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Security

Anonabox Recalls Hundreds of Insecure 'Privacy' Routers 50

Posted by Soulskill
from the less-anona-and-more-box dept.
Sparrowvsrevolution writes: It turns out all those critics of the controversial Tor router project Anonabox might have been on to something. Late last month, Anonabox began contacting the first round of customers who bought its tiny, $100 privacy gadget to warn them of serious security flaws in the device, and to offer to ship them a more secure replacement free of charge. While the miniature routers do direct all of a user's Internet traffic over Tor as promised, the company says that its first batch lacked basic password protection, with no way to keep out unwanted users in Wi-Fi range. And worse yet, the faulty Anonaboxes use the hardcoded root password 'admin,' which allows any of those Wi-Fi intruders to completely hijack the device, snooping on or recording all of a user's traffic.

Anonabox's parent company, Sochutel, says that only 350 of the devices lacked that password protection, and that it's fixed the gaping security oversights in newer version of the router.

The initial security criticisms of Anonabox helped to convince Kickstarter to freeze the proejct's $600,000 crowdfunding campaign in October. But Anonabox relaunched on Indiegogo and was later acquired by the tech firm Sochutel. Sochutel claims that the security flaws in the routers developed prior to its acquisition of Anonabox were out of its control, and that it's now hiring outside auditors to check its products' security.
Power

Feds Boost Goal To 75k New Solar Power Workers By 2020 69

Posted by Soulskill
from the fortunate-sun dept.
An anonymous reader writes: The U.S. government has announced plans to help train 75,000 people to enter the solar workforce by 2020, including a number of veterans. The new goal is part of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot Initiative, which helps fund research, manufacturing and market creation. The SunShot Initiative's Solar Instructor Training Network works with 400 community colleges across the country for training, and claims to have already certified 1,000 solar instructors and nearly 30,000 students in the last five years. Ultimately, the SunShot Initiative has a goal for solar energy to reach price parity with conventional power sources in five years.
Piracy

Ask Slashdot: How Serious Is Hacking In Mobile Games? 86

Posted by Soulskill
from the going-for-the-high-score dept.
Origen writes: As a developer contemplating trying out the mobile game scene, a GDC session about hacking/tampering looked interesting — but I wasn't able to attend. The presentation isn't available online, but it was paired with a whitepaper [contact details required], which can be downloaded. I'm surprised by some of the information presented and the potential for damage/mischief. Not so much that these issues are unheard of — they've existed for years on other platforms. What I find surprising is the lack of support at the OS level on mobile devices to defend from many of these types of hacks. Have we learned nothing from the pains of the past? How significant are the points about hacking/piracy in the mobile space that are discussed by this whitepaper?
Piracy

Australian ISPs Must Hand Over Pirates' Info 136

Posted by Soulskill
from the making-more-lawyers-rich dept.
wabrandsma sends this report from the BBC: An Australian court has ordered internet service providers to hand over details of customers accused of illegally downloading a U.S. movie. In a landmark move, the Federal Court told six firms to divulge names and addresses of those who downloaded The Dallas Buyers Club. ... The court said the data could only be used to secure "compensation for the infringements" of copyright. In the case, which was heard in February, the applicants said they had identified 4,726 unique IP addresses from which their film was shared online using BitTorrent, a peer-to-peer file sharing network. They said this had been done without their permission. Once they received the names of account holders, the company would then have to prove copyright infringement had taken place.
Canada

Privacy Commissioner of Canada Rules Bell's Targeted Ad Program Violates the Law 39

Posted by Soulskill
from the blames-the-maple-leafs'-management dept.
An anonymous reader writes: The Privacy Commissioner of Canada has released the long-awaited decision on Bell's targeted ads program. The Commissioner's press release soft-pedals the outcome — "Bell advertising program raises privacy concerns" — but the decision is clear: Bell's so-called relevant ads program violates Canadian privacy law. As Michael Geist explains, the key issue in the case focused on whether Bell should be permitted to use an opt-out consent mechanism in which its millions of customers are all included in targeted advertising unless they take pro-active steps to opt-out, or if an opt-in consent model is more appropriate. The Commissioner ruled that opt-in consent is needed, but Bell is refusing to comply with the ruling.
United States

Snowden Demystified: Can the Government See My Junk? 200

Posted by timothy
from the aside-from-the-hidden-cameras dept.
An anonymous reader writes Comedian and journalist John Oliver set out to understand US Government surveillance in advance of the June 2015 expiration of section 215 of the Patriot Act. What resulted was a humorous but exceptionally journalistic interview of Edward Snowden which distilled the issues down in a (NSFW) way everyone can understand. Regardless of whether you view Snowden as a despicable traitor or an honorable whistleblower, it's worth a watch.
Advertising

Consumer Groups Bemoan Google's "Deceptive" Ads for Kids In FTC Complaint 92

Posted by timothy
from the part-of-this-nutritious-breakfast dept.
Mark Wilson writes A number of consumer groups have filed a complaint with the FTC suggesting that Google is targeting children with 'unfair and deceptive' ads in YouTube Kids for Android and iOS. A letter signed by Children Now, Consumer Watchdog, Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, and others says that ads are displayed in a way that would not be permitted on broadcast or cable television. The letter makes three main complaints about the app. The first suggests that Google mixes programming and ads, while another says that the relationship between Google and the manufacturers of advertised products is not clear. The groups ask for the FTC to take action to stop the advertisements. Also covered by The Verge and VentureBeat; here's the complaint letter.
The Military

How the Pentagon Wasted $10 Billion On Military Projects 370

Posted by Soulskill
from the and-not-a-single-lightsaber-to-show-for-it dept.
schwit1 writes: In the past decade, the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency has wasted $10 billion on defense projects that were either impractical and impossible. It's hard to choose a single quote showing the absurd stupidity of these projects — the article is filled with too many to choose from. Read it all and weep. However, here's one quote that typifies the attitude:

"Henry A. Obering III, a retired director of the Missile Defense Agency, said any unfulfilled expectations for SBX and the other projects were the fault of the Obama administration and Congress — for not doubling down with more spending. 'If we can stop one missile from destroying one American city,' said Obering, a former Air Force lieutenant general, 'we have justified the entire program many times over from its initiation in terms of cost.'"

We get the government we deserve. Until we stop electing candidates (from either party) who promise pork, we will continue to get pork, and waste, and a society that is steadily going bankrupt.
The Almighty Buck

How Comcast Bankrolls Organizations That Support TWC Merger 59

Posted by Soulskill
from the money-talks-when-nobody-else-will dept.
An anonymous reader writes: When Comcast announced it was pursuing a takeover of Time Warner Cable, many activists and internet users immediately submitted objections to the deal. Support came more slowly, but steadily, from organizations like the International Center for Law and Economics, and from politicians like Governor Phil Bryant (R-MS). Now, a NY Times report reveals that much of this support for the merger came in exchange for money from Comcast. Fortunately, even after spreading money around so liberally, Comcast is still struggling to find a coherent, believable message for regulators, and the deal is far from assured.

From the article: "Letters detailing the benefits of the Comcast deal were submitted to the Federal Communications Commission by staff members from Americans for Tax Reform, the American Enterprise Institute, the Institute for Policy Innovation, Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Free State Foundation and the Center for Individual Freedom, as well as by a professor at a technology program at the University of Pennsylvania, all of which received support from Comcast or its trade association, tax documents and other disclosures reviewed by The New York Times show. A similar pattern is evident with charities like the Urban League and more than 80 other community groups that supported the media company and that also accepted collectively millions of dollars in donations from the Comcast Foundation over the last five years, documents reviewed by The Times show."
United States

Court Mulls Revealing Secret Government Plan To Cut Cell Phone Service 191

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-don't-want-to-talk-about-it dept.
An anonymous reader writes with the latest in the ongoing legal battle over revealing details of Standing Operating Procedure 303, the government's plan to cut mobile phone service during an emergency. "A federal appeals court is asking the Obama administration to explain why the government should be allowed to keep secret its plan to shutter mobile phone service during 'critical emergencies.' The Department of Homeland Security came up with the plan—known as Standing Operating Procedure 303—after cellular phones were used to detonate explosives targeting a London public transportation system. SOP 303 is a powerful tool in the digital age, and it spells out a 'unified voluntary process for the orderly shut-down and restoration of wireless services during critical emergencies such as the threat of radio-activated improvised explosive devices.'"
Facebook

Judge Allows Divorce Papers To Be Served Via Facebook 95

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-unfriend-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes Want to divorce your husband or wife but can't give them the papers in person? Just use Facebook. No, apparently this isn't a late April Fools' joke. The New York Daily News reports Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Matthew Cooper has allowed 26-year-old Ellanora Baidoo to serve her husband Victor Sena Blood-Dzraku divorce papers via a Facebook message. In fact, Baidoo won't even be the one sending the message. Her lawyer has been granted permission to message Blood-Dzraku using her account. "This transmittal shall be repeated by plaintiff's attorney to defendant once a week for three consecutive weeks or until acknowledged," the ruling states.
The Internet

Why Is the Internet Association Rewarding a Pro-NSA Net-Neutrality Opponent? 157

Posted by samzenpus
from the keep-your-enemies-closer dept.
First time accepted submitter erier2003 writes The decision to give a major award to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is curious given McCarthy's many questionable stances on Internet-freedom issues. For one thing, the California congressman is an avowed opponent of net neutrality. In May 2014, as the Federal Communications Commission debated new net neutrality rules, McCarthy—then the House Majority Whip, the chamber's third-highest-ranking member—signed a House GOP letter to the FCC warning that Title II regulation represented "a counterproductive effort to even further regulate the Internet."
Crime

Watching a "Swatting" Slowly Unfold 246

Posted by samzenpus
from the in-gory-detail dept.
netbuzz writes That online gamers have been victimized has unfortunately allowed us to see what "swatting" looks like from the perspective of the target: terrifying and potentially deadly. A similar type of criminally unnecessary SWAT scene played out Saturday night when a caller to police in Hopkinton, Mass., claimed to be holed up in the town's closed public library with two hostages and a bomb. The library stands within eyesight of the starting line for the Boston Marathon. An editor for Network World, there by happenstance, watched for two hours, and, while it was a hoax and no one was hurt, his account highlights the disruption and wastefulness these crimes inflict.
Censorship

Turkey Blocks Twitter, YouTube Access Over Image of Slain Prosecutor 66

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-likes-for-you dept.
jaa101 writes ABC (Australia) reports Turkey has blocked access to Twitter and YouTube, over the publication of photographs of an Istanbul prosecutor held at gunpoint by far-left militants hours before he was killed in a shootout last week. From the article: "Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said a prosecutor had sought the block on access to social media sites because some media organisations had acted 'as if they were spreading terrorist propaganda' in sharing the images. 'This has to do with the publishing of the prosecutor's picture. What happened in the aftermath [of the prosecutor's killing] is as grim as the incident itself,' said presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin."
HP

Carly Fiorina Calls Apple's Tim Cook a 'Hypocrite' On Gay Rights 653

Posted by timothy
from the fightin'-words dept.
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "David Knowles reports at Bloomberg that former Hewlett-Packard CEO and potential 2016 presidential candidate Carly Fiorina called out Apple CEO Tim Cook as a hypocrite for criticizing Indiana and Arkansas over their Religious Freedom Restoration Acts while at the same time doing business in countries where gay rights are non-existent. "When Tim Cook is upset about all the places that he does business because of the way they treat gays and women, he needs to withdraw from 90% of the markets that he's in, including China and Saudi Arabia," Fiorina said. "But I don't hear him being upset about that."

In similar criticism of Hillary Clinton on the Fox News program Hannity, Fiorina argued that Clinton's advocacy on behalf of women was tarnished by donations made to the Clinton Foundation from foreign governments where women's rights are not on par with those in America. ""I must say as a woman, I find it offensive that Hillary Clinton travels the Silicon Valley, a place where I worked for a long time, and lectures Silicon Valley companies on women's rights in technology, and yet sees nothing wrong with taking money from the Algerian government, which really denies women the most basic human rights. This is called, Sean, hypocrisy." While Hillary Clinton hasn't directly addressed Fiorina's criticisms, her husband has. "You've got to decide, when you do this work, whether it will do more good than harm if someone helps you from another country," former president Bill Clinton said in March. "And I believe we have done a lot more good than harm. And I believe this is a good thing.""
Government

Snapchat Joins the Gang, Releases Transparency Report 12

Posted by timothy
from the only-a-metaphoric-gang dept.
Snapchat has released its first transparency report, detailing the number of requests for data it's fielded from law enforcement agencies both in the U.S. and elsewhere. For a service sometimes vilified as a conduit for shady dealings, Snapchat received surprisingly few police requests from U.S. agencies (just 375, involving 666 accounts). Perhaps agencies are put off by the small number of Snapchat messages that may be vulnerable to such requests.
Android

Popular Android Package Uses Just XOR -- and That's Not the Worst Part 277

Posted by timothy
from the ightray-onyay-ethay-urfacesay dept.
siddesu writes A popular "encryption" package for Android that even charges a yearly subscription fee of $8 actually does nothing more than give a false sense of security to its users. Not only is the app using a worthless encryption method, it also uses weak keys and "encrypts" only a small portion of the files. One wonders how much snake oil flows through the app stores, from "battery savers" to "antivirus." What is the most worthless app purchase you made? Did you ask for a refund?
Education

Prosecutors Get an 'A' On Convictions of Atlanta Ed-Reform-Gone-Bad Test Cheats 201

Posted by timothy
from the cheating-in-schools-geogia-edition dept.
theodp writes Just weeks after an L.A. Times op-ed called on public schools to emulate high-tech companies by paying high salaries to driven, talented employees whose productivity more than compensates for their high pay, the New York Times reported on the dramatic conclusion to perhaps the largest cheating scandal in the nation's history, which saw a Judge order handcuffed Atlanta educators led off to jail immediately for their roles in a standardized test cheating scandal that raised broader questions about the role of high-stakes testing in American schools. Jurors convicted 11 of the 12 defendants — a mix of Atlanta public school teachers, testing coordinators and administrators — of racketeering, a felony that carries up to 20 years in prison. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution sowed suspicion about the veracity of the test scores in 2009, and while investigators found that cheating was particularly ingrained in individual schools, they also said that the district's top officials, including Superintendent Beverly L. Hall, bore some responsibility for creating "a culture of fear, intimidation and retaliation" that had permitted "cheating — at all levels — to go unchecked for years." (More below.)
Electronic Frontier Foundation

USPTO Demands EFF Censor Its Comments On Patentable Subject Matter 71

Posted by timothy
from the adversarial-justice-system dept.
An anonymous reader sends this report from TechDirt: As you know, last year the Supreme Court made a very important ruling in the Alice v. CLS Bank case, in which it basically said that merely doing something on a general purpose computer didn't automatically make it patentable. ... However, the USPTO apparently was offended at parts of the EFF's comment submission, claiming that it was an "improper protest." Protest or not, the EFF denies in strong terms that the original comments were improper.
Businesses

Swiss Launch of Apple Watch Hit By Patent Issue 111

Posted by timothy
from the called-dibs-too-late dept.
wabrandsma points out this Reuters story, according to which: Apple is not able to launch its new smartwatch in Switzerland until at least the end of this year because of an intellectual property rights issue, Swiss broadcaster RTS reported on its website. The U.S. tech giant cannot use the image of an apple nor the word 'apple' to launch its watch within Switzerland, the home of luxury watches, because of a patent from 1985, RTS reported, citing a document from the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property.