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Human DNA Enlarges Mouse Brains
Posted by News Fetcher on February 19 '15 at 10:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's what-about-vice-versa department:
sciencehabit writes Researchers have increased the size of mouse brains by giving the rodents a piece of human DNA that controls gene activity. The work provides some of the strongest genetic evidence yet for how the human intellect surpassed those of all other apes. The human gene causes cells that are destined to become nerve cells to divide more frequently, thereby providing a larger of pool of cells that become part of the cortex. As a result, the embryos carrying human HARE5 have brains that are 12% larger than the brains of mice carrying the chimp version of the enhancer. The team is currently testing these mice to see if the bigger brains made them any smarter.

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Delivery Drones: More Feasible If They Come By Truck
Posted by News Fetcher on February 19 '15 at 10:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's last-mile-problem department:
malachiorion writes Amazon's drone delivery service was never going to work. It was too autonomous, and simply too risky to be approved by the FAA in the timeframe that Jeff Bezos specified (as early as this year). And yet, the media is still hung up on Amazon, and much of the coverage of the FAA's newly released drone rules center around Prime Air, a program that was essentially a PR stunt. Meanwhile, a Cincinnati-based company that makes electric delivery trucks has an idea that's been largely ignored, but that's much more feasible. The Horsefly launches from and returns to a delivery truck once it reaches a given neighborhood, with a mix of autonomous flight to destination, driver-specified drop-off locations, and remote-piloted landings. The company will still need to secure exemptions from the FAA, but unlike Amazon, they at least have a chance. There's more detail about Amp's technically impressive (and seemingly damn tough) drone in my story for Popular Science.

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The Disastrous Privacy Consequences of Canada's Anti-Terrorism Bill
Posted by News Fetcher on February 19 '15 at 09:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's sir-he's-hiding-in-the-syrup department:
An anonymous reader writes "Canada's proposed
anti-terrorism legislation
is currently being debated in the
House of Commons, with the government already serving notice that it
plans to limit debate. Michael Geist argues that decision has enormous privacy consequences, since the bill
effectively creates a "total information awareness" approach that
represents a radical shift away from our traditional understanding
of public sector privacy protection. The bill permits information
sharing across government for an incredibly wide range of purposes,
most of which have nothing to do with terrorism and opens the door
to further disclosure "to any person, for any purpose." The
cumulative effect is to grant government near-total power to share
information for purposes that extend far beyond terrorism with few
safeguards or privacy protections."


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New Android Trojan Fakes Device Shut Down, Spies On Users
Posted by News Fetcher on February 19 '15 at 08:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's let's-listen-in department:
An anonymous reader writes A new Android Trojan that tricks users into believing they have shut their device down while it continues working, and is able to silently make calls, send messages, take photos and perform many other tasks, has been discovered and analyzed by AVG researchers. They dubbed it, and AVG's security solutions detect it as PowerOffHijack.

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Resistant Bacterial Infection Outbreak At California Hospital
Posted by News Fetcher on February 19 '15 at 08:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's lord-have-mrsa department:
puddingebola writes From the article: "A potentially deadly "superbug" resistant to antibiotics has infected seven patients, including two who died, and more than 160 others were exposed at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center through contaminated medical instruments, the hospital revealed. The drug-resistant superbug known as CRE was likely transmitted to the Los Angeles patients by contaminated medical scopes during endoscopic procedures that took place between October 2014 and January 2015, a university statement said. " UCLA says the infections occurred via contaminated endoscopes that were sterilized according to the manufacturer's specifications.

(Note: beware autoplaying video ad; adjust your volume accordingly.)

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Duplicate SSH Keys Put Tens of Thousands of Home Routers At Risk
Posted by News Fetcher on February 19 '15 at 07:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's vewy-vewy-quiet department:
alphadogg (971356) writes A setup mistake has apparently left hundreds of thousands of home routers running the SSH (Secure Shell) remote access tool with identical private and public keys. John Matherly, founder of a specialized search engine company whose technology is used for querying Internet-connected devices, found more than 250,000 devices that appear to be deployed by Telefónica de España sharing the same public SSH key. A different search found another 150,000 devices, mostly in China and Taiwan, that have the same problem. Matherly said in a phone interview on Wednesday it is possible the manufacturers copied the same operating system image to all of the routers.

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Carnegie-Mellon Sends Hundreds of Acceptance Letters By Mistake
Posted by News Fetcher on February 19 '15 at 06:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's about-that department:
An anonymous reader writes As reported in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Carnegie-Mellon University mistakenly sent 800 acceptances for its Master of Science in Computer Science program. They're not saying "computer error," but what are the other explanations? High irony all around. The program accepts fewer than nine percent of more than 1,200 applicants, which places the acceptance level at about a hundred, so they're bad at math, too.

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Lenovo Allegedly Installing "Superfish" Proxy Adware On New Computers
Posted by News Fetcher on February 19 '15 at 06:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's hey-man-you're-s'posed-to-join-the-nsa-first department:
An anonymous reader writes It looks like Lenovo has been installing adware onto new consumer computers from the company that activates when taken out of the box for the first time. The adware, named Superfish, is reportedly installed on a number of Lenovo's consumer laptops out of the box. The software injects third-party ads on Google searches and websites without the user's permission.

Another anonymous reader points to this Techspot article, noting that that it doesn't mention the SSL aspect, but this Lenovo Forum Post, with screen caps, is indicating it may be a man-in-the-middle attack to hijack an SSL connection too. It's too early to tell if this is a hoax or not, but there are multiple forum posts about the Superfish bug being installed on new systems. Another good reason to have your own fresh install disk, and to just drop the drivers onto a USB stick.

Also at ZDnet.

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Could Fossils of Ancient Life From Earth Reside On the Moon?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 19 '15 at 05:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's how'd-this-get-here department:
MarkWhittington writes Does the moon contain fossils of billions of years old organisms from Earth? That theory has been laid out in recent research at the Imperial College of London, reported in a story in Air and Space Magazine by Dr. Paul Spudis, a lunar and planetary geologist. The implications for science and future lunar exploration are profound. Scientists have known for decades that planets and moons in the Solar System exchange material due to impacts. A large meteor smashes into a planet, Mars for example, and blasts material into space. That material eventually finds itself landing on another planet, Earth in this case. Mars rocks have been discovered on Earth since the 1980s. Other rocks from the moon and, it is surmised, Mercury have also been found, blasted into space billions of years ago to eventually find themselves on Earth.

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Google Faces Anti-Trust Probe In Russia Over Android
Posted by News Fetcher on February 19 '15 at 02:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's taking-a-good-look department:
First time accepted submitter Mark Wilson writes Google has a new battle on its hands, this time in the form of a potential anti-trust probe in Russia. Yandex, the internet company behind the eponymous Russian search engine, has filed a complaint to the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS). Yandex claims that the US search giant is abusing its position by bundling Google services with Android. It claims that users are forced into using the Google ecosystem including Google Search, and that it is difficult to install competing services on smartphones and tablets. There are distinct echoes of the antitrust lawsuits Microsoft has faced for its bundling of Internet Explorer with Windows.

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Ask Slashdot: How Could We Actually Detect an Alien Invasion From Outer Space?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 19 '15 at 01:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's blowing-up-the-mothership department:
First time accepted submitter defiant.challenged writes As I was watching another sci-fi blockbuster about aliens wanting to harvest the life stock population on earth for their energy since we are such a robust species, I was wondering how likely and easy/difficult it would be currently to actually detect an outer space invasion (fleet). I am a firm believer that if we would be invaded, we would not stand a chance and would probably not even hit a single ship when it comes to fighting them. The aliens in the movie had the capability to space-jump right into our solar system and even very close to earth. My question is how good are we at the moment in detecting an alien ship/fleet that jumps into our solar system. Do we have radio dishes around the globe such that we can detect objects in space in all longitude and latitude degrees? I know we have dishes pointing to the skies but how far can they reach? Do we have blindspots perhaps on the poles? I also wonder if our current means, ie radio signals, are relatively easy to be compromised with our current stealth technology? To formulate it in more sci-fi terms, how large is our outer space detection grid, and what kind of time window can they give us?

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Samsung Smart TVs Don't Encrypt the Voice Data They Collect
Posted by News Fetcher on February 19 '15 at 12:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's even-worse department:
itwbennett writes A week ago, the revelation that Samsung collects words spoken by consumers when they use the voice recognition feature in their smart TVs enraged privacy advocates, since according to Samsung's own privacy policy those words can in some cases include personal or sensitive information. Following the incident, David Lodge, a researcher with a U.K.-based security firm called Pen Test Partners, intercepted and analyzed the Internet traffic generated by a Samsung smart TV and found that Samsung does send captured voice data to a remote server using a connection on port 443, a port typically associated with encrypted HTTPS, but that the data was not encrypted. "It's not even HTTP data, it's a mix of XML and some custom binary data packet," said Lodge in a blog post.

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Jamie Oliver's Website Serving Malware
Posted by News Fetcher on February 18 '15 at 09:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's worse-than-nuggets department:
jones_supa writes While routinely checking the latest exploited websites, Malwarebytes came across a strange infection pattern that seemed to start from the official site of British chef Jamie Oliver. Contrary to most web-borne exploits we see lately, this one was not the result of malicious advertising but rather carefully placed malicious JavaScript injection in the site itself. This, in turn, has been used to serve visitors a delicious meal consisting an exploit kit downloading the Dorkbot trojan. Malwarebytes has contacted the administrators immediately upon discovery of this infection.

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Will Every Xbox Be a Dev Kit?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 18 '15 at 08:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's working-it-out department:
jfruh writes There were a lot of rumored features of the Xbox One that vanished after public outcry — that it would need an always-on Internet connection, for instance. But another rumor from that era was that every Xbox One sold would include a dev kit that would allow anyone to create games — and it looks like this is one dream that might be coming true soon.

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Credit Card Fraud Could Peak In 2015 As the US Moves To EMV
Posted by News Fetcher on February 18 '15 at 05:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's better-cards department:
dkatana writes Some analysts expect fraud to increase this year as thieves will step up their efforts to capture more credit card details before the Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) standard conversion goes into full throttle. The next time U.S. cardholders receive a new card it will probably be equipped with an EMV chip, and most likely be contactless. The U.S. is finally making the transition to secure cards based on the European EMV standard, mostly because the liability shift imposed by the three big credit card brands — Visa, MasterCard and American Express. The European Union, where EMV became standard ten years ago, has the lowest level of credit card fraud in the world, while the U.S. accounted for 47.3% of the worldwide payment card fraud losses but generated only 23.5% of total volume.

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Google: FBI's Plan To Expand Hacking Power a "Monumental" Constitutional Threat
Posted by News Fetcher on February 18 '15 at 05:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's lets-see-what-you-got department:
schwit1 writes with news about Google's reservations to a Justice Department proposal on warrants for electronic data. "Any change in accessing computer data should go through Congress, the search giant said. The search giant submitted public comments earlier this week opposing a Justice Department proposal that would grant judges more leeway in how they can approve search warrants for electronic data. The push to change an arcane federal rule "raises a number of monumental and highly complex constitutional, legal, and geopolitical concerns that should be left to Congress to decide," wrote Richard Salgado, Google's director for law enforcement and information security. The provision, known as Rule 41 of the federal rules of criminal procedure, generally permits judges to grant search warrants only within the bounds of their judicial district. Last year, the Justice Department petitioned a judicial advisory committee to amend the rule to allow judges to approve warrants outside their jurisdictions or in cases where authorities are unsure where a computer is located. Google, in its comments, blasted the desired rule change as overly vague, saying the proposal could authorize remote searches on the data of millions of Americans simultaneously—particularly those who share a network or router—and cautioned it rested on shaky legal footing."

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Samsung's Portable SSD T1 Tested
Posted by News Fetcher on February 18 '15 at 04:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's where-the-rubber-hits-the-road department:
MojoKid writes The bulk of today's high-capacity external storage devices still rely on mechanical hard disk drives with spinning media and other delicate parts. Solid state drives are much faster and less susceptible to damage from vibration, of course. That being the case, Samsung saw an opportunity to capitalize on a market segment that hasn't seen enough development it seems--external SSDs. There are already external storage devices that use full-sized SSDs, but Samsung's new Portable SSD T1 is more akin to a thumb drive, only a little wider and typically much faster. Utilizing Samsung's 3D Vertical NAND (V-NAND) technology and a SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface, the Portable SSD T1 redlines at up to 450MB/s when reading or writing data sequentially, claims Samsung. For random read and write activities, Samsung rates the drive at up to 8,000 IOPS and 21,000 IOPS, respectively. Pricing is more in-line with high-performance standalone SSDs, with this 1TB model reviewed here arriving at about $579. In testing, the drive did live up to its performance and bandwidth claims as well.

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After 30 Years of the Free Software Foundation, Where Do We Stand?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 18 '15 at 03:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's what's-changed? department:
An anonymous reader writes with this interview with John Sullivan, Executive Director of The Free Software Foundation. "There is a growing concern about government surveillance. At the same time, those of us who live and breathe technology do so because it provides us with a service and freedom to share our lives with others. There is a tacit assumption that once we leave the store, the device we have in our pocket, backpack, or desk is ours. We buy a computer, a tablet, a smartphone, and we use applications and apps without even thinking about who really owns the tools and whether we truly own any of it. You purchase a device, yet you are not free to modify it or the software on it in any way. It begs the question of who really owns the device and the software?"

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Watch Videos in Synch with Fellow iOS Users (Video)
Posted by News Fetcher on February 18 '15 at 03:15 PM
By Roblimo from Slashdot's let's-all-sing-together-now department:
This video is about Dr. Saeed Darvish-Kazem and Dr. Michael Pazaratz, two MDs from Canada, who came up with a free iOS app called WeMesh that lets you share video content with iOS-owning friends in real time. You see the video and so does your friend. more or less simultaneously. Cat videos and 90s music are two categories the doctors say are especially popular on WeMesh, which only works with YouTube at the moment, a shortcoming they hope to change in the near future. NOTE: If you're on the Slashdot main page and click the 'Read' link below this paragraph, the video will autoplay.

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FreeBSD-Current Random Number Generator Broken
Posted by News Fetcher on February 18 '15 at 02:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's protect-ya-neck department:
First time accepted submitter bobo the hobo writesThe FreeBSD random number has been discovered to be generating possibly predictable SSH keys and SSL certificates for months. Time to regenerate your keys and certs if using FreeBSD-Current. A message to the freebsd-current mailing list reads in part: "If you are running a current kernel r273872 or later, please upgrade
your kernel to r278907 or later immediately and regenerate keys. I discovered an issue where the new framework code was not calling
randomdev_init_reader, which means that read_random(9) was not returning
good random data. read_random(9) is used by arc4random(9) which is
the primary method that arc4random(3) is seeded from."


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