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First Net Neutrality Lawsuit Will Target Time Warner Cable
Posted by News Fetcher on June 17 '15 at 07:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's beat-comcast-to-the-punch department:
An anonymous reader writes: The U.S. government's new net neutrality rules finally took effect last Friday, and a company is already using them to line up a lawsuit against Time Warner Cable. A firm called Commercial Network Services, which runs a bunch of webcams, says TWC is charging them unreasonable rates to stream video to their customers. "The [FCC's] regulations establish hard and fast rules against slowing or blocking Web traffic, as well as a ban on content companies paying for speedier service once their traffic enters a provider's network. But by design, they don't say nearly as much about how companies should negotiate the private agreements that ensure Web traffic flows smoothly into an Internet provider's network — and to your home." TWC has been arranging "settlement-free peering" with various companies, but refused such a deal with CNS. The complaint will ask the FCC to rule that ISPs must strike free peering deals with website operators.

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Researchers Find Major Keychain Vulnerability in iOS and OS X
Posted by News Fetcher on June 17 '15 at 06:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's software-complexity-breeds-security-researchers department:
An anonymous reader notes a report from El Reg on a major cross-app resource vulnerability in iOS and Mac OS X. Researchers say it's possible to break app sandboxes, bypass App Store security checks, and crack the Apple keychain. The researchers wrote, "specifically, we found that the inter-app interaction services, including the keychain and WebSocket on OS X and URL Scheme on OS X and iOS, can all be exploited by [malware] to steal such confidential information as the passwords for iCloud, email and bank, and the secret token of Evernote. Further, the design of the App sandbox on OS X was found to be vulnerable, exposing an app’s private directory to the sandboxed malware that hijacks its Apple Bundle ID. As a result, sensitive user data, like the notes and user contacts under Evernote and photos under WeChat, have all been disclosed. Fundamentally, these problems are caused by the lack of app-to-app and app-to-OS authentications." Their full academic paper (PDF) is available online, as are a series of video demos. They withheld publication for six months at Apple's request, but haven't heard anything further about a fix.

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Bank's IT Failure Loses 600,000 Payments
Posted by News Fetcher on June 17 '15 at 06:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's keep-calm-and-spend-on department:
An anonymous reader writes: The Royal Bank of Scotland had an IT glitch last night that prevented some 600,000 payments from reaching the accounts of its customers. This included bill payments, wages, tax credits, and benefits payments. RBS apologized for the delay, and claims to have fixed the underlying problem. They hope to have all the missing payments sorted by the weekend. This isn't the first major IT screwup for RBS; in 2012, the company was fined £56 million after a software upgrade prevented about 6.5 million customers from logging into their accounts.

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Samsung Cellphone Keyboard Software Vulnerable To Attack
Posted by News Fetcher on June 17 '15 at 05:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's not-quite-under-their-thumb department:
Adesso writes: A serious security problem in the default Samsung keyboard installed on many of the company's cellphones has been lurking since December 2014 (CVE-2015-2865). When the phone tries to update the keyboard, it fails to encrypt the executable file. This means attackers on the same network can replace the update file with a malicious one of their own. Affected devices include the Galaxy S6, S5, S4, and S4 mini — roughly 600 million of which are in use. There's no known fix at the moment, aside from avoiding insecure Wi-Fi networks or switching phones. The researcher who presented these findings at the Blackhat security conference says Samsung has provided a patch to carriers, but he can't find out if any of them have applied the patch. The bug is currently still active on the devices he tested.

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USAF Cuts Drone Flights As Stress Drives Off Operators
Posted by News Fetcher on June 17 '15 at 04:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's unmanned-operators department:
HughPickens.com writes: The NY Times reports that the U.S. is being forced to cut back on drone flights as America's drone operators are burning out. The Air Force is losing more drone pilots than they can train. "We're at an inflection point right now," says Col. James Cluff, the commander of the Air Force's 432nd Wing. Drone missions increased tenfold in the past decade, relentlessly pushing the operators in an effort to meet the insatiable demand for streaming video of insurgent activities in Iraq, Afghanistan and other war zones, including Somalia, Libya and now Syria. The biggest problem is that a significant number of the 1,200 pilots are completing their obligation to the Air Force and are opting to leave. Colonel Cluff says many feel "undermanned and overworked," sapped by alternating day and night shifts with little chance for academic breaks or promotion.

< article continued at Slashdot >

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Apple De-Certifies Monster Cables After Lawsuit Against Beats
Posted by News Fetcher on June 17 '15 at 03:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's this-story-is-more-interesting-if-you-use-$140-cables-to-read-it department:
An anonymous reader writes: Since 2005, Monster cables have been licensed under Apple's "Made For iDevice" program, which lets cable manufacturers put a logo on their product signifying they work with Apple products. Now, Apple has revoked that certification. In January of this year, Monster sued Beats, accusing its founders of fraud. Beats was acquired by Apple in 2014, and Monster is accusing Apple of bullying them by terminating the licensing deal. Monster's general counsel said the move would "significantly disrupt Monster's business and that the two companies had worked well for years, with Monster paying Apple more than $12 million in licensing fees since 2008."

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GitHub Seeks Funding At $2 Billion Valuation
Posted by News Fetcher on June 17 '15 at 01:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's accepting-pull-requests-from-the-bank department:
itwbennett writes: GitHub, the most popular Git hosting site, is reportedly seeking $200 million in an upcoming private funding round that values the company as high as $2 billion. "GitHub is an interesting company," said analyst Frank Scavo, president of Computer Economics. "It is partly a hosting service for developers and partly a social media site." And it's a great place to recruit developers. But company-specific factors aside, there's also a lot of money in the market "looking for homes," said Rob Enderle, principal analyst with Enderle Group.

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The Future of AI: a Non-Alarmist Viewpoint
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '15 at 10:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's but-panicking-is-more-fun department:
Nerval's Lobster writes: There has been a lot of discussion recently about the dangers posed by building truly intelligent machines. A lot of well-educated and smart people, including Bill Gates and Stephen Hawking, have stated they are fearful about the dangers that sentient Artificial Intelligence (AI) poses to humanity. But maybe it makes more sense to focus on the societal challenges that advances in AI will pose in the near future (Dice link), rather than worrying about what will happen when we eventually solve the titanic problem of building an artificial general intelligence that actually works. Once the self-driving car becomes a reality, for example, thousands of taxi drivers, truck drivers and delivery people will be out of a job practically overnight, as economic competition forces companies to make the switch to self-driving fleets as quickly as possible. Don't worry about a hypothetical SkyNet, in other words; the bigger issue is what a (dumber) AI will do to your profession over the next several years.

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European Court: Websites Are Responsible For Users' Comments
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '15 at 08:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's ruh-roh department:
An anonymous reader writes: A new ruling from the European Court of Human Rights found it perfectly acceptable to hold websites responsible for comments left by users. Experts are worried the ruling will encourage websites to censor content posted by users out of concern that they're opening themselves up to legal liability. The judgment also seems to support the claim that "proactive monitoring" can be required of website owners. Peter Micek of digital rights group "Access" said, "This ruling is a serious blow to users' rights online. Dissenting voices will have fewer outlets in which to seek and impart opinions anonymously. Instead, users at risk will be dragged down by a precedent that will keep them from accessing the open ocean of ideas and information."

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Aura: Harnessing the Power of IoT Devices For Distributed Computing
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '15 at 06:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's SETI-at-your-actual-home department:
An anonymous reader points out that a computer science research team from the University of Alabama has put together a new architecture called "Aura," which lets people make use of excess computing power from various smart devices scattered throughout their homes. Ragib Hasan, the team's leader, says this scheme could be integrated with smartphones, letting you offload CPU-intensive tasks to your home devices. He also anticipates the ability to sell off excess capacity — like how people with solar panels can sometimes sell the excess energy they harvest. Alternately, they could be allocated to a distributed computing project of the homeowner's choice, like Seti@home. Of course, several obstacles need to be solved before a system like Aura can be used — smart devices run on a variety of operating systems and often communicate only through a narrow set of protocols. Any unifying effort would also need careful thought about security and privacy matters.

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AMD Announces Fiji-based Radeon R9 Fury X, 'Project Quantum', Radeon 300 Series
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '15 at 04:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's keeping-up-with-the-pixel-pushers department:
MojoKid writes: Today AMD announced new graphics solutions ranging from the bottom to the top ($99 on up to $649). First up is the new range of R7 300 Series cards that is aimed squarely at gamers AMD says are typically running at 1080p. For gamers that want a little bit more power, there's the new R9 300 Series (think of them as R9 280s with higher clocks and 8GB of memory). Finally, AMD unveiled its Fiji graphics cards that feature onboard High Bandwidth Memory (HBM), offering 3x the performance-per-watt of GDDR5. Fiji has 1.5x the performance-per-watt of the R9 290X, and was built with a focus on 4K gaming. The chip itself features 4096 stream processors and is comprised of 8.9 billion transistors. It has a graphics core clock of 1050MHz and is rated at 8.6 TFLOPs. AMD says there will also be plenty of overhead for overclocking. Finally, AMD also took the opportunity to showcase its "Project Quantum," which is a small form-factor PC that manages to cram two Fiji GPUs inside. The processor, GPUs, and all other hardware are incorporated into the bottom of the chassis, while the cooling solution is built into the top of the case.

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Unreal Engine Code Issues Fixed By Third-party Company
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '15 at 03:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's bugging-out department:
An anonymous reader writes: Unreal Engine is the famous game engine that was used to implement such games as Unreal Tournament, BioShock Infinite, Mass Effect and many more. On March 19, 2014 Unreal Engine 4 was made publicly available from a GitHub repository. It was a big event for the game development industry. One of the companies that took an interest in this was PVS-Studio, who created a static C/C++ code analyzer. They analyzed the Unreal Engine source code and reported to Epic Games's development team about the problems they found. Epic suggested a partnership with PVS-Studio to fix those bugs, and their challenge was accepted. Now, PVS-Studio shares their experience in fixing code issues and merging corrected code with new updates in a major project that shares its source code.

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Sunday Times Issues DMCA Takedown Notice To the Intercept Over Snowden Article
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '15 at 03:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's best-defense-is-a-hilariously-weak-offense department:
An anonymous reader writes: On Sunday, British newspaper The Sunday Times published an article citing anonymous UK government sources claiming that the cache of documents taken by Edward Snowden was successfully decrypted by the Russians and Chinese. Shortly thereafter, Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept published scathing criticism of the article. In Greenwald's article, he included a photograph of the newspaper's front page, where the story was featured. Yesterday, The Intercept received a DMCA takedown notice from News Corp alleging that the photograph infringed upon their copyright. The Intercept is refusing to comply with the takedown demand.

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US Lawmakers Demand Federal Encryption Requirements After OPM Hack
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '15 at 02:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's polls-have-shown-that-not-getting-hacked-is-good department:
Patrick O'Neill writes: After suffering one of the biggest hacks in federal history at the Office of Personnel Management, the U.S. government is sprinting to require a wide range of cybersecurity improvements across agencies in order to better secure troves of sensitive government data against constant cyberattacks. The top priorities are basic but key: Encryption of sensitive data and two-factor authentication required for privileged users. Despite eight years of internal warnings, these measures were not implemented at OPM when hackers breached their systems beginning last year.

The calls for added security measures comes as high-level government officials, particularly FBI director James Comey and NSA director Adm. Mike Rogers, are pushing to require backdoors on encryption software that many experts, like UPenn professor Matt Blaze, say would fundamentally "weaken our infrastructure" because the backdoors would be open to hackers as well.


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TRIM and Linux: Tread Cautiously, and Keep Backups Handy
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '15 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's solid-state-detective-work department:
An anonymous reader writes: Algolia is a buzzword-compliant ("Hosted Search API that delivers instant and relevant results")
start-up that uses a lot of open-source software (including various strains of Linux) and a lot of solid-state disk, and as such sometimes runs into problems with each of these. Their blog this week features a fascinating look at troubles that they faced with ext4 filesystems mysteriously flipping to read-only mode: not such a good thing for machines processing a search index, not just dishing it out.

"The NGINX daemon serving all the HTTP(S) communication of our API was up and ready to serve the search queries but the indexing process crashed. Since the indexing process is guarded by supervise, crashing in a loop would have been understandable but a complete crash was not. As it turned out the filesystem was in a read-only mode. All right, let's assume it was a cosmic ray :) The filesystem got fixed, files were restored from another healthy server and everything looked fine again. The next day another server ended with filesystem in read-only, two hours after another one and then next hour another one. Something was going on. After restoring the filesystem and the files, it was time for serious analysis since this was not a one time thing.

The rest of the story explains how they isolated the problem and worked around it; it turns out that the culprit was TRIM, or rather TRIM's interaction with certain SSDs: "The system was issuing a TRIM to erase empty blocks, the command got misinterpreted by the drive and the controller erased blocks it was not supposed to. Therefore our files ended-up with 512 bytes of zeroes, files smaller than 512 bytes were completely zeroed. When we were lucky enough, the misbehaving TRIM hit the super-block of the filesystem and caused a corruption."

< article continued at Slashdot >

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Energy Harnessed From Humidity Can Power Small Devices
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '15 at 01:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's send-them-to-the-midwest-for-infinite-energy department:
sciencehabit writes: Scientists have built small devices that generate electricity by harnessing changes in the ambient humidity. This is done through the use of dormant bacterial spores which expand when they absorb moisture from the air. To prove the concept, researchers attached the spores to one side of a curved polymer sheet, and when the spores absorbed humidity from the air, the sheet straightened out. Coupling this movement with an electromagnetic generator allowed them to harvest enough energy to power small devices like an LED and a 100-gram toy car.

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Amazon Pulls Kodi Media Player From App Store Over Piracy Claims
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '15 at 12:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's get-out-because-reasons department:
An anonymous reader writes with news that the Kodi media player (formerly XBMC) has had its app pulled from the Amazon app store after Amazon decided that it facilitates piracy. Amazon said, "Any facilitation of piracy or illegal downloads is not allowed in our program," and directed the development team not to resubmit the app. The team was surprised to hear this, since Kodi itself does not download or link to any infringing content. It does support addons, and some users have created addons to support pirated content, but the Kodi developers are fighting that behavior. XBMC Foundation board member Nathan Betzen said it's absurd that "Amazon won’t let us into their appstore, but they have no problem selling the boxes that are pushing the reason they won’t let us into their app store."

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Baseball Team Hacks Another Team's Networks, FBI Investigates
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '15 at 11:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's change-your-password department:
An anonymous reader writes: The St. Louis Cardinals have been one of the better baseball teams over the past several years. The Houston Astros have been one of the worst. Nevertheless, there is evidence that officials for the Cardinals broke into a network maintained by the Astros in order to gain access to "internal discussions about trades, proprietary statistics, and scouting reports." The FBI is now leading an investigation into the breach, and they have served subpoenas to the Cardinals and to Major League Baseball demanding access to electronic correspondence. It's the first known instance of corporate espionage involving a network breach in professional sports. Law enforcement said the intrusion "did not appear to be sophisticated." It seems likely that a personal vendetta against the Astros's general manager is involved.

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Google Expands Security Rewards To Bugs In Android Devices
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '15 at 11:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's all-about-the-benjamins department:
An anonymous reader sends news that Google has launched the Android Security Rewards program, which expands its bug bounty efforts to include vulnerabilities in the Android mobile operating system. At present, the program is fairly limited — only bugs found in the most recent version of Android are accepted, and only those that exist on the Nexus 6 phone or the Nexus 9 tablet. Google says that list will change in the future. "Eligible bugs include those in Android Open Source Project (AOSP) code, OEM code (libraries and drivers), the kernel, and the TrustZone OS and modules. Vulnerabilities in other non-Android code, such as the code that runs in chipset firmware, may be eligible if they impact Android’s overall security." Bounty amounts range from $500 for a moderate severity bug to $2,000 for a critical bug. The amounts can be increased by various multipliers if a security researcher is able to submit code that helps Google test or fix the issue.

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FDA Bans Trans Fat
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '15 at 10:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's bye-bye-miss-american-pie department:
An anonymous reader writes: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has finally come to a conclusion about artificial trans fat: it must be removed from the U.S. food supply over the next three years. According to their final determination (PDF), there's no longer a scientific consensus that partially hydrogenated oils are safe to consume. Trans fat must be gone from food in the U.S. by June, 2018, unless a petitioner is granted specific approval by the FDA to continue using it. "Many baked goods such as pie crusts and biscuits as well as canned frosting still use partially hydrogenated oils because they help baked goods maintain their flakiness and frostings be spreadable. As for frying, palm oil is expected to be a go-to alternative, while modified soybean oil may catch on as well." The food industry is expected to spend $6.2 billion over the next two decades to formulate replacements, but the money saved from health benefits is expected to be more than 20 times higher.

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