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Submission + - Pwn2Own 2017 Takes Aim at Linux (eweek.com)

darthcamaro writes: For the first time in its ten year history, the annual Pwn2Own hacking competition is taking direct aim at Linux. Pwn2Own in the past has typically focused mostly on web browsers, running on Windows and macOS. There is a $15,000 reward for security researchers that are able to get a local user kernel exploit on Ubuntu 16.10. The bigger prize though is a massive $200,000 award for exploiting Apache Web Server running on Ubuntu.

Submission + - Apple removes Finder for Airpods app from its store

Ecuador writes: There was a $3.99 app that helped you find your Airpod if it was within bluetooth range. Even though it had a limited range, it might have been useful for some people to avoid Apple's $69 replacement fee. But Apple has apparently pulled the app with no explanation. According to the developer's reddit post:
"Yeah, just got off the phone with them. They didn't find anything wrong with the app itself, but rather they they didn't like the 'concept' of people finding their Airpods and hence was deemed 'not appropriate for the App Store'."
What is interesting, if what the developer is saying is true (it is a Reddit post after all), is that Apple does allow similar apps (from the same developer) for finding other devices (Fitbit, Jawbone), so they don't like the concept specifically as it applies to the Airpods. The speculation is that they either have similar functionality planned, or they really like that $69 replacement fee.

Submission + - Obamacare repeal has gig economy worried (computerworld.com)

dcblogs writes: Repealing the Affordable Care Act without a replacement leaves some 18 million without health insuance in the first year alone, the Congressional Budget Office warned Tuesday. Millions more will lose insurance later on. The estimate includes independent, or gig, workers who use Fiverr's job marketplace. "The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is incredibly important," said Brent Messenger, Fiverr's global head of community. A wholesale repeal of the ACA, or Obamacare, will not only "negatively impact our marketplace but the gig economy as a whole," he said. Republicans in Congress and President-elect Donald Trump are promising an Obamacare replacement, but so far they haven't delivered it. That is making people nervous, because some of the ACA's provisions — including coverage for pre-existing conditions — are very important, especially to older independent workers, Jane Langeman, an independent management consultant and president of the Association of Independent Information Professionals (AIIP), "Many of us are on our second-career as independent business owners and have a lot of life and pre-existing conditions under our belts," said Langeman. "The Affordable Care Act made it easier for business owners to even get health insurance, especially when faced with pre-existing health conditions," she said.

Submission + - New York driver groups push for a ban on autonomous cars (autoblog.com)

schwit1 writes: It's no secret that ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft dream of a day when they can depend solely on self-driving cars, and that's making driver organizations more than a little nervous. New York's Upstate Transportation Association and Independent Drivers Guild are both pressing for bans on autonomous vehicles in the state out of concern that they'll ultimately cost thousands of transportation jobs. The IDG believes that it only needs to preserve existing laws to guarantee a ban, but the UTA is considerably more aggressive — it wants a 50-year ban on self-driving cars. Yes, there's a real chance you wouldn't even be alive to see the day when driverless rides hit New York roads.

Submission + - EFF sets out privacy and security plans for the first 100 days under Trump (betanews.com) 1

Mark Wilson writes: The Electronic Frontier Foundation has set out its plans for the first 100 days under Trump, during which time it says it will continue to fight for the rights of internet and technology users.

The digital rights group has already drawn up a wishlist for covering its privacy and security dreams for 2017, but the 100-day plan sees the EFF setting out its agenda for the first few months under Trump. Having claimed that "our civil liberties need an independent defense force" and that "free speech and the rights to privacy, transparency, and innovation won’t survive on their own", EFF is prepared to go to court — again — to hold the new administration to account when necessary.

The group plans to continue its fight against "wrongful surveillance and censorship orders", and says that it will make full use of Freedom of Information Act requests to "force transparency on our secretive government". This is something that will be happening right from the get-go: "we intend to wield this tool from the earliest days of Trump's presidency".

Submission + - Online Security: Dumb WhatsApp Scam Spreads Malware - Beware

jamilnaws writes: Dumb WhatsApp Scam Spreads Malware, Touting 'Free Internet' Without Wi-Fi: Beware

A pretty dumb WhatsApp scam is making rounds in chain mail form, promising "free internet" without Wi-Fi on an invite-only basis.

First of all, the scam is quite dumb to begin with because the only way to use WhatsApp without Wi-Fi is to have a cellular data connection and WhatsApp cannot offer data — it's just an app, not a provider.

Secondly, the scam is spreading because it prompts victims to forward the message to 13 friends or five groups on WhatsApp to activate the "free internet."

How It Works

"As usual, the message spreads via WhatsApp groups or comes from a friend who 'recommends' the service — often unaware of it. In this case, you receive a special invitation with a link," explains the WeLiveSecurity blog of antivirus and security firm ESET.

"You can already get Internet Free Without WI-FI with Whatsapp, and it is by means of invitations, here I give you an invitation," reads the poorly written message.

Upon clicking on the included link, users are taken to a website mimicking the WhatsApp domain. It detects the device's language based on the browser settings and invites users to pass along the invitation to more people, ensuring that the scam keeps spreading.

The message also shows fake reviews from fake users, claiming to be incredibly satisfied with this amazing offer. Those users don't even exist, much like this "free internet" invite-only deal. Don't fall for it, or you'll get more than you bargained for — and not in a good way.

Surprise! Malware

After sharing the message with at least 13 people or five groups, users who have fallen victim to this sham end up on various sites where a number of malicious actions can wreak havoc.

According to WeLiveSecurity, such actions range from subscriptions to premium and expensive SMS services to installing third-party apps on the device, of course aiming to generate some money for the scammer on the victims' expense.

Victims will see various offers, but they obviously will not get any "free internet." The only way to use WhatsApp to communicate with people is to have an active internet connection, be it cellular data or Wi-Fi, and the scam does absolutely nothing to change this reality.

At best, victims waste their time and end up disappointed that the magical chain message didn't work. At worst, they end up with malicious software on their phones.

How To Avoid Such Scams

First of all, keep in mind that any message that shows up out of the blue, poorly written and making seemingly attractive promises are most likely fake, part of a scam. Raising awareness regarding these scams plays a crucial role in limiting their damage and slowing their spread rate.

If you've received this "free internet" offer or some other dubious message that looks like a scam, warn the sender and your friends so that they're aware it's a scam. Moreover, reporting the fraud is also important and it's not that big of a hassle — just flag it in your browser as you'd normally report any phishing campaign.

Submission + - Free Software Foundation shakes up its list of priority projects

alphadogg writes: The Free Software Foundation Tuesday announced a major rethinking of the software projects that it supports, putting top priority on a free mobile operating system, accessibility, and driver development, among other areas. The foundation has maintained the High Priority Projects list since 2005, when it contained just four free software projects. Today’s version https://www.fsf.org/campaigns/... mostly identifies priority areas, along with a few specific projects in key areas

Submission + - President Obama Commutes Chelsea Manning's Sentence 1

bbsguru writes: From NBC News:
President Obama has commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence officer, who is serving 35 years for giving classified information to Wikileaks.

The decision, made in the last days of his presidency, means that Manning can be freed May 17, seven years into her sentence.

More than 117,000 people signed a petition asking Obama to cut short the sentence. Fugitive leaker Edward Snowden said in a tweet that if Obama could only free one person, it should be Manning.

Submission + - After MuckRock FOIA suit, CIA puts declassified database online (muckrock.com)

v3rgEz writes: For the first time ever, the CIA has posted its database of declassified documents online for anyone to view. The publication of the approximately 12 million pages of historical documents was in response to a lawsuit by FOIA site MuckRock, which had won a court order for the documents to be put on the Internet. Previously, the documents had been technically public, but only accessible to those willing to drive to a few federal facilities, where usage was closely monitored via CCTV. You can search the database here.

Submission + - Obama commutes Chelsea Manning sentence (bbc.com)

techtech writes: President Barack Obama has commuted Chelsea Manning's sentence for leaking documents to Wikileaks in 2010.
The 29-year-old transgender US Army private, born Bradley Manning, will be freed on 17 May instead of her scheduled 2045 release.
She was sentenced to 35 years in 2013 for her role in leaking diplomatic cables to the anti-secrecy group.
The leak was one of the largest breaches of classified material in US history.

Submission + - Law for Autonomous Vehicles: Supporting an Aftermarket for Driving Computers (perens.com)

Bruce Perens writes: How will we buy self-driving cars, and how will we keep them running as self-driving software and hardware becomes obsolete much more rapidly than the vehicle itself? Boalt Hall legal professor Lothar Determann and Open Source Evangelist Bruce Perens are publishing an article in the prestigious Berkeley Technology Law Journal on how the law and markets might support an aftermarket for self-driving computers, rather than having the manufacturer lock them down or sell driving as a service rather than selling cars. The preprint is available to read now, and discusses how an Open Car, based on Open Standards and an Open Market, but not necessarily Open Source, can drive prices down and quality up over non-competitive manufacturer lock-in.

Submission + - AI can predict when patients will die from heart failure 'with 80% accuracy' (ibtimes.co.uk)

drunkdrone writes: Scientists say they have developed an artificial intelligence (AI) programme that is capable of predicting when patients with a serious heart disorder will die with an 80% accuracy rate.

Researchers from the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences (LMS) believe the software will allow doctors to better treat patients with pulmonary hypertension by determining how aggressive their treatment needs to be.

Submission + - Blockchain Tech Could Save Banks $12bn a year

Mickeycaskill writes: Accenture research has found Blockchain technology has the potential to reduce infrastructure costs by an average of 30 percent for eight of the world's ten biggest banks. That equates to annual cost savings of $8-12 billion.

A vast amount of cost for today's investment banks comes from complex data reconciliation and confirmation processes with their clients and counterparts, as banks maintain independent databases of transactions and customer information.

However, Blockchain would enable banks to move to a shared, distributed database that spans multiple organisations.

It has become increasingly obvious in recent months that blockchain will be key to the future of the banking industry, with the majority of banks expected to adopt the technology within the next three years.

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