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DHS Offering Free Vulnerability Scans, Penetration Tests ( 16

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 ( 49

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 ( 6

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 103

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 ( 33

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 ( 82

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.

Revealed: What Info the FBI Can Collect With a National Security Letter 59

An anonymous reader writes with this lead from Help Net Security's story on a topic we've touched on here many times: the broad powers arrogated by the Federal government in the form of National Security Letters: On Monday, after winning an eleven-year legal battle, Nicholas Merrill can finally tell the public how the FBI has secretly construed its authority to issue National Security Letters (NSLs) to permit collection of vast amounts of private information on US citizens without a search warrant or any showing of probable cause. The PATRIOT Act vastly expanded the domestic reach of the NSL program, which allows the FBI to compel disclosure of information from online companies and forbid recipients from disclosing they have received an NSL. The FBI has refused to detail publicly the kinds of private data it believes it can obtain with an NSL. A key sentence from the same story: "Merrill is now able to reveal that the FBI believes it can force online companies to turn over the following information simply by sending an NSL demanding it: an individual’s complete web browsing history; the IP addresses of everyone a person has corresponded with; and records of all online purchases." Reader Advocatus Diaboli adds this, from The Intercept: One of the most striking revelations, Merrill said during a press teleconference, was that the FBI was requesting detailed cell site location information — cellphone tracking records — under the heading of "radius log" information. Traditionally, radius log refers to a user's attempts to connect to a server or a DSL line — a sort of anachronism given the progress of technology. "The notion that the government can collect cellphone location information — to turn your cellphone into a tracking device, just by signing a letter — is extremely troubling," Merrill said.

Arkansas Has a Growing Population of "Climate Change Refugees" 169 writes: Located between Hawaii and Australia, the Marshall Islands are made up of 29 atolls and five islands with a population of about 70,000, all of whom live about six feet above sea level. Now Story Hinkley writes in the Christian Science Monitor that another 10,000 Marshallese have moved to Springdale, Arkansas because of climate change. Because this Pacific island nation is so small, the Marshallese population in Arkansas attribute their Springdale settlement to one man, John Moody, who moved to the US in 1979 after the first wave of flooding. Moody's family eventually moved to Springdale to live with him and work for Tyson and other poultry companies based in Arkansas, eventually causing a steady flow of extended friends and family migrating to Springdale. "Probably in 10 to 20 years from now, we're all going to move," says Roselinta Keimbar adding that she likes Arkansas because it is far away from the ocean, meaning it is safe.

For more than three decades, Marshallese have moved in the thousands to the landlocked Ozark Mountains for better education, jobs and health care, thanks to an agreement that lets them live and work in the US.. This historical connection makes it an obvious destination for those facing a new threat: global warming. Marshallese Foreign Minister Tony de Brum says even a small rise in global temperatures would spell the demise of his country. While many world leaders in Paris want to curb emissions enough to cap Earth's warming at 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius), de Brum is pushing for a target that's 25 percent lower. "The thought of evacuation is repulsive to us," says de Brum. "We think that the more reasonable thing to do is to seek to end this madness, this climate madness, where people think that smaller, vulnerable countries are expendable and therefore they can continue to do business as usual." Meanwhile residents jokingly call their new home "Springdale Atoll," and there's even a Marshallese consulate in Springdale, the only one on the mainland US. "Its not our fault that the tide is getting higher," says Carlon Zedkaia,. "Just somebody else in this world that wants to get rich."
The Almighty Buck

Patton Oswalt Recruited For New MST3K Cast ( 41

An anonymous reader writes: Joel Hodgson has announced that actor and comedian Patton Oswalt will join the MST3K cast as "TV's Son of TV's Frank". "I first became aware of Patton around fourteen years ago, when he was doing commentary for the MTV Awards — live in the room during the event!" Hodgson wrote on the Kickstarter page. "I realized right away he was a kindred spirit, and damn funny too," Hodgson added. "Since then, obviously, he's bloomed into this amazing comedy/Internet dynamo. I've seen a lot of stand-ups over the years, but Patton really is one of the best ever. And just as important, he's a very fun, articulate and witty soul — just the kind of person who we've always tried to bring onboard for MST3K." Comedian Jonah Ray and actor Felicia Day are also on board for the potentially record breaking relaunch.
PlayStation (Games)

Italy Invests 150 Million Euros In Surveillance, With Emphasis On PS4 Chats ( 53

An anonymous reader sends word that Italy will spend 150 million Euros on reforming information and security services. Part of this reform will be monitoring communication among users of the "chat" feature on PlayStation 4. The Stack reports: "Italian Minister of Justice Andrea Orlando has revealed that Italy is spending 150 million euros ($157mn) on new technology and staff to improve surveillance capabilities, and emphasized that the 'new instruments' (it's not clear whether this means new technology or new requisitions) will also target the Sony PlayStation network which fell under suspicion as a possible forum of organization for the Paris attacks (though no evidence was found to support this)."

Sued For Using HTTPS: Companies In Crypto Patent Fight ( 102

yoink! writes: According to an article in The Register, corporations big and small are coming under legal fire from CryptoPeak. The Company holds U.S. Patent 6,202,150, which describes "auto-escrowable and auto-certifiable cryptosystems" and has claimed that the Elliptic Curve Cryptography methods/implementations used as part of the HTTPS protocol violates their intellectual property. Naturally, reasonable people disagree.

The Hidden Costs of Going Freelance 116

snydeq writes: IT pros lend firsthand advice on the challenges of going solo in Bob Violino's report on the hidden costs of going freelance in IT. 'The life of an independent IT contractor sounds attractive enough: the freedom to choose clients, the freedom to set your schedule, and the freedom to set your pay rate while banging out code on the beach. But all of this freedom comes at a cost. Sure, heady times for some skill sets may make IT freelancing a seller's market, but striking out on your own comes with hurdles. The more you're aware of the challenges and what you need to do to address them, the better your chance of success as an IT freelancer.'

Sony Unlocks PlayStation 4's Previously Reserved Seventh CPU Core For Devs ( 122

MojoKid writes: Toward the beginning of the year, it was revealed that Microsoft was going to "unlock" the seventh core on the Xbox One's processor, enabling developers to eke just a bit more performance out of the console and offer more flexibility at resource utilization. It appears that Microsoft's move would inevitably be followed by Sony, as reports are now coming in that this will be made available on the PlayStation 4 as well. This subtle change was highlighted in the latest changelog for the FMOD sound engine which is labeled as a "LowLevel API." While the unlocked core could take on FMOD duties if developers want it to, it's now not going to be tied to any single purpose. Developers could make use of this core, for example, to boost AI performance, or any other process that has a heavy computation requirement. It could also be used to simply help ease overall system load.

HTTP/2.0 Opens Every New Connection It Makes With the Word 'PRISM' ( 148

An anonymous reader writes: British programmer and writer John Graham-Cumming has spotted what appears to be a 'code-protest' in the next generation of the hypertext protocol. Each new connection forged by the HTTP/2.0 protocol spells out the word 'PRISM' obliquely, though the word itself is obscured to the casual observer by coded returns and line-breaks. Work on the hidden message in HTTP/2.0 seems to date back to nine days after the Snowden revelations broke, with the final commit completed by July of 2013. In July 2013 one of the protocol's architects appealed to the development group to reconsider design principles in the light of the revelations about the NSA's worldwide surveillance program.

Russian Moon Landing May Take As Many As Six Launches ( 186

MarkWhittington writes: Russia has made no secret of its desire to land cosmonauts on the lunar surface sometime in the late 2020s. As the United States, at least for the current administration, has decided to bypass the moon in favor of Mars, Russia could move to wipe out the humiliation it suffered at the hands of NASA when it lost the 1960s race to the moon with the landing of Apollo 11 on July 20, 1969. However, a story in TASS suggests that a Russian moon landing effort would be complex, requiring up to six launches of its Angara rocket.