Slashdot

Syndicate content Slashdot
News for nerds, stuff that matters
Updated: 18 min 55 sec ago

The DEA Disinformation Campaign To Hide Surveillance Techniques

Fri, 10/04/2015 - 3:36pm
An anonymous reader writes: Ken White at Popehat explains how the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency has been purposefully sowing disinformation to hide the extent of their surveillance powers. The agency appears to have used a vast database of telecommunications metadata, which they acquired via general (read: untargeted, dragnet-style) subpoenas. As they begin building cases against suspected criminals, they trawl the database for relevant information. Of course, this means the metadata of many innocent people is also being held and occasionally scanned. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has filed a lawsuit to challenge this bulk data collection. The DEA database itself seems to have been shut down in 2013, but not before the government argued that it should be fine not only to engage in this collection, but to attempt to hide it during court cases. The courts agreed, which means this sort of surveillance could very well happen again — and the EFF is trying to prevent that.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

'Let's Encrypt' Project Strives To Make Encryption Simple

Fri, 10/04/2015 - 2:54pm
jones_supa writes: As part of an effort to make encryption a standard component of every application, the Linux Foundation has launched the Let's Encrypt project (announcement) and stated its intention to provide access to a free certificate management service. Jim Zemlin, executive director for the Linux Foundation, says the goal for the project is nothing less than universal adoption of encryption to disrupt a multi-billion dollar hacker economy. While there may never be such a thing as perfect security, Zemlin says it's just too easy to steal data that is not encrypted. In its current form, encryption is difficult to implement and a lot of cost and overhead is associated with managing encryption keys. Zemlin claims the Let's Encrypt project will reduce the effort it takes to encrypt data in an application down to two simple commands. The project is being hosted by the Linux Foundation, but the actual project is being managed by the Internet Security Research Group. This work is sponsored by Akamai, Cisco, EFF, Mozilla, IdenTrust, and Automattic, which all are Linux Foundation patrons. Visit Let's Encrypt official website to get involved.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Intel's Core M Performance Is Erratic Between Devices

Fri, 10/04/2015 - 2:11pm
An anonymous reader writes: AnandTech noticed some odd performance disparities with Intel's Core M CPU, a chip designed to bring high-powered processing to thin, fan-less devices. After investigating, they found that how OEMs build their laptops and tablets has a far greater effect on Core M performance than it does for other chips. "When an OEM designs a device for Core M, or any SoC for that matter, they have to consider construction and industrial design as well as overriding performance. ... This, broadly speaking, gives the OEM control over several components that are out of the hands of the processor designers. Screen size, thickness, industrial design, and skin temperature all have their limits, and adjusting those knobs opens the door to slower or faster Core M units, depending on what the company decides to target. In the Core M units that we have tested at AnandTech so far this year, we have seen a variety of implementations with and without fans and in a variety of form factors. But the critical point of all of this comes down to how the OEM defines the SoC/skin temperature limitations of the device, and this ends up being why the low-end Core M-5Y10 can beat the high-end Core M-5Y71, and is a poignant part of our tests. Simply put, if the system with 5Y10 has a higher SoC/skin temperature, it can stay in its turbo mode for longer and can end up outperforming a 5Y71, leading to some of the unusual results we've seen so far."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

The Last Time Oceans Got This Acidic This Fast, 96% of Marine Life Went Extinct

Fri, 10/04/2015 - 1:29pm
merbs writes: The biggest extinction event in planetary history was driven by the rapid acidification of our oceans, a new study concludes (abstract). So much carbon was released into the atmosphere, and the oceans absorbed so much of it so quickly, that marine life simply died off, from the bottom of the food chain up. That doesn't bode well for the present, given the similarly disturbing rate that our seas are acidifying right now. A team led by University of Edinburgh researchers collected rocks in the United Arab Emirates that were on the seafloor hundreds of millions of years ago, and used the boron isotopes found within to model the changing levels of acidification in our prehistoric oceans. They now believe that a series of gigantic volcanic eruptions in the Siberian Trap spewed a great fountain of carbon into the atmosphere over a period of tens of thousands of years. This was the first phase of the extinction event, in which terrestrial life began to die out.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

China's 'Great Cannon' -- a Cyber-weapon to Accompany the Great Firewall

Fri, 10/04/2015 - 12:47pm
An anonymous reader writes: A new report from The Citizen Lab identifies a distinct new technology entity sitting next to the Great Firewall of China. Dubbed the 'Great Cannon', the multi-process cluster revealed itself quite openly in the recent attacks on Greatfire.org and its two Github pages. The DDoS attack was so sustained that CL was able to study the new technology in depth, determining architectural similarities and unearthing many strong indications that it is a product of the Chinese authorities.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Amazon Sues To Block Fake Reviews

Fri, 10/04/2015 - 12:05pm
An anonymous reader writes Amazon has filed suit against operators of sites that offer Amazon sellers the ability to purchase fake 4 and 5 star customer reviews. The suit is the first of its kind and was filed in King County Superior Court against a California man, Jay Gentile, identified in Amazon's filings as the operator of buyazonreviews.com. The site also targets unidentified "John Does" who operate similar sites: buyreviewsnow.com, bayreviews.net, and buyamazonreviews.com. From the article: "The site buyazonreviews.com, which the suit claims is run by Gentile, didn't respond to a request for comment. But Mark Collins, the owner of buyamazonreviews.com, denied Amazon's claims. In an email interview, Collins said the site simply offers to help Amazon's third-party sellers get reviews. 'We are not selling fake reviews. however we do provide Unbiased and Honest reviews on all the products,' Collins wrote. 'And this is not illegal at all.'"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

3D Printed Guns Might Lead To Law Changes In Australia

Fri, 10/04/2015 - 9:27am
angry tapir writes An inquiry by an Australian Senate committee has recommended the introduction of uniform laws across jurisdictions in the country "regulating the manufacture of 3D printed firearms and firearm parts." Although current laws are in general believed to cover 3D printed guns, there are concerns there may be inconsistencies across different Australian jurisdictions. Although there aren't any high-profile cases of 3D printed weapons being used in crimes in the country, earlier this year a raid in Queensland recovered 3D printed firearm parts.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

German Teenager Gets Job Offer By Trying To Use FOI For His Exam Papers

Fri, 10/04/2015 - 7:03am
Bruce66423 writes "A German schoolboy has taken exam preparation to ingenious new levels by making a freedom of information request to see the questions in his forthcoming Abitur tests, the equivalent of A-levels in the UK." and SATS in the USA. The media attention from his FoI request has already garnered him an offer of work from another transparency-related organization, the research website Correctiv. “If I have time before university starts I’ll definitely do it,” he said.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.