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Malware Linked To Government of Kazakhstan Targets Journalists, Political Activists and Lawyers, Says Report
Posted by News Fetcher on August 04 '16 at 06:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's oppressive-regimes department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from EFF: Journalists and political activists critical of Kazakhstan's authoritarian government, along with their family members, lawyers, and associates, have been targets of an online phishing and malware campaign believed to be carried out on behalf of the government of Kazakhstan, according to a new report by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). Malware was sent to Irina Petrushova and Alexander Petrushov, publishers of the independent newspaper Respublika, which was forced by the government of Kazakhstan to stop printing after years of exposing corruption but has continued to operate online. Also targeted are family members and attorneys of Mukhtar Ablyazov, co-founder and leader of opposition party Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan, as well as other prominent dissidents. The campaign -- which EFF has called "Operation Manul," after endangered wild cats found in the grasslands of Kazakhstan -- involved sending victims spearphishing emails that tried to trick them into opening documents which would covertly install surveillance software capable of recording keystrokes, recording through the webcam, and more. Some of the software used in the campaign is commercially available to anyone and sells for as little as $40 online.

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Pokemon Go DDoS Attacks Postponed As PoodleCorp Botnet Suffers Security Breach
Posted by News Fetcher on August 04 '16 at 06:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's every-action-has-an-equal-and-opposite-reaction department:
An anonymous reader writes from a report via Softpedia: "The hacking crew [PoodleCorp] that promised to launch DDoS attacks on the Pokemon GO servers on August 1 suffered a major setback, after someone hacked their site, dumped the database, and shared it with data breach index service LeakedSource," reports Softpedia. "PoodleCorp responded to LeakedSource's announcement with what they knew best, a DDoS attack." When that happened, LeakedSource started looking at the leaked data and discovered full names for three of PoodleCorp's members, saying they intend to share it with authorities. Soon after, PoodleCorp stopped the DDoS against LeakedSource and went to annoy Blizzard gamers. "It's a terrible idea to attack a business that knows something about virtually everybody," a LeakedSource spokesperson said.

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Galaxy Note 7 Iris Scanner Explained
Posted by News Fetcher on August 04 '16 at 04:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's don't-blink department:
An anonymous reader writes from a report via Android Authority: The Galaxy Note 7 was just announced and one of the most intriguing features is its iris scanner. Android Authority has a report explaining how it works: "According to the company, the device stores your registered iris information as an encrypted code safely in its hardware using its KNOX security platform. Whenever you want to access content, such as a protected app, the device first captures your iris pattern for recognition, extracts and digitizes it, and then proceeds to match it with the encrypted code to provide access. You can be sure that no one else apart from you can access your device in case it is stolen or lost because the Note 7 registers the iris information of only one person. Samsung has made all this possible by including a dedicated iris camera for recognizing the composition of the user's eyeballs. The dedicated iris camera uses a special image filter to receive and recognize the reflected images of the irises through an infrared light on the other end of that panel. The light emitted from the Galaxy Note 7's display allows the scanner to receive data even in low light environments." The iris scanner can be used to access private information via Samsung's Secure Folder feature. Samsung also plans to partner with major financial institutions to incorporate its iris scanner into mobile banking applications.

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Banner Health Alerts 3.7 Million Potential Victims of Hack
Posted by News Fetcher on August 04 '16 at 04:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's victims-of-cyber-attacks department:
New submitter Netdoctor writes: Apparently Banner Health is the latest victim of a cyber attack, with the Health conglomerate reporting on two incidents in July. While not all Banner customers were affected, payment details as well as customer information were leaked, according to their news brief. Some 3.7 million people are potentially affected by the attack, including patients, health plan members, healthcare providers and customers at its food and beverage outlets. Card payments for medical services appear to be safe. The company is offering a free one-year membership in monitoring services to those who are affected by the breach. Banner Health said in a statement: âoeThe patient and health plan information may have included names, birthdates, addresses, physiciansâ(TM) names, dates of service, claims information, and possibly health insurance information and social security numbers, if provided to Banner Health."

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Steam VR Tracking Technology Now Available To Third Parties
Posted by News Fetcher on August 04 '16 at 03:21 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's on-that-bombshell department:
You will soon be able to play and try out any virtual reality game or app in StreamVR ecosystem without having to purchase HTC's VR gear. SteamVR creator Valve has announced it is opening the floodgates to a new wave to a new wave of VR peripherals. PC Gamer reports: "This tracking technology enables hardware developers to build highly precise position and orientation sensing into devices of all kinds," reads the press release. "Valve expects the technology to be used in a variety of devices, such as VR peripherals and other input devices." The technology being licensed includes everything needed to wirelessly track objects with the HTC Vive base stations (those two laser emitters that you mount in the corners of the room when setting up a Vive), its sensors, and the Steam VR software. To be clear, it doesn't mean we'll see new tracking systems based on the Vive's technology, but that new hardware can work with the Vive's base stations and sensors. The goal is to "support the growth of a healthy portfolio of products that work together with HTC Vive," said HTC VR vice president Raymond Pao.

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Olympic Committee Prohibits Streaming Apps, Vines and GIFs From Its Events
Posted by News Fetcher on August 04 '16 at 03:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's olympic-material department:
An anonymous reader writes: The Olympics Committee has introduced a new set of social media guidelines for the 2016 games. Not only will streaming applications and vines be prohibited, but GIFs will be too. TechCrunch reports: "Part of the new restriction appears in the official broadcast rules (PDF), under 'Internet and Mobile Platforms': '[...] the use of Olympic Material transformed into graphic animated formats such as animated GIFs (i.e. GIFV), GFY, WebM, or short video formats such as Vines and others, is expressly prohibited.' Then, in the FAQ for the social and digital media guidelines (PDF): 'Broadcasting images via life-streaming applications (e.g. Periscope, Meerkat) is prohibited inside Olympic venues.' The versions of these documents updated for the 2014 games in Sochi don't have any comparable language, or at least nothing this specific. A possible exception is the 'Photographer's Undertaking,' which states: 'The dissemination of moving images or sound captured in an Olympic venue, through any media, including display on the internet, Mobile Platform and other interactive media or electronic medium, is strictly prohibited.'"

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Researchers Discover How To Fool Tesla's Autopilot System
Posted by News Fetcher on August 04 '16 at 02:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's now-you-see-me-now-you-don't department:
An anonymous reader writes from a report via CNET: Researchers from the University of South Carolina, Zhejiang University and Qihoo 360 have discovered how to fool Tesla's Autopilot sensors, according to a report from Wired. The researchers were able to trick the system into thinking an object didn't exist when it did, and that an object existed when in fact it did not. Therefore, possible security concerns arise as Autopilot could drive incorrectly, potentially putting passengers and others in danger. CNET reports: "Two pieces of radio equipment were used to convince Tesla's radar sensor that a cart was not placed directly in front of it. One of those pieces, a signal generator from Keysight Technologies, costs about $90,000. The group also tricked the car's short-range parking sensors into malfunctioning using about $40 worth of equipment. Wired points out that this was, thankfully, a rather difficult feat. Most of the technological tomfoolery was done on a stationary car. Some of the required equipment was expensive, and it didn't always work. But it brings up an important point -- even though Autopilot is quite capable, there's still no substitute for an attentive human driver, ready to take control at a moment's notice."

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Ask Slashdot: Should The DHS Designate Elections As Critical Infrastructure?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 04 '16 at 02:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's critical-infrastructure department:
The Department of Homeland Security is reportedly looking at designating elections as critical infrastructure, on par with the electricity grid or banking system, to help protect against cybersecurity threats. DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said during a breakfast with reporters on August 3rd, "We should carefully consider whether our election system, our election process, is critical infrastructure. There is a vital national interest in our election process, so I do think to consider whether it should be considered by my department and others as critical infrastructure." Demerara writes: I'm fascinated to hear the opinions of Slashdotters on the practical implications of any decision to designate "elections" as critical national infrastructure. For those of you who have worked on systems that are already under this regime: given that there are just over 90 days to the November elections, what can be achieved with respect to elections and in particular to electronic voting machines (whether direct-recording electronic (DRE), touch screen etc., or precinct ballot scanning machines)? What might the designation require of state and county boards (the buyers of these systems) and what would the vendors have to do?

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Amazon and Microsoft Are Running One and Two in Two-Cloud Race
Posted by News Fetcher on August 04 '16 at 12:41 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's cloud-race department:
When it comes to computing capacity for public cloud services, Amazon and Microsoft are dominating the pack. According to research firm Gartner, Google is the third in this cloud race. The conclusion comes as Gartner looks into Magic Quadrant's annual report surveys, which estimates the amount and type of cloud computing services offered for rent by big companies. Fortune reports: Amazon's continued strength will not surprise many considering the resources it has poured into this now-$10-plus billion a year business. AWS "has the largest share of compute capacity in use by paying customers -- many times the aggregate size of all other providers in the market," according to the report. Last year, Gartner's take was that AWS ran more than 10 times the cloud compute capacity as the next 14 cloud players combined. Asked whether that means Amazon's dominance has held steady, grown, or decreased year over year, Gartner managing vice president Rakesh Kumar told Fortune the research firm does not have the exact comparable figure, but that it is "reasonable to assume" that AWS has maintained the same lead this year. The odd man out here appears to be Google, which has been trying hard to win market share from the other two powers and to prove that it is serious about the public cloud market. Google remains the third largest player by Gartner's measures, but it has slipped a bit relative to the top two.

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Scientists Argue the US Ban on Human Gene Editing Will Leave It Behind
Posted by News Fetcher on August 04 '16 at 12:41 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's hard-questions department:
Alex Pearlman, reporting for Motherboard: As the biotech revolution accelerates globally, the U.S. could be getting left behind on key technological advances: namely, human genetic modification. A Congressional ban on human germline modification has "drawn new lines in the sand" on gene editing legislation, argues a paper published today in Science by Harvard law and bioethics professor I. Glenn Cohen and leading biologist Eli Adashi of Brown University. They say that without a course correction, "the United States is ceding its leadership in this arena to other nations." Germline gene modification is the act of making heritable changes to early stage human embryos or sex cells that can be passed down to the next generation, and it will be banned in the US. This is different from somatic gene editing, which is editing cells of humans that have already been born. The ban, added by the House of Representatives as a rider to the fiscal year 2016 budget, could have far-reaching implications if it continues to be annually renewed, according to the authors. It "undermines ongoing conversations on the possibility of human germline modification" and also affects "ongoing efforts by the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] to review the prevention of mitochondrial DNA diseases," including some kinds of hearing and vision impairments, among other serious illnesses that tend to develop in young children.

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US Judge Dismisses Part of Alibaba Counterfeit Goods Lawsuit
Posted by News Fetcher on August 04 '16 at 11:21 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's what's-original,-what's-fake department:
Reuters reports: A U.S. judge on Thursday dismissed part of a lawsuit filed last year by Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and other luxury brands accusing Alibaba Group Holding Ltd of promoting the sale of counterfeit goods. U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel in Manhattan dismissed racketeering claims asserted by brands owned by Paris-based Kering SA, saying their complaint failed to allege facts that could sustain those claims.Alibaba is not the only company which has been subjected to such accusations. Amazon has been treading the same path, with some sellers even leaving the platform.

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US Copyright Office Sides With Cable Companies Against FCC's Set Top Rules
Posted by News Fetcher on August 04 '16 at 11:21 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's new-wrinkle department:
An anonymous reader writes: The United States Copyright Office has sided with cable companies in their fight against a Federal Communications Commission plan to boost competition in the TV set-top box market. The FCC proposal would force pay-TV providers to make channels and on-demand content available to third parties, who could then build their own devices and apps that could replace rented set-top boxes. Comcast and other cable companies complain that this will open the door to copyright violations, and US Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante agrees with them. The Copyright Office provided advice to the FCC at the FCC's request, and Pallante yesterday detailed the concerns her office raised in a letter to members of Congress who asked her to weigh in. "In its most basic form, the rule contemplated by the FCC would seem to take a valuable good -- bundled video programming created through private effort and agreement under the protections of the Copyright Act -- and deliver it to third parties who are not in privity with the copyright owners, but who may nevertheless exploit the content for profit," Pallante wrote. "Under the Proposed Rule, this would be accomplished without compensation to the creators or licensees of the copyrighted programming, and without requiring the third party to adhere to agreed-upon license terms." There are already "third-party set-top box devices, mainly produced overseas, that are used to view pirated content delivered over the Internet," and the FCC's plan could expand the market to include devices "designed to exploit the more readily available [cable TV] programming streams without adhering to the prescribed security measures," Pallante wrote. Cable companies are willing to pledge industry-wide commitment, but have expressed no desires of leaving control over the UI.

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Facebook's New Anti-Clickbait Algorithm Buries Bogus Headlines
Posted by News Fetcher on August 04 '16 at 10:01 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's fixing-your-feed department:
Facebook is going to make some changes to its newsfeed, again, it said on Thursday. The company is now having another go at sweeping clickbait news stories away from people's newsfeed. The move comes as the social networking giant struggles to entice many people from coming back to its service every few hours. Under the new changes to the feed algorithm, articles with headlines that "withhold or distort information" will be classified as distort. Such stories won't completely disappear, but as the company says, will appear less frequently in users' feeds. TechCrunch adds: Facebook manually classified tens of thousands of headlines with a clickbaitiness score to train the new algorithm. Now it can detect headlines like "When She Looked Under Her Couch And Saw THIS... I Was SHOCKED!"; "He Put Garlic In His Shoes And What Happens Next Is Hard To Believe"; or "The Dog Barked At The Deliveryman And His Reaction Was Priceless." The algorithm then punishes the entire Page that shared them or site they link to by making all their posts or referral links less visible. Facebook's VP of Product Management on News Feed Adam Moserri said "If you post 50 times a day and post one piece a clickbait, this shouldn't affect you. If you're a spammer and post clickbait all day this should affect you a lot."

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Australian Census Stirs Up Storm of Privacy Concerns
Posted by News Fetcher on August 04 '16 at 10:01 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's con-census department:
An anonymous reader writes: Next week over 20 million Australians will take part in a mandatory government census. While such data-gathering exercises are usually uncontroversial, some significant changes to the process of collecting the 2016 data -- and in particular the way in which personally-identifying information will be retained for long periods (possibly indefinintely) -- have left many privacy advocates and others calling for a mass boycott. The Australian government's response has been to try to calm fears by promising that it will secure the census data, keep personally identifying data separate from statistical data, and only use each in a responsible way. It has, at the same time reminded Australian citizens that the fines for non-participation in the census have recently been radically increased (now $1800 for failure to submit a form; or $180/day for late submissions).Further reading: Australians threaten to take leave of their census.

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New Attack Steals SSNs, E-mail Addresses, and More From HTTPS Pages
Posted by News Fetcher on August 04 '16 at 08:41 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's security-blues department:
Security researchers at KU Leuven have discovered an attack technique, dubbed HEIST (HTTP Encrypted Information can be Stolen Through TCP-Windows), which can exploit an encrypted website using only a JavaScript file hidden in a maliciously crafted ad or page. ArsTechnica reports: Once attackers know the size of an encrypted response, they are free to use one of two previously devised exploits to ferret out the plaintext contained inside it. Both the BREACH and the CRIME exploits are able to decrypt payloads by manipulating the file compression that sites use to make pages load more quickly. HEIST will be demonstrated for the first time on Wednesday at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas. "HEIST makes a number of attacks much easier to execute," Tom Van Goethem, one of the researchers who devised the technique, told Ars. "Before, the attacker needed to be in a Man-in-the-Middle position to perform attacks such as CRIME and BREACH. Now, by simply visiting a website owned by a malicious party, you are placing your online security at risk." Using HEIST in combination with BREACH allows attackers to pluck out and decrypt e-mail addresses, social security numbers, and other small pieces of data included in an encrypted response. BREACH achieves this feat by including intelligent guesses -- say, @gmail.com, in the case of an e-mail address -- in an HTTPS request that gets echoed in the response. Because the compression used by just about every website works by eliminating repetitions of text strings, correct guesses result in no appreciable increase in data size while incorrect guesses cause the response to grow larger.

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Japanese Olympic Champion Racks Up $5,000 Bill Playing Pokemon Go in Brazil
Posted by News Fetcher on August 04 '16 at 08:41 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's gotta-buy-a-roaming-plan department:
An anonymous reader writes: A Japanese Olympics star has blamed Pokemon Go after being hit with a 500,000 yen (about $5,000) bill in roaming charges from his carrier. Artistic gymnast Kohei Uchimura, who won gold at the 2012 Games in London and is the reigning world champion, said he only downloaded the game after arriving in Sao Paulo to train for Rio, but quickly got hooked despite not having arranged a flat rate for data roaming. Uchimura "couldn't believe his eyes" when he saw the bill, according to the Kyodo news agency, with teammate Kenzo Shirai saying "He looked dead at the team meal that day." Even though Pokemon Go isn't particularly heavy on data and there were likely other culprits -- the game only officially came out in Brazil today, though Uchimura may have been playing the Japanese version -- roaming charges can rack up extremely quickly when you use your phone abroad for pretty much anything online.

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Apple Should Stop Selling Four-Year-Old Computers
Posted by News Fetcher on August 04 '16 at 07:21 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's old-computers department:
It's been a while since Apple upgraded its MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac Pro models. Four years, one month, and twenty-four days, to be exact, in case of the MacBook Pro. Apple is inexplicably still selling the exact same models for its Mac line that it introduced in 2012. Pretty much every Windows OEM has had an Intel Skylake-powered processor in its laptops for more than a year now, but Apple's computing lineup is still shipping with the three-to-four years old processor, and graphics card. Things have gotten so bad, that MacRumors' Buying Guide, which is considered to be an "online institution" among Apple nerds, has flagged all of Apple laptops as "Don't Buy" In a column, The Verge's Sam Byford says that Apple should stop selling the old laptops. He writes: Apple iterates quickly and consistently in mobile because the rate of technological progress is so much more dramatic in that arena. The company does amazing work to keep its iPhones and iPads ahead of competitors, performance-wise. Simple Intel processor upgrades are less important to laptops these days, however, and I'm finding this 2012 MacBook Pro fine to work from right now -- faster than my 2015 MacBook, at least, which is enough for my needs. But that doesn't mean it isn't unconscionable for Apple to continue to sell outdated products to people who may not know any better. Is the company really saving that much money by using 2012 processors and 4GB of RAM as standard? Even an update to Intel's Haswell chips from 2013 would have brought huge battery life improvements. Apple is bound by the whims of its suppliers to a certain extent, and it may not always make sense for the company to upgrade its products with every single new chip or GPU that comes out. But there's a certain point at which it just starts to look like absent-mindedness, and many Mac computers are well past that point now. [...] If Apple doesn't want to keep its products reasonably current, that's its prerogative. But if that truly is the case, maybe it shouldn't sell them at all.It's also ironic, coming from a company whose executive not long ago made fun of people who had five years old computer. Folks at Accidental Tech Podcast also discussed the same recently.

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Average Broadband Speed in US Rises Above 50 Mbps For First Time
Posted by News Fetcher on August 04 '16 at 07:21 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's internet-speeds department:
Internet speeds are getting faster in the United States, especially in cities such as Kansas City, Austin, Seattle, San Francisco, and Phoenix, according to a new Speedtest Market Report. The report, by Ookla's popular service, found that fixed broadband customers saw the biggest jump in performance this year with download speeds achieving an average of over 50Mbps for the first time ever. The result marks a 40 percent increase since July 2015. From a TechCrunch report: That average, 54.97 megabits per second is 42 percent higher than the same period last year, and upload jumped even more -- 18.88 is 51 percent higher year over year. This is all based on the 8 million or so daily tests conducted on Speedtest's website and apps, by the way, so the data is pretty sound. Comcast Xfinity took the honors for fastest speed on average, but its 125 megabits wasn't that much higher than the competition: Cox with 118 and Spectrum with 114. [...] On mobile, Verizon and T-Mobile are tied for first place with 21 megabits and change download speed on average, though the latter beats the competition by a long shot with upload speeds averaging 11.59 megabits. Poor Sprint, though.

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Intel Recalls Basis Peak Smartwatches Due To Overheating
Posted by News Fetcher on August 04 '16 at 06:01 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's warning-may-be-hot department:
Deathspawner writes: Intel's Basis has just sent an email to customers who own a Basis Peak smartwatch with some bad news: it's being recalled. In mid-June, Basis admitted that its flagship (and only) smartwatch had the chance to overheat, and then asked them to wait for a firmware update. Ultimately, a firmware update couldn't have been issued that wouldn't have compromised the user experience, and as such, the company is asking for every single Basis Peak to be returned for a full refund -- it will even handle the shipping. Users can still access Basic Peak services until December 31, 2016, after which they will be turned off and the watch will be rendered useless. If you own a Basic Peak, you can visit the support site and follow the instructions to return your unit and claim your refund.

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CP/M Creator Gary Kildall's Memoirs Released As Free Download
Posted by News Fetcher on August 04 '16 at 03:21 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's low-low-price-of-free department:
An anonymous reader writes from IEEE Spectrum: The year before his death in 1994, Gary Kildall -- inventor of the early microcomputer operating system CP/M -- wrote a draft of a memoir, "Computer Connections: People, Places, and Events in the Evolution of the Personal Computer Industry." He distributed copies to family and friends, but died before realizing his plans to release it as a book. This week, the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, with the permission of Kildall's children, released the first section and it is available for a free download. The rest of it, which they say did not reflect his true self, will not be made public.

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