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Personal Data For More Than 130,000 Sailors Hacked: U.S. Navy
Posted by News Fetcher on November 24 '16 at 08:12 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's security-woes department:
Hackers gained access to sensitive information, including Social Security numbers, for 134,386 current and former U.S. sailors, the U.S. Navy has said. According to Reuters: It said a laptop used by a Hewlett Packard Enterprise Services employee working on a U.S. Navy contract was hacked. Hewlett Packard informed the Navy of the breach on Oct. 27 and the affected sailors will be notified in the coming weeks, the Navy said. "The Navy takes this incident extremely seriously - this is a matter of trust for our sailors," Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Admiral Robert Burke said in a statement.

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Google Sends State-Sponsored Hack Warnings To Journalists and Professors
Posted by News Fetcher on November 24 '16 at 06:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's what's-happening department:
An anonymous reader shares an IBTimes report: Numerous journalists and professors are taking to social media to report that they have received an alarming message regarding state-sponsored hacking when accessing their Gmail or other sites that use their Google account. Journalists who received the warning include Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, New York magazine's Jonathan Chait, Politico's Julia Ioffe, GQ's special correspondent Keith Olbermann, Vox's Ezra Klein, Yahoo News' Garance Franke-Ruta, and one of President Barack Obama's former speechwriters, Jon Lovett. The warning says, "Google may have detected government-backed attackers trying to steal your password." These warnings are being sent by Google since 2012 but Twitter has erupted with a flurry of people in the media and academic community receiving this in the past 24 hours.

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Security Researchers Can Turn Headphones Into Microphones
Posted by News Fetcher on November 24 '16 at 05:31 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's proof-of-concept department:
As if we don't already have enough devices that can listen in on our conversations, security researchers at Israel's Ben Gurion University have created malware that will turn your headphones into microphones that can slyly record your conversations. TechCrunch reports: The proof-of-concept, called "Speake(a)r," first turned headphones connected to a PC into microphones and then tested the quality of sound recorded by a microphone vs. headphones on a target PC. In short, the headphones were nearly as good as an unpowered microphone at picking up audio in a room. It essentially "retasks" the RealTek audio codec chip output found in many desktop computers into an input channel. This means you can plug your headphones into a seemingly output-only jack and hackers can still listen in. This isn't a driver fix, either. The embedded chip does not allow users to properly prevent this hack which means your earbuds or nice cans could start picking up conversations instantly. In fact, even if you disable your microphone, a computer with a RealTek chip could still be hacked and exploited without your knowledge. The sound quality, as shown by this chart, is pretty much the same for a dedicated microphone and headphones. The researchers have published a video on YouTube demonstrating how this malware works.

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Nearly 40% of Americans Would Give Up Sex For Better Online Security, Survey Finds
Posted by News Fetcher on November 24 '16 at 02:51 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's drastic-times-call-for-drastic-measures department:
A recent survey of over 2,000 adults conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Dashlane, a "leader in online identity and password management," found that nearly 40 percent of Americans would give up sex for an entire year if it meant they'd never have to worry about being hacked. Huffington Post reports: 40 percent of people also said they'd give up their favorite food for one month in the name of peace of mind online. If all of this sounds drastic, the truth is that it probably is. The single biggest thing people can do to help keep their online identity safe is probably the easiest -- a solid password. 10 years ago, anti-virus was the primary method of online security. But since the Internet has left the desktop and is on laptops, tablets, and cell phones, and since so many people now use the cloud for backing up their sensitive data, following proper password protocol is critical. Of course, having a solid password doesn't do a lot of good if you're giving it out to people. And nearly 50% of people have shared a password to an e-mail account or to an account like Netflix with a friend or had a friend share theirs (which is a surprisingly high number when you consider that 4 out of 10 people said that sharing an online social media password was more intimate than sex). A look at the password habits of Americans showed that about 30% have used a pet's name, almost 25% have used a family member's name, 21% a birthday, and 10% each have used an anniversary, a sports team, an address, or a phone number. So if you just know a few basic, personal details about someone, you've got a decent chance at cracking their password. The study also revealed some interesting data in that younger Americans (those age 18 to 34) who grew up online are far more trusting with passwords than older generations, and married people are less likely to part with passwords than single people.

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ESA: European Mars Lander Crash Caused By 1-Second Glitch
Posted by News Fetcher on November 24 '16 at 01:31 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's what-went-wrong department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Space.com: The European Space Agency (ESA) on Nov. 23 said its Schiaparelli lander's crash landing on Mars on Oct. 19 followed an unexplained saturation of its inertial measurement unit (IMU), which delivered bad data to the lander's computer and forced a premature release of its parachute. Polluted by the IMU data, the lander's computer apparently thought it had either already landed or was just about to land. The parachute system was released, the braking thrusters were fired only briefly and the on-ground systems were activated. Instead of being on the ground, Schiaparelli was still 2.3 miles (3.7 kilometers) above the Mars surface. It crashed, but not before delivering what ESA officials say is a wealth of data on entry into the Mars atmosphere, the functioning and release of the heat shield and the deployment of the parachute -- all of which went according to plan. In its Nov. 23 statement, ESA said the saturation reading from Schiaparelli's inertial measurement unit lasted only a second but was enough to play havoc with the navigation system. ESA said the sequence of events "has been clearly reproduced in computer simulations of the control system's response to the erroneous information." ESA's director of human spaceflight and robotic exploration, David Parker, said in a statement that ExoMars teams are still sifting through the voluminous data harvest from the Schiaparelli mission, and that an external, independent board of inquiry, now being created, would release a final report in early 2017.

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Trump To Scrap NASA Climate Research In Crackdown On 'Politicized Science'
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '16 at 08:03 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's there's-a-new-sheriff-in-town department:
dryriver quotes a report from The Guardian: Donald Trump is poised to eliminate all climate change research conducted by NASA as part of a crackdown on "politicized science," his senior adviser on issues relating to the space agency has said. Nasa's Earth science division is set to be stripped of funding in favor of exploration of deep space, with the president-elect having set a goal during the campaign to explore the entire solar system by the end of the century. This would mean the elimination of NASA's world-renowned research into temperature, ice, clouds and other climate phenomena. [NASA's network of satellites provide a wealth of information on climate change, with the Earth science division's budget set to grow to $2 billion (PDF) next year. By comparison, space exploration has been scaled back somewhat, with a proposed budget of $2.8 billion in 2017.] Kevin Trenberth, senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, said as Nasa provides the scientific community with new instruments and techniques, the elimination of Earth sciences would be "a major setback if not devastating." "It could put us back into the 'dark ages' of almost the pre-satellite era," he said. "It would be extremely short sighted."

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Scientists Create Battery That Charges In Seconds and Lasts For Days
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '16 at 06:46 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's need-to-see-it-to-believe-it department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Telegraph: A new type of battery that lasts for days with only a few seconds' charge has been created by researchers at the University of Central Florida. The high-powered battery is packed with supercapacitors that can store a large amount of energy. It looks like a thin piece of flexible metal that is about the size of a finger nail and could be used in phones, electric vehicles and wearables, according to the researchers. As well as storing a lot of energy rapidly, the small battery can be recharged more than 30,000 times. Normal lithium-ion batteries begin to tire within a few hundred charges. They typically last between 300 to 500 full charge and drain cycles before dropping to 70 per cent of their original capacity. To date supercapacitors weren't used to make batteries as they'd have to be much larger than those currently available. But the Florida researchers have overcome this hurdle by making their supercapacitors with tiny wires that are a nanometer thick. Coated with a high energy shell, the core of the wires is highly conductive to allow for super fast charging. The battery isn't yet ready to be used in consumer devices, the researchers said, but it shows a significant step forward in a tired technology.

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Telegram Launches Telegraph, An Anonymous Blogging Platform
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '16 at 06:46 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's no-sign-up-required department:
Telegram has unveiled a new blogging platform called Telegraph, which offers fast publishing and anonymous posting without requiring you to sign up or sign in via social media. The Verge reports: The app's user interface looks very similar to Medium and allows for easy embeds. You can also embed images from your computer by clicking on the camera button. In comparison to Medium, the loading time for embeds is relatively fast. Publication is instantaneous upon hitting "publish." Posts are shareable on social media platforms but are designed to work best on Telegram's new Instant View layout, which works similarly to Facebook's Instant Articles feature. The simplicity and speed of Telegraph are not without its downsides. As TechCrunch points out, the lack of user history means that if you accidentally delete the link to your published post, it would be very difficult to track down unless you have cookies enabled on your browser. The anonymous nature also opens up opportunities for abuse, potentially paving the way for internet trolls and spreaders of fake news -- a problem that has put tech giants like Facebook and Google under scrutiny.

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Google's AI Translation Tool Creates Its Own Secret Language
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '16 at 05:23 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's rise-of-the-machines department:
After a little over a month of learning more languages to translate beyond Spanish, Google's recently announced Neural Machine Translation system has used deep learning to develop its own internal language. TechCrunch reports: GNMT's creators were curious about something. If you teach the translation system to translate English to Korean and vice versa, and also English to Japanese and vice versa... could it translate Korean to Japanese, without resorting to English as a bridge between them? They made this helpful gif to illustrate the idea of what they call "zero-shot translation" (it's the orange one). As it turns out -- yes! It produces "reasonable" translations between two languages that it has not explicitly linked in any way. Remember, no English allowed. But this raised a second question. If the computer is able to make connections between concepts and words that have not been formally linked... does that mean that the computer has formed a concept of shared meaning for those words, meaning at a deeper level than simply that one word or phrase is the equivalent of another? In other words, has the computer developed its own internal language to represent the concepts it uses to translate between other languages? Based on how various sentences are related to one another in the memory space of the neural network, Google's language and AI boffins think that it has. The paper describing the researchers' work (primarily on efficient multi-language translation but touching on the mysterious interlingua) can be read at Arxiv.

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Microsoft Solitaire Collection From Windows 10 Now Available For Android and iOS
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '16 at 05:23 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's classic-games department:
BrianFagioli quotes a report from BetaNews: Back in the the mid-1990's, everyone thought they needed a computer. After all, Windows 95 made using one particularly easy, and the internet was a very attractive thing. Unfortunately, once some people got their first-ever PC set up in their homes, they didn't really know what to do with it. In the end, it would turn out that some consumers spent thousands of dollars for a machine dedicated to one thing -- playing Solitaire! Yes, this fun Windows game is responsible for much wasted time, but not just at home -- at businesses too. The card game has historically been viewed as a negative for productivity. Fast forward to 2016 and fewer people are sitting in front of large desktop computers at home -- people are increasingly turning to tablets and smartphones for entertainment. Today, just in time for Thanksgiving, Microsoft Solitaire Collection comes to both Android and iOS. "Microsoft Solitaire continues to be one of the most-played games of all time on Windows for more than 25 years. What's more, the version of Solitaire you know and love on Windows 10 and Windows 8 PC and mobile devices, Microsoft Solitaire Collection, has reached more than 119 million unique players in the last four years alone! And now, those on iPhone, iPad and Android devices can play the popular card game for free," says Paul Jensen, Studio Manager of Microsoft Casual Games. "[...] with Xbox Live integration, you can sign in with your Xbox Live gamertag or Microsoft account to earn Xbox Live achievements and Gamerscore, compete with friends, and continue playing on any Windows 10, iPhone, iPad, or Android device while on the go since your progress and game data are saved in the cloud. If you're not an Xbox Live member, signing up for a free membership through the game is easy and totally worth it." It's worth noting that the "freemium" model features advertisements, but players can go "Premium" to remove those ads for $2 per month and receive other perks. You can download Microsoft Solitaire Collection from the App Store, Google Play, and Windows Store.

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Snowden Can Be Asked To Testify In Person In Germany NSA Probe
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '16 at 04:03 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's come-out-come-out-wherever-you-are department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Whistleblower Edward Snowden can be asked to give evidence in person by a German committee probing the NSA's spying activities, the country's Federal Court of Justice has ruled. Germany's government has been told that it should make suitable arrangements for that to happen. It has been refusing to invite Snowden to give evidence personally since it would need to guarantee that he would not be handed over to the U.S. -- a promise the German authorities say would risk damaging the political relations between the two countries. Instead, it has called for him to give evidence via a video link, or for German officials to interview him in Moscow, both of which Snowden turned down. Following a formal complaint by the greens and left-wing politicians, Germany's Federal Court of Justice has ruled that the German government must provide the necessary guarantees that would allow Snowden to give evidence in person, or explain why it will not do so. Snowden's lawyer, Wolfgang Kaleck, told the Suddeutsche Zeitung that the German government might refuse to provide guarantees, and officially admit that it regards cooperating with the U.S. on intelligence matters in the future as more important than getting to the bottom of past surveillance. In that case, an appeal could be made to Germany's constitutional court, according to an article in Der Spiegel, which would decide whether the German government was allowed to make that trade-off. The committee of inquiry is examining to what extent German citizens and politicians were spied on by the NSA and its so-called Five Eyes partners -- notably GCHQ -- and whether German politicians and intelligence agencies knew about this activity.

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Microsoft Launches Office 365 in 10 New Markets, Eyes Expansion in Nearly 100 New Markets By Next Year
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '16 at 04:03 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's global-expansion department:
Microsoft is bringing Office 365 to 10 new markets. The company today announced that people in Bhutan, Cambodia, Greenland, Guadeloupe, Laos, Maldives, Martinique, Mozambique, Myanmar, and Vatican City can now also subscribe to its productivity suite. The company says it plans to launch Office 365 in nearly 100 more markets by next year. VentureBeat adds: It's worth underlining that Microsoft is using the word "market" and not "country" on purpose. There are 196 countries in the world today, but the company plans to launch Office 365 in "a further 97 markets over the next year." That would bring the total to 247 markets -- the extra markets are differentiated by certain cultural and language differences that require more work on Microsoft's part, even if they are part of the same geographic country.Office is one of Microsoft's biggest cash cows. The company says over 1.2 billion people worldwide use its productivity suite.

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Samsung Group Offices Raided By Korean Prosecutors
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '16 at 02:43 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's influence-peddling department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: South Korean prosecutors raided the offices of Samsung Group on Wednesday, a prosecution official said, after media reports of alleged links with a confidante of President Park Geun-hye who has been indicted in an influence-peddling scandal. Prosecutors also raided South Korea's largest pension fund, the National Pension Service (NPS), an NPS spokeswoman said. The Yonhap news agency reported that investigators were probing NPS's decision to approve the $8 billion merger of Samsung CT Corp and Cheil Industries last year. The raids signaled that prosecutors are expanding their investigation into allegations of influence-peddling in the corruption scandal that has rocked Park's presidency over the relationship between the government and big businesses. NPS, the world's third-largest pension fund, has come under scrutiny by the media and civic groups over its approval as a major shareholder of the merger between two affiliates of Samsung Group, South Korea's largest family-run conglomerate. Its backing was seen as crucial to the success of the merger and some South Korean media reports said its approval came under mysterious circumstances. Prosecutors raided four locations -- the NPS headquarters, NPS Investment Management office headquarters, Samsung Group offices and the office of a former NPS investment management official -- said a prosecution official who was not authorized to speak to the media and declined to be identified. Park and her confidante, Choi Soon-sil, are under investigation for allegedly improperly pressuring major conglomerates, including the Samsung Group, to raise funds for foundations that backed Park's policy of promoting the cultural and sports communities.

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Trump Says He's Going To 'Get Apple To Build a Big Plant In the United States'
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '16 at 02:43 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's made-in-the-USA department:
In a Tuesday interview with The New York Times, President-elect Donald Trump said that he would incentivize Apple to "build a big plant in the United States, or many big plants in the United States." Ars Technica reports: Trump indicated to columnist Thomas Friedman that he is going to double-down on bringing factory jobs back to America, especially in the Rust Belt from Michigan to Pennsylvania.

FRIEDMAN: Are you worried, though, that those companies will keep their factories here, but the jobs will be replaced by robots?
TRUMP: They will, and we'll make the robots, too. [laughter]
TRUMP: It's a big thing, we'll make the robots, too. Right now we don't make the robots. We don't make anything. But we're going to. I mean, look, robotics is becoming very big and we're going to do that. We're going to have more factories. We can't lose 70,000 factories. Just can't do it. We're going to start making things.

< article continued at Slashdot's made-in-the-USA department >

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China Breaks Patent Application Record
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '16 at 01:21 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's slow-and-steady department:
China-based inventors applied for a record-setting number of patents last year. The country accounted for more than a million submissions, according to an annual report by the World Intellectual Property Organization (Wipo). It said the figure was "extraordinary". From a BBC report:A total of 2.9 million patent applications were filed worldwide in 2015, according to Wipo, marking a 7.8% rise on the previous year. China can lay claim to driving most of that growth. Its domestic patent office -- the Property Office of the People's Republic of China (Sipo) -- received a record 1,101,864 filings. Many of the filings were for innovations in telecoms, computing, semiconductors and medical tech. Beijing had urged companies to boost the number of such applications. But some experts have cast doubt as to whether it signifies that the country is truly more inventive than others, since most of China's filings were done locally.

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Google Quietly Phases Out 'Google Cast' Branding for TVs, Speakers
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '16 at 01:21 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's what's-in-a-name department:
Google can't seem to settle for a good name for its media-streaming device. The company is changing Google Cast branding to Chromecast, it subtly announced this week on Twitter. The tech giant has been jumping around on its branding for Cast, most recently switching from Google Cast to Google Home with the release of the company's smart speaker. From a report on Variety:Google has been phasing put the 'Google Cast' branding for TVs and internet-connected loudspeakers that are compatible with Google's own Chromecast streaming adapters. Instead, the company and its partners have switched to describing these products as having "Chromecast built-in."

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UK Plans To Censor Online Videos Of 'Non-Conventional' Sex Acts
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '16 at 01:21 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's crack-down department:
Mark Wilson, writing for BetaNews: The UK government's relationship with the web is something of a checkered one. Keen to pander to the fear of concerned hand-wringers, we've seen torrent sites blocked and there are plans afoot to censor porn sites that do not implement 'effective' age checks. Now there is a chance that UK web users will be denied access to websites that portray "non-conventional sexual acts" in the latest act of censorship by the government. A bill currently being considered would apply the same restrictions to online pornography that currently apply offline. In what appears to be yet another example of the government failing to understand quite how the internet works -- and trying to bend offline laws to apply to online situations -- the plan is to block websites that display content that would not normally receive a classification if released on DVD.

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Clinton Urged To Challenge Election Results Due To Possible Hacking [Update]
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '16 at 12:02 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's bombshell department:
Reader Bruha writes: After examining results in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin computer scientists have discovered Clinton averaged 7% worse in counties with e voting machines vs. counties with only paper or optical scan ballots.From a CNN report:The computer scientists believe they have found evidence that vote totals in the three states could have been manipulated or hacked and presented their findings to top Clinton aides on a call last Thursday. The scientists, among them J. Alex Halderman, the director of the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security and Society, told the Clinton campaign they believe there is a questionable trend of Clinton performing worse in counties that relied on electronic voting machines compared to paper ballots and optical scanners, according to the source. The group informed John Podesta, Clinton's campaign chairman, and Marc Elias, the campaign's general counsel, that Clinton received 7% fewer votes in counties that relied on electronic voting machines, which the group said could have been hacked.Halderman wrote more about it on Medium today in an article titled, "Want to Know if the Election was Hacked? Look at the Ballots" Update: Green party candidate Jill Stein is asking for donations to fund a recount of her own in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, which are the states key to Hillary Clinton's surprising loss. Stein says she must raise $2.5 million by Friday 4 pm central time to proceed. Editor's note: the story has been updated and moved up on the front page.

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Sony Accused of Censoring Negative Feedback On Its Bravia TVs Ahead of Black Fri
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '16 at 12:02 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's stranger-things department:
An anonymous reader writes: Disgruntled owners of Sony's Bravia televisions have accused the company of "censoring" its community forums by preventing users from reporting technical issues. Several users say the company has locked threads containing complaints about its 4K televisions to suppress negative feedback in the run-up to the high-spending season. One of the threads removed by Sony contained 90 pages-worth of reports of input lag issues affecting its 2016 line of ultra-high definition (UHD) Bravia sets. The thread is titled, "Buyers beware, it looks almost the entire 4K 'HDR capable' TV line up from Sony are trash for 4K and HDR gaming" and clicking on the link now brings up an empty page with the error message: "the topic you are trying to access is not available."

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FBI Hacked Over 8,000 Computers In 120 Countries Based on One Warrant
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '16 at 12:02 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's too-much-power department:
Joseph Cox, reporting for Motherboard: In January, Motherboard reported on the FBI's "unprecedented" hacking operation, in which the agency, using a single warrant, deployed malware to over one thousand alleged visitors of a dark web child pornography site. Now, it has emerged that the campaign was actually several orders of magnitude larger. In all, the FBI obtained over 8,000 IP addresses, and hacked computers in 120 different countries, according to a transcript from a recent evidentiary hearing in a related case. The figures illustrate the largest ever known law enforcement hacking campaign to date, and starkly demonstrate what the future of policing crime on the dark web may look like. This news comes as the US is preparing to usher in changes that would allow magistrate judges to authorize the mass hacking of computers, wherever in the world they may be located.

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