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Russia Jails Hacker For Spilling Top Government Officials' Secrets
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '17 at 10:13 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's tough-luck department:
A Russian court sentenced a prominent hacker to two years in jail on Thursday after a secret trial which heard how he had accessed and leaked the email accounts of top government officials, Russian news agencies reported. From a report: The court found Vladimir Anikeyev, named as head of a famous hacking collective called Shaltai Boltai (Humpty Dumpty), guilty of illegally accessing computer data in collusion with a criminal group. The TASS news agency said he was accused of breaking into the email account of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev's spokeswoman as well as the account of an official in the presidential administration among many others.

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HBO and Cinemax Come To Hulu, But You'll Need the New App To Watch
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '17 at 10:13 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's good-moves department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: Hulu this morning announced it's finally adding HBO as an optional add-on for subscribers, as well as HBO-owned Cinemax. The premium networks will be offered to those who subscribe to Hulu's on-demand service plus those who pay for Hulu's new live TV service, including both the ad-supported and commercial-free versions. As on most other streaming services, including HBO NOW, the HBO add-on will cost subscribers an extra $14.99 per month. Cinemax is a more affordable upgrade at $9.99 per month. The deal's timing comes just ahead of "Game of Thrones" big summer release, which will allow Hulu the opportunity to capture some number of subscribers for this premium upgrade. Many HBO viewers only pay for the streaming service while the flagship series is airing, as they want to watch it live but no longer pay for cable TV. Now, they'll be able to watch the show live or on-demand, along with past seasons of other popular HBO series, like the "The Sopranos," or catch up on newcomers like "Westworld," along with all the other shows, sports, comedy and music specials, and movies that HBO offers. Some of HBO's other notable originals include "Veep," "Last Week Tonight," "Vice," "Silicon Valley," "Big Little Lies," and "The Night Of." It's now home to kids classic "Sesame Street," too.

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Microsoft Plans Up To 3,000 Job Cuts In a Sales Staff Overhaul To Fuel Cloud Growth
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '17 at 08:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's job-cuts department:
Microsoft announced a major reorganization on Wednesday that will include thousands of layoffs, largely in sales. From a report: The job cuts amount to less that 10 percent of the company's total sales force, and about 75 percent of them will be outside the U.S., the company said. Reports from last week suggested this was going to happen, and that Microsoft was going to specifically focus on how it sells its cloud services product, Azure. Microsoft's cloud business has been booming over recent quarters -- Microsoft noted Azure sales growth of 93 percent last quarter. While Amazon has become a bigger competitor in the space, Microsoft's restructuring is to pivot to software as a service, platform as a service and infrastructure.

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iPhone Bugs Are Too Valuable To Report To Apple
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '17 at 08:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's big-dilemma department:
An anonymous reader writes: Last year, Apple launched a long-awaited bug bounty program to reward friendly hackers who report flaws in the iPhone to the company. Despite inviting some of the best hackers in the world to join, it's a bit of a flop so far. The iPhone's security is so tight that it's hard to find any flaws at all, which leads to sky-high prices for bugs on the grey market. Researchers I spoke to are reluctant to report bugs both because they are so valuable and because reporting some bugs may actually prevent them from doing more research. "People can get more cash if they sell their bugs to others," said Nikias Bassen, a security researcher for the company Zimperium, and who joined Apple's program last year. "If you're just doing it for the money, you're not going to give [bugs] to Apple directly." Patrick Wardle, a former NSA hacker who now specializes in MacOS research and was invited to the Apple bug bounty program, agreed. He said that iOS bugs are "too valuable to report to Apple."

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Privacy Watchdog Sues Trump's Election Committee Over Voter Data
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '17 at 07:31 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's taking-a-stand department:
From a report: When the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity sent a letter to all 50 states seeking personal, identifying information on all voters in the US, at least 44 states refused in some part. Trump signed an executive order last May to create this commission while claiming that millions of people had voted illegally. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has taken issue with this request, as well, and has filed a lawsuit accusing the Commission of violating the privacy of American voters. EPIC also asserts that the original request asks states to send the data to a non-secure website, making the data vulnerable to identity theft and financial fraud. Not to mention political agendas. EPIC is also seeking information about "the failure to conduct a Privacy Impact Assessment," and has filed for a temporary restraining order "to block the Commission's efforts."

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'In the Knowledge Economy, We Need a Netflix of Education'
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '17 at 07:31 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's make-it-happen department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: When we want to acquire useful knowledge, we have to search the web broadly, find experts by word-of-mouth and troll through various poorly designed internal document sharing systems. This method is inefficient. There should be a better solution that helps users find what they need. Such a solution would adapt to the user's needs and learn how to make ongoing customized recommendations and suggestions through a truly interactive and impactful learning experience. Before Netflix, Spotify, Reddit and similar curated content apps, you had to go to numerous sources to find the shows, music, news and other media you wished to view. Now, the entertainment and media you actually want to consume is easily discoverable and personalized to your interests. In many ways the entertainment model is a good framework for knowledge management and learning development applications. The solution for the learning and development industry would be a platform that can make education more accessible and relevant -- something that allows us to absorb and spread knowledge seamlessly. Just as Netflix delivers entertainment we want at our fingertips, the knowledge and learning we need should be delivered where and when we need it.

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Canada's Play For Immigrant Tech Talent
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '17 at 06:10 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-they-work department:
An anonymous reader shares an Axios report: When it comes to high-skilled immigration, the U.S.'s loss could be Canada's gain. Canada recently launched a Global Skills Strategy visa program to make it easier for its companies to bring in foreign workers with specific technology or business skills. The program allows firms to have a position pre-approved and get visas within two weeks -- a stark contrast to the months-long U.S. visa process. Why it matters: The Trump administration has moved to restrict the number of immigrants coming into the U.S. on work visas, which worries big tech and consulting firms that use the H-1B visa program to fill technical and specialized jobs. Canada's government is seizing the moment to provide an option for engineers, executives and other tech talent who may no longer qualify for an H-1B visa or who simply don't feel comfortable staying in the U.S. Open for business: Navdeep Bains, Canada's Minister of Innovation, told Axios that Canada wants to be open to ideas, open to trade, and "more importantly, we want to be open to people" in order for companies to grow. Bains stopped short of framing the program as a way to poach talent from Silicon Valley, instead saying that the government is "open to whatever region has talent."

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Google May Face Another Record EU Fine, This Time Over Android
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '17 at 06:10 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's drop-in-the-bucket department:
troublemaker_23 shares a report from ITWire: The EU is contemplating another record fine against Google over how it pays and limits mobile phone providers who use the search company's Android mobile operating system and app store. Reuters reported that a decision could be expected by the end of the year if the opinion of a team of experts, set up by the EU to obtain a second opinion, agree with the decisions reached by the team that has worked on the case. The report quoted Richard Windsor, an independent financial analyst, as saying that the Android fine was likely to hurt Google more than the search fine or the verdict in a third EU probe over AdSense. "If Google was forced to unbundle Google Play from its other Digital Life services, handset makers and operators would be free to set whatever they like by default potentially triggering a decline in the usage of Google's services," he said. In the chargesheet, issued on April 20, 2016, the European Commission said Google had breached EU anti-trust rules by: -Requiring manufacturers to pre-install Google Search and Google's Chrome browser and requiring them to set Google Search as default search service on their devices, as a condition to license certain Google proprietary apps; -Preventing manufacturers from selling smart mobile devices running on competing operating systems based on the Android open source code; -Giving financial incentives to manufacturers and mobile network operators on condition that they exclusively pre-install Google Search on their devices.

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OpenBSD Will Get Unique Kernels On Each Reboot
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '17 at 03:31 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's fresh-start department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bleeping Computer: A new feature added in test snapshots for the upcoming OpenBSD 6.2 release will create a unique kernel every time an OpenBSD user reboots or upgrades his computer. This feature is named KARL -- Kernel Address Randomized Link -- and works by relinking internal kernel files in a random order so that it generates a unique kernel binary blob every time. Currently, for stable releases, the OpenBSD kernel uses a predefined order to link and load internal files inside the kernel binary, resulting in the same kernel for all users. Developed by Theo de Raadt, KARL will work by generating a new kernel binary at install, upgrade, and boot time. If the user boots up, upgrades, or reboots his machine, the most recently generated kernel will replace the existing kernel binary, and the OS will generate a new kernel binary that will be used on the next boot/upgrade/reboot, constantly rotating kernels on reboots or upgrades. KARL should not be confused with ASLR -- Address Space Layout Randomization -- a technique that randomizes the memory address where application code is executed, so exploits can't target a specific area of memory where an application or the kernel is known to run. A similar technique exists for randomizing the memory location where the kernel loads -- called KASLR. The difference between the two is that KARL loads a different kernel binary in the same place, while KASLR loads the same binary in random locations. Currently Linux and Windows only support KASLR.

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NASA Seeks Nuclear Power For Mars
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '17 at 11:20 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's to-be-continued department:
New submitter joshtops shares a report from Scientific American: As NASA makes plans to one day send humans to Mars, one of the key technical gaps the agency is working to fill is how to provide enough power on the Red Planet's surface for fuel production, habitats and other equipment. One option: small nuclear fission reactors, which work by splitting uranium atoms to generate heat, which is then converted into electric power. NASA's technology development branch has been funding a project called Kilopower for three years, with the aim of demonstrating the system at the Nevada National Security Site near Las Vegas. Testing is due to start in September and end in January 2018. The last time NASA tested a fission reactor was during the 1960s' Systems for Nuclear Auxiliary Power, or SNAP, which developed two types of nuclear power systems. The first system -- radioisotope thermoelectric generators, or RTGs -- taps heat released from the natural decay of a radioactive element, such as plutonium. RTGs have powered dozens of space probes over the years, including the Curiosity rover currently exploring Mars. The second technology developed under SNAP was an atom-splitting fission reactor. SNAP-10A was the first -- and so far, only -- U.S. nuclear power plant to operate in space. Launched on April 3, 1965, SNAP-10A operated for 43 days, producing 500 watts of electrical power, before an unrelated equipment failure ended the demonstration. The spacecraft remains in Earth orbit.

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Japan's Population Falls At Fastest Rate Since 1968
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '17 at 08:42 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's downward-spiral department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: Japan's population, excluding resident foreigners, fell at the beginning of this year at its fastest pace since comparable figures were kept in 1968, highlighting the demographic challenge to economic growth. As of Jan. 1, the number of Japanese people fell by a record 308,084 from a year earlier to 125,583,658, marking the eighth consecutive year of declines, government data showed Wednesday. The number of births fell 2.9 percent from the previous year ago to 981,202, the lowest since comparable data became available in 1974. People aged 65 or older accounted for 27.2 percent of the total population, the highest ratio on record, while the ratio of those aged 14 or younger fell to a record low of 12.7 percent, the data showed. The number of registered foreign residents increased to 2,323,428, up 6.9 percent from a year earlier, according to the data.

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Chicago To Make Future Plans a Graduation Requirement
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '17 at 04:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's plan-ahead department:
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanual's recently approved plan will require high school students show their plans for the future before obtaining their diploma. "Students will soon have to show that they've secured a job or received a letter of acceptance to college, a trade apprenticeship, a gap year program or the military in order to graduate," reports The Hill. From the report: "We are going to help kids have a plan, because they're going to need it to succeed," Emanuel told the Post. "You cannot have kids think that 12th grade is done." But critics say the district may not be able to provide mentoring to help needy students when the rule takes effect in 2020. "It sounds good on paper, but the problem is that when you've cut the number of counselors in schools, when you've cut the kind of services that kids need, who is going to do this work?" Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, told the Post. "If you've done the work to earn a diploma, then you should get a diploma. Because if you don't, you are forcing kids into more poverty."

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Linux Is Not As Safe As You Think
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '17 at 04:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's welcome-to-the-club department:
BrianFagioli writes via BetaNews: Would you be surprised if I told you that threat methods for Linux increased an astonishing 300 percent in 2016, while Microsoft's operating systems saw a decrease? Well, according to a new report, that is true. Does this mean Linux is unsafe? No way, Jose! There are some important takeaways here. Microsoft's Windows operating systems are still the most targeted platforms despite the year over year decline -- far beyond Linux. Also, just because there is an increase in malware attack methods doesn't necessarily mean that more systems will be infected. Let us not forget that it is easier to find a vulnerability with open source too; Microsoft largely uses closed source code. "At the end of November, criminals with other variants of the same Linux malware unleashed devastating attacks against DSL routers of Telekom customers. 900,000 devices were taken down. In October, the Mirai code appeared freely available on the Internet. Since then, the AV-TEST systems have been investigating an increasing number of samples with spikes at the end of October, November and beginning of December," says AV Test of the Mirai malware. "Other Linux malware, such as the Tsunami backdoor, has been causing trouble for several years now and can be easily modified for attacks against IoT devices. The detection systems of AV-TEST first detected the Tsunami malicious code in the year 2003. Although, at that time, practically no IoT devices existed, the Linux backdoor already offered attack functions which even today would be suitable for virtually unprotected attacks on routers: In this manner, Tsunami can download additional malicious code onto infected devices and thus make devices remote controllable for criminals. But the old malware can also be used for DDoS attacks. The Darlloz worm, known since 2013, as well as many other Linux and Unix malware programs, have similar attack patterns which AV-TEST has been detecting and analyzing for years."

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Petya Ransomware Authors Demand $250,000 In First Public Statement Since Attack
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '17 at 03:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's public-statements department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: The group responsible for last week's globe-spanning ransomware attack has made their first public statement. Motherboard first spotted the post, which was left on the Tor-only announcement service DeepPaste. In the message, the Petya authors offer the private encryption key used in the attack in exchange for 100 bitcoin, the equivalent of over $250,000 at current rates. Crucially, the message includes a file signed with Petya's private key, which is strong evidence that the message came from the group responsible for Petya. More specifically, it proves that whoever left the message has the necessary private key to decrypt individual files infected by the virus. Because the virus deleted certain boot-level files, it's impossible to entirely recover infected systems, but individual files can still be recovered. The message also included a link to a chat room where the malware authors discussed the offer, although the room has since been deactivated.

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Slashdot Asks: Your Favorite Ride-Sharing App?
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '17 at 03:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's point-A-to-point-B department:
There are many ride-sharing applications on the market but only two get all the media attention: Uber and Lyft. As many of you know, Uber has had a tumultuous year marked by a high-stakes legal fight with Alphabet over Google self-driving car trade secrets, a investigation by the U.S. government into the company's use of a software tool that helped its drivers avoid detection in parts of the country where the service wasn't allowed to operate in, and a sexual harassment investigation that resulted in 20 employees being fired. Uber's CEO Travis Kalanick resigned due to many of these scandals and investor pressure. Despite all of this, Uber continues to do well. Last week, the company announced it hit 5 billion rides across 6 continents, 76 countries, and 450+ cities.

Meanwhile, Lyft, which is only available in the U.S., just announced it hit one million rides a day. The company also says it's seen 48 consecutive months of ride growth and is on track to hit an annualized ride rate of 350 million. Our question to you is this: what ride-sharing app is your favorite? Have you found yourself gravitating more towards Lyft due to Uber's messes, or does that not matter much to you? Bonus: do you have a favorite ride-sharing app that's not Lyft or Uber?

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Mark Zuckerberg Doubles Down On Universal Basic Income, Calls It a 'Bipartisan Issue'
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '17 at 01:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's shared-interest department:
Mark Zuckerberg praised the Alaska Permanent Fund and used it as another platform to lobby for universal basic income, as he did during his commencement address to Harvard in May. The Alaska Permanent Fund was established in 1976 as the Alaska pipeline construction neared completion. According to CNBC, the "goal was to share the oil riches with future generations." From the report: Zuckerberg says the state's cash handout program "provides some good lessons for the rest of the country." The dividend averages $1000 (or more) per person. "That can be especially meaningful if your family has five or six people," says Zuckerberg in a post he wrote about the payment. "This is a novel approach to basic income in a few ways. First, it's funded by natural resources rather than raising taxes. Second, it comes from conservative principles of smaller government, rather than progressive principles of a larger safety net," says Zuckerberg. "This shows basic income is a bipartisan idea." Fundamentally, Zuckerberg says people think and work differently when they have their basic needs met. "Seeing how Alaska put this dividend in place reminded me of a lesson I learned early at Facebook: organizations think profoundly differently when they're profitable than when they're in debt. When you're losing money, your mentality is largely about survival," says Zuckerberg. "But when you're profitable, you're confident about your future and you look for opportunities to invest and grow further. Alaska's economy has historically created this winning mentality, which has led to this basic income. That may be a lesson for the rest of the country as well."

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CNN Warns It May Expose An Anonymous Critic If He Ever Again Publishes Bad Content
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '17 at 01:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's blackmail department:
New submitter evolutionary writes: CNN appears to be giving veiled threats at a Reddit user who posted critical comments about the media giant. After an apology was given by the Reddit user (possibly under fear upon discovering CNN had his identity), CNN stated: "CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change." The story stems around Trump's July 2nd tweet, which includes a video showing him wrestle and takedown someone with a photoshopped CNN logo on their head. The video was accompanied by the hashtags #FraudNewsCNN and #FNN. CNN reportedly tracked down the Reddit user who claimed credit for the tweet and announced they would not publicize the user's identity since they issued a lengthy public apology, promised not to repeat the behavior, and claimed status as a private citizen. However, as The Intercept reports, "the network explicitly threatened that it could change its mind about withholding the user's real name if this behavior changes in the future: 'CNN is not publishing HanA**holeSolo's name because he is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all his offending posts, and because he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again. In addition, he said his statement could serve as an example to others not to do the same. CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.'"

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Cox Expands Home Internet Data Caps, While CenturyLink Abandons Them
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '17 at 12:33 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's nickel-and-dime department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Cox, the third largest U.S. cable company, last week started charging overage fees to customers in four more states. Internet provider CenturyLink, on the other hand, recently ended an experiment with data caps and is giving bill credits to customers in the state of Washington who were charged overage fees during the yearlong trial. Cox, which operates in 18 states with about six million residential and business customers, last week brought overage fees to Arizona, Louisiana, Nevada, and Oklahoma. Cox was already enforcing data caps and overage fees in Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, and Ohio. California, Rhode Island, and Virginia technically have monthly caps but no enforcement of overage fees, according to Cox's list of data caps by location. Massachusetts and North Carolina seem to be exempt from the Cox data caps altogether. Similar to Comcast, Cox lets capped customers use 1TB of data a month and charges $10 for each additional block of 50GB. Cox will introduce a pricier "unlimited" plan later this year, Multichannel News reported. If Cox continues to match Comcast's pricing, the unlimited data plan would cost an additional $50 a month above what customers normally pay. A year ago, CenturyLink started a data-cap trial in Yakima, Washington, imposing a 300GB-per-month cap and overage fees of $10 for each additional 50GB. But instead of expanding the overage fees to more cities, CenturyLink ended the "usage-based billing program."

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Tesla Factory Reportedly Described As a 'Predator Zone' By Female Employees
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '17 at 12:33 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's what's-happening? department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: Tesla's Fremont factory was described by a female employee as a "predator zone" of harassment in a meeting attended by dozens of employees, according to a bombshell report in The Guardian. Other women recalled being catcalled by male employees, feeling unsafe around male managers, and being subjected to sexist comments by their superiors, the report states. For months, The Guardian has been tracking the case of AJ Vandermeyden, a former Tesla engineer who sued the electric automaker for "unwanted and pervasive harassment." In her suit, Vandermeyden alleges that she and other female employees were denied promotions, paid less than their male peers, and retaliated against after making their concerns known to human resources. Several months after making her claims publicly, Vandermeyden was fired by Tesla.

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The XHamster Wikipedia Page Is Suddenly Immensely Popular, and No One Knows Why
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '17 at 11:12 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's things-to-ponder department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: At the beginning of June I started to notice that XHamster, the third most popular adult website after Pornhub and XVideos, had one of the most viewed Wikipedia pages. On May 29, XHamster's Wikipedia page went from receiving around 100,000 views to 200,000. By June 1, it was getting more than 300,000 views a day for no apparent reason. There haven't been any viral stories about XHamster lately. There are no controversies about the page itself that would have prompted sustained attention or an edit war. [...] Pageviews on XHamster's Wikipedia page, however, has been bonkers throughout the month of June for no obvious reason. That's according to a pageview analysis tool from Wikimedia Labs, and confirmed by a Wikipedia spokesperson. I reached out to Wikipedia to see if it could shed some light on this puzzle. In an email, a spokesperson verified that the pageviews were accurate but that they didn't know what was causing the surge. Wikipedia's spokesperson pointed out that the edit activity, unlike its pageviews, has remained steady.

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