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Submission + - Washington confirms Chinese hack attack on White House computer 3

clam666 writes: White House sources partly confirmed an alarming report that U.S. government computers — reportedly including systems used by the military for nuclear commands — were breached by Chinese hackers.

I mostly submitted it because I just loved the phrase "The attack originated in the form of a spear phish, which involves a spoofed inbound email with either a link to a malicious website or a weaponized document attachment such as a .pdf, Microsoft Excel file or Word document"

Damn those weaponized Excel files.

Submission + - Best Buy Swipes Drivers License for Returns/Exchanges - Blocked for 90 Days (courant.com) 1

rullywowr writes: "A customer with a defective Blu-Ray disc returns to the Best Buy store where he purchased it. After scanning his driver's license into the system, he is now banned from returning/exchanging goods for 90 days. This is becoming one of the latest practices which big-box stores including Target, Best Buy, and Toys R Us are using to limit fraud and abuse of the return system. You know, the people who buy a big screen TV before the big game and then return it on Monday. Opponents feel that this return-limiting concept has this gone too far, including the harvesting of your personal data. What do you think?"

Submission + - Supreme Court unanimously upholds NASA JPL backgro (nytimes.com) 1

daveschroeder writes: Scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory have been fighting background check requirements mandated under Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 (HSPD-12) since 2007. HSPD-12 is designed to implement a "common identification standard for federal employees and contractors." A standard federal background check is a part of this process. This process is standardized by the federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM), even for employees who have no access to classified information. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals provisionally agreed with the employees, and the case worked its way to the US Supreme Court. Now the justices have unanimously ruled that JPL scientists must submit to background checks if they want to keep their jobs. Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in his concurrence that, "The contention that a right deeply rooted in our history and tradition bars the government from ensuring that the Hubble telescope is not used by recovering drug addicts farcical," and continued that "that there is no constitutional right to 'informational privacy'."

Submission + - Crunch time for WebOS, BlackBerry (infoworld.com)

GMGruman writes: Hewlett-Packard is planning to unveil its Palm WebOS strategy in a few weeks, while RIM is allegedly working up a new version of its popular Curve that uses the new BlackBerry OS 6 and its touch interface. WebOS has largely faded from view since HP bought it nine months ago, and RIM's been largely silent since its summer release of the BlackBerry Torch, its first successful modern BlackBerry, and the fall announcement of its PlayBook tablet. Meanwhile, it's been an Apple iOS and Google Android show at CES 2011, in the popular press, and in customers' hands. (Microsoft and Nokia essentially ceased to matter by Christmas 2010.) Is it too late for WebOS and BlackBerry? InfoWorld's Galen Gruman suggests they're running out of time and that the public signs of their plans are not so positive. Still, the two "also-ran" mobile OSes have a couple opportunities to resurrect themselves, he suggests.

The trouble with doing something right the first time is that nobody appreciates how difficult it was.