• Why Did People Write Viruses In The 80s & 90s?

    Why did people write malware in the pre-internet days? Back then, there was no way to make money by writing malware. So why write them in the first place? The lack of a financial motivation meant that virus authors had a plethora of other motives - and this diverse mix of motives had, as we shall hear, an interesting effect on the design and style of viruses created at that period.




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    27m - Jul 9, 2024
  • Section 230: The Law that Makes Social Media Great, and Terrible

    Section 230 is the pivotal law that has enabled the rise of social media -while sparking heated debates over its implications. In this episode, we're charting the history of Section 230, from early landmark legal battles, to modern controversies, and exploring its complexities and the proposed changes that could redefine online speech and platform responsibility.



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    34m - Jun 25, 2024
  • What Happened at Uber?

    In 2016, Joe Sullivan, former CISO of Facebook, was at the peak of his career. As Uber's new CISO, he and his team had just successfully prevented data from a recent breach from leaking to the internet. But less than a year later, Sullivan was unexpectedly fired from Uber, and three years later, the US Department of Justice announced criminal charges against him.

    So, what happened at Uber?



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    37m - Jun 11, 2024
  • The Nigerian Prince

    In this episode of ML, we're exploring the history of the well-known Nigerian Prince scam, also known as 419 or advanced fee scam, from its roots in a Parisian prison during the French Revolution, to the economic and social reason why this particular scam became so popular with African youth. Also, will AI make such scams more dangerous - or, counter intuitively, go against the interests of scammers? 



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    28m - May 28, 2024
  • Unmasking Secrets: The Rise of Open-Source Intelligence

    Dive into the world of open-source intelligence (OSINT) in this episode, where we uncover how ordinary citizens use publicly available data to unravel some of the most complex global mysteries. From tracking conflicts in real-time to exposing the truth behind high-profile incidents like the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, discover how OSINT is revolutionizing the field of investigative journalism and transforming how we perceive and verify information.




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    33m - May 14, 2024
  • The Source Code of Malicious Life

    A few weeks ago we had a listener’s meetup in New York, and as part of that meetup, I gave a talk in which I discussed how Malicious Life came to be - a story that goes back to my days as a ship's captain in the Israeli Navy - and then about how me and Nate craft the stories that you hear every other week. That last part, I hope, might also be beneficial to those of you, our listeners, who find themselves giving talks about technically complex ideas, cyber-related or not. The storytelling ideas and techniques I laid out in the talk are universal, and you’ll find them in blockbuster movies as well as podcast episodes. 



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    47m - Apr 30, 2024
  • The Y2K Bug, Part 2

    In the waning years of the 20th century, amid growing anxieties about the turn of the millennium, one man, Robert Bemer, observed the unfolding drama from his remote home on King Possum Lake. A revered figure in computing, Bemer had early on flagged a significant, looming issue known as the Y2K bug, which threatened to disrupt global systems as calendars rolled over to the year 2000. This episode delves into Bemer's life during this critical period, exploring his predictions, the ensuing global frenzy to avert disaster, and the disparate views on whether the billions spent in prevention were justified or merely a response to a misunderstood threat.









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    31m - Apr 16, 2024
  • The Y2K Bug, Part 1

    In the 1950s and 60s - even leading into the 1990s - the cost of storage was so high, that using a 2-digit field for dates in a software instead of 4-digits could save an organization between $1.2-$2 Million dollars per GB of data. From this perspective, programming computers in the 1950s to record four-digit years would’ve been outright malpractice. But 40 years later, this shortcut became a ticking time bomb which one man, computer scientist Bob Bemer, was trying to diffuse before it was too late.



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    27m - Mar 31, 2024
  • Can You Bomb a Hacker?

    The 2008 Russo-Georgian War marked a turning point: the first time cyberattacks were used alongside traditional warfare. But what happens when the attackers aren't soldiers, but ordinary citizens? This episode delves into the ethical and legal implications of civilian participation in cyberwarfare, examining real-world examples from Ukraine and beyond.



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    30m - Mar 19, 2024
  • Kevin Mitnick, Part 2

    In 1991, Kevin Mitnick was bouncing back from what was probably the lowest point of his life. He began to rebuild his life: he started working out and lost a hundred pounds, and most importantly - he was finally on the path towards ditching his self-destructive obsession of hacking. 

    But just as he was in the process of turning his life around, his brother introduced him to a hacker named Eric Heinz, who told him about a mysterious piece of equipment he came across while breaking into Pacific Bell: SAS, a testing system that allowed its user to listen in on all the calls going through the telephone network. SAS proved to be too great of a temptation for Mitnick, who desperately wanted to wield the power that the testing system could afford him.



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    49m - Mar 4, 2024
  • Kevin Mitnick, Part 1

    For Kevin Mitnick - perhaps the greatest social engineer who ever lived - hacking was an obsession: even though it ruined his marriage, landed him in scary correction facilities and almost cost him his sanity in solitary confinement, Mitnick wasn't able to shake the disease that compelled him to keep breaking into more and more communication systems. 



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    37m - Feb 19, 2024
  • SIM Registration: Security, or Surveillance?

    Right now, hundreds of thousands of people in the southern African country of Namibia are faced with a choice. At the end of next month, their phone service is going to be shut off permanently: to prevent that from happening, they’ll have to give up their data privacy. As a result, nearly two million Namibian citizens are facing a data privacy problem which may haunt them for years to come - and hundreds of thousands more are set to join them, or else they’ll lose their phone service for good. All of which raises the question: was making everybody register their SIM cards a good idea in the first place?



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    31m - Feb 5, 2024
  • The Mariposa Botnet

    In 2008, The 12 million PCs strong Mariposa Botnet infected almost half of Furture 100 companey - but the three men who ran it were basiclly script kiddies who didn't even knew how to code.



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    44m - Jan 22, 2024
  • The Real Story of Citibank’s $10M Hack

    Valdimir Levin is often presented as "the first online bank robber," and appeares on many lists of the "Top 10 Greatest Hackers." But a few veteran Russian hackers cliam that Levin's infamous hack had been mangled by the journlists who wrote about it. What's the truth behind the 1994 $10.7 million Citibank hack?...



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    32m - Jan 9, 2024
  • How to Hack Into Satellites

    About a year ago, six academics from Ruhr University Bochum and the CISPA  Helmholtz Center for Information Security set out to survey engineers and developers on the subject of satellite cybersecurity. But most of these engineers were very reluctant to share any details about their satellites and their security aspects. Why were satellite engineers so reticent to talk about cybersecurity? What was so secretive, so wrong with it, that they didn’t feel they could answer even general questions, anonymously? Because let’s be clear: if there’s something wrong with the security of satellites, that’d be a serious problem.



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    30m - Dec 27, 2023
  • Moonlight Maze

    When investigators discovered in 1996 that US military networks were being extensively hacked, they didn't realize they were witnessing the birth of what would become Russia's formidable Turla APT espionage group. We uncover the 20-year metamorphosis of this original group of hackers into one of the most sophisticated and dangerous state-sponsored threats that's still active today.



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    35m - Dec 11, 2023
  • Volt Typhoon

    In August 2021, a port in Houston, Texas, was attacked. Over the following months, a series of attacks occurred in various locations, reminiscent of a serial killer's pattern. Targets included telecommunications companies, government agencies, power plants, and water treatment facilities. How did Volt Typhoon manage to evade authorities and analysts for such an extended period?



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    31m - Nov 28, 2023
  • Is NSO Evil? Part 2

    By the time Forbidden Stories published its “Pegasus Project” in 2021, NSO was already knee deep in what was probably the worst PR disaster ever suffered by a cybersecurity company - and then, in November 2021, came the fateful blow: the US Dept. of Commerce added NSO to its “Entity List.” Is NSO to blame for its troubles? Could the company have acted differently to prevent its downfall? 



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    40m - Nov 13, 2023
  • Is NSO Evil? Part 1

    NSO Group, creator of the infamous Pegasus spyware, is widely regarded as a vile, immoral company: a sort of 21st century soldier of fortune, a mercenary in the service of corrupt and evil regimes. Yet among its many clients are many liberal democracies, including the US, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain, to name but a few. So, is NSO really as evil as many think it is?



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    32m - Oct 30, 2023
  • Should You Pay Ransomware Attackers? A Game Theory Approach

    The FBI explicitly advises companies against paying ransomware attackers - but itself payed 4.4 million dollars worth of Bitcoin after the Colonial Pipeline attack. So, should you listen to what the experts say, or follow what they occasionally do? It’s complicated, but we can model this problem.




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    32m - Oct 17, 2023
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