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How 1990s Encryption Backdoors Put Today's Internet In Jeopardy
Posted by News Fetcher on May 20 '15 at 02:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's grunge-net department:
An anonymous reader writes: While debate swirls in Washington D.C. about new encryption laws, the consequences of the last crypto war is still being felt. Logjam vulnerabilities making headlines today is "a direct result of weakening cryptography legislation in the 1990s," researcher J. Alex Halderman said. "Thanks to Moore's law and improvements in cryptanalysis, the ability to break that crypto is something really anyone can do with open-source software. The backdoor might have seemed like a good idea at the time. Maybe the arguments 20 years ago convinced people this was going to be safe. History has shown otherwise. This is the second time in two months we've seen 90s era crypto blow up and put the safety of everyone on the internet in jeopardy."

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The Brainteaser Elon Musk Asks New SpaceX Engineers
Posted by News Fetcher on May 20 '15 at 01:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's riddle-me-this department:
Nerval's Lobster writes: The latest biography of Elon Musk, by technology journalist Ashlee Vance, provides an in-depth look into how the entrepreneur and tech titan built Tesla Motors and SpaceX from the ground up. For developers and engineers, getting a job at SpaceX is difficult, with a long interviewing/testing process... and for some candidates, there's a rather unique final step: an interview with Musk himself. During that interview, Musk reportedly likes to ask candidates a particular brainteaser: "You're standing on the surface of the Earth. You walk one mile south, one mile west, and one mile north. You end up exactly where you started. Where are you?" If you can answer that riddle successfully, and pass all of SpaceX's other stringent tests, you may have a shot at launching rockets into orbit.

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Learn About The Technology Education And Literacy in Schools Program (Video #2)
Posted by News Fetcher on May 20 '15 at 01:00 PM
By Roblimo from Slashdot's how-can-you-be-in-four-places-at-once-when-you're-not-anywhere-at-all? department:
Quoting our intro from yesterday's 'Part One' video: 'The Technology Education And Literacy in Schools program (TEALS to its friends), started with one volunteer, a Berkeley CS grad named Kevin Wang who taught high school for a while, then went to Microsoft for a much higher salary than he got from teaching. But before long, he was getting up early and teaching a first period computer science class at a Seattle-area high school that was (sort of) on his way to work.'

TEALS is now in 130 high schools and has 475 volunteers in multiple states but still has a long way to go (and needs to recruit many more volunteers) because, Kevin says, fewer than 1% of American high school students are exposed to computer science, even though "Computer science is now fundamental in these kids' lives." He doesn't expect everyone who takes a TEALS class to become a computer person any more than chemistry teachers expect all their students to become chemists. You might say that learning a little about how computers and networks work is like knowing how to change a car tire and cook a simple meal: skills that make life easier even for people who don't want to become mechanics or cooks.

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Grand Theft Auto V Keeps Raking In Money
Posted by News Fetcher on May 20 '15 at 12:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's hits-keep-coming department:
jones_supa writes: At end of 2013, Grand Theft Auto V made $800 million during initial 24 hours of sales. The title keeps churning profit as the publisher Take-Two closes the book on fiscal year 2015, which ended March 31. The company reported better-than-expected profits of $54.3 million atop revenue of $427.7 million in its fourth quarter, a significant improvement over the $21.5 million profit it reaped from $233.2 million in revenue during the same period last year. This time around Take-Two once again credited GTA V as its premier revenue driver for the final quarter of the year. With PS4/XBOne/PC versions out as well, the game has been an excellent investment. Strong runner-ups were 2K titles NBA 2K15 and Evolve.

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Eugene Kaspersky: "Our Business Is Saving the World From Computer Villains"
Posted by News Fetcher on May 20 '15 at 11:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's listen-up department:
blottsie writes: While the nature of Kaspersky's relationship with the Kremlin remains, at the very least, a matter of contention, his company's influence is anything but hazy. On top of their successful antivirus business, Kaspersky Lab researchers have discovered key details about the now-infamous Stuxnet virus, which was deployed by the U.S. and Israel against Iran's nuclear facilities. Kaspersky analysts later uncovered Flame, which the Washington Post found was another American-Israeli cyberweapon against Iran. All of this is on top of building a highly successful antivirus business. In a new interview with the Daily Dot, Kaspersky elaborates on thoughts about his company, his wealth, and the state of modern cybersecurity.

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Do Russian Uranium Deals Threaten World Supply Security?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 20 '15 at 10:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's plenty-to-go-around department:
Lasrick writes: A recent article in the New York Times notes that the Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom and associated firms are gaining control of a growing number of uranium resources and mining operations. The article, headlined Cash Flowed to Clinton Foundation Amid Russian Uranium Deal focuses on donations to charities connected to former US President Bill Clinton and his family, made by businessmen who stood to profit from the sale of Uranium One, a Canadian company with worldwide uranium-mining interests. But a major premise of the article is that Russian uranium control threatens the security of the global uranium supply. Steve Fetter and Erich Schneider demolish the idea that Russian control of uranium stocks is a threat to global security.

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Canadian Piracy Rates Plummet As Industry Points To New Copyright Notice System
Posted by News Fetcher on May 20 '15 at 10:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's no-downloading-for-you department:
An anonymous reader writes: Canada's copyright notice-and-notice system took effect earlier this
year, leading to thousands of notifications being forwarded by
Internet providers to their subscribers. Since its launch, there
have been serious
concerns
about the use of notices to demand settlements and to
shift the costs of enforcement to consumers and Internet providers.
Yet reports indicate that piracy rates in Canada have plummeted,
with some ISPs seeing a 70%
decrease in online infringement
.


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Adblock Plus Launches Adblock Browser: a Fork of Firefox For Android
Posted by News Fetcher on May 20 '15 at 09:31 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's unblocking-the-blocked-blocker department:
An anonymous reader writes: Adblock Plus has launched Adblock Browser for Android. Currently in beta, the company's first browser was created by taking the open source Firefox for Android and including Adblock Plus out-of-the-box. The Firefox Sync functionality is disabled, as is the ability to use other addons. "Adblock Plus for Android got kicked out of Google Play along with other ad blocking apps in March 2013, because Google’s developer distribution agreement states apps cannot interfere with the functionality of other apps. Williams thus believes Adblock Browser “should be fine” as it only blocks ads that are shown as you browse the Web."

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Ask Slashdot: Best Way To Solve a Unique Networking Issue?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 20 '15 at 08:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's that-seems-like-a-decent-way department:
New submitter petro-tech writes: I work as a service technician, maintaining and repairing gas pumps and POS equipment. In my day to day activities, one that consumes a ton of time and is relatively regular is the process of upgrading the software on pumps. This is done by connecting to the pump via direct ethernet from my laptop, then running a manufacturer-provided program that connects to the device and pushes the new software. Some sites have 8+ pumps with 2 devices in each, and at 20-30 minutes apiece this can be quite time consuming. Unfortunately the devices are not actually on a network, and as such cannot be updated remotely, also since they are not on a network, they are all configured with the same IP address. Additionally the software doesn't allow you to specify the adapter to use. I would like to be able to get to a site, connect a cable to each pump, and load them all at the same time. The only way I can figure to accomplish this with the software we've been provided is to do this: Get a 16-port powered USB hub, with a usb-ethernet adaptor in each port; Set up 16 VM's with extremely stripped down XP running on each, with only one USB-ethernet adaptor assigned to each VM; Set XP to boot the application for loading software as its shell; and load each device that way at the same time. Is there a better way to accomplish this?

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Critical Vulnerability In NetUSB Driver Exposes Millions of Routers To Hacking
Posted by News Fetcher on May 20 '15 at 08:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's it's-not-even-another-day-yet department:
itwbennett writes: NetUSB, a service that lets devices connected over USB to a computer be shared with other machines on a local network or the Internet, is implemented in Linux-based embedded systems, such as routers, as a kernel driver. Once enabled, it opens a server that listens on TCP port 20005 for connecting clients. Security researchers from a company called Sec Consult found that if a connecting computer has a name longer than 64 characters, a stack buffer overflow is triggered in the NetUSB service. The advisory notice has a list of affected routers.

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Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax
Posted by News Fetcher on May 20 '15 at 07:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's their-way-or-the-highway department:
schwit1 tips news that Oregon will become the first U.S. state to test a program to replace their gas tax with a fee for each mile citizens drive on public roads. The 5,000 people voluntarily participating in the test will be charged 1.5 cents per mile. Revenue from gas tax has been on the decline as vehicles get more fuel efficient and as hybrids and electric cars become more popular. This measure is an attempt to raise the amount of money the state takes in to pay for infrastructure projects. Many owners of those hybrid and electric vehicles are upset, saying it specifically targets them and discourages environmentally-friendly transportation. Others point out that those who drive electric vehicles need the roads maintained just as much as people still driving gas-powered cars.

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Martian Moons May Have Formed Like Earth's
Posted by News Fetcher on May 20 '15 at 06:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's carved-out-of-green-cheese department:
sciencehabit writes: Astronomers have long believed that Mars snatched its two moons — Phobos and Deimos — from the asteroid belt. That would explain why the objects look like asteroids—dark, crater-pocked, and potato-shaped. But computer simulations by two independent teams of astronomers (abstract 1, abstract 2) indicated that Mars's moons formed much like ours did, after a giant space rock smashed into the planet and sprayed debris into orbit.

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After a Year of Secret Field-Testing, Brain-Controlled Bionic Legs Are Here
Posted by News Fetcher on May 20 '15 at 06:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i'll-order-a-dozen department:
An anonymous reader writes: Today, an Icelandic prosthetic-maker announced that two amputees have been testing brain-controlled bionic legs for over a year. The devices respond to impulses in the subjects' residual limbs, via sensors that were implanted in simple, 15-minute-long procedures. "When the electrical impulse from his brain reaches the base of his leg, a pair of sensors embedded in his muscle tissue connect the neural dots, and wirelessly transmit that signal to the Proprio Foot. Since the command reaches the foot before the wearer's residual muscles actually contract, there's no unnatural lag between intention and action." This is a huge step forward (sorry) for this class of bionics. It may seem like a solved problem based on reports and videos from laboratories, but it's never been exposed to real world use and everyday wear and tear like this.

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'Logjam' Vulnerability Threatens Encrypted Connections
Posted by News Fetcher on May 20 '15 at 05:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's another-day-another-vulnerability department:
An anonymous reader writes: A team of security researchers has revealed a new encryption vulnerability called 'Logjam,' which is the result of a flaw in the TLS protocol used to create encrypted connections. It affects servers supporting the Diffie-Hellman key exchange, and it's caused by export restrictions mandated by the U.S. government during the Clinton administration. "Attackers with the ability to monitor the connection between an end user and a Diffie-Hellman-enabled server that supports the export cipher can inject a special payload into the traffic that downgrades encrypted connections to use extremely weak 512-bit key material. Using precomputed data prepared ahead of time, the attackers can then deduce the encryption key negotiated between the two parties."

Internet Explorer is the only browser yet updated to block such an attack — patches for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari are expected soon. The researchers add, "Breaking the single, most common 1024-bit prime used by web servers would allow passive eavesdropping on connections to 18% of the Top 1 Million HTTPS domains. A second prime would allow passive decryption of connections to 66% of VPN servers and 26% of SSH servers. A close reading of published NSA leaks shows that the agency's attacks on VPNs are consistent with having achieved such a break." Here is their full technical report (PDF).


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AP Computer Science Education Scalability: Advantage, Rupert Murdoch?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 20 '15 at 04:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's teaching-the-next-generation-of-voicemail-hackers department:
theodp writes: Code.org's AP Computer Science offering won't be going mainstream until the 2016-2017 school year. In the meantime, NewsWorks' Avi Wolfman-Arent reports that Rupert Murdoch's Amplify MOOC just wrapped up its second year of offering AP Computer Science A. And unlike Microsoft TEALS, Google CS First, and Code.org — programs constrained by the number of volunteers, teacher and classroom availability, professional development requirements, and money — Murdoch's AP CS MOOC holds the promise of open-access, unlimited-enrollment, learn-anywhere-and-anytime classes, a la Coursera, Udacity and EdX. So, did Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Facebook, and their leaders place a $30 million bet on the wrong horse when it comes to AP Computer Science scalability? And, even if they've got a more scalable model, will Murdoch's Amplify and schools be willing to deal with higher MOOC failure rates, and allow large numbers of students to try — and possibly drop or fail — AP CS without economic or academic consequences?

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US Levels Espionage Charges Against 6 Chinese Nationals
Posted by News Fetcher on May 20 '15 at 03:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's coveting-our-baconnaise-technology department:
Taco Cowboy writes: The U.S. government has indicted five Chinese citizens and arrested a Chinese professor on charges of economic espionage. The government alleges that they took jobs at two small, American chipmakers — Avago Technologies and Skyworks Solutions — in order to steal microelectronics designs. "All of them worked, the indictment contends, to steal trade secrets for a type of chip popularly known as a “filter” that is used for acoustics in mobile telephones, among other purposes. They took the technology back to Tianjin University, created a joint venture company with the university to produce the chips, and soon were selling them to both the Chinese military and to commercial customers."

It's interesting to note that the Reuters article keeps mentioning how this technology — used commonly as an acoustic filter — has "military applications." It's also interesting to look at another recent case involving Shirrey Chen, a hydrologist who was mysteriously arrested on suspicion of espionage, but then abruptly cleared five months later. One can't help but wonder what's driving the U.S.'s new strategy for tackling economic espionage.


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Australian Law Could Criminalize the Teaching of Encryption
Posted by News Fetcher on May 20 '15 at 01:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's technophobes-writing-laws department:
New submitter petherfile writes: According to Daniel Mathews, new laws passed in Australia (but not yet in effect) could criminalize the teaching of encryption. He explains how a ridiculously broad law could effectively make any encryption stronger than 512 bits criminal if your client is not Australian. He says, "In short, the DSGL casts an extremely wide net, potentially catching open source privacy software, information security research and education, and the entire computer security industry in its snare. Most ridiculous, though, are some badly flawed technicalities. As I have argued before, the specifications are so imprecise that they potentially include a little algorithm you learned at primary school called division. If so, then division has become a potential weapon, and your calculator (or smartphone, computer, or any electronic device) is a potential delivery system for it."

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Tweets To Appear In Google Search Results
Posted by News Fetcher on May 19 '15 at 10:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's social-Social-SOCIAL! department:
mpicpp writes with news that Google will now begin showing tweets alongside search results. Mobile users searching via the Android/iOS apps or through the browser will start seeing the tweets immediately, while the desktop version is "coming shortly." The tweets will only be available for the searches in English to start, but Twitter says they'll be adding more languages soon.

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Jason Scott of Textfiles.com Wants Your AOL & Shovelware CDs
Posted by News Fetcher on May 19 '15 at 08:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's your-kids-know-them-as-the-small-frisbees-that-shatter-so-beautifully department:
eldavojohn writes: You've probably got a spindle in your closet, or a drawer layered with them: the CD-ROM discs that were mailed to you or delivered with some hardware that you put away "just in case." Now, of course, the case for actually using them is laughable. Well, a certain eccentric individual named Jason Scott has a fever — and the only cure is more AOL CDs. But his sickness doesn't stop there, "I also want all the CD-ROMs made by Walnut Creek CD-ROM. I want every shovelware disc that came out in the entire breadth of the CD-ROM era. I want every shareware floppy, while we're talking. I want it all. The CD-ROM era is basically finite at this point. It's over. The time when we're going to use physical media as the primary transport for most data is done done done. Sure, there's going to be distributions and use of CD-ROMs for some time to come, but the time when it all came that way and when it was in most cases the only method of distribution in the history books, now. And there were a specific amount of CD-ROMs made. There are directories and listings of many that were manufactured. I want to find those. I want to image them, and I want to put them up. I'm looking for stacks of CD-ROMs now. Stacks and stacks. AOL CDs and driver CDs and Shareware CDs and even hand-burned CDs of stuff you downloaded way back when. This is the time to strike." Who knows? His madness may end up being appreciated by younger generations!

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Survey: 2/3 of Public Sector Workers Wouldn't Report a Security Breach
Posted by News Fetcher on May 19 '15 at 06:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's time-to-hand-out-some-free-whistles department:
An anonymous reader sends news of a survey of workers in the public sector conducted by Daisy Group, a British IT firm, which found that 64% of them would stay quiet about a security breach they noticed. The survey also found that 5% of workers admitted to disabling the password protection features on their work devices, and 20% said they don't update their passwords regularly. Daisy Group's Graham Harris said, "When it comes to data security, all too often organisations focus purely on IT processes and forget about the staff that will be using them. Human error is one of, if not the most likely source for data security issues, and fear of reprisal is a powerful force." 16% of respondents said they didn't know if data protection was an important part of their company's security practices.

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