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Bug

Wassenaar Treaty Will Hamper Bug Bounties 35 35

msm1267 writes: If the proposed U.S. Wassenaar rules are enacted, researchers who make a living contributing to and participating in the numerous industry bug bounties may feel the pinch in their wallets. Worse may be the impact on the security of software worldwide since many independent researchers find a good number of the bugs that get patched.

Researchers are starting to speak out, not only about the rules' broad definition of intrusion software, but also about the potential need to share vulnerability details with a government if forced to apply for the required export license. Many may soon question whether it's worth the time and effort to go through the export process if governments are acting as a clearinghouse.
Open Source

Ask Slashdot: What Is the Best Open Document Format? 200 200

kramer2718 writes: I am working on a project that requires uploading and storing of documents. Although the application will need to allow uploading of .docx, doc, .pdf, etc, I'd like to store the documents in a standard open format that will allow easy search, compression, rendering, etc. Which open document format is the best? Since "best" can be highly driven by circumstances, please explain your reasoning, too.
Encryption

Online Voting Should Be Verifiable -- But It's a Hard Problem 258 258

An anonymous reader writes with a link to a pithy overview at The Conversation of recent uses of (and nagging difficulties with) online voting and asks Regular 'internet voting too risky' arguments don't take some approaches into account like verifiability of votes by voters, observers, and international media. Could we have end-to-end verifiable online voting systems in the future? What are the difficulties? Where is it being done already? From the linked article (which provides at least some answers to those questions), one interesting idea:Another challenge to designing verifiability in online voting is the possibility of malware infection of voters' computers. By some estimates between 30%-40% of all home computers are infected. It’s quite possible that determined attackers could produce and distribute malware specifically designed to thwart or alter the outcome of a national election – for example undetectably changing the way a user votes and then covering its tracks by faking how the vote appears to have been cast to the voter. Whatever verifability mechanisms there are could also be thwarted by the malware.

One way to try to prevent this kind of attack is to make voters use several computers during the voting process. Although this is hardly convenient, the idea is to make it more difficult for an attacker to launch a co-ordinated attack across several computers at once.
Security

Hackers Using Starbucks Gift Cards To Access Credit Cards 124 124

jfruh writes: Starbucks inspires loyalty among its heavy users — so much so that they're willing to connect their Starbucks gift cards and phone apps directly to their credit or debit cards, auto-refilling the balance when it runs low. But this has opened up a hole hackers can exploit. Writing about the scheme journalist Bob Sullivan says: "The fraud is a big deal because Starbucks mobile payments are a big deal. Last year, Starbucks said it processed $2 billion in mobile payment transactions, and about 1 in 6 transactions at Starbucks are conducted with the Starbucks app. Maria Nistri, 48, was a victim this week. Criminals stole the Orlando women’s $34.77 in value she had loaded onto her Starbucks app, then another $25 after it was auto-loaded into her card because her balance hit 0. Then, the criminals upped the ante, changing her auto reload amount to $75, and stealing that amount, too. All within 7 minutes."
United Kingdom

UK Setting Itself Up To Be More Friendly To Bitcoin Startups 43 43

An anonymous reader writes While various states in the U.S. (most notably: New York) are trying to regulate every last aspect of Bitcoin, making it very difficult to innovate there, the UK appears to be going in the opposite direction. It's been setting up much more open regulations that would allow for greater freedom for Bitcoin startups to innovate without first having to ask for permission. In fact, the British government decided that what is most appropriate is to work with the digital currency community to develop a set of best practices for consumer protection and create a voluntary, opt-in regime. Hopefully other governments take note.
Biotech

The One Thousand Genes You Could Live Without 111 111

sciencehabit writes Today researchers unveiled the largest ever set of full genomes from a single population: Iceland. The massive project, carried out by a private company in the country, deCODE genetics, has yielded new disease risk genes, insights into human evolution, and a list of more than 1000 genes that people can apparently live without. The project also serves as a model for other countries' efforts to sequence their people's DNA for research on personalized medical care, says study leader Kári Stefánsson, deCODE's CEO. For example, the United States is planning to sequence the genomes of 1 million Americans over the next few years and use the data to devise individualized treatments.
Transportation

Chevy Malibu 'Teen Driver' Tech Will Snitch If You Speed 224 224

mpicpp writes General Motors wants to help curb teen crashes with a new system that lets parents monitor their kids' driving habits—even when mom and dad aren't actually in the car. Dubbed Teen Drive, the new system will debut in the 2016 Chevy Malibu, offering a bunch of features designed to encourage safe driving. It will, for instance, mute the radio or any device paired with the car when front seat occupants aren't wearing their seatbelts, and give audible and visual warnings when the vehicle is traveling faster than preset speeds. It doesn't end there. Brace yourself, teens, because you might not like this next part too much. The new system also lets parents view a readout of how you drove the car, including how fast you went, how far you drove, and whether any active safety features (like over-speed warnings) were engaged. Parents can also set the radio system's maximum volume to a lower level, and select a maximum speed between 40 and 75 miles per hour, which, if exceeded, will trigger warnings.

Comment: Re:MS still don't get it (Score 1) 240 240

> Most people do NOT want an operating system that is for both a tablet, and for a normal computer.

I do. I'm tired of lugging around a full-sized Dell laptop when I travel, and I like to read whenever I'm in ever-shrinking airplane space. So, I do want a tablet that'll step up to laptop/desktop functionality when I sit down at whatever desk they come up with for me at the places to which I travel.

And, while I am ever hopeful that a Linux distro will step up to the switch-hit tablet/laptop challenge, it is my humble opinion that Microsoft is making better progress in getting there. Not perfect, at this point, but definitely useable.

Comment: I know I'm gonna catch a lot of crap for this... (Score 2) 240 240

...but I'm finding Win 8 as a switch-hit tablet/sorta-netbook is working pretty well for me. I've been using both Windows and various Linux desktop distros for decades now, waiting for someone to put together an OS that would alternatively do the tablet thing, then do desktop with a BT keyboard and mouse. Ubuntu seems to be heading there, but Win 8 actually does a passable job in both modes. I'm running it on a cheapie WinBook from Microcenter with 2GB RAM and 32GB flash as C:. And then, to add insult to injury, IE 11 is the best tablet browser I've tried, and I've tried quite a few. I still use Firefox when in the desktop, as well as all my old Windows desktop applications, but I try to Metro-app in Metro when at all possible. Thing is, when in desktop, get out the mouse and keyboard; the screen is too small for fingering around. But I'm finding Metro to be like any other device; you've gotta spend a little time figuring it out, but there's nothing onerous about it, well, maybe the app killing thing.

I wanted Ubuntu to get there first, but it is my studied opinion that Windows is ahead in tablet/desktop switch-hitting. So there; flame away, I've already attracted my mate so I don't have to worry about how I look, smell, or are regarded your eyes... :D

United Kingdom

Scotland Yard Chief: Put CCTV In Every Home To Help Solve Crimes 282 282

schwit1 writes Homeowners should consider fitting CCTV to trap burglars, the country's most senior police officer declared yesterday. Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said police forces needed more crime scene footage to match against their 12 million images of suspects and offenders. And he called on families and businesses to install cameras at eye level – to exploit advances in facial recognition technology.
Input Devices

Your Entire PC In a Mouse 165 165

slash-sa writes: A Polish software and hardware developer has created a prototype computer which is entirely housed within a mouse. Dubbed the Mouse-Box, it works like a conventional mouse, but contains a processor, flash storage, an HDMI connection, and Wi-Fi connectivity. It is connected to a monitor via the HDMI interface and connects to an Internet connection through standard Wi-Fi.
Space

Astronomers Record Mystery Radio Signals From 5.5 Billion Light Years Away 121 121

sarahnaomi writes For the first time ever, astronomers have captured an enormous radio wave burst in real time, bringing us one step closer to understanding their origins. These fleeting eruptions, called blitzars or FRBs (Fast Radio Bursts), are truly bizarre cosmic phenomena. In the span of a millisecond, they emit as much radiation as the Sun does over a million years. But unlike other super-luminous events that span multiple wavelengths—gamma ray bursts or supernovae, for example—blitzars emit all that energy in a tiny band of the radio light spectrum. Adding to the mystery is the rarity of blitzar sightings. Since these bursts were first discovered in 2007 with Australia's Parkes Telescope, ten have been identified, the latest of which was the first to be imaged in real time.

Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no substitute for a good blaster at your side. - Han Solo

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