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New York Times Sells Boston Globe At 93% Loss
Posted by News Fetcher on August 04 '13 at 08:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's not-bad-for-a-newspaper department:
An anonymous reader writes "The New York Times announced this morning that it has sold the Boston Globe newspaper and related assets, including the Boston.com website and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette daily paper, to John Henry, the principal owner of the Boston Red Sox. The price was $70 million in cash, a small fraction of the $1.1 billion the Times paid to acquire the Globe in 1993, and does not include assumption of the Globe's pension liabilities, estimated at $110 million, which will remain with the Times. Since then the paper's weekday circulation has fallen from 507,000 to 246,000 (including digital), mirroring the declining fortunes of many other daily newspapers across the country. Henry, who also owns the Liverpool FC and various other sports- and media- related properties, made his fortune in the investment industry; however, his hedge fund company recently closed after several years of poor performance."

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Samsung Smart TV: Basically a Linux Box Running Vulnerable Web Apps
Posted by News Fetcher on August 03 '13 at 04:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's for-sufficiently-dumb-values-of-smart department:
chicksdaddy writes "Two researchers at the Black Hat Briefings security conference Thursday said Smart TVs from electronics giant Samsung are rife with vulnerabilities in the underlying operating system and Java-based applications. Those vulnerabilities could be used to steal sensitive information on the device owner, or even spy on the television's surroundings using an integrated webcam. Speaking in Las Vegas, Aaron Grattafiori and Josh Yavor, both security engineers at the firm ISEC Partners, described Smart TVs as Linux boxes outfitted with a Webkit-based browser. They demonstrated how vulnerabilities in SmartHub, the Java-based application that is responsible for many of the Smart TV's interactive features, could be exploited by a local or remote attacker to surreptitiously activate and control an embedded webcam on the SmartTV, launch drive-by download attacks and steal local user credentials and those of connected devices, browser history, cache and cookies as well as credentials for the local wireless network. Samsung has issued patches for many of the affected devices and promises more changes in its next version of the Smart TV. This isn't the first time Smart TVs have been shown to be vulnerable. In December, researchers at the firm ReVuln also disclosed a vulnerability in the Smart TV's firmware that could be used to launch remote attacks."

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Bradley Manning and the 'Hacker Madness' Scare Tactic
Posted by News Fetcher on August 03 '13 at 03:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's sounds-like-a-j.-k.-rowling-novel department:
New submitter wabrandsma sends this excerpt from New Scientist:
"The Bradley Manning case continues a trend of government prosecutions that use familiarity with digital tools and knowledge of computers as a scare tactic and a basis for obtaining grossly disproportionate and unfair punishments, strategies enabled by broad, vague laws like the CFAA and the Espionage Act. Let's call this the 'hacker madness' strategy. Using it, the prosecution portrays actions taken by someone using a computer as more dangerous or scary than they actually are by highlighting the digital tools used to a nontechnical or even technophobic judge. ... We've seen this trick before. In a case that we at the Electronic Frontier Foundation handled in 2009, Boston College police used the fact that our client worked on a Linux operating system with "a black screen with white font" as part of a basis for a search warrant. Luckily the Massachusetts Supreme Court tossed out the warrant after EFF got involved, but who knows what would have happened had we not been there. And happily, Oracle got a big surprise when it tried a similar trick in Oracle v. Google and discovered that the judge was a programmer who sharply called them on it."

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Extraneous Network Services Leave Home Routers Unsecure
Posted by News Fetcher on August 03 '13 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's doing-it-wrong department:
An anonymous reader writes "Today's home routers include a multitude of extra functionality, such as the ability to act as a file and print server. An article from CNET shows how an attacker can use vulnerabilities in these services, such as buffer overflows, directory traversal, race conditions, command injections, and bad permissions to take over the router from the local network without knowing the administrative password. Some of the worst vulnerabilities were in undocumented, proprietary services that users cannot disable and allowed an attacker to achieve a root shell. The researchers who discovered the vulnerabilities will be demonstrating them at the Wall of Sheep and Wireless Village at DEF CON."

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Obama Administration Overrules iPhone Trade Ban
Posted by News Fetcher on August 03 '13 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's did-not-see-that-one-coming department:
Back in June, the U.S. International Trade Commission issued an import ban on the iPhone 4 and iPad 2 3G due to patent violations. Now, the White House has exercised its privilege to overrule the ban. In his letter to the ITC (PDF), Ambassador Michael Froman said 'he was not making a decision about the merits of Samsung's case, or its right to seek compensation. Rather, he emphasized that because the patent in question was now a widely held technology standard, banning the products in question would be too disruptive to consumers and the economy.' This is the first time an ITC decision has been overruled since 1987.

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Why PBS Won't Do Android
Posted by News Fetcher on August 03 '13 at 12:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's it's-a-gateway-operating-system department:
bogaboga writes "You might be wondering why the U.S. Public Broadcasting Service doesn't have a compelling Android footprint. I was wondering too; until they provided the answer. They say, 'Simply put, it’s too complicated for us to even consider an Android app for the first version; we’ll continue to support those viewers with mobile web. ... As we’re focused on the tablet for this project, we’re only designing for the larger screen sizes. But even there, there are a wide range of sizes and aspect ratios. It’s possible to build flexible sizing for these screen layouts, just as we do for the range of desktop web screen sizes. But the flip side to these wide variations is that in a touch experience, ergonomics plays an important role in the design. Navigational elements need to be within easy reach of the edges of the screens since people often are holding their tablets. If the experience is not fine-tuned to each variation the experience would suffer.' They also cite fragmentation. I'm left wondering whether they didn't find support for various screen sizes on Android developer website. Their budget is undoubtedly limited; are their concerns legit? What companies and organizations have developed Android applications that are good to work with on various screen sizes?"

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Woz & Jobs 2.0: Leap Motion's Holtz & Buckwald
Posted by News Fetcher on August 03 '13 at 11:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's not-until-one-has-an-awesome-Woz-beard department:
theodp writes "Over at Popular Science, Tom Foste takes a look at the $79 Leap Motion controller and inventors David Holz and Michael Buckwald, best friends since they were fifth graders in Florida. Potential applications for the device are many, as proof-of-concept demos ranging from controlling Windows 8 (video) to driving JPL's Athlete Rover (video) show. 'If we're successful and build something that is a fundamentally better way to interact with a computer, there are essentially an unlimited number of use cases,' Buckwald says. 'Eventually, anything that has a computer could be controlled with it—every laptop, every desktop, every smartphone, every tablet, every TV, every surgical station, every robot, potentially even a Leap in every car.' And even if 'it's got some growing pains to experience,' writes Ars Technica's Lee Hutchinson, 'it's cool-it's extremely cool. It's not yet a game-changing interface device, but it could be.'"

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Glaciers Protect Alpine Peaks From Erosion
Posted by News Fetcher on August 03 '13 at 10:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's just-put-a-tarp-over-it department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "BBC reports that French scientists studying erosion on Mont Blanc have discovered that glaciers shield summits from erosion, acting as a protective lid and playing little part in erosion. In contrast, water and rain eroded glacier-free areas 10 times faster than areas protected by the glacier. These results may explain the high altitude of the Alps. Driven by the tectonic collision of Europe with Africa, the high alpine bedrock is rising about one millimeter each year. Glacier-free areas of the Alps erode at a similar rate but where the mountains are protected by ice, the peaks wear away at one tenth that rate. A long-term effect of this might be a rise in the maximum altitude of the Alps. 'However, mountains don't grow to infinity, so there must be another mechanism which has lowered the summit of Europe,' says Fritz Schlunegger. 'According to (Dr) Godon's findings, this erosion is not related to glaciers, so we still have to think about other possibilities.' Around the globe, mountain glaciers — especially those at low latitudes — are retreating in response to climate change. The glaciers around Mount Everest have lost more than one-eighth of their area in the past 50 years, and the snowline had retreated 180 meters up the mountain sides. The results suggest that changes like these could change the shapes of the world's highest mountains, and that climate and mountain landscape are intimately linked."

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Geeks.com Online Shop Has Closed
Posted by News Fetcher on August 03 '13 at 09:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's fare-thee-well department:
Duggeek writes "After 17 years, one of the best kept secrets in shopping, Geeks.com, has shuttered its online doors. Myself, I have a small book of sales orders from years past. According to the latest announcement, that stack will not be growing any larger. Quoting: 'Our vision has always been to provide the geeky tech consumer an alternative avenue to purchase quality refurbished and new techy products and gadgets. That vision was the cornerstone of our slogan "Best Deals Every Nanosecond." Unfortunately after a lot of difficult consideration the owners of Geeks.com feel we are unable to come through on this vision any longer. There are many why's... The e-commerce landscape, as well as the consumer electronics market, has changed dramatically with intense competition and a 1000lb gorilla (do we really need to say who) competitor that can lose millions of dollars to buy customers and suck up inventory. They can lose money with impunity, supported by the stock market. We cannot.' The landing page of their website now goes directly to this announcement; the storefront is switched off. They maintain a Facebook page where a combination of remorse and surprise is rapidly growing. The letter also asserts that they will fulfill all business obligations to online customers during their transition to both a solitary, brick-and-mortar presence in California and a wholesale division, Evertek. Personally, just about every keyboard in my closet was purchased from them, and another box full of USB devices as well. Five of my PC builds exist because of them. Feel free to share your own memories of the former Computer Geeks Discount Outlet."

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YouTube Co-founder Calls For Global Access To TV Online
Posted by News Fetcher on August 03 '13 at 08:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's incumbents-are-annoying department:
An anonymous reader writes "YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley says internet users should be able to legitimately watch content from anywhere in the world at any time. He says the days of national TV networks controlling the global online rights to shows has to end. 'I think the business models are breaking down and the companies that are going to win in this new world are the ones that make it as easy as possible for the consumers to consume the content wherever and whenever they want.' Hurley also says YouTube will be bidding for more online live sports."

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Creator of xkcd Reveals Secret Back-story of His Epic, 3,099-Panel 'Time' Comic
Posted by News Fetcher on August 03 '13 at 06:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's about-time department:
vikingpower writes "Randall Munroe, the comic author best known as the creator of the xkcd webcomic, reveals the secret backstory of his epic, 3099-panel 'Time' strip in an interesting interview with Wired. He says, 'In my comic, our civilization is long gone. Every civilization with written records has existed for less than 5,000 years; it seems optimistic to hope that the current one will last for 10,000 more ... The Earth’s axis wobbles over the millennia, and some individual stars move visibly, so I used a few different pieces of astronomy software–with a lot of hand correction and tweaking–to render the future night sky. When the Sun sets in the night sequence, one of the first things you see is the gap where Antares should be, which was the first clue that this is taking place in the far future. Later in the night–which lasted for several days of real time–more astronomical details let readers pin down the date more precisely.' The comic can be seen as an animation on YouTube. There is also a complete click-through version available on geekwagon. This comic inspired a dedicated wiki and has its own glossary."

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FBI Pressures Internet Providers To Install Surveillance Software
Posted by News Fetcher on August 03 '13 at 05:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's a-piece-of-the-action department:
An anonymous reader sends this quote from an article at CNet: "The U.S. government is quietly pressuring telecommunications providers to install eavesdropping technology deep inside companies' internal networks to facilitate surveillance efforts. FBI officials have been sparring with carriers, a process that has on occasion included threats of contempt of court, in a bid to deploy government-provided software capable of intercepting and analyzing entire communications streams. The FBI's legal position during these discussions is that the software's real-time interception of metadata is authorized under the Patriot Act. Attempts by the FBI to install what it internally refers to as 'port reader' software, which have not been previously disclosed, were described to CNET in interviews over the last few weeks. One former government official said the software used to be known internally as the 'harvesting program.'"

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Researchers Demo Exploits Bypassing UEFI Secure Boot
Posted by News Fetcher on August 03 '13 at 04:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's didn't-see-that-one-coming department:
itwbennett writes "Researchers demonstrated at Black Hat this week two attacks that bypassed Secure Boot in order to install a UEFI bootkit — boot rootkit — on affected computers. The first exploit works because certain vendors do not properly protect their firmware, allowing an attacker to modify the code responsible for enforcing Secure Boot, said researcher Yuriy Bulygin, who works at McAfee. The second exploit demonstrated by the researchers can run in user mode, which means that an attacker would only need to gain code execution rights on the system by exploiting a vulnerability in a regular application like Java, Adobe Flash, Microsoft Office or others. In both cases, the exploits are possible not because of vulnerabilities in Secure Boot itself, but because of UEFI implementation errors made by platform vendors."

Of course, a hardware security system that is too complex to verify seems like a fatal flaw.

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Shuttleworth Answers FSF Call for Free Software Drivers on Edge
Posted by News Fetcher on August 03 '13 at 01:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's believe-when-seen department:
WebMink writes "In an interview at OSCON, Mark Shuttleworth of Canonical spoke about the vision behind the Ubuntu Edge phone as a concept device to test features the mobile industry is too conservative to try. Notably, he agreed with the Free Software Foundation's demands that the device should carry no proprietary software and have Free drivers (transcript): '... we'll ship this with Android and Ubuntu, no plans to put proprietary applications on it. We haven't finalized the silicon selection so we're looking at the next generation silicon from all major vendors. I would like to ship it with all Free drivers.'"

Although not a hard promise, it is a promising developing.

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Cab Hailing Service Uber Collected Just $9M of Fares During 15 Months In Boston
Posted by News Fetcher on August 02 '13 at 11:30 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's taxi-taxi-proven-more-effective department:
curtwoodward writes "Uber, the well-funded startup that hails cabs and black cars with a smartphone app, is a pretty slick way to book a ride. But how competitive is Uber with the traditional, highly regulated cab market? According to results from the startup's move into Boston, not very. Figures released in a court case show that, over 15 months, Uber processed just $9 million in gross fares (the drivers get most of that). Meanwhile, Boston's overall cab industry is pegged at doing about $250 million a year in fares. Despite the publicity, Uber still has a long way to go."

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NSA Provided £100m Funding For GCHQ Operations
Posted by News Fetcher on August 02 '13 at 08:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's long-live-the-queen department:
cold fjord writes "The Telegraph reports, 'GCHQ has received at least £100 million from the U.S. to help fund intelligence gathering, raising questions over American influence on the British agencies. ... It also emerged that the intelligence agency wants the ability to "exploit any phone, anywhere, any time" and that some staff have raised concerns over the "morality and ethics" of their operational work. ... The agency has faced claims it was handed intelligence on individuals from the US gained from the Prism programme that collected telephone and web records. However, it has been cleared of any wrongdoing or attempts to circumvent British law by the parliamentary intelligence and security committee, as well as by Mr Hague. The payments from the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) are detailed in GCHQ's annual "investment portfolios", leaked by Mr Snowden to The Guardian. The NSA paid GCHQ £22.9million in 2009, £39.9million in 2010 and £34.7million in 2011/12. ...Another £15.5million went towards redevelopment projects at GCHQ's site in Bude, Cornwall, which intercepts communications from the transatlantic cables that carry internet traffic. ... A Cabinet Office spokesman said: "In a 60-year alliance it is entirely unsurprising that there are joint projects in which resources and expertise are pooled, but the benefits flow in both directions."'"

< article continued at Slashdot >

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NASA and ESA To Demonstrate Earth-Moon Laser Communication
Posted by News Fetcher on August 02 '13 at 06:30 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's moobase-needs-youtube department:
cylonlover writes with this news bite about a cool new ground to space laser communication system from NASA and ESA: "Space communications have relied on radio since the first Sputnik in 1957. It's a mature, reliable technology, but it's reaching its limits. The amount of data sent has increased exponentially for decades and NASA expects the trend to continue. The current communications systems are reaching their limits, so NASA and ESA are going beyond radio as a solution. As part of this effort, ESA has finished tests of part of a new communications system, in preparations for a demonstration in October in which it will receive a laser data download from a NASA lunar orbiter."

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Hacking Group Linked To Chinese Army Caught Attacking Dummy Water Plant
Posted by News Fetcher on August 02 '13 at 04:30 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's bad-movie-plot department:
holy_calamity writes "MIT Technology Review reports that APT1, the China-based hacking group said to steal data from U.S. companies, has been caught taking over a decoy water plant control system. The honeypot mimicked the remote access control panels and physical control system of a U.S. municipal water plant. The decoy was one of 12 set up in 8 countries around the world, which together attracted more than 70 attacks, 10 of which completely compromised the control system. China and Russia were the leading sources of the attacks. The researcher behind the study says his results provide the first clear evidence that people actively seek to exploit the many security problems of industrial systems."

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Monopoles and Magnetricity
Posted by News Fetcher on August 02 '13 at 04:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's one-pole-to-rule-them-all department:
szotz writes "Although there was once a hint from a cosmic ray experiment (on Valentine's Day, no less), no one's found any solid evidence of monopoles (unpaired north and south magnets) flying around the cosmos. But physicists did find monopole-like quasiparticles in some exotic crystals in 2009. One of the discoverers has an article this month in IEEE Spectrum that looks at how the particles were found and what's happened since. They might seem like a wacky curiosity, but the author says we shouldn't write them off — they might one day make useful new 'magnetronic' devices."

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Luxury Car Hacker To Speak At USENIX Despite Injunction
Posted by News Fetcher on August 02 '13 at 03:30 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's insecurity-through-obscurity department:
alphadogg writes "The lead author of a controversial research paper about flaws in luxury car lock systems will deliver a presentation at this month's USENIX Security Symposium even though a UK court ruling (inspired by a Volkswagen complaint) has forced the paper to be pulled from the event's proceedings. USENIX has announced that 'in keeping with its commitment to academic freedom and open access to research,' researcher Roel Verdult will speak at the Aug. 14-16 conference, to be held in Washington, D.C. Verdult and 2 co-authors were recently prohibited by the High Court of Justice in the U.K. from publishing certain portions of their paper, 'Dismantling Megamos Crypto: Wireless Lockpicking a Vehicle Immobilizer.' Among the most sensitive information: Codes for cracking the car security system in Porsches, Audis, etc."

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