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Actuarial Science Ranked As Most Valuable College Major
Posted by News Fetcher on September 11 '18 at 02:50 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's follow-the-money department:
According to a new report from Bankrate, actuarial science, the formal term for the study of insurance, was ranked the most valuable college major. "The actuarial science profession is interesting because students don't need advanced degrees to gain livable wages, but instead are certified through a series of exams overseen by the industry's professional organizations," said Bankrate.com analyst Adrian Garcia in an interview. "Students typically pass one to two of these exams while in school and then go on and complete others while working, earning raises and bonuses as they pass." Bloomberg reports: Actuarial science majors earn an average annual salary of $108,658 and have a better-than-average unemployment rate at 2.3 percent. And at a time when student debt is at a record high, these graduates are less likely to incur the added expense of additional schooling and delayed earning potential. Less than 1 in 4 graduates pursue advanced degrees. The study ranked 162 majors with labor forces of at least 15,000 people based on average annual income, employment status and whether those graduates went on to pursue a higher degree within 12 months. Income accounted for 70 percent of the weighted ranking, unemployment for 20 percent and 10 percent was awarded to career paths that did not demand additional education. The data was derived from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2016 American Community Survey.

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NASA May Sell Corporate Naming Rights For Rockets, Spacecraft
Posted by News Fetcher on September 11 '18 at 12:10 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's final-frontier department:
schwit1 shares a report from Alabama Local News: NASA's administrator Jim Bridenstine has directed the space agency to look at boosting its brand by selling naming rights to rockets and spacecraft and allowing its astronauts to appear in commercials and on cereal boxes, as if they were celebrity athletes. While officials stress that nothing has been decided, the idea could mark a giant cultural leap for the taxpayer-funded government agency and could run into ethics regulations that prevent government officials from using public office for private gain.

"Is it possible for NASA to offset some of its costs by selling the naming rights to its spacecraft, or the naming rights to its rockets," Bridenstine said. "I'm telling you there is interest in that right now. The question is: Is it possible? The answer is: I don't know, but we want somebody to give us advice on whether it is." He also said he wanted astronauts to be not only more accessible to journalists but even to participate in marketing opportunities to boost their brands - and that of the space agency. "I'd like to see kids growing up, instead of maybe wanting to be like a professional sports star, I'd like to see them grow up wanting to be a NASA astronaut, or a NASA scientist," he said. "I'd like to see, maybe one day, NASA astronauts on the cover of a cereal box, embedded into the American culture."

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Cryptocurrency Wipeout Deepens To $640 Billion As Ether Leads Declines
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '18 at 08:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's downward-spiral department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: The cryptocurrency bear market plumbed a fresh 10-month low on Monday as Bitcoin's biggest rival tumbled and U.S. regulators suspended trading in two securities linked to digital assets. Ether, the second-largest virtual currency, slumped 11 percent from its level at 5 p.m. New York time on Friday, according to Bloomberg composite pricing. Bitcoin declined 2.4 percent, while the market capitalization of digital assets tracked by CoinMarketCap.com shrank to about $197 billion -- down almost $640 billion from its January peak. Cryptocurrencies have declined for five of the past six weeks amid concern that a broader adoption of digital assets will take longer than some had anticipated. That worry was underscored over the weekend after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission temporarily suspended trading in two exchange-traded notes linked to cryptocurrencies and Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin told Bloomberg that the days of explosive growth in the blockchain industry have likely come and gone.

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Free Municipal Wi-Fi May Be the Next Front In the War Against Privacy
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '18 at 06:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's you're-the-product department:
TuballoyThunder writes: According to The Intercept, it appears that the LinkNYC free Wi-Fi might be designed to track users. This and other concerns were raised during a 2015 discussion on Slashdot. While many people are comfortable in trading their privacy for ostensibly free services, it is disheartening when municipalities collaborate with business to make it happen. "In May of this year, Charles Meyers, an undergraduate at New York City College of Technology, came across folders in LinkNYC's public library on GitHub, a platform for managing files and software, that appear to raise further questions about location tracking and the platform's protection of its users' data," reports The Intercept. "Meyers made copies of the codebases in question -- 'LinkNYC Mobile Observation' and 'RxLocation' -- and shared both folders with The Intercept." Meyers says the "LinkNYC Mobile Observation" code collects the user's longitude and latitude, browser type, OS, device type, device identifiers, and full URL clickstreams (including data and time) and "aggregates this information into a database," the report says. Meyer's believes the company is interested in tracking the location of Wi-Fi users in real time. "If such code were run on a mobile app or kiosk, he said, the company would be able to make advertisements available in real time based on where and who someone was, and that this would constitute a potential violation of the company's privacy policy," reports The Intercept. Following the revelations, LinkNYC said the code was never intended to be released and was part of a longer-term R&D process. "In this instance, David Mitchell, Intersection's CTO, told the Intercept in an email. "Intersection was prototyping and testing some ideas internally, using employee data only, and mistakenly made source code public on Github. This code is not in use on the LinkNYC network." [Intersection is the "key player" in CityBridge, "a chameleon-like consortium of private companies" that New York City contracted to turn the city's payphone booth network into Wi-Fi-enabled kiosks.]

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MIT Machine Vision System Figures Out What It's Looking At By Itself
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '18 at 05:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's all-grown-up department:
MIT's "Dense Object Nets" or "DON" system uses machine vision to figure out what it's look at all by itself. "It generates a 'visual roadmap' -- basically, collections of visual data points arranged as coordinates," reports Engadget. "The system will also stitch each of these individual coordinate sets together into a larger coordinate set, the same way your phone can mesh numerous photos together into a single panoramic image. This enables the system to better and more intuitively understand the object's shape and how it works in the context of the environment around it." From the report: [T]he DON system will allow a robot to look at a cup of coffee, properly orient itself to the handle, and realize that the bottom of the mug needs to remain pointing down when the robot picks up the cup to avoid spilling its contents. What's more, the system will allow a robot to pick a specific object out of a pile of similar objects. The system relies on an RGB-D sensor which has a combination RGB-depth camera. Best of all, the system trains itself. There's no need to feed the AI hundreds upon thousands of images of an object to the DON in order to teach it. If you want the system to recognize a brown boot, you simply put the robot in a room with a brown boot for a little while. The system will automatically circle the boot, taking reference photos which it uses to generate the coordinate points, then trains itself based on what it's seen. The entire process takes less than an hour. MIT published a video on YouTube showing how the system works.

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Exploit Vendor Drops Tor Browser Zero-Day on Twitter
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '18 at 05:31 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's security-woes department:
An anonymous reader writes: Zerodium, a company that buys and sells vulnerabilities in popular software, has published details today on Twitter about a zero-day vulnerability in the Tor Browser, a Firefox-based browser used by privacy-conscious users for navigating the web through the anonymity provided by the Tor network. The vulnerability is a bypass of the NoScript extension that's included by default with all Tor Browser distributions. Once bypassed, an attacker can run malicious code inside the Tor Browser, code that under certain circumstances would have been stopped by NoScript. "This Tor Browser exploit was acquired by Zerodium many months ago as a zero-day and was shared with our government customers," Zerodium CEO Chaouki Bekrar told ZDNet in an interview. "We have decided to disclose this exploit as it has reached its end-of-life and it's not affecting Tor Browser version 8 which was released last week." The NoScript extension released a patch in record time today to fix the vulnerability, two hours after Zerodium dropped its code on Twitter.

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About a Quarter of Rural Americans Say Access To High-Speed Internet Is a Major Problem
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '18 at 04:10 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's jury-is-still-out department:
According to a Pew Research Center survey, 24% of rural adults say access to high-speed internet is a major problem in their local community. "An additional 34% of rural residents see this as a minor problem, meaning that roughly six-in-ten rural Americans (58%) believe access to high speed internet is a problem in their area," the report says. From the report: By contrast, smaller shares of Americans who live in urban areas (13%) or the suburbs (9%) view access to high-speed internet service as a major problem in their area. And a majority of both urban and suburban residents report that this is not an issue in their local community, according to the survey, conducted Feb. 26-March 11. Concerns about access to high-speed internet are shared by rural residents from various economic backgrounds. For example, 20% of rural adults whose household income is less than $30,000 a year say access to high speed internet is a major problem, but so do 23% of rural residents living in households earning $75,000 or more annually. These sentiments are also similar between rural adults who have a bachelor's or advanced degree and those with lower levels of educational attainment. There are, however, some differences by age and by race and ethnicity. Rural adults ages 50 to 64 are more likely than those in other groups to see access to high-speed internet as a problem where they live. Nonwhites who live in a rural area are more likely than their white counterparts to say this is a major problem (31% vs. 21%).

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Tesla's Keyless Entry Vulnerable To Spoofing Attack, Researchers Find
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '18 at 04:10 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's if-there's-a-will-there's-a-way department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Researchers at KU Leuven have figured out a way to spoof Tesla's key fob system, as first reported by Wired. The result would let an attacker steal a Tesla simply by walking past the owner and cloning his key. The attack is particularly significant because Tesla pioneered the keyless entry concept, which has since spread to most luxury cars. This particular attack seems to have only worked on Model S units shipped before June, and in an update last week, Tesla pushed out an update that strengthened the encryption for the remaining vehicles. More importantly, the company added the option to require a PIN password before the car will start, effectively adding two-factor to your car. Tesla owners can add the PIN by disabling Passive Entry in the "Doors & Locks" section of "Settings."

The attack itself is fairly involved. Because of the back-and-forth protocol, attackers would first have to sniff out the car's Radio ID (broadcast from the car at all times), then relay that ID broadcast to a victim's key fob and listen for the response, typically from within three feet of the fob. If they can do that back-and-forth twice, the research team found they can work back to the secret key powering the fob's responses, letting them unlock the car and start the engine.

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Someone With an iMac, iPhone, and iPad Might Soon Need Three Different Headphone Adapters
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '18 at 02:50 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's courage-required department:
According to reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple's next iPad Pro will be switching from the Lightning Port to USB-C for the first time. It will also ship with a new 18W USB-C charger. 9to5Mac reports: While Kuo's memo mentions both the new iPad Pro with USB-C (wow) and MacBook with Touch ID, it's still unclear at this point if we'll see the iPad and Mac on stage at Wednesday's event, or if the September 12 date will be dedicated to iPhone and Apple Watch. That would be a massive change for an iOS device but one that could improve the iPad accessory ecosystem -- and be a boon for productivity. Kuo's memo does not suggest that this is simply a change from USB-A Lightning to USB-C Lightning but instead an actual port change on the iPad itself. Daring Fireball's John Gruber notes that if Kuo is correct, "someone with a Mac, iPhone, and iPad would need three different headphone adapters." That takes courage, Apple...

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Qualcomm's Snapdragon Wear 3100 Smartwatch Chip Promises Up To 2 Days of Battery Life
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '18 at 02:50 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's new-and-improved department:
Qualcomm has unveiled the long-awaited successor to its Snapdragon Wear 2100 smartwatch chipset, the Snapdragon Wear 3100. The new high-end chipset is "based on a brand-new architecture Qualcomm claims is the most efficient it's ever created, optimized for wearables-specific use cases like step tracking, heart rate monitoring, and always-on connectivity," reports VentureBeat. From the report: [T]he company's engineers stuffed the Snapdragon Wear 3100 with a four A7 cores and two secondary chips -- a digital signal processor (DSP) and an ultra-low power coprocessor (QCC1110) -- in what Qualcomm calls a "big-small-tiny" arrangement. The "big" A7 cores handle intensive, complex tasks like switching between apps, while the "small" and "tiny" DSP and coprocessor perform sensor fusion and other background chores. The way Pankaj Kedia, senior director and business lead at Qualcomm's Smart Wearable division, tells it, the coprocessor -- a diminutive 5.2mm x 4mm chip that's the product of more than five years of research -- is the inarguable showrunner. It taps a Qualcomm-designed memory module that draws a mere 0.6 volts of power, and it's altogether 20 times more power-efficient than the A7 cores.

< article continued at Slashdot's new-and-improved department >

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Ajit Pai Helped Charter Kill Consumer-Protection Rules In Minnesota
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '18 at 01:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's not-on-my-watch department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: A court ruling that limits state regulation of cable company offerings was praised by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, who says the ruling supports his contention that the FCC can preempt state-level net neutrality rules. The new court ruling found that Minnesota's state government cannot regulate VoIP phone services offered by Charter and other cable companies because VoIP is an "information service" under federal law. Pai argues that the case is consistent with the FCC's attempt to preempt state-level net neutrality rules, in which the commission reclassified broadband as a Title I information service instead of a Title II telecommunications service.

The ruling was issued Friday by the US Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, following a lawsuit filed by Charter Communications against the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC). A three-judge panel ruled against Minnesota in a 2-1 vote -- the FCC had filed a brief supporting Charter's position in the case. "[F]ederal law for decades has recognized that states may not regulate information services," Pai said in response to the ruling. "The 8th Circuit's decision is important for reaffirming that well-established principle: '[A]ny state regulation of an information service conflicts with the federal policy of non-regulation' and is therefore preempted." Pai said the ruling "is wholly consistent with the approach the FCC has taken under Democratic and Republican Administrations over the last two decades, including in last year's Restoring Internet Freedom order." The commission says the reclassification should preempt any such attempts at regulating broadband at the state level.

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Replace 'Tech' With 'Banks,' and We've Seen a Big Comeuppance Before
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '18 at 01:31 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department:
Nathaniel Popper, writing for The New York Times: When I moved to the Bay Area two years ago, it was with a sense of relief. Relief from New York winters and deteriorating subways, yes. But also relief after six years of covering Wall Street, an industry that had moved from one crisis to another after the financial crash of 2008, drawing the unending wrath of the public. In California I was joining a growing team of reporters covering Silicon Valley, which had quickly become the new engine of the economy. Just like Wall Street before it lost its luster, the tech industry had become the destination of choice for the top college graduates. I would be writing about a place where everyone was focused more on the future than on the past. Now, just two years after getting here, and a decade after the start of the financial crisis, I have a creeping sense of deja vu as I go about my job. Admiration of the tech world has, in the wake of a growing list of scandals, quickly soured into an intense suspicion that manages to cross partisan lines, similar to what Wall Street faced after 2008 [Editor's note: the link may be paywalled]. As I have watched the recent parade of tech executives being grilled by Washington lawmakers from across the political spectrum, it has been eerily reminiscent of the combative hearings the big banks faced back in 2009 and 2010. As was true after the financial crisis, the backlash against tech rises out of a public awakening to the integral role that these huge companies occupy in our society -- with Facebook, Uber and Twitter playing the part that Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase did a decade ago.

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Multiple Trend Micro Apps Pulled From Mac App Store; Tens of iOS Apps Caught Collecting and Selling Location Data
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '18 at 12:10 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's it-just-works department:
Ahead of Apple's big iPhone event later this week, the company appears to be grappling with a PR problem: Third-party apps on both its desktop and mobile app stores have been caught doing shady stuff. Last week, Apple pulled a top selling app from the App Store, a month after it was alerted about it, but only hours after it started making headlines. Since then, tens of new iOS apps have been caught indulging in a similar offense -- collecting and selling users data such as GPS coordinates, WiFi network IDs and more. Amid all of this, more desktop apps, curiously all from security service provider Trend Micro -- have been caught collecting browser history and information about users' computers. Apple has pulled Trend Micro's apps from the store. Do note that Trend Micro still has some apps -- both for desktop and mobile -- listed on the store. Would be interesting to learn what sort of conversations Trend Micro and Apple have had in the recent days. BleepingComputer: The apps are Dr. Antivirus, Dr. Cleaner, and Dr. Unarchiver, all under the developer account Trend Micro, Incorporated. Until removal, all products were top-sellers, with thousands of positive reviews that averaged their ratings between 4.6 and 4.9. The first public report of a Trend Micro product in the App Store engaging in shady activities came in late 2017 when user PeterNopSled told Malwarebytes forum members that "that his Mac was taken over by Open Any Files: RAR Support," and it did not let him open Word or Excel files. As security researcher Mikko Hypponen notes, "Bad day for Trend Micro. Most of their Mac OS X apps have been kicked out by Apple after it was discovered they were collecting and sending out private information."

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New York State Approves Two Dollar-based Cryptocurrencies
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '18 at 12:10 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
Today, New York approved the first digital currencies that are tied to the US dollar, called "stablecoins." From a report: These cryptocurrencies avoid the price volatility of their brethren by being pegged to stable assets. The digital currencies in question, from Gemini Trust Company and Paxos Trust Company, are available to trade on their respective exchanges. The Winklevoss twins, who rose to fame with a lawsuit suing Mark Zuckerberg for stealing the idea for Facebook from them, have become major players in the cryptocurrency world. They are behind Gemini Trust Company. The currency is pegged to the US dollar on a one-to-one basis; the company will hold US currency that corresponds with all issued Gemini dollars at a bank eligible for the FDIC's pass through insurance.

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Nearly Half of American Households Will Own a Smart Speaker by 2019, Study Says
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '18 at 10:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's flooding-the-market department:
Almost half of American households will have a smart speaker by next year, according to a new study from Adobe. From a report: The study, released Monday, finds that 32% of the country already owns a smart speaker and another 16% plan on getting one this holiday season. And just as importantly, people are using those speakers. "Technology trends come and go, but we think voice is here to stay," said Colin Morris, director of product management for Adobe Analytics, in a statement. "Consumers continue to embrace voice as a means to engage their devices and the Internet. It's a trend that has fundamentally changed the face of computing." A notable indicator of the growing popularity of the speakers is how comfortable people are talking to the device in front of others. And that number is on the rise: 72% of smart speaker owners say they use voice assistants in front of others. (Only 29% of people without a smart speaker are comfortable with doing so.) Further reading: Google Home Outships Amazon Echo for Second Quarter in Row.

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'You Can See Almost Everything.' Antarctica Just Became the Best-Mapped Continent on Earth
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '18 at 10:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's impressive-feat department:
Antarctica has become the best-mapped continent on Earth with a new high-resolution terrain map showing the ice-covered landmass in unprecedented detail. From a report: According to the scientists at Ohio State University and the University of Minnesota who created the imagery, Antarctica is now the best-mapped continent on Earth. The Reference Elevation Model of Antarctica (REMA) was constructed using hundreds of thousands of satellite images taken between 2009 and 2017, Earther reports. A supercomputer assembled the massive amounts of data, including the elevation of the land over time, and created REMA, an immensely detailed topographical map, with a file size over 150 terabytes. The new map has a resolution of 2 to 8 meters, compared to the usual 1,000 meters, says an Ohio State press release. According to The New York Times, the detail of this new map is the equivalent of being able to see down to a car, or smaller, when before you could only see the whole of Central Park. Scientists now know the elevation of every point of Antarctica, with an error margin of just a few feet.

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AMD Debuts Ryzen 5 2500X and Ryzen 3 2300X For Prebuilt PCs
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '18 at 09:31 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's further-expansion department:
AMD announced two new second-generation Ryzen CPUs this morning. From a report: The Ryzen 5 2500X and Ryzen 3 2300X bring Precision Boost 2 and XFR 2 to quad-core Ryzens without integrated graphics, but there's a catch: these chips appear to be available exclusively to system integrators and OEMs for use in prebuilt systems. AMD is debuting the Ryzen 5 2500X in cooperation with Acer in the form of the Nitro 50 desktop PC. AMD says the Ryzen 5 2500X and Ryzen 3 2300X each use a single enabled core complex (or CCX) from the two available on Pinnacle Ridge Zeppelin dies to get their four cores. Recall that the Ryzen 5 1500X instead used two cores from each CCX to get its core count. A consequence of this architectural change versus the Ryzen 5 1500X is that the Ryzen 5 2500X now has 8 MB of L3 cache, down from 16 MB. That puts both the Ryzen 5 2500X and Ryzen 3 2300X on par with the Ryzen 3 1300X and Ryzen 3 1200 on a cache-capacity basis.

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Net Neutrality Gives 'Free' Internet To Netflix and Google, ISP Claims
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '18 at 09:31 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department:
Frontier Communications is asking employees for help in its fight against state net neutrality rules in California, claiming that the rules will give "free" Internet to major Web companies while raising costs for consumers. From a report: The Internet service provider urged employees to submit a form letter asking Governor Jerry Brown to veto the net neutrality bill that was recently approved by the state legislature. Frontier sent an email to employees and set up an online form for them to send the form letter to Brown. "I am proud to work at Frontier and help operate a network that is part of an incredibly successful Internet ecosystem that is the backbone of our economy and daily life," the form letter says. But net neutrality rules "will harm consumers and impose complex layers of costly regulation," and therefore "deter investment and delay broadband deployment in California, especially in rural areas that still lack high-speed Internet access," the letter says. The letter claims that net neutrality rules "will create significant new costs for consumers" but did not make it clear what those new costs would be.

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Crypto Growth Nears 'Ceiling,' Ethereum Co-Founder Buterin Says
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '18 at 08:10 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
The days of explosive growth in the blockchain industry have likely come and gone now the average person is aware of its existence, according to Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum. From a report: "The blockchain space is getting to the point where there's a ceiling in sight," Buterin said in a Sept. 8 interview with Bloomberg at the Ethereum Industry Summit conference in Hong Kong. "If you talk to the average educated person at this point, they probably have heard of blockchain at least once. There isn't an opportunity for yet another 1,000-times growth in anything in the space anymore." Growth in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in the blockchain community through its first six or seven years was dependent on marketing and trying to get wider adoption, Buterin said. "That strategy is getting close to hitting a dead end," he said.

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Popular VPNs Contained Code Execution Security Flaws, Despite Patches
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '18 at 08:10 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's privacy-woes department:
Researchers have uncovered vulnerabilities in popular virtual private network (VPN) software, ProtonVPN and NordVPN, which can lead to the execution of arbitrary code by attackers. From a report: Last week, Cisco Talos security researchers said the security flaws, CVE-2018-3952 and CVE-2018-4010, permit code execution by attackers on Microsoft Windows machines. The vulnerabilities are similar to a Windows privilege escalation security flaw uncovered by VerSprite, which is tracked as CVE-2018-10169. Security patches were applied in April by both clients to resolve the original security hole, but according to Talos, "despite the fix, it is still possible to execute code as an administrator on the system." The initial vulnerability was caused by similar design issues in both clients. The interface for both NordVPN and ProtonVPN execute binaries with the permission of a logged-in user, and this includes the selection of a VPN configuration option, such as a desired VPN server location. This information is sent to a service when "connect" is clicked by way of an OpenVPN configuration file. However, VerSprite was able to create a crafted OpenVPN file which could be sent to the service, loaded, and executed.

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