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VPN Provider Removes Russian Presence After Servers Seized
Posted by News Fetcher on July 12 '16 at 06:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's master-key department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Stack: VPN provider Private Internet Access has pulled out of Russia in the wake of new internet surveillance legislation in the country. The company claims that some of its Russian servers were seized by the government as punishment for not complying with the rules, which ask providers to log and hold all Russian internet traffic and session data for up to a year. Upon learning of the federal action, the company immediately removed its Russian availability and announced that it would no longer be operating in the region. "We believe that due to the enforcement regime surrounding this new law, some of our Russian Servers (RU) were recently seized by Russian Authorities, without notice or any type of due process," wrote Private Internet Access in a blog post. The company advises users to update their desktop clients. They also noted that its manual configurations now support the "strongest new encryption algorithms including AES-256, SHA-256, and RSA-4096." Putin has given Federal Security Agents two weeks to produce "encryption keys" for the internet.

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Sega Saturn's DRM Cracked Almost 23 Years After Launch
Posted by News Fetcher on July 12 '16 at 06:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's two-decades-later department:
An anonymous reader writes from a report via Gamasutra: The Sega Saturn's DRM has finally been cracked after it hit store shelves nearly 23 years ago in November 1994. Engineer James Laird-Wah first set forth to break through the console's copy protection in an attempt to harness its chiptune capabilities. Laird-Wah has, however, developed a way to run games and other software from a USB stick in the process. Since disc drive failure is a common fault with the game console, his method circumvents the disc drive altogether, instead reworking the Video CD Slot so it can take games stored on a USB stick and run them directly through the Saturn's CD Block. "This is now at the point where, not only can it boot and run games, I've finished just recently putting in audio support, so it can play audio tracks," explained Laird-Wah, speaking to YouTuber debuglive. "For the time being, I possess the only Saturn in the world that's capable of writing files to a USB stick. There's actually, for developers of home-brew, the ability to read and write files on the USB stick that's attached to the device.

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Leaky Database Leaves Oklahoma Police, Bank Vulnerable To Intruders
Posted by News Fetcher on July 12 '16 at 04:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's exposed-database department:
blottsie quotes a report from The Daily Dot: A leaky database has exposed the physical security of multiple Oklahoma Department of Public Safety facilities and at least one Oklahoma bank. The vulnerability -- which has reportedly been fixed -- was revealed on Tuesday by Chris Vickery, a MacKeeper security researcher who this year has revealed numerous data breaches affecting millions of Americans. The misconfigured database, which was managed by a company called Automation Integrated, was exposed for at least a week, according to Vickery, who said he spoke to the company's vice president on Saturday. Reached on Tuesday, however, an Automation Integrated employee said "no one" in the office was aware of the problem. Vickery was able to retrieve images of various doors, locks, RFID access panels, and the controller board of an alarm system all of which could be previously accessed without a username or password. The database also contained "details on the make, model, location, warranty coverage, and even whether or not the unit was still functional," Vickery said. What's worse is that Automated Integration is far from the only company whose database are left exposed online. "I have a constantly fluctuating list of 50 to 100 similar breaches that need to be reported," he said. "This one just happened to involve a security-related company and government buildings, so it got bumped to the top of my list."

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Vulnerability Exploitable Via Printer Protocols Affects All Windows Versions
Posted by News Fetcher on July 12 '16 at 04:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's nobody-left-behind department:
An anonymous reader writes from a report via Softpedia: "Microsoft patched today a critical security vulnerability in the Print Spooler service that allows attackers to take over devices," reports Softpedia. "The vulnerability affects all Windows versions ever released. [Security firm Vectra discovered the vulnerability (CVE-2016-3238), which Microsoft fixed in MS16-087.] At its core, the issue resides in how Windows handles printer driver installations and how end users connect to printers. By default, in corporate networks, network admins allow printers to deliver the necessary drivers to workstations connected to the network. These drivers are silently installed without any user interaction and run under the SYSTEM user, with all the available privileges." An attacker can hack printers and replace these files with his own. The vulnerability is exploitable from both the local network, but also from the internet, thanks to protocols like Internet Printing Protocol or the webPointNPrint. The exploit can be delivered via ads or JavaScript code inside a compromised website. The vulnerability is actually an OS design issue and affects all Windows versions ever released. Microsoft also announced today plans to make its recently renamed Windows 10 Enterprise product available as a subscription for $7 per user per month, or $84 per year.

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FBI Has Collected 430,000 Iris Scans In 'Pilot Program'
Posted by News Fetcher on July 12 '16 at 03:13 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's privacy-protections department:
An anonymous reader writes from a report via The Verge: The Verge has obtained documents that reveal the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department has been collecting iris data from at least 200,000 arrestees over the last two and a half years. The department was collecting an average of 189 iris scans each day in the early months of 2016. The activity is part of a larger pilot program organized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. "Since its launch in 2013, the program has stockpiled iris scans from 434,000 arrestees, an FBI spokesperson confirmed," reports The Verge. Through information-sharing agreements with various other agencies across the country, the new national biometric database stretches the traditional boundaries of a pilot program, and just barely stays out of reach of privacy mandates. The Verge reports: "A 2013 memo signed by representatives from the FBI and California Department of Justice summarizes responsibilities. At that time, according to the memo, the FBI had more than 30,000 images but did not have a way to search through them. The length of the California program was to be kept at one year, and reassessed after, but the documents show the partnership has been renewed every year since. The FBI would not comment on numbers from any particular source. However, 'operations reports' obtained by The Verge through the California Public Records Act requests the catalogue of the program's progress and suggest the state has been a major asset in the construction of the database. A document dated February of this year lists more than a quarter of a million 'enrollments' in the database from the California Department of Justice. In both 2014 and 2015, according to the document, more than 100,000 records were added to the system. Those scans are sent to the FBI by the California Justice Department, which in turn receives them from three counties: Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside. Despite its relatively small population, the documents show San Bernardino County made more than 190,000 enrollments alone since 2014, far outpacing Los Angeles and Riverside counties." The pilot program has no privacy impact assessment "because the pilot was conducted with very limited participation for a limited period of time in order to evaluate iris technology," an FBI representative told The Verge. The vast majority of the 430,000 enrollments were added after that determination was made. The bureau is reportedly in the process of creating a privacy impact assessment but there's no word as to when that will be complete. In June, the Government Accountability Office published a report that says the FBI has access to hundreds of millions of photos.

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Honda Unveils First Hybrid Motor Without Heavy Rare Earth Metals
Posted by News Fetcher on July 12 '16 at 03:13 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's rare-earth-metals department:
An anonymous reader writes: Honda has unveiled its new hybrid motor this week that doesn't use heavy rare earth metals like dysprosium and terbium -- though it still does contain neodymium. The motor was co-developed alongside Daido Steel and will use their magnets in replace of the rare earth metals because they cost 10 percent less and weigh 8 percent less. Honda is the first automaker to develop a hybrid motor that doesn't use heavy rare earth metals. The company says the new engines will reduce its reliance on the metals that are primarily supplied by China. They're expected to make their debut in the compact Freed minivan this fall, a vehicle that is already on the road in Asia.

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Linus Torvalds In Sweary Rant About Punctuation In Kernel Comments
Posted by News Fetcher on July 12 '16 at 01:56 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's how-to-write-comments department:
An anonymous reader shares a report on The Register: Linus Torvalds has unleashed a sweary rant on the Linux Kernel Mailing List, labelling some members "brain-damaged" for their preferred method of punctuating comments. "Can we please get rid of the brain-damaged stupid networking comment syntax style, PLEASE?" the Linux Lord asked last Friday. "If the networking people cannot handle the pure awesomeness that is a balanced and symmetric traditional multi-line C style comments, then instead of the disgusting unbalanced crap that you guys use now, please just go all the way to the C++ mode."Torvalds despises the following two comment-punctuation styles (with his comments):/* This is disgusting drug-induced* crap, and should die
*/ and:/* This is also very nasty
* and visually unbalanced */Torvalds prefers the following two styles:/* This is a comment */ and:/*
* This is also a comment, but it can now be cleanly
* split over multiple lines
*/

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NBC Universal Patents a Way To Detect BitTorrent Pirates In Real-Time
Posted by News Fetcher on July 12 '16 at 01:56 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's lost-revenue department:
An anonymous reader writes: NBC Universal has been granted a patent, titled "Early detection of high volume peer-to-peer networks in real-time," to try and restrict piracy of its copyrighted content. "Early detection of high volume swarms in a peer-to-peer network, including a data feed of peer-to-peer swarm activity, and an analytics engine processing the data feed and identifying the high volume swarms that have parameters that exceed a threshold. The system can include a pre-processing section for conditioning the swarm data for the analytics section. There can also be a verification section that confirms that the peer download file matches the target file," notes the patent document issued by USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office). "The early detection provides for enhanced anti-piracy efforts, improved allocation of network resources, and better business decision-making," it adds. NBC Universal says that the "P2P infrastructure has many advantages" but it has also led to abuses. Piracy is estimated to cost content owners billions of dollars annually. "These costs are typically passed along to the consuming public in terms of increased costs for legitimate purchased works and higher charges for increased deterrents to the piracy," NBC Universal added. The patent NBC Universal received was applied for back in 2009, but only granted last week.

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Researchers Found a Hacking Tool that Targets Energy Grids on the Dark Web
Posted by News Fetcher on July 12 '16 at 12:31 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's security-threats department:
An anonymous reader writes: A sophisticated piece of government-made malware, designed to do reconnaissance on energy grid's system ahead of an eventual cyberattack on critical infrastructure, was found on a dark web hacking forum. SentinelOne's researchers believe the malware was created by a team of hackers working for a government, likely from eastern Europe, according to a report published on Tuesday. Udi Shamir, chief security officer at SentinelOne, said that it's normal to find reused code and malware on forums because "nobody tries to reinvent the wheel again and again and again." But in this case, "it was very surprising to see such a sophisticated sample" appear in hacking forums, he told Motherboard in a phone interview.

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How Technology Disrupted the Truth
Posted by News Fetcher on July 12 '16 at 12:31 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's journalism-2016-edition department:
A day after the Brexit, former UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage admitted he had misled the public on a key issue. He admitted that UK's alleged 350M Euro weekly contribution to the EU would not be directed to the National Health Service, and that this commitment was never made official. Journalists worldwide tweeted photos of the campaign ads -- posted in conspicuous places like the sides of buses -- debunking the lie. This incident illustrates the need for more political fact-checking as a public service, to enable the voters to make more informed and rational decisions about matters affecting their daily lives. Fact-checking is supposed to be a part of the normal journalistic process. When gathering information, a journalist should verify its accuracy. The work is then vetted by an editor, a person with more professional experience who may correct or further amend some of the information. A long-form article on The Guardian today underscores the challenges publications worldwide are facing today -- most of them don't have the luxury to afford a fact-checker (let alone a team of fact-checkers), and the advent of social media and forums and our reliance (plenty of people get their news on social media now) have made it increasingly difficult to vet the accuracy of anything that is being published. From The Guardian article:When a fact begins to resemble whatever you feel is true, it becomes very difficult for anyone to tell the difference between facts that are true and "facts" that are not.Global Voices' adds:But the need for fact-checking hasn't gone away. As new technologies have spawned new forms of media which lend themselves to the spread of various kinds of disinformation, this need has in fact grown. Much of the information that's spread online, even by news outlets, is not checked, as outlets simply copy-past -- or in some instances, plagiarize -- "click-worthy" content generated by others. Politicians, especially populists prone to manipulative tactics, have embraced this new media environment by making alliances with tabloid tycoons or by becoming media owners themselves. The other issue is that many people do not care about the source of the information, and it has become increasingly hard to tell whether a news article you saw on your Facebook is credible or not. This, coupled with how social networking websites game the news feed to show you what you are likely to find interesting as opposed to giving you news from trustworthy sources, has made things even worse. As you may remember, Facebook recently noted that it is making changes to algorithms to show you updates from friends instead of news articles from publications you like. The Guardian adds:Algorithms such as the one that powers Facebook's news feed are designed to give us more of what they think we want -- which means that the version of the world we encounter every day in our own personal stream has been invisibly curated to reinforce our pre-existing beliefs. [...] In the news feed on your phone, all stories look the same -- whether they come from a credible source or not. And, increasingly, otherwise-credible sources are also publishing false, misleading, or deliberately outrageous stories.

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Cops Warn Pokemon Go Players: Please Don't Trespass To Catch 'em All
Posted by News Fetcher on July 12 '16 at 11:01 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's common-sense department:
An anonymous reader shares an Ars Technica report:Law enforcement agencies around the globe are reminding citizens to obey trespassing laws and follow common sense when playing Pokemon Go. The new crazy-popular mobile game has led to some frightening results in recent days, such as the location of a dead body and robberies of players in Missouri. Now, San Francisco Police Department Captain Raj Vaswani warned in one online posting for players to "obey traffic laws, please. Do not run into trees, meters, and things that are attached to the sidewalk; they hurt," he said. "Do not drive or ride your bike / skateboard / hipster techie device while interacting with the app. Know where your kids are going when playing with the app, set limits on where they can go, so they don't keep going trying to get that Pokemon."

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FBI Agent: Decrypting Data 'Fundamentally Alters' Evidence
Posted by News Fetcher on July 12 '16 at 11:01 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's fundamentals-201 department:
Joseph Cox, reporting for Motherboard: An FBI agent has brought up an interesting question about the nature of digital evidence: Does decrypting encrypted data "fundamentally alter" it, therefore contaminating it as forensic evidence? According to a hearing transcript filed last week, FBI Special Agent Daniel Alfin suggested just that. The hearing was related to the agency's investigation into dark web child pornography site Playpen. In February 2015, the FBI briefly assumed control of Playpen and delivered its users a network investigative technique (NIT) -- or a piece of malware -- in an attempt to identify the site's visitors. [...] According to experts called by the defense in the affected case, the fact that the data was unencrypted means there is a chance that sensitive, identifying information of people who had not been convicted of a crime was being sent over the internet, and could have been manipulated. (Alfin paints this scenario as unlikely, saying that an attacker would have to know the IP address the FBI was using, have some sort of physical access to the suspect's computer to learn his MAC address, and other variables.)

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XDedic, Underground Market For Hacked Servers, Resurfaces On Tor Domain
Posted by News Fetcher on July 12 '16 at 09:42 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's security-woes department:
Reader msm1267 writes: The defunct xDedic marketplace has resurfaced again, this time on a Tor network domain. The marketplace provides a platform for buying and selling of hacked servers. Its original open web domain, xdedic[,]biz, had disappeared shortly after a June 15 Kaspersky Lab report on its activities. The original market had upwards of 70,000 hacked servers for sale from more than 400 unique sellers. It's unknown how much inventory is being peddled on the new site, which was uncovered by researchers at Digital Shadows, who found a post on a Russian and French criminal forum pointing to a Tor domain as the new home of xDedic. The new site has the same look and feel as the old one, but Digital Shadows said accounts had not been transferred, and that there is now a $50 USD enrollment fee to join the new market.

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Bernie Sanders Endorses Hillary Clinton
Posted by News Fetcher on July 12 '16 at 09:42 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's crossing-paths department:
It's official. U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders on Tuesday endorsed former presidential rival Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee ahead of the party's July convention. Sanders said Clinton will make an outstanding president and that he is proud to stand with her. "Hillary Clinton understands that if someone in America works 40 hours a week, that person should not be living in poverty," Sanders added. CNN reports: "I have come here to make it as clear as possible why I am endorsing Hillary Clinton and why she must become our next president," Sanders said at a joint rally here. "Secretary Clinton has won the Democratic nomination and I congratulate her for that." The 74-year-old self-described democratic socialist, who has been a thorn in Clinton's side over the last year, pledged his support to his former rival: "I intend to do everything I can to make certain she will be the next president of the United States." Clinton, speaking after Sanders, declared: "We are joining forces to defeat Donald Trump!" "I can't help but say how much more enjoyable this election is going to be when we are on the same side," she said. "You know what? We are stronger together!" Full remarks of Sanders can be found on this blog post.

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Microsoft Announces Surface as a Service, Windows 10 Enterprise E3 for $7 Per User Per Month
Posted by News Fetcher on July 12 '16 at 08:22 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's all-about-Microsoft department:
Mary Jo Foley, reporting for ZDNet: Microsoft plans to make its recently renamed Windows 10 Enterprise product available as a subscription for $7 per user per month, or $84 per year. Microsoft took the wraps off the pricing of one of the two renamed versions of Windows 10 Enterprise at the company's Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto on July 12. Windows 10 Enterprise E3 is the name of the lower-end of two different versions of Windows 10 Enterprise. Windows 10 Enterprise E5 is the new name of the Windows 10 Enterprise version that also will include Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection, a new Microsoft service for detecting and responding to attacks. Microsoft announced the renaming of Windows 10 Enterprise last week, and said the E3 and E5 versions will also be available as part of "Secure Productive Enterprise" bundles.Microsoft also announced a subscription service for Surface tablet. The company says that its Cloud Solution Providers and Surface Authorized Distributors can now sell Surface as a Service.

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Clinton: It's 'Heartbreaking' When IT Workers Must Train H-1B Replacements
Posted by News Fetcher on July 12 '16 at 08:22 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's fixing-things department:
dcblogs writes: Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, on Monday criticized the replacement of U.S. IT workers with foreign labor but stopped short of offering a plan to fix it. In a videotaped interview with Vox, Clinton appears empathetic and sympathetic to IT workers who have trained their foreign replacements as a condition of severance. She mentioned IT layoffs at Disney, specifically. "The many stories of people training their replacements from some foreign country are heartbreaking, and it is obviously a cost-cutting measure to be able to pay people less than what you would pay an American worker," said Clinton in the interview. Keith Barrett, a former IT worker Disney who was among those replaced by contractors, was not happy with Clinton's comments."She starts off as if she understands the problem, but then dismisses it as collateral damage not of significant volume to address, and blends in the problem of illegal immigrant labor, which is mostly working in unskilled labor," said Barrett.

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PC Shipments Return To Growth In the US
Posted by News Fetcher on July 12 '16 at 07:01 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's people-are-buying-PCs-again department:
PC shipments are seeing a welcome growth in the United States. The industry, which has seen a continual decline in the sales in the past few consecutive quarters, is now seemingly gaining some momentum in the United States, according to independent findings by marketing research firms IDC and Gartner. According to IDC, the PC shipments have increased by 4.9%, whereas Gartner says it has observed a 1.4% growth. From a report on The Verge: The estimates differ because Gartner does not count Chromebooks as part of its figures, while IDC cites Google's laptops as a key reason for US growth. [...] Worldwide, PC shipments are still on a decline. Gartner estimates a 5.2 percent drop, and IDC calculates around a 4.5 percent decrease in shipments. Microsoft's free Windows 10 upgrade comes to an end on July 29th, and IDC believes it may prompt some PC users into buying new machines. Gartner also forecasts a Windows 10 hardware refresh for businesses, that it expects to see "more toward the end of 2016 to the beginning of 2017."

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Pokemon Go Was Never Able To Read Your Email
Posted by News Fetcher on July 12 '16 at 07:01 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's setting-the-records-straight department:
Last week a security researcher noted that Pokemon Go's iOS app -- for whatever reason -- was gleaning complete hold of one's Google account. But is that really the case? Gizmodo contacted Adam Reeve, the security researcher in question (who also happens to be a former senior engineering manager at Tumblr) to get more details on his claims, upon which Reeve, now Principal Architect at Red Owl Analytics, said he wasn't "100 percent sure" his blog was true. From the report: Cybersecurity expert and CEO of Trail of Bits Dan Guido has also cast serious doubt on Reeve's claim, saying Google tech support told him "full account access" does not mean a third party can read or send or send email, access your files or anything else Reeve claimed. It means Niantic can only read biographical information like email address and phone number.In a statement, Google tech support said:In this case, we checked that the Full account access permission refers to most of the My account settings. Specific actions such as sending emails, modifying folders, etc, require explicit permissions to that service (the permission will say "Has access to Gmail")Niantic, the company behind Pokemon Go app also assures that its app doesn't access anyone's email. Moreover, it is working with Google to ensure that only a user's profile data is accessed by the app. In a statement to Gizmodo, the company said:We recently discovered that the Pokemon GO account creation process on iOS erroneously requests full access permission for the user's Google account. However, Pokemon GO only accesses basic Google profile information (specifically, your User ID and email address) and no other Google account information is or has been accessed or collected. Once we became aware of this error, we began working on a client-side fix to request permission for only basic Google profile information, in line with the data that we actually access. Google has verified that no other information has been received or accessed by Pokemon GO or Niantic. Google will soon reduce Pokemon GO's permission to only the basic profile data that Pokemon GO needs, and users do not need to take any actions themselves.Perhaps people should be more careful about the accusations they make.

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Warner Bros. Settles FTC Charge For Not Disclosing Payments To YouTubers For Positive Reviews
Posted by News Fetcher on July 12 '16 at 05:41 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's no-surprise department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: The Federal Trade Commission has reached a settlement with Warner Bros. over claims that the publisher failed to disclose that it had paid prominent YouTubers for positive coverage of one of its video games. The FTC charge stated that Warner Bros. deceived customers by paying thousands of dollars to social media "influencers," including YouTube megastar PewDiePie, to cover Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor without announcing that money had changed hands. Under the terms of the agreement, Warner Bros. is banned from failing to disclose similar deals in the future, and cannot pretend that sponsored videos and articles are actually the work of independent producers. Warner Bros.' deal with the influencers involved stated that they had to make at least one tweet or Facebook post about the game, as well as produce videos with a string of caveats to avoid showing it in a negative light. Those videos could not express negative opinions about the game or Warner Bros. itself, could not show any glitches or bugs, and must include "a strong verbal call-to-action to click the link in the description box for the viewer to go to the [game's] website to learn more about the [game], to learn how they can register, and to learn how to play the game," according to Ars Technica. Influencers were advised to disclose the video's sponsored status under YouTube's "Show More" section, but some did not, and the FTC says this would not have been enough to skirt the rules anyway, as the disclaimer would not have been visible on videos watched through Twitter, Facebook, or other social media sources.

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Study Shows Thumb-Sucking and Nail-Biting Can Be Good For Kids
Posted by News Fetcher on July 12 '16 at 03:02 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's positive-reinforcement department:
HughPickens.com writes: Perri Klass M.D. writes in the NYT that according to a new study of children aged 5 to 11, thumb-suckers and nail-biters were less likely to have positive allergic skin tests later in life. In the study, parents were asked about their children's nail-biting and thumb-sucking habits when the children were 5, 7, 9 and 11 years old. skin testing for allergic sensitization to a range of common allergens including dust mites, grass, cats, dogs, horses and common molds was done when the children were 13 years old, and then later when they were 32. The study found that children who frequently sucked a thumb or bit their nails were significantly less likely to have positive allergic skin tests both at 13 and again at 32. Children with both habits were even less likely to have a positive skin test than those with only one of the habits. The question of such a connection arose because of the so-called hygiene hypothesis, an idea originally formulated in 1989, that there may be a link between atopic disease -- the revved-up action of the immune system responsible for eczema, asthma and allergy -- and a lack of exposure to various microbes early in life. Some exposure to germs, the argument goes, may help program a child's immune system to fight disease, rather than develop allergies. "The hygiene hypothesis is interesting because it suggests that lifestyle factors may be responsible for the rise in allergic diseases in recent decades," says Robert J. Hancox. "Obviously hygiene has very many benefits, but perhaps this is a downside. The hygiene hypothesis is still unproven and controversial, but this is another piece of evidence that it could be true." Although the results do not suggest that kids should take up these habits, the findings do suggest the habits help protect against allergies that persist into adulthood.

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