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BadTunnel Bug Hijacks Network Traffic, Affects All Windows Versions
Posted by News Fetcher on June 15 '16 at 04:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's severe-security-issue department:
An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft has just patched a vulnerability that affects all Windows versions ever released. Called BadTunnel, the security flaw allows attackers to pass as a WAPD or ISATAP server and intercept all network traffic. Exploitation is trivial and firewalls are natively designed to open the port through which the attack is carried out. BadTunnel can be triggered whenever the user clicks URI or UNC links/paths in Office files, IE, Edge, or other applications that support the URI/VNC scheme (and most do). Additionally, an attacker can carry out his attack from the other side of the world, and does not need to have a foothold on the victim's network. While recent Windows OS versions received patches, exploitation points remain open for non-supported Windows operating systems such as XP, Windows Server 2003, and others. For these operating systems, and for those that can't be updated just yet, system administrators should disable NetBIOS.

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DNC Hacker Releases Trump Opposition File
Posted by News Fetcher on June 15 '16 at 04:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's House-of-Cards department:
An anonymous reader writes: Following the report that Russian hackers penetrated the DNC's database and stole research on Donald Trump, a 200+ page Democratic anti-Trump playbook compiled by the DNC has leaked online. In the book, Trump is called a "bad businessman" and "misogynist in chief." The document was created on December 19th, 2015, and was sent to Gawker by a hacker calling himself "Guccifer 2.0." (Guccifer is a popular Romanian hacker who hacked various American political figures, most notably Hillary Clinton and her private server.) The hacker said in an email to Gawker that the package contains a variety of donor registries and other strategy files, "just a few docs from many thousands I extracted when hacking into DNC's network," adding that he's in possession of "about 100GB of data including financial reports, donors' lists, election programs, action plans against Republicans, personal mails, etc." His motive is to be "a fighter against all those illuminati that captured our world." The "Donald Trump Report," as it's called, appears to be a summary of the Democratic Party's strategy for delegitimizing and undermining Trump's presidential aspirations. There's a section titled "Top Narratives" that describes a seven-pronged attack on Trump's character and record. The hack was first revealed Tuesday by the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, linking the hack to Russian intelligence. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange says later this year it will publish enough new information about Hillary Clinton to indict her.

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WHO: Drinking Extremely Hot Coffee, Tea 'Probably' Causes Cancer
Posted by News Fetcher on June 15 '16 at 03:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's coffee-on-the-rocks department:
An anonymous reader writes from a report via USA Today: The World Health Organization reports that drinking coffee, tea and other beverages at temperatures hotter than 149 degrees Fahrenheit may lead to cancer of the esophagus. These hot beverages can injure cells in the esophagus and lead to the formation of cancer cells, said Mariana Stern, an associate professor of preventative medicine and urology at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine. But scientists did say that if you drink coffee at cooler temperatures, it is not only safe but it may decrease of the risk of liver cancer by 15%, according to research published in Lancet Oncology. Previously, the International Agency for Research on Cancer ruled coffee was a "possible carcinogenic" in 1991. The research involved Stern and 22 other scientists from 10 countries, who examined about 1,000 studies on more than 20 types of cancer.

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FBI Says Utility Pole Surveillance Cam Locations Must Be Kept Secret
Posted by News Fetcher on June 15 '16 at 03:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's right-to-know department:
An anonymous reader writes from a report via Ars Technica: A federal judge has been convinced by the FBI to block the disclosure of where the bureau has attached surveillance cams on Seattle utility poles. Ars Technica writes about how such a privacy dispute is highlighting a powerful tool the authorities are employing across the country to spy on the public with or without warrants. Ars Technica reports: "The deployment of such video cameras appears to be widespread. What's more, the Seattle authorities aren't saying whether they have obtained court warrants to install the surveillance cams. And the law on the matter is murky at best. In an e-mail to Ars, Seattle city attorney spokeswoman Kimberly Mills declined to say whether the FBI obtained warrants to install surveillance cams on Seattle City Light utility poles. 'The City is in litigation and will have no further comment,' she said. Mills suggested [Ars] speak with the FBI office in Seattle, and they did. Peter Winn [assistant U.S. attorney in Seattle] wrote to Judge Jones that the location information about the disguised surveillance cams should be withheld because the public might think they are an 'invasion of privacy.' Winn also said that revealing the cameras' locations could threaten the safety of FBI agents. And if the cameras become 'publicly identifiable,' Winn said, 'subjects of the criminal investigation and national security adversaries of the United States will know what to look for to discern whether the FBI is conducting surveillance in a particular location.'"

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'Spam King' Sanford Wallace Sentenced To 2.5 Years In Prison For Facebook Phishing Scam
Posted by News Fetcher on June 15 '16 at 01:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's versatile-canned-meat department:
Xochil writes: Sanford Wallace gets a two-year prison term and $310K fine on charges of fraud and criminal contempt for sending over 27 million spam messages to Facebook users. Sanford Wallace has made a name for himself over the course of the last several years. In 1998, the "Spam King" announced he would put an end to spamming on his part, instead resorting to a new scheme in which ISPs would be paid to receive the mail. Flash forward to 2004, the Associated Press reported that a judge issued a temporary restraining order against Wallace for alleged spyware distribution. Last August, Wallace admitted to compromising around 500,000 Facebook accounts, using them to send over 27 million spam messages through Facebook's servers, between November 2008 and March 2009. While he could have been sentenced to as many as 16 years in prison, he was only sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison and five years of supervised release. In addition, Wallace was ordered to pay about one cent for every message sent or about 60 cents per account compromised, totaling $310,628.55 in restitution. The phishing scam consisted of Wallace automating the process of signing into a Facebook user's account, retrieving a list of their friends and sending them each a message that encouraged them to log into a website. The website would trick users into divulging their Facebook username and password before directing them to an affiliate website that would pay him for the traffic.

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Alien Contact Unlikely For Another 1,500 Years, Says Study
Posted by News Fetcher on June 15 '16 at 01:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's time-is-ticking department:
An anonymous reader writes: Astronomers at Cornell University predict based off estimates that alien contact is unlikely for another 1,500 years. MSN reports: "According to the astronomers, signals from Earth would need to reach half of all the solar systems in the Milky Way in order to be picked up by an intelligent life form. Given that signals from TV and radio were first sent into space as a byproduct of broadcasting 80 years ago, it will take around 1,500 more years for aliens to receive, decode and respond to the signals." A co-author of the paper who will present it at the American Astronomical Society's meeting on June 16, Evan Solomonides, said, "We haven't heard from aliens yet, as space is a big place -- but that doesn't mean no one is out there. It's possible to hear any time at all, but it becomes likely we will have heard around 1,500 years from now. Until then, it is possible that we appear to be alone -- even if we are not. But if we stop listening or looking, we may miss the signals. So we should keep looking." Stephen Hawking and Russian entrepreneur Yuri Milner announced a $100 million research program in April to send robotic probes the size of postage stamps to nearby stars within a generation.

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Pinterest Acquires Team Behind Fleksy; To Open Source Some Technology Designed For Blind
Posted by News Fetcher on June 15 '16 at 12:24 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's affinity-for-open-source department:
Pinterest has acquired the team behind the smart keyboard app Fleksy, it announced on Wednesday. The app will remain operational for the foreseeable future, the company adds, but the app update frequency will become minimal. What's interesting about the acquisition is that Pinterest says that it will be open-sourcing some of its components specialized for the blind and visually impaired. Fleksy made headlines four years ago when it launched its keyboard app for blind users in the iOS App Store, long before Apple supported third-party keyboards.

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Executive Says Facebook Will Be All Video, No Text In 5 Years
Posted by News Fetcher on June 15 '16 at 12:24 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's from-the-future department:
Kellen Beck, writing for Mashable: Video must be doing well on Facebook, because an executive at the company just predicted that's all Facebook will be in five years. Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook's vice president of European, Middle Eastern and African operations, said at a conference Tuesday that in five years, Facebook "will be probably all video," Quartz reported. Mendelsohn added that video is "the best way to tell stories in this world" and "helps us to digest much more information." Mendelsohn is predicting the obsolescence of the written word, at least on Facebook, according to Quartz. That sounds far-fetched, but consider the way Facebook is decreasing an emphasis on text and diving headfirst into video with numerous recent updates and features.

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Intel x86s Hide Another CPU That Can Take Over Your Machine -- You Can't Audit it
Posted by News Fetcher on June 15 '16 at 11:03 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's 'citation-needed' department:
A report on BoingBoing, authored by Damien Zammit, claims that recent Intel x86 processors have a secret and power control mechanism implemented into them that runs on a separate chip that nobody is allowed to audit or examine. From the report: When these are eventually compromised, they'll expose all affected systems to nearly unkillable, undetectable rootkit attacks. Further explaining the matter, the author claims that a system with a mainboard and Intel x86 CPU comes with Intel Management Engine (ME), a subsystem composed of a special 32-bit ARC microprocessor that's physically located inside the chipset. It is an "extra general purpose computer." The problem resides in the way this "extra-computer" works. It runs completely out-of-band with the main x86 CPU "meaning that it can function totally independently even when your main CPU is in a low power state like S3 (suspend)." On some chipsets, the firmware running on the ME implements a system called Intel's Active Management Technology (AMT). This is entirely transparent to the operating system, which means that this extra computer can do its job regardless of which operating system is installed and running on the main CPU. From the report: The purpose of AMT is to provide a way to manage computers remotely (this is similar to an older system called "Intelligent Platform Management Interface" or IPMI, but more powerful). To achieve this task, the ME is capable of accessing any memory region without the main x86 CPU knowing about the existence of these accesses. It also runs a TCP/IP server on your network interface and packets entering and leaving your machine on certain ports bypass any firewall running on your system. Update: 06/15 18:54 GMT by M :A reader points out that this "extra computer" could be there to enable low-power functionalities such as quick boot and quality testing.

< article continued at Slashdot's 'citation-needed' department >

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US Company's China Employee Allegedly Stole Code To Help Local Government
Posted by News Fetcher on June 15 '16 at 11:03 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's something-is-wrong department:
Reader itwbennett writes: Xu Jiaqiang, a Chinese national, worked as a developer for an unnamed U.S. company's branch in China (a Reuters report says it's IBM) from November 2010 to May 2014, when he resigned voluntarily. A year later he was allegedly caught trying to sell stolen proprietary source code to U.S. undercover agents, who claimed they were starting a large-data storage company. The software is described in the original complaint as a key component of one of the world's largest scientific supercomputers and of commercial applications that require rapid access to large volumes of data. In December 2015, Xu was arrested by the FBI, alleged to have stolen for his own benefit and that of the National Health and Family Planning Commission in China, although no specific charges relating to actual transfer of the code to the National Health and Family Planning Commission are mentioned in the superseding indictment.

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Safari 10 In macOS Sierra Deactivates Flash, Silverlight and Other Plug-Ins by Default
Posted by News Fetcher on June 15 '16 at 09:43 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's good-riddance department:
Apple's web browser Safari 10, which will ship with macOS Sierra, will disable Flash, Java, Silverlight, QuickTime and other plug-ins by default. The move will help the company improve the overall web browsing experience by focusing on HTML5 content. From a post on WebKit blog, authored by Apple's Safari team: When a website directly embeds a visible plug-in object, Safari instead presents a placeholder element with a "Click to use" button. When that's clicked, Safari offers the user the options of activating the plug-in just one time or every time the user visits that website. Here too, the default option is to activate the plug-in only once.

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SpaceX's Falcon 9 Crashes Into Droneship
Posted by News Fetcher on June 15 '16 at 09:43 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's sad-news department:
SpaceX failed to successfully land its Falcon 9 on a drone ship at sea on Wednesday. Prior to today's crash, the company was able to conduct three successful experimental landing of its used rocket in a row. SpaceX founder Elon Musk noted that the booster rocket had a RUD (rapid unscheduled disassembly, he explained) on droneship. From a CBS News report: It was the California rocket company's fifth unsuccessful drone-ship landing after three straight successes, one in April and two in May. Including a successful landing at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station last December, SpaceX's recovery record now stands at four successes in nine attempts. But the landing attempt was a strictly secondary objective. The mission's primary goal, the launch of two powerful all-electric communications satellites, was a complete success and regardless of the loss of the first stage, company engineers expected to collect valuable data as they continue their push to make such landings routine.

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Bill Guarantees 50% Salary For Workers Laid Off With Non-Compete
Posted by News Fetcher on June 15 '16 at 08:22 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's new-hope department:
Reader dcblogs shares a Computer World report: Non-compete agreements are controversial for many reasons, but what may be worst of all: Even if you are laid off from your job, a non-compete agreement may still apply. California has made non-compete agreements unenforceable, but Massachusetts has not. Some opponents say that's partly the result of lobbying by EMC, which has considerable clout as a major state employer, headquartered in the Boston suburb of Hopkinton. But the pending $67 billion merger of EMC with Dell, and the prospect of merger-related layoffs, is spurring a new attack on non-compete agreements. State lawmakers are considering limiting non-compete agreements to one year, banning them for low-wage workers and for people terminated without cause. The leading legislative proposal will also require an employer to pay at least 50% of the former employer's salary during the period of time the non-compete is in effect. This salary guarantee is called "garden leave" and is in Massachusetts House bill H.4323. In May, the White House released a report about non-compete agreements. It found that 18% of the workforce is now covered by a non-compete agreement, but over the course of a career, some 37% of all workers (PDF) will be subject to them.

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Eight Of the World's Top 12 Smartphone Vendors Are Based In China
Posted by News Fetcher on June 15 '16 at 08:22 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's China's-dominance department:
An anonymous reader writes: How serious and dangerous is China's offensive on Korean and Western mobile hardware brands? Extremely, according to research conducted between January and March by IC Insights, which predictably positioned Samsung and Apple atop the smartphone manufacturer hierarchy, only followed by a flurry of handheld vendors based in the Middle Kingdom. In fact, eight of the ten vendors that followed the two giants are Chinese. These OEMs are, in order of their market capture, Huawei, Oppo, Xiaomi, Vivo, ZTE, Lenovo, TCL, and Meizu.

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Access To Thousands Of Compromised Government Servers Selling For $6 On Black Market
Posted by News Fetcher on June 15 '16 at 07:03 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's security-woes department:
An anonymous reader writes: Researchers have uncovered an underground market selling information of over 70,000 compromised servers. Russia-based Kaspersky Lab revealed that the online forum, named xDedic, seems to be operated by a Russian-speaking organisation and allows hackers to pay for undetectable access to a wide range of servers, including those owned by government, corporate and academic groups in more than 170 countries. Access to a compromised server can be bought for as little as $6. This kit comes with relevant tools to instruct on launching denial-of-service attacks and spam campaigns on the targeted network, as well as allowing criminals to illegally produce bitcoin and breach online systems, such as retail payment platforms.

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Trent Reznor: YouTube Is Built On the Back Of Stolen Content
Posted by News Fetcher on June 15 '16 at 07:03 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's serious-accusation department:
An anonymous reader writes: Singer and record producer Trent Reznor has become the latest artist to attack Google's video service YouTube. "I find YouTube's business to be very disingenuous. It is built on the backs of free, stolen content and that's how they got that big," said Reznor in an interview with Billboard. Reznor was not speaking purely as an artist, however. He is also chief creative officer at Apple Music, the streaming service launched by Apple in 2015, which is one of the key rivals to YouTube in the digital music world. "I think any free-tiered service is not fair. It's making their numbers and getting them a big IPO and it is built on the back of my work and that of my peers. That's how I feel about it. Strongly," said Reznor, widening his criticism to other rivals like Spotify in the process.

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Walmart Experimenting With Robotic Shopping Cart For Stores
Posted by News Fetcher on June 15 '16 at 05:42 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's convenience-store department:
An anonymous reader writes from a report via Bloomberg: Bloomberg reports Walmart is working with a robotics company to develop a shopping cart that helps customers find items on their lists and saves them from pushing a heavy cart through a sprawling store and parking lot. The carts are a way for brick-and-mortar stores to stay relevant in the convenience factor to match the likes of Amazon and other online retailers, says founder and chief executive officer of Five Elements Robotics Wendy Roberts. She said on Tuesday at the Bloomberg Technology Conference 2016 that her company was working with the "world's largest retailer" on such a shopping cart. In 2014, Five Elements Robotics introduced Budgee, a personal robot that can follow its user around inside and outdoors and carry things. The robot costs $1,400 and is helpful for people with disabilities, says Roberts.

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Social Media Overtakes Television As Young People's Main Source of News, Says Report
Posted by News Fetcher on June 15 '16 at 03:02 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's times-they-are-a-changin' department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from BBC: Of the 18-to-24-year-olds surveyed, 28% cited social media as their main news source, compared with 24% for TV. The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism research also suggests 51% of people with online access use social media as a news source. The report, now in its fifth year, is based on a YouGov survey of about 50,000 people across 26 countries, including 2,000 Britons. Facebook and other social media outlets have moved beyond being "places of news discovery" to become the place people consume their news, it suggests. And news via social media is particularly popular among women and young people. The study found Facebook was the most common source -- used by 44% of all those surveyed -- to watch, share and comment on news. Next came YouTube on 19%, with Twitter on 10%. Apple News accounted for 4% in the US and 3% in the UK, while messaging app Snapchat was used by just 1% or less in most countries. According to the survey, consumers are happy to have their news selected by algorithms, with 36% saying they would like news chosen based on what they had read before and 22% happy for their news agenda to be based on what their friends had read. But 30% still wanted the human oversight of editors and other journalists in picking the news agenda and many had fears about algorithms creating news "bubbles" where people only see news from like-minded viewpoints. Most of those surveyed said they used a smartphone to access news, with the highest levels in Sweden (69%), Korea (66%) and Switzerland (61%), and they were more likely to use social media rather than going directly to a news website or app. The report also suggests users are noticing the original news brand behind social media content less than half of the time, something that is likely to worry traditional media outlets.

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Asymmetric Molecule, Key To Life, Detected In Space For First Time
Posted by News Fetcher on June 15 '16 at 12:22 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's origin-of-our-universe department:
schwit1 quotes a report from Yahoo News: Scientists for the first time have found a complex organic molecule in space that bears the same asymmetric structure as molecules that are key to life on Earth. The researchers said on Tuesday they detected the complex organic molecule called propylene oxide in a giant cloud of gas and dust near the center of the Milky Way galaxy. Akin to a pair of human hands, certain organic molecules including propylene oxide possess mirror-like versions of themselves, a chemical property called chirality. Scientists have long pondered why living things make use of only one version of certain molecules, such as the 'right-handed' form of the sugar ribose, which is the backbone of DNA. The discovery of propylene oxide in space boosts theories that chirality has cosmic origins. The scientists in the new study used radio telescopes to ferret out the chemical details of molecules in the distant, star-forming cloud of gas and dust. As molecules move around in the vacuum of space they emit telltale vibrations that appear as distinctive radio waves. Future studies of how polarized light interacts with the molecules may reveal if one version of propylene oxide dominates in space, the researchers said.

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Peter Thiel's Lawyer Wants To Silence Reporting On Trump's Hair
Posted by News Fetcher on June 14 '16 at 08:22 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's back-and-forth department:
An anonymous reader writes: Follow the report that Gawker has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after facing multiple lawsuits funded by tech billionaire Peter Thiel, it's being reported that Thiel's lawyer, Charles J. Harder, is threatening to sue Gawker for reporting on the company that made Donald Trump's hair, claiming copyright prohibits Gawker from republishing his threat. He sent the company a letter on behalf of Edward Ivari, the owner of the company Gawker suggests may be behind Trump's hair. Gawker said it was sent a six-page letter that claims the story "was 'false and defamatory,' invaded Ivari's privacy, intentionally inflicted emotional distress, and committed 'tortious interference' with Ivari's business relations." Gawker reporter Ashley Feinberg suggested in a lengthy Gawker story that Trump secretly underwent Ivari International's $60,000 "microcylinder intervention" treatment, with the company's offices located on the 25th floor of Trump Tower. Gawker called Ivari's claims "ridiculous," and noted that the statements at issue were pulled from his own publicity materials and from public records of a 2001 lawsuit against the company.

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