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+ - Google Wants to Help You Tiptoe Around the NSA & The Great Firewall of China

Submitted by Kyle Jacoby
Kyle Jacoby (2973265) writes "The NSA was right when it postulated that the mere knowledge of the existence of their program could weaken its ability to function. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), which serve to mask the source and destination of data by routing it through a 3rd party server, have been a popular method for maintaining internet anonymity for the paranoid and prudent. However, the all-but-silent fall of secure email server Lavabit, and VPN provider CryptoSeal, have shown us just how pervasive the government's eye on our communications is. These companies chose to fold rather than to divulge customer data entrusted to them, which begs the million-dollar question: how many have chosen to remain open and silently hand over the keys to your data?

Google has decided to put the private back in VPN by supporting uProxy, a project developed at the University of Washington with help from Brave New Software. Still using a VPN schema, their aim is to keep the VPN amongst friends (literally). Of course, you'll need a friend who is willing to let you route your net through their tubes. Their simple integration into Firefox and Chrome will lower the barrier creating a decentralized VPN architecture would make sweeping pen register orders more difficult, and would also make blocking VPNs a rather difficult task for countries like China, who block citizens' access to numerous websites.

On a related note, when will the public finally demand that communications which pass through a third party, encrypted, still retain an reasonable expectation of privacy (rendering them pen register order-resistant)?"

+ - Google's 'Project Shield' Will Offer Cyberattack Protection to At-Risk Web Sites

Submitted by Hugh Pickens DOT Com
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Forbes Magazine reports that Google will offer free protection for websites serving media, elections and human rights related content against so-called “distributed denial-of-service” cyberattacks that flood them with junk traffic from hundreds or thousands of computers, taking them offline. The project, which is part of the company’s Google Ideas initiative to take on global problems, has already been working for months with at-risk sites around the world in countries like Iran, Syria, Burma and other places where sites with political content are often subject to attack, and will expand in its initial phase to hundreds of sites. “We’re able to take the people who face the greatest threats to [distributed denial of service] attacks and get them behind our protection,” says CJ Adams. “If they face an attack, it has to get through us first, and after years of working on this we’re pretty good at stopping these attacks.” The service is currently invite-only and is accepting applications from websites serving news, human rights or elections-related content. In addition to the Shield protection service, Google is also launching a digital attack map to show real-time cyberattacks around the world, pulling data from the DDOS analysis service Arbor Networks. Among the beta users of Project Shield are the Persian-language political blog Balatarin, a Syrian website called Aymta that provides early warnings of scud missile launches, and an election monitoring website in Kenya called the Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission. “The thing that can take many of these sites offline is so small to us. We can absorb it,” says Adams. “That’s made this something we can provide fairly easily. It has a huge impact for them, and we can take the hit.”"
Electronic Frontier Foundation

+ - DMCA exemption ends on Jan 26th. Unlocking a cellphone becomes illegal->

Submitted by Acapulco
Acapulco (1289274) writes "Apparently an exemption to the DMCA, determined by the Librarian of Congress will expire this Saturday, January 26th, which will make unlocking phones illegal (although not jailbreaking).

From the article:

"The new rule against unlocking phones won't be a problem for everybody, though. For example, Verizon's iPhone 5 comes out of the box already unlocked, and AT&T will unlock a phone once it is out of contract."

And:

"Advocacy group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) questions whether the DMCA has the right to determine who can unlock a phone. In an email to TechNewsDaily, EFF attorney Mitch Stoltz said, "Arguably, locking phone users into one carrier is not at all what the DMCA was meant to do. It's up to the courts to decide." "

Also:

"Christopher S. Reed from the U.S. Copyright Office noted in an email to TechNewsDaily that "only a consumer, who is also the owner of the copy of software on the handset under the law, may unlock the handset." ""

Link to Original Source
Security

+ - Nike+ FuelBand: One Big Security Hole For Your Life->

Submitted by
MojoKid
MojoKid writes "Nike+ FuelBand, a $149 wristband with LED display that tracks your daily activity, tells you how many calories you've burned, lets you know how much fuel you have left in the tank (seriously), and basically keeps track of "every move you make." If you think that sounds like a privacy nightmare waiting to happen, it pretty much is. A source directly connected to Nike reported an amusing, albeit startling anecdote about a guy who got caught cheating on his girlfriend because of the Nike+ FuelBand. "They shared their activity between each other and she noticed he was active at 1-2AM, when he was supposed to be home." That's just one scenario. What if the wristband gets lost or stolen? How much data is actually stored on these sorts of devices?"
Link to Original Source
Security

+ - 35% Of Americans Would Wear "Electric Shock Bracelet" in Order to Fly-> 1

Submitted by dryriver
dryriver (1010635) writes "Infowars.com reports: 'A survey commissioned by Infowars and conducted by Harris Interactive has found that 35% of American adults would be willing to wear an electric shock bracelet in order to fly, another startling example of how many Americans are willing to give up their rights in the name of safety. The idea of mandating travelers to wear an electric shock bracelet sounds like something out of a dystopian sci-fi movie, but the proposal was seriously considered and very nearly implemented by the Department of Homeland Security back in 2008. As the linked Youtube video highlights, not only would the bracelets have been used to deliver incapacitating electric shocks to suspected terrorists, they would also have contained tracking technology to spy on the wearer."
Link to Original Source
Android

+ - Why You Can't Build Your Own Smarthphone: Patents->

Submitted by
jfruh
jfruh writes "In the mid-00s, more and more people started learning about Android, a Linux-based smartphone OS. Open source advocates in particular thought they could be seeing the mobile equivalent of Linux — something you could download, tinker with, and sell. Today, though, the Android market is dominated by Google and the usual suspects in the handset business. The reason nobody's been able to launch an Android empire from the garage is fairly straightforward: the average smartphone is covered by over 250,000 patents."
Link to Original Source
Science

+ - Scientists Study "Frictional Ageing" - Standing Objects Becoming Harder to Move-> 1

Submitted by dryriver
dryriver (1010635) writes "The BBC reports: 'Have you ever had the impression that heavy items of furniture start to take root – that after years standing in the same place, they’re harder to slide to a new position? Do your best wine glasses, after standing many months unused in the cabinet, seem slightly stuck to the shelf? Has the fine sand in the kids’ play tray set into a lump?

If so, you’re not just imagining it. The friction between two surfaces in contact with each other does slowly increase over time. But why? A paper by two materials scientists at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, USA, suggests that the surfaces could actually be slowly chemically bonding together.

There are already several other explanations for this so-called “frictional ageing” effect. One is simply that two surfaces get squashed closer together. But a curious thing about friction is that the frictional force opposing sliding doesn’t depend on the area of the contacting surfaces. You’d expect the opposite to be the case: more contact should create more friction. But in fact two surfaces in apparent contact are mostly not touching at all, because little bumps and irregularities, called asperities, prop them apart. That’s true even for apparently smooth surfaces like glass, which are still rough at the microscopic scale. It’s only the contacts between these asperities that cause friction.'"

Link to Original Source

+ - Best system for Core Infrastructure Documentation

Submitted by reboot-qld
reboot-qld (2762861) writes "Ive been tasked with the job of coming up with a solution that would allow us to document Core Infrastructure systems. We are a company with over 300 Servers spread in 8 locations running Nix/Windows.
This would need to include Hardware / Software as well as any dependencies they have on other systems.
Having it do it automatically is not a must as we will need to do a full manual audit as well as there are systems turned off or fire walled off.
What would the Community recommend. Any help / Ideas would be most welcome."

From Sharp minds come... pointed heads. -- Bryan Sparrowhawk

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