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An AirTag Led Cops In Pennsylvania To A Dumpster Full Of Stolen Democratic Campaign Signs Including Ones For John Fetterman

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AirTags, Apple’s tracking devices that look like small, white pucks, broadcast Bluetooth signals to nearby Apple devices, allowing owners to locate them (and anything they are attached to) on a map. Since Apple released AirTags in 2021, people have used the trackers to find missing bags, keys, and pets. AirTags have proved controversial, because they have also been used to stalk unsuspecting victims.

Using AirTag technology on political lawn signs seems to be catching on. Earlier this year, a candidate in Florida tracked a stolen campaign sign to the house of a political rival thanks to an AirTag.

Arlene Talley, Gilson’s friend and a member of the Chester County Democratic Committee who also had signs stolen from her front lawn, was one of the first to show up at the dumpster after Gilson passed its location on to her. Inside, Talley found 118 signs. “I just started taking them out and putting them in my car,” Talley told BuzzFeed News.

Among the candidates whose signs were swiped was Pennsylvania state Rep. Melissa Shusterman, who is running for reelection. “Kudos to the technology of an AirTag!” Shusterman told BuzzFeed News in a phone call, not long after tweeting a picture of the signs in the dumpster and accusing “local Republicans” of stealing them.

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Musk Claims Dispute With Tech Giant Over Twitter’s Potential Removal From App Store ‘Resolved’

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Twitter CEO Elon Musk announced that he and Apple CEO Tim Cook met Wednesday and claimed to have resolved a dispute over the social media site’s presence on the tech giant’s App Store.

“Good conversation,” Musk posted on Twitter two and a half hours after he tweeted a five-second video showing a pond at Apple’s headquarters. “Among other things, we resolved the misunderstanding about Twitter potentially being removed from the App Store. Tim was clear that Apple never considered doing so.” (RELATED: Mike Pence Says White House Likely ‘Keeping A Close Eye’ On Twitter Because Musk May Look Into Hunter Biden’s Laptop)

Musk claimed Monday that Apple threatened to boot Twitter from the App Store, targeting Cook in a series of tweets, as well as amplifying a claim from LBRY, a content creation site, about censorship. Musk noted that the option of designing a smartphone was on the table if Twitter was removed from the app stores of Apple and Google.

The reported threat from Apple drew criticism from Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, who said the removal of Twitter from the app store would be an application of “monopolistic power.”

Former Twitter head of trust and safety Yael Roth speculated that Musk’s push for free speech could be derailed by Apple and Google.

“There is one more source of power on the web — one that most people don’t think much about but may be the most significant check on unrestrained speech on the mainstream internet: the app stores operated by Google and Apple,” Roth wrote in a Nov. 18 op-ed for the New York Times.

Apple and Twitter did not immediately respond to requests for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

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Mozilla, Microsoft yank TrustCor’s root certificate authority after U.S. contractor revelations

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Major web browsers moved Wednesday to stop using a mysterious software company that certified websites were secure, three weeks after The Washington Post reported its connections to a U.S. military contractor.

Mozilla’s Firefox and Microsoft’s Edge said they would stop trusting new certificates from TrustCor Systems that vouched for the legitimacy of sites reached by their users, capping weeks of online arguments among their technology experts, outside researchers and TrustCor, which said it had no ongoing ties of concern. Other tech companies are expected to follow suit.

“Certificate Authorities have highly trusted roles in the internet ecosystem and it is unacceptable for a CA to be closely tied, through ownership and operation, to a company engaged in the distribution of malware,” Mozilla’s Kathleen Wilson wrote to a mailing list for browser security experts. “Trustcor’s responses via their Vice President of CA operations further substantiates the factual basis for Mozilla’s concerns.”

Mysterious company with government ties plays key internet role

The Post reported on Nov. 8 that TrustCor’s Panamanian registration records showed the same slate of officers, agents and partners as a spyware-maker identified this year as an affiliate of Arizona-based Packet Forensics, which has sold communication interception services to U.S. government agencies for more than a decade. One of those contracts listed the “place of performance” as Fort Meade, Md., the home of the National Security Agency and the Pentagon’s Cyber Command.

The case has put a new spotlight on the obscure systems of trust and checks that allow people to rely on the internet for most purposes. Browsers typically have more than a hundred authorities approved by default, including government-owned ones and small companies, to seamlessly attest that secure websites are what they purport to be.

TrustCor has a small staff in Canada, where it is officially based at a UPS Store mail drop, company executive Rachel McPherson told Mozilla in the email discussion thread. She said staffers there work remotely, though she acknowledged that the company has infrastructure in Arizona as well.

McPherson said that some of the same holding companies had invested in TrustCor and Packet Forensics but that ownership in TrustCor had been transferred to employees. Packet Forensics also said it had no ongoing business relationship with TrustCor.

Several technologists in the discussion said that they found TrustCor evasive on basic matters such as legal domicile and ownership, which they said was inappropriate for a company wielding the power of a root certificate authority, which not only asserts that a secure, https website is not an impostor but can deputize other certificate issuers to do the same.

The Post report built on the work of two researchers who had first located the company’s corporate records, Joel Reardon of the University of Calgary and Serge Egelman of the University of California at Berkeley. Those two and others also ran experiments on a secure email offering from TrustCor named MsgSafe.io. They found that contrary to MsgSafe’s public claims, emails sent through its system were not end-to-end encrypted and could be read by the company.

McPherson said the various technology experts had not used the right version or had not configured it properly.

In announcing Mozilla’s decision, Wilson cited the past overlaps in officers and operations between TrustCor and MsgSafe and between TrustCor and Measurement Systems, a Panamanian spyware company with previously reported ties to Packet Forensics.

The Pentagon did not respond to a request for comment.

There have been sporadic efforts to make the certificate process more accountable, sometimes after revelations of suspicious activity.

In 2019, a security company controlled by the government of the United Arab Emirates that had been known as DarkMatter applied to be upgraded to top-level root authority from intermediate authority with less independence. That followed revelations that DarkMatter had hacked dissidents and even some Americans; Mozilla denied it root power.

In 2015, Google withdrew the root authority of the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) after it allowed an intermediate authority to issue fake certificates for Google sites.

Reardon and Egelman earlier this year found that Packet Forensics was connected to the Panamanian company Measurement Systems, which paid software developers to include code in a variety of apps to record and transmit users’ phone numbers, email addresses and exact locations. They estimated that those apps were downloaded more than 60 million times, including 10 million downloads of Muslim prayer apps.

Measurement Systems’ website was registered by Vostrom Holdings, according to historic domain-name records. Vostrom filed papers in 2007 to do business as Packet Forensics, according to Virginia state records.

After the researchers shared their findings, Google booted all apps with the spy code out of its Play app store.

They also found that a version of that code was included in a test version of MsgSafe. McPherson told the email list that a developer had included that without getting it cleared by executives.

Packet Forensics first drew attention from privacy advocates a dozen years ago.

In 2010, researcher Chris Soghoian attended an invitation-only industry conference nicknamed the Wiretapper’s Ball and obtained a Packet Forensics brochure aimed at law enforcement and intelligence agency customers.

The brochure was for a piece of hardware to help buyers read web traffic that parties thought was secure. But it wasn’t.

“IP communication dictates the need to examine encrypted traffic at will,” the brochure read, according to a report in Wired. “Your investigative staff will collect its best evidence while users are lulled into a false sense of security afforded by web, email or VOIP encryption,” the brochure added.

Researchers thought at the time that the most likely way the box was being used was with a certificate issued by an authority for money or under a court order that would guarantee the authenticity of an impostor communications site.

They did not conclude that an entire certificate authority itself might be compromised.

Reardon and Egelman alerted Google, Mozilla and Apple to their research on TrustCor in April. They said they had heard little back until The Post published its report.

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SBF says journalists are good, actually • TechCrunch

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“I’ve had a bad month,” Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) said onstage. The crowd instantly broke out in laughter.

The former CEO and founder of disgraced crypto exchange FTX, SBF’s month probably got worse today. In his first public interview since his company imploded, New York Times reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin didn’t go easy on him at the DealBook summit.

At one point, Sorkin characterized the apartment SBF shared with Alameda executives as “a bunch of kids who were on Adderall having a sleepover party.” Sorkin also incredulously asked, “What are your lawyers telling you right now?” Of course, his lawyers are very opposed to him speaking so candidly when he’s under investigation by both the SEC and the DOJ. 

But maybe SBF is being so open with the press because he simply just loves good ol’ gumshoe journalism!

Yes, a lot happened in SBF’s highly anticipated appearance today. But in what was surely the most important moment of the conversation, SBF affirmed that journalists are good, actually.

Most of these big shot tech guys do not like journalists. We’re annoying! Trust me, I know, I have dated fellow journalists before. But SBF (who, I must emphasize again, is being investigated by both the SEC and DOJ and lost billions of dollars this month) understands us.

SBF’s opinions about journalism came up when Sorkin asked about SBF’s investments in media companies.

“I was looking to support journalists doing great work, because I think what they do is really important,” SBF said. Semafor, a recently launched news outlet, received funding from SBF — a point that Elon Musk has brought up repeatedly when arguing with Semafor co-founder Ben Smith on Twitter.

“I’m certainly seeing, you know…. getting the brunt of a lot of that right now. And frankly, I think it’s healthy for the world that there is real investigative journalism,” SBF said.

Honestly, it’s pretty mature of him! Just two weeks ago, SBF unknowingly gave a damning interview to Vox reporter Kelsey Piper. Piper, a longtime friend of SBF’s, DMed him on Twitter to ask about… how his entire life is falling apart and how his company’s failure is causing actual real people to lose their entire life savings and how everything is a massive disaster that makes Fyre Fest look like a small oopsie.

“It was not meant to be a public interview, it was a longtime friend of mine who I stupidly forgot was also a reporter,” he said. “I thought I was speaking in a personal capacity.”

The resulting article made him look very bad.

“man all the dumb shit i said. it’s not true, not really,” SBF wrote to Piper. Again, not something you want to say when you are being investigated by both the SEC and the DOJ! To make matters worse, he also said “fuck regulators.” Whoops.

Despite it all, SBF is willing to stand up for the rights of the press, and we respect that! However, we did ask him to make a last-minute appearance at our crypto event a few weeks ago and he didn’t answer, but it’s fine, we got CZ to talk to us instead.

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