Firefox

Firefox Adopts a 6-8 Week Variable Release Schedule (mozilla.org) 43

AmiMoJo writes: Four years ago Mozilla moved to a fixed-schedule release model, otherwise known as the Train Model, in which we released Firefox every six weeks to get features and updates to users faster. Now Mozilla is moving to a variable 6-8 week cycle, with the same number of releases per year but some flexibility to 'respond to emerging user and market needs' and allow time for holidays. The new release schedule looks like this:
  • 2016-01-26 – Firefox 44
  • 2016-03-08 – Firefox 45, ESR 45 (6 weeks cycle)
  • 2016-04-19 – Firefox 46 (6 weeks cycle)
  • 2016-06-07 – Firefox 47 (7 weeks cycle)
  • 2016-08-02 – Firefox 48 (8 weeks cycle)
  • 2016-09-13 – Firefox 49 (6 weeks cycle)
  • 2016-11-08 – Firefox 50 (8 weeks cycle)
  • 2016-12-13 – Firefox 50.0.1 (5 week cycle, release for critical fixes as needed)
  • 2017-01-24 – Firefox 51 (6 weeks from prior release)

Security

Neutrino Exploit Kit Has a New Way To Detect Security Researchers (csoonline.com) 34

itwbennett writes: [The Neutrino exploit kit] is using passive OS fingerprinting to detect visiting Linux machines, according to Trustwave researchers who found that computers they were using for research couldn't make a connection with servers that delivered Neutrino. Daniel Chechik, senior security researcher at Trustwave's SpiderLabs division wrote that they tried changing IP addresses and Web browsers to avoid whatever was causing the Neutrino server to not respond, but it didn't work. But by fiddling with some data traffic that Trustwave's computers were sending to the Neutrino server, they figured out what was going on.
Microsoft

Even With Telemetry Disabled, Windows 10 Talks To Dozens of Microsoft Servers (voat.co) 464

An esteemed reader writes: Curious about the various telemetry and personal information being collected by Windows 10, one user installed Windows 10 Enterprise and disabled all of the telemetry and reporting options. Then he configured his router to log all the connections that happened anyway. Even after opting out wherever possible, his firewall captured Windows making around 4,000 connection attempts to 93 different IP addresses during an 8 hour period, with most of those IPs controlled by Microsoft. Even the enterprise version of Windows 10 is checking in with Redmond when you tell it not to — and it's doing so frequently.
Botnet

Online Museum Displays Decades of Malware (thestack.com) 37

An anonymous reader writes: archive.org has launched a Museum of Malware, which devotes itself to a historical look at DOS-based viruses of the 1980s and 1990s, and gives viewers the opportunity to run the viruses in a DOS game emulator, and to download 'neutered' versions of the code. With an estimated 50,000 DOS-based viruses in existence by the year 2000, the Malware Museum's 65 examples should be seen as representative of an annoying, but more innocent era of digital vandalism.
Cloud

Docker Images To Be Based On Alpine Linux (brianchristner.io) 78

New submitter Tenebrousedge writes: Docker container sizes continue a race to the bottom with a couple of environments weighing in at less than 10MB. Following on the heels of this week's story regarding small images based on Alpine Linux, it appears that the official Docker images will be moving from Debian/Ubuntu to Alpine Linux in the near future. How low will they go?
Security

Avast SafeZone Browser Lets Attackers Access Your Filesystem (softpedia.com) 33

An anonymous reader writes: Just two days after Comodo's Chromodo browser was publicly shamed by Google Project Zero security researcher Tavis Ormandy, it's now Avast's turn to be publicly scorned for failing to provide a "secure" browser for its users. Called SafeZone, and also known as Avastium, Avast's custom browser is offered as a bundled download for all who purchase or upgrade to a paid version of Avast Antivirus 2016. This poor excuse of a browser was allowing attackers to access files on the user's filesystem just by clicking on malicious links. The browser wouldn't even have to be opened, and the malicious link could be clicked in "any" browser.
Bug

Some Reversible USB-C Cables/Adapters Could Cause Irreversible Damage 125

TheRealHocusLocus writes: Three Decembers ago I lauded the impending death of the trapezoid. Celebration of the rectangle might be premature however, because in the rush-to-market an appalling number of chargers, cables and legacy adapters have been discovered to be non-compliant. There have been performance issues with bad USB implementation all along, but now — with improved conductors USB-C offers to negotiate up to 3A in addition the 900ma base, so use of a non-compliant adapter may result in damage. Google engineer and hero Benson Leung has been waging a one-man compliance campaign of Amazon reviews to warn of dodgy devices and praise the good. Reddit user bmcclure937 offers a spreadsheet summary of the reviews. It's a jungle out there, don't get fried.
Stats

The Performance of Ubuntu Linux Over the Past 10 Years (phoronix.com) 108

An anonymous reader writes: Tests were carried out at Phoronix of all Ubuntu Long-Term Support releases from the 6.06 "Dapper Drake" release to 16.04 "Xenial Xerus," looking at the long-term performance of (Ubuntu) Linux using a dual-socket AMD Opteron server. Their benchmarks of Ubuntu's LTS releases over 10 years found that the Radeon graphics performance improved substantially, the disk performance was similar while taking into account the switch from EXT3 to EXT4, and that the CPU performance had overall improved for many workloads thanks to the continued evolution of the GCC compiler.
Books

Amazon's Thin Helvetica Syndrome: Font Anorexia vs. Kindle Readability (teleread.com) 144

David Rothman writes: The Thin Helvetica Syndrome arises from the latest Kindle upgrade and has made e-books less readable for some. In the past, e-book-lovers who needed more perceived-contrast between text and background could find at least partial relief in Helvetica because the font was heavy by Kindle standards. But now some users complain that the 5.7.2 upgrade actually made Helvetica thinner. Of course, the real cure would be an all-text bold option for people who need it, or even a way to adjust font weight, a feature of Kobo devices. But Amazon stubbornly keeps ignoring user pleas even though the cost of adding either feature would be minimal. Isn't this supposed to be a customer-centric company?
Open Source

CFQ In Linux Gets BFQ Characteristics 65

jones_supa writes: Paolo Valente from University of Modena has submitted a Linux kernel patchset which replaces CFQ (Completely Fair Queueing) I/O scheduler with the last version of BFQ (Budget Fair Queuing, a proportional-share scheduler). This patchset first brings CFQ back to its state at the time when BFQ was forked from CFQ. Paolo explains: "Basically, this reduces CFQ to its engine, by removing every heuristic and improvement that has nothing to do with any heuristic or improvement in BFQ, and every heuristic and improvement whose goal is achieved in a different way in BFQ. Then, the second part of the patchset starts by replacing CFQ's engine with BFQ's engine, and goes on by adding current BFQ improvements and extra heuristics." He provides a link to the thread in which it is agreed on this idea, and a direct link to the e-mail describing the steps.
Communications

A Bot That Drives Robocallers Insane 240

Trailrunner7 writes: Robocalls are among the more annoying modern inventions, and consumers and businesses have tried just about every strategy for defeating them over the years, with little success. But one man has come up with a bot of his own that sends robocallers into a maddening hall of mirrors designed to frustrate them into surrender. The bot is called the Jolly Roger Telephone Company, and it's the work of Roger Anderson, a veteran of the phone industry himself who had grown tired of the repeated harassment from telemarketers and robocallers. Anderson started out by building a system that sat in front of his home landlines and would tell human callers to press a key to ring through to his actual phone line; robocallers were routed directly to an answering system. He would then white-list the numbers of humans who got through. Sometimes the Jolly Roger bot will press buttons to be transferred to a human agent and other times it will just talk back if a human is on the other end of the line to begin with.
Bug

Have Your iPhone 6 Repaired, Only To Get It Bricked By Apple (theguardian.com) 386

New submitter Nemosoft Unv. writes: In case you had a problem with the fingerprint sensor or some other small defect on your iPhone 6 and had it repaired by a non-official (read: cheaper) shop, you may be in for a nasty surprise: error 53. What happens is that during an OS update or re-install the software checks the internal hardware and if it detects a non-Apple component, it will display an error 53 and brick your phone. Any photos or other data held on the handset is lost – and irretrievable. Thousands of people have flocked to forums to express their dismay at this. What's more insiduous is that the error may only appear weeks or months after the repair. Incredibly, Apple says this cannot be fixed by any hard- or software update, while it is clearly their software that causes the problem in the first place. And then you thought FTDI was being nasty ...
Security

MIT Reveals "Hack-Proof" RFID Chip (thestack.com) 52

JustAnotherOldGuy writes: A group of researchers at MIT and Texas Instruments claim that they have developed a new radio frequency identification chip that may be impossible to hack. Traditional RFID chips are vulnerable to side-channel attacks, whereby a hacker can extract a cryptographic key from the chip. The new RFID chip runs a random-number generator that creates a new secret key after each transaction. The key can then be verified with a server to ensure that it is correct. The group at MIT also incorporated protection against a power-glitch attack, an attack that would normally leave a chip vulnerable to an interruption of the power source that would in turn halt the creation of a new secret key. Texas Instruments CTO Ahmad Bahai stated, "We believe this research is an important step toward the goal of a robust, lo-cost, low-power authentication protocol for the industrial internet." The question is, how long will it be before this "hack proof" chip is hacked?
Security

Anti-Malware Maker Files Lawsuit Over Bad Review (csoonline.com) 161

itwbennett writes: In a lawsuit filed January 8, 2016, Enigma Software, maker of anti-malware software SpyHunter, accuses self-help portal Bleeping Computer of making 'false, disparaging, and defamatory statements.' At issue: a bad review posted by a user in September, 2014. The lawsuit also accuses Bleeping Computer of profiting from driving traffic to competitor Malwarebytes via affiliate links: 'Bleeping has a direct financial interest in driving traffic and sales to Malwarebytes and driving traffic and sales away from ESG.' Perhaps not helping matters, one of the first donations to a fund set up by Bleeping Computer to help with legal costs came from Malwarebytes.
Google

Google Targets Fake "Download" and "Play" Buttons (torrentfreak.com) 117

AmiMoJo writes: Google says it will go to war against the fake 'download' and 'play' buttons that attempt to deceive users on file-sharing and other popular sites. According to a new announcement from the company titled 'No More Deceptive Download Buttons', Google says it will expand its eight-year-old Safe Browsing initiative to target some of the problems highlighted above. 'You may have encountered social engineering in a deceptive download button, or an image ad that falsely claims your system is out of date. Today, we're expanding Safe Browsing protection to protect you from such deceptive embedded content, like social engineering ads,' the company says.

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