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Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

Crime

FBI Dad's Misadventures With Spyware Exposed School Principal's Child Porn 346

Posted by Soulskill
from the lesson-learned-always-spy-on-your-kids dept.
nonprofiteer writes "This is a crazy story. An FBI agent put spyware on his kid's school-issued laptop in order to monitor his Internet use. Before returning the laptop to the school, he tried to wipe the program (SpectorSoft's eBlaster) by having FBI agents scrub the computer and by taking it to a computer repair shop to be re-imaged. It somehow survived and began sending him reports a week later about child porn searches. He winds up busting the school principal for child porn despite never getting a warrant, subpoena, etc. The case was a gift-wrapped present, thanks to spyware. A judge says the principal has no 4th Amendment protection because 1. FBI dad originally installed spyware as a private citizen not an officer and 2. he had no reasonable expectation of privacy on a computer he didn't own/obtained by fraud."
Censorship

Raided For Running a Tor Exit Node 325

Posted by Soulskill
from the internet-over-tor-is-a-series-of-tubers dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A Tor Exit node owner is being prosecuted in Austria. As part of the prosecution, all of his electronics have been held by the authorities, including over 20 computers, his cell phone and hard disks. 'During interview with police later on Wednesday, Weber said there was a "more friendly environment" once investigators understood the Polish server that transmitted the illegal images was used by Tor participants rather than by Weber himself. But he said he still faces the possibility of serious criminal penalties and the possibility of a precedent that Tor operators can be held liable if he's convicted.' This brings up the question: What backup plan, if any, should the average nerd have for something like this?"
Microsoft

Microsoft Security Essentials Loses AV-Test Certificate 185

Posted by samzenpus
from the is-there-extra-credit? dept.
helix2301 writes "Every two months, AV-Test takes a look at popular antivirus software and security suites and tests them in several ways. In their latest test which was performed on Windows 7 during September and October, Microsoft Security Essentials didn't pass the test to achieve certification. Although that may not sound that impressive, Microsoft's program was the only one which didn't receive AV-Test's certificate. For comparison, the other free antivirus software, including Avast, AVG and Panda Cloud did."
Operating Systems

NPD Group Analysts Say Windows 8 Sales Sluggish 269

Posted by timothy
from the whiffling-through-the-tulgey-wood dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "While Microsoft claims it's sold 40 million Windows 8 licenses in the month since launch—a more rapid pace than Windows 7—new data from research firm The NPD Group suggests that isn't helping sales of actual Windows devices, which, in its estimation, are down 21 percent from last year. Desktops dropped 9 percent year-over-year, while notebooks fell 24 percent. 'After just four weeks on the market, it's still early to place blame on Windows 8 for the ongoing weakness in the PC market,' Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at The NPD Group, wrote in a Nov. 29 statement attached to the data. 'We still have the whole holiday selling season ahead of us, but clearly Windows 8 did not prove to be the impetus for a sales turnaround some had hoped for.'" That seems to match the public grumbling of Acer and Asus about early sales. And though these figures exclude Surface sales, the newly announced prices on for new Windows 8 Pro-equipped Surface tablets might not endear them to anyone. Have you (or has your business?) moved to Windows 8?
Cloud

How Can Linux Gain (Even) More Enterprise Acceptance? (Video) 177

Posted by Roblimo
from the embracing-and-extending-forever dept.
This is what we asked Jason Perlow. He wrote a Linux Magazine column for many years and now writes for ZDNet. The ZDNet blurb describes him as "a technologist with over two decades of experience integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies." Most recently, he worked for IBM, and for Unisys before that. So Jason knows plenty about Linux and its role in big-time enterprise computing. In this video, he talks about how Linux needs to take another step forward to gain even more enterprise traction in coming years.
Communications

Ask Slashdot: What Web Platform For a Small Municipality? 161

Posted by timothy
from the right-here-in-river-city dept.
First time accepted submitter r3dR0v3r writes "I have the opportunity to help improve / replace the website of my small U.S. town (~6000 people). The town leaders are open to most any suggestions, and are open to the idea of having the website facilitate a more open government — by being a place at which town documents, meeting agendas, meeting minutes, legal forms, ordinances, etc. can be found in an organized way and downloaded. And of course the site should provide general info about the town, it's services, recreation opportunities, etc.. Now, we have no budget, so we'll be looking at free/open software. I've considered options such as Drupal, but I'm doing this as volunteer work so I don't want to start from scratch and spend overly much time. Thus, I'm looking for advice about any existing platforms made specifically for municipalities as a great way to get a jump start. I'm guessing there are other slashdotters that have helped their communities in this way. Your suggestions please?"
China

California Software Maker's Fortunes Track Dispute With Chinese Gov't 94

Posted by timothy
from the shame-if-somethin'-was-to-happen dept.
concealment writes "For three years, a group of hackers from China waged a relentless campaign of cyber harassment against Solid Oak Software Inc., Milburn's family-owned, eight-person firm in Santa Barbara, California. The attack began less than two weeks after Milburn publicly accused China of appropriating his company's parental filtering software, CYBERsitter, for a national Internet censoring project. And it ended shortly after he settled a $2.2 billion lawsuit against the Chinese government and a string of computer companies last April."
IT

Ask Slashdot: Server Room Toolbox? 416

Posted by samzenpus
from the get-your-tools dept.
jandersen writes "I am the system manager in charge of a smallish server room (~50 servers, most in racks), and I am going to buy a set of tools; but first I want to hear what other people think would be a good idea. Certainly a range of good quality screwdrivers — slotted, Phillips, Pozidriv, Torx. But what else? Tape measure? Spirit level (for aligning the racks)? Any meters or cable testers? A wood lathe? I can probably get away with a budget of a few hundred GBP, but there ought to be some mileage in that."
Bug

Swedish Stock Exchange Hit By Programming Snafu 136

Posted by Soulskill
from the take-a-check? dept.
New submitter whizzter writes "I was reading the Swedish national news today and an image in a stock exchange related article struck my eye. An order had been placed for 4 294 967 290 futures (0xfffffffa or -6 if treated as a 32-bit signed integer), each valued at approximately 16,000 USD, giving a neat total of almost 69 trillion USD. The order apparently started to affect valuations and was later annulled, however it is said to have caused residual effects in the system and trading was halted for several hours."
Education

Real-World Cyber City Used To Train Cyber Warriors 59

Posted by Soulskill
from the augmented-reality-mmo-for-hackers dept.
Orome1 writes "NetWars CyberCity is a small-scale city located close by the New Jersey Turnpike complete with a bank, hospital, water tower, train system, electric power grid, and a coffee shop. It was developed to teach cyber warriors from the U.S. military how online actions can have kinetic effects. Developed in response to a challenge by U.S. military cyber warriors, NetWars CyberCity is an intense defensive training program organized around missions. 'We've built over eighteen missions, and each of them challenges participants to devise strategies and employ tactics to thwart computer attacks that would cause significant real-world damage,' commented Ed Skoudis, SANS Instructor and NetWars CyberCity Director."
Windows

Windows Blue: Microsoft's Plan To Release a New Version of Windows Every Year 712

Posted by Soulskill
from the operating-systems-shouldn't-have-subscription-fees dept.
MrSeb writes "Way back in August, three months before the release of Windows 8, we learned about the existence of a project at Microsoft codenamed Blue. At the time it wasn't clear whether this was Windows 9, or some kind of interim update/service pack for Windows 8. Now, if unnamed sources are to be believed, Windows Blue is both of those things: a major update to Windows 8, and also the beginning of a major shift that will result in a major release of Windows every 12 months — just like Apple's OS X. According to these insiders, Blue will roll out mid-2013, and will be very cheap — or possibly even free, to ensure that 'Windows Blue [is] the next OS that everyone installs.' Exact details are still rather vague, but at the very least Blue will make 'UI changes' to Windows 8. The sources also indicate that the Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 SDKs will be merged or standardized, to further simplify the development of cross-platform apps. Perhaps more important, though, is the shift to a 12-month release cadence. Historically, Microsoft has released a major version of Windows every few years, with the intervening periods populated with stability- and security-oriented service packs. Now it seems that Microsoft wants to move to an OS X-like system, where new and exciting features will be added on an annual basis. In turn, Microsoft will drop the price of these releases — probably to around $25, just like OS X."
Security

Hackers Stole Information From IAEA Servers 55

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the fjear-me-i-have-your-email-address dept.
porsche911 writes "A hacker group called 'Parastoo' have broken into an International Atomic Energy Agency computer and released details of more than 100 IAEA experts. They are asking the experts to criticize Israel's nuclear arsenal (English translation)." The IAEA confirms the breach happened, but that it was of a decommissioned server. The statement from Parastoo courtesy of Cryptome.
Printer

Hardcoded Administrator Account Opens Backdoor Access To Samsung Printers 103

Posted by Soulskill
from the apple-probably-suing-for-patent-infringement dept.
hypnosec writes "A new flaw has been discovered in printers manufactured by Samsung whereby a backdoor in the form of an administrator account would enable attackers to not only take control of the flawed device, but will also allow them to attack other systems in the network. According to a warning on US-CERT the administrator account is hard-coded in the device in the form of an SNMP community string with full read-write access. The backdoor is not only present in Samsung printers but also in Dell printers that have been manufactured by Samsung. The administrator account remains active even if SNMP is disabled from the printer's administration interface."
Cellphones

Dual Interface Mobile Devices To Address BYOD Issue 116

Posted by Soulskill
from the dr.-jekyll-and-mr.-angry-birds dept.
Lucas123 writes "Next year, smart phones will begin shipping with the ability to have dual identities: one for private use and the other for corporate. Hypervisor developers, such as VMware and Red Bend, are working with system manufacturers to embed their virtualization software in the phones, while IC makers, such as Intel, are developing more powerful and secure mobile device processors. The combination will enable mobile platforms that afford end users their own user interface, secure from IT's prying eyes, while in turn allowing a company to secure its data using mobile device management software. One of the biggest benefits dual-identity phones will offer is enabling admins to wipe corporate data from phones without erasing end users profiles and personal information."
Cloud

Netflix Gives Data Center Tools To Fail 75

Posted by timothy
from the because-the-fan-is-dirty dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Netflix has released Hystrix, a library designed for managing interactions between distributed systems, complete with 'fallback' options for when those systems inevitably fail. The code for Hystrix—which Netflix tested on its own systems—can be downloaded at Github, with documentation available here, in addition to a getting-started guide and operations examples, among others. Hystrix evolved out of Netflix's need to manage an increasing rate of calls to its APIs, and resulted in (according to the company) a 'dramatic improvement in uptime and resilience has been achieved through its use.' The Netflix API receives more than 1 billion incoming calls per day, which translates into several billion outgoing calls (averaging a ratio of 1:6) to dozens of underlying systems, with peaks of over 100,000 dependency requests per second. That's according to Netflix engineer Ben Christensen, who described the incredible loads on the company's infrastructure in a February blog posting. The vast majority of those calls serve the discovery user interfaces (UIs) of the more than 800 different devices supported by Netflix."

What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite. -- Bertrand Russell, "Skeptical Essays", 1928

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