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Original author: 
Sean Gallagher

Aurich Lawson

A little more than a year ago, details emerged about an effort by some members of the hacktivist group Anonymous to build a new weapon to replace their aging denial-of-service arsenal. The new weapon would use the Internet's Domain Name Service as a force-multiplier to bring the servers of those who offended the group to their metaphorical knees. Around the same time, an alleged plan for an Anonymous operation, "Operation Global Blackout" (later dismissed by some security experts and Anonymous members as a "massive troll"), sought to use the DNS service against the very core of the Internet itself in protest against the Stop Online Piracy Act.

This week, an attack using the technique proposed for use in that attack tool and operation—both of which failed to materialize—was at the heart of an ongoing denial-of-service assault on Spamhaus, the anti-spam clearing house organization. And while it hasn't brought the Internet itself down, it has caused major slowdowns in the Internet's core networks.

DNS Amplification (or DNS Reflection) remains possible after years of security expert warnings. Its power is a testament to how hard it is to get organizations to make simple changes that would prevent even recognized threats. Some network providers have made tweaks that prevent botnets or "volunteer" systems within their networks to stage such attacks. But thanks to public cloud services, "bulletproof" hosting services, and other services that allow attackers to spawn and then reap hundreds of attacking systems, DNS amplification attacks can still be launched at the whim of a deep-pocketed attacker—like, for example, the cyber-criminals running the spam networks that Spamhaus tries to shut down.

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Original author: 
mattstroud

Lede_large

By Matt Stroud and Joseph L. Flatley, with additional reporting by Jesse Hicks

Barron Hansen is a self-employed web developer and researcher in San Diego. Like many people who work from home, he spends a lot of time alone in front of the computer, listening to talk radio. Over time, he began to notice that all of his favorite radio personalities seemed to be endorsing a “business opportunity” called Income At Home.

“Start making money on your own terms,” said one ad, read by Glenn Beck. It sounded too good to be true, the kind of thing most listeners probably dismiss without a second thought. And as long as Hansen had been hearing the endorsements, that’s exactly what he did. That is, until last January, when one of his web...

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Aurich Lawson

Apple may be planning to add 2D fingerprint sensors to a future version of the iPhone, according to details revealed in a recent Securities & Exchange Commission filing. The PREM14A document (hat tip to TNW) was filed as a result of Apple's buyout of security chip firm AuthenTec, and it reveals more details about the agreement between the two companies, as well as hints about Apple's future engineering plans.

The SEC document reveals that Apple had been after biometric security company AuthenTec's unspecified "new technology" for almost a year ("late 2011") before it decided to go ahead and buy the company in July. At the time, AuthenTec had been approaching a number of consumer electronics companies—Apple included—to try to sell licenses for its unspecified technology. Apple was apparently the only company to try to move forward with an agreement—cost seemingly deterred others—but negotiations ended up falling apart in early 2012. That's when Apple began entertaining the idea of a buyout, offering AuthenTec $7 per share, for a total of $356 million.

According to the document, Apple tried to woo AuthenTec by arguing that its offer would allow the company to develop technology for just one platform instead of many.

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Eugene Marinelli and Quinn Slack

We don't know much about Eugene Marinelli and Quinn Slack, or their new startup, Blend Labs.

But we have heard this much: It has just raised $2.5 million from Facebook investor Peter Thiel and venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, according to a source.

It makes total sense, given that Slack and Marinelli are both former software engineers at Palantir, a secretive Thiel-backed company which processes massive amounts of data for corporate clients and government agencies.

We couldn't find an SEC filing showing the investment, though there are ways for companies that want to stay stealthy to avoid such filings (by, for example, filing with state regulators).

From what we can see, Marinelli and Slack are interested in the following hot areas:

  • Big data. They just gave a presentation at Stanford about using technologies like Hadoop, HBase, and Scala to handle huge quantities of information. Or as they put it, "you have a ton of data, need to handle a lot of users, and want to perform heavy computation over the data."
  • The social graph. They posted code to GitHub, an open software repository, for "Facebook social data modeling." And their Stanford presentation shows an example of handling data about individuals including email addresses and groups they belong to.
  • Mobile platforms. Slack has contributed some code to the Play 2.0 platform, which is used for mobile applications.

Okay, so that doesn't give us many clues to what Blend Labs is doing. But big-data applications for social and mobile platforms seems like it hits just about every investing buzzword.

Andreessen Horowitz, Slack, and Marinelli did not respond to emailed inquiries about the investment.

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Mark Zuckerberg Laughing

A packed room of more than 200 founders, VCs and internet bankers took a moment to look up from their iPhones and listen in hushed reverence as one of Silicon Valley’s top investors explained what he looks for when choosing the next hot startup.

"For us, it’s all about growth. That could be growing revenues, it could be growing your audience, it could be growing your user base," he said. "And what we’ve been noticing recently is that after integration with Facebook Timeline and Open Graph, companies are seeing just monstrous growth. We tell all our portfolio companies to look into this. "If you’re not, it’s like your competitors are cheating. This stuff is like steroids for startups."

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