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Researchers Hack the Mitsubishi Outlander SUV, Shut Off Alarm Remotely
Posted by News Fetcher on June 06 '16 at 12:05 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's growing department:
Reader Orome1 writes: Mitsubishi Outlander, a popular hybrid SUV sold around the world, can be easily broken into by attackers exploiting security weaknesses in the setup that allows the car to be remotely controlled via an app. After discovering the SSID and the pre-shared key, they connected to a static IP address within a network's subnet, and this allowed them to sniff the Wi-Fi connection and send messages to the car. Through these messages they were able to turn the car's lights, air conditioning and heating on and off, change the charging programme and, most importantly, to disable the car's anti-theft alarm.

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Man Sued For $30K Over $40 Printer He Sold On Craigslist
Posted by News Fetcher on June 06 '16 at 10:34 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's in-the-meanwhile department:
An anonymous reader cites an article on USA Today: Selling a used, black-and-white printer through Craigslist seemed simple and straightforward to Doug Costello. It wasn't. What the 66-year-old Massachusetts man didn't know then is that he would spend the next 6 and a half years embroiled in a complicated and confusing legal dispute in Indiana over that printer, which, according to its buyer, was broken. He would find himself liable for about $30,000 in damages. He would pay a lawyer at least $12,000 in his battle to escape the legal mess. And it all started with a piece of hardware he sold online for about $40 in 2009. With shipping and other costs, the total was less than $75, according to court records.Gersh Zavodnik, the printer's buyer, has been described as "prolific, abusive litigant" who has brought dozens of lawsuits against individuals and businesses. He often asks for "astronomical" damages.

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Nest's Time At Alphabet: A 'Virtually Unlimited Budget' With No Results
Posted by News Fetcher on June 06 '16 at 10:34 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's not-the-best-moment department:
Ron Amadeo, reporting for Ars Technica (edited and condensed): Nest CEO Tony Fadell wasn't officially "fired" from Nest, but it certainly feels like it. In just the last few months, Nest has had to deal with reports of an "employee exodus," a string of public insults from Dropcam co-founder and departing Nest employee Greg Duffy, news that even Google supposedly didn't want to work with Nest on a joint project, and fallout from the company's decision to remotely disable Nest's deprecated Revolv devices. [...] It's hard to argue with the decision to "transition" Fadell away from Nest. When Google bought Nest in January 2014, the expectation was that a big infusion of Google's resources and money would supercharge Nest. Nest grew from 280 employees around the time of the Google acquisition to 1200 employees today. In Nest's first year as "a Google company," it used Google's resources to acquire webcam maker Dropcam for $555 million, and it paid an unknown amount for the smart home hub company Revolv. Duffy said Nest was given a "virtually unlimited budget" inside Alphabet. In return for all this investment, Nest delivered very little. Two-and-a-half years under Google/Alphabet, a quadrupling of the employee headcount, and half-a-billion dollars in acquisitions yielded minor yearly updates and a rebranded device. That's all.

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Oracle Whistleblower Suit Raises Questions Over Cloud Accounting
Posted by News Fetcher on June 06 '16 at 09:12 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's fake-it-if-you-can't-make-it department:
Svetlana Blackburn, a former senior finance manager for Oracle claims that the company has fired her for not "inflating" revenues in its cloud services division. She alleges that her bosses had instructed her to add "millions of dollars of accruals" for expected business "with no concrete or foreseeable billing to support the numbers." Oracle eventually inflated the numbers without her assistance, anyway, she adds. From NBC News report: The lawsuit, filed on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco by former Oracle senior finance manager Svetlana Blackburn, also revives longstanding questions about proper accounting when software and computer services are bought on a subscription basis rather than as a single package, analysts said. Those questions are becoming more urgent as companies including Oracle, IBM, Microsoft and SAP race to transform their businesses for an era in which customers no longer own and operate their own information technology systems and instead lease computing services and software from cloud vendors using vast data centers.A spokesperson for Oracle says that Blackburn's claims are wrong, adding, "We are confident that all our cloud accounting is proper and correct."

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Uber Denies Access To Harvard Startup That Compared Ride-Hailing Prices
Posted by News Fetcher on June 06 '16 at 09:12 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's double-face department:
In April, a group of Harvard Business School students created an app called Urbanhail that allowed users to see side-by-side real-time pricing -- including surge rates -- for different ride-sharing apps including Uber. The app received a tremendous response from users. Shortly after that, the group received emails from several Uber representatives, asking them to remove Uber's data from the app citing terms and policies. "Uber's developer terms explicitly forbid using its data in any manner that is competitive to Uber," said Chris Messina, Lead at Uber Developer Experience. This has resulted in Urbanhail removing Uber's data from price-comparison-list. Urbanhail's Amber James didn't find Uber's stance on the matter. He said: They are absolutely a champion of competition when it's them against taxi companies or them against regulators. However, in its own ride-hailing niche of the transportation market, Uber's stance is ironically absolutely anti-competitive.

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Why UK's Government Digital Service Decided To Ditch Apps
Posted by News Fetcher on June 06 '16 at 07:52 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's think-different department:
In a world where there's an app for nearly every product and service, the UK Government Digital Service (GDS) still rely on its website to serve its customers. "But why?" You ask. Ben Terrett, former head of design at GDS outlined some of the reasons in a recent interview. He said the problem with mobiles apps is that they require a lot of commitment and resources. Apps are "very expensive to produce, and they're very very expensive to maintain because you have to keep updating them when there are software changes." He concludes that government services are much better off with responsive websites (websites whose layout and design adapt in accordance with the device it's being accessed on). "If you believe in the open internet that will always win," Terrett said, adding that responsive websites are also much cheaper to build and maintain. Another benefit of responsive websites is, he adds, that when you want to push an update, only one platform needs to get updated. From the report: Key to the GDS' approach is designing for user needs, not organizational requirements, Terrett says. "That is how good digital services designed and built these days. That is how everyone does it, whether that's Google or Facebook or British Airways or whoever." The problem is that public sector agencies tend not to design with citizens in mind. "Things are just designed to suit the very silos that the project sits in, and the user gets lost in there," Terrett adds.According to estimates, the move to go the responsive website way has saved them $8.2B in four years.

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Over 100M Accounts of Russia's Largest Social Network VK On Sale
Posted by News Fetcher on June 06 '16 at 07:52 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's another-day-another-hack department:
Accounts of over 100 million users of VK.com, Russia's largest social network is being traded on the digital underground. A hacker who goes by the alias "Peace," listed the date for sale on a dark web marketplace. Vice's Motherboard publication reports that it received a dataset of over 100,544,934 records from Peace. From the report: According to Peace, the passwords were already in plain text when the site was hacked, and were not cracked at a later date. Peace is selling the data for 1 bitcoin, or around $570 at today's exchange rates. Out of 100 randomly selected email addresses from the larger dataset, 92 corresponded to active accounts on the site, Motherboard found. A Russian friend contacted by Motherboard confirmed that the password was correct.The report adds that the actual hack occurred between 2011 and 2013, and that Peace has data of another 70 million users that it isn't selling right now.

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Mark Zuckerberg's Twitter and Pinterest Accounts Hacked
Posted by News Fetcher on June 06 '16 at 06:28 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's security-woes department:
An anonymous reader writes: Saudi Arabian hacking group OurMine yesterday claimed responsibility for the defacement of Mark Zuckerberg's Twitter and Pinterest accounts, claiming additionally that the Facebook CEO re-used the very low-security password 'dadada' across the accounts. The hack was facilitated by the 2012 data breach of unsalted LinkedIn passwords, offered for sale by hacker 'peace' last month at an equivalent price in Bitcoin of approximately $2,200.The aforementioned group said to have hacked Zuckerberg's Instagram account as well, a claim that has since been refuted by a Facebook spokesperson. Zuckerberg's Google+ account remains intact if you're wondering.

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Google Is Developing an AI Kill Switch
Posted by News Fetcher on June 06 '16 at 05:05 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's too-smart-for-your-own-good department:
MojoKid shares a HotHardware article about Google's research effort "to maintain control of super-intelligent AI agents":
[A] team of researchers at Google-owned DeepMind, along with University of Oxford scientists, are developing a proverbial kill switch for AI... The team has released a white paper on the topic called "Safely Interruptible Agents." The paper details the following in abstract: "Learning agents interacting with a complex environment like the real world are unlikely to behave optimally all the time... now and then it may be necessary for a human operator to press the big red button to prevent the agent from continuing a harmful sequence of actions..."

MojoKid adds that the paper "goes on to explain that these AI agents might also learn to disable the kill switch and further explores ways in which to develop AI's that would not seek such an activity."

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EndGame CEO: Root Out Hackers Before They Strike
Posted by News Fetcher on June 06 '16 at 12:51 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's phreaking-out department:
The CEO of Endgame, Inc. is calling for an "offensive mindset" to defend enterprises from hackers. An anonymous reader quotes Nate Fick's article on Quartz:
Rather than relying on imperfect prevention techniques, or waiting for a breach to happen and then reacting to it, defenders need to 'turn the map around' and hunt proactively for the attackers in order to root out adversaries before they have a chance to do real damage. This is the next frontier of cybersecurity... the vast majority of cybersecurity spending is still going to prevention and perimeter security. Prevention is necessary, but it's not sufficient and it certainly doesn't justify 90 cents of every security dollar...

The government has already figured this out. Across the Department of Defense, the intelligence community, and other forward-leaning agencies, this proactive hunting is already happening, and it's becoming more widespread. Enterprises need to embrace the same mindset.
Fick points out that despite $75 billion on enterprise-level security spending, more than three-quarters of Fortune 500 companies have been breached within the last year.

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Siemens Now Commands An Army Of Spider Robots
Posted by News Fetcher on June 05 '16 at 08:51 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's browsing-the-web department:
An anonymous reader quotes this article about Siemens' army of autonomous spider robots -- each one the size of a microwave, communicating with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to create "a collaborative mind":
It's expensive to build an automated factory, and even more pricey to repurpose one. German manufacturing giant Siemens wants that to change, and they've developed an army of robot spiders to make it happen. Utilizing what Siemens calls "mobile manufacturing", researchers in Princeton, New Jersey have built prototype spider-bots that work together to 3D print structures and parts in real time.
Siemens hopes to build even larger spider robots than can weld cars.

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Ask Slashdot: How Do You Create A Highly-Secure Password?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 05 '16 at 06:01 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's 12345 department:
An anonymous reader writes: A security lab at Carnegie Mellon performed a study on password security recently, and issued a warning about common user misconceptions. For example, 'ieatkale88' would require 4 billion more guesses than 'iloveyou', because 'iloveyou' is one of the most common strings in passwords. And the word 'pAsswOrd' would take 4,000 times more guesses than 'p@ssw0rd', simply because "In modern day password-cracking tools, replacing letters with numbers or symbols is predictable." But then what passwords are secure in the face of these modern password-cracking tools? As professionals in the IT industry, what advice would you give?
Leave your answers in the comments. How do you create a highly-secure password?

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Facebook Says It's Not Secretly Recording You
Posted by News Fetcher on June 05 '16 at 04:41 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's notifications department:
An anonymous reader writes: In 2014 Facebook introduced a feature which can use your phone's microphone to identify songs you're listening to -- but "we don't record your conversations," they're reminding users. A mass communication professor at the University of South Florida tried discussing specific topics near her phone, then discovered Facebook appeared to be showing ads related to what she'd said. Though she wasn't convinced there was a link, the Independent newspaper reported that "The claim chimes with anecdotal reports online that the site appears to show ads for things that people have mentioned in passing."

An official statement Thursday reiterated that "Facebook does not use your phone's microphone to inform ads or to change what you see in News Feed." But another news site sees these concerns as a reminder of all the permissions users routinely grant to their apps. "Go into your phone's application settings and you'll see a whole list of what an app like Facebook has access to: your camera, your location, your contacts, and, yes, your microphone too. How about this for a warning? By downloading Facebook you give the app 'permission to record audio at any time without your confirmation.' Tom's Guide security editor Paul Wagenseil says Facebook can...listen to your conversations...but it would be illegal to do so."

Meanwhile, the FBI "can neither confirm nor deny" that it's ever tapped an Amazon Echo device.

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Seattle App Summons Help When You Need CPR
Posted by News Fetcher on June 05 '16 at 03:12 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's signal-for-searching department:
An anonymous reader writes:Sudden cardiac arrest is usually fatal. But Seattle's Fire Department has joined with the city's Medic One Foundation to develop an app which alerts emergency dispatchers and also CPR-trained bystanders when someone needs CPR. The PulsePoint app also shows the location of the nearest defibrillator, and Seattle's mayor says he hopes it will save lives. A Spokane version of the app is already credited with helping to save the life of an infant, and the Medic One Foundation hopes to work with more local fire department to bring the app to the rest of Washington State.

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NSA Releases New Snowden Documents
Posted by News Fetcher on June 05 '16 at 01:41 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's leaks-about-leaks department:
An anonymous reader writes: Hundreds of internal NSA documents have been declassified and released to VICE in response to their FOIA lawsuit. They're now sharing them all online, calling it "an extraordinary behind-the-scenes look at the efforts by the NSA, the White House, and US Senator Dianne Feinstein to discredit Snowden [that] call into question aspects of the U.S. government's long-running narrative about Snowden's time at the NSA." The documents officially confirm that Snowden had also worked with the CIA, and show a vigorous internal discussion about how to respond to Snowden's leaks that apparently led the NSA to erroneously assert that Snowden hadn't voiced his objections about the surveillance of U.S. citizens within the NSA before going public.

Living in Russia now, Snowden himself refused to comment on the new releases, with his attorney saying Snowden "believes the NSA is still playing games with selective releases, and [he] therefore chooses not to participate in this effort. He doesn't trust that the intelligence community will operate in good faith."

The EFF is also marking the three-year anniversary of Snowden's leaks, saying they led directly to the first legislation curtailing the NSA's power in over 30 years and changed the way the world perceives government surveillance. Snowden was inspired in part by a desire to keep the internet free, saying in 2014 that "I remember what the Internet was like before it was being watched, and there's never been anything in the history of man that's like it."

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Password App Developer Overlooks Security Hole to Preserve Ads
Posted by News Fetcher on June 05 '16 at 01:41 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's apps-vs-ads department:
An anonymous reader quotes this report from Engadget:
Think it's bad when companies take their time fixing security vulnerabilities? Imagine what happens when they avoid fixing those holes in the name of a little cash. KeePass 2 developer Dominik Reichl has declined to patch a flaw in the password manager's update check as the 'indirect costs' of the upgrade (which would encrypt web traffic) are too high -- namely, it'd lose ad revenue...

To his credit, Reichl notes that he'd like to move to encryption as soon as he believes it's possible. You can also verify that you're getting a signed download, if you're worried. However, it's still contradictory to develop a security-centric app and decide that security should take a back seat.

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DistroWatch Finally Adds Support For IPv6
Posted by News Fetcher on June 05 '16 at 12:21 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's following-protocol department:
We've frequently linked to DistroWatch for their coverage of Linux package and release announcements. Now an anonymous reader writes: The DistroWatch website introduced IPv6 support on Friday and the new protocol has been getting a lot of attention. "Over 8% of our traffic this weekend came from IPv6 addresses," commented DistroWatch contributor Jesse Smith. "It was a pleasant surprise, we were not expecting that many people would be using IPv6 yet." When asked why DistroWatch enabled IPv6 access to their server at this time, Smith answered: "Partly it was an experiment to see how much interest there was in IPv6. Partly it was because it is a little embarrassing (in 2016) to have a technology focused website that is not making use of IPv6."

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ASUS Delivers Its Updates Over HTTP With No Verification
Posted by News Fetcher on June 05 '16 at 11:03 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's securing-the-perimeter department:
The top five PC sellers have big security holes in the third-party tools which updates their software. Now Softpedia follows up with a report that "The ASUS LiveUpdate software that comes pre-installed on all ASUS computers downloads critical BIOS and UEFI updates via plaintext HTTP and installs them without verifying the content's source or validity." An anonymous reader shares this report from developer Morgan Gangwere: "Content is delivered via ZIP archives over plain HTTP, extracted into a temporary directory and an executable run as a user in the "Administrators" NT group ("Highest Permissions" task scheduler).
Softpedia adds that "The attackers wouldn't even need to mess around modifying low-level firmware code because the update process would launch anything you throw at it. This includes spyware, backdoors, remote access trojans, and anything an attacker would wish."

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Working at Facebook Sounds Like Joining a Cult
Posted by News Fetcher on June 05 '16 at 11:03 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's curious-case-of-Facebook department:
Vanity Fair has run some excerpts from an upcoming book by a former employee that gives insight on how things work at the social network. The chapter, among other things, details Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's actions when Google launched its own social networking service Google Plus. The extract finds Zuckerberg's behaviour so intense that it calls it "bordered on the psychopathic." It reads: [...] hit Facebook like a bomb. Google Plus was the great enemy's sally into our own hemisphere, and it gripped Zuck like nothing else. He declared "Lockdown," the first and only one during my time there. As was duly explained to the more recent employees, Lockdown was a state of war that dated to Facebook's earliest days, when no one could leave the building while the company confronted some threat, either competitive or technical.â [...] Rounding off another beaded string of platitudes, he changed gears and erupted with a burst of rhetoric referencing one of the ancient classics he had studied at Harvard and before. "You know, one of my favorite Roman orators ended every speech with the phrase Carthago delenda est. 'Carthage must be destroyed.' For some reason I think of that now."

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EFF Petitioned To Investigate Windows 10 Upgrades
Posted by News Fetcher on June 05 '16 at 11:03 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's angry-online-activism department:
An anonymous reader writes: One of the most frustrating things about the ongoing stream of stories about Windows 10 upgrades is that there seems to be no way to hold Microsoft to account. Or perhaps there is: a petition asking the Electronic Frontier Foundation to investigate has now been posted on Change.org.

The petition argues "people are being tricked or forced into upgrading to Windows 10 from their current, preferred version of Windows," and describes Microsoft's actions as "ignorantly unethical at best and malicious at worst."

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