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Russia Cracks Down On Public Wi-Fi; Oracle Blocks Java Downloads In Russia
Posted by News Fetcher on August 08 '14 at 11:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's interesting-times department:
Linking to a story at Reuters, reader WilliamGeorge writes "Russia is further constraining access to the internet and freedom of speech, with new laws regarding public use of WiFi. Nikolai Nikiforov, the Russian Communications Minister, tweeted that "Identification of users (via bank cards, cell phone numbers, etc.) with access to public Wifi is a worldwide practice." This comes on top of their actions recently to block websites of political opponents to Russian president Vladimir Putin, require registration of prominent bloggers, and more. The law was put into effect with little notice and without the input of Russian internet providers. Sergei Plugotarenko, head of the Russian Electronic Communications Association, said "It was unexpected, signed in such a short time and without consulting us." He added, "We will hope that this restrictive tendency stops at some point because soon won't there be anything left to ban." In addition to the ID requirement to use WiFi, the new law also requires companies to declare who is using their web networks and calls for Russian websites to store their data on servers located in Russia starting in 2016."

That's not the only crackdown in progress, though: former Slashdot code-wrestler Vlad Kulchitski notes that Russian users are being blocked from downloading Java with an error message that reads, in essence, "You are in a country on which there is embargo; you cannot download JAVA." Readers at Hacker News note the same, though comments there indicate that the block may rely on a " specific and narrow IP-block," rather than being widespread. If you're reading this from Russia, what do you find?

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Skype Reverses Decision To Drop OS X 10.5 Support, Retires Windows Phone 7 App
Posted by News Fetcher on August 08 '14 at 11:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's nobody-worth-spying-on-with-windows-7-it-seems department:
An anonymous reader writes Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard users recently found that Skype no longer works on their system: despite upgrading to the latest version they still can't sign in. We got in touch with the Microsoft-owned company and after two days, we got confirmation that a solution was in the works. "We have a Skype version for Mac OS X 10.5 users which will soon be available for download," a Skype spokesperson told TNW. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for Windows Phone 7. In a support page titled "Is Skype for Windows Phone 7 being discontinued?," the Microsoft-owned company answers the question with a "yes" and elaborates that it is "permanently retiring all Skype apps for Windows Phone 7." Again, this isn't just old versions going away, or support being removed, but the apps themselves have disappeared.

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Long-Wave Radar Can Take the Stealth From Steath Technology
Posted by News Fetcher on August 08 '14 at 10:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's f35s-cost-more-than-$300-million-each department:
AbrasiveCat (999190) writes "In the continuing game of cat and mouse between offensive and defensive technologies of war, the technology of radar stealth may have been matched by new multiple frequency radar systems. U.S Naval Institute News reports the Chinese and Russians may be developing such systems. The present radar systems use high frequency waves for accurately locating an incoming target. Stealth aircraft are designed to adsorb or reflect these wave away from the receiver. It turns out longer wave radars can see the stealth aircraft. The longer wave radar lacks the precision of the high frequency radar, but when the two are combined, as the Russians, Chinese (and US) are doing, you can produce accurate targeting radar. The F117 may have been in a golden age for stealth technology, it will be interesting to see if the F35 arrives to late to be effective against other countries with advanced radar systems."

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Long-Wave Radar Can Take the Stealth From Steath Technology
Posted by News Fetcher on August 08 '14 at 10:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's f35s-cost-more-than-$300-million-each department:
AbrasiveCat (999190) writes "In the continuing game of cat and mouse between offensive and defensive technologies of war, the technology of radar stealth may have been matched by new multiple frequency radar systems. U.S Naval Institute News reports the Chinese and Russians may be developing such systems. The present radar systems use high frequency waves for accurately locating an incoming target. Stealth aircraft are designed to adsorb or reflect these wave away from the receiver. It turns out longer wave radars can see the stealth aircraft. The longer wave radar lacks the precision of the high frequency radar, but when the two are combined, as the Russians, Chinese (and US) are doing, you can produce accurate targeting radar. The F117 may have been in a golden age for stealth technology, it will be interesting to see if the F35 arrives to late to be effective against other countries with advanced radar systems."

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Paint Dust Covers the Upper Layer of the World's Oceans
Posted by News Fetcher on August 08 '14 at 09:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's zooplankton-love-fiberglass department:
sciencehabit (1205606) writes Even when the sea looks clean, its surface can be flecked with tiny fragments of paint and fiberglass. That's the finding from a study that looked for plastic pollution in the uppermost millimeter of ocean. The microscopic fragments come from the decks and hulls of boats, and they could pose a threat to zooplankton, an important part of the marine food web.

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Cornering the Market On Zero-Day Exploits
Posted by News Fetcher on August 08 '14 at 09:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's sell-out-or-get-the-hammer department:
Nicola Hahn (1482985) writes Kim Zetter of Wired Magazine has recently covered Dan Greer's keynote speech at Black Hat USA. In his lengthy address Greer, representing the CIA's venture funding arm, suggested that one way that the United States government could improve cyber security would be to use its unparalleled budget to buy up all the underground's zero-day vulnerabilities.

While this would no doubt make zero-day vendors like VUPEN and middlemen like the Grugq very wealthy, is this strategy really a good idea? Can the public really trust the NSA to do the right thing with all those zero-day exploits? Furthermore, recall the financial meltdown of 2008 where the public paid the bill for Wall Street's greed. If the government pays for information on all these unpatched bugs would society simply be socializing the cost of hi-tech's sloppy engineering? Whose interests does this "corner-the-market" approach actually serve?


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WHO Declares Ebola Outbreak An International Emergency
Posted by News Fetcher on August 08 '14 at 08:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's we're-all-gonna-die department:
mdsolar (1045926) writes with news that, with the Ebola outbreak growing out of control, the WHO has declared an international health emergency. From the article: With cases rapidly mounting in four West African countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) today declared the Ebola outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), a designation that allows the agency to issue recommendations for travel restrictions but also sends a strong message that more resources need to be mobilized to bring the viral disease under control. ... This is only the third time the health agency has issued a PHEIC declaration since the new International Health Regulations (IHR), a global agreement on the control of diseases, were adopted in 2005. The previous two instances were in 2009, for the H1N1 influenza pandemic, and in May for the resurgence of polio.

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Oracle Hasn't Killed Java -- But There's Still Time
Posted by News Fetcher on August 08 '14 at 08:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's common-lisp-rising department:
snydeq (1272828) writes Java core has stagnated, Java EE is dead, and Spring is over, but the JVM marches on. C'mon Oracle, where are the big ideas? asks Andrew C. Oliver. 'I don't think Oracle knows how to create markets. It knows how to destroy them and create a product out of them, but it somehow failed to do that with Java. I think Java will have a long, long tail, but the days are numbered for it being anything more than a runtime and a language with a huge install base. I don't see Oracle stepping up to the plate to offer the kind of leadership that is needed. It just isn't who Oracle is. Instead, Oracle will sue some more people, do some more shortsighted and self-defeating things, then quietly fade into runtime maintainer before IBM, Red Hat, et al. pick up the slack independently. That's started to happen anyhow.'

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Red Hat CEO: Open Source Goes Mainstream In 2014
Posted by News Fetcher on August 08 '14 at 07:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's year-of-the-linux-lightbulb department:
ashshy (40594) writes Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst likes to post "state of the union" addresses at the end of every year. Last December, he said that open source innovation is going mainstream in 2014. In an interview with The Motley Fool, Whitehurst matches up his expectations against mid-year progress. Spoiler alert: It's mostly good news.

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Network Hijacker Steals $83,000 In Bitcoin
Posted by News Fetcher on August 08 '14 at 06:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's rerouting-the-internet-for-fun-and-profit department:
An anonymous reader writes with news that bogus BGP announcements can be used to hijack work done by cryptocurrency mining pools. Quoting El Reg: Researchers at Dell's SecureWorks Counter Threat Unit (CTU) have identified an exploit that can be used to steal cryptocurrency from mining pools — and they claim that at least one unknown miscreant has already used the technique to pilfer tens of thousands of dollars in digital cash. The heist was achieved by using bogus Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) broadcasts to hijack networks belonging to multiple large hosting companies, including Amazon, Digital Ocean, and OVH, among others.

After sending the fake BGP updates miners unknowingly contributed work to the attackers' pools.

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'Unparticles' May Hold the Key To Superconductivity
Posted by News Fetcher on August 08 '14 at 06:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's too-cool-for-existence department:
KentuckyFC (1144503) writes One curious property of massless particles like photons is that their energy or momentum can take any value across many orders of magnitude, a property that physicists call scale invariance. By contrast, massive particles like electrons always have the same mass regardless of their energy or momentum. So massive particles are not scale invariant. The concept of unparticles is the idea that some "stuff" may have mass, energy and momentum and yet also be scale invariant. This stuff must be profoundly different from ordinary particles, hence the name: unparticles. Nobody has ever seen an unparticle but now physicists are suggesting that unparticles may hold the key to understanding unconventional superconductivity. Their thinking is that at very low temperatures, ordinary particles can sometimes behave like unparticles. In other words, their properties become independent of the scale at which they're observed. So if an unparticle moves without resistance on a tiny scale, then it must also move without resistance at every scale, hence the phenomenon of superconductivity. That could provide some important insights into unconventional superconductivity which has puzzled physicists since it was discovered in the 1980s.

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Yahoo To Add PGP Encryption For Email
Posted by News Fetcher on August 08 '14 at 05:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's gpg-for-grandma department:
Bismillah (993337) writes Yahoo is working on an easy to use PGP interface for webmail, the company's chief information security officer Alex Stamos said at Black Hat 2014. This could lead to some interesting standoffs with governments and law enforcement wanting to read people's messages. From the article: "'We are working to design a key server architecture that allows for automatic discovery of public keys within Yahoo.com and other participating mail providers and to integrate encryption into the normal mail flow,' Stamos said."

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IBM Creates Custom-Made Brain-Like Chip
Posted by News Fetcher on August 08 '14 at 04:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's it's-alive department:
An anonymous reader writes In a paper published Thursday in Science, IBM describes its creation of a brain-like chip called TrueNorth. It has "4,096 processor cores, and it mimics one million human neurons and 256 million synapses, two of the fundamental biological building blocks that make up the human brain." What's the difference between TrueNorth and traditional processing units? Apparently, TrueNorth encodes data "as patterns of pulses". Already, TrueNorth has a proven 80% accuracy in image recognition with a power consumption efficiency rate beating traditional processing units. Don't look for brain-like chips in the open market any time soon, though. TrueNorth is part of a DARPA research effort that may or may not translate into significant changes in commercial chip architecture and function.

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What Do You Do When Your Mind-Numbing IT Job Should Be Automated?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 08 '14 at 02:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's with-my-eyes-closed department:
jfruh writes Not everyone has a job like Homer Simpson, who's been replaced at various times by a brick tied to a lever and a chicken named Queenie. But many IT workers have come up against mind-numbing, repetitive tasks that probably could be automated. So: what do you do about it? Well, the answer depends on how much power you have in an organization and how much your bosses respect your opinion.

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AMD Prepares To Ship Gaming SSDs
Posted by News Fetcher on August 08 '14 at 01:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's time-for-an-upgrade department:
Lucas123 writes An AMD website in China has leaked information about the upcoming release of a line of SSDs aimed at gamers and professionals that will offer top sequential read/write speeds of 550MB/s and 530MB/s, respectively. AMD confirmed the upcoming news, but no pricing was available yet. The SSDs will come in 120GB, 240GB and 480GB capacities and will use Toshiba's 19-nanometer flash lithography technology. According to IHS, AMD is likely entering the gaming SSD market because desktop SSD shipments are expected to experience a 39% CAGR between now and 2018.

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UK Police Won't Comment On The Tracking of People's Phone Calls
Posted by News Fetcher on August 07 '14 at 11:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's ask-me-that-later department:
Daniel_Stuckey writes You've maybe heard a bit about Stingray. Over the past couple of years, it has emerged that police forces in the US have been using the powerful surveillance tool, which tricks phones into connecting to a dragnet, to track mobile devices, and intercept calls and text messages. Meanwhile, the London Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) continue to remain tight lipped about their use of the technology, leaving citizens in the dark on what privacy protections, if any, are in place for those who may get swept up by the broad surveillance techniques.

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Microsoft To Drop Support For Older Versions of Internet Explorer
Posted by News Fetcher on August 07 '14 at 09:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's kicking-and-screaming department:
An anonymous reader writes After January 12, 2016, only the most recent version of Internet Explorer available for a supported operating system will receive technical support and security updates. For example, customers using Internet Explorer 8, 9, or 10 on Windows 7 SP1 should migrate to Internet Explorer 11 to continue receiving security updates and technical support. From the blog post: "Microsoft recommends enabling automatic updates to ensure an up-to-date computing experience—including the latest version of Internet Explorer—and most consumers use automatic updates today. Commercial customers are encouraged to test and accept updates quickly, especially security updates. Regular updates provide significant benefits, such as decreased security risk and increased reliability, and Windows Update can automatically install updates for Internet Explorer and Windows."

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Facebook Acquires Server-Focused Security Startup
Posted by News Fetcher on August 07 '14 at 07:31 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's answering-the-acquisition-request department:
wiredmikey writes In a move to bolster the security of its massive global server network, Facebook announced on Thursday it was acquiring PrivateCore, a Palo Alto, California-based cybersecurity startup. PrivateCore describes that its vCage software transparently secures data in use with full memory encryption for any application, any data, anywhere on standard x86 servers. "I'm really excited that Facebook has entered into an agreement to acquire PrivateCore," Facebook security chief Joe Sullivan wrote in a post to his own Facebook page. "I believe that PrivateCore's technology and expertise will help support Facebook's mission to help make the world more open and connected, in a secure and trusted way," Sullivan said. "Over time, we plan to deploy PrivateCore's technology directly into the Facebook server stack."

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The Doctor Will Skype You Now
Posted by News Fetcher on August 07 '14 at 06:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's take-four-red-capsules-in-10-minutes-take-two-more department:
amkkhan writes Next time you need to go to the doctor, instead of making an appointment, why not just fire up your smartphone? New programs by companies such as Doctor on Demand and the University of Pittsburgh's AnywhereCare offer one-on-one conferencing with doctors, either over the phone or through video on your phone or computer – giving you all the medical advice you need without having to set foot in a doctor's office. This new breed of checkup, known as telemedicine, has the opportunity to revolutionize personal health, says Pat Basu, chief medical officer of Doctor on Demand and a former Stanford University physician. "Two of the most important skills we use as physicians are looking and listening," he says. "Video conferencing lets me use those skills and diagnose things like colds, coughs and even sprains in a manner more convenient for you."

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Why the "NASA Tested Space Drive" Is Bad Science
Posted by News Fetcher on August 07 '14 at 05:16 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's not-so-fast department:
StartsWithABang writes Just over a century ago, N rays were detected by over a hundred researchers and discussed in some three hundred publications, yet there were serious experimental flaws and experimenter biases that were exposed over time. Fast forward to last week, and NASA Tests Microwave Space Drive is front page news. But a quick analysis shows that it isn't theorists who'll need to struggle to explain this phenomenon, but rather the shoddy experimentalists who are making the exact same "bad science" mistakes all over again.

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