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Researchers Create 'Spray-On' 2D Antennas
Posted by News Fetcher on September 23 '18 at 04:20 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's cease-and-desist department:
In a study published in Science Advances, researchers in Drexel's College of Engineering describe a method for spraying invisibly thin antennas, made from a type of two-dimensional, metallic material called MXene, that perform as well as those being used in mobile devices, wireless routers and portable transducers. Phys.Org reports: The researchers, from the College's Department of Materials Science and Engineering, report that the MXene titanium carbide can be dissolved in water to create an ink or paint. The exceptional conductivity of the material enables it to transmit and direct radio waves, even when it's applied in a very thin coating. Preserving transmission quality in a form this thin is significant because it would allow antennas to easily be embedded -- literally, sprayed on -- in a wide variety of objects and surfaces without adding additional weight or circuitry or requiring a certain level of rigidity.

Initial testing of the sprayed antennas suggest that they can perform with the same range of quality as current antennas, which are made from familiar metals, like gold, silver, copper and aluminum, but are much thicker than MXene antennas. Making antennas smaller and lighter has long been a goal of materials scientists and electrical engineers, so this discovery is a sizable step forward both in terms of reducing their footprint as well as broadening their application.

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Judge Orders Cloudflare To Turn Over Identifying Data In Copyright Case
Posted by News Fetcher on September 23 '18 at 01:42 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's de-anonymized department:
Cal Jeffrey reporting for TechSpot: Back in May, several studios started targeting movie-pirating sites and services. Dallas Buyers Club, Cobbler Nevada, Bodyguard Productions, and several other copyright owners filed a lawsuit against ShowBox, a movie-streaming app for mobile devices. The companies tried pressuring CDN and DDoS protection provider Cloudflare into releasing information on the operators of some of these platforms. However, Cloudflare told them if they wanted such information they would have to get it the right way -- through legal action. The plaintiffs did just that. A subpoena was issued in the case from a federal court in Hawaii. The documents were not made public, but TorrentFreak was able to obtain a portion of the subpoena from a source. The court order demands the details of the operators behind the Showboxbuzz website, Showbox.software, website Rawapk, Popcorn Time, and others. Cloudflare has not filed a motion to quash, so it appears likely that the company will hand over the requested data.

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Wendy's Faces Lawsuit For Unlawfully Collecting Employee Fingerprints
Posted by News Fetcher on September 23 '18 at 01:42 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's burger-bandit department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: A class-action lawsuit has been filed in Illinois against fast food restaurant chain Wendy's accusing the company of breaking state laws in regards to the way it stores and handles employee fingerprints. The complaint is centered around Wendy's practice of using biometric clocks that scan employees' fingerprints when they arrive at work, when they leave, and when they use the Point-Of-Sale and cash register systems. Plaintiffs, represented by former Wendy's employees Martinique Owens and Amelia Garcia, claim that Wendy's breaks state law -- the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) -- because the company does not make employees aware of how it handles their data. More specifically, the lawsuit claims that Wendy's does not inform employees in writing of the specific purpose and length of time for which their fingerprints were being collected, stored, and used, as required by the BIPA, and nor does it obtain a written release from employees with explicit consent to obtain and handle the fingerprints in the first place. Wendy's also doesn't provide a publicly available retention schedule and guidelines for permanently destroying employees' fingerprints after they leave the company, plaintiffs said. [The plaintiffs also claim that Wendy's sends this data to a third-party without their consent.]

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IAU Ad Hoc Committee Publishes Revised Set of Definitions For SETI Terms
Posted by News Fetcher on September 23 '18 at 12:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's recommendations department:
RockDoctor writes: An ad hoc committee of the International Astronomical Union has been working for 5 months on revisions and clarifications to the definitions of various terms used in technical and popular discussions of SETI -- the Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence. They've published their draft report.
The terms of reference -- to account for existing popular and technical uses of the terms -- should mean that no major changes in usage occur, but interesting points do emerge from the discussion paper. For example, in discussing the term "extraterrestrial," their proposed definition ("shorthand for life or technology not originating recently on Earth") includes cover for possibilities such as "panspermia" which may be popular in "popular science," but certainly are not popular in the technical discussions. They go on to discuss that "by this definition, life on another planet with a common origin to Earth life but which diverged billions of years ago would be extraterrestrial, but Earth life accidentally brought to Mars on a human-built lander would not." Waiting for the invasion of the pedants, clutching their feet in their hands.

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PlayStation Now Is Making Its Games Downloadable
Posted by News Fetcher on September 23 '18 at 11:02 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's it's-about-time department:
PlayStation revealed in a blog post that PS Now subscribers will be able to download most PS4 and PS2 games currently in the PS Now Library and play them locally, offline. "Almost all PS4 games in the service, including Bloodborne, God of War 3 Remastered, NBA 2K16, and Until Dawn, will be available for download, in addition to the PS Now lineup of classic PS2 games remastered for PS4," the announcement reads. "This feature will be gradually rolled out to PS Now subscribers over the next couple of days, so if you don't see the feature on your PS Now today, make sure to check back again soon." Kotaku reports: While being connected to the internet isn't required to play PS Now games once they've been downloaded, the support page says your system will have to go online "every few days" in order to validate the PS Now subscription. In the past, PS Now had been exclusively for streaming games to your PS4. When it was announced in 2014, it was building off of Sony's 2012 acquisition of the Gaikai video game streaming service. While it offered a way for people to play older games on the newer console (since, unlike Xbox One, the PS4 isn't backwards compatible), it was hardly ideal due to problems with latency and its reliance on a consistently strong internet connection. Honestly, the only surprise here is that Sony didn't make this move sooner.

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Coding Error Sends 2019 Subaru Ascents To the Car Crusher
Posted by News Fetcher on September 23 '18 at 09:41 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's expensive-mistakes department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from IEEE Spectrum: [A] software remedy can't solve Subaru's issue with 293 of its 2019 Ascent SUVs. All 293 of the SUVs that were built in July will be scrapped because they are missing critical spot welds. According to Subaru's recall notice [PDF] filed with the U.S. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, the welding robots at the Subaru Indiana Automotive plant in Lafayette, Ind., were improperly coded, which meant the robots omitted the spot welds required on the Ascents' B-pillar. Consumer Reports states that the B-pillar holds the second-row door hinges. As a result, the strength of the affected Ascents' bodies may be reduced, increasing the possibility of passenger injuries in a crash. Subaru indicated in the recall that "there is no physical remedy available; therefore, any vehicles found with missing welds will be destroyed." Luckily, only nine Ascents had been sold, and those customers are going to receive new vehicles. The rest were on dealer lots or in transit.

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MIT Develops New Type of Battery That Gobbles Up Carbon Dioxide
Posted by News Fetcher on September 23 '18 at 08:21 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's win-win department:
MIT has developed a new type of battery that could be made partly from carbon dioxide captured from power plants. "Rather than attempting to convert carbon dioxide to specialized chemicals using metal catalysts, which is currently highly challenging, this battery could continuously convert carbon dioxide into a solid mineral carbonate as it discharges," reports SciTechDaily. From the report: While still based on early-stage research and far from commercial deployment, the new battery formulation could open up new avenues for tailoring electrochemical carbon dioxide conversion reactions, which may ultimately help reduce the emission of the greenhouse gas to the atmosphere. The battery is made from lithium metal, carbon, and an electrolyte that the researchers designed. The findings are described today in the journal Joule, in a paper by assistant professor of mechanical engineering Betar Gallant, doctoral student Aliza Khurram, and postdoc Mingfu He. [...] Gallant and her co-workers, whose expertise has to do with nonaqueous (not water-based) electrochemical reactions such as those that underlie lithium-based batteries, looked into whether carbon-dioxide-capture chemistry could be put to use to make carbon-dioxide-loaded electrolytes -- one of the three essential parts of a battery -- where the captured gas could then be used during the discharge of the battery to provide a power output.

< article continued at Slashdot's win-win department >

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Instagram Says It's Not Working On a Regram Feature
Posted by News Fetcher on September 23 '18 at 08:21 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's sub-for-sub department:
Soon after The Verge reported that Instagram was working on a reshare feature, the company said that the function is "not happening." It told The Verge and TechCrunch that it's neither building nor testing a regram feature. Engadget reports: The Verge reported on Thursday that Instagram appeared to be working on a way for users to easily share others' posts in their own feed. The feature would be housed in the menu situated in the upper right-hand corner of each post and would give users the option to "share to feed." A source familiar with the feature provided The Verge with screenshots of posts shared with the feature, which the site noted looked like was in very early stages of development.

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Ecuador Wanted To Make Julian Assange a Diplomat and Send Him To Moscow
Posted by News Fetcher on September 23 '18 at 07:01 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's hot-potato department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Last year, Ecuador attempted to deputize WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as one of its own diplomats and send him to Russia, according to a Friday report by Reuters. Citing an "Ecuadorian government document," which the news agency did not publish, Assange apparently was briefly granted a "special designation" to act as one of its diplomats, a privilege normally granted to the president for political allies. However, that status was then withdrawn when the United Kingdom objected. The Associated Press reported earlier in the week that newly-leaked documents showed that Assange sought a Russian visa back in 2010. WikiLeaks has vehemently denied that Assange did so.

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Thieves Who Stole GPS Tracking Devices Were Caught Within Hours
Posted by News Fetcher on September 23 '18 at 05:41 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's crime-of-the-century department:
"These devices kind of look like cell phone chargers, so they probably thought they had some kind of street value," said the co-founder of Roambee, a shipping-monitoring services company, in a classic story shared by Iwastheone:

[He's] talking about the hundred or so GPS tracking devices that were stolen recently from the company's Dela Cruz Avenue labs. "The moment we realized they had a box of trackers, we went into recovery mode," Subramanian said. "We notified the police and equipped them to track the devices, and in about 5 or 6 hours, it was done...." It wasn't long before the police were using Roambee's software to locate the devices and the thieves. "We were able to pinpoint the location of these trackers to a warehouse in Union City and two of the devices had gone mobile, and the thieves were driving around with them in the East Bay," Subramanian said. The two men were arrested in Alameda.
Before stealing 100 battery-powered GPS-tracking devices, one of the thieves also grabbed a beer out of the office refrigerator -- and cut themselves -- leaving behind both fingerprints and an actual blood sample.
The company is now using this 2017 episode as an instructive case study. "Roambee wirelessly synced with all 100 devices and remotely set them to stealth mode (so there's no blinking LEDs to alert the thieves) and then switched the location reporting intervals from once every hour to once every minute."

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Britain To Create 2,000-Strong Cyber Force, Boost Budget By £250M
Posted by News Fetcher on September 23 '18 at 04:20 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's battle-of-the-bits department:
Slashdot reader cold fjord writes: Britain's Ministry of Defence and GCHQ signals intelligence establishment have put forward a plan to increase staff devoted to offensive cyber operations up to 2,000, quadrupling it over current levels. Funding would also increase by at least £250m, according to one source. The initiative comes
"amid a growing cyber threat from Russia and after the UK used cyber weapons for the first time to fight Islamic State."

General Sir Richard Barrons commented, "By adopting offensive cyber techniques in the UK we are levelling the playing field and providing new means of both deterring and punishing states that wish to do us harm."

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Why Attackers Are Using C# For Post-PowerShell Attacks
Posted by News Fetcher on September 23 '18 at 12:20 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's safety-.NET department:
An anonymous Slashdot reader summarizes an article by a senior security researcher at Forecepoint Security Labs:
Among cyber criminals, there has been a trend in recent years for using more so called 'fileless' attacks. The driver for this is to avoid detection by anti-virus. PowerShell is often used in these attacks. Part of the strategy behind fileless attacks is related to the concept of 'living off the land', meaning that to blend in and avoid detection, attackers strive for only using the tools that are natively available on the target system, and preferably avoiding dropping executable files on the file system. Recently, C# has received some attention in the security community, since it has some features that may make it more appealing to criminals than PowerShell. [Both C# and Powershell use the .NET runtime.] A Forcepoint researcher has summarized the evolvement of attack techniques in recent years, particularly looking at a recent security issue related to C# in a .NET utility in terms of fileless attacks.
From the article:
A recent example of C# being used for offensive purposes is the PowerShell/C# 'combo attack' noted by Xavier Mertens earlier this month in which a malware sample used PowerShell to compile C# code on the fly. Also, a collection of adversary tools implemented in C# was released. Further, an improved way was published for injecting shellcode (.NET assembly) into memory via a C# application.... Given recent trends it seems likely that we'll start to see an increased number of attacks that utilize C# -- or combinations of C# and PowerShell such as that featured in Xavier Mertens' SANS blog -- in the coming months.

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Slashdot Asks: Anyone Considering an Apple Watch 4?
Posted by News Fetcher on September 22 '18 at 08:22 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's time-on-our-hands department:
Long-time Slashdot reader kwelch007 writes:
I finally gave in, after years of Android loyalty, because the iPhone and Apple Watch just worked, so I was told (and it is true). I changed from my Motorola Maxx for an iPhone 7, because I wanted the Apple Watch. Shortly after, I purchased a second-hand Apple Watch Series 1. I have never looked back...and I'm happy with it.
Last week, I was able to buy an Apple Watch Series 4 with the exact specs I wanted... Wow! The screen is a ton bigger than my Series 1. I noticed right away when it asked me to set my passcode...the buttons were WAY bigger! It truly has the "side-to-side" screen...it's noticable... "Walkie Talkie" is super convenient (used with my associate who told me that it was in stock at Best Buy...)
Cool:
1) It's big, but not much bigger on your wrist than the 42mm versions previous...rather, the screen is bigger, brighter, and more usable.
2) The speakers and mics are far and away better than previous versions of the Apple Watch.

But they don't yet have access to "the highly-touted 'ECG' capability". (Fortune reports it was only approved by America's FDA the day before the launch event -- and isn't yet available for "international" customers.) And the software also isn't ready yet for "Fall Protection," a feature which calls emergency responders if it detects that you've fallen to the ground and you don't respond to prompts for the next 60 seconds. ("The feature is automatic with Watch owners who identify themselves as 65 and up," USA Today reported last week.)

< article continued at Slashdot's time-on-our-hands department >

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Huge Trove of Employee Records Discovered At Abandoned Toys 'R' Us
Posted by News Fetcher on September 22 '18 at 05:41 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's not-wanting-to-grow-up department:
An anonymous reader writes: Hackaday recently engaged in a bit of urban exploration, taking a look inside of a recently purchased Toys "R" Us location that has been boarded up since the once giant toy store chain folded in June. Inside they found plenty of hardware left behind, from point-of-sale systems to the Cisco networking gear in the server room. But the most interesting find was on paper. In a back office, they found "several boxes" of personal information about the store's employees, from their medical records to photocopies of their driver's licenses and Social Security cards [and also tax forms]. A video included with the article gives the viewer an impression of just how large a collection of files were left behind. The author wonders if the situation in this particular store was a fluke, or if the other [800] Toys "R" Us locations were left in a similar state.

The article calls it "a very surprising look at what get's left behind when the money runs out and the employees simply give up...."

"We saw the great lengths the company went to protect customer information, so to see how little regard they had for their own people was honestly infuriating."

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MIT's Elegant Schoolbus Algorithm Was No Match For Angry Parents
Posted by News Fetcher on September 22 '18 at 04:21 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's busing-in-Boston department:
"Computers can solve your problem. You may not like the answer," writes the Boston Globe. Slashdot reader sandbagger explains:
"Boston Public Schools asked MIT graduate students Sebastien Martin and Arthur Delarue to build an algorithm that could do the enormously complicated work of changing start times at dozens of schools -- and re-routing the hundreds of buses that serve them. In theory this would also help with student alertness...." MIT also reported that "Approximately 50 superfluous routes could be eliminated using the new method, saving the school district between $3 million and $5 million annually."

The Globe reports:

They took to the new project with gusto, working 14- and 15-hour days to meet a tight deadline -- and occasionally waking up in the middle of the night to feed new information to a sprawling MIT data center. The machine they constructed was a marvel. Sorting through 1 novemtrigintillion options -- that's 1 followed by 120 zeroes -- the algorithm landed on a plan that would trim the district's $100 million-plus transportation budget while shifting the overwhelming majority of high school students into later start times.... But no one anticipated the crush of opposition that followed. Angry parents signed an online petition and filled the school committee chamber, turning the plan into one of the biggest crises of Mayor Marty Walsh's tenure. The city summarily dropped it. The failure would eventually play a role in the superintendent's resignation...
< article continued at Slashdot's busing-in-Boston department >

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Comcast Outbids Fox With $40 Billion Offer For Sky In Auction
Posted by News Fetcher on September 22 '18 at 03:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's money-talks department:
Comcast outbid Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox after offering $40 billion in an auction on Saturday. According to Yahoo Finance, "The U.S. cable giant bid $22.59 a share for control of London-listed Sky, bettering a $20.49 dollars-a-share offer by Fox, Britain's Takeover Panel said." From the report: Buying Sky will make Philadelphia-based Comcast, which owns the NBC network and Universal Pictures, the world's largest pay-TV operator with around 52 million customers. Chairman and chief executive Brian Roberts has had his eye on Sky as a way to help counter declines in subscribers for traditional cable TV in its core U.S. market as viewers switch to video-on-demand services like Netflix and Amazon. Comcast's knock-out offer thwarted Murdoch's long-held ambition to win control of Sky, and is also a setback for U.S. entertainment giant Walt Disney which would have likely been its ultimate owner. Disney agreed a separate $71 billion deal to buy most of Fox's film and TV assets, including its existing 39 percent stake in Sky, in June and would have taken full ownership after a successful Fox takeover.

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NSA's 'Codebreaker Challenge' Features Exploiting Blockchain To Steal Ethereum
Posted by News Fetcher on September 22 '18 at 01:41 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's show-me-the-money department:
"The National Security Agency's 2018 Codebreaker Challenge kicked off on Friday, 9/21, and runs through 12/31," writes Slashdot reader eatvegetables. Each year's challenge -- which is open to U.S. students -- comes with its own (fictitious) backstory which the organizers say is "meant for providing realistic context."
This year's story?

A new strain of ransomware has managed to penetrate several critical government networks and NSA has been called upon to assist in remediating the infection to prevent massive data losses. For each infected machine, an encrypted copy of the key needed to decrypt the ransomed files has been stored in a smart contract on the Ethereum blockchain* and is set to only be unlocked upon receipt of the ransom payment. Your mission is to ultimately (1) find a way to unlock the ransomware without giving in to the attacker's demands and (2) figure out a way to recover all of the funds already paid by other victims.
* For the purposes of this challenge, a private blockchain has been created with no real monetary value associated with the Ether.

"The first half focuses on network protocol analysis and binary reverse-engineering," writes eatvegetables, while "The second half is all about attempting to exploit the blockchain."

An email address from "a recognized U.S. school or university" is required, and the original submission notes that America's college students "are already hard at work trying to push their school to the top of the leaderboard."

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Should The US Government Break Up Google, Twitter, and Facebook?
Posted by News Fetcher on September 22 '18 at 01:41 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's game-of-monopolies department:
The Bay Area Newsgroup reports:
Political momentum for a crackdown on Silicon Valley's social media giants got a boost this week when a state attorney general said he would tell U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions next week that Google, Facebook and Twitter should be broken up. Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry wants the federal government to do to the social media firms what it did to Standard Oil in 1911, according to a Louisiana newspaper report Tuesday... "This can't be fixed legislatively," Landry told the paper. "We need to go to court with an antitrust suit." He or another high official from his office will next week present the break-up proposal to Sessions... Landry, president of the National Association of Attorneys General, had spent months with his colleagues probing what they described as anti-competitive practices by Facebook, Google and Twitter, according to the paper.
CNET reports:
On Friday, Bloomberg reported it had obtained a draft of a potential White House executive order that asks certain government agencies to recommend actions that would "protect competition among online platforms and address online platform bias." The order, reportedly in its preliminary stages, asks US antitrust authorities to "thoroughly investigate whether any online platform has acted in violation of the antitrust laws."

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Cody Wilson, 3D-Printed Gun Pioneer, Arrested In Taiwan
Posted by News Fetcher on September 22 '18 at 12:22 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's going-ballastic department:
Cody Wilson, maker of the first 3D-printed plastic gun, has been arrested in Taiwan. Long-time Slashdot reader SonicSpike quotes Reason:

Earlier this week, Texas police issued a warrant for his arrest. Wilson, they claimed, found a woman on sugardaddymeet.com, a website that requires all users to assert they are 18 or over, then met her and paid for sex with her. Police say the woman was actually 16, which made that act a violation of Texas penal code 22.011 (A)(2)(a), regarding sex with a minor, which is legally considered sexual assault regardless of consent or payment.
While Taiwan has no formal extradition treaty with the U.S., and Wilson was not said to have been doing anything directly criminal in Taiwan, the press there reports that he was arrested without incident because the U.S. had revoked his passport, making his mere presence in Taiwan illegal. (The U.S. government has the power to revoke the passports of people facing felony arrest warrants.) Wilson was then, according to The New York Times, "delivered...to the National Immigration Agency" in Taiwan. It is expected to deport him to the U.S. to face those charges, which carry a potential 2 to 20 years in prison and $10,000 fine.
A reporter for Ars Technica visited Wilson's home weapons printing company, and was told that "A management restructuring is coming." But they also contacted Adam Bhala Lough, who directed and wrote a documentary film about Wilson. Prior to Wilson's arrest, Lough argued that "Without Cody, it can't last. It's like Tesla and Elon Musk, you can't separate the two.
< article continued at Slashdot's going-ballastic department >

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Space Junk Successfully Captured In Orbit For the First Time (with Video)
Posted by News Fetcher on September 22 '18 at 11:02 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's falling-from-the-sky department:
"The Surrey Space Center successfully used a net to capture a piece of artificial space junk in orbit for the first time in history on Sunday," writes Slashdot reader dmoberhaus. "The video was just released Wednesday and is quite stunning."

"Not only does the net look cool as hell, it's addressing a major problem for the future of space exploration," reports Motherboard:

The test was carried about by the RemoveDEBRIS satellite, an experimental space debris removal platform built by an international consortium of space companies and university research centers. There are tens of thousands of pieces of fast-moving space junk in orbit, which range from the centimeter-scale all the way to entire rocket stages. Some of these pieces are moving faster than a bullet and all of them pose a serious danger to other satellites and crewed capsules... Removing this junk from orbit is particularly challenging because of the various sizes of the debris, its erratic tumbling motion, and the fact that some pieces are moving as fast as 30,000 miles per hour.

The successful experiment follows six years of Earth-based testing, according to a professor at the lead research institution, the Surrey Space Centre.
"While it might sound like a simple idea, the complexity of using a net in space to capture a piece of debris took many years of planning, engineering and coordination."

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