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United States

US Requirement For Software Dev Certification Raises Questions 228

Posted by samzenpus
from the outsatnding-achievment-in-the-field-of-excellence dept.
dcblogs writes "U.S. government contracts often require bidders to have achieved some level of Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI). CMMI arose some 25 years ago via the backing of the Department of Defense and the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. It operated as a federally funded research and development center until a year ago, when CMMI's product responsibility was shifted to a private, profit-making LLC, the CMMI Institute. The Institute is now owned by Carnegie Mellon. Given that the CMMI Institute is now a self-supporting firm, any requirement that companies be certified by it — and spend the money needed to do so — raises a natural question. 'Why is the government mandating that you support a for-profit company?' said Henry Friedman, the CEO of IR Technologies, a company that develops logistics defense related software and uses CMMI. The value of a certification is subject to debate. To what extent does a CMMI certification determine a successful project outcome? CGI Federal, the lead contractor at Healthcare.gov, is a veritable black belt in software development. In 2012, it achieved the highest possible Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) level for development certification, only the 10th company in the U.S. to do so."
Security

The Startling Array of Hacking Tools In NSA's Armory 215

Posted by samzenpus
from the pick-your-poison dept.
littlekorea writes "A series of servers produced by Dell, air-gapped Windows XP PCs and switches and routers produced by Cisco, Huawei and Juniper count among the huge list of computing devices compromised by the NSA, according to crypto-expert and digital freedom fighter Jacob Applebaum. Revealing a trove of new NSA documents at his 30c3 address (video), Applebaum spoke about why the NSA's program might lead to broader adoption of open source tools and gave a hot tip on how to know if your machines have been owned."
Privacy

Former CIA/NSA Head: NSA Is "Infinitely" Weaker As a Result of Snowden's Leaks 572

Posted by samzenpus
from the spying-used-to-be-easy dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Huffington Post reports, 'Michael Hayden, former director of the National Security Agency, said Sunday that he used to describe leaker Edward Snowden as a "defector," ... "I think there's an English word that describes selling American secrets to another government, and I do think it's treason," Hayden said ... Some members of Congress have also ... accused him of an act of treason. Hayden said his view of Snowden has grown harsher in recent weeks after reports that Snowden is seeking asylum in Germany and Brazil in exchange for assisting their investigations into NSA programs. Hayden said the NSA is "infinitely" weaker as a result of Snowden's leaks. "This is the most serious hemorrhaging of American secrets in the history of American espionage," he said. "What Snowden is revealing ... is the plumbing," he added later. "He's revealing how we acquire this information. It will take years, if not decades, for us to return to the position that we had prior to his disclosures."' — More in the Face the Nation video and transcript, including discussion of the recent legal decisions, and segments with whistleblower Thomas Drake, Snowden legal adviser Jesselyn Radack, and Washington Post reporter Barton Gellman who recently interviewed Snowden."
Crime

Hacker Took Over BBC Server, Tried To Sell Access On Christmas Day 41

Posted by samzenpus
from the you're-a-mean-one dept.
An anonymous reader writes in with this story about a hacker that took over a BBC server during the Christmas holiday. "A hacker secretly took over a computer server at the BBC, Britain's public broadcaster, and then launched a Christmas Day campaign to convince other cyber criminals to pay him for access to the system. While it is not known if the hacker found any buyers, the BBC's security team responded to the issue on Saturday and believes it has secured the site, according to a person familiar with the cleanup effort. A BBC spokesman declined to discuss the incident. 'We do not comment on security issues,' he said."
Education

Is a Super-Sized iPad the Future of Education? 234

Posted by timothy
from the insert-semester-to-continue dept.
theodp writes "Perhaps people are reading too much into Apple CEO Tim Cook's 'Big Plans' for 2014, but hopes are high that the New Year will bring a biggie-sized iPad. Over at Forbes, Anthony Wing Kosner asks, Will The Large Screen iPad Pro Be Apple's First In A Line Of Desktop Touch Devices?. 'Rumors of a large [12.9"] iPad are many and constant,' notes ComputerWorld's Mike Elgan, 'but they make sense only if the tablet is a desktop for schools.' Elgan adds, 'Lots of schools are buying iPads for kids to use. But iPads don't make a lot of sense for education. For starters, their screens are too small for the kinds of interactive textbooks and apps that Apple wants the education market to create. They're also too small for collaborative work. iPads run mobile browsers, rather than full browsers, so kids can't use the full range of HTML5 sites.' Saying that 'Microsoft has fumbled the [post-PC] transition badly,' Elgan argues that 'the battle for the future of education is likely to be between whatever Google turns the Chromebook into against whatever Apple turns the iPad into.'"
Programming

Not All Bugs Are Random 165

Posted by timothy
from the especially-not-bees dept.
CowboyRobot writes "Andrew Koenig at Dr. Dobb's argues that by looking at a program's structure — as opposed to only looking at output — we can sometimes predict circumstances in which it is particularly likely to fail. 'For example, any time a program decides to use one or two (or more) algorithms depending on an aspect of its input such as size, we should verify that it works properly as close as possible to the decision boundary on both sides. I've seen quite a few programs that impose arbitrary length limits on, say, the size of an input line or the length of a name. I've also seen far too many such programs that fail when they are presented with input that fits the limit exactly, or is one greater (or less) than the limit. If you know by inspecting the code what those limits are, it is much easier to test for cases near the limits.'"
Crime

Cracking Atlanta Subway's Poorly-Encrypted RFID Smart Cards Is a Breeze 139

Posted by timothy
from the but-you're-still-in-atlanta dept.
McGruber writes "Seven metro Atlanta residents are facing theft, fraud, and racketeering charges for allegedly selling counterfeit MARTA Breeze cards. Breeze cards are stored-value smart cards that passengers use as part of an automated fare collection system which the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority introduced to the general public in October 2006. Breeze cards are supplied by Cubic Transportation Systems, an American company that provides automated fare collection equipment and services to the mass transit industry. At the time of this slashdot submission, the Wikipedia page for the Breeze Card (last modified on 2 August 2013 at 14:52) says: 'The Breeze Card uses the MIFARE smart-card system from Dutch company NXP Semiconductors, a spin-off from Philips. The disposable, single-use, cards are using on the MIFARE Ultralight while the multiple-use plastic cards are the MIFARE Classic cards. There have been many concerns about the security of the system, mainly caused by the poor encryption method used for the cards.'"
Privacy

Snapchat Users' Phone Numbers Exposed To Hackers 69

Posted by timothy
from the take-a-memo-it'll-last-longer dept.
beaverdownunder writes with an extract from The Guardian, based on a security diclosure from Gibson Security: "Snapchat users' phone numbers may be exposed to hackers due to an unresolved security vulnerability, according to a new report released by a group of Australian hackers. Snapchat is a social media program that allows users to send pictures to each other that disappear within 10 seconds. Users can create profiles with detailed personal information and add friends that can view the photos a user shares. But Gibson Security, a group of anonymous hackers from Australia, has published a new report with detailed coding that they say shows how a vulnerability can be exploited to reveal phone numbers of users, as well as their privacy settings." Snapchat downplays the significance of the hole.
Spam

Convicted Spammer Jeffrey Kilbride Flees Prison 233

Posted by timothy
from the be-cautious-subject-is-considered-a-spammer dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this news from California: "According to the article, 'Officials at the Federal Bureau of Prisons say an inmate escaped from a minimum security area of the federal prison in Lompoc. Prison officials say Jeffrey Kilbride, 48, was discovered missing at around 1:30 p.m. on Friday....A search is reportedly underway. Prison officials say Kilbride was serving a 78-month sentence for conspiracy and fraud. He was due to be released on December 11, 2015.'" Here's why Kilbride was in prison.
Crime

How the Dark Lord of the Internet Made His Fortunes 60

Posted by timothy
from the deserves-a-brick-through-the-window dept.
theodp writes "Over at The Atlantic, Taylor Clark's epic Jesse Willms, the Dark Lord of the Internet tells the tale of how one of the most notorious alleged hustlers in the history of e-commerce made a fortune on the Web. 'Accusing Willms of being a scammer,' Clark writes, 'does him a disservice; what he accomplished elicits something close to awe, even among his critics.' The classic themes Willms' company employed in 'sponsored' links for products that included colon cleansers, teeth whiteners, and acai supplements, Clark reports, included dubious scientific claims and fake articles ('farticles'); implied endorsements from celebrities and TV networks; incredible 'testimonials"; manipulative plays on insecurities ('You wouldn't have to worry about being the 'fat bridesmaid' at your sister's wedding!'); and 'iron-clad' guarantees that 'free trials' of the products were absolutely 'risk free.' But beneath his promises of a 'free trial,' the FTC alleged, Willms buried an assortment of charges in the fine print of his terms and conditions. After the 14-day trial period for each product, customers automatically became enrolled in monthly subscription plans, for up to $80 a month. 'The product was never the point,' explained an FTC attorney. 'The point was to get as many hits on each credit card as you could.' Despite a publicized $359 million settlement with the FTC, Jesse Willms is doing just fine financially-and he has a new yellow Lamborghini to prove it. After settling his tax debts, Willms surrendered his assets of just $991,000 to get the financial judgment suspended. Willms has left diet products behind and pivoted into information services. 'As of November,' Clark notes, 'if you searched vehicle history on Google, Yahoo, or Bing, ads for Willms's sites were among the first things you would see.'"
Businesses

Website Checkout Glitches: Two Very Different Corporate Responses 303

Posted by timothy
from the and-you-pay-the-stamp dept.
Freshly Exhumed writes "On the morning of December 26th, 2013, an error on the website of Delta Air Lines' produced impossibly low fare discounts of as much as 90% for about 2 hours before the problem was corrected. Delta, to their PR benefit, have swallowed the losses, and the lucky customers have shared their delight via social media. Unfortunately for many buyers of goods from The Brick furniture retailer, no such consumer warmth is forthcoming. The Brick's website checkout had awarded them an additional 50% off, over and above all other costs, but the official corporate response has been to demand the money be returned. Affected customers are now lashing The Brick with social media opprobrium and drawing direct comparisons with Delta's response. So, given that these are not small, mom-and-pop companies, have we reached a point at which online retailers are expected to just swallow such costs for PR purposes, as part of doing web business?"
Math

GNU Octave Gets a GUI 166

Posted by timothy
from the grumblers-gonna-grumble dept.
jones_supa writes "GNU Octave — the open source numerical computation suite compatible with MATLAB — is doing very well. The new 3.8 release is a big change, as it brings a graphical user interface, a feature which has long been requested by users. It is peppered with OpenGL acceleration and uses the super fast FLTK toolkit for widgets. The CLI interface still remains available and GNUplot is used as a fallback in cases where OpenGL or FLTK support is not available. Other changes to Octave 3.8 are support for nested functions with scoping rules, limited support for named exceptions, new regular expressions, a TeX parser for the FLTK toolkit, overhauls to many of the m-files, function rewrites, and numerous other changes and bug fixes."
Australia

Australian Dept. Store Chain's Website Crashes and Can't Get Back Up 156

Posted by timothy
from the work-calmly-and-rationally-instead dept.
McGruber writes "Myer, Australia's largest department store chain, has closed its website 'until further notice' at the height of the post-Christmas (and Australian summer) sales season. The website crashed on Christmas Day and has been down ever since. This means Myer will see no benefit for those days from booming domestic online sales, which were tipped to hit $344 million across the retail sector on Boxing Day alone. Teams from IBM and Myer's information technology division were 'working furiously' to fix the problem."
Security

Encrypted PIN Data Taken In Target Breach 213

Posted by Soulskill
from the now-you're-all-targets dept.
New submitter danlip writes "Target has confirmed that encrypted PIN data was taken during its recent credit card breach. Target doesn't think they can be unencrypted by whoever may have taken them, because the key was never on the breached system. The article has no details on exactly how the PINs were encrypted, but it doesn't seem like it would be hard to brute force them." Another article at Time takes Target to task for its PR doublespeak about the breach.
The Almighty Buck

Millions of Dogecoin Stolen Over Christmas 132

Posted by timothy
from the it's-just-been-hidden-by-the-catecoin dept.
Kenseilon writes "The Verge reports that millions of Dogecoins — an alternative cryptocurrency — was stolen after the service DogeWallet was hacked. DogeWallet worked like a bank account for the currency, and the attackers modified it to make sure all transactions ended up in a wallet of their choice. This latest incident is just one in the long (and growing) list of problems that cryptocurrencies are currently facing. It brings to mind the incident where bitcoin exchange service GBL vanished and took a modest amount of Bitcoins with them. While not a similar case, it highlights the difficulties with trusting service provides in this market."
Transportation

Tesla Updates Model S Software As a Precaution Against Unsafe Charging 148

Posted by timothy
from the belt-and-suspenders-and-superglue dept.
zlives writes "Tesla Motors has maintained that the most recent fire involving one of its Model S electric vehicles isn't the result of a vehicle or battery malfunction, but the company is still addressing the situation with a software fix, according to Green Car Reports. The California-based automaker has added a software function that automatically reduces the charge current by about 25 percent when power from the charging source fluctuates outside of a certain range, Green Car Reports says, citing the Twitter feed from an Apple employee, @ddenboer, who owns a Model S. You can read the text of the update below."
Spam

Whatever Happened To Sanford "Spamford" Wallace? 45

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the dj-master-spam dept.
Tackhead writes "People of a certain age — the age before email filters were effective, may remember a few mid-90s buzzwords like 'bulletproof hosting' and 'double opt-in.' People may remember that Hormel itself conceded that although 'SPAM' referred to their potted meat product, the term 'spam' could refer to unsolicited commercial email. People may also remember AGIS, Cyberpromo, Sanford 'Spam King' Wallace, and Walt Rines. Ten years after a 2003 retrospective on Rines and Wallace, Ars Technica reminds us that the more things change, the more they stay the same."
Security

Who's Selling Credit Cards From Target? 68

Posted by Soulskill
from the it's-the-grinch dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Brian Krebs has done some detective work to determine who is behind the recent Target credit card hack. Krebs sifted through posts from a series of shady forums, some dating back to 2008, to determine the likely real-life identity of one fraudster. He even turns down a $10,000 bribe offer to keep the information under wraps."
Software

How Healthcare.gov Changed the Software Testing Conversation 118

Posted by Soulskill
from the polls-say-software-testing-is-patriotic dept.
An anonymous reader notes an article about how the tribulations of Healthcare.gov brought the idea of software testing into the public consciousness in a more detailed way than ever before. Quoting: "Suddenly, Americans are sitting at their kitchen tables – in suburbs, in cities, on farms – and talking about quality issues with a website. The average American was given nightly tutorials on load testing and performance bottlenecks when the site first launched, then crumbled moments later. We talked about whether the requirements were well-defined and the project schedule reasonably laid out. We talked about who owns the decision to launch and whether they were keeping appropriate track of milestones and iterations. ... When the media went from talking about the issues in the website to the process used to build the website was when things really got interesting. This is when software testers stepped out of the cube farm behind the coffee station and into the public limelight. Who were these people – and were they incompetent or mistreated? Did the project leaders not allocate enough time for testing? Did they allocate time for testing but not time to react to the testing outcome? Did the testers run inadequate tests? Were there not enough testers? Did they not speak up about the issues? If they did, were they not forceful enough?"
Upgrades

A Flood of Fawning Reviews For Apple's Latest 501

Posted by timothy
from the nifty-design dept.
Like many other review sites, it seems that MacWorld can hardly find enough good things to say about the new Mac Pro, even while conceding it's probably not right for many users. 9to5 Mac has assembled a lot of the early reviews, including The Verge's, which has one of the coolest shots of its nifty design, which stacks up well against the old Pro's nifty design. The reviews mostly boil down to this: If you're in a field where you already make use of a high-end Mac for tasks like video editing, the newest one lives up to its hype.
Security

F-Secure's Mikko Hypponen Cancels RSA Talk In Protest 248

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the conferences-in-america-considered-dangerous dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In a letter to RSA executives, F-Secure's Mikko Hypponen says he is canceling his talk at the 2014 RSA Conference, due to the company's deal with the NSA, and how the agency has treated foreigners." From the letter: " I don’t really expect your multibillion dollar company or your multimillion dollar conference to suffer as a result of your deals with the NSA. In fact, I'm not expecting other conference speakers to cancel. Most of your speakers are american anyway — why would they care about surveillance that’s not targeted at them but at non-americans. Surveillance operations from the U.S. intelligence agencies are targeted at foreigners. However I’m a foreigner. And I’m withdrawing my support from your event."
Privacy

Researchers Connect 91% of Numbers With Names In Metadata Probe 84

Posted by samzenpus
from the looking-at-the-list dept.
Trailrunner7 writes "One of the key tenets of the argument that the National Security Agency and some lawmakers have constructed to justify the agency's collection of phone metadata is that the information it's collecting, such as phone numbers and length of call, can't be tied to the callers' names. However, some quick investigation by some researchers at Stanford University who have been collecting information voluntarily from Android users found that they could correlate numbers to names with very little effort. The Stanford researchers recently started a program called Metaphone that gathers data from volunteers with Android phones. They collect data such as recent phone calls and text messages and social network information. The goal of the project, which is the work of the Stanford Security Lab, is to draw some lines connecting metadata and surveillance. As part of the project, the researchers decided to select a random set of 5,000 numbers from their data and see whether they could connect any of them to subscriber names using just freely available Web tools. The result: They found names for 27 percent of the numbers using just Google, Yelp, Facebook and Google Places. Using some other online tools, they connected 91 of 100 numbers with names."
Businesses

Percentage of Self-Employed IT Workers Increasing 138

Posted by samzenpus
from the never-take-off-your-pajamas-again dept.
dcblogs writes "The tech industry is seeing a shift toward a more independent, contingent IT workforce. About 18% of all IT workers today are self-employed, according to an analysis by Emergent Research, a firm focused on small businesses trends. This independent IT workforce is growing at the rate of about 7% per year, which is faster than the overall growth rate for independent workers generally, at 5.5%. A separate analysis by research firm Computer Economics finds a similar trend. This year, contract workers make up 15% of a typical large organization's IT staff at the median. This is up from a median of just 6% in 2011, said Longwell. The last time there was a similar increase in contract workers was in 1998, during the dot.com boom and the run-up to Y2K remediation efforts."
Businesses

RSA Flatly Denies That It Weakened Crypto For NSA Money 291

Posted by timothy
from the problem-with-denials dept.
The Register reports that RSA isn't taking quietly the accusation reported by Reuters, based on documents released by Edward Snowden, that the company intentionally used weaker crypto at the request of the NSA, and accepted $10 million in exchange for doing so. RSA's defends the use of the Dual Elliptic Curve Deterministic Random Bit Generator, stating categorically "that we have never entered into any contract or engaged in any project with the intention of weakening RSA's products, or introducing potential 'backdoors' into our products for anyone's use."
Privacy

Privacy Advocate Jacob Appelbaum Reports Break-In Of Berlin Apartment 194

Posted by timothy
from the watch-your-friends'-enemies dept.
Jacob Appelbaum isn't shy about his role as a pro-privacy (and anti-secrecy) activist and hacker. A long-time contributor to the Tor project, and security researcher more generally, Appelbaum stood in for the strategically absent Julian Assange at HOPE in 2010, and more recently delivered Edward Snowden's acceptance speech when Snowden was awarded the Government Accountability Project's Whistleblower Prize. Now, he reports, his Berlin apartment appears to have been burglarized, and his computers tampered with. As reported by Deutsche Welle, "Appelbaum told [newspaper the Berliner Zeitung] that somebody had broken into his apartment and used his computer in his absence. 'When I flew away for an appointment, I installed four alarm systems in my apartment,' Appelbaum told the paper after discussing other situations which he said made him feel uneasy. 'When I returned, three of them had been turned off. The fourth, however, had registered that somebody was in my flat - although I'm the only one with a key. And some of my effects, whose positions I carefully note, were indeed askew. My computers had been turned on and off.'" It's not the first time by any means that Appelbaum's technical and political pursuits have drawn attention of the unpleasant variety.
Windows

Microsoft's Ticking Time Bomb Is Windows XP 829

Posted by timothy
from the tic-tic-tic dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Shona Ghosh writes at PC Pro that the final deadline for Windows XP support in April 2014 will act as the starting pistol for developing new exploits as hackers reverse-engineer patches issued for Windows 7 or Windows 8 to scout for XP vulnerabilities. "The very first month that Microsoft releases security updates for supported versions of Windows, attackers will reverse-engineer those updates, find the vulnerabilities and test Windows XP to see if it shares [them]," says Tim Rains, the director of Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing group. Microsoft says that XP shared 30 security holes with Windows 7 and Windows 8 between July 2012 and July 2013. Gregg Keizer says that if a major chunk of the world's PCs remains tied to XP, as seems certain, Microsoft will face an unenviable choice: Stick to plan and put millions of customers at risk from malware infection, or backtrack from long-standing policies and proclamations." (Read on for more.)
Bug

Obamacare and Middle-Wheel-Wheelbarrows 199

Posted by timothy
from the well-here's-where-your-problem-is dept.
davecb writes "The Obamacare sign-up site was a classic example of managers saying 'not invented here' and doing everything wrong, as described in Poul-Henning Kamp's Center Wheel for Success, at ACM Queue." It's not just a knock on the health-care finance site, though: "We are quick to dismiss these types of failures as politicians asking for the wrong systems and incompetent and/or greedy companies being happy to oblige. While that may be part of the explanation, it is hardly sufficient. ... [New technologies] allow us to make much bigger projects, but the actual success/failure rate seems to be pretty much the same."
Encryption

Ask Slashdot: Can Commercial Hardware Routers Be Trusted? 213

Posted by timothy
from the rot13-is-the-only-way dept.
First time accepted submitter monkaru writes "Given reports that various vendors and encryption algorithms have been compromised. Is it still possible to trust any commercial hardware routers or is 'roll your own' the only reasonable path going forward?" What do you do nowadays, if anything, to maintain your online privacy upstream of your own computer?
Graphics

Big Buck Bunny In 4K, 60 Fps and 3D-stereo 102

Posted by timothy
from the open-culture dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Blender Foundation open movie projects like Sintel and Tears of Steel have been mentioned on Slashdot in the recent years. Now an old-timer, their open movie Big Buck Bunny from 2008, has been getting a make-over in a new release: The entire movie has been recreated in 3D stereo with a resolution of 4K (3840x2160) at 60fps. It took years to rework the movie because the original Big Buck Bunny was created for 2D. Most of the scenes had to be modified to work well in 3D stereo. Furthermore, the original movie was made for cinemas and was 24fps; a lot of changes to the animations had to be made to get the correct results. The creator of the reworked version explains about it on BlenderNation where he also talks about the fact that the entire movie was rendered via an online collaborative renderfarm, BURP, where volunteers provided spare CPU cycles to make it happen. If you want to see how your computer measures up to playing 4K content in 60 fps you can download the reworked movie from the official homepage — lower resolutions are also available."
Businesses

Reuters: RSA Weakened Encryption For $10M From NSA 464

Posted by timothy
from the 30-pieces-of-silver-seemed-too-derivative dept.
Lasrick writes "As a key part of a campaign to embed encryption software that it could crack into widely used computer products, the U.S. National Security Agency arranged a secret $10 million contract with RSA, one of the most influential firms in the computer security industry, Reuters has learned." Asks an anonymous reader: "If the NIST curves really are broken (as has been suggested for years), then most SSL connections might be too, amirite?"
Microsoft

Microsoft Security Essentials Misses 39% of Malware 149

Posted by timothy
from the talked-harshly-with-the-other-61-percent dept.
Barence writes "The latest tests from Dennis Publishing's security labs saw Microsoft Security Essentials fail to detect 39% of the real-world malware thrown at it. Dennis Technology Labs (DTL) tested nine home security products on a Windows 7 PC, including Security Essentials, which is distributed free to Windows users and built into Windows 8 in the form of Windows Defender. While the other eight packages all achieved protection scores of 87% or higher — with five scoring 98% or 99% — Microsoft's free antivirus software protected against only 61% of the malware samples used in the test. Microsoft conceded last year that its security software was intended to offer only "baseline" performance"."
Education

Ask Slashdot: Do You Run a Copy-Cat Installation At Home? 308

Posted by Soulskill
from the yes-but-cat-food-prices-are-getting-oppressive dept.
Lab Rat Jason writes "During a discussion with my wife last night, I came to the realization that the primary reason I have a Hadoop cluster tucked under my desk at home (I work in an office) is because my drive for learning is too aggressive for my IT department's security policy, as well as their hardware budget. But on closer inspection the issue runs even deeper than that. Time spent working on the somewhat menial tasks of the day job prevent me from spending time learning new tech that could help me do the job better. So I do my learning on my own time. As I thought about it, I don't know a single developer who doesn't have a home setup that allows them to tinker in a more relaxed environment. Or, put another way, my home setup represents the place I wish my company was going. So my question to Slashdot is this: How many of you find yourselves investing personal time to learn things that will directly benefit your employer, and how many of you are able to 'separate church and state?'"
Security

DHS Turns To Unpaid Interns For Nation's Cyber Security 174

Posted by Soulskill
from the probably-still-an-upgrade dept.
theodp writes "A week after President Obama stressed the importance of computer science to America, the Department of Homeland Security put out a call for 100+ of the nations' best-and-brightest college students to work for nothing on the nation's cyber security. The unpaid internship program, DHS notes, is the realization of recommendations (PDF) from the Homeland Security Advisory Council's Task Force on CyberSkills, which included execs from Facebook, Lockheed Martin, and Sony, and was advised by representatives from Cisco, JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Northrop Grumman, the NSF, and the NSA. 'Do you desire to protect American interests and secure our Nation while building a meaningful and rewarding career?' reads the job posting for Secretary's Honors Program Cyber Student Volunteers (salary: $0.00-$0.00). 'If so, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is calling.' Student volunteers, DHS adds, will begin in spring 2014 and participate throughout the summer. Get your applications in by January 3, kids!"
Networking

Ask Slashdot: Managing Device-Upgrade Bandwidth Use? 159

Posted by timothy
from the selective-enforcement dept.
First time accepted submitter wallydallas writes "I'm close to a solution, but I wonder how other people block their many devices and operating systems from updating in working hours. For example: I'm the IT guy who blocks iPads from updating when school is in session because we are in a rural location. 3mbps is the best WAN we can buy. Devices can update after hours just fine. We do this with our router (DDWRT) by blocking MESU.APPLE.COM. Many guests bring in Windows 7 laptops, and I want to welcome them, but not their updates. How can I block updates on Android Phones and Linux Laptops? I have a 4G device at home, and I'd like to apply the same tricks 24 hours a day so that I don't use up the bandwith from my vendor. And my many home visitors should have their updates blocked."
Bitcoin

Why Charles Stross Wants Bitcoin To Die In a Fire 691

Posted by timothy
from the compare-and-contrast-with-unbacked-fiat-money dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "SF writer Charles Stross writes on his blog that like all currency systems, Bitcoin comes with an implicit political agenda attached and although our current global system is pretty crap, Bitcoin is worse. For starters, BtC is inherently deflationary. There is an upper limit on the number of bitcoins that can ever be created so the cost of generating new Bitcoins rises over time, and the value of Bitcoins rise relative to the available goods and services in the market. Libertarians love it because it pushes the same buttons as their gold fetish and it doesn't look like a "Fiat currency". You can visualize it as some kind of scarce precious data resource, sort of a digital equivalent of gold. However there are a number of huge down-sides to Bitcoin says Stross: Mining BtC has a carbon footprint from hell as they get more computationally expensive to generate, electricity consumption soars; Bitcoin mining software is now being distributed as malware because using someone else's computer to mine BitCoins is easier than buying a farm of your own mining hardware; Bitcoin's utter lack of regulation permits really hideous markets to emerge, in commodities like assassination and drugs and child pornography; and finally Bitcoin is inherently damaging to the fabric of civil society because it is pretty much designed for tax evasion. "BitCoin looks like it was designed as a weapon intended to damage central banking and money issuing banks, with a Libertarian political agenda in mind—to damage states ability to collect tax and monitor their citizens financial transactions," concludes Stross. "The current banking industry and late-period capitalism may suck, but replacing it with Bitcoin would be like swapping out a hangnail for Fournier's gangrene.""
Crime

Target Has Major Credit Card Breach 191

Posted by samzenpus
from the you're-the-target dept.
JoeyRox writes "Target experienced a system-wide breach of credit card numbers over the Black Friday holiday shopping season. What's unique about this massive breach is that it didn't involve compromising a centralized data center or website but instead represented a distributed attack at individual Target stores across the country. Investigators believe customer account numbers were lifted via software installed on card readers at checkout." Also at Slash BI.
Privacy

How a MacBook Camera Can Spy Without Lighting Up 371

Posted by Soulskill
from the they-can-see-you-right-now dept.
New submitter ttyler writes "It turns out a MacBook's built-in camera can be activated without turning on the green LED. An earlier report suggested the FBI could activate a device's camera without having the light turn on, and there was a case in the news where a woman had nude pictures taken of her without her knowledge. The new research out of Johns Hopkins University confirms both situations are possible. All it takes are a few tweaks to the camera's firmware."
Encryption

Scientists Extract RSA Key From GnuPG Using Sound of CPU 264

Posted by Soulskill
from the noisy-fans-are-now-a-feature dept.
kthreadd writes "In their research paper titled RSA Key Extraction via Low-Bandwidth Acoustic Cryptanalysis, Daniel Genkin, Adi Shamir and Eran Tromer et al. present a method for extracting decryption keys from the GnuPG security suite using an interesting side-channel attack. By analysing the acoustic sound made by the CPU they were able to extract a 4096-bit RSA key in about an hour (PDF). A modern mobile phone placed next to the computer is sufficient to carry out the attack, but up to four meters have been successfully tested using specially designed microphones."
IOS

Apple Pushes Developers To iOS 7 336

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the upgrade-or-die dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Chuong Nguyen reports that Apple is forcing developers to adopt iOS 7's visual UI for their apps, and has advised iOS developers that all apps submitted after February 1, 2014 must be optimized for iOS 7 and built using Xcode 5 ... 'It's likely that Apple is more anxious than ever for developers to update their apps to fit in visually and mechanically with iOS 7, as it's the largest change in the history of Apple's mobile software,' says Matthew Panzarino. 'iOS 7 introduced a much more complex physical language while stripping out many of the visual cues that developers had relied on to instruct users. For better or worse, this has created a new aesthetic that many un-updated apps did not reflect.' Most app developers have been building apps optimized towards iOS 7 since Apple's World Wide Developer Conference in June 2013. Apple has been on a push over the past couple of years to encourage developers to support the latest editions of its OS faster than ever. To do this, it's made a habit of pointing out the adoption rates of new versions of iOS, which are extremely high. Nearly every event mentions iOS 7 adoption, which now tops 76% of all iOS users, and Apple publishes current statistics. In order to optimize apps for the new operating system, they must be built with the latest version of Xcode 5 which includes 64-bit support and access to new features like backgrounding APIs."
Encryption

Academics Should Not Remain Silent On Government Hacking 135

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the too-busy-writing-papers dept.
ananyo writes "The Guardian's technology editor, Charles Arthur, asks why researchers have remained largely silent in the wake of the revelation that the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology's standard for random numbers used for cryptography had been weakened by the NSA: 'The nature of the subversions sounds abstruse: the random-number generator, the 'Dual EC DRBG' standard, had been hacked by the NSA and the UK's GCHQ so that its output would not be as random as it should have been. That might not sound like much, but if you are trying to break an encrypted message, the knowledge that it is hundreds or thousands of times weaker than advertised is a great encouragement.' Arthur attributes the silence of UK academics, at least, to pressure from GCHQ. He goes on to say: 'For those who do care, White and Matthew Green, who teaches cryptography at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, have embarked on an ambitious effort to clean up the mess — one that needs help. They have created a non-profit organization called OpenAudit.org, which aims to recruit experts to provide technical assistance for security projects in the public interest, especially open-source security software.'"
Android

Massive Android Mobile Botnet Hijacking SMS Data 117

Posted by Soulskill
from the all-your-texts-are-belong-to-us dept.
wiredmikey writes "A mobile botnet called MisoSMS is wreaking havoc on the Android platform, stealing personal SMS messages and exfiltrating them to attackers in China. Researchers at FireEye lifted the curtain off the threat on Monday, describing MisoSMS as 'one of the largest advanced mobile botnets to date' and warning that it is being used in more than 60 spyware campaigns. FireEye tracked the infections to Android devices in Korea and noted that the attackers are logging into command-and-controls in from Korea and mainland China, among other locations, to periodically read the stolen SMS messages. FireEye's research team discovered a total of 64 mobile botnet campaigns in the MisoSMS malware family and a command-and-control that comprises more than 450 unique malicious e-mail accounts."
Cloud

Healthcare IT's Achilles' Heel: Sensors 84

Posted by Soulskill
from the still-waiting-on-that-tricorder dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Tech publications and pundits alike have crowed about the benefits we're soon to collectively reap from healthcare analytics. In theory, sensors attached to our bodies (and appliances such as the fridge) will send a stream of health-related data — everything from calorie and footstep counts to blood pressure and sleep activity — to the cloud, which will analyze it for insight; doctors and other healthcare professionals will use that data to tailor treatments or advise changes in behavior and diet. But the sensors still leave a lot to be desired: 'smart bracelets' such as Nike's FuelBand and FitBit can prove poor judges of physical activity, and FitBit's associated app still requires you to manually input records of daily food intake (the FuelBand is also a poor judge of lower-body activity, such as running). FDA-approved ingestible sensors are still being researched, and it'd be hard to convince most people that swallowing one is in their best interests. Despite the hype about data's ability to improve peoples' health, we could be a long way from any sort of meaningful consumer technology that truly makes that happen."
Red Hat Software

Fedora 20 Released 147

Posted by timothy
from the is-it-a-true-fedora? dept.
sfcrazy writes "The Fedora Project has announced the release of Fedora 20, code named Heisenbug (release notes). Fedora 20 is dedicated to Seth Vidal, the lead developer of Yum and the Fedora update repository, who recently died in a road accident. Gnome is the default DE of Fedora, and so it is for Fedora 20. However unlike Ubuntu (where they had to create different distros for each DE) Fedora comes with KDE, XFCE, LXDE and MATE. You can install the DE of your choice on top of base Fedora."
China

NSA Says It Foiled Plot To Destroy US Economy Through Malware 698

Posted by timothy
from the big-brother-says-he's-got-your-back dept.
mrspoonsi writes "Business Insider Reports: The National Security Agency described for the first time a cataclysmic cyber threat it claims to have stopped On Sunday's '60 Minutes.' Called a BIOS attack, the exploit would have ruined, or 'bricked,' computers across the country, causing untold damage to the national and even global economy. Even more shocking, CBS goes as far as to point a finger directly at China for the plot — 'While the NSA would not name the country behind it, cyber security experts briefed on the operation told us it was China.' The NSA says it closed this vulnerability by working with computer manufacturers. Debora Plunkett, director of cyber defense for the NSA: One of our analysts actually saw that the nation state had the intention to develop and to deliver — to actually use this capability — to destroy computers."
Security

The Case For a Global, Compulsory Bug Bounty 81

Posted by timothy
from the perverse-incentives dept.
tsu doh nimh writes "Security experts have long opined that one way to make software more secure is to hold software makers liable for vulnerabilities in their products. This idea is often dismissed as unrealistic and one that would stifle innovation in an industry that has been a major driver of commercial growth and productivity over the years. But a new study released this week presents perhaps the clearest economic case yet for compelling companies to pay for information about security vulnerabilities in their products. Stefan Frei, director of research at NSS Labs, suggests compelling companies to purchase all available vulnerabilities at above black-market prices, arguing that even if vendors were required to pay $150,000 per bug, it would still come to less than two-tenths of one percent of these companies' annual revenue (PDF). To ensure that submitted bugs get addressed and not hijacked by regional interests, Frei also proposes building multi-tiered, multi-region vulnerability submission centers that would validate bugs and work with the vendor and researchers. The questions is, would this result in a reduction in cybercrime overall, or would it simply hamper innovation? As one person quoted in the article points out, a majority of data breaches that cost companies tens of millions of dollars have far more to do with other factors unrelated to software flaws, such as social engineering, weak and stolen credentials, and sloppy server configurations."
Security

Is Bruce Schneier Leaving His Job At BT? 96

Posted by samzenpus
from the parting-ways dept.
hawkinspeter writes "The Register is hosting an exclusive that Bruce Schneier will be leaving his position at BT as security futurologist. From the article: 'News of the parting of the ways reached El Reg via a leaked internal email. Our source suggested that Schneier was shown the door because of his recent comments about the NSA and GCHQ's mass surveillance activities.'"
Unix

Theo De Raadt Says FreeBSD Is Just Catching Up On Security 280

Posted by timothy
from the diplomatic-mission dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The OpenBSD project has no reason to follow the steps taken by FreeBSD with regard to hardware-based cryptography because it has already been doing this for a decade, according to Theo de Raadt. 'FreeBSD has caught up to what OpenBSD has been doing for over 10 years,' the OpenBSD founder told iTWire. 'I see nothing new in their changes. Basically, it is 10 years of FreeBSD stupidity. They don't know a thing about security. They even ignore relevant research in all fields, not just from us, but from everyone.'"
Security

Ask Slashdot: How Would You Secure Your Parents' PC? 408

Posted by timothy
from the what's-the-late-2013-version? dept.
New submitter StirlingArcher writes "I've always built/maintained my parents' PC's, but as Mum has got older her PC seems to develop problems more readily. I would love to switch her to Linux, but she struggles with change and wants to stay with Vista and MS Office. I've done the usual remove Admin rights, use a credible Internet Security package. Is there anything more dramatic that I could do, without changing the way she uses her PC or enforcing a new OS on her again? One idea was to use a Linux OS and then run Vista in a VM, which auto-boots and creates a backup image every so often. Thanks for any help!"
Security

IETF To Change TLS Implementation In Applications 80

Posted by timothy
from the nice-orderly-scramble dept.
Trailrunner7 writes "The NSA surveillance scandal has created ripples all across the Internet, and the latest one is a new effort from the IETF to change the way that encryption is used in a variety of critical application protocols, including HTTP and SMTP. The new TLS application working group was formed to help developers and the people who deploy their applications incorporate the encryption protocol correctly. TLS is the successor to SSL and is used to encrypt information in a variety of applications, but is most often encountered by users in their Web browsers. Sites use it to secure their communications with users, and in the wake of the revelations about the ways that the NSA is eavesdropping on email and Web traffic its use has become much more important. The IETF is trying to help ensure that it's deployed properly, reducing the errors that could make surveillance and other attacks easier."
Security

Leaked Passwords On Display At a German Museum 42

Posted by timothy
from the where's-your-scanner dept.
Daniel_Stuckey writes "Earlier this year, it was London. Most recently, it was a university in Germany. Wherever it is, [artist Aram] Bartholl is opening up his eight white, plainly printed binders full of the 4.7 million user passwords that were pilfered from the social network and made public by a hacker last year. He brings the books to his exhibits, called 'Forgot Your Password,' where you're free to see if he's got your data—and whether anyone else who wanders through is entirely capable of logging onto your account and making Connections with unsavory people. In fact, Bartholl insists: "These eight volumes contain 4.7 million LinkedIn clear text user passwords printed in alphabetical order," the description of his project reads. "Visitors are invited to look up their own password.""

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