First Successful Collision Attack On the SHA-1 Hashing Algorithm (google.com) 10

Artem Tashkinov writes: Researchers from Dutch and Singapore universities have successfully carried out an initial attack on the SHA-1 hashing algorithm by finding a collision at the SHA1 compression function. They describe their work in the paper "Freestart collision for full SHA-1". The work paves the way for full SHA-1 collision attacks, and the researchers estimate that such attacks will become reality at the end of 2015. They also created a dedicated web site humorously called The SHAppening.

Perhaps the call to deprecate the SHA-1 standard in 2017 in major web browsers seems belated and this event has to be accelerated.


Verizon Boosts Price of Grandfathered Unlimited Data Plans By $20 (theverge.com) 62

nicholasjay writes: In November, Verizon Wireless is going to start charging its customers with the grandfathered "unlimited data" plans an extra $20 for the data. This is obviously an attempt to get people off of the old unlimited data plans. Even though a Verizon spokesperson confirmed the change, I'm hoping they won't go through with this plan — but right now I'm weighing all my options.

Apple Approves, Then Removes In-App Ad Blocker (reuters.com) 34

Mickeycaskill writes: Apple has pulled a number of applications from the App Store, most notably the "Been Choice" ad blocker, because of concerns the methods they employ to rid adverts could compromise sensitive user data. iOS 9 allows for the installation of applications that block adverts in Safari, but other apps like Been Choice go one step further and let users remove adverts from applications – including Apple News. Been Choice routes traffic through a VPN to filter out adverts in some applications, but it this technique has attracted the attention of Apple, which is concerned user data could be exposed. Apple says it is working with developers to get their apps back up and Been is refining its application for resubmission. In any case, Been says users must opt-in for in-app ad blocking and that no data is stored on its servers.

Emissions Scandal Expands: Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Mazda, and Mitsubishi (theguardian.com) 193

An anonymous reader writes: Volkswagen has taken some serious heat for deliberately circumventing emissions tests with "defeat devices" in some of their vehicles. While no other cars have been found to use specific devices to fool tests in the same way, we're now learning that many manufacturers still mysteriously perform worse in the real world. Last week, the Guardian revealed that diesel cars from Nissan, Hyundai, Citroen, Fiat, Volvo, and Renault emitted significantly more pollution in realistic driving conditions than the tests supposedly allow. Now, we learn that vehicles from Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Mazda, and Mitsubishi emit substantially more than they should as well. For example: "Mercedes-Benz's diesel cars produced an average of 0.406g/km of NOx on the road, at least 2.2 times more than the official Euro 5 level and five times higher than the Euro 6 level. Honda's diesel cars emitted 0.484g/km of NOx on average, between 2.6 and six times the official levels." This provides clear evidence that the automotive industry is designing its cars to follow the letter of the law (passing tests), but not the spirit (actually reducing pollution).

2015 Nobel Peace Prize Awarded To Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet (nobelprize.org) 28

Dave Knott writes: A Tunisian democracy group won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for its contributions to the first and most successful Arab Spring movement. The Norwegian Nobel Committee cited the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet "for its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy" in the North African country following its 2011 revolution. Tunisian protesters sparked uprisings across the Arab world in 2011 that overthrew dictators and upset the status quo. Tunisia is the only country in the region to painstakingly build a democracy, involving a range of political and social forces in dialogue to create a constitution, legislature and democratic institutions. The National Dialogue Quartet is made up of four key organizations in Tunisian civil society: the Tunisian General Labour Union; the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts; the Tunisian Human Rights League; and the Tunisian Order of Lawyers.

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Iran-Based Hacking Crew Uses Fake LinkedIn Profiles In Espionage Attacks (secureworks.com) 32

An anonymous reader writes: The Iranian hacker group Cleaver has been directing a cyber spying campaign at bodies in the Middle East across a network of fake LinkedIn accounts. It is thought that the threat actors were using the professional platform to gather intelligence using six 'leader' profiles, each with over 500 connections, and a collection of 'supporter' accounts. According to Dell researchers, recruitment advertisements and skill endorsements from 'supporter' accounts were used to boost credibility. Perhaps they're after the New Yorker crowd, too.

World's First 5G Field Trial Delivers Speeds of 3.6Gbps Using Sub-6GHz 39

Mark.JUK writes: Global Chinese ICT firm Huawei and Japanese mobile giant NTT DOCOMO today claim to have conducted the world's first large-scale field trial of future 5th generation (5G) mobile broadband technology, which was able to deliver a peak speed of 3.6Gbps (Gigabits per second). Previous trials have used significantly higher frequency bands (e.g. 20-80GHz), which struggle with coverage and penetration through physical objects. By comparison Huawei's network operates in the sub-6GHz frequency band and made use of several new technologies, such as Multi-User MIMO (concurrent connectivity of 24 user devices in the macro-cell environment), Sparse Code Multiple Access (SCMA) and Filtered OFDM (F-OFDM). Assuming all goes well then Huawei hopes to begin a proper pilot in 2018, with interoperability testing being completed during 2019 and then a commercial launch to follow in 2020. But of course they're not the only team trying to develop a 5G solution.
Data Storage

Amazon To Offer Sneakernet Services: Data Upload By Mail 64

blueshift_1 writes: If you have 50TB of data that you'd like to put on the S3 cloud, Amazon is releasing Snowball. It's basically a large grey box full of hard drives that Amazon will mail to you. Simply upload your files and mail it back — they will upload it for you. For $200 + shipping, it's at a pretty reasonable price point if you're tired of hosting your data and want to try and push that to AWS. ("Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes hurtling down the highway." -Tanenbaum, Andrew S.)

Barnes & Noble Has Been Quietly Refreshing Its Nook Hardware (itworld.com) 24

itwbennett writes: Peter Smith writes that he 'had more or less written off the Nook when Barnes & Noble farmed hardware duties out to Samsung.' But now that Amazon is aiming for the low end with its downgraded Fire tablet line, Barnes & Noble has an opportunity to 'carve out a niche on the higher end of things,' says Smith. And so it has been quietly moving in that direction. Yesterday, Venture Beat wrote about the newly (and stealthily) launched $250 Samsung Galaxy Tab E Nook. As Smith notes, 'the specs for this new tablet aren't anything special,' which might explain the stealthy launch, except that another, pricier Nook tablet apparently came out a month ago (again, according to VentureBeat), the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 Nook.

Google Helped Cause the Mysterious Increase In 911 Calls SF Asked It To Solve (bbc.com) 128

theodp writes: Android users have long complained publicly that it's way too easy to accidentally dial 911. So it's pretty astonishing that it took a team of Google Researchers and San Francisco Department of Emergency Management government employees to figure out that butt-dialing was increasing the number of 911 calls. The Google 9-1-1 Team presented its results in How Googlers helped San Francisco Use Data Science to Understand a Surge in 911 Calls, a Google-sponsored presentation at the Code for America Summit, and in San Francisco's 9-1-1 Call Volume Increase, an accompanying 26-page paper.

Mozilla Sets Out Its Proposed Principles For Content Blocking (mozilla.org) 238

Mark Wilson writes: With Apple embracing ad blocking and the likes of AdBlock Plus proving more popular than ever, content blocking is making the headlines at the moment. There are many sides to the debate about blocking ads — revenue for sites, privacy concerns for visitors, speeding up page loads times (Google even allows for the display of ads with its AMP Project), and so on — but there are no signs that it is going to go away. Getting in on the action, Mozilla has set out what it believes are some reasonable principles for content blocking that will benefit everyone involved. Three cornerstones have been devised with a view to ensuring that content providers and content consumers get a fair deal, and you can help to shape how they develop.

SIgn Of the Times: Calif. Privacy Protections Signed Into Law 36

The EFF reports a spot of bright news from California: Governor Jerry Brown today signed into law the California Electronic Communications Privacy Act. CalECPA, says the organization, "protects Californians by requiring a warrant for digital records, including emails and texts, as well as a user's geographical location. These protections apply not only to your devices, but to online services that store your data. Only two other states have so far offered these protections: Maine and Utah." The ACLU provides a fact sheet (PDF) about what the bill entails, which says: SB 178 will ensure that, in most cases, the police must obtain a warrant from a judge before accessing a person's private information, including data from personal electronic devices, email, digital documents, text messages, and location information. The bill also includes thoughtful exceptions to ensure that law enforcement can continue to effectively and efficiently protect public safety in emergency situations. Notice and enforcement provisions in the bill provide proper transparency and judicial oversight to ensure that the law is followed.

Dell Brings 4K InfinityEdge Display To XPS 15 Line, GeForce GPU, Under 4 Pounds (hothardware.com) 75

MojoKid writes: There's no doubt that Dell's new XPS 13 notebook, when it debuted earlier this year, was very well received. Dell managed to cram a 13.3-inch 3200x1800 QHD+ display into a 12-inch carbon fiber composite frame. Dell has now brought that same InfinityEdge display technology to its larger XPS 15, which the company boasts has the same footprint as a 14-inch notebook. But Dell didn't just stay the course with the QHD+ resolution from the smaller XPS 13; the company instead is offering an optional UltraSharp 4K Ultra HD panel with 8 million pixels and 282 pixels per inch (PPI). The 350-nit display allows for 170-degree viewing angles and has 100 percent minimum Adobe RGB color. Dell also beefed up the XPS 15's internals, giving it sixth generation Intel Core processors (Skylake), support for up to 16GB of memory and storage options that top out with a 1TB SSD. Graphics duties are handled by either integrated Intel HD Graphics 530 or a powerful GeForce GTX 960M processor that is paired with 2GB GDDR5 memory. And all of this squeaks in at under 4 pounds.

Man Behind Week-Long Bitcoin Attacks Reveals Himself 67

An anonymous reader writes: A Russian man that calls himself "Alister Maclin" has been disrupting the Bitcoin network for over a week, creating duplicate transactions, and annoying users. According to Bitcoin experts, the attack was not dangerous and is the equivalent of "spam" on the Bitcoin blockchain servers, known in the industry as a "malleability attack," creating duplicate transactions, but not affecting Bitcoin funds. Maclin recently gave an interview to Vice.

Complex Living Brain Simulation Replicates Sensory Rat Behaviour (cell.com) 38

New submitter physick writes: The Blue Brain project at EPFL, Switzerland today published the results of more than 10 years work in reconstructing a cellular model of a piece of the somatosensory cortex of a juvenile rat. The paper in Cell describes the process of painstakingly assembling tens of thousands of digital neurons, establishing the location of their synapses, and simulating the resulting neocortical microcircuit on an IBM Blue Gene supercomputer. “This is a first draft reconstruction of a piece of neocortex and it’s beautiful,” said Henry Markram, director of the Blue Brain Project at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne. “It’s like a fundamental building block of the brain.”