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Submission + - Advertising companies accused of deliberately slowing page-load times for profit->

An anonymous reader writes: An industry insider has told Business Insider [http://www.businessinsider.com/conspiracy-web-pages-load-slowly-because-they-make-more-money-that-way-2015-7] of his conviction that ad-serving companies deliberately prolong the 'auctioning' process for ad spots when a web-page loads in order to maximise revenue by allowing automated 'late-comers' to participate beyond the 100ms limit placed on the decision-making process. The unnamed source, a principal engineer at a global news company (whose identity and credentials were confirmed by Business Insider), concluded with the comment "My entire team of devs and testers mostly used Adblock when developing sites, just because it was so painful otherwise,". Publishers use 'daisy-chaining' [http://www.masternewmedia.org/online-advertising-management-ad-network-defaulting-and-daisy-chaining-for-ad-revenue-optimization/#ixzz2bKLfDIU9] to solicit bids from the most profitable placement providers down to the 'B-list' placements, and the longer the process is run, the more likely that the web-page will be shown with profitable advertising in place.
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Submission + - California Exports Gasoline to Mexico Despite 'Shortage'

HughPickens.com writes: Thomas Elias writes in the Los Angeles Daily News that just one week before many California motorists began paying upwards of $4.30 per gallon for gasoline, oil tanker Teesta Spirit left Los Angeles headed for ports on the west coast of Mexico carrying more 300,000 barrels of gasoline refined in California. At a time when oil companies were raising prices by as much as $1 per gallon in some regions, oil companies like Chevron and Phillips 66 shipped about 100 million gallons of gasoline out of California. “Oil refiners have kept the state running on empty and now they are sending fuel refined in California abroad just as the specter of low inventories drives huge price increases," says Jamie Court, president of the Consumer Watchdog advocacy group.

According to Elias as the oil companies were shipping out that fuel, they reaped unprecedented profits reportedly approaching $1.50 for every gallon of gasoline they sold at the higher prices. "Gasoline prices are determined by market forces, and individuals who understand how commodity markets work have recently testified that those markets are working as they should," responded Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association, to charges of price gouging. "All of the many government investigations into gasoline markets in recent years have concluded that supply and demand are the primary reason gas prices go up and down." Kathleen Foote, who heads up the antitrust division at the California attorney general’s office, agreed that the industry operates like an oligopoly in the state. But proving price fixing is difficult in a field where only a few players exist. "This system is made to break because oil refineries keep it running on empty," concludes Court. "They have every incentive to create a price spike like this."

Submission + - Why your software project is failing->

An anonymous reader writes: At OSCON this year, Red Hat's Tom Callaway gave a talk entitled "This is Why You Fail: The Avoidable Mistakes Open Source Projects STILL Make." In 2009, Callaway was starting to work on the Chromium project—and to say it wasn't a pleasant experience was the biggest understatement Callaway made in his talk.

Callaway said he likes challenges, but he felt buried by the project, and reached a point where he thought he should jut quite his work. (Callaway said it's important to note that Chromium's code is not bad code; it's just a lot of code and a lot of code that Google didn't write.) This was making Callaway really frustrated, and people wanted to know what was upsetting him. Callaway wanted to be able to better explain his frustration, so he crafted this list which he called his "Points of Fail."

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Submission + - Cold War, NSA, GCHQ and Encryption->

Taco Cowboy writes: In the 1980s, the historian James Bamford was researching his book The Puzzle Palace about the US National Security Agency (NSA) and came across references to the "Boris project" in papers written by William F Friedman, the founding father of code-breaking in America. The "Boris project' details a secret agreement between Boris Hagelin, the founder of Crypto AG, a Switzerland company which sold Enigma-like machines to nations and spy agencies around the world, and NSA

Upon learning of Mr. Bamford's discovery the NSA promptly had the papers locked up in a vault

In 1995, journalist Scott Shane, then at the Baltimore Sun, found indications of contacts between the company and the NSA in the 1970s, but the company said claims of a deal were "pure invention"

The new revelations of a deal do not come from a whistleblower or leaked reports, but are buried within 52,000 pages of documents declassified by the NSA itself this April and investigated by the BBC

The relationship was based on a deep personal friendship between Hagelin and Friedman, forged during the War. The central document is a once top-secret 22-page report of a 1955 visit by Friedman to Zug in Switzerland, where Crypto AG was based

Some elements of the memo have been redacted — or blacked out — by the NSA. But within the released material, are two versions of the same memo, as well as a draft

Each of the versions has different parts redacted. By placing them side by side and cross referencing with other documents, it is possible to learn many — but not all — details. The different versions of the report make clear Friedman — described as special assistant to the director of NSA — went with a proposal agreed not just by US, but also British intelligence

http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/4...

Friedman offered Hagelin time to think his proposal over, but Hagelin accepted on the spot

The relationship, initially referred to as a "gentleman's agreement", included Hagelin keeping the NSA and GCHQ informed about the technical specifications of different machines and which countries were buying which ones. The provision of technical details "is a revelation of the first order," says Paul Reuvers, an engineer who runs the Crypto Museum website

"That's extremely valuable. It is something you would not normally do because the integrity and secrecy of your own customer is mandatory in this business"

The key to breaking mechanical encryption machines — such as Enigma or those produced by Hagelin — is to understand in detail how they work and how they are used. This knowledge can allow smart code breakers to look for weaknesses and use a combination of maths and computing to work through permutations to find a solution. In one document, Hagelin hints to Friedman he is going to be able "to supply certain customers" with a specific machine which, Friedman notes, is of course "easier to solve than the new models"

Previous reports of the deal suggested it may have involved some kind of backdoor in the machines, which would provide the NSA with the keys. But there is no evidence for this in the documents (although some parts remain redacted)

Rather, it seems the detailed knowledge of the machines and their operations may have allowed code-breakers to cut the time needed to decrypt messages from the impossible to the possible

The relationship also involved not selling machines such as the CX-52, a more advanced version of the C-52 — to certain countries. "The reason that CX-52 is so terrifying is because it can be customised," says Prof Richard Aldrich, of the University of Warwick. "So it's a bit like defeating Enigma and then moving to the next country and then you've got to defeat Enigma again and again and again"

Some countries — including Egypt and India — were not told of the more advanced models and so bought those easier for the US and UK to break

In some cases, customers appear to have been deceived. One memo indicates Crypto AG was providing different customers with encryption machines of different strengths at the behest of Nato and that "the different brochures are distinguishable only by 'secret marks' printed thereon"

Historian Stephen Budiansky says: "There was a certain degree of deception going on of the customers who were buying [machines] and thinking they were getting something the same as what Hagelin was selling everywhere when in fact it was a watered-down version"

Among the customers of Hagelin listed are Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Pakistan, India, Jordan and others in the developing world

In the summer of 1958, army officers apparently sympathetic to Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser overthrew the regime in Iraq. Historian David Easter, of King's College, London, says intelligence from decrypted Egyptian communications was vital in Britain being able to rapidly deploy troops to neighbouring Jordan to forestall a potential follow-up coup against a British ally

The 1955 deal also appears to have involved the NSA itself writing "brochures", instruction manuals for the CX-52, to ensure "proper use". One interpretation is these were written so certain countries could use the machines securely — but in others, they were set up so the number of possible permutations was small enough for the NSA to crack

In a statement, a GCHQ spokesman said the agency "does not comment on its operational activities and neither confirms nor denies the accuracy of the specific inferences that have been drawn from the document you are discussing"

The NSA also declined to comment on the specific conclusions

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Submission + - Michael Chertoff Makes the Case against Back Doors

koan writes: Schneier on Security had an interesting link to a comment made by Michael Chertoff When asked about whether the government should be able to require back doors. He provided this response:

I think that it’s a mistake to require companies that are making hardware and software to build a duplicate key or a back door even if you hedge it with the notion that there’s going to be a court order. And I say that for a number of reasons and I’ve given it quite a bit of thought and I’m working with some companies in this area too.

More at the link. https://www.emptywheel.net/2015/07/26/michael-chertoff-makes-the-case-against-back-doors/

Submission + - Are We Waiting for a Drone to Take down a Plane?-> 1 1

stowie writes: If (when) an airliner is brought down by a drone, there will be outrage, calls for immediate action, task forces, finger-pointing, and many reported near-miss incidents to point to. There will be new legislation restricting drones near airports, requiring drone users to be registered, certified, and take some training. And there will be stiff penalties for non-compliance.

If further evidence of the critical situation were needed, look at what happened recently close to Warsaw airport. A Lufthansa Embraer E-195 with 108 passengers aboard narrowly missed a collision with a drone. We now sit just 330 feet away from a different story– one that would have been an instant global newsflash: “Airliner brought down by drone: at least 100 dead”.

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Submission + - How to stop Windows 10 installing automatic updates->

Mark Wilson writes: One of the more controversial features of Windows 10 is the automatic, mandatory installation of updates. With launch day now just hours away a problem with NVidia drivers has highlighted just why automatic updates have proved so controversial.

Microsoft has previously said that home users will have no choice but to let Windows 10 take care of updates for them. For those concerned about this, the company has a special tool that be used to block specific updates to Windows and drivers.

Unearthed by ZDNet's Ed Bott, KB3073930 is the tool that many people feel should have been built into Windows 10 as standard.

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Submission + - Windows Media Center TV Guide not updating 1 1

Futurepower(R) writes: There are thousands of complaints that Microsoft's Windows Media Center TV schedule guide (EPG, Electronic Program Guide) is no longer being updated. For example, see Microsoft's Feedback center.

Microsoft says it is working on the problem: Media Center EPG Update — 7/24/2015.

Microsoft will disable Windows Media Center if a customer moves to Windows 10: "Any PC that is upgraded from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 will lose the Media Center functionality, and there's no way to get it back."

Submission + - Windows 10's automatic updates for NVidia drivers could break your computer->

Mark Wilson writes: One of the features that has been removed from Windows 10 — at least for home users — is the ability to pick and choose when updates are installed. Microsoft has taken Windows Update out of the hands of users so the process is, for the most part, completely automated.

In theory, this sounds great — no more worrying about having the latest patches installed, no more concerns that a machine that hasn’t been updated will cause problems for others — but an issue with NVidia drivers shows that there is potential for things to go wrong. Irate owners of NVidia graphics cards have taken to support forums to complain that automatically-installed drivers installed have broken their computers.

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