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Government

US Customs Wants To Know Travelers' Social Media Account Names (helpnetsecurity.com) 46

Orome1 quotes a report from Help Net Security: The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency has submitted a request to the Office of Management and Budget, asking for permission to collect travelers social media account names as they enter the country. The CBP, which is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, proposes that the request "Please enter information associated with your online presence -- Provider/Platform -- Social media identifier" be added to the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) and to the CBP Form I-94W (Nonimmigrant Visa Waiver Arrival/Departure). "It will be an optional field to request social media identifiers to be used for vetting purposes, as well as applicant contact information," the CBP noted. "Collecting social media data will enhance the existing investigative process and provide DHS greater clarity and visibility to possible nefarious activity and connections by providing an additional tool set which analysts and investigators may use to better analyze and investigate the case." The public and affected agencies are asked to comment on the request within 60 days of its publication. Commenters are asked to send their comments to this address.
Government

Tour de France To Use Thermal Cameras To Spot Cheats (npr.org) 50

An anonymous reader writes: At this year's Tour de France, thermal cameras and various other tools will be used to detect "mechanical doping." The image tests can be done anywhere and their locations will not be publicized, according to officials. NPR reports: "As far back as at least 2010, accusations have flown that elite cyclists were turning in superhuman performances with the help of motors that are hidden inside their bike's seat tube. Commercial versions of such devices can provide a steady power stream of around 200 watts -- the lower range of a pro cyclist's average output in a stage race. They can also be set to assist riders automatically if their pedaling cadence falls below a certain threshold. Tour de France officials explain how the detection system will work: 'Developed by the CEA (the French Atomic Energy Commission), the method consists of using a thermal imaging camera capable of detecting mechanical anomalies on the riders' bikes. The checks can be made in the race and on the side of the roads.'"
Earth

Physicists Confirm a Pear-Shaped Nucleus, and It Could Ruin Time Travel Forever (sciencealert.com) 71

An anonymous reader writes from a report via ScienceAlert: Physicists have confirmed the existence of pear-shaped nuclei, which challenges the fundamental theories of physics that explain our Universe. "We've found these nuclei literally point towards a direction in space. This relates to a direction in time, providing there's a well-defined direction in time and we will always travel from past to present," Marcus Scheck from the University of the West of Scotland told Kenneth MacDonald at BBC News. Until recently, it was generally accepted that nuclei of atoms could only be one of three shapes: spherical, discus, or rugby ball. The first discovery of a pear-shaped nucleus was back in 2013, when physicists at CERN discovered isotope Radium-224. Now, that find has been confirmed by a second study, which shows that the nucleus of the isotope Barium-144 is also asymmetrical and pear-shaped. In regard to time travel, Scheck says that this uneven distribution of mass and charge caused Barium-144's nucleus to "point" in a certain direction in spacetime, and this bias could explain why time seems to only want to go from past to present, and not backwards, even if the laws of physics don't care which way it goes.
Botnet

A Massive Botnet of CCTV Cameras Involved In Ferocious DDoS Attacks (softpedia.com) 36

An anonymous reader writes: "A botnet of over 25,000 bots is at the heart of recent DDoS attacks that are ferociously attacking businesses across the world with massive Layer 7 DDoS attacks that are overwhelming Web servers, occupying their resources and eventually crashing websites," reports Softpedia. This botnet's particularity is the fact that attacks never fluctuated and the attackers managed to keep a steady rhythm. This is not a classic botnet of infected computers that go on and off, but of compromised CCTV systems that are always on and available for attacks. The brands of CCTV DVRs involved in these attacks are the same highlighted in a report by a security researcher this winter, who discovered a backdoor in the firmware of 70 different CCTV DVR vendors. These companies had bought unbranded DVRs from Chinese firm TVT. When informed of the firmware issues, TVT ignored the researcher and the issues were never fixed, leading to crooks creating this huge botnet.
Transportation

Rolls-Royce Eyes Autonomous Ships, Expects Remote-Controlled Cargo Ships By 2020 (pcmag.com) 74

An anonymous reader writes from a report via PC Magazine: Speaking at a recent symposium in Amsterdam, Rolls-Royce vice president of innovation for marine, Oskar Levander, said, "The technologies needed to make remote and autonomous ships a reality exist." In partnership with the Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Applications Initiative (AAWA) project, Rolls-Royce, DNV GL, Inmarsat, Deltamarin, NAPA, Brighthouse Intelligence, Finferries, and ESL Shipping are leading the $7 million effort. Unmanned ships could save money, weight, and space, making way for more cargo and improving reliability and productivity, the AAWA said in a recent white paper. "The increased level of safety onboard will be provided by additional systems," Rolls-Royce said on its website. "Our future solutions will reduce need for human-machine interaction by automating selected tasks and processes, whilst keeping the human at the center of critical decision making and onboard expertise." Initial testing of sensor arrays in a range of operating and climatic conditions is already underway in Finland. Phase II of the project will continue through the end of 2017. Rolls-Royce plans to launch the first remote-controlled cargo ships by 2020, with autonomous boats in the water within the next two decades. Rolls-Royce was in the news last week when they unveiled their first driverless vehicle called The Vision Next 100.
Businesses

Cisco Seen As Trying To 'Slow Down Arista Anyway They Can' With Patent Lawsuits (crn.com) 65

An anonymous reader shares an article by CRN:Partners say Cisco's end game with its patent lawsuits against Arista Networks is simply to slow the fast-growing networking company and stunt any innovation efforts from competitors. "Cisco's goal is to try to slow down Arista and competitors any way they can," said Chris Becerra, president and CEO of Terrapin Systems, a Morgan Hill, Calif.-based Arista partner. "If they don't have the technology to beat them out there, they're going to try to slow them down any way possible." Last week, the San Jose, Calif.-based network giant won three of five patent infringement suits against Santa Clara, Calif.-based Arista dealing with its networking switches. The International Trade Commission recommended a ban on Arista product imports containing the infringing technology. Additionally, the ITC also ruled earlier this year that Arista infringed on several other Cisco patents pertaining to its private VLANS, system database and externally managing router configuration with a centralized database -- recommending a similar ban on Arista imports.For those unfamiliar, Cisco had filed its trade complaint in December 2014, in which it sought a ban on Arista's switches. Arista, which designs and sells multilayer network switches to deliver software-defined networking solutions, was formed by former Cisco employees.
Earth

Google's Satellite Map Gets a 700-Trillion-Pixel Makeover (theatlantic.com) 40

An anonymous reader writes: On Monday, Google Maps has received a makeover with 700 trillion pixels of new data added to the service. The Atlantic reports: "The new map, which activates this week for all users of Google Maps and Google Earth, consists of orbital imagery that is newer, more detailed, and of higher contrast than the previous version. Most importantly, this new map contains fewer clouds than before -- only the second time Google has unveiled a "cloudless" map. Google had not updated its low- and medium- resolution satellite map in three years. The new version of the map includes data from Landsat 8, the newer version of the same satellite (Landsat 7, the U.S. government satellite which supplied the older map's imagery data), letting Google clear the ugly artifacts. Google's new update doesn't include imagery at the highest zoom levels, like the kind needed to closely inspect an individual house, pool, or baseball field. Those pictures do not come from Landsat at all, but from a mix of other public and private aerial and space-based cameras, including DigitalGlobe's high-resolution satellites. The image processing for this most recent map was completed entirely in Google Earth Engine, the company's geospatial-focused cloud infrastructure. In fact, the entire algorithm to create the cloudless map was written in Javascript in the Earth Engine development interface."
The Courts

President Obama Should Pardon Edward Snowden Before Leaving Office (theverge.com) 220

An anonymous reader writes from a report via The Verge: Ever since Edward Snowden set in motion the most powerful public act of whistleblowing in U.S. history, he has been living in exile in Russia from the United States. An article in this week's New York Magazine looks at how Snowden may have a narrow window of opportunity where President Obama could pardon him before he leaves office. Presumably, once he leaves office, the chances of Snowden being pardoned by Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump are miniscule. Obama has said nothing in the past few years to suggest he's interested in pardoning Snowden. Not only would it contradict his national security policy, but it will severely alienate the intelligence community for many years to come. With that said, anyone who values a free and secure internet believes pardoning Snowden would be the right thing to do. The Verge reports: "[Snowden] faces charges under the Espionage Act, which makes no distinction between delivering classified files to journalists and delivering the same files to a foreign power. For the first 80 years of its life, it was used almost entirely to prosecute spies. The president has prosecuted more whistleblowers under the Espionage Act than all president before him combined. His Justice Department has vastly expanded the scope of the law, turning it from a weapon against the nation's enemies to one that's pointed against its own citizens. The result will be less scrutiny of the nation's most powerful agencies, and fewer forces to keep them in check. With Snowden's push for clemency, the president has a chance to complicate that legacy and begin to undo it. It's the last chance we'll have."
Education

Google Launches 'Project Bloks' Toys To Teach Kids To Code (thenextweb.com) 41

An anonymous reader writes: Google has launched a hardware project dubbed 'Project Bloks' to help teach kids how to code. There are three components to the learning experience: Brain Board, Base Boards, and Pucks. The Brain Board features a processing unit that is based off of Raspberry Pi Zero, which controls and provides power to the rest of the connected components. It does also interact with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices. The Base Boards are connective units that let users design instruction flows. Finally, the Pucks are the components you interact with. They're shaped with switches, arrows, buttons, dials and more, and can be programmed to turn things on or off, move avatars, play music, and more. What's neat is you can record instructions from multiple pucks into a single one. Some of them can be made with simple, inexpensive materials like paper with conductive ink. You can watch the official introduction video on YouTube. Google did release a subsequent video about the project called "Developing on Project Bloks."
Facebook

Facebook Is Using Your Phone's Location To Suggest New Friends (fusion.net) 113

Fusion's Kashmir Hill is reporting that Facebook is using your phone's location to suggest new friends. It's unclear exactly when the social juggernaut began doing this, but a number of instances suggest it only started recently. From the report:Last week, I met a man who suspected Facebook had tracked his location to figure out who he was meeting with. He was a dad who had recently attended a gathering for suicidal teens. The next morning, he told me, he opened Facebook to find that one of the anonymous parents at the gathering popped up as a "person you may know." [...] "People You May Know are people on Facebook that you might know," a Facebook spokesperson said. "We show you people based on mutual friends, work and education information, networks you're part of, contacts you've imported and many other factors." One of those factors is smartphone location. A Facebook spokesperson said though that shared location alone would not result in a friend suggestion, saying that the two parents must have had something else in common, such as overlapping networks.While this feature could be useful in some cases, many may -- and they should -- see it as a big invasion of their privacy -- Hill has succinctly explained a number of them.
Bitcoin

New and Improved CryptXXX Ransomware Rakes In $45,000 In 3 Weeks (arstechnica.com) 99

An anonymous reader writes:Whoever said crime doesn't pay didn't know about the booming ransomware market. A case in point, the latest version of the scourge known as CryptXXX, which raked in more than $45,000 in less than three weeks. Over the past few months, CryptXXX developers have gone back and forth with security researchers. The whitehats from Kaspersky Lab provided a free tool that allowed victims to decrypt their precious data without paying the ransom, which typically reaches $500 or more. Then, CryptXXX developers would tweak their code to defeat the get-out-of-jail decryptor. The researchers would regain the upper hand by exploiting another weakness and so on. Earlier this month, the developers released a new CryptXXX variant that to date still has no decryptor available. Between June 4 and June 21, according to a blog post published Monday by security firm SentinelOne, the Bitcoin address associated with the new version had received 70 bitcoins, which at current prices is valued at around $45,228. The figure doesn't include revenue generated from previous campaigns.
Google

HP Adds a Touchscreen To Its 11-inch Chromebook Lineup 17

An anonymous reader shares a report by The Verge:HP today announced the Chromebook 11 G5, the first of the company's Chrome OS laptops in the 11-inch range to include a touchscreen display. The new Chromebook starts at $189 and will go on sale through HP's channel partners in July. It will be more widely available in stores this October. The base model of the Chromebook 11 G5 has a 11.6-inch screen with a sub-HD display (there will be an option for an HD IPS touchscreen panel with Gorilla Glass), weighs 2.51 pounds, and comes with a 1.6gHz Intel Celeron N3060 -- a somewhat common processor for low- to mid-range Chromebooks. HP claims it will be powerful enough to handle video calls and playback, and that it "speeds through spreadsheets," which is the most amazingly modest goal I can imagine for a Chromebook. Of course that limited performance, coupled with Chrome OS's limited feature set, gives the Chromebook 11 G5 up to 11 solid hours of battery life, according to HP.
Movies

You Are Still Watching a Staggering Amount Of TV Every Day (recode.net) 163

Peter Kafka, reporting for Recode:TV! It's cooked! Toast! Doneso. Ready for the fork. Except not yet, because Americans are still watching a ton of TV, every day. For some of them, it's the equivalent of a full-time job. The average American watches an astonishing 4.5 hours of TV a day, according to a new report from Nielsen. Add in DVR time, and that number gets up to 5 hours a day. That usage is shrinking over time -- a couple of years ago, Americans were averaging five hours and twenty-three minutes a day.Nielsen's data also shows that people are now consuming more content on their smartphone devices than ever. Compared to just 47 minutes usage in 2014, it is now up to one hour and 39 minutes.
IOS

.NET Core 1.0 Released, Now Officially Supported By Red Hat (arstechnica.com) 89

Microsoft on Monday announced the release of .NET Core, the open source .NET runtime platform. Finally! (It was first announced in 2014). The company also released ASP.NET Core 1.0, the open-source version of Microsoft's Web development stack. ArsTechnica reports:Microsoft picked an unusual venue to announce the release: the Red Hat Summit. One of the purposes of .NET Core was to make Linux and OS X into first-class supported platforms, with .NET developers able to reach Windows, OS X, Linux, and (with Xamarin) iOS and Android, too. At the summit today, Red Hat announced that this release would be actively supported by the company on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
Security

Google CEO Sundar Pichai's Quora Account Hacked (thenextweb.com) 24

Google CEO Sundar Pichai is the latest high-profile victim of a hacking group called OurMine. Earlier today, the group managed to get hold of Pichai's Quota account, which in turn, gave them access to his Twitter feed as well. In a statement to The Next Web, the group said that their intention is to just test people's security, and that they never change the victim's passwords. Looking at the comments they left after hacking Pichai's account, it is also clear that OurMine is promoting its security services. The same group recently also hacked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's Twitter and Pinterest accounts.

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