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Big Brother Is Coming To UK Universities
Posted by News Fetcher on January 21 '16 at 09:53 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's watching-you-in-class department:
An anonymous reader writes: An upcoming report by the Higher Education Commission, a UK group of MPs, business and academic professionals, will paint a picture of a higher education system that, thanks to the increasing use of data, may undergo radical change, sometimes with painful ethical considerations. Among their visions: an Amazon-style recommendation service on courses and work experience based on individuals' backgrounds, and similar profiles. Or a system in which students at risk of failure can be identified from their first day so that they receive instant feedback and performance measuring. It is envisioned that the system will include knowing whether they are in lectures, at the gym or in the bar, and in an effort to boost their results, students may also want to share data on their fitness, sleeping patterns, and their academic and semi-academic interactions online.

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10 People Arrested In the Netherlands For Bitcoin Laundering
Posted by News Fetcher on January 21 '16 at 09:53 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's converting-bits department:
New submitter Incadenza writes: 10 people were arrested in the Netherlands today according to the Public Prosecution Service (In Dutch). The arrests were said to be part of an international investigation, including requests from the USA, Morocco, Australia and Lithuania. Apparently the investigators followed the trace from 'Bitcoin-cashers' (who convert the Bitcoin profits to old money) back to Bitcoin transactions on the Dark Web. How successful this was is yet to be seen, since all the main suspects are said to be 'cashers', not traders.

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The Most Popular Bad Passwords of 2015
Posted by News Fetcher on January 21 '16 at 09:53 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's make-better-choices department:
Nerval's Lobster writes: For years, security experts have told people they need better passwords protecting their online accounts: no more '123456' or 'qwerty' or 'password.' Based on SplashData's fifth annual list of the 25 most common passwords, however, it's clear that relatively few people are listening to that advice. The firm based its list on more than 2 million leaked passwords during the year. The most popular, as in 2014, was '123456,' followed by 'password' and the ingenious, uncrackable '12345678.' One new entry on this ignoble list: 'starwars' in 25th place, no doubt thanks in part to the popularity of 'The Force Awakens' and the accompanying marketing campaign. Seems like a lot of people have forgotten (or never learned) that, while it's a pain to create (much less remember) a complicated password with lots of numbers and special characters, it's nothing compared to the pain of having your online accounts compromised. Maybe, as some have proposed, we could someday kill passwords for most services.

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High-Tech Attack Alert For 2016 Super Bowl
Posted by News Fetcher on January 21 '16 at 09:53 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's not-during-the-game department:
An anonymous reader writes with news about a Homeland Security memo concerning potential technological attacks during the Super Bowl. The forthcoming Super Bowl event on 7th February could be at risk of a high-tech attack against fans both inside and outside the San Francisco 49ers Stadium. A security memo issued by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security has warned that the annual game could be a target not just at the stadium, but at other commemorative events taking place in San Francisco and in the Silicon Valley. One of the chief concerns is the various sabotages committed against fibre cables in the area. As the fibre optic cable networks function as back up communication systems in emergency situations, these are a possible target for the attackers. By destroying these cables, response times could be slowed down.

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The Story Behind National Reconnaissance Office's Octopus Logo
Posted by News Fetcher on January 21 '16 at 09:53 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's not-affiliated-with-hydra department:
v3rgEz writes: When the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) announced the upcoming launch of their NROL-39 mission back in December 2013, they didn't get quite the response they hoped. That might have had something to do with the mission logo being a gigantic octopus devouring the Earth. Researcher Runa Sandvik wanted to know who approved this and why, so she filed a Freedom of Information Act with the NRO for the development materials that went into the logo. A few months later, the NRO delivered.

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E-Mail Spam Goes Artisanal
Posted by News Fetcher on January 21 '16 at 09:53 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's made-just-for-you department:
An anonymous reader writes: Spam filters have come a long way over the past two decades — but spammers have, too. Though email providers are better than ever at blocking spam, it's still big business, with a lot of money to be made. Security researchers are seeing a new trend in spam: less volume, and better targeting. The article mentions "snowshoe" attacks, which occupy the middle ground between massive spam campaigns and tiny phishing attacks. "Craig Williams, a senior manager at Talos, said the amount of snowshoe spam has more than doubled in the past two years and now accounts for more than 15 percent of all junk messages distributed globally." Security researchers have been pushing for a unified registry to help deal with these mid-range spammers, but it's hard to get a significant portion of providers on the same page, particularly when many are fond of running their own solutions.

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NASA, NOAA Analyses Reveal Record-Shattering Global Warm Temperatures In 2015
Posted by News Fetcher on January 21 '16 at 09:53 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's it's-getting-hot-in-here department:
vikingpower writes: Earth's 2015 surface temperatures were the warmest since modern record keeping began in 1880, according to independent analyses by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Globally-averaged temperatures in 2015 shattered the previous mark set in 2014 by 0.23 degrees Fahrenheit (0.13 Celsius). Only once before, in 1998, has the new record been greater than the old record by this much. The British Met office also reports on the same phenomenon, even forecasting that global temperatures are very soon going to reach the one-degree-Celsius marker. According to Stephen Belcher, Director of the Met Office Hadley Centre, "We've had similar natural events in the past, yet this is the first time we're set to reach the 1 C marker and it's clear that it is human influence driving our modern climate into uncharted territory."

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Do the Risks of BYOD Outweigh the Benefits? (Video)
Posted by News Fetcher on January 20 '16 at 02:03 PM
By Roblimo from Slashdot's security-is-often-an-afterthought-if-it-is-thought-about-at-all department:
Steve Hasselbach is a Senior Solutions Architect (AKA Marketing Guy -- but he's also a serious techie) for Peak 10, a datacenter company. In his work he deals with his clients' security problems, and often shakes his head at how security unconscious so many businesses are, even after endless publicity about corporate IT security holes costing companies millions of dollars.

He says, "...it doesn’t shock me anymore, but you’d be so shocked and surprised at how noncompliant this country is in terms of businesses around things like healthcare data and all that." In this interview, Steve talks about how (surprise!) the current BYOD trend is making things worse, but isn't necessarily responsible for the worst security holes, and offers benefits that might outweigh the increased security risks it brings.. (Note: The transcript contains material not included in the video.)

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The Russian Plan To Use Space Mirrors To Turn Night Into Day
Posted by News Fetcher on January 20 '16 at 02:03 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's let-there-be-light department:
merbs writes: Throughout the early 90s, a team of Russian astronomers and engineers were hellbent on literally turning night into day. By shining a giant mirror onto the earth from space, they figured they could bring sunlight to the depths of night, extending the workday, cutting back on lighting costs and allowing laborers to toil longer. If this sounds a bit like the plot of a Bond film, well, it's that too. The difference is that for a second there, the scientists, led by Vladimir Sergeevich Syromyatnikov, one of the most important astronautical engineers in history, actually pulled it off.

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Google Exec Says Isis Must Be Locked Out of the Open Web
Posted by News Fetcher on January 20 '16 at 02:03 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's stay-over-there department:
An anonymous reader writes with this story about Director of Google Ideas Jared Cohen and his talk with the Royal Institute of International Affairs about stopping terrorists online. Cohen contends that the best way to fight them online is to keep them confined to the dark web. The Guardian reports: "Google's head of ideas, tasked with building tools to fight oppression, has said that to stop Isis being able to publicize itself on the internet requires forcing Isis from the open web. During a talk with the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House, Jared Cohen said that it will not be possible to stop terrorists such as Isis from using Tor and the dark web. The key to stopping the terrorist group from propagating online is therefore to hound them from the traditional web – that which can be indexed by search engines. Cohen said: 'What is new is that they're operating without being pushed back in the same internet we all enjoy. So success looks like Isis being contained to the dark web.'"

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Serious Flaw Patched In Intel Driver Update Utility
Posted by News Fetcher on January 20 '16 at 02:03 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's problem-protein department:
itwbennett writes: The flaw in a utility that helps users download the latest drivers for their Intel hardware components stems from the tool using unencrypted HTTP connections to check for driver updates. It was discovered by researchers from Core Security and was reported to Intel in November. The Core Security researchers found that the utility was checking for new driver versions by downloading XML files from Intel's website over HTTP. These files included the IDs of hardware components, the latest driver versions available for them and the corresponding download URLs. Intel Driver Update Utility users are strongly advised to download the latest version from Intel's support website.

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Adblock Plus Blocked From Attending Online Ad Industry's Big Annual Conference
Posted by News Fetcher on January 20 '16 at 02:03 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's and-stay-out department:
An anonymous reader writes: Adblock Plus has been uninvited to the upcoming IAB Leadership Summit and is having its registration fee refunded. The company was informed of the cancellation in an email with little explanation. A company blog post reads in part: "Unfortunately, the top brass at the US IAB don't want us coming to their Leadership Summit next week in Palm Desert, California. We attended last year, and we signed up again for their 2016 meeting including paying the hefty entrance fee. We were fully confirmed and they even listed us on their website as a participant. Then this week we got one of those sudden emails that land in your inbox innocently, then floor you with something weird, unbelievable or ridiculous when you click on them. This one came from an unfamiliar IAB address, and it informed us that our registration for the summit was canceled and our fee refunded."

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Open-Source GPU Used For Research
Posted by News Fetcher on January 20 '16 at 02:03 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's strong-progress department:
Theovon writes: For quite some time now, "open hardware" enthusiasts have had access to a number of open source CPUs, including OpenRISC. However, it wasn't until recently that there has been any kind of open source GPU. In 2014, the Vertical Research Group at the University of Wisconsin-Madison announced MIAOW. MIAOW is in many ways a clone of the AMD Southern Islands architecture and can even run some of the same binary code. Unfortunately, MIAOW is missing some key components such as video and memory systems, making it not currently possible to implement fully in hardware. For this, Nyuzi comes to the rescue. Nyuzi (formerly Nyami) has been in development since 2010 and is a fully functional open source GPU inspired by Larrabee. Although architecturally different from the SIMT architectures from AMD and Nvidia, researchers at Binghamton University and several other places have already used it to conduct research on GPUs. A paper (PDF) was published in March 2015 about this processor (one of the authors was the original founder of the Open Graphics Project), and Nyuzi (homepage) can be downloaded from GitHub.

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Rights Groups Push For Strong Broadband Privacy Rules
Posted by News Fetcher on January 20 '16 at 02:03 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's you-only-have-to-fight-government-and-industry-that's-all department:
An anonymous reader writes: A coalition of rights groups has sent a letter to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission asking for tougher privacy regulations on providers of broadband internet services. The letter was sent by the ACLU, the EFF, Public Citizen, and over 50 other groups. "Critics say broadband providers are already harvesting huge amounts of consumer data for use in targeted advertising, the groups wrote. 'This can create a chilling effect on speech and increase the potential for discriminatory practices derived from data use,' the letter said." FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has said such firms need to ensure their data is protected, and that consumers should know more about what data is being collected, but he hasn't addressed whether the data should be harvested in the first place. He expects the FCC to review these practices "in the next several months."

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Caltech Astronomers Say a Ninth Planet Lurks Beyond Pluto
Posted by News Fetcher on January 20 '16 at 02:03 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's nemesis-returns department:
sciencehabit writes: The solar system may have a new ninth planet. Today, two scientists announced evidence that a body nearly the size of Neptune — but as yet unseen — orbits the sun every 15,000 years. During the solar system's infancy 4.5 billion years ago, they say, the giant planet was knocked out of the planet-forming region near the sun. Slowed down by gas, the planet settled into a distant elliptical orbit, where it still lurks today.
Here's a link to the full academic paper published in The Astronomical Journal.

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Tech's Big 5 -- Here to Stay?
Posted by News Fetcher on January 20 '16 at 02:03 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's complexity-and-network-effects-breed-good-moats department:
schwit1 tips a piece at the NY Times about the most entrenched companies in consumer technology: Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. The article makes the case that these five have a such a strong grip on the modern tech industry that they're destined to stick around for the foreseeable future. From the article:
Tech people like to picture their industry as a roiling sea of disruption, in which every winner is vulnerable to surprise attack from some novel, as-yet-unimagined foe. ... But for much of the last half-decade, most of these five giants have enjoyed a remarkable reprieve from the boogeymen in the garage. And you can bet on them continuing to win. So I’m coining them the Frightful Five. .... Though competition between the five remains fierce — and each year, a few of them seem up and a few down — it’s becoming harder to picture how any one of them, let alone two or three, may cede their growing clout in every aspect of American business and society. ... In various small and large ways, the Frightful Five are pushing into the news and entertainment industries; they’re making waves in health care and finance; they’re building cars, drones, robots and immersive virtual-reality worlds. Why do all this? Because their platforms — the users, the data, and all the money they generate — make these far-flung realms seem within their grasp."

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Overfishing Responsible For Declining Fish Population
Posted by News Fetcher on January 20 '16 at 02:03 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's but-they're-so-tasty department:
iONiUM send word of a new study into fishing practices around the world that found official reports have dramatically underestimated the number of fish caught over the past several decades. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, global catches peaked at 86 million tons in 1996, and began a slow decline after that. This study suggests the peak was much higher — around 130 million tons — and subsequent catch rates are falling three times faster. Significantly, they believe the decline is not due to less fishing activity, but rather the exhaustion of supply in many areas. One of the study's authors, Daniel Pauly, said, "I expect a continued decline because I don’t expect countries to realise the need to rebuild stocks. I don’t see African countries, for example, rebuilding their stocks, or being allowed to by the foreign fleets that are working there, because the pressure to continue to fish is very strong. We know how to fix this problem but whether we do it or not depends on conditions that are difficult."

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Senior Homeland Security Official Says Internet Anonymity Should Be Outlawed
Posted by News Fetcher on January 20 '16 at 02:03 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's internet-license-and-internet-registration-please department:
Patrick O'Neill writes: A senior Homeland Security official recently argued that Internet anonymity should outlawed in the same way that driving a car without a license plate is against the law. "When a person drives a car on a highway, he or she agrees to display a license plate," Erik Barnett, an assistant deputy director at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and attache to the European Union at the Department of Homeland Security, wrote. "The license plate's identifiers are ignored most of the time by law enforcement. Law enforcement will use the identifiers, though, to determine the driver's identity if the car is involved in a legal infraction or otherwise becomes a matter of public interest. Similarly, should not every individual be required to display a 'license plate' on the digital super-highway?"

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10-Year-Old Muslim Boy Probed For 'Terrorist House' Spelling Error
Posted by News Fetcher on January 20 '16 at 02:03 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's if-you-see-something,-think-with-your-head department:
AmiMoJo writes: A 10-year-old Muslim boy who mistakenly wrote that he lived in a "terrorist house" during an English lesson at school has been investigated by police. The pupil, who attends a primary school in Lancashire, meant to say he lived in a "terraced house." The boy was interviewed by Lancashire Police at his home the next day, and the family laptop was examined. The 2015 Counter Terrorism and Security Act means that teachers have been legally obliged to report any suspected extremist behavior to police since July. Miqdaad Versi, assistant secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, the UK's largest umbrella group for Islamic associations, said he was aware of dozens of cases similar to that of the schoolboy.

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Benefits of a Homebrew Router
Posted by News Fetcher on January 20 '16 at 02:03 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's good-for-confusing-comcast-techs department:
An anonymous reader writes: Jim Salter has posted an article explaining why it can be a good idea to build your own router, and how he put his together. Quoting: "In the consumer world, routers mostly have itty-bitty little MIPS CPUs under the hood without a whole lot of RAM (to put it mildly). These routers largely differentiate themselves from one another based on the interface: How shiny is it? ... I wanted to go a different route. A lot of interesting and reasonably inexpensive little x86-64 fanless machines have started showing up on the market lately. The trick for building a router is finding one with multiple NICs." Once assembled, the homebrew router blows away even high-end SOHO routers for throughput and performance. "Given that nobody's offering any Internet connections over 200mbps in my area yet, that makes my inner crypto nerd dance with glee. I could literally encrypt every single byte of my Internet traffic, in either direction, without a performance penalty." Of course, it won't do wireless, but you can get separate wireless access points to handle that.

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