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Google turns on free public NTP servers that SMEAR TIME

El Reg - Fri, 02/12/2016 - 3:31am
With a leap second coming up, smearing's quite a good idea

Google's turned on a set of public network time protocol (NTP) servers.…

International Authorities Take Down Massive 'Avalanche' Botnet, Sinkhole Over 800,000 Domains

Slashdot - Fri, 02/12/2016 - 3:30am
plover writes: Investigators from the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI, Eurojust, Europol, and other global partners announced the takedown of a massive botnet named "Avalanche," estimated to have involved as many as 500,000 infected computers worldwide on a daily basis. A Europol release says: "The global effort to take down this network involved the crucial support of prosecutors and investigators from 30 countries. As a result, five individuals were arrested, 37 premises were searched, and 39 servers were seized. Victims of malware infections were identified in over 180 countries. In addition, 221 servers were put offline through abuse notifications sent to the hosting providers. The operation marks the largest-ever use of sinkholing to combat botnet infrastructures and is unprecedented in its scale, with over 800,000 domains seized, sinkholed or blocked." Sean Gallagher writes via Ars Technica: "The domains seized have been 'sinkholed' to terminate the operation of the botnet, which is estimated to have spanned over hundreds of thousands of compromised computers around the world. The Justice Department's Office for the Western Federal District of Pennsylvania and the FBI's Pittsburgh office led the U.S. portion of the takedown. 'The monetary losses associated with malware attacks conducted over the Avalanche network are estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars worldwide, although exact calculations are difficult due to the high number of malware families present on the network,' the FBI and DOJ said in their joint statement. In 2010, an Anti-Phishing Working Group report called out Avalanche as 'the world's most prolific phishing gang,' noting that the Avalanche botnet was responsible for two-thirds of all phishing attacks recorded in the second half of 2009 (84,250 out of 126,697). 'During that time, it targeted more than 40 major financial institutions, online services, and job search providers,' APWG reported. In December of 2009, the network used 959 distinct domains for its phishing campaigns. Avalanche also actively spread the Zeus financial fraud botnet at the time."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

French Man Sentenced To Two Years In Prison For Visiting Pro-ISIS Websites

Slashdot - Fri, 02/12/2016 - 2:25am
According to French media, a court in the department of Ardeche on Tuesday sentenced a 32-year-old man in France to two years in prison for repeatedly visiting pro-ISIS websites -- even though there was no indication he planned to stage a terrorist attack. Police raided his house and found the man's browsing history. They also found pro-ISIS images and execution videos on his phone, personal computer, and a USB stick, an ISIS flag wallpaper on his computer, and a computer password that was "13novembrehaha," referencing the Paris terrorist attacks that left 130 people dead. Slashdot reader future guy shares with us an excerpt from The Verge's report: In court, the man argued that he visited the sites out of curiosity. "I wanted to tell the difference between real Islam and the false Islam, now I understand," he said, according to FranceBleu. But the man reportedly admitted to not reading other news sites or international press, and family members told the court that his behavior had recently changed. He became irritated when discussing religion, they said, and began sporting a long beard with harem pants. A representative from the Ardeche court confirmed to The Verge that there was no indication that the man had any plans to launch an attack. In addition to the two-year prison sentence, he will have to pay a 30,000 euros (roughly $32,000) fine.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

'AWS is fast, punches above its weight, stings Oracle, but no knockout'

El Reg - Fri, 02/12/2016 - 2:00am
Pundits note growth in Lambda, database efforts as highlights of conf

AWS re:Invent  Amazon made news in a big way this week, kicking out more than a dozen new features and services for the AWS cloud at its annual re:Invent conference.…

Shamoon malware returns to again wipe Saudi-owned computers

El Reg - Fri, 02/12/2016 - 1:58am
Iran suspected as likely source of re-vamped nastyware

Thousands of computers in Saudi Arabia's civil aviation agency and other Gulf State organisations have been wiped by the Shamoon malware after it resurfaced some four years after wiping thousands of Saudi Aramco workstations.…

Nestle Discovers 'Breakthrough' Method To Cut Sugar In Chocolate By 40% Without Affecting Taste

Slashdot - Fri, 02/12/2016 - 1:45am
Nestle and its scientists have discovered how to "structure sugar differently" to reduce the amount of sugar in some of its products by 40%. What's more is that it can be done reportedly without compromising the taste. The Guardian reports: The new process is said to make sugar dissolve faster so that even when less is used, the tongue perceives an identical level of sweetness. It plans to patent the process, discovered by its scientists, which it says will enable it to significantly decrease the total sugar in its confectionery products. A four-finger milk chocolate Kit Kat currently contains 23.8g of sugar, a plain (milk chocolate) Yorkie contains 26.9g and a medium peppermint Aero has 24.9g of sugar. If the amount of sugar in each of these products was cut by 40% the new amounts would be 14.3g, 16.1g and 14.9g respectively.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Apple Will Use Drones To Improve the Quality of Apple Maps

Slashdot - Fri, 02/12/2016 - 1:05am
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Apple plans to use drones and new indoor navigation features to improve its Maps service and catch longtime leader Google (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternate link), according to people familiar with the matter. The Cupertino, California-based company is assembling a team of robotics and data-collection experts that will use drones to capture and update map information faster than its existing fleet of camera-and-sensor ladened minivans, one of the people said. Apple wants to fly drones around to do things like examine street signs, track changes to roads and monitor if areas are under construction, the person said. The data collected would be sent to Apple teams that rapidly update the Maps app to provide fresh information to users, the person added. Apple is also developing new features for Maps, including views inside buildings and improvements to car navigation, another person familiar with the efforts said. Apple filed for an exemption on Sept. 21, 2015, from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly drones for commercial purposes, according to documents obtained by Bloomberg News. At that time, exemptions were required to commercially operate drones. In a response dated March 22, 2016, the FAA granted Apple approval to "operate an unmanned aircraft system to conduct data collection, photography, and videography," according to one of the documents. Apple's application told the FAA that it would use a range of drones sold by companies such as SZ DJI Technology Co. and Aibotix GmbH to collect the data. Apple has hired at least one person from Amazon's Prime Air division to help run the drone team, one of the people said.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

'Fatal' Flaws Found in Medical Implant Software

Slashdot - Fri, 02/12/2016 - 12:35am
Security researchers have warned of flaws in medical implants in what they say could have fatal consequences. The flaws were found in the radio-based communications used to update implants, including pacemakers, and read data from them. From a BBC report:By exploiting the flaws, the researchers were able to adjust settings and even switch off gadgets. The attacks were also able to steal confidential data about patients and their health history. A software patch has been created to help thwart any real-world attacks. The flaws were found by an international team of security researchers based at the University of Leuven in Belgium and the University of Birmingham.

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Steam's November 2016 Metrics Put Linux Gaming Marketshare At 0.88%

Phoronix - Fri, 02/12/2016 - 12:08am
With the start of the new month comes updated statistics from Valve with their Steam Survey...

Online criminals iced as cops bury malware-spewing Avalanche

El Reg - Thu, 01/12/2016 - 11:57pm
Four-year op by US and EU culminates in arrests, server seizures

On November 30, simultaneous raids in five countries by the FBI, Europol, and the UK's National Crime Agency (NCA) finally shuttered the Avalanche criminal network that has been spewing malware and money laundering campaigns for the past seven years.…

Earthquake-Sensing Mobile App 'MyShake' Detects Over 200 Earthquakes Large and Small

Slashdot - Thu, 01/12/2016 - 11:55pm
Back in February, researchers at UC Berkeley released an app called MyShake that detects strong earthquakes seconds before the damaging seismic waves arrive. Several months have passed since its release and app has already detected over 200 earthquakes in more than ten countries. TechCrunch reports: The app has received nearly 200,000 downloads, though only a fraction of those are active at any given time; it waits for the phone to sit idle so it can get good readings. Nevertheless, over the first six months the network of sensors has proven quite effective. "We found that MyShake could detect large earthquakes, but also small ones, which we never thought would be possible," one of the app's creators, Qingkai Kong, told New Scientist. A paper describing the early results was published in Geophysical Research Letters -- the abstract gives a general idea of the app's success: "On a typical day about 8000 phones provide acceleration waveform data to the MyShake archive. The on-phone app can detect and trigger on P waves and is capable of recording magnitude 2.5 and larger events. The largest number of waveforms from a single earthquake to date comes from the M5.2 Borrego Springs earthquake in Southern California, for which MyShake collected 103 useful three-component waveforms. The network continues to grow with new downloads from the Google Play store everyday and expands rapidly when public interest in earthquakes peaks such as during an earthquake sequence." You can download the app for Android here.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

South Korea To Kill the Coin in Path Towards 'Cashless Society'

Slashdot - Thu, 01/12/2016 - 11:15pm
The central bank in South Korea, one of the world's most technologically advanced and integrated nations, is taking a major step in getting rid of coins in the nation in what is an attempt to become a cashless society. The first step is to get rid of the metal, a feat authorities hope to achieve by 2020. From a report on FT: The Bank of Korea on Thursday announced it will step up its efforts to reduce the circulation of coins, the highest denomination of which is worth less than $0.50. As part of the plan it wants consumers to deposit loose change on to Korea's ubiquitous "T Money" cards -- electronic travel passes that can be used to pay for metro fares, taxi rides and even purchases in 30,000 convenience stores. The proposals are just the latest step for a nation at the forefront of harnessing technology to make citizens' lives more convenient. Online shopping is the norm, as are mobile payments for the country's tech-savvy millennials. South Korea is already one of the least cash-dependent nations in the world. It has among the highest rates of credit card ownership -- about 1.9 per citizen -- and only about 20 percent of Korean payments are made using paper money, according to the BoK. But while convenience is at the crux of the central bank's plan, there are other considerations. The BoK spends more than $40m a year minting coins. There are also costs involved for financial institutions that collect, manage and circulate them.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Trump's FCC will soak net neutrality in gas and toss in a lit match

El Reg - Thu, 01/12/2016 - 11:08pm
Narcissist in Chief recruits another anti-net-neut bod for US comms regulator

Supporters of net neutrality are preparing to defend FCC regulations passed two years ago in the face of what is increasingly looking like a determined effort by the Trump Administration to undermine them.…

Destructive Hacks Strike Saudi Arabia, Posing Challenge to Trump

Slashdot - Thu, 01/12/2016 - 10:35pm
State-sponsored hackers have conducted a series of destructive attacks on Saudi Arabia over the last two weeks, erasing data and wreaking havoc in the computer banks of the agency running the country's airports and hitting five additional targets, according to two people familiar with an investigation into the breach. From a report on Bloomberg: Saudi Arabia said after inquiries from Bloomberg News that "several" government agencies were targeted in attacks that came from outside the kingdom, according to state media. Although a probe by Saudi authorities is still in its early stages, the people said digital evidence suggests the attacks emanated from Iran. That could present President-elect Donald Trump with a major national security challenge as he steps into the Oval Office. The use of offensive cyber weapons by a nation is relatively rare and the scale of the latest attacks could trigger a tit-for-tat cyber war in a region where capabilities have mushroomed ever since an attack on Saudi Aramco in 2012.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

AWS CTO: 'I truly hated the relationship with software tool vendors'

El Reg - Thu, 01/12/2016 - 10:32pm
Vogels channels his inner Ballmer with pitch to code monkeys

AWS re:Invent  Amazon Web Services turned its focus to developers in day two of its re:Invent conference in Las Vegas, kicking out a handful of new features designed to make life easier for those who develop and maintain cloud applications.…

Gtkmm Begins Preparing For GTK4, Now Uses C++14

Phoronix - Thu, 01/12/2016 - 10:27pm
Gtkmm, the project providing the de facto C++ interface for GTK+, is preparing for the GTK+ 4.0 era...

Cyanogen Inc and CyanogenMod Creator Steve Kondik Part Ways

Slashdot - Thu, 01/12/2016 - 9:55pm
bulled writes: In the middle of a press release discussing the move of employees from Seattle to California, Cyanogen Inc notes that it has parted ways with Steve Kondik. It is unclear what this means for the future of CyanogenMod. NDTV reports: "Kondik took to the official CyanogenMod developer Google+ community recently where he voiced what he thought were the reasons behind Cyanogen's plight and blamed Kirt McMaster, Cyanogen's Co-Founder. 'I've been pretty quiet about the stuff that's been going on but I'm at least ready to tell the short version and hopefully get some input on what to do next because CM is very much affected,' wrote Kondik in a private Google+ community first reported by Android Police. According to Kondik's version, Cyanogen's turmoil is way far from being over. He claimed that Cyanogen had seen success thanks to the efforts by the community and the company. Though, this also changed how the company worked. Explaining how it all started to come down, Kondik wrote, 'Unfortunately once we started to see success, my co-founder apparently became unhappy with running the business and not owning the vision. This is when the 'bullet to the head' and other misguided media nonsense started, and the bad business deals were signed. Being second in command, all I could do was try and stop it, do damage control, and hope every day that something new didn't happen. The worst of it happened internally and it became a generally shitty place to work because of all the conflict. I think the backlash from those initial missteps convinced him that what we had needed to be destroyed. By the time I was able to stop it, I was outgunned and outnumbered by a team on the same mission.' Kondik also seemingly confirmed a report from July which claimed Cyanogen may pivot to apps. He further wrote, 'Eventually I tried to salvage it with a pivot that would have brought us closer to something that would have worked, but the new guys had other plans. With plenty of cash in the bank, the new guys tore the place down and will go and do whatever they are going to do. It's probably for the best and I wish them luck, but what I was trying to do, is over.'"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

American supremacy, space, liability, funding, openness – AI gurus lay it all out to US senators

El Reg - Thu, 01/12/2016 - 9:33pm
The race is on to be the best in the world

Analysis  At a US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation hearing this week chaired by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), artificial intelligence experts were grilled on how to keep the US ahead of its competitors.…

Motorola Has No Plans For a New Smartwatch

Slashdot - Thu, 01/12/2016 - 9:15pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Lenovo Moto today confirmed that it will not be releasing a new smartwatch for the launch of Android Wear 2.0, due early next year. The company had earlier said it would not be releasing a new smartwatch in 2016, but it is now saying that it doesn't plan to put out a new device timed to the arrival of Google's newest wearable platform, either. Shakil Barkat, head of global product development at Moto, said the company doesn't "see enough pull in the market to put [a new smartwatch] out at this time," though it may revisit the market in the future should technologies for the wrist improve. "Wearables do not have broad enough appeal for us to continue to build on it year after year," Barkat said, and indicated that smartwatches and other wearable devices will not be in Moto's annual device roadmap. Whether or not Moto does jump back into the smartwatch market is still up in the air, but Barkat is leaving the possibility open. "We believe the wrist still has value and there will be a point where they provide value to consumers more than they do today," Barkat said. But it doesn't appear that we'll be getting a new Moto 360 or other smartwatch any time in the near future. Google announced back in September that it would be delaying the launch of Android Wear 2.0 from this fall to next year. LG and Huawei have also confirmed that they would not be releasing new smartwatches until at least next year.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Finally. BlackBerry lobs out new BB10 OS update

El Reg - Thu, 01/12/2016 - 8:56pm
BB to be 'a pure software company'

BlackBerry finally released an update for its BB10 OS, eight months later than promised.…

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