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China

Submission + - NYTimes, WSJournal use rumors as facts in stories on their getting hacked (cio.com)

Curseyoukhan writes: "Both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal were hacked last week, and the incidents made headlines not because they were a big deal but because the press loves to talk about itself. In this case, the talk came in the form of some appallingly bad reporting.

Both papers say China was to blame for the attacks without offering a single piece of evidence to support this claim. The only person who even raises the issue of how difficult it is to identify the culprits in attacks like these is a spokesman for the Chinese government.

"Cyber attacks are transnational and anonymous. It's very hard to trace the source of attack," he said. "To presume the source of a hacking attack based on speculation is irresponsible and unprofessional."

Not a good sign when an apparatchik has to remind the nation's two most powerful newspapers how to report the news."

The Internet

Submission + - The FCC Wants to Blanket the Country in Free Wi-Fi (vice.com)

pigrabbitbear writes: "Internet access is an essential need on par with education access, but at what point do regulators recognize that? When will government officials acknowledge that widespread, guaranteed access is essential to fostering growth in the country? Somewhat surprisingly, that time is now, as the FCC is now calling for nationwide free wi-fi networks to be opened up to the public.

The FCC proposes buying back spectrum from TV stations that would allow for what the Washington Post is dubbing "super wi-fi," as the commission wants to cover the country with wide-ranging, highly-penetrative networks. Essentially, you can imagine the proposal as covering a majority of the country with open-access data networks, similar to cell networks now, that your car, tablet, or even phone could connect to. That means no one is ever disconnected, and some folks–especially light users and the poor–could likely ditch regular Internet and cell plans altogether."

Google

Submission + - Microsoft and Google push for FCC's public Wi-Fi for free networks (networkworld.com)

colinneagle writes: How sweet would it be to dump that monthly cellphone bill in favor of making calls over free Wi-Fi networks, so powerful it would be like "Wi-Fi on steroids"? Microsoft and Google are working together to support the FCC's powerful Wi-Fi for free proposal.

Now, the Washington Post reports that Google, Microsoft and other tech giants "say a free-for-all WiFi service would spark an explosion of innovations and devices that would benefit most Americans, especially the poor."

Meanwhile, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and chip makers Intel and Qualcomm are lobbying hard against the FCC's proposal. These wireless carrier companies are opposed to using the spectrum for free Wi-Fi to the public and insist that the airwaves should instead be sold to businesses.

But FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has designed the free Wi-Fi plan. If you are interested, you can read Genachowski's Presentation on White Spaces for Wireless Broadband and Genachowski's remarks to the President's Council of Advisors on Science & Technology.

Science

Submission + - Rumpelstiltskin Molecule Spins Toxic Ions Into Gold (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: A microbe called Delftia acidovorans manufactures and secretes delftibactin, which forces gold ions to precipitate out of solution. As the bacteria carry out this job, they not only remove highly toxic gold ions from their surroundings, but they also create the neutrally charged gold nuggets on which it then makes a home. Researchers say that they've now isolated delftibactin for the first time. If scientists isolate enough of the molecule, could they harvest gold from the oceans? Perhaps. But then again, delftibactin also carries out the same trick with iron ions. So if you tried it on a large scale you might get lumps of iron instead.
Government

Submission + - Stallman's solution to "Too big to fail" (reuters.com) 1

lcam writes: Richard Stallman's opinion appears on Reuters.com addressing the "Too big to fail" view that has recently caused large corporations to be bailed out by taxpayer dollars. His solution is elegant however needs some refining, for example his measure would create a required minimum "Return on Investment" scale that corporations need to follow to be viable, these types of metrics are very industry specific. Another issue is that many large corporations don't fail because they don't take unnecessary risk; companies like Intel, Lockhead, Wallmart are very large and have a very low chance of failure and yet Stallman would have them be split up as a result of excessive risks that banks and insurance companies where seen to have taken.

And lastly, in a global market, the United States has the distinct advantage over countries like Brasil because they don't have as much government regulation/meddling that cuts into their competitively. If Stallman's idea should be taken seriously, it should not undermine competitive in the global market, else multinationals may find it better to simply "move out" to a country that doesn't compromise their business models.

How can this genious idea be made better?

Privacy

Submission + - Hackers Hijacking Security Cameras for Malware and Spying (cio.com)

Curseyoukhan writes: "Tommy Stiansen, CTO of NorseCorp, an IT security company that delivers real-time cyber risk intelligence, says, "We are seeing a lot of unexplained devices communicating to our honeypots, for example CCTV cameras. We're seeing a lot of CCTV cameras attacking our honeypots."

Stiansen says that the codes in the CCTV cameras he’s examined have software developed in Asia and still has traces of the development code in them. In addition to that, the DVR boxes running the feeds use a traditional Linux pack that admins haven't done anything to secure.

"Administrators buy these cameras and install them straight on their network without realizing they are running a full Linux server," he says. "They're running a web system that has jQuery, cross-site scripting and all the vulnerabilities in the book in them.""

Science

Submission + - Dung Beetles Navigate by the Milky Way (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: A day in the life of a male dung beetle goes something like this: Fly to a heap of dung, sculpt a clump of it into a large ball, then roll the ball away from the pile as fast as possible. However, it turns out that the beetles, who work at night, need some sort of compass to prevent them from rolling around in circles. New research suggests that the insects use starlight to guide their way. Birds, seals, and humans also use starlight to navigate, but this is the first time it's been shown in an insect.
Security

Submission + - At Davos the Elite Ponder Stale Cybersecurity Issues—and Charlize Theron (cio.com)

Curseyoukhan writes: "At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland—where the elite meet to secrete—much of the talk is about cybersecurity. Specifically, attendees are wondering if the U.S. government should be doing more to protect American companies. And, as is frequently the case at gatherings like this, the talk is out of date.

In case you are unfamiliar with the WEF, it’s where the rich and powerful and Charlize Theron* get together to discuss Very Important Issues without having to listen to the opinions of the hoi polloi.

Cybersecurity is on the minds of the Davos-ians because it could cost them money. Apparently they have just learned that "there is barely a large company out there today which has not had its infrastructure and systems breached.""

Comment Re:Holy shit... (Score 2) 215

" I bet Fox News would love you." I bet you're wrong.

I like your snarky attitude. I deserve nothing less.

I am grateful to you for pointing out the things I screwed up on and will go correct them.

A) make it clear that I am referring to the first US cyber war -- not cyber war overall. B) I totally screwed up on the Flame/Stuxnet timing. C) Obama! My own friggin' fault for going for a very minor sarcasm when I should have double checked.

The Iranians being ranked among the big three when it comes to cyberwar is far too subjective a claim to take seriously. Remember when Iraq was a major threat? An earlier commenter referred to people who have secret information the rest of us don't have. As HL Mencken wrote: "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." Give me evidence or leave me alone.

"Second of all, the attacks were not at all "ineffective"; ask any Bank of America customer who uses online banking." As a matter of fact I did. I asked myself and you know what during the whole time that was going on I only had one problem getting to my account. Also, it's hard for me to equate inconveniencing some bank customers with wrecking Iran's uranium processing. Asking the NSA for help may mean the banks are being smart and anticipating problems, not that they are seeing them now. I didn't say the Iranians couldn't cause problems, just that they hadn't so far.

As to your point about the financial sector being a higher priority target. OK, but why aren't they also targeting other water/energy, etc? Why continue with one so far fruitless line of attack? Are they being lead by the Iranian equivalent of Douglas Haig?

That said, my apologies for my mistakes and very real thanks to you for pointing them out. If you send me an email with your name I will thank you in the post.

Cheers,

CvH

Government

Submission + - Cyber War is Upon Us–But Only One Side is Attacking (cio.com)

Curseyoukhan writes: "The first shot was probably the release of Stuxnet sometime during or before 2009. Even though no one has officially claimed responsibility everyone knows who was behind it. Stuxnet hit with a bang and did a whole lot of damage to Iran’s uranium-enrichment capabilities. We followed up Stuxnet with Flame–the ebola virus of spyware.

What did the Iranians fire back with? A series of massive, on-going and ineffective DDoS attacks on American banks. This is a disproportionate response but not in the way military experts usually mean that phrase. It’s the equivalent of someone stealing your car and you throwing an ever-increasing number of eggs at his house in response.

It’s fascinating that Iran continues to do nothing more despite the fact that U.S. critical infrastructure currently has the defensive posture of a dog waiting for a belly rub. Keep that in mind the next time you hear that a "cyber Pearl Harbor" is imminent."

It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - Why You Need to Protect Your Home from Cyber Pearl Harbor (Now!) (cio.com)

Curseyoukhan writes: "At this very moment a terrorist hacker in Somewheristan is preparing to unleash what former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta called a "cyber 9/11." With just a flick of a switch, we could all be left without electricity, water or Netflix for who knows how long.

Some of you probably laughed when I mentioned Netflix, but I did it for two reasons. First, to see if you are paying attention and, second, to get you thinking about your homes because, ladies and gentlemen, the home is the greatest and most-overlooked target today. Thankfully, my company — PurplexUs Inc. LLC — is here to help protect you and your home.

Bathroom scales, refrigerators, rice cookers, garage-door openers, ovens, clothes, washers, light switches and toothbrushes–do you know what they all have in common?

I didn’t think so.

All these devices can be used by a terrorist to kill now that they've been connected to the internet."

Science

Submission + - "Superomniphobic" nanoscale coating repels almost any liquid (gizmag.com) 1

cylonlover writes: A team of engineering researchers at the University of Michigan has developed a nanoscale coating that causes almost all liquids to bounce off surfaces treated with it. Creating a surface structure that is least 95 percent air, the new "superomniphobic" coating is claimed to repel the broadest range of liquids of any material in its class, opening up the possibility of super stain-resistant clothing, drag-reducing waterproof paints for ship hulls, breathable garments that provide protection from harmful chemicals, and touchscreens resistant to fingerprint smudges.

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