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In Paris, Terrorists Kill 2 More, Take At Least 7 Hostages
Posted by News Fetcher on January 09 '15 at 09:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's illiberality-in-action department:
As reported by The Daily Beast, news on the ongoing terror attack (or attacks) in Paris. Chérif and Saïd Kouachi, who are accused of slaughtering 12 in an attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine, have been cornered by hundreds of security officials close to Charles de Gaulle Airport, north of Paris. Officials say they believe the heavily armed brothers are holding one hostage.

Twenty miles south, in the east of the city, at least one gunman is believed to have taken six hostages at a Jewish store. Police suspect that the third gunman is the same man who shot and killed a policewoman on Thursday morning before escaping in a bulletproof vest.


Watch this space for updates.

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Inside North Korea's Naenara Browser
Posted by News Fetcher on January 09 '15 at 08:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's threat-is-right department:
msm1267 (2804139) writes with this excerpt from Threatpost Up until a few weeks ago, the number of people outside of North Korea who gave much thought to the Internet infrastructure in that country was vanishingly small. But the speculation about the Sony hack has fixed that, and now a security researcher has taken a hard look at the national browser used in North Korea and found more than a little weirdness. The Naenara browser is part of the Red Star operating system used in North Korea and it's a derivative of an outdated version of Mozilla Firefox. The country is known to tightly control the communications and activities of its citizens and that extends online, as well. Robert Hansen, vice president of WhiteHat Labs at WhiteHat Security, and an accomplished security researcher, recently got a copy of Naenara and began looking at its behavior, and he immediately realized that every time the browser loads, its first move is to make a request to a non-routable IP address, http://10.76.1.11./ That address is not reachable from networks outside the DPRK.

"Here's where things start to go off the rails: what this means is that all of the DPRK's national network is non-routable IP space. You heard me; they're treating their entire country like some small to medium business might treat their corporate office," Hansen wrote in a blog post detailing his findings. "The entire country of North Korea is sitting on one class A network (16,777,216 addresses). I was always under the impression they were just pretending that they owned large blocks of public IP space from a networking perspective, blocking everything and selectively turning on outbound traffic via access control lists."


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Asus Wireless Routers Can Be Exploited By Anyone Inside the Network
Posted by News Fetcher on January 09 '15 at 07:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's coming-from-inside-the-building department:
An anonymous reader writes A currently unpatched bug in ASUS wireless routers has been discovered whereby
users inside a network can gain full administrative control
, according to recent research conducted by security firm Accuvant. Although the flaw does not allow access to external hackers, anyone within the network can take administrative control and reroute users to malicious websites, as well as holding the ability to install malicious software. The vulnerability stems from a poorly coded service, infosvr, which is used by ASUS to facilitate router configuration by automatically monitoring the local area network (LAN) and identifying other connected routers. Infosvr runs with root privileges and contains an unauthenticated command execution vulnerability, in turn permitting anyone connected to the LAN to gain control by sending a user datagram protocol (UDP) package to the router.


In relevant part: The block starts off by excluding a couple of OpCode values, which presumably do not require authentication by design. Then, it calls the memcpy and suspiciously checks the return value against zero. This is highly indicative that the author intended to use memcmp instead. That said, even if this check was implemented properly, knowing the device’s MAC address is hardly sufficient authentication,” said Drake.

Here are the technical details at GitHub.

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Microsoft Restricts Advanced Notification of Patch Tuesday Updates
Posted by News Fetcher on January 09 '15 at 07:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's you'll-find-out-eventually department:
wiredmikey writes Microsoft has decided to ditch its tradition of publicly publishing information about upcoming patches the Thursday before Patch Tuesday. The decision represents a drastic change for the company's Advance Notification Service (ANS), which was created more than a decade ago to communicate information about security updates before they were released. However, Microsoft's "Premier customers" who still want to receive information about upcoming patches will be able to get the information through their Technical Account Manager support representatives, Microsoft said.

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OpenBSD Releases a Portable Version of OpenNTPD
Posted by News Fetcher on January 09 '15 at 06:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's enlightened-self-interest department:
Noryungi (70322) writes Theo De Raadt roundly criticized NTP due to its recent security advisories, and pointed out that OpenBSD OpenNTPD was not vulnerable. However, it also had not been made portable to other OS in a long time. Brent Cook, also known for his work on the portable version of LibreSSL (OpenBSD cleanup and refactoring of OpenSSL) decided to take the matter in his own hands and released a new portable version of OpenNTPD. Everyone rejoice, compile and report issues!

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HTTP/2 - the IETF Is Phoning It In
Posted by News Fetcher on January 09 '15 at 05:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's natives-getting-restless department:
An anonymous reader writes HTTP/2 is back in the spotlight again. After drawing significant ire over a proposal for officially sanctioned snooping, the IETF is drawing criticism for plowing ahead with its plans for HTTP/2 on an unrealistically short schedule and with an insufficiently clear charter. A few days ago the IETF announced Last Call for comments on the HTTP/2 protocol.

Poul-Henning Kamp writes, "Some will expect a major update to the world's most popular protocol to be a technical masterpiece and textbook example for future students of protocol design. Some will expect that a protocol designed during the Snowden revelations will improve their privacy. Others will more cynically suspect the opposite. There may be a general assumption of 'faster.' Many will probably also assume it is 'greener.' And some of us are jaded enough to see the "2.0" and mutter 'Uh-oh, Second Systems Syndrome.' The cheat sheet answers are: no, no, probably not, maybe, no and yes."

"Given this rather mediocre grade-sheet, you may be wondering why HTTP/2.0 is even being considered as a standard in the first place. The Answer is Politics. Google came up with the SPDY protocol, and since they have their own browser, they could play around as they choose to, optimizing the protocol for their particular needs. SPDY was a very good prototype which showed clearly that there was potential for improvement in a new version of the HTTP protocol. Kudos to Google for that. But SPDY also started to smell a lot like a 'walled garden'."

< article continued at Slashdot >

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New Implant Lets Paralyzed Rats Walk Again
Posted by News Fetcher on January 09 '15 at 02:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's on-your-feet-again department:
An anonymous reader writes A team from EPFL and NCCR Robotics led by Profs Stéphanie Lacour, Grégoire Courtine and Silvestro Micera published an article in Science today describing their e-dura implant that could revolutionize how we think about and treat paralysis. Until now, implants placed beneath the dura mater of the spinal cord have caused significant tissue damage when used over long periods. Research shows that the new e-dura implant is viable for months at a time in animal subjects. The team is now moving on to clinical trials in human subjects and is developing their prototype to take to market.

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MI5 Chief Seeks New Powers After Paris Magazine Attack
Posted by News Fetcher on January 09 '15 at 12:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's let-us-look department:
An anonymous reader writes with news that the head of MI5 is asking for more snooping powers following the attack at Charlie Hebdo. "The head of MI5, Andrew Parker, has called for new powers to help fight Islamist extremism, warning of a dangerous imbalance between increasing numbers of terrorist plots against the UK and a drop in the capabilities of intelligence services to snoop on communications. Parker described the Paris attack as "a terrible reminder of the intentions of those who wish us harm" and said he had spoken to his French counterparts to offer help. Speaking to an invited audience at MI5 headquarters, he said the threat level to Britain had worsened and Islamist extremist groups in Syria and Iraq were directly trying to orchestrate attacks on the UK. An attack on the UK was "highly likely" and MI5 could not give a guarantee it would be able to stop it, he said."

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Russia Says Drivers Must Not Have "Sex Disorders" To Get License
Posted by News Fetcher on January 08 '15 at 10:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's right-to-drive department:
mrspoonsi writes Russia has listed transsexual and transgender people among those who will no longer qualify for driving licenses. Fetishism, exhibitionism and voyeurism are also included as "mental disorders" now barring people from driving. The government says it is tightening medical controls for drivers because Russia has too many road accidents. "Pathological" gambling and compulsive stealing are also on the list. Russian psychiatrists and human rights lawyers have condemned the move. The announcement follows international complaints about Russian harassment of gay-rights activists.

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Study: 15 Per Cent of Business Cloud Users Have Been Hacked
Posted by News Fetcher on January 08 '15 at 07:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's no-silver-lining department:
An anonymous reader writes Recent research has identified that only one in ten cloud apps are secure enough for enterprise use. According to a report from cloud experts Netskope, organizations are employing an average of over 600 business cloud apps, despite the majority of software posing a high risk of data leak. The company showed that 15% of logins for business apps used by organizations had been breached by hackers. Over 20% of businesses in the Netskope cloud actively used more than 1,000 cloud apps, and over 8% of files in corporate-sanctioned cloud storage apps were in violation of DLP policies, source code, and other policies surrounding confidential and sensitive data. Google Drive, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and Gmail were among the apps investigated in the Netskope research.

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Obama Proposes 2 Years of Free Community College
Posted by News Fetcher on January 08 '15 at 05:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's making-the-grade department:
An anonymous reader writes with news about a White House proposal that would provide 2 years of free community college for to good students."President Barack Obama announced a proposal Thursday to provide two years of free community college tuition to American students who maintain good grades. 'Put simply, what I'd like to do is to see the first two years of community college free for everyone who's willing to work for it,' Obama said in a video filmed Wednesday aboard Air Force One and posted to Facebook. He made the announcement as part of his pre-State of the Union tour and will formally lay out the proposal Friday in a speech in Tennessee. The White House estimated it would save the average community college student $3,800 annually and said it could benefit nine million if fully realized."

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Canadian Copyright Notice-and-Notice System: Citing False Legal information
Posted by News Fetcher on January 08 '15 at 05:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's was-that-wrong? department:
An anonymous reader writes Canada's new copyright
notice-and-notice system
has been in place for less than a
week, but rights holders are already exploiting a loophole to send
demands for payment citing false legal information. Earlier this
week, a Canadian
ISP forwarded to Michael Geist
a sample notice it received
from Rightscorp on behalf of BMG. The notice falsely warns that the
recipient could be liable for up to $150,000 per infringement when
the reality is that Canadian law caps liability for non-commercial
infringement at $5,000 for all infringements. The notice also warns
that the user's Internet service could be suspended, yet there is no
such provision under Canadian law. In a nutshell, Rightscorp and BMG
are using the notice-and-notice system to require ISPs to send
threats and misstatements of Canadian law in an effort to extract
payments based on unproven infringement allegations.


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Researchers "Solve" Texas Hold'Em, Create Perfect Robotic Player
Posted by News Fetcher on January 08 '15 at 05:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's I'll-raise-you-infinity department:
Jason Koebler writes The best limit Texas Hold'Em poker player in the world is a robot. Given enough hands, it will never, ever lose, regardless of what its opponent does or which cards it is dealt. Researchers at the University of Alberta essentially "brute forced" the game of limit poker, in which there are roughly 3 x 10^14 possible decisions. Cepheus runs through a massive table of all of these possible permutations of the game—the table itself is 11 terabytes of data—and decides what the best move is, regardless of opponent.

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How a Shaking Stadium Is Helping Scientists Track Earthquakes
Posted by News Fetcher on January 08 '15 at 04:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's whole-lot-of-shaking-going-on department:
vinces99 writes Researchers are installing three seismometers in Seattle's CenturyLink stadium to monitor shaking from Seahawks fans during Saturday's NFL playoff game. The new, faster data transmission will show crowd motion on the website before a touchdown shows up on the 10-second delayed TV broadcast. Researchers dub these "Early Earthquake Rowdiness Warnings." A guaranteed shaking and intense public interest gives the seismologists a unique opportunity to test new technology that gives seconds to minutes warning of a real earthquake.

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First OSX Bootkit Revealed
Posted by News Fetcher on January 08 '15 at 02:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's protect-ya-neck department:
Trailrunner7 writes A vulnerability at the heart of Apple's Mac OS X systems—one thus far only partially addressed by Apple—opens the door to the installation of malicious firmware bootkits that resist cleanup and give hackers persistent, stealthy control over a compromised Mac. The research is the work of a reverse engineering hobbyist and security researcher named Trammel Hudson, who gave a talk at the recent 31C3 event in Hamburg, Germany, during which he described an attack he called Thunderstrike. Thunderstrike is a Mac OS X bootkit delivered either through direct access to the Apple hardware (at the manufacturer or in transport), or via a Thunderbolt-connected peripheral device; the latter attack vector exposes vulnerable systems to Evil Maid attacks, or state-sponsored attacks where laptops are confiscated and examined in airports or border crossings, for example.

Hudson's bootkit takes advantage of a vulnerability in how Apple computers deal with peripheral devices connected over Thunderbolt ports during a firmware update. In these cases, the flash is left unlocked, allowing an Option ROM, or peripheral firmware, to run during recovery mode boots. It then has to slip past Apple's RSA signature check. Apple stores its public key in the boot ROM and signs firmware updates with its private key. The Option ROM over Thunderbolt circumvents this process and writes its own RSA key so that future updates can only be signed by the attacker's key. The attack also disables the loading of further Option ROMs, closing that window of opportunity.


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BlackBerry's Survival Plan: the Internet of Things
Posted by News Fetcher on January 08 '15 at 02:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's a-new-basket-for-your-eggs department:
jfruh writes BlackBerry's smartphone business is famously floundering, but the company isn't betting everything on its new retro physical-keyboard phones. It's also making moves into distributed, embedded, and asset-tracking computing for homes, cars, and businesses, which can all be lumped under the currently trendy "Internet of Things" buzzword umbrella. The company got a head start when it acquired the QNX OS in 2010, which was intended as the basis of a new smartphone OS but which already had credibility in the embedded market.

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How Close Are We To Engineering the Climate?
Posted by News Fetcher on January 08 '15 at 01:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's it's-getting-hot-in-here department:
merbs writes The scientists had whipped themselves into a frenzy. Gathered in a stuffy conference room in the bowels of a hotel in Berlin, scores of respected climate researchers were arguing about a one-page document that had tentatively been christened the "Berlin Declaration." It proposed ground rules for conducting experiments to explore how we might artificially cool the Earth—planet hacking, basically. This is the story of scientists' first major international meeting to tackle geoengineering. It’s most commonly called geoengineering. Think Bond-villain-caliber schemes but with better intentions. It’s a highly controversial field that studies ideas like launching high-flying jets to dust the skies with sulfur in order to block out a small fraction of the solar rays entering the atmosphere, or sending a fleet of drones across the ocean to spray seawater into clouds to make them brighter and thus reflect more sunlight. Those are two of the most discussed proposals for using technology to chill the planet and combat climate change, and each would ostensibly cost a few billion dollars a year—peanuts in the scheme of the global economy. We’re about to see the dawn of the first real-world experiments designed to test ideas like these, but first, the scientists wanted to agree on a code of ethics—how to move forward without alarming the public or breaking any laws.

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NASA Update Will Deal With Opportunity Flash Memory "Amnesia"
Posted by News Fetcher on January 08 '15 at 12:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's patch-it-up department:
BarbaraHudson writes Computerworld has some details on NASA's latest fix to allow the Opportunity Mars Rover to store data while in overnight "sleep mode." Opportunity has been suffering from a glitch that's causing what NASA scientists describe as memory and data loss — or robotic "amnesia" — caused by flash memory deterioration since early December. Currently any information gathered is stored temporarily in RAM and must be sent to Earth so it's not lost when Opportunity powers down.

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EFF: Apple's Dev Agreement Means No EFF Mobile App For iOS
Posted by News Fetcher on January 08 '15 at 12:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's not-for-you department:
schwit1 writes The EFF launched a new app that will make it easier for people to take action on digital rights issues using their phone. The app allows folks to connect to their action center quickly and easily, using a variety of mobile devices. Sadly, though, they had to leave out Apple devices and the folks who use them. Why? Because they could not agree to the terms in Apple's Developer Agreement and Apple's DRM requirements.

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Cluetrain Authors Offer an Updated Guide To the Web
Posted by News Fetcher on January 08 '15 at 11:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's get-a-clue department:
Esther Schindler points out that new "Clues" have been added to the Cluetrain Manifesto. "If you’ve ever said, 'markets are conversations' you’re quoting the words of The Cluetrain Manifesto, the ’90s-era opus on the promise of the Web. David Weinberger and Doc Searls (two of the original authors of Cluetrain) are publishing another provocative work today called New Clues. Weinberger says: 'The Cluetrain Manifesto was an attempt to explain to businesses and the media what they were getting wrong about the Web. In the broadcast era, a mass audience was fed what the media owners thought they wanted. It was one-way communication. The Web lets us communicate directly with one another about what matters to us. The Web’s been a social world since it began. A pall has descended even among those of us who have believed in the Net as an opportunity for transformation. What seemed inevitable 15 years ago now is at risk. So Doc and I thought it was time for a re-assessment. For many people, the Net now feels like just another way commercial media feed us content and toys. We can treat it like that. Or we can remember the Net’s original and true essence: it is a set of connections open to anyone. We have built wonders with it. Those days are far from over. But we have to take back the idea and meaning of the Net. We have to make sure that it stays open to everyone, every idea, and every connection.'"

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