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Researchers Discover a Cheap Method of Breaking Bitcoin Wallet Passwords ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: Three researchers have published a paper that details a new method of cracking Bitcoin "brain wallet passwords," which is 2.5 times speedier than previous techniques and incredibly cheap to perform. The researcher revealed that by using a run-of-the-mill Amazon EC2 account, an attacker would be able to check over 500,000 Bitcoin passwords per second. For each US dollar spent on renting the EC2 server, an attacker would be able to check 17.9 billion password strings. To check a trillion passwords, it would cost the attacker only $55.86 (€49.63). In the end, they managed to crack around 18,000 passwords used for real accounts.

Amazon Restores Some Heft To Helvetica For Kindle E-Ink Readers ( 27

David Rothman writes: Props to Amazon. The Helvetica font will be restored to a more readable weight than the anorexic one in the latest update for E Ink Kindles. Let's hope that an all-bold switch—or, better, a font weight adjuster of the kind that Kobo now offers—will also happen. I've queried Amazon about that possibility. Meanwhile thanks to Slashdot community members who spoke up against the anorexic Helvetica!

Comment how about other third-party tracking? (Score 4, Interesting) 37

Knowing nothing about French law, is there anything Facebook-specific that led to this ruling? Is there a reason it wouldn't apply to other third-party tracking? For example Doubleclick and those kinds of networks track me across the web even if I've never signed up for an account with them or otherwise accepted their ToS.


France Launches Second Salvo Against Facebook ( 37

Eunuchswear writes: After Mondays decision by the French CNIL (National Center for Computers and Freedom) that Facebook must stop tracking non-users, the DGCCRF (General Direction for Competition, Consumption and Repression of Fraud), has ruled that Facebooks terms of use are abusive and must be changed within 60 days." The linked story is in French, but for those of us who don't speak the language, Google translate works. Here's the DGCCRF's Facebook page.

Why Winners Become Cheaters ( 80

JoeyRox writes: A new study from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem reveals a paradoxical aspect of human behavior — people who win in competitive situations are more likely to cheat in the future. In one experiment, 86 students were split up into pairs and competed in a game where cheating was impossible. The students were then rearranged into new pairs to play a second game where cheating was possible. The result? Students who won the first game were much more likely to cheat at the second game. Additional experiments indicated that cheating was also more likely if students simply recalled a memory of winning in the past. The experiments further demonstrated that subsequent cheating was more likely in situations where the outcome of previous competitions was determined by merit rather than luck.

Comment Re:Too bad they pushed Love out (Score 4, Interesting) 144

SYS V needs to go open next, not that overloaded slowlaris, but lean mean SYS V

I was under the impression that the entire POINT of SYS V was for the major UNIX vendors to re-implement the guts of Unix as a clearly, enforceably, proprietary product (after the CONTU recommendations and the resulting copyright law changes explicitly extended copyright to software), then move to it and orphan the original development thread. (This might make opening it a hard sell to the members of the consortium.)

There were at least a couple issues with the proprietary status of the AT&T code:

One issue was that AT&T was still a government-regulated utility monopoly and there were some requirements about disclosing and releasing non-telephone-related inventions they came up with.

The big issue was that, before copyright applied and before software patents were hacked up (by recasting software as one embodiment of, or a component of, a patentable machine or process), the only protection was trade secret and the related contract law. Trade secrets generally stop being enforceable when the secret out of the bag (with some details about whether the claimant contributed to the leak). Bell Labs had shipped code to a LOT of educational institutions. When the U of New South Wales used the System 6 kernel code and an explanation of it as the two-volume text for an Operating System class, the textbooks became an underground classic. This, along with AT&T's benign-neglect licensing policies, led to the burst of little, cheap, generic UNIX boxes, as this was also when microcomputer chips were just becoming powerful enough to do the job.

Up to then a big barrier to entry was that every new machine needed a custom O.S. to deploy, and these were enormous, machine specific, and mostly in assembler. That made it an expensive, undertaking, suitable only for financial giants. But all but under 2,000 lines of Unix was in C, and the entire kernel, which included essentially all the platform-specific code as a subset, was well under 10,000 lines of code. If you had a C compiler and assembler for your new machine, it was a matter of a few man-months to port it and get it up and running. Essentially ALL the utilities and applications came right over. You didn't have to train users, either, because they all worked pretty much just like what they'd used in college.

The game was:
1. Grab a bootleg copy of the code.
2. Port it to your machine and get it working.
3. Go to AT&T and ask for a license "to port Unix to our new machine and sell it."
4. AT&T, as a matter of policy, completely ignores any "violations" you may have committed during the porting phase and cuts you a license at a very reasonable price.
5. You "port Unix in an AMAZINGLY short time" (like the ten minutes it takes to tell Sales to go to market) and you're in business.
6. You (with your new business) and AT&T (with their small cut) slap each other on the back and laugh all the way to the bank. PROFIT! for you. (profit) for AT&T.
7. Because of the policy in 4., everybody ELSE manearly everbody's king a new machine knows they can do the same thing. So many do. AT&T gets a rakeoff from ALL of them. PROFIT! for AT&T. Far more than if they went dog-in-the-manger, held up the first few for all the traffic would bear, and got no more customers for Unix.

And because of this, it was in nearly everbody's interest to NOT challenge the AT&T-proprietary status of Unix. And it stayed this way until SCO's management screwed up and altered step 4. (Even then the case turned on other issues, so it never did come to the point of attacking AT&T's claim that Unix code was proprietary.)

Comment Re:Why only trees? (Score 1) 48

piezo generators have less than a percent of efficiency is why.

I thought it was closer to 80%, at least theoretically. Can you give me a reference for that "Less than 1%" number?

Whether this maps into anything like that number in a practical device for converting "found" mechanical power - such as tree sway or vibrations - is another matter entirely.

Feed Google News Sci Tech: Bill could block attempts to enforce encryption backdoors - SlashGear (


Bill could block attempts to enforce encryption backdoors
The fight for security and privacy, now embodied in the encryption of devices and services, has long taken a political flavor when the US government publicly advocated installing backdoors on such systems for the sake of criminal investigation. Now the ...
Proposed Bill Could Ban States From Demanding Encryption BackdoorsUbergizmo
Is an encrypted cell phone a secure device – or a threat to public safety?Christian Science Monitor
Encryption-Protection Bill IntroducedBroadcasting & Cable
Multichannel News-WIRED-CNET
all 62 news articles


Engineers Devise a Way To Harvest Wind Energy From Trees ( 48

derekmead writes: Harvesting electrical power from vibrations or other mechanical stress is pretty easy. Turns out all it really takes is a bit of crystal or ceramic material and a couple of wires and, there you go, piezoelectricity. As stress is applied to the material, charge accumulates, which can then be shuttled away to do useful work. The classic example is an electric lighter, in which a spring-loaded hammer smacks a crystal, producing a spark. Another example is described in a new paper in the Journal of Sound and Vibration, courtesy of engineers at Ohio State's Laboratory of Sound and Vibration Research. The basic idea behind the energy harvesting platform: exploit the natural internal resonances of trees within tiny artificial forests capable of generating enough voltage to power sensors and structural monitoring systems.
The Courts

SCO vs. IBM Battle Over Linux May Finally Be Over ( 144

JG0LD writes with this news from Network World: A breach-of-contract and copyright lawsuit filed nearly 13 years ago by a successor company to business Linux vendor Caldera International against IBM may be drawing to a close at last, after a U.S. District Court judge issued an order in favor of the latter company earlier this week.
Here's the decision itself (PDF). Also at The Register.

Submission + - US intelligence chief: we might use the internet of things to spy on you (

An anonymous reader writes: “In the future, intelligence services might use the [internet of things] for identification, surveillance, monitoring, location tracking, and targeting for recruitment, or to gain access to networks or user credentials,” Clapper said.
Clapper did not specifically name any intelligence agency as involved in household-device surveillance. But security experts examining the internet of things take as a given that the US and other surveillance services will intercept the signals the newly networked devices emit, much as they do with those from cellphones. Amateurs are already interested in easily compromised hardware; computer programmer John Matherly’s search engine Shodan indexes thousands of completely unsecured web-connected devices.

Submission + - the IoT could/might/would spy on you (

turkeydance writes: ...., James Clapper, the US director of national intelligence, was more direct in testimony submitted to the Senate on Tuesday as part of an assessment of threats facing the United States.

“In the future, intelligence services might use the [internet of things] for identification, surveillance, monitoring, location tracking, and targeting for recruitment, or to gain access to networks or user credentials,” Clapper said.

Comment Can this be co-installed with the stock version? (Score 1) 144

Can this be co-installed with the current version (for instance, on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, the latest Long Term Support Ubuntu release)?

Or do you have collisions which require you to purge the old one in order to try the new one, or which cause foulups if you don't?

(Honest question. I've seen a lot of that kind of thing with other projects. So now I'm a bit shy of trying the latest-and-greatest release of any tool on the production machines I depend on for time-critical work.)

Feed Techdirt: Honda Tried To Get Jalopnik To Dox Commenter, Delete Posts, Meets The Streisand Effect Instead (

Criticism is part of life, of course, and I tend to believe that people show their true selves most transparently when they show how they deal with criticism. Unfortunately, we've covered entirely too many stories involving people and companies responding to online criticism poorly here at Techdirt. Typically, these unfortunate responses amount to trying to censor the criticism, but it can more dangerously involve the attempted silencing of journalism as well as threats of legal action against those making the critical comments.

Too many times, websites and web services cave to this sort of censorship. But not everyone. Gawker Media, about whom I could fill these pages with criticism, appears to be pushing back on once such attempt levied against its site Jalopnik. Apparently, car-maker Honda took a negative view of some comments made at the site, purportedly by a Honda employee. For some reason, Honda decided that this distinction meant that it could not only silence the comments, but that it should receive help from the site in outing the commenter. The whole thing starts off, as seems so often the case, with some rather mild criticism in the form of a comment.

In December, a commenter calling him or herself HondAnonymous, posted a string of comments on these posts claiming to be a technician at Hondas research and development facility. People on the Internet make claims like that all the time, but HondAnonymous seemed able to back them up with actual information about the development of the NSX and other cars. The most interesting bits were complaints about the NSXs Continental tires (they are garbage) and how newer Honda engines have an issue with the studs on the cat either backing out of the head or snapping altogether.

Interesting, if not earth-shattering. A lot of it sounds like normal car development. The first one is a complaint weve seen in various early NSX tests, and the last is probably a recall waiting to happen. But earlier this month, Hondas lawyers contacted us to say that information posted by HondAnonymous is confidential information owned by Honda RD Americas, Inc., and posts by that user of such confidential information breaches a contractual obligation of confidentiality owed to Honda RD Americas, Inc.
As Jalopnik notes, it wasn't them that posted the information. Instead, it was a commenter within the open commenting system Gawker Media uses. Regardless, apparently Honda's attorneys requested not only that all comments by the user be taken down immediately, but they also requested that the site turn over all identifying information about the user to them so that they could hunt down the leak. Think about this for just a moment and you'll see the problem: Honda wants Jalopnik's help in figuring out who this commenter is, while also demanding that the content be taken down because it violates a contractual confidentiality agreement. However, Jalopnik isn't obligated in any way to help Honda, regardless of what private contracts may or may not have been violated.

In typical Gawker fashion, Jalopnik gleefully is posting about all this, Streisanding the issue back into the news when it might otherwise have died off quickly.

Its pretty egregious for a corporation to try to bully a news organization into deep-sixing comments from its own readers. Its far more egregious to threaten to subpoena us if we dont dox one of those readers. The good news is we couldn't dox HondAnonymous even if we somehow wanted to. He or she used an anonymous burner account, and we dont track passwords, logins, or IP addresses for any of our users. HondAnonymous posts will stay up.

To Honda, or any other automaker: If you would like us to delete the comments of our readers or expose their identities (which, again, we cant do anyway) again, please let me know! I am more than happy to drag your intimidation tactics into the public eye for all your customers and prospective buyers to see. Govern yourselves accordingly.
So, in trying to silence and out a critic, Honda instead finds themselves the subject of reports about the attempted silencing of the critic, whose criticism is once more in the public light. Bang up job, lawyers!

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Facebook Developing Radio Wave Mesh To Connect Offline Areas ( 38

An anonymous reader writes: As part of its wider initiative to deliver connectivity to poor and rural communities, Facebook is actively developing a new network technology which uses millimetre wave bands to transmit data. Facebook engineer Sanjai Kohli filed two patents which outlined a 'next generation' data system, which would make use of millimetre wave technology deployed as mesh networks. Kohli's patents detailed a type of centralised, cloud-based routing system which 'dynamically adjusts route and frequency channel assignments, transmit power, modulation, coding, and symbol rate to maximize network capacity and probability of packet delivery, rather than trying to maximize the capacity of any one link.'

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