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+ - Free copy of The Sims 2 contains SecuROM->

Submitted by dotarray
dotarray (1747900) writes "By now, everybody should know that if something looks too good to be true, it probably is. Let's apply that to EA, shall we? The publisher is giving away copies of The Sims 2: Ultimate Collection, for free... and not mentioning that it includes the controversial SecuROM anti-piracy software."
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+ - Dear museums: uploading your content to Wikimedia Commons just got easier->

Submitted by The ed17
The ed17 (2834807) writes "Galleries, libraries, archives, and museums (GLAMs) are now facing fewer barriers to uploading their content to Wikimedia Commons—the website that stores most of Wikipedia's images and videos. Previously, these institutions had to build customized scripts or be lucky enough to find a Wikimedia volunteer to do the work for them. According to the toolset's coordinator Liam Wyatt, "this is a giant leap forward in giving GLAMs the agency to share with Commons on their own terms.""
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+ - Stanford Researchers Claim They Found "The Holy Grail" Of Battery Life->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "A research team at Stanford University is claiming to have pulled off a scientific coup that really would be a quantum leap over existing battery technology — and they've done it, supposedly, by solving a very old problem. Right now, the batteries we refer to as "lithium ion" use lithium in the electrolyte, the fluid that surrounds the anode and cathode. Electrons flow from the anode into the attached device, then back into the battery via the cathode. The reason we use lithium for the electrolyte fluid but not the anode itself is simple; lithium anodes tend to expand when they come into contact with their electrolyte solutions. As it expands, it forms tendrils of metal that cause short circuits and destroy the anode's ability to function effectively. This leads to extremely nasty problems, problems with names like "Thermal runaway" and "Explosion.". The Stanford team claims to have discovered a method for using hollow polystyrene nanospheres to isolate the electrolytic solution and the anode. This barrier layer of carbon isolates the anode and would allow the battery to be charged and discharged repeatedly without risk of explosion. If the team is correct, and we could build lithium anodes, it would open the doors for batteries 5-6x more dense than current models. Cell phones, at that point, could possibly last days on a single charge, while a car like the Tesla Model S could comfortably make a New York to LA trip without stretching for more than an overnight trickle charge."
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+ - U.K. team claims breakthrough in universal cancer test->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "U.K. researchers say they've devised a simple blood test that can be used to diagnose whether people have cancer or not. The Lymphocyte Genome Sensitivity (LGS) test looks at white blood cells and measures the damage caused to their DNA when subjected to different intensities of ultraviolet light (UVA), which is known to damage DNA. The results of the empirical study show a distinction between the damage to the white blood cells from patients with cancer, with pre-cancerous conditions and from healthy patients. “Whilst the numbers of people we tested are, in epidemiological terms, quite small (208), in molecular epidemiological terms, the results are powerful," said the team's lead researcher. "We’ve identified significant differences between the healthy volunteers, suspected cancer patients and confirmed cancer patients of mixed ages at a statistically significant level .... This means that the possibility of these results happening by chance is 1 in 1000." The research is published online in the FASEB Journal, the US Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology."
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+ - Smoking mothers may alter the DNA of their children->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Pregnant women who smoke don’t just harm the health of their baby—they may actually impair their child’s DNA, according to new research. A genetic analysis shows that the children of mothers who smoke harbor far more chemical modifications of their genome--known as epigenetic changes--than kids of non-smoking mothers. Many of these are on genes tied to addiction and fetal development. The finding may explain why the children of smokers continue to suffer health complications later in life."
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+ - The Misleading Fliers Comcast Used to Kill Off a Local Internet Competitor

Submitted by Jason Koebler
Jason Koebler (3528235) writes "In the months and weeks leading up to a referendum vote that would have established a locally owned fiber network in three small Illinois cities, Comcast and SBC (now AT&T) bombarded residents and city council members with disinformation, exaggerations, and outright lies to ensure the measure failed.
The series of two-sided postcards painted municipal broadband as a foolhardy endeavor unfit for adults, responsible people, and perhaps as not something a smart woman would do. Municipal fiber was a gamble, a high-wire act, a game, something as "SCARY" as a ghost. Why build a municipal fiber network, one asked, when "internet service [is] already offered by two respectable private businesses?" In the corner, in tiny print, each postcard said "paid for by SBC" or "paid for by Comcast.""

+ - State governments consider regulating digital currency-> 1

Submitted by SonicSpike
SonicSpike (242293) writes "Now that consumers can use digital currencies like bitcoin to buy rugs from Overstock.com, pay for Peruvian pork sandwiches from a food truck in Washington, D.C. and even make donations to political action committees, states are beginning to explore how to regulate the emerging industry.

Digital currencies — also known as virtual currencies or cash for the Internet —allow people to transfer value over the Internet, but are not legal tender. Because they don’t require third-party intermediaries such as credit card companies or PayPal, merchants and consumers can avoid the fees typically associated with traditional payment systems.

Advocates of virtual currencies also say that because personal information is not tied to transactions, digital currencies are less prone to identity theft.

With about $7.8 billion in circulation, bitcoin is the most widely used digital currency; others include Litecoin and Peercoin. All are examples of cryptocurrencies, a subset of digital currencies that rely on cryptography to function.

“As far as we know, most state laws are completely silent on this topic,” said David J. Cotney, chairman of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors’ Emerging Payments Task Force, which in March began exploring virtual currency.

Among the questions the task force will consider, Cotney said, is whether bitcoins should be classified as currencies, investment securities or commodities, which could determine which regulators should apply.

New York became the first state to propose regulations for the digital currency industry when it unveiled earlier this month a broad-ranging proposal that aims to address consumer protection, money laundering and cybersecurity.

Until recently, California prohibited the use of alternative currencies. Last month, Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation to allow the use of alternative currencies, including digital currencies.

The Texas Department of Banking said in April Texas will not treat bitcoin and other digital currencies as money. “What it means, from our perspective, is just simply that it’s not money for the purposes of money transmission or currency exchange,” said Daniel Wood, an assistant general counsel in the department. “A bitcoin is basically property.” However, most bitcoin exchanges would be considered money transmitters and exchanging digital currency for sovereign currency would in most cases be considered money transmission.

Last month, the Kansas Office of the State Bank Commissioner issued a guidance that, like Texas, concluded that digital currencies are not considered money under the Kansas Money Transmitter Act."

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+ - Attackers Install DDoS Bots On Amazon Cloud->

Submitted by itwbennett
itwbennett (1594911) writes "Attackers are exploiting a vulnerability in distributed search engine software Elasticsearch to install DDoS malware on Amazon and possibly other cloud servers. Last week security researchers from Kaspersky Lab found new variants of Mayday, a Trojan program for Linux that's used to launch distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. The malware supports several DDoS techniques, including DNS amplification. One of the new Mayday variants was found running on compromised Amazon EC2 server instances, but this is not the only platform being misused, said Kaspersky Lab researcher Kurt Baumgartner Friday in a blog post."
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+ - Almost 1 in 10 Android Apps Are Now Malware

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Cheetah Mobile Threat Research Labs analyzed trends in mobile viruses for Q1 and Q2 of 2014. Pulling 24.4 million sample files they found that 2.2 million files had viruses, roughly 9% of the total. Compared to previous years, this is a 153% increase from the number of infected files in 2013. Asia and select parts of Western Europe have undoubtedly had the highest rates of infection during the past six months. This is due in part to the prevalence of third party app stores in these regions, which have very lax checks to ensure that applications do not contain viruses."

+ - US Navy sonar causing whale deaths->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy (5327) writes "US Navy's sonar is so loud that it is causing whales' brain to hemorrhage and blood vessels bursting, and when that happened, whales go up to the shallow waters and sometimes ended up beaching themselves.That happened in the Bahamas, back in March, 2000

On the morning of March 15, 2000, 17 beaked whales stranded themselves on beaches in the northern Bahamas. It was an terrible and extraordinary event: Beaked whales are the world’s deepest-diving mammals, and these creatures had spent most of their lives in deep undersea canyons. For even one to show up in shallow water would be extremely unusual, for 17 to strand was almost inconceivable

It just so happened that just a few feet away from one of the beaches lived Ken Balcomb, a beaked whale researcher who more than anyone in the world was equipped to find out what happened. Long before Mr. Balcomb started studying whales he had served two tours of duty in the Navy, where he’d done classified work with submarine-detecting sonar. He knew just how loud it could be, and in days following the stranding he photographed Navy destroyers in Bahamian waters

Mr. Balcomb had several of the dead whales’ heads sent for autopsies—and when they returned evidence of hemorrhages, he knew what happened. The whales had fled to shallow water to escape noise so concussively loud it burst blood vessels in their brains.

“I believe the Navy did it,” Balcomb soon announced at a press conference. With that began an epic legal and scientific battle to make the Navy admit what happened, and then to do something about it. Against all odds, it’s a battle in which Balcomb and environmentalists have been largely successful, winning commitments from the Navy to research sonar’s effects on whales and to consider them when planning training exercises"

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+ - Book review: Introduction to Cyber-Warfare: A Multidisciplinary Approach

Submitted by benrothke
benrothke (2577567) writes "Introduction to Cyber-Warfare: A Multidisciplinary Approach

Author: Paulo Shakarian, Jana Shakarian and Andrew Ruef

Pages: 336

Publisher: Syngress

Rating: 9/10

Reviewer: Ben Rothke

ISBN: 978-0124078147

Summary: Outstanding overview and guide to cyberwarfare





Cyberwarfare is a controversial topic. At the 2014 Infosec World Conference, Marcus Ranum gave a talk on Cyberwar: Putting Civilian Infrastructure on the Front Lines, Again.



Whether it was the topic or just Marcus being Marcus, about a third of the participants left within the first 15 minutes. They should have stayed, as Ranum, agree with him or not, provided some riveting insights on the topic.



While a somewhat broad term, in Wikipedia, cyberwarfare (often called information warfare)is definedas politically motivated hacking to conduct sabotage and espionage. It is a form of information warfare sometimes seen as analogous to conventional warfare.



The authors define cyber war as an extension of policy by actions taken in cyber space by state or nonstate actors that either constitute a serious threat to a nation's security or are conducted in response to a perceived threat against a nation's security.



As to a book on the topic, for most readers, cyberwarfare is something that they may be victims of, but will rarely be an actively part of.



In Introduction to Cyber-Warfare: A Multidisciplinary Approach, authors Paulo Shakarian, Jana Shakarian and Andrew Ruef provide an excellent overview of the topic. The book takes a holistic, or as they call it multidisciplinary, approach to the topic. It looks at the information security aspect of cyberwarfare, as well the military, sociological and other aspects of the topic.



The book is divided into 3 parts and 13 densely packed and extremely well-researched and footnoted chapters, namely:



Part I: Cyber Attack

Chapter 2: Political Cyber Attack Comes of Age in 2007

Chapter 3: How Cyber Attacks Augmented Russian Military Operations

Chapter 4: When Who Tells the Best Story Wins: Cyber and Information Operations in the Middle East

Chapter 5: Limiting Free Speech on the Internet: Cyber Attack Against Internal Dissidents in Iran and Russia

Chapter 6: Cyber Attacks by Nonstate Hacking Groups: The Case of Anonymous and Its Affiliates



Part II: Cyber Espionage and Exploitation

Chapter 7: Enter the Dragon: Why Cyber Espionage Against Militaries, Dissidents, and Nondefense Corporations Is a Key

Component of Chinese Cyber Strategy

Chapter 8: Duqu, Flame, Gauss, the Next Generation of Cyber Exploitation

Chapter 9: Losing Trust in Your Friends: Social Network Exploitation

Chapter 10: How Iraqi Insurgents Watched U.S. Predator Video—Information Theft on the Tactical Battlefield



Part III: Cyber Operations for Infrastructure Attack

Chapter 11: Cyber Warfare Against Industry

Chapter 12: Can Cyber Warfare Leave a Nation in the Dark? Cyber Attacks Against Electrical Infrastructure

Chapter 13: Attacking Iranian Nuclear Facilities: Stuxnet





The book provides numerous case studies of the largest cyberwarfare events to date. Issues around China and their use of cyberwarfare constitute a part of the book. Chapter 7 details the Chinese cyber strategy and shows how the Chinese cyber doctrine and mindset is radically different from that of those in the west.



The book compares the board games of chess (a Western game) and Go (a Chinese game) and how the outcomes and strategies of the games are manifest in each doctrine.



The chapter also shows how the Chinese government outlawed hacking, while at the same time the military identified the best and most talented hackers in China, and integrated them into Chinese security firms, consulting organizations, academia and the military.



One of the more fascinating case studies details the cyber war against the corporate world from China. The book provides a number of examples and details the methodologies they used, in addition to providing evidence of how the Chinese were involved.



For an adversary, one of the means of getting information is via social networks. This is often used in parallel by those launching some sort of cyberwarfare attack. LinkedIn is one of the favorite tools for such an effort. The authors write of the dangers of transitive trust; where user A trusts user B, and user B trusts user C. Via a transitive trust, user A will then trust user C based simply on the fact that user B does. This was most manifest in the Robin Sageexercise.



This was where Thomas Ryan created a fictitious information security professional names Robin Sage. He used her fake identity and profile to make friends with others in the information security world, both commercial, federal and military and he was able to fool even seasoned security professionals. Joan Goodchild wrote a good overview of the experiment here.



In chapter 10, the book details how Iraqi insurgents viewed Predator drones video feeds. Woody Allen said that eighty percent of success is just showing up. In this case, all the insurgents had to do was download the feed, as it was being transmitted unencrypted. Very little cyberwarfare required.



When the drone was being designed, the designers used security by obscurity in their decision not to encrypt the video feed. They felt that since the Predator video feeds were being transmitted on frequencies that were not publically known, no access control, encryption or other security mechanisms would be needed.



The downside is that once the precise frequency was determined by the insurgency, in the case of the Predator drone, the Ku-band, the use of the SkyGrabber satellite internet downloader made it possible for them to effortless view the video feeds.



The only negative about the book is a minor one. It has over 100 pictures and illustrations. Each one states: for the color version of this figure, the reader is referred to the online version of the book. Having that after every picture is a bit annoying. Also, the book never says where you can find the online version of the book.



How good is this book? In his review of it, Krypt3ia said it best when he wrote: I would love to start a kickstarter and get this book into the hands of each and every moron in Congress and the House. The reality is that this book should indeed be read by everyone in Washington, as they are making decisions on the topic, without truly understanding it.



For most readers, this will be the book that tells them everyone they need to know that their congressman should know. Most people will never be involved with any sort of warfare, and most corporate information security professional will not get involved with cyberwarfare. Nonetheless, Introduction to Cyber-Warfare: A Multidisciplinary Approachis a fascinating read about a most important subject.







Reviewed by Ben Rothke"

+ - Valencia Linux school distro saves 36 million euro->

Submitted by jrepin
jrepin (667425) writes "The government of the autonomous region of Valencia (Spain) earlier this month made available the next version of Lliurex, a customisation of the Edubuntu Linux distribution. The distro is used on over 110,000 PCs in schools in the Valencia region, saving some 36 million euro over the past nine years, the government says."
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+ - A Router-Based Dev Board That Isn't A Router->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The DPT Board is something that may be of interest to anyone looking to hack up a router for their own connected project or IoT implementation: hardware based on a fairly standard router, loaded up with OpenWRT, with a ton of I/O to connect to anything.

It’s called the DPT Board, and it’s basically an hugely improved version of the off-the-shelf routers you can pick up through the usual channels. On board are 20 GPIOs, USB host, 16MB Flash, 64MB RAM, two Ethernet ports, on-board 802.11n and a USB host port. This small system on board is pre-installed with OpenWRT, making it relatively easy to connect this small router-like device to LED strips, sensors, or whatever other project you have in mind.

The board was designed by [Daan Pape], and he’s also working on something he calls breakoutserver There’s a uHTTP server written specifically for the board that allows any Internet connected device to control everything on the board. There’s also an HTML5 app they’re developing which could be pretty interesting.

All in all, it’s a pretty cool little device that fits nicely in between the relatively simplistic ‘Arduino with an Ethernet shield’ and a Raspi or BeagleBone."

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+ - Bird flocks resemble liquid helium->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "A flock of starlings flies as one, a spectacular display in which each bird flits about as if in a well-choreographed dance. Everyone seems to know exactly when and where to turn. Now, for the first time, researchers have measured how that knowledge moves through the flock—a behavior that mirrors certain quantum phenomena of liquid helium. Some of the more interesting findings: Tracking data showed that the message for a flock to turn started from a handful of birds and swept through the flock at a constant speed between 20 and 40 meters per second. That means that for a group of 400 birds, it takes just a little more than a half-second for the whole flock to turn."
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