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Hundreds of Drupal Sites Targeted With Fake Ransomware
Posted by News Fetcher on May 22 '16 at 02:31 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's scanbots-for-dollars department:
An anonymous reader writes: A group of hackers have created a ransomware strain that specifically targets Drupal sites. Infection occurs thanks to an automated bot which scans Drupal sites and then uses an SQL injection (CVE-2014-3704) to change the site admin's password. The bot also dumps any emails it finds on the server, and then overwrites the site's main page to show a typical ransomware note.
Over 400 sites have been infected until now, but nobody has paid the ransom yet. This case yet again proves why "Web ransomware" will never work because even the worst Web hosting service provides automatic backups from where they could retrieve a clean version of their site.

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Netflix and Amazon Could Face Content Quotas In Europe
Posted by News Fetcher on May 22 '16 at 01:01 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Chateau-de-Cartes department:
jader3rd quotes an articles from The Daily Mail about a new EU proposal to be published next week:
Netflix and Amazon could be forced to make French, German and even Estonian films and TV shows by the EU. The US companies could also be hit with taxes to raise funds to support the work of film-makers in Europe. The proposal is thought to be driven by the French, who are particularly fearful of their cinema and TV programmes being eclipsed by English language productions... One draft says the aims is to create 'a more level playing field in the promotion of European works by obliging on-demand services to reserve at least 20 percent share for European works in their catalogues and to ensure adequate prominence of such works'.

French may become the world's most-spoken language by 2050 (due to its popularity among the fast-growing population of Africa). But even so, should U.S.-based companies be facing "regional quotas" for the content they're offering?

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Ask Slashdot: Have You Migrated To Node.js?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 22 '16 at 11:42 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's JavaScript-on-the-server department:
A developer maintaining his company's "half-assed LAMP / WordPress stack pipeline for web and web application development" is considering something more scalable that could eventually be migrated into the cloud. Qbertino asks Slashdot: Have you moved from LAMP (PHP) to Node.js for custom product development and if so, what's your advice? What downsides of JS on the server and in Node.js have a real-world effect? Is callback hell really a thing? And what is the state of free and open-source Node products...? Is there any trend inside the Node.js camp on building a platform and CMS product that competes with the PHP camp whilst maintaining a sane architecture, or is it all just a ball of hype with a huge mess of its own growing in the background, Rails-style? Condensing Qbertino's original submission: he wants to be able to quickly deliver "pretty, working, and half-way reliable products that make us money" -- and to build a durable pipeline. So leave your educated opinions in the comments. What did you experience moving to Node.js?

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Segway Inventor To Build Powerful Wheelchair With Toyota
Posted by News Fetcher on May 22 '16 at 11:42 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's let's-go-places department:
Toyota is working with Segway PT inventor Dean Kamen on advanced wheelchairs for the aged and disabled. Slashdot reader necro81 writes:
Most people don't know that the two-wheeled balancing technology was first developed by Kamen's company in the early 2000s for the iBot -- an advanced wheelchair that could climb stairs and curbs, had four-wheel drive, and could balance on its rear wheels... it was also a commercial flop: the iBot was discontinued in 2009 after selling hundreds of units (many still in operation a decade later). Today, however, Toyota announced a partnership with Dean Kamen to upgrade the iBot and bring it back to market.

I wonder if they'll be used in more than just the obvious ways. 15 years after the introduction of the first Segways, Steve Wozniak is participating in the Segway polo world championships (which are named the "Woz Cup" in his honor). And the Australian army once even had a fleet of Segways which they dressed up like enemy soldiers to practice field maneuvers.

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Attackers Steal $12.7M In Massive ATM Heist
Posted by News Fetcher on May 22 '16 at 10:21 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's PIN-ing-the-blame department:
Within two hours $12.7 million in cash was stolen from 1,400 ATMs located at convenience stores all across Japan, investigators announced Sunday. An anonymous reader quotes a Japanese newspaper:
Police suspect that the cash was withdrawn at ATMs using counterfeit credit cards containing account information leaked from a South African bank. Japanese police will work with South African authorities through the International Criminal Police Organization to look into the major theft, including how credit card information was leaked, the sources said. Over the two hours attackers withdrew the equivalent of $907 in 14,000 different transactions.

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Student Exposes Bad Police Encryption, Gets Suspended Sentence
Posted by News Fetcher on May 22 '16 at 09:02 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's insecurity-complex department:
An anonymous reader shares a story about Dejan Ornig, a security analyst in Slovenia who warned the Slovenian police department about vulnerabilities in their supposedly secure communication system TETRA in 2013. (Here's Google's English translation of the article, and the Slovenian original.)

He discovered that the system, which was supposed to provide encrypted communication, was incorrectly configured. As a result lots of communication could be intercepted with a $25 piece of equipment and some software. To make matters worse, the system is not used just by the police, but also by the military, military police, IRS, Department of Corrections and a few other governmental institutions which rely on secure communications. After waiting for more than two years for a reaction, from police or Ministry of Interior and getting in touch with security researchers at the prestigious institute Jozef Stefan, he eventually decided to go public with his story... The police and Ministry of interior then launched an internal investigation, which then confirmed Ornig's findings and revealed internal communications problems between the departments... Ornig has been subject to a house search by the police, during which his computers and equipment that he used to listen in on the system were seized. Police also found a "counterfeit police badge" during the investigation. All along Ornig was offering his help with securing the system.
On May 11th Ornig received a prison sentence of 15 months suspended for duration of three years, provided that he doesn't repeat any of the offenses for which he was found guilty (illegal access of the communications system). He can appeal this judgment.

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Researchers Generate Electricity Using Seawater and Sunlight
Posted by News Fetcher on May 22 '16 at 07:42 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's making-a-splash department:
Slashdot reader sosume writes: Scientists at Osaka University have created a new method to use sunlight to turn seawater into hydrogen peroxide which can then be used in fuel cells to generate electricity. It's the first photocatalytic method of H2O2 production that achieves a high enough efficiency so that the H2O2 can be used in a fuel cell.
It's easier and safer to transport liquid H2O2, according to the article, and while its total efficiency is much lower than conventional solar cells, the researchers hope to get better results by using better materials.

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Ransomware Adds DDoS Attacks To Annoy More People
Posted by News Fetcher on May 22 '16 at 07:42 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's business-of-botnets department:
An anonymous reader writes: Ransomware developers have found another method of monetizing their operations by adding a DDoS component to their malicious payloads. So instead of just encrypting your files and locking your screen, new ransomware versions seen this week also started adding a DDoS bot that quietly blasts spoofed network traffic at various IPs on the Internet.
Softpedia points out that "Renting out DDoS botnets on the Dark Web is a very lucrative business, even if prices have gone down in recent years."

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Google-Backed Solar Plant Catches on Fire
Posted by News Fetcher on May 22 '16 at 06:21 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's nasty-sunburn department:
An anonymous reader writes:"The world's largest solar plant just torched itself," read the headline at Gizmodo, reporting on a fire Thursday at the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System. Built on 4,000 acres of public land in the Mojave Desert, the $2.2 billion plant "has nearly 350,000 computer controlled mirrors -- each roughly the size of a garage door," according to the Associated Press, which reports that misaligned mirrors focused the sunlight on electrical cables, causing them to burst into flames, according to the local fire department. The facility was temporarily shut down, and the fire damaged one of the facility's three towers, according to the Associated Press, while another tower is closed for maintenance, "leaving the sprawling facility on the California-Nevada border operating at only a third of its capacity." The New York Times reported that by 2011 Google had invested $168 in the facility.

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Node.js Now Runs COBOL and FORTRAN
Posted by News Fetcher on May 22 '16 at 04:51 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's party-like-it's-1959 department:
Last summer a developer created a plugin which made it possible to run snippets of COBOL code embedded in JavaScript using the Node.js interpreter. Now Slashdot reader techfilz writes: Romanian developer Bizau Ionica has engineered a software bridge called node.cobol which can execute Node.js scripts from within COBOL programs.
The link shows COBOL code executing a Node.js script that launches a Web server and creates ASCII art from a JPEG image -- in this case, Admiral Grace Hopper, who helped create COBOL in 1959. And Ars Technica points out the same developer has also built a Node.js bridge for FORTRAN.

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Japanese Startup Wants To Rain Down Man-Made Meteor For Tokyo Olympics
Posted by News Fetcher on May 22 '16 at 12:42 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's man-made-rain-is-so-yesterday department:
A startup called Star-ALE wants to create a man-made meteor shower over the city of Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics opening ceremonies. The pyrotechnics show, Star-ALE says, will be visible from an area 200km across Japan, and the pyrotechnics will actually shower from space. Starting next year, Star-ALE will begin sending a fleet of microsatellites carrying 500 to 1000 specially-developed pellets that ignite and intensely glow as they re-enter the earth's atmosphere. ScienceAlert reports: But wonderment comes at a cost, and in this case, that cost isn't cheap. Each combustible pellet comes in at about $8,100 to produce, and that's not including the costs involved in actually launching the Sky Canvas satellite. The company has tested its source particles in the lab, using a vacuum chamber and hot gases to simulate the conditions the pellets would encounter upon re-entering Earth's atmosphere. In its testing, the particles burn with an apparent magnitude of -1, which should ensure they're clearly visible in the night sky, even in the polluted skyline of a metropolis like Tokyo.

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How Militarized Cops Are Zapping Rights With Stingray
Posted by News Fetcher on May 21 '16 at 08:31 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's un-"warranted"-accusations department:
"Police nationwide are secretly exploiting intrusive technologies with the feds' complicity," argues a new article on Alternet -- calling out Stingray, which mimics a cellphone tower to identify every cellphone nearby. "It gathers information not only about a specific suspect, but any bystanders in the area as well... Some Stingrays are capable of collecting not only cell phone ID numbers but also numbers those phones have dialed and even phone conversations."

The ACLU says requests for more information have been meeting heavy resistance from police departments since 2011, with many departments citing nondisclosure agreements with Stingray's manufacturer and with the FBI, and "often, the police get a judge's sign-off for surveillance without even bothering to mention that they will be using a Stingray...claiming that they simply can't violate those FBI nondisclosure agreements. "More often than not, police use Stingrays without bothering to get a warrant, instead seeking a court order on a more permissive legal standard. This is part of the charm of a new technology for the authorities: nothing is settled on how to use it."
Stingray is more than a 1960s TV series with puppets. Several state judges estimate there have been hundreds of instances where police have used the Stingray tool without a warrant or telling a judge. Slashdot reader Presto Vivace writes: This is why it matters who wins the mayor and city council races. Localities do not have to accept this technology.

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Abrams Says Paramount Will Drop Star Trek/Axenar Lawsuit
Posted by News Fetcher on May 21 '16 at 05:42 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's live-long-and-prosper department:
An anonymous reader writes:At a fan event Friday for the upcoming Star Trek movie, producer J. J. Abrams said Paramount Pictures' lawsuit against Axanar Productions was "going away." Director Justin Lin had been outraged by the lawsuit against the crowdfunded fan Star Trek film, and when he'd started discussing the situation with Abrams, the two "realized this was not an appropriate way to deal with the fans. The fans should be celebrating this thing. Fans of Star Trek are part of this world. So he went to the studio and pushed them to stop this lawsuit and now, within the next few weeks, it will be announced this is going away, and that fans would be able to continue working on their project."

In a statement, Axanar said they still "want to make sure we go through all the proper steps to make sure all matters are settled with CBS and Paramount..." adding "There is still a lot of work to do, but receiving this kind of public support helps immensely."

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Fake Facebook Event Draws Police, Spawns New Meme
Posted by News Fetcher on May 21 '16 at 04:26 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's click-Like-if-you-agree department:
An anonymous reader writes: A fake event announcement on Facebook has now launched "a long string of viral jokes featuring fake concert events for music acts at oddly appropriate venues," according to CNET -- for example, a Radiohead concert at Radio Shack or a Sunday Brunch with Insane Clown Posse. It began with a fake announcement touting an upcoming concert with Limp Bizkit on April 20 at a Sunoco gas station. "The event got so much viral attention and local and national news coverage that the Dayton Police Department had to issue a statement to the local press and on its Twitter page on April 19 that there would be no Limp Bizkit concert..." CNET reports.
"That still didn't stop a crowd of 100 Limp Bizkit fans from going to the Sunoco and chanting 'Fred! Fred! Fred!' in front of the station. The station had to close up for the night and police were called to the scene to disperse the crowd. Since then, other Facebook users decided to try their luck at tricking the more gullible people on the Internet into going to concerts that don't exist."

In an unrelated development, 12 Facebook employees and their guests were stuck in an elevator at Facebook's California headquarters for more than two hours on Friday, until being rescued by local firefighters using the Jaws of Life.

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The World's Largest Cruise Ship and Its Supersized Pollution Problem
Posted by News Fetcher on May 21 '16 at 02:55 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's big-polluting-machine department:
An anonymous reader cites a report on the Guardian: When the gargantuan Harmony of the Seas slips out of Southampton docks on Sunday afternoon on its first commercial voyage, the 16-deck-high floating city will switch off its auxiliary engines, fire up its three giant diesels and head to the open sea. But while the 6,780 passengers and 2,100 crew on the largest cruise ship in the world wave goodbye to England, many people left behind in Southampton say they will be glad to see it go. They complain that air pollution from such nautical behemoths is getting worse every year as cruising becomes the fastest growing sector of the mass tourism industry and as ships get bigger and bigger. According to its owners, Royal Caribbean, each of the Harmony's three four-storey high 16-cylinder Wartsila engines will, at full power, burn 1,377 US gallons of fuel an hour, or about 96,000 gallons a day of some of the most polluting diesel fuel in the world.

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Did A German Nuclear Plant Intentionally Leak Radioactive Waste?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 21 '16 at 01:32 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's accidentally-on-purpose? department:
mdsolar shares this report from a Berlin news site:
A former engineer at one of Germanyâ(TM)s nuclear reactors has made an astonishing claim: that the plant intentionally pumped radioactive waste into the atmosphere in 1986. Speaking to the Westfalischer Anzeiger, 83-year-old retired engineer Hermann Schollmeyer apparently decided it was time to come clean, three decades after the incident he describes. The official story had always been that radioactive waste was unintentionally leaked into the air at the THTR reactor in Hamm in May 1986, the western German newspaper reports. But Schollmeyer now claims that the plant used the cover of the Chernobyl -- which had released a cloud of radioactive waste over western Europe -- to pump their own waste into the atmosphere, believing no one would notice. "It was done intentionally," Schollmeyer said. "We had problems at the plant and I was present at a few of the meetings."

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Linux Advocate Suggests Using More Closed-Source Software
Posted by News Fetcher on May 21 '16 at 01:32 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's wait,-what? department:
An anonymous reader writes: Open Source advocate Jack Wallen is a writer for Linux.com and Tech Republic. He predicts that both Windows and OS X will be Open Source within 5 years, writing that "neither Microsoft nor Apple make serious money from operating systems any longer" (with both companies giving away major OS upgrades), but argues that smaller software companies still see close-sourced code as a profit center. So yesterday Wallen wrote a surprising column urging Linux fans to begin considering closed-source software.

"That doesn't mean, in any way, you are giving up on the idea of freedom. What it means is that the best tool for the job is the one you should be using...be that open, closed, or somewhere in between. Should you close your mind to close sourced tools, you could miss out on some seriously amazing applications. On top of that (and this is something I've harped on for decades), the more you use closed source applications on open source environments, the more will be made available."
I'd be curious to hear how many Slashdot readers agree with Mr. Wallen...

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'Eat, Sleep, Code, Repeat' Approach Is Such Bullshit
Posted by News Fetcher on May 21 '16 at 12:12 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's unhealthy-perspective department:
At its I/O developer conference, Google had the message "Eat. Sleep. Code. Repeat." spread everywhere -- walls, t-shirts you name it. Dan Kim, a programmer at Basecamp, has shared an interesting view on the same. He says while he gets the "coding is awesome and we want to do it all the time!" enthusiasm from the company, but he doubts if that's the approach a programmer should take, adding that the company is wittingly or not promoting an "unhealthy perspective that programming is an all or nothing endeavor -- that to excel at it, you have to go all in." He writes: Whether it's racing cars, loving art, reading, hiking, spending time in nature, playing with their dog, running, gardening, or just hanging out with their family, these top-notch programmers love life outside of code. That's because they know that a truly balanced lifestyle -- one that gives your brain and your soul some space to breath non-programming airâS -- actually makes you a better programmer. Life outside of code helps nurture important qualities: inspiration, creative thinking, patience, flexibility, empathy, and many more. All of these skills make you a better programmer, and you can't fully realize them by just coding.

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Civil Liberties Expert Argues Snowden Was Wrong
Posted by News Fetcher on May 21 '16 at 10:52 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's changing-your-mind department:
An anonymous reader writes that in 2014, Geoffrey Stone was given access to America's national security apparatus as a member of the President's Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies. Last week Stone, a staunch civil liberties supporter, moderated a live discussion with Edward Snowden from Russia, and this week he actually praised the NSA in a follow-up interview:
"The more I worked with the NSA, the more respect I had for them as far as staying within the bounds of what they were authorized to do. And they were careful and had a high degree of integrity... I came to the view that [the programs] were well intentioned, that they were designed in fact to collect information for the purpose of ferreting out potential terrorist plots both in the U.S. and around the world and that was their design and purpose...

"I don't doubt that Snowden was courageous and did what he did for what he thought were good reasons. But I think he was unduly arrogant, didn't understand the limitations of his own knowledge and basically decided to usurp the authority of a democracy."

Meanwhile, a new documentary about Julian Assange opened at the Cannes film festival this week, revisiting how Wikileaks warned Apple that iTunes could be used as a backdoor for spies to infiltrate computers and phones.

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TV Journalists Try Buying AK-47 On Dark Web, Fail
Posted by News Fetcher on May 21 '16 at 10:52 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's guns-and-neuroses department:
An anonymous reader writes: "It was supposed to be a great story about terrorism, uncertainty and the evils of the DarkNet," writes Deep Dot Web, describing an investigative report titled "Fear of Terror -- How Endangered is Germany?" After interviewing security experts, federal investigators, and a survivor of the Paris terrorist attack, a TV news crew in Germany attempted to buy an AK-47 on the dark web -- only to be scammed out of $800. "If he had done a little research he could have known that most weapon dealers on the DarkNet are actually scams," the article points out, adding that German customs officers say they would have intercepted any AK-47 had a delivery been attempted.

Motherboard reported in November that the high number of scams -- some of which are undercover agents -- prompted several dark web markets to stop offering guns altogether, though they suggest the German news crew was trying to recreate the purchases of "disabled" weapons which were then converted back into their original form.

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