Security

GoGo in-flight WiFi creates man-in-the-middle diddle

Join the mile-high club by getting screwed with fake certs


In-flight wifi service GoGo, once accused of facilitating excessive interception access for US law enforcement, has now been spotted using fake Google SSL certificates to spy on net traffic and prevent passengers from accessing video streaming services.

Google engineer Adrienne Porter Felt (@__apf__) noticed the fake SSL certificate which masqueraded as orginating from her employer and publicly called on the company to explain its actions.

Chief technology officer Anand Chari said only that it used the certificates to block streaming services while it upgraded network capacity and did not collect user data.

"Right now, Gogo is working on many ways to bring more bandwidth to an aircraft. Until then, we have stated that we don't support various streaming video sites and utilise several techniques to limit or block video streaming," Chari said in a statement.

"One of the recent off-the-shelf solutions that we use proxies secure video traffic to block it.

"Whatever technique we use to shape bandwidth, it impacts only some secure video streaming sites and does not affect general secure internet traffic."

But there were as Felt said "better ways to do it" other than creating a man-in-the-middle attack against users.

The company's willingness to exceed the mandatory requirements for the provision of telecommunications interception discovered by American Civil Liberties Union technologist Chris Soghoian and detailed by Wired extended the concerns beyond a debate on the legitimate use of bogus SSL certficates.


In September last year the company revealed in a letter (pdf) submitted to the Federal Communications Commission that it exceeded the requirements of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement (CALEA)

Gogo said at the time that an additional capability seemingly the use of CAPTCHA to prevent remote access was an apparent lone function that was not related to traffic monitoring.

The news should serve as a warning to onboard users wishing to keep their data out of government hands. ®

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Fail: Exam paper marked by Elon Musk up for auction

Sweary test on sale as Tesla CEO forgets where he parked his car

Elon Musk fans must be all a quiver this week as they finally have the chance to buy a collectible to slide under the bust of their idol's head: papers signed by the man himself.

We're not sure what to use as the collective noun for Musk obsessives. Maybe a "delusion"?

In the case of the auction, the items up for grabs are papers said to be marked up and graded by Musk when he was a teaching assistant at the University of Pennsylvania. The future Tesla CEO wielded the red pen, initialling the paper and scoring the answers.

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Spar shops across northern UK shut after cyber attack hits payment processing abilities

Franchisees' closures also affect petrol stations

The British arm of Dutch supermarket chain Spar has shut hundreds of shops after suffering an "online attack," the company has confirmed to The Register.

"This has not affected all SPAR stores across the North of England," a Spar spokesman told us, "but a number have been impacted over the past 24 hours and we are working to resolve this situation as quickly as possible."

LancsLive, a local news website for Lancashire, reported that a "total and widespread IT outage" hit the chain at the weekend, along with "security breach" problems today.

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AWS DocumentDB not MongoDB-compatible, says MongoDB Inc

MongoDB CTO Mark Porter: 'It is 34 per cent compatible, through our tests'

Interview Amazon's DocumentDB database service is described by the cloud corp as "MongoDB compatible", but MongoDB CTO Mark Porter has told The Register this is not entirely the case.

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Miscreants make off with $150m of digital assets in BitMart security breach

Or it might be nearer $200m. Even the amounts stolen seem to be volatile in the crypto world

Cryptocurrency exchange BitMart has coughed to a large-scale security breach relating to ETH and BSC hot wallets. The company reckons that hackers made off with approximately $150m in assets.

Security and analytics outfit PeckShield put the figure at closer to $200m.

"We have identified a large-scale security breach related to one of our ETH hot wallets and one of our BSC hot wallets today. At this moment we are still concluding the possible methods used. Hackers were able to withdraw assets of the value of approximately 150 million USD," BitMart said.

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MySQL a 'pretty poor database' says departing Oracle engineer

PostgreSQL a better option for open source RDBMS, he claims

You've collected your leaving card, novelty presents, and perhaps a bottle of wine – what's next on the list for the departing developer? For one, it's a blog rubbishing the technology he's been working on for five years.

That was the choice of Steinar Gunderson, a former principal software engineer at Oracle and member of the MySQL optimiser team.

In an online missive, the engineer, who has now taken up a role in Google's Chrome team, left no reader in doubt of his views on MySQL.

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Uber's gig economy business model takes a blow from London legal double-whammy

Free Now taxi app unlawfully registered by regulator – and Ts&Cs didn't comply with the law

London taxi-hailing apps cannot dump their legal obligations on gig economy drivers, the Court of Appeal of England and Wales has ruled in a blow to Uber.

The court said this morning [PDF] that Germany-based taxi app Free Now could not operate in the English capital without taking on legal liability for delivering the taxi journey, giving a rolled-up judgment on two separate but closely linked cases.

In the first, Free Now's UK arm – aka Transopco UK Ltd – argued that as a middleman it was not contractually obliged to deliver taxi journeys, saying this was the legal responsibility of its drivers. Judges ruled there was "no material difference" between Free Now's business model and Uber's.

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Helios-NG: An open-source cluster OS that links the Atari ST and Commodore Amiga

Does anyone have the stones to revive this long-forgotten software?

What is old is new again: linking open source Unix-alikes, native cluster OSes for massively parallel computers, and 1980s platform rivalries. You get all this in a somewhat dusty project hoping to "breathe new life" into Helios, a manycore OS from the '90s.

Parallel computing is back in fashion. Just last week, The Reg covered an inexpensive Arm cluster in a box; and support in the next Linux kernel for 24-core Atom chips and 64-core ARM ones.

Back in the 1980s, Intel couldn't build you a box with that many cores – but a small British outfit called Inmos could. While a remote descendant of Inmos provides one of the processors in relatively recent Amiga hardware, there's a much older connection.

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Cuba ransomware gang scores almost $44m in ransom payments across 49 orgs, say Feds

Hancitor is at play

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) says 49 organisations, including some in government, were hit by Cuba ransomware as of early November this year.

The attacks were spread across five "critical infrastructure", which, besides government, included the financial, healthcare, manufacturing, and – as you'd expect – IT sectors. The Feds said late last week the threat actors are demanding $76m in ransoms and have already received at least $43.9m in payments.

The ransomware gang's loader of choice, Hancitor, was the culprit, distributed via phishing emails, or via exploit of Microsoft Exchange vulnerabilities, compromised credentials, or Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) tools. Hancitor – also known as Chanitor or Tordal –  enables a CobaltStrike beacon as a service on the victim's network using a legitimate Windows service like PowerShell.

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Graviton 3: AWS attempts to gain silicon advantage with latest custom hardware

Key to faster, more predictable cloud

RE:INVENT AWS had a conviction that "modern processors were not well optimized for modern workloads," the cloud corp's senior veep of Infrastructure, Peter DeSantis, claimed at its latest annual Re:invent gathering in Las Vegas.

DeSantis was speaking last week about AWS's Graviton 3 Arm-based processor, providing a bit more meat around the bones, so to speak – and in his comment the word "modern" is doing a lot of work.

The computing landscape looks different from the perspective of a hyperscale cloud provider; what counts is not flexibility but intensive optimization and predictable performance.

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The Omicron dilemma: Google goes first on delaying office work

Hurrah, employees can continue to work from home and take calls in pyjamas

Googlers can continue working from home and will no longer be required to return to campuses on 10 January 2022 as previously expected.

The decision marks another delay in getting more employees back to their desks. For Big Tech companies, setting a firm return date during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a nightmare. All attempts were pushed back so far due to rising numbers of cases or new variants of the respiratory disease spreading around the world, such as the new Omicron strain.

Google's VP of global security, Chris Rackow, broke the news to staff in a company-wide email, first reported by CNBC. He said Google would wait until the New Year to figure out when campuses in the US can safely reopen for a mandatory return.

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This House believes: A unified, agnostic software environment can be achieved

How long will we keep reinventing software wheels?

Register Debate Welcome to the latest Register Debate in which writers discuss technology topics, and you the reader choose the winning argument. The format is simple: we propose a motion, the arguments for the motion will run this Monday and Wednesday, and the arguments against on Tuesday and Thursday. During the week you can cast your vote on which side you support using the poll embedded below, choosing whether you're in favour or against the motion. The final score will be announced on Friday, revealing whether the for or against argument was most popular.

This week's motion is: A unified, agnostic software environment can be achieved. We debate the question: can the industry ever have a truly open, unified, agnostic software environment in HPC and AI that can span multiple kinds of compute engines?

Our first contributor arguing FOR the motion is Nicole Hemsoth, co-editor of The Next Platform.

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