What is Happening to The Internet?
We are thinking it might be better to just skip 2016 altogether and cut straight to the next year. We are only 19 days in and already it feels like forever.
In just these 19 very short days we have lost some amazing legends:
David Bowie: an English singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, painter, and actor. He was a figure in popular music for over five decades, and was considered by critics and other musicians as an innovator, particularly for his work in the 1970s.
Alan Rickman: an English actor and director, known for playing a variety of roles on stage and screen, often as a complex antagonist.
Glenn Frey: an American singer, songwriter, producer and actor, best known as a founding member of rock band the Eagles.
Wal-Mart are closing 269 store worldwide:
Walmart to close 269 stores, shut down ‘Express’ format
Walmart (WMT) will close 269 stores around the world in a strategic move to focus more on its supercenters and e-commerce business, the company said Friday.
The closures include 154 U.S. locations, encompassing Walmart’s entire fleet of 102 “Express” format stores, its smallest locations meant to compete with dollar stores, which have been in pilot testing since 2011. Some supercenters, Sam’s Club locations and Neighborhood Markets will also close, plus 115 stores in Latin American markets. The closures were decided based on financial performance and how well the locations fit with Walmart’s broader strategy, says Greg Hitt, a company spokesman.
List of the 154 U.S. stores Wal-Mart is closing
Although we haven’t yet been able to confirm if these include the same stores that were marked for closure last year or whether these 154 are in addition to those. Remember they closed those stores and made thousands redundant over ‘plumbing issues’? They also stated the stores would be closed for at least 6 months which would take us right up to October 2015. That’s if it did only take 6 months. Yet here we are 9 months after those closures, with another devastating blow to communities all over the world.
We are watching The Stock Markets very closely. They are also in pretty bad shape:
Is The Stock Market Decline Just Getting Started?
The last week of December and the first week of January, seem to have clarified that the markets are making a move to the downside. Adding to the sense of gloom, almost every market indicator shows negative divergences developing. However, when examining leading stocks, they are continuing to exhibit relative strength, providing serenity to this market decline, while keeping a lid on volatility. Thus, could the downturn in the market just be getting started or has it already run its course?
Sell everything ahead of stock market crash, say RBS economists
Investors face a “cataclysmic year” where stock markets could fall by up to 20% and oil could slump to $16 a barrel, economists at the Royal Bank of Scotland have warned.
In a note to its clients the bank said: “Sell everything except high quality bonds. This is about return of capital, not return on capital. In a crowded hall, exit doors are small.” It said the current situation was reminiscent of 2008, when the collapse of the Lehman Brothers investment bank led to the global financial crisis. This time China could be the crisis point.
Bearish J.P Morgan says sell stocks on any rally
“Our view is that the risk-reward for equities has worsened materially. In contrast to the past seven years, when we advocated using the dips as buying opportunities, we believe the regime has transitioned to one of selling any rally,” Mislav Matejka, an equity strategist at J.P. Morgan, said in a report.
Aside from technical indicators, expectations of anemic corporate earnings combined with the downward trajectory in U.S. manufacturing activity and a continued weakness in commodities are raising red flags.
We still find it ironic that the two companies that played such a fundamental part in the last economic crash are now announcing this. We can’t help but wonder what the benefits to them will be?
19 days?! Feels like it’s been a whole year already, doesn’t it? And of course, the doom and gloom doesn’t end there. It appears to be affecting not only celebrities, companies, communities and computers around the world but also the Internet itself. Lord we hope this hasn’t got anything to do with CISA (The new name for CISPA, which we reported on way back in May last year):
Things are Becoming Clearer – End Times
‘Then we had the Boston Bombings, which saw the introduction of CISPA (The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act). That seemed to have suffered a quick death, didn’t it? Or perhaps it was just re-branded to make it more appealing?’
‘Many a true word hath been spoken in jest’ – William Shakespeare.
Congress Slips CISA Into a Budget Bill That’s Sure to Pass
CISA had alarmed the privacy community by giving companies the ability to share cybersecurity information with federal agencies, including the NSA, “notwithstanding any other provision of law.” That means CISA’s information-sharing channel, ostensibly created for responding quickly to hacks and breaches, could also provide a loophole in privacy laws that enabled intelligence and law enforcement surveillance without a warrant.
The latest version of the bill appended to the omnibus legislation seems to exacerbate that problem. It creates the ability for the president to set up “portals” for agencies like the FBI and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, so that companies hand information directly to law enforcement and intelligence agencies instead of to the Department of Homeland Security. And it also changes when information shared for cybersecurity reasons can be used for law enforcement investigations. The earlier bill had only allowed that back channel use of the data for law enforcement in cases of “imminent threats,” while the new bill requires just a “specific threat,” potentially allowing the search of the data for any specific terms regardless of timeliness.
Alert: It Has Begun European Countries Shutting Down Alternative Media Sites
The French government have hurried through strict “anti-terror” laws in the aftermath of the Paris attacks, which are now witnessing alternative news websites being banned in France.
The French variation of We Are Change has been blocked presently, amid an freakish crackdown on alternative media in Europe.
To be clear, without alternative media, we only know what our Governments want us to know.
Twitter network down for many users after technical fault
The fault would probably seem like an “unwelcome headache” for Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey, according to consultants Frost & Sullivan.
There were also issues with Twitter’s application program interface (API), which allows websites and apps to connect to Twitter, principal analyst Sheridan Nye told the BBC.
“The loss of the micro-blogging site’s APIs multiplied the issue for all manner of developers, companies and organisations,” he said.
Could this ‘fault’ have anything to do with Twitter wanting to extend the amount of characters in users tweets, or something a little more sinister?
Facebook down for second time in a week
Users saw an error message that read “Sorry, something went wrong. We’re working on it and we’ll get it fixed as soon as we can.”
Company shares were down nearly 4% at $89.25 (£58.83) shortly after the site went down. It also crashed on Thursday.
The social networking site is used by nearly 1.5 billion people worldwide.
Even banks are suffering from ‘technical issues’. Seems like a cashless society isn’t such a good idea right now, doesn’t it?:
Thousands of Lloyd’s customers have personal data stolen
The customers affected have a Premier Account with Lloyd’s, which comes with emergency home insurance. The stolen device contained details of their names, addresses, account numbers and sort codes. It is described as being the same size as an old-style video recorder, so is perfectly portable. It was taken from a data room belonging to Royal Sun Alliance (RSA) insurance, which provided the home cover.
The theft only affects customers who opened their accounts between 2006 and 2012, and who subsequently made a claim on the insurance policy.
Barclay’s bank investigates ‘technical issues’
In a tweet the bank said it was “urgently investigating” the cause of the problem. Customers have been contacting the bank on social media to report problems accessing their money and making payments.
A Barclay’s spokeswoman said: “This was a fault with our internal systems and not an external cyber-attack.”
Phones and phone companies are being hit too, although they seem to have got it all sorted out. Move along now, there is nothing to see here:
EE and O2 network problems fixed
EE earlier apologised to customers, and said its engineers were working on a technical solution.EE told one user who contacted the company on Twitter that the problem was its “priority one”.
It said signal problems had only affected calls from mobiles to landlines, although some customers on Twitter claimed they were experiencing complete loss of signal.
Dutch police ‘read’ Blackberry emails
A Dutch police unit has confirmed to the BBC that it can decrypt messages on Blackberry’s most secure smartphones.
It did not go into details about how it does this but said that its methods allow police to read messages.
Troubled phone maker Blackberry has prided itself on providing customers with one of the safest methods of communication.
Ukraine Says to Review Cyber-Defences After Airport Targeted From Russia
Ukrainian authorities will review the defences of government computer systems, including at airports and railway stations, after a cyber-attack on Kiev’s main airport was launched from a server in Russia, officials told Reuters on Monday.
Malware similar to that which attacked three Ukrainian power firms in late December was detected last week in a computer in the IT network of Kiev’s main airport, Boryspil. The network includes the airport’s air traffic control.
Apple Keeps Leaving Macs Open To Malware – But White hat Hackers Have Your Back
In September last year, Wardle took advantage of a flaw in Gatekeeper that allowed unsigned malicious apps to execute. Wardle noticed Gatekeeper only checked the signature of the first application that was executed by the user. If this verified application executed another slice of code, the latter was not checked by Gatekeeper and could pass through unsigned. By uncovering several Apple-signed apps that once executed would look for other files to launch, he could complete the attack. In his proof of concept, he packaged both the Apple-signed and unsigned, malicious code into one seemingly legitimate download.
The malicious file could do anything an attacker wanted, such as spy on the user, steal passwords or record Skype calls. To fix this, Apple simply blacklisted the files Wardle abused. This wasn’t effective at preventing attacks. Wardle could simply find other Apple-signed code that let him do the same, which he duly did. “It took me two minutes to get round their patch,” said Wardle.
The GateKeeper program. Hm…… What do we know about that?
Angela Bennett is a systems analyst from Venice, California who telecommutes to Cathedral Software in San Francisco. Her interpersonal relationships are almost completely online and on the phone, with the exception of forgettable interactions with her neighbors and visits to her mother, who is institutionalized with Alzheimer’s disease and often forgets who Bennett is. Bennett’s co-worker Dale sends her a floppy disk with a backdoor labeled “π” that permits access to a commonly used computer security system called “Gatekeeper” and sold by Gregg Microsystems. Dale and Bennett agree to meet, but Dale’s private plane’s navigation system malfunctions and sends the plane into a tower, killing him.
Now wanted for murder, Bennett hitchhikes from Los Angeles to Cathedral’s office in San Francisco where, using her impostor’s computer, she connects the terrorists to Gregg Microsystems and uncovers their scheme; once the Praetorians sabotage an organization’s computer system, Gregg sells his Gatekeeper product to them and gains unlimited access through the backdoor. Bennett emails evidence of the backdoor to the FBI from the Moscone Center and tricks Devlin into releasing a virus into Gregg’s mainframe, undoing the erasing of her identity. They battle on the convention center’s catwalks, where Devlin accidentally shoots and kills the impostor (the real Ruth Marx). Bennett then ambushes Devlin with a fire extinguisher, causing him to fall to his death. The film closes with Bennett reunited with her mother and the conspiracy exposed.
Yes, that was it. Funny. Is life imitating art? Well maybe.
So, shall we give 2016 a miss this year? Get a petition together to ban it in The States?
What do you think?
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