An anonymous reader writes "Slate provides the first-person account of a CEO who received an e-mail with several business documents attached threatening to distribute them to competitors and business partners unless the CEO paid $150,000. 'Experts I consulted told me that the hacking probably came from government monitors who wanted extra cash,' writes the CEO, who successfully ended the extortion with an e-mail from the law firm from the bank of his financial partner, refusing payment and adding that the authorities had been notified. According to the article, IT providers routinely receive phone calls from their service providers if they detect any downtime on the monitors of network traffic installed by the Chinese government, similar to the alerts provided to telecom providers about VoIP fraud on their IP-PBX switches. 'Hundreds of millions of Chinese operate on the Internet without any real sense of privacy, fully aware that a massive eavesdropping apparatus tracks their every communication and move...' writes the CEO. 'With China's world and ours intersecting online, I expect we'll eventually wonder how we could have been so naive to have assumed that privacy was normal- or that breaches of it were news.'"
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First time accepted submitter rogue-girl writes that a "Cairo Administrative Court announced earlier on Feb. 9 that a ruling has been issued to block YouTube within the country for 30 days. This decision comes after a lawsuit was filed back in September 2012 during the turmoil caused by the infamous trailer 'The Innocence of Muslims' spread through the popular video platform. The Court has also asked for all websites having published parts or the entire trailer to be banned for 30 days."
An anonymous reader writes "Distributel, an independent Canadian ISP, has fought back in a file sharing lawsuit by opposing a motion to disclose the names of subscribers alleged to have engaged in file sharing. The company did not oppose a similar request in November 2012, but says in court documents filed on Friday that several factors led to a change in position after it received another request for more names. Those concerns include evidence of copyright trolling, privacy issues, and weak evidence of actual infringement by its subscribers. The decision to fight back points to mounting ISP frustration in Canada with file sharing lawsuits that come after the Canadian government sent clear signals that such actions were unwelcome."
First time accepted submitter YurB writes "Matthew Garrett, a Linux kernel developer who was investigating the recent Linux-on-Samsung-in-UEFI-mode problem, has bricked a Samsung laptop using a test userspace program in Windows. The most fascinating part of the story is on what is actually causing the firmware boot failure: 'Unfortunately, it turns out that some Samsung laptops will fail to boot if too much of the [UEFI] variable storage space is used. We don't know what "too much" is yet, but writing a bunch of variables from Windows is enough to trigger it. I put some sample code here — it writes out 36 variables each containing a kilobyte of random data. I ran this as an administrator under Windows and then rebooted the system. It never came back.'"
New submitter wilby writes "Power company Entergy New Orleans says the Super Bowl blackout was caused by device designed to prevent power outages. A device designed to improve the Superdome electrical system reliability instead caused it to shut down dramatically during Super Bowl 47. [The company] said testing traced the source of the problem to an 'electrical relay device' it had installed in December to protect Superdome equipment in case a cable failure occurred between the company's switchgear and the stadium."
littlesparkvt writes "NASA's Curiosity rover has, for the first time, used a drill carried at the end of its robotic arm to bore into a flat, veiny rock on Mars and collect a sample from its interior. This is the first time any robot has drilled into a rock to collect a sample on Mars."
An anonymous reader writes "We have started seeing an increase in iPhone issues related to battery life and overheating. All of them seem to be related to users upgrading their devices to iOS 6.1. Furthermore, Vodafone UK today began sending out text messages to iPhone 4S owners on its network, warning them not to upgrade to iOS 6.1 due to issues with 3G performance. The text reads, 'If you've not already downloaded iOS 6.1 for your iPhone 4s, please hold off for the next version while Apple fixes 3G performance issues. Thanks.'"
hypnosec writes "The Linux Foundation's UEFI Secure Boot pre-bootloader for independent Linux distros and software developers has finally been released. Announcing the release of the secure boot system James Bottomley noted that the signed pre-bootloader was delivered by Microsoft on February 6th. Bottomley has released two validated files: PreLoader.efi and HashTool.efi. Bottomley has also created a bootable mini-USB image that provides 'an EFI shell where the kernel should be and uses Gummiboot to boot.' Just last week the pre-bootloader had to be rewritten to accommodate booting of all versions of Linux."
Wired reports that the 3-D printed AR-15 magazine from Defense Distributed we mentioned a few weeks back has been improved through design, and is now robust enough to last through firing (at least) several hundred rounds, rather than fewer than a hundred as in the previous iteration. CNET says the video demonstration on YouTube was first yanked, then restored, but as of now seems to have been yanked again.
redletterdave writes "The iPhone may be one of the bestselling smartphones on the planet, but Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak believes Apple's flagship smartphone has fallen behind its competitors, namely those built by Samsung, when it comes to smartphone features. Speaking at Businessweek's Best Brand Awards on Thursday evening, Wozniak said he was proud of how loyal Apple fans were to the iPhone, but also said 'this loyalty is not given,' shortly before denouncing his own company's smartphone. 'Currently we are, in my opinion, somewhat behind with features in the smartphone business,' Wozniak said. 'Others have caught up. Samsung is a big competitor. But precisely because they are currently making great products.'" I prefer Android, but it seems hard to find iPhone users who aren't enthusiastic about it. Whatever kind of phone you prefer, are there features you envy the users of some other variety?
Billly Gates writes "Microsoft is advising users to stick with other browsers until Tuesday, when 57 patches for Internet Explorer 6, 7, 8, 9, and even 10 are scheduled. There is no word if this patch is to protect IE from the 50+ Java exploits that were patched last week or the new Adobe Flash vulnerabilities. Microsoft has more information here. In semi-related news, IE 10 is almost done for Windows 7 and has a IE10 blocker available for corporations. No word on whether IE 10 will be included as part of the 57 updates."
eldavojohn writes "According to Bloomberg, drilling and fracking results in greenhouse gases second only to coal power plants in the United States. From the article, 'Emissions from drilling, including fracking, and leaks from transmission pipes totaled 225 million metric tons of carbon-dioxide equivalents during 2011, second only to power plants, which emitted about 10 times that amount.' According to Mother Jones, we now have more giant methane fireballs than any other country in the world and we can now see once dim North Dakota at night from space."
judgecorp writes "The Russian search engine Yandex has beaten Microsoft in the search engine rankings, taking fourth place behind Google, China's Baidu and Yahoo, according to ComScore. The result won't be encouraging for Microsoft, which will also be disappointed to see Bing behind its partner Yahoo."
New submitter jeditobe writes "Aleksey Bragin reported that starting in February he would be a lecturer at the Moscow State Technical University teaching the operating system course. He said that he intends to incorporate ReactOS into the lab work so that students would have the opportunity to work on an actual operating system. He also intends to translate and upload the slides he will use for class for others to see." (Bragin is the Project Coordinator for ReactOS.)
New submitter terbeaux writes "The documentary TPB AFK follows the creators of The Pirate Bay — Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij and Gottfrid Svartholm — through their technical and logistical trials of keeping TPB online as well as their court appearances in Sweden. After its premiere at Berlin International Film Festival, TechCrunch is reporting that TPB AFK is now available under a Creative Commons license for purchase, download on TPB, or viewing on YouTube. The budget for the film was raised on Kickstarter, where the makers achieved twice the funding goal in the allotted month-long funding campaign. The film already has 40,000 YouTube views, 19,000 torrent seeders, and over 2,000 paid downloads. There are public screenings happening world-wide."