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Apple's Lack of Bug Bounty Program May Explain Why Hackers Would Help FBI
Posted by News Fetcher on March 24 '16 at 07:23 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's you-gotta-reward-people department:
On Wednesday, it was reported that FBI has contracted Cellebrite, an Israeli software provider specializing in mobile phone forensics, for $15,000 to break into the iPhone. It is believed that Cellebrite knows of a flaw in the iPhone which could allow circumvention of iOS' built-in security layers. Cellebrite could have worked with Apple on this flaw, but it chose to help FBI instead. It doesn't take rocket science to understand why Cellebrite chose to take the other route. The New York Times says that many security firms and hackers would love to work with Apple to further improve its products, but they don't because of a lack of incentive. There's little to no monetary incentive in helping the company with finding loopholes in its products. Apple -- unlike a number of Silicon Valley giants including Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Mozilla, and recently added to the list, Uber -- doesn't maintain a Bug Bounty program. Nicole Perlroth and Katie Benner report for the Times: When hackers do find flaws in Apple's code, they have little incentive to turn them over to the company for fixing. [...] Apple, which has had relatively strong security over the years, has been open about how security is a never-ending cat-and-mouse game and how it is unwilling to engage in a financial arms race to pay for code exploits. The company has yet to give hackers anything more than a gold star. When hackers do turn over serious flaws in its products, they may see their name listed on the company's website -- but that is it. That is a far cry from what hackers can expect if they sell an Apple flaw on the thriving underground market where a growing number of companies and government agencies are willing to pay hackers handsomely.

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AMD Releases Open-Source Driver Support For Next-Gen Polaris GPUs
Posted by News Fetcher on March 24 '16 at 06:01 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's out-the-gate-already-this-time department:
An anonymous reader writes: For the first time ever, AMD has provided open-source support for next-generation discrete GPUs ahead of the product's launch. AMD developers published initial open-source Linux driver support for Polaris GPUs with the addition adding over sixty-seven thousand lines of code to the Linux kernel. AMD Polaris graphics cards are expected this summer while AMD released the open-source driver support in advance for preparing their new Linux hybrid driver that relies upon the open-source AMDGPU kernel driver.

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Company Behind Badlock Disclosure Says Pre-Patch Hype Is Good Marketing
Posted by News Fetcher on March 24 '16 at 04:42 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's good-for-some-people department:
itwbennett writes: A new vulnerability in Windows and Samba, called Badlock, is set for disclosure on April 12, according to Badlock.org. Yes, this vulnerability has its own website and logo and therein lies the problem. In a Twitter exchange with CSO Online's Steve Ragan, Johannes Loxen, who registered the Badlock domain, called the pre-patch marketing a win-win, saying, 'A serious bug gets attention and marketing for us and our open source business is a side effect for us of course.' As Ragan notes, 'PR-driven vulnerability disclosure isn't something new,' and 'can be useful sometimes.' Marketing around Heartbleed, for example, 'generated tons of news coverage and quick reaction by administrators who worked long hours to patch vulnerable systems. There have been several since Heartbleed,' says Ragan. But in the case of Badlock, a 20-day lead time gives criminals plenty of time to tear Samba apart.

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UK Man Faces Prison For Circumventing UK's Pirate Site Blockade
Posted by News Fetcher on March 24 '16 at 01:51 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's please-change-first-name-to-Jhzubuzzoff department:
An anonymous reader writes with news from TorrenFreak that a Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit in the UK has charged a man for operating proxy sites and services that let fellow Internet users in the UK bypass local pirate site blockades.

In a first of its kind prosecution, the Bakersfield resident is charged with several fraud offenses and one count of converting and/or transferring criminal property. During the summer of 2014, City of London Police arrested the then 20-year-old Callum Haywood of Bakersfield for his involvement with several proxy sites and services. Haywood was interrogated at a police station and later released on bail. He agreed to voluntarily hand over several domain names, but the police meanwhile continued working on the case. I wonder if the same logic applies to customers of the shrinking number of VPNs that can be used to bypass other kinds of country-level controls.

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CCTV DVR Vulnerabilities Traced To Chinese OEM Which Spurned Researchers' Advice
Posted by News Fetcher on March 23 '16 at 11:01 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's quote-scare-quotes-scare-quote-square-quotes-quote department:
An anonymous reader writes: RSA security researcher Rotem Kerner has identified a common vulnerability in the firmware of 70 different CCTV DVR vendors, which allows crooks to execute code and gain root privileges on the affected devices. The problem was actually in the firmware of just one DVR sold by Chinese firm TVT. The practice of "white-labeling" products helped propagate this issue to other "manufacturers" who did nothing more than to buy a non-branded DVR, tweaked its firmware, slapped their logo on top, and sold it a their own, vulnerability included.

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Google Opens Access To Its Speech Recognition API, Going Head To Head With Nuance
Posted by News Fetcher on March 23 '16 at 08:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's competitive-advantage department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Google is planning to compete with Nuance and other voice recognition companies head on by opening up its speech recognition API to third-party developers. To attract developers, the app will be free at launch with pricing to be introduced at a later date. The company formally announced the service today during its NEXT cloud user conference, where it also unveiled a raft of other machine learning developments and updates, most significantly a new machine learning platform. The Google Cloud Speech API, which will cover over 80 languages and will work with any application in real-time streaming or batch mode, will offer full set of APIs for applications to "see, hear and translate," Google says. It is based on the same neural network tech that powers Google's voice search in the Google app and voice typing in Google's Keyboard. Google's move will have a large impact on the industry as a whole -- and particularly on Nuance, the company long thought of as offering the best voice recognition capabilities in the business, and most certainly the biggest offering such services.

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'Flash Crash' Trader Navinder Sarao Faces US Extradition
Posted by News Fetcher on March 23 '16 at 07:01 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's he's-gotta-take-some-awesome-vitamins-for-that department:
mrspoonsi writes with this excerpt from the BBC: Navinder Sarao, the trader accused of helping to trigger the U.S. "flash crash," can be extradited to face trial, a court has ruled. Mr Sarao traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange from his parents' home near Heathrow Airport in London. Mr Sarao, 37, is accused of contributing to events on 6 May 2010, when the Dow Jones share index briefly fell more than 1,000 points. The flash crash on 6 May 2010 temporarily wiped nearly $1 trillion off the value of shares. US authorities want Mr Sarao to stand trial on 22 criminal counts. They allege he is guilty of "spoofing" — the practice of placing large orders that manipulate the markets and then cancelling or changing them, allowing him to buy or sell at a profit. Mr Sarao's spoofing netted him a profit of $40m (£28m), they argue. The charges that Mr Sarao faces carry sentences totalling a maximum of 380 years.

Reader whoever57 links to a similar report at the New York Times, which notes "This is not the last step for Mr. Sarao, as the extradition must next be reviewed by the Home Secretary." "As the submitter," writes whoever57, "it's not clear to me how this man did anything different from the high-speed and algorithmic traders do every day."

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D.C. Regulators Approve Exelon's $7 Billion Takeover Of Pepco
Posted by News Fetcher on March 23 '16 at 05:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's straight-from-the-source department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from WashingtonPost: District regulators approved a $6.8 billion merger between Pepco Holdings and Exelon on Wednesday, creating the largest publicly-held utility in the country. The merger means that Pepco will now be absorbed by a company with the largest number of nuclear reactors in the country and widespread operations throughout the mid-Atlantic, Midwest, and New England. In voting 2 to 1 to approve the deal, the D.C. Public Service Commission said it "was in the public interest," noting that it would deposit $72.8 million in a "customer investment fund," set aside $11.25 million for energy efficiency and conservation programs targeted toward low-income residents, and carve out $21.55 million for pilot projects such as modernizing the electric distribution grid. "These benefits, among others, would not be available to District ratepayers if the merger is not approved," the commission said in a statement.

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Apple Worries Spy Technology Has Been Secretly Added To Computer Servers It Buys
Posted by News Fetcher on March 23 '16 at 04:22 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's check-it-once-check-it-twice department:
An anonymous reader writes: According to Business Insider, "[Apple] worries that some of the equipment and cloud services it buys has been compromised by vendors who have agreed to put "back door" technology for government spying, according to a report from The Information's Amir Efrati and Steve Nellis." With many of its cloud-based services like iTunes, the App Store, and iCloud requiring enormous data center to operate, Apple hasn't been able to build all the data centers it needs, and has instead been using services from its rivals, namely Amazon Web Services and Microsoft. Google recently landed Apple as a customer for the Google Cloud Platform. "Meanwhile, [Apple] has embarked on yet another attempt to build more of its own data centers to handle all of that, called Project McQueen, reports Jordan Novet at VentureBeat, and the project is having a rough go of it, reports The Information." Apple suspects that backdoors have been added to many of the servers it has been ordering from others. "At one point, the company even had people taking photographs of the motherboards in the computer servers it was using, then mark down exactly what each chip was, to make sure everything was fully understood."

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Pornhub Unveils Free VR Porn Channel
Posted by News Fetcher on March 23 '16 at 04:22 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's blow-your-mind department:
An anonymous reader writes from an article on PCWorld: Big-name pornography website Pornhub has partnered with BadoinkVR, an early mover and shaker in VR porn, to launch a new section dedicated to immersive adult videos, aka VR porn. "Virtual reality is the next phase in the constantly metamorphosing world of adult entertainment, and will provide users with a mesmeric experience unlike anything they've seen before," Pornhub Vice President Corey Price said in a press release. "Now, our users are not only able to view our content, but be protagonists in the experience and interact with their favorite porn stars." The videos are roughly five-minute-long trailers designed to hook you on the VR porn experience. If you want the full videos, you'll need to sign up for a subscription with BadoinkVR itself, which will unlock the service's full adult-video selection starting at $20 per month. Pornhub is giving away 10,000 free pairs of branded Google Cardboard VR glasses if you are interested in trying out the experience but lack a VR headset.

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Red Hat Becomes First $2 Billion Open-Source Company
Posted by News Fetcher on March 23 '16 at 04:22 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's playing-upon-the-gullibility-of-venture-capitalists department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: Red Hat just became the first open-source company to make a cool 2 billion bucks. Not bad considering Red Hat became the first billion dollar Linux company only four years ago. Red Hat did it the old-fashioned way: They earned the money instead of playing upon the gullibility of venture capitalists. Red Hat's total revenue for its fourth quarter was $544 million. That's up 17 percent in U.S. dollars year-over-year, or 21 percent measured constant currency. Subscription revenue for the quarter was $480 million, up 18 percent in U.S. dollars year-over-year, or 22 percent measured in constant currency. Subscription revenue in the quarter was 88 percent of total revenue. Analysts estimated Red Hat would make $534 million. Looking ahead for its 2016 FY Red Hat expects to see between $2.380 billion to $2.420 billion. At this rate, Red Hat should easily become the first $3 billion open-source company.

While Red Hat's president and CEO Jim Whitehurst credits the "hybrid cloud infrastructures," Red Hat's subscription revenue can largely be ascribed to Red Hat's flagship product: Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Still, RHEL, which is now available on Microsoft Azure, is becoming a prominent cloud operating system.

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OLO, World's First Portable 3D Printer Prints On Top Of Smartphones
Posted by News Fetcher on March 23 '16 at 02:52 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's no-assembly-required department:
MojoKid quotes a report from HotHardware: The OLO 3D Printer was first announced in October at the World Maker Faire in New York, where it earned itself an Editor's Choice award and accolades. The developers behind OLO call it a "smartphone 3D printer" as it requires a smartphone to operate. Designs can either be downloaded from the internet from the device, or copied over from a computer once it's created. When placed on a desk, the OLO looks like an inconspicuous little box, but inside, it can craft items up to 400 cm3 in volume. Its developers call the OLO "portable," and it has the specs to match at 1.7 lbs with a physical size of only 6.8" x 4.5" x 5.8." OLO is a unique printer not only because of its small form factor and low price point ($99), but because of its operation. Once the 3D model is loaded, the bottom section of OLO can be placed on top of your phone, and then the resin of your choice is poured inside that structure. You then place the top half of OLO on top and wait a few hours for it to do its thing. The resin hardens by using the light emitted from the smartphone it sits on top of, generated from the OLO app.

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GNOME 3.20 Officially Released
Posted by News Fetcher on March 23 '16 at 02:52 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's hard-work-pays-off department:
prisoninmate writes: After yet another six months of hard work, the highly anticipated GNOME 3.20 desktop environment for GNU/Linux operating systems has been officially released on March 23, 2016. Release highlights include support for operating system upgrades via GNOME Software, middle-click paste, kinetic scrolling, drag-and-drop support for Wayland, keyboard shortcuts and gestures overlay for most of the core apps, XDG-Apps technology for installing multiple versions of an app, and much more goodies.

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FBI Hires Cellebrite To Crack San Bernadino iPhone
Posted by News Fetcher on March 23 '16 at 01:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's who-needs-Apple-anyway department:
tlhIngan writes: Earlier this week, the FBI asked the court for a continuance so it could do some research into a proposed method of cracking the [iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino, California shooters]. It turns out the FBI has contracted Cellebrite for $15,000 to break into the phone. Cellebrite is an Israeli software provider specializing in mobile phone forensics software. If they succeed, it would mean Apple would no longer need to be involved.

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Rockefeller Fund Dumping Fossil Fuels, Hits Exxon On Climate Issues
Posted by News Fetcher on March 23 '16 at 01:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's morally-reprehensible department:
mdsolar quotes a report from Reuters: The Rockefeller Family Fund said on Wednesday it will divest from fossil fuels as quickly as possible and "eliminate holdings" of Exxon Mobil, chiding the oil company for allegedly misleading the public about the threat of climate change. The move by the U.S. based charity, which will also include coal and Canadian oil sands holdings, is especially notable because a century ago John D. Rockefeller Sr. made a fortune running Standard Oil, a precursor to Exxon Mobil.

Given the threat posed to the survival of human and natural ecosystems, "there is no sane rationale for companies to continue to explore for new sources of hydrocarbons," the fund said. Exxon did not immediately comment. In a letter posted on its website, the Rockefeller Family Fund said Exxon's conduct on climate issues appears to be "morally reprehensible."

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Red Hat Becomes First $2B Open-Source Company
Posted by News Fetcher on March 23 '16 at 11:54 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's playing-upon-the-gullibility-of-venture-capitalists department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: Red Hat just became the first open-source company to make a cool 2 billion bucks. Not bad considering Red Hat became the first billion dollar Linux company only four years ago. Red Hat did it the old-fashioned way: They earned the money instead of playing upon the gullibility of venture capitalists. Red Hat's total revenue for its fourth quarter was $544 million. That's up 17 percent in U.S. dollars year-over-year, or 21 percent measured constant currency. Subscription revenue for the quarter was $480 million, up 18 percent in U.S. dollars year-over-year, or 22 percent measured in constant currency. Subscription revenue in the quarter was 88 percent of total revenue. Analysts estimated Red Hat would make $534 million. Looking ahead for its 2016 FY Red Hat expects to see between $2.380 billion to $2.420 billion. At this rate, Red Hat should easily become the first $3 billion open-source company.

While Red Hat's president and CEO Jim Whitehurst credits the "hybrid cloud infrastructures," Red Hat's subscription revenue can largely be ascribed to Red Hat's flagship product: Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Still, RHEL, which is now available on Microsoft Azure, is becoming a prominent cloud operating system.

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Computer Use Could Help Predict Early-Stage Alzheimer's
Posted by News Fetcher on March 23 '16 at 11:54 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's battling-Alzheimer's department:
An anonymous reader cites an article on The Stack: Infrequent use of a computer in later life could be an early sign of reduced cognitive ability, according to research from Oregon Health and Science University. A study, which involved 27 'cognitively-healthy' adults aged 65 or older, used MRI scans to measure the volume of the hippocampus -- a small area of the brain with a key role in memory function used to pick up early biomarkers of dementia and Alzheimer's. Data was also collected on computer use among participants via mouse movement detection software. Results showed an additional hour of computer use each day was linked to a 0.025% larger hippocampal volume(PDF), thus indicating that lower computer usage could be help predict cognitive decline.

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Whistleblower: NSA Is So Overwhelmed With Data, It's No Longer Effective
Posted by News Fetcher on March 23 '16 at 10:32 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's biting-more-than-they-can-chew department:
An anonymous reader cites ZDNet's Zack Whittaker report: William Binney, a former NSA official who spent more than three decades at the agency, said the US government's mass surveillance programs have become so engorged with data that they are no longer effective, losing vital intelligence in the fray. That, he said, can -- and has -- led to terrorist attacks succeeding. Binney said that an analyst today can run one simple query across the NSA's various databases, only to become immediately overloaded with information. With about four billion people -- around two-thirds of the world's population -- under the NSA and partner agencies' watchful eyes, according to his estimates, there is too much data being collected. Perhaps that's one of the reasons why NSA wants to dump the phone records it gathered over the past 14 years.

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NVIDIA Announces New Quadro M6000 With 24GB Memory Buffer For Heavy Workloads
Posted by News Fetcher on March 23 '16 at 10:32 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's memory-hunger department:
Reader MojoKid writes: Some might say there's no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to computing, and that's especially true for workstation graphics professionals who need varying levels of performance and memory space. For that reason, NVIDIA is now offering a version of its Quadro M6000 graphics card with 24GB of GDDR5 memory, twice as much memory as much as the original model. According to NVIDIA, customers rendering datasets larger than 12GB can experience up to 5X faster performance compared to the previous Quadro M6000. Like the 12GB version, the new 24GB Quadro M6000 is based on NVIDIA's Maxwell architecture. It has 3,072 CUDA cores, a 384-bit memory bus, four DisplayPort 1.2 connectors, a single DVI-I connectors, and a maximum power consumption rating of 250W. In addition to the doubling the memory buffer, NVIDIA added a few other features, including more GPU clock options, greater software temperature control to keep the GPU temp below the point where throttling occurs, and a new under-power boot message if the card is ever under powered.

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China Is On an Epic Solar Power Binge
Posted by News Fetcher on March 23 '16 at 10:32 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's offsetting-carbon-emission-damage department:
An anonymous reader links to an article on MIT Technology Review: It's worth taking a minute to appreciate the sheer scale of what China is doing in solar right now. In 2015, the country added more than 15 gigawatts of new solar capacity, surpassing Germany as the world's largest solar power market. China now has 43.2 gigawatts of solar capacity, compared with38.4 gigawatts in Germany and 27.8 in the United States. According to new projections, it seems that trend is going to continue. Under its 13th Five Year Plan, China will nearly triple solar capacity by 2020, adding 15 to 20 gigawatts of solar capacity each year for the next five years, according to Nur Bekri, director of the National Energy Administration. That will bring the country's installed solar power to more than 140 gigawatts. To put that in context, world solar capacity topped 200 gigawatts last year and is expected to reach 321 gigawatts by the end of 2016.

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