Tag Archives: exodus

Exodus Forks Show That Open Source Kodi Add-ons Are Hard to Eradicate

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/exodus-forks-show-that-open-source-kodi-add-ons-are-hard-to-eradicate-190428/

When the pirate streaming box hype reached new heights early 2017, the third-party Kodi add-on “Exodus” was at the center of the action.

Exodus was widely praised as one of the most useful add-ons to access streaming video. This included many pirated movies and TV-shows.

The open source software was maintained by “Lambda,” one of the most prolific developers in the community. However, this meant that when rightsholders started to tighten the screws, Exodus became one of the main targets.

It all started when the popular add-on repository TVAddons mysteriously disappeared. Since Exodus was distributed through the repository, many people experienced trouble updating it.

Initially, it was unknown what was going on with TVAddons but when the site returned more than a month later, it became clear that it was being sued by Bell Canada, TVA, Videotron, and Rogers. This complaint also listed Exodus, alongside 17 other add-ons.

Not much later, development of the Exodus add-on was discontinued. This meant that from one day to another, millions of users found out that their pirate streaming boxes had become useless. At least, in their more recent configuration.

It didn’t take long before others stepped up to fill this void. Interestingly, many of the Exodus alternatives were based on the original Exodus code, which was open source. Even today, nearly two years after the add-on was discontinued, its code lives on.

TVAddons recently published an overview of the various Exodus ‘forks’ that are still online today.

The top one appears to be the aptly named “Exodus Redux,” which is available through GitHub and maintained by a developer known as I-A-C.

However, there are many more add-ons based on the same code. This includes “Yoda,” “Exodus 8,” “Overeasy,” and “13Clowns,” to name a few. All of these allow users to stream video through an easy-to-use interface.

While the open source code is easy to fork, these add-ons can’t operate with complete impunity, of course. Several other Exodus based add-ons have already been discontinued, often following pressure from groups such as anti-piracy group ACE.

The Covenant add-on, developed by Team Colossus, threw in the towel after one of the main developers received a house visit, for example,. The Placenta add-on was discontinued following a cease and desist letter.

This begs the question: if new forks keep appearing, does it mean that rightsholders’ actions are futile?

According to TVAddons, which has banned these forks from its own platform, takedown efforts may help in the short term. However, when open source software is taken down, many alternate versions usually pop-up.

“The Rights holders efforts to destroy dual-use technologies seem to be effective in the very short-term. However, those enforcements only result in software and tools being spread out in a way that becomes uncontrollable in the long term, as we’ve seen with Kodi addons,” a TVAddons spokesperson told us.

In theory, this is indeed true. TVAddons listed just seven active Exodus forks, but there are many more out there. It’s a problem that’s hard to eradicate. 

However, the continued efforts from rightsholders to shut down these add-ons may have a more subtle effect. While hardcore pirates will always find a new fork, there’s also a group of people who will get frustrated by the repeated shutdowns, and give up eventually. 

If we take a look at the popularity of the Google search term “Kodi add-ons” we see that interest started to drop after the major enforcement efforts started. This may be a coincidence of course, but it could also be a sign of people giving up. 

Google searches for “Kodi add-ons”

It’s hard to deny that open source software can’t be easily eradicated, but the ease of access also play a role. 

We’ve also seen that with other popular open source applications, such as Popcorn Time. When one of the most popular forks was taken out following pressure from Hollywood, others remained available. Still, as time went on, interest began to wane. 

Similarly, when Limewire shut down years ago, the Frostwire fork remained available. However, this never reached the same audience as its predecessor. 

All in all, it’s safe to conclude that, while Exodus has left the scene a long time ago, its code still thrives. Whether the total audience is still as large as it once was, remains a question.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Mobdro Pirate Streaming App Slammed in Malware Report

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/mobdro-pirate-streaming-app-slammed-in-malware-report-190425/

In recent years, millions of users around the world have turned to Android-based applications for their piracy fix.

They’re mostly free and easy to install, quickly providing access to the latest movies, TV shows, live sports, and PPV events.

Entertainment industry groups have long insisted that users of these applications are putting themselves at risk of malware and similar issues, but it’s fairly uncommon for them to go into much detail.

That changed today with the publication of a study carried out by the Digital Citizens Alliance in conjunction with network security company Dark Wolfe Consulting. Some of the key findings concern the popular live streaming application known as Mobdro.

The researchers say that after installing the Android application, it forced an update and then forwarded their Wi-Fi name and password to a server that identified as being located in Asia. Mobdro then started to seek access to media content and other legitimate apps on the researchers’ network.

“Researchers observed that the app that sent the user’s wireless name and password up to an external server in Indonesia then began probing the network and talking to any file-sharing services on the Local Area Network. It also ‘port knocked,’ a process to look for other active malware,” they write.

“[A]fter the initial update, the device accepted commands from a threat actor. Those commands may come from the app itself or from the movie streams. With each selection of content, the user opens the door to a new set of commands and malicious payloads from a threat actor to a device in use.”

It’s not explained how the video streams themselves could contain malware. Mobdro is believed to scrape the web for content, much like Kodi add-ons do, and security experts haven’t seen malware in video streams.

However, the researchers state that the “commands in the apps or from the movie streams” were “either encrypted or encoded, making it difficult to analyze for infection.” It’s a vague statement that the study builds on, noting that encrypted commands could perform an update, retrieve malware, take part in a DDoS attack, or obtain files stored on the device or network – such as images, movies or documents.

There’s little doubt that the behavior highlighted above is not something the average person would expect from a video streaming app. However, it should be noted that the Mobdro software actually asks the user to grant permission to their photos, media, files and device location.

Most will blindly grant those permissions instead of declining, of course, and it sounds like the researchers followed that lead.

Furthermore, in view of the researchers’ findings, it’s also worth highlighting the chaotic situation that surrounds Mobdro and many similar apps that facilitate access to illicit streams of movies and TV shows. Crucially, these aren’t allowed on official platforms like Google Play.

So, where it was once pretty obvious where the ‘official’ app could be obtained, there are now a large number of ‘fake’ sites also offering ‘hacked’ variants of the software, any one of which could have experienced tampering. The researchers do not reveal the source of their installation files.

Another point of interest is raised when the researchers note that the software they installed also makes it possible for a “threat actor” to log in to a user’s device and then navigate away from the device to the Internet, effectively posing as the user online.

While this initially seems like a shocking claim, anyone who reads the official app’s EULA before installing the software will see for themselves that Mobdro is pretty upfront about this unpopular ‘feature’. Users of the software that choose not to see adverts find themselves agreeing to become peers on the (in)famous Luminati network, meaning that their bandwidth and IP address can indeed be used by others.

It’s far from ideal (who wants their connections used by others apart from Hola users?) but the site that hosts the software makes this clear, to those who bother to read the small print at least. Which is probably very few people indeed, sadly.

TorrentFreak requested comment from the operators of the official Mobdro client but at the time of publication, we were yet to hear back.

The full report, ‘Fishing in the Piracy Stream: How the Dark Web of Entertainment is Exposing Consumers to Harm’ also contains information previously covered in earlier TorrentFreak articles. It can be found here (pdf)

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Puerto Rico’s First Raspberry Pi Educator Workshop

Post Syndicated from Dana Augustin original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/puerto-rico-raspberry-pi-workshop/

Earlier this spring, an excited group of STEM educators came together to participate in the first ever Raspberry Pi and Arduino workshop in Puerto Rico.

Their three-day digital making adventure was led by MakerTechPR’s José Rullán and Raspberry Pi Certified Educator Alex Martínez. They ran the event as part of the Robot Makers challenge organized by Yees! and sponsored by Puerto Rico’s Department of Economic Development and Trade to promote entrepreneurial skills within Puerto Rico’s education system.

Over 30 educators attended the workshop, which covered the use of the Raspberry Pi 3 as a computer and digital making resource. The educators received a kit consisting of a Raspberry Pi 3 with an Explorer HAT Pro and an Arduino Uno. At the end of the workshop, the educators were able to keep the kit as a demonstration unit for their classrooms. They were enthusiastic to learn new concepts and immerse themselves in the world of physical computing.

In their first session, the educators were introduced to the Raspberry Pi as an affordable technology for robotic clubs. In their second session, they explored physical computing and the coding languages needed to control the Explorer HAT Pro. They started off coding with Scratch, with which some educators had experience, and ended with controlling the GPIO pins with Python. In the final session, they learned how to develop applications using the powerful combination of Arduino and Raspberry Pi for robotics projects. This gave them a better understanding of how they could engage their students in physical computing.

“The Raspberry Pi ecosystem is the perfect solution in the classroom because to us it is very resourceful and accessible.” – Alex Martínez

Computer science and robotics courses are important for many schools and teachers in Puerto Rico. The simple idea of programming a microcontroller from a $35 computer increases the chances of more students having access to more technology to create things.

Puerto Rico’s education system has faced enormous challenges after Hurricane Maria, including economic collapse and the government’s closure of many schools due to the exodus of families from the island. By attending training like this workshop, educators in Puerto Rico are becoming more experienced in fields like robotics in particular, which are key for 21st-century skills and learning. This, in turn, can lead to more educational opportunities, and hopefully the reopening of more schools on the island.

“We find it imperative that our children be taught STEM disciplines and skills. Our goal is to continue this work of spreading digital making and computer science using the Raspberry Pi around Puerto Rico. We want our children to have the best education possible.” – Alex Martínez

After attending Picademy in 2016, Alex has integrated the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s online resources into his classroom. He has also taught small workshops around the island and in the local Puerto Rican makerspace community. José is an electrical engineer, entrepreneur, educator and hobbyist who enjoys learning to use technology and sharing his knowledge through projects and challenges.

The post Puerto Rico’s First Raspberry Pi Educator Workshop appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Bluetooth Vulnerabilities

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2017/09/bluetooth_vulne.html

A bunch of Bluetooth vulnerabilities are being reported, some pretty nasty.

BlueBorne concerns us because of the medium by which it operates. Unlike the majority of attacks today, which rely on the internet, a BlueBorne attack spreads through the air. This works similarly to the two less extensive vulnerabilities discovered recently in a Broadcom Wi-Fi chip by Project Zero and Exodus. The vulnerabilities found in Wi-Fi chips affect only the peripherals of the device, and require another step to take control of the device. With BlueBorne, attackers can gain full control right from the start. Moreover, Bluetooth offers a wider attacker surface than WiFi, almost entirely unexplored by the research community and hence contains far more vulnerabilities.

Airborne attacks, unfortunately, provide a number of opportunities for the attacker. First, spreading through the air renders the attack much more contagious, and allows it to spread with minimum effort. Second, it allows the attack to bypass current security measures and remain undetected, as traditional methods do not protect from airborne threats. Airborne attacks can also allow hackers to penetrate secure internal networks which are “air gapped,” meaning they are disconnected from any other network for protection. This can endanger industrial systems, government agencies, and critical infrastructure.

Finally, unlike traditional malware or attacks, the user does not have to click on a link or download a questionable file. No action by the user is necessary to enable the attack.

Fully patched Windows and iOS systems are protected; Linux coming soon.

National interest is exploitation, not disclosure

Post Syndicated from Robert Graham original http://blog.erratasec.com/2016/08/national-interest-is-exploitation-not.html

Most of us agree that more accountability/transparency is needed in how the government/NSA/FBI exploits 0days. However, the EFF’s positions on the topic are often absurd, which prevent our voices from being heard.

One of the EFF’s long time planks is that the government should be disclosing/fixing 0days rather than exploiting them (through the NSA or FBI). As they phrase it in a recent blog post:

as described by White House Cybersecurity Coordinator, Michael Daniel: “[I]n the majority of cases, responsibly disclosing a newly discovered vulnerability is clearly in the national interest.” Other knowledgeable insiders—from former National Security Council Cybersecurity Directors Ari Schwartz and Rob Knake to President Obama’s hand-picked Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies—have also endorsed clear, public rules favoring disclosure.

The EFF isn’t even paying attention to what the government said. The majority of vulnerabilities are useless to the NSA/FBI. Even powerful bugs like Heartbleed or Shellshock are useless, because they can’t easily be weaponized. They can’t easily be put into a point-and-shoot tool and given to cyberwarriors.

Thus, it’s a tautology saying “majority of cases vulns should be disclosed”. It has no bearing on the minority of bugs the NSA is interested in — the cases where we want more transparency and accountability.

These minority of bugs are not discovered accidentally. Accidental bugs have value to the NSA, so the NSA spends considerable amount of money hunting down different bugs that would be of use, and in many cases, buying useful vulns from 0day sellers. The EFF pretends the political issue is about 0days the NSA happens to come across accidentally — the real political issue is about the ones the NSA spent a lot of money on.

For these bugs, the minority of bugs the NSA sees, we need to ask whether it’s in the national interest to exploit them, or to disclose/fix them. And the answer to this question is clearly in favor of exploitation, not fixing. It’s basic math.

An end-to-end Apple iOS 0day (with sandbox escape and persistance) is worth around $1 million, according to recent bounties from Zerodium and Exodus Intel.

There are two competing national interests with such a bug. The first is whether such a bug should be purchased and used against terrorist iPhones in order to disrupt ISIS. The second is whether such a bug should be purchased and disclosed/fixed, to protect American citizens using iPhones.

Well, for one thing, the threat is asymmetric. As Snowden showed, the NSA has widespread control over network infrastructure, and can therefore insert exploits as part of a man-in-the-middle attack. That makes any browser-bugs, such as the iOS bug above, much more valuable to the NSA. No other intelligence organization, no hacker group, has that level of control over networks, especially within the United States. Non-NSA actors have to instead rely upon the much less reliable “watering hole” and “phishing” methods to hack targets. Thus, this makes the bug of extreme value for exploitation by the NSA, but of little value in fixing to protect Americans.

The NSA buys one bug per version of iOS. It only needs one to hack into terrorist phones. But there are many more bugs. If it were in the national interest to buy iOS 0days, buying just one will have little impact, since many more bugs still lurk waiting to be found. The government would have to buy many bugs to make a significant dent in the risk.

And why is the government helping Apple at the expense of competitors anyway? Why is it securing iOS with its bug-bounty program and not Android? And not Windows? And not Adobe PDF? And not the million other products people use?

The point is that no sane person can argue that it’s worth it for the government to spend $1 million per iOS 0day in order to disclose/fix. If it were in the national interest, we’d already have federal bug bounties of that order, for all sorts of products. Long before the EFF argues that it’s in the national interest that purchased bugs should be disclosed rather than exploited, the EFF needs to first show that it’s in the national interest to have a federal bug bounty program at all.

Conversely, it’s insane to argue it’s not worth $1 million to hack into terrorist iPhones. Assuming the rumors are true, the NSA has been incredibly effective at disrupting terrorist networks, reducing the collateral damage of drone strikes and such. Seriously, I know lots of people in government, and they have stories. Even if you discount the value of taking out terrorists, 0days have been hugely effective at preventing “collateral damage” — i.e. the deaths of innocents.

The NSA/DoD/FBI buying and using 0days is here to stay. Nothing the EFF does or says will ever change that. Given this constant, the only question is how We The People get more visibility into what’s going on, that our representative get more oversight, that the courts have clearer and more consistent rules. I’m the first to stand up and express my worry that the NSA might unleash a worm that takes down the Internet, or the FBI secretly hacks into my home devices. Policy makers need to address these issues, not the nonsense issues promoted by the EFF.

Bug Bounties Reaching $500,000 For iOS Exploits

Post Syndicated from Darknet original http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/darknethackers/~3/Oi2kUyxvVik/

It seems this year bug bounties are getting really serious, especially on the secondary market involving exploit trading firms, not direct to the software producer or owner. $500,000 isn’t chump change and would be a good year for a small security team, especially living somewhere with a weaker currency. Even for a solo security researcher…

Read the full post at darknet.org.uk