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Privacy

UK Cops Want "Breathalyzers" For PCs 545

An anonymous reader writes "One of the UK's top cyber cops, detective superintendent Charlie McMurdie, says the top brass want to develop the equivalent of a breathalyzer for computers, a simple tool that could be plugged into a machine during a raid and retrieve evidence of illegal activity. McMurdie said the device was needed because of a record number of PCs were being seized by police and because the majority of cops don't have the skills to forensically analyse a computer."
The Internet

Adobe Building Zoetrope, a Web "Time Machine" 133

Khuffie writes "Adobe, along with the University of Washington, are developing Zoetrope, an application that will offer a dynamic new view of the web. It is hard to explain on paper, but you can see a brilliant video of the application in action. Essentially, Zoetrope will allow users to travel back in time through a website, and see how the website gets changed. A user can create lenses on the website, for example, focusing on the price of a DVD at Amazon, and see how the price went up and down over the coming months. More interestingly, you can link lenses together across different websites, and for example, see how the price of gas was affected by say, the aggregated google news result of 'war.'"
Government

Chinese Hacking of American Military Networks On the Rise 205

Anti-Globalism writes with this excerpt from the Guardian: "China is stealing sensitive information from American computer networks and stepping up its online espionage, according to a US congressional panel. Beijing's investment in rocket technology is also accelerating the militarization of outer space and lifting it into the 'commanding heights' of modern warfare, the advisory group claims. ... A summary of the study, released in advance, alleges that networks and databases used by the US government and American defense contractors are regularly targeted by Chinese hackers. 'China is stealing vast amounts of sensitive information from US computer networks,' says Larry Wortzel, chairman of the commission set up by Congress in 2000 to investigate US-China issues." The full study addresses these issues and others relating to the US-China relationship (PDF).
Image

The Science of the Lightsaber 197

Smartcowboy writes "Chances are that you have seen a lightsaber at one time or another, whether on the evening news or down at the local cantina. Therefore you know that a lightsaber is an amazing and versatile device that is able to cut through nearly anything in a matter of milliseconds. Have you ever wondered how these remarkable weapons work? Where does the energy come from, and how are they able to contain that energy in a rod-like column of glowing power? In this article, you will have a chance to look inside a lightsaber and discover the source of its incredible characteristics." I was sure the blade was made from the focused hate and disappointment of the last three movies.
GNU is Not Unix

Stallman Unsure Whether Firefox Is Truly Free 905

Slatterz writes "Among the theories Stallman bandies about in this Q&A are: Facebook may not share private data with the CIA, Firefox isn't really 'free software,' and his dreams of a day where nobody is involved in developing or promoting proprietary software. Agree or disagree?"
Novell

Boycott Novell Protesters Manhandled In India 360

James Mathew writes "This is an interesting story from Kerala, India, where the ruling Communist Party organized a national conference in its efforts to hijack the Free Software Movement, which has enviable roots in the state. They got Novell to sponsor it. On the second day of the conference, a few free software activists who displayed posters against Novell were manhandled by the organizers and police — typical of what is expected from them. Most of the snaps taken during the scuffle were forcefully deleted by the organizers, after seizing the protesters' mobile phones. Still they couldn't delete all. Here is another blow-by-blow account."

Is Windows 7 Faster Or Just Smarter? 619

Barence writes "The Windows 7 unveiling garnered largely positive coverage, with many hands-on testers praising it for being faster than Vista. But is it actually? To find out, this blogger ran a suite of benchmarks to see just how much quicker Windows 7 really is — and the results weren't quite what he expected. 'The actual performance gap between Vista and Windows 7 is ... nada. Absolutely nothing. Our Office benchmarks and video encoding tests complete in precisely the same time regardless of which OS is installed. [...] It's tempting to see this as a bit of a con. They've sped up the front end so it feels like you're getting more done, but in terms of real productivity it's no better than Vista."
Security

DNS Inventor Tackles Flaw 101

nk497 writes "Dr Paul Mockapetris is looking to fix the flaws in the Domain Name System he helped invent. 'It was never meant to be the only security mechanism for naming data on the internet, but was intended for additional security measures to be added to it later.' The flaws, first uncovered by security researcher Dan Kaminsky over the summer, lets attackers redirect genuine URLs to malicious ones — a problem Mockapetris believes could be solved using digital signatures."
Science

Scientists Turn Tequila Into Diamonds 249

MaxwellEdison writes "Researchers, oddly enough from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, have found a way to make diamond films using tequila. They were originally testing methods of creating the films with organic solutions like acetone when it was noticed the ideal ratios of water and ethanol turned out to be about 80 proof, or 40% alcohol. '"To dissipate any doubts, one morning on the way to the lab I bought a pocket-size bottle of cheap white tequila and we did some tests," Apátiga said. "We were in doubt over whether the great amount of chemicals present in tequila, other than water and ethanol, would contaminate or obstruct the process, it turned out to be not so. The results were amazing, same as with the ethanol and water compound, we obtained almost spherical shaped diamonds of nanometric size. There is no doubt; tequila has the exact proportion of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms necessary to form diamonds."'"
Robotics

Honda Assists With "Next Steps" For Mankind 57

hedonisticaltruism writes "The CBC reports that Honda has just unveiled a new walking-assist device that enhances the walking motion rather than just providing transportation. The device braces and strengthens natural leg movements primarily in walking and crouching. They're looking to market this to rehabilitation cases, the handicapped and industries requiring repetitive crouching and walking movements such as factory work and delivery services."
Security

Researchers Crack WPA Wi-Fi Encryption 311

narramissic writes "Researchers Erik Tews and Martin Beck 'have just opened the box on a whole new hacker playground, says Dragos Ruiu, organizer of the PacSec conference. At the conference, Tews will show how he was able to partially crack WPA encryption in order to read data being sent from a router to a laptop. To do this, Tews and Beck found a way to break the Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP) key, used by WPA, in a relatively short amount of time: 12 to 15 minutes. They have not, however, managed to crack the encryption keys used to secure data that goes from the PC to the router in this particular attack. 'Its just the starting point,' said Ruiu."
The Almighty Buck

Cash Lifeline For Bletchley Park 63

Smivs writes "Bletchley Park, the home to the allied codebreakers during WWII, and a major computing heritage centre, has been given a financial lifeline, reports the BBC. The grant of £330,000 will be used to undertake urgent roof works as the rooms of the Grade II-listed mansion, replete with painted ceilings, timber panelling, and ornate plasterwork, are at risk because the roof has been patched rather than renovated so many times during the 130 years of the mansion's history. The donation follows efforts to highlight the dilapidated state of the huts and other buildings at Bletchley. Discussions are also in progress on a further three-year, £600,000 funding programme for the historic site. 'Bletchley Park played a fundamental role in the Allies winning the Second World War and is of great importance to the history of Europe,' said Dr Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage."
The Internet

Air Force To Rewrite the Rules of the Internet 547

meridiangod writes "The Air Force is fed up with a seemingly endless barrage of attacks on its computer networks from stealthy adversaries whose motives and even locations are unclear. So now the service is looking to restore its advantage on the virtual battlefield by doing nothing less than the rewriting the 'laws of cyberspace.'" I'm sure that'll work out really well for them.
Security

Now From Bruce Schneier, the Skein Hash Function 139

An anonymous reader writes "Bruce Schneier and company have created a new hash function called Skein. From his blog entry: 'NIST is holding a competition to replace the SHA family of hash functions, which have been increasingly under attack. (I wrote about an early NIST hash workshop here.) Skein is our submission (myself and seven others: Niels Ferguson, Stefan Lucks, Doug Whiting, Mihir Bellare, Tadayoshi Kohno, Jon Callas, and Jesse Walker). Here's the paper."

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