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+ - How the US Quietly Field Tests 'Blinding' Laser Weapons ->

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "Laser warfare is pretty much here. We've got lasers on Navy ships and Army trucks, on guided missiles, and one just got test-mounted on an airplane. And obviously, someday there will be lasers on drones. But as any military contractor should remember: no eye stuff.

In 1995 the United Nations banned "Blinding Laser Weapons," which the adopted protocol defined as "laser weapons specifically designed, as their sole combat function or as one of their combat functions, to cause permanent blindness to unenhanced vision" and, in the same protocol, stipulated that, in the employment of laser systems, "the High Contracting Parties shall take all feasible precautions to avoid the incidence of permanent blindness to unenhanced vision."

Straight-forward enough, it seems. But apparently this stipulation bears repeating. Former laser journalist Dan Drollette Jr. explained in an analysis piece in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists that, even after giving up plans to build blinding laser weapons, the US military continued researching them..."

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+ - A DC-10 Passenger Plane Is Perfect at Fighting Wildfires->

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "Friday night in Southern California's Silverado Valley, relief flew in on an old airliner. In this summer of drought and fire the DC-10, an airplane phased out of passenger service in February, has been spotted from Idaho to Arizona delivering up to 12,000 gallons of fire retardant in a single acrobatic swoop.

The three-engine DC-10 entered service in 1970 as a passenger jet, and the last airplane working in that capacity, operated by Biman Bangladesh Airlines, made its final flight on February 24. But some designs defy obsolescence. The DC-10 had already been converted to function as a mid-air refueling airplane for the Air Force, and in 2006, the first fire-fighting DC-10 was unleashed on the Sawtooth fire in San Bernardino County, California."

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+ - New Zealand Spied On Its Citizens Before Making It Legal, Says Snowden->

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "A little over a year ago, the New Zealand government passed legislation that legally authorized its version of the NSA, the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), to spy on its own citizens. Narrowly, the law passed after a heated debate between lawmakers, rights groups, and local internet tycoon Kim Dotcom. At the time, Prime Minister John Key commented the new law “is not, and never will be, about wholesale spying on New Zealanders.”

But a set of secret documents provided by Edward Snowden indicates that New Zealand officials had already begun to design mass surveillance programs before such a law had ever gone to parliament. According to the new documents, published by Glenn Greenwald Monday, the GCSB had already begun cooperating with the US National Security Agency as early as 2012. Even as it sought legal authorization before full implementation, as part of a spying program code-named “Speargun,” the bureau was planning to grant NSA access to its major undersea cable network that connects New Zealand to the rest of the world sometime in "mid-2013.""

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+ - SPAM: E-Cigs Could Be a Gateway to Cocaine Addiction, Says Study That Misses the Point

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "If and when the Food and Drug Administration drops some sort of heavy regulations on e-cigarettes, a study released today is the one it, and politicians who hail the decision, will inevitably turn to: A pair of scientists at Columbia University have slapped the dreaded "gateway drug" term on nicotine, and, with it, e-cigarettes. The study, published today in the New England Journal of Medicine , has all of the makings of a bombshell report (for prohibitionists, at least). It's coming out in a major journal, one of the two authors has a Nobel Prize, and it's decidedly anti-e-cigarette. The study's authors, Eric and Denise Kandel, say that they've found the "molecular basis" for nicotine's role as a gateway drug. Adult mice who are given cocaine show more addictive behavior and stronger effects from the cocaine if they've been "primed" with seven days of nicotine use beforehand, according to the study. In other words, cocaine is more addictive to mice if they're already addicted to nicotine."
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+ - Hackers Will Leak Syrian Stock Exchange Database Unless Assad Tackles ISIS->

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "A group of hackers took down the website of Syria's only stock exchange this afternoon and are threatening to leak the exchange's database unless president Bashar al-Assad takes military action against the Islamic State.

The group, called Project Viridium, says that over the last several weeks, they've infected several Islamic State operatives' computers and have provided the Assad government with information about their whereabouts."

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+ - Canada's Hitchhiking Robot Completed Its Trip Without Getting Murdered->

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "On July 27, a brave robot named hitchBOT bid goodbye to its creators on the shoulder of a highway in Halifax, Nova Scotia. With limbs made from pool noodles, a beer-cooler body, and legs clad in Wellington rain boots, this adorable hodgepodge of a robot was ready to embark on the adventure of a lifetime. It raised its best hitchhiker’s thumb, and waited to be picked up by its first benefactor in its 6,000-kilometer road trip across Canada.

When hitchBot set off, we at Motherboard worried that the trooper might meet a tragic end (and we weren't the only ones). But fortunately, our fears were groundless. Over the weekend, hitchBOT arrived at its final destination in Victoria, BC, intact and thriving after meeting dozens of new friends across the country."

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+ - DARPA Uses Preteen Gamers to Beta Test Tomorrow's Military Software->

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "But it's here, tucked away on the third floor, that you'll find precisely that: the Center for Game Science, a research lab that makes educational video games for children, and that received the bulk of its funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the wing of the US Department of Defense that supports research into experimental military technology. Why is DARPA the original primary funder of the CGS? According to written and recorded statements from current and former DARPA program managers, as well as other government documents, the DARPA-funded educational video games developed at the CGS have a purpose beyond the pretense of teaching elementary school children STEM skills."
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+ - This Phony 'Anonymous' Site Was Set Up to Trap Ferguson Hacktivists->

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "As military police forces gather around Ferguson, trying to quell an angry, frustrated, and betrayed population, some people are taking their fight online. 'OpFerguson', being spear-headed by members of the hacktivism collective Anonymous, launched a couple of days ago. One site popped up that gave those wishing to voice their discontent a helping hand. Opferguson.com allows a user to select a target, including the Ferguson police force and the FBI, and participate in a DDoS attack: a technique that attempts to overwhelm a server by flooding it with traffic. Opferguson.com, however, is not what it seems. Instead of directing a user's traffic to the intended target, it instead collects the IP addresses of whoever logs on. This information, according to the creator, a self-avowed Anonymous opponent, is then open for law enforcement to act upon."
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+ - GTA Online mod lets you rape other players->

Submitted by hypnosec
hypnosec (2231454) writes "Modding isn’t a new thing in the world of gaming, but the latest one in Grand Theft Auto Online is one of the worst mods we have seen so far as it allows users to not only select naked characters but also rape other players. The mod allows users to do ‘naughty stuff’ and ‘very naughty stuff’ among other things which includes actions such as kidnapping, prostitution, make players attach to others and even ‘f*** the air’. First reported by a redditor, videos of such shenanigans have emerged only whereby these so-called ‘trolls’ are performing these acts. Using the mod, players can change their character to a fully naked man, grab their opponents, and lock them into a sexual animation. The character is shown thrust his or her pelvis into their rear of the other player’s character as if they were raping them. If you think the worst was over – well it’s not as the player being ‘raped’ can’t escape until the modder chooses to release him / her."
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+ - Techno-Archaeologists Used an Abandoned McDonald's to Hijack a Satellite->

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "From an abandoned McDonald's in the backyard of NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California, a dozen or so volunteer scientists and engineers have taken control of a decommissioned, still running, 70s-era space satellite, currently some 20,000 kilometers away, by using discarded vintage space computers and a few sweet eBay finds. The so-named "McMoon's" Control Center is some sort of bizarre testament to human ingenuity and what a bunch of very smart people with virtually no budget or proper authorization can pull off. A bit of context: The International Sun-Earth Explorer (ISEE-3) satellite was launched on August 12, 1978, and was originally meant to study the Earth’s magnetosphere from the L1 Lagrangian point between the Sun and the Earth, where the gravity of both bodies cancel each other out."
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+ - UK Police Won't Admit They're Tracking People's Phone Calls->

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "You've maybe heard a bit about Stingray. Over the past couple of years, it has emerged that police forces in the US have been using the powerful surveillance tool, which tricks phones into connecting to a dragnet, to track mobile devices, and intercept calls and text messages.

Meanwhile, the London Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) continue to remain tight lipped about their use of the technology, leaving citizens in the dark on what privacy protections, if any, are in place for those who may get swept up by the broad surveillance techniques."

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+ - PayPal's two-factor authentication can be bypassed easily, researcher says->

Submitted by hypnosec
hypnosec (2231454) writes "PayPal’s two-factor authentication can easily be defeated and account accessed without requiring an elaborate set of steps, a security researcher has claimed while publicly disclosing the vulnerability as PayPal has failed to resolve the issue for two months now. Joshua Rogers, an Australian security researcher, discovered the vulnerability on June 5 and reported it to PayPal the same day. However, according to Rogers, PayPal hasn’t patched the vulnerability even after two months and he is disclosing the loop-hole publicly “due to the simplicity of it” and because he believes he gave “Paypal long enough to fix it.”"
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+ - Evan Blass aka @evleaks retires; says monetizing Twitter feed isn't easy->

Submitted by hypnosec
hypnosec (2231454) writes "Over a hundred and eighty thousand followers of the popular leaker @evleaks, with their insatiable thirst to know what’s coming, will now have to find another source, as Evan Blass has called it quits after just 2 years. Although there have been a few leaks which were not very genuine, most of his leaks about smartphones and tablets have proved to be true which helped him get almost 187,000 followers on Twitter including several big names in the tech world. Blass has announced his retirement through a tweet that read, “All good things must come to an end. Thank you for an amazing two years. [RETIREMENT],” which was re-tweeted by his thousands of followers."
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+ - Lionsgate sues Limetorrents, Played.to, and four others over Expendables 3 leak->

Submitted by hypnosec
hypnosec (2231454) writes "Lionsgate, the film company in charge of distribution of Expendables 3, has filed a lawsuit against unknown individuals who shared a DVD-level copy of Expendables 3 and six file-sharing sites known to have the links through which copies of the movies are being downloaded illegally. Advanced copy of Expendables 3 was leaked online in July and the pirated copy of the movie saw as many as 180,000 downloads in just 24 hours. The movie, which is releasing on August 15, is said to have crossed two million downloads already."
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+ - Austrian law student takes Facebook to court; asks others to join in->

Submitted by hypnosec
hypnosec (2231454) writes "Max Schrems, an Austrian law student, on Friday called out billions of Facebook users to support him by joining a class-action lawsuit against Facebook for violating users’ privacy laws. Schrems has filed a law suit at Vienna's commercial court and has also invited others to join the action at www.fbclaim.com using their Facebook login. According to Europe-V-Facebook.org campaign, the Austrian law allows for a group of people to assign their claims to a single person in this case, Schrems, who can sue on their behalf and redistribute any damages awarded. In such a case, legal proceedings are then run as a class action. Schrems is claiming 500 Euros ($670) per user from Facebook in damages for allegedly violating data privacy policies, including its participation in the US National Security Agency’s Prism surveillance programme aimed at accessing the personal data of Facebook and other web services users, its graph search feature, use of “big data” systems for spying on users as well as company’s non-compliance with EU privacy law."
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