Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Cyber Monday Sale Extended! Courses ranging from coding to project management - all eLearning deals 20% off with coupon code "CYBERMONDAY20". ×

Creator of Relay On BITNET, Predecessor of IRC, Dies ( 34

tmjva writes: Jeff Kell passed away on November 25 as reported here in the 3000newswire. He was inventor of BITNET Relay, a predecessor of Internet Relay Chat using the REXX programming language.

In 1987 he wrote the following preserved article about RELAY and here is his obituary. May this early inventor rest in peace.

Submission + - GlassRAT Targets Chinese Nationals, Lurked for 3 Years Undetected (

chicksdaddy writes: RSA researchers issued a report today ( about a remote access trojan (or RAT) program dubbed “GlassRAT” that they are linking to sophisticated and targeted attacks on “Chinese nationals associated with large multinational corporations," The Security Ledger reports. (

Discovered by RSA in February of this year, GlassRAT was first created in 2012 and “appears to have operated, stealthily, for nearly 3 years in some environments,” in part with the help of a legitimate certificate from a prominent Chinese software publisher and signed by Symantec and Verisign, RSA reports.

The software is described as a “simple but capable RAT” that packs reverse shell features that allow attackers to remotely control infected computers as well as transfer files and list active processes. The dropper program associated with the file poses as the Adobe Flash player, and was named “Flash.exe” when it was first detected.

RSA discovered it on the PC of a Chinese national working for a large, U.S. multi-national corporation. RSA had been investigating suspicious network traffic on the enterprise network. RSA says telemetry data and anecdotal reports suggest that GlassRAT may principally be targeting Chinese nationals or other Chinese speakers, in China and elsewhere, since at least early 2013.

RSA said it has discovered links between GlassRAT and earlier malware families including Mirage, Magicfire and PlugX. Those applications have been linked to targeted campaigns against the Philippine military and the Mongolian government. (

Submission + - UK PM Wants To Speed Up Controversial Internet Bill After Paris Attacks (

An anonymous reader writes: Less than three days after the attacks in Paris, UK prime minister David Cameron has suggested that the process of review for the controversial Draft Investigatory Powers Bill should be accelerated. The controversial proposal, which would require British ISPs to retain a subset of a user's internet history for a year and in effect outlaw zero-knowledge encryption in the UK, was intended for parliamentary review and ratification by the end of 2016, but at the weekend ex-terrorist watchdog Lord Carlile was in the vanguard of demands to speed the bill into law by the end of this year, implicitly criticizing ex-NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden for having 'shown terrorists ways to hide their electronic footprints'.

Submission + - Windows 10's Privacy Policy: the New Normal? (

An anonymous reader writes: The launch of Windows 10 brought a lot of users kicking and screaming to the "connected desktop." "This is very useful, but obviously has privacy implications: the online service providers can track which devices are making which requests, which devices are near which Wi-Fi networks, and feasibly might be able to track how devices move around. The service providers will all claim that the data is anonymized, and that no persistent tracking is performed... but it almost certainly could be." There are privacy concerns, particularly for default settings. According to Peter Bright, for better or worse this is the new normal for mainstream operating systems. We're going to have to either get used to it, or get used to fighting with settings to turn it all off. "The days of mainstream operating systems that don't integrate cloud services, that don't exploit machine learning and big data, that don't let developers know which features are used and what problems occur, are behind us, and they're not coming back. This may cost us some amount of privacy, but we'll tend to get something in return: software that can do more things and that works better."

Submission + - XKEYSCORE: NSA'S Google for the World's Private Communications (

Advocatus Diaboli writes: "The NSA’s ability to piggyback off of private companies’ tracking of their own users is a vital instrument that allows the agency to trace the data it collects to individual users. It makes no difference if visitors switch to public Wi-Fi networks or connect to VPNs to change their IP addresses: the tracking cookie will follow them around as long as they are using the same web browser and fail to clear their cookies. Apps that run on tablets and smartphones also use analytics services that uniquely track users. Almost every time a user sees an advertisement (in an app or in a web browser), the ad network is tracking users in the same way. A secret GCHQ and CSE program called BADASS, which is similar to XKEYSCORE but with a much narrower scope, mines as much valuable information from leaky smartphone apps as possible, including unique tracking identifiers that app developers use to track their own users."


"Other information gained via XKEYSCORE facilitates the remote exploitation of target computers. By extracting browser fingerprint and operating system versions from Internet traffic, the system allows analysts to quickly assess the exploitability of a target. Brossard, the security researcher, said that “NSA has built an impressively complete set of automated hacking tools for their analysts to use.” Given the breadth of information collected by XKEYSCORE, accessing and exploiting a target’s online activity is a matter of a few mouse clicks. Brossard explains: “The amount of work an analyst has to perform to actually break into remote computers over the Internet seems ridiculously reduced — we are talking minutes, if not seconds. Simple. As easy as typing a few words in Google.”

Submission + - Sourceforge staff takes over a user's account and wraps their software installer ( 11

An anonymous reader writes: Sourceforge staff took over the account of the GIMP-for-Windows maintainer claiming it was abandoned and used this opportunity to wrap the installer in crapware. Quoting Ars:

SourceForge, the code repository site owned by Slashdot Media, has apparently seized control of the account hosting GIMP for Windows on the service, according to e-mails and discussions amongst members of the GIMP community—locking out GIMP's lead Windows developer. And now anyone downloading the Windows version of the open source image editing tool from SourceForge gets the software wrapped in an installer replete with advertisements.

Submission + - The Government Can No Longer Track Your Cell Phone Without a Warrant 1

Jason Koebler writes: The government cannot use cell phone location data as evidence in a criminal proceeding without first obtaining a warrant, an appeals court ruled today, in one of the most important privacy decisions in recent memory.
"In short, we hold that cell site location information is within the subscriber’s reasonable expectation of privacy," the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled. "The obtaining of that data without a warrant is a Fourth Amendment violation."

Submission + - Star Within a Star: Thorne-Zytkow Object Discovered (

astroengine writes: A weird type of ‘hybrid’ star has been discovered nearly 40 years since it was first theorized — but until now has been curiously difficult to find. In 1975, renowned astrophysicists Kip Thorne, of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, Calif., and Anna Zytkow, of the University of Cambridge, UK, assembled a theory on how a large dying star could swallow its neutron star binary partner, thus becoming a very rare type of stellar hybrid, nicknamed a Thorne-Zytkow object (or TZO). The neutron star — a dense husk of degenerate matter that was once a massive star long since gone supernova — would spiral into the red supergiant’s core, interrupting normal fusion processes. According to the Thorne-Zytkow theory, after the two objects have merged, an excess of the elements rubidium, lithium and molybdenum will be generated by the hybrid. So astronomers have been on the lookout for stars in our galaxy, which is thought to contain only a few dozen of these objects at any one time, with this specific chemical signature in their atmospheres. Now, according to Emily Levesque of the University of Colorado Boulder and her team, a bona fide TZO has been discovered and their findings have been accepted for publication in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Letters.

Submission + - Firefox 29 is a Flop; UI Design Trends Getting Worse 2

An anonymous reader writes: Firefox 29 marked the release of the UI overhaul codenamed "Australis" and the jury is back with a verdict: the vast majority of feedback on Firefox Input is negative and traffic to the Classic Theme Restorer add-on has aggressively spiked since Firefox 29 came out on April 29. Considering this is a year and a half after the backlash against the new Windows 8 user interface, it seems that even though the "dumbing down" trends in UI design are infuriating users, they continue to happen. Chrome will soon be hiding URLs, OS X has hidden scroll bars by default, iOS 7 flattened everything, and Windows 8 made scroll bars hard to see. If most users hate these changes, why are they so ubiquitous?

Submission + - Jury Finds Apple and Samsung Infringed Each Other's Patents 1

An anonymous reader writes: A U.S. jury concluded Friday that Samsung had infringed on two of Apple's patents and that Apple had infringed on one of Samsung's patents. Prior to the trial, the judge had ruled that Samsung had infringed on one other Apple patent. Samsung will receive $158,400 in damages, although they had requested just over $6 million. Apple will receive $119.6 million in damages, although they had requested just over $2 billion and a ban on certain Samsung phones. Some say that a sales ban is unlikely to be approved by the judge. The jury is scheduled to return on Monday to resolve what appears to be a technical mistake in their verdict on one of the patents, and Apple may gain a few hundred thousand dollars in their damages award as a result.

Could Google's Test of Hiding Complete URLs In Chrome Become a Standard? 327

MojoKid (1002251) writes "The address bar in a Web browser has been a standard feature for as long as Web browsers have been around — and that's not going to be changing. What could be, though, is exactly what sort of information is displayed in them. In December, Google began rolling-out a limited test of a feature in Chrome called "Origin Chip", a UI element situated to the left of the address bar. What this "chip" does is show the name of the website you're currently on, while also showing the base URL. To the right, the actual address bar shows nothing, except a prompt to "Search Google or type URL". With this implementation, a descriptive URL would not be seen in the URL bar. Instead, only the root domain would be seen, but to the left of the actual address bar. This effectively means that no matter which page you're on in a given website, all you'll ever see when looking at the address bar is the base URL in the origin chip. What helps here is that the URL is never going to be completely hidden. You'll still be able to hit Ctrl + L to select it, and hopefully be able to click on the origin chip in order to reveal the entire URL. Google could never get rid of the URL entirely, because it's required in order to link someone to a direct location, obviously."

Submission + - British Spy Chiefs Secretly Begged to Play in NSA's Data Pools (

Advocatus Diaboli writes: Britain’s electronic surveillance agency, Government Communications Headquarters, has long presented its collaboration with the National Security Agency’s massive electronic spying efforts as proportionate, carefully monitored, and well within the bounds of privacy laws. But according to a top-secret document in the archive of material provided to The Intercept by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, GCHQ secretly coveted the NSA’s vast troves of private communications and sought “unsupervised access” to its data as recently as last year – essentially begging to feast at the NSA’s table while insisting that it only nibbles on the occasional crumb.

Submission + - Subversion project migrates to Git (

gitficionado writes: The Apache Subversion project has begun migrating its source code from the ASF Subversion repo to git. Last week, the Subversion PMC (project management committee) voted to to migrate, and the migration has already begun.

Although there was strong opposition to the move from the older and more conservative SVN devs, and reportedly a lot of grumbling and ranting when the vote was tallied, a member of the PMC (who asked to remain anonymous) told the author that "this [migration] will finally let us get rid of the current broken design to a decentralized source control model [and we'll get] merge and rename done right after all this time."

Submission + - Julie Ann Horvath Quits GitHub, Citing Harrassment (

PvtVoid writes: From TechCrunch: The exit of engineer Julie Ann Horvath from programming network GitHub has sparked yet another conversation concerning women in technology and startups. Her claims that she faced a sexist internal culture at GitHub came as a surprise to some, given her former defense of the startup and her internal work at the company to promote women in technology.

The first version always gets thrown away.