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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

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+ - Angry Boss Phishing Emails Prompt Fraudulent Wire Transfers->

Submitted by chicksdaddy
chicksdaddy (814965) writes "Lots of studies have shown that assertiveness works (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8056571) in the professional as well as personal sphere. It turns out to work pretty well in the cyber criminal sphere, also (https://securityledger.com/2015/03/wire-transfer-scam-shows-assertiveness-works-with-phishing-too/).

Websense Labs has posted a blog warning of a new round of spear phishing attacks that rely on e-mail messages posing as urgent communications from senior officers to lower level employees. The messages demand that the employees wire funds to a destination account provided in the message. (http://community.websense.com/blogs/securitylabs/archive/2015/03/30/Assertiveness-is-a-valuable-quality-for-the-C_2D00_Level-and-cyber-crooks-alike.aspx)

According to Websense, these attacks are low tech. The fraudsters register “typo squatting” domains that look like the target company’s domain, but are subtly different. They then set up e-mails at the typo squatted domain designed to mirror legitimate executive email accounts.
Like many phishing scams, these attacks rely on the similarities of the domains and often extensive knowledge of key players within the company, creating e-mails that are highly convincing to recipients.

The key element of their attack is – simply – “obeisance,” Websense notes. “When the CEO or CFO tells you to do something, you do it.” Specifically, the attackers sent emails to lower level employees that appeared to come from executives. The messages were brief and urgent, included (phony) threads involving other company executives and demanded updates on the progress of the transfer, making the request seem more authentic. Rather than ask the executive for clarification (or scrutinize the FROM line), the employees found it easier to just wire the money to the specified account, Websense reports.

Websense notes the similarities between the technique used in the latest phishing attack and the grain trading firm Scoular in June, 2014. That company was tricked into wiring some $17 million to a bank in China, with employees believing they were acting on the wishes of executives who had communicated through e-mail. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/04/usa-grain-scoular-idUSL1N0VE2NX20150204)"

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+ - China's first reusable shuttle?

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "On Monday China launched the first of a new generation of GPS satellites using a secretive new upper stage they call Yuanzheng-1 (“Expedition-1 in English).

The first article describes Yuanzheng-1 as follows:

The Yuanzheng-1 (“Expedition-1) uses a small thrust 6.5 kN engine burning UDMH/N2O4 with specific impulse at 3092 m/s. The upper stage should be able to conduct two burns and has a 6.5 hour lifetime. It will be adapted for use on the CZ-3A/B/C series mainly for direct MEO/GEO insertion missions (mostly for the navigation satellites of the Beidou GNSS).

This description make it appear that Yuanzheng-1 is nothing more than a typical upper stage, capable of bringing its cargo to the appropriate orbit.

The second article, however, has a concept picture of Yuanzheng-1, a shuttle-like craft that looks to me to strongly resemble the X-37B. Nothing in the second article however contradicts the first, which leaves us with a mystery. Is this upper stage capable of returning to Earth after it deploys its cargo? The fact that the Chinese were unusually secretive about the launch itself suggests that there was definitely something unusual about the rocket itself.

If the Chinese have made their upper stage reusable they have taken a big step to reducing costs in a way that will allow them to compete with SpaceX, should that company succeed in returning its first stage so that it can be reused."

+ - SCOTUS: GPS Trackers Are a Form of Search and Seizure->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "If the government puts a GPS tracker on you, your car, or any of your personal effects, it counts as a search—and is therefore protected by the Fourth Amendment.

The Supreme Court clarified and affirmed that law on Monday, when it ruled on Torrey Dale Grady v. North Carolina, before sending the case back to that state’s high court. The Court’s short but unanimous opinions helps make sense of how the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable search and seizure, interacts with the expanding technological powers of the U.S. government.

The only theory we discern [...] is that the State’s system of nonconsensual satellite-based monitoring does not entail a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. That theory is inconsistent with this Court’s precedents.

"

Link to Original Source

+ - Pentagon Personnel Now Talking on 'NSA-Proof' Smartphones ->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "The Defense Department has rolled out supersecret smartphones for work and maybe play, made by anti-government-surveillance firm Silent Circle, according to company officials.

Silent Circle, founded by a former Navy Seal and the inventor of privacy-minded PGP encryption, is known for decrying federal efforts to bug smartphones. And for its spy-resistant "blackphone."

Apparently, troops don't like busybodies either. As part of limited trials, U.S. military personnel are using the device, encrypted with secret code down to its hardware, to communicate "for both unclassified and classified" work, Silent Circle Chairman Mike Janke told Nextgov."

Link to Original Source

+ - Robin Williams makes sure advertisers can't use his image for 25 years-> 1

Submitted by EwanPalmer
EwanPalmer (2536690) writes "Prior to his death, Robin Williams made sure his image could not be used in any film or advertisement for at least 25 years.

Before he died in August, the actor signed over his name, signature, photograph and likeness to the Windfall Foundation, a charitable organisation set up by his legal representatives, which meant Williams will not be featuring in any advert or digitally inserted into any film until at least 11 August 2039.

It is believed the ruling is an updated form of a privacy contract and could be seen as a landmark model for how celebrities control use of their image after their death."

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+ - X-37B to fly again

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "The May 6 Atlas 5 launch will carry one of the Air Force’s two X-37B mini-shuttles on a new mission in space.

The Air Force won’t yet confirm which of the Boeing-built spaceplanes will be making the voyage. The first craft returned in October from a 675-day mission in space following a 224 day trek in 2010. OTV No. 2 spent 469 days in space in 2011-2012 on its only mission so far. “The program selects the Orbital Test Vehicle for each activity based upon the experiment objectives,” said Capt. Chris Hoyler, an Air Force spokesperson. “Each OTV mission builds upon previous on-orbit demonstrations and expands the test envelope of the vehicle. The test mission furthers the development of the concept of operations for reusable space vehicles.”

There are indications that the Air Force wants to attempt landing the shuttle at Kennedy this time."

+ - Seed from ancient extinct plant planted and brought back to life

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "Israeli scientists have successfully gotten a 2000-year-old seed of an extinct date plant to grow and now reproduce.

Methuselah sprouted back in 2005, when agriculture expert Solowey germinated his antique seed. It had been pulled from the remains of Masada, an ancient fortification perched on a rock plateau in southern Israel, and at the time, no one could be sure that the plant would thrive. But he has, and his recent reproductive feat helps prove just how well he’s doing.

For a while, the Judean date palm was the sole representative of his kind: Methuselah’s variety was reportedly wiped out around 500 A.D. But Solowey has continued to grow date palms from ancient seeds discovered in the region, and she tells National Geographic that she is “trying to figure out how to plant an ancient date grove.” Doing so would allow researchers to better understand exactly what earlier peoples of the region were eating and how it tasted.

"

+ - NASA denies new space station partnership with Russia

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "NASA officials today denied they were negotiating a partnership with Russia to build a space station replacement for ISS, as suggested yesterday by the head of Russia’s space program.

Maybe the misunderstanding comes from NASA head Charles Bolden, who is currently in Russia. Bolden probably said some nice feel-good things to the Russians, things like “We want to keep working together,” and “We will support your plans for your future space station.” None of this was meant as a commitment, but the Russians might have taken them more seriously than Bolden realized."

+ - Taxpayer subsidies to ULA to end

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "Because it has concluded that they make it impossible to have a fair competition for contracts, the Air Force has decided to phase out taxpayer subsidies to the United Launch Alliance (ULA).

The specific amounts of these subsidies have been effectively buried by the Air Force in many different contracts, so we the taxpayers really don’t know how much the are.

Nonetheless, this decision, combined with the military report released yesterday that criticized the Air Force’s over-bearing and restrictive certification process with SpaceX indicates that the political pressure is now pushing them hard to open up bidding to multiple companies, which in turn will help lower cost and save the taxpayer money."

+ - Dark matter is even more of a mystery that expected

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "Using the Hubble and Chandra space telescopes astronomers have discovered that dark matter is not only invisible to direct observation, it is invisible to itself!

In this new research, Harvey and his team realized just how invisible this stuff is, even to itself. As two galactic clusters collide, the stars, gas and dark matter interact in different ways. The clouds of gas suffer drag, slow down and often stop, whereas the stars zip past one another, unless they collide — which is rare. On studying what happens to dark matter during these collisions, the researchers realized that, like stars, the colliding clouds of dark matter have little effect on one another.

Thought to be spread evenly throughout each cluster, it seems logical to assume that the clouds of dark matter would have a strong interaction — much like the colliding clouds of gas as the colliding dark matter particles should come into very close proximity. But rather than creating drag, the dark matter clouds slide through one another seamlessly.

The data here is on the very edge of reality, built on too many assumptions. We know that something undetected as yet is influencing the motions of galaxies, but what exactly it is remains completely unknown. These results only make the mystery more mysterious."

+ - GAO denied access to Webb telescope workers by Northrop Grumman

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "In a report as well as at House hearings today the GAO reported that Northrop Grumman has denied them one-on-one access to workers building the James Webb Space Telescope.

The interviews, part of a running series of GAO audits of the NASA flagship observatory, which is billions of dollars overbudget and years behind schedule, were intended to identify potential future trouble spots, according to a GAO official. But Northrop Grumman Aerospace, which along with NASA says the $9 billion project is back on track, cited concerns that the employees, 30 in all, would be intimidated by the process.

To give Northrop Grumman the benefit of the doubt, these interviews were a somewhat unusual request. Then again, if all was well why would they resist? Note too that the quote above says the cost of the telescope project is now $9 billion. If the project was “back on track: as the agency and Northrop Grumman claim, than why has the budget suddenly increased by another billion?"

+ - A drastic drop in complaints after San Diego outfitted its PD with body cameras

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "Surprise, surprise! Immediately after San Diego outfitted its police force with 600 body camera the number of complaints plunged.

The report, which took one full year into account, found that complaints against police have fallen 40.5 percent and use of “personal body” force by officers has been reduced by 46.5 percent. Use of pepper spray has decreased by 30.5 percent.

Two benefits can be seen immediately. First, the police are being harassed less from false complaints. Second, and more important, the police are finding ways to settle most disputes without the use of force, which means they are abusing their authority less.

These statistics do confirm what many on both the right and the left have begun to believe in recent years, that the police have been almost certainly using force against citizens inappropriately too often. In San Diego at least the cameras are serving to stem this misuse of authority."

+ - Google Visits White House Once a Week->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "As the federal government was wrapping up its antitrust investigation of Google, company executives had a flurry of meetings with top officials at the White House and Federal Trade Commission, the agency running the probe.

Google co-founder Larry Page met with FTC officials to discuss settlement talks, according to visitor logs and emails reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Google Chairman Eric Schmidt met with Pete Rouse, a senior adviser to President Barack Obama, in the White House.

The documents don’t show exactly what was discussed in late 2012. Soon afterward, the FTC closed its investigation after Google agreed to make voluntary changes to its business practices."

Link to Original Source

+ - New bill would repeal Patriot Act

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "Two Congressmen have introduced legislation to repeal the Patriot Act as well as end all unconstitutional domestic spying by government agencies.

The article notes that there is bi-partisan support for “doing something” about the out-of-control surveillance of federal agencies like the National Security Agency. I agree. Expect something like this to get passed. Whether Obama will veto it is another question. Despite what he says (which no one should every believe), he likes the idea of prying into the lives of private citizens."

+ - We know where you've been: Ars gets 4.6M license plate scans from the Oakland PD-> 1

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "One citizen demands: "Do you know why Oakland is spying on me and my wife?"

If you have driven in Oakland any time in the last few years, chances are good that the cops know where you’ve been, thanks to their 33 automated license plate readers (LPRs).

In response to a public records request, Ars obtained the entire LPR dataset of the Oakland Police Department (OPD), including more than 4.6 million reads of over 1.1 million unique plates between December 23, 2010 and May 31, 2014. The dataset is likely the largest publicly released in the United States—perhaps in the world.

After analyzing this data with a custom-built visualization tool, Ars can definitively demonstrate the data's revelatory potential. Anyone in possession of enough data can often—but not always—make educated guesses about a target’s home or workplace, particularly when someone’s movements are consistent (as with a regular commute)."

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