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Must listen: We've found the real Bastard Operator From Hell

El Reg - Fri, 29/04/2016 - 6:38pm
Ingenious IT boss banishes hapless callers to on-hold Hades with Extension 666

Nobody likes having to deal with cold calls to the office. But when you're manning the IT help desk, you have no choice but to pick up the phone – even when it's a pushy sales pitch.…

GCHQ Has Disclosed Over 20 Vulnerabilities This Year

Slashdot - Fri, 29/04/2016 - 6:30pm
Joseph Cox, reporting for Motherboard: Earlier this week, it emerged that a section of Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the UK's signal intelligence agency, had disclosed a serious vulnerability in Firefox to Mozilla. Now, GCHQ has said it helped fix nearly two dozen individual vulnerabilities in the past few months, including in highly popular pieces of software like iOS. "So far in 2016 GCHQ/CESG has disclosed more than 20 vulnerabilities across a number of software products," a GCHQ spokesperson told Motherboard in an email. CESG, or the National Technical Authority for Information Assurance, is the information security wing of GCHQ. Those issues include a kernel vulnerability in OS X El Captain v10.11.4, the latest version, that would allow arbitrary code execution, and two in iOS 9.3, one of which would have done largely the same thing, and the other could have let an application launch a denial of service attack.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Microsoft Flow -- An IFTTT Alternative -- Aims To Connect Your Online Apps

Slashdot - Fri, 29/04/2016 - 6:00pm
An anonymous user writes: Microsoft has unveiled a new product called Microsoft Flow, which is designed to better connect diverse services so that you could, if you were so inclined, put all your tweets into a spreadsheet or get an SMS alert when you receive an email. That example may be a solution in search of a problem, but there are other more useful possibilities. Flow could be set up so that any email from your boss triggers an SMS notification to your phone, for example. Or you could make sure any updated work documents get deposited in your team's SharePoint. To be sure, Microsoft is not first to this app-integration party. Many people already use If This Then That (IFTTT) or Zapier, which claims more than 500 app integrations, to knit their services together.Some IFTTT users must be breathing a sigh of relief.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

US Calls Switzerland An Internet Piracy Haven

Slashdot - Fri, 29/04/2016 - 5:20pm
An anonymous reader writes: The Office of the United States Trade Representative has published its annual Special 301 Report calling out other nations for failing to live up to U.S. IP enforcement standards. This year European ally Switzerland has been placed on the Watch List for protecting file-sharers and playing host to many pirate sites. "Generally speaking, Switzerland broadly provides high-levels of IPR protection and enforcement in its territory. Switzerland makes important contributions to promoting such protection and enforcement internationally, including in bilateral and multilateral contexts, which are welcomed by the United States," the USTR writes in its assessment.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Freshly Minted Unicorns Now a Rare Sighting In Silicon Valley

Slashdot - Fri, 29/04/2016 - 4:40pm
An anonymous reader shares a Quartz report: Unicorns, start-up companies valued at over $1 billion each, once a rare sighting for investors, have frolicked across Silicon Valley of late. Now the market seems to be yanking on the reins. Venture capital research firm CB Insights reports the number of venture-backed startups achieving a $1 billion or more valuation ground to a halt over the last six months. In the first quarter of 2016, only five new unicorns arrived. That's compared to an average of about 20 per quarter last year. The number of startups worth at least $1 billion has doubled since 2015 to more than 160, says CB Insights. At the same time, the number of such companies accepting "down rounds" or exits with lower valuations is now up. That number exceeded the quantity of new unicorns being created starting in the last quarter of 2015.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Miguel de Icaza on his journey from open source to Microsoft: 'It's a different company'

El Reg - Fri, 29/04/2016 - 4:01pm
'I feel vindicated (about) Mono... turns out that Java is the big problem'

Interview  At Xamarin's Evolve conference in San Francisco, I sat down with Miguel de Icaza, the initiator of both the GNOME desktop for Linux and the Mono open source version of Microsoft's .NET Framework. Miguel de Icaza co-founded Xamarin with Nat Friedman, who became CEO.…

Google AI Has Access To 1.6M People's NHS Records

Slashdot - Fri, 29/04/2016 - 4:01pm
Hal Hodson, reporting for New Scientist:It's no secret that Google has broad ambitions in healthcare. But a document obtained by New Scientist reveals that the tech giant's collaboration with the UK's National Health Service goes far beyond what has been publicly announced. The document -- a data-sharing agreement between Google-owned artificial intelligence company DeepMind and the Royal Free NHS Trust -- gives the clearest picture yet of what the company is doing and what sensitive data it now has access to. The agreement gives DeepMind access to a wide range of healthcare data on the 1.6 million patients who pass through three London hospitals run by the Royal Free NHS Trust -- Barnet, Chase Farm and the Royal Free -- each year. This will include information about people who are HIV-positive, for instance, as well as details of drug overdoses and abortions. The agreement also includes access to patient data from the last five years. According to their original agreement, Google cannot use the data in any other part of its business.

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UK's GDS to hire 300 folk. Silver lining: They'll be evicted from Holborn

El Reg - Fri, 29/04/2016 - 3:43pm
Embiggening UK.gov tentacle will be banished to hot-desk hell

The UK Government Digital Service (GDS) is to hire nearly 300 more staff, beefing up its full-time employees to 830, according to sources.…

Hipster hackers cook up 'artisan' Squiblydoo attack

El Reg - Fri, 29/04/2016 - 3:28pm
Native OS tools, living off the land... it's all very crunchy

Hackers have figured out how to bypass application whitelisting software by utilising tools that are built into Windows by default.…

US Toy Maker Maisto's Website Pushes Ransomware

Slashdot - Fri, 29/04/2016 - 3:22pm
An anonymous reader shares a PCWorld article: Attackers are aggressively pushing a new file-encrypting ransomware program called CryptXXX by compromising websites, the latest victim being U.S. toy maker Maisto. Fortunately, there's a tool that can help users decrypt CryptXXX affected files for free. Security researchers from Malwarebytes reported Thursday that maisto.com was infected with malicious JavaScript that loaded the Angler exploit kit. This is a Web-based attack tool that installs malware on users' computers by exploiting vulnerabilities in their browser plug-ins. It also steals bitcoins from local wallets, a double hit to victims, because it then asks for the equivalent of $500 in bitcoins in order to decrypt their files. [...] Researchers from antivirus firm Kaspersky Lab recently updated their ransomware decryption toolto add support for CryptXXX affected files. The attack code exploits vulnerabilities in older versions of applications such as Flash, Java, Internet Explorer, and Silverlight. At this point, it isn't clear exactly how many users are affected.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

The EU wants you to log into YouTube using your state-issued ID card

El Reg - Fri, 29/04/2016 - 2:54pm
But, EU Robo-Commish: we don’t have one. And we don't want one

Analysis  The EU’s enquiry into online plantations platforms will recommend a hands-off approach that will delight Silicon Valley. A draft of the enquiry was leaked this week.…

Doctor Ready to Perform First Human Head Transplant

Slashdot - Fri, 29/04/2016 - 2:41pm
Ross Kenneth Urken, reporting for Newsweek (edited and condensed): Italian neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero had his Dr. Strange moment when he announced he'd be able to do a human head transplant in a two-part procedure he dubs HEAVEN (paywalled, this alternate link could help) (head anastomosis venture) and Gemini (the subsequent spinal cord fusion). [...] Canavero has a plan: It's a 36-hour, $20 million procedure involving at least 150 people, including doctors, nurses, technicians, psychologists and virtual reality engineers. In a specially equipped hospital suite, two surgical teams will work simultaneously -- one focused on Valery Spiridonov (patient) and the other on the donor's body, selected from a brain-dead patient and matched with the Spiridonov for height, build and immunotype. Both patients -- anesthetized and outfitted with breathing tubes -- will have their heads locked using metal pins and clamps, and electrodes will be attached to their bodies to monitor brain and heart activity. Next, Spiridonov's head will be nearly frozen, ultimately reaching 12 to 15 degrees Celsius, which will make him temporarily brain-dead.Shouldn't it be called a body transplant? Since a person is often defined by the brain. You can read the complete procedure here.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

The Sway i3-Compatible WM For Wayland Now Supports Tabbed/Stacking Layouts

Phoronix - Fri, 29/04/2016 - 2:39pm
Sway, the i3-compatible tiling window manager for Wayland, is out with a new version...

Galileos 11 and 12 live for your (imminent) navigating pleasure

El Reg - Fri, 29/04/2016 - 2:27pm
Europe's satnav fleet gains operational pair

The European Space Agency (ESA) has announced that for your future metre-level accuracy navigating pleasure, satellites Galileo 11 and 12 are now fully operational and "broadcasting working navigation signals".…

An On-Disk Shader Cache Revised For Intel's Mesa Driver

Phoronix - Fri, 29/04/2016 - 2:19pm
Timothy Arceri of Collabora has been restoring work on an on-disk shader cache for Intel's open-source Mesa OpenGL driver that was originally started by some of the Intel OTC driver developers...

FCC floats new rules for data lines that bind America's networks

El Reg - Fri, 29/04/2016 - 2:03pm
Not everyone pleased with proposed access rules

The FCC has put forward a new set of rules governing the data network connections that glue our modern lives together.…

Raptor Engineering Updates Details On Their POWER8-Based Talos Secure Workstation

Phoronix - Fri, 29/04/2016 - 2:03pm
Raptor Engineering has published new information around their proposed high-performance Talos Secure Workstation that for around $3k is a high-end POWER8 motherboard...

Supreme Court Gives FBI More Hacking Power

Slashdot - Fri, 29/04/2016 - 2:00pm
An anonymous reader cites an article on The Intercept (edited and condensed): The Supreme Court on Thursday approved changes that would make it easier for the FBI to hack into computers, many of them belonging to victims of cybercrime. The changes, which will take immediate effect in December unless Congress adopts competing legislation, would allow the FBI go hunting for anyone browsing the Internet anonymously in the U.S. with a single warrant. Previously, under the federal rules on criminal procedures, a magistrate judge couldn't approve a warrant request to search a computer remotely if the investigator didn't know where the computer was -- because it might be outside his or her jurisdiction. The rule change would allow a magistrate judge to issue a warrant to search or seize an electronic device if the target is using anonymity software like Tor."Unbelievable," said Edward Snowden. "FBI sneaks radical expansion of power through courts, avoiding public debate." Ahmed Ghappour, a visiting professor at University of California Hastings Law School, has described it as "possibly the broadest expansion of extraterritorial surveillance power since the FBI's inception."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Latest Intel FP64 Patches Published For i965 Mesa DRI Driver

Phoronix - Fri, 29/04/2016 - 1:54pm
Going along with the work written about yesterday of Igalia Posts Intel vertex_attrib_64bit Mesa Driver Patches, Close To OpenGL 4.1+, the latest ARB_gpu_shader_fp64 patches were published today for the Intel i965 Mesa driver...

At last: Ordnance Survey's map wizardry goes live

El Reg - Fri, 29/04/2016 - 1:31pm
Beta over

After a long beta programme, the Ordnance Survey has officially launched its “slippy”-style smartphone app and website - just in time for shivering in a parka on a Bank Holiday Monday, as you wonder who nicked your bike.…

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