By EditorDavid from Slashdot's hear-hear department
An anonymous reader writes:
"High-frequency audio 'beacons' are embedded into TV commercials or browser ads," reports New Scientist. "These sounds, which are inaudible to the human ear, can be picked up by any nearby device that has a microphone and can then activate certain functions on that device...Some shopping reward apps, such as Shopkick, already use it to let retailers push department or aisle-specific ads and promotions to customers' phones as they shop."
But now Fortune reports that some apps "often actively listen for ultrasound signals, even when the app itself is closed, creating a new and relatively poorly-understood pathway for hacking." In addition, security researchers "have already found ways to mine cloaked IP addresses. Speaking to New Scientist, team member Vasilios Mavroudis suggests that an app's always-on microphone access could be leveraged to monitor conversations (and, if you're not paranoid already, to decipher what you're typing). The 'beacons' that transmit ultrasound data can also be spoofed to manipulate apps' user data."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's bad-news-batteries department
Three weeks after unboxing a hoverboard, it burst into flames. But is Amazon partly to blame?
tripleevenfall quotes The Tennessean:
A Nashville family whose $1 million home was destroyed earlier this year in a fire caused by a hoverboard toy is suing Amazon saying the retail giant knowingly sold a dangerous product...
The lawsuit says the seller of the hoverboard listed online, "W-Deals," is a sham organization that is registered to an apartment in New York City that has not responded to requests from lawyers in the case. It alleges the family was sold a counterfeit product from China instead of a brand with a Samsung lithium ion battery they believed they were buying from Amazon . It says Tennessee product liability law holds a seller responsible if the manufacturer cannot be found.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's high-planes-drifting department
The A-10 aircraft "is just too effective to get rid of," wrote one defense blogger -- especially in light of ongoing issues with the F-35.
schwit1 quotes Jalopnik:
Strategists have feared that the jet will be axed in favor of funding the F-35, but the U.S. Air Force recently confirmed that it plans to keep the A-10 flying "indefinitely." While the Air Force is theoretically supposed to be diverting the A-10's operating expenses to feed the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the people in charge are now planning to keep the plane running...
Air Force Materiel Command chief Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski told AviationWeek in a interview, "Our command, anyway, is approaching this as another airplane that we are sustaining indefinitely." While the beancounters and product planners are trying to push the A-10 off the board, Materiel Command is going to keep on keeping the planes in peak condition, which will give the A-10 it's best chance of proving its worth over and over again. And it seems to be working -- the A-10 posted a 5% increase in its availability rate from 2014 to 2015, and the Air Force seems to keep postponing its demise.
In Congress one representative has even suggested an operational testing "fly-off" between the two aircraft -- a jet-vs-jet competition to determine whether any more A-10s get retired.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's canary-in-the-coal-mine? department
An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes ComputerWorld:
In the next decade, the mining industry may lose more than half of its jobs to automation, according to a new report... This industry is adopting self-driving trucks, automated loaders and automated drilling and tunnel-boring systems. It is also testing fully autonomous long-distance trains, which carry materials from the mine to a port...
A broader question is whether mining is a bellwether for other industries. There's no clear answer, but what Aaron Cosbey, a development economist and a report author, can say is this: "Where you can find robotic replacements for human labor you tend to do it." Cosbey estimates that automation will replace 40% to 80% of the workers at a mine...
Driverless technology can increase output up to 20%, while decreasing fuel consumption up to 15%, according to the article. "This will increase demand for people with IT skills who can set up and operate the automation systems -- but at far smaller numbers than the people automation displaces."Read Replies (0)
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)