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CYBER

CYBER

Hacking. Hackers. Disinformation campaigns. Encryption. The Cyber. This stuff gets complicated really fast, but Motherboard spends its time embedded in the infosec world so you don't have to. Host Ben Makuch talks every week to Motherboard reporters Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai and Joseph Cox about the stories they're breaking and to the industry's most famous hackers and researchers about the biggest news in cybersecurity.

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Episodes

What Pornhub?s New Rules Could Mean for the Rest of the Internet

Let?s be real: most people watch it and it?s about as fundamental to Internet culture as Google itself: Porn. And nowadays, that means Pornhub, the massive shadow YouTube for porn that accumulates millions of clicks daily. Recently, Pornhub made headlines when a New York Times expose showed the site hosts thousands of illegal videos, which forced the site to take down all unverified content and vastly change its content rules.The story caused waves and has begged questions surrounding what the future of porn will look like online. Motherboard reporter Sam Cole has been covering this beat for years and is on the show to explain the latest on one of the most popular sites on the Internet.

 

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2021-02-25
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Geopolitics and the Cyber Arms Race

It?s one of my favorite cyber topics in the books: the cyber arms race and the increasing weaponization of the internet and how that plays into the world of geopolitics. Of course that means spies, hackers, dealers and journalists alike. That?s why today we have New York Times cybersecurity reporter Nicole Perlroth to talk about her new book: This is How They Tell Me The World Ends.

 

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2021-02-18
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My First Hack: How Patrick Wardle Hid a Backdoor in His High School Calculator

Years before he became the world?s most well known MacOS hacker, Patrick Wardle was a high school nerd curious about hacking. His first hack was figuring out that he could program his fancy calculator and hide a backdoor in it that could help him with his calculus tests. His teacher never caught him, and he actually learned how to solve calculus equations by programming his calculator. ?So I?m sure that in retrospect my calculus teacher would be stoked...or that?s what I tell myself,? Wardle said.

 

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2021-02-11
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The Culture of Video Games: From Military Recruitment to Modding Out Racism

It?s safe to say that video games are now an essential part of our culture. Globally it?s already dwarfing other classic industries. Even the U.S. military, by far the most powerful war-machine in human history, uses video games to recruit the generation soldier. On the show today is VICE News Correspondent Dexter Thomas who is hosting the new VICEtv series. RESET: The Unauthorized Guide to Video Games.

 

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2021-02-04
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What the Hell is Happening with GameStop's Stock?

It?s a mixture of Internet trolling, Reddit threads, the fall of capitalism as we know it, and that movie Big Short. If like me you have but a cursory understanding of the stock market and you continually see mention of this GameStop fiasco making headlines the world over. That?s right: A failing video game store has been turned into a multibillion dollar company, by day-trading cartels who live on the Internet. Motherboard EIC Jason Koebler, who knows something about stocks, is on the show to explain more.

 

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2021-01-28
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What Is President Biden Going to Do About the Cyber?

Well folks, whether you were #resistance or MAGA, he?s arrived. The 46th President of the United States, Joe Biden. What?s he going to do about Russian hackers? Big Tech? Disinformation? Facebook? The NSA, the CIA? All that and more on this week?s episode with Motherboard EIC Jason Keobler.

 

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2021-01-21
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The Social Media War After the Attempted Coup

Parler. Gab. The President being suspended from almost every mainstream social media entity and finally prevented from engaging in his favorite addiction: Tweeting. Besides the horned Qanon shaman and the disgusting violence on Capitol Hill last week, it has been a hell of a week for social media. Motherboard EIC Jason Koebler and I break it all down for you on today?s episode.

 

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2021-01-14
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QAnon and the Storming of Capitol Hill

As President Trump exits office in a hail of conspiracy and baseless allegations about a fraudulent election, the time has come for us to discuss the much vaunted QAnon, led by a shadowy online figure known as ?Q.? The verifiably absurd, online conspiracy theory that has ruined lives and families, has seduced millions and even helped propel members of congress into seats. And it just inspired a violent occupation of our nation?s capitol hill. Marc-André Argentino, a PhD candidate at Concordia University who studies QAnon and someone who has become a leading voice on the extremist political movement, is on the show to talk Q.

 

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2021-01-07
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2020: The Year of Cyber Nightmares

Let?s be honest, I know history types keep saying that like the year 536 was way worse than 2020, but I do not care. 2020 was unadulterated trash by almost every metric available. In the cyber world it was also a year that helped advance insidious surveillance tools, the proliferation of disinformation, and more Russian hackers. Jason Koebler, Motherboard EIC, is on the show for the last time in 2020.

 

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2020-12-31
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Hedging Bets on the Future With Author Cory Doctorow

This week we have a very special guest on the show: All-star sci-fi writer Cory Doctorow, a fellow Canadian, and someone who has written about the dystopian near future with stunning accuracy.

His latest novel, Attack Surface, tells the tale of a counterterrorism agent and the terrifying power of the surveillance state.

 

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2020-12-24
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Introducing, 'My First Hack'

Every pro hacker started somewhere. In this interview series, hackers and security researchers tell their origin stories. 

For the first episode, we spoke to former government hacker Emily Crose, who now works for a critical infrastructure security startup. Here's Emily's first hack, in her own words." 

"My first hack happened in high school when I was playing around with Back Orifice 2000 or BO2K, the infamous remote access trojan made by the hacking group Cult of The Dead Cow. My first victim was, well, myself. This was an accidental self infection, that's the technical term" Crose said.

"I infected my own computer with BO2K, and it took me a while to figure out what had happened, but when I did figure it out, I got a chance to learn the software. It's not a thing that people will talk about certainly, but even professional developers these days just run the wrong thing in the wrong place and, oops, oopsie, doopsie," she said.

 

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2020-12-17
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One of the Top Cybersecurity Companies In the World Got Hacked

Who ya gonna call when you are one of the greatest, multibillion dollar cybersecurity firms in the world, known for investigating breaches into governments and major corporations, when you?re hacked?

Well in the case of Fireeye, known for being staffed by ex-intelligence and doing the forensics on massive hacks, they came out and responsibly disclosed that it had been breached.

It?s big news in the hacking world and with me today is Motherboard reporter Joseph Cox to breakdown what happened and why it matters.

 

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2020-12-10
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Amazon Hired Pinkertons to Union Bust

Founded in 1850 by Allan Pinkerton, a Scottish immigrant that went on to become the first detective in the history of Chicago, the Pinkerton Detective Agency became synonymous in American life with conspiracy theories and violent clandestine activities?and with good reason. Though Pinkerton himself was one of the Union?s first spymasters during the Civil War and foiled an assassination plot on President Lincoln in 1861, he did what every ex-intelligence community type does after wars nowadays: Uses his government skills and contacts to profit in the private sector. 

In its early years the agency, something of a precursor to the infamous Blackwater mercenary outfit founded by Erik Prince that is linked to war crimes in Iraq, was at one time bigger than the U.S. Army and connected to outlandishly villainous plots that were in fact true. For example, Pinkerton agents were actually the private armies for the rich industrial titans of the Gilded Age, helping union bust and infiltrate workers groups. Even going so far as to shoot striking workers like a private-death-squad-for-hire in Colorado. Pinkerton agents were also alleged to have firebombed the home of the outlaw Jesse James? mother (while James wasn?t there), blowing her arm off and killing his half-brother. Both weren?t involved in any of the ex-Confederate?s crimes. 

Well, unlike most companies founded almost two-hundred years ago, the Pinkerton agency still exists and recently, not unlike how the capitalist behemoths of yesteryear used it, it was hired by Jeff Bezos?s Amazon to union bust in Europe. 

Motherboard reporter Lauren Kaori-Gurley is on CYBER this week to talk about her scoop.

 

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2020-12-03
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The Base, Part 2: Train. Fight. Organize.

In the second and final episode in a series for CYBER on neo-Nazi terror group the Base, we dive into its origins: The online brainchild of its leader Rinaldo Nazzaro, an ex-Pentagon contractor with alleged links to the Kremlin (which he denies) who began his project for ?race war? as a WordPress site that evolved into a secretive, encrypted chat group, then into paramilitary training in the fall of 2018. But shortly after, VICE News broke the first story on the group and authorities began circling.

Once that viral feature published, some members of the Base fled the group, while others regrouped online and in-real-life, more committed to creating a homegrown, American insurgency against the government than ever. Over the course of the winter and spring of 2019, the Base recovered, gaining momentum and new recruits from across the U.S. and abroad. Threatening propaganda images emerge of members in the middle of Central Park in New York City, other members in Georgia call for attacks on the electric grid and a Canadian soldier (and terror suspect) is illegally on the lam in the U.S. with the help of the Base. But after a series of failed terror plots is disrupted by the FBI (and the bold actions of an undercover who infiltrates the group) the Base is torn apart in a series of stunning nationwide raids in January 2020. 

The final installment, titled ?Train. Fight. Organize.,? is a discussion between reporters Ben Makuch and Mack Lamoureux, who have investigated the group for over two years, and features never-before heard phone calls obtained by VICE News from a confidential source, between the Base and its cell leaders discussing new recruits and how to use the war in Ukraine as a potential terror pipeline. 

 

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2020-11-26
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The Online Birth of Neo-Nazi Terror Group "The Base"

For us, the story of the Base all began in the spring of 2018 when we spotted the Twitter profile picture of a shadowy neo-Nazi who went by the alias ?Norman Spear.? The photo was eye catching: He looked severe, with a strong brow and a bushy beard, and tweeted about guerilla warfare and the tactics of insurgency. 

At the time, Spear also had the attention of some serious operators in the domestic terror space: On Twitter he was followed by and following an assortment of well known, online, far-right militants. We saw members of Atomwaffen Division?a Nazi terror group that was already connected to murders and a chilling plot to bomb a nuclear power plant?and right-wing trolls alike, some of which were gaining the attentions of federal authorities that worried about another Oklahoma City bombing, all linked to Spear.

Then Spear started tweeting about what was one of the most ambitious plots coming out of the American far-right movement to date: funneling all the disparate worlds of extremists, activists, and trolls festering all over social media after the election of President Trump in 2016, into one trained and networked, IRL coalition fighting for a ?race war?. What he started as a WordPress site and an entrance application, Spear grew into ?the Base;? a bonafide terror group, with over 50 members, operating both in the real world at paramilitary camps, and online using encrypted apps like Wire and Riot. 

Eventually, by January 2020, the Base would make chilling news: An assassination plot, plans to shoot up a political rally, and a national campaign to vandalize synagogues. In the end, the FBI deployed an undercover into the Base and undertook a nationwide crackdown on the group raiding apartments and homes in Delaware, Marylan, Georgia, Wisconsin and New Jersey, nabbing 9 members. But Spear, who was revealed to be a 47 year-old American and ex-Pentagon contractor (who worked with the special forces) named Rinaldo Nazzaro, never went to jail. Instead, he continues to allegedly live in Russia, where he is suspected of being a Kremlin asset.

In a two-part series for CYBER?using secret recordings, sources coming from inside the group, and never before heard materials?we?ll dive deep into the birth and demise of what became one of the most prominent and dangerous American far-right organizations in the modern era. 

This is the story of the Base.

 

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2020-11-19
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Re-run: One of the World?s Most Wanted Hackers Speaks

The last time Phineas Fisher agreed to an interview with Motherboard, they made us recreate the whole thing with a puppet

This time around, Phineas Fisher?one of the world?s most wanted hackers?wanted to make a statement on CYBER to deny he?s an agent of the Kremlin.

Phineas Fisher is the hacker?s hacker that nobody knows. In fact, nobody even knows if they are just one person, or several people. All we know is Phineas Fisher has hacked, embarrassed, and exposed some of the world?s most powerful spyware companies that have connections to the FBI, the DEA, and dozens of other law enforcement and spy agencies all around the world. 

And Phineas Fisher has completely gotten away with it

Throughout these exploits, Motherboard'sLorenzo Francheschi-Bicchierai has been one of the few reporters to make contact with the hacker several times. Recently, Phineas Fisher got in touch with him again, but this time to deny a recent allegation that he?s Russian intelligence operation made in Joseph Menn?s new book on hacktivism.

On this week?s CYBER re-run, Lorenzo sits down with host Ben Makuch to take you through the murky history of Phineas Fisher?s hacks, then the infamous hacktivist speaks.

 

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2020-11-12
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The Election of Disinformation

What is going on? Why is it going on? Is this actually real? Disinformation in the election was always going to be a thing, and well, it was. Today on Cyber, Ben Makuch and Jason Koebler discuss the state of play and why we're here, Iranian hackers, and mass conspiracies on twitter.

 

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2020-11-05
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Vice News Reports: The Antifa Paradox

Is Antifa even a thing? Ahead of an election positioned as ?us? versus ?them,? the specter of ?Antifa? has become an easy boogeyman to either accept or reject out of hand. VICE News takes a serious look at what it is and what it is not. VICE News Correspondent Alzo Slade reports from across the country.

 

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2020-11-04
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Culture Warlords and the Second Civil War

You know, if you haven?t heard, in the last few years there?s been a lot of discussion around America?s problems with systemic white supremacism and well, white nationalists. Everybody remembers that day in Charlottesville and the problems with the far-right we?ve seen since. Especially during this 2020 election season. In her new book Culture Warlords, journalist Talia Lavin goes undercover to expose the underworld of online fascists, Nazis, and Trump trolls alike.

 

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2020-10-29
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The Network: How a Secretive Phone Company Helped the Crime World Go Dark

Vince Ramos wanted Phantom Secure to be the Uber of privacy-focused, luxury-branded phones?flood the market with devices, and sort out the law later. Then the FBI investigated him.

 

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2020-10-22
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Re-run: The Penetration Tester

This week, we talk to Jek, a physical penetration tester whose job is to infiltrate offices, data centers, store stockrooms, and other supposedly "secure" locations and either steal information or install a tool so that other hackers can exfiltrate data. She relies on the most reliable vulnerability of all: human weakness. Jek tells host Ben Makuch how she does it, some of her most memorable operations, and why other hackers think that what she does is "witchcraft."

 

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2020-10-15
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Agents of Chaos: The Terrifying Story Behind the 2016 Election

In this age of social collapse and modern plague it?s easy to forget that the 2016 Presidential Election was a clusterfuck of gargantuan proportions. Never before (then) had an election campaign for the highest office in the country become not only a drama, but a media spectacle with a shocking finale.

Russian spies. Secret payoffs. Wikileaks. Guccifer 2.0. War in Ukraine. Election interference. All spelling (maybe?), the first chapter in the ending to the American Experiment?

HBO has released a great new two-part documentary deep diving this entire, historical ordeal. Co-directed by film great Alex Gibney and Javier Botero, Agents of Chaos parses exactly what happened to America during what?s become the most insane election ever (at least so far). 

Botero is on the show this week to talk about the doc, the chaos of 2016 and what legacy it has left America.

 

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2020-10-08
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We Deepfaked Our Podcast Host

Audio deepfakes are getting more convincing than ever. To test this out, we?ve replaced our host Ben Makuch with a robotic clone of himself. Sponsored by NeXt.

 

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2020-10-01
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FOX?s ?NEXT? Is about the emergence of a deadly, rogue AI, Rooted In Real World Technology

A thriller about a Silicon Valley pioneer who joins forces with a Special Agent to stop the A.I. he created from destroying humanity. Starting October 6th, NEXT airs every Tuesday at 9/8c on FOX. On this episode of Cyber, in partnership with FOX, we sit down with the show?s creator Manny Coto to talk about the inspiration for this thriller A.I. Coto?s history as a horror and science fiction writer is on display in NEXT. He got the idea for his show about a rogue AI when a smart device in his home started to malfunction and call out in the middle of the night.

 

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2020-09-24
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Inside the Fictitious World of Uber Propaganda

It?s been a pretty bad PR year for the world?s most popular ride-share app? And unsurprisingly it has poured money into good news stories, to kick up warm fuzzy feelings about a company that has been found, time and again, to not care very much about its drivers.

Enter a CNBC paid partnership story about an UberEats driver who is about to make 100k a year. The American Dream, right? Not so, says Motherboard reporter Edward Ongweso who broke down the falsities of this rather suspect piece of news.

 

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2020-09-17
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Inside Amazon?s Spy Campaign Against Its Own Workers

Since the War on Terror kicked off, the military and spy industrial complex has boomed. That also includes a growth in the literal number of spies from agencies like the NSA and CIA, all serving tours, then often entering the private sector. Since then, we?ve seen how things like corporate espionage and the techniques multibillion dollar entities deploy in their interests, have seriously taken off from the trickle down of said veterans entering the workforce Now, we?re in a situation where everybody uses techniques like social media monitoring to glean intel into their own businesses. Recently, in the case of Amazon that means carrying out a fairly professional surveillance op on its own workers. Motherboard?s Lauren Gurley has the story.

 

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2020-09-10
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How Government AI Stole Hundreds of Millions of Dollars From Citizens

It almost reads like a dystopian plot from a sci-fi novel, playing out in the not-so-distant future. 

A major world government relies on a defective and cruel algorithm for debt collection, to extort money out of its most vulnerable citizens who were already on social assistance. Or to put it more succinctly: state-sponsored shakedowns via Artificial Intelligence, that ends up being so flawed it results in the country taking hundreds of millions of dollars from its own people.

Sounds unreal, right? Well, this actually happened in Australia, a major country with a huge economic footprint around the world. For more on the story we?ve got Motherboard editor and Jordan Pearson on CYBER.

 

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2020-09-03
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Rerun: The Assassination of Martin Kok

The tale started with an encrypted phone company, Morroccan gangsters, the Scottish mafia, and a blogger. It ended with an assassination outside of a sex club in Amsterdam.

Last week, Motherboard reporter Joseph Cox broke the news that MPC?a Scottish company that hawked special encrypted phones that could evade police surveillance?had been connected to the murder of crime blogger Martin Kok. Kok was a former criminal himself who had previously served a jail sentence for two murders.

Kok?s crime blogging had gotten him on the wrong side of the Gillespie brothers, two Scots who are still operating a highly sophisticated drug and gun running operation connected to South American cartels, as well as Morroccan gangster associates. They allegedly hatched a successful plan to kill him in December 2016.

On this week?s episode of CYBER, Cox goes into detail about how this criminal syndicate carried out Kok's murder, and what it means for crime in 2019 when the mafia isn?t buying encrypted phones, but making them for itself.

 

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2020-08-27
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Bonus: VENT from VICE UK

Content Warning: Descriptions of Sexually Explicit Acts

Introducing VENT Documentaries from VICE UK: Young people from London, telling you the stories they care about. In this episode, Khalil grew up with homophobic parents, so he had to learn about being gay on his own. From making Sims characters have gay sex to signing up to online sexting forums, Khalil tells the sometimes hilarious, sometimes graphic and sometimes painful story of what it?s like to come into your queerness on the internet. 

Subscribe to VENT Documentaries wherever you listen to podcasts:

Spotify: open.spotify.com/show/7FpQDTtYnVsCvztk3wmflP

Apple: podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/vent-documentaries/id1501178221 

Acast: play.acast.com/s/ventdocumentaries

 

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2020-08-26
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The Internet Didn't Kill the USPS, It's Still Vital

By the year 2000 people started believing, in the advent of widespread email culture, that the United States Postal Service was doomed. Conservatives and business types argued that it was a bloated institution.But it?s not. In fact, it?s a vital, robust network that is literally a failsafe in the doomsday plans of the federal government. These days, while people may not be sending many letters or postcards, the USPS is an essential service helping us vote, get our medicine and deliver us packages. President Trump isn?t a fan. But Motherboard reporter Aaron Gordon is, and he?s on the show this week to tell us more about the future of the Postal Service.

He's also just launched a newsletter, The Mail, which is all about the USPS. You can subscribe to The Mail by entering your email address at vice.com/themail.

 

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2020-08-20
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It's 2020 And We Need To Talk About Nuclear Warheads

Some people think they?re just a vestige of a bygone era, but they?re not. In fact, nuclear weapons remain the everlasting threat they were when we first introduced them to planet earth: An existential nightmare wherein we possess the ability to obliterate our own planet, many times over, with the push of a button. So this week we have friend of the show and Motherboard contributor Matthew Gault to talk nukes. America?s arsenal is being updated; Russia has (probably) hypersonic missiles; and why since the Cold War have we collectively decided to forget about nuclear warheads. It?s not like they?ve gone anywhere!

 

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2020-08-13
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The Internet Vigilante That Hunts Gaming's Biggest Cheaters

He?s a vigilante that goes by the alias Gamerdoc. He infiltrates secret online chatrooms to hunt down wrongdoing and the dishonest who prey upon and exploit the system. His target you might ask? The many cheating gamers out there who are using flawed code to be really good at titles like Valorant and Overwatch.here?s a huge underbelly of cheating gamers out there who trade and sell gaming cheat codes, the zero-days of the video gaming world, to get to God Mode without the hours of practice. Believe it or not, cheaters and hackers are a huge problem for gaming companies and today we have Motherboard reporter Lorenzo Francheschi Bicchierai on the show to tell us about the infamous cheater hunter, Gamerdoc.

 

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2020-08-06
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Countries Are Trying to Hack Coronavirus Vaccines From Each Other

The US has accused Russia and China of trying to hack research groups that are working on a coronavirus vaccine. Is that a bad thing?

 

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2020-07-30
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How Hackers Took Control of Twitter

Motherboard reporter Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai hosts this special episode of Cyber. He's joined by Joseph Cox, who reported on the Twitter hack that had the accounts of Elon Musk, Joe Biden, and Apple amongst others tweet out a cryptocurrency scam.

 

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2020-07-23
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The Hacker Who's Hacking Ventilators to Save Lives

It?s a tale as old as our digital era: Tech enthusiasts wanting to repair their devices without the authorization of the company that makes them. Apple, for example, is notoriously awful at allowing users access to easy fixes of iPhones or Macbooks and instead offers expensive options with one of its ?geniuses.? And like everything in our society, the current pandemic has exposed these right to repairs practises for what they are: Ridiculous. Our Motherboard EIC Jason Koebler is here to tell us about a Polish hacker who is saving ventilators.

 

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2020-07-16
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Hit Men, Drug Traffickers: The Criminal Phone Service Hacked By Cops

It?s straight out of a hacking thriller: drug dealers. Murderers. Extortionists. Traffickers. Hit men. All using an encrypted network to openly talk about their illicit trades, amassing millions in messages. 

Then, like the magical hacks of a CSI cyber episode, the cops were in the network and went on the offensive.

In one of his wildest stories to date, and that?s saying something, we have the great Motherboard reporter Joseph Cox on the show this week to tell us all about his wild cybercrime scoop.

 

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2020-07-09
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Is America Still Number One At Hacking?

It used to be that American hackers and the NSA were the unquestionable world?s best. Following the many revelations from the Snowden leaks, it became clear the U.S. government had not only violated the civil liberties of American citizens, but the NSA had done an excellent job hacking, well, everything. It hacked the phones of world leaders (including key allies) and made major geopolitical rivals China and Russia very nervous.

But, like everything else in the world, American hegemony in cyberspace has quickly faded as the proverbial American empire looks like it's in quick decline for a variety of obvious reasons. And when it comes to hacking powers across the world, it?s been widely reported that everyone from China to private mercenaries have caught up to the hacking skills of American hackers. 

So for our Independence Day edition of CYBER, Motherboard reporter Lorenzo Francheschi Bicchiarrai and host Ben Makuch are discussing America?s standing among the world powers of cyberspace.

 

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2020-07-02
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Huawei's Chief Security Officer on 5G and Government Spying

The US government is in a race with China to provide the world with 5G networks. Some call it the new arms race, as both Washington and Beijing go from country to country trying to negotiate for its companies to provide the future of the internet?s architecture. Part of that has been Trump himself slagging Huawei and undermining the Chinese company as national security risk: The allegation being the company would give the Chinese government a mainline into spying on countries across the world. While some experts agree those fears are well founded, some of the bravade is undoubtedly part of the game of geopolitics. Today on the show we have Andy Purdy, Chief Security Officer for Huawei Technologies USA, to discuss the concerns around the company?s technologies.

 

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2020-06-25
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The Story of A Robot FBI Agent And Another American Revolution

On CYBER this week, we?re talking about a novel that frightfully depicts a not-so-distant future where FBI agents work with robot partners and terrorists meet up inside video games.

 

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2020-06-18
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Is Anonymous Really Back?

Back in 2011 during Occupy Wall Street protests, a certain hacktivist collective truly came into its own. The years since Anonymous exploded in popularity and even became the constant pop culture reference point to all hacktivism or even, just hackers. But as we?ve discussed on the show, lately, it kind of seems to have disappeared. Until the latest Black Lives Matter protests seems to have kicked it back into the headlines. I got Motherboard reporter Lorenzo Francheschi Bicchierrai on the show to tell us more.

 

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2020-06-11
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It's Now the Military Industrial Complex Versus Protestors

Well, it?s a hell of a time to be alive. After a brutalizing pandemic, fit with stay at home orders and government indecision, something else happened. The cold blooded murder of unarmed black man George Floyd by a white cop in Minneapolis has set off unprecedent protests demanding racial equality and an end to police violence against people of color.

But instead of quelling these protests with actionable change, it appears the government is just spying on them. We?ve got evidence that now the infamous Military Industrial Complex and its surveillance superpowers are being deployed against protests across the country.

 

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2020-06-04
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The Privacy Concerns Behind App Based Contact Tracing

If you?ve been listening to the news, chances are you?ve heard about it incessantly: contact tracing.

But what is it exactly? And what are the surveillance and privacy issues surrounding it? Will yet another app that tracks your movements really be the key to ending the pandemic?

Today we got Motherboard reporter Lorenzo Francheschi Bicchierai on the show to tell you everything you need to know about contact tracing.

 

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2020-05-28
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The FBI Can Now Search Your Browser History

Since the dawn of the Patriot Act, a sweeping surveillance bill enacted shortly after 9/11, it?s been both the bane of privacy hawks and the favourite tool of the Intelligence Community. But lately, the Senate, courtesy of Mitch McConnell, helped the IC by giving agencies like the FBI the power to warrantlessly search the browser history of American citizens. That?s terrifying and today we?ve got Motherboard editor/reporter Janus Rose on to breakdown how this happened and what?s next.

 

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2020-05-21
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The Short And Terrifying History Of Modern Surveillance

On the show, we talk a lot about the state of Orwellian world we?ve found ourselves in: big data, corporate and governmental surveillance. You know, Big Brother.

But where did it come from? What?s it?s historical context? To answer these questions, we have author and Assistant Professor at the University of Alabama, Lawrence Cappello on the show who wrote a book called None of Your Damn Business: Privacy in the United States from the Gilded Age to the Digital Age. In it he traces the over 100 year history of how the surveillance state came to be.

 

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2020-05-14
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The Senator Who Believes in UFOs

In 2017, amidst the backdrop of the Mueller investigation and Russian spy paranoia, the world learned, via a New York Times bombshell, that the Pentagon had a top secret UFO program.

The Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, AATIP for short, had a $22 million dollar black budget and looked into an aerial threat nobody could understand: UFOs. The details were terrifying, US fighter jet pilots regularly came into contact with other worldly flying objects that nobody understood.

There was mention of alien alloys and dark auras. Sci-fi had become reality. And possibly most striking of all? Highly respected Democratic Senator from Nevada Harry Reid, had been instrumental in the whole project. 

This week on CYBER Motherboard EIC spoke to Senator Reid, about why he believes in UFOs and why we need to consider them a possible threat worth investigating.

 

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2020-05-07
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NSO Employee Abused Phone Hacking Tech to Target a Love Interest

Back in 2013, between the many revelations on mass surveillance abuses by the NSA coming from the trove of Snowden leaks, Americans also learned agents at the signals intelligence agency were snooping on their love interests. Dubbed LOVEINT (a play on ?Love-Intelligence,? apparently), a number of agents around the world were caught spying on their love interests using the godlike spy tools of the NSA. 

Now an employee from an infamous surveillance company was caught trying to do the exact same. According to four sources, a former employee of NSO Group?the surveillance firm out of Israel whose hacking technology was reportedly used on the phones of associates of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi?was caught using the company?s hacking tool to target a love interest.

While the controversial company did immediately fire the employee, it's yet another example of how powerful surveillance tools are still being abused by the very people entrusted with wielding them. Motherboard reporter Joseph Cox is on this week?s CYBER to discuss the story.

 

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2020-04-30
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Russian Spies And The Media

The DNC hack. It was a tale of espionage and intrigue. But behind closed doors, Russian intelligence knew just how to play the media in a liberal democracy. And that is a tale as old as time.

Thomas Rid, a world renowned academic on national security and intelligence, wrote a new book called Active Measures tracing secret history psychological warfare over a century. On this week?s episode we have him on the show. 

 

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2020-04-23
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Why the United States Isn't Ready for Online Voting

The mechanics of voting really hasn?t changed since the dawn of democracy. People line up, mark a ballot for their candidate and then leave.

But in today?s pandemic, the lines for the Wisconsin primary illustrated the legitimate dangers of having thousands of people line up with one another to vote. Likewise, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo delayed his state?s primaries from April to June for the same reason.

All of this forces us to ask the question: In an age where everything is done online, why aren?t we voting from our phones this November?

Of course, that brings in a ton of cybersecurity questions, so this week we have Motherboard reporter Lorenzo Franceschi Bicchierai on to discuss what that might actually look like.

 

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2020-04-16
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Bonus: The Distance

Hi Cyber listeners! Friendly podcast producer Ricardo here with a new bonus podcast from the Vice Audio team. The Distance features short, first-person stories from all over the world about how the pandemic is changing the way we live. We're sharing the "DJ set" episode on our feed for y'all, but you can click here for more!

Javi streams a two hour tropical set from his living room in Madrid. Check it out: https://tinyurl.com/s8f246v

 

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2020-04-10
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The Cyber Mercenaries Who Can?t Stay Out Of Bad News

It was implicated in the hacking and spying of activists in Mexico. It may have helped the Saudis kill and behead Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Now, it?s inserting itself into the pandemic news as if it needed more bad press.

NSO Group, the infamous Israeli spyware company with links to intelligence agencies, developed software tracking coronavirus-infected citizens. But, as our Motherboard reporter Lorenzo Franceschi Bicchierai tells us, that?s likely just a way for it to expand its questionable business.

 

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2020-04-09
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