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

Robotics

Robots Can Learn To Hold Knives — and Not Stab Humans 104

Posted by Soulskill
from the never-bring-a-knife-to-a-robot-fight dept.
aurtherdent2000 writes "We humans enjoy not having knives inside of us. Robots don't know this (Three Laws be damned). Therefore, it's important for humans to explain this information to robots using careful training. Researchers at Cornell University are developing a co-active learning method, where humans can correct a robot's motions, showing it how to properly use objects such as knives. They use it for a robot performing grocery checkout tasks."
Security

Microsoft Warns of Zero-Day Attacks 165

Posted by Soulskill
from the welcome-to-tuesday dept.
wiredmikey writes "Microsoft released an advisory today warning users about a new zero-day under attack in targeted campaigns occurring in the Middle East and South Asia. According to Microsoft, the vulnerability resides in the Microsoft Graphics component and impacts certain versions of Windows, Microsoft Office and Lync. The problem exists in the way specially-crafted TIFF images are handled. To exploit the vulnerability, an attacker would have to convince a user to preview or open a specially-crafted email message, open a malicious file or browse malicious Web content. If exploited successfully, the vulnerability can be used to remotely execute code. The vulnerability affects Office 2003, 2007 and 2010 as well as Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista. Right now, Microsoft Word documents are the current vector for attack."
AMD

AMD's Radeon R9 290 Delivers 290X Performance For $150 Less 183

Posted by Soulskill
from the superfluous-frames-per-second-battle-continues dept.
crookedvulture writes "The back and forth battle for PC graphics supremacy is quite a thing to behold. Last week, Nvidia cut GeForce prices in response to the arrival of AMD's latest Radeons. That move caused AMD to rejigger its plans for the new Radeon R9 290, which debuted today with a higher default fan speed and faster performance than originally planned. This $400 card offers almost identical performance to AMD's flagship R9 290X for $150 less. Indeed, it's often faster than Nvidia's $1000 GeForce Titan. But the 290 also consumes a lot more power, and its fan spins up to 49 decibels under load. Fortunately, the acoustic profile isn't too grating. Radeon R9 290 isn't the only new graphics card due this week, either. Nvidia is scheduled to unveil its GeForce GTX 780 Ti on November 7, and that card could further upset the balance at the high end of the GPU market. As AMD and Nvidia trade blows, PC gamers seem to be the ones who benefit." Additional reviews available from AnandTech, PC Perspective, Hot Hardware, and Tom's Hardware.
Google

Google Bots Doing SQL Injection Attacks 156

Posted by Soulskill
from the it's-not-a-bug,-it's-a-feature dept.
ccguy writes "It seems that while Google could really care less about your site and has no real interest in hacking you, their automated bots can be used to do the heavy lifting for an attacker. In this scenario, the bot was crawling Site A. Site A had a number of links embedded that had the SQLi requests to the target site, Site B. Google Bot then went about its business crawling pages and following links like a good boy, and in the process followed the links on Site A to Site B, and began to inadvertently attack Site B."
Cellphones

The First Phone You Can Actually Bend: LG's G Flex 92

Posted by Soulskill
from the just-in-case-you-want-to-use-your-phone-as-a-slingshot dept.
iONiUM writes "As a follow up to LG's announcement of mass flexible OLED production, and as a competitor to the limited Samsung Round trial which was only available in Korea on SK Telecom, LG has released the G Flex phone which is curved vertically (instead of the Round's horizontal bend, which many thought was the 'wrong way'). In addition, the G Flex can actually be flexed, as shown in the video in the article."
Government

Apple Issues First Transparency Report 93

Posted by Soulskill
from the it-just-has-one-button dept.
Trailrunner7 writes "In a new report (PDF) detailing the number and kind of requests for user information it's gotten from various governments, Apple said it has never received a request for information under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act and would likely fight one if it ever came. The company also disclosed that it has received between 1,000 and 2,000 requests for user data from the United States government since January, but it's not clear how many of those requests it complied with because of the restrictions the U.S. government places on how companies can report this data. Right now, companies such as Apple, Google and others that issue so-called transparency reports are only allowed to report the volume of requests they get in increments of 1,000. So Apple's report shows that although it received 1,000-2,000 requests for user data so far in 2013, the number that it complied with is listed as 0-1,000. Apple, along with a number of other companies, including Google and Microsoft, have asked the government in recent months for permission to disclose more specific numbers of requests, including specific numbers of National Security Letters."
Australia

New Leaks Threaten Human Smuggling Talks and Lead To Hack Attacks On Australia 304

Posted by Soulskill
from the because-why-continue-a-good-thing dept.
cold fjord writes "Indonesia is threatening to cease cooperation with Australia on human smuggling as a result of further Snowden leaks published by the Guardian and other papers over the weekend. The leaks involve reported use of Australian embassies across Asia for signals intelligence as well as reports of intelligence operations by Australia and the U.S. in 2007 at the U.N. climate change conference in Bali. (In 2002 a terrorist attack at the Sari club in Bali killed 240 people, including 88 Australians.) As a result of the revelations, various groups are reportedly taking revenge, including claimed or alleged involvement of the Java Cyber Army, members of Anonymous in Indonesia, and possibly other hacker groups. They are attacking hundreds of Australian websites. Among the reported victims are Queensland hospital, a children's cancer association an anti-slavery charity, and many more."
Twitter

As IPO Nears, Do Twitter's Active User Claims Add Up? 73

Posted by Soulskill
from the this-generation's-'billions-and-billions-served' dept.
netbuzz writes "With Twitter's IPO looming, an independent developer who is intimately familiar with the makeup and behavior of the site's users says his analysis of 1 million random accounts does not support the company's claims of 215 million active monthly users and 100 million active daily users. In fact, Si Dawson, who until March ran Twit Cleaner, a popular app used to weed deadwood and spammers from Twitter accounts, puts those numbers at 112 million and 48 million, respectively, or about half of what Twitter claims."
Nintendo

Nintendo Announces $99 Wii Mini For US Release 147

Posted by Soulskill
from the if-at-first-you-succeed-try-try-again dept.
Zothecula writes "Nintendo recently announced that it was ceasing all production of its original Wii video game console. It seemed as if it had run its course, and Nintendo was shifting 100 percent of its focus to the floundering Wii U. Turns out, the Japanese company had other plans, announcing that its previously Canada-exclusive $99 Wii Mini is making its way to the U.S. 'The $99 price has been neglected in this product generation, but in the past, it has been a very successful price for game consoles. More than half of the volume of machines in the PlayStation and PlayStation 2 generations sold at the $99 or under price."
Crime

Researchers Use Computer-Generated 10-Year-Old Girl To Catch Online Predators 545

Posted by Soulskill
from the trawling-the-dark-corners-of-the-internet dept.
mrspoonsi writes "Dutch researchers conducted a 10-week sting, using a life-like, computer-generated 10-year-old Filipino girl named 'Sweetie.' During this time, 20,000 men contacted her. 1,000 of these men offered money to remove clothing (254 were from the U.S., 110 from the U.K. and 103 from India). Charity organization Terre des Hommes launched a global campaign to stop 'webcam sex tourism.' It has 'handed over its findings to police and has said it will provide authorities with the technology it has developed."
Earth

Oil Recovery May Have Triggered Texas Tremors 172

Posted by Soulskill
from the breaking-the-planet dept.
ananyo writes "First came reports of earthquakes caused by hydraulic fracturing and the reinjection of water during oil and gas operations. Now U.S. scientists are reporting tremors may have been caused by the injection of carbon dioxide during oil production. The evidence centers on a sudden burst of seismic activity around an old oil field in the Permian Basin in northwest Texas. From 2006 to 2011, after more than two decades without any earthquakes, seismometers in the region registered 38 tremors, including 18 larger quakes ranging from magnitude 3 to 4.4, scientists report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The tremors began just two years after injections of significant volumes of CO2 began at the site, in an effort to boost oil production. 'Although you can never prove that correlation is equal to causation, certainly the most plausible explanation is that [the tremors] are related to the gas injection,' says Cliff Frohlich, a seismologist at the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics in Austin, who co-authored the study."
Hardware Hacking

Cold War Spoils: Amateur Builds Telescope With 70-Inch Lens 101

Posted by timothy
from the just-winging-it dept.
First time accepted submitter 192_kbps writes "Mike Clements, a long-haul trucker from West Jordan, Utah, built the largest amateur telescope ever with a whopping 70 inch primary mirror he purchased at auction. The entire telescope is 35 feet tall, 900 pounds, and he hopes to tour it in parks. As a hand-turned Dobsonian the telescope lacks the photographic capacity and tracking required for professional astronomy but the views must be breathtaking." (Are there other compelling candidates out there for "largest amateur telescope ever"? The 71" scope listed by nitesky.org appears to be dormant.)
Transportation

Tesla Model S Can Hit (At Least) 132 MPH On the Autobahn 410

Posted by timothy
from the now-in-a-complete-vacuum dept.
cartechboy writes "There are few places in the world outside of a race track that you can safely--and legally-- go faster than 130 mph, but the Autobahn in Germany is one of them. After Tesla announced it'll offer a future special 'autobahn' tuning package to improve the Model S's high-speed driving characteristics, one owner took his car for a high-speed run on the infamous Germany highway. He hit a maximum speed of 212 km/h, or 132 mph. With 416 horsepower on tap and full torque available from a standstill thanks to the electric motor, the Model S went from 60 mph to 100 mph in less than five seconds. (Given the included video is mostly focused on the speedometer, lets hope the driver at least glanced at the road.) Only once the car passed 100 mph did its acceleration begin to slow."
Encryption

Stolen Adobe Passwords Were Encrypted, Not Hashed 230

Posted by timothy
from the getting-around-to-it dept.
rjmarvin writes "The hits keep coming in the massive Adobe breach. It turns out the millions of passwords stolen in the hack reported last month that compromised over 38 million users and source code of many Adobe products were protected using outdated encryption security instead of the best practice of hashing. Adobe admitted the hack targeted a backup system that had not been updated, leaving the hacked passwords more vulnerable to brute-force cracking."
Privacy

Limo Company Hack Exposes Juicy Targets, 850k Credit Card Numbers 43

Posted by timothy
from the taken-for-a-ride dept.
tsu doh nimh writes "A compromise at a U.S. company that brokers reservations for limousine and Town Car services nationwide has exposed the personal and financial information on more than 850,000 well-heeled customers, including Fortune 500 CEOs, lawmakers, and A-list celebrities. Krebsonsecurity.com writes about the break-in, which involved the theft of information on celebrities like Tom Hanks and LeBron James, as well as lawmakers such as the chairman of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee. The story also examines the potential value of this database for spies, drawing a connection between recent personalized malware attacks against Kevin Mandia, the CEO of incident response firm Mandiant. In an interview last month with Foreign Policy magazine, Mandia described receiving spear phishing attacks that spoofed receipts for recent limo rides; according to Krebs, the info for Mandia and two other Mandiant employees was in the stolen limo company database."
Mars

After Successful Launch, India's Mars Orbiter Is On Its Way 166

Posted by timothy
from the david-bowie-on-high-alert dept.
neo12 writes "India has successfully launched a spacecraft to the Red Planet — with the aim of becoming the fourth space agency to reach Mars." As our previous mention of the launch notes, getting to Mars by rocket is a long haul: if all goes well, it will be about 10 months until Mangalyaan reaches orbit.
Google

Google Relying On People Power For 'Helpouts' 57

Posted by timothy
from the now-you-can-flush-bob-villa-for-real dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "While Google built its highly profitable search business atop a complex mix of algorithms and machine learning, its latest initiative actually depends on people power: Helpouts, which allows users (for a fee) to video-chat with experts in particular fields. Google has rolled out the service with a few brands in place, such as One Medical and Weight Watchers, and promises that it will expand its portfolio of helpful brands and individuals over the next several months. Existing categories include Cooking, Art & Music, Computers & Electronics, Education & Careers, Fashion & Beauty, Fitness & Nutrition, Health, and Home & Garden. Some Helpouts charge nothing for their time; for example, the 'Cooking' section of the Website already features a handful of chefs willing to talk users through baking, broiling, slicing and dicing for free. A few vendors in the Computers & Electronics section, by contrast, charge $2 per minute or even $200 per Hangout session for advice on WordPress setup, Website design, and more. So why is Google doing this? There are plenty of Websites that already dispense advice, although most rely on the written word—Quora, for example, lets its users pose text-based questions and receive answers. There's also rising interest in Massive Open Online Courses, also known as MOOCs, in which thousands of people can sign online to learn about something new. In theory, Helpouts (if it's built out enough) could make Google a player in those markets, as well as specialized verticals such as language learning — and earn some healthy revenue in the process."
Government

Brazil Admits To Spying On US Diplomats After Blasting NSA Surveillance 239

Posted by timothy
from the but-our-turnabout-is-fair-play dept.
cold fjord writes with this excerpt from The Verge: "Brazil this week admitted to spying on diplomats from countries including the US, Russia, and Iran as part of a domestic program launched 10 years ago ... The program was first revealed in a Monday report from the newspaper Folha de São Paulo, which obtained documents from the Brazilian Intelligence Agency, commonly known as ABIN. The revelations come at a sensitive time for current Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff, who has been among the most outspoken critics of the widespread surveillance conducted by the US National Security Agency (NSA). According to Folha, Brazilian intelligence spied on rooms rented out by the US embassy in Brasilia from 2003 to 2004. ... The report also claims that ABIN targeted Russian and Iranian officials, tracking their movements within the country ... Rousseff's office acknowledged Monday that the spying took place, but stressed that the operations were carried out within the law. The administration added that publishing classified documents is a crime in Brazil, and that those responsible 'will be prosecuted according to the law.' ....the revelations may put Rousseff in an awkward position. The Brazilian president cancelled a state dinner with Barack Obama earlier this year ... and lashed out against US spying in an impassioned speech to the UN in September."
Internet Explorer

Why Internet Explorer Still Dominates South Korea. 218

Posted by timothy
from the stuck-in-a-rut dept.
New submitter bmurray7 writes "You might think that the country that has the fastest average home internet speeds would be a first adapter of modern browsers. Instead, as the Washington Post reports, a payment processing security standard forces most South Koreans to rely upon Internet Explorer for online shopping. Since the standard uses a unique encryption algorithm, an ActiveX control is required to complete online purchases. As a result, many internet users are in the habit of approving all AtivceX control prompts, potentially exposing them to malware."
Networking

Chinese Professor Builds Li-Fi System With Retail Parts 155

Posted by timothy
from the shine-on-crazy-diamond dept.
alphadogg writes "The equipment is big and expensive, with the research costs at almost $500,000. But by just using retail components, Chinese professor Chi Nan has built her own Li-Fi wireless system that can use LED lights to send and receive Internet data. "I bought the lights from Taobao," she said, referring to the Chinese e-commerce site. The professor from Fudan University showed off the technology on Tuesday at the China International Industry Fair in Shanghai. Unlike traditional Wi-Fi routers that use radio signals, Chi's system relies on light to send and receive data wirelessly. Others scientists, especially in the U.K., have also been researching the technology, and dubbed it "Li-Fi". But rather than develop specialized hardware, Chi bought off-the-shelf retail parts to create her system."
Programming

The Academy For Software Engineering: a High School For Developers 56

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the start-'em-young dept.
rjmarvin writes "The Academy for Software Engineering, right off of Manhattan's Union Square, is in its second year of educating students for a future in computer science and software engineering. No entrance exams, no admission standards, just an opportunity for any student interested in software to take specialized classes like robotics and programming, go on trips to companies like Google and Facebook, and spend summers interning at Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase before heading to college and into the workforce, powering the next wave of innovation as members of the tech workforce in New York's burgeoning 'Silicon Alley.'"
Medicine

Robotic Surgery Complications Going Underreported 99

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the robo-surgery-fun-until-amputation dept.
First time accepted submitter neapolitan writes "PBS has a report on the difficulties of tracking the complications arising from surgical robotic systems, particularly the Da Vinci robotic surgery apparatus. The original study (paywall) notes that there is a large lag in filing reports, and some are not reported at all. It is difficult to assess the continued outcomes and safety without accurate reporting data."
Programming

Bribe Devs To Improve Open Source Software 109

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the five-cents-for-two-years-of-work dept.
mikejuk writes "Bribe.io announces itself as: 'A super easy way to bribe developers to fix bugs and add features in the software you're using.' Recognizing the fact that a lot of open source projects are maintained by developers working alone and in their spare time, the idea is to encourage other developers to by specifying a monetary value to a bug report or feature enhancement. Once an initial 'Bribe' has been posted others can 'chip in' and add to the financial incentive."
Robotics

Japanese Researchers Build Rock-paper-scissors Robot That Wins 100% of the Time 114

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the humanity-is-doomed dept.
slew writes "Although the robot technically cheats because it watches your hand and can recognize what shape you are intending to make and beat it before you even know what is happening. Apparently it takes about 60ms for you to shape your hand, but the robot can recognize the shape before it is completed, and only takes 20ms to counter your shape so the results appear to the human opponent to be virtually simultaneous. I wonder how difficult it would be to add lizard and spock to the mix.... ;^)."

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