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+ - What Will Microsoft's 'Embrace' of Open Source Actually Achieve?->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Back in the day, Microsoft viewed open source and Linux as a threat and did its best to retaliate with FUD and patent threats. And then a funny thing happened: Whether in the name of pragmatism or simply marketing, Microsoft began a very public transition from a company of open-source haters (at least in top management) to one that’s embraced some aspects of open-source computing. Last month, the company blogged that .NET Core will become open-source, adding to its previously open-sourced ASP.NET MVC, Web API, and Web Pages (Razor). There’s no doubt that, at least in some respects, Microsoft wants to make a big show of being more open and supportive of interoperability. The company’s even gotten involved with the .NET Foundation, an independent organization designed to assist developers with the growing collection of open-source technologies for .NET. But there’s only so far Microsoft will go into the realm of open source—whereas once upon a time, the company tried to wreck the movement, now it faces the very real danger of its whole revenue model being undermined by free software. But what's Microsoft's end-goal with open source? What can the company possibly hope to accomplish, given a widespread perception that such a move on its part is the product of either fear, cynicism, or both?"
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+ - Google Spain News shutdown hurting smaller media more than larger news outlets?->

Submitted by Pojoman
Pojoman (3950719) writes "As — Google’s Shutdown of Spanish News Service Is Being Watched Elsewhere in Europe

The shutdown itself did not have as much of an impact as they expected —

I got a call from a [Spanish newspaper] editor early today,” Mr. González said. “He told me: If this is what shutting down Google News amounts to, then I’m ecstatic.

However, this was not the consensus from smaller media outlets. —

For smaller media, the biggest impact may be losing the opportunity to appear high up on the Google News page. “Google News is a spectacular Web page, it would have really helped us to get some visibility,” said Angélica García, one of the founders of the six-week-old Web page Villalbainformacion.com, which covers news in Collado-Villalba, a town northwest of Madrid.

"

Link to Original Source

+ - Spanish CyberSquat Raided in "Counter-Terror" Operation

Submitted by MrBingoBoingo
MrBingoBoingo (3481277) writes "An anarchist center in Spain at Kasa de la Muntanya associated with techo libertarian projects was raided under the guise of of "Counter-Terrorism" operation. The squat had been continually occupied since 1989 and served as a social senter for the local community in addition to serving as a haven to technological and libertarian projects."

+ - Book review: Spam Nation 1

Submitted by benrothke
benrothke (2577567) writes "Title:Spam Nation: The Inside Story of Organized Cybercrime-from Global Epidemic to Your Front Door

Author: Brian Krebs

Pages: 256

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Rating: 10/10

Reviewer: Ben Rothke

ISBN: 978-1402295614

Summary: Excellent expose on why cybercrime pays and what you can do about it



There are really two stories within Spam Nation: The Inside Story of Organized Cybercrime-from Global Epidemic to Your Front Door. The first is how Brian Krebs uncovered the Russian cybergangs that sent trillions of spam emails for years. As interesting and compelling as that part of the story is; the second storyline is much more surprising and fascinating.



Brian Krebs is one of the premier cybersecurity journalists. From 1995 to 2009, he was a reporter for The Washington Post, where he covered Internet security, technology policy, cybercrime and privacy issues. When Krebs presented the Post with his story about the Russian spammers, rather than run with it, the Post lawyers got in the way and were terrified of being sued for libel by the Russians. Many of the stories Krebs ran took months to get approval and many were rejected. It was the extreme reticence by the Post to deal with the issue that ultimately led Krebs to leave the paper.



Before Krebs wrote this interesting book and did his groundbreaking research, it was clear that there were bad guys abroad spamming American's with countless emails for pharmaceuticals which led to a global spam problem.



Much of the story details the doings of two of the major Russian pharmacy spammer factions, Rx-Promotion and GlavMed. In uncovering the story, Krebs had the good fortune that there was significant animosity between Rx-Promotion and GlavMed, which lead to an internal employee leaking a huge amount of emails and documents. Krebs obtained this treasure trove which he used to get a deep look at every significant aspect of these spam organizations. Hackers loyal to the heads of Rx-Promotion and GlavMed leaked this information to law enforcement officials and Krebs in an attempt to sabotage each other.



Krebs writes that the databases offered an unvarnished look at the hidden but burgeoning demand for cheap prescription drugs; a demand that appears driven in large part by Americans seeking more affordable and discreetly available medications.



Like many, I had thought that much of the pharmaceutical spam it was simply an issue of clueless end-users clicking on spam and getting scammed. This is where the second storyline comes in. Krebs notes that the argument goes that if people simply stopped buying from sites advertised via the spam that floods our inboxes, the problem would for the most part go away. It's not that the spam is a technology issue; it's that the products fill an economic need and void.



Krebs shows that most people who buy from the spammers are not idiots, clueless or crazy. The majority of them are performing rational, if not potentially risky choices based on a number of legitimate motivations. Krebs lists 4 primary motivations as: price and affordability, confidentiality, convenience & recreation or dependence.



Most of the purchasers from the Russian spammers are based in the US, which has the highest prescription drug prices in the world. The price and affordability that the spammers offer is a tremendous lure to these US consumers, many of whom are uninsured or underinsured.



Krebs then addresses the obvious question that this begs: if the spammers are selling huge amounts of bogus pharmaceuticals to unsuspecting Americans, why doesn't the extremely powerful and well-to-do pharmaceutical industry do something about it. Krebs writes that the pharmaceutical industry is in fact keenly aware of the issue but scared to do anything about it. Should the reality be that the unauthorized pharmaceuticals are effective, then the pharmaceutical industry would be placed in a quandary. They have therefore decided to take a passive approach and do nothing.



The book quotes John Horton, founder and president of LegitScript, a verification and monitoring service for online pharmacies. Horton observed that only 1% of online pharmacies are legitimate. But worse than that, he believes that the single biggest reason neither the FDA nor the pharmaceutical industry has put much effort into testing, is that they are worried that such tests may show that the drugs being sold by many so-called rogue pharmacies are by and large chemically indistinguishable from those sold by approved pharmacies.



So while the Russian spammers may be annoying for many, they have found an economic incentive that is driving many people to become repeat customers.



As to the efficacy of these pharmaceuticals being shipped from India, Turkey and other countries, it would seem pretty straightforward to perform laboratory tests. Yet the university labs that could perform these tests have found their hands-tied. In order to test the pharmaceuticals, they would have to order them, which is likely an illegal act. Also, the vast amount of factories making these pharmaceuticals makes it difficult to get a consistent set of findings.



As to getting paid for the products, Krebs writes how the thing the spammers relied on most was the ability to process credit card payments. What they feared the most were chargebacks; which is when the merchant has to forcibly refund the customer. If the chargeback rate goes over a certain threshold, then the vendor is forced to pay higher fees to the credit card company or many find their merchant agreement cancelled. The spammers were therefore extremely receptive to customer complaints and would do anything to make a basic refund than a chargeback. This was yet another economic incentive that motivated the spammers.



As to the main storyline, the book does a great job of detailing how the spam operations worked and how powerful they became. The spammers became so powerful, that even with all the work firms like Blue Security Inc. did, and organizations such as Spamhaus tried to do, they were almost impossible to stop.



Krebs writes how spammers now have moved into new areas such as scareware and ransomware. The victims are told to pay the ransom by purchasing a prepaid debit card and then to send the attackers the card number to they can redeem it for cash.



The book concludes with Krebs's 3 Rules for Online Safetynamely: if you didn't go looking for it, don't install it; if you installed it, update it and if you no longer need it, remove it.



The scammers and online attackers are inherent forces in the world of e-commerce and it's foolhardy to think any technology or regulation can make them go away. Spam Nationdoes a great job of telling an important aspect of the story, and what small things you can do to make a large difference, such that you won't fall victim to these scammers. At just under 250 pages, Spam Nationis a quick read and a most important one at that.







Reviewed by Ben Rothke"

+ - The Orion Spacecraft Runs On 12-Year-Old Computer Tech->

Submitted by Lucas123
Lucas123 (935744) writes "While NASA's Orion spacecraft, which blasted off on a successful test flight today, may be preparing for a first-of-its-kind mission to carry astronauts to Mars and other deep-space missions, the technology inside of it is no where near leading edge. In fact, its computers and its processors are 12 years old — making them ancient in tech years. The spacecraft, according to one NASA engineer, is built to be rugged and reliable in the face of G forces, massive amounts of radiation and the other rigors of space."Compared to the [Intel] Core i5 in your laptop, it's much slower — much less powerful. It's probably not any faster than your smartphone," Matt Lemke, NASA's deputy manager for Orion's avionics, power and software team, told Computerworld. Lemke said the spacecraft was built to be rugged and reliable — not necessarily smart. That's why there are two flight computers. Orion's main computer was built by Honeywell as a flight computer originally for Boeing's 787 jet airliner."
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+ - Harsh Reality: Sony pays price for sloppy practices->

Submitted by Cavaradossi
Cavaradossi (2804189) writes "The leaked information should look all too familiar to any worker in a larger organization: readable files and emails and other unstructured data. So we’re talking about employee salaries, financial data, internal presentations, company information under NDA, legal memos, the CEO’s private notes, and on and on. All loosely protected with overly permissive access rights.."
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+ - Ron Wyden introduces bill to ban FBI 'backdoors' in tech products->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) is trying to proactively block FBI head James Comey's request for new rules that make tapping into devices easier. The Secure Data Act would ban agencies from making manufacturers alter their products to allow easier surveillance or search, something Comey has said is necessary as encryption becomes more common and more sophisticated. "Strong encryption and sound computer security is the best way to keep Americans' data safe from hackers and foreign threats," said Wyden in a statement. "It is the best way to protect our constitutional rights at a time when a person's whole life can often be found on his or her smartphone.""
Link to Original Source

+ - New Virus Means Deadlier Flu Season Is Possible

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Donald McNeil writes in the NYT that this year’s flu season may be deadlier than usual because this year’s flu vaccine is a relatively poor match to a new virus that is now circulating. “Flu is unpredictable, but what we’ve seen thus far is concerning,” says Dr. Thomas R. Frieden. According to the CDC, five U.S. children have died from flu-related complications so far this season. Four of them were infected with influenza A viruses, including three cases of H3N2 infections. The new H3 subtype first appeared overseas in March but because it was not found in many samples in the United States until September, it is now too late to change the vaccine. Because of the increased danger from the H3 strain — and because B influenza strains can also cause serious illness — the CDC recommends that patients with asthma, diabetes or lung or heart problems see a doctor at the first sign of a possible flu, and that doctors quickly prescribe antivirals like Tamiflu or Relenza. “H3N2 viruses tend to be associated with more severe seasons,” says Frieden. “The rate of hospitalization and death can be twice as high or more in flu seasons when H3 doesn’t predominate.”"

+ - Nanny State Bans Many Porn Acts in UK

Submitted by DigitAl56K
DigitAl56K (805623) writes "The Independent reports that the UK's Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014 has banned a long list of sex acts from Video-On-Demand pornography produced in the UK, many with no obvious reason. The restrictions "appear to make no distinction between consensual and non-consensual practices between adults".

A list of banned acts can be found in TFA, and include use of physical restraints, spanking, and humiliation. I wonder how long it will be before sites hosting content featuring such terrible, heinous, immoral acts are permanently blocked by the UK's net filter."

+ - What gets little girls interested in science? -> 1

Submitted by nbauman
nbauman (624611) writes "Programmer David Auerbach is dismayed that, at a critical developmental age, his 4-year-old daughter wants to be a princess, not a scientist or engineer, he writes in Slate. The larger society keeps forcing sexist stereotypes on her, in every book and toy store. (Et tu, Lego?) How do you non-coercively inspire girls that age to go down the STEM path? What actually works?

If you are a little girl, or once were a little girl, or were the parent of a little girl, what worked for you?"

Link to Original Source

+ - AK-47 Gets The Designer Treatment

Submitted by Rambo Tribble
Rambo Tribble (1273454) writes "In a bid to make the venerable AK-47 assault rifle more appealing to a wider segment of the market, Kalashnikov has given its cornerstone product a makeover. No longer the exclusive province of Communists and revolutionaries, the AK-47 is now found in the sporting market, worldwide. Kalashnikov's move, which includes a new logo, is said to stem from a desire to appeal to more foreign buyers. As Kalashnikov CEO Alexei Krivoruchko said, "The US market was very important for us." The new look was rolled out in a glitzy event in Moscow."

+ - BSD-powered digital library arrives in Africa->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Nzega, Tanzania is a rural town of about 30,000 people. With limited access to the Internet and physical books being a rarity, one group has brought an 80,000 book and media repository to the community powered using FreeBSD. The post details their installation and shows community members making use of the new library. Could this be a solution to similar communities elsewhere in Africa?"
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