An anonymous reader writes with revelations that the UK government has been pressuring the Guardian over its publication of the Snowden leaks for a while, and that it ultimately ended with GHCQ officials smashing drives of data to pieces. From the article: "The mood toughened just over a month ago, when I received a phone call from the centre of government telling me: 'You've had your fun. Now we want the stuff back.' ... one of the more bizarre moments in the Guardian's long history occurred — with two GCHQ security experts overseeing the destruction of hard drives in the Guardian's basement just to make sure there was nothing in the mangled bits of metal which could possibly be of any interest to passing Chinese agents. 'We can call off the black helicopters,' joked one as we swept up the remains of a MacBook Pro." The paper had repeatedly pointed out how pointless destroying the data was: copies exist, and all reporting on the Snowden leaks is already being edited and published from locations other than the UK.
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jfruh writes "On Friday, Dell was selling Windows RT tablets for as low as $300. By this morning, the cheapest one on offer was $479. The difference? The only tablets they're selling now come bundled with keyboards, which may indicate that customers are finding even the Metro-focused RT version of Windows 8 too irritating to navigate by touch alone. (If you really want a 10-inch Dell tablet without a keyboard it looks like you can still get one on Amazon, at least for the time being.)"
An anonymous reader writes "With Netflix continuing to rely upon Microsoft Silverlight, the video streaming service hasn't been supported for Linux users as the Mono-based 'Moonlight' implementation goes without Silverlight 5 DRM support. However, there is now Netflix support for Linux-based web-browsers via the open source Pipelight project. Pipelight supports Netflix and other Silverlight-based web applications by having a Netscape plug-in that in turn communicates with a Windows program running under Wine. The Windows program then simulates a browser to load the Silverlight libraries. Netflix then works as the Pipelight developers implemented support for the Netflix DRM scheme within Wine."
An anonymous reader writes "Curious about the recently purposed NSA cuts, Courtney Nash explores a few myths about systems automation 'In the aftermath of Edward Snowden's revelations about NSA's domestic surveillance activities, the NSA has recently announced that they plan to get rid of 90% of their system administrators via software automation in order to "improve security." So far, I've mostly seen this piece of news reported and commented on straightforwardly. But it simply doesn't add up. Either the NSA has a monumental (yet not necessarily surprising) level of bureaucratic bloat that they could feasibly cut that amount of staff regardless of automation, or they are simply going to be less effective once they've reduced their staff.'"
ananyo writes "A genetic-modification technique used widely to make crops herbicide resistant has been shown to confer advantages on a weedy form of rice, even in the absence of the herbicide. Used in Monsanto's 'Roundup Ready' crops, for example, resistance to the herbicide glyphosate enables farmers to wipe out most weeds from the fields without damaging their crops. A common assumption has been that if such herbicide resistance genes manage to make it into weedy or wild relatives, they would be disadvantageous and plants containing them would die out. But the new study led by Lu Baorong, an ecologist at Fudan University in Shanghai, challenges that view: it shows that a weedy form of the common rice crop, Oryza sativa, gets a significant fitness boost from glyphosate resistance, even when glyphosate is not applied. The transgenic hybrids had higher rates of photosynthesis, grew more shoots and flowers and produced 48 — 125% more seeds per plant than non-transgenic hybrids — in the absence of glyphosate, the weedkiller they were resistant to."
Daniel_Stuckey writes "The rise of autonomous cars might turn out to be more rapid than even the most devout Knight Rider fans were hoping. According to a new report from Navigant Research, in just over two decades, Google Cars and their ilk will account for 75 percent of all light vehicle sales worldwide. In total, Navigant expects 95.4 million autonomous cars to be sold every year by 2035. That's pretty astonishing. For one thing, that's more cars than are built every year right now."
Nerval's Lobster writes "When Ars Technica editor Nate Anderson sat down to write The Internet Police, Edward Snowden hadn't yet decided to add some excitement to the National Security Agency's summer by leaking a trove of surveillance secrets to The Guardian. As a result, Anderson's book doesn't mention Snowden's escapade, which will likely become the security-and-paranoia story of the year, if not the decade. For anyone unaware of the vast issues highlighted by Snowden's leak, however, The Internet Police is a handy guide to the slow and unstoppable rise of the online security state, as well as the libertarian and criminal elements that have done their level best to counter that surveillance." Read below for the rest of Nerval's Lobster's review.
Do you want to be frozen after you die, in hopes of being revived a century or two (or maybe ten) in the future? It can cost less than an electric car. That's what the Cryonics Institute (CI) offers. David Ettinger, today's interviewee, is both the son of CI founder Robert Ettinger and CI's lawyer. In this video, among other things, he talks about arrangements that were made for his father's demise, and how they were able to start the cryopreservation process almost immediately after he expired. Is Cryonics the best chance at immortality for those of us likely to die before the Singularity arrives, and gives all of us the tools we need to live forever? David Ettinger obviously thinks so. (This is Video #1 of 2. The second one is scheduled to run tomorrow. It's an interview with CI Director Andy Zawacki, who takes us into the facility where the frozen bodies are stored.)
coondoggie writes "In the never-ending quest to get computers to process, really understand and actually reason, scientists at Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency want to look more deeply into how computers can mimic a key portion of our brain. The military's advanced research group recently put out a call, or Request For information, on how it could develop systems that go beyond machine learning, Bayesian techniques, and graphical technology to solve 'extraordinarily difficult recognition problems in real-time.'"
stinkymountain writes "Unix, the core server operating system in enterprise networks for decades, now finds itself in a slow, inexorable decline, according to Network World. Jean Bozman, research vice president at IDC Enterprise Server Group, attributes the decline to platform migration issues; competition from Linux and Microsoft; more efficient hardware with more powerful processor cores; and the abundance of Unix-specific apps that can now also run on competitor's servers."
An anonymous reader writes "New revelations about Ministerial orders requiring backdoors into online services in New Zealand are fueling nationwide protests against new surveillance powers to be granted to the Government Communications Services Bureau. Speaking at one large protest meeting, Kim Dotcom described the 'Five Eyes' X-Keyscore surveillance system as 'Google for spies'. He told protesters he first noticed he was being spied on when his internet speed slowed by '20 to 30 milliseconds'. 'As a gamer, I noticed,' he said."
An anonymous reader writes "A malware test app sneaked through Apple's review process disguised as a harmless app, and then re-assembled itself into an aggressive attacker even while running inside the iOS 'sandbox' designed to isolate apps and data from each other. The app, dubbed Jekyll, was helped by Apple's review process. The malware designers, a research team from Georgia Institute of Technology's Information Security Center, were able to monitor their app during the review: they discovered Apple ran the app for only a few seconds, before ultimately approving it. That wasn't anywhere near long enough to discover Jekyll's deceitful nature."
megla writes "Yesterday Slashdot covered reports that David Miranda, the partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald was detained. Now, various MPs and other public figures have expressed their unease over the detention and demanded justification for the incident from the police. Meanwhile, Glenn Greenwald has threatened to be more aggressive with his reporting regarding the UK secret services and to release more documents about their activities, Brazil has stated that it expects no repeat of the incident, and one of the MPs involved in passing the anti-terrorism legislation used for the detention has said: 'those of us who were part of passing this legislation certainly would not have expected it to be used in a case of this kind.'"
Techy77 writes "McAfee's chief technology officer Mike Fey has admitted that he regrets his own company's estimates, which once pinned global losses from cyber crime at more than $1 trillion. From the article: 'A more recent report commissioned by the security company, and released last month, reduced those estimates to as low as $US300 billion globally, but specifically noted the difficulty of determining exactly how much companies, governments and individuals could lose if subject to an attack. “It’s very difficult to put a dollar figure on it,” Mr Fey said. “When you meet an engineer that has spent a good chunk of his life working on some innovation and it’s stolen overnight, you get a good feeling for what [intellectual property] loss means. It is the shift in a moment’s instance from an innovative company set strategically, to loss. It becomes difficult for that company to invest in innovation."'"
Guido van Rossum is best known as the creator of Python, and he remains the BDFL (Benevolent Dictator For Life) in the community. The recipient of many awards for his work, and author of numerous books, he left Google in December and started working for Dropbox early this year. A lot has happened in the 12 years since we talked to Guido and he's agreed to answer your questions. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post.
Barence writes "In the world of online fraud, a fake fan on Instagram can be worth five times more than a stolen credit card number. In a sign of the growing value of social network 'likes', the Zeus virus has been modified to create bogus Instagram 'likes' that can be used to generate buzz for a company or individual, according to cyber experts at RSA, the security division of EMC. These fake 'likes' are sold in batches of 1,000 on hacker forums, where cybercriminals also flog credit card numbers and other information stolen from PCs. According to RSA, 1,000 Instagram 'followers' can be bought for $15 and 1,000 Instagram 'likes' go for $30, whereas 1,000 credit card numbers cost as little as $6."
Eugriped3z writes "Whitehat Palestinian hacker Kahlil Shreateh submitted a bug report to Facebook's Whitehat bug reporting page not once, but twice. After it was ignored the first time and denied outright on the second occasion (which included links to an example as proof), he hacked Mark Zuckerberg's personal timeline, leaving both an explanation and an apology. From the article: 'In less than a minute, Shreateh's Facebook account was suspended and he was contacted by a Facebook security engineer requesting all the details of the exploit. 'Unfortunately your report to our Whitehat system did not have enough technical information for us to take action on it,' the engineer wrote in an email. 'We cannot respond to reports which do not contain enough detail to allow us to reproduce an issue.' Facebook has a policy that it will pay a minimum $500 bounty for any security flaws that a hacker finds. However, the company has refused to pay Shreateh for discovering the vulnerability because his actions violated Facebook's Terms of Service.'"
Sockatume writes "Marcus 'Notch' Persson of Minecraft fame has indefinitely postponed his planned space game, 0x10c. Taking time to chat during a streamed TF2 game, Notch explained that he didn't have the energy to keep up with the community's interest; fans had gone so far as to transcribe the source code from his development livestream. The game's development had been stalled since April this year, when Notch explained that it simply wasn't fun to play, but other staff at Mojang can resume the project if they wish. He intends to continue his pre-Minecraft habits and 'make small games and talk to other game developers about them'."
dstates writes "A team of researchers at the University of Michigan has released Zmap, a tool that allows an ordinary server to scan every address on the Internet in just 45 minutes. This is a task that used to take months, but now is accessible to anyone with a fast internet connection. In their announcement Friday , at the Usenix security conference in Washington they provide interesting examples tracking HTTPS deployment over time, the effects of Hurricane Sandy on Internet infrastructure, but also rapid identification of vulnerable hosts for security exploits. A Washington Post Blog discussing the work shows examples of the rate with which of computers on the Internet have been patched to fix Universal Plug and Play, 'Debian weak key' and 'factorable RSA keys' vulnerabilities. Unfortunately, in each case it takes years to deploy patches and in the case of UPnP devices, they found 2.56 million (16.7 percent) devices on the Internet had not yet upgraded years after the vulnerability had been described."
cylonlover writes "Astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) are testing a new propulsion system ... inside the station. While this might seem like the height of recklessness, this particular system doesn't use rockets or propellants. Developed in the University of Maryland's Space Power and Propulsion Laboratory, this new electromagnetic propulsion technology called the Resonant Inductive Near-field Generation System (RINGS) uses magnetic fields to move spacecraft as a way to increase service life and make satellite formation flying more practical."
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Celso Perez and Muneer Ahmad write in The Atlantic that despite evidence to the contrary, for nearly three years, the United Nations has categorically denied that it introduced cholera into Haiti after the country suffered a devastating earthquake in 2010. Since then, cholera has killed more than 8,000 people and infected more than 600,000, creating an ongoing epidemic. According to extensive documentation by scientists and journalists, peacekeeping troops belonging to the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) inadvertently but negligently brought cholera into the country several months after the January 2010 earthquake. That October, troops from Nepal carrying the disease were stationed at a military base near the town of Méyè. Because of inadequate water and sanitation facilities at the base, cholera-infected sewage contaminated the Artibonite River, the largest river in Haiti and one the country's main water sources. As locals consumed the contaminated water, cholera spread across the country. Absent from Haiti for over a century, cholera is now projected to plague the country for at least another decade. 'By refusing to acknowledge responsibility, the United Nations jeopardizes its standing and moral authority in Haiti and in other countries where its personnel are deployed,' writes the Washington Post Editorial Board adding that without 'speaking frankly about its own responsibility for introducing cholera to Haiti, the organization does a disservice to Haiti and Haitians, who deserve better.'"
cold fjord writes "Is 40% anything to worry about? Sky News reports, 'Worldwide internet traffic plunged by around 40% as Google services suffered a complete black-out, according to web analytics experts. The tech company said all of its services from Google Search to Gmail to YouTube to Google Drive went down for between one and five minutes last night. The reason for the outage is not yet known, and Google refused to provide any further information when contacted by Sky News Online. According to web analytics firm GoSquared, global internet traffic fell by around 40% during the black-out, reflecting Google's massive grip on the web. "That's huge," said GoSquared developer Simon Tabor. "As internet users, our reliance on Google.com being up is huge."'
CowboyRobot writes "'Between 96 and 98 percent of our [data breach] incidents — it varies from month to month — deal with physical paper where people are not thinking about the fact that that piece of paper they're carrying around making benefits determinations has sensitive information and they need to protect it,' said Stephen Warren, VA acting assistant secretary for information and technology. 'If you consider the fact the VA has about 440,000 people that we service and that the department over 900,000 devices on the network, [a data breach count relating to IT assets] of somewhere between one and 10 in a month is pretty good,' Warren said. 'And many of those are things disappearing in inventory. Many are found subsequently because they got moved somewhere.'"