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Submission + - Researchers create Mac "firmworm" that spreads via Thunderbolt Ethernet adapters

BIOS4breakfast writes: Wired reports that later this week at BlackHat and Defcon, Trammel Hudson will show the Thunderstrike 2 update to his Thunderstrike attack on Mac firmware (previously covered on Slashdot). Trammel teamed up with Xeno Kovah and Corey Kallenberg from LegbaCore, who have previously shown numerous exploits for PC firmware. They found that multiple vulnerabilities that were already publicly disclosed were still present in Mac firmware. This allows a remote attacker to break into the Mac over the network, and infect its firmware. The infected firmware can then infect Apple Thunderbolt to Ethernet adapters' PCI Option ROM. And then those adapters can infect the firmware of any Mac they are plugged into — hence creating the self-propagating Thunderstrike 2 "firmworm". Unlike worms like Stuxnet, it never exists on the filesystem, it only ever lives in firmware (which no one ever checks.) A video showing the proof of concept attack is posted here.

Submission + - Inside the Failure of Google+->

An anonymous reader writes: An article at Mashable walks through the rise and fall of Google+, from the company's worries of being displaced by Facebook to their eventual realization that Google services don't need social hooks. They have quotes from a number of employees and insiders, who mostly agree that the company didn't have the agility to build something so different from their previous services. "Most Google projects started small and grew organically in scale and importance. Buzz, the immediate predecessor to Plus, had barely a dozen people on staff. Plus, by comparison, had upwards of 1,000, sucked up from divisions across the company." Despite early data indicating users just weren't interested in Google+, management pushed for success as the only option. One employee said, "The belief was that we were always just one weird feature away from the thing taking off." Despite a strong feature set, there was no acknowledgement that to beat Facebook, you had to overcome the fact that everybody was already on Facebook.
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Submission + - Pictures of a Comet From 9 Meters Away->

An anonymous reader writes: Back in November, the European Space Agency triumphantly put a lander on the surface of a comet and then tragically lost contact with it when it failed to anchor and couldn't harvest enough energy to stay operational. In June, the lander awoke and for a short time was able to send more data back. Now the ESA has published a bunch of pictures and scientific papers about the data gleaned from Philae's short window of activity, including images of its descent to the surface. Phil Plait summarizes and analyzes the release. The most impressive image is from a mere 9 meters over the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. An animated gif shows the lander's descent near the surface through a handful of pictures. Two shots of the same area from the Rosetta probe show where Philae bounced off the surface, ejecting an estimated 180kg of material in the process. It's a fascinating, close-up look at a very distant and unusual world.
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Submission + - The Web We Have to Save-> 1 1

An anonymous reader writes: Hossein Derakhshan endured a six-year prison term in Iran for doing something most of us would take for granted: running a blog. He has a unique perspective — he was heavily involved in internet culture, becoming known as Iran's "blogfather," before suddenly being completely shut off from the online world in 2008. Seven months ago, he was released. When he got settled, he took up his old work of blogging, but was surprised by how much the web has changed in just a few years. Now he decries our reliance on monolithic social streams that prioritize image and meme sharing over the thing that makes the web the web: links.

"The hyperlink represented the open, interconnected spirit of the world wide web—a vision that started with its inventor, Tim Berners-Lee. The hyperlink was a way to abandon centralization—all the links, lines and hierarchies—and replace them with something more distributed, a system of nodes and networks. Blogs gave form to that spirit of decentralization: They were windows into lives you’d rarely know much about; bridges that connected different lives to each other and thereby changed them. ... Since I got out of jail, though, I’ve realized how much the hyperlink has been devalued, almost made obsolete."

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Submission + - Nokia's HERE maps sold for $3 billion to Audi, BMW and Mercedes

vivaoporto writes: Nokia announced an agreement to sell its HERE digital mapping and location services business to a consortium of leading automotive companies, comprising AUDI AG, BMW Group and Daimler AG (Mercedes brand owner).

The transaction values HERE at an enterprise value of EUR 2.8 billion with a normalized level of working capital and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2016, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. Upon closing, Nokia estimates that it will receive net proceeds of slightly above EUR 2.5 billion, as the purchaser would be compensated for certain defined liabilities of HERE currently expected to be slightly below EUR 300 million as part of the transaction. Nokia expects to book a gain on the sale and a related release of cumulative foreign exchange translation differences totaling approximately EUR 1 billion as a result of the transaction.

Once the mapping unit is sold, Nokia will consist of two businesses: Nokia Networks and Nokia Technologies. The first will continue to provide broadband services and infrastructure while the second will work on “advanced technology development and licensing.”

Submission + - Lennart Poettering Announces the First systemd Conference->

jones_supa writes: Lennart Poettering, the creator of the controversial init system and service manager for Linux-based operating systems, had the great pleasure of announcing the first systemd conference event. Dubbed systemd.conf, the event will take place later this year, between November 5-7, in Berlin, Germany. systemd developers and hackers, DevOps professionals, and Linux distribution packagers will be able to attend various workshops, as well as to collaborate with their fellow developers and plan the future of the project. Attendees will also be able to participate in an extended hackfest event, as well as numerous presentations held by important names in the systemd project, including Poettering himself.
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Submission + - One In Four Indiana Residents Lost Data in Electronic Records Firm Hack->

chicksdaddy writes: Four million patients of more than 230 hospitals, doctors offices and clinics had patient data exposed in a May hack of the Fort Wayne, Indiana firm Medical Informatics Engineering (MIE), which makes the NoMoreClipBoard electronic health records system, according to the Indiana Attorney General.(http://goo.gl/KdCbRX) The breach affected 3.9 million people. But it hit MIE's home state of Indiana especially hard. In all, 1.5 million Hoosiers had data exposed in the hack, almost a quarter of the state's population, the Security Ledger reports. (https://securityledger.com/2015/07/doctors-still-in-the-dark-after-electronics-records-hack-exposes-data-on-4-million/)

But the breach affects healthcare organizations from across the country, with healthcare providers ranging from prominent hospitals to individual physicians’ offices and clinics are among 195 customers of the NoMoreClipboard product that had patient information exposed in the breach. And, more than a month after the breach was discovered, some healthcare organizations whose patients were affected are still waiting for data from EMI on how many and which patients had information exposed.

“We have received no information from MIE regarding that,” said a spokeswoman for Fort Wayne Radiology Association (http://www.fwradiology.com/), one of hundreds of healthcare organizations whose information was compromised in the attack on MIE.

According to MIE’s statement, released on July 24, individuals who received services from Fort Wayne Radiology Association and a variety of other imaging and MRI centers were also compromised when a database relating to the healthcare providers was breached in the incident, MIE said. That contained data going back more 17 years and involved another 44 healthcare organizations in three states: Indiana, Ohio and Michigan.

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Submission + - 10 years of Intel processors compared->

jjslash writes: An interesting look back at the evolution of Intel CPUs since the original Core 2 Duo E6600 and Core 2 Quad processors were introduced. The test pits the eight year old CPUs to their successors in the Nehalem, Sandy Bridge and Haswell families, including today's Celeron and Pentium parts which fare comparably well. A great reference just days before Intel's new Skylake processor debuts.
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Submission + - Tor Project Pilots Exit Nodes In Libraries->

An anonymous reader writes: The Tor Project has announced a new initiative to open new exit relays in public libraries. "This is an idea whose time has come; libraries are our most democratic public spaces, protecting our intellectual freedom, privacy, and unfettered access to information, and Tor Project creates software that allows all people to have these rights on the internet." They point out that this is both an excellent way to educate people on the value of private internet browsing while also being a practical way to expand the Tor network. A test for this initiative is underway at the Kilton Library in Lebanon, New Hampshire, which already has a computing environment full of GNU/Linux machines.
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Submission + - China's Island-Building In Pictures->

An anonymous reader writes: The South China Sea is just small enough to have high strategic value for military operations and just large enough to make territorial claims difficult. For over a year now, the world has been aware that China is using its vast resources to try and change that. Instead of fighting for claims on existing islands or arguing about how far their sovereignty should extend, they simply decided to build new islands. "The islands are too small to support large military units but will enable sustained Chinese air and sea patrols of the area. The United States has reported spotting Chinese mobile artillery vehicles in the region, and the islands could allow China to exercise more control over fishing in the region." The NY Times has a fascinating piece showing clear satellite imagery of the new islands, showing how a fleet a dredgers have dumped enormous amounts of sand on top of existing reefs. "Several reefs have been destroyed outright to serve as a foundation for new islands, and the process also causes extensive damage to the surrounding marine ecosystem." We can also see clear evidence of airstrips, cement plants, and other structures as the islands become capable of supporting them.
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Submission + - Will Autonomous Cars Be the Insurance Industry's Napster Moment?->

An anonymous reader writes: Most of us are looking forward to the advent of autonomous vehicles. Not only will they free up a lot of time to previously spent staring straight ahead at the bumper of the car in front of you, they'll also presumably make commuting a lot safer. While that's great news for the 30,000+ people who die in traffic accidents every year in the U.S., it may not be great news for insurance companies. Granted, they'll have to pay out a lot less money with the lower number of claims, but premiums will necessarily drop as well and the overall amount of money within the car insurance system will dwindle. Analysts are warning these companies that their business is going to shrink. It will be interesting to see if they adapt to the change, or cling desperately to an outdated business model like the entertainment industry did. "One opportunity for the industry could be selling more coverage to carmakers and other companies developing the automated features for cars. ... When the technology fails, manufacturers could get stuck with big liabilities that they will want to cover by buying more insurance. There’s also a potential for cars to get hacked as they become more networked."
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Submission + - Munich Planning Highway System for Cyclists->

An anonymous reader writes: The German city of Munich has been looking for solutions to its traffic problem. Rush hour traffic is a problem, and public transit is near capacity. They think their best bet is to encourage (and enable) more people to hop on their bikes. Munich is now planning a Radschnellverbindungen — a highway system just for cyclists. Long bike routes will connect the city with universities, employment centers, and other cities. The paths themselves would be as free from disruptions as possible — avoiding intersections and traffic lights are key to a swift commute. They'll doubtless take lessons from Copenhagen's bike skyway: "Cykelslangen (pronounced soo-cool-klag-en) adds just 721 feet of length to the city’s 220 miles of bicycle paths, but it relieves congestion by taking riders over instead of through a waterfront shopping area."
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Submission + - $340 Audiophile Ethernet Cable Tested->

An anonymous reader writes: Ars Technica has done a series of articles that attempt to verify whether there's any difference between a $340 "audiophile" Ethernet cable and a $2.50 generic one. In addition to doing a quick teardown, they took the cables to Las Vegas and asked a bunch of test subjects to evaluate the cables in a blind test. Surprise, surprise: they couldn't. They weren't even asked to say which one was better, just whether they could tell a difference. But for the sake of completeness, they also passed the cables through a battery of electrical tests. The expensive cable met specs — barely, in some cases — while the cheap one didn't. It passed data, but with a ton of noise. "And listeners still failed to hear any difference."
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Submission + - Ebola Vaccine 100% Successful in Guinea Trial->

An anonymous reader writes: Doctors and researchers have been testing a vaccine to protect against Ebola in the west African nation of Guinea. Trials involving 4,000 people have now shown a 100% success rate in preventing infection. "When Ebola flared up in a village, researchers vaccinated all the contacts of the sick person who were willing – the family, friends and neighbours – and their immediate contacts. Children, adolescents and pregnant women were excluded because of an absence of safety data for them. In practice about 50% of people in these clusters were vaccinated. To test how well the vaccine protected people, the cluster outbreaks were randomly assigned either to receive the vaccine immediately or three weeks after Ebola was confirmed. Among the 2,014 people vaccinated immediately, there were no cases of Ebola from 10 days after vaccination — allowing time for immunity to develop — according to the results published online in the Lancet medical journal (PDF). In the clusters with delayed vaccination, there were 16 cases out of 2,380."
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Submission + - Open Hardware Team successfully replicating Tesla inventions->

lkcl writes: A small team has successfully overcome the usual barrier to replicating one of Tesla's inventions (death threats and intimidation) by following Open Hardware development practices, encouraging other teams world-wide to replicate their work. Their FAQ and several other reports help explain that the key is Schumann resonance: "tuning" the device to the earth's own EM field and harvesting it as useful electricity. Whilst it looks like it's going mainstream, the real question is: why has it taken this long, and why has an Open Hardware approach succeeded where other efforts have not?
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Gosh that takes me back... or is it forward? That's the trouble with time travel, you never can tell." -- Doctor Who, "Androids of Tara"

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