Mobile ‘Rootkit’ Maker Apologizes to Critical Android Dev It Tried to Silence

A mobile data-logging software maker apologized Wednesday to an Android developer who the company had earlier insisted apologize for his critical research.

Carrier IQ was virtually unknown until the 25-year-old Trevor Eckhart of Connecticut analyzed the workings of its softeare, recently revealing that the software secretly chronicles a user’s phone experience, from its apps, battery life and texts. Some carriers prevent users who actually find the software from controlling what information is sent.

Wired on Tuesday publicized Eckhart’s refusal to apologize for his research, which concluded with him calling the software a “rootkit,” a security term that refers to software installed at a low-level on a device, without a user’s consent or knowledge, in order to secretly intercept the device’s workings. Malware such as keyloggers and trojans are two examples. The company had demanded that he retract that “rootkit” statement in a nasty letter that threatened litigation and heavy monetary damages.

“We are deeply sorry for any concern or trouble that our letter may have caused Mr. Eckhart, and in retrospect we realize that we would have been better served by reaching out to Mr. Eckhart to establish a dialogue in the first instance,” Larry Lenhart, the Mountain View, California company’s chief executive said in a letter (.pdf) to Eckhart’s attorney, Marcia Hofmann, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Before Eckhart published his findings last week, he downloaded and mirrored Carrier IQ’s training manuals from the company’s publicly available website. Once his works work published, Carrier IQ demanded that he remove the manuals from his website. The manuals provide a limited roadmap for how Carrier IQ works.

What’s more, Carrier IQ sent Eckhart a cease-and-desist notice, saying Eckhart was in breach of copyright law for posting the manuals, and could face damages of as much as $150,000, the maximum allowed under U.S. copyright law per violation.

The EFF had decried Carrier IQ’s demands as “baseless,” (.pdf) saying its client’s speech was protected by the First Amendment.

‘Flash Robs’: Trying to Stop a Meme Gone Wrong

Many different types of crowd disturbance have bubbled up during 2011, but perhaps the oddest category has been the “flash mob robbery,” or “flash rob.”

It’s a fad that started in Washington, D.C. back in April, when around 20 people filed into a high-end jeans store in Dupont Circle and quickly made off with $20,000 in stock. Since then, the practice has spread — Dallas, Las Vegas, Ottawa, and Upper Darby, Pa. have all reported incidents since then — though the targets have gotten a bit more downscale, with most of the thefts taking place in convenience stores.

The latest crowd theft took place Saturday night at a 7-Eleven in Silver Spring, Md., and it fit the familiar pattern. Kids pour into the store, calmly help themselves to merchandise, and then stream out again:

Incredibly, in a poll taken in August, the National Retail Federation reported that a full 10 percent of businesses surveyed had experienced a “flash mob”-style theft.

Because many of these crimes remain unsolved, we don’t really know much about who these kids are, and how they get together. In Upper Darby, after around 40 teens hit a Sears at a shopping mall, the police were able to arrest 15, and the superintendent said they told him the event was planned out “earlier in the day on a social-networking site.”

In Germantown, Md., though, after a similar-sized mob hit the 7-Eleven there, cops later determined they had planned the heist while they were all together at the county fair.

It’s no surprise that the Drudge Report on Monday morning placed the Silver Spring incident at the very top of the well-trafficked page.

Conservatives have been agog at this mini-trend, with some of them seeing the thefts (most of which have involved African-American teens) as representing the specter of black insurrection. “‘Flash Robs’: Are They The Race Riots of the Internet Age?” asked the Christian Science Monitor in August, in a story about right-wing fears. (One of its subjects, John Bennett, wrote that the robberies had an “obvious racial aspect.”) The site offers a useful roundup of the robberies and other violent mob incidents.

“I find these crimes to be particularly galling,” writes the anonymous compiler, “because they’re indicative of societal dysfunction, rather than an individual pathology.”

But what, exactly, is that dysfunction?

Inside Occupy Wall Street’s Growing Student Protests

A wide swath of New York City students are angry about debt, tuition hikes and what many consider to be a lack of openness from the administrations of public and private colleges. Students have been a major force in Occupy Wall Street, dating to its first General Assembly on Aug. 2 in New York City.

But in the past week, they’ve been intensely directing the movement back to campus, at the same time that Occupy protests have become big news at both UC Berkeley and UC Davis.

On Monday afternoon, a contingent of a several hundred students marched from Madison Square in Manhattan to a Board of Trustees hearing across town at Baruch College, part of the City University of New York. CUNY, as it’s called, was formerly a mostly free network of colleges, funded by the city and the state. But since the city’s financial meltdown in 1975, it has charged tuition for some students. However, according to a CUNY spokesperson, 58.8 percent still pay nothing, due to their financial need.

A handful of students had registered to speak at the hearing on the 14th floor of Baruch’s William and Anita Newman building. The hearing was open to all kinds of topics; the students planned to address tuition increases.

Meanwhile, roughly 100 others held a boisterous “general assembly” meeting in the first-floor lobby. Accounts differ about who started shoving, but ultimately the students were pushed out by CUNY security guards, and 15 were arrested. Students blame CUNY, using videos they shot as evidence. CUNY blames the students. [Link]

Protest outside Baruch College, part of CUNY.

“I was thrown out like a dog,” said 22-year old Venetia Biney, a political science and journalism undergrad and protest organizer from CUNY’s Hunter College. She said that three security guards lifted her up and tossed her out onto the pavement. Two other Hunter students, Angelica and Leila, said they had been hit and shoved.

Venetia Biney is not stranger to CUNY. Her grandparents immigrated to the U.S. from Ghana. Both attended CUNY — as did her mom, uncle and aunt. Her grandfather became a political science professor at the institution.

Now Biney complains of deteriorating conditions at Hunter and other CUNY colleges.

“When it rains outside, it rains inside the building,” she said. “We have mice.”

Is that an example of why the schools need more money?

It might be, but Biney isn’t confident that the money is being spent well.

“If there was some documentation that would allow students to properly understand why the tuition was being raised … I think that students would be more forthcoming in trying to work with the university and the board of trustees,” she said. For its part, CUNY says that all information is made public and that the tuition hike will be at most $300 per year for the next five years.

X-Scan by XFocus – Basic Free Network Vulnerability Scanner

X-Scan is a general scanner for scanning network vulnerabilities for specific IP address range or stand-alone computer by multi-threading method, plug-ins are supported. This is an old tool (last update in 2005), but some people still find it useful and there are certain situations where it can be useful (especially in those jurassic companies...

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