Security

USBKill Transforms a Thumb Drive Into an "Anti-Forensic" Device 244

Posted by timothy
from the content-scrambling-system dept.
Orome1 writes with a snippet from a report at net-security.org; a hacker going by Hephaestos has shared with the world a Python script that, when put on an USB thumb drive, turns the device in an effective kill switch for the computer to which it's plugged in. USBkill, as the programmer dubbed it, "waits for a change on your USB ports, then immediately kills your computer." The device would be useful "in case the police comes busting in, or steals your laptop from you when you are at a public library," Hephaestos explained.
Power

Tesla's Household Battery: Costs, Prices, and Tradeoffs 309

Posted by timothy
from the stick-it-on-the-wall dept.
Technologist Ramez Naam (hat tip to Tyler Cowen's "Marginal Revolution" blog) has taken a look at the economics of Tesla's new wall-mounted household battery system, and concludes that it's "almost there," at least for many places in the world -- and seems to already make sense in some. From his analysis: For some parts of the US with time-of-use plans, this battery is right on the edge of being profitable. From a solar storage perspective, for most of the US, where Net Metering exists, this battery isn’t quite cheap enough. But it’s in the right ballpark. And that means a lot. Net Metering plans in the US are filling up. California’s may be full by the end of 2016 or 2017, modulo additional legal changes. That would severely impact the economics of solar. But the Tesla battery hedges against that. In the absence of Net Metering, in an expensive electricity state with lots of sun, the battery would allow solar owners to save power for the evening or night-time hours in a cost effective way. And with another factor of 2 price reduction, it would be a slam dunk economically for solar storage anywhere Net Metering was full, where rates were pushed down excessively, or where such laws didn’t exist. That is also a policy tool in debates with utilities. If they see Net Metering reductions as a tool to slow rooftop solar, they’ll be forced to confront the fact that solar owners with cheap batteries are less dependent on Net Metering. ... And the cost of batteries is plunging fast. Tesla will get that 2x price reduction within 3-5 years, if not faster.
Power

Why Our Antiquated Power Grid Needs Battery Storage 329

Posted by Soulskill
from the investing-in-wires-is-boring-but-necessary dept.
Lucas123 writes: Last year, renewable energy sources accounted for half of new installed electric-generation capacity (natural gas units made up most of the remainder). As more photovoltaic panels are installed on rooftops around the nation, an antiquated power grid is being overburdened by a bidirectional load its was never engineered to handle. The Hawaiian Electric Company, for example, said it's struggling with electricity "backflow" that could destabilize its system. Batteries for distributed renewable power has the potential to mitigate the load on the national grid by allowing a redistribution of power during peak hours. Because of this, Tesla, which is expected to announce batteries for homes and utilities on Thursday, and others are targeting a market estimated to be worth $1.2B by 2019. Along with taking up some of the load during peak load, battery capacity can be used when power isn't being generated by renewable systems, such as at night and during inclement weather. That also reduces grid demand.
Power

Tesla To Announce Battery-Based Energy Storage For Homes 299

Posted by timothy
from the but-in-the-meantime-here's-this-preemptive-announcement dept.
Okian Warrior writes: Billionaire Elon Musk will announce next week that Tesla will begin offering battery-based energy storage for residential and commercial customers. The batteries power up overnight when energy companies typically charge less for electricity, then are used during the day to power a home. In a pilot project, Tesla has already begun offering home batteries to SolarCity (SCTY) customers, a solar power company for which Musk serves as chairman. Currently 330 U.S. households are running on Tesla's batteries in California. The batteries start at about $13,000, though California's Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PCG) offers customers a 50% rebate. The batteries are three-feet high by 2.5-feet wide, and need to be installed at least a foot and a half off the ground. They can be controlled with a Web app and a smartphone app.
Intel

Intel 'Compute Stick' PC-Over-HDMI Dongle Launched, Tested 174

Posted by Soulskill
from the minimally-elegant-product-names dept.
MojoKid writes: Intel has officially announced the availability of their Compute Stick HDMI dongle, and has lifted the embargo on early tests with the device. The Compute Stick is essentially a fully-functional, low-power, Atom-based system with memory, storage, and an OS, crammed into a dongle about 10cm long. There will initially be two compute sticks made available: one running Windows (model STCK1A32WFC) and another running Ubuntu (model STCK1A8LFC). The Windows 8.1 version of the Compute Stick is packing an Intel Atom Z3735F processor, with a single-channel of 2GB of DDR3L-1333 RAM and 32GB of internal storage, though out of the box only 19.2GB is usable. The Ubuntu version of the Compute Stick has as a similar CPU, but is packing only 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. All sticks have USB and MicroSD expansion capability. It doesn't burn through any benchmarks, but for multi-media playback, basic computing tasks, web browsing, HD video, or remote access, the Compute Stick has enough muscle to get the job done, and it's cheap, too: $99 — $149.
Intel

New PCIe SSDs Load Games, Apps As Fast As Old SATA Drives 162

Posted by samzenpus
from the you-don't-need-a-race-car-if-you're-just-driving-to-work dept.
crookedvulture writes Slashdot has covered a bunch of new PCI Express SSDs over the past month, and for good reason. The latest crop offers much higher sequential and random I/O rates than predecessors based on old-school Serial ATA interfaces. They're also compatible with new protocols, like NVM Express, which reduce overhead and improve scaling under demanding loads. As one might expect, these new PCIe drives destroy the competition in targeted benchmarks, hitting top speeds several times faster than even the best SATA SSDs can muster. The thing is, PCIe SSDs don't load games or common application data any faster than current incumbents—or even consumer-grade SSDs from five years ago. That's very different from the initial transition from mechanical to solid-state storage, where load times improved noticeably for just about everything. Servers and workstations can no doubt take advantage of the extra oomph that PCIe SSDs provide, but desktop users may struggle to find scenarios where PCIe SSDs offer palpable performance improvements over even budget-oriented SATA drives.
Data Storage

Kingston HyperX Predator SSD Takes Gumstick M.2 PCIe Drives To 1.4GB/sec 51

Posted by timothy
from the sure-hope-those-drives-appreciated-it dept.
MojoKid writes Kingston recently launched their HyperX Predator PCIe SSD that is targeted at performance-minded PC enthusiasts but is much less expensive than enterprise-class PCIe offerings that are currently in market. Kits are available in a couple of capacities and form factors at 240GB and 480GB. All of the drives adhere to the 80mm M.2 2280 "gumstick" form factor and have PCIe 2.0 x4 connections, but are sold both with and without a half-height, half-length adapter card, if you'd like to drop it into a standard PCI Express slot. At the heart of the Kingston HyperX Predator is Marvell's latest 88SS9293 controller. The Marvell 88SS9293 is paired to a gigabyte of DDR3 memory and Toshiba A19 Toggle NAND. The drives are rated for read speeds up to 1.4GB/s and writes of 1GB/s and 130 – 160K random 4K IOPS. In the benchmarks, the 480GB model put up strong numbers. At roughly $1 per GiB, the HyperX Predator is about on par with Intel's faster SSD 750, but unlike Intel's new NVMe solution, the Kingston drive will work in all legacy platforms as well, not just Z97 and X99 boards with a compatible UEFI BIOS.
Security

FBI Accuses Researcher of Hacking Plane, Seizes Equipment 270

Posted by Soulskill
from the security-theater dept.
chicksdaddy writes: The Feds are listening, and they really can't take a joke. That's the apparent moral of security researcher Chris Roberts' legal odyssey on Wednesday, which saw him escorted off a plane in Syracuse by two FBI agents and questioned for four hours over a humorous tweet Roberts posted about his ability to hack into the cabin control systems of the Boeing 737 he was flying. Roberts (aka @sidragon1) joked that he could "start playing with EICAS messages," a reference to the Engine Indicating and Crew Alerting System.

Roberts was traveling to Syracuse to give a presentation. He said local law enforcement and FBI agents boarded the plane on the tarmac and escorted him off. He was questioned for four hours, with officers alleging they had evidence he had tampered with in-flight systems on an earlier leg of his flight from Colorado to Chicago. Roberts said the agents questioned him about his tweet and whether he tampered with the systems on the United flight -something he denies doing. Roberts had been approached earlier by the Denver office of the FBI which warned him away from further research on airplanes. The FBI was also looking to approach airplane makers Boeing and Airbus and wanted him to rebuild a virtualized environment he built to test airplane vulnerabilities to verify what he was saying.

Roberts refused, and the FBI seized his encrypted laptop and storage devices and has yet to return them, he said. The agents said they wished to do a forensic analysis of his laptop. Roberts said he declined to provide that information and requested a warrant to search his equipment. As of Friday, Roberts said he has not received a warrant.
Data Storage

Samsung SSD On a Tiny M.2 Stick Is Capable of Read Speeds Over 2GB/sec 72

Posted by Soulskill
from the unless-it's-got-the-evo840-problem dept.
MojoKid writes: Samsung has just announced its new SM951-NVMe SSD, the industry's first NVMe SSD to employ an M.2 form-factor. Samsung says the new gumstick style drive is capable of sequential read and write speeds of 2,260 MB/sec and 1,600 MB/sec respectively. Comparable SATA-based M.2 SSDs typically can only push read/write speeds of 540 MB/sec and 500 MB/sec, while most standard PCIe versions muster just north of 1GB/sec. The Samsung SM951-NVMe's performance is actually very comparable to the Intel SSD 750 Series PCIe x4 card but should help kick notebook performance up a notch in this common platform configuration.
Data Storage

New Samsung SSD 840 EVO Read Performance Fix Coming Later This Month 72

Posted by Soulskill
from the slower-than-fastest-but-faster-than-slowest dept.
An anonymous reader writes: The Samsung SSD 840 EVO read performance bug has been on the table for over six months now. Initially Samsung acknowledged the issue fairly quickly and provided a fix only a month after the news hit the mainstream tech media, but reports of read performance degradation surfaced again a few weeks after the fix had been released, making it clear that the first fix didn't solve the issue for all users. Two months ago Samsung announced that a new fix is in the works and last week Samsung sent out the new firmware along with Magician 4.6 for testing, which will be available to the public later this month.
Data Storage

Ask Slashdot: Best Medium For Storing Data To Survive a Fire (or Other Disaster) 446

Posted by samzenpus
from the burning-down-the-house dept.
First time accepted submitter aka_bigred writes Every year as I file my taxes, I replicate my most important financial data (a couple GB of data) to store an offline copy in my fire-rated home safe. This gets me thinking about what the most reliable data media would be to keep in my fire-rated home safe.

CDs/DVDs/tapes could easily melt or warp rendering them useless, so I'm very hesitant to use them. I've seen more exotic solutions that let you print your digital data to paper an optically re-import it later should you ever need it, but it seems overly cumbersome and error prone should it be damaged or fire scorched. That leaves my best options being either a classic magnetic platter drive, or some sort of solid state storage, like SD cards, USB flash drives, or a small SSD. The problem is, I can't decide which would survive better if ever exposed to extreme temperatures, or water damage should my house burn down.

Most people would just suggest to store it in "the cloud", but I'm naturally averse to doing so because that means someone else is responsible for my data and I could lose it to hackers, the entity going out of business, etc. Once it leaves my home, I no longer fully control it, which is unacceptable. My thought being "they can't hack/steal what they can't physically access." What medium do other Slashdot users use to store their most important data (under say 5GB worth) in an at-home safe to protect it from fire?
Operating Systems

First Alpha of Public Sector Linux Deployment System 84

Posted by Soulskill
from the nordic-tux dept.
New submitter mathiasfriman writes: SverigeLinux (SwedenLinux in Swedish) is a project financed by the Swedish Internet Fund that is developing a Linux deployment system for the public sector. It is based on DebianLAN and has just released its first public early alpha version. This 7 minute video shows how you can deploy up to 100 workstations with minimal Linux knowledge in under an hour, complete with DHCP, DNS and user data in LDAP, logins using Kerberos and centralized storage. The project has a home on GitHub and is looking for testers and developers. Don't worry, no Björgen Kjörgen; it's all in English.
Data Storage

220TB Tapes Show Tape Storage Still Has a Long Future 229

Posted by Soulskill
from the 11.73-libraries-of-congress-per-pony dept.
alphadogg writes: IBM and Fujifilm have figured out how to fit 220TB of data on a standard-size tape that fits in your hand, flexing the technology's strengths as a long-term storage medium. The prototype Fujifilm tape and accompanying drive technology from IBM labs packs 88 times as much data onto a tape as industry-standard LTO-6 systems using the same size cartridge, IBM says. LTO6 tape can hold 2.5TB, uncompressed, on a cartridge about 4 by 4 inches across and 2 centimeters thick. The new technologies won't come out in products for several years.
Power

The Myth of Going Off the Power Grid 281

Posted by Soulskill
from the tell-that-to-my-hamster-wheel-colony dept.
Lasrick writes: Dawn Stover uses Elon Musk's announcement that Tesla will soon be unveiling plans for a battery that could power your home as a starting point to explore the idea that "going off the grid" is going to solve climate change. "The kind of in-house energy storage he is proposing could help make renewables a bigger part of the global supply. But headlines announcing that a Tesla battery 'could take your home off the grid' spread misconceptions about what it takes to be self-sufficient — and stop global warming." Stover worries that shifting responsibility for solutions to climate change from governments to individuals creates an 'every-man-for-himself' culture that actually works against energy solutions and does little to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions. Instead, "smart grid" technology would be much more efficient: "With a smarter grid, excess electricity generated by solar panels and wind turbines could be distributed to a network of on-the-grid home and car batteries. Some utilities have also experimented with using home water heaters as an economical substitute for batteries."
Google

Has Google Indexed Your Backup Drive? 121

Posted by samzenpus
from the it's-out-there dept.
itwbennett writes Depending on how you've configured the device, your backup drive may have been indexed by Google, making some seriously personal information freely available online to anyone who knows what they're looking for. Using a few simple Google searches, CSO's Steve Ragan discovered thousands of personal records and documents online, including sales receipts with credit card information and tax documents with social security numbers. In all cases, the files were exposed because someone used a misconfigured device acting as a personal cloud, or FTP (File Transfer Protocol) was enabled on their router.