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The World Economic Forum Warns That AI May Destabilize the Financial System
Posted by News Fetcher on August 16 '18 at 10:50 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's something-to-think-about department:
Artificial intelligence will reshape the world of finance over the next decade or so by automating investing and other services -- but it could also introduce troubling systematic weaknesses and risks, according to a new report from the World Economic Forum (WEF). From a report: Compiled through interviews with dozens of leading financial experts and industry leaders, the report concludes that artificial intelligence will disrupt the industry by allowing early adopters to outmaneuver competitors. It also suggests that the technology will create more convenient products for consumers, such as sophisticated tools for managing personal finances and investments. But most notably, the report points to the potential for big financial institutions to build machine-learning-based services that live in the cloud and are accessed by other institutions. "The dynamics of machine learning create a strong incentive to network the back office," says the report's main author, Jesse McWaters, who leads the AI in Financial Services Project at the World Economic Forum. "A more networked world is more vulnerable to cybersecurity risks, and it also creates concentration risks." Further reading: AI to Reshape Finance, Say Executives Who Struggle to Define It.

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36 of 50 States Have Installed Sensors at 'Elections Infrastructure Level' To Monitor Computer Systems Managing Voter Data or Devices
Posted by News Fetcher on August 16 '18 at 10:50 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's prep-work department:
A majority of U.S. states has adopted technology that allows the federal government to see inside state computer systems managing voter data or voting devices in order to root out hackers. From a report: Two years after Russian hackers breached voter registration databases in Illinois and Arizona, most states have begun using the government-approved equipment, according to three sources with knowledge of the deployment. Voter registration databases are used to verify the identity of voters when they visit polling stations. The rapid adoption of the so-called Albert sensors, a $5,000 piece of hardware developed by the Center for Internet Security www.cisecurity.org, illustrates the broad concern shared by state government officials ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, government cybersecurity experts told Reuters. [...] As of August 7, 36 of 50 states had installed Albert at the "elections infrastructure level," according to a Department of Homeland Security official. The official said that 74 individual sensors across 38 counties and other local government offices have been installed. Only 14 such sensors were installed before the U.S. presidential election in 2016.

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Debian Linux Turns 25
Posted by News Fetcher on August 16 '18 at 09:31 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's long-long-journey department:
BrianFagioli writes: Debian is one of the most important open source projects ever. The Debian Linux operating system is extremely popular in its own right, but also, it is used as the base for countless other distributions. Ubuntu, for instance -- one of the most-used distros -- is Debian-based. Even Linux Mint, which is based on Ubuntu, also has a Debian edition. Not to mention, Raspbian -- the official Raspberry Pi OS -- which is based on Debian too. Today, Debian is celebrating a very important milestone -- a 25th birthday! Yes, it is seriously that old -- its development was announced on August 16, 1993. When the late Ian Murdock announced 25 years ago in comp.os.linux.development, the imminent completion of a brand-new Linux release, [...] the Debian Linux Release', nobody would have expected the 'Debian Linux Release' would become what's nowadays known as the Debian Project, one of the largest and most influential free software projects. "Its primary product is Debian, a free operating system (OS) for your computer, as well as for plenty of other systems which enhance your life. From the inner workings of your nearby airport to your car entertainment system, and from cloud servers hosting your favorite websites to the IoT devices that communicate with them, Debian can power it all," says Ana Guerrero Lopez of Debian. Further reading: Slackware, Oldest Actively Maintained GNU/Linux Distribution, Turns 25.

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NYU Offers Full-Tuition Scholarships for All Medical Students
Posted by News Fetcher on August 16 '18 at 09:31 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's interesting-moves department:
New York University said Thursday that it will cover tuition for all its medical students regardless of their financial situation, a first among the nation's major medical schools and an attempt to expand career options for graduates who won't be saddled with six-figure debt [Editor's note: the link may be paywalled]. From a report: School officials worry that rising tuition and soaring loan balances are pushing new doctors into high-paying fields and contributing to a shortage of researchers and primary care physicians. Medical schools nationwide have been conducting aggressive fundraising campaigns to compete for top prospects, alleviate the debt burden and give graduates more career choices. NYU raised more than $450 million of the roughly $600 million it estimates it will need to fund the tuition package in perpetuity, including $100 million from Home Depot founder Kenneth Langone and his wife, Elaine. The school will provide full-tuition scholarships for 92 first-year students -- another 10 are already covered through M.D./PhD programs -- as well as 350 students already partway through the M.D.-only degree program.

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Melbourne Teen Hacked Into Apple's Secure Computer Network, Court Told
Posted by News Fetcher on August 16 '18 at 08:10 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's child's-play department:
A Melbourne private schoolboy who repeatedly broke into Apple's secure computer systems is facing criminal charges after the technology giant called in the FBI. From a report: The teen, who cannot be named for legal reasons, broke into Apple's mainframe from his suburban home on multiple occasions over a year because he was such a fan of the company, according to his lawyer. The Children's Court heard on Thursday that he had downloaded 90GB of secure files and accessed customer accounts. His offending from the age of 16 saw him develop computerized tunnels and online bypassing systems to hide his identity until a raid on his family home uncovered a litany of hacking files and instructions all saved in a folder titled "hacky hack hack."

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To Catch A Robber, The FBI Attempted An Unprecedented Grab For Google Location Data
Posted by News Fetcher on August 16 '18 at 08:10 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department:
Back in March, as it investigated a spate of armed robberies across Portland, Maine, the FBI made an astonishing, unprecedented request of Google, Forbes reports. The feds wanted the tech giant to find all users of its services who'd been within the vicinity of at least two of nine of those robberies. They limited the search to within 30-minute timeframes around when the crimes were committed. But the request covered a total space of 45 hectares and could've included anyone with an Android or iPhone using Google's tools, not just the suspect. From a report: The FBI then demanded a lot of personal information on affected users, including their full names and addresses, as well as their Google account activity. The feds also wanted all affected users' historical locations. According to court records, while Google didn't provide the information, the cops still found their suspect in the end. Outside of concerns around government overreach, the FBI's remarkable attempt to force Google to assist in its investigation will likely worry all who were disturbed by an Associated Press investigation published on Monday that claimed Google continued to track people even when they turned location features off. The court warrants unearthed by Forbes indicate some at the FBI believe they have a right to that location data too, even if it belongs to innocents who might be unwittingly caught up in invasive government surveillance. And the government feels such fishing expeditions are permissable; it issued the warrant on Google without knowing whether or not the suspect used an Android device or any of the company services at all.

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China's 'First Fully Homegrown' Web Browser, Used By Key Government Bodies, Under Fire For 'Heavily' Copying Google Chrome Files
Posted by News Fetcher on August 16 '18 at 06:50 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's paint-job department:
Redcore, a Chinese start-up that claims to have produced a homegrown browser used by key government bodies and state-run companies, has come under fire after users discovered its software was heavily based on Google's Chrome browser [Editor's note: the link may be paywalled; alternative source]. From a report: The company, which says it has created "innovative and world-leading" browser technology, came under scrutiny on Thursday when users looked through the browser's installation directory and discovered an original "chrome.exe" file along with image files of the Chrome logo. "We have launched the world's only purely China-owned browser Redcore, to break the US monopoly," the company said in a statement on Wednesday. The Financial Times verified Chinese users' findings and found with its own examination that Redcore was using components from the v. 49 version of Google Chrome. "Redcore has Chrome [elements] in it," said company founder Gao Jing in response to fierce public criticism. "But this is not plagiarism; rather, we are standing on the shoulders of a giant for our own innovation," she added, according to local media reports. Ms Gao was also quoted as saying that the company had so far been doing very well in terms of customer satisfaction.

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Trump, Seeking To Relax Rules on US Cyberattacks, Reverses Obama Directive
Posted by News Fetcher on August 16 '18 at 06:50 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's for-the-record department:
President Trump has reversed an Obama-era memorandum dictating how and when the U.S. government can deploy cyberweapons against its adversaries, in an effort to loosen restrictions on such operations [Editor's note: the link may be paywalled; alternative source], WSJ reports. From the report: Mr. Trump signed an order on Wednesday reversing the classified rules, known as Presidential Policy Directive 20, that had mapped out an elaborate interagency process that must be followed before U.S. use of cyberattacks, particularly those geared at foreign adversaries. The change was described as an "offensive step forward" by an administration official briefed on the decision, one intended to help support military operations, deter foreign election influence and thwart intellectual property theft by meeting such threats with more forceful responses. The Trump administration has faced pressure to show that it is taking seriously national-security cyberthreats -- particularly those that intelligence officials say are posed by Moscow.

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Google Releases a Searchable Database of US Political Ads
Posted by News Fetcher on August 16 '18 at 05:30 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's show-me-the-money department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: In an effort to provide more transparency and deliver on a promise to Congress, Google just published an archive of political ads that have run on its platform. Google's new database, which it calls the Ad Library, is searchable through a dedicated launch page. Anyone can search for and filter ads, viewing them by candidate name or advertiser, spend, the dates the ads were live, impressions and type. For anyone looking for the biggest ad budget or the farthest reaching political ad, the ads can be sorted by spend, impressions and recency, as well. Google also provided a report on the data, showing ad spend by U.S. state, by advertiser and by top keywords.

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Did Apple Secretly Crush An App Store Competitor In Japan?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 16 '18 at 02:50 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's ulterior-motives department:
According to Nikkei, Japan's Fair Trade Commission is looking into whether Apple improperly pressured Yahoo Japan to shut down a game streaming platform that competed with the iOS App Store. "Yahoo Japan's Game Plus service allowed people to stream full games made for other platforms and to play HTML5 games on mobile phones, which would have allowed iPhone owners to get games without going through the App Store," reports The Verge. From the report: Nikkei reports that Yahoo Japan slashed the program's budget last fall, just months after it launched, and told partners that it was due to pressure from Apple. It's said to have begun filing complaints with Japan's FTC around the same time. Developers essentially have no good alternative to the App Store on iOS. Their only other option is the web, which is a wonderful place for websites, but the web is rarely as fast or flashy as a native app. There are a great number of features that only native apps can take advantage of, which requires going through the App Store and giving Apple a 30 percent cut of most sales. Yahoo Japan's service was meant, in part, to be an alternative to that, offering better terms to developers, according to Nikkei, and fewer restrictions around how games were updated and sold. Final Fantasy creator Square Enix had even signed on and produced an exclusive game for the platform, which has since been pulled.

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Child Drownings In Germany Linked To Parents' Obsession With Mobile Phones
Posted by News Fetcher on August 16 '18 at 12:10 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's phone-fixation department:
The German Lifeguard Association (DLRG) has made a direct connection between children getting into difficulty in the water and parents being too busy on their mobile phones to notice. More than 300 people have drowned in Germany so far this year. The Guardian reports: "Too few parents and grandparents are heeding the advice: when your children and grandchildren are in the water, put your smartphone away," Achim Wiese, the DLRG's spokesman, said. "We're experiencing on a daily basis that people treat swimming pools like a kindergarten and simply don't pay attention," added Peter Harzheim of the German federation of swimming pool supervisors. "In the past, parents and grandparents spent more time with their children in the swimming pool. But increasing numbers of parents are fixated by their smartphones and are not looking left or right, let alone paying attention to their children," he told German media. "It's sad that parents behave so neglectfully these days." The organization also put some blame on the school system for not making swimming lessons required from an early age. "Budget cuts have also led to swimming pools shortening their opening times," adds The Guardian.

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Climate Change Has Doubled the Frequency of Ocean Heatwaves
Posted by News Fetcher on August 15 '18 at 08:10 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's cause-and-effect department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Nature: Scientists analyzed satellite-based measurements of sea surface temperature from 1982 to 2016 and found that the frequency of marine heatwaves had doubled. These extreme heat events in the ocean's surface waters can last from days to months and can occur across thousands of kilometers. If average global temperatures increase to 3.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century, as researchers currently project, the frequency of ocean heatwaves could increase by a factor of 41. In other words, a one-in-one-hundred-day event at pre-industrial levels of warming could become a one-in-three-day event. The study has been published in the journal Nature.

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Police Bodycams Can Be Hacked To Doctor Footage, Install Malware
Posted by News Fetcher on August 15 '18 at 04:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's eminently-hackable department:
AmiMoJo shares a report from Boing Boing: Josh Mitchell's Defcon presentation analyzes the security of five popular brands of police bodycams (Vievu, Patrol Eyes, Fire Cam, Digital Ally, and CeeSc) and reveals that they are universally terrible. All the devices use predictable network addresses that can be used to remotely sense and identify the cameras when they switch on. None of the devices use code-signing. Some of the devices can form ad-hoc Wi-Fi networks to bridge in other devices, but they don't authenticate these sign-ons, so you can just connect with a laptop and start raiding the network for accessible filesystems and gank or alter videos, or just drop malware on them.

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Google Patches Chrome Bug That Lets Attackers Steal Web Secrets Via Audio Or Video HTML Tags
Posted by News Fetcher on August 15 '18 at 04:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's sensitive-data-at-risk department:
An anonymous reader writes: "Google has patched a vulnerability in the Chrome browser that allows an attacker to retrieve sensitive information from other sites via audio or video HTML tags," reports Bleeping Computer. The attack breaks CORS -- Cross-Origin Resource Sharing, a browser security feature that prevents sites from loading resources from other websites -- and will attempt to load resources (some of which can reveal information about users) inside audio and video HTML tags. During tests, a researcher retrieved age and gender information from Facebook users, but another researcher says the bug can be also used to retrieve data from corporate backends or private APIs. Ron Masas, a security researcher with Imperva, first discovered and reported this issue to Google. The bug was fixed at the end of July with the release of Chrome v68.0.3440.75.

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SEC Sends Subpoena To Tesla In Probe Over Musk's Take-Private Tweets
Posted by News Fetcher on August 15 '18 at 02:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's serious-business department:
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sent Tesla a subpoena regarding Elon Musk's effort to take the company private, "indicating the regulatory scrutiny of his statements have reached a more serious stage," reports Bloomberg. Last week, Musk tweeted he was considering taking Tesla off the market and had "funding secured" for the deal. From the report: Musk exposed himself to legal risk by tweeting Aug. 7 that he had the funding for a buyout. Almost a week later, the chief executive officer said the basis for his statement was conversations with Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, which first expressed interest in helping take the company private in early 2017. Tesla's board has since clarified that it hasn't received a formal proposal from Musk, who's also chairman, nor has it concluded whether going private would be advisable or feasible. Tesla may face potential regulatory challenges beyond the SEC investigation. The company probably will need approval of U.S. national security officials if Saudi Arabia finances the effort to take the company private, and President Donald Trump's administration has been stepping up scrutiny of foreign investment in American technology.

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Investor Sues AT&T Over Two-Factor Security Flaws, $23 Million Cryptocurrency Theft
Posted by News Fetcher on August 15 '18 at 02:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's stolen-digital-funds department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Fast Company: Crypto investor Michael Terpin filed a $224 million lawsuit against AT&T in California federal court Wednesday alleging that the phone company's negligence let hackers steal nearly $24 million in cryptocurrency from him, Reuters reports. He's also seeking punitive damages. Terpin says hackers were twice able to convince AT&T to connect his phone number to a SIM card they controlled, routing his calls and messages to them and enabling them to defeat two-factor authentication protections on his accounts. In one case, he says hackers also took control of his Skype account and convinced one of this clients to send money to them rather than Terpin. The second hack came even after AT&T agreed to put an additional passcode on his account, when a fraudster visited an AT&T store in Connecticut and managed to hijack Terpin's account without providing the code or a "scannable ID" as AT&T requires, he says.

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The Next Flagship iPhone Will Support Apple Pencil and 512GB Flash Storage, Says Report
Posted by News Fetcher on August 15 '18 at 01:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's new-and-improved department:
Next month, Apple is expected to unveil three new iPhones, each with differing specs/features. According to analyst firm Trendforce, the large 6.5-inch "flagship" model will support up to 512GB of onboard flash storage. Apple Pencil support will also be "offered as an option," although the company didn't specify which models will support the stylus. Apple Insider reports: The company expects that the the 6.1-inch LCD version will come with Face ID, Dual-SIM technology. The firm expects it to retail for between $699 and $749. The 5.8-inch OLED iPhone will be priced at $899 to $949. The 6.5-inch device will come in storage capacities up to 512GB, with one variant of the size potentially having dual-SIM support and expected to be "limited within $1,000 threshold as to encourage purchasing from consumers," according to Trendforce. Both the 5.8- and 6.5-inch OLED models are expected to have 4GB of RAM. The 6.1-inch LED devices will have 3GB of RAM, the same as the iPhone X. The analyst firm believes that all three models are expected to ship in September and October.

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Valve Seems To Be Working On Tools To Get Windows Games Running On Linux
Posted by News Fetcher on August 15 '18 at 01:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's cross-platform department:
"Valve appears to be working on a set of 'compatibility tools,' called Steam Play, that would allow at least some Windows-based titles to run on Linux-based SteamOS systems," writes Kyle Orland from Ars Technica. From the report: Yesterday, Reddit users noticed that Steam's GUI files (as captured by SteamDB's Steam Tracker) include a hidden section with unused text related to the unannounced Steam Play system. According to that text, "Steam Play will automatically install compatibility tools that allow you to play games from your library that were built for other operating systems." Other unused text in the that GUI file suggests Steam Play will offer official compatibility with "supported tiles" while also letting users test compatibility for "games in your library that have not been verified with a supported compatibility tool." That latter use comes with a warning that "this may not work as expected, and can cause issues with your games, including crashes and breaking save games."

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Engineers Say They've Created Way To Detect Weapons Using Wi-Fi
Posted by News Fetcher on August 15 '18 at 12:10 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's non-invasive-security-measures department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Gizmodo: The researchers, which include engineers from Rutgers University-New Brunswick, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), and Binghamton University, published a study this month detailing a method in which common wifi can be used to easily and efficiently identify weapons, bombs, and explosive chemicals in public spaces that don't typically have affordable screening options. The researchers' system uses channel state information (CSI) from run-of-the-mill wifi. It can first identify whether there are dangerous objects in baggage without having to physically rifle through it. It then determines what the material is and what the risk level is. The researchers tested the detection system using 15 different objects across three categories -- metal, liquid, and non-dangerous -- as well as with six bags and boxes across three categories -- backpack or handbag, cardboard box, and a thick plastic bag.

The findings were pretty impressive. According to the researchers, their system is 99 percent accurate when it comes to identifying dangerous and non-dangerous objects. It is 97 percent accurate when determining whether the dangerous object is metal or liquid, the study says. When it comes to detecting suspicious objects in various bags, the system was over 95 percent accurate. The researchers state in the paper that their detection system only needs a wifi device with two to three antennas, and can run on existing networks.

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Children 'At Risk of Robot Influence'
Posted by News Fetcher on August 15 '18 at 10:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: Forget peer pressure, future generations are more likely to be influenced by robots, a study suggests. The research, conducted at the University of Plymouth, found that while adults were not swayed by robots, children were. The fact that children tended to trust robots without question raised ethical issues as the machines became more pervasive, said researchers. They called for the robotics community to build in safeguards for children. Those taking part in the study completed a simple test, known as the Asch paradigm, which involved finding two lines that matched in length. Known as the conformity experiment, the test has historically found that people tend to agree with their peers even if individually they have given a different answer. In this case, the peers were robots. When children aged seven to nine were alone in the room, they scored an average of 87% on the test. But when the robots joined them, their scores dropped to 75% on average. Of the wrong answers, 74% matched those of the robots.

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