World Bulletin / News Desk
A hacking expert has launched a $200 password-cracking tool that makes it easy to decipher Internet traffic sent through a widely used method for securing businesses communications.
Moxie Marlinspike, one of the world's top encryption experts, unveiled the tool on Saturday during a presentation at the Def Con hacking conference in Las Vegas.
Marlinspike said he developed the service, CloudCracker.com, by taking advantage of a vulnerability he discovered in a widely used virtual private network technology known as point-to-point tunneling protocol.
Virtual private networks, or VPNs, scramble traffic as it travels between a PC and its final destination so that the data is useless to hackers if they eavesdrop on those communications.
But Marlinspike provides clients with a tool that analyzes captured data streams and creates a data file that they upload to his website. He then runs that through code-cracking computer programs that figure out a password that will unscramble the protected communications. He delivers that to clients within 24 hours.
With access to web traffic, hackers could potentially steal passwords to financial accounts, read business emails and learn business secrets.
Marlinspike said he will not screen clients to determine whether they are using CloudCracker for illegal purposes, although his ultimate intent is help computer users by pressuring operating systems makers to make their software safer.
"What we're trying to do is force people to use more secure VPN technology in the products they are building," he said.
Marlinspike said that small to mid-sized businesses and consumers typically use VPN software with the point-to-point tunneling protocol.
Large corporations typically supply their employees with VPN software from Cisco Systems Inc, whose communications cannot be cracked by CloudCracker.com, he said.
Marlinspike has worked for Twitter since the end of last year when the mobile blogging service acquired a company he co-founded, Whisper Systems. Marlinspike said that CloudCracker.com was a personal project and has nothing to do with Twitter.
Hackers and security experts present research on a wide range of vulnerabilities in products ranging from computers and networking equipment to locks, drones and air-traffic control systems at the annual Def Con gathering.
They often publicize their work in an effort to warn the public about security risks and pressure manufacturers to address the problems.
Public shuttle was displayed during international conference in Turkey
The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, is scheduled to launch Monday at 6:32 pm (2232 GMT) atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Telegram blocked when app makers decline to provide encryption key to Federal Security Service
The company will tell users if their information were improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica
Fund to support scientists in finding solutions to challenges in Muslim World, Islamic Development Bank says in Tunis
Speaking to the news site Vox, Zuckerberg defended the company's business model and shot back at criticism of the social networking giant from Apple CEO Tim Cook last week.
A Tesla Model X collided with a highway barrier near the town of Mountain View in California on March 23, catching fire before it was struck by two other cars.
Company establishing two new teams -- Experiences and Devices, and Cloud and AI
The updates include improved access to Facebook's user settings and tools to easily search for, download and delete personal data stored by Facebook.
Social network giant has lost more than $100B in value loss since last week
Qantas on Saturday launched the first non-stop passenger service linking Australia and Europe, with a Boeing 787 Dreamliner departing Perth for London on one of the longest flights in the world.
Lowest levels of wintertime sea ice on record occurred during past four years
Three veteran space fliers launch successfully to join crew on space station in two days
The so-called Langlands programme dates back to 1967, when the then-associate professor at Princeton University wrote a letter to renowned French mathematician Andre Weil outlining his new theory.
Calls for investigations came on both sides of the Atlantic after Facebook responded to explosive reports of misuse of its data by suspending the account of Cambridge Analytica, a British firm hired by Trump's 2016 campaign.
New research says reducing carbon emissions sooner could prevent 153 million premature deaths globally