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Google Fined For Breaking Russian Antitrust Rules With Android
Posted by News Fetcher on August 11 '16 at 07:02 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's difficult-customers department:
Google has been fined a sum of $6.75 million for competition violations by Russia's antimonopoly watchdog on Thursday. The antimonopoly body accused U.S. technology company Google of forcing retailers to install and keep a suite of its app on mobile phones that were sold on the Russian market. SeekingAlpha adds: Google was found last October to have violated rules related to the objection. The fine amount was determined as a portion of Google Play sales in the country, though an exact breakdown has not been disclosed. An appeal of the case is set to continue August 16 and talks to settle the matter amicably are additionally said to be under consideration. Google has also run into antitrust issues with the European Commission in recent months.

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Hack of Democrats' Accounts Was Wider Than Believed, Officials Say
Posted by News Fetcher on August 11 '16 at 07:02 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's Russia's-growing-interest department:
A Russian cyberattack that targeted Democratic politicians was bigger than it first appeared and breached private email accounts of more than 100 party officials and groups (could be paywalled; alternate source), reports The New York Times, citing officials with knowledge of the case. From the report: The widening scope of the attack has prompted the F.B.I. to broaden its investigation, and agents have begun notifying a long list of Democratic officials that the Russians may have breached their personal accounts. The main targets appear to have been the personal email accounts of Hillary Clinton's campaign officials and party operatives, along with a number of party organizations. Officials have acknowledged that the Russian hackers gained access to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which is the fund-raising arm for House Democrats, and to the Democratic National Committee, including a D.N.C. voter analytics program used by Mrs. Clinton's presidential campaign.

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Bill Gates Has Spent $1+ Million To Get Mark Zuckerberg's Software In Schools
Posted by News Fetcher on August 11 '16 at 05:32 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's top-one-percent department:
theodp writes: "Today is a milestone for personalized learning," boasted Mark Zuckerberg in a Facebook post Tuesday. "For the first time, more than 100 new schools will adopt personalized learning tools this school year. [...] A couple of years ago, our engineering team partnered with Summit [a Zuckerberg, Facebook, and Gates Foundation supported charter school network] to build out their personalized learning software platform so more schools could use it. [...] Congratulations to the Summit team, the new Basecamp schools and the entire personalized learning community on an exciting milestone!" Perhaps Zuckerberg should have also given a shout-out to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which awarded a $1.1 million grant last year "to support the Summit BaseCamp Program that will bring Next Generation learning at no cost to all partner schools that are accepted into the program." The New York Times characterized the Facebook-Summit partnership as "more of a ground-up effort to create a national demand for student-driven learning in schools." Before you scoff at that idea, consider that an earlier Gates-Zuckerberg collaboration helped give rise to a national K-12 Computer Science crisis!

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NASA Awards Companies $65 Million To Develop Habitats For Deep Space
Posted by News Fetcher on August 11 '16 at 02:50 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's incentives-for-innovation department:
An anonymous reader writes from a report via TechCrunch: NASA has committed $65 million to six companies over the course of two years for the purpose of developing and testing deep-space habitats that could be used for future missions to Mars. TechCrunch reports: "It's part of the organization's NEXTStep, an ongoing partnership program under NASA's Advanced Exploration Systems that funds private research into technology for space exploration. Last year's NEXTStep contracts were for a variety of things, but this year they're all on the same track: "deep space habitats where humans will live and work independently for months or years at a time, without cargo supply deliveries from Earth." The lucky companies are all taking slightly different approaches to the problem of deep space habitation." The six companies include Bigelow Aerospace, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Orbital ATK, Sierra Nevada Corporation's Space Systems and NanoRacks.

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Google Ventures CEO and Founder Bill Maris Is Leaving
Posted by News Fetcher on August 11 '16 at 12:11 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's high-profile-step-down department:
According to a report from Recode, the founder and CEO of Google Ventures (GV), Bill Maris, is leaving the firm and its parent company, Alphabet. Recode reports: "Sources say Maris is being replaced by David Krane, a managing partner for the venture arm and one of the earliest corporate communications managers at Google. Maris, an early web entrepreneur, founded Google's venture capital arm in 2009 and quickly built it into a formidable presence in Silicon Valley. In 2015, the firm managed upwards of $2.4 billion in capital. Although GV cut back on investments in Europe and with early stage companies, the firm is still willing to cut checks. For the first six months of this year, it passed Intel Capital as the most active corporate venture arm, according to CB Insights. Under Maris, GV has had some high-profile misses -- most notably, the disastrous app Secret. But those were outweighed by early bets in gigantic startups like Uber, Nest, Slack and Jet.com, which just went to Walmart for $3 billion. Lately, GV has upped its investment in startups working on health and biotech, a strong interest of Maris's." Recode followed up with Maris in a separate report and asked him several questions. When asked why he is leaving, Maris said, "I'm leaving because everything is great."

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Tesla Owner In China Blames Autopilot For Crash
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '16 at 08:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's keep-your-eyes-on-the-road department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from USA Today: The owner of a Tesla Motors Model S sedan in China reportedly said his vehicle crashed into a car on the side of the road while the vehicle's Autopilot system was engaged, but the automaker said the driver was using the system improperly. Luo Zhen, 33, of Beijing told Reuters that his vehicle collided with a parked car on the left side of a highway, damaging both vehicles but injuring no one. He criticized Tesla sales people for allegedly describing the vehicle as "self-driving." "The impression they give everyone is that this is self-driving, this isn't assisted driving," he told Reuters. In the new case in China, Tesla said the Model S was "following closely behind the car in front of it when the lead car moved to the right to avoid hitting the parked car." "The driver of the Tesla, whose hands were not detected on the steering wheel, did not steer to avoid the parked car and instead scraped against its side," Tesla said Wednesday in a statement. "As clearly communicated to the driver in the vehicle, Autosteer is an assist feature that requires the driver to keep his hands on the steering wheel at all times, to always maintain control and responsibility for the vehicle, and to be prepared to take over at any time."

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Twitter Is Not Legally Responsible For The Rise of ISIS, Rules California District Court
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '16 at 06:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's protected-speech department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: A lawsuit accusing Twitter of providing material support to ISIS has been dismissed by a California District Court. First filed in January, the lawsuit argued ISIS's persistent presence on Twitter constituted material support for the terror group, and sought to hold Twitter responsible for an ISIS-linked attack on that basis. Filed by the family of an American contractor named Lloyd Fields, the lawsuit sought damages from an ISIS-linked attack in Jordan that claimed Fields' life. The plaintiff's initial complaint alleged widespread fundraising and recruitment through the platform, attributing 30,000 foreign actors recruited through ISIS Twitter accounts in 2015 alone. The judge assigned to the case was ultimately not swayed by that reasoning, finding that the plaintiffs had not offered a convincing argument for holding Twitter liable. The plaintiff will have the chance to submit a modified version of the complaint within 20 days of the order, the second such modification ordered by the judge. The report adds: "Apart from the private nature of Direct Messaging, plaintiffs identify no other way in which their Direct Messaging theory seeks to treat Twitter as anything other than a publisher of information provided by another information content provider," the ruling reads. At the same time, even the private nature of Twitter's Direct Messaging feature "does not remove the transmission of such messages from the scope of publishing activity under section 230(c)(1)."

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Linux Trojan Mines For Cryptocurrency Using Misconfigured Redis Servers
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '16 at 06:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's system-to-system department:
An anonymous reader writes: In another installment of "Linux has malware too," security researchers have discovered a new trojan that targets Linux servers running Redis, where the trojan installs a cryptocurrency miner. The odd fact about this trojan is that it includes a wormable feature that allows it to spread on its own. The trojan, named Linux.Lady, will look for Redis servers that don't have an admin account password, access the database, and then download itself on the new target. The trojan mines for the Monero crypto-currency, the same one used by another worm called PhotoMiner, which targets vulnerable FTP servers. According to a recent Risk Based Security report from last month, there are over 30,000 Redis servers available online without a password, of which 6,000 have already been compromised by various threat actors.

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Man Becomes 'Accidental Millionaire' After Jet.com's Sale To Walmart
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '16 at 05:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's accidental-department-name department:
The acquisition of Jet.com by Walmart for $3 billion in cash appears to have made the founder of IdeaDash an "accidental millionaire." Fortune reports: "Martin, who is the founder of a startup called IdeaDash, won Jet.comâ(TM)s nationwide marketing competition -- Jet Insider -- in early 2015. The contest offered a reward of 100,000 shares of Jet stock to the contestant who got the most people to sign up for 6-month free trial 'insider' memberships to the membership shopping site, a sort of online Costco or Samâ(TM)s Club. According to his companyâ(TM)s website, Martin took first place out of the 350,000 people who participated, getting over 8,000 people to sign up. Martin spent $18,000 on online ads, Bloomberg reports, and now has a stake in Jet that is reportedly worth millions. Although Martin told Bloomberg that he is not sure exactly what his stake is worth, Fusion reported in February 2015 that his piece could be valued between $10 million and $20 million."

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Samsung Pay Hack Lets Attackers Make Fraudulent Payments
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '16 at 05:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's fraudulent-charges department:
jmcbain writes: The Verge reports that a security researcher at DefCon outlined a number of attacks targeting Samsung Pay, Samsung's digital payment system that runs on their smartphones. According to the article, the attack "[focuses] on intercepting or fabricating payment tokens -- codes generated by the user's smartphone that stand in for their credit card information. These tokens are sent from the mobile device to the payment terminal during wireless purchases. [They expire 24 hours after being generated and are single-use only.]" In a response, Samsung said that "in certain scenarios an attacker could skim a user's payment token and make a fraudulent purchase with their card," but that "the attacker must be physically close to the target while they are making a legitimate purchase."

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Online Drug Sales Triple After Silk Road Closure, Says Report
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '16 at 03:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's adverse-side-effects department:
The closure of Silk Road -- a marketplace where internet users could purchase drugs and other illegal goods -- in 2013 has had little to no effect on drug sales. According to a new report from RAND, online drug sales have tripled since the site was shut down. NBC News reports: "Since then, an estimated 50 'cryptomarkets and vendor shops where vendors and buyers find each other anonymously to trade illegal drugs, new psychoactive substances, prescription drugs and other goods and services,' have emerged to fill the void, according to the report. The research, which was commissioned by the Netherlands Ministry of Security and Justice, examined data from January and found dealers in the United States had the largest market share with 35.9 percent, followed by the United Kingdom at 16.1 percent and Australia at 10.6 percent. Marijuana was the top seller in January, accounting for 33 percent of illicit drug sales online, followed by prescription medication at 19 percent and stimulants at 18 percent."

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Assange Implies Murdered DNC Staffer Was WikiLeaks' Source
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '16 at 03:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's conspiracy-theory department:
Okian Warrior quotes a report from Fox News: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange implied in an interview that a murdered Democratic National Committee staffer was the source of a trove of damaging emails the rogue website posted just days before the party's convention. Speaking to Dutch television program Nieuswsuur Tuesday after earlier announcing a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Seth Rich's killer, Assange said the July 10 murder of Rich in Northwest Washington was an example of the risk leakers undertake. The Washington Post provides some details of the murder in its report: "Rich was shot twice in the back as he walked to his townhouse about 4:20 a.m. Nothing was taken, but police have said attempted robbery is their leading theory for a motive, noting a spike in robberies in the neighborhood in the preceding weeks. WikiLeaks released the trove of emails later that month, on July 22. Rich, 27, had worked for the DNC for two years and helped develop a computer program to make it easier for people to find polling places on Election Day. After his death, the DNCâ(TM)s then-chairwoman, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.), attended a vigil for Rich in front of his home, and Hillary Clinton, before she was nominated in her run for president, evoked his name during a speech in which she advocated for limiting the availability of guns."

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Microsoft Accidentally Provides Example of Dangers of Encryption 'Back Doors'
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '16 at 02:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's all-the-evidence-you-need department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reason: Microsoft devices have a system that upon booting, will only function with operating systems that it authenticates. This means users cannot just install any other operating system on Windows tablets and phones and work them. As explained by The Register, Microsoft created "golden keys" for internal use only to allow programmers to disable or bypass this authentication process, most likely to test new operating system builds and updates without having to get them approved. But this method of bypassing Microsoft's booting process mistakenly got out of the hands of the company and into the clutches of a couple of hackers, who wrote a report explaining how it all worked here (trigger warning: MIDI music). The hackers are very blunt about their reasons for revealing how this works: They're trying to get people at the FBI and in Congress to understand that any attempt to require a "golden key" to allow officials to bypass encryption, even with the best of intentions, can and eventually will go terribly, terribly awry. They note: "About the FBI: are you reading this? If you are, then this is a perfect real world example about why your idea of backdooring cryptosystems with a 'secure golden key' is very bad! Smarter people than me have been telling this to you for so long, it seems you have your fingers in your ears. You seriously don't understand still? Microsoft implemented a 'secure golden key' system. And the golden keys got released from MS own stupidity. Now, what happens if you tell everyone to make a 'secure golden key' system? Hopefully you can add 2+2..."

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Kansas Couple Sues IP Mapping Firm For Turning Their Life Into a 'Digital Hell'
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '16 at 02:21 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's digital-hell-inc department:
Ever since James and Theresa Arnold moved into their rented 623-acre farm in Butler County, Kansas, in March 2011, they have seen "countless" law enforcement officials and individuals turning up at their farm day and night looking for links to alleged theft and other supposed crime. We covered this story on Slashdot a few months ago. All of these people are arriving because of a rounding error on a GPS location, which wrongly points people to their farm. ArsTechnica adds:In their lawsuit filed against MaxMind, the IP mapping firm, the Arnolds allege: "The following events appeared to originate at the residence and brought trespassers and/or law enforcement to the plaintiffs' home at all hours of the night and day: stolen cars, fraud related to tax returns and bitcoin, stolen credit cards, suicide calls, private investigators, stolen social media accounts, fund raising events, and numerous other events." James Arnold has even been "reported as holding girls at the residence for the purpose of making pornographic films."

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Seagate Reveals 'World's Largest' 60TB SSD
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '16 at 02:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's world-record department:
An anonymous reader writes: While Samsung has the world's largest commercially available SSD coming in at 15.36TB, Seagate officially has the world's largest SSD for the enterprise. ZDNet reports: "[While Samsung's PM1633a has a 2.5-inch form factor,] Seagate's 60TB Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) SSD on the other hand opts for the familiar HDD 3.5-inch form factor. The company says that its drive has "twice the density and four times the capacity" of Samsung's PM1633a, and is capable of holding up to 400 million photos or 12,000 movies. Seagate thinks the 3.5-inch form factor will be useful for managing changing storage requirements in data centers since it removes the need to support separate form factors for hot and cold data. The company says it could also scale up capacity to 100TB in the same form factor. Seagate says the 60TB SSD is currently only a 'demonstration technology' though it could release the product commercially as early as next year. It hasn't revealed the price of the unit but says it will offer 'the lowest cost per gigabyte for flash available today.'"

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FCC Loses Court Battle To Let Cities Build their Own Broadband
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '16 at 12:41 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's audible-sigh department:
Jacob Kastrenakes, writing for The Verge: The Federal Communications Commission's plan to let cities build their own broadband networks hit a major roadblock today, as a federal appellate court ruled that the commission was overstepping its authority. The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit said today that the FCC is not able to, essentially, remove state laws that prevent the construction of municipal broadband networks, as it attempted to do in Wilson, North Carolina and Chattanooga, Tennessee last year. Both Wilson and Chattanooga had petitioned the FCC for permission to build out their own broadband networks -- a measure some cities are turning to in order to increase competition among internet providers, who often hold regional monopolies and more or less refuse to compete. State laws, however, prevented them from doing so; that's the case in 19 states in total, all of which could have been affected by future FCC orders had the court ruled in its favor.Ars Technica has more details.

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IFTTT Enables 3rd-Party Devs To Integrate the Service Into their Products
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '16 at 12:41 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's connected-things department:
IFTTT (short for If this then that) has made a name for itself as a platform for people to easily automate tasks between various apps. The company announced on Wednesday that it is now allowing developing partners to embed those IFTTT recipes directly in their own third-party apps. TechHive adds: This should enable IFTTT to expand its user base beyond the 1.4 million enthusiasts who are already using the service. Smart-home device users who own products such as the Ring video doorbell, LIFX smart bulbs, the Foobot indoor air monitor, and the Garagio smart garage-door operator will gain the capability to use IFTTT recipes directly from their product's apps starting Wednesday. You'll still need to sign up for an IFTTT account if you don't have one, but you'll be able to do that without leaving the third-party device's app. "It lets them tell the story now," said CEO Linden Tibbett. "A good analogy is to think of how PayPal handles payment... We want to be that standard for asking and granting access from one service to another."

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Linux Bug Leaves USA Today, Other Top Sites Vulnerable To Serious Hijacking Attacks
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '16 at 11:11 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's security-blues department:
Dan Goodin, reporting for Ars Technica: Computer scientists have discovered a serious Internet vulnerability that allows attackers to terminate connections between virtually any two parties and, if the connections aren't encrypted, inject malicious code or content into the parties' communications. The vulnerability resides in the design and implementation of RFC 5961, a relatively new Internet standard that's intended to prevent certain classes of hacking attacks. In fact, the protocol is designed in a way that it can easily open Internet users to so-called blind off-path attacks, in which hackers anywhere on the Internet can detect when any two parties are communicating over an active transmission control protocol connection. Attackers can go on to exploit the flaw to shut down the connection, inject malicious code or content into unencrypted data streams, and possibly degrade privacy guarantees provided by the Tor anonymity network. At the 25th Usenix Security Symposium on Wednesday, researchers with the University of California at Riverside and the US Army Research Laboratory will demonstrate a proof-of-concept exploit that allows them to inject content into an otherwise legitimate USA Today page that asks viewers to enter their e-mail and passwords.

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Researchers Crack Microsoft Feature, Say Encryption Backdoors Similarly Crackable
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '16 at 11:11 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's crackable-world department:
An anonymous reader writes: Researchers who uncovered a security key that protects Windows devices as they boot up say their discovery is proof that encryption backdoors do not work. The pair of researchers, credited by their hacker nicknames MY123 and Slipstream, found the cryptographic key protecting a feature called Secure Boot. They believe the discovery highlights a problem with requests law enforcement officials have made for technology companies to provide police with some form of access to otherwise virtually unbreakable encryption that might be used by criminals. "Microsoft implemented a 'secure golden key' system. And the golden keys got released from [Microsoft's] own stupidity," wrote the researchers in their report, in a section addressed by name to the FBI.

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Apple Said To Plan First Pro Laptop Overhaul in Four Years
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '16 at 09:52 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's finally department:
It's been a while since Apple upgraded most of its computer lineups. It has come to a point, where it's being advised that the Cupertino-based company should stop selling the dated inventories. But the wait will be over later this year, says Mark Gurman, the reporter with the best track record in Apple's ecosystem. Reporting for Bloomberg, Gurman says that the company will be overhauling its MacBook Pro laptop line for the first time in over four years, packing it with a range of interesting features. From the report: The updated notebooks will be thinner, include a touch screen strip for function keys, and will be offered with more powerful and efficient graphics processors for expert users such as video gamers, said the people, who asked not to be named. The most significant addition to the new MacBook Pro is a secondary display above the keyboard that replaces the standard function key row. Instead of physical keys, a strip-like screen will present functions on an as-needed basis that fit the current task or application. The smaller display will use Organic Light-Emitting Diodes, a thinner, lighter and sharper screen technology, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said earlier this year. Apple's goal with the dedicated function display is to simplify keyboard shortcuts traditionally used by experienced users. The panel will theoretically display media playback controls when iTunes is open, while it could display editing commands like cut and paste during word processing tasks, the people said. The display also allows Apple to add new buttons via software updates rather than through more expensive, slower hardware refreshes. [...] Apple is using one of AMD's "Polaris" graphics chips because the design offers the power efficiency and thinness necessary to fit inside the slimmer Apple notebook, the person said.

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