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Greek Banks Under Cyberattack, Face Ransom Demands ( 4

An anonymous reader writes: Hackers have targeted three Greek banks for a third time in five days, demanding a ransom from each lender of 20,000 bitcoin (€7m), according to Greek police and the country's central bank. A group calling itself the Armada Collective demanded the bitcoin ransom after staging its first attacks last Thursday, and then threatened a full collapse of the unnamed banks' websites if they refused to pay up. These initial attacks took the form of a distributed denial of service — flooding the banks' websites with requests so that they crashed under the strain. On Thursday, they succeeded in disrupting electronic transactions at all three banks for a short period, but customer information was protected, a police official said.

Air Asia Pilot Response Leads To Plane Crashing ( 44

hcs_$reboot writes: The investigation took a year, but we finally know why Air Asia Flight QZ8501, en route to Singapore from the Indonesian city of Surabaya on December 28 last year, crashed into the Java Sea, killing all 162 people on board. The crash was caused by a combination of system malfunctions and improper pilot responses to cascading electrical and rudder-system problems. A cracked solder joint on the Airbus A320 resulted in an electrical interruption that caused computer-generated warnings of a rudder malfunction. The problem occurred four times during the flight. The first three times, the flight crew responded according to standard procedure, investigators said. The fourth time, however, the flight-data recorder indicated actions similar to those of circuit breakers being reset. That led the autopilot to disengage. Investigators said the crew was unable to react appropriately to "a prolonged stall condition," ending in the crash. The investigation points to weaknesses in pilot training in dealing with upsets, or when an aircraft is angled greater than 45 degrees.

Video Software Engineer Liz Bennett Talks About Being a Woman in a Nearly All Male Workplace (Video) 101

This conversation was generated by a post Eric S. Raymond published on his "Armed and Dangerous" blog that said, "...if you are any kind of open-source leader or senior figure who is male, do not be alone with any female, ever, at a technical conference. Try to avoid even being alone, ever, because there is a chance that a 'women in tech' advocacy group is going to try to collect your scalp." Eric later wrote a post about how Social Justice Warriors may be more of a problem than the problems they complain about.

Whoa! Predatory women in tech trying to entrap people like (and including) Linus Torvalds the way an old-time private eye got the goods on an errant husband as part of a divorce case? Scary! And worrying about thoughtcrime, too? Oh my! But Liz Bennett is an actual software engineer who works at Loggly in San Francisco. She writes for her company's blog when she's not writing Java code, has a (not very active) GitHub account, and plays bassoon. And her attitude is similar to the one espoused by ESR in the second post (above): write great code -- and if you do, they (for any value of they) have no right to be negative about you, period. And, she says, before you take a job you should be sure the company is a good "fit" for you and doesn't harbor people who will work to bring you down -- which is great advice for anyone, in any field of endeavor.

Skip the Picks; Expert Uses Hammer To Open a Master Lock ( 106

itwbennett writes: Buyer beware. If it's security you're looking for, the #3 Master Lock might not be for you. In a video, locksport enthusiast Bosnian Bill demonstrates how to open a new #3 Master Lock using a small brass hammer — in under 90 seconds. This video is just one of several videos he's produced focusing on defeating the security of Master Locks, and, according to Bosnian Bill, has earned him several lawsuit threats from the company.

The Brains of Men and Women Aren't Really That Different, Study Finds ( 97

sciencehabit writes: In the mid-19th century, researchers claimed they could tell the sex of an individual just by looking at their disembodied brain. But a new study (abstract) finds that human brains do not fit neatly into "male" and "female" categories. Indeed, all of our brains seem to share a patchwork of forms; some that are more common in males, others that are more common in females, and some that are common to both. The findings could change how scientists study the brain and even how society defines gender.

NSF Antes Up $200K For Spin-off of Microsoft-Funded 'Code Trip' TV Show 18

theodp writes: The Microsoft-sponsored PBS 'reality' show Code Trip, in which Roadtrip Nation and Microsoft YouthSpark partnered to send three students across the U.S. on a "transformative journey into computer science" is getting a spin-off. According to the National Science Foundation Award Abstract for a Computer Science Roadtrip (CS Roadtrip), $199,866.00 in funding has been awarded for a pilot project that began in October "to design and develop pilot materials for a Computer Science Roadtrip (CS Roadtrip)."

From the abstract: "Through this pilot project, Roadtrip Nation will lay the groundwork and provide proof-of-concept for a CS Roadtrip, leveraging a combination of multimedia deliverables, an evidence-based educational curriculum, and dynamic engagement strategies that will provide critical connections between students' natural interests, positive role models who align with those interests, and corresponding CS educational and career pathways. To that end, the CS Roadtrip Pilot will develop up to four student-facing videos that feature the stories of diverse computing professionals, appropriate for on-air, online, and classroom purposes, along with the appropriate Learning Guides."

The NSF study's Principal Investigator is Roadtrip Nation co-founder Mike Marriner, who explained his company's relationship with Microsoft in a July 30th press release, "Roadtrip Nation is proud to partner with Microsoft's YouthSpark initiative not only to inform others of the many career routes one can take with a computer science background, but also to engage in the much-needed conversation of diversifying the tech field with more pluralistic perspectives."

Xbox Kinect Technology Helps Create Higher-Quality X-Rays ( 12

An anonymous reader writes: A team of researchers at Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, has adapted a gaming system to help radiographers improve the quality of X-rays. The technology, originally developed for Microsoft Kinect, has been amended to provide a useful tool for measuring the thickness of body parts and monitor movement and positioning in the X-ray field of vision before imaging. The goal of the technology is to aid in the production of high-quality X-rays at low radiation, without the need to repeat the image. Although the technology is expected to benefit all patients, the researchers believe it could be particularly practical for use in children – who are much more sensitive to radiation and vary in body size, from premature babies through to teens.

Washington Hosts Summit On Gene Editing and 'Designer Babies' ( 102

An anonymous reader sends word that a three-day summit has begun in Washington to discuss the future of genetic engineering. It has a particular focus on the CRISPR technique, which has made gene editing quicker and more robust than ever before. "The reason CRISPR is so controversial is that it works well on 'germline' cells, such as sperm, eggs and embryonic cells, and the genetic editing results in heritable traits. Many scientific organizations have called for a time-out on any experiments on human cells, fearing that this crosses into dicey ethical territory. This meeting in Washington could potentially generate a new call for restraint, or some guidelines in how to handle the explosive technology." Many scientists, lawyers, and policymakers are present at the summit to try to reach consensus on how the scientific community should proceed with such research, and how the fruits of their research should be used. Professor Alta Charo said, "The more we can have effective systems for responsible oversight for the development and deployment of a technology, the more we can take chances. We have the chance to back up at the end, and change course."

Mozilla May Separate Itself From Thunderbird Email Client ( 265

An anonymous reader writes: A company-wide memo distributed throughout the Mozilla Foundation by chairperson Mitchell Baker argues that the organization should disentangle itself from the Thunderbird email client in order to focus on Firefox. She said, "Today Thunderbird developers spend much of their time responding to changes made in core Mozilla systems and technologies. At the same time, build, Firefox, and platform engineers continue to pay a tax to support Thunderbird." Both projects are wasting time helping each other, and those demands are only going to get worse. She says many within Mozilla want to see it support community-managed projects without doing the bulk of the work on it, and perhaps Thunderbird could be one of those projects. Baker stresses that no decisions have been made yet — they're starting the conversation early to keep the community involved in what happens to Thunderbird.

DHS Offering Free Vulnerability Scans, Penetration Tests ( 66

tsu doh nimh writes: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been quietly launching stealthy cyber attacks against a range of private U.S. companies -- mostly banks and energy firms. These digital intrusion attempts, commissioned in advance by the private sector targets themselves, are part of a little-known program at DHS designed to help 'critical infrastructure' companies shore up their computer and network defenses against real-world adversaries. And it's all free of charge (well, on the U.S. taxpayer's dime). Brian Krebs examines some of the pros and cons, and the story has some interesting feedback from some banks and others who have apparently taken DHS up on its offer.

Experimental Study of 29 Polyhedral Dice Using Rolling Machine, OpenCV Analysis ( 188

enFi writes: All dice are slightly unfair; automating 3k rolls x 29 dice allows detailed exploration. For example: GameScience claims their d20s are fairest, and actually has the fairest die in the study. Chessex d20s are consistently mid-range and all favor the same numbers; Wiz Dice d20s are highly variable (some rival GameScience). Shape differences measurable with calipers account for some of the larger observed differences, but not everything. Read the details for graphs, a video of the Arduino-powered rolling machine, and an explanation of using OpenCV to sort die rolls.

(Disclaimer: I'm the author.)


Phishing Blast Uses Dropbox To Target Hong Kong Journalists ( 11

itwbennett writes: Researchers at FireEye have disclosed an ongoing Phishing campaign targeting pro-democracy media organizations in Hong Kong that's using Dropbox storage services as a command and control (C2) hub, writes CSO's Steve Ragan. 'The attacks are using basic emails trapped with documents that deliver a malware payload called LowBall,' says Ragan. 'LowBall is a basic backdoor that uses a legitimate Dropbox storage account to act as a C2.'

Google To Drop Chrome Support For 32-bit Linux 148

prisoninmate writes: Google announces that its Google Chrome web browser will no longer be available for 32-bit hardware platforms. Additionally, Google Chrome will no longer be supported on the Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin) and Debian GNU/Linux 7 (Wheezy) operating systems. Users are urged to update to the Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) release and Debian GNU/Linux 8 (Jessie) respectively. Google will continue to support the 32-bit build configurations for those who want to build the open-source Chromium web browser on various Linux kernel-based operating systems. Reader SmartAboutThings writes, on a similar note, that: Microsoft is tolling the death knell for Internet Explorer with an announcement that it will end support for all older versions next year. Microsoft says that all versions older than the latest one will no longer be supported starting Jan. 12, 2016. After this date, Microsoft will no longer provide security updates or technical support for older Internet Explorer versions. Furthermore, Internet Explorer 11 will be the last version of Internet Explorer as Microsoft shifts its focus on its next web browser, Microsoft Edge.

Enlightenment E20 Released With Full Wayland Support ( 43

An anonymous reader writes: Enlightenment DR 0.20 has been released. The most significant change is full Wayland support where E20 can act as its own Wayland compositor and the whole shebang. Enlightenment 0.20 also has better FreeBSD support, introduces Geolocation support, new screen management, and other changes.

After Twenty Years of Flash, Adobe Kills the Name ( 115

An anonymous reader writes: From January 2016, Adobe Flash will be renamed to 'Adobe Animate CC', killing one of the most unfortunate names in web security as the company pushes the product further and further to HTML5 output. Adobe's release about the update, which will form part of the annual Creative Cloud upgrade, states that a third of all material output from the program is now HTML5. The transitional HTML5 Adobe animation program Edge Animate will be replaced by the renamed Flash product.