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NASA Will Intentionally Burn Unmanned Orbiting Craft In Space
Posted by News Fetcher on March 16 '16 at 05:42 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's to-go-where-no-man-has-gone-before department:
An anonymous reader writes from an article on Phys.org: NASA said it will test the effects of a large fire in space by setting off a blaze inside an orbiting unmanned space craft. NASA has set off tiny controlled fires in space in the past, but never tested how large flames react inside a space capsule in space. The goal is to measure the size of the flames, how quickly they spread, the heat output, and how much gas is emitted. The results of this experiment, dubbed Saffire-1, will determine how much fire resistance is needed in the ultra-light material used in the spacecraft and the astronaut's gear. It will also help NASA build better fire detection and suppression systems for their spaceships, and study how microgravity and limited amounts of oxygen affect the size of the flames.

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Obama Nominates Merrick Garland For Supreme Court
Posted by News Fetcher on March 16 '16 at 05:42 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's scrutiny-from-both-sides department:
According to the New York Times, President Barack Obama has nominated Merrick B. Garland as the nation's 113th Supreme Court justice, choosing a centrist appeals court judge for the lifetime appointment and daring Republican senators to refuse consideration of a jurist who is highly regarded throughout Washington. Like Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Garland comes from the powerful D.C. Circuit court. The president said Judge Garland is "widely recognized not only as one of America's sharpest legal minds, but someone who brings to his work a spirit of decency, modesty, integrity, even-handedness and excellence. The qualities and his long commitment to public service have earned him the respect and admiration from leaders from both sides of the aisle." Mr. Obama said it is tempting to make the confirmation process "an extension of our divided politics." But he warned that "to go down that path would be wrong." Mr. Obama demanded a fair hearing for Judge Garland and said that refusing to even consider his nomination would provoke "an endless cycle of more tit for tat" that would undermine the democratic process for years to come. Merrick B. Garland will serve in the seat vacated by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in his sleep while on a hunting trip near Marfa, Texas.

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5 Major Hospital Hacks: Horror Stories From the Cybersecurity Frontlines
Posted by News Fetcher on March 16 '16 at 04:23 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's exposed-damage-control department:
the_newsbeagle writes: We don't often get insider accounts of hacks against major institutions like hospitals because they immediately go into damage control mode. But at a SXSW talk, a couple of experts told tales out of school. The experts, [John Halamka, CIO of the Boston hospital Beth Israel Deaconness, and Kevin Fu, a University of Michigan engineering professor, recounted incidents in which hackers downloaded patient X-rays to China, took down entire networks, fooled Harvard doctors, and more.

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CyanogenMod 13.0 Release 1 Released
Posted by News Fetcher on March 16 '16 at 03:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's stable-developments department:
An anonymous reader writes: CyanogenMod 13.0 Release 1 is now available as the Android community's first release based off Google's 6.0 Marshmallow. [...]

Not long after Google released the code for Android Marshmallow, CyanogenMod started rolling out nightly builds. Now, CyanogenMod has officially released its first Snapshot release for those looking for more stable development. Many of the improvements detail changes to the privacy settings. For example, CyanogenMod 13.0 has removed encrypted Whisperpush text messaging, and Privacy Guard has been altered to comply with Marshmallow's new permission model. Some other changes include a new AOSP SMS/MMS application, memory screen that shows memory usage over a selected period of time, new controls for the status bar icons, and an enhanced Snap camera app based on Qualcomm's Snapdragon camera. A Cyanogen Apps pack is not yet available, but should be coming in a week or so.

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AT&T, Comcast Kill Local Gigabit Expansion Plans In Tennessee
Posted by News Fetcher on March 16 '16 at 01:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's loopholes-of-a-democracy department:
An anonymous reader writes from an article on DSLRReports: For some time now municipal broadband operator EPB Broadband has been saying that a state law written by ATT and Comcast lobbyists have prevented the organization from expanding its gigabit broadband offerings (and ten gigabit broadband offerings) throughout Tennessee. Three state laws currently exist in more than twenty states, and prohibit towns from deploying their own broadband -- or often even striking public/private partnerships -- even in cases of obvious market failure. A proposal that would have recently lifted this statewide restriction in Tennessee was recently shot down thanks to ATT and Comcast lobbying. The proposal was shot down by a 5-3 vote, with Rep. Patsy Hazlewood, a former ATT executive, being one of the votes against. Even a new compromise proposal (which would have simply let EPB expand slightly in the same county where it is headquartered as well as one adjoining country) was shot down, after 27 broadband industry lobbyists -- most of whom belonging to ATT and Comcast -- fought in unison to kill the proposal. Last year the FCC voted to dismantle broadband protectionist bills in both Tennessee and North Carolina, though these efforts remain bogged down in court. ISP-loyal lawmakers in the states have argued that the FCC's attempt to shoot down these laws violates their states' rights, though letting Comcast and ATT write awful state telecom law doesn't appear to generate the same disdain.

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Your Data Footprint Is Affecting Your Life In Ways You Can't Even Imagine
Posted by News Fetcher on March 16 '16 at 01:41 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's creepy-stalkers department:
An anonymous reader cites the following excerpts from a FastCoExist article: Innocently clicking on a link results in ad targeting that's hard to shake and our purchases quickly reveal more information than we intend, such as the infamous example of Target knowing a woman is pregnant before she's told her family -- and before she's purchased any baby products. [...] Predictions about you are deeply shaping your life in ways of which you are probably blissfully unaware. Predictions about you (and millions of other strangers) are starting to deeply shape your life. Your career, your love life, major decisions about your health and well-being, and even if you end up in jail, are now being governed in no small part by the digital bread crumbs you've left behind -- many of which you don't even know you've dropped in the first place.

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Odroid C2 Challenges Raspberry Pi 3 On Hardware But Not Ecosystem
Posted by News Fetcher on March 16 '16 at 12:22 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's flavors-of-competition department:
szczys writes: We are surely in the age of single-board computers as the words "Raspberry Pi" sneak into the ranks of [a] household name. Many would have thought this impossible, but for hardware enthusiasts it has wide-reaching benefits as others clamor to enter the market. The most formidable challenge made so far is by the Hardkernel Odroid C2 which bests the Pi 3 on hardware, but not everything. Odroid C2 has the same cores, running faster with more RAM. It swaps out gigabit Ethernet for the Pi 3's somewhat unimpressive Wi-Fi chip. And it includes onboard eMMC (useful for faster booting) as well as an SD card slot. Odroid C2's hardware is clearly a better offering than Pi 3 for just $5 more (as we saw from the benchmarks last week), but that's not the entire story. It's further down Linux stream for a less mature distro, and has nowhere near the community support that has opened the Pi [up] to just about everyone. But it is the hardware geek's SBC with the layman's price tag and that's a very interesting indicator of where we are with low-cost computing.

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How Far Have We Come With HTTPS? Google Turns On the Spotlight
Posted by News Fetcher on March 16 '16 at 12:22 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's legitimacy-of-websites department:
alphadogg writes: HTTPS is widely considered one of the keys to a safer Internet, but only if it's broadly implemented. Aiming to shed some light on how much progress has been made so far, Google on Tuesday launched a new section of its transparency report dedicated to encryption. Included in the new section is data highlighting the progress of encryption efforts both at Google and on popular third-party sites. "Our aim with this project is to hold ourselves accountable and encourage others to encrypt so we can make the Web even safer for everyone," wrote HTTPS evangelists Rutledge Chin Feman and Tim Willis on the Google Security Blog.

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Meet the Guy Whose Software Keeps the World's Digital Clocks In Sync
Posted by News Fetcher on March 16 '16 at 11:04 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's perfect-timing department:
New submitter Wave723 quotes a story on IEEE: In many cases, the internal clock that ticks away in a laptop or desktop computer is synchronized to an official time service maintained by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). This free service shares Coordinated Universal Time with personal devices, web browsers, financial trading software and e-mail programs throughout the world. The service receives 150,000 requests per second (roughly 16 billion a day) from systems that repeatedly ask, 'What time is it?' "If you have a PC, it's probably synchronized to the time service," says Judah Levine, the man who originally built servers and programmed software to send time over the Internet for NIST back in 1993.

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Researchers Find iOS Malware That Infects Non-Jailbroken Devices
Posted by News Fetcher on March 16 '16 at 11:04 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's rotten-apple department:
An anonymous reader writes: Researchers at Palo Alto Networks are reporting about a new iOS malware that could infect non-jailbroken devices without a user's consent. Dubbed "AceDeceiver," the iOS malware exploits a flaw in Apple's DRM software. The researchers claim that the iOS malware could technically infect any type of iOS device, provided a user downloads a third-party app. From the blog post on Palo Alto Networks' website, "AceDeceiver is the first iOS malware we've seen that abuses certain design flaws in Apple's DRM protection mechanism -- namely FairPlay -- to install malicious apps on iOS devices regardless of whether they are jailbroken. This technique is called "FairPlay Man-In-The-Middle (MITM)" and has been used since 2013 to spread pirated iOS apps, but this is the first time we've seen it used to spread malware." The aforementioned malware required users to download a compromised Windows application. Apple has removed three offending apps from the App Store, and it appears that only users in China were targetted.

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Former LulzSec Hacker Gets a Job As Security Adviser At Big UK Firm
Posted by News Fetcher on March 16 '16 at 11:04 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's bad-guy-turns-good department:
An anonymous reader writes: Mustafa Al-Bassam, co-founder and former member of LulzSec under the alias tFlow, has announced he'll be joining Secure Trading, a UK-based online payments firm, assuming the role of security adviser. He'll be consulting the company on various ways to secure their upcoming blockchain-based payments system. The announcement comes two days after another hacker (GhostShell) revealed his true identity, just so he could get prosecuted, get it over with, and move on with his life by getting a legitimate job in the security industry.

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Facebook's 'Closed Silos' Pose Challenges To Open Web
Posted by News Fetcher on March 16 '16 at 09:32 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's facebook-vs-open-web department:
An anonymous reader writes: The growing trend of closed content silos -- publishing platforms that require a login in order to view the content is a step away from a more open web. Back in December of last year, Facebook launched its own in-app browser, which is basically a web-view that loads links you tap on using the Facebook app. Although in-app browsers may be convenient for some, such features are primarily designed to keep users inside of the application for a longer duration, which translates to more advertising exposure (and, thus, more money). This kind of feature can be challenging to the goal of keeping the web open, not only because the feature overrides the end user's default mobile browser, but also because it keeps users in a closed ecosystem (versus exploring the web). Additionally, the Instant Articles feature doubles down on siloed content by working with publishers to make articles available nearly instantly within the app, loading much faster than they would through a mobile browser. This sounds good, and it is convenient. But it also sets up a path for monetizing content that would otherwise be viewable outside of the closed silo, and, because you're using the app to browse the web inside this silo, there are privacy concerns. Unlike using a browser such as Firefox or Chrome, which has a private browsing option, a user of Facebook's in-app browser does not have the same privacy control. It's no secret that Facebook has been trying to create, what appears to be, a closed version of the internet. The social juggernaut's Free Basics initiative, for instance, offers users with free access to select websites. Facebook gets to be the gatekeeper of the platform. This is something that didn't sit well with some privacy advocates in India, who played an instrumental role in banning Facebook's initiative in the country. Facebook is not just a social networking website where people go to talk with their friends and family, Facebook has become a mammoth platform that offers the ability to upload videos (mimic YouTube), and send money to your friends (mimic PayPal) among other things. It is almost scary to see the rate at which Facebook is expanding and trying to absorb everything that comes in its way.

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Microsoft Denies Rogue Windows 10 Upgrades, Says Users Remain Fully In Control
Posted by News Fetcher on March 16 '16 at 09:32 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's innocent-whistling department:
MojoKid writes: Despite significant user outcry that Microsoft Windows 10 upgrade mechanism has gone rogue, installing on customers' Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 machines when their backs were turned or they were otherwise away from the computer, Microsoft is pleading innocent. News broke of the automatic Windows 10 upgrades over the weekend, and in nearly every case, it was claimed Windows 10 installed without user intervention. Microsoft issued the following statement regarding the alleged unplanned upgrades: "We shared in late October on the Windows Blog, we are committed to making it easy for our Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 customers to upgrade to Windows 10. As stated in that post, we have updated the upgrade experience to make it easier for customers to schedule a time for their upgrade to take place. Customers continue to be fully in control of their devices, and can choose to not install the Windows 10 upgrade or remove the upgrade from Windows Update (WU) by changing the WU settings." However, users are still reporting the Windows 10 has allegedly forcefully taken over their machines. Hundreds and maybe thousands of users and IT admins are still chiming in on various threads around the web that they've "been had" by Microsoft.

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Apple Files Final Response In San Bernardino iPhone Case
Posted by News Fetcher on March 16 '16 at 08:13 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's apple-vs-govt department:
An anonymous reader writes: In its final briefing before a court showdown next week, Apple said, "The court must consider the national debate surrounding the issue of mandating a backdoor or the dangers to the security and privacy of millions of citizens. According to Apple, the government also believes the courts can order private parties "to do virtually anything the Justice Department and FBI can dream up. The Founders would be appalled." In response to the government, Apple said, "the catastrophic security implications of that threat only highlight the government's fundamental misunderstanding or reckless disregard of the technology at issue and the security risks implicated by its suggestion." According to TechCrunch, Apple made an interesting change in its strategy in the court on Tuesday. From its article, "The tone of today's filing and subsequent call was much more cold and precise. Apple got some time to consider the best way to respond and went with dissecting the FBI's technical arguments in a series of precise testimonies by its experts. Where the FBI filing last week relied on invective, Apple's this week relies on poking holes in critical sections of the FBI's technical narrative." Edward Snowden also made a remark about the hearing. He tweeted, "Today I learned that "#Apple has way better lawyers than the DOJ."

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Malvertising Campaign Hits MSN, NY Times, BBC, AOL
Posted by News Fetcher on March 16 '16 at 08:13 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's news-outlets-offering-ransomware department:
An anonymous reader quotes an article on Help Net Security: In the last couple of days, visitors of a number of highly popular media outlets including the NY Times, the BBC, and Newsweek have been targeted with malicious adverts that attempted to install malware (mostly ransomware, but also various Trojans) on their systems. The websites themselves weren't compromised as the problem was with the ad networks these sites use -- Google, AppNexus, AOL, Rubicon. The ad networks were tricked into serving malicious ads to the visitors.

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How 'Assassin's Creed' Or 'Fallout 4' Might Help Make AI Smarter
Posted by News Fetcher on March 16 '16 at 08:13 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's learning-ethics-from-gta department:
moon_unit2 writes: Apparently, playing computer games might provide a shortcut to greater intelligence. MIT Technology Review has a story about researchers using virtual game environments to train deep neural networks to recognize real-world objects. It's an important idea because deep learning usually requires huge quantities of annotated data, which isn't always available. So researchers from Xerox Europe, led by Adrien Gaidon, showed that training a deep learning system on a photo-realistic street scene could enable it to identify cars on real roads. "The nice thing about virtual worlds is you can create any kind of scenario," Gaidon says. Perhaps video games could play a bigger role in the future of AI than anyone realized.

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RBS Cuts Hundreds of Jobs As FCA Approves 'Robo-Advisers'
Posted by News Fetcher on March 16 '16 at 06:52 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's it-puts-the-money-in-the-basket department:
An anonymous reader writes: Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has announced that it will be switching customer advice services over to automated 'robo-advisers' as it cuts 220 face-to-face positions. Given the green light from UK regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) this week, the bank agreed that the move would lead to cheaper, more accessible financial advice. Those customers qualifying for personalised advice will now need to have at least £250,000 (approx. $350,000) to invest. Following the FCA's recommendations, it is expected that other UK banks will soon introduce similar 'robo' services.

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DC Metro Closes For Emergency Safety Inspection
Posted by News Fetcher on March 16 '16 at 06:52 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's so-effective-you-can-skip-a-day department:
McGruber writes with NBC's report that Washington, DC's Metrorail system has been completely shut down for at least 29 hours, so crews can check 600 underground jumper cables:

A problem with those jumper cables caused a fire at the McPherson Square station early Monday and was also the cause of a fatal smoke incident in January, 2015, that killed one person and injured others. The safety checks could have been delayed until the weekend or conducted at night over about six days, officials said. But if the system were kept open, a public announcement about the risk would have to be made. That would have put passengers, and Metro, in the awkward position of publicly acknowledging that it was operating despite being aware of a potentially deadly safety problem. Metro also would have been liable in the case of any crashes or calamities. The shutdown prompted the Washington Post to publish an editorial titled It's official: Metro is a national embarrassment."

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India Scans a Billion Irises In Interest of National Security
Posted by News Fetcher on March 16 '16 at 06:52 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's nothing-can-go-wrong department:
An anonymous reader writes: The Indian government is using a loophole to fast-track legislation to allow federal agencies access to its database of 1 billion individuals' finger prints and iris scans. The Aadhaar database was set up in 2009 to 'streamline' benefit payments and help control fraud. The programme claims to have saved an estimated 150 billion rupees (approx. $2.2 billion) between 2014-2015. Privacy advocates are expressing fears that an approval in parliament could facilitate a police state, with data used to silence individuals considered as potential security threats, as well as presenting an enormous risk if breached.

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During Sunshine Week, MuckRock Looks At Some of the All-Time Greatest Redactions
Posted by News Fetcher on March 16 '16 at 05:33 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's this-page-intentionally-blank department:
v3rgEz writes: It's currently Sunshine Week, a chance to celebrate government transparency, or, this year, the lack thereof, as it came out that the Obama administration secretly undermined Congressional FOIA reform despite pledges to be the "most transparent administration in history." Transparency site MuckRock has compiled a list of the all-time most egregious redactions to honor the administration's hard work.

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