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Hardware

Submission + - DARPA to Rip Up Dead Satellites, Make New Ones

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "DARPA reports that more than $300 billion worth of satellites are in the geosynchronous orbit, many retired due to failure of one component even if 90% of the satellite works just as well as the day it was launched. DARPA’s Phoenix program seeks to develop technologies to cooperatively harvest and re-use valuable components such as antennas or solar arrays from retired, nonworking satellites in GEO and demonstrate the ability to create new space systems at greatly reduced cost. “If this program is successful, space debris becomes space resource,” says DARPA Director, Regina E. Dugan. However satellites in GEO are not designed to be disassembled or repaired, so it’s not a matter of simply removing some nuts and bolts says David Barnhart. “This requires new remote imaging and robotics technology and special tools to grip, cut, and modify complex systems." For a person operating such robotics, the complexity is similar to trying to assemble via remote control multiple Legos at the same time while looking through a telescope. "If you've got a satellite up there already, don't worry, this isn't going to be some illicit grave-robbing mission to create hordes of evil Frankensatellites," reports Dvice. "DARPA says the agency will make sure and get permission before it chops anything up for scrap.""
Security

Submission + - XML Encryption Broken, Need to Fix W3C Standard (ruhr-uni-bochum.de)

gzipped_tar writes: Researchers from Ruhr University Bochum demonstrated the insecurity of XML encryption standard at ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security in Chicago this week. "Everything is insecure", is the uncomfortable message from Bochum.

As pointed out by the Ars Technica article, XML Encryption is used widely as part of server-to-server Web services connections to transmit secure information mixed with non-sensitive data, based on cipher-block chaining. But it is apparently too weak, as demonstrated by Juraj Somorovsky and Tibor Jager. They were able to decrypt data by sending modified ciphertexts to the serve by gathering information from the received error messages. The attack was tested against a popular open source implementation of XML Encrytion, and against the implementations of companies that responded to the responsible disclosure — in all cases the result was the same: the attack worked.

Fixing the vulnerability will require a revision of the W3C XML encryption standard, Somorovsky said. The researchers informed all possibly affected companies through the mailing list of W3C, following a clear responsible disclosure process.

Space

Submission + - DARPA working on grave-robbing Frankenstein satell (extremetech.com) 1

MrSeb writes: "Just in time for Halloween, DARPA has published details of a new satellite that will allow scientists to create Frankensteinian satellites out of dead communications equipment currently orbiting the Earth. Right now there are about 19,000 different pieces of space debris in both low and high orbit around the planet, creating a dangerous scenario for both space flight and expensive items like the Hubble space telescope. Aptly named Phoenix, the idea is simple with a complex implementation. Using re-purposed robot arms from assembly lines and surgery units to create the scavenger bot, Phoenix will be shot into space and placed in the “graveyard” orbit that all the dead satellites are on as well. From there, it will attach to these units, and cut away different components to be used to create new, working units to be placed back into useful service. Phoenix is slated to launch in 2015 for testing, but there are some hurdles to its success, namely the Outer Space Treaty that states that an object launched into orbit remains the property of the country that put it there."
Botnet

Submission + - Most Sophisticated Rootkit Getting An Overhaul (itworld.com)

jfruhlinger writes: "TDL4, a rootkit that helps build a powerful botnet, is pegged by security vendor ESET as one of the most sophisticated pieces of malware in the world. But its creators aren't resting on their laurels; they're rewriting some of the code from the ground up to make it difficult for antimalware to detect it, creating a hidden boot partition that gaurantees that malware code will be loaded even before the operating system is. It's part of a plan to turn TDL4 into a turnkey product that can be sold to other criminal operations."
Politics

Submission + - A Digital Direct Democracy for the Modern Age (whitehouse.gov) 1

lordofthechia writes: One month ago the White House created an online petition system by which constituents could directly voice any grievances and concerns to the US Goverment. Any petition that reaches 25,000 signatures (5,000 originally) is promised an official reply.

This weekend the first petitions will be closing and already many have far exceeded the required number of signatures. Is this the way for the voice of the electorate to gain more weight in modern politics or is it the web version of a placebo button? Will the President's office really consider the top pleas which include petitions to Legalize and Regulate Marijuana, Forgive Student Loan Debt, and Abolish the TSA?

Privacy

Submission + - Researchers ID Skype, BitTorrent Users (itworld.com) 1

itwbennett writes: "Researchers have figured out a way to link online Skype users to their activity on peer-to-peer networks like BitTorrent. The team was able to sift out the nodes through which Skype calls are routed and determine the user's real IP address by sniffing the packets. To correlate the identified Skype users with files shared on BitTorrent, the researchers built tools to collect BitTorrent file identifiers, a BitTorrent crawler to collect IP addresses on the network and a verifier to match an online Skype user with an online BitTorrent user. 'As soon as the BitTorrent crawler detects a matching IP address, it signals the verifier, which immediately calls the corresponding Skype user and, at the same time, initiates a handshake with the BitTorrent client,' they wrote."

Submission + - Nasdaq intrusion spreads to listed companies

SpzToid writes: "Nasdaq's Directors Desk is a program sold to listed and private companies, whose board members use it to share documents and communicate with executives. Apparently Directors Desk was infected during a breach widely publicized earlier this year. It has now become known that hackers were able to access confidential documents and communications of the corporate directors and board members who received this infected application, said Tom Kellermann, chief technology officer with security technology firm AirPatrol Corp. It is unclear how long the Directors Desk application was infected before the exchange identified the breach, according to Kellermann and another source."
Operating Systems

Submission + - Early Speed Tests For Windows 8

adeelarshad82 writes: You often hear in the software industry that performance optimization is one of the last steps in the software development process. That bodes well for Windows 8, considering at the early stage of Developer Preview—even before we've seen an actual beta—the nascent operating system is getting widespread praise for its performance, particularly in startup times. Anecdotal evidence is always encouraging, but PCMag decided to run some very early tests on the OS to see if the reports were wishful thinking or if there was a real, measurable boost in speed. Along with startup and shutdown times, they used several standard industry benchmarks to compare Windows 8 performance with that of Windows 7 running on the same machine.
Android

Submission + - Android 4.0 Source Code Coming 'Soon' (itworld.com)

itwbennett writes: "Good news today for those of you who have been waiting for news about whether Google would be opening up the ICS source and for those of you who thought it was gone for good. Android engineer Dan Morrill revealed new information in the Android Building Google group yesterday evening, saying that Google plans 'to release the source for the recently-announced Ice Cream Sandwich soon, once it's available on devices.'"
Science

Submission + - Quantum Locking and Levatation (escapistmagazine.com)

CorvisRex writes: "We have all seen videos of Superconductors hovering above magnets, really physics 101 class these days., By the Escapist recently posted a video and axplaination of quantum locking during quantum levetation demonstrated at the recent ASTC conference by the folks at Israel's Tel Aviv University. Really one of the coolest Science Videos I have seen in a while. The demonstyrators also created a webpage explaining the phenomenom, at http://www.quantumlevitation.com/levitation/The_physics.html. The effect not only allows the supercunducting wafer to levetate, but locks in spacially in three dimentions, even upsidedown."

Submission + - Hijacking authenticated open wifi sessions (datavirtue.com)

datavirtue writes: "Still in early testing, but I have successfully hijacked an authenticated user session on a managed Cisco wifi network by spoofing the MAC of an authenticated user. The MAC was easily obtainable by scanning with Cain, followed by a simple and well documented registry mod in Windows to change my MAC to that of the victim. Interested to see if anyone has a solution for this problem. Disclaimer: This was performed as a test on two of my laptops in the course of my job as a researcher."
Iphone

Submission + - Who are the jailbreakers?

chrb writes: IOS jailbreakers gathered last month in London for MyGreatFest — the first conference dedicated to the jailbreaking scene. In a BBC article, the young jailbreakers discuss how they got into the scene, and what they are doing now. One reveals that, at 17 years old, he was too young to become an official iPhone developer, so he sold his apps in an app store for jailbroken phones, making over $100k.

Submission + - CCP to lay off 20% of its staff, refocus on EVE (eveonline.com)

zergl writes: CCP games just announced that 20% of its staff will be laid off due to their overextension on developing three titles at the same time while bleeding subscribers on their flagship title EVE Online. The World Of Darkness MMO will be put on the back burner while remaining resources will be put towards EVE and getting Dust 514 launched successfully.
This comes as not much of a surprise considering the financial situation CCP was in with liquid assets about to run out well before the Dust launch next year which was discovered when the 2010 financial report was analyzed on a community forum.

Bitcoin

Submission + - bitcoin value implodes (arstechnica.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Apparently unbeknownst to slashdot's editors and in spite of their relentless promotion of bitcoin a few months ago, bitcoin value has completely tanked in the few short months since June. Is it still too late to return those mining GPUs we've bought to Best Buy?

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