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Hardware Hacking

Ask Slashdot: If You Were Building a New Home, What Cool New Tech Would You Put In? 37

Posted by Soulskill
from the delivery-drone-countermeasures dept.
An anonymous reader writes: I am starting the process of building a new home, and I would like to make the house as wired (or wireless) as possible. At this stage I can incorporate new tech in the design. What features do you have in your house that you just couldn't live without? What features are nice to have? What features do you want? In-home Fiber? Solar? Audio/Visual? Heating/Cooling?

+ - Fallout 4 Announced->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: After teasing gamers with a countdown timer yesterday, Bethesda Softworks has now announced Fallout 4 for PCs, the Xbox One, and the PS4. They've also released an official trailer. The game will be set in post-apocalyptic Boston, and the player character will apparently be accompanied on his adventures by a dog. The Guardian has a post cataloging the features they're hoping will be improved from previous games in the series: "The combat system in the last two Fallout games was not universally adored. It often felt you were shooting wildly and blindly, biding time before you could use the the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting (VAT) system, which allows players to focus in on specific parts of enemies with a percentage chance of hitting them. ... Well-written, hand-crafted quests are going to be vitally important. The Radiant Quest system used in Skyrim sounds brilliant on paper: infinite quests, randomly generated and a little different each time. But the reality was a lot of fetch quests in similar looking caves. Bethesda may be tempted to bring that system across to Fallout 4, but there’s an argument for abandoning dynamic quests altogether and opting for a smaller range of authored challenges."
Link to Original Source
Government

Why Is It a Crime For Dennis Hastert To Evade Government Scrutiny? 110

Posted by Soulskill
from the laws-that-serve-the-lawmakers dept.
HughPickens.com writes: Dennis Hastert is about the least sympathetic figure one can imagine. The former House Speaker got filthy rich as a lobbyist trading on contacts he gained in office, and his leadership coincided with Congress's abject failure to exercise oversight or protect civil liberties after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Now, Hastert stands accused of improper sexual contact with a boy he knew years ago while teaching high school and trying to hide that sordid history by paying the young man to keep quiet. If federal prosecutors could meet the legal thresholds for charging and convicting Hastert of a sex crime, they would be fully justified in aggressively pursuing the matter.

Yet, as Conor Friedersdorf writes in The Atlantic, the Hastert indictment doesn't charge him for, or even accuse him of, sexual misconduct. Rather, as Glenn Greenwald notes, "Hastert was indicted for two alleged felonies: 1) withdrawing cash from his bank accounts in amounts and patterns designed to hide the payments; and 2) lying to the FBI about the purpose of those withdrawals once they detected them and then inquired with him." It isn't illegal to withdraw money from the bank, nor to compensate someone in recognition of past harms, nor to be the victim of a blackmail scheme. So why should it be a crime to hide those actions from the U.S. government? The current charges could be motivated by a desire to prosecute Hastert for sex crimes. But that dodges the issue. "In order to punish him for that crime, the government should charge him with it, then prosecute him with due process and convict him in front of a jury of his peers," says Greenwald. "What over-criminalization does is allow the government to turn anyone it wants into a felon, and thus punish them without having to overcome those vital burdens. Regardless of one's views of Hastert or his alleged misconduct here, it should take little effort to see why nobody should want that."
Businesses

Valve Introduces Steam Refunds In Advance of Summer Sale 43

Posted by Soulskill
from the refund-reason:-game-did-not-paint-my-house dept.
Deathspawner writes: Despite all of its competition, Valve's Steam service remains the most popular digital PC game store around. While Steam does do a lot of things right, it can sometimes stumble in the worst of ways. Look no further than April's Skyrim mod debacle as a good example. Well, just as Valve fixed up that issue, it's gone ahead and fixed another: it's making refunds dead simple. While refunds have been possible in the past, it's required gamers to jump through hoops to get them. Now, Valve has set certain criteria for granting a refund, no questions asked: if you've bought the game within the past two weeks and played it for two hours or less, your refund is guaranteed. The changes are being welcomed by most, but not all: some developers of smaller games that take less time to play through are worried that this will lead to abuse, and the system may enable more risk-free review-bombing as well.

Comment: Re:Changes from the original submission (Score 4, Informative) 97

by Soulskill (#49830325) Attached to: nmap Maintainer Warns He Doesn't Control nmap SourceForge Mirror

Hi. Thanks for the submission.

In addition to editing your submission for brevity and minor grammatical issues, I edited it for factual accuracy as well. I'll first address your two main points.

1) The rest of the quote from SourceForge was trimmed because it wasn't relevant to the content of the submission. SF has been bundling their "third-party offers" with projects who explicitly opt into it for a long time — it's a known thing, and has been discussed at length. Second, according to Fyodor's own post, they weren't bundling anything with nmap.

2) The rest of the Fyodor quote was trimmed for a similar reason. It makes reference fake download buttons and catching SF "trojaning" nmap. It's fine for Fyodor to editorialize as he pleases, but the first is a separate issue and the second is a non-event, so neither really have a place on this story.

The headline was changed for two reasons: First, Fyodor's account seems to still be under his control, and the nmap project seems to have been cloned/mirrored, so the references to hijacking the account lack clarity. Second, this is not actually new news. When the GIMP story broke, anyone with an interest could see what projects SF had taken over. Nothing actually changed for the project page Fyodor is posting about since the GIMP story broke — thus, the new information is simply that he's complaining about it. (Which is his right, of course.) I went ahead and posted the story for transparency's sake, and I added links at the bottom of the summary to the SF editor accounts, so people could easily see the full list of affected projects.

Medicine

Diphtheria Returns To Spain For Lack of Vaccination 98

Posted by Soulskill
from the no-vaccine-for-stupidity dept.
TuringTest writes: A six-year-old child was admitted to a hospital in Barcelona and diagnosed with diphtheria, which hasn't occurred in Spain since 1986 and was largely unheard of in western Europe. The boy had not been vaccinated despite the vaccine being available in free vaccination programs. Spanish general health secretary called anti-vaccination campaigns "irresponsible" and said: "The right to vaccination is for children, not for the parents to decide." The child is in critical condition, though he's now being treated with a serum expressly brought from Russia through an emergency procedure.
Bug

Typing 'http://:' Into a Skype Message Trashes the Installation Beyond Repair 127

Posted by Soulskill
from the bug-of-the-year dept.
An anonymous reader writes: A thread at the Skype community forums has brought to light a critical bug in Microsoft's Skype clients for Windows, iOS and Android: typing the incorrect URL initiator http://: into a text message on Skype will crash the client so badly that it can only be repaired by installing an older version and awaiting a fix from Microsoft. The bug does not affect OS X or the 'Metro'-style Windows clients — which means, effectively, that Mac users could kill the Skype installations on other platforms just by sending an eight-character message.
SourceForge

nmap Maintainer Warns He Doesn't Control nmap SourceForge Mirror 97

Posted by Soulskill
from the shorter-weekend dept.
vivaoporto writes: Gordon Lyon (better known as Fyodor, author of nmap and maintainer of the internet security resource sites insecure.org, nmap.org, seclists.org, and sectools.org) warns on the nmap development mailing list that he does not control the SourceForge nmap project.

According to him the old Nmap project page (located at http://sourceforge.net/projects/nmap/, screenshot) was changed to a blank page and its contents were moved to a new page (http://sourceforge.net/projects/nmap.mirror/, screenshot) which is controlled by sf-editor1 and sf-editor3, in a pattern mirroring the much discussed takeover of the GIMP-Win page discussed last week on Ars Technica, IT World and eventually this week on Slashdot.

On Monday, Sourceforge promised to stop "presenting third party offers for unmaintained SourceForge projects," and to their credit Fyodor states, "So far they seem to be providing just the official Nmap files," but reiterates "that you should only download Nmap from our official SSL Nmap site: https://nmap.org/download.html."
To browse the projects and mirrors currently controlled by SourceForge, you can look at these account pages: sf-editor1, sf-editor2, and sf-editor3.
Stats

Google Diversity Report Straight Out of 'How To Lie With Statistics' Playbook 162

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-unlike-every-other-corporate-report dept.
theodp writes: Among the books recommended by Bill Gates for beach reading this summer is How to Lie With Statistics, the published-in-1954-but-timely-as-ever introduction to the (mis)use of statistics. So, how can one lie with statistics? "Sometimes it is percentages that are given and raw figures that are missing," explains the book, "and this can be deceptive too." So, does this explain Google's just-released Diversity Report and the accompanying chock-full-o-percentages narrative (find-all-%-image), which boasts "the Black community in grew [sic] by 38 percent", while the less-impressive raw figures — e.g., the number of Google employees increased by 5,928, but the ranks of Black females only increased by 35 (less than 0.6% of the net increase) — are relegated to a PDF of its EEO-1 Report that's linked to in the fine-print footnotes? To be fair to Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Apple and Amazon didn't want people to see their EEO-1 numbers, either.
Communications

PayPal Will Be Able To Robo-Text/Call Users With No Opt-out Starting July 1 87

Posted by Soulskill
from the change-your-listed-phone-number-to-their-customer-support-line dept.
OutOnARock notes that as PayPal separates from eBay in the coming months, new terms of service are set to take effect on July 1st. Most of the changes unexciting, but one provision has consumer rights groups up in arms: PayPal is granting itself the ability to use automated systems to call and text users. These robocalls could happen for something as serious as debt collection or as frivolous as advertisements. What's more, the company grants the same rights to its affiliates. Activists are questioning the legality of these changes. "Given that both the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (which created the Do Not Call list) and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ban most robocalling and texting, this seemed in direct opposition to consumer protections granted Americans by Congress." PayPal says it will comply with all laws, but their actions may spark a legal debate about whether terms of service can qualify as "written consent."

+ - Typing 'http://:' into a Skype message trashes the installation beyond repair->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: A thread at Skype community forums [http://community.skype.com/t5/Windows-desktop-client/Critical-bug-Skype-7-4-85-102-simple-message-crush-client/td-p/3996419] has brought to light a critical bug in Microsoft’s Skype clients for Windows, iOs and Android — typing the incorrect URL initiator 'http://:' into a text message on Skype will crash the client so badly that it can only be repaired by installing an older version and awaiting a fix from Microsoft. The bug does not affect OSX or the 'Metro'-style Windows clients — which means, effectively, that Mac users could kill the Skype installations on other platforms just by sending an eight-character message.
Link to Original Source
Security

100kb of Unusual Code Protecting Nuclear, ATC and United Nations Systems 116

Posted by Soulskill
from the norton-antivirus-from-1991 dept.
An anonymous reader writes: For an ex-academic security company still in the seeding round, startup Abatis has a small but interesting roster of clients, including Lockheed Martin, the Swiss military, the United Nations and customers in the civil nuclear and air traffic control sectors. The company's product, a kernel driver compatible with Windows, Linux and Unix, occupies just 100kb with no dependencies, and reportedly achieves a 100% effectiveness rate against intruders by preventing unauthorized I/O activity. The CEO of Abatis claims, "We can stop zero day malware — the known unknowns and the unknown unknowns." The software requires no use of signature files, white-listing, heuristics or sandboxing, with a separate report from Lockheed Martin confirming very significant potential for energy savings — up to £125,000 per year in a data center with 10,000 servers.
Encryption

Tim Cook: "Weakening Encryption Or Taking It Away Harms Good People" 140

Posted by Soulskill
from the plans-i-crpytion-scheme-for-only-good-people dept.
Patrick O'Neill writes: Over the last year, Apple CEO Tim Cook has repeatedly made headlines as a spearpoint in the new crypto wars. As FBI director James Comey pushes for legally mandated backdoors on encryption, Cook has added default strong encryption to Apple devices and vocally resisted Comey's campaign. Echoing warnings from technical experts across the world, Cook said that adding encryption backdoors for law enforcement would weaken the security of all devices and "is incredibly dangerous," he said last night at the Electronic Privacy Information Center awards dinner. "So let me be crystal clear: Weakening encryption or taking it away harms good people who are using it for the right reason."

+ - Tim Cook: "Weakening encryption or taking it away harms good people"->

Submitted by Patrick O'Neill
Patrick O'Neill writes: Over the last year, Apple CEO Tim Cook has repeatedly made headlines as a spearpoint in the new crypto wars. As FBI director James Comey pushes for legally mandated backdoors on encryption, Cook has added default strong encryption to Apple devices and vocally resisted Comey's campaign. Echoing warnings from technical experts across the world, Cook said that adding encryption backdoors for law enforcement would weaken the security of all devices and "is incredibly dangerous," he said last night at the Electronic Privacy Information Center awards dinner. "So let me be crystal clear: Weakening encryption or taking it away harms good people who are using it for the right reason."
Link to Original Source

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