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Researchers Make Low-power Wi-Fi Breakthrough
Posted by News Fetcher on February 24 '16 at 07:51 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's bouncy-bouncy department:
alphadogg writes: The biggest downside of Wi-Fi for most users might be that it can really drain your smartphone or tablet battery, but a research team at the University of Washington has come up with a way to make using the nearly ubiquitous wireless technology in a less taxing way. They have demonstrated a technique for using 10,000 times less power than typical Wi-Fi (well, at up to 11Mbps anyway) and next month will present a paper titled "Passive Wi-Fi: Bringing Low Power to Wi-Fi Transmissions" at the USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design in Santa Clara. The main trick involves decoupling digital and analog components of a typical Wi-Fi router.

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Attackers Can Turn Microsoft's Exploit Defense Tool EMET Against Itself
Posted by News Fetcher on February 24 '16 at 06:34 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's friends-like-these department:
itwbennett writes: FireEye researchers have found a way for exploits to trigger a specific function in EMET that disables all protections it enforces for other applications. The researchers believe that their new technique, which essentially uses EMET against itself, is more reliable and easier to use than any previously published bypasses. It works against all supported versions of EMET — 5.0, 5.1 and 5.2 — but Microsoft patched the issue in EMET 5.5, which was released on Feb. 2. So if you haven't upgraded yet, now would be a good time to do it. For more about how the technique works, read FireEye's blog post.

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Hacking Group Presents 'Long-Standing' Threat To Japan
Posted by News Fetcher on February 24 '16 at 06:34 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's check-the-trench-again department:
An anonymous reader writes: Japanese energy, oil and gas, and transport industries have been among those targeted by a group of cyberattackers focusing its efforts on Japanese critical infrastructure. According to research at Cylance SPEAR, the cyber threat group had previously been targeting U.S. defence agencies but has recently turned its attention to East Asia. While SPEAR does not believe the criminals have yet conducted "destructive or disruptive" attacks, it argues that they have been patiently and persistently spying on a range of Japanese organisations, such as construction companies and financial firms. The researchers have dubbed the campaign Operation Dust Storm, and have identified phishing lures related to current affairs as the attackers' tool of choice. SPEAR noted that the cyberattack group has managed to stay under the radar by registering new domain names, relying heavily on Dynamic DNS, and using a range of customised backdoors – especially a number of second-stage backdoors with hardcoded proxy addresses and credentials. The group also adopted several Android backdoors to support its mobile operations.

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Sorry, But Lasers Aren't Taking You To Mars Anytime Soon
Posted by News Fetcher on February 24 '16 at 05:13 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's lasers-will-happily-get-there-faster-by-themselves department:
An anonymous reader writes: It's long been a dream of humanity to travel interplanetary distances at great speeds, or to make it to another star system within a human lifetime. Until recently, technologies to get us there — antimatter propulsion, wormholes or warp drive — have all been composed of physically unrealistic solutions. But recent developments in laser technology make directed energy propulsion a feasible solution. By building a giant laser array in space and developing a new type of solar sail that reflects the laser light with incredible efficiency, a laser sail, this propulsion system is scalable to arbitrarily large powers. There are many technical obstacles to be overcome, and so it's unlikely we'll see the fruit of this anytime in the next few decades (despite the promises of some), but this may well be the technology that takes us to the stars in the coming centuries.

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To Secure ATM Transactions: Ditch the Card
Posted by News Fetcher on February 24 '16 at 03:41 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's step-zero-have-no-money department:
chicksdaddy writes: Security Ledger has a piece that looks at the efforts of a string of startups to secure ATM transactions from skimmers and malware-based attacks. Step 1: get rid of the ATM card. The article profiles a couple different companies. One, Trusona, has technology that can uniquely identify standard issue ATM cards by analyzing the unique distribution of Barium Ferrite particles on their magnetic strips and using it to connect the card to the customer. The company combines that with card swipe biometrics to thwart malware-based replay attacks. The article also mentions upgrades that will allow banking customers in the U.S. to use a mobile application to withdraw cash from ATMs without a card or PIN, and a prototype from Diebold that combines proximity based sensing (via NFC) with iris scans to authenticate customers and authorize transactions. Cool as it sounds, its worth remembering that most ATM attacks are decidedly "low tech." A survey by the ATM Industry Association in 2015 listed "physical attacks" and those using "explosives" as the second and third most common type of ATM attack after card skimming.

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Facebook Will Still Back Internet.org Despite Indian Gov't Disdain For Free Basics
Posted by News Fetcher on February 24 '16 at 01:02 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's council-of-wise-men-vs.-all department:
Mickeycaskill writes: Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook will continue its Internet.org efforts in India, despite one of the initiative's programs – Free Basics – being banned by the country last month. Internet.org hopes to give more people access to the Internet, but India ruled 'Free Basics,' which offers free access to Facebook and selected apps and services violated net neutrality ethics. Speaking at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Zuckberg said the ban was "disappointing" for Internet.org's mission but hoped other programs such as satellite Internet and drones would be more successful. "It's crazy we're sitting here in 2016 and still, four billion people in the world don't have access to the Internet," he said. "In India we'll focus on different programs. We want to work with all the operators there."

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Big Test Coming Up For Kilogram Redefinition
Posted by News Fetcher on February 23 '16 at 10:22 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's cram-sessions-often-lead-to-weight-gain department:
szotz writes: Electromechanical balances have got to be better than an aged lump of platinum and iridium right? Teams are working to get kilograms measured and shipped to Paris in time for a test to see whether the technology (along with another that uses ultrapure silicon spheres) is now ready to redefine the kilogram. Why is this redefinition interesting? Because it's about using physics to overcome one problem with weight standards based on tightly held exemplars in standards bodies' inner sanctums: the mass of those exemplars can change, however subtly, introducing uncertainty and confusion. From the article: The worldâ(TM)s metrologists aim to change this state of affairs in 2018 by fixing the kilogram to the Planck constant, a fundamental physical constant. That shift would, at least in principle, allow any laboratory to âoerealizeâ the kilogram from scratch with a series of experiments and specialized equipment. But for that scheme to work, the kilogram derived by one laboratory must be the same as those derived by others.

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Australia's Major Parties Vote Against Encryption In Wake of Apple FBI Case
Posted by News Fetcher on February 23 '16 at 10:22 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's parliament-of-whores department:
daria42 writes: If you're counting on Apple to keep your digital information safe, you may want to think again ... at least if you live in Australia. Yesterday the country's two major political parties — Labor and the Coalition — voted down a motion in Federal Parliament calling for strong encryption to be supported in the wake of the FBI's demands that Apple unlock iOS. It appears that implementing comprehensive telephone and email retention in Australia may not have been the end of demands by law enforcement in the country.

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Multimedia Powerhouse FFmpeg Hits 3.0
Posted by News Fetcher on February 23 '16 at 06:22 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's foundational-support department:
An anonymous reader writes: The milestone release FFmpeg 3.0 "Einstein" has been unleashed. For those who need a reminder, FFmpeg comprises several libraries and command-line tools (the main command-line tool being "ffmpeg") that encode, decode, transcode, and stream audio/visual data, etc. FFmpeg supports a multitude of codecs, filters, and container formats too numerous to mention here. FFmpeg is used by MPlayer, VLC, HandBrake, Chrome, and many other projects. Changes from 2.x to 3.0 include: a much better native AAC encoder, better hardware acceleration, and some API/ABI breakage. See this, this, this, this, and the changelog for much better descriptions of the improvements.

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Worlds First Modular Smart Phone Hits the Market
Posted by News Fetcher on February 23 '16 at 05:02 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's people's-front-of-judea department:
An anonymous reader writes: Out before the much anticipated Google Modular Phone Project ARA, is a new phone from Fairphone: The Fairphone 2. This phone is claimed to be the the worlds first real modular phone. Fairphone is more than just a phone manufaturer but a social justice movement . Fairphone is a project of Waag Society, Action Aid and Schrijf-Schrijf to raise awareness about conflict minerals in consumer electronics and the wars that the mining of these minerals is fueling in the DR Congo. The Fairphone 2 build consists of 5-inch Full HD LCD screen, Android 5.1 Lollipop,Dual SIM, 4G LTE, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, Qualcomm quad core processor.

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Google, Yahoo Cry About Ad-Blocking
Posted by News Fetcher on February 23 '16 at 05:02 PM
By yaelk from Slashdot's ad-blocking department:
JustAnotherOldGuy writes: Google and Yahoo have accused ad-blocking software Shine of "destroying the relationship" between advertisers and consumers, after an executive from the company called its solution a "nuclear weapon" threatening the industry. Ad blocking software use grew 41 percent in the 12 months to August 2015 and there are now 198 million active adblock users around the world, according PageFair. Benjamin Faes, managing director of media and platforms at Google, called Shine's technology a "blunt" solution that punishes users and good advertisers, and said, "Blocking all ads I think it's diminishing my experience of advertising and in that case we see an issue for the user themselves." It appears that these advertising executives still don't "get it", and are disingenuously tone-deaf to the legitimate complaints raised about ads.

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CloudBees Releases Jenkins-based Platform For CDaaS
Posted by News Fetcher on February 23 '16 at 05:02 PM
By yaelk from Slashdot's new-releases department:
An anonymous reader writes: As a way to address the many challenges associated with supporting DevOps and adopting Continuous Delivery (CD), CloudBees has released a new Jenkins platform to help teams deliver software.The new platform provides other cloud-native capabilities, including Docker deployment and Mesos large-scale cluster management, which will allow enterprises to run and manage Jenkins across the enterprise on their own private cloud, or by using dedicated AWS resources.

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Large-ish Meteor Hits Earth... But No One Notices
Posted by News Fetcher on February 23 '16 at 03:24 PM
By yaelk from Slashdot's we-lived-to-tell-the-tale department:
According to data released by the Fireball and Bolide Reports page of NASA's Near Earth Object Program, a large meteor exploded far off the coast of Brazil on February 6, 2016. The meteor was the largest atmospheric impact recorded since the famous Chelyabinsk bolide that exploded over Russia in 2013. Although the Feb 6 meteor didn't cause any structural damage, the meteor unleashed an energy equivalent of 13,000 tons of TNT exploding instantaneously.

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Internet By Light Promises To Leave Wi-Fi Eating Dust
Posted by News Fetcher on February 23 '16 at 03:24 PM
By yaelk from Slashdot's let-there-be-light department:
schwit1 writes: Connecting your smartphone to the web with just a lamp - that is the promise of Li-Fi, short for 'light fidelity,' which features Internet access that is 100 times faster than Wi-Fi. French start-up Oledcomm demonstrated the revolutionary wireless technology at the Mobile World Congress, the world's biggest mobile fair, this week. As soon as this smartphone was placed under an office lamp, it started playing a video. The big advantage of Li-Fi is theoretical speeds of over 200 Gbps.

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Cross-Site Scripting Enabled On 1000 Major Sites
Posted by News Fetcher on February 23 '16 at 02:05 PM
By yaelk from Slashdot's check-your-sites department:
An anonymous reader writes: A CloudFlare engineer has discovered that 1000 of the top one million websites, including bitcoin holding sites and trading sites, are running a default setting that enables cross-site scripting. This article details his examination of the top 1 million Alexa sites for evidence of compromised settings and finds that about 1000 of the sites on the list are capable of being compromised because of running a header called Access-Allow-Origin. He found the vulnerability while working on a legitimate use of domain-communication called Cross Origin Resource Sharing for the Stripe API. The header, which Johnson claims the vulnerable websites are outputting, is concluded with a wild-card asterisk, meaning that the sites in question are giving full permission for cross-domain communication via venerable protocols such as SOAP/AJAX XML exchanges.

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Linux's Open Mainframe Project Announces Areas of Focus
Posted by News Fetcher on February 23 '16 at 02:05 PM
By yaelk from Slashdot's linux-news department:
New submitter mmoorebz writes: The Linux Foundation is announcing new areas of focus for its Open Mainframe Project. The Open Mainframe Project is a collaborative effort launched six months ago as a focal point for the deployment and use of the Linux OS on the mainframe.

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Cheap, High-Performance Green Battery Runs On Rotten Apples
Posted by News Fetcher on February 23 '16 at 02:05 PM
By yaelk from Slashdot's a-bad-apple department:
Zothecula writes: Researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have repurposed discarded apples to build cheap and high-performance sodium-ion batteries, making a green technology even greener. The advance could find use in grid storage and, after further development, compete with lithium-ion cells to power portable electronics and low-end electric cars.

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NASA Announces WFIRST As a New Space Observatory
Posted by News Fetcher on February 23 '16 at 12:26 PM
By yaelk from Slashdot's space-news department:
MarkWhittington writes: While NASA has been touting the impending launch of the James Webb Space Telescope in 2018, the space agency is already discussing the space observatory due to take off after that, WFIRST. WFIRST was adapted from a spare telescope from the National Reconnaissance Organization. WFRST is due to be launched in the mid-2020s, having evolved from a study to a full-fledged project. The telescope is estimated to cost $2 billion from now until the time it is launched and deployed.

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Mousejack Attacks Exploit Wireless Keyboards and Mice
Posted by News Fetcher on February 23 '16 at 12:26 PM
By yaelk from Slashdot's under-attack department:
msm1267 writes: Researchers have discovered a vulnerability in the USB devices that support wireless keyboards and mice that could put a countless number of devices at risk to attack. Seven manufacturers have been informed of the flaw, but as of today, only Logitech has produced a firmware update. Some have no update mechanism and can never be patched. The issue lies in the fact that some of the commands from the peripheral device to the dongle are not encrypted. Most do not authenticate packets and an attacker within close proximity and using a USB transmitting malicious packets over radio frequency can trick the victim's machine into accepting mouse clicks impersonating keystrokes. It would take a matter of seconds for the attacker's code to load a rootkit, malware or additional network access.

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Computer Engineer Wes Clark Dies at 88
Posted by News Fetcher on February 23 '16 at 10:51 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's let-us-now-praise-famous-men department:
An anonymous reader writes: Wesley Allison Clark, a revered computer engineer whose work from the 1950s through 1970s underpinned the revolutions in personal computing, computer graphics, and the internet, died Monday. He was 88. Among other things, Clark was one of the two people (Charles Molnar being the other) who created LINC, the first mini-computer.

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