Attack on Tor Has Likely Stripped Users of Anonymity -
Tor, the network used specifically for privacy and anonymity, just warned users of an attack meant to deanonymize people on the service. Anyone who used Tor from February 2014 through this July 4 can assume they were impacted.
Who’s behind the attacks? It appears researchers from Carnegie Mellon. Via The Verge:
The Tor team suspects the CERT division of Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute (SEI). Earlier this month, CERT abruptly canceled a Black Hat conference talk called “You Don’t Have to be the NSA to Break Tor: Deanonymizing Users on a Budget.” The NSA has famously attempted to break Tor, to limited success.
So what’s the big deal?: If it was the team from CERT, consider the attack a proof of concept. If they can get in, so to can more malicious actors. According to The Guardian, the CERT talk at the Black Hat conference would explain “how anyone with $3,000 could de-anonymise users of Tor.”
Somewhat related: US Government increases funding for Tor, via The Guardian.
Tor, the internet anonymiser, received more than $1.8m in funding from the US government in 2013, even while the NSA was reportedly trying to destroy the network.
According to the Tor Project’s latest annual financial statements, the organisation received $1,822,907 from the US government in 2013. The bulk of that came in the form of “pass-through” grants, money which ultimately comes from the US government distributed through some independent third-party.
Sorta Somewhat Related, Tinfoil Hat Edition: Back in January, Reuters reported that the NSA funneled $10 million to RSA, a computer security firm whose encryption tools are an industry standard. The Reuters report indicates that the funding helped ensure that a less secure encryption system was used as the default setting in an RSA “software tool called Bsafe that is used to enhance security in personal computers and many other products.”
That’s the way this city lives now — one funeral to another, hiding from bombs and collecting the dead. —
Sergey Ponomarev, freelance photographer covering Gaza, in an interview with the New York Times. Photographing on the Ground in Gaza.
Read through to see Sergey’s recent photos from Gaza.
I don’t think Hustler’s going to be around very much longer. Most people are getting their information from the Internet. It’s a technology evolution that brings a lot with it and takes a lot away. —
Larry Flynt, Founder, Hustler Magazine to Bloomberg TV via Ars Technica*. “Writing is on the wall” for Hustler print mag thanks to Internet.
FJP: Sometimes we fire up the Internets to take a quick look at ‘information’. Here’s what we’ve found.
*The post has been updated to indicate that Flynt was speaking to Bloomberg TV, not Ars Technica. HT.
On this, the 100th anniversary of the day the first world war began, it is sobering to look back at the way that conflict was so badly reported. The catalogue of journalistic misdeeds is a matter of record: the willingness to publish propaganda as fact, the apparently tame acceptance of censorship and the failure to hold power to account. —
Roy Greenslade, The Guardian. First world war: how state and press kept truth off the front page.
FJP: The more things change…
World War I Technology
Via The Atlantic:
When Europe’s armies first marched to war in 1914, some were still carrying lances on horseback. By the end of the war, rapid-fire guns, aerial bombardment, armored vehicle attacks, and chemical weapon deployments were commonplace. Any romantic notion of warfare was bluntly shoved aside by the advent of chlorine gas, massive explosive shells that could have been fired from more than 20 miles away, and machine guns that spat out bullets like firehoses. Each side did its best to build on existing technology, or invent new methods, hoping to gain any advantage over the enemy. Massive listening devices gave them ears in the sky, armored vehicles made them impervious to small arms fire, tanks could (most of the time) cruise right over barbed wire and trenches, telephones and heliographs let them speak across vast distances, and airplanes gave them new platforms to rain death on each other from above. New scientific work resulted in more lethal explosives, new tactics made old offensive methods obsolete, and mass-produced killing machines made soldiers both more powerful and more vulnerable.
Today marks the hundredth anniversary of the start of World War I. Earlier this year, The Atlantic ran a 10-part series of photo essays on different aspects of the war.
Image: “American troops using a newly-developed acoustic locator, mounted on a wheeled platform. The large horns amplified distant sounds, monitored through headphones worn by a crew member, who could direct the platform to move and pinpoint distant enemy aircraft.” Via The Atlantic. Select to embiggen.
Middle East Friendship Chart
Via Slate. Read through to select cells for relationship information. Select to embiggen.
Wanted: One Qualified Lebron Stalker
The Northeast Ohio Media Group has a “Lebron James Beat.” Here’s its job listing:
Bring your sports, news and investigative reporting experience to one of the most challenging reporting jobs in the country, covering the sports performance, business dealings and community leadership of basketball star LeBron James. You’ll cover all aspects of his roles in Northeast Ohio and nationally as he returns to the Cleveland Cavaliers, writing, creating videos, and posting across multiple platforms including all relevant types of social media. You’ll also participate in broadcasts where you discuss James, working closely with reporters assigned to cover the Cavaliers and the NBA.
Image: Lebron James GIF via cagrialkan.
Al Jazeera’s Looking for Six Global Fellows
Al Jazeera’s AJ+ is launching this fall. With it, they’re hiring six global fellows. Some basic details:
We’re on the hunt for six seriously stellar young people from around the globe to make up our first class of AJ+ Fellows.
It’s a one-year gig, it’s paid, and it’s an opportunity unlike anything else, an opportunity to be at the heart of the next generation of storytellers. Throughout the year, you’ll work with and learn from our core AJ+ team. You’ll join us in our adventure as we introduce AJ+ to the world, and you’ll be a valuable part of making sure this introduction unfolds with fireworks.
The fellowship begins with a 2-3 week stint in San Francisco before heading back to your home region.
Major Qualification: You “have to be downright obsessed with the news and trends in your region and — just as importantly — with the pursuit of unearthing untold stories.”
Deadline to Apply: August 1. Details and application here.
Want a Do Over?
Yes, yes you do.
Don’t wait for permission to make something that’s interesting or amusing to you. Just do it now. Don’t wait. Find a story idea, start making it, give yourself a deadline, show it to people who’ll give you notes to make it better. Don’t wait till you’re older, or in some better job than you have now. Don’t wait for anything. Don’t wait till some magical story idea drops into your lap. That’s not where ideas come from. Go looking for an idea and it’ll show up. Begin now. Be a fucking soldier about it and be tough. —
Ira Glass to Lifehacker. I’m Ira Glass, Host of This American Life, and This Is How I Work.
Quick tip for things to do immediately post-interview:
When I come out of an interview, I jot down the things I remember as being my favorite moments. For an hour-long interview usually it’s just four or five moments, but if out I’m reporting all day, I’ll spend over an hour at night typing out every favorite thing that happened. This is handier than you might think. Often this short list of favorite things will provide the backbone to the structure to my story.
Read through for the gear This American Life uses and its editing process.
I regret being scared. I regret wasting time thinking I wasn’t good enough, that I didn’t deserve a seat at the table. You do belong and your voice is worthy. Say it to yourself in the mirror every morning if you have to, but don’t ever forget it. —
Jenna Wortham, reporter, New York Times, to Buzzfeed. 39 Pieces Of Advice For Journalists And Writers Of Color.
Buzzfeed asks twenty established writers what advice they’d give to those breaking into the industry.
Here are the questions:
Read through for the answers.
Via The New York Times:
Propaganda wars have unfolded alongside the battlefield for generations. But analysts said the latest flare-up between Israel and the Gaza Strip has brought a new level of dehumanizing, hateful language and a muddying of official talking points with incendiary threats, as social media broadcast an explosion of voices, an onslaught of unreliable information, and creative mash-ups of pop-culture icons with war imagery.
And so we learn that the Israel Defense Forces has a social media team of 40 that publishes on 30 platforms in six different languages while a team of 400 Israeli students volunteer to counter “false representation(s) of Israel in international and social media through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Across the way, Hamas offers a list of do’s and don’ts: Don’t post images or videos of missiles fired from cities, avoid close-ups of masked gunmen and where possible begin your missives with something along the lines of, “In response to the cruel Israeli assault.”
All of which makes for a tidy trove of photos, videos and graphics prepackaged for the rest of us to share across our networks.
To which Andy Carvin, formerly of NPR, told CNET earlier this year, “I don’t know if that’s going to change the hearts and minds of people who already support you or already hate you. There aren’t exactly undecided voters in this particular conflict.”
Somewhat related, Part 01: The Verification Handbook, released by the European Journalism Centre earlier this year, guides readers through verifying “digital content” during emergency situations.
Somewhat related, Part 02: A 1985 study explored a concept called the hostile media effect where people with opposing views are exposed to the same news programming and each side comes away claiming that the same show is biased against them (PDF).
Somewhat related, Part 03: In 2009, the BBC published an “Israel-Palestine” glossary with entries ranging from “cycle of violence” to “outpost” to “assassinations” in order to explain how the BBC uses them.
For those keeping social score at home: On Twitter, #GazaUnderAttack has been used over 4.5 million times in the last month; #IsraelUnderFire about 216,000 times.
Image: Because Hitler, via The New York Times. In Gaza, Epithets Are Fired and Euphemisms Give Shelter.