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OpenBSD Will Get Unique Kernels On Each Reboot
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '17 at 03:31 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's fresh-start department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bleeping Computer: A new feature added in test snapshots for the upcoming OpenBSD 6.2 release will create a unique kernel every time an OpenBSD user reboots or upgrades his computer. This feature is named KARL -- Kernel Address Randomized Link -- and works by relinking internal kernel files in a random order so that it generates a unique kernel binary blob every time. Currently, for stable releases, the OpenBSD kernel uses a predefined order to link and load internal files inside the kernel binary, resulting in the same kernel for all users. Developed by Theo de Raadt, KARL will work by generating a new kernel binary at install, upgrade, and boot time. If the user boots up, upgrades, or reboots his machine, the most recently generated kernel will replace the existing kernel binary, and the OS will generate a new kernel binary that will be used on the next boot/upgrade/reboot, constantly rotating kernels on reboots or upgrades. KARL should not be confused with ASLR -- Address Space Layout Randomization -- a technique that randomizes the memory address where application code is executed, so exploits can't target a specific area of memory where an application or the kernel is known to run. A similar technique exists for randomizing the memory location where the kernel loads -- called KASLR. The difference between the two is that KARL loads a different kernel binary in the same place, while KASLR loads the same binary in random locations. Currently Linux and Windows only support KASLR.

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NASA Seeks Nuclear Power For Mars
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '17 at 11:20 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's to-be-continued department:
New submitter joshtops shares a report from Scientific American: As NASA makes plans to one day send humans to Mars, one of the key technical gaps the agency is working to fill is how to provide enough power on the Red Planet's surface for fuel production, habitats and other equipment. One option: small nuclear fission reactors, which work by splitting uranium atoms to generate heat, which is then converted into electric power. NASA's technology development branch has been funding a project called Kilopower for three years, with the aim of demonstrating the system at the Nevada National Security Site near Las Vegas. Testing is due to start in September and end in January 2018. The last time NASA tested a fission reactor was during the 1960s' Systems for Nuclear Auxiliary Power, or SNAP, which developed two types of nuclear power systems. The first system -- radioisotope thermoelectric generators, or RTGs -- taps heat released from the natural decay of a radioactive element, such as plutonium. RTGs have powered dozens of space probes over the years, including the Curiosity rover currently exploring Mars. The second technology developed under SNAP was an atom-splitting fission reactor. SNAP-10A was the first -- and so far, only -- U.S. nuclear power plant to operate in space. Launched on April 3, 1965, SNAP-10A operated for 43 days, producing 500 watts of electrical power, before an unrelated equipment failure ended the demonstration. The spacecraft remains in Earth orbit.

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Japan's Population Falls At Fastest Rate Since 1968
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '17 at 08:42 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's downward-spiral department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: Japan's population, excluding resident foreigners, fell at the beginning of this year at its fastest pace since comparable figures were kept in 1968, highlighting the demographic challenge to economic growth. As of Jan. 1, the number of Japanese people fell by a record 308,084 from a year earlier to 125,583,658, marking the eighth consecutive year of declines, government data showed Wednesday. The number of births fell 2.9 percent from the previous year ago to 981,202, the lowest since comparable data became available in 1974. People aged 65 or older accounted for 27.2 percent of the total population, the highest ratio on record, while the ratio of those aged 14 or younger fell to a record low of 12.7 percent, the data showed. The number of registered foreign residents increased to 2,323,428, up 6.9 percent from a year earlier, according to the data.

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Chicago To Make Future Plans a Graduation Requirement
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '17 at 04:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's plan-ahead department:
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanual's recently approved plan will require high school students show their plans for the future before obtaining their diploma. "Students will soon have to show that they've secured a job or received a letter of acceptance to college, a trade apprenticeship, a gap year program or the military in order to graduate," reports The Hill. From the report: "We are going to help kids have a plan, because they're going to need it to succeed," Emanuel told the Post. "You cannot have kids think that 12th grade is done." But critics say the district may not be able to provide mentoring to help needy students when the rule takes effect in 2020. "It sounds good on paper, but the problem is that when you've cut the number of counselors in schools, when you've cut the kind of services that kids need, who is going to do this work?" Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, told the Post. "If you've done the work to earn a diploma, then you should get a diploma. Because if you don't, you are forcing kids into more poverty."

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Linux Is Not As Safe As You Think
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '17 at 04:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's welcome-to-the-club department:
BrianFagioli writes via BetaNews: Would you be surprised if I told you that threat methods for Linux increased an astonishing 300 percent in 2016, while Microsoft's operating systems saw a decrease? Well, according to a new report, that is true. Does this mean Linux is unsafe? No way, Jose! There are some important takeaways here. Microsoft's Windows operating systems are still the most targeted platforms despite the year over year decline -- far beyond Linux. Also, just because there is an increase in malware attack methods doesn't necessarily mean that more systems will be infected. Let us not forget that it is easier to find a vulnerability with open source too; Microsoft largely uses closed source code. "At the end of November, criminals with other variants of the same Linux malware unleashed devastating attacks against DSL routers of Telekom customers. 900,000 devices were taken down. In October, the Mirai code appeared freely available on the Internet. Since then, the AV-TEST systems have been investigating an increasing number of samples with spikes at the end of October, November and beginning of December," says AV Test of the Mirai malware. "Other Linux malware, such as the Tsunami backdoor, has been causing trouble for several years now and can be easily modified for attacks against IoT devices. The detection systems of AV-TEST first detected the Tsunami malicious code in the year 2003. Although, at that time, practically no IoT devices existed, the Linux backdoor already offered attack functions which even today would be suitable for virtually unprotected attacks on routers: In this manner, Tsunami can download additional malicious code onto infected devices and thus make devices remote controllable for criminals. But the old malware can also be used for DDoS attacks. The Darlloz worm, known since 2013, as well as many other Linux and Unix malware programs, have similar attack patterns which AV-TEST has been detecting and analyzing for years."

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Petya Ransomware Authors Demand $250,000 In First Public Statement Since Attack
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '17 at 03:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's public-statements department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: The group responsible for last week's globe-spanning ransomware attack has made their first public statement. Motherboard first spotted the post, which was left on the Tor-only announcement service DeepPaste. In the message, the Petya authors offer the private encryption key used in the attack in exchange for 100 bitcoin, the equivalent of over $250,000 at current rates. Crucially, the message includes a file signed with Petya's private key, which is strong evidence that the message came from the group responsible for Petya. More specifically, it proves that whoever left the message has the necessary private key to decrypt individual files infected by the virus. Because the virus deleted certain boot-level files, it's impossible to entirely recover infected systems, but individual files can still be recovered. The message also included a link to a chat room where the malware authors discussed the offer, although the room has since been deactivated.

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Slashdot Asks: Your Favorite Ride-Sharing App?
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '17 at 03:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's point-A-to-point-B department:
There are many ride-sharing applications on the market but only two get all the media attention: Uber and Lyft. As many of you know, Uber has had a tumultuous year marked by a high-stakes legal fight with Alphabet over Google self-driving car trade secrets, a investigation by the U.S. government into the company's use of a software tool that helped its drivers avoid detection in parts of the country where the service wasn't allowed to operate in, and a sexual harassment investigation that resulted in 20 employees being fired. Uber's CEO Travis Kalanick resigned due to many of these scandals and investor pressure. Despite all of this, Uber continues to do well. Last week, the company announced it hit 5 billion rides across 6 continents, 76 countries, and 450+ cities.

Meanwhile, Lyft, which is only available in the U.S., just announced it hit one million rides a day. The company also says it's seen 48 consecutive months of ride growth and is on track to hit an annualized ride rate of 350 million. Our question to you is this: what ride-sharing app is your favorite? Have you found yourself gravitating more towards Lyft due to Uber's messes, or does that not matter much to you? Bonus: do you have a favorite ride-sharing app that's not Lyft or Uber?

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Mark Zuckerberg Doubles Down On Universal Basic Income, Calls It a 'Bipartisan Issue'
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '17 at 01:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's shared-interest department:
Mark Zuckerberg praised the Alaska Permanent Fund and used it as another platform to lobby for universal basic income, as he did during his commencement address to Harvard in May. The Alaska Permanent Fund was established in 1976 as the Alaska pipeline construction neared completion. According to CNBC, the "goal was to share the oil riches with future generations." From the report: Zuckerberg says the state's cash handout program "provides some good lessons for the rest of the country." The dividend averages $1000 (or more) per person. "That can be especially meaningful if your family has five or six people," says Zuckerberg in a post he wrote about the payment. "This is a novel approach to basic income in a few ways. First, it's funded by natural resources rather than raising taxes. Second, it comes from conservative principles of smaller government, rather than progressive principles of a larger safety net," says Zuckerberg. "This shows basic income is a bipartisan idea." Fundamentally, Zuckerberg says people think and work differently when they have their basic needs met. "Seeing how Alaska put this dividend in place reminded me of a lesson I learned early at Facebook: organizations think profoundly differently when they're profitable than when they're in debt. When you're losing money, your mentality is largely about survival," says Zuckerberg. "But when you're profitable, you're confident about your future and you look for opportunities to invest and grow further. Alaska's economy has historically created this winning mentality, which has led to this basic income. That may be a lesson for the rest of the country as well."

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CNN Warns It May Expose An Anonymous Critic If He Ever Again Publishes Bad Content
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '17 at 01:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's blackmail department:
New submitter evolutionary writes: CNN appears to be giving veiled threats at a Reddit user who posted critical comments about the media giant. After an apology was given by the Reddit user (possibly under fear upon discovering CNN had his identity), CNN stated: "CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change." The story stems around Trump's July 2nd tweet, which includes a video showing him wrestle and takedown someone with a photoshopped CNN logo on their head. The video was accompanied by the hashtags #FraudNewsCNN and #FNN. CNN reportedly tracked down the Reddit user who claimed credit for the tweet and announced they would not publicize the user's identity since they issued a lengthy public apology, promised not to repeat the behavior, and claimed status as a private citizen. However, as The Intercept reports, "the network explicitly threatened that it could change its mind about withholding the user's real name if this behavior changes in the future: 'CNN is not publishing HanA**holeSolo's name because he is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all his offending posts, and because he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again. In addition, he said his statement could serve as an example to others not to do the same. CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.'"

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Cox Expands Home Internet Data Caps, While CenturyLink Abandons Them
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '17 at 12:33 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's nickel-and-dime department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Cox, the third largest U.S. cable company, last week started charging overage fees to customers in four more states. Internet provider CenturyLink, on the other hand, recently ended an experiment with data caps and is giving bill credits to customers in the state of Washington who were charged overage fees during the yearlong trial. Cox, which operates in 18 states with about six million residential and business customers, last week brought overage fees to Arizona, Louisiana, Nevada, and Oklahoma. Cox was already enforcing data caps and overage fees in Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, and Ohio. California, Rhode Island, and Virginia technically have monthly caps but no enforcement of overage fees, according to Cox's list of data caps by location. Massachusetts and North Carolina seem to be exempt from the Cox data caps altogether. Similar to Comcast, Cox lets capped customers use 1TB of data a month and charges $10 for each additional block of 50GB. Cox will introduce a pricier "unlimited" plan later this year, Multichannel News reported. If Cox continues to match Comcast's pricing, the unlimited data plan would cost an additional $50 a month above what customers normally pay. A year ago, CenturyLink started a data-cap trial in Yakima, Washington, imposing a 300GB-per-month cap and overage fees of $10 for each additional 50GB. But instead of expanding the overage fees to more cities, CenturyLink ended the "usage-based billing program."

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Tesla Factory Reportedly Described As a 'Predator Zone' By Female Employees
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '17 at 12:33 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's what's-happening? department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: Tesla's Fremont factory was described by a female employee as a "predator zone" of harassment in a meeting attended by dozens of employees, according to a bombshell report in The Guardian. Other women recalled being catcalled by male employees, feeling unsafe around male managers, and being subjected to sexist comments by their superiors, the report states. For months, The Guardian has been tracking the case of AJ Vandermeyden, a former Tesla engineer who sued the electric automaker for "unwanted and pervasive harassment." In her suit, Vandermeyden alleges that she and other female employees were denied promotions, paid less than their male peers, and retaliated against after making their concerns known to human resources. Several months after making her claims publicly, Vandermeyden was fired by Tesla.

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The XHamster Wikipedia Page Is Suddenly Immensely Popular, and No One Knows Why
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '17 at 11:12 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's things-to-ponder department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: At the beginning of June I started to notice that XHamster, the third most popular adult website after Pornhub and XVideos, had one of the most viewed Wikipedia pages. On May 29, XHamster's Wikipedia page went from receiving around 100,000 views to 200,000. By June 1, it was getting more than 300,000 views a day for no apparent reason. There haven't been any viral stories about XHamster lately. There are no controversies about the page itself that would have prompted sustained attention or an edit war. [...] Pageviews on XHamster's Wikipedia page, however, has been bonkers throughout the month of June for no obvious reason. That's according to a pageview analysis tool from Wikimedia Labs, and confirmed by a Wikipedia spokesperson. I reached out to Wikipedia to see if it could shed some light on this puzzle. In an email, a spokesperson verified that the pageviews were accurate but that they didn't know what was causing the surge. Wikipedia's spokesperson pointed out that the edit activity, unlike its pageviews, has remained steady.

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NASA Is Going To Crash a Satellite Into an Asteroid
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '17 at 11:12 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's on-purpose department:
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is moving ahead with plans to try out deflection techniques on a passing asteroid to prepare for future, threatening space matter. From a report: The space agency has entered the preliminary design phase for its Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART). This represents the first trial of what's called the "kinetic impactor technique" of asteroid deflection. Put another way, NASA hopes that by hurling a refrigerator-sized spacecraft at one of the space rocks at a speed roughly nine times that of a bullet, it can knock the asteroid off course and save the Earth. The plan is to launch the first DART satellite at a binary asteroid called Didymos ("Twins"); the twin asteroids are scheduled to pass by earth in 2022 and 2024. (Neither pass poses any threat, according to NASA.) By striking one of the two asteroids, scientists will be able to measure the impact of the collision.

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Ukraine Scrambles To Contain New Cyber Threat After NotPetya Attack
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '17 at 09:54 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's tussle-continues department:
The Ukrainian software firm used as part of last week's global cyber attack warned on Wednesday that all computers sharing a network with its infected accounting software had been compromised by hackers. From a report: The attack used a virus, dubbed "NotPetya" by some experts, to take down thousands of computers in dozens of countries, disrupting shipping and businesses. A video released by Ukrainian police showed masked men in combat fatigues and armed with assault rifles raiding the offices of software developer Intellect Service late on Tuesday, after cyber security researchers said they had found a "backdoor" written into some of the updates issued by its M.E. Doc accounting software. M.E. Doc is used by 80 percent of Ukrainian companies and installed on around 1 million computers in the country. Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said police had blocked a second cyber attack from servers hosting the software.

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Volvo Says It Will Only Make Electric and Hybrid Cars Starting in 2019
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '17 at 09:54 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's going-forward department:
Volvo has announced that starting in 2019, all of the new models it produces will be electric or hybrid. From a report: "This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car," said Hakan Samuelsson, Volvo president and chief executive, in a statement. "Volvo Cars has stated that it plans to have sold a total of 1 million electrified cars by 2025. When we said it we meant it. This is how we are going to do it." The move makes Volvo the first traditional automaker to set a date to phase out cars powered only by internal combustion engines, Reuters reports. The company said it will launch five fully electric cars between 2019 and 2021. Three of these will be Volvos, and two will be sold under the company's Polestar "electrified performance brand."

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EU Parliament Calls For Longer Lifetime For Products
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '17 at 08:34 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's moving-forward department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: Europe's Parliament called on the Commission, Member States and producers Tuesday to take measures to ensure consumers can enjoy durable, high-quality products that can be repaired and upgraded. At their plenary session in Strasbourg, MEPs said tangible goods and software should be easier to repair and update, and made a plea to tackle built-in obsolescence and make spare parts affordable. 77 per cent of EU consumers would rather repair their goods than buy new ones, according to a 2014 Eurobarometer survey, but they ultimately have to replace or discard them because they are discouraged by the cost of repairs and the level of service provided. "We must reinstate the reparability of all products put on the market," said Parliament's rapporteur Pascal Durand MEP: "We have to make sure that batteries are no longer glued into a product, but are screwed in so that we do not have to throw away a phone when the battery breaks down. We need to make sure that consumers are aware of how long the products last and how they can be repaired."

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Chinese Court Seizes Millions in Assets of LeEco Founder as Conglomerate's Troubles Grow
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '17 at 08:34 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's things-not-working-out department:
Chinese Internet tycoon and LeEco founder Jia Yueting's ambition to challenge the likes of Apple and Tesla looks even more in doubt after $182 million of his assets were frozen by a Shanghai court following unpaid loans. From a report: Jia and LeEco came in for stinging criticism from Chinese media Wednesday, which warned that the Internet streaming company and hardware manufacturer was set to fall into further trouble, with the asset freeze as only the beginning. LeEco's development "is too big, too quick and too reckless," Beijing Business Today wrote. "Developing TV [programs and TV sets], mobile phones, [electric] cars and sports programs all consume too much cash at the same time. Not only can the capital not sustain these developments; fractures are inevitable in areas ranging from human resources, technology and management." According to the official Xinhua news agency, the Shanghai High People's Court last week ruled in favor of China Merchants Bank's application to freeze $182 million in assets belonging to Jia, his wife and three LeEco affiliates. Further reading: LeEco Said To Lay Off Over 80 Percent of US Workforce, LeEco's CEO Jia Yueting Says Company Overstretched, Now Running Out of Cash, and China's LeEco Calls Off Its $2 Billion Purchase of TV Maker Vizio.

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Afghan Girl Roboticists Denied US Visas
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '17 at 07:13 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's Trump's-USA department:
Three anonymous readers share a similar report: An all-girl team of roboticists will watch their creations compete in a US competition via Skype after being denied visas to enter the country. President Trump recently ordered a ban on travel from six Muslim-majority countries, but Afghanistan was not included on the list. Teams from Iran, Sudan and Syria -- which are on the list -- did manage to enter the country. The six-member team watched their ball-sorting robot compete in Washington DC via a video link from their hometown of Herat, in western Afghanistan. "We still don't know the reason why we were not granted visas, because other countries participating in the competition have been given visas," Fatemah Qaderyan, 14, told Reuters.

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Amazon's Alexa Passes 15,000 skills, Up From 10,000 in February
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '17 at 07:13 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's craze-for-smart-speakers department:
As more and more companies get into the smart speaker game, a new report shows just how much ground they have to make up to catch Amazon's digital assistant, Alexa. From a report: Amazon's Alexa voice platform has now passed 15,000 skills -- the voice-powered apps that run on devices like the Echo speaker, Echo Dot, newer Echo Show and others. The figure is up from the 10,000 skills Amazon officially announced back in February, which had then represented a 3x increase from September. The new 15,000 figure was first reported via third-party analysis from Voicebot, and Amazon has since confirmed the figure. According to Voicebot, which only analyzed skills in the U.S., the milestone was reached for the first time on June 30, 2017. During the month of June, new skill introductions increased by 23 percent, up from the less than 10 percent growth that was seen in each of the prior three months.

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Raspberry Pi's Smaller, Cheaper Rival: NanoPi Neo Plus2 Weighs in at $25
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '17 at 01:55 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's miniature-computers department:
FriendlyARM, the maker of compact NanoPi developer boards, has released the NanoPi Neo Plus2 for $25. From a report: This board is an update to the recently released NanoPi Neo 2, a $15 cookie-sized developer board measuring 40mm x 40mm (1.6in) with a 64-bit Allwinner H5 processor, 512MB RAM, and one USB port. The NanoPi Neo Plus2 is slightly larger at 52mm x 40mm (2in x 1.6in) and has two USB ports. It has the same H5 quad-core A53 ARM Cortex processor, but comes with 1GB RAM and 8GB eMMC storage. The NeoPlus2's storage in addition to Gigabit Ethernet puts it ahead of the Raspberry Pi 3 on paper, and at $25 undercuts the better-known board by $10.

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