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Free Software Will Help Detect Faulty and Malicious USB-C Cables
Posted by News Fetcher on April 13 '16 at 08:02 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's say-no-to-bad-cables-and-accessories department:
Reader Mickeycaskill writes: The USB 3.0 Promoter Group, of which HP, Intel and Microsoft are members, has developed authentication protocols for USB-C and will offer free software to detect faulty or malicious cables.This tool will alert users if they are using a non-authenticated cable. It has been suggested that hardware manufacturers could ship devices with an authentication system already installed. It is hoped that the specification will help end a number of recent incidents where sub-standard cables have either ripped off buyers or damaged devices. Most recently, Amazon said it would be adding USB-C cables and adapters that do not comply with standard regulations to its list of prohibited electronics items.

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FBI Paid Professional Hackers One-Time Fee To Crack San Bernardino iPhone
Posted by News Fetcher on April 13 '16 at 08:02 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's fbi-vs-apple department:
There's another new wrinkle in the never-ending FBI vs Apple saga. The Washington Post is claiming that FBI did not require Cellebrite's assistance in hacking San Bernardino iPhone. Instead, the report claims, the government intelligence organization bought a previously unknown security bug from a group of professional hackers. According to the report, the hacker group provided FBI with at least one zero-day flaw in the iPhone 5c's security, which enabled FBI to circumvent the lockscreen and other security features. The bug hasn't been disclosed. FBI has previously noted that the technique it utilized in breaking into the iPhone 5c does not work with any new iPhone models (iPhone 5s or newer).

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Amazon Kindle Oasis With 'Months' of Battery Life, Redesigned Body Launched
Posted by News Fetcher on April 13 '16 at 06:43 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's affinity-for-ebook-readers department:
Amazon, on Wednesday, announced the Kindle Oasis, the company's latest addition to its ebook reader offering. The Kindle Oasis offers a range of improvements and changes over the Kindle Paperwhite. Mashable's Lance Ulanoff writes, "[The company has] essentially discarded the previous design in favor of a paper-thin display attached to a somewhat thicker side grip." Elaborating: First of all, the 6-inch screen is close to square. Second of all, it no longer sits in the center of the device. And thirdly, the screen is now an insane 3.4-mm thick. Yes, that is as thin as you think it is. Amazon's Oasis e-reader even marks the return of buttons to the design.As for the specifications, the Kindle Oasis sports a 6-inch display of 300ppi screen resolution, and 10 LEDs for "enhanced page consistency." Instead of "weeks"-long battery life, Amazon is promising "months" of usage on a single charge with Oasis thanks to the cover that ships with it and doubles as a rechargeable battery. It starts at $289.99 (Wi-Fi-only edition and with "advertisements that appear when you wake up the reader"), and goes all the way up to $379 (Wi-Fi + 3G, and no ads).

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Obama: The Word 'Classified' Means Whatever We Need It To Mean
Posted by News Fetcher on April 13 '16 at 05:11 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's it-is-what-it-is department:
An anonymous reader writes: During an interview with Fox News, President Obama said "There's classified, and then there's classified" when trying to answer questions about an ongoing investigation about Hillary Clinton and her emails. Techdirt writes, "Clinton sent, received and stored classified info on a private email server. But some classified info is more equal than others. It all depends on who has it and how the current administration feels about that person. Clinton playing fast and loose with classified info is subject to an entirely different standard than the large number of whistleblowers the Obama administration has prosecuted over the years." President Obama said in an interview broadcast on Sunday that while Hillary Clinton had been careless in managing her emails as secretary of state, she would never intentionally do anything to endanger the country. Obama says, "There's stuff that is really top-secret, and there's stuff that is being presented to the president or the secretary of state that you might not want on the transom, or going out over the wire, but is basically stuff that you could get in open-source." Basically, classification means all things to all people, as long as it allows officials and agencies to control narratives and disrupt public accountability.

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Facebook's Account Kit Login System Works Via Phone Numbers, No Passwords Needed
Posted by News Fetcher on April 13 '16 at 02:31 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's can-I-have-your-number? department:
An anonymous reader writes: At this year's F8 developer conference, Facebook announced a new tool called Account Kit, which can be used by app developers to support phone number-based login systems. Every time the user wants to login, they have to enter their phone number. Facebook will then send them a verification code via SMS, which they have to enter on the site. The system was already tested live, and Facebook expects it to be widely adopted, allowing sites to offer users accounts that don't require them to memorize a new password. Each developer has a 100,000 free confirmation SMS messages per month quota. Facebook claims to support SMS login operations for over 230 countries and regions, and in 40 different languages.

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EU Unveils Plan To Force Facebook, Google and Amazon To Pay Their Fair Share of Tax
Posted by News Fetcher on April 12 '16 at 11:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's offshore-bank-account department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Independent: The European Commission is bringing forward plans to make major multinationals such as Google, Amazon and Facebook disclose exactly where and how much tax they pay across the continent. The plan was expected to include rules requiring businesses earning more than 600 million euros a year (nearly $700 USD) to open up their tax affairs to public scrutiny, revealing their profits and accounts in every country in which they operate within the EU. Since the Panama Papers, a new clause has reportedly been added to require the companies to say how much money they make in so-called "tax havens." A final, more general statement would reveal profits in the rest of the world, treated as a single item. The plans will be presented by Britain's EU Commissioner, Lord Hill, who told the BBC: "This is a carefully thought through but ambitious proposal for more transparency on tax. While our proposal on [country-by-country reporting] is not of course focused principally on the response to the Panama Papers, there is an important connection between our continuing work on tax transparency and tax havens that we are building into the proposal."

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The Battle Between LTE and Wi-Fi May Have Left LTE-U Out In the Cold
Posted by News Fetcher on April 12 '16 at 09:02 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's sweater-weather department:
alphadogg quotes a report from Networkworld: After more than a year of rancor over whether it would hurt Wi-Fi, a technology that lets LTE networks use unlicensed spectrum may have already missed its window of opportunity. LTE-Unlicensed is designed to improve cellular service by tapping into some of the frequencies used by Wi-Fi and other unlicensed technologies. But almost as soon as LTE-U was proposed in late 2014, Wi-Fi supporters pounced. They charged that it would drown out Wi-Fi signals because LTE didn't know how to make room for other users. Now carriers may be getting ready to bypass LTE-U altogether in favor of another system, called LAA (Licensed Assisted Access), that does the same thing but with additional protections for Wi-Fi. The LAA standard is complete, and products are expected to start shipping later this year.

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The Guardian Publishes Comment Abuse Stats, Invites Debate On Moderation
Posted by News Fetcher on April 12 '16 at 06:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's insightful-trends department:
AmiMoJo writes: British newspaper The Guardian has published some stats on its popular comment sections attached to each story. So far the Guardian's site has received 70 million comments, of which around 2% were removed for violation of community standards. Articles written by women tended to get the most blocked comments, especially if they were in male-writer dominated sections like sports and technology, while fashion was one of the few areas where men got more abuse. Further down the article the reader is invited to moderate some sample comments and see how their actions compared to those of the paper's staff. You can leave suggestions for improvement here.

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Tesla Updates Model S With New Front-End, Air Filtration System, Faster Charging
Posted by News Fetcher on April 12 '16 at 04:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's incremental-improvements department:
An anonymous reader writes: The Model S has received several new features and improvements to help it stay relevant with the newer Model X crossover and recently released Model 3 electric vehicles from Tesla. It has a new-look fascia and adaptive LED headlights that hew closely to the design found on the Model X crossover which debuted late last year. In addition to a couple new interior finish choices, the Model S is receiving a version of the Model X's cabin air filtration system as an option, which promises to filter out "99.7 percent of particulate exhaust pollution and effectively all allergens, bacteria and other contaminants from cabin air." The Model S now has a 48-amp charger standard -- up from 40 amps -- which Tesla says will enable faster charging when connected to higher-amp outlets. Tesla's design language is trending toward a grille-less front end, possibly in an effort to squeeze as much aerodynamic efficiency out of the car as possible. What's missing in the update is the rumored 100kWh battery, which would improve the vehicle's range.

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Jigsaw Ransomware Deletes Your Files If You Don't Pay Or When You Reboot Your PC
Posted by News Fetcher on April 12 '16 at 03:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's there's-always-something-to-fear department:
An anonymous reader writes: Researchers found a new ransomware yesterday called Jigsaw which will first lock your files and ask for a 0.4 Bitcoin ($150 USD) payment. If users don't pay, every hour the ransomware deletes your files. If the user restarts their PC, the ransomware also deletes 1,000 more files. The good news is there's a free Decrypter available to unlock the ransomware. The Decrypter was built by Michael Gillespie, who announced yesterday on Softpedia the ID Ransomware service, which tells infected victims what kind of ransomware infection they have by allowing them to upload an encrypted file and the ransom note.

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Porn Giant xHamster Blocks North Carolina Users Who Support Anti-LGBT Law
Posted by News Fetcher on April 12 '16 at 03:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's fight-for-equality department:
An anonymous reader writes: Due to the state's law preventing cities from banning discrimination against the LGBT community, popular porn site xHamster.com is blocking some North Carolinians' access to its material. xHamster tweeted on Monday that is was "blacking out access for North Carolina" because of newly passed House Bill 2, which also dictates which public restrooms transgender men and women can use. North Carolina users will be asked if they support the anti-LGBT law. If they support it, their IP address will be blocked from the site. "We blacked out the access to our website because we want to draw the attention of millions of people to patterns of human rights violations," xHamster Cheif Marketing Officer, Alexander D. Hawkins said. He added the company plans to stand their ground in the "fight for equality." xHamster may be one of the most recent businesses to publicly oppose North Carolina's House Bill 2, but they're not alone. PayPal canceled plans to open a global operations center in Charlotte, North Carolina and Bruce Springsteen canceled a scheduled show in North Carolina as well.

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The Future of Firefox is Chrome
Posted by News Fetcher on April 12 '16 at 02:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's the-future-is-now department:
An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla seems to think a new future for Firefox [lies in Chrome]. While they claim that it is only about new ways of browser design, it is also an open secret that they are running into more and more problems lately with web compatibility. [Senior VP Mark Mayo caused a storm by revealing that the Firefox team is working on a next-generation browser that will run on the same technology as Google's Chrome browser. The project, named Tofino, will not use Firefox's core technology, Gecko, but will instead plumb for Electron, which is built on the technology behind Google's rival Chrome browser, called Chromium.] The benefit of Chromium/Electron would be that it is a solution they could pull much faster forward than their own Servo plans [Servo being Mozilla's Rust-based web engine]. What the real outcome of all this will be, only Mozilla knows so far. But inside Mozilla there is much resistance against such plans... Interesting times are ahead.

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Badlock Vulnerability Falls Flat Against Hype
Posted by News Fetcher on April 12 '16 at 02:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's caught-up-in-the-hype department:
msm1267 quotes a report from Threatpost: Weeks of anxiety and concern over the Badlock vulnerability ended today with an anticlimactic thud. Badlock was the security boogeyman since the appearance three weeks ago of a website and logo branding the bug as something serious in Samba, an open source implementation of the server message block (SMB) protocol that provides file and print services for Windows clients. As it turns out, Badlock was hardly the remote code execution monster many anticipated. Instead, it's a man-in-the-middle and denial-of-service bug, allowing an attacker to elevate privileges or crash a Windows machine running Samba services. SerNet, a German consultancy behind the discovery of Badlock, fueled the hype at the outset with a number of since-deleted tweets that said any marketing boost as a result of its branding and private disclosure of the bug to Microsoft was a bonus for its business. For its part, Microsoft refused to join the hype machine and today in MS16-047 issued a security update it rated 'Important' for the Windows Security Account Manager (SAM) and Local Security Authority (Domain Policy) (LSAD). The bulletin patches one vulnerability (CVE-2016-0128), an elevation of privilege bug in both SAM and LSAD that could be exploited in a man-in-the-middle attack, forcing a downgrade of the authentication level of both channels, Microsoft said. An attacker could then impersonate an authenticated user.

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FBI Offers $25K Reward For Andy Warhol Campbell's Soup Painting Heist
Posted by News Fetcher on April 12 '16 at 12:52 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's umm-umm-good department:
coondoggie quotes a report from Networkworld: The FBI today said it was offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to the recovery of seven Andy Warhol paintings stolen from the Springfield Art Museum in Springfield, Missouri. The collection, which has been owned by the Springfield Art Museum since 1985, is set number 31 of the Campbell's Soup I collection and is valued at approximately $500,000. Each painting in the screen print collection measures 37 inches high by 24.5 inches wide and framed in white frames, the FBI stated. The FBI says that seven of 10 Andy Warhol paintings Campbell's Soup I collection, made in 1968, were taken. Since its inception, the FBI's Art Crime Team has recovered more than 2,650 items valued at over $150 million.

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Cybercriminals Are Adopting Corporate Best Practices
Posted by News Fetcher on April 12 '16 at 12:52 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's professionalism-in-everything-we-do department:
Orome1 writes: Cybercriminals are adopting corporate best practices and establishing professional businesses in order to increase the efficiency of their attacks against enterprises and consumers. This new class of professional cybercriminal spans the entire ecosystem of attackers, extending the reach of enterprise and consumer threats and fueling the growth of online crime. Low-level criminal attackers are even creating call center operations to increase the impact of their scams. "Advanced criminal attack groups now echo the skill sets of nation-state attackers. They have extensive resources and a highly-skilled technical staff that operate with such efficiency that they maintain normal business hours and even take the weekends and holidays off," said Kevin Haley, director, Symantec Security Response. "We are even seeing low-level criminal attackers create call center operations to increase the impact of their scams."

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Architects Design a 65-story Data Center
Posted by News Fetcher on April 12 '16 at 11:21 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's science-and-beauty department:
Reader dcblogs writes: Two Italian architects have designed a data center that challenges how the structures are built. Instead of constructing a flat, sprawling complex, they are proposing a 65-story data center. From a visual perspective, the circular, futuristic-looking 'Data Tower,' as Marco Merletti and Valeria Mercuri call it, almost seems like something out of Star Trek. But it incorporates sustainable technology for efficiently cooling hundreds of thousands of servers while increasing reliance on automation. The building has a modular, cylindrical design that uses a series of pods to house servers, which are available for service in much the same way automated parking garage move cars. The data tower, as with a radiator, is designed to have the maximum contact surface with the outside. The pods are hooked on to the circular structure of the tower to form a series of vertical blades.

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Facebook Announces 'Surround 360' Open Source VR Camera
Posted by News Fetcher on April 12 '16 at 11:21 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's that's-some-camera department:
Facebook is getting even more serious about 360-degree videos and content. At its developer conference, the social juggernaut announced the Surround 360, a 17-lens 3D VR camera. It's not available commercially yet. but the company has opened the design for anyone to modify. All the parts can be bought later this summer for about $30,000. Popular Science reports: The hardware is also coupled with custom software that automatically stitches together the immense amount of high-resolution video the camera records, and permits wireless control of the camera. "We care a lot about just kickstarting and inspiring the ecosystem as much as we can," said Chris Cox, chief product officer at Facebook. While the company isn't manufacturing or selling the cameras, Cox says the team sees it as a high-end "reference camera" that the rest of the community could base their designs on. According to Cox, making VR video breaks down into three steps: capture, processing, and delivery. Facebook already has a clear advantage in the delivery of this content, so now the plan is to break down the barriers for capture and processing.Also at the conference, Facebook announced it was opening up Live Video feature to developers. This would allow developers to integrate live streaming into third-party apps and also stream from any device.

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US ISPs Refuse To Disconnect Persistent Pirates
Posted by News Fetcher on April 12 '16 at 11:21 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's stand-on-piracy department:
An anonymous reader writes: The U.S. broadband association USTelecom, a trade association representing many ISPs, is taking a stand against abusive takedown notices and a recent push to terminate the accounts of repeat infringers. They argue that ISPs are not required to pass on takedown notices and stress that their subscribers shouldn't lose Internet access based solely on copyright holder complaints. ustelecoSigned into law nearly two decades ago, the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) aimed to ready copyright law for the digital age. The law introduced a safe harbor for Internet providers, meaning that they can't be held liable for their pirating users as long as they 'deal' with repeat infringers.

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Facebook Launches 'Agents On Messenger' Platform With Chatbots
Posted by News Fetcher on April 12 '16 at 10:02 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's developer-developer-developer department:
Josh Constine, reporting for TechCrunch: Facebook will now allow businesses to deliver automated customer support, ecommerce guidance, content, and interactive experience through "Bots on Messenger", Facebook's term for chatbots. By providing utility through its huge developer and business ecosystem, Facebook could boost loyalty with Messenger, one-up SMS, and keep up chat competitors like Kik, Line and Telegram that have their own bot platforms. Beyond just text, chatbots will be able to respond with structured messages that include images, links, and call to action buttons. These could let users make a restaurant reservation, review an ecommerce order, and more. Facebook is not the only company -- let alone the first -- which has a bot store. Messaging apps Telegram and Kik offer similar functionalities. Popular communication service Slack has also been ramping up its efforts around bots and figuring out different ways to enhance its customers' experience. Two weeks ago, Microsoft also announced a bot platform.

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Uber Releases First-Ever Transparency Report
Posted by News Fetcher on April 12 '16 at 10:02 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's people-want-to-know department:
An anonymous reader writes: On Tuesday, Uber released its first transparency report, an overview of the information that was requested by U.S. regulators and law enforcement in the second half of 2015. The report shows that while Uber is not yet receiving the number or type of requests that non-transport companies do, the data requests affect millions of Uber customers and drivers. According to the report, Uber received 408 requests for information from law enforcement, and 415 from state and federal governments. These requests were complied with approximately 85% of cases, where after review, Uber provided at least some of the data requested. They also responded to 67 requests for information from regulatory bodies and from airports, with data provided on over 11 million riders and 600,000 drivers.

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