By EditorDavid from Slashdot's do-not-call-from department
This summer the FCC convened a "Robocall Task Force" to help consumers fight unwanted automated telemarketers, and Wednesday the coalition finally delivered a report recommending a "Do Not Originate" list so carriers could spot spoofed numbers which should be blocked.
A trial of the "DNO" list that's been running for the last few weeks on some IRS numbers has resulted in a 90 percent drop in the volume of IRS scam calls, officials from AT&T, which leads the strike force, said during the FCC meeting Wednesday. The carriers on the strike force, which include Sprint, Verizon, and many others, plan to continue testing the DNO list in the coming months, with the intent to fully implement it some time next year...
The strike force members also are working on a system to classify calls into categories, such as political or charity, as a way to give consumers more information before they answer calls from unknown numbers. And, the group said it has developed a working solution for authentication between VoIP applications and traditional landline networks as another way to defeat spoofing from callers in foreign countries.
Early next year they're planning larger tests -- and the strike force has also created a new site describing how to block and report robocalls.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's better-than-a-shotgun department
A new radio transmitter "seizes complete control of nearby drones as they're in mid-flight," reports Ars Technica:
From then on, the drones are under the full control of the person with the hijacking device. The remote control in the possession of the original operator experiences a loss of all functions, including steering, acceleration, and altitude... Besides hijacking a drone, the device provides a digital fingerprint that's unique to each craft. The fingerprint can be used to identify trusted drones from unfriendly ones and potentially to provide forensic evidence for use in criminal or civil court cases...
Hijacks could allow law-enforcement officers to safely seize control of vulnerable drones that are endangering or interfering with first responders. The hacks could also provide ordinary citizens with a less-draconian way of disabling a drone they believe is impinging on their property or privacy... A patchwork of federal and state laws makes it unclear if even local authorities have the legal authority to shoot or hack an aircraft out of the sky.
XKCD once proposed solving the problem with butterfly nets, but instead this new attack is exploiting unencrypted DSMx radio signals.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's P-is-for-Penguin department
OpenSource.com reports on a Minnesota school's 1:1 program -- one device per child -- where "Lots of the Windows laptops were in very poor condition and needed to be replaced."
An anonymous reader writes:
An Indiegogo campaign triggered extra money and donations of laptops, allowing the school's Linux club to equip much of the school with Linux laptops. "When you're using open source software you're free to use operating systems and application software without the hassle of license keys or license tracking inherent with proprietary software," says Stu Keroff, the school's technology coordinator. "This allows a school to experiment [and] gives them the freedom to make mistakes...
But there's also another benefit. "By empowering the students to be part of that process we were able to get more done, and to generate more excitement about the learning that the students were taking part in." There's now a waiting list for the school's Linux club, where they'd planned to cap membership at 35...until 62 students applied. Instead, they found themselves creating two Linux clubs, one for the sixth graders, and one for the 7th and 8th graders.
And to answer the obvious question -- they're using Ubuntu, with the Unity desktop.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's responding-to-warrants department
"Please know that Apple will continue its work with law enforcement," reads an email from Apple's vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, who reports directly to CEO Tim Cook, according to new documents this week on WikiLeaks. An anonymous reader writes:
In the email the Apple executive writes "we work closely with authorities to comply with legal requests for data that have helped solve complex crimes. Thousands of times every month, we give governments information about Apple customers and devices, in response to warrants and other forms of legal process. We have a team that responds to those requests 24 hours a day." The email was addressed to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
But the context is missing, and could show a larger attempt to soften Hillary Clinton's position on encryption. While Jackson writes that at Apple, "We share law enforcement's concerns about the threat to citizens," she later writes "Strong encryption does not eliminate Apple's ability to give law enforcement meta-data or any of a number of other very useful categories of data."
The email also compliments Clinton for her "principled and nuanced stance" on encryption in a December debate against Bernie Sanders. Clinton had said "maybe the backdoor is the wrong door, and I understand what Apple and others are saying about that. But I also understand, when a law enforcement official charged with the responsibility of preventing attack...well, if we can't know what someone is planning, we are going to have to rely on the neighbor... I just think there's got to be a way, and I would hope that our tech companies would work with government to figure that out."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's looking-for-laptops department
Seems like a good time to revisit this question -- assuming anyone's still using a netbook. Long-time Slashdot reader Qbertino writes:
I'm looking for a cheap lightweight netbook that is Linux-friendly, i.e. lets me install Linux without any shoddy modern BIOS getting in my way... The Lenovo 100S-11 looks really neat, but I just read about installation problems... Are there any alternatives?
And if there aren't, what experience do you guys have running Linux on a Chromebook using Crouton -- the Linux-parallel-to-Chrome-OS hack? Is it a feasible alternative to dumping ChromeOS and installing a 100% lightweight Linux?
His budget is around $200, and he ends his submission with "Many thanks from a fellow Slashdotter." So leave your suggestions in the comments. What's the best cheap Linux-friendly netbook?Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's bug-hunt department
cadogan west writes "In the accordance with the longstanding tradition of bad software wrecking space probes (See Mariner 1), it appears a coding bug crashed the ESA's latest attempt to land on Mars." Nature reports:
Thrusters, designed to decelerate the craft for 30 seconds until it was metres off the ground, engaged for only around 3 seconds before they were commanded to switch off, because the lander's computer thought it was on the ground. The lander even switched on its suite of instruments, ready to record Mars's weather and electrical field, although they did not collect data...
The most likely culprit is a flaw in the craft's software or a problem in merging the data coming from different sensors, which may have led the craft to believe it was lower in altitude than it really was, says Andrea Accomazzo, ESA's head of solar and planetary missions. Accomazzo says that this is a hunch; he is reluctant to diagnose the fault before a full post-mortem has been carried out... But software glitches should be easier to fix than a fundamental problem with the landing hardware, which ESA scientists say seems to have passed its test with flying colours.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Unix-like-operating-systems department
An anonymous reader writes:
"After spending six months in development, the NetBSD 7.0.2 release is now available for those running NetBSD 7.0 or NetBSD 7.0.1," reports Softpedia, "but also for those who are still using an older version of the BSD-based operating system and haven't managed to upgrade their systems, bringing them a collection of security patches and recent software updates." Release engineer Soren Jacobsen wrote that "It represents a selected subset of fixes deemed important for security or stability reasons. If you are running an earlier release of NetBSD, we strongly suggest updating to 7.0.2."
The security fixes eliminate a race condition in mail.local(8), and also update OpenSSL, ntp and BIND. In addition, "there are various MIPS pmap improvements, a patch for an NFS (Network File System) crash, as well as a crash that occurred when attempting to mount an FSS snapshot as read and write. NetBSD 7.0.2 also fixes an issue with the UFS1 file system when it was created outside the operating system."
Download NetBSD 7.0.2 at one of these mirror sites.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's wayback-wayback department
20 years ago this week, Archive.org started with just 500,000 sites. An anonymous reader quotes the San Francisco Chronicle:
Now, the nonprofit San Francisco organization -- which celebrated the milestone with a party Wednesday night -- curates a vast digital archive that includes more than 370 million websites and 273 billion pages, many captured before they disappeared forever. It's more than an archive of Internet sites. The organization, founded by computer scientist and entrepreneur Brewster Kahle, now has a virtual storehouse ranging from digitally converted books and historic film to funny memes and audio recordings of Grateful Dead concerts...
The Internet Archive has survived through community donations and by working with about 1,000 libraries around the world that pay the group to help digitize books and other material. But the site itself remains free.
We've written about Archive.org over the years, and its collection of 2,400 DOS games, over 10,000 Amiga games (and other software) and a massive collection of arcade machine emulators. And here's what Slashdot looked like back in 1998. But what's your favorite page on Archive.org?Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's think-different department
The teenager created several weaponized versions of this bug which would constantly dial a phone number, or show annoying popups. The teenager says he wanted to prank his friends, thinking it would be "funny," but when he shared the weaponized link online, he shared a version that instead of showing annoying popups, redialed a phone number, which in this case was 911.
In September researchers calculated just 6,000 smartphones can take down an entire state's 911 system, while more than 1,849 people clicked on this link, according to the article. Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office searched the teenager's home -- "several items were seized" -- and they've charged him with three felony counts for computer tampering.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's crime-in-Crimea department
Ukrainian activists have compromised 2,337 messages in the Microsoft Outlook accounts of two assistants to a top aide of Vladimir Putin. An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes NBC News:
A Ukrainian group calling itself Cyber Hunta has released more than a gigabyte of emails and other material from the office of one of Vladimir Putin's top aides, Vladislav Surkov, that show Russia's fingerprints all over the separatist movement in Ukraine. While the Kremlin has denied the relationship between Moscow and the separatists, the emails show in great detail how Russia controlled virtually every detail of the separatist effort in the Russian-speaking regions of Ukraine, which has torn the country apart and led to a Russian takeover of Crimea...
"This is a serious hack," said Maks Czuperski, head of the Digital Forensic Research Lab of the Atlantic Council, which has searched through the email dump and placed selected emails online. "We have seen so much happen to the United States, other countries at the hands of Russia," said Czuperski. "Not so much to Russia. It was only a question of time that some of the anonymous guys like Cyber Hunta would come to strike them back."
A senior U.S. intelligence official told NBC News that the U.S. "had no role" in the breach -- but when asked if the material was authentic, replied there was "nothing to indicate otherwise."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's impending-doom department
A U.S. banking regulator says an employee was found to have downloaded a large number of files onto thumb drives a week before he retired. When the former employee was contacted, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency said he "was unable to locate or return the thumb drives to the agency." The reassuring news is that the information appears to not have been disclosed to the public or misused in any way, according to the OCC. Metro.us reports: Before he retired in November 2015, the former employee downloaded a large number of files onto two removable thumb drives though the incident was only detected last month during a routine security review, the OCC said in a statement. The stolen data was encrypted, the agency said. The Office of the Comptroller, along with the Federal Reserve and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, is one of the nation's three most influential bank regulators that is tasked with protecting consumers and financial markets. The OCC has deemed the breach a "major incident" because the devices containing the information are not recoverable and more than 10,000 records were removed, the agency said. The official, who was not authorized to discuss the case, noted that a large batch of unclassified personnel records were among the cache.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's sweet-roof department
Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk today unveiled the "residential roof" -- pegged as a roofing replacement -- with solar energy gathering powers. Unlike other solar systems which must be mounted on top of a traditional roof, these new panels are actually integrated within glass roof tiles, replacing a home's roof, Musk said. And because they're made of glass, Musk says they will last "quasi indefinitely," even in harsh conditions where snow and ice make short work of traditional asphalt shingles. Musk said that 50 years of lifespan should be no problem, and they offer efficiency that is 98 percent as good as a traditional, ugly photovoltaic panel. From a report on The Verge: There are a number of different versions of solar panels: Textured Glass Tile, Slate Glass Tile, Tuscan Glass Tile, and Smooth Glass Tile. Tesla says its glass tiles are much more durable than conventional roof tile -- something that's important in areas with risk of hail.The products are a "joint collaboration" between SolarCity and Tesla, according to SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive. Tesla is attempting to acquire SolarCity for $2.6 billion and shareholders of both companies will vote on the proposed acquisition in the middle of November. The Powerwall 2 can store 14 kWh of energy, with a 5 kW continuous power draw, and 7 kW peak. The battery is warranted for unlimited power cycles for up to 10 years. It can be floor or wall mounted, inside or outside. It can be used for load shifting or back-up power. Musk says there are three parts to the solar energy solution: generation (solar panels), storage (batteries), and transportation (electric cars). Musk's plan is to sell all three of those products through Tesla.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's old-vs-new department
Apple released new MacBook Pros yesterday that feature Intel's year-old Skylake microarchitcure, as opposed to the newer Kaby Lake architecture. Two days earlier, Microsoft did the same thing when it released the Surface Studio. Given the improvements Kaby Lake processors have over Skylake processors, one would think they would be included in the latest and greatest products from Microsoft and Apple. Gizmodo explains why that's not the case: In the case of the new 15-inch MacBook the answer is simple. "The Kaby Lake chip doesn't exist yet," an Apple rep told Gizmodo. Kaby Lake is being rolled out relatively slowly, and it's only available in a few forms and wattages. The 15-inch MacBook Pro uses a quad-core processor that has no Kaby Lake equivalent currently. That particular laptop really does have the fastest processor available. The same goes for the Microsoft Surface Studio and updated Surface Book -- both also use a quad-core Skylake processor with no Kaby Lake counterpart. But the Studio and Surface Book are also using much older video cards from the Nvidia 900 series. Nvidia has much faster and less power-hungry chips (the 1000 series) available based on the Pascal architecture. Microsoft's reasoning for going with older video cards is nearly identical to Apple's for going with a slower processor in its 13-inch MacBook Pro: the Nvidia 1000 series came out too late. The major intimation was that Kaby Lake and Pascal came so late in the design process that it would have delayed the final products if they'd chosen to use them. New technology, no matter how amazing an upgrade it might be, still requires considerable testing before it can be shipped to consumers. One minor bug, particularly in a system as engineered as the Surface Studio or MacBook Pro, can turn catastrophic if engineers aren't careful. In the case of Microsoft, it's frustrating, because that old GPU is significantly slower than the Pascal GPUs available. It's a little less frustrating in Apple's case, largely because of the old processor microarchitecture that Apple elected to shove into its new 13-inch MacBook Pro. Apple went with a new Skylake dual core processor that draws a lot of power -- more so than any Kaby Lake processor available. It then uses all that extra power to ramp up the speeds of the processor. Which means it is capable of pulling off speeds that can actually match those of the fastest Kaby Lake processor out there. The only downside to this decision is battery life.Read Replies (0)