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Math

+ - Possible backdoor found in RNG standardizedby NSA-> 1

Submitted by
kfz versicherung
kfz versicherung writes "Defining algorithm for random numbers is one of the hardest fields in mathematics. We all know Microsoft failed miserably, even Linux (pdf) and SSL had their fair share of troubles. But now Bruce Schneier tells us the Strange Story of Dual_EC_DRBG, one of four random number generation algorithms standardized by the NSA (pdf). While on first look just slower than the other three, Dan Shumow and Niels Ferguson showed at Crypto 2007 that the algorithm contains a weakness that can only be described a backdoor. Their presentation showed that the constants used have a relationship with a second, secret set of numbers that can act as a kind of skeleton key. If you know the secret numbers, you can predict the output of the random-number generator after collecting just 32 bytes of its output."
Link to Original Source
Privacy

+ - Fighting back against ghost calls

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "You're doing something interesting. The phone rings. You get up, pick up the phone, and hear only silence. It could be a slasher waiting outside your house, but it's probably an errant computer at a telemarketer. This article describes how some are fighting back by setting up websites to track the worst telemarketers by their caller ids. The article mentions whocalled.us (one of the funnier urls I've ever seen), 800notes.com and numberzoom.com . One intrepid guy is even writing a program to check these sites when the call comes in before ringing the phone."
Intel

+ - Historians Recreate Source Code of First 4004 App

Submitted by
mcpublic
mcpublic writes "The team of 'digital archeologists' who developed the technology behind the Intel Museum's 4004 microprocessor exhibit have done it again. 36 years after Intel introduced their first microprocessor on November 15, 1971, these computer historians have turned the spotlight on the first application software ever written for a general-purpose microprocessor: the Busicom 141-PF calculator. At the team's web site you can download and play with an authentic calculator simulator that sports a cool animated flowchart. Want to find out how Busicom's Masatoshi Shima compressed an entire four-function, printing calculator into only 1,024 bytes of ROM? Check out the newly recreated assembly language "source code," extensively analyzed, documented, and commented by the team's newest member: Hungary's Lajos Kintli. 'He is an amazing reverse-engineer,' recounts team leader Tim McNerney, 'We understood the disassembled calculator code well enough to simulate it, but Lajos really turned it into "source code" of the highest standards.'"
Windows

+ - New hole discovered in Windows Encryption->

Submitted by awacs
awacs (706692) writes "Haifa U. researchers found a new hole in Windows 2000. The exploit, which involves deducing generated random numbers to crack encryption, may also appear in XP and Vista. The exploit not only allows cracking of future encrypted sessions, but also of past information stored and even items no longer on the computer, the article says. There's a white paper available for download at http://eprint.iacr.org/2007/419"
Link to Original Source
Patents

+ - Oil-corporations stopping alternative energy?

Submitted by anonymous
anonymous (1026972) writes "From time to time you hear rumors about the "evil" Oil Corporations aquiring different technologies related to alternative energy and generally, any technology that may make the use of fossil fuels a thing of the past. So the question I am asking the Slashdot community is: What exactly are these technologies? What companies are buying these patents? And where do I start digging to research this to a further detail. Any links and locations are welcome. Also, I have been thinking about who makes decisions about whether to take action on a, to the oil companies potentionally dangerous technology. Who sits on top of the food chain? Who is the bigger fish, so to speak. Also, everyone who knows about any technologies that have/would have made any difference in our everyday life are welcome to comment."
Mozilla

+ - Mozilla Leader Makes $500k/year

Submitted by samuel4242
samuel4242 (630369) writes "The NY Times reports that the Mozilla Foundation is paying Mitchell Baker a cool $500,000 per year. How much went out in grants? Much less. $285,000 according to the article. Does this hurt the community by amplifying jealousy and discouraging people to contribute? Or is it only fair to compensate full time contributors at a rate that is in the same ball park as the other Silicon Valley success stories? Now that MySQL is rumored to be moving toward a big IPO, how will the open source world handle the growing gap between the insiders and the casual contributors?"
Portables

+ - Fix that gadget or send it to the landfill? 3

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "There seems to be more attention being paid to fixing gadgets instead of sending them to the landfill. It may be because 10gb in your iPod is more than enough for any normal person, it may be a deep, abiding love for the environment or it may just be the price. The article mentions new sites like FixYa and old standbys like Macintouch . Practically every gadget has their own website devoted to helping owners help each other deal with problems that arise. I personally like AVS Forum for my living room needs."
Google

+ - Father of web 2.0 slams Google OpenSocial

Submitted by Stony Stevenson
Stony Stevenson (954022) writes "Tim O'Reilly, the father of the term 'web 2.0', has denounced Google's OpenSocial as "boring" and a "full blown disappointment". OpenSocial offers a standard for applications on social networks that allow developers to market applications on any network supporting the standard. The standard does not unlock data from the participating network, however, which might have allowed a MySpace user to exchange messages with a LinkedIn user, for example.

In a posting on a company blog, O'Reilly described the lack of data sharing as a "fundamental failure " to understand two key principles of web 2.0: open data and loosely coupled applications or services. "We do not want to have the same application on multiple social networks. We want applications that can use data from multiple social networks," he said."
Power

+ - Monitor draws zero power in standby

Submitted by
fifthace
fifthace writes "A new range of Fujitsu Siemens monitors don't draw power during standby. The technology uses capacitors and relays to avoid drawing power when no video signal is present.

With political parties all over Europe calling for a ban on standby, this small development could end up as one of the most significant advances in recent times. The British Government estimates eight percent of all domestic electricity is consumed by devices in standby."
Privacy

+ - Encrypted E-Mail Company Hushmail Spills to Feds

Submitted by Anon Indian
Anon Indian (666) writes "Hushmail, a longtime provider of encrypted web-based email, markets itself by saying that "not even a Hushmail employee with access to our servers can read your encrypted e-mail, since each message is uniquely encoded before it leaves your computer." But it turns out that statement seems not to apply to individuals targeted by government agencies that are able to convince a Canadian court to serve a court order on the company. http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2007/11/encrypted-e-mai.html"
Hardware Hacking

+ - Fans or No Fans for Silent PCs

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Can a PC with a fan ever be made quiet enough? Is it enough to use a big fan and run it very slowly? Is the best solution a huge heat sink made of aluminum or copper that runs on convection? This article examines the question of how to make a computer quiet enough to sit proudly in the living room without drowning out the movie playing on the TV next to it?"
Handhelds

+ - Read your book on a cell phone

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "People are starting to understand that high-end cell phones and PDAs have enough screen resolution to make it easy to read books and longer texts. Can paper compete with a backlit display, full text search, or a flash card that can carry 1000 books? And this article says that it's not just the sci-fi loving gadget hounds who are taking notice — the top selling books are steamy romances."
United States

+ - Blogger Asks For New Ways For Terrorists To Attack 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "New York Times blogger Steven D. Levitt has raised a few eyebrows with his blog post, 'If You Were a Terrorist, How Would You Attack?'. He asks, 'what I would do to maximize terror if I were a terrorist with limited resources'. Levitt's terrorist plan is based on the Washington D.C. sniper attacks of 2002. He also invites readers to come up with better ideas: 'I presume that a lot more folks who oppose and fight terror read this blog than actual terrorists. So by getting these ideas out in the open, it gives terror fighters a chance to consider and plan for these scenarios before they occur.' Others argue that this is simply giving terrorists dangerous new ideas."
Sun Microsystems

+ - Jonathan Schwartz goes deep on open source->

Submitted by
Matt Asay
Matt Asay writes "Jonathan Schwartz doesn't have a passing fancy for open source: he believes it is the absolute key to winning the next century's software battles, as he suggests in an interview with CNET. From the interview: "Jonathan is an executive who sincerely believes in open source as a fundamental business-model advantage, and not as a cheap complement to throw to the community in order to drive sales of "the real value." It's not a marketing gimmick with him. It's a strategy for winning. Jonathan, despite wearing a tie when we met, clearly understands the importance of community before commercial. Or, rather, he understands that community leads to commercial success." The interview shows how Sun believes open source gives Sun a clear advantage over its proprietary competition."
Link to Original Source

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