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"Breathtakingly Stupid" EU Cookie Law Passes
Posted by News Fetcher on November 13 '09 at 07:15 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's uac-plus-plus deptartment:
Reader whencanistop writes with some details on an upcoming EU law that slipped under the radar as it was part of the package containing the "three strikes" provision, which attracted all the attention and criticism. "A couple of weeks ago we discussed the EU cookie proposal, which has now been passed into law. While the original story broke on the Out-law blog from a law perspective ('so breathtakingly stupid that the normally law-abiding business may be tempted to bend the rules to breaking point'), there has now been followup from a couple of industry insiders. Aurelie Pols of the Web Analytics Association has blogged on how this will affect websites that want to monitor what people are looking at on their sites, while eConsultancy has blogged on how this will impact the affiliate industry. In all of this the general public is being ignored — the people who, if the law is actually implemented, will have to proceed through ridiculous screens of text every time they access a website. I know most of you guys hate cookies in general, but they is vital for websites to know how people are accessing the sites so they can work out how to improve the experience for the user."

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City Laws Only Available Via $200 License
Posted by News Fetcher on November 13 '09 at 06:15 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's calling-doctor-malamud deptartment:
MrLint writes "The City of Schenectady has decided that their laws are copyrighted, and that you cannot know them without paying for an 'exclusive license' for $200. This is not a first — Oregon has claimed publishing of laws online is a copyright violation." This case is nuanced. The city has contracted with a private company to convert and encode its laws so they can be made available on the Web for free. While the company works on this project, it considers the electronic versions of the laws its property and offers a CD version, bundled with its software, for $200. The man who requested a copy of the laws plans to appeal.

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Micro-Black Holes Make Poor Planet Killers
Posted by News Fetcher on November 13 '09 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's they-don't-even-make-good-nightclubs deptartment:
astroengine writes "Physicists are getting excited about the possibility of micro-black holes (MBH) being produced by the LHC and an international group of researchers have done the math to see what kind of impact they could have on the Earth. Unfortunately, if you're a megalomaniac looking for your next globe-eating weapon, you can scrub MBHs off your WMD list. If a speedy MBH is produced, flying through our planet, it will only have a few seconds to accrete the mass of a few atoms. It would then be lost to space where it will evaporate. If a slow MBH is produced, dropping into the Earth where it sits for a few billion years, the results are even more boring."

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eBay For Millionaires
Posted by News Fetcher on November 13 '09 at 03:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's auction-site-of-substance deptartment:
AC writes "Got $2 million in assets? Then you can join BillionaireXchange; just the place to find a 2006 Bugatti Veyron with a Start Bid of $1,050,000.00. Or perhaps you are looking for a boat like the Disco Volante (from James Bond), for example the 2000 Azimut Motor Yacht, a lovely 85-footer with a Start Bid of $2,700,000.00. On the other end of the deal, did your hedge fund leave you in the lurch? This is the place to sell those extravagant toys you thought you could afford."

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Microsoft Buys Teamprise, Will Ship Linux Tools
Posted by News Fetcher on November 13 '09 at 01:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's things-get-complicated deptartment:
spongman writes "Microsoft's Senior Vice President, Developer Division, S. Somasegar has announced that Microsoft has acquired Teamprise from Sourcegear, LLC, and will be shipping it as part of the upcoming Visual Studio 2010 release. Teamprise is an Eclipse plugin (and related tools) for connecting to Team Foundation Server, Microsoft's source-control/project-management system. What's most interesting about this is not only that Microsoft has realized that heterogeneous development platforms are important to their developer customers, but the fact that Microsoft themselves will now be developing and shipping products based on those heterogeneous platforms, including 5 versions of Unix."

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Future Blu-ray Movies To Come With Playable Game Demos
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '09 at 11:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's confluence-of-media deptartment:
Audiofan writes "Enthusiasts have long suggested the PlayStation 3 to their family and friends as one of the better and most affordable Blu-ray players. Lately, prices of Blu-ray players have been coming down, but the PS3 is still one of the better options out there. Sony is taking advantage of this by starting to offer game demos on their Blu-ray offerings. While these demos will only be playable on the PS3, they hope the extra value will help drive sales."

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Synthetic Stone DVD Claimed To Last 1,000 Years
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '09 at 11:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's will-your-progeny-the-warranty deptartment:
Lucas123 writes "A start-up launched a new DVD archive product this week: a disc that it says will hold its data for 1,000 years. The company, Cranberry, says its DiamonDisc product, which can be used in any standard DVD player, is not subject to deterioration from heat, UV rays or material rot due to humidity or other elements because it has no dyes, adhesives or reflective materials like standard DVD discs, and its discs are made from a vastly more durable synthetic stone. Data is laid down on the platter much in the same way as a standard DVD disc, but with DiamonDisc the burner etches much deeper pits. Cranberry said it is also working on producing a Blu-ray version of its 1,000-year disc."

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Flash Vulnerability Found, Adobe Says No Fix Forthcoming
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '09 at 11:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's more-from-the-slums-of-the-internet deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Security researchers at Foreground Security have found an issue with Adobe Flash. Any site that allows files to be uploaded could be vulnerable to this issue (whether they serve Flash or not!). Adobe has said that no easy fix exists and no patch is forthcoming. Adobe puts the responsibility on the website administrators themselves to fix this problem, but they themselves seem to be vulnerable to these problems. Every user with Flash installed is vulnerable to this new type of attack and — until IT administrators fix their sites — will continue to be."

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Recovering the Slums of the Internet?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '09 at 11:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's english-monopoly-names deptartment:
turtleshadow writes "Brian Krebs of Security Fix Blog analyzed the McColo Spamming one year later and asks an interesting question: 'How does one renovate and recoup the lost trust to the slums of the Internet and reclaim back all the domains and IP's that have been blacklisted?' Indeed, the economic benefits abound when a huge swath of illegal and annoying activity ceases — but given the basic design of the Internet, what happens over the long run to IP space and DNS when hosting companies come and go and vary in their trustworthiness? So too, now Geocities is dead [as a business], but does that still live in your filter list? It still appears in OpenDNS under several policy categories. How, in a few years, will I tell if some Hosting/Colo sold me Whitechapel Road/Ventura Avenue for Mayfair/Boardwalk prices, and no one is going to accept my mail from a former slum? When do you, if ever, roll back the blacklists and filters for 'dead' threats and spammers?"

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Keeping Pacemakers Safe From Hackers
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '09 at 11:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's blackest-of-black-hats deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and the French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control have now developed a scheme for protecting implantable medical devices against wireless attacks. The approach relies on using ultrasound waves to determine the exact distance between a medical device and the wireless reader attempting to communicate with it." I had no idea that things have gotten so bad that hearts are being hacked.

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Verizon Doubles Early Termination Fee and More
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '09 at 11:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's infuriating-design deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "If you buy a smartphone through Verizon, be prepared for an increase in the early termination fee. Verizon is doubling the phone-subsidy to $350. What's more, is that Verizon also actively charges customers for accidental data transmissions of as little as 0.02kb. 'They configure the phones to have multiple easily hit keystrokes to launch 'Get it now' or 'Mobile Web'—usually a single key like an arrow key. [...] The instant you call the function, they charge you the data fee. We cancel these unintended requests as fast as we can hit the End key, but it doesn't matter; they've told me that ANY data--even one kilobyte--is billed as 1MB. The damage is done.'"

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MPAA Shuts Down Town's Municipal WiFi Over 1 Download
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '09 at 11:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's so-you're-sure-you-want-gov't-run-wifi? deptartment:
nam37 writes with this BoingBoing snippet "The MPAA has successfully shut down an entire town's municipal WiFi because a single user was found to be downloading a copyrighted movie. Rather than being embarrassed by this gross example of collective punishment (a practice outlawed in the Geneva conventions) against Coshocton, OH, the MPAA's spokeslizard took the opportunity to cry poor (even though the studios are bringing in record box-office and aftermarket receipts)."

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HTTP Intermediary Layer From Google Could Dramatically Speed Up the Web
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '09 at 11:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's sufficient-disclosure deptartment:
grmoc writes "As part of the 'Let's make the web faster' initiative, we (a few engineers — including me! — at Google, and hopefully people all across the community soon!) are experimenting with alternative protocols to help reduce the latency of Web pages. One of these experiments is SPDY (pronounced 'SPeeDY'), an application-layer protocol (essentially a shim between HTTP and the bits on the wire) for transporting content over the web, designed specifically for minimal latency. In addition to a rough specification for the protocol, we have hacked SPDY into the Google Chrome browser (because it's what we're familiar with) and a simple server testbed. Using these hacked up bits, we compared the performance of many of the top 25 and top 300 websites over both HTTP and SPDY, and have observed those pages load, on average, about twice as fast using SPDY. Thats not bad! We hope to engage the open source community to contribute ideas, feedback, code (we've open sourced the protocol, etc!), and test results."

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How To DDoS a Federal Wiretap
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '09 at 11:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's first-step-get-wiretapped deptartment:
alphadogg writes "Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania say they've discovered a way to circumvent the networking technology used by law enforcement to tap phone lines in the US. The flaws they've found 'represent a serious threat to the accuracy and completeness of wiretap records used for both criminal investigation and as evidence in trial,' the researchers say in their paper, set to be presented Thursday at a computer security conference in Chicago. Following up on earlier work on evading analog wiretap devices called loop extenders, the Penn researchers took a deep look at the newer technical standards used to enable wiretapping on telecommunication switches. They found that while these newer devices probably don't suffer from many of the bugs they'd found in the loop extender world, they do introduce new flaws. In fact, wiretaps could probably be rendered useless if the connection between the switches and law enforcement are overwhelmed with useless data, something known as a denial of service (DOS) attack."

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$9 Million ATM Hacking Ring Indicted
Posted by News Fetcher on November 10 '09 at 07:45 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's good-luck-with-those-arrests deptartment:
Trailrunner7 writes "US and international prosecutors have indicted a criminal ring that they allege was responsible for an ATM scam last November that stole about $9 million from RBS WorldPay. The criminals cracked payroll debit cards and withdrew money from ATMs in hundreds of cities around the world. A federal grand jury in Atlanta has indicted eight men in connection with the scheme, including five Estonians, one Russian, one Moldovan, and one unidentified man. Prosecutors allege that the men "used sophisticated hacking techniques" to defeat the company's encryption system. The scam involved an elaborate plan in which the attackers first bypassed the encryption on the debit cards, which RBS WorldPay issues to customers for employee payroll purposes. They then raised the limits on the accounts attached to the cards, then provided a network of 'cashers' with 44 counterfeit payroll debit cards, which were used to withdraw more than $9 million from more than 2,100 ATMs in at least 280 cities worldwide, including cities in the United States, Russia, Ukraine, Estonia, Italy, Japan and Canada. The $9 million loss occurred within a span of less than 12 hours; 130 different ATMs in 49 cities were hit within one 30-minute period."

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Best Tool For Remembering Passwords?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 10 '09 at 05:45 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's encrypted-plain-text-file-on-a-stick deptartment:
StonyCreekBare writes "Lately I've been rethinking my personal security practices. Should my laptop be stolen, having Firefox 'fill in' passwords automatically for me when I go to my bank's site seems sub-optimal. Keeping passwords for all the varied sites on the computer in a plain-text file seems unwise as well. Keeping them in my brain is a prescription for disaster, as my brain is increasingly leaky. A paper notepad likewise has its disadvantages. I have looked at a number of password managers, password 'vaults' and so on. The number of tools out there is a bit overwhelming. Magic Password Generator add-in for Firefox seems competent, but it's tied to Firefox, and I have other places and applications where I want passwords. And I might be accessing my sites from other computers that don't have it installed. The ideal tool in my mind should be something that is independent of any application, browser, or computer; something that is easily carried, but which if lost poses no risk of compromise. What does the Slashdot crowd like in password tools?"

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Google Gives the Gift of Free Airport Wi-Fi
Posted by News Fetcher on November 10 '09 at 05:00 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's no-self-interest-here-no-sir deptartment:
itwbennett writes "Google is giving you something to be thankful for as you travel this holiday season. The company announced today that it is offering free Wi-Fi at 47 airports across the US between now and January 15. If you haven't booked your flights yet, you want to factor this into your plans. Here's a list of the 47 airports, which cover about 35% of all US passengers, according to Google. The Burbank and Seattle airports will continue to offer the free Google Wi-Fi indefinitely." The HuffPo notes another altruistic note in Google's gesture: "As another way to pass on the spirit of the season, once they log on to networks in any of the participating airports, travelers will have the option [of making] a donation to Engineers Without Borders, the One Economy Corporation, or the Climate Savers Computing Initiative. Google will match the donations made across all the networks up to $250,000, and the airport network that generates the highest amount per passenger by January 1, 2010 will receive $15,000 to donate to the local nonprofit of their choice."

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Researchers Take Down a Spam Botnet
Posted by News Fetcher on November 10 '09 at 03:45 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's chalk-up-one-for-the-good-guys deptartment:
The Register is reporting on the takedown of a botnet once responsible for 1/3 of the world's spam. The deed was done by researchers from the security firm FireEye, who detailed the action a series of blog posts. PC World's coverage estimates that lately the botnet has accounted for 4% of spam. From the Register: "After carefully analyzing the machinations of the massive botnet, alternately known as Mega-D and Ozdok, the FireEye employees last week launched a coordinated blitz on dozens of its command and control channels. ... Almost immediately, the spam stopped, according to M86 Security blog. ... The body blow is good news to ISPs that are forced to choke on the torrent of spam sent out by the pesky botnet. But because many email servers already deployed blacklists that filtered emails sent from IP addresses known to be used by Ozdok, end users may not notice much of a change. ... With [the] head chopped off of Ozdok, more than 264,000 IP addresses were found reporting to sinkholes under FireEye's control..."

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Intel's New E-Reader For the Visually Impaired
Posted by News Fetcher on November 10 '09 at 02:45 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's tell-me-a-story deptartment:
serverguy writes "Intel will be releasing a win for all visually impaired members of society, a new device called the Intel Reader. It allows visually impaired people to take a snapshot of a newspaper, book, or magazine and have it read back to them. It's estimated that in the US alone there are as many as 55 million people who could make use of such a device. It comes at hefty price though: the paperback-sized device costs $1,499. The device contains a 5-megapixel camera and is powered by a Linux OCR system that converts text into spoken words. The device can hold up to 2GB of data, which would equate to around 600 snapshots. In addition to reading text, the device can also play back audio books in a number of supported formats such as MP3 and WAV. The Intel Reader is expected to be released next Tuesday." The device won't be speedy: "Intel says it takes about 30 seconds to process each page of text... It took... about 30 minutes to scan in the pages of a 250-page book and then one hour to process them."

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EC Formally Objects To Oracle's Purchase of Sun
Posted by News Fetcher on November 10 '09 at 01:45 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's bringing-about-the-most-feared-outcome deptartment:
eldavojohn writes "The EC has presented Oracle and Sun with a statement of objections. Despite the promotion of former MySQL CEO Marten Mickos, the statement seems to focus entirely on what many have feared: MySQL vs. Oracle databases. From Sun's 8-K SEC filing: 'The Statement of Objections sets out the Commission's preliminary assessment regarding, and is limited to, the combination of Sun's open source MySQL database product with Oracle's enterprise database products and its potential negative effects on competition in the market for database products.' The EU and the EC are getting a rep for disagreeing with US counterparts." On Monday afternoon the DoJ reiterated its support for the deal. Matthew Aslett has a helpful timeline of the action from the EC.

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