Facebook Account Details For Sale By Hacker or Not?

VeriSign iDefense Says Yes, Facebook Says It's All Bogus

2 min read
Facebook Account Details For Sale By Hacker or Not?

A couple of days ago, major news outlets like the BBC and ABC News Australiareported that a Russian computer hacker is offering for sale stolen passwords and login details of 1.5 million Facebook users. The asking price is for $25 to $45 for batches of 1,000.

At the time, Facebook said it was investigating the matter so that it could "block access to any that might be compromised and restore them to their rightful owners."

Well, a story in today's New York Times provides a bit more information on the situation. The Times reports that researchers at VeriSign’s iDefense division have been the ones tracking the sale of both legitimate and bogus stolen Facebook account information and I guess feeding that information to the press. iDefense claims that the reason for the price differential is that the $25 price is for a batch of Facebook accounts each with 10 or less friends, while $45 buys a batch of accounts each having more than 10 friends.

However, Facebook is now disputing iDefense's claims of legitimate Facebook account information being offered for sale, the Times reports. Facebook says that it has tried to purchase supposedly stolen account information as part of its investigation and has come up empty. It believes that the whole thing is basically bogus and nothing more than a scam.

iDefense said that it did not try to purchase any of the supposedly stolen Facebook information because it is against its corporate policy, the Times says. However, iDefense apparently has not responded directly to Facebook's charge that it is passing along hearsay rather than verified facts - there is nothing about the dispute on iDefense's website at least at the time of this posting.

So, are there 1.5 million stolen but legitimate Facebook accounts really up for sale on the Internet?

Stay tuned.

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Metamaterials Could Solve One of 6G’s Big Problems

There’s plenty of bandwidth available if we use reconfigurable intelligent surfaces

12 min read
An illustration depicting cellphone users at street level in a city, with wireless signals reaching them via reflecting surfaces.

Ground level in a typical urban canyon, shielded by tall buildings, will be inaccessible to some 6G frequencies. Deft placement of reconfigurable intelligent surfaces [yellow] will enable the signals to pervade these areas.

Chris Philpot

For all the tumultuous revolution in wireless technology over the past several decades, there have been a couple of constants. One is the overcrowding of radio bands, and the other is the move to escape that congestion by exploiting higher and higher frequencies. And today, as engineers roll out 5G and plan for 6G wireless, they find themselves at a crossroads: After years of designing superefficient transmitters and receivers, and of compensating for the signal losses at the end points of a radio channel, they’re beginning to realize that they are approaching the practical limits of transmitter and receiver efficiency. From now on, to get high performance as we go to higher frequencies, we will need to engineer the wireless channel itself. But how can we possibly engineer and control a wireless environment, which is determined by a host of factors, many of them random and therefore unpredictable?

Perhaps the most promising solution, right now, is to use reconfigurable intelligent surfaces. These are planar structures typically ranging in size from about 100 square centimeters to about 5 square meters or more, depending on the frequency and other factors. These surfaces use advanced substances called metamaterials to reflect and refract electromagnetic waves. Thin two-dimensional metamaterials, known as metasurfaces, can be designed to sense the local electromagnetic environment and tune the wave’s key properties, such as its amplitude, phase, and polarization, as the wave is reflected or refracted by the surface. So as the waves fall on such a surface, it can alter the incident waves’ direction so as to strengthen the channel. In fact, these metasurfaces can be programmed to make these changes dynamically, reconfiguring the signal in real time in response to changes in the wireless channel. Think of reconfigurable intelligent surfaces as the next evolution of the repeater concept.

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