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+ - Russian hackers exploit Windows to spy on West->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "Russian hackers have taken advantage of a bug in Microsoft Windows to spy on the Ukrainian government and a scholar living in the United States.
That's according to iSight Partners, a cybersecurity intelligence firm that contracts with governments. In a report Tuesday, the firm said it discovered the never-before-seen attack, which has been used by hackers in recent months.

The bug the hackers used exists in all modern versions of the Windows operating system: Vista, 7, 8 and 8.1. It's also present in 2008 and 2012 versions of Windows used by company servers. That means the vast majority of the world's computers — nearly 68%, according to NetMarketShare — are vulnerable to this unique type of attack."

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+ - FBI: Apple's new privacy features protect kidnappers, pedophiles and terrorists->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "Apple recently took measures to enhance user privacy. Now, only users have the key to unlock text messages, photos and emails on their device. As such, iOS 8 will shield your data from anyone — including police.

Here's how it works: You send a text message that's encrypted on your device. It passes through Apple servers as jumbled code nobody can crack. And it can only get decrypted by your friend's iPhone passcode.

Google (GOOG) has announced it's doing the same for its Android devices.
The FBI director isn't pleased.

"The notion that people have devices... that with court orders, based on a showing of probable cause in a case involving kidnapping or child exploitation or terrorism, we could never open that phone? My sense is that we've gone too far when we've gone there," Comey told CBS.
Comey compared selling iPhones to selling "cars with trunks that couldn't ever be opened by law enforcement with a court order."

But there are two things that are wrong with that statement:

1) The FBI can still get your phone data. Now, they can't do it secretly by going to Apple or Google. Agents must knock on your front door with a warrant in hand — the way it's always been.

2) Opening devices to law enforcement means opening them to hackers. When it comes to data, possession of a key is everything. If your passcode is the only thing that unlocks your digital life, then it doesn't matter if the FBI presents Apple or Google with a warrant — or if hackers break into the company's servers. They won't get anything useful."

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+ - NASA: Dead star 10 million times brighter than sun->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "Astronomers have found the brightest pulsar ever recorded, the 'Mighty Mouse' of stars.

NASA announced this week that its astronomers have discovered the brightest pulsar ever recorded.

The star, captured by NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, is located in the center of the Messier 82 galaxy, which is about 12 million light-years from the milky way.

Because of its brightness and size, the star has some interesting characteristics. "It has all the power of a black hole, but with much less mass," Fiona Harrison, the NuSTAR principal investigator at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, said in a press release."

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+ - Google hires camel for desert Street View->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "t's given us robot cars and internet-enabled glasses — but when it came to creating a "Street View" of a desert, Google hit on a low-tech solution.

It hired a camel.

The beast has become the first animal to carry Google's Trekker camera, which is typically hoisted by humans to capture 360-degree images of destinations inaccessible to its Street View cars.

Google spokeswoman Monica Baz says the camel, reportedly named Raffia, was an apt way of documenting the beautiful shifting sands of Abu Dhabi's Liwa Oasis.

"With every environment and every location, we try to customize the capture and how we do it for that part of the environment," she told The National newspaper.

"In the case of Liwa we fashioned it in a way so that it goes on a camel so that it can capture imagery in the best, most authentic and least damaging way," Baz said.

The Liwa Oasis is a 100 kilometer-wide (62-mile) scenic desert, southeast of the city of Abu Dhabi that includes some of the world's biggest sand dunes."

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+ - Ads to Invade Shapchat Soon, CEO Confirms->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "Since its inception, Shapchat has been free of advertisements. But like it or not, that's about to change.
Speaking at a San Francisco conference on Wednesday, the startup's 24-year-old cofounder and chief executive Evan Spiegel said that ads are imminent. The ads will show up in the Snapchat Stories feature, in between photos and videos users have shared, The Wall Street Journal reported. At this point, they will not be targeted to users based on their interests.

Spiegel suggested that the ads won't be too disruptive to users.

"They're not fancy. You just look at it if you want to look at it, and you don't if you don't," Spiegel said at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit, according to the Journal.

This will be the first source of revenue for Snapchat, which launched three years ago and was recently valued at $10 billion by investors. Users might not be thrilled with the idea of ads, but they could mean money in the bank for Snapchat and allow it to demonstrate its value to investors."

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+ - Twitter sues U.S. government over national security data->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "Twitter is suing the U.S. government in an effort to loosen restrictions on what the social media giant can say publicly about the national security-related requests it receives for user data.

The company filed a lawsuit against the Justice Department on Monday in a federal court in northern California, arguing that its First Amendment rights are being violated by restrictions that forbid the disclosure of how many national security letters and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court orders it receives — even if that number is zero.

Twitter said in a statement that it's suing in an effort to publish the full version of a "transparency report" prepared this year that includes those details. The San Francisco-based firm was unsatisfied with the Justice Department's move in January to allow technological firms to disclose the number of national security-related requests they receive in broad ranges.

"It's our belief that we are entitled under the First Amendment to respond to our users' concerns and to the statements of U.S. government officials by providing information about the scope of U.S. government surveillance — including what types of legal process have not been received," the company said. "We should be free to do this in a meaningful way, rather than in broad, inexact ranges.""

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+ - Malware program targets Hong Kong protesters using Apple devices->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "A malware program that targets Hong Kong activists using Apple devices has trademarks of being developed by a nation-state, possibly China, according to a security company.

Lacoon Mobile Security of San Francisco wrote on its blog on Tuesday that the malware, called Xsser mRAT, is the “first and most advanced, fully operational Chinese iOS trojan found to date.”

The Apple malware is related to a malicious Android one found last month that advertised itself as a way for activists to coordinate protests, Lacoon wrote.

Hong Kong has seen massive demonstrations after China moved to only allow candidates it approves to run in the election of the territory’s chief executive in 2017. Activists charge China reneged on a promise of an election without restrictions.

It’s not usual to see malware emerge that has been customized to capitalize on current events, and security experts have long documented programs suspected to have been created to monitor dissidents and activists.

Xsser mRAT can steal SMS messages, call logs, location data, photos, address books, data from the Chinese messaging application Tencent and passwords from the iOS keychain, Lacoon wrote.

“Although it shows initial signs of being a targeted attack on Chinese protesters, the full extent of how Xsser mRAT is being used is anyone’s guess,” the company wrote. “It can cross borders easily, and is possibly being operated by a Chinese-speaking entity to spy on individuals, foreign companies or even entire governments.”"

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+ - The UPS Store will 3-D print stuff for you->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "UPS (UPS) announced plans Monday to bring in-store 3-D-printing services to nearly 100 stores across the country, billing itself as the first national retailer to do so.

With the UPS system, customers can submit their own designs for objects like product prototypes, engineering parts and architectural models that are then printed on a professional-quality 3-D printer made by Stratasys.

Prices vary depending on the complexity of the object; an iPhone case would be about $60, while a replica femur bone would be around $325. UPS can also connect customers with outside professionals who charge an hourly rate to help produce a design file for the printer.

It generally takes about four or five hours to print a simple object, with more complex items taking a day or more.

The program started as a pilot at six locations last year, and UPS says those stores "saw demand for 3-D print continuing to increase across a broad spectrum of customers.""

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+ - FAA bars drone from delivering game ball to college football matchup->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "Michigan University's stadium seats 110,000 and was declared a no-fly zone.

The Federal Aviation Administration has blocked plans for a small drone to deliver the game football for the University of Michigan kickoff Saturday against the University of Utah before a crowd of about 110,000 fans.

The FAA's move is the latest example of flight regulators blocking the use of small drones for commercial purposes, despite the questionable legal authority for them to do so. The drone, built by Ann Arbor-based SkySpecs, was supposed to participate in a pre-game program of the American football game to celebrate the University of Michigan's 100-year anniversary of its aerospace-engineering program.

Hobbyists may fly the small drones under guidelines adopted by the agency, and they must be flown away from crowds. Both Google and Amazon are testing drone-delivery programs for commercial purposes, but federal law bans those business models for now.

The FAA has maintained since at least 2007 that the commercial operation of drones is illegal. A federal judge ruled in March, however, that the FAA enacted the regulations illegally because it did not take public input before adopting the rules, which is a violation of federal law. Flight regulators have appealed the decision, maintaining that commercial applications are still barred."

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+ - Supermassive Black Hole Discovered Inside Tiny Dwarf Galaxy->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "Astronomers using data from the Hubble Space Telescope say they've discovered a ginormous black hole within one of the tiniest galaxies known to exist.

The supermassive black hole is about five times more massive than the one at the center of the Milky Way, but the dwarf galaxy in which it was found--known to astronomers as M60-UCD1--is about 500 times smaller than our own galaxy, according to NASA.

"It is the smallest and lightest object that we know of that has a supermassive black hole," Dr. Anil C. Seth, a University of Utah astronomer and the lead author of a new paper about the discovery, said in a written statement. "It's also one of the most black hole-dominated galaxies known."

The discovery suggests that supermassive black holes may be twice as numerous in the nearby universe as previously thought, Nature reported."

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+ - Apple Locks iPhone 6/6+ NFC to Apple Pay Only->

Submitted by Ronin Developer
Ronin Developer (67677) writes "From the article:
"At last week's Apple event, the company announced Apple Pay — a new mobile payments service that utilises NFC technology in conjunction with its Touch ID fingerprint scanner for secure payments that can be made from the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus or Apple Watch.

Apple also announced a number of retailers that would accept Apple Pay for mobile payments at launch.

However, Cult of Mac reports that NFC will be locked to the Apple Pay platform, meaning the technology will not be available for other uses.

An Apple spokesperson confirmed the lock down of the technology, saying developers would be restricted from utilising its NFC chip functionality for at least a year. Apple declined to comment on whether NFC capability would remain off limits beyond that period."

So, it would appear, for at least a year, that Apple doesn't want competing mobile payment options to be available on the newly released iPhone 6 and 6+. While it's understandable that they want to promote their payment scheme and achieve a critical mass for Apple Pay, it's a strategy that may very well backfire as other other mobile payment vendors gain strength on competing platforms. Subway already has penned a deal with Softcard to accept their mobile payment exclusively. Will other retailers take a similar tact and lock out Apple users who can't use their newly minted iPhone 6's for mobile payments everywhere because of this decision?"

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+ - ISIS bans Math, Social Studies, Physics for children->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "In swaths of Syria now controlled by ISIS, children can no longer study math or social studies. Sports are out of the question. And students will be banned from learning about elections and democracy.

Instead, they'll be subjected to the teachings of the radical Islamist group. And any teacher who dares to break the rules "will be punished."
ISIS revealed its new educational demands in fliers posted on billboards and on street poles. The Sunni militant group has captured a slew of Syrian and Iraqi cities in recent months as it tries to establish a caliphate, or Islamic state, spanning Sunni parts of both countries.

Books cannot include any reference to evolution. And teachers must say that the laws of physics and chemistry "are due to Allah's rules and laws.""

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+ - Boeing, Space X to get NASA contracts->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "Boeing and SpaceX will be awarded NASA contracts to transport astronauts to and from the international space station, CNN has learned.
The space agency will hold a news conference at Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 4 p.m. ET to discuss "the return of human spaceflight launches to the United States," according to a brief statement on its website.

Since the shuttle program was retired, NASA crewmembers have been hitching rides on Russian Soyuz spacecraft, at a cost of $70 million per seat, according to a NASA spokeswoman. The agency typically purchases six seats per year."

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