The Guardian’s technology department hosted its first Hack Day last Thursday. Developers were freed from the drudgery of their everyday jobs to make fun toys and tools. Many of the hacks that developed played around with the website, like the Guardian commenter blocker, or the Guardian Button integrated into the Google Toolbar. We liked the Guardian Politics Page LED Swingometer, created by [Tom Armitage], which scanned the Guardian’s politics RSS feed for mentions of “Conservative” or “Labour” to yield the “swing” of a page to an Arduino. We wanted to see more of the Java-enabled Robot Dude. You can track Fhe Guardian’s Hack Day activity on Twitter with the tag #ghack1 or check out their photos on Flickr.
If you want to participate in a Hack Day, Last.fm is hosting one this December.
[David Kernell], the 20-year-old son of Democratic politician [Mike Kernell], turned himself in for hacking into Vice Presidential nominee Governor [Sarah Palin]’s Yahoo! email account. He was indicted on one felony count of violating the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Although the charge would normally be a misdemeanor, the indictment invokes another statute, the Stored Communications Act to beef up its claim. Some lawyers are of the opinion that the U.S. Department of Justice overreached in charging [Kernell] with a felony. They claim that the government’s justification is flawed and relies on “circuitous logic”. [Kernell] has been released without bond, and instructed not to have any contact with [Governor Palin], her family, or any witnesses to the case. If convicted fully, he faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. We also discovered that this isn’t [Kernell]’s first time in trouble. In high school, he received detention for guessing the password of the school server and obtaining access to some lesson plans.
We’re always looking for people to contribute posts daily and help expand the site. We’ve added a handful of contributors in the last couple months, which you can see in our new How-tos.
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Helix 2.0 has been released. Helix is a collection of various tools for electronic forensics. Just like on TV, you can use this to find all kinds of information on a computer. Some of the useful tools added were Winlockpwn a tool for breaking windows security, Volitility which processes data out of the raw memory, and several other tools that are beyond our comprehension.
You’ve undoubtedly noticed that the title says Helix V2.0, but the image and header of the Helix site say 3. We have no idea why. Look at the download info to see that it says V2.0.
[Via Midnight Research labs]
The Israeli hacker [Ehud Tenenbaum], known as “the Analyzer”, was arrested along with 3 Canadians for allegedly hacking into a Calgary-based financial services company and withdrawing almost CDN $2 million. The arrests were the results of a months-long investigation by both the Canadian police and the U.S. Secret Service. In 1998, [Tenenbaum] was accused of hacking into unclassified computer systems owned by NASA, and the Pentagon, among others. He is in custody without bail, although the three other suspects have been released on bond.
[Jonathan Zdziarski], a data forensics expert and iPhone hacker, will demonstrate in a live O’Reilly webcast on September 11, 2008, how to bypass the iPhone passcode lock security. Although the presentation is targeted towards law enforcement, it will probably viewed by a lot of hackers and geeks, who could use the information for good or evil. It also doesn’t strike us as very good security if the iPhone passcode is easily bypassed. Then what’s the point of having one?
[Jason Scott] curated a nice collection of links related to [Phil Lapsley]’s work on phone phreaking. [Lapsley]’s book, The History of Phone Phreaking, will be released in 2009. Meanwhile phone phreak enthusiasts can peruse his site and bone up on some interesting material, including documents that revealed the inner workings of the telephone switchboard(PDF), and the Youth International Party Line (YIPL)/Technological American Party (TAP) FBI files(PDF), which is really intriguing for the various doodles and conversations that were documented. If you have some spare time, we definitely recommend sifting through it.