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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 + - A Secretive Air Cargo Operation Is Running in Ohio, and Signs Point to Amazon (

citadrianne writes: In 2013, at the height of the holiday season, a surge of last minute Amazon orders and bad weather left many customers without gifts under the tree on Christmas day.

Amazon said the problem was not due to issues with its warehouses or staff, but failures on the part of UPS and other shipping partners. It apologized and reimbursed some customers with $20 gift cards, but the debacle underscored for Amazon the disadvantages of relying on third party shippers for its delivery process.

Since then, Amazon has been increasingly investing in its own alternatives, from contracting additional couriers to rolling out its own trucks in some cities.

The latest rumored venture into Amazon shipping has a name: Aerosmith.

An air cargo operation by that name launched in September of this year in Wilmington, Ohio on a trial basis. The operation is being run by the Ohio-based aviation holding company Air Transport Services Group, or ATSG, out of a state-of-the art facility. It's shipping consumer goods for a mysterious client that many believe to be Amazon.

Submission + - Fake Bomb Detector, Blamed for Hundreds of Deaths, Is Still in Use writes: Murtaza Hussain writes at The Intercept that although it remains in use at sensitive security areas throughout the world, the ADE 651 is a complete fraud and the ADE-651’s manufacturer sold it with the full knowledge that it was useless at detecting explosives. There are no batteries in the unit and it consists of a swivelling aerial mounted to a hinge on a hand-grip. The device contains nothing but the type of anti-theft tag used to prevent stealing in high street stores and critics have likened it to a glorified dowsing rod.

The story of how the ADE 651 came into use involves the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. At the height of the conflict, as the new Iraqi government battled a wave of deadly car bombings, it purchased more than 7,000 ADE 651 units worth tens of millions of dollars in a desperate effort to stop the attacks. Not only did the units not help, the device actually heightened the bloodshed by creating “a false sense of security” that contributed to the deaths of hundreds of Iraqi civilians. A BBC investigation led to a subsequent export ban on the devices.

The device is once again back in the news as it was reportedly used for security screening at hotels in the Egyptian resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh where a Russian airliner that took off from that city’s airport was recently destroyed in a likely bombing attack by the militant Islamic State group. Speaking to The Independent about the hotel screening, the U.K. Foreign Office stated it would “continue to raise concerns” over the use of the ADE 651. James McCormick, the man responsible for the manufacture and sale of the ADE 651, received a 10-year prison sentence for his part in manufacture of the devices, sold to Iraq for $40,000 each. An employee of McCormick who later became a whistleblower said that after becoming concerned and questioning McCormick about the device, McCormick told him the ADE 651 “does exactly what it’s designed to. It makes money.”

Comment Design of Calendar, Address Book, Reminders, etc. (Score 1) 460

I think the biggest casualty of the new design language is that the Calendar, Address Book and Reminders applications (on OSX and iOS) has gone into the toilet.

Tasks that were once obvious how to do such as adding a new reminder are now almost hidden. On older OSX / iOS versions, adding a new reminder had a prominent button on the top right of the screen; press it, enter your details, save it, done. Now? Scroll to the bottom (heaven forbid you have a hundred items) and tap in the blank gap below the last entry and THEN you get the ability to enter something. Gee, that was obvious? Fortunately, we've been at least granted a '+' in that blank gap now, but it is still ridiculous that we have to scroll down to add a task. Yes, you could probably do it faster with Siri but it isn't always appropriate to talk out loud when you're just trying to create a reminder to buy milk when you leave the office.

Take a look at the other personal management applications and you'll find similar oddities. Why one needs to battle with the Calendar to add or edit an item with some fields in there makes no sense unless you're of the school of "use as little real estate on the screen as possible" on our 4K displays >cough< .. it's OK, you can make the dialogs bigger; if we're typing in it, it is obviously the focus of our attention.. 'K?

I don't think this is a case of "you're holding it wrong", it seems to be more that some designer wanted to make an impact; a statement. Instead, you're making peoples' lives just a little bit harder for the sake of your "art". I'm not saying you need to design option monstrosities like you find on Windows and Linux platforms, but instead of finding the balance between design and usability it seems to be leaning far more heavily on unchallenged design.

Of course, we don't know what we're talking about because Apple knows what we want better than us, right? ;-)

Submission + - Anonymous Reportedly "RickRolling" Isis (

retroworks writes: According to a recent tweet from the #OpParis account, Anonymous are delivering on their threat to hack Isis [slashdot, and are now flooding all pro-Isis hastags with the grandfather of all 2007 memes — Rick Aston's "Never Gonna Give You Up" (1987) music video, aka “Rick Roll” meme. Whenever a targeted Isis account tries to spread a message, the topic will instead be flooded with countless videos of Rick Astley circa 1987.

Not all are praising Anonymous methods, however. While Metro UK reports that the attacks have been successful, finding and shutting down 5,500 Twitter accounts, the article also indicates that professional security agencies have seen sources they monitor shut down. Rick Aston drowns out intelligence as well as recruitment.

Submission + - How Close Are We To a Mission on Mars? (

destinyland writes: "NASA is developing the capabilities needed to send humans to an asteroid by 2025 and Mars in the 2030s," reads the official NASA web site. But National Geographic points out that "the details haven't been announced, in large part because such a massive, long-term spending project would require the unlikely support of several successive U.S. presidents." And yet on November 4th, NASA put out a call for astronaut applications "in anticipation of returning human spaceflight launches to American soil, and in preparation for the agency’s journey to Mars," and they're currently experimenting with growing food in space. And this week they not only ordered the first commercial mission to the International Space Station, but also quietly announced that they've now partnered with 22 private space companies.

Submission + - Tape Disintegration Threatens Historical Records, But Chemistry Can Help (

An anonymous reader writes: Modern storage methods are designed with longevity in mind. But we haven't always had the scientific knowledge or the foresight to do so. From the late 60s to the late 80s, much of the world's cultural history was recorded on magnetic tapes. Several decades on, those tapes are disintegrating, and we're faced with the permanent loss of that data. "The Cultural Heritage Index estimates that there are 46 million magnetic tapes in museums and archives in the U.S. alone—and about 40 percent of them are of unknown quality. (The remaining 60 percent are known to be either already disintegrated or in good enough condition to be played.)" Fortunately, researchers have worked out a method to determine which copies are recoverable. They "combined a laptop-sized infrared spectrometer with an algorithm that uses multivariate statistics to pick up patterns of all the absorption peaks." Here's the abstract from their research paper. "As the tapes go through the breakdown reaction, the chemical changes give off tiny signals in the form of compounds, which can be seen with infrared light—and when the patterns of reactions are analyzed with the model, it can predict which tapes are playable."

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Is Scrum still relevant? (

An anonymous reader writes: In an article titled "Scrum is dead: breaking down the new open development method," Ahmad Nassri writes:

Among the most "oversold as a cure" methodologies introduced to business development teams today is Scrum, which is one of several agile approaches to software development and introduced as a way to streamline the process. Scrum has become something of an intractable method, complete with its own holy text, the Manifesto for Agile Software Development , and daily devotions (a.k.a., Scrum meetings).

Although Scrum may have made more sense when it was being developed in the early '90s, much has changed over the years. Startups and businesses have work forces spread over many countries and time zones, making sharing offices more difficult for employees. As our workforce world evolves, our software development methods should evolve, too.

What do you think? Is Scrum still a viable approach to software development, or is it time to make way for a different way of doing things?

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 + - Leaked Documents Confirm Polygraph Operators Can't Detect Countermeasures

George Maschke writes: has published a document (14 MB PDF) on polygraph countermeasures that is allegedly derived from classified information. The document suggests techniques that polygraph operators might use in an attempt to detect efforts to beat the polygraph, but fails to offer any coherent strategy for detecting sophisticated countermeasures such as those outlined in's The Lie Behind the Lie Detector (1 MB PDF) or Doug Williams' How to Sting the Polygraph . Ominously, the leaked document avers that an examinee's stated lack of belief in polygraphy is a marker of deception. has also published an older U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations polygraph countermeasure handbook (3.2 MB PDF) that similarly offers no methodology for detecting sophisticated countermeasures (such as any actual spy, saboteur, or terrorist might be expected to use).

Submission + - Louis Friedman says humans will never venture beyond Mars (

MarkWhittington writes: Dr. Louis Friedman, one of the co-founders of the Planetary Society, is coming out with a new book, “Human Spaceflight: From Mars to the Stars,” an excerpt of which was published in Scientific America. Friedman revives and revises a version of the humans vs. robots controversy that has roiled through aerospace circles for decades. Unlike previous advocates of restricting space travel to robots, such as Robert Park and the late James Van Allen, Friedman admits that humans are going to Mars to settle. But there, human space travel will end. Only robots will ever venture further.

Submission + - Slashdot Poll: Year of Linux on the Desktop? 2

An anonymous reader writes: Year of Linux on the Desktop?

Sometime in the 1990s
Sometime in the future

Comment Re:Current version is just .... so..... slow.... (Score 1) 119

FWIW, I see absolutely zero performance issues on my Windows laptop. Diagnose the performance bottleneck on your machine before you blame the software.

I used to have a laptop that would take a 3x-5x performance hit when I enabled a high color display mode. The processor was still fast, but if you enabled 32-bit color performance of everything went to crap. If you downgraded your display to 16-bit color, fast as a rocket.

Sometimes your hardware may say that it supports some feature or another. Doesn't necessarily mean that it is the best thing to turn on...

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