all about how Lyft and Uber have a lot to answer for.
|Oct 04, 2019|
The Spy Who (Allegedly) Screwed Us
Catch the rat. Find the mole. It’s the classic scenario of a spy thriller.
Recently, a top spy in the Five Eyes collective—the secretive espionage and intel sharing alliance between agencies in the U.S., U.K., Canada, New Zealand and Australia—was caught trying to sell top secret information.
An FBI investigation of Phantom Secure, the encrypted cell phone provider which sold devices to Mexican cartels, uncovered a secret Canadian mole who allegedly offered its CEO Vincent Ramos intel on the investigations surrounding his company.
Without knowing the anonymous leaker, the Canadian feds began the slow process of paring down the list of who the potential mole could be. This led them to a top cybersecurity expert and head of an intelligence unit that had access to not only Canadian spycraft, but to international intelligence shared between the top secret collective.
James Ortis, the alleged mole, had his hands on things like heavily guarded NOC lists (“Non-Official-Cover" spies, or double agents in the employ of intelligence agencies), international terrorism investigations, the clandestine surveillance records of cartels, and much more.
The leak is so unprecedented for Canada, the usually cagey RCMP, the country’s federal policing agency, issued an uncharacteristically forthright statement following Ortis’ arrest.
“The charges against a senior employee of the RCMP for alleged criminality under the Criminal Code and the Security of Information Act have shaken many people throughout the RCMP, particularly in Federal Policing,” it said. “While these allegations, if proven true, are extremely unsettling, Canadians and our law enforcement partners can trust that our priority continues to be the integrity of the investigations and the safety and security of the public we serve.”
Just what else was leaked, and the fallout from Ortis’ alleged betrayal has yet to be determined, but a breach from the “insider threat”—an employee of a spy agency—is almost impossible to defend against. As it stands, it appears Ortis wasn’t doing this on ideological grounds, like say, a communist-sympathizing Westerner who might’ve sold to the KGB during the Cold War. Instead, it was for cash. That means the list of suitors for that type of intel could range from hostile foreign powers like Russia or China, to bikers and mafia outfits.
Ortis is charged with five criminal counts including the rarely used Canadian version of the Espionage Act, which criminalizes the leaking of secrets to a foreign power. He is awaiting trial in Canada. It’s believed his arrest is expected to be part of a global intelligence operation that will crackdown on a global, covert network of intel leakers.
To breakdown this monumental intelligence breach on CYBER, we have former Canadian spy Stephanie Carvin, who is a former CSIS (Canadian CIA) analyst turned academic at Carleton University and host of the Intrepid Podcast.
“You don't often hear the term Canadian spy,” said Carvin, but nonetheless this is “a serious story because the consequences could be so potentially... For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Sep 26, 2019|
The Private Surveillance System Tracking Cars in America
In just a few taps and clicks, the system, made by a private company, shows where a car has been seen throughout the U.S. Tipped by a private investigator source, Joseph Cox broke the news that a powerful system used by an industry including repossession agents and insurance companies tracks cars across the US. Armed with just a car's plate number, the tool—fed by a network of private cameras spread across the country—provides users a list of all the times that car has been spotted.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Sep 19, 2019|
The Biggest iPhone Hack In History, Explained
At the end of August, researchers at Google dropped a bombshell: they had discovered malicious websites that they said were indiscriminately spreading iPhone malware for years. At certain points the websites were even using zero day exploits; attacks that take advantage of vulnerabilities that Apple is not aware of.
Apple subsequently confirmed what various media reports found: that the malicious sites were particularly geared towards hacking Uighur muslims, many of whom live in Western China under intense surveillance from the government. Apple disputed some details from Google, such as the length of the campaign, but this is still likely the biggest iPhone hack we know about so far.
On this week's episode of CYBER, we talk to Motherboard Senior Staff Writer Joseph Cox about Google's research, and what it means for how governments deploy iPhone malware: it turns out, on a much larger scale than we previously thought.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Sep 12, 2019|
The Cyberwar In Yemen
By most accounts, the war in Yemen is a brutal and lethal tragedy of the modern world that has claimed the lives of thousands of people.
With the backing of western military industrial power, the Saudi-led coalition has undertaken a relentless bombing campaign against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels that ousted President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and his regime from the capital Sanaa in 2015.
Human rights watchers have accused the Saudis and its allies of war-crimes and a string of attacks against civilians. Just this last weekend the International Red Cross said the Saudis had killed over 100 people in a single strike on a detention center.
And as the kinetic war rolls out IRL, the Yemeni people have also been casualty to a silent war: one that’s online.
On this week’s episode we sit down with Winnona DeSombre, a threat intelligence researcher at RecordedFuture to talk about how cyberwarfare and espionage has been a serious feature in the war in Yemen.
For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Sep 05, 2019|
How to Track Malware
We’ve all heard of high profile hacks, like Stuxnet which basically took out the Iranian nuclear program, or that time when Seth Rogen’s stoner comedy made North Korea really, really pissed off and they hacked Sony.
And the key to all of these hacks is malware, or software specifically and intentionally designed to damage computer systems.
But one thing some people often ask themselves is: what is malware, exactly? Well, ultimately just some lines of code. On this week’s CYBER we have someone who researches it for a living: malware analyst Tarik Salah of Domain Tools.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Aug 29, 2019|
Forget Russian Trolls, American Voting Systems Can Be Hacked
Imagine a world where one of our most critical instruments of democracy, voting systems, are connected to the internet where they are potentially vulnerable to hacking.
Well, thanks to the work of Motherboard contributor Kim Zetter, we now know that’s the reality we live in after she broke the story that researchers had found voting systems online, including systems in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Florida—all well known for being key swing states in presidential elections.
But for years election officials have said our voting systems, used for closely fought Presidential election of 2016 and in 2012 when it was Romney versus Obama, weren’t even on the internet and thus, they said, unhackable.
CYBER recently caught up with Kim to discuss her massive scoop and how Russian troll armies might not be the thing threatening American democracy or scaring the intelligence community tasked with protecting it come 2020.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Aug 22, 2019|
Inside Def Con: World's Biggest Hacker Gathering
For over 25 years, hackers, spies, cops, Silicon Valley bros, technologists and even politicians descend upon Las Vegas, Nevada for what’s become the pre-eminent hacker conference in the entire world: Def Con.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Aug 15, 2019|
Why The FBI Arrested the Hacker Who Saved the World From WannaCry (with Marcy Wheeler)
Two years ago, Marcus Hutchins, better known by his hacker name ‘MalwareTech,’ was at the Las Vegas International Airport awaiting his flight back home to the United Kingdom (UK). He was hungover and coming back from Def Con, the biggest hacker conference in the world.
And that’s when the feds came in and nabbed him.
But earlier that same year the 23-year-old security researcher was hailed as a global hero for stopping the spread of the WannaCry ransomware worm, which disabled companies and even paralyzing computer systems in hospitals in the UK. But instead of accolades from the state, he found himself facing an FBI indictment.
The U.S. government accused Hutchins of creating and conspiring to distribute a banking malware called Kronos in 2014, when he was 19. His arrest enthralled the cybersecurity community and set off a legal fight that finally ended just last week. Hutchins, who was potentially facing years in prison, was free and sentenced to time served.
It has been a two year journey for Hutchins and on this week’s CYBER, Marcy Wheeler, an acclaimed journalist who covers national security, will tell us all about his ordeal and what his case has done to stoke the fears of the FBI within the infosec community.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Aug 08, 2019|
The Phone Farmers Who Fake Netflix Ad Views for Cash
Did you know you could make money watching Netflix trailers on your phone? Did you know that people have earned close to $2,000 a month programming hundreds of phones to watch Netflix trailers, video game trailers, celebrity gossip shows, and sports?
But the trick is, no one is really watching.
This is what’s called phone farming. Just imagine rows upon rows of phones, with fans cooling them that simulate the engagement of a real human. On this week’s episode of CYBER, Motherboard’s Joseph Cox dove into this world by making his own mini phone farm, talking to the real farmers who made the cash creating them to give us the inside story on how this bizarre phenomenon actually works.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Aug 01, 2019|
One of the World’s Most Wanted Hackers Speaks
The last time Phineas Fisher agreed to an interview with Motherboard, they made us recreate the whole thing with a puppet.
This time around, Phineas Fisher—one of the world’s most wanted hackers—wanted to make a statement on CYBER to deny he’s an agent of the Kremlin.
Phineas Fisher is the hacker’s hacker that nobody knows. In fact, nobody even knows if they are just one person, or several people. All we know is Phineas Fisher has hacked, embarrassed, and exposed some of the world’s most powerful spyware companies that have connections to the FBI, the DEA, and dozens of other law enforcement and spy agencies all around the world.
And Phineas Fisher has completely gotten away with it.
Throughout these exploits, Motherboard'sLorenzo Francheschi-Bicchierai has been one of the few reporters to make contact with the hacker several times. Recently, Phineas Fisher got in touch with him again, but this time to deny a recent allegation that he’s Russian intelligence operation made in Joseph Menn’s new book on hacktivism.
On this week’s CYBER, Lorenzo sits down with host Ben Makuch to take you through the murky history of Phineas Fisher’s hacks, then the infamous hacktivist speaks.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Jul 25, 2019|
How Palantir's Spy Tool for Cops Works
A Silicon Valley company with a history of CIA funding, a suite of highly sought after intelligence software tools, and a gallivanting billionaire founder with connections to the Trump Administration is set to become one of the biggest IPOs in recent memory.
Yet many outside of the infosec world don’t even know its name or that it even exists—a sharp difference Palantir doesn’t share with other similar-sized startups based out of the Silicon Valley.
But Palantir’s surveillance software, which essentially siphons up monumental amounts of data on the public using state, police, and federal databases can map interpersonal relationships between people and provide that info to the fingertips of police and spies in a matter of seconds.
Among the list of past and current Palantir clients are the NSA, CIA, Department of Homeland Security and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement—which directly uses its technology to fuel its controversial raids on undocument workers.
Motherboard reporter Caroline Haskins obtained a copy of one of the company’s top-secret police manuals describing how to use its software. The revelation gave privacy-concerned onlookers a rare insight into just how invasive Palantir technology can be.
On this week’s CYBER, Caroline sits down with host Ben Makuch to map out what Palantir is and how this company influences the very technological landscape of the modern world.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Jul 18, 2019|
The Connection Between a Deadly Gunfight and Phone Location Data
In the span of six seconds and 20 gunshots and three dead bodies hit the ground of a Nissan dealership in Texas. And somebody was tracking one of their cell phones remotely.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Jul 11, 2019|
Inside Jigsaw, Google's 'Internet Justice League'
For years, Google’s internet freedom moonshot Jigsaw has gotten glowing attention for its ambitious projects. But current and former employees, along with leaked documents and internal messages, reveal a grim reality behind the scenes. Motherboard's Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai tells us about his months-long investigation into Jigsaw and its "toxic" workplace culture.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Jul 02, 2019|
Is Your Password Secure? Probably Not
For decades, experts have known that a simple alphanumeric password isn't enough to secure our identities online, but nothing has changed. In this episode, we’re talking to Wendy Nather, a veteran of the infosec world who knows a thing or two about identity and authentication.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Jun 27, 2019|
The Zuckerberg Deepfake Heard Around the World
Last week a video of Mark Zuckerberg emerged online. The video showed Facebook's CEO speaking to the camera in his office, but what he was saying didn’t seem right. This deepfake of Mark Zuckerberg was perhaps the biggest troll of Facebook in recent memory, but will it change anything?For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Jun 21, 2019|
What Happens When a US Border Protection Contractor Gets Hacked?
On this week’s episode of CYBER, Joseph Cox and Motherboard EIC Jason Koebler discuss the breach of a Customs and Border Protection contractor that exposed pictures of drivers in Pennsylvania, and the implications for the future of data retention. This story comes on the cusp of groundbreaking attempts by the CBP to use facial recognition software along the border and collecting visitors social media information.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Jun 13, 2019|
The Politician Fighting The Spyware Industry
On this week’s CYBER host Ben Makuch sat down with Dutch politician Marietje Schaake to discuss the future of cyberweapons, how governmental regulation on spyware should mirror the conventional arms industry, and how Brexit might make Britain a haven for commercial surveillance companies.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Jun 07, 2019|
Ben Makuch sits down with one of InfoSec’s only true celebrities: The Grugq (who recently added the name ‘Thaddeus’ to his Twitter account, which has over 100,000 followers.)
For the uninformed, the Grugq is a South African hacker, security research, OPSEC expert and highly entertaining Twitter follow with a history of being an exploit broker that has a rolodex of government contacts (he once claimed in Forbes to be taking in over $1 million in a single year skimming a fee off of exploit sales as a middle-man to intelligence agencies).
In this episode, the hacking and spy expert cuts through the media tailspinning around disinfo campaigns to tell us what 2020 election meddling might just look like.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|May 30, 2019|
Who’s Afraid of Huawei?
In this week's CYBER podcast, we spoke to VICE News reporter William Turnton, who just spent a week in China as part of a bizzarre Huawei junket.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|May 21, 2019|
Why There’s No Need to Panic About a ‘Cyber 9/11’
On this week's episode of CYBER, we spoke to Robert Lee, a former NSA analyst and infrastructure hacking expert, about the state of critical infrastructure, the threats it faces, and why there's still no need to panic.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|May 14, 2019|
Manhattan’s District Attorney Explains How She Prosecutes Cybercrime
Elizabeth Roper, the chief of the cybercrime and identity theft bureau in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office explains how one of the country’s most important prosecutors goes after cybercriminals.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|May 07, 2019|
How a Hacker Tracked Thousands of Cars and Gained the Ability To Kill Their Engines
In this week’s CYBER podcast, we spoke about Motherboard’s scoop on a hacker who breached two GPS tracking companies.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Apr 30, 2019|
Edward Snowden on Julian Assange, the Mueller Report, and Press Freedom
In this week's CYBER podcast, we sat down with Edward Snowden to talk about his life in Russia, WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, and press freedom in the United States and beyond.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Apr 22, 2019|
How ‘Unicorn Riot’ Exposes The Far Right Online
This week, CYBER speaks to Freddy Martinez, one of the members of Unicorn Riot, an activist and media collective that’s been tracking and exposing nazis, racists, and other far-right people on the internet.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Apr 15, 2019|
How the ‘New York Times’ Protects its Journalists From Hackers and Spies
This week, CYBER speaks to Runa Sandvik, the senior director of information security at The New York Times about how she helps the Times journalists stay safe online and help them protect sources.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Apr 08, 2019|
Why The ASUS Supply Chain Hack Is a Big Deal
On this week’s episode of CYBER, we sat down with Kim Zetter, the legendary cybersecurity reporter and the author of the original news story on the ASUS hack. Zetter walked us through this specific hack, and also told us about previous supply chain attacks, and why they’re so scary.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Apr 01, 2019|
Why Hackers Are Stoked That Beto O’Rourke Was One Of Them
This week, CYBER speaks to Oxblood Ruffin, a long-time member of the legendary hacking group Cult of The Dead Cow, or cDc. Ruffin told us about the cDc, its historical importance, and why it's a big deal that a US presidential candidate was once part of the group.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Mar 27, 2019|
How Online Disinformation Affects the Real World
In the lead up to the 2016 US presidential elections, the Russian government allegedly used internet trolls, fake Facebook accounts, and hackers in a coordinated disinformation campaign. What did we learn from it? And how is the world preparing to deal with this new kind of information operations that straddle between the online and real world? We spoke to Roel Schouwenberg, the director of intelligence and research at Celsus Advisory Group, a consulting firm based in the US that helps clients deal with disinformation operations.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Mar 20, 2019|
The Prototype iPhones Hackers Use to Research Apple’s Most Sensitive Code
Very few people have heard of them, but "dev-fused" iPhones sold on the grey market are one of the most important tools for the best iOS hackers in the world. Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai talks about his blockbuster investigation, and host Ben Makuch talks to someone who sells these prototype phones.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Mar 07, 2019|
The Cybersecurity Industrial Complex
Last year, investors poured $5 billion in cybersecurity startups. The whole industry will be worth $170 billion in three years, according to a recent estimate. There’s so many infosec companies it's hard to keep track of them. And yet, are we all really secure? Is the infosec industry really keeping us safe? Is it even focusing on the right problems?
Next week, tens of thousands of people will meet in San Francisco for the year’s biggest information security gathering focused on business: the RSA Conference.
Kelly Shortridge is the vice president of product strategy at Capsule8, a New York City-based security startup. Kelly has a background in economics, investment banking, and has studied the infosec market. She’s here today to help us understand why the infosec industry is so big, and what’s wrong with it.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Mar 04, 2019|
How Hackers Break into iCloud-Locked iPhones
In spring, 2017, a teenager walked up behind a woman leaving the Metro in Northeast Washington DC and put her in a chokehold: "Be quiet," he said. And "delete your iCloud." He grabbed her iPhone 6S and ran away.
The iCloud security feature has cut down on the number of iPhones that have been stolen, but enterprising criminals have found ways to remove iCloud in order to resell devices. To do this, they phish the phone’s original owners, or scam employees at Apple Stores. Thieves, coders, and hackers participate in an underground industry designed to remove a user’s iCloud account from a phone so that they can then be resold.
Motherboard Editor-in-Chief Jason Koebler and senior staff writer Joseph Cox spent the last few months diving into the notably complicated world of “iCloud Unlocks” and the ways in which it involves not only physical and cybercrime, but also the otherwise legitimate independent iPhone repair industry.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Feb 19, 2019|
How Google Tracks Hackers
Tracking hacking groups has become a booming business. Dozens of so-called “threat intelligence” companies keep tabs on them and sell subscriptions to feeds where they provide customers with up to date information on what the most advanced cyber criminals and government hackers are up to. Lots of these are small companies, but one of the best in the biz you've definitely heard of: It's Google. The internet giant has more than 1.5 billion active users on Gmail, more than 1 billion people who use Chrome, and more than 2 billion of their Android phones floating around in the world.
This week, Ben Makuch talks to Shane Huntley, the Director of Google's Threat Analysis Group (TAG). TAG is essentially Google’s hacker hunting team: they’re the ones tasked with monitoring Google networks for criminal and government hacking groups.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Feb 11, 2019|
The Spyware Sting Operation
Citizen Lab, a human rights watchdog, tracks governments who do bad things online, and learned that slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi's phone was bugged. Soon after that revelation, Citizen Lab's researchers began getting weird requests to meet in person from companies that didn't exist. They surmised that they were being spied on, and so they decided to turn the tables—and an Associated Press reporter was along for the ride.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Feb 05, 2019|
The Penetration Tester
This week, we talk to Jek, a physical penetration tester whose job is to infiltrate offices, data centers, store stockrooms, and other supposedly "secure" locations and either steal information or install a tool so that other hackers can exfiltrate data. She relies on the most reliable vulnerability of all: human weakness. Jek tells host Ben Makuch how she does it, some of her most memorable operations, and why other hackers think that what she does is "witchcraft."For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Jan 28, 2019|
I Gave a Bounty Hunter $300. Then He Located Our Phone
Earlier this month, Motherboard sent $300 to a bounty hunter. Within moments, he sent us a Google Maps screenshot with the real-time location data of a phone that we'd asked him to track. Motherboard editor-in-chief Jason Koebler and senior staff writer Joseph Cox go deep on the shady—but legal—market of data aggregators and brokers who sell smartphone location data to bounty hunters, bail bondsmen, landlords, used car salesmen, and anyone who can afford it.
We learn how bounty hunters go right up to the edge of what the law allows and use "neurolinguistic mind manipulation" to get people to give them information. CYBER host Ben Makuch also talks to Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, who has legislation pending that would ban these practices and would help protect Americans' privacy.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Jan 24, 2019|
[BONUS] Malicious Life: The Ashley Madison Hack
This week, CYBER presents an episode from Malicious Life, one of our favorite hacking podcasts. In this episode, host Ran Levi takes a deep dive into how Ashley Madison, "the dating site for people who want to have an affair," got hacked. More importantly, the episode looks into the fallout of that hack. You can subscribe to Malicious Life on whichever podcast app you're using now. CYBER will be back with another new episode next week.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Jan 24, 2019|
The PewDiePie Hacks
In November, 50,000 printers started suddenly printing a message urging recipients to subscribe to PewDiePie—YouTube’s most popular star ever, with 80 million subscribers. It came with a warning, too: That the printers were hacked because they were dangerously exposed to the internet.
A month later, the same hacker, known as HackerGiraffe, struck again, this time hacking smart TVs and Chromecast devices to autoplay a video promoting PewDiePie and urging them to fix their exposed devices.
Things only got crazier from there.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Jan 15, 2019|
The Dark Overlord and the 9/11 Insurance Files Hack
A few hours before midnight on New Year’s Eve, the mysterious hacking group the Dark Overlord tweeted a link to an encrypted file: “We'll be providing many answers about 9/11 conspiracies through our 18,000 secret documents leak.”
This is just the latest in a string of high profile hacks by the Dark Overlord, who have popped celebrity plastic surgeons, schools, family businesses and Netflix studios. Their motivation is simple: they want money, and they’re not afraid to extort people for it. CYBER talks to reporter Joseph Cox about the hacking crew and the motivation behind their latest hack.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Jan 04, 2019|
CYBER host Ben Makuch and reporter Mack Lamoureux recently spent months embedded on in a secretive social network called “The Base," which is used by American neo-Nazis to organize real-life meetups.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Dec 31, 2018|
How to Track Government Hackers and APTs
Fancy Bear, APT10, Lazarus Group, Charming Kitten. These are all the names given to government hacker groups.
And if you pay any attention to cybersecurity news you heard about Russian hackers, Chinese hackers, and groups that are usually called APTs—government-sponsored hackers. This week we’re talking with Eva Galperin, the director of cybersecurity with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Eva has been researching APTs for years, investigating these state hackers from all over every corner of the globe. Because countries everywhere are growing their cyber armies and there’s no signs of that slowing down.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Dec 24, 2018|
The Motherboard Guide to Not Getting Hacked
In the coming weeks, millions of people will get new phones, computers, Amazon Echos, Google Homes, Smart Coffee Makers, and other internet of things devices. All of these things come with their own privacy, surveillance, and hacking risks, but there are steps you can take to minimize your exposure. So we thought it’d be a good time to talk about the Motherboard Guide to Not Getting Hacked, our comprehensive advice on digital security.
We’ve released a new version of it every year for the last three years, adding and changing things as hacking threats and security best practices evolve. This week, Harlo Holmes, director of Newsroom Digital Security at Freedom of the Press Foundation, and Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, a senior staff writer at Motherboard join editor-in-chief Jason Koebler to talk about the guide.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Dec 17, 2018|
Inside the Messy World of Nintendo Switch Hacking
Pirates recently dumped Super Smash Bros. Ultimate around two weeks before it was scheduled to hit stores. Motherboard senior staff writer Joseph Cox takes us inside the messy world of Nintendo Switch hacking and piracy. The Switch piracy community—much of which operates on the gamer-focused chat app Discord—is full of ingenuity, technical breakthroughs, and evolving cat-and-mouse games between the multi-billion dollar Nintendo and the passionate hackers who love the company but nonetheless illegally steal its games. Pirates deploy malware to steal each other’s files so they can download more games themselves. Groups deliberately plant code into others' Switches so they no longer work. And some people in the scene have been doxed.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Dec 03, 2018|
America's Voting Machines Are Vulnerable to Election Hacking
When you say “election hacking” it means something different than the Kremlin's disinformation campaigns. On this episode of CYBER, we talk about what real election hacking is with Motherboard contributor Kim Zetter, who just wrote a piece for New York Times Magazine called “The Crisis of Election Security.” Kim says the real vulnerability in our system is something of our own making: the outdated voting machines we use to carry out our key civic duties.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Nov 19, 2018|
SIM Hijacking and the Phone Number Ransom
Imagine if your phone suddenly stopped working. And then you couldn’t login to Facebook, Instagram, your email, or bank account. Your phone switches back on, and you get a call. On the other end of the line is a guy telling you he’s stolen your phone number, and is about to take all your money. This is a new type of hack called SIM hijacking, and there’s almost nothing you can do to stop it. In this first episode of CYBER, we hear audio from a real-life ransom attempt, and host Ben Makuch speaks to Motherboard reporter Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai about how it all works.
This episode was produced and edited by Sophie Kazis.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Nov 12, 2018|
Introducing CYBER: A Hacking Podcast by MOTHERBOARD
Hacking. Hackers. Disinformation campaigns. Encryption. The Cyber. This stuff gets complicated really fast, but Motherboard spends its time embedded in the infosec world so you don't have to. CYBER is coming next week, and will help you understand what's going on in infosec.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
|Nov 08, 2018|