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Sophisticated Spy Tool 'The Mask' Rages Undetected For 7 Years
Posted by News Fetcher on February 10 '14 at 01:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's protect-ya-neck department:
thomst writes "Kim Zetter of Wired's Threat Level reports that Kaspersky Labs discovered a Spanish-language spyware application that employs "uses techniques and code that surpass any nation-state spyware previously spotted in the wild." The malware, dubbed "The Mask" by Kaspersky's researchers, targeted targeted government agencies, diplomatic offices, embassies, companies in the oil, gas and energy industries, and research organizations and activists had been loose on the Internet since at least 2007, before it was shut down last month. It infected its targets via a malicious website that contained exploits — among which were the Adobe Flash player vulnerability CVE-2012-0773 — that affected both Windows and Linux machines. Users were directed to the site via spearphishing emails."

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NASA Now Accepting Applications From Companies That Want To Mine the Moon
Posted by News Fetcher on February 10 '14 at 12:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's getting-some-cheese department:
cold fjord writes "The Verge reports, "NASA is now working with private companies to take the first steps in exploring the moon for valuable resources like helium 3 and rare earth metals. Initial proposals are due tomorrow for the Lunar Cargo Transportation and Landing by Soft Touchdown program (CATALYST). One or more private companies will win a contract to build prospecting robots, the first step toward mining the moon. Final proposals are due on March 17th, 2014. NASA has not said when it will announce the winner."

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Adjusting GPAs: A Statistician's Effort To Tackle Grade Inflation
Posted by News Fetcher on February 10 '14 at 12:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's precious-snowflakes department:
An anonymous reader writes "A recent analysis of 200 colleges and universities published in the Teachers College Record found 43 percent of all letter grades awarded in 2008 were A's, compared to 16 percent in 1960. And Harvard's student paper recently reported the median grade awarded to undergraduates at the elite school is now an A-. A statistician at Duke tried to make a difference and stirred up a hornet's nest in the process."

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Elon Musk, Tesla CTO Talk Model X Details, Model S Upgrades
Posted by News Fetcher on February 10 '14 at 12:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's things-to-come department:
joe5 writes "Tesla Motors tries to keep product details quiet for the most part, but in a recent Q & A session in Norway (Teslas sell extremely well there) Tesla CEO Elon Musk and the company's CTO JB Straubel discussed some interesting nuggets about the Model S, the upcoming Model X SUV, and the company's planned Model E sedan."

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Boom Or Bust: The Lowdown On Code Academies
Posted by News Fetcher on February 10 '14 at 11:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's what-have-we-learned? department:
snydeq writes "Programming boot camps are on the rise, but can a crash course in coding truly pay off for students and employers alike? InfoWorld's Dan Tynan discusses the relative (and perceived) value of code academies with founders, alumni, recruiters, and hiring managers. Early impressions and experiences are mixed, but the hacker school trend seems certain to stick. 'Many businesses that are looking at a shortfall of more than a million programmers by the year 2020 are more than willing to give inexperienced grads a chance, even if some are destined to fail. The zero-to-hero success stories may be relatively rare, but they happen often enough to ensure that the boom in quick-and-dirty coding schools is only likely to accelerate.'"

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DARPA Seeks the Holy Grail of Search Engines
Posted by News Fetcher on February 10 '14 at 10:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's find-it-now department:
coondoggie writes "The scientists at DARPA say the current methods of searching the Internet for all manner of information just won't cut it in the future. Today the agency announced a program that would aim to totally revamp Internet search and 'revolutionize the discovery, organization and presentation of search results.' Specifically, the goal of DARPA's Memex program is to develop software that will enable domain-specific indexing of public web content and domain-specific search capabilities. According to the agency the technologies developed in the program will also provide the mechanisms for content discovery, information extraction, information retrieval, user collaboration, and other areas needed to address distributed aggregation, analysis, and presentation of web content."

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GNU Hurd Gets Improvements: User-Space Driver Support and More
Posted by News Fetcher on February 10 '14 at 10:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's now-even-better department:
jones_supa writes "At FOSDEM 2014 some recent developments of GNU Hurd were discussed (PDF slides). In the name of freedom, GNU Hurd has now the ability to run device drivers from user-space via the project's DDE layer. Among the mentioned use-cases for the GNU Hurd DDE are allowing VPN traffic to just one application, mounting one's own files, redirecting a user's audio, and more flexible hardware support. You can also run Linux kernel drivers in Hurd's user-space. Hurd developers also have working IDE support, X.Org / graphics support, an AHCI driver for Serial ATA, and a Xen PV DomU. Besides the 64-bit support not being in a usable state, USB and sound support is still missing. As some other good news for GNU Hurd, around 79% of the Debian archive is now building for GNU Hurd, including the Xfce desktop (GNOME and KDE soon) and Firefox web browser."

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Comparing Cloud-Based Image Services For Developers
Posted by News Fetcher on February 10 '14 at 10:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's compare-and-contrast department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "As Web applications grow in number and capability, storing large amounts of images can quickly become a problem. If you're a Web developer and need to store your client images, do you just keep them on the same server hosting your Website? What if you have several gigabytes worth of images that need to be processed in some way? Today, many developers are looking for an easy but cost-effective solution whereby images can be stored in the cloud and even processed automatically, thus taking a huge load off one's own servers, freeing up resources to focus on building applications. With that in mind, developer and editor Jeff Cogswell looks at a couple different cloud-based services for image storage and processing. At first glance, these services seem similar—but they're actually very different. He examines Cloudinary and Blitline, and encourages developers to take a look at ImageResizer, an open-source package that does a lot of what proprietary services do (you just need to install the software on your own servers). 'If you're not a programmer but a web designer or blogger, Blitline won't be of much use for you,' he writes. 'If you are a developer, both Cloudinary and Blitline work well.' What do you think?"

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Can Commercial Storage Services Handle the NSA's Metadata?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 10 '14 at 09:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's ocean-of-data department:
itwbennett writes "In a review of NSA surveillance last month, President Obama called for a new approach on telephony metadata that will 'establish a mechanism that preserves the capabilities we need without the government holding this bulk metadata.' Obama said that a third party holding all the data in a single, consolidated database would be essentially doing what is a government function, and may not increase public confidence that its privacy is being protected. Now, an RFI (request for information) has been posted to get information on U.S. industry's commercially available capabilities, so that the government can investigate alternative approaches."

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Microsoft Building an 'Xbox Reading' App For Windows 8
Posted by News Fetcher on February 10 '14 at 08:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's read-all-about-it department:
Nate the greatest writes "Microsoft has already sunk $600 million into Nook Media, the ebook division spun off from Barnes & Noble in 2012, but I guess that's not enough for the Redmond tech giant: news broke today that they have a third ebook effort in the works. A new job listing discovered by the Chinese tech blog LiveSino has revealed that Microsoft is hiring an ebook developer to work on 'a groundbreaking interactive reading app on Windows, which incorporates books, magazines, and comics.' The position was posted by the Xbox Music, Video, and Reading unit, which had already released two apps for Windows 8 (video, music) and is clearly going for a trifecta. This new app shows all the signs of being completely unrelated to the Office Reader app, which leaked last year. That app reportedly focused more on PDFs, textbooks, and office docs, while the 'Xbox Reading' app mentions magazines and digital comics."

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Dyson Invests £5 Million To Create 'Intelligent Domestic Robots'
Posted by News Fetcher on February 10 '14 at 08:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's all-the-better-to-clean-you-with department:
DavidGilbert99 writes "James Dyson only releases products he is 100% happy with, which is why, despite nearly a decade of research in the area, his company has yet to release a robotic vacuum cleaner. To help drive research forward, he will invest £5 million in a joint research lab at Imperial College London which will focus on 'vision systems,' which Dyson hopes will help create the next generation of 'intelligent domestic robots.'" Last week Dyson proposed that the UK government offer monetary incentives to students with an interest and aptitude in science.

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Hackers Penetrate Top Medical Device Makers
Posted by News Fetcher on February 10 '14 at 07:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's lets-have-a-look department:
An anonymous reader writes "Hackers have penetrated the computer networks of the country's top medical device makers, The Chronicle has learned. The attacks struck Medtronic, the world's largest medical device maker, Boston Scientific and St. Jude Medical sometime during the first half of 2013 and might have lasted as long as several months, according to a source close to the companies."

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Foxconn Building Factories In Indonesia
Posted by News Fetcher on February 10 '14 at 06:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's taking-the-show-on-the-road department:
jfruh writes "Chinese electronics manufacturing giant Foxconn is building factories in Indonesia, and upon hearing the news you might be tempted to think the company is simply moving into labor markets where it can find cheaper employees. But in fact, the Indonesian factories will specifically produce smartphones and computers for Indonesians; the country has almost as many people as the United States, but smartphone penetration there remains low."

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How Russia Transformed a Subtropical Beach Resort To Host the Winter Olympics
Posted by News Fetcher on February 10 '14 at 05:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's putin-alone-between-prizefights department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Duncan Geere reports at The Verge that Russian resort as Sochi, on the eastern shore of the Black Sea, is humid and subtropical with temperatures averaging about 52 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter, and 75 degrees in the summer. "There is almost no snow here — at the moment it's raining," says Olga Mironova, a local resident. It's estimated that the cost of staging the Olympics in Sochi has been greater than the previous three Winter Games combined — ballooning to a whopping $51 billion including the cost of implementing an extensive system of safeguards to ensure there'll be sufficient snow in Sochi for the games including the cost of implementing one of the largest snowmaking systems in Europe. The system includes two huge water reservoirs that feed 400 snow cannons installed along the slopes that can generate snow in temperatures of up to 60 degrees fahrenheit. If that snow isn't enough, then the authorities will fall back on 710,000 cubic meters of snow collected during the winters of previous years leading up to the games. To keep it from melting in the region's hot summers, 10 separate stockpiles have been kept packed tight under insulating covers high up in the mountains, safe from the sun's rays. Down in Sochi itself the other half of the games will be held in five indoor arenas that will host figure skating, speed skating, hockey, and curling, and an additional outdoor area will host the opening and closing ceremonies. In each of these indoor arenas, underfloor cooling systems are installed so that the ice stays frozen above it using propylene glycol, which doesn't freeze until temperatures reach 8.6 F. Climatologists predict that even under a best-case scenario, almost half the venues that have hosted the Winter Olympics over the last century would be unable to do so by 2080 without resorting to extensive and expensive artificial snowmaking techniques.""

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Wine On Android Starts Allowing Windows Binaries On Android/ARM
Posted by News Fetcher on February 10 '14 at 03:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's it-should-be-called-bender department:
An anonymous reader writes "Wine on Android is happening slowly but surely ... Wine is now in a state to be able to run your favorite Windows (x86) game on your Android-powered ARM device, assuming the game is Windows Solitaire. Wine has been making progress on Android to allow simple applications to run on Wine, but they have run into some challenges, as noted in the annual talk at FOSDEM."

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German Court Forbids Resale of Valve Games
Posted by News Fetcher on February 10 '14 at 12:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's einmal-und-nur-einmal department:
sfcrazy writes "A German court has dismissed a 'reselling' case in favor of Valve Software, the maker of Steam OS. German consumer group Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband (vzbv) had filed a complaint against Valve as Valve's EULA (End User License Agreement) prohibits users from re-selling their games. What it means is that German users can't resell their Steam Games."

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Mac OS X Bitcoin Stealing Trojan Horse Called OSX/CoinThief Discovered
Posted by News Fetcher on February 09 '14 at 10:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's willie-sutton-principle department:
An anonymous reader writes "SecureMac.com has discovered a new trojan horse for Mac OS X called OSX/CoinThief.A, which spies on web traffic to steal Bitcoins. This malware has been found in the wild, along with numerous reports of stolen coins. The malware, which comes disguised as an app to send and receive payments on Bitcoin Stealth Addresses, instead covertly monitors all web traffic in order to steal login info for Bitcoin wallets."

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LinkedIn Ditches Feature That Was a 'Dream For Attackers'
Posted by News Fetcher on February 09 '14 at 07:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's remember-me-from-the-slaughterhouse-internship? department:
angry tapir writes "LinkedIn is shutting down Intro, its recently launched mobile service for connecting people over email, that raised security concerns. Intro was launched last October and described at the time as a 'dream come true for hackers' The service was made for the iPhone, and was designed to grab LinkedIn profile information and insert it into emails received on phones. The service displayed that information to the recipient from the email's sender if the sender was also on LinkedIn."

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Online, You're Being Watched At All Times; Act Accordingly.
Posted by News Fetcher on February 09 '14 at 04:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's so-act-suspicious department:
An anonymous reader writes "Kaspersky Lab's Internet security expert Costin Raiu discussing internet surveillance claims that you should assume that you're being watched at all times. The article reports that Raiu conducts his online activities under the assumption that his movements are being monitored by government hackers. Raiu: 'I operate under the principle that my computer is owned by at least three governments' ... 'this is not meant as a scare tactic, but a rather as a statement of fact that should now be the default setting for everyone.'"

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A Corporate War Against a Scientist, and How He Fought Back
Posted by News Fetcher on February 09 '14 at 03:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's tools-at-his-disposal department:
AthanasiusKircher writes "Environmental and health concerns about atrazine — one of the most commonly used herbicides in the U.S. — have been voiced for years, leading to an EU ban and multiple investigations by the EPA. Tyrone Hayes, a Berkeley professor who has spearheaded research on the topic, began to display signs of apparent paranoia over a decade ago. He noticed strangers following him to conferences around the world, taking notes and asking questions aimed to make him look foolish. He worried that someone was reading his email, and attacks against his reputation seemed to be everywhere; search engines even displayed ad hits like 'Tyrone Hayes Not Credible' when his name was searched for. But he wasn't paranoid: documents released after a lawsuit from Midwestern towns against Syngenta, the manufacturer of atrazine, showed a coordinated smear campaign. Syngenta's public relations team had a list of ways to defend its product, topped by 'discredit Hayes.' Its internal list of methods: 'have his work audited by 3rd party,' 'ask journals to retract,' 'set trap to entice him to sue,' 'investigate funding,' 'investigate wife,' etc. A recent New Yorker article chronicles this war against Hayes, but also his decision to go on the offensive and strike back. He took on the role of activist against atrazine, giving over 50 public talks on the subject each year, and even taunting Syngenta with profanity-laced emails, often delivered in a rapping 'gangsta' style. The story brings up important questions for science and its public persona: How do scientists fight a PR war against corporations with unlimited pockets? How far should they go?"

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