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Updated: 5 min 46 sec ago

Facebook Notifies Users of Potential Nation-State Attacks

Mon, 19/10/2015 - 3:45pm
An anonymous reader writes: Facebook has announced its plans to notify users if they are under threat from state-sponsored cyberattacks. The social media giant proposes a notification system triggered when its algorithms suspect nation-state activity. The alert will pop up on the user's Facebook page, warning them of the danger and advising them to switch on login approvals, which require the individual to enter a security code sent to them from Facebook.

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The Hostile Email Landscape

Mon, 19/10/2015 - 3:01pm
An anonymous reader writes: As we consolidate on just a few major email services, it becomes more and more difficult to launch your own mail server. From the article: "Email perfectly embodies the spirit of the internet: independent mail hosts exchanging messages, no host more or less important than any other. Joining the network is as easy as installing Sendmail and slapping on an MX record. At least, that used to be the case. If you were to launch a new mail server right now, many networks would simply refuse to speak to you. The problem: reputation. ... Earlier this year I moved my personal email from Google Apps to a self-hosted server, with hopes of launching a paid mail service à la Fastmail on the same infrastructure. ... I had no issues sending to other servers running Postfix or Exim; SpamAssassin happily gave me a 0.0 score, but most big services and corporate mail servers were rejecting my mail, or flagging it as spam: accepted my email, but discarded it. GMail flagged me as spam. MimeCast put my mail into a perpetual greylist. Corporate networks using Microsoft's Online Exchange Protection bounced my mail."

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Americans Show 'Surprising Willingness' To Accept Internet Surveillance

Mon, 19/10/2015 - 2:19pm
Researchers from BYU recently took a survey of internet users (PDF), mostly from the U.S., to determine how they balanced opinions of security and privacy. They found, perhaps surprisingly, that over 90% of users are fine with somebody snooping their encrypted traffic, so long as they were informed of the snooping. Most of them also supported legislation requiring notification and/or consent. "Most respondents also agreed that employers should be able to monitor the encrypted Internet connections of employees even without notification or consent, especially when an employee used a company computer. There was less agreement when it came to employees using personal devices; approximately a third of respondents opposed surveillance in that case." That said, "Despite accepting surveillance in a number of situations, 60 percent of respondents said that they would react negatively if they discovered that a network they currently use employed TLS proxies." The study also found 4.5% of participants were "jaded" toward the state of privacy and security on the internet, feeling that their traffic is already monitored, and that the government would circumvent whatever technologies we put in place to protect it. The researchers say this group "once cared about these issues but has lost all hope and has largely given up on ever achieving a secure world."

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The Diversity Issue Silicon Valley Isn't Trying To Fix: Age Discrimination

Mon, 19/10/2015 - 1:37pm
An anonymous reader writes: The tech industry has recognized it isn't as welcoming to women or minorities as it should be, and is loudly taking steps to solve that issue. Major companies are now releasing diversity reports to highlight their efforts. But as Stephen Levy points out, none of them seem interested in doing something about a different diversity issue that's been pervading Silicon Valley for years: age discrimination. He says, "One company, Payscale, does supply some estimates. Looking at its numbers in 2012, Payscale noted, 'The typical tech employee wasn't around for the original release of Star Wars. And as of last year, the average age at Google was 30; at Facebook, 28; LinkedIn, 29, and Apple, 31. In comparison, the average age in more traditional tech industries like data processing or web publishing was almost 10 years higher than Silicon Valley/Internet firms. In my view, age information should be included in those diversity reports, to underline the need for change— and, even more important, those in charge of company cultures should view age diversity as a plus. Right now, that's not happening."

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Europe and Russia Are Headed Back To the Moon Together

Mon, 19/10/2015 - 12:55pm
MarkWhittington writes: Russia is turning its attention to the moon again for the first time in about 40 years. The first Russian mission to the moon since long before the end of the Cold War will be Luna 27, a robot lander that will touch down on the edge of the lunar South Pole as early as 2020. Russia is looking for international partners to help make Luna 27 a reality and may have found one in the European Space Agency, according to a story on the BBC. "The initial missions will be robotic. Luna 27 will land on the edge of the South Pole Aitken basin. The south polar region has areas which are always dark. These are some of the coldest places in the Solar System. As such, they are icy prisons for water and other chemicals that have been shielded from heating by the Sun. According to Dr. James Carpenter, ESA's lead scientist on the project, one of the main aims is to investigate the potential use of this water as a resource for the future, and to find out what it can tell us about the origins of life in the inner Solar System."

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Wealth Therapy Tackles Woes of the Rich

Mon, 19/10/2015 - 12:13pm writes: Jana Kasperkevic writes in The Guardian that it can be very stressful to be rich. "It's really isolating to have a lot of money. It can be scary – people's reaction to you," says Barbara Nusbaum, an expert in money psychology. "There is a fair amount of isolation if you are wealthy." According to Clay Cockrell, who provides therapy for rich, this means the rich tend to hang out with other rich Americans, not out of snobbery, but in order to be around those who understand them and their problems. One big problem is not knowing if your friends are friends with you or your money. "Someone else who is also a billionaire – they don't want anything from you! Never being able to trust your friendships with people of different means, I think that is difficult," says Cockrell. "As the gap has widened, they [the rich] have become more and more isolated." Sci-fi author John Scalzi has published an entertaining take-down of the cluelessness in this article.

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Another 'StarCraft' Cheating Scandal Rocks Korea

Mon, 19/10/2015 - 9:21am
dotarray writes: "Five years ago, the professional StarCraft community was rocked by a massive cheating scandal – now it looks like history is repeating, as twelve StarCraft II gamers have been arrested in South Korea over charges of match-fixing and illegal betting." From the article: Those arrested include Gerrard (Park Wae-Sik), head coach of pro gaming team PRIME, and one of his team members, YoDa (Choi Byeong-Heon). ... The games in question, according to the prosecutor's investigation, include five professional-level StarCraft II matches, which were played between January and June 2015 including as part of the GSL Season 1 and SKT Proleague Season 1. Pro-gamer YoDa has been accused of receiving money to deliberately lose matches, while Gerrard stands charged with receiving money from brokers, connecting players to brokers, and suggesting to players that they might like to lose a game or two and get paid.

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An Algorithm That Can Predict Human Behavior Better Than Humans

Mon, 19/10/2015 - 6:09am
Quartz describes an MIT study with the surprising conclusion that at least in some circumstances, an algorithm can not only sift numbers faster than humans (after all, that's what computers are best at), but also discern relevant factors within a complex data set more accurately and more quickly than can teams of humans. In a competition involving 905 human teams, a system called the Data Science Machine, designed by MIT master's student Max Kanter and his advisor, Kalyan Veeramachaneni, beat most of the humans for accuracy and speed in three tests of predictive power, including one about "whether a student would drop out during the next ten days, based on student interactions with resources on an online course." Teams might have looked at how late students turned in their problem sets, or whether they spent any time looking at lecture notes. But instead, MIT News reports, the two most important indicators turned out to be how far ahead of a deadline the student began working on their problem set, and how much time the student spent on the course website. ... The Data Science Machine performed well in this competition. It was also successful in two other competitions, one in which participants had to predict whether a crowd-funded project would be considered “exciting” and another if a customer would become a repeat buyer.

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