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Ransomware Completely Shuts Down Ohio Town Government
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '17 at 04:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's control-z department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: In another interesting example of what happens when you don't manage your backups correctly, the Licking County government offices, including the police force, have been shut down by ransomware. Although details are sparse, it's clear that someone in the office caught a bug in a phishing scam or by downloading it and now their servers are locked up. Wrote Kent Mallett of the Newark Advocate: "The virus, accompanied by a financial demand, is labeled ransomware, which has hit several local governments in Ohio and was the subject of a warning from the state auditor last summer. All county offices remain open, but online access and landline telephones are not available for those on the county system. The shutdown is expected to continue at least the rest of the week." The county government offices, including 911 dispatch, currently must work without computers or office phones. "The public can still call 911 for emergency police, fire or medical response," wrote Mallett.

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Cisco Patches 'Prime Home' Flaw That Allowed Hackers To Reach Into People's Homes
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '17 at 04:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's at-arm's-length department:
Orome1 quotes a report from Help Net Security: Cisco has patched a critical authentication bypass vulnerability that could allow attackers to completely take over Cisco Prime Home installations, and through them mess with subscribers' home network and devices. The vulnerability (CVE-2017-3791), found internally by Cisco security testers, affects the platform's web-based GUI, and can be exploited by remote attackers to bypass authentication and execute any action in Cisco Prime Home with administrator privileges. No user interaction is needed for the exploit to work, and exploitation couldn't be simpler: an attacker just needs to send API commands via HTTP to a particular URL. The bug exists in versions 6.4 and later of Cisco Prime Home, but does not affect versions 5.2 and earlier. "Administrators can verify whether they are running an affected version by opening the Prime Home URL in their browser and checking the Version: line in the login window. If currently logged in, the version information can be viewed in the bottom left of the Prime Home GUI footer, next to the Cisco Prime Home text," Cisco instructed in the security advisory.

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Hackers Take Over Unsecured Radio Transmitters, Play Anti-Trump Song
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '17 at 02:50 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's remind-me-later department:
Ars Technica is reporting that "a certain model of Low Power FM radio transmitter with known vulnerabilities has been targeted in a new wave of radio-station hacks this week." Hackers have taken advantage of an exploit that was known all the way back in April 2016 to take over terrestrial radio stations and broadcast the YG and Nipsey Hussle song "Fuck Donald Trump." From the report: News of the song's unexpected playback on radio stations began emerging shortly after Trump's inauguration on January 20, and the hack has continued to affect LPFM stationsâ"a type of smaller-radius radio station that began to roll out after the FCC approved the designation in 2000. Over a dozen stations experienced confirmed hacks in recent weeks, with more unconfirmed reports trickling in across the nation. Thus far, the stations' commonality isn't the states of operation or music formats; it's the transmitter. Specifically, hackers have targeted products in the Barix Exstreamer line, which can decode many audio file formats and send them along for LPFM transmission. As Barix told its products' owners in 2016, Exstreamer devices openly connected to the Internet are incredibly vulnerable to having their remote login passwords discovered and systems compromised. The company recommends using full, 24-character passwords and placing any live Internet connections behind firewalls or VPNs. Reports have yet to connect any dots on why the exploit has apparently focused on the YG and Nipsey Hussle songâ"though it is fairly popular, having recently finished in the Top 15 of the Village Voice's 2016 Pazz and Jop music critics' poll. Plus, the uncensored lyrics and topical nature are certainly more likely to catch people's attention, especially when played on stations with formats like oldies, classic rock, and Tejano.

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Snapchat Files For a $3 Billion IPO
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '17 at 02:50 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's growing-up-fast department:
Snapchat has filed for an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange today, picking the ticker symbol "SNAP." The company hopes to raise $3 billion and says it has 158 million daily active users. The IPO would reportedly value the company above $20 billion. The Verge reports: The filing comes at an exciting but challenging time for Snap. The company -- originally named Snapchat -- has declared its intentions to become -- a camera company -- rather than just an app developer. And it's already found some success with Spectacles, its fun pair of video-recording sunglasses. The company says its advertising business is growing quickly. It reported $58.7 million in revenue for 2015, and grew that to $404.5 million in 2016. Along with that strong revenue growth, however, its losses also swelled. Snapchat lost $372.9 million in 2015 and $514.6 million this past year, more than its total revenue. Twitter was also struggling to generate a profit when it went public, while Facebook was not. Here's a gem from the S-1 filing. "We have incurred operating losses in the past, expect to incur operating losses in the future, and may never achieve or maintain profitability." Sounds like a great investment!

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Reddit Bans Far-Right Groups Altright and Alternativeright
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '17 at 02:50 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's violence-is-not-the-answer department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Social media site Reddit has banned two of the largest far-right "subreddits" groups it hosts, altright and alternativeright. The subreddits have been used in the organization of America's resurgent neofascist movement but the final straw for Reddit was the two groups' participation in what is known as "doxing": sharing private personal information without permission as a form of online harassment. The subreddits were specifically banned for breaking Reddit's content policy, according to a message posted by the site admins, "specifically, the proliferation of personal and confidential information." Reddit did not make it explicit which content infringed its rules, but it is believed to be attempts to dox the protestor who punched a white nationalist during a TV interview at Donald Trump's inauguration. Speaking to the Daily Beast, one Reddit moderator claimed that the ban was instead a result of its "record monthly traffic" (Reddit moderators, like the creators of individual subreddits, are all volunteers with no official relationship to the site's staff). "It's clear that Reddit banned us because we were becoming very popular and spreading inconvenient truths about who's ruining our country and robbing our children of a future," the moderator said.

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Firefox Fail: Layoffs Kill Mozilla's Push Beyond the Browser
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '17 at 12:11 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's firefox-fail department:
So much for Mozilla's quest to bring Firefox to new and different places. From a report on CNET: The nonprofit organization told employees Thursday that it is eliminating the team tasked with bringing Firefox to connected devices. The cuts affect about 50 people. Ari Jaaksi, the senior vice president in charge of the effort, is leaving, and Bertrand Neveux, director of the group's software, has told coworkers he will depart too. Mozilla had about 1,000 employees at the end of 2016. The layoffs greatly curtail the nonprofit organization's ability to make Firefox relevant again. Once a dominant choice for internet browsing, it has long been overshadowed by Google's Chrome. Mozilla tried to take the web technology powering Firefox to other devices, but struggled to get acceptance. Its shrinking influence comes at a time when more people are browsing the internet on their phones -- an area where Firefox is particularly weak.

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Microsoft Seeks Trump Order Exemption for Workers With Visas
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '17 at 12:11 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's fighting-back department:
Microsoft is asking U.S. officials to grant exceptions for law-abiding, visa-holding workers and students from President Donald Trump's immigration order, channeling the outrage expressed by many in the technology industry with a proposed solution. From a report: Such individuals are low-risk -- having already undergone a rigorous vetting process -- and face immediate hardship as a result of last week's order, Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith said in a letter Thursday to the secretaries of State and Homeland Security. Smith said he believes the two officials are empowered to take the necessary steps to allow certain people entry into the country. The exemptions sought would cover workers with visas sponsored by U.S.-based companies and students with ones obtained via a U.S.-based school.

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Film Industry's Latest Search Engine Draws Traffic With 'Pirate' Keywords'
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '17 at 10:43 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's different-approach department:
A new search engine launched by the Dutch film industry is targeting 'pirates' specifically, reports TorrentFreak. Every movie or TV-show page lists legal viewing options but also includes pirate keywords and descriptions, presumably to draw search traffic. "Don't Wrestle With Nasty Torrents. Ignore the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story torrent," the site advises. From a report: Like other "legal" search engines, the site returns a number of options where people can watch the movies or TV-shows they search for. However, those who scroll down long enough will notice that each page has a targeted message for pirates as well. The descriptions come in a few variations but all mention prominent keywords such as "torrents" and reference "illegal downloading" and unauthorized streaming.

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The FAA Gave the First Ever Go-Ahead For a Drone To Fly at an Airport
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '17 at 10:43 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's trying-to-work-out department:
It's not legal to fly your drone anywhere near an airport -- at least not without a special waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration. From a report: For the first time under the FAA's commercial drone rules, the agency granted permission to operate a drone at an airport. Seven flights were conducted by Berkeley, Calif.-based 3D Robotics on Jan. 10 at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, the busiest airport in the world. Restrictions on flying drones near airports have to do with safety. Not only can drones collide with planes, but seeing one can also distract a pilot. The 3D Robotics drone was given permission to collect data on two four-story parking structures at the airport that a construction firm was hired to demolish.

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Microsoft Gives Windows Device Makers Their 2017 Marching Orders
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '17 at 09:11 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's roadmap-2017 department:
Microsoft officials have some fairly specific ideas about what they want their Windows-device-making partners to build in calendar 2017. From a report: Microsoft wants its OEMs and ODMs to make more Windows 10 detachables, convertibles, and ultraslims. They also are advising their partners to make devices and peripherals that highlight the "hero experiences" of Windows 10 involving Cortana, Windows Hello authentication, and Windows Ink. And another wish-list topper: Microsoft is looking for more Windows 10 PCs that can power mixed-reality peripherals and that are ready for gamers and "media fanatics."

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GitLab Says It Found Lost Data On a Staging Server
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '17 at 09:11 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's reviving-again department:
GitLab.com, the wannabe GitHub alternative that went down hard earlier this week and reported data loss, has said that some data is gone but that its services are now operational again. From a report The Register: The incident did not result in Git repos disappearing. Which may be why the company's PR reps characterised the lost data as "peripheral metadata that was written during a 6-hour window". But in a prose account of the incident, GitLab says "issues, merge requests, users, comments, snippets, etc" were lost. The Register imagines many developers may not be entirely happy with those data types being considered peripheral to their efforts. GitLab's PR flaks added that the incident impacted "less than 1% of our user base." But the firm's incident log says 707 users have lost data. The startup, which has raised over $25 million, added that it lost six hours of data and asserted that the lost doesn't include users' code.

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Valve and Game Publishers Face EU Probe For Geo-Blocking; ASUS Faces Probe For Online Price-Fixing
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '17 at 07:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's enough-already department:
Valve, the company behind games distribution platform Steam, is being investigated by EU antitrust regulators. Agreements in place between Valve and five game publishers that implement geo-blocking in titles could breach European competition rules. From a BetaNews report: Valve, alongside Bandai Namco, Capcom, Focus Home, Koch Media and ZeniMax, is under investigation to determine whether the practice of restricting access to games and prices based on location is legal. At the same time the European Commission is launching an investigation into ASUS, Denon & Marantz, Philips and Pioneer for price manipulation. The investigation into the four electronics manufacturers centers around the fact that the companies restricted the ability of online retailers to set their own pricing for goods.

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Google Vows To Build Leading Cloud For Enterprise Windows, Swiping at Microsoft's Core Business
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '17 at 07:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's fighting-back department:
Google is going after a core part of Microsoft's cloud business, aiming to expand Google Cloud Platform's appeal to big companies that run the classic combination of Microsoft's Windows Server and SQL Server. From a report: Google Cloud Platform today announced pre-configured images for Microsoft SQL Server Enterprise and Windows Server Core on Google Compute Engine. The rollout includes support for high-availability, disaster-recovery and remote-management features used by big companies It's the latest move by Google Cloud Platform to catch up to Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services. The search giant's cloud initiatives are led by Google senior vice president Diane Greene, co-founder and former CEO of VMware, who joined Google as an executive in late 2015 to bolster its efforts to win over big businesses. Greene is also a board member of Google's parent company Alphabet.

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US Probes Panasonic Unit For Alleged Bribery Violations
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '17 at 06:30 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's Bribery-Violations department:
A Panasonic inflight entertainment and communications systems subsidiary is under investigation by U.S. authorities for allegedly breaking bribery and securities laws. From a report: Panasonic Avionics Corp. is being probed by the U.S. Department of Justice and Securities and Securities Exchange Commission for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the Osaka-based company said in a statement Thursday. Panasonic said it's cooperating with the agencies, and evaluating the potential financial impact of the probe. The announcement of the probe mars an otherwise positive earnings release for Panasonic, which raised its full-year profit and revenue forecasts. The subsidiary is part of a corporate division that also makes mobile phones, projectors and surveillance cameras with a total of 33,000 employees. The segment had $6.7 billion in sales in the nine months ended Dec. 31, or 14 percent of total revenue.

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Amazon To Build $1.5 Billion Air Cargo Hub In Kentucky, Creating Around 2,000 New Jobs
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '17 at 06:30 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's job-creation department:
Amazon is planning to build a $1.5 billion air cargo hub in a spot that crossed the Cincinnati and Kentucky border, according to the Wall Street Journal. When the project is completed, it will eventually result in around 2,000 total new jobs. TechCrunch reports: The new hub is designed to help provide a home for its increasingly large fleet of at least 40 cargo planes, a group of vehicles it perviously revealed it was leasing under the name of Amazon Prime Air, complete with Amazon exterior paint jobs. The planes are designed to help Amazon handle its increasing transportation needs, which are growing as its share of global retail business increases, and straining the capacities and capabilities of its shipping partners, which include FedEx and UPS. Amazon has long maintained that it's not looking to compete with other logistics providers, but it recently became an ocean cargo shipping company, with the ability to act as a "freight forwarder," services that FedEx and UPS also offer. Amazon still hopes to eventually offer services both to itself and to outside companies and retailers, which would put it in direct competition with its current partners, according to the WSJ's sources.

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Barnes and Noble Recalls 147,000 NOOK Tablet 7 Power Adapters Due To Shock Risk
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '17 at 03:41 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's beware-of-electric-shock department:
BrianFagioli quotes a report from BetaNews: Want to know something shocking? Like, literally shocking? Barnes and Noble is recalling 147,000 faulty NOOK Tablet 7 power adapters due to shock risk. In other words, owners of this tablet could face an electricity related injury when charging it. If you own this tablet, it is important that you stop using the charger immediately. While there is no guarantee that you will be injured, it is not worth the risk. Barnes and Noble will replace the power adapter at no charge. To make up for the inconvenience, the company will also give you a free gift. "Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled power adapters and register online for a free replacement adapter along with a Barnes and Noble $5 gift card. Once registered, consumers will be able to print a pre-paid UPS label to return the recalled adapters to Barnes and Noble. Consumers will receive replacement adapters in the mail. Until a replacement adapter is received, consumers are advised to charge their NOOK Tablet 7 through their computer using a USB cable," says Barnes and Noble. The book-seller also says, "This recall involves the black power adapter sold with the NOOK Tablet 7. The adapter bears markings: model number TPA-95A050100UU, manufacture date 201610. The NOOK Tablet 7 model number BNTV450 is located on the back of the NOOK. Barnes and Noble has received four reports of the power adapter breaking or pulling apart exposing the metal prongs. No injuries have been reported." If you are affected by this recall, you can visit this site and follow the instructions.

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Scientists Marvel At 'Increasingly Non-Natural' Arctic Warmth
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '17 at 02:10 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's it's-getting-hot-in-here department:
mmell writes: Recognizing that this is a dreadfully old story (at least by Slashdot standards), current developments make this once more a current story. Scientists studying the Arctic environment are used to seeing broad variations in average temperature readings, but recent results have been so far beyond the normal range that they are only able to conclude that they are being caused by human activity. The temperature data (which includes a great many days with readings above 0C) is bolstered by measurements showing that the Arctic ice shelf is both thinner and less extensive than has ever been previously recorded. I wonder if the Arctic ice cap will reform in the winter, or if it's possible that its absence will cause irreversible changes to the Earth's ocean currents (and by extension, Earth's climate)? "[A]fter studying the Arctic and its climate for three and a half decades, I have concluded that what has happened over the last year goes beyond even the extreme," wrote Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, in an essay for Earth magazine. According to The Washington Post, the scientists' simulations predict some places in the high Arctic will rise over 50 degrees above normal. One chart, embedded in the report and shared by several meteorologists online, shows a "jaw-dropping and emblematic display of the intensity and duration of the Arctic warmth. It illustrates the difference from normal in the number of 'freezing degree days,' a measure of the accumulated cold since September."

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Milky Way Is Being Pushed Across the Universe
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '17 at 11:10 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's across-the-universe department:
dryriver quotes a report from CNN: Our home galaxy, the Milky Way, is being pushed across the universe by a large unseen force, according to new research. Although it may not seem like a friendly gesture, the newly discovered Dipole Repeller is actually helping our galaxy on its journey across the expanding universe. Researchers have known that the galaxy was moving at a relative speed for the past 30 years, but they didn't know why. "Now we find an emptiness in exactly the opposite direction, which provides a 'push' in the sense of a lack of pull," said Brent Tully, one of the study authors and an astronomer at the Institute for Astronomy in Honolulu. "In a tug-of-war, if there are more people at one end, then the flow will be toward them and away from the weaker side." But this is no aimless journey of motion. Researchers have long believed that our galaxy was attracted to an area rich with dozens of clusters of galaxies 750 million light-years away, called the Shapley Concentration or Shapley Attractor. "We found a flow pattern reminiscent of streams of water that are organized by gravity to run downhill," Tully said. "In detail, we played a mathematical trick by inverting the sense of gravity to see where flows would terminate in this altered case. Flows ended at our Dipole Repeller."

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Apple Developing Custom ARM-Based Mac Chip That Would Lessen Intel Role
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '17 at 08:10 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's low-power department:
According to Bloomberg, Apple is designing a new chip for future Mac laptops that would take on more of the functionality currently handled by Intel processors. The chip is a variant of the T1 SoC Apple used in the latest MacBook Pro to power the keyboard's Touch Bar feature. The updated part, internally codenamed T310, is built using ARM technology and would reportedly handle some of the computer's low-power mode functionality. From the report: The development of a more advanced Apple-designed chipset for use within Mac laptops is another step in the company's long-term exploration of becoming independent of Intel for its Mac processors. Apple has used its own A-Series processors inside iPhones and iPads since 2010, and its chip business has become one of the Cupertino, California-based company's most critical long-term investments. Apple engineers are planning to offload the Mac's low-power mode, a feature marketed as "Power Nap," to the next-generation ARM-based chip. This function allows Mac laptops to retrieve e-mails, install software updates, and synchronize calendar appointments with the display shut and not in use. The feature currently uses little battery life while run on the Intel chip, but the move to ARM would conserve even more power, according to one of the people. The current ARM-based chip for Macs is independent from the computer's other components, focusing on the Touch Bar's functionality itself. The new version in development would go further by connecting to other parts of a Mac's system, including storage and wireless components, in order to take on the additional responsibilities. Given that a low-power mode already exists, Apple may choose to not highlight the advancement, much like it has not marketed the significance of its current Mac chip, one of the people said. Building its own chips allows Apple to more tightly integrate its hardware and software functions. It also, crucially, allows it more of a say in the cost of components for its devices. However, Apple has no near-term plans to completely abandon Intel chips for use in its laptops and desktops, the people said.

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Researchers Unveil First Ever Blueprint To Construct a Large Scale Quantum Computer
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '17 at 06:50 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's holy-grail-of-physics department:
haruchai quotes a report from Phys.Org: An international team, led by a scientist from the University of Sussex, have today unveiled the first practical blueprint for how to build a quantum computer, the most powerful computer on Earth. The work features a new invention permitting actual quantum bits to be transmitted between individual quantum computing modules in order to obtain a fully modular large-scale machine capable of reaching nearly arbitrary large computational processing powers. Prof Hensinger said: "The availability of a universal quantum computer may have a fundamental impact on society as a whole. Without doubt it is still challenging to build a large-scale machine, but now is the time to translate academic excellence into actual application building on the UK's strengths in this ground-breaking technology. I am very excited to work with industry and government to make this happen." The computer's possibilities for solving, explaining or developing could be endless. However, its size will be anything but small. The machine is expected to fill a large building, consisting of sophisticated vacuum apparatus featuring integrated quantum computing silicon microchips that hold individual charged atoms (ions) using electric fields. The plans for creating a universal quantum computer has been published in the journal Science Advances.

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