By EditorDavid from Slashdot's expect-us-on-IRC department
Softpedia reports that "At the end of April, members of the Anonymous hacker collective announced the launch of the OnionIRC, an internet relay chat network where the group says it aims to teach people about hacking and hacktivism." [Chat logs are available through the @OnionIRC Twitter account.] Classes cover topics like open-source intelligence and how to use nmap and bash, but "The teachers and the main people behind this campaign have been focused more on promoting the principles of hacktivism than anything else...classes on the idea of Anonymous itself, hacktivism in general, and civil disobedience."
An anonymous Slashdot reader writes:
The group's actual hacking activity has died down in the past years, with less "hacks" and more DDoS attacks, which most of the times are carried out by attention-seeking members. Because of this, the group's older members created the OnionIRC as a way to recruit and train new members.
Meanwhile, Softpedia reports that an Anonymous group is now targeting the mayor of Denver for dismantling homeless shelters, by bringing new attention to unconfirmed rumors that he once visited a prostitute.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's certified-charitable department
An anonymous reader writes:Certified ethical hackers at Offensi.com identified a bug allowing remote code execution on one of United Airlines' sites, and submitted their findings to the airline's "bug bounty" program. After a fix was placed into production, their team was awarded 1,000,000 Mileage Plus air miles, which they say was accompanied by an email informing them that the IRS would consider their award as $20,000 of taxable income. "If after evaluating the taxable amount you choose not to accept your award, you are also able to donate your award to charity," the e-mail explained. The hackers ultimately chose to distribute their air miles among three charities -- the Ronald McDonald house, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and the Casa de Esperanza de los Ninos Organization.
Another security researcher complained in November that United failed to close a serious vulnerability he'd identified for almost six months.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's defending-your-rights-in-a-digital-world department
The EFF debated delegates on WIPO's Standing Committee on Copyright this week, joking the whole week could be summarized as "proposals for a broadcasting treaty continue to edge forward, while rich countries remain at loggerheads with users and poorer countries about copyright exceptions for education and libraries."
An anonymous reader writes:
The EFF continued to push for more rights for libraries, for example to preserve "orphaned" works and to lend works across national borders. But they also report that at an EFF-sponsored side-meeting, one independent recording artist made an interesting suggestion about Mycelia, an open and distributed "verified" database of music metadata that's blockchain-enabled. "Although it remains mostly a vision for now, the widespread adoption of Mycelia-enabled services could, in theory, provide better transparency to artists about how and where their works are being used, as well as enabling many new innovative uses of music, both free and paid." (One audience member even asked whether it could resurrect Napster's model of peer-to-peer music-sharing with a mechanism for artist micropayments.)
Meanwhile, the EFF characterized the music industry's stance as "Blaming online content platforms for the low returns that artists receive, and moves to target them with additional responsibilities or obligations." But they added, "As frustrating as the long-winded discussions at WIPO often are, our ability to participate in them is a key advantage that this multilateral forum has over the secretive, closed-door negotiations over copyright that take place in trade negotiations such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's secret-surveillance department
An anonymous reader writes: "Federal agents are planting microphones to secretly record conversations," reports CBS Local, noting that for 10 months starting in 2010, FBI agents hid microphones inside light fixtures, and also at a bus stop outside the Oakland Courthouse, to record conversations without a warrant. "They put microphones under rocks, they put microphones in trees, they plant microphones in equipment," a security analyst and former FBI special agent told CBS Local. "I mean, there's microphones that are planted in places that people don't think about, because thats the intent!" Federal authorities are currently investigating fraud and bid-rigging charges against a group of real estate investors, and the secret recordings came to light when they were submitted as evidence. "Private communication in a public place qualifies as a protected 'oral communication'..." says one of the investor's lawyers, "and therefore may not be intercepted without judicial authorization."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's arrested-developments department
An anonymous reader writes: A director from Microsoft and a former Amazon director have been charged with promoting prostitution after an investigation into Seattle-area sex trafficking, according to a local news report. Investigators say the director of worldwide health for Microsoft submitted over 70 reviews of prostitutes that he had allegedly hired since April 2012, according to the report, while the director of software development at Amazon, who worked on Fire TV, "allegedly hired prostitutes at least 29 times through The Review Board and TheLeague.Net, according to court documents." Both men have pleaded not guilty and are free on $75,000 bail, part of a group of 19 people now facing criminal charges. "These defendants, we allege, were absolutely devoted to the commercial sexual exploitation of vulnerable, powerless immigrant women," King County Prosecutors said in January, adding that the women, who were forced into prostitution to pay off debts to organized crime bosses in Asia, are not being charged.
Last January a Seattle newspaper reported that one alleged brothel owner "previously had made his living off illegal marijuana grows, but moved into prostitution when the drug was legalized."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's 71-year-old-judges department
theodp writes: The problem with Oracle v. Google," explains Motherboard's Sarah Jeong, "is that everyone actually affected by the case knows what an API is, but the whole affair is being decided by people who don't, from the normals in the jury box to the normals at the Supreme Court." Which has Google's witnesses "really, really worried that the jury does not understand nerd shit." Jeong writes, "Eric Schmidt sought to describe APIs and languages using power plugs as an analogy. Jonathan Schwartz tried his hand at explaining with 'breakfast menus,' only to have Judge William Alsup respond witheringly, 'I don't know what the witness just said. The thing about the breakfast menu makes no sense.' "Schwartz's second attempt at the breakfast menu analogy went much better, as he explained that although two different restaurants could have hamburgers on the menu, the actual hamburgers themselves were different -- the terms on the menu were an API, and the hamburgers were implementations." And Schwarz's explanation that the acronym GNU stands for 'GNU is Not Unix' drew the following exchange: "The G part stands for GNU?" Alsup asked in disbelief. "Yes," said Schwartz on the stand. "That doesn't make any sense," said the 71-year-old Clinton appointee.Read Replies (0)
By manishs from Slashdot's moral-dilemma department
An anonymous users shares a Vox report: A group of researchers has released a data set on nearly 70,000 users of the online dating site OkCupid. The data dump breaks the cardinal rule of social science research ethics: It took identifiable personal data without permission. The information -- while publicly available to OkCupid users -- was collected by Danish researchers who never contacted OkCupid or its clientele about using it. The data, collected from November 2014 to March 2015, includes user names, ages, gender, religion, and personality traits, as well as answers to the personal questions the site asks to help match potential mates. The users hail from a few dozen countries around the world. The researchers, Emil Kirkegaard, Oliver Nordbjerg, and Julius Daugbjerg ran software to "scrape" the information off OkCupid's website and then uploaded the data onto the Open Science Framework, an online forum where researchers are encouraged to share raw data to increase transparency and collaboration across social science.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's view-history department
The Wikimedia blog shared a list of their ten longest "featured" articles, highlighting their collection of more than 4,700 articles which have rigorously reviewed before being awarded a gold star icon certifying them as "the best articles Wikipedia has to offer." The ed17 writes: Elvis Presley leads the list, coming in at 17,659 words. In today's strangest juxtaposition, 'History of Poland (1945 - 89)' features just behind. A pope, Michael Jackson, and the Maya civilization also land spots.
The third-longest featured article covers the Manhattan Project, with a majority of the article covering the development of the first nuclear weapons, as well as a discussion about their post-war impact. Among all of their featured articles, Wikimedia calls it "perhaps one of the more controversial."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's terminal-conditions department
An anonymous reader writes: The Chicago Tribune reports on "a growing backlash over extremely long airport security lines," which the Transportation Security Administration is blaming on a loss of 4,622 screeners. "In the past three years, the TSA and Congress cut the number of front-line screeners by 4,622 -- or about 10% -- on expectations that an expedited screening program called PreCheck would speed up the lines. However, not enough people enrolled for TSA to realize the anticipated efficiencies." Passengers in security lines waited one hour and 45 minutes at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, with other airports reporting wait times of 90 minutes, and crowded lines "snaking up and down escalators, or through food courts, and into terminal lobbies." Some flights have even delayed their take-offs just to wait for more of their passengers to clear security. (One Dallas-Fort Worth flight waited 13 minutes, resulting in 23 more passengers who made it onboard -- while another 29 passengers still had to be rescheduled for later flights.) "We encourage people to have the appropriate expectations when they arrive at airports,â said Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on Friday, saying the screenings were necessary to ensure passenger safety. "Contemplate increased wait times as you travel."
Johnson also said the TSA would increase the use of overtime, hire 768 new officers as soon as mid-June, and use more threat-sniffing dogs. Meanwhile, a TSA computer glitch caused 3,000 pieces of luggage to miss their flight in Phoenix, prompting city officials to investigate replacing the TSA with a private security contractor.Read Replies (0)
By manishs from Slashdot's concern-over-privacy department
Many Americans are growing increasingly concerned about privacy and security. According to a survey, almost half of American households with at least one Internet user have been deterred from online activity recently. The online activity includes doing online transactions, banking, and posting things on social media, said the survey of 41,000 households by a Department of Commerce agency. BBC reports: When respondents were asked what concerned them the most about online privacy and security, 63% said identity theft. The respondents, who were allowed to give multiple answers, also cited credit card or banking fraud (45%), data collection by online services (23%), loss of control over personal data (22%) and data collection by the government (18%); 13% also said they were concerned about threats to personal safety. The data suggested 19% of US online households had been affected by an online security breach in the previous year. The NTIA said this represented about 19 million American households.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's blasts-from-the-past department
An anonymous reader writes:
After the new Doom was released yesterday, Vice discovered its SnapMap feature had already been used to recreate one of the levels from the original Doom. "The original Doom thrived on a strong modding community, and id is supporting that tradition here in a great way." Sharing videos for both the old and new versions of the E1 M2 nuclear plant map, Vice also applauded the interface for the new SnapMap tool, which lets users design their own levels, even on consoles. SnapMap includes tools for arranging objects, placing enemies, and even triggering events when a player reaches certain points in a level. "It's incredibly easy to use considering how much you can do, and so far I've had little trouble uploading, downloading, and browsing for user-made levels."
Newegg is also offering a $15 discount code for PC, Xbox One, or PS4 versions.Read Replies (0)
By manishs from Slashdot's apple,-music,-and-disappearance department
Earlier this month, an Apple Music user James Pinkstone claimed that the online music streaming service deleted 122GB of music from his library for no apparent reason. Several Slashdot readers noted they had also faced a similar issue or knew someone who had. The iPhone maker has now acknowledged a bug in iTunes that is apparently causing the glitch, however, it adds that it doesn't really know why "some" users are facing this issue. The Verge reports: The company confirmed that "in an extremely small number of cases, users have reported that music files saved on their computer were removed without their permission." However, Apple was unable to reproduce the bug, indicating it doesn't really know what's going on here. The company adds: We're taking these reports seriously as we know how important music is to our customers and our teams are focused on identifying the cause. We have not been able to reproduce this issue, however, we're releasing an update to iTunes early next week which includes additional safeguards. If a user experiences this issue they should contact AppleCare.Read Replies (0)
By manishs from Slashdot's inside-silicon-valley department
uBeam, a startup which has raised over $25 million for its transmitter that can charge phones, tablets, and other devices wirelessly, is under attack. Paul Reynolds, former VP of engineering at the company has accused the company of making false promises. Reynolds, who has more than 20 years of experience working on ultrasound devices, says uBeam has overstated its technology's capabilities, and there's no way it can deliver anything close to its claim in a working prototype later this year. In fact, he went all the way to call uBeam "the next Theranos". For the uninitiated, uBeam plans to create a charging station which utilizes sound waves to beam power to devices in the same room. The company, which has a team of more than 30 engineers and physicists, has been working on the product since 2011. Some of its investors include Marc Andreessen, Marissa Mayer, and "Shark" Mark Cuban. From an IEEE report: Physicists have long questioned the practicality of uBeam's plans to deliver electricity to mobile devices using ultrasound. Mark Suster, a prominent venture capitalist and uBeam investor has defended uBeam. IEEE report adds: In his article today, Suster writes that when Reynolds was at uBeam, the engineer gave no indication that he had any problems with the company's direction -- implying that the issues raised in Reynolds' blog were essentially out of the blue. uBeam itself has yet to respond to anything Reynolds has written. "Throughout my time working with him he reassured me we could solve the technical challenges and our approach was viable," Suster writes. But Reynolds told IEEE Spectrum that is simply not the case. He says that he was rarely allowed to communicate directly with Suster, on account of Perry's (Editor's note: Meredith Perry is the Founder and CEO at uBeam) management preferences. But Reynolds said that in two meetings with Suster during the summer of 2015, he voiced concerns about what the company was telling investors and reporters it could do.Read Replies (0)