Note: You can take 10% off all Slashdot Deals with coupon code "slashdot10off." ×
The Internet

CenturyLink Takes $3B In Subsidies For Building Out Rural Broadband 196

New submitter club77er writes with a link to a DSL Reports article outlining some hefty subsidies (about $3 billion, all told) that CenturyLink has signed up to receive, in exchange for expanding its coverage to areas considered underserved: According to the CenturyLink announcement, the telco will take $500 million a year for six years from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)'s Connect America Fund (CAF). In exchange, it will expand broadband to approximately 1.2 million rural households and businesses in 33 states. While the FCC now defines broadband as 25 Mbps down, these subsidies require that the deployed services be able to provide speeds of at least 10 Mbps down.
Communications

A "Public Health" Approach To Internet of Things Security 45

New submitter StewBeans writes: Guaranteeing your personal privacy in an era when more and more devices are connecting our daily lives to the Internet is becoming increasingly difficult to do. David Bray, CIO of the FCC, emphasizes the exponential growth we are facing by comparing the Internet we know today to a beachball, and the Internet of Everything future to the Sun. Bray says unless you plan to unplug from the Internet completely, every consumer needs to assume some responsibility for the security and overall health of the Internet of Everything. He says this might look similar to public health on the consumer side — the digital equivalent of hand washing — and involve an open, opt-in model for the rapid detection of abnormal trends across global organizations and networks.
IBM

IBM Tells Administrators To Block Tor On Security Grounds 70

Mickeycaskill writes: IBM says Tor is increasingly being used to scan organizations for flaws and launch DDoS, ransomware and other attacks. Tor, which provides anonymity by obscuring the real point of origin of Internet communications, was in part created by the US government, which helps fund its ongoing development, due to the fact that some of its operations rely on the network. However, the network is also widely used for criminal purposes. A report by the IBM says administrators should block access to Tor , noting a "steady increase" an attacks originating from Tor exit nodes, with attackers increasingly using Tor to disguise botnet traffic. "Spikes in Tor traffic can be directly tied to the activities of malicious botnets that either reside within the Tor network or use the Tor network as transport for their traffic," said IBM. "Allowing access between corporate networks and stealth networks can open the corporation to the risk of theft or compromise, and to legal liability in some cases and jurisdictions."
Censorship

Proposed Rules Would Require Gov't Registration For Malaysian Press Sites 39

Malaysia's Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak has proposed mandatory government registration for web sites operating within Malaysia. This comes after the Malaysian government blocked the online Sarawak Report, and suspended a newspaper called the The Edge "for allegedly posting unverified information." Officials accused these news outlets of publishing inaccurate documents about a corruption scandal that linked the Prime Minister to 1MDB, a state-managed investment firm that reportedly lost billions of taxpayers’ money. ... The proposal to require news websites to register is seen by some as part of the government’s response to the rising outrage over the corruption issue.
Earth

In Germany, a Message-in-a-Bottle Found 108 Years After Its Release 57

schwit1 writes with a report that an early 20th century experiment has generated a belated data point. One of many floating bottles released 108 years ago to study currents was recently found by a German couple; it washed up on a beach in Amrum, Germany. From The Independent: When the couple unfurled the note inside, they found a message in English, German and Dutch. It asked the finder to fill in some information on where and when they had found the bottle, before returning it to the Marine Biological Association in Plymouth. It said whoever did so would be rewarded with one shilling. Communications director of the Marine Biological Association, Guy Baker, told The Daily Telegraph: "It was quite a stir when we opened that envelope, as you can imagine." Once at the association, staff recognised the bottle was one of 1,020 released into the North Sea between 1904 and 1906 as part of a project to test the strength of currents. Mr Baker told the paper: "It was a time when they were inventing ways to investigate what currents and fish did. Many of the bottles were found by fishermen trawling with deep sea nets. Others washed up on the shore, and some were never recovered. Most of the bottles were found within a relatively short time. We're talking months rather than decades."
Encryption

Engaging Newbies In Email Encryption and Network Privacy 83

reifman writes: All six parts of my series introducing beginners to PGP encryption and network privacy are now freely available. I hope it's useful for Slashdot readers to share with their less-technical acquaintances. There's an introduction to PGP, a guide to email encryption on the desktop, smartphone and in the browser, an introduction to the emerging key sharing and authentication startup, Keybase.io, and an intro to VPNs. There's a lot more work for us to do in the ease of use of communications privacy but this helps people get started more with what's available today.
Security

Reflection DDoS Attacks Abusing RPC Portmapper 34

msm1267 writes: Attackers have figured out how to use Portmapper, or RPC Portmapper, in reflection attacks where victims are sent copious amounts of responses from Portmapper servers, saturating bandwidth and keeping websites and web-based services unreachable. Telecommunications and Internet service provider Level 3 Communications of Colorado spotted anomalous traffic on its backbone starting in mid-June almost as beta runs of attacks that were carried out Aug. 10-12 against a handful of targets in the gaming and web hosting industries. There are 1.1 million Portmapper servers accessible online, and those open servers can be abused to similar effect as NTP servers were two years ago in amplification attacks.
The Internet

Another Wave of Publications Shut Down Online Comments 226

AmiMoJo writes: The debate about comment sections on news sites is often as divisive as the comments themselves. Recently outlets such as The Verge and The Daily Dot have closed their comments sections because they've become too hard to manage. And they're far from alone. Moderating comments is a full-time job (or several full-time jobs) at many news organisations. Nicholas White, editor at The Daily Dot, noted that "in our experience, our community hasn't evolved in our comments. It's evolved in our social media accounts. To have comments, you have to be very active, and if you're not incredibly active, what ends up happening is a mob can shout down all the other people on your site. In an environment that isn't heavily curated it becomes about silencing voices and not about opening up voices."

Riese, co-founder and editor-in-chief of LGBT site Autostraddle, adds, "I completely understand why The Daily Dot wouldn't want to have comments — or in fact why most websites wouldn't want to have comments. I think 75% of the time they're more trouble than they're worth, and for us it's still a lot of work to keep up on. Not all of our users are necessarily on Facebook or are out as gay on Facebook, or are comfortable talking about queer stuff on Facebook. We keep comments on the site which is a safe space for people to exchange ideas — and that's a big factor for us."
Businesses

Sprint Drops Two-Year Contracts 112

An anonymous reader writes: Following the recent news that Verizon has ended smartphone subsidies, now Sprint has announced it is ending two-year contracts as well. This leaves AT&T as the last of the major carriers to offer such a plan. Most consumers will now have to get used to paying full price for their phones, though Sprint is also running a phone-leasing plan that lets people pay an additional $22/month for an 16GB iPhone, with yearly upgrades.
Communications

FCC Fines Smart City $750K For Blocking Wi-Fi 188

schwit1 writes: FCC's Enforcement Bureau today announced a $750,000 settlement with Smart City Holdings, LLC for blocking consumers' Wi-Fi at various convention centers around the United States. Smart City, an Internet and telecommunications provider for conventions, meeting centers, and hotels, had been blocking personal mobile 'hotspots' that were being used by convention visitors and exhibitors who used their own data plans rather than paying Smart City substantial fees to use the company's Wi-Fi service.
Wireless Networking

The Promise of 5G 158

An anonymous reader writes: From instant monitoring of leaking pipelines, to real-time worldwide collaboration, the increase in machine-to-machine communications that 5G allows will change the way we live. This TechCrunch article takes a look at the promise that 5G holds and its possibilities. From the article: "By 2030, 5G will transform and create many uses that we cannot even think of yet. We will live in a world that will have 10-100 times more Internet-connected devices than there are humans. Hundreds of billions of machines will be sensing, processing and transmitting data without direct human control and intervention."
Communications

New Rules From the FCC Open Up New Access To Wi-Fi 64

CarlottaHapsburg writes: White space — unused channels in the VHF and UHF spectrum — is already part of daily life, from old telephones to going online at your coffee shop or plugging in baby monitors. The time has come to 'permit unlicensed fixed and personal/portable white space devices and unlicensed wireless microphones to use channels in the 600 MHz and television broadcast bands,' according to the FCC. One of the ramifications is that Wi-Fi could now blanket urban areas, as well as bringing it to rural areas and machine-to-machine technology. Rice University has tested a super Wi-Fi network linked by next-generation TV or smart remotes. Carriers are sure to be unhappy about this, but consumers will have the benefit of a newly open web.
Communications

Can Cuba Skip Cell Phone Connectivity? 138

lpress writes: Cuba has a second generation cellular network and Internet access is limited to about 5% of the population via work and school accounts and (mostly dial up) access in a few homes, so it was big news when they rolled out 35 public WiFi hotspots. Can they expand this public WiFi and skip 3G and 4G cell infrastructure until 5G equipment is available in about five years? By then, the US trade embargo will be gone, the Cuban economy will be improved and 5G and other wireless technologies will be available. Will they even need cell phone capability by then? The linked post has some interesting musings that apply to places other than Cuba, as well.
Robotics

Robotic Lawn Mower Gets Regulatory Approval 75

Dave Knott writes with news that US regulators have given iRobot clearance to make and sell an unmanned lawn mower. The company, known for its robot vacuum cleaner Roomba, has designed a robot lawn mower that would wirelessly connect with stakes in the ground operating as signal beacons, rising above the ground by as much as 61 centimetres. The Federal Communications Commission usually prohibits the operation of "fixed outdoor infrastructure" transmitting low-power radio signal without a licence. iRobot's lawn mower beacons fall in that category, and the stake design required a waiver from the FCC, which was opposed by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, stating that the lawn mowers would interfere with its telescopes. An anonymous reader writes with another piece of automated plant-related hardware at a slightly different scale: The tractor pulling the grain cart in the video has no one in the cab. It is controlled by an open source autopilot, and it can operate autonomously all day in the field without a driver. I can't take credit for every bit of hardware and software used but I did put it all together.
Security

New IP Address Blacklist Based On Web Chatter 31

itwbennett writes: A new approach to assembling blacklists analyzes chatter on the dark and open Web and can find malicious IP addresses that would have been missed using honeypots and intrusion detection systems, according to a report by security startup Recorded Future. On traditional blacklists, 99 percent of the addresses are for inbound activity, 'when someone is attacking your system from an external address,' said Staffan Truvé, chief scientist and co-founder at Recorded Future. On Recorded Future's new list, half of the addresses are for outbound activity, 'when an intruder is already in your systems, and is trying to connect to the outside world to exfiltrate data,' said Truvé. For example, Recorded Future identified 476 IP addresses associated with both the Dyreza and the Upatre malware families — only 41 of which were known to existing blacklists.
Cellphones

Don't Hate the Phone Call, Hate the Phone (And the Network) 145

Ever screamed at your phone, or wanted to, when it can't handle the basic job of linking you to another person by voice? antdude writes to say that The Atlantic has posted a long article titled "Don't Hate the Phone Call, Hate the Phone" about how our telephone habits have changed, but so have the infrastructure and design of the handset. A snippet: When you combine the seemingly haphazard reliability of a voice call with the sense of urgency or gravity that would recommend a phone call instead of a Slack DM or an email, the risk of failure amplifies the anxiety of unfamiliarity. Telephone calls now exude untrustworthiness from their very infrastructure. Going deeper than dropped connections, telephony suffered from audio-signal processing compromises long before cellular service came along, but the differences between mobile and landline phone usage amplifies those challenges, as well.
Space

Samsung Researchers Propose 4,600 Micro-Satellite Space Network 75

Bismillah writes: Samsung Electronics has proposed a network consisting of 4,600 micro-satellites that could act as backhaul for terrestrial cellular networks and take low-cost internet access worldwide. They project that by 2028, cellular and Wi-Fi traffic will exceed 1 zettabyte/month, and their goal is to design a system with equivalent capacity (PDF). "With the satellite-based backhaul, cellular and wi-fi deployments become practical in remote regions of the earth where there is no wired Internet infrastructure." The plan would require significant amounts of wireless spectrum, as well as satellites capable of 1 Tb/s or higher.
Communications

Clinton Surrendering Email Server/Data To Feds After Top Secret Mail Found 676

An anonymous reader writes: Hillary Clinton's lawyer has surrendered three thumb drives with copies of emails from her server to the Justice Department, which is also where the controversial Clinton personal email server is destined as well. The FBI determined that Clinton's lawyer could no longer retain the thumb drives after two emails from a small sample were found to contain information classified as "Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information," which would also taint the server. There is no evidence that encryption was used to protect the emails. From the limited reviews to date, Secretary Clinton and her aides exchanged emails containing classified information with at least six people with private email addresses. So far four of Clinton's top aides have turned over emails to the State Department, and there are demands that six more do so. The State Department's inspector general has stated that his office is reviewing "the use of personal communications hardware and software by five secretaries of state and their immediate staffs." Current U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has stated, "it is very likely" that China and Russia are reading his emails.
Communications

Sending Angry Emails Just Makes You Angrier 161

An anonymous reader writes: Sending a blistering email can be cathartic. People consistently report feeling better after venting, and doing so over email is no exception. But researchers find those who vent their anger tend to only become angrier and more aggressive, and doing so in an impersonal way like email only makes it worse. "E-venting is particularly risky, experts say. We think it's private because we can do it in a secluded place, like our bed while we're in our pajamas. We have our phones with us all the time so we often e-vent before we've had a chance to calm down. A rant put out via the Internet is a click away from being shared." Combine this with how we typically sound angrier in print, and can't see feedback from our targets, it can lead to more volatile situations than we intended.
Google

Google Fi: Simple Until It's Not 51

An anonymous reader writes: When Google started Project Fi, one of their big goals was to make cell phone calling simple and predictable. By combining Wi-Fi calling with cellular networks and flat $10/GB pricing, they're trying to put together a service that "just works." But as Dieter Bohn writes, things can get a lot more complicated when you try to integrate it with other Google services, like Voice. He says, "Precisely what happens when you port your number from Voice to Fi (which are kind of the same thing — but not really!) is clear as mud. ... You won't lose your Google Voice number, and it will still do most of the stuff it did before, but you may have to wend your way back to the 2011-era Google Voice site to manage it. Your texts no longer forward via SMS but they're available in the Hangouts App. You can't call people from Google Voice on the web but you can from Hangouts. Oh, and on Android there's a Hangouts dialer app you can use, sometimes, just because."