Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Deal of the Day - Pay What You Want for the Learn to Code Bundle, includes AngularJS, Python, HTML5, Ruby, and more. ×

Submission + - Dell admits installing security hole on laptops, apologizes, offers fix (

alphadogg writes: Dell acknowledges a root certificate it installed on its laptops was a bad idea and is pushing a patch to permanently remove it. In a blog post company spokesperson Laura Thomas says eDellRoot was installed as a support tool to make it faster and easier for customers to service the devices. But some of those customers discovered the certificate and recognized it as a serious security threat.

Submission + - Dell computers shipping with potentially dangerous root certificate authority (

alphadogg writes: At least some Dell laptops are shipping with a trusted root certificate authority pre-installed, something that those who discovered the CA are comparing to the Superfish adware installed on Lenovo machines that left them open to man-in the-middle attacks. Called eDellRoot, the trusted root CA comes as part of the standard software load on new Dell machines.

Submission + - How tech led to the death of France's public enemy number 1 (

alphadogg writes: When one of the terrorists involved in the Paris shootings dropped his smartphone in a trashcan outside the Bataclan concert venue on Friday night, he wasn't worried about encrypting his text messages or stored documents. Why would he be? With a bomb strapped to his waist, he knew he was about to die. But that telephone, and wiretaps on another, led police to announce Thursday that the suspected organizer of the shootings and a string of other attacks, Abdel Hamid Abaaoud, was dead.

Submission + - Microsoft kills off Zune music service today (

alphadogg writes: It's one of those "You mean it was still alive?" moments: Microsoft today officially has killed off its Zune music streaming and download service. The company notified users in September that Zune services would be retired on Nov. 15. Microsoft has been phasing out its Zune brand for some time now, with Zune music service being morphed into Xbox music and then Groove music. Devices were discontinued in 2011.

Submission + - Think your IT project is a nightmare? Check these out and you'll feel better (

alphadogg writes: There are many ways to gauge satisfaction with a new computer system, but when the people who have to use it show up for work wearing red and declare it "Code Red" day, you probably don't need to bother with a survey. That's exactly what's scheduled to happen this Thursday in the city of Hamilton, Ontario, where government workers plan to protest the one-year anniversary of a controversial new computer system.

Submission + - Apple wages battle to keep App Store malware-free

alphadogg writes: Apple is facing growing challenges keeping suspicious mobile applications out of its App Store marketplace. Over the last two months, researchers have found thousands of apps that could have potentially stolen data from iOS devices. Apple has removed some of affected apps since it was alerted by security companies. But the problems threaten to taint the App Store's years-long reputation as being high quality and malware free.

Submission + - Has FCC "gone off the rails" with latest Wi-Fi blocking fines? (

alphadogg writes: It turns out that critics of the FCC's crackdown over the past year on organizations purposefully blocking consumers' Wi-Fi hotspots might actually have a couple of kindred spirits on the Commission itself. In the FCC's announcement this week that it plans to fine a big electrical contractor named M.C. Dean $718,000 for blocking consumers' Wi-Fi connections at the Baltimore Convention Center, it notes that Commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O'Rielly dissented. The FCC action, however, was approved by a 3-2 vote, with the only two Republicans voting against it.

Submission + - FCC strikes again on Wi-Fi blocking: Hilton, big electrical contractor fined (

alphadogg writes: The FCC isn’t kidding around in going after Wi-Fi blockers: Now it has slapped big electrical contracting company M.C. Dean with a $718,000 fine for blocking consumers’ Wi-Fi connections and has proposed a $25,000 fine for Hilton Worldwide for “apparent obstruction of an investigation” into whether Hilton blocked consumers’ Wi-Fi devices.

Word of this punishment comes on the heels of the FCC hitting Smart City, an ISP for convention centers and hotels, with a $750,000 fine for kicking users off their hotspots so that they’d have to use Smart City’s more expensive service.

Submission + - Revisiting infamous Sony BMG rootkit scandal 10 years later (

alphadogg writes: Hackers really have had their way with Sony over the past year, taking down its Playstation Network last Christmas Day and creating an international incident by exposing confidential data from Sony Pictures Entertainment in response to The Interview comedy about a planned assassination on North Korea’s leader. Some say all this is karmic payback for what’s become known as a seminal moment in malware history: Sony BMG sneaking rootkits into music CDs 10 years ago in the name of digital rights management. “In a sense, it was the first thing Sony did that made hackers love to hate them,” says Bruce Schneier, CTO for Resilient Systems.

Sony's scheme was revealed on Halloween of 2005, and was followed by a botched response, issuing and reissuing of rootkit removal tools, and lawsuits. There are object lessons from the incident which are relevant today.

Submission + - Deep into Drupal, Cisco starts to give back to open source community (

alphadogg writes: Cisco’s Jamal Haider acknowledged during a presentation this week that his team that works on the company’s open source-based customer support portal hasn’t given much back to the wider Drupal community yet, but he said this talk at the sold-out Acquia Engage conference in Boston is part of an effort to change that. And why not? Cisco has plenty of reasons – more than $400 million of them, in fact – to be grateful for Drupal since migrating its Support Community portal to the open source content management system early last year. Cisco’s online support community has been around for 12-plus years, originally as a forum. Now it is a bustling center of customer activity with a modern user interface that attracts more than 38 million visits a year and counts 600,000 active users.

Submission + - When it comes to spam, IBM's SoftLayer is the host with the most (

alphadogg writes: IBM may be the fastest-growing vendor in the worldwide security software market, but it's also the owner of the world's largest source of spam. That's according to a new report by security expert Brian Krebs, who called out the company's SoftLayer subsidiary for being "the Internet’s most spam-friendly" service provider. SoftLayer currently holds the top position on antispam nonprofit's list of the world’s worst spam support ISPs, which it defines as the ISPs with the worst abuse departments and "consequently the worst reputations for knowingly hosting spam operations."

Submission + - Researchers warn computer clocks can be easily scrambled

alphadogg writes: Researchers at Boston University said this week that they've found flaws in the Network Time Protocol (NTP), a 30-year-old Internet protocol whose security shortcomings could undermine encrypted communications and even jam up bitcoin transactions.

The importance of NTP was highlighted in a 2012 incident in which two servers run by the U.S. Navy rolled back their clocks 12 years, deciding it was the year 2000. Computers that checked in with the Navy's servers and adjusted their clocks accordingly had a variety of problems with their phones systems, routers and authentication systems.

Submission + - Reddit-inspired Narwhal Bacon Box calling it quits (

alphadogg writes: Narwhal Bacon Box, the oddly-named business that promised to send Reddit-inspired treasure boxes to subscribers for a monthly fee, has now acknowledged on its Facebook page that the venture has failed.
"Unfortunately due to product curation issues and lack of sufficient capital we're unable to continue moving forward with this endeavor. We're issuing refunds to all of our members," NBB replied to one disappointed customer via its Facebook page.

Submission + - Named Data Networking plan to revamp Internet gains momentum (

alphadogg writes: Much of the Named Data Networking (NDN) project codebase is still at the Version zero-dot-something level. But things are nevertheless starting to get real for this content-centric architecture designed to blast past today’s host-based and point-to-point Internet scheme to one more suited for hugely scalable networks that are mobile and attached to all sorts of sensor-equipped things. Backers from academia and industry (including Cisco and Intel) were among those sharing the latest NDN breakthroughs at several events over the past week. NDN spiritual leader and Internet Hall of Famer Van Jacobson said IP was like a good middle school education, the Web like high school and NDN is like going to college...

"When it comes to humility, I'm the greatest." -- Bullwinkle Moose