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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

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+ - ISIS threatens life of Twitter founder after thousands of account suspensions->

Submitted by Patrick O'Neill
Patrick O'Neill (3863175) writes "After a wave of account bannings that marks Twitter's most aggressive move ever against ISIS, new images circulated from militants shows founder Jack Dorsey in crosshairs with the caption "Twitter, you started this war." The famously tech-savy ISIS has met a number of defeats on American-built social media recently with sites like Twitter and YouTube banning the group's efforts in unprecedented numbers."
Link to Original Source

+ - Facebook Explains When Employees Can Access Your Account Without Your Password

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Earlier this week, Paavo Siljamäki, director at the record label Anjunabeats, told a very interesting story about an interaction with a Facebook engineer logging into his account without entering his account credentials. We got in touch with Facebook to learn when exactly the company’s employees can perform such actions. In short, Siljamäki says he was asked if a Facebook employee could “look” at his profile, to which he gave permission. The engineer then accessed the account without entering Siljamäki’s password."

+ - Giant craters found in Siberia, but scientists are nervous to study them->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "Russian scientists have now spotted a total of seven craters, five of which are in the Yamal Peninsula. Two of those holes have since turned into lakes. And one giant crater is rimmed by a ring of at least 20 mini-craters, the Siberian Times reported. Dozens more Siberian craters are likely still out there, said Moscow scientist Vasily Bogoyavlensky of the Oil and Gas Research Institute, calling for an "urgent" investigation.

He fears that if temperatures continue to rise — and they were five degrees higher than average in 2012 and 2013 — more craters will emerge in an area awash in gas fields vital to the national economy. "It is important not to scare people, but to understand that it is a very serious problem and we must research this," he told the Siberian Times. "We must research this phenomenon urgently, to prevent possible disasters."

These objects need to be studied, but it is rather dangerous for the researchers," Bogoyavlensky told the Siberian Times. "We know that there can occur a series of gas emissions over an extended period of time, but we do not know exactly when they might happen. ... It is very risky, because no one can guarantee there would not be new emissions."

Making matters worse, the gas is extremely flammable. One of the methane bursts has already caught fire. Nearby residents in a town called Antipayuta say they recently saw a bright flash in the distance. "Probably the gas ignited," Bogoyavlensky said. "This shows us that such [an] explosion could be rather dangerous and destructive. Years of experience has shown that gas emissions can cause serious damage to drilling rigs, oil and gas fields and offshore pipelines.""

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+ - How Does One Verify Hard Drive Firmware? 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "In light of recent revelations from Kaspersky Labs about the Equation Group and persistent hard drive malware, I was curious about how easy it might be to verify my own system's drives to see if they were infected. I have no real reason to think they would be, but I was dismayed by the total lack of tools to independently verify such a thing. For instance, Seagate's firmware download pages provide files with no external hash, something Linux distributions do for all of their packages. Neither do they seem to provide a utility to read off the current firmware from a drive and verify its integrity.

Are there any utilities to do such a thing? Why don't these companies provide such a thing to users? Has anyone compiled and posted a public list of known-good firmware hashes for the major hard drive vendors and models? This seems to be a critical hole in PC security.

I did contact Seagate support asking for hashes of their latest firmware; I got a response stating that '...If you download the firmware directly from our website there is no risk on the file be tampered with." [their phrasing, not mine]. Methinks somebody hasn't been keeping up with world events lately."

+ - As Big As Net Neutrality? FCC Kills State-Imposed Internet Monopolies->

Submitted by tedlistens
tedlistens (1697590) writes "On Thursday, before it voted in favor of "net neutrality," the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to override state laws in Tennessee and North Carolina that have barred local governments and public utilities from offering broadband outside the areas where they have traditionally sold electricity. Christopher Mitchell of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance said the move was as important for internet competition as net neutrality: "Preventing big Internet Service Providers from unfairly discriminating against content online is a victory, but allowing communities to be the owners and stewards of their own broadband networks is a watershed moment that will serve as a check against the worst abuses of the cable monopoly for decades to come." The laws, like those in over a dozen other states, are often created under pressure from large private Internet providers like Comcast and Verizon, who consequently control monopolies or duopolies over high-speed internet in these places."
Link to Original Source

+ - UNDER U.S. PRESSURE, PAYPAL NUKES MEGA FOR ENCRYPTING FILES->

Submitted by seoras
seoras (147590) writes "After coming under intense pressure PayPal has closed the account of cloud-storage service Mega. According to the company, SOPA proponent Senator Patrick Leahy personally pressured Visa and Mastercard who in turn called on PayPal to terminate the account. Bizarrely, Mega's encryption is being cited as a key problem.... ... What makes the situation more unusual is that PayPal reportedly apologized to Mega for its withdrawal while acknowledging that company’s business is indeed legitimate.
However, PayPal also advised that Mega’s unique selling point – it’s end-to-end-encryption – was a key concern for the processor.""

Link to Original Source

+ - Google Taking Over New TLDs->

Submitted by bobo the hobo
bobo the hobo (302407) writes "In the corner of the internet where people care about DNS, there is a bit of an uproar at Google's application for over a hundred new top-level domains, including .dev, .lol, .app, .blog, .cloud and .search. Their application includes statements such as:
By contrast, our application for the .blog TLD describes a new way of automatically linking new second level domains to blogs on our Blogger platform – this approach eliminates the need for any technical configuration on the part of the user and thus makes the domain name more user friendly.

And also limiting usage of .dev to Google only:
Second-level domain names within the proposed gTLD are intended for registration and use by Google only, and domain names under the new gTLD will not be available to the general public for purchase, sale, or registration. As such, Charleston Road Registry intends to apply for an exemption to the ICANN Registry Operator Code of Conduct as Google is intended to be the sole registrar and registrant."

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+ - Ask SD: How do you handle the discovery of a web site disclosing private data?

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "I recently discovered that a partner web site of a financial institution I do business with makes it trivially easy to view documents that do not belong to me. As in, change the document ID in a URL and view someone else's financial documents. This requires no authentication, only a document URL. (Think along the lines of an online rebate center where you upload documents including credit card statements.) I immediately called customer service and spoke with a perplexed agent who unsurprisingly didn't know what to do with my call. I asked to speak with a supervisor who took good notes and promised a follow-up internally. I asked for a return call but have not yet heard back. In the meantime, I still have private financial information I consider to be publicly available. I'm trying to be responsible and patient in my handling of this, but I am second guessing how to move forward if not quickly resolved. So, Slashdot, how would you handle this situation?"

+ - A step closer to explaining high-temperature superconductivity?->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "For years some physicists have been hoping to crack the mystery of high-temperature superconductivity—the ability of some complex materials to carry electricity without resistance at temperatures high above absolute zero—by simulating crystals with patterns of laser light and individual atoms. Now, a team has taken—almost—the next-to-last step in such "optical lattice" simulation by reproducing the pattern of magnetism seen in high-temperature superconductors from which the resistance-free flow of electricity emerges."
Link to Original Source

+ - NSA Spying Wins Another Rubber Stamp->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "The FISA court has again renewed an order allowing the NSA to continue its illegal bulk collection of Americans' phone records, at least until June 1 when it is set to expire in Congress. President Obama pledged to end the controversial program more than a year ago.

The extension is the fifth of its kind since Obama said he would effectively end the Snowden-exposed program as it currently exists during a major policy speech in January 2014. Obama and senior administration officials have repeatedly insisted that they will not act alone to end the program without Congress.

After all the other things he's done against or without congressional approval and he balks at this one?"

Link to Original Source

+ - Hyperloop Construction Starts Next Year With the First Full-Scale Track->

Submitted by neanderslob
neanderslob (1207704) writes "Hyperloop Transportation Technologies plans to start construction on an actual hyperloop next year. The idea is to build this to serve the proposed Quay Valley (A 150K resident solar power city in Kings County California, developed by Kings County Ventures). The project will be paid for with $100 million that Hyperloop Transportation Technologies expects to raise through a direct public offering in the third quarter of this year. The track itself will be a 5 mile loop and won't reach anywhere close to the 800mph that Musk proposed in his white paper but it's a good start!"
Link to Original Source

+ - BlackPhone, in wake of Gemalto fallout, receives $50 million in funding.->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The BlackPhone, a $600-plus encrypted Android handset designed to keep the prying eyes of criminals and the government out of mobile communications, is now fully owned by Silent Circle thanks to the company raking in investment cash.

Terms of the buyout deal with Spanish smartphone maker Geeksphone, the phone's hardware manufacturer, were not disclosed. Silent Circle said Thursday that it has raised $50 million and plans on showing off an encrypted "enterprise privacy ecosystem" at World Mobile Congress next week. A BlackPhone tablet is on the way, too."

Link to Original Source

+ - Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Facebook Press WA for $40M for New UW CS Building

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes ""Nice computer industry you got there. Hate to see something bad happen to it." That's the gist of a letter sent by Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Code.org, and other tech giants earlier this week asking the WA State Legislature to approve $40M in capital spending to help fund a new $110M University of Washington computer science building ($70M will be raised privately). "As representatives of companies and businesses that rely on a ready supply of high quality computer science graduates," wrote the letter's 23 signatories, "we believe it is critical for the State to invest in this sector in a way that ensures its vibrancy and growth. Our vision is for Washington to continue to lead the way in technology and computer science, but we must keep pace with the vast demand." The UW Dept. of Computer Science & Engineering profusely thanked tech leaders for pressing for a new building, which UW explained "will accommodate a doubling of our enrollment." Coincidentally, the corporate full-press came not long after the ACM Education Council Diversity Taskforce laid out plans "to get companies to press universities to use more resources to create more seats in CS classes" to address what it called "the desperate gap between the rising demand for CS education and the too-few seats available." Interestingly, had Microsoft, Amazon, and Code.org execs not quashed a proposed WA State income tax in 2010, the tax on Steve Ballmer's planned $2B Microsoft stock sale alone might have raised $180 million. Hey, better that Ballmer's tax savings further enrich Donald Sterling, right?"

+ - Microsoft Closing 2 China Phone Factories

Submitted by randomErr
randomErr (172078) writes "Microsoft closing two factories in China by the end of March. About 9,000 jobs will be lost to as part of it's purchase of Nokia Corp's handset business. Much of the equipment located in Beijing and the southeastern city of Dongguan factories are being shipped to Vietnam. With the purchase from Nokia last April there will be about 18,000 layoffs throughout Microsoft."

+ - Fighting Scams Targeting the Elderly With Old-School Tech->

Submitted by itwbennett
itwbennett (1594911) writes "Sharp is launching a pair of landline phones designed to counter a growing form of fraud in Japan that preys upon the elderly. The 'ore ore' ('it’s me, it’s me') fraudsters pretend to be grandchildren in an emergency and convince their victims to send money, generally via ATM. Sharp’s new phones are designed to alert seniors to the dangers of unknown callers. When potential victims receive that are not registered in the internal memory of Sharp's new phones, their LED bars glow red and the phones go into anti-scam mode. An automated message then tells the caller that the call is being recorded and asks for the caller to state his or her name before the call is answered."
Link to Original Source

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