Attackers forgo malware

To avoid detection, some hackers are ditching malware and living “off the land” — using whatever tools are already available in the compromised systems, according to a new report from Dell SecureWorks.

In fact, this has been the case for nearly all the intrusions analyzed by the Dell SecureWorks’ Incident Response Team last year.

The cyber criminals typically start out with compromised credentials, said Phil Burdette, senior security researcher at Atlanta-based Dell SecureWorks, Inc.

“For example, they might use phishing attacks,” he said. “They’ll send an email purporting to be from the IT staff, asking users to log in and test their credentials because the IT staff has just created a new email server. Once a user logs in, those same credentials would then be used to access the company’s virtual private network solutions.”

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IDG Contributor Network: Faustian bargain: Regret awaits Metro/Alibaba deal

Last week, one of the world’s largest retailers cut a deal with Alibaba, China’s global e-commerce giant. German retail chain Metro Group will turn over its online operation in China to Alibaba. Unfortunately, this is becoming a familiar tale in e-tail, it just about never ends well.

This kind of alliance only makes sense when the retailer doesn’t mind surrendering the territory involved forever. Alas, retailers generally use these kind of deals in the opposite way — for extremely important segments, assuming they can move in directly down the road, after their partner has done the dirty work for a while. Gee, what’s wrong with this picture?

Metro is an extremely influential chain, and it’s the planet’s seventh-largest merchant, with about 2,200 stores in 30 countries. It ka-chinged the equivalent of $87 billion last year and has a quarter-of-a-million people on its payroll. In short, this is a powerhouse retailer with substantial global reach and, perhaps more to the point, one of the most revered IT operations anywhere in retail.

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Microsoft buys popular Android lock-screen app maker

Microsoft has added to its stable of Android apps with the acquisition of Double Labs, the makers of the Echo Notification Lockscreen, a popular app on Google’s mobile platform that helps users control the notifications they see.

Echo replaces the default Android lock screen with a new interface for handling push notifications. The app’s marquee feature is its ability to categorize and sort users’ incoming notifications and only wake their phone for high-priority messages. In addition, users can tell the lock screen to remind them of notifications at a later time or in a different place, so they can postpone seeing notifications about personal emails until they get home, for example. 

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DARPA envisions robotic satellite repair missions

A former astronaut working at DARPA believes a new breed of robotics could revolutionize the satellite telecommunications industry, bringing better services to consumers and resulting in less space junk.

Pam Melroy is working on technology that could lead to robotic servicing, refueling and upgrading missions to satellites thousands of miles from earth, well beyond the range of astronauts.

“Space robotics can create a revolution,” she said in an interview with the IDG News Service on the sidelines of DARPA’s Wait, What? conference, held last week in St. Louis. Melroy is deputy director of the tactical technology office at DARPA, or the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, part of the U.S. Defense Department.

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DARPA envisages robotic satellite repair missions

A former astronaut working at DARPA believes a new breed of robotics could revolutionize the satellite telecommunications industry, bringing better services to consumers and resulting in less space junk.

Pam Melroy is working on technology that could lead to robotic servicing, refueling and upgrading missions to satellites thousands of miles from earth, well beyond the range of astronauts.

“Space robotics can create a revolution,” she said in an interview with the IDG News Service on the sidelines of DARPA’s Wait, What? conference, held last week in St. Louis. Melroy is deputy director of the tactical technology office at DARPA, or the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, part of the U.S. Defense Department.

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