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Experts Crack Petya Ransomware, Enable Hard Drive Decryption For Free
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '16 at 12:11 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's a-day-late-and-a-dollar-short? department:
Reader itwbennett writes: Petya appeared on researchers' radar last month when criminals distributed it to companies through spam emails that masqueraded as job applications. It stood out from other file-encrypting ransomware programs because it overwrites a hard drive's master boot record (MBR), leaving infected computers unable to boot into the operating system. Now, security experts have devised a method that, while not exactly straightforward, allows users to recover data from computers infected with the ransomware without paying money to cyber criminals. Folks over at BleepingComputer have confirmed that the aforementioned technique works.

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Life Expectancy Study: It's Not Just What You Make, It's Where You Live
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '16 at 12:11 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's can-money-lengthen-your-life-span? department:
An anonymous reader shares a report on NPR.org: Poor people who reside in expensive, well-educated cities such as San Francisco tend to live longer than low-income people in less affluent places, according to a study of more than a billion Social Security and tax records. The study, published in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, bolsters what was already well-known -- the poor tend to have shorter lifespans than those with more money. But it also says that among low-income people, big disparities exist in life expectancy from place to place, said Raj Chetty, professor of economics at Stanford University. "There are some places where the poor are doing quite well, gaining just as much in terms of life span as the rich, but there are other places where they're actually going in the other direction, where the poor are living shorter lives today than they did in the past," Chetty said, in an interview with NPR.The New York Times' take on the same study: New York is a city with some of the worst income inequality in the country. But when it comes to inequality of life spans, it's one of the best. Impoverished New Yorkers tend to live far longer than their counterparts in other American cities, according to a detailed new research of Social Security and earnings records published Monday in The Journal of the American Medical Association. They still die sooner than their richer neighbors, but the city's life-expectancy gap was smaller in 2014 than nearly everywhere else, and it has shrunk since 2001 even as gaps grew nationwide. That trend may appear surprising. New York is one of the country's most unequal and expensive cities, where the poor struggle to find affordable housing and the money and time to take care of themselves.

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Google Developers Create API For Direct USB Access Via Web Pages
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '16 at 10:52 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's improved-connectivity department:
An anonymous reader writes: Two Google developers have uploaded an unofficial (for now) draft to the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Incubator Community Group (W3C WICG) that describes a method of interconnecting USB-capable devices to Web pages. The API, called WebUSB, allows device manufacturers to provide special "registry and landing pages" where they can host JavaScript SDKs for their USB-capable devices. Site owners can load these SDKs as iframes inside their websites, and allow a site to access and relay commands (via the iframe to the browser's WebUSB API) to the actual device. To protect privacy and security, the WebUSB API also comes with a CORS-like system that prompts users for access to their devices to avoid abuse and Web-based fingerprinting. The system is also backward compatible with devices created before the standard's approval (if it gets approved).

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Surveillance Cameras Sold On Amazon Found Infected With Malware
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '16 at 10:52 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's why-is-the-red-light-still-on? department:
An anonymous reader shares a report on ZDNet: Security researcher Mike Olsen has warned that some products sold through the Amazon marketplace are harboring a dark secret -- malware. Olsen said in a blog post that while scouring Amazon for a decent set of outdoor surveillance cameras for a friend, he came across a deal for 6 PoE cameras and recording equipment. The seller, Urban Security Group, had generally good reviews and was offering a particular Sony setup on sale. After purchasing the kit, Olsen started setting up the surveillance system, logging into the administrator panel to configure it. [...] Upon investigation, Olsen found that the device was talking to a server with hostname Brenz.pl, which is linked to malware distribution. If the device's firmware links to this domain, malware can be downloaded and installed, potentially leading to unlawful surveillance and data theft.Perhaps the company which made the device didn't realize its source code was compromised. While the aforementioned incident should serve as a reminder to people on why they need to be wary of the product they are purchasing, this isolated occurrence doesn't prove in any way that "plenty" of cameras on Amazon are also infected, as the article and the original blog post are subtly trying to imply.

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Kepler Recovered from Emergency and Stable
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '16 at 10:52 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's this-is-awesome department:
Here's an exciting update on NASA's Kepler, which entered "emergency mode" last week. An anonymous reader points us to a press release on NASA's official website: Mission operations engineers have successfully recovered the Kepler spacecraft from Emergency Mode (EM). On Sunday morning, the spacecraft reached a stable state with the communication antenna pointed toward Earth, enabling telemetry and historical event data to be downloaded to the ground. The spacecraft is operating in its lowest fuel-burn mode. The mission has cancelled the spacecraft emergency, returning the Deep Space Network ground communications to normal scheduling. Once data is on the ground, the team will thoroughly assess all on board systems to ensure the spacecraft is healthy enough to return to science mode and begin the K2 mission's microlensing observing campaign, called Campaign 9. This checkout is anticipated to continue through the week. Earth-based observatories participating in Campaign 9 will continue to make observations as Kepler's health check continues. The K2 observing opportunity for Campaign 9 will end on July 1, when the galactic center is no longer in view from the vantage point of the spacecraft.

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Hacked Swedish Military Servers Used In Attacks On US Banks
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '16 at 09:32 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's just-like-in-movies department:
Reader wiredmikey writes: Swedish military computers were hacked and used in an attack targeting major U.S. banks in 2013, the armed forces said on Monday. The attack knocked out the web sites of as many as 20 major U.S. banks and financial institutions, sometimes for several days. According to Swedish military spokesman Mikael Abramsson, a server in the Swedish defense system had a vulnerability which was exploited by hackers to carry out the attacks. At the time, the attack, which began in 2012 and continued for months, was one of the biggest ever reported. U.S. officials blamed Iran, suggesting it was in retaliation for political sanctions and several earlier cyberattacks on its own systems.

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Microsoft Declares Wholehearted Support For Privacy Shield
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '16 at 08:17 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's dispute-over-what's-right department:
An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft has declared its support for the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield. The proposed legislation to govern data transmission between the EU and U.S. has been the subject of much debate. While acknowledging that more work will need to be done after it is adopted, Microsoft has thrown its support behind Privacy Shield, stating that after careful and detailed review, it 'believes wholeheartedly that it represents an effective framework and should be approved.' Microsoft has pledged to sign up for Privacy Shield, to adhere to its current and future guidelines, and to respond to Microsoft user complaints under Privacy Shield within 45 days. Despite the framework being criticized for its inadequacy, Microsoft supports the Privacy Shield in its current form, and believes that further adjustments should be made after the initial adoption.Microsoft is the first company to sign up for EU-U.S. Privacy Shield pact. The EU privacy regulators are yet to share their views on the deal. According to a recent leak, however, it appears they wouldn't approve it. While this shouldn't stop the commission from making a decision, as Fortune explains, "they can't technically stop the commission issuing its adequacy decision, but they can make life very difficult for companies transferring the data if they think the U.S. doesn't offer adequate protections."

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Top Tech Firms Urged To Step Up Online Abuse Fightback
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '16 at 08:17 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's making-the-Internet-a-peaceful-place department:
An anonymous reader shares a report on The Guardian: Top tech companies are talking to grassroots organisations across the globe to organise a fightback on their platforms against online abuse, hate speech, misogyny and stalking. Facebook, Twitter and Google are reaching out to women's groups, NGOs and communities in Africa, America, India, Europe and the Middle East as the scale of abuse online continues to increase. But their attempts to foster a "counter-speech" movement to challenge the violent misogyny, racism, threats, intimidation and abuse that flood social media platforms have prompted some of the communities they are trying to empower to question whether they are ducking their own responsibilities. Sarah Green, of the End Violence against Women coalition, said: "Any moves by social media companies to support, encourage and empower individuals and groups to resist and counter abuse is very welcome."

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India's Audacious Plan to Bring Digital Banking to 1.2 Billion People
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '16 at 08:17 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's frictionless-mobile-payments department:
Saritha Rai, reporting for Bloomberg: India is trying to yank its cash-based economy into the 21st century. But how do you get 1.2 billion people, many of whom have never seen a bank or opened an account, to send digital payments to each other? The government's answer is an effort it has named the Unified Payment Interface. Debuting Monday, it's a system designed to make transferring and receiving money as easy as exchanging e-mail or text messages. The goal is to bring banking and financial services to hundreds of millions of citizens, many of them poor and disadvantaged, in one fell swoop. The network was created by India's retail banks and backed by India's central bank -- and they're confident it will work because it's built on top of an even more audacious project: India's biometrics-enabled national ID system, called Aadhaar after the Hindi word for foundation.The idea is to make mobile payments and utilization of other services between users with accounts in different banks frictionless. The Aadhaar number, or a virtual address, will serve as the single identifier. This will also allow a person to use several services of a bank without being its customer, explains Forbes India. The UPI app is in phase-I and is operational for a closed user group. The app is expected to be launched for public in the coming months.

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Music Streaming Service Exclusives Make Pirating Tempting Again
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '16 at 06:52 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's subscription-vs-piracy department:
The advent of online music streaming service has made it easier for millions of people worldwide to listen to all of their favorite songs, and convinced plenty to pay for music. But with the space of music streaming service getting increasingly crowded and artists beginning to do exclusive with select platforms, it has again become inconvenient for people to get everything they want with one subscription. The Verge's Ashley Carman writes that this is pushing many people to resort to piracy. Carman writes: Rampant piracy could make a comeback, solely because streaming service exclusives, and complete artist opt-outs, make it impossible to get all music in one place. Last week, Drake dropped two new singles off his upcoming album Views from the 6. The tracks are currently only available on Apple Music. Last month, Kanye West released his newest album The Life of Pablo on Tidal only. It came to Spotify this month after an estimated 500,000 people had already torrented it. Big Sean and Jhen's Aiko released their collaboration album TWENTY88 on only Tidal at first. Beyonce and Nicki Minaj released a Tidal-only music video for Feeling Myself. More than a million people signed up for Tidal over the course of a day just to get Kanye's new album, though it's assumed that most won't stick around. At what cost to listeners are these exclusives being made and where does it leave fans? If users wanted to subscribe to only one service, it would come out to approximately $120 per year. Two services will cost $240, and three services, say, Apple Music, Tidal, and Spotify, will cost $360, which will be a substantial cost to casual listeners.

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Tiger Numbers Rise For First Time In a Century
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '16 at 06:52 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's great-news department:
Brian Clark Howard, writing for National Geographic: At last -- some good news for tigers. Driven largely by conservation successes in India, Russia, and Nepal, the global population of tigers in the wild has shown a significant increase in the past few years, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) reports in a new survey. The report comes as national leaders meet in India to discuss next steps for saving the iconic -- and highly endangered -- species. The study estimates that there are now 3,890 wild tigers, up from 3,200 in 2010, when countries announced a historic commitment to double the population by 2022. Countries appear to be heading toward their goal, and this is the first time tiger numbers have been increasing globally in more than a hundred years. "We're positively surprised by the numbers, which validate what we thought has been happening thanks to conservation efforts," says Ginette Hemley, senior vice president for conservation at WWF.

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Director Brennan: CIA Won't Waterboard Again, Even If Ordered By Future President
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '16 at 06:52 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's central-intelligence-agency department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from MSNBC: CIA Director John Brennan told NBC News in an exclusive interview that his agency will not engage in harsh "enhanced interrogation" practices, including waterboarding, which critics call torture -- even if ordered to by a future president. "I will not agree to carry out some of these tactics and techniques I've heard bandied about because this institution needs to endure," Brennan said. The CIA used waterboarding and other techniques on terrorist suspects after the 9/11 attacks. But in January 2009, President Obama banned the practices in his first few days in office with an executive order. When asked specifically about waterboarding Brennan could not have been clearer. "Absolutely, I would not agree to having any CIA officer carrying out waterboarding again," he said. Donald Trump is a staunch supporter of torture, saying he would bring back waterboarding and "a hell of a lot worse" to retrieve information from potential terrorists. Ted Cruz says he would "not bring [waterboarding] back in any sort of widespread use" by rank and file soldiers and agents, but as President he would "use whatever enhanced interrogation methods to keep this country safe."

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Slashdot Asks: It's Been a Year Since Apple Watch Release, What's Your Thought On It?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '16 at 05:41 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's who-wears-a-watch-anymore? department:
In an op-ed, Quartz's Mike Murphy writes that Apple Watch, the Cupertino-based company's first wearable device, hasn't been the success the company was hoping it to be. Apple unveiled the Apple Watch alongside the iPhone 6 at a media conference in September 2014. It wasn't, however, until April 2015 that the company began selling it. The Apple Watch has received a mixed response from people. While some have found the design premium-looking, almost everyone has complained about the battery life. Many have found the health-centric features of Apple Watch useful. though the lack of apps, in general, is a downer for many Apple, which usually doesn't miss boasting sales number, remains tight-lipped on exactly how many Apple Watch units it has sold. Murphy writes: Every Apple product in the last 15 years or so has been two things: desirable and useful. They've made it easier for people to be creative, listen to a lot of music on the go, communicate with anyone in the world or find out any piece of information wherever they are. The Apple Watch looks good, but from a desirability perspective, some argue that the most interesting thing about it has been the collaborations it has had with Hermes, rather than the watch itself. Apple has always prided itself on 'thinking different', and has stood out by creating differentiating products. But different in the case of the Apple Watch right now just means "weird." Apple probably doesn't want a product where using one gets you referred to as "that guy." Do you own an Apple Watch? If not, are you planning to purchase one? Those who own it, what features do you like in the Apple Watch that you think other watches cannot offer.

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Syrian Government Hacked, 43GB of Data Spilled Online By Hacktivists
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '16 at 04:12 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's becoming-a-daily-occurrence department:
An anonymous reader writes: On April 6, a hacking outfit going by the name of Cyber Justice Team leaked data from multiple Syrian government and private websites. The leak includes the password file from the breached server, along with MySQL host permissions, admin passwords, and a link to the 10GB compressed file, uploaded to the file sharing site MEGA. While some of the data seems to be from older data breaches, some of it is also new. This is one of the biggest leaks of Syrian government data, a regime that has remained protected against such threats due to an aggressive cyber-policy. The government has been known to secretly back the Syrian Electronic Army hacker group, who the US government recently indicted (3 members at least).

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Academics Claim Google Android 2FA Is Breakable
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '16 at 01:32 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's two-factor-authentication department:
totalcaos writes: Attackers who control the [browser on the] PC of a user consuming Google services (Gmail, Google+ etc) can surreptitiously push and activate apps on the user's mobile device, bypassing SMS-based two-factor authentication (2FA) via the phone. How Anywhere Computing Just Killed Your Phone-Based Two-Factor Authentication is a paper that explains the wider issues of phone-based 2FA. Herbert Boss, professor of systems and security at Vrije Unversiteit Amsterdam, who co-authored the mobile security paper with the two PhD students, disclosed the vulnerability to Google but they "still [refuse] to fix it."

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Google Fiber Drops Free Basic Service In Its Original City
Posted by News Fetcher on April 10 '16 at 09:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's nothing-is-free department:
An anonymous reader writes: When Google Fiber first rolled out in Kansas City, it offered a free 5Mbps service if you were willing to pay a construction fee. As of recent, Google has quietly dropped that free tier in its first Fiber area, and has replaced it with a 100Mbps option that costs $50 per month. Anyone using the free tier has until May 19th to say they want to keep it. Note: Google will still offer the free service in low-income areas. Google Fiber customers in Austin and Provo still have the choice of the free internet option; Atlanta never had it to start with. Recode suggests this may reflect a broader change in strategy: Google has fiercer competition from incumbent carriers, so it may have to offer a fast-but-affordable selection to get those customers for whom the gigabit option is either too costly or sheer overkill.

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SpaceX Delivers World's First Inflatable Room For Astronauts
Posted by News Fetcher on April 10 '16 at 06:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's Priority-Mail department:
An anonymous reader writes: The SpaceX Dragon cargo ship which launched from Cape Canaveral on Friday delivered the world's first inflatable room for astronauts. It arrived at the ISS on Sunday after station astronauts used a robot arm to capture the Dragon, orbiting 250 miles above Earth. The compartment should swell to the size of a small bedroom once filled with air next month. It will be attached to the space station this Saturday, but won't be inflated until the end of May. NASA envisions inflatable habitats in a couple decades at Mars, while Bigelow Aerospace aims to launch a pair of inflatable space stations in just four years for commercial lease. Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) will be restricted from the six on-board astronauts while NASA tests the chamber to see how it performs. The rocket used to launch the cargo ship successfully landed on a floating drone ship for the first time ever. It was the second time SpaceX successfully landed one of its rockets post-launch; the first time was in December, when the company's Falcon 9 rocket touched down at a ground-based landing site at Cape Canaveral, Florida, after putting a satellite into space.

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Seattle Police Raid Tor-Using Privacy Activists
Posted by News Fetcher on April 10 '16 at 04:01 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Tor-nado department:
Frosty Piss writes: Seattle police raided the home of two outspoken privacy activists early on March 30th. Jan Bultmann and David Robinson, a married couple and co-founders of the Seattle Privacy Coalition, were awakened at 6:15 a.m. by a team of six detectives from the Seattle Police Department who had a search warrant to examine their equipment. They claimed to be looking for child pornography, however Bultmann and Robinson believe the raid is because they run a Tor exit node out of their home. They said they operated the node as a service to dissidents in repressive countries, knowing full well that criminals might use it as well, much like any other communication tool. The Seattle Police Department acknowledged that no child porn was found, no assets were seized, and no arrests were made.
Seattle's blog The Stranger notes that the FBI has conducted many other Tor raids across the country, and Friday quoted a tweet from the co-founder of Seattle's Center for Open Policing addressing the police. "You knew about the Tor node, but didn't mention it in warrant application. Y'all pulled a fast one on the judge... you knew the uploader could have been literally anyone in the world."

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G-7 Leaders At Hiroshima To Urge More Visits to Nuclear Bombsites
Posted by News Fetcher on April 10 '16 at 02:42 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's ghost-of-Harry-Truman department:
An anonymous reader writes: Sunday leaders from the G-7 countries gathered in Hiroshima Sunday, a gesture which the Japanese government hopes will send a message of peace and nuclear nonproliferation. The seven world leaders will first honor the dead at Hiroshima Peace Park and visit an atomic bomb museum, which the Associated Press calls "a dream come true for many surviving victims, who have for decades campaigned to bring leaders of nuclear states to Hiroshima to see the damage." In addition, Japan hopes that the world leaders will also issue a "Hiroshima Declaration," which reportedly will call for more transparency about stockpiles of nuclear weapons, but also more visits to Hiroshima and Nagasaki by both world leaders and young people.

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3D Printers Create Sound-Wave Rings And A Wedding Dress
Posted by News Fetcher on April 10 '16 at 01:22 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's one-sound-to-rule-them-all department:
An anonymous reader writers: A Japanese company is using a 3D printer to generate unique rings shaped like the sound wave of each customer's voice. They generate the digital designs from three-second recordings that customers upload to their web site, and can print out the $300 rings in different colors and sizes, using either silver, gold, or 14K rose paint. 3Ders.org points out that another jeweler can now actually print a ring shaped like a customer's face, while a fashion designer in Sri Lanka teamed up with a 3D printing company for an even romantic product: a wedding dress. "The ultimate result of this was a super excited bride that not only had an especially memorable day but walked down the aisle with the only dress of its kind in the country."

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