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China

China's Foreign Ministry: China Did Not Attack Github, We Are the Major Victims 97

Posted by samzenpus
from the it-wasn't-us dept.
An anonymous reader writes At the Regular Press Conference on March 30, China's Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying responded on the charge of DDoS attack over Github. She said: "It is quite odd that every time a website in the US or any other country is under attack, there will be speculation that Chinese hackers are behind it. I'd like to remind you that China is one of the major victims of cyber attacks. We have been underlining that China hopes to work with the international community to speed up the making of international rules and jointly keep the cyber space peaceful, secure, open and cooperative. It is hoped that all parties can work in concert to address hacker attacks in a positive and constructive manner."
Government

Apple's Tim Cook Calls Out "Religious Freedom" Laws As Discriminatory 755

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-sir-I-don't-like-it dept.
An anonymous reader writes It will come as no surprise that Apple's CEO Tim Cook doesn't agree with so-called religious freedom laws. Cook says, "[they] rationalize injustice by pretending to defend something many of us hold dear," and has penned an op-ed piece for The Washington Post which reads in part: "A wave of legislation, introduced in more than two dozen states, would allow people to discriminate against their neighbors. Some, such as the bill enacted in Indiana last week that drew a national outcry and one passed in Arkansas, say individuals can cite their personal religious beliefs to refuse service to a customer or resist a state nondiscrimination law. Others are more transparent in their effort to discriminate. Legislation being considered in Texas would strip the salaries and pensions of clerks who issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples — even if the Supreme Court strikes down Texas' marriage ban later this year. In total, there are nearly 100 bills designed to enshrine discrimination in state law. These bills rationalize injustice by pretending to defend something many of us hold dear. They go against the very principles our nation was founded on, and they have the potential to undo decades of progress toward greater equality."
Earth

Experts: Aim of 2 Degrees Climate Goal Insufficient 381

Posted by samzenpus
from the keeping-it-cool dept.
An anonymous reader points out that a long held goal of keeping the Earth's average temperature from rising above 2 degrees Celsius might not be good enough. "A long-held benchmark for limiting global warming is 'utterly inadequate,' a leading U.N. climate scientist declared. Keeping the Earth's average temperature from rising past 2 degrees Celsius – a cap established by studies in the early 1970s – is far too loose a goal, Petra Tschakert, a professor at Penn State University and a lead author of an assessment report for the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, said in a commentary published in the journal Climate Change Responses. Already, with an average increase of just 0.8 degrees Celsius, she wrote, 'negative impacts' are 'widespread across the globe.' Tschakert called for lowering the warming target to 1.5 degrees Celsius."
Technology

Commercial Flamethrower Successfully Crowdfunded 178

Posted by Soulskill
from the for-clearing-that-stubborn-ice-off-your-roof-and-that-stubborn-roof-off-your-house dept.
ColdWetDog writes: You've always wanted one, of course. Zombies, the occasional alien infestation. The neighbor's smelly roses. You just need to be prepared for things. You can get freeze dried food, AR15's, enough ammo to start a small police action (at least here in the U.S. -- YMMV), but it has been difficult to get a modern, portable flamethrower until now. CNET has a brief explanation on the XM42, which doubled its Indiegogo funding target in just a few days.
Communications

How Professional Russian Trolls Operate 257

Posted by Soulskill
from the bridge-related-employment dept.
New submitter SecState writes: Hundreds of full-time, well-paid trolls operate thousands of fake accounts to fill social media sites and comments threads with pro-Kremlin propaganda. A St. Petersburg blogger spent two months working 12-hour shifts in a "troll factory," targeting forums of Russian municipal websites. In an interview, he describes how he worked in teams with two other trolls to create false "debates" about Russian and international politics, with pro-Putin views always scoring the winning point. Of course, with the U.S. government invoking "state secrets" to dismiss a defamation case against the supposedly independent advocacy group United Against a Nuclear Iran, Americans also need to be asking how far is too far when it comes to masked government propaganda.
Encryption

Generate Memorizable Passphrases That Even the NSA Can't Guess 261

Posted by timothy
from the exercise-for-the-reader dept.
HughPickens.com writes Micah Lee writes at The Intercept that coming up with a good passphrase by just thinking of one is incredibly hard, and if your adversary really is capable of one trillion guesses per second, you'll probably do a bad job of it. It turns out humans are a species of patterns, and they are incapable of doing anything in a truly random fashion. But there is a method for generating passphrases that are both impossible for even the most powerful attackers to guess, yet very possible for humans to memorize. First, grab a copy of the Diceware word list, which contains 7,776 English words — 37 pages for those of you printing at home. You'll notice that next to each word is a five-digit number, with each digit being between 1 and 6. Now grab some six-sided dice (yes, actual real physical dice), and roll them several times, writing down the numbers that you get. You'll need a total of five dice rolls to come up with each word in your passphrase. Using Diceware, you end up with passphrases that look like "cap liz donna demon self", "bang vivo thread duct knob train", and "brig alert rope welsh foss rang orb". If you want a stronger passphrase you can use more words; if a weaker passphrase is ok for your purpose you can use less words. If you choose two words for your passphrase, there are 60,466,176 different potential passphrases. A five-word passphrase would be cracked in just under six months and a six-word passphrase would take 3,505 years, on average, at a trillion guesses a second.

After you've generated your passphrase, the next step is to commit it to memory.You should write your new passphrase down on a piece of paper and carry it with you for as long as you need. Each time you need to type it, try typing it from memory first, but look at the paper if you need to. Assuming you type it a couple times a day, it shouldn't take more than two or three days before you no longer need the paper, at which point you should destroy it. "Simple, random passphrases, in other words, are just as good at protecting the next whistleblowing spy as they are at securing your laptop," concludes Lee. "It's a shame that we live in a world where ordinary citizens need that level of protection, but as long as we do, the Diceware system makes it possible to get CIA-level protection without going through black ops training."
GNOME

GNOME 3.16 Released 187

Posted by timothy
from the gnome-3:16-signs-for-every-sporting-event dept.
kthreadd writes Version 3.16 of GNOME, the primary desktop environment for GNU/Linux operating systems has been released. Some major new features in this release include a overhauled notification system, an updated design of the calendar drop down and support for overlay scrollbars. Also, the grid view in Files has been improved with bigger thumbnail icons, making the appearance more attractive and the rows easier to read. A video is available which demonstrates the new version.
Security

Chinese CA Issues Certificates To Impersonate Google 133

Posted by Soulskill
from the doing-trust-wrong dept.
Trailrunner7 writes: Google security engineers, investigating fraudulent certificates issued for several of the company's domains, discovered that a Chinese certificate authority was using an intermediate CA, MCS Holdings, that issued the unauthorized Google certificates, and could have issued certificates for virtually any domain. Google's engineers were able to block the fraudulent certificates in the company's Chrome browser by pushing an update to the CRLset, which tracks revoked certificates. The company also alerted other browser vendors to the problem, which was discovered on March 20. Google contacted officials at CNNIC, the Chinese registrar who authorized the intermediate CA, and the officials said that they were working with MCS to issue certificates for domains that it registered. But, instead of simply doing that, and storing the private key for the registrar in a hardware security module, MCS put the key in a proxy device designed to intercept secure traffic.

Comment: Glad I'm not a kid now (Score 1) 344

80% of kids have smartphones? I'm glad I'm not a kid today. My father was too much of a Luddite to get a color TV - no way would we have been allowed to have cell phones. much less smartphones, and he probably wouldn't have tolerated a PC or the internet in the house either. We would have grown up in a strange informationless cut off parallel universe from all the other kids.

Comment: Re:Not just Monsanto (Score 4, Insightful) 179

by snowgirl (#49314175) Attached to: WHO Report Links Weed Killer Ingredient To Cancer Risk

The report does note that the public at large is unlikely to receive any particularly dangerous exposure... this is more just for the workers, which to be fair, should be limiting their exposure to it in the first place. It's well known that it can cause health effects if mixed without any respirator coveralls etc..

Just because it requires a respirator and "clean suit" to spray it and mix it, doesn't mean that it's dangerous to the consumer... it just means that those people are the most likely to experience chronic meaningful exposure.

Comment: "Cyber-Armageddon" or "e-War"? (Score 2) 70

by Etcetera (#49307737) Attached to: Government Spies Admit That Cyber Armageddon Is Unlikely

Just armageddon (not the literal one, natch) through cyber means?

This reminds me of the 90's when people would prefix things with "e-" without a unified definition of the monkier. "E-mail", "E-file", etc...

If I had to guess, I'd imagine a "cyber-armageddon" as some sort of problem directly affecting logical electronic infrastructure. Imagine simultaneously wiping out all copies of DNS records everywhere (including hosts files) through some mysterious malware, blowing up a bunch of datacenters, and a Sony Pictures-like virus that hits Google and wipes out all code backups. That might be a "cyber-armageddon."

That would suck, and would cause quite a bit of culture shock (and, of course, would be a catastrophic economic event), but it would not be the End of the World.

On the other hand, an EMP attack against the United States which disables/blows most non-hardened electronic equipment and causes a quickly-cascading North American power system collapse everywhere all at once would be a *true* (figurative) armageddon. That's really what I think of when dealing with continuity of government plans and "dire threats". American society would find a way to survive without the Internet (although true, unprepared Millennials might suffer debillitating levels of shock). American society would probably *not* find a way to survive after a few months of a power and communications outage, however, at least in its current geopolitical form -- and especially if a power vaccum formed internationally. (Think "Revolution" without the hand-wavey, future-science gobbledygook.)

Comment: Young Marsden Aaaward (Score 5, Interesting) 109

by VAXcat (#49304525) Attached to: The Stolen Credit For What Makes Up the Sun
HA! This reminds me of my days at Rice University, in the early 70s. The Post grad students there each year would award one of their number the "Young Marsden" award. It was presented to the student whose work had been most egregiously ripped off by a faculty member that year. It was called the Young Marsden award, in memory of Marsden, since Rutherford and Geiger got credit for his work on alpha particle scattering

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness. -- John Muir

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