I'm the Ashleigh you're searching for. Tech writer ⌨️ Queer demi-ace & trans (she) 🏳️‍🌈 Happily autistic ✨ Unabashed love of justice ⚖️ Tying to do my part 💞
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‘Unhackable’ BitFi crypto wallet has been hacked

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The BitFi crypto wallet was supposed to be unhackable and none other than famous weirdo John McAfee claimed that the device – essentially an Android-based mini tablet – would withstand any attack. Spoiler alert: it couldn’t.

First, a bit of background. The $120 device launched at the beginning of this month to much fanfare. It consisted of a device that McAfee claimed contained no software or storage and was instead a standalone wallet similar to the Trezor. The website featured a bold claim by McAfee himself, one that would give a normal security researcher pause:

Further, the company offered a bug bounty that seems to be slowly being eroded by outside forces. They asked hackers to pull coins off of a specially prepared $10 wallet, a move that is uncommon in the world of bug bounties. They wrote:

We deposit coins into a Bitfi wallet
If you wish to participate in the bounty program, you will purchase a Bitfi wallet that is preloaded with coins for just an additional $10 (the reason for the charge is because we need to ensure serious inquiries only)
If you successfully extract the coins and empty the wallet, this would be considered a successful hack
You can then keep the coins and Bitfi will make a payment to you of $250,000
Please note that we grant anyone who participates in this bounty permission to use all possible attack vectors, including our servers, nodes, and our infrastructure

Hackers began attacking the device immediately, eventually hacking it to find the passphrase used to move crypto in and out of the the wallet. In a detailed set of tweets, security researchers Andrew Tierney and Alan Woodward began finding holes by attacking the operating system itself. However, this did not match the bounty to the letter, claimed BitFi, even though they did not actually ship any bounty-ready devices.

Then, to add insult to injury, the company earned a Pwnies award at security conference Defcon. The award was given for worst vendor response. As hackers began dismantling the device, BitFi went on the defensive, consistently claiming that their device was secure. And the hackers had a field day. One hacker, 15-year-old Saleem Rashid, was able to play Doom on the device.

The hacks kept coming. McAfee, for his part, kept refusing to accept the hacks as genuine.

Unfortunately, the latest hack may have just fulfilled all of BitFi’s requirements. Rashid and Tierney have been able to pull cash out of the wallet by hacking the passphrase, a primary requirement for the bounty. “We have sent the seed and phrase from the device to another server, it just gets sent using netcat, nothing fancy.” Tierney said. “We believe all conditions have been met.”

The end state of this crypto mess? BitFi did what most hacked crypto companies do: double down on the threats. In a recently deleted Tweet they made it clear that they were not to be messed with:

The researchers, however, may still have the last laugh.

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Technicalleigh
6 hours ago
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cue Nelson Muntz: "Hah-hah!"
SF Bay area, CA (formerly ATL)
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It’s the Humble Jackbox Bundle!We teamed up with Jackbox Games...

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It’s the Humble Jackbox Bundle!

We teamed up with Jackbox Games for a bundle of fun! A fun-dle, you could say. (But we would never make a bad pun.) Get The Jackbox Party Pack 1-3, Drawful 2, Fibbage XL, and more games to play with friends!


Assets for Press and Partners

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Technicalleigh
16 hours ago
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Recommended!
SF Bay area, CA (formerly ATL)
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Nebraska Just Became the First State to Execute an Inmate With a Powerful Opioid

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On Tuesday, Nebraska made history by becoming the first state to execute an inmate using the powerful opioid fentanyl. Carey Dean Moore, who was on death row for 38 years for the murders of two cab drivers in 1979, was pronounced dead at 10:47 a.m. central time.

This was Nebraska’s first execution in 21 years and the first to be carried out by lethal injection. In 1997, Robert Williams died on the electric chair, but 10 years later Nebraska’s supreme court ruled the method unconstitutional. With drug manufacturers refusing to sell their products to prisons who intend to use them in executions, many states, including Nebraska, have been forced to turn to extreme measures to obtain drugs. The state was sued by the ACLU of Nebraska for refusing to release public records relating to its drug supplier, and even though a court order mandated Nebraska to release the information, it refused.

Four members of the media were allowed to observe the execution and reported that there didn’t appear to be any major complications. Grant Schulte, a reporter from the Associated Press, said that after a prison staffer checked his eyelids for consciousness, Moore coughed and his face turned red, then purple. As Mother Jones previously reported in the weeks leading up to the execution, medical professionals said that observers may not be able to tell if the inmate is experiencing pain:

In addition to fentanyl, the state will use diazapem, a sedative, cisatracurium, a muscle paralyzer, and potassium chloride to put Moore to death. This method has never been tried before and medical professionals have expressed concern that the muscle paralyzer may mask any pain the inmate feels. The state is also facing a sense of urgency as its supply of potassium chloride expires at the end of August. 

Prior to the execution Moore wrote a lengthy final statement asking his brother Donald, who was present at the time of the murders, for forgiveness. When prison officials asked if he had a final statement, he kept it brief. “Just the statement that I hand delivered to you already about my brother Donnie and the innocent men on Nebraska’s death row,” he said. “That’s all I have to say.”

Shortly before 11:00 a.m., Nebraska’s department of corrections head announced to the media that Moore was pronounced dead. He did not take any questions. “Governor Ricketts has carried out a lethal injection shrouded in secrecy,” Danielle Conrad, the executive director of the ACLU of Nebraska said in a statement. “Today stands as the most recent dark chapter in Nebraska’s troubled history with the death penalty.”

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Technicalleigh
17 hours ago
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Shameful.
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This Woman’s Endless Ordeal Shows How the Watchlisting System Harms Innocent People

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We’re filing a complaint with the government to stop unfair treatment by TSA and U.S. border officers every time she travels.

Zainab Merchant has a long and growing list of achievements. She is the Orlando-based founder and CEO of ZR Studios, a multimedia site about current affairs, politics, and culture. She is also a graduate student at Harvard University and mother to three young children.

But for the last two years, Zainab, who is a U.S. citizen, has been subjected to excessive and humiliating searches, questioning, and detention by federal officers every time she has traveled by air or reentered the United States from a trip abroad. This abusive treatment — most likely because she has been placed on a government watchlist — has affected her in profoundly negative ways, both psychologically and professionally. Yet the government refuses to tell her why it keeps happening or give her a meaningful chance to correct whatever error is causing it.

That’s why we’re filing a formal complaint on Zainab’s behalf with the Department of Homeland Security. You can read more about Zainab’s ordeal and the steps we’re taking to defend her rights here.

Zainab’s travel experiences follow a clear pattern. She is unable to obtain or print out her boarding passes before arriving at the airport, so she has to wait an hour or more at the ticket counter while airline employees call a number in Washington to see if they can clear her to fly. Transportation Security Administration screeners then run her through a gauntlet at security checkpoints — a process that can take another hour.

Instead of a quick turn in a scanning machine, she must undergo thorough pat-down searches, during which TSA screeners place their hands all over her body, including private or sensitive areas. They remove and inspect all of the contents of her bags, in full view of other travelers passing through the checkpoint. When she finally arrives at the gate, TSA officers are waiting for her there and require her to undergo additional pat-down searches — even though she cleared security only minutes earlier — in front of the passengers who will travel with her on the flight.

Zainab Merchant getting pat down by security at an airport

A TSA officer searches Zainab at the airport in Orlando. | Credit: Nadia Hallgren/ACLU

Reentering the country from abroad can be even worse. Zainab has had to wait six hours in the middle of the night in a cold customs inspection area with crying children and no access to food or phones. Despite First Amendment protections, she has been questioned about her religion or why she wrote a blog post criticizing U.S. Customs and Border Protection for racial and religious profiling — border officers even blatantly suggested that she refrain from criticizing CBP in the future. She has been subjected to unconstitutional searches of her laptop and smartphone, which included personal pictures of her without the headscarf she wears in public in accordance with her religious beliefs.

The toll this has taken on Zainab has been severe. She avoids flying if possible because of the anxiety and humiliation she experiences when she does fly. She and her husband also avoid flying with their children, in order to spare them the awful experience of watching their parents demeaned and stigmatized by government agents. Faced with the prospect of undergoing the same invasive, duplicative screening protocol every time she flies, Zainab decided not to enroll in courses at Harvard during the fall of 2017. Compounding all of this is the knowledge that she has done nothing wrong and doesn’t know why the government is treating her this way — but she can’t get anyone inside the government to put an end to it.

This pattern of harassment, intrusive searches, and detention during travel is likely the result of unfair blacklisting: being placed on a government terrorism watchlist. We have long criticized the federal government’s watchlisting system as a due process nightmare. The government uses vague criteria and a very low standard to place people on its master watchlist, which as of June 2016 had ballooned to about 1 million people. According to the government’s own watchlisting rules, “concrete facts are not necessary” to meet the standard for blacklisting, and uncorroborated information of doubtful reliability can suffice. That leaves the door wide open to relying on rumor, bias, or false statements.

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The consequences of blacklisting can be harsh and wide-ranging. Blacklisted individuals and their families have been subjected to harrowing displays of force and lengthy seizure at the border, surveillance and unjustified stops by domestic law enforcement, and detention and interrogation by authorities abroad. That’s to say nothing of the psychological and emotional damage that comes with constantly being stigmatized and demeaned as a suspected terrorist — an important but often ignored consequence of blacklisting.

As with other national security-related policies in the post-9/11 era, available information indicates that these consequences are borne overwhelmingly by members of American Muslim, Arab, and South Asian communities.

To top it all off, the government’s system of “redress” for people who are or may be blacklisted is completely inadequate. Under it, the government won’t even tell people if they’ve been blacklisted, let alone give the reasons why or a meaningful opportunity to clear their names and get off the list.

After Zainab submitted a redress petition last year, DHS sent her a form letter stating that it “can neither confirm nor deny any information about you which may be within federal watchlists.” Since then, nothing has changed, and she continues to experience harassing searches and detention whenever she travels.  

Zainab’s terrible experience is yet another indication of the unfairness of the watchlisting system and the harms it inflicts on individual lives. We’re calling on DHS to stop singling Zainab out for this treatment, investigate the conduct of TSA and CBP officers, and turn over any relevant records. It’s the least that justice demands.

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Technicalleigh
17 hours ago
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SF Bay area, CA (formerly ATL)
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A Man Wanted to Speak at His Trial. The Judge Taped His Mouth Shut

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All criminal defendants have a right to speak at their sentencing, yet one Ohio judge decided to silence a young Black defendant with duct tape.

Franklyn Williams is a 32-year-old Black Ohioan who, at his sentencing hearing, was talking. Judge John Russo thought he was talking too much. So with Williams surrounded by six officers, Judge Russo ordered them to place red tape over Williams’ mouth. 

The judge explained his reasoning for having tape put over Williams’ mouth. It was to “maintain decorum.” After silencing Williams with duct tape, Russo proceeded to sentence Williams to 24 years in prison, in absentia, for aggravated robbery, kidnapping, theft, misuse of credit cards, and unlawfully possessing weapons. 

What Russo did to Williams isn’t just humiliating and unnecessary — it’s against the law. 

All criminal defendants have a right to speak at their sentencing hearing. Under both federal and Ohio law, a judge at sentencing must address the defendant personally and ask if he wishes to make a statement on his own behalf or present any information that the judge should take into account before delivering punishment. 

This is why the requirement is so important — it’s the last opportunity for a defendant to influence a judge’s decision about the punishment to be imposed. If the defendant chose not to testify at trial, or go to trial at all, then the sentencing hearing is oftentimes the only opportunity for the judge to hear directly from the person she or he is about to punish. 

Judges in Ohio who silence defendants face the possibility that their original sentence will be tossed out by an appellate court. In Silsby v. State, the Supreme Court of Ohio found that the defendants in the case were not allowed to speak at their own sentencing hearings, even though they properly raised the issue at the time. As a result, the court ordered the defendants to be resentenced. Silsby has been the law since the 1920s, it is still the law, and it still protects the rights of defendants, like Williams. 

In Williams’ case, even though the judge allowed him an opportunity to speak on his own behalf, it is clear from the video that Williams wanted to present more information about his case and his experience in the system. He wanted to tell the judge that he was handcuffed on a bus for five days on the way back to Ohio and that he’d met his public defender only a few days before the sentencing hearing. This particular fact is important information because the new lawyer may not have known all of the mitigating information, so allowing Williams to present his own evidence was critical to the appearance of fairness at his sentencing hearing. 

Whether Judge Russo’s denial of Williams’ right to fully express himself constituted a violation of federal or state law, or both, is a question left to an appellate court. Judge Russo has since shown remorse for his actions, issuing the following statement several days after Williams’s hearing:

“A judge has a moral and ethical obligation to avoid the appearance of impropriety. To my colleagues on the bench in Cuyahoga County, and the 700+ judges in the state of Ohio, I regret any impact or repercussions from my actions last week, I never want the fairness and justice you deliver in your courtrooms to be questioned, no matter the circumstances.” 

As a former public defender, I appreciate Judge Russo’s apology to Williams. With the jail or prison time looming, a criminal sentencing hearing can be emotionally charged for the defendant. It is, arguably, one of the lowest points in a person’s life, and judges need to take that into account. I’ve had former clients cry and express sincere remorse, and I’ve also had former clients cuss everyone out, including the judge. It may not be the smartest thing to do, but it is the defendant’s right to say whatever he wants.

Williams is going to be in prison for a very long time. He should have been able to speak his mind at his own sentencing. The law demanded it, and Ohioans deserve courts that uphold the people’s rights, no matter which defendant is facing a judge or which judge is presiding.

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Technicalleigh
1 day ago
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SF Bay area, CA (formerly ATL)
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Splatoon 2 Producer Explains Why Octolings Are Hurt By Water

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During a recent Nintendo interview, Splatoon 2 producer Hisashi Nogami addressed various questions regarding Octolings and the Octo Expansion DLC in general. One of the questions asked why Octolings are effected negatively by water – and the answer may surprise you. Read on below to see what Nogami had to say about this particular topic: […]



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Technicalleigh
1 day ago
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Doesn't explain why Albacore Hotel has so many swimming pools, though, does it...? ^.-
SF Bay area, CA (formerly ATL)
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