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State-Sponsored Hacking Attacks Targeting Top News Organizations

Slashdot - Fri, 03/28/2014 - 19:15
An anonymous reader writes "Security engineers from Google have found that 21 out of the top 25 news organizations have been targeted by cyberattacks that are likely state-sponsored. We've heard about some high profile attacks on news sites, but Google actively tracks the countries that are launching these attacks, and even hosts email services for many of the news organizations. 'Huntley said Chinese hackers recently gained access to a major Western news organization, which he declined to identify, via a fake questionnaire emailed to staff. Most such attacks involve carefully crafted emails carrying malware or directing users to a website crafted to trick them into giving up credentials. Marquis-Boire said that while such attacks were nothing new, their research showed that the number of attacks on media organizations and journalists that went unreported was significantly higher than those made public.'"

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How the FBI and Secret Service Know Your Network Has Been Breached Before You Do

Slashdot - Fri, 03/28/2014 - 18:10
coondoggie writes "By all accounts, many of the massive data breaches in the news these days are first revealed to the victims by law enforcement: the Secret Service and Federal Bureau of Investigation. But how do the agencies figure it out before the companies know they have been breached, especially given the millions companies spend on security and their intense focus on compliance? The agencies do the one thing companies don't do. They attack the problem from the other end by looking for evidence that a crime has been committed. Agents go undercover in criminal forums where stolen payment cards, customer data and propriety information are sold. They monitor suspects and sometimes get court permission to break into password-protected enclaves where cyber-criminals lurk."

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One Person Successfully Removed From US No-Fly List

Slashdot - Fri, 03/28/2014 - 17:20
An anonymous reader writes "In February, Judge William Alsup ruled in favor of Rahinah Ibrahim, who sued the U.S. government in 2006 after she was mistakenly added to the no-fly list and subsequently denied entry to the country. Now, the Department of Justice has finally decided it won't appeal the ruling, making Ibrahim the first person to challenge the list at trial and get herself removed. 'But Ibrahim's case, as just one of hundreds of thousands of individuals who have been placed on such lists, shows the system's opacity. First, the only surefire way to even determine if one is on such a list in the U.S. is to attempt to board a flight and be denied. Even after that happens, when a denied person inquires about his or her status, the likely response will be that the government "can neither confirm nor deny" the placement on such lists. The government's surrender in Ibrahim comes on the heels of a new report by the American Civil Liberties Union that shows just how insanely difficult it is to contest one's status on the government blacklists (PDF).'"

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Synthetic Chromosomes Successfully Integrated Into Brewer's Yeast

Slashdot - Fri, 03/28/2014 - 16:37
New submitter dunnomattic writes: "Researchers at New York University School of Medicine have achieved a milestone in synthetic biology. A fully synthetic yeast chromosome, dubbed 'synIII,' has successfully replaced chromosome 3 of multiple living yeast cells. The researchers pieced together over 250,000 nucleotide bases to accomplish this feat. Dr. Jef Boeke, the lead author of the study, says, 'not only can we make designer changes on a computer, but we can make hundreds of changes through a chromosome and we can put that chromosome into yeast and have a yeast that looks, smells and behaves like a regular yeast, but this yeast is endowed with special properties that normal yeasts don't have.' Work is underway (abstract) to synthesize the remaining 15 chromosomes."

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Tesla Model S Gets Titanium Underbody Shield, Aluminum Deflector Plates

Slashdot - Fri, 03/28/2014 - 15:55
An anonymous reader writes "Tesla Motors made headlines several times last year for a few Model S car fires. Elon Musk criticized all the attention at the time, pointing out that it was disproportionate to the 200,000 fires in gas-powered cars over the same period. Musk didn't stop there, though. He's announced that the Model S will now have a titanium underbody shield along with an aluminum bar and extrusion. He says this will prevent debris struck on the road from breaching the battery area. Musk offered this amusing example: 'We believe these changes will also help prevent a fire resulting from an extremely high speed impact that tears the wheels off the car, like the other Model S impact fire, which occurred last year in Mexico. This happened after the vehicle impacted a roundabout at 110 mph, shearing off 15 feet of concrete curbwall and tearing off the left front wheel, then smashing through an eight foot tall buttressed concrete wall on the other side of the road and tearing off the right front wheel, before crashing into a tree. The driver stepped out and walked away with no permanent injuries and a fire, again limited to the front section of the vehicle, started several minutes later. The underbody shields will help prevent a fire even in such a scenario.' Included with the article are several animated pictures of testing done with the new underbody, which survives running over a trailer hitch, a concrete block, and an alternator."

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U.S. Court: Chinese Search Engine's Censorship Is 'Free Speech'

Slashdot - Fri, 03/28/2014 - 15:12
jfruh writes: "You will probably not be surprised to learn that Chinese search giant Baidu censors a wide range of content, particularly political material deemed to be pro-democracy — and does so for users everywhere, not just in China. A group of activists filed suit against Baidu in New York for violating free speech laws, but the judge in the case declared (PDF) that, as a private entity in the United States, Baidu has the right to provide whatever kind of search results it wants, even for political reasons."

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The Highest-Flying Wind Turbine

Slashdot - Fri, 03/28/2014 - 14:30
Daniel_Stuckey writes: "In far-flung rural Alaska, where electricity can cost as much as $1 per kilowatt hour — more than 10 times the national average, according to the New York Times — a wind turbine encased in a giant helium balloon is about to break a world record. The Bouyant Air Turbine (BAT) is about to be floated 1,000 feet into the air in the name of cleaner, cheaper, and mobile energy. That single airborne grouper—it's sort of a hybrid of a blimp, a kite, and a turbine—will power over a dozen homes. The BAT is the brainchild of Altaeros, a company founded by MIT alumni, and, if everything goes according to plan, it's going to be the highest-flying power generator in history. Since winds blow stronger and more consistently the higher above the ground you go, and the hovering BAT harnesses that gale and sends electricity down to earth through the high-strength tethers that also hold the machine steady. "

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Wal-Mart Sues Visa For $5 Billion For Rigging Card Swipe Fees

Slashdot - Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:46
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: "Reuters reports that Wal-Mart has sued Visa for $5 billion, accusing the credit and debit card network of excessively high card swipe fees. Wal-mart is seeking damages from price fixing and other antitrust violations that it claims took place between January 1, 2004 and November 27, 2012. In its lawsuit, Wal-Mart contends that Visa, in concert with banks, sought to prevent retailers from protecting themselves against those swipe fees, eventually hurting sales. 'The anticompetitive conduct of Visa and the banks forced Wal-Mart to raise retail prices paid by its customers and/or reduce retail services provided to its customers as a means of offsetting some of the artificially inflated interchange fees,' says Wal-Mart in court documents. 'As a result, Wal-Mart's retail sales were below what they would have been otherwise.' Interchange fees, the industry term for card-swipe fees, have been a major point of contention between retailers and banks. The fees are set by Visa and other card networks and collected by card-issuing banks like J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. Retailers have argued that the fees had been set too high due to a lack of competition with the two payment industry giants. Wal-Mart also took a shot against Visa over payment card security. Data breaches last year at Target Corp., Neiman Marcus and others have drawn attention to the country's slow adoption of card technology that uses computer chips and PIN numbers and is seen as less susceptible to fraud than the current system of magnetic stripes. 'Wal-Mart was further harmed by anti-innovation conduct on the part of Visa and the banks,' says the lawsuit, 'such as perpetuating the use of fraud-prone magnetic stripe system in the U.S. and the continued use of signature authentication despite knowledge that PIN authentication is more secure, a fact Visa has acknowledged repeatedly.'"

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DOJ Pushes to Expand Hacking Abilities Against Cyber-Criminals

Slashdot - Fri, 03/28/2014 - 13:04
Advocatus Diaboli writes with news about the DOJ's push to make it easier to get warrants to hack suspected cyber-criminals. "The U.S. Department of Justice is pushing to make it easier for law enforcement to get warrants to hack into the computers of criminal suspects across the country. The move, which would alter federal court rules governing search warrants, comes amid increases in cases related to computer crimes. Investigators say they need more flexibility to get warrants to allow hacking in such cases, especially when multiple computers are involved or the government doesn't know where the suspect's computer is physically located."

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Gunshot Victims To Be Part of "Suspended Animation" Trials

Slashdot - Fri, 03/28/2014 - 10:36
First time accepted submitter Budgreen (561093) writes "The technique involves replacing all of a patient's blood with a cold saline solution, which rapidly cools the body and stops almost all cellular activity. 'If a patient comes to us two hours after dying you can't bring them back to life. But if they're dying and you suspend them, you have a chance to bring them back after their structural problems have been fixed,' says surgeon Peter Rheeat from the University of Arizona in Tucson, who helped develop the technique. 10 gunshot and stabbing victims will take part in the trials"

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3-D Printed Skull Successfully Implanted In Woman

Slashdot - Fri, 03/28/2014 - 08:02
First time accepted submitter djhaskin987 (2147470) writes "The first successful implantation of a 3-D printed skull has taken place in the Netherlands, according to NBC news: 'Doctors in the Netherlands report that they have for the first time successfully replaced most of a human's skull with a 3-D printed plastic one — and likely saved a woman's life in the process. The 23-hour surgery took place three months ago at University Medical Center Utrecht. The hospital announced details of the groundbreaking operation this week and said the patient, a 22-year-old woman, is doing just fine."

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Kim Dotcom Launches Political Party In New Zealand

Slashdot - Fri, 03/28/2014 - 05:32
judgecorp (778838) writes "Fugitive entrepreneur Kim Dotcom has launched a political party in New Zealand although he himself cannot stand for election. Dotcom, founder of Megaupload is a German national, not a New Zealand citizen. He is also on bail pending extradition to the US over claims that his Megaupload site infringed copyright. The Internet Party manifesto promises net neutrality, privacy, and faster broadband. Meanwhile, his new venture Mega is now worth NZ$210 million (£108m) thanks to a reverse takeover. He has also had to assure the New Zealand media that owning a signed copy of Mein Kampf doesn't mean he is a Nazi."

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China Arrests 1,500 People For Sending Spam Messages From Fake Mobile Bases

Slashdot - Fri, 03/28/2014 - 03:02
concertina226 (2447056) writes "Chinese authorities have detained a total of 1,530 suspects in a crackdown on spam SMS text messages being sent out by illegal telecoms equipment, according to Chinese news agency ECNS. Over 2,600 fake mobile base stations were seized and 24 sites manufacturing illegal telecoms equipment shut down as part of a massive nationwide operation involving nine central government and Communist Party of China departments. A report released by Trend Micro this month looked into the telecoms equipment black market in China (PDF) and found that cybercriminals routinely use either a GSM modem, an internet short message gateway and an SMS server to send out spam messages. On the underground market, SMS servers come in 'all-in-one' packages that include a laptop, a GSM mobile phone, an SMS server, an antenna to send out the fake signal and a USB cable, all for RMB 45,000 (£4,355)."

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MIT Researchers Bring JavaScript To Google Glass

Slashdot - Fri, 03/28/2014 - 01:30
colinneagle (2544914) writes "Earlier this week, Brandyn White, a PhD candidate at the University of Maryland, and Scott Greenberg, a PhD candidate at MIT, led a workshop at the MIT Media Lab to showcase an open source project called WearScript, a JavaScript environment that runs on Google Glass. White demonstrated how Glass's UI extends beyond its touchpad, winks, and head movements by adding a homemade eye tracker to Glass as an input device. The camera and controller were dissected from a $25 PC video camera and attached to the Glass frame with a 3D-printed mount. A few modifications were made, such as replacing the obtrusively bright LEDs with infrared LEDs, and a cable was added with a little soldering. The whole process takes about 15 minutes for someone with component soldering skills. With this eye tracker and a few lines of WearScript, the researchers demonstrated a new interface by playing Super Mario on Google Glass with just eye movements."

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North Korea: Male University Students Required To Get Kim Jong-un Haircuts

Slashdot - Fri, 03/28/2014 - 01:06
An anonymous reader writes in with one more reason not to accept that full-ride scholarship to a North Korea University. "Male university students in North Korea are now required to get the same haircut as their leader Kim Jong-un, it is reported. The state-sanctioned guideline was introduced in the capital Pyongyang about two weeks ago, Radio Free Asia reports. It is now being rolled out across the country - although some people have expressed reservations about getting the look. 'Our leader's haircut is very particular, if you will,' one source tells Radio Free Asia. 'It doesn't always go with everyone since everyone has different face and head shapes.' Meanwhile, a North Korean now living in China says the look is actually unpopular at home because people think it resembles Chinese smugglers. 'Until the mid-2000s, we called it the "Chinese smuggler haircut",' the Korea Times reports."

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NASA Snaps Shot of Mars-Bound Comet

Slashdot - Fri, 03/28/2014 - 00:48
coondoggie (973519) writes "NASA today released images of a comet that will make a pass within 84,000 miles of Mars — less than half the distance between Earth and the moon. NASA said the Hubble Space Telescope captured the image of comet C/2013 A1, also called Siding Spring, at a distance of 353 million miles from Earth. Hubble can't see Siding Spring's icy nucleus because of its minuscule size. The nucleus is surrounded by a glowing dust cloud that measures roughly 12,000 miles across, NASA said."

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More Than 1 In 4 Car Crashes Involve Cellphone Use

Slashdot - Fri, 03/28/2014 - 00:03
schwit1 (797399) writes "Texting and driving is dangerous but a new survey finds talking on a cellphone while behind the wheel may be even worse. The National Safety Council's annual report found 26 percent of all crashes are tied to phone use, but noted just 5 percent involved texting. Safety advocates are lobbying now for a total ban on driver phone use, pointing to studies that headsets do not reduce driver distraction."

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Microsoft Launches Office For iPad: Includes Word, Excel, and PowerPoint

Slashdot - Thu, 03/27/2014 - 23:19
An anonymous reader writes "At an event in San Francisco today, Microsoft Office General Manager Julia White unveiled Office for iPad, featuring Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. The new suite, which supports viewing but not editing for free, will go live in Apple's App Store at 11:00AM PDT (2:00PM EST). Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for iPad feature a ribbon interface just like the one featured in Office for Windows and OS X. The trio of apps are much more powerful on the tablet than the smartphone, but naturally aren't comparable to the desktop versions."

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Some Mozilla Employees Demand New CEO Step Down

Slashdot - Thu, 03/27/2014 - 22:24
_xeno_ (155264) writes "Mozilla recently named a new CEO, Brendan Eich, and as commentators in that article noted, there could be some backlash over his private contributions to political campaigns. Well, it turns out that they were correct, and despite a statement from Brendan Eich pledging to continue Mozilla's inclusiveness, some Mozilla employees are calling for him to step down. Should private beliefs be enough to prevent someone from heading a project they helped found?"

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Ask Slashdot: Preparing For Windows XP EOL?

Slashdot - Thu, 03/27/2014 - 21:42
An anonymous reader writes "As most of us working in IT may know, Microsoft will stop supporting Windows XP on April 8th, 2014. Although this fact has been known for quite some time, XP is still relatively popular in companies and also enjoys noticeable marketshare for home users. Even ATMs are running XP and will continue to do so for some time. A lot of companies/users don't want to change because they see no additional benefit to do a costly upgrade, no reason to change a running system, and they may in some cases be right with their assumptions. So what is the best way to secure this remaining Windows XP systems? Installing the latest security patches, checking firewall status and user permissions etc. should be fairly obvious, as Microsoft Security Essentials may also not receive updates anymore, changing antivirus programs seems a sensible thing to do."

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