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+ - Flushing out suspicious social media activity using Benford's Law->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy writes: Benford's Law (See ) refers to the frequency distribution of digits in many types of real-life data in which the digit "1" occurs as the leading digit about 30% of the time

Jennifer Golbeck at the University of Maryland in College Park applied Benford's Law on data of users from five major social networks, and in tweeter only 170 people out of the 21,000 that she investigated had a correlation lower than 0.5

When she investigated further, she discovered that only 2 accounts out of the 170 seem to belong to legitimate users, with the rest (168) are part of a Russian botnet

That’s interesting work that has important implications for social network forensics. In recent years, it has become increasingly difficult to spot accounts on social networks that are engaged in suspicious activity. Comparing a large number of these against Benford’s law is a quick and simple way to find ones that require further investigation

Of course, this process will not find all suspicious accounts. Any account that grows in the same way as a conventional one would remain hidden and it’s possible that maleficent users could employ simple techniques to make their accounts less identifiable now that this method has been revealed

But for the time being, Benford’s law looks to be a valuable tool in the war against fraud and suspicious activity on social networks. “The applicability of Benford’s Law to social media is a new tool for analyzing user behavior, understanding when and why natural deviations may occur, and ultimately detecting when abnormal forces are at work,” concludes Ms. Golbeck

Link to Original Source

+ - How to make law enforcement much less accountable-> 1

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy writes: According to Google and Facebook, letting the U.S. government unlock encrypted customer data would make law enforcement less accountable

Their comments came a day after the White House cybersecurity czar and the U.S. secretary for homeland security both said encryption was hobbling law enforcement and that the government needed ways around it

Keith Enright, Google’s chief privacy officer said that such tools could also undermine the accountability of law enforcement officials seeking access to private data

Enright added that a lack of transparency in government access to user data is already a problem. “Law enforcement has been overreaching,” he said. “We want to drive as much transparency for law enforcement access as possible”

“The trust of the people that use our services is paramount,” said Erin Egan, of Facebook “Anything antithetical to that we’re not going to be okay with"

Trevor Hughes, CEO of the International Association of Privacy Professionals, believes that most Internet companies would be similarly wary of any program or technology that gave the U.S. government a way to beat encryption

The bad press that has affected companies targeted by NSA surveillance has inspired many to be more stringent in checking that the government requests they receive are valid, Hughes said. And protecting customer privacy has come to be seen as a competitive necessity. “Differentiation based on better privacy and encryption is in the marketplace today, and I think it’s going to increase,” he said

Link to Original Source

Comment: Yes and No (Score 2) 52

by s.petry (#49549155) Attached to: Github DDoS Attack As Seen By Google

Sure, the US needs enemies but this is not the case of faking enemy action. This attack was easily traced to Chines devices which were injecting Javascript into HTML files, resulting in a massive DDOS. The servers performing this were part of the Chinese version of Google, which returned contaminated cache pages to queries.

Call me a skeptic, but I don't think the injections were limited to the cache servers Google names. I think this was done at a lower level to achieve the scale. The reason for the attack is somewhat of a mystery as well. China can just block Github, they don't need to DDOS.

+ - Bees prefer nectar laced with Neonicotinoids->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy writes: Neonicotinoids are a class of neuro-active insecticides chemically similar to nicotine

Neonicotinoids kill insect by overwhelming and short-circuting the insects' central nervous system (See )

Shell and Bayer started the development of Neonicotinoids back in the 1980's and 1990's

Since this new group of pesticide came to the market the bee population have been seriously devastated in regions where the pesticide are been widely used

In 2008 neonicotinoids came under increasing scrutiny over their environmental impacts starting in Germany

In 2012, studies have shown that neonicotinoid uses are linked to crash of bee population (See )

New studies, however, have discovered that bees prefer nectars that are laced with neonicotinoids, over nectars that are free of any trace of neonicotinoids (See )

According to researchers at Newcastle University the bees may "get a buzz" from the nicotine-like chemicals in the same way smokers crave cigarettes

BBC also covers this case (See )

Link to Original Source

Comment: More than 1 way to skin a cat (Score 1) 112

by s.petry (#49545431) Attached to: Comcast Officially Gives Up On TWC Merger

The merger may be off, for now, but that does not mean that there will be no collusion and behaviors of a merged company down the line. Proxies are not something new in terms of abusing monopoly powers.

Sure, I am glad this deal is off. At the same time, I don't trust these mega companies holding monopolies to do the right thing.

+ - Hubble turns 25->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy writes: The Hubble Telescope was launched on April 24, 1990, aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery from Kennedy Space Center, Florida

Currently it is flying about 340 miles over the Earth and circling us every 97 minutes

While the telescope itself is not really much to look at, that silver bucket is pure gold for astronomers

Scientists have used that vantage point to make ground-breaking observations about planets, stars, galaxies and to reveal parts of our universe we didn't know existed. The telescope has made more than 1 million observations and astronomers have used Hubble data in more than 12,700 scientific papers, "making it one of the most productive scientific instruments ever built," according to NASA

The truly spectacular images of the cosmo have also led to a scientific bounty that has far exceeded Hubble’s original goals: measuring how fast the universe is expanding; figuring out how galaxies evolve; and studying the gas that lies between galaxies

NASA aims to keep Hubble operating through at least 2020 so that it can overlap with its successor. The James Webb Space Telescope is due to launch in October 2018 and begin observations in mid-2019

The institute is reviewing scientists’ proposals for telescope time and mulling if some projects merit special attention as Hubble nears its end. Typically, the program receives about five requests for every hour of available telescope time

“There’s clearly there’s no lack of things to do with this observatory in its remaining years. The question is what do we do?” Sembach said at a recent American Astronomical Society meeting in Seattle

More links @

Link to Original Source

+ - MIT Developing AI to Better Diagnose Cancer->

Submitted by stowie
stowie writes: Working with Massachusetts General Hospital, MIT has developed a computational model that aims to automatically suggest cancer diagnoses by learning from thousands of data points from past pathology reports. The core idea is a technique called Subgraph Augmented Non-negative Tensor Factorization (SANTF). In SANTF, data from 800-plus medical cases are organized as a 3D table where the dimensions correspond to the set of patients, the set of frequent subgraphs, and the collection of words appearing in and near each data element mentioned in the reports. This scheme clusters each of these dimensions simultaneously, using the relationships in each dimension to constrain those in the others. Researchers can then link test results to lymphoma subtypes.
Link to Original Source

Comment: Would you kindly cut out the political crap? (Score 4, Insightful) 301

If you still have any respect for this forum within Slashdot, would you kindly cut out your political crap, please?

As this is a thread discussing the action of GREEDY ASSHOLES of the Music Industry, can you please stick to the context?

Subservience to the vested elite is not limited to the Conservatives - the critters on the other side of the isle, the Liberals, have also proven to be doing the same thing

It is thus an utter disgust for you kind to pollute this conversation by astroturfing the 'conservative vs liberal' debate

Comment: View of a guy from China (Score 1) 680

by Taco Cowboy (#49542329) Attached to: Except For Millennials, Most Americans Dislike Snowden

I'm 64 and I like Snowden.
I don't know if he's a snob, an asshat, a jerk or a nice guy and I don't care
What he did was a great service to the population and citizenry of the USA

I love my country, America, but I fear my Government

Age-wise I am not that far from you

I am not an American by birth, I got it through the naturalization process

I do love America - the country, but the government? The more anti constitutional things it does the more I am fearful of it

I came from China, and I guess I do not need to remind you guys the reputation of the CCP which controls China --- and the real sad thing is that the government of the United States of America is fast approaching the level of notoriety of the CCP government of China

Comment: Re:Interesting, but that is all (Score 1) 152

by s.petry (#49542199) Attached to: Yellowstone Supervolcano Even Bigger Than We Realized

We don't have either of the things you mentioned so it is completely out of our control. To go a bit further, the colonization of Mars would require Earth for quite a long time. We can't grow food or raise cattle in the Martian atmosphere, so self sustaining colonies are a very far way off. Underground cities have a similar problem with a food supply. We are very dependent on the Earth's surface, and so is our current space exploration abilities.

We can't measure "what if" against things that don't exist. Reality is a bummer sometimes.

The UNIX philosophy basically involves giving you enough rope to hang yourself. And then a couple of feet more, just to be sure.