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Cable Companies Urge Judges To Kill 'Net Neutrality' Rules
Posted by News Fetcher on July 31 '16 at 12:31 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's last-resorts department:
An anonymous reader quotes Reuters:
Trade associations representing wireless, cable and broadband operators on Friday urged the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to reverse...the Federal Communications Commission's so-called net neutrality rules, put in place last year to make internet service providers treat all internet traffic equally...

The cable groups said the court should correct "serious errors" in a decision "that radically reshapes federal law governing a massive sector of the economy, which flourished due to hundreds of billions of dollars of investment made in reliance on the policy the order throws overboard".. In its filing on Friday, the CTIA said it was illegal to subject broadband internet access to "public-utility style, common carrier regulation" and illegal to impose "common-carrier status on mobile broadband."
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said he wasn't surprised to see "the big dogs" challenging net neutrality.

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New Site Checks Your Browser's Fingerprint
Posted by News Fetcher on July 31 '16 at 11:11 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's unique-identifiers department:
"Does your web browser have a unique fingerprint? If so your web browser could be tracked across websites without techniques such as tracking cookies..." warns a new site created by the University of Adelaide and ACEMS, adding "the anonymization aspects of services such as Tor or VPNs could be negated if sites you visit track you using your browser fingerprint." AnonymousCube contacted Slashdot about their free browser fingerprinting test suite:
On the site you can see what data can be used to track you and how unique your fingerprint is. The site includes new tests, such as detecting software such as Privacy Badger, via how social media buttons are disabled, and CSS only (no JavaScript or flash) tests to get screen size and installed fonts.

If you're serious about privacy, you might want to test the uniqueness of your browser's fingerprint.

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British Newspaper Fooled By Online Harry Potter/Pokemon Go Hoax
Posted by News Fetcher on July 31 '16 at 09:51 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's smug-Muggles department:
An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: "The creators behind Pokemon Go are developing a new Harry Potter version of the app, according to reports," claimed The Metro -- citing as their source the web site "Hello Giggles". But that site's source -- as well as the source for an inaccurate article in Yahoo! Style -- was the infamous JTXH, a paraody news sites created three months ago, whose other false scoops have included "NASA to make announcement involving 'religious' implications" and "Denny's waitress assaulted by Muslims for serving bacon during Ramadan".

From Snopes.com: There is no real radio or television outlet with the call letters JTXH; that identifier is purely the province of a fake news web site masquerading as a legitimate news outlet. JTXH News has previously published fabricated clickbait stories such as "Bernie campaign caught distributing LSD to youth" and "Chick-Fil-A is considering banning anyone who 'can't figure out their gender.'"

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New Solar Cells Can Convert CO2 Into Hydrocarbon Fuel
Posted by News Fetcher on July 31 '16 at 09:51 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's gas-from-greenhouse-gases department:
"Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have engineered a potentially game-changing solar cell that cheaply and efficiently converts atmospheric carbon dioxide directly into usable hydrocarbon fuel, using only sunlight for energy," reports Next Big Future. Slashdot reader William Robinson writes:

This artificial leaf delivers syngas, or synthesis gas, a mixture of hydrogen gas and carbon monoxide. Syngas can be burned directly, or converted into diesel or other hydrocarbon fuels. The discovery opens up possibilities of clean reusable energy.
"A solar farm of such 'artificial leaves' could remove significant amounts of carbon from the atmosphere and produce energy-dense fuel efficiently..." according to the article, which adds that the process could prove useful in the high-carbon atmosphere of Mars. "Unlike conventional solar cells, which convert sunlight into electricity that must be stored in heavy batteries, the new device essentially does the work of plants, converting atmospheric carbon dioxide into fuel, solving two crucial problems at once."

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'How I Hacked Imgur for Fun and Profit'
Posted by News Fetcher on July 31 '16 at 08:31 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's big-bug-bounties department:
A security researcher describes gaining full access to the production database for Imgur's image-sharing site -- and then successfully lobbying the company for a higher bug bounty of $5,000. Nathan Malcolm says he exploited a remote-access vulnerability in one of Imgur's unprotected development servers to read their /etc/passwd file, and also keys.php, which contained the credentials for their MySQL servers. An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes Nathan's article on Medium:

An important part of security research is knowing when to stop. I went far enough to prove how serious the issue is, and demonstrate what a malicious attacker could do, while not being overly careless or intrusive... I hope other teams can learn from Imgur's willingness to take on feedback and improve, as communication around security is so very important.
Imgur's founder and CEO sent him a personal e-mail along with the bounty, which ended "Thanks so much for protecting us and properly reporting it to us." The author of the article reports that "I've continued to participate in Imgur's bug bounty program, and while it's not perfect, it's responded and paid out nicely to myself and others." And the $5,000 bounty? "Half of that went to people in need, including Lauri Love, a hacker facing extradition to the United States, and a close friend who was recently made homeless. Various charities and researchers also benefited from it."

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Mr. Robot 'Plugs' uTorrent and Pirate Release Groups
Posted by News Fetcher on July 31 '16 at 07:01 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's pirates-ftw department:
From a TorrentFreak report: The latest episode of award-winning TV show Mr. Robot includes a nod to online pirates. The main character Elliot is shown pirating a movie using uTorrent, while his movie folder lists movies from various pirate groups including YIFY. The group in question appreciates the "bad ass" mention, while another group casts doubt on the hacker's choice of BitTorrent client. As the screenshot shows, Elliot uses a recent version of the popular BitTorrent client uTorrent, showing a house ad for an upgrade to uTorrent Plus. In the "movies" folder, which is also shown, we can see various other movies complete with release group tags such as YIFY, PRiSTiNE, DiPSHiT, RARBG and CRiTERiON.

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Cyberattackers Hijack Screens at Two Vietnam Airports, Broadcast Political Messages
Posted by News Fetcher on July 31 '16 at 05:43 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's all-your-ETAs-are-belong-to-us department:
An anonymous reader quotes an article from the Washington Times:
Hackers on Friday successfully pulled off cyberattacks against Vietnam's two largest airports and the nation's flag carrier, Vietnam Airlines. The attacks -- attributed to a Chinese hacking group known as 1937CN -- ultimately failed to cause any significant security issues or air traffic control problems, Vice Minister of Transport Nguyen Nhat told local media. Nonetheless, the individuals briefly hijacked flight information screens and sound systems inside Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat airports in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, respectively... Instead of departure and arrival details, the airports' flight screens and speakers broadcast what local media described as anti-Vietnamese and Philippines slogans, in turn prompting authorities to shut down both systems... Vietnam Airlineâ(TM)s website, meanwhile, "was seized control and transferred to a malicious website abroad" and... passenger data pertaining to an undisclosed number of its frequent flyers was published online as well, the airline said in a statement. Local media on Friday said about 100 MB of data concerning roughly 40,000 VMA passengers had been dumped online.

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Onion Debian Services Are Now Available
Posted by News Fetcher on July 31 '16 at 04:21 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's universal-operating-system department:
"I just set up a lot of Onion Services for many of Debian's static websites," announced Debian sys-admin Peter "weasel" Palfrader on Friday. "You can find the entire list of services on onion.debian.org. More might come in the future." Longtime Slashdot reader alfino writes:
Yay for privacy. We don't care about where you come from, and now you don't even have to tell anyone that you're using Debian. The archive at ftp.debian.org is already in the list. Support for more redundant Debian archive access is expected to come When It's Ready.

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New Crowdfunding Campaign Offers Modular EOMA68 Computing Devices
Posted by News Fetcher on July 31 '16 at 12:20 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Libre-as-you-can-get department:
A new crowdfunding campaign by Rhombus Tech "introduces the world's first devices built around the EOMA68 standard," which separates a "modular" CPU board from the rest of the system so that it can be easily used in multiple devices and upgraded more simply. Rhombus Tech is now offering a 15.6-inch laptop, a laser-cut wooden Micro-Desktop housing, and two types of computer cards, both using A20 dual-core ARM Cortex A7 processors.
The cards are available with four flavors of the GNU/Linux operating system, and they're hoping to receive RYF certification from the Free Software Foundation.

"No proprietary software," explains their campaign's video. "No backdoors. No spyware. No NDAs." They envision a world where users upgrade their computers by simply popping in a new card -- reducing electronic waste -- or print new laptop casings to repair defects or swap in different colors. (And they also hope to eventually see the cards also working with cameras, phones, tablets, and gaming consoles.) Rhombus Tech CTO Luke Leighton did a Slashdot interview in 2012, and contacted Slashdot this weekend to announce:
A live-streamed video from Hope2016 explains what it's about, and there is a huge range of discussions and articles online. The real burning question is: if a single Software Libre Engineer can teach themselves PCB design and bring modular computing to people on the budget available from a single company, why are there not already a huge number of companies doing modular upgradeable hardware?

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America Uses Stealthy Submarines To Hack Other Countries' Systems
Posted by News Fetcher on July 30 '16 at 08:11 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's sense-prevails department:
When the Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump asked Russia -- wittingly or otherwise -- to launch hack attacks to find Hillary Clinton's missing emails, it caused a stir of commotion. Russia is allegedly behind DNC's leaked emails. But The Washington Post is reminding us that U.S.'s efforts in the cyber-security world aren't much different. (could be paywalled; same article syndicated elsewhere From the report: The U.S. approach to this digital battleground is pretty advanced. For example: Did you know that the military uses its submarines as underwater hacking platforms? In fact, subs represent an important component of America's cyber strategy. They act defensively to protect themselves and the country from digital attack, but -- more interestingly -- they also have a role to play in carrying out cyberattacks, according to two U.S. Navy officials at a recent Washington conference. "There is a -- an offensive capability that we are, that we prize very highly," said Rear Adm. Michael Jabaley, the U.S. Navy's program executive officer for submarines. "And this is where I really can't talk about much, but suffice to say we have submarines out there on the front lines that are very involved, at the highest technical level, doing exactly the kind of things that you would want them to do." The so-called "silent service" has a long history of using information technology to gain an edge on America's rivals. In the 1970s, the U.S. government instructed its submarines to tap undersea communications cables off the Russian coast, recording the messages being relayed back and forth between Soviet forces. (The National Security Agency has continued that tradition, monitoring underwater fiber cables as part of its globe-spanning intelligence-gathering apparatus. In some cases, the government has struck closed-door deals with the cable operators ensuring that U.S. spies can gain secure access to the information traveling over those pipes.) These days, some U.S. subs come equipped with sophisticated antennas that can be used to intercept and manipulate other people's communications traffic, particularly on weak or unencrypted networks. "We've gone where our targets have gone" -- that is to say, online, said Stewart Baker, the National Security Agency's former general counsel, in an interview. "Only the most security-conscious now are completely cut off from the Internet." Cyberattacks are also much easier to carry out than to defend against, he said.

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Famed Security Researcher 'Mudge' Creates New Algorithm For Measuring Code Security
Posted by News Fetcher on July 30 '16 at 06:50 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Underwriters-Laboratory-for-code department:
Peiter "Mudge" Zatko and his wife, Sarah, a former NSA mathematician, have started a nonprofit in the basement of their home "for testing and scoring the security of software... He says vendors are going to hate it." Slashdot reader mspohr shares an article from The Intercept:

"Things like address space layout randomization [ASLR] and having a nonexecutable stack and heap and stuff like that, those are all determined by how you compiled [the source code]," says Sarah. "Those are the technologies that are really the equivalent of airbags or anti-lock brakes [in cars]..." The lab's initial research has found that Microsoft's Office suite for OS X, for example, is missing fundamental security settings because the company is using a decade-old development environment to build it, despite using a modern and secure one to build its own operating system, Mudge says. Industrial control system software, used in critical infrastructure environments like power plants and water treatment facilities, is also primarily compiled on "ancient compilers" that either don't have modern protective measures or don't have them turned on by default...

The process they use to evaluate software allows them to easily compare and contrast similar programs. Looking at three browsers, for example -- Chrome, Safari, and Firefox -- Chrome came out on top, with Firefox on the bottom. Google's Chrome developers not only used a modern build environment and enabled all the default security settings they could, Mudge says, they went "above and beyond in making things even more robust." Firefox, by contrast, "had turned off [ASLR], one of the fundamental safety features in their compilation."
The nonprofit was funded with $600,000 in funding from DARPA, the Ford Foundation, and Consumers Union, and also looks at the number of external libraries called, the number of branches in a program and the presence of high-complexity algorithms.

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Russian Government Gets 'Hacked Back', Attacks Possibly Launched By The NSA
Posted by News Fetcher on July 30 '16 at 04:11 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's people-in-glass-houses department:
An anonymous reader write: Russian government bodies have been hit by a "professional" cyber attack, according to the country's intelligence service, which said the attack targeted state organizations and defense companies, as well as Russia's "critically important infrastructures". The agency told the BBC that the powerful malware "allowed those responsible to switch on cameras and microphones within the computer, take screenshots and track what was being typed by monitoring keyboard strokes." ABC News reports that the NSA "is likely 'hacking back' Russia's government-linked cyber-espionage teams "to see once and for all if they're responsible for the massive breach at the Democratic National Committee, according to three former senior intelligence officials... Robert Joyce, chief of the NSA's shadowy Tailored Access Operations, declined to comment on the DNC hack specifically, but said in general that the NSA has technical capabilities and legal authorities that allow the agency to 'hack back' suspected hacking groups, infiltrating their systems to gather intelligence about their operations in the wake of a cyber attack... In some past unrelated cases...NSA hackers have been able to watch from the inside as malicious actors conduct their operations in real time."

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After New GIMP Release, Core Developer Discusses Future of GIMP and GEGL
Posted by News Fetcher on July 30 '16 at 02:51 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's bring-out-the-GIMP department:
GIMP 2.9.4 was released earlier this month, featuring "symmetry painting" and the ability to remove holes when selecting a region, as well as improvements to many of its other graphics-editing tools. But today core developer Jehan Pages discussed the vision for GIMP's future, writing that the Generic Graphics (GEGL) programming library "is a hell of a cool project and I think it could be the future of Free and Open Source image processing":
I want to imagine a future where most big graphics programs integrate GEGL, where Blender for instance would have GEGL as the new implementation of nodes, with image processing graphs which can be exchanged between programs, where darktable would share buffers with GIMP so that images can be edited in one program and updated in real time in the other, and so on. Well of course the short/mid-term improvements will be non-destructive editing with live preview on high bit depth images, and that's already awesomely cool right...?

[C]ontributing to Free Software is not just adding any random feature, that's also about discussing, discovering others' workflow, comparing, sometimes even compromising or realizing that our ideas are not always perfect. This is part of the process and actually a pretty good mental builder. In any case we will work hard for a better GIMP

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Babylon 5 Actor Jerry Doyle Dies
Posted by News Fetcher on July 30 '16 at 02:51 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's goodbye,-Garibaldi department:
Slashdot reader tiqui writes: Jerry Doyle, best known for playing Security Chief Michael Garibaldi on Babylon 5 has passed away in Las Vegas at only 60 years of age. His B5 character was often paired-up with G'Kar (played by Andreas Katsulas who died in 2006 at age 59) and with Jeffrey Sinclair (played by Michael O'Hare who died in 2012, also at age 60) He seems to have lead an interesting life. Cause of death not yet known.

Slashdot reader The Grim Reefer quotes the BBC:
Fellow Babylon 5 actor Bruce Boxleitner tweeted that he was "so devastated at the news of the untimely death of my good friend", while astronaut Scott Kelly said the news was "very sad to hear".

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Open Source Gardening Robot 'FarmBot' Raises $560,000
Posted by News Fetcher on July 30 '16 at 02:51 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's seed-capital department:
Slashdot reader Paul Fernhout writes: FarmBot is an open-source gantry-crane-style outdoor robot for tending a garden bed. The project is crowdfunding a first production run and has raised US$561,486 of their US$100,000 goal -- with one day left to go... The onboard control system is based around a Raspberry Pi 3 computer and an Arduino Mega 2560 Microcontroller. Many of the parts are 3D printable.
Two years ago Slashdot covered the genesis of this project, describing its goal as simply "to increase food production by automating as much of it as possible."

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Google Wi-Fi Kiosks in New York Promise No Privacy, 'Can Collect Anything'
Posted by News Fetcher on July 30 '16 at 01:32 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's don't-be-evil department:
Here's the thing about those wi-fi kiosks replacing New York City's public payphones. They're owned by Google/Alphabet company Sidewalk Labs, they're covered with ads, and if you read the privacy policy on its web site, "it's not that one." An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes an article from the Observer:
Columbia professor Benjamin Read got a big laugh at this weekend's Hackers on Planet Earth XI conference in Manhattan when he pointed out that the privacy policy on LinkNYC's website only applies to the website itself, not to the actual network of kiosks.

The web page points out that it has two separate privacy policies in an easily-missed section near the top, and for their real-world kiosks, "They essentially have a privacy policy that says, 'we can collect anything and do anything' and that sets the outer bound'," says New York Civil Liberties Union attorney Mariko Hirose. The Observer reports that the policy "promises not to use facial recognition... however, nothing stops the company from retracting that guarantee. In fact, Hirose said that she's been told by the company that the kiosk's cameras haven't even been turned on yet, but it is also under no obligation to tell the public when the cameras go live." The article concludes that in general the public's sole line of defense is popular outrage, and that privacy policies "have been constructed primarily to guard companies against liability and discourage users from reading closely."

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Android Stagefright Bug Required 115 Patches, Millions Still At Risk
Posted by News Fetcher on July 30 '16 at 12:11 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's 12-months-later department:
eWeek reports that "hundreds of millions of users remain at risk" one year after Joshua Drake discovered the Stagefright Android flaw. Slashdot reader darthcamaro writes: A year ago, on July 27, 2015 news about the Android Stagefright flaw was first revealed with the initial reports claiming widespread impact with a billion users at risk. As it turns out, the impact of Stagefright has been more pervasive...over the last 12 months, Google has patched no less than 115 flaws in Stagefright and related Android media libraries. Joshua Drake, the researcher who first discovered the Stagefright flaw never expected it to go this far. "I expected shoring up the larger problem to take an extended and large effort, but I didn't expect it to be ongoing a year later." Drake believes targeted attacks use Stagefright vulnerabilities on unpatched systems, but adds that Android's bug bounty program appears to be working, paying out $550,000 in its first year.

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Xen Vulnerability Allows Hackers To Escape Qubes OS VM And Own the Host
Posted by News Fetcher on July 30 '16 at 10:41 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's exploit-XSA-182 department:
Slashdot reader Noryungi writes: Qubes OS certainly has an intriguing approach to security, but a newly discovered Xen vulnerability allows a hacker to escape a VM and own the host. If you are running Qubes, make sure you update the dom0 operating system to the latest version.

"A malicious, paravirtualized guest administrator can raise their system privileges to that of the host on unpatched installations," according to an article in IT News, which quotes Xen as saying "The bits considered safe were too broad, and not actually safe." IT News is also reporting that Qubes will move to full hardware memory virtualization in its next 4.0 release. Xen's hypervisor "is used by cloud giants Amazon Web Services, IBM and Rackspace," according to the article, which quotes a Qubes security researcher who asks the age-old question. "Has Xen been written by competent developers? How many more bugs of this caliber are we going to witness in the future?"

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Cisco Finds $34 Million Ransomware Industry
Posted by News Fetcher on July 30 '16 at 10:41 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's crime-doesn't-pay? department:
Ransomware is "generating huge profits," says Cisco. Slashdot reader coondoggie shares this report from Network World:
Enterprise-targeting cyber enemies are deploying vast amounts of potent ransomware to generate revenue and huge profits -- nearly $34 million annually, according to Cisco's Mid-Year Cybersecurity Report out this week. Ransomware, Cisco wrote, has become a particularly effective moneymaker, and enterprise users appear to be the preferred target.

Many of the victims were slow to patch their systems, according to the article. One study of Cisco devices running on fundamental infrastructure discovered that 23% had vulnerabilities dating back to 2011, and 16% even had vulnerabilities dating back to 2009. Popular attack vectors included vulnerabilities in JBoss and Adobe Flash, which was responsible for 80% of the successful attacks for one exploit kit. The article also reports that attackers are now hiding their activities better using HTTPS and TLS, with some even using a variant of Tor.

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The Chip Card Transition In the US Has Been a Disaster
Posted by News Fetcher on July 30 '16 at 09:22 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's ramification department:
Ian Kar, writing for Quartz: Over the last year or so in the U.S., a lot of the plastic credit cards we carry around every day have been replaced by new one with chips embedded in them. The chips are supposed to make your credit and debit cards more secure -- a good thing! -- but there's one little secret no one wants to admit: The U.S.'s transition to chip cards has been an utter disaster. They're confusing to use, painstakingly slow, less secure than the alternatives, and aren't even the best solution for consumers. If you've shopped in a store and used a credit card, you've noticed the change. Retailers have likely asked you to insert the chip into the card reader, instead of swiping. But reading the chip seems to take much longer than just swiping. And on top of that, even though many retailers now have chip reading machines, some of them ask us just the opposite -- they say not to insert the card, and just swipe. It seems like there's no rhyme or reason to the whole thing.

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