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Submission + - Florida teen charged with felony hacking for using password teacher gave him ( 2

colinneagle writes: A 14-year-old middle school student in Holiday, Florida, was arrested this week and charged with "an offense against a computer system and unauthorized access," which is a felony. The student reportedly used an administrator password to log into a teacher's computer and change the background image to a photo of two men kissing.

The student also revealed his secrets after he was caught – the password was the teacher's last name, and the teacher had typed it in in full view of the students. The student said many other students used these administrators' passwords (their teachers' last names) so they can screen-share and video chat with other students.

The student was briefly held in a nearby detention center, and the county Sheriff warned that other teenagers caught doing the same thing will "face the same consequences."

Submission + - Sci-Fi Authors and Scientists Predict an Optimistic Future (

An anonymous reader writes: A few years ago, author Neal Stephenson argued that sci-fi had forgotten how to inspire people to do great things. Indeed, much of recent science fiction has been pessimistic and skeptical, focusing on all the ways our inventions could go wrong, and how hostile the universe is to humankind. Now, a group of scientists, engineers, and authors (including Stephenson himself) is trying to change that. Arizona State University recently launched Project Heiroglyph, a hub for ideas that will influence science fiction to be optimistic and accurate, and to focus on the great things humanity is capable of doing. For example, in the development of a short story, Stephenson wanted to know if it's possible to build a tower that's 20 kilometers tall. Keith Hjelmsad, an expert in structural stability and computational mechanics, wrote a detailed response about the challenge involved in building such a tower. Other authors are contributing questions as well, and researchers are chiming in with fascinating, science-based replies. Roboticist Srikanth Saripalli makes this interesting point: "If the government has to decide what to fund and what not to fund, they are going to get their ideas and decisions mostly from science fiction rather than what's being published in technical papers."

Submission + - The State of ZFS on Linux - ClusterHQ (

An anonymous reader writes: Richard Yao, one of the most prolific contributors to the ZFSOnLinux project, has put up a post about the current state of ZFS on Linux, saying that it's definitely production-ready. He says, "ZFS provides strong guarantees for the integrity of [data] from the moment that fsync() returns on a file, an operation on a synchronous file handle is returned or dirty writeback occurs (by default every 5 seconds). These guarantees are enabled by ZFS’ disk format, which places all data into a Merkle tree that stores 256-bit checksums and is changed atomically via a two-stage transaction commit.. ... Sharing a common code base with other Open ZFS platforms has given ZFS on Linux the opportunity to rapidly implement features available on other Open ZFS platforms. At present, Illumos is the reference platform in the Open ZFS community and despite its ZFS driver having hundreds of features, ZoL is only behind on about 18 of them.

Submission + - For those who have nothing to hide, there is something you can lose (

Trachman writes: Everytime there is a discussion about pervasive surveillance there is an undertone injected to the discussion: if you have nothing to hide then one has nothing to fear. We have learned about DEA using NSA capabilities for the parallel construction of the case. Washington Post has article about those who had nothing to fear and paid dearly —

Submission + - Snowden leak exposes US plan to spy on foreign businesses for profit (

An anonymous reader writes: The document, published first by The Intercept on Friday this week, outlines tactics the American intelligence community may implement in the future in the event of certain scenarios, including one in which “the United States’ technological and innovative edge slips” in the year 2025.

In the event that the US may lose that advantage, the Quadrennial Intelligence Community Review’s final report reads in part, then “a multi-pronged, systematic effort to gather open source and proprietary information through overt means, clandestine penetration (through physical and cyber means) and counterintelligence” could be undertaken by American agencies.

The document, classified as “secret” and supplied along with a trove of other files provided by Snowden,“is a fascinating window into the mindset of America’s spies as they identify future threats to the US and lay out the actions the US intelligence community should take in response,” wrote Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept editor who wrote about the 32-page report this week.

Indeed, David Shredd, then the deputy director of national intelligence, opens the report by describing it as the results of a 10-month study conducted among experts from agencies, academia, think tanks and industry tasked with assessing the implications of the year 2025 for the American intelligence community, or IC.

“If one does not consider the long-range future, one will never cease to be surprised,” Shredd wrote. “QICR 2009 developed alternative future scenarios based on Global Trends 2025 to explore concepts and capabilities the IC may need to fulfill critical missions in support of US national security.”

The contents of the report, Shredd added, “does not purport that any one future will materialize, but rather outlines a range of plausible futures so that the IC can best posture itself to meet the range of challenges it may face.” Speaking to The Intercept, a spokesperson for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said the report “is not intended to be, and is not, a reflection of current policy or operations.”

Jeffrey Anchukaitis, the DNI spokesperson, told Greenwald that “the United States — unlike our adversaries—does not steal proprietary corporate information to further private American companies’ bottom lines,” and that “the Intelligence Community regularly engages in analytic exercises to identify potential future global environments, and how the IC could help the United States Government respond.”

Nevertheless, the report contains potential plans of action that run counter to previous public admissions made by IC leaders.

“What we do not do, as we have said many times, is use our foreign intelligence capabilities to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies on behalf of — or give intelligence we collect to—US companies to enhance their international competitiveness or increase their bottom line,” Greenwald quoted Director of National Intelligence James Clapper as saying previously.

“But asecret 2009 report issued by Clapper’s own officeexplicitly contemplates doing exactly that,” the journalist wrote this week.

“The IC would need the ability to access proprietary sources of information in permissive environments such as foreign universities, industry trade shows and government conferences,” part of the report reads. “This could include cooperating US students, professors and researchers reporting bits of non-public information that by themselves are not sensitive, but in aggregate could help the IC make inferences about breakthrough technological innovations. The key challenge would be working closely with the academic and scientific communities (which would include non-US persons), gaining trust and monitoring potential 'threats' while continuing to advance US scientific progress.”

According to the document, human spies and cyber operations alike have been considered as possible tools to implement if spying on foreign targets — and not just students and innovators, but entire research and development operations, as well—is needed to be done in 11 years’ time.

“In denied or more restrictive environments such as state-supported R&D centers, the IC would continue to apply human intelligence (HUMINT) tradecraft and employ HUMINT-enabled close access collection. This would include recruitment of sources and assets, and provision of appropriate technical means to acquire and exfiltrate sensitive information,” reads one part of the document.

Elsewhere, the document’s authors detail one end goal: “Technology acquisition by all means.”

“Exfiltrating intelligence from non-permissive environments will be crucial. A critical enabler would be covert communications with a negligible forward footprint. US intelligence officers and sensitive sources will need to move data in an unattributable and undetected way, sometimes from within commercial entities possessing great technical prowess and robust cyber and electronic security protective procedures. Although the likely advent of transnational, high-bandwidth wireless communications services will offer an environment with ‘lots to hide behind,’ it will also contain many highly competent, and potentially antagonistic, actors.”

An illustrate example included in part of the report provides exactly how such a hypothetical situation may play out: “The IC makes separate clandestine approaches to India and Russia to break up the partnership. It conducts cyber operations against research facilities in the two countries, as well as the intellectual ‘supply chain’ supporting these facilities. Finally, it assesses whether and how its findings would be useful to US industry.”

“Using covert cyber operations to pilfer ‘proprietary information’ and then determining how it ‘would be useful to US industry’ is precisely what the US government has been vehemently insisting it does not do,” Greenwald wrote, “even though for years it has officially prepared to do precisely that.”

Submission + - Slashdot Was Right: That Bricked-Prosthetic-Hand Story Was False (

willoremus writes: A wounded Army vet had his $75k prosthetic hand bricked when someone stole his iPod Touch? Yeah, not so much. I'm a tech reporter for, and a Slashdot post earlier this week prompted me to look into this story and ultimately debunk some of the key info. Sorry for self-posting, but I thought folks here might be interested in the truth since the false story was one of the top posts earlier this week.

Submission + - Swedish dad takes gamer kids to warzone (

Z00L00K writes: A Swedish father has come under fire for taking his two sons on a trip to Israel, the West Bank and occupied Syria in order to teach them the reality of war.

Meet Carl-Magnus Helgegren, a journalist, university teacher, and proactive dad.

And like so many other dads, Helgegren had to have the violent video-game conversation with his two sons, Frank and Leo, aged ten and 11 respectively.
"We were sitting at the dinner table last autumn, and my kids started telling me about this game they wanted to play, the latest Call of Duty game, and told me about the guns and missions," Helgegren told The Local on Friday.

So Helgegren struck a deal. The family would take a trip to a city impacted by real war. The boys would meet people affected, do interviews, and visit a refugee camp. And when they came back home, they would be free to play whatever games they chose.

Submission + - Report: NSA intercepts computer deliveries (

An anonymous reader writes: A German magazine lifted the lid on the operations of the National Security Agency's hacking unit Sunday, reporting that American spies intercept computer deliveries, exploit hardware vulnerabilities, and even hijack Microsoft's internal reporting system to spy on their targets.

Der Spiegel's revelations relate to a division of the NSA known as Tailored Access Operations, or TAO, which is painted as an elite team of hackers specializing in stealing data from the toughest of targets.

Citing internal NSA documents, the magazine said Sunday that TAO's mission was "Getting the ungettable," and quoted an unnamed intelligence official as saying that TAO had gathered "some of the most significant intelligence our country has ever seen."

Der Spiegel said TAO had a catalog of high-tech gadgets for particularly hard-to-crack cases, including computer monitor cables specially modified to record what is being typed across the screen, USB sticks secretly fitted with radio transmitters to broadcast stolen data over the airwaves, and fake base stations intended to intercept mobile phone signals on the go.

The NSA doesn't just rely on James Bond-style spy gear, the magazine said. Some of the attacks described by Der Spiegel exploit weaknesses in the architecture of the Internet to deliver malicious software to specific computers. Others take advantage of weaknesses in hardware or software distributed by some of the world's leading information technology companies, including Cisco Systems, Inc. and China's Huawei Technologies Ltd., the magazine reported.

Der Spiegel cited a 2008 mail order catalog-style list of vulnerabilities that NSA spies could exploit from companies such as Irvine, California-based Western Digital Corp. or Round Rock, Texas-based Dell Inc. The magazine said that suggested the agency was "compromising the technology and products of American companies."

Old-fashioned methods get a mention too. Der Spiegel said that if the NSA tracked a target ordering a new computer or other electronic accessories, TAO could tap its allies in the FBI and the CIA, intercept the hardware in transit, and take it to a secret workshop where it could be discretely fitted with espionage software before being sent on its way.

Intercepting computer equipment in such a way is among the NSA's "most productive operations," and has helped harvest intelligence from around the world, one document cited by Der Spiegel stated.

One of the most striking reported revelations concerned the NSA's alleged ability to spy on Microsoft Corp.'s crash reports, familiar to many users of the Windows operating system as the dialogue box which pops up when a game freezes or a Word document dies. The reporting system is intended to help Microsoft engineers improve their products and fix bugs, but Der Spiegel said the NSA was also sifting through the reports to help spies break into machines running Windows. One NSA document cited by the magazine appeared to poke fun at Microsoft's expense, replacing the software giant's standard error report message with the words: "This information may be intercepted by a foreign sigint (signals intelligence) system to gather detailed information and better exploit your machine."

Hayden: Snowden made U.S. intelligence “infinitely weaker”
Microsoft did not immediately return a call seeking comment, but the company is one of several U.S. firms that have demanded more transparency from the NSA — and worked to bolster their security — in the wake of the revelations of former intelligence worker Edward Snowden, whose disclosures have ignited an international debate over privacy and surveillance.

Der Spiegel did not explicitly say where its cache NSA documents had come from, although the magazine has previously published a series of stories based on documents leaked by Snowden, and one of Snowden's key contacts — American documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras — was listed among the article's six authors.

No one was immediately available at Der Spiegel to clarify whether Snowden was the source for the latest story.

Submission + - New FCC chairman presses carriers to unlock cell phones (

tad001 writes: The FCC chairman, Tom Wheeler sent a letter to the CTIA urging carriers to unlock handsets once customer contracts are fulfilled. Unlocking cell phones became illegal earlier this year when the Library of Congress opted not to renew an exemption in the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, an exemption it granted in 2006 and 2010.

Submission + - This Scientist Invents DIY Medical Devices out of Toys and Gadgets (

cantunsee writes: Jose Gomez-Marquez, director of the Little Devices Lab at MIT, is at the forefront of healthcare innovation, turning everyday objects into DIY medical devices.

At Maker Faire, Jose and his research team showed Elemental several homemade devices including a nebulizer powered by a bicycle pump and a microfluidic device used for point of care diagnosis.

Submission + - I Made a Living Hacking WiFi (

An anonymous reader writes: Over a 7 year period, I successfully "hacked" people of nearly a million dollars. I could pluck people's banking credentials right out of thin air like it was nothing. (And it really wasn't) What I found even more frightening than the ease with which I could do this, was that the individuals usually didn't realize they'd lost their money for a day or more. Sometimes over a week.

I did all of this as a paid computer security expert. Some might say penetration tester. Some might say ethical hacker. When I pulled off these hacking tricks I always had consent from my target. You see, my customers were the neurotic sorts to need to know whether this stuff was even possible. The state of computer security and WiFi security in particular scares me. So I want to bring all this stuff to the forefront of everyone's attention. Maybe then we can all be a bit more safe online.

Submission + - The Review of the book The Adventures Of The Bumbles: The New Kid In School (

An anonymous reader writes: The Adventures of the Bumbles is a series of anti-bullying books dedicated to encouraging kids to make a difference in their world through kindness and compassion. It takes confidence and courage to stand up against those that might be hurtful...yes we mean BULLIES! With their Bumble Lab, special talents of gift giving, hugs, helping, and kind words these kids make a difference in a new and creative way!
It really is a great series and finally addresses the issue of bullying from a kids perspective on resolution.

Submission + - Malala meets Barack Obama and asks him to end Drone Strikes (

rtoz writes: Education Activist Malala Yousafzai met U.S President Barack Obama at White House.
The Obamas welcomed Malala Yousafzai to the Oval Office “to thank her for her inspiring and passionate work on behalf of girls education in Pakistan,” according to a statement issued by the White House.

Malala said she was honored to meet Obama and that she raised concerns with him about the administration’s use of drones, saying they are “fueling terrorism.”

See here the photo of Malala with Obama Family

Submission + - Wait, Cars Catch Fire When Crashed? Taking A Breath On Tesla

thecarchik writes: Talk about jumping the gun. People all over the web are freaking out about a Tesla Model S catching fire after hitting a *metal object* in the road this week. People are sharing videos like wildfire, that's causing Tesla's stock price to plunge, and EV forums are hopping mad. But let's remain calm for a second and remember some essential truths. Cars sometimes catch fire when they crash. The Tesla Model S is--surprise--a car. So what's the big deal? Storing a lot of energy in a small space is a prerequisite for any car, and that stored energy can be dangerous in certain circumstances. When things outside of normal operating parameters occur (say, a metal object crashing into the car), that energy can escape--sometimes in violent ways. This is true no matter whether the car runs on gas, electricity, nuclear power, you name it. So let's all take a breath and realize that this sort of thing happens every day.

Submission + - Teach Our Kids to Code (

the agent man writes: WIRED Magazine is exploring how early kids should learn to code. One of the challenges is to find the proper time in schools to teach programming. Are teachers at elementary and middle school levels really able to teach this subject? The article suggests that even very young kids can learn to program and list a couple of early experiments as well as more established ideas including the Scalable Game Design curriculum. However, the article also suggests that programming may have to come at the cost of Foreign language learning and music. Judging by the comments this idea is not so well received.

The hardest part of climbing the ladder of success is getting through the crowd at the bottom.