The next generation of high-speed mobile data, known as 5G, is live in many countries including the US, the UK and Australia. But as the new network rolls out, many misconceptions and confusion around the technology remain. Most recently, conspiracy theorists have tried linking 5G with the COVID-19 pandemic. This has resulted in people burning cell towers and many social media platforms, including Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, scrambling to curb the spread of this misinformation.
IN JANUARY, MY coworker received a peculiar email. The message, which she forwarded to me, was from a handful of corporate Walmart employees calling themselves the “Concerned Home Office Associates.” (Walmart’s headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, is often referred to as the Home Office.) While it’s not unusual for journalists to receive anonymous tips, they don’t usually come with their own slickly produced videos. The employees said they were “past their breaking point” with Everseen, a small artificial intelligence firm based in Cork, Ireland, whose technology Walmart began using in 2017. Walmart uses Everseen in thousands of stores to prevent shoplifting at registers and self-checkout kiosks. But the workers claimed it misidentified innocuous behavior as theft, and often failed to stop actual instances of stealing.
According to Troy Hunt at Have I Been Pwned (HIBP), the group of allegedly ill-gotten email addresses and passwords has been circulating in multiple forums, with most of them attributing the credential leak to Anonymous, which is a loose affiliation of individuals that carry out hacking to send political messages. However, Hunt’s review of the situation comes to a different conclusion. “Don’t spread disinformation and right now, all signs point to just that – the alleged Minneapolis Police Department ‘breach’ is fake,” he wrote, in an analysis posted on Monday, adding that the data is likely not from the MPD at all, but rather a collection of widely available credentials from earlier breaches, and possibly some made-up combinations, that have been assembled into a new database for the purpose of perpetrating this hoax.
Tech service prices are plummeting. And by tech services, we mean botnet rentals and stolen credit cards
Crime has never been cheaper to pull off, so long as you’re not particular about quality. At least that’s according [PDF] to a Trend Micro whitepaper on the cost of criminal services, which says over the past five years the prices for botnet rentals and credit card numbers have taken a nosedive. “In 2015, generic botnets started selling at around $200 in Russian underground forums. Generic botnet prices today cost around $5 a day, and prices for builders start at $100,” Trend said. “United States credit cards were sold at $20 in 2015, but prices start at $1 in 2020.
Britain said Friday it was pushing the United States to form a club of 10 nations that could develop its own 5G technology and reduce dependence on China’s controversial telecoms giant Huawei. The issue is expected to feature at a G7 summit that US President Donald Trump will host next month against the backdrop of a fierce confrontation with China that has been exacerbated by a global blame game over the spread of the novel coronavirus. Britain has allowed the Chinese global leader in 5G technology to build up to 35 percent of the infrastructure necessary to roll out its new speedy data network. But Prime Minister Boris Johnson was reported by The Daily Telegraph last week to have instructed officials to draw up plans to cut Huawei out of the network by 2023 as relations with China sour.