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Cnet Apologizes For Nmap Adware Mess
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '11 at 03:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's careful-how-you-click department:
Trailrunner7 writes "Officials at Cnet's Download.com site have issued a statement apologizing for bundling the popular open source Nmap security audit application with adware that installed a toolbar and changed users' search engine to Microsoft properties. Fyodor, the author of Nmap, raised the issue earlier this week, saying that his app was being wrapped in malware on Download.com. It's not unusual for download sites to bundle free applications with some kind of adware or toolbar, but the creators of open-source applications take a dim view of this practice, given the nature and ethic of open source projects. Nmap is a venerable and widely used tool for mapping networks and performing security audits and Fyodor wrote in a message to an Nmap mailing list earlier this week that Download.com, which is part of Cnet, a subsidiary of CBS Interactive, was bundling the application with its installer, which, if a user agreed, would install a search toolbar and change the user's search engine to Bing."

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NASA's Gypsum Find Clear Evidence There Was Water On Mars
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '11 at 02:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's plaster-of-mars-would-be-really-expensive department:
First time accepted submitter RCC42 writes "The Opportunity rover has found evidence that liquid water once flowed on Mars, through the discovery of gypsum — a mineral that can only be formed in the presence of water. Though other evidence in the past has suggested highly acidic water on Mars, this is the first evidence for water with a pH suitable for life as we know it."

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IBM Releases Open Source EGL Development Tools
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '11 at 02:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's egl-has-landed department:
New submitter dd1968 writes "Today IBM announced the release of a new set of Open Source development tools based on their EGL programming language. The announcement describes the tools as being built from the ground up on an 'open, extensible compiler and generator framework.' The one-language approach places an abstraction layer between the developer and target languages, frameworks, and runtime platforms."

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Twitter Bots Drown Out Anti-Kremlin Tweets
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '11 at 02:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's more-of-the-same department:
tsu doh nimh writes "It appears that thousands of Twitter accounts created in advance to blast automated messages are being used to drown out Tweets sent by bloggers and activists this week who are protesting the disputed presidential elections in Russia. Trend Micro first observed on Wednesday the bogus tweets flooding popular hashtags being used by Russians protesting the election and the arrests of hundreds of protesters, including prominent anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny. Today, blogger Brian Krebs posted evidence that thousands of accounts apparently auto-created in mid-2011 were being used to flood more than a dozen hashtags connected to the protests, and appear to be all following each other and one master account, presumably the botnet controller."

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Feds Return Mistakenly Seized Domain
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '11 at 01:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's right-courteous-of-them department:
bs0d3 writes "Just over a year ago, Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) seized dozens of domain names as part of Operation in Our Sites. Among them was DaJaz1.com, a site from which Special Agent Andrew Reynolds said he'd downloaded pirated music. But there was a problem. Persistent reports suggested that the songs had been legally provided to the site by record labels for the specific purposes of distribution to fans, a point later raised by Senator Ron Wyden. One 'leak' even came from a boss at a major music label. Today, a year later, their domain was returned. The reason was because there was no probable cause and the site had never actually broken any laws or warranted a seizure. They are back in business and are displaying an anti-censorship, anti-PROTECT IP, and anti-SOPA banner on their website."

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GM, NHTSA Delayed Volt Warnings To Prop Up Sales
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '11 at 12:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's regulatory-capture-and-cronyism department:
Lauren Weinstein excerpts the most interesting part of a BBC story about the safety hazards associated with the Chevy Volt — specifically, the risk that its battery pack could catch fire after even a minor impact. While it might be unsurprising that GM was reluctant to shout out safety warnings that would dampen early sales of its much touted hybrid, according to the linked story the NHTSA was as well, and for the same reason: "Part of the reason for delaying the disclosure was the 'fragility of Volt sales' up until that point, according to Joan Claybrook, a former administrator at NHTSA."

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Iranian TV Shows Downed US Drone
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '11 at 11:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's you-mean-ben-afleck-can-you-fly department:
First time accepted submitter loic_2003 writes "Iranian TV has broadcast footage of an advanced U.S. drone aircraft that Tehran says it brought down using electronic methods to override its controls. The BBC's James Reynolds watched the footage and said the fact that the drone appeared undamaged provided some evidence to support Tehran's version of events. The film was captioned 'RQ170 — advanced U.S. spy plane' and carried on the Vision of the Islamic Republic of Iran Network 1 channel."

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Researchers Expanding Diff, Grep Unix Tools
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '11 at 11:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's now-with-raisins department:
itwbennett writes "At the Usenix Large Installation System Administration (LISA) conference being held this week in Boston, two Dartmouth computer scientists presented variants of the grep and diff Unix command line utilities that can handle more complex types of data. The new programs, called Context-Free Grep and Hierarchical Diff, will provide the ability to parse blocks of data rather than single lines. The research has been funded in part by Google and the U.S. Energy Department."

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Big Brother In the Home Office
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '11 at 10:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's where-the-raspberry-pi-comes-in department:
hessian writes with this excerpt from the New York Times' "Bits" column: "Tens of thousands of programmers, writers, accountants and other workers labor at home doing contract work for companies like Google, Hewlett-Packard and NBC. The computers they use contain software that takes snapshots of what they are doing six times an hour. The snooping occurs randomly, making it impossible for the computer user to game the system. t is probably more invasive than what happens to those working in offices, where scooting through Facebook entries, shopping on Cyber Monday, and peeping at N.S.F.W. ('Not Safe for Work') Web sites on corporate computers is both normal and rarely observed by managers."

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Miyamoto Steps Down As Nintendo Game Design Head
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '11 at 09:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's truly-an-american-icon department:
RobinEggs writes "Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator and producer of the Zelda and Mario franchises among other works, is stepping down at Nintendo. After personally managing Nintendo's blockbuster franchises for ~20 years, Miyamoto said today: 'What I really want to do is be in the forefront of game development once again myself. Probably working on a smaller project with even younger developers. Or I might be interested in making something that I can make myself, by myself. Something really small.'"

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Bloggers Not Journalists, Federal Judge Rules
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '11 at 08:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's occupation-foole department:
New submitter squideatingdough writes "On InfoWorld, Robert X. Cringely covers a recent case of a blogger accused of libel and defamation. The federal judge ruled that journalists warrant more protection from libel suits than bloggers, but it is obvious from the article that bloggers' rights can vary by state, depending on the 'shield laws' in force." Reader blindseer adds a link to this AP article on the case,
and asks "If the government can define who is part of the press, and therefore gets First Amendment protections, then where does that place the freedom of the press?" The slippery slope is a steep one; even some relatively open societies require licensure for journalists (visiting ones included) with predictable results. (And the Labour Party would like to see a similar system in the UK.)

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HP Reviving the $99 Touch Pad On December 11th
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '11 at 08:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's this-too-shal-pass department:
Frankie70 writes "Starting Sunday, December 11th at 6:00 p.m. Central time, 16GB and 32GB Touchpads will be available on HP's ebay store. A $79 accessory bundle will also be available, which includes a case, charging dock and wireless keyboard. The caveat with this deal is that these are refurbished TouchPads rather than the brand new models sold during the first firesale."

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Genome of Controversial Arsenic Bacterium Sequenced
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '11 at 08:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's there's-gotta-be-some-arsenic-somewhere department:
Med-trump writes "One year ago a media controversy was ignited when Felisa Wolfe-Simon and her colleagues held a press conference to announce the discovery of a bacterium that not only survived high levels of arsenic in its environment but also seemed to use that element in its DNA. Last week, the genome of the bacterium, known as GFAJ-1, which gets its name from the acronym for 'Give Felisa a Job.' (No joke!), was posted in Genbank, the public repository of DNA sequences for all who care to take a look. But it doesn't settle the debate over whether arsenic is used in DNA."

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Ask Slashdot: Is Your Data Safe In the Cloud?
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '11 at 07:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's silverish-lining department:
With so much personal data being kept on the cloud, including government and health records or your source code, do you have any concerns about it falling into the wrong hands? Do you think the cloud's benefits are outweighed by continuing security issues?

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OpenDNS Releases DNS Encryption Tool
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '11 at 06:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's do-nothing-secret department:
wiredmikey writes "It's not news that some of the underlying foundations of the DNS protocol are inherently weak, especially what they call the "last mile" — or the part of the internet connection between the client and the ISP. To address this, OpenDNS has released a preview of DNSCrypt, a tool that enables encrypted DNS traffic, much in the same way SSL enables encrypted HTTP traffic. DNSCrypt will stop DNS replay, observation, and timing attacks, as well as Man-in-the-Middle attacks and resolver impersonation attacks. The tool, available already compiled for OS X, will also run on OpenBSD, NetBSD, Dragonfly BSD, FreeBSD, and Linux. There is no Windows client, which is odd considering a majority of the 30 million OpenDNS users run Microsoft's operating system."

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Another Dutch CA Hacked
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '11 at 06:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's need-more-fingers-in-these-holes department:
An anonymous reader writes "After the fiasco involving DigiNotar, another Dutch CA (Gemnet, a daughter of KPN-Telecom) has been hacked and databases were accessed, webwereld.nl reports (Dutch original). The hack was possible because the website was managed using PHP-MyAdmin, and this application allowed database access without a password. The site has been shut down and security checks were ordered."

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Wielding Supercomputers To Make High-Stakes Predictions
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '11 at 06:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's but-sir-this-research-could-explode department:
aarondubrow writes "The emergence of the uncertainty quantification field was initially spurred in the mid-1990s by the federal government's desire to use computer models to predict the reliability of nuclear weapons. Since then, the toll of high-stake events that could potentially have been better anticipated if improved predictive computer models had been available — like the Columbia disaster, Hurricane Katrina and the World Trade Center collapse after the 9/11 terrorist attacks — has catapulted research on uncertainty quantification to the scientific and engineering forefronts." (Read this with your Texas propaganda filter turned to High.)

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Supreme Court Legitimizing Medical Patents?
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '11 at 05:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's prior-broken-arm-art department:
RobinEggs writes "A case before the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday addressed the legality of medical patents. From the article: 'The case focuses on a patent that covers the concept of adjusting the dosage of a drug, thiopurine, based on the concentration of a particular chemical (called a metabolite) in the patient's blood. The patent does not cover the drug itself—that patent expired years ago—nor does it cover any specific machine or procedure for measuring the metabolite level. Rather, it covers the idea that particular levels of the chemical "indicate a need" to raise or lower the drug dosage. The patent holder, Prometheus Labs, offers a thiopurine testing product. It sued the Mayo Clinic when the latter announced it would offer its own, competing thiopurine test. But Prometheus claims much more than its specific testing process. It claims a physician administering thiopurine to a patient can infringe its patent merely by being aware of the scientific correlation disclosed in the patent—even if the doctor doesn't act on the patent's recommendations.'"

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Red Cross Debates If Virtual Killing Violates International Humanitarian Law
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '11 at 02:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's waking-up-in-crazy-town department:
Ron2K writes in with a story about a Red Cross committee that is debating if people playing war video games should be subject to the same humanitarian laws as people in a real war. Seriously. "With 62 billion kills in Call of Duty: Black Ops alone, a committee of the Red Cross is debating whether the International Humanitarian Law is applicable to online gamers, and if they are violating it. From the committee's site: 'While the Movement works vigorously to promote international humanitarian law worldwide, there is also an audience of approximately 600 million gamers who may be virtually violating International Humanitarian Law. Exactly how video games influence individuals is a hotly debated topic, but for the first time, Movement partners discussed our role and responsibility to take action against violations of this law in video games.' While it's questionable if gamers themselves can be prosecuted for not obeying the Geneva convention, the Red Cross committee's actions seem to be aimed more at game developers — as first person shooters become more realistic, do game developers have an obligation to include humanitarian elements?"

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DoJ Investigates eBook Price Fixing
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '11 at 12:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's pillaging-publisher department:
dave562 writes "The U.S. Justice Department's antitrust arm said it was looking into potentially unfair pricing practices by electronic booksellers, joining European regulators and state attorneys general in a widening probe of large U.S. and international e-book publishers. A Justice Department spokeswoman confirmed that the probe involved the possibility of 'anti-competitive practices involving e-book sales.' Attorneys general in Connecticut and, reportedly, Texas, have also begun inquiries into the way electronic booksellers price their wares, and whether companies such as Apple and Amazon have set up pricing practices that are ultimately harmful to consumers."

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