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Security

FreeBSD-Current Random Number Generator Broken 105

Posted by samzenpus
from the protect-ya-neck dept.
First time accepted submitter bobo the hobo writesThe FreeBSD random number has been discovered to be generating possibly predictable SSH keys and SSL certificates for months. Time to regenerate your keys and certs if using FreeBSD-Current. A message to the freebsd-current mailing list reads in part: "If you are running a current kernel r273872 or later, please upgrade your kernel to r278907 or later immediately and regenerate keys. I discovered an issue where the new framework code was not calling randomdev_init_reader, which means that read_random(9) was not returning good random data. read_random(9) is used by arc4random(9) which is the primary method that arc4random(3) is seeded from."
Businesses

MPAA Considers Major Changes After Sony Hack 65

Posted by samzenpus
from the changing-things-up dept.
Earthquake Retrofit shares this story about changes that may be coming to the MPAA prompted by the Sony hack. "Fissures revealed by the hacking at Sony Pictures Entertainment have raised the prospect of profound change at one of Hollywood's oldest institutions: the Motion Picture Association of America. In a behind-the-scenes drama, the Sony Pictures chairman, Michael Lynton, last month told industry colleagues of a plan to withdraw from the movie trade organization, according to people who have been briefed on the discussions. He cited the organization’s slow response and lack of public support in the aftermath of the attack on Sony and its film The Interview, as well as longstanding concerns about the cost and efficacy of the group. Reversing course in mid-January, as the Oscar nominations were being announced, Mr. Lynton stayed in. But he and other studio executives are now discussing proposals that could alter the structure, mandate and governance of a 93-year-old organization that has been the policy front for Hollywood’s major film studios."
Security

Uber Will Add Panic Button and Location/Journey Sharing In India 91

Posted by samzenpus
from the keeping-it-safe dept.
mpicpp sends word about new Uber safety measures coming soon to India. "Late last year, Uber announced plans for tighter safety measures in India following the rape of a passenger using its service in December. Now it has confirmed that two major features — an in-app panic button and journey/location sharing — will roll out to users in India on February 11

The company went public with the launch date after Times Of India reported that the Mumbai transportation department was considering a ban on its service over its apparent approach to safety. Authorities are reportedly "not happy with Uber representatives' responses during various meetings held to consider measures for passengers' safety."

Uber cleared the air on its plans to settle "some misconceptions" around its safety policy — which already includes more stringent background checks and a dedicated emergency response team. That will be boosted when the in-app panic button, which alerts local police when triggered, and a 'safety net' feature, which goes beyond Uber's existing 'share my ETA' feature to let customers share details of their location and trip with up to five other people, go live in India next week."
Image

South Korean Activist To Drop "The Interview" In North Korea Using Balloons 146 Screenshot-sm

Posted by samzenpus
from the it's-raining-movies dept.
Siddharth Srinivas writes Park Sang Hak, a North Korean democracy activist, said he will start dropping 100,000 DVDs and USBs with Sony's The Interview by balloon in North Korea as early as late January. He's partnering with the U.S.-based non-profit Human Rights Foundation, which is financing the making of the DVDs and USB memory sticks of the movie with Korean subtitles.
Biotech

Material Possiblities: A Flying Drone Built From Fungus 52

Posted by timothy
from the mushroom-treatment dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes What if you could construct an unmanned aerial vehicle out of biological material, specifically a lightweight-but-strong one known as mycelium? The vegetative part of a fungus, mycelium is already under consideration as a building material; other materials would include cellulose sheets, layered together into "leather," as well as starches worked into a "bioplastic." While a mushroom-made drone is probably years away from takeoff, a proposal for the device caught some attention at this year's International Genetically Engineered Machine competition. Designed by a team of students from Brown, Spelman, and Stanford Universities in conjunction with researchers from NASA, such a drone would (theoretically) offer a cheap and lightweight way to get a camera and other tools airborne. 'If we want to fly it over wildfires to see where it's spreading, or if there's a nuclear meltdown and we want to fly in to see what's going on with the radioactivity, we can send in the drone and it can send back data without returning,' Ian Hull, a Stanford sophomore involved in the project, told Fast Company.
Communications

Twitter Use By Romney and Obama In 2012 Highlight the Speed of Social Media 47

Posted by samzenpus
from the speed-is-power dept.
HughPickens.com writes On 30 August 2012, Hollywood star Clint Eastwood took the stage to lambast President Obama. What ensued was an odd, 11-minute monologue where Eastwood conversed with an empty chair upon which an imaginary Barack Obama sat. The evening of Eastwood's speech the official campaign Twitter account @MittRomney did not mention the actor, while the Obama campaign deftly tweeted out from @BarackObama a picture of the president sitting in his chair with the words "This Seat's Taken". The picture was retweeted 59,663 times, favorited 23,887 times, and, as importantly, was featured in news articles across the country. According to Daniel Kress both campaigns sought to influence journalists in direct and indirect ways, and planned their strategic communication efforts around political events such as debates well in advance. Despite these similarities, staffers say that Obama's campaign had much greater ability to respond in real time to unfolding commentary around political events (PDF) given an organizational structure that provided digital staffers with a high degree of autonomy.

Romney's social media team did well when it practiced its strategy carefully before big events like the debates. But Obama's social media team was often quicker to respond to things and more creative. According to Kress, at extraordinary moments campaigns can exercise what Isaac Reed calls "performative power," influence over other actors' definitions of the situation and their consequent actions through well-timed, resonant, and rhetorically effective communicative action and interaction. During the Romney campaign as many as 22 staffers screened posts for Romney's social media accounts before they could go out. As Romney's digital director Zac Moffatt told Kreiss, the campaign had "the best tweets ever written by 17 people. ... It was the best they all could agree on every single time."
Transportation

FAA Report Says Near Collisions With Drones On the Rise 115

Posted by timothy
from the hence-the-need-for-turret-guns dept.
The Washington Post reports that Pilots around the United States have reported a surge in near-collisions and other dangerous encounters with small drones in the past six months at a time when the Federal Aviation Administration is gradually opening the nation’s skies to remotely controlled aircraft, according to FAA records. ... Many of the previously unreported incident reports — released Wednesday by the FAA in response to long-standing public-records requests from The Washington Post and other news organizations — occurred near New York and Washington. The FAA data indicates that drones are posing a much greater hazard to air traffic than previously recognized. Until Wednesday, the FAA had publicly disclosed only one other near-collision between a drone and a passenger aircraft: a March 22 incident involving a US Airways regional airliner near Tallahassee, Fla.
Australia

Australia Elaborates On a New Drift Model To Find MH370 154

Posted by samzenpus
from the still-looking dept.
hcs_$reboot writes Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared on Saturday, 8 March 2014, while flying from Malaysia to Beijing with 239 people on board. And 8 months later, after millions of dollars invested in a gigantic search operation, there is still no sign of the aircraft. Now, Australia is developing a new model to predict where the debris of the missing MH370 could wash up. Authorities had initially predicted that the plane's wreckage could drift and come ashore on Indonesia's West Sumatra island after about 4 months of Flight MH370's disappearance. "We are currently working... to see if we can get an updated drift model for a much wider area where there might be possibilities of debris washing ashore," search co-ordinator Peter Foley told reporters in Perth.
Businesses

Amazon Releases (Not Many) Details On Its Workforce Demographics 123

Posted by timothy
from the how-many-people-do-you-employ? dept.
theodp (442580) writes Late to the table on disclosing workforce demographics, Amazon posted a diversity report to its website on Halloween, revealing that its global work force is 63% male and 37% female, while in the U.S., its work force is 60% white, 15% black, 13% Asian and 9% Hispanic. More lacking in granular detail than the less-than-transparent diversity data provided by its tech peers, Rainbow PUSH said Amazon's numbers were not as good as they appeared, and criticized the company for a lack of candor. "Their general work force data released by Amazon seems intentionally deceptive, as the company did not include the race or gender breakout of their technical work force," PUSH said in a statement. "The broad assumption is that a high percentage of their black and Latino employees work in their warehouses." Following the lead of other tech companies, Diversity at Amazon suggests the e-tailer's undisclosed-but-presumed lack of tech diversity could be blamed on "female students and students of color [who] are opting out of technology and engineering" as early as middle school and high school. Taking a page from Google's playbook, Amazon pointed to its involvement with the Anita Borg Institute, Code.org, Girls Who Code, and the National Center for Women & Information Technology as ways the company's addressing tech diversity deficiencies.
Space

MIT Professor Advocates Ending Asteroid Redirect Mission To Fund Asteroid Survey 116

Posted by samzenpus
from the identify-the-problem dept.
MarkWhittington writes Professor Richard Binzel published a commentary in the journal Nature that called for two things. He proposed that NASA cancel the Asteroid Redirect Mission currently planned for the early 2020s. Instead, he would like the asteroid survey mandated by the George E. Brown, Jr. Near-Earth Object Survey Act of 2005, part of the 2005 NASA Authorization Act, funded at $200 million a year. Currently NASA funds the survey at $20 million a year, considered inadequate to complete the identification of 90 percent of hazardous near-Earth objects 140 meters or greater by 2020 as mandated by the law.
Facebook

We Need Distributed Social Networks More Than Ello 269

Posted by timothy
from the pick-your-battles dept.
Frequent contributor Bennett Haselton writes: Facebook threatened to banish drag queen pseudonyms, and (some) users revolted by flocking to Ello, a social network which promised not to enforce real names and also to remain ad-free. Critics said that the idealistic model would buckle under pressure from venture capitalists. But both gave scant mention to the fact that a distributed social networking protocol, backed by a player large enough to get people using it, would achieve all of the goals that Ello aspired to achieve, and more. Read on for the rest.
Open Source

Ask Slashdot: Where Do You Get (or Share) News About Open Source Projects? 85

Posted by timothy
from the just-start-typing-random-ips dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Now that freshmeat.net / freecode.com doesn't accept any updates, I wonder how the Slashdot crowd gets news about new projects, and even new versions of existing projects. For project managers, where could you announce new versions of your project, so that it can reach not just those who already know the project. Freshmeat / Freecode had all the tools to explore and discover projects, see screenshots (a mandatory feature for any software project, even with only a console interface or no interface at all) and go to the homepage of the project. I subscribed years ago to the RSS feed and sometimes found interesting projects this way. You could replace these tools by subscribing to newsletters or feeds from the projects you follow, but that doesn't cover the discovery part." And do any of the major development / hosting platforms for Free / Open Source projects (GitHub, Launchpad, or Slashdot sister-site SourceForge) have tools you find especially useful for skimming projects of interest?
Google

Google Reader: One Year Later 132

Posted by timothy
from the somehow-we-manage dept.
Nate the greatest (2261802) writes "Just over a year has passed since Google closed Google Reader; have your reading habits changed? When Google announced in March 2013 that Google Reader would close, a number of pundits saw it as a sign of the imminent death of RSS feeds as redundant tech. But 15 months has gone by and I can't see that very much has changed. Former Google Reader users fled to any number of smaller competitors, including Feedly, which as a result quadrupled its userbase from around 4 million users to around 15 million users and 24,000 paying customers in February 2014. I can't speak for you but I am still getting my news from RSS feeds, just like I did before the Readerpocalypse. Zite might be gone and Pulse might belong to LinkedIn but RSS feeds are still around."
The Almighty Buck

Senate Budgetmakers Move To End US Participation In ITER 225

Posted by timothy
from the costs-and-benefits dept.
Graculus (3653645) writes Budgetmakers in the U.S. Senate have moved to halt U.S. participation in ITER, the huge international fusion experiment now under construction in Cadarache, France, that aims to demonstrate that nuclear fusion could be a viable source of energy. Although the details are not available, Senate sources confirm a report by Physics Today that the Senate's version of the budget for the Department of Energy (DOE) for fiscal year 2015, which begins 1 October, would provide just $75 million for the United States' part of the project. That would be half of what the White House had requested and just enough to wind down U.S. involvement in ITER. According to this story from April, the U.S. share of the ITER budget has jumped to "$3.9 billion — roughly four times as much as originally estimated." (That's a pretty big chunk; compare it, say, to NASA's entire annual budget.)
Security

Microsoft Suspending "Patch Tuesday" Emails 145

Posted by timothy
from the just-visit-our-lair-for-updates dept.
New submitter outofluck70 (1734164) writes Got an email today from Microsoft, text is below. [Note: text here edited for formatting and brevity; see the full text at seclists.org.] They are no longer going to send out emails regarding patches, you have to use RSS or keep visiting their security sites. They blame "governmental policies" as the reason. What could the real reason be? Anybody in the know? From the email: "Notice to IT professionals: As of July 1, 2014, due to changing governmental policies concerning the issuance of automated electronic messaging, Microsoft is suspending the use of email notifications that announce the following: Security bulletin advance notifications; Security bulletin summaries; New security advisories and bulletins; Major and minor revisions to security advisories and bulletins. In lieu of email notifications, you can subscribe to one or more of the RSS feeds described on the Security TechCenter website." WindowsIT Pro blames Canada's new anti-spam law.
Moon

Why the Moon's New Birthday Means the Earth Is Older Than We Thought 98

Posted by timothy
from the just-measure-the-depth-of-the-mold dept.
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes You're likely familiar with the theory of how the Moon formed: a stray body smashed into our young Earth, heating the planet and flinging debris into its orbit. That debris coalesced and formed the Moon. The impact theory still holds, but a team of geochemists from the University of Lorraine in Nancy, France has refined the date, finding that the Moon is about 60 million years older than we thought. As it turns out, that also means the Earth is 60 million years older than previously thought, which is a particularly cool finding considering just how hard it is to estimate the age of our planet.
Medicine

The Light Might Make You Heavy 138

Posted by Soulskill
from the switch-to-zero-calorie-light dept.
Rambo Tribble writes: "Writing in the American Journal of Epidemiology, researchers have found that sleeping with high ambient light levels may contribute to obesity (abstract). In a survey of 113,000 women, a high correlation was found between higher bedroom light levels and increased propensity to be overweight or obese. Excess light in the sleeping environment has long been known to adversely affect melatonin production and circadian rhythms. It is posited that such an interference with the 'body clock' may be behind these results. Although there is not yet enough evidence to call this a smoking gun, as one researcher put it, 'Overall this study points to the importance of darkness.'"
Bug

Finding More Than One Worm In the Apple 116

Posted by timothy
from the looking-deeper dept.
davecb (6526) writes "At Guido von Rossum's urging, Mike Bland has a look at detecting and fixing the "goto fail" bug at ACM Queue. He finds the same underlying problem in both in the Apple and Heartbleed bugs, and explains how to not suffer it again." An excerpt: "WHY DIDN'T A TEST CATCH IT? Several articles have attempted to explain why the Apple SSL vulnerability made it past whatever tests, tools, and processes Apple may have had in place, but these explanations are not sound, especially given the above demonstration to the contrary in working code. The ultimate responsibility for the failure to detect this vulnerability prior to release lies not with any individual programmer but with the culture in which the code was produced. Let's review a sample of the most prominent explanations and specify why they fall short. Adam Langley's oft-quoted blog post13 discusses the exact technical ramifications of the bug but pulls back on asserting that automated testing would have caught it: "A test case could have caught this, but it's difficult because it's so deep into the handshake. One needs to write a completely separate TLS stack, with lots of options for sending invalid handshakes.""
Privacy

Member of President Obama's NSA Panel Recommends Increased Data Collection 349

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-so-fast dept.
cold fjord writes "National Journal reports, 'Michael Morell, the former acting director of the CIA and a member of President Obama's task force on surveillance, said ... that a controversial telephone data-collection program conducted by the National Security Agency should be expanded to include emails. He also said the program, far from being unnecessary, could prevent the next 9/11. Morell, seeking to correct any misperception that the presidential panel had called for a radical curtailment of NSA programs, said he is in favor of restarting a program that the NSA discontinued in 2011 that involved the collection of "meta-data" for internet communications. ... "I would argue actually that the email data is probably more valuable than the telephony data," ... Morell also said that while he agreed with the report's conclusion that the telephone data program, conducted under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, made "only a modest contribution to the nation's security" so far, it should be continued under the new safeguards recommended by the panel. "I would argue that what effectiveness we have seen to date is totally irrelevant to how effective it might be in the future," he said. "This program, 215, has the ability to stop the next 9/11 and if you added emails in there it would make it even more effective. Had it been in place in 2000 and 2001, I think that probably 9/11 would not have happened."' — More at Politico and National Review. Some members of Congress have a different view. Even Russian President Putin has weighed in with both a zing and a defense."