By Soulskill from Slashdot's congrats-the-internet-hates-you-now department
Sherloqq sends this quote from a Bloomberg report:"FinFisher, a spyware sold by U.K.- based Gamma Group, can secretly take remote control of a computer, copying files, intercepting Skype calls and logging every keystroke. For the past year, human rights advocates and virus hunters have scrutinized FinFisher, seeking to uncover potential abuses. They got a glimpse of its reach when a FinFisher sales pitch to Egyptian state security was uncovered after that country's February 2011 revolution. In December, anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks published Gamma promotional videos showing how police could plant FinFisher on a target's computer. ... Researchers believe they’ve identified copies of FinFisher, based on an examination of malicious software e-mailed to Bahraini activists, they say. ... The findings illustrate how the largely unregulated trade in offensive hacking tools is transforming surveillance, making it more intrusive as it reaches across borders and peers into peoples’ digital devices. From anywhere on the globe, the software can penetrate the most private spaces, turning on computer web cameras and reading documents as they are being typed."Read Replies (0)
OS X Mountain Lion Review
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '12 at 10:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's you-got-your-mobile-OS-in-my-desktop-OS department
John Siracusa at Ars Technica has published a lengthy and detailed review of OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion
. (Lengthy enough that the review garnered a review of its own
.) Siracusa methodically goes through all of the changes in the new version, covering everything from the minor new features to the overarching goals. Quoting:"Despite the oft-cited prediction that Mac will eventually be subsumed by iOS, that's not what's happening here. Apple is determined to bring the benefits of iOS to the Mac, but it's equally determined to do so in a way that preserves the strengths of the Mac platform. Where we Mac nerds go wrong is in mistaking traditions for strengths. Loss aversion is alive and well in the Mac community; with each 'feature' removed and each decision point eliminated from our favorite OS, our tendency is to focus heavily on what's been lost, sometimes blinding ourselves to the gains. But the larger problem is that losses and gains are context-dependent. A person who never uses a feature will not miss it when it's gone. We all pay lip service to the idea that most users never change the default settings in software, but we rarely follow this through to its logical conclusion. The fact is, we are not the center of the market, and haven't been for a long time. Three decades ago, the personal computer industry was built on the backs of technology enthusiasts. Every product, every ad was created to please us. No longer. Technology must now work for everyone, not just 'computing enthusiasts.'"
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By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's filter-or-it-gets-the-hose-again department
hypnosec writes "IFPI has inadvertently made available its own confidential internal report, penned by none other than IFPI's chief anti-piracy officer, which details its strategy against online piracy for major recording labels across the globe. The document, 30-pages long, talks about file sharing sites, torrents, cyberlockers, phishing attacks, expectations from Internet service providers, mp3 sites and a lot more. The document is a global view representation of IFPI's 'problems,' 'current and future threats,' and the industry's responses to them."
A few tactics: shutting down music services, requiring file lockers filter uploads or be shut down (interesting, since the DMCA's one good provision is the safe harbor, and proactive filtering could mean losing that protection), lobbying for DNS blocking legislation, pressuring ISPs into extra-legally enforcing their will, disrupting payment processing for pirate sites through blacklists, and providing "training built around 'real world' experiences and challenges rather than focusing on theory" on copyright law to judges and legal bodies.Read Replies (0)
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's hive-of-profit-and-drm department
writes with one interpretation of Netflix's Q2 results
(PDF). From the article: "The beginning of the end may be at hand for Netflix. On Tuesday, the movie rental company posted its second quarter results, and they were not promising. While the company returned to profitability following a first quarter loss, Netflix had a 91% drop in net income. The company's troubles began when it attempted to split its DVD-by-mail and streaming services, effectively doubling the price it was charging customers. External forces are now beginning to weigh on the company, and its doom appears to be within sight. The biggest challenges facing Netflix over the coming months are going to be competition and licensing fees. Three huge companies are competing against Netflix in the streaming arena, which has already surpassed its DVD-by-mail business. Amazon, Apple, and Google all offer streaming content as well. As movie and television studios began to demand higher licensing fees, Netflix will not be able to pay, while these tech giants will. Netflix will eventually be priced out of the market."
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By Soulskill from Slashdot's getting-in-touch-with-your-fuzzy department
New submitter JestersGrind writes "Blizzard has announced that Mists of Pandaria, the latest expansion of the popular World of Warcraft MMO, will be launched on September 25, 2012 and can be pre-ordered now."
The game page
has a good deal of information about the new expansion. The level cap is increased to 90, there is a new race (Pandaren) and a new class (Monk), and the talent system has been completely redesigned. They've added Challenge Modes for dungeons, which normalizes player gear and lets them compete to see who can clear it the fastest. The MMO-Champion
website keeps track of all the minor details, if you're interested.Read Replies (0)
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's do-not-disturb-taken-as-challenge department
writes with an excerpt from Extreme Tech about a presentation at Black Hat: "Bad news: With an Arduino microcontroller and a little bit of programming, it's possible for a hacker to gain instant, untraceable access to millions of key card-protected hotel rooms. This hack was demonstrated by Cody Brocious, a Mozilla software developer, at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas. At risk are four million hotel rooms secured by Onity programmable key card locks. According to Brocious, who didn't disclose the hack to Onity before going public, there is no easy fix: There isn't a firmware upgrade — if hotels want to secure their guests, every single lock will have to be changed. I wish I could say that Brocious spent months on this hack, painstakingly reverse-engineering the Onity lock protocol, but the truth — as always, it seems — is far more depressing. 'With how stupidly simple this is, it wouldn't surprise me if a thousand other people have found this same vulnerability and sold it to other governments,' says Brocious. 'An intern at the NSA could find this in five minutes.'"Read Replies (0)
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's cash-for-secrets department
mask.of.sanity writes "The Tor Project is considering paying exit relay hosts to make the network faster and more secure. The project has called for discussion on the idea, notably from relay hosts. Its founder has suggested $100 a month would attract fast and diverse nodes. Exit nodes are the last hopping point on the Tor network and are critical to its performance and safety."
The problem: "But lately the Tor network has become noticeably faster, and I think it has a lot to do with the growing amount of excess relay capacity
relative to network load ... on today's network, clients choose one of the fastest 5 exit
relays around 25-30% of the time, and 80% of their choices come from a
pool of 40-50 relays
. ... Since we're
not doing particularly well at diversity with the current approach,
we're going to try an experiment: we'll connect funding to exit relay
operators so they can run bigger and/or better exit relays." As to funding: "We've lined up our first funder (BBG, ...), and they're excited to have us start as soon as we can. They want to sponsor 125+ fast exits."Read Replies (0)