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GSM Decryption Published 299

Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that German encryption expert Karsten Nohl says that he has deciphered and published the 21-year-old GSM algorithm, the secret code used to encrypt most of the world's digital mobile phone calls, in what he called an attempt to expose weaknesses in the security system used by about 3.5 billion of the 4.3 billion wireless connections across the globe. Others have cracked the A5/1 encryption technology used in GSM before, but their results have remained secret. 'This shows that existing GSM security is inadequate,' Nohl told about 600 people attending the Chaos Communication Congress. 'We are trying to push operators to adopt better security measures for mobile phone calls.' The GSM Association, the industry group based in London that devised the algorithm and represents wireless operators, called Mr. Nohl's efforts illegal and said they overstated the security threat to wireless calls. 'This is theoretically possible but practically unlikely,' says Claire Cranton, a GSM spokeswoman, noting that no one else had broken the code since its adoption. 'What he is doing would be illegal in Britain and the United States. To do this while supposedly being concerned about privacy is beyond me.' Simon Bransfield-Garth, the chief executive of Cellcrypt, says Nohl's efforts could put sophisticated mobile interception technology — limited to governments and intelligence agencies — within the reach of any reasonable well-funded criminal organization. 'This will reduce the time to break a GSM call from weeks to hours,' Bransfield-Garth says. 'We expect as this further develops it will be reduced to minutes.'"

Comment Congratulations (Score 5, Insightful) 411

Congratulations to the Haiku team. Back when Be closed its doors, I remember there were several projects to recreate the OS, but most people didn't expect any of them to succeed. This announcement proves that wrong. BeOS was a fantastic OS and with Haiku making strides toward a stable release, the legacy can live on. Although it's taken a while to get this far, writing a full operating system from scratch takes a long time. Even large companies with dedicated teams generally take 5+ years to build a new OS, so 8 years for a group of volunteers to release a working system is quite reasonable. Once again, congratulations and thanks for all the hard work you've put in over the years. Although only an alpha, this release is quite stable and usable. Your efforts have certainly not gone unnoticed.

Comment Re:Maybe it's just me... (Score 1) 289

It's not just you. I had the same problem on a laptop I use for work after doing a fresh install of Ubuntu 9.04 stable. For about three weeks it would freeze up almost every day, frequently two or three times a day. I thought the problem might have been with VMWare, so I removed it. I tried juggling around some of the drivers, but the problem continued until one day I backed up the entire filesystem, reformatted it as ext3, then restored all my data. The system has been completely stable since then - no crashes for the last month. From some of what I read, this may be a Ubuntu specific problem, but I don't have experience with ext4 on any other distros so I can't say for sure.

Comment Re:Sound and HDs... (Score 2, Interesting) 1365

What I find amusing is how in the Windows world if a hardware manufacturer puts out a broken driver that causes their hardware to not work properly, people blame the manufacturer. In the Linux world when the same thing happens they blame Linux. I'm amazed at what Linux has been able to accomplish given how most hardware manufacturers will neither provide drivers nor specs on their hardware. Things have improved somewhat in the last year or two, but it's still practically impossible to get most of these people to give anything.

Verizon To Charge Content Providers $.03 Per SMS 260

An anonymous reader writes "It appears that Verizon is going to start double-dipping by charging both consumers AND content providers for SMS text messages. Verizon has informed content partners that it will levy a $.03 charge for messages sent to customers, effective November 1. From RCRWireless: 'Countless companies could be affected by the new fee, from players in the booming SMS-search space (4INFO, Google Inc. and ChaCha) to media companies (CNN, ESPN and local outlets) to mobile-couponing startups (Cellfire) to banks and other institutions that use mobile as an extension of customer services.'"

Optical Character Recognition Still Struggling With Handwriting 150

Ian Lamont recently asked Google if they planned to extend their transcription of books and other printed media to include public records, many of which were handwritten before word processors became ubiquitous. Google wouldn't talk about any potential plans, but Lamont found out a bit more about the limits of optical character recognition in the process: "Even though some CAPTCHA schemes have been cracked in the past year, a far more difficult challenge lies in using software to recognize handwritten text. Optical character recognition has been used for years to convert printed documents into text data, but the enormous variation in handwriting styles has thwarted large-scale OCR imports of handwritten public documents and historical records. took a surprising approach to digitizing and converting all publicly released US census records from 1790 to 1930: It contracted the job to Chinese firms whose staff manually transcribed the names and other information. The Chinese staff are specially trained to read the cursive and other handwriting styles from digitized paper records and microfilm. The task is ongoing with other handwritten records, at a cost of approximately $10 million per year, the company's CEO says."

MacGyver Film In the Works? 290

An anonymous reader writes "Looks like everyone's favorite Swiss Army knife-wielding action hero may be making an appearance on the big screen. The original series creator has announced plans are in the works for a MacGyver film. Serious questions abound: Will Richard Dean Anderson reprise the role? Will filming and editing somehow be done only using a paperclip, duct-tape, and TV remote?" And who, if not Anderson, would you want to play MacGyver?

Submission + - Web 2.0 Goes to Work (

BlueVoodoo writes: "During this day-long technology briefing from IBM, you'll see demos of the hottest technologies and participate in interactive breakout sessions — a large part of the content will be driven by you and the other attendees as we go along! Related Links: Web 2.0 apps made easy with Rational Application Developer V7 Download Rational Application Developer for WebSphere Software V7"

Submission + - How can you spot secure software at a distance? (

nickh01uk writes: "Independent security researchers have compiled a list of their most frequently recommended security infrastructure components, drawn out the common threads that each shares, and attempt to answer the question "What makes this software so uncommonly good?". They then use this knowledge to put forward a straw-man for evaluating future tools and software for use in secure environments. Not everyone will agree with their choices, but many will appreciate the conclusions."

Feed Science Daily: Working To Improve Efficiency Of Ethanol Fuel (

Lowering fuel emission levels is a topic facing constant scrutiny by the global public. Rising gas costs, environmental concerns and conflicts in oil-producing areas have made consumers, corporations and researchers more than curious about the potential of alternative, or "green," fuels, such as ethanol.

Feed Engadget: New Dell XPS M1730 pics pop-up (

Filed under: Laptops

Notebook Italia has turned up even more shots of Dell's new XPS M1730 laptop, from a variety of different angles. What's very clear from the new pictures is that this model has size "issues," so if you don't like chunky lappies, stay away. Still, those specifications -- 17-inch screen, Core 2 Extreme X7800 chip, GeForce 8700M -- do look mighty tasty. Ahh, decisions, decisions.

[Thanks, dellfan24]

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Submission + - Dell to offer more Ubuntu-powered models (

kickabear writes: "Dell and Canonical are getting set to expand the lineup of Ubuntu-based PCs.

From the article: '"What's been announced to date is not the full extent of what we will see over the next couple of weeks and months," Shuttleworth said an interview late on Wednesday. "There are additional offerings in the pipeline," he said.'

Dell declined comment."

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