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Apple Is Said To Be Working On an iPhone Even It Can't Hack
Posted by News Fetcher on February 24 '16 at 06:52 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's google-should-be-scrambling-to-follow department:
An anonymous reader writes with this story at the New York Times: Apple engineers have already begun developing new security measures that would make it impossible for the government to break into a locked iPhone using methods similar to those now at the center of a court fight in California, according to people close to the company and security experts. If Apple succeeds in upgrading its security — and experts say it almost surely will — the company would create a significant technical challenge for law enforcement agencies, even if the Obama administration wins its fight over access to data stored on an iPhone used by one of the killers in last year's San Bernardino, Calif., rampage. The F.B.I. would then have to find another way to defeat Apple security, setting up a new cycle of court fights and, yet again, more technical fixes by Apple.

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Windows 10 Now Showing Full Screen Ads On Lock Screen
Posted by News Fetcher on February 24 '16 at 05:34 PM
By yaelk from Slashdot's how-to-fix-it department:
Striek writes: Several media outlets are reporting that Windows 10 has now started showing full screen ads on users' lock screens. They can be turned off, but how many people will actually bother with this? "Tips site How-To Geek discovered that Windows Spotlight, which normally rotates between a selection of photographs, was being used to display an ad for Square Enix's Rise of the Tomb Raider. Understandably, most people probably don't want to be hit in the face with a full-screen ad for a video game before they even unlock their computer. If you want to make sure you're not hit with these ads, follow these steps to disable Windows Spotlight:
Open the Start Menu and search for "Lock Screen Settings."; Under "Background," select either Picture or Slideshow, instead of Windows Spotlight.; Scroll down to "Get fun facts, tips, tricks, and more on your lock screen" and this toggle." Apparently the "and more" is where Microsoft hid the advertisements.

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Microsoft To Acquire Xamarin
Posted by News Fetcher on February 24 '16 at 05:34 PM
By yaelk from Slashdot's announcements department:
New submitter androlinuz writes: Microsoft has signed an agreement to acquire Xamarin, a leading platform provider for mobile app development. In conjunction with Visual Studio, Xamarin provides a rich mobile development offering that enables developers to build mobile apps using C# and deliver fully native mobile app experiences to all major devices, including iOS, Android, and Windows. Xamarin's approach enables developers to take advantage of the productivity and power of .NET to build mobile apps, and to use C# to write to the full set of native APIs and mobile capabilities provided by each device platform.

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New Fast Radio Burst Discovery Finds 'Missing Matter' In the Universe
Posted by News Fetcher on February 24 '16 at 04:11 PM
By yaelk from Slashdot's lost-and-found department:
According to a study published today, an international team of scientists has for the first time managed to identify the location of a fast radio burst. FRBs are bright radio flashes that generally last for a few milliseconds. While their origin is unknown, the results are a missing distribution of matter in the universe. Now, using a combination of radio and optical telescopes, scientists have found the FRB. According to Benjamin Stappers, Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Manchester, "Discovering more FRBs will allow us to do even more detailed studies of the missing matter and perhaps even study dark energy."

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Army Researchers Patent Self-destructing Bullet Designed To Save Lives
Posted by News Fetcher on February 24 '16 at 04:11 PM
By yaelk from Slashdot's who-would-have-thought department:
An anonymous reader writes: Researchers from the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center recently patented a new type of bullet capable of self-destructing after traveling over a predetermined distance. The idea behind the new and advanced projectile is that it might help limit the extent of collateral damage (read: innocents dying) during battle or in other operational settings and environments. As for how it all works, the U.S. Army explains that when one of these limited-range projectiles is fired, a pyrotechnical material is ignited at the same time and reacts with a special coating on the bullet. "The pyrotechnic material ignites the reactive material, and if the projectile reaches a maximum desired range prior to impact with a target," the Army writes, "the ignited reactive material transforms the projectile into an aerodynamically unstable object." The researchers add that the desired range of its limited-range projectile can be adjusted by switching up the reactive materials used. Put simply, the Army has come up with what effectively amounts to a self-destructing bullet that is rendered ineffective over certain distances.

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President Obama Nominates New Librarian of Congress Who Supports Open Access
Posted by News Fetcher on February 24 '16 at 03:00 PM
By yaelk from Slashdot's will-the-gop-let-this-through department:
Dr. Carla Hayden, CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore and a former president of the American Library Association, is President Obama's nominee for Librarian of Congress. What a contrast to long-time LoC Librarian James Billington, a stuffy old academic who hated e-books and was so far out of touch that he liked faxing more than e-mail. According to President Obama, "Dr. Hayden has devoted her career to modernizing libraries so that everyone can participate in today's digital culture." Dr. Hayden was a fierce opponent of the Patriot Act and believes strongly in speaking out against surveillance. What's more, she would be the 14th Librarian of Congress, in charge of the Copyright Office, and the first woman and first African-American to hold the position.

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Microsoft To Acquire Xamarin
Posted by News Fetcher on February 24 '16 at 03:00 PM
By yaelk from Slashdot's announcements department:
New submitter androlinuz writes: Microsoft has signed an agreement to acquire Xamarin, a leading platform provider for mobile app development. In conjunction with Visual Studio, Xamarin provides a rich mobile development offering that enables developers to build mobile apps using C# and deliver fully native mobile app experiences to all major devices, including iOS, Android, and Windows. Xamarin's approach enables developers to take advantage of the productivity and power of .NET to build mobile apps, and to use C# to write to the full set of native APIs and mobile capabilities provided by each device platform.

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France Seeking $1.76 Billion In Back Taxes From Google
Posted by News Fetcher on February 24 '16 at 01:32 PM
By yaelk from Slashdot's tax-money department:
An anonymous reader writes: According to a Reuters insider, France is seeking 1.6 billion euros in back taxes from Google, dwarfing what the United Kingdom recently agreed to pay. France apparently has no interest in striking the same 'sweetheart tax' deal that put the UK into a critical light when it revealed that the search giant would pay only 130 million pounds of tax, a $181.18 million settlement, for over 10 years in multi-billion dollar trade in the UK.

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Linux Mint Hack Is an Indicator of a Larger Problem
Posted by News Fetcher on February 24 '16 at 01:32 PM
By yaelk from Slashdot's problematic department:
An anonymous reader writes: On February 20th, a hacker working under the handle 'Peace' took control of the website of Linux Mint, a popular Linux distribution derived from Ubuntu (and Debian) targeted toward non-technical users and power users unhappy with modern desktop environments. While these attacks are regrettable, and part of an infrastructure problem rather than a problem with the distribution itself, it increasingly appears that the Linux Mint team is spread too thin when it comes to security. The distribution itself blacklists updates that work perfectly in Ubuntu and Debian, and the graphical utilities don't update the kernel. Because the value added by Linux Mint is in Cinnamon, why do the developers need to distribute a broken version of Ubuntu when the Cinnamon DE could be distributed as an Ubuntu spin?

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Nissan Leaf HVAC-Hack Vulnerability Disclosed
Posted by News Fetcher on February 24 '16 at 12:05 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's malice-as-design-aid department:
GWBasic writes: Some of Nissan's Leaf cars can be easily hacked, allowing their heating and air-conditioning systems to be hijacked, according to [Troy Hunt,] a prominent security researcher. .... Mr Hunt said the root of the problem was that the firm's NissanConnect app needed only a car's vehicle identification number (VIN) to take control. That means that pranksters could pretty easily run down a Leaf's battery via Nissan's app just by cycling through VIN numbers, which, the article points out, typically vary only in the last few digits for same-region Leafs, and for an electric car that's a big deal -- you can't just get a quick jump and be on your way. For now, Hunt says, the only thing owners can do is disable the remote-control feature completely.

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Boston Dynamics' Next-Gen ATLAS Sheds the Tether
Posted by News Fetcher on February 24 '16 at 12:05 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's not-creepy-at-all department:
Boston Dynamics' ATLAS robot has been featured here a few times before. An anonymous reader points out that the company has just posted a video of the newest version of the ATLAS, "and it's absolutely incredible."

The video shows ATLAS walk, open a door, maintain its balance while it walks through snow and semi-rough terrain, squat and pick up 10-pound boxes and much more. And it does everything without a tether. The new version is electrically powered and hydraulically actuated. It uses sensors in its body and legs to balance and LIDAR and stereo sensors in its head to avoid obstacles, assess the terrain and help with navigation. This version of Atlas is about 5' 9" tall (about a head shorter than the DRC Atlas) and weighs 180 lbs.

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Japan Considers Treating Bitcoin As Conventional Currency
Posted by News Fetcher on February 24 '16 at 10:51 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's it's-real-money-already department:
An anonymous reader writes: Regulators in Japan are considering officially recognizing bitcoins and other digital currencies as valid methods of payment. The Japan Financial Services Agency (FSA) is in the process of deciding whether to make legislative revisions to regulation that currently regards virtual currencies as objects rather than traditional forms of payment. Under the new proposal, consumers will be able to purchase goods and services using bitcoin and other digital currencies, and also use them as an alternative to legal tender through purchases or trades. The new definition will be submitted during the current session of the Diet, Japan's legislature, which concludes on 1st June this year.

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E-book Museum At the Library of Congress?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 24 '16 at 10:51 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's museum-of-future-obsolescence department:
David Rothman writes: Back in 2003, Slashdot ran TeleRead's call for a brick-and-mortar international e-book museum at the Library of Congress. The proposed museum would focus on the devices and other technology rather than the content. It still isn't too late for such a project, and TeleRead is again advocating the idea. Content, too, actually would benefit -- considering that proprietary formats and DRM can imperil the future readability of e-books. Meanwhile, a small-scale e-book museum is about to open in Paris and is looking for donations. A worthy cause!

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FTC Forces Asus To Improve Router Security
Posted by News Fetcher on February 24 '16 at 10:51 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's specific-performance department:
An anonymous reader writes: The FTC is actively trying to make sure that companies secure the software and devices that they provide to consumers, and a settlement with Taiwan-based hardware maker ASUSTeK Computer is one step towards that goal. The complaint was raised after well-meaning hackers exploited a weakness on Asus routers and left note on victims' drives notifying them of the matter. Later, a researcher discovered an exploit campaign that abused vulnerabilities to change vulnerable routers' DNS servers. According to the settlement, the company will have to establish and maintain a comprehensive security program subject to independent audits for the next 20 years.

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Baidu Browser Acts Like a Mildly Tempered Infostealer Virus
Posted by News Fetcher on February 24 '16 at 09:23 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's ever-so-gentle department:
An anonymous reader writes: The Baidu Web browser for Windows and Android exhibits behavior that could easily be categorized by a security researcher as an infostealer virus because the browser collects information on its users, and then sends it to Baidu's home servers. Both versions collected waaaaay to much information that has nothing to do with analytics, like hard drive models, CPU serials, and personal browsing history. The browser collected and sent this information on startup, when the user started typing content in his address bar, and on any page view. Some of this was sent via unencrypted connections. Additionally, the browser update did not use code signatures, meaning you could man-in-the-middle the connection and send anything you'd like to the browser, from Pokemon games to banking trojans, and have it installed locally.

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New GitHub Upgrades Respond To Recent Complaints
Posted by News Fetcher on February 24 '16 at 07:51 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's developer-is-always-right department:
destinyland writes: Last week GitHub announced the ability to create templates for Issues and Pull Requests, in an apparent response to an open letter signed by 600+ project maintainers. "This is the first of many improvements to Issues and Pull Requests that we're working on based on feedback from the community," "wrote Ben Bleikamp, Product Manager at GitHub. The original letter, hosted in a "Dear-Github" repository, noted that "If GitHub were open source itself, we would be implementing these things ourselves as a community..." But this week GitHub continued releasing new improvements, offering a new feature with to upload files directly into repositories without leaving their browser.

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Researchers Make Low-power Wi-Fi Breakthrough
Posted by News Fetcher on February 24 '16 at 07:51 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's bouncy-bouncy department:
alphadogg writes: The biggest downside of Wi-Fi for most users might be that it can really drain your smartphone or tablet battery, but a research team at the University of Washington has come up with a way to make using the nearly ubiquitous wireless technology in a less taxing way. They have demonstrated a technique for using 10,000 times less power than typical Wi-Fi (well, at up to 11Mbps anyway) and next month will present a paper titled "Passive Wi-Fi: Bringing Low Power to Wi-Fi Transmissions" at the USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design in Santa Clara. The main trick involves decoupling digital and analog components of a typical Wi-Fi router.

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Attackers Can Turn Microsoft's Exploit Defense Tool EMET Against Itself
Posted by News Fetcher on February 24 '16 at 06:34 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's friends-like-these department:
itwbennett writes: FireEye researchers have found a way for exploits to trigger a specific function in EMET that disables all protections it enforces for other applications. The researchers believe that their new technique, which essentially uses EMET against itself, is more reliable and easier to use than any previously published bypasses. It works against all supported versions of EMET — 5.0, 5.1 and 5.2 — but Microsoft patched the issue in EMET 5.5, which was released on Feb. 2. So if you haven't upgraded yet, now would be a good time to do it. For more about how the technique works, read FireEye's blog post.

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Hacking Group Presents 'Long-Standing' Threat To Japan
Posted by News Fetcher on February 24 '16 at 06:34 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's check-the-trench-again department:
An anonymous reader writes: Japanese energy, oil and gas, and transport industries have been among those targeted by a group of cyberattackers focusing its efforts on Japanese critical infrastructure. According to research at Cylance SPEAR, the cyber threat group had previously been targeting U.S. defence agencies but has recently turned its attention to East Asia. While SPEAR does not believe the criminals have yet conducted "destructive or disruptive" attacks, it argues that they have been patiently and persistently spying on a range of Japanese organisations, such as construction companies and financial firms. The researchers have dubbed the campaign Operation Dust Storm, and have identified phishing lures related to current affairs as the attackers' tool of choice. SPEAR noted that the cyberattack group has managed to stay under the radar by registering new domain names, relying heavily on Dynamic DNS, and using a range of customised backdoors – especially a number of second-stage backdoors with hardcoded proxy addresses and credentials. The group also adopted several Android backdoors to support its mobile operations.

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Sorry, But Lasers Aren't Taking You To Mars Anytime Soon
Posted by News Fetcher on February 24 '16 at 05:13 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's lasers-will-happily-get-there-faster-by-themselves department:
An anonymous reader writes: It's long been a dream of humanity to travel interplanetary distances at great speeds, or to make it to another star system within a human lifetime. Until recently, technologies to get us there — antimatter propulsion, wormholes or warp drive — have all been composed of physically unrealistic solutions. But recent developments in laser technology make directed energy propulsion a feasible solution. By building a giant laser array in space and developing a new type of solar sail that reflects the laser light with incredible efficiency, a laser sail, this propulsion system is scalable to arbitrarily large powers. There are many technical obstacles to be overcome, and so it's unlikely we'll see the fruit of this anytime in the next few decades (despite the promises of some), but this may well be the technology that takes us to the stars in the coming centuries.

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