Submission + - China, Canada vow not to conduct cyberattacks on private sector (reuters.com)

tychoS writes: China and Canada have signed an agreement vowing not to conduct state-sponsored cyberattacks against each other aimed at stealing trade secrets or other confidential business information.
China and Canada have signed an agreement vowing not to conduct state-sponsored cyberattacks against each other aimed at stealing trade secrets or other confidential business information.

The agreement was reached during talks between Canada's national security and intelligence adviser, Daniel Jean, and senior communist party official Wang Yongqing, a statement dated June 22 on the Canadian government's website showed.

"This is something that three or four years ago (Beijing) would not even have entertained in the conversation," an unnamed Canadian government official told the Globe and Mail, which first reported the agreement.

The new agreement only covers economic cyber-espionage, which includes hacking corporate secrets and proprietary technology, but does not deal with state-sponsored cyber spying for intelligence gathering.

Submission + - BlockHashLoc: recover a file using a list of blocks hashes

MarcoPon writes: I created a thing: BlockHashLoc. It's composed of two tools: one create (small) BHL files whit a list of all blocks hashes of an exising file. The other scan a volume, calculate hashes and compare them with a series of BHL files. This way it can rebuild the originals files bypassing the File System, that could be either unknown, damaged or in an inconsistent state.

The tool is related to my SeqBox project, previously featured on Slashdot.

Submission + - Linux is running on almost all of the top 500 supercomputers (itsfoss.com)

linuxnew writes: Linux is still running on more than 99% of the top 500 fastest supercomputers in the world. Same as last year, 498 out of top 500 supercomputers run Linux while remaining 2 run Unix.

No supercomputer dared to run Windows (pun intended). And of course, no supercomputer runs macOS because Apple has not manufactured the ‘iSupercomputer’ yet.

Submission + - Code.org, Adafruit Partner on CS Discoveries Course for 30,000+ 7th-9th Graders

theodp writes: On Friday, tech-bankrolled Code.org announced it has partnered with Adafruit to create a classroom kit of the Adafruit Circuit Playground Classic boards and accessories, based on the Arduino platform, for use with its new CS Discoveries course, which the nonprofit said will be taught to 30,000+ students in grades 7-9 this year. Code.org will subsidize a $325 Code.org Circuit Playground Educators' Pack for every teacher participating in its 2017-18 CS Discoveries professional learning program, picking up the full bill for teachers from schools with half the students on free or reduced meal plans, and 70% of the tab for all other teachers. Code.org, which enjoys the backing of tech billionaires and their corporations/foundations, coincidentally came out of stealth in February 2013, less than two weeks after Adafruit CEO Limor Fried asked President Obama during a Google-curated post-State of the Union "fireside chat" if a national effort should be made to add a programming language requirement for high school students. "I think it makes sense, I really do," replied the President (YouTube). Another question posed by Fried during the Google+ hangout — "What are you planning to do to limit the abuses of software patents?" — prompted speculation from an Oracle-supported nonprofit that "Google appears to have helped select the questions posed to President Obama, even inserting questions on topics important to the company's business." In its ongoing series examining how Silicon Valley is gaining influence in public schools, the NY Times recently took note of Google's and Code.org's growing influence.

Submission + - Fired Employee Hacks and Shuts Down Smart Water Readers in Five US Cities (bleepingcomputer.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A Pennsylvania man was sentenced to one year and one day in prison for hacking and disabling base stations belonging to water utility providers in five cities across the US East Coast. Called TGB, these devices collect data from smart meters installed at people's homes and relay the information to the water provider's main systems, where it is logged, monitored for incidents, and processed for billing. Before he was fired by the unnamed TGB manufacturing company, Flanagan's role was to set up these devices.

After he was fired, Flanagan used former root account passwords to log onto the devices and disable their ability to communicate with their respective water utility providers' upstream equipment. He wasn't that careful, as the FBI was able to trace back the attacks to his home. Apparently, the guy wasn't that silent, leaving behind a lot of clues. Flanagan's attacks resulted in water utility providers not being able to collect user equipment readings remotely. This incurred damage to the utility providers, who had to send out employees at customer premises to collect monthly readings. He was arrested in Nov 2014, and later pleaded guilty.

Submission + - Ubuntu Phone project failed because it was a mess: claim (itwire.com)

troublemaker_23 writes: A developer who worked with the Ubuntu Phone project has outlined the reasons for its failure, painting a picture of confusion, poor communication and lack of technical and marketing foresight. Simon Raffeiner stopped working with the project in mid-2016, about 10 months before Canonical owner Mark Shuttleworth announced that development of the phone and the tablet were being stopped.

Submission + - Become A Computer Science Teacher in Five Days (or Less)!

theodp writes: Fellow K-12 computer science teacher Garth Flint's account of a week-long workshop to train teachers — "everything from a former professional programmer who is now a teacher to an English teacher who had been directed to offer a programming course next year and has never programmed in her life" — to teach CS prompted Alfred Thompson to pen Become A Computer Science Teacher in Five Days. "I hear this a lot," Thompson laments. "You know a good teacher can teach any subject with a little prep time. Well no they cannot. Can you imagine asking an English teacher who spoke no French to teach a French course after a one week PD even at a local college? I don’t think so. Why is it less crazy to do the same for computer science?" Just two days later, tech-bankrolled Code.org announced the launch of its new CS Discoveries course, which puts teachers in front of students after a 5-day summer workshop. "Over 800 teachers are participating in the Code.org professional learning program to begin teaching the course this school year to over 30,000 students," reads the announcement, which includes a testimonial from a middle school English teacher that begins, "I do not have a computer science background." Not to be outdone, the Google for Education blog also announced this week that Google will be recruiting the nation's librarians to offer coding programs for kids, and that includes librarians with no CS background ("This summer a cohort of libraries will receive coding resources, like [Google's] CS First, a free video-based coding club that doesn’t require CS knowledge, to help them facilitate CS programs"). Google's announcement came on the eve of the American Library Association's annual conference, during a private reception at Google's Chicago HQ that celebrated Phase III of the Google-ALA Libraries Ready to Code initiative. "We don't need everyone to be an expert programmer to teach and motivate kids to seek coding as a career," explained a Google engineer at the event.

Submission + - Does US have right to data on overseas servers? We're about to find out (arstechnica.com) 2

tychoS writes:

The Justice Department on Friday petitioned the US Supreme Court to step into an international legal thicket, one that asks whether US search warrants extend to data stored on foreign servers. The US government says it has the legal right, with a valid court warrant, to reach into the world's servers with the assistance of the tech sector, no matter where the data is stored. The request for Supreme Court intervention concerns a 4-year-old legal battle between Microsoft and the US government over data stored on Dublin, Ireland servers. The US government has a valid warrant for the e-mail as part of a drug investigation. Microsoft balked at the warrant, and convinced a federal appeals court that US law does not apply to foreign data.


Submission + - Why So Many Top Hackers Come from Russia (krebsonsecurity.com)

tsu doh nimh writes: Brian Krebs has an interesting piece this week on one reason that so many talented hackers (malicious and benign) seem to come from Russia and the former Soviet States: It's the education, stupid. Krebs's report doesn't look at the socioeconomic reasons, but instead compares how the US and Russia educate students from K-12 in subjects which lend themselves to a master in coding and computers — most notably computer science. The story shows that the Russians have for the past 30 years been teaching kids about computer science and then testing them on it starting in elementary school and through high school. The piece also looks at how kids in the US vs. Russia are tested on what they are supposed to have learned.

Submission + - Cool Pavement Works in LA

mikeebbbd writes: As reported in the LA Daily News, during the current heatwave various officials swooped down on streets coated with an experimental light-gray sealer that makes the old asphalt into a "cool street" — and it works, with average temperature differences between coated streets and adjacent old asphalt around 10F. At a large parking lot, the temperature reduction was over 20F. If the material holds up and continues to meet other criteria, LA plans to use it on more pavement rehab projects, which could eventually make a difference in the heat island effect.

The "CoolSeal" coating is apparently proprietary to a company named GuardTop LLC, costs $25-40K/mile, and lasts 5-7 years. At that price, it's might not be used a lot, at least at first; typical slurry seals run $15-30K/mile.

Submission + - Directors Object To Sony's Sanitized "Clean Version" Films (bbc.com)

An anonymous reader writes: If you have seen a popular Hollywood Film on a long-haul flight and noticed that the air travel version is a bit different from the original — less violence, less foul language, certain scenes shortened, re-edited or cut out altogether — you have seen a sanitized version of a film, and likely also one with a different age rating from the original. As there is a market for sanitized films — families where adults and younger children watch films together for example — Sony came up with "Clean Version" initiative, where sanitized versions of classic films ranging from Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon to Ghostbusters are available to download to the home media player as a "Clean Version". For example, the clean version of the Will Ferrell comedy Step Brothers — originally given an R rating for "crude and sexual content" according to Sony — has had 23 instances of violence taken out, 152 of bad language and 91 of sexual content. Now, some Film Directors are objecting to the initiative, arguing that a) altering a film to this extent destroys the original vision behind the film and b) there may be a financial incentive to sanitize "Clean Version" films even more in future re-edits of popular films. The Clean Version initiative was launched, complete with its own website, at the beginning of June. In its initial press release, Sony said the initiative would "allow viewers to screen the broadcast or airline versions of select Sony films, free from certain mature content".

Submission + - Mere Presence of Smart Phone Undermines Cognitive Capacity 1

An anonymous reader writes: In a study conducted with 520 smartphone-using undergraduates, researchers examined the effect of a smartphone's proximity (on the desk, in the user's personal bag, or in a separate room) on the results of various cognitive tests. Even with the phone turned off and most participants not thinking about their phones during the tests, the smartphone's presence in the same room decreased performance on tasks assessing working memory capacity and fluid intelligence, both of which depend on attentional resources.

The authors suggest that smartphones have become highly relevant stimuli in people's lives, and attention is automatically directed towards the devices. Having to inhibit this automatic attention irrelevant to the task at hand occupies attentional resources, adversely affecting cognitive performance.

The researchers note increasing consumer interest in feature phones, stripped down devices, and apps to regulate smartphone usage, all of which may be helpful in reducing digital distraction and restoring cognitive capacity.

Submission + - Autonomous Vehicles - Self Driving Ships (nytimes.com)

Geodesy99 writes: In a New York Times article ( https://www.nytimes.com/2017/0... ) about the recent collision between a US Navy vessel and a civilian container ship:

Steffan Watkins, an information technology security consultant who writes for Janes Intelligence on ship tracking, said the path of the Crystal, as posted from its Automatic Identification System, “looks like an automated course.” Instead of stopping so the crew could investigate what had just happened, the ship corrected its course and “kept accelerating” toward Tokyo, he said. “It looks very much like the computer was driving,” he said.

Automated systems now have a long history in the aviation, marine, nuclear, chemical, etc. industries, and established models to determine their reliability and safety — when models these are extrapolated to self-driving vehicles, what is the anticipated result?

Submission + - WannaCry disables redlight/speed cameras (theage.com.au)

freddienumber13 writes: Across the state of Victoria in Australia, processing of fines related to offences involving traffic cameras are being suspended after the systems involved became infected by the WannaCry virus. The government is looking at ensuring it doesn't miss out on any revenue due to failures of the vendor. Obviious questions are being asked about "why weren't they patched" but what's not being talked is about how the virus got into those systems — that network isn't connected to the Internet. USB stick or infected laptop? A good example of the air gap being breached by a computer virus.

Submission + - Google says it will no longer scan Gmail messages for targeted ads (intoday.in)

priyag0291 writes: Google on Friday said that it will no longer scan Gmail messages for targeted Ads. Google said, "Google has decided to follow suit later this year in our free consumer Gmail service." This means that Google will basically stop scanning the inboxes of Gmails free users for ad personalization at some point later this year.

Diane Greene, Google's Senior Vice President for Google Cloud, said that the company made this decision because it "brings Gmail ads in line with how we personalize ads for other Google products", Tech Crunch reported on Friday. The company is a blog post mentioned, "Consumer Gmail content will not be used or scanned for any ads personalization after this change. This decision brings Gmail ads in line with how we personalize ads for other Google products. Ads shown are based on users' settings. Users can change those settings at any time, including disabling ads personalization. G Suite will continue to be ad free."

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