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

United Kingdom

Hacking Online Polls and Other Ways British Spies Seek To Control the Internet 117

Posted by samzenpus
from the learning-to-troll dept.
Advocatus Diaboli writes The secretive British spy agency GCHQ has developed covert tools to seed the internet with false information, including the ability to manipulate the results of online polls, artificially inflate pageview counts on web sites, "amplif[y]" sanctioned messages on YouTube, and censor video content judged to be "extremist." The capabilities, detailed in documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, even include an old standby for pre-adolescent prank callers everywhere: A way to connect two unsuspecting phone users together in a call. The tools were created by GCHQ's Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG), and constitute some of the most startling methods of propaganda and internet deception contained within the Snowden archive. Previously disclosed documents have detailed JTRIG's use of "fake victim blog posts," "false flag operations," "honey traps" and psychological manipulation to target online activists, monitor visitors to WikiLeaks, and spy on YouTube and Facebook users.
Bug

4chan Launches '$20 Bug Bounty' After Hackers Ruin moot's Day 79

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the it-took-this-long? dept.
mask.of.sanity (1228908) writes "4chan's founder Moot has launched a bug bounty for the site after it was hacked, but is offering a meager $20 in 'self-serve ad spend' for all bugs. The bounty program was launched after the website and Moot's Amazon accounts were hacked. The intrusion spelled the end for DrawQuest which was closed after Moot decided it was not worth spending money to ensure the unprofitable but popular drawing platform was secure."
Software

GitHub Takes Down Satirical 'C Plus Equality' Language 575

Posted by timothy
from the questions-and-meta-questions dept.
FooAtWFU writes "Some clowns and jokers over at 4chan thought it would be a funny idea to put together a web page for a programming language named 'C Plus Equality' as a parody of feminism, dismissing OOP as 'objectifying' and inheritance as "a tool of the patriarchy". But this parody was apparently too hot to host at Github, which took down the original Github repository after receiving criticism on Twitter, prompting a backlash and inquiry into the role of free speech and censorship on Github's platform. The project has since found a new home on BitBucket, at least for the time being." Comments on an article describing the research which sparked the parody call the parody's language "fake," and compare it to the 1996 Sokal affair. (It also reminds me a bit of Jesux.)
Crime

One Boston Marathon Bomb Suspect Dead, Other At Large After Shootout With Police 1109

Posted by Soulskill
from the apparently-this-stuff-does-actually-happen-in-real-life dept.
theodp writes "During the night, The Tech broke news that gunshots were reported at MIT near 32 Vassar Street (the Ray and Maria Stata Center for Computer, Information, and Intelligence Sciences), and one officer was shot and taken to Mass General Hospital. MIT's Emergency Information page also reports that injuries have been reported. Sadly, CNN is now reporting that the university police officer has died. Look for updates on Twitter." The two suspects identified earlier as being behind the Boston Marathon bombings are believed to be responsible for this. They were found by police. One suspect, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed in a shootout. The other suspect, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is still being pursued. The Associated Press reports that the two are believed to be from the Russian region near Chechnya. During the firefight, the suspects threw explosive devices at police. Public transit in Boston has been shut down, and hundreds of thousands of people have been asked to not leave their homes. Here are live feed for local TV news and emergency services audio. Police have been warned that the remaining suspect may have a suicide vest.

Reader Okian Warrior points out a related story worthy of notice: "The 4chan crowd, poring over images of the Boston marathon, identified two dark-skinned and bag-carrying suspects (among others). This was then picked up by The New York Post, who ran the image on Thursday's front page with the headline 'Feds seek these two pictured at Boston Marathon.' And now, a completely innocent teen now finds himself scared to leave his home."
Businesses

The Real Reason Journal Articles Should Be Free 193

Posted by Soulskill
from the because-linking-to-paywalls-annoys-me dept.
Bennett Haselton writes "The U.S. government recently announced that academic papers on federally-funded research should become freely available online within one year of publication in a journal. But the real question is why academics don't simply publish most papers freely anyway. If the problem is that traditional journals have a monopoly on the kind of prestige that can only be conferred by having your paper appear in their hallowed pages, that monopoly can easily be broken, because there's no reason why open-access journals can't confer the same imprimatur of quality." Read on for the rest of Bennett's thoughts on the great free-access debate.
Stats

Why "We The People" Should Use Random Sample Voting 141

Posted by timothy
from the vote-early-often-and-loud dept.
Frequent contributor Bennett Haselton writes this week with his explanation of how an improved algorithm on the White House's petition-creation site could do away with Death Star petitions and even improve on the existing serious ones. Read on below for his modest proposal on that front.
Facebook

Facebook Test Will Let You Message Strangers For $1 325

Posted by Soulskill
from the here's-a-dollar-poke-someone-who-cares dept.
Spy Handler writes "According to PC Mag, 'Facebook is testing a feature that will let select users pay $1 to send messages to people with whom they have no connection on the social network. The $1 fee will open a thread with a non-Facebook friend. If that person replies to your note, you won't have to pay again to respond to them.' Facebook explained the test thus: 'Several commentators and researchers have noted that imposing a financial cost on the sender may be the most effective way to discourage unwanted messages and facilitate delivery of messages that are relevant and useful. This test is designed to address situations where neither social nor algorithmic signals are sufficient. For example, if you want to send a message to someone you heard speak at an event but are not friends with, or if you want to message someone about a job opportunity, you can use this feature to reach their Inbox. For the receiver, this test allows them to hear from people who have an important message to send them.'"
Censorship

Japanese Police Charge 2channel Founder Over Forum Posts 62

Posted by timothy
from the but-the-food-is-great dept.
identity0 writes "According to Japan Probe, Hiroyuki Nishimura, the founder of 2ch.net, has been charged with drug offenses by Japanese police over a forum post made on 2ch in 2010. He is not even accused of making the post, but of failure to have moderators delete it. The post apparently discussed drugs. 2ch.net (also called 2channel) is Japan's biggest forum, with over a million posts a day, of which the post in question was one. The site inspired image board 2chan.net (but is not directly related to it), which spawned copycat English site 4chan.net. More info at Slashdot Japan, if you can read Japanese."
First Person Shooters (Games)

Gabe Newell Confirms Source 2 Engine 88

Posted by samzenpus
from the coming-soon dept.
dotarray writes "Valve's Gabe Newell has confirmed that they are building the Source 2 engine, but haven't yet had the game to roll it out with. From the article: 'If you're not smiling yet, you'll definitely be doing so after you hear how the announcement was made. It was Gabe Newell's birthday on November 3rd, and 4Chan's /v/ (videogames) board decided to pay him a surprise visit. In addition to an enormous birthday card signed by many of /v/'s regulars, they also gave him an an actual Mann-Co crate, which he had to pay $2.50 to unlock in order to receive the gift of a combat helmet similar to the one worn by the Team Fortress 2 soldier. Irony at its best.'"
Open Source

4chan Undergoing Major Revision, Getting Public API 166

Posted by timothy
from the waiting-on-the-verticals dept.
AdmiralXyz writes "Even the darkest corners of the internet aren't immune to the Web 2.0 boom: BoingBoing reports that 4chan is working on the largest codebase update in its history. The new 4chan will include as standard the functionality of popular browser plugins for using the site, as well as a JSON API so- hooray?- anyone can have immediate access to the contents of 4chan for any purpose they like. This represents a significant update to the heretofore haphazard development process of 4chan, and opens up the possibility of third-party 4chan apps... though probably not on the App Store."
Security

Anonymous Claims Responsibility For WikiLeaks Attack 183

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the bored-teenagers-being-idiots dept.
mask.of.sanity writes "Anonymous members have taken responsibility for launching a denial of service attack against WikiLeaks this week using a custom-built tool that exploits an SQL server flaw. Field tests of the tool dubbed RefRef were launched against several websites including WikiLeaks, Pastebin and 4Chan. In a Twitter account linked to the Anonymous blog, the users were described as hacktivists with 'a personal vendetta against WikiLeaks,' adding that 'we are sorry we took you down. We are even.'"
Security

LulzSec Teams With Anonymous, In Operation AntiSec 419

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the summon-dennis-leary dept.
c0lo writes "After a brief spat where the notorious Anonymous hacking collective sniped at Lulzsec, the 'upstart' hacking collective, for crowing about low-rent Denial of Service attacks on the CIA and 4chan websites, the two groups have apparently teamed up in operation Anti-Sec. The operation's 'top priority is to steal and leak any classified government information, including email spools and documentation. Prime targets are banks and other high-ranking establishments. If they try to censor our progress, we will obliterate the censor with cannonfire anointed with lizard blood.' We can only predict that the following will be unpredictable: store canned food and flash batteries, change your eBanking password daily."
Facebook

Poole To Zuckerberg: You’re Doing It Wrong 371

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the also-something-about-bases dept.
An anonymous reader writes "At South by Southwest Interactive 2011 in Austin, Texas this week, 4chan founder Christopher Poole (also known as 'moot') took the stage to talk about various online issues. One of these was how important anonymity is on the Internet and how Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg doesn't get it."
The Almighty Buck

Anonymous Leaks Internal Bank of America Emails 535

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-see-what-you-did-there dept.
euphemistic writes "Reportedly the information Wikileaks was set to disclose about a particular bank back from December, 'a massive batch of internal Bank of America emails' has been leaked. While the site hosting it seems to currently be down due to the obviously gigantic amount of traffic interested in this leak, the leak is said to pertain to the Bank of America's improper foreclosure on homes. 'The report came from a former employee with Balboa Insurance — a risk management and insurance firm. The employee reportedly corresponded with Bank of America employees and was told to falsify loan numbers on documents to force Bank of America to foreclose on homeowners.'"
Image

4chan Declares War On Snow 201 Screenshot-sm

Posted by samzenpus
from the common-enemy dept.
With all the recent hacktivism in the news, Anonymous has decided to take on a new and powerful enemy: snow. On Sunday the group announced that it will "do everything in its power to shut snow down by attacking the Weather Channel and North Face websites, boycotting outerwear, and voting for the sun as Time’s 2010 Person Of The Year." I'm sure there are a lot of people in Minneapolis right now that would wish them luck.
Crime

Porn Site Gave Federal Agents Free Rein 319

Posted by timothy
from the turn-out-the-lights-when-you're-done dept.
Frosty Piss writes "The operators of a notorious porn site Free6.com granted federal agents administrative access to the site, giving investigators the ability to monitor traffic and public and private chats in an effort to identify users trading 'a significant amount of child pornography.' Though some bloggers have speculated about whether law enforcement officials have secretly been given administrative access to sites where users have been known to post child pornography (like 4chan), the Free6.com arrangement is apparently the first such compact to be disclosed by investigators."
Piracy

Comic Sales Soar After Artist Engages 4chan Pirates 305

Posted by kdawson
from the more-flies-with-honey dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Steve Lieber, the artist behind the graphic novel Underground, discovered that someone on 4chan had scanned and posted the entire comic. Rather than complaining, he joined the conversation, chatting with the 4channers about the comic... and the next day he saw his sales jump to unheard-of levels, much higher than he'd seen even when the comic book was reviewed on popular sites like Boing Boing."
Piracy

US Copyright Group — Lawsuits, DDoS, and Bomb Threats 365

Posted by Soulskill
from the fighting-fire-with-bombs dept.
Andorin writes "The US law firm of Dunlap, Grubb, & Weaver, otherwise known as the US Copyright Group, filed suit at the end of August against another 2,177 individuals for allegedly downloading and sharing the slasher film Cornered! (In total the USCG has now filed suit against over 16,200 individuals.) In retaliation, Operation Payback, the Anonymous-led project responsible for DDoSing websites of the RIAA and MPAA, targeted the US Copyright Group's website with a DDoS, temporarily bringing it down for a few hours. The group behind the attacks say they'll continue 'until they stop being angry.' Additionally, the local police department evacuated the office of Dunlap, Grubb, & Weaver after a bomb threat was emailed to the firm. The building was searched, but no bomb was found."
Security

DDoS From 4chan Hits MPAA and Anti-Piracy Website 318

Posted by Soulskill
from the wonder-how-much-piracy-went-unaddressed-while-they-were-down dept.
ACKyushu writes "Say what you like about 4chan; when they want something done, it gets done. Following a call to arms yesterday, the masses inhabiting the anonymous 4chan boards have carried out a huge assault on a pair of anti-piracy enemies. The website of Aiplex Software, the anti-piracy outfit which has been DDoSing torrent sites recently, fell victim to a DDoS itself. They were joined in the Internet wasteland by the MPAA's website, which also fell to a huge and sustained attack."

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