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Security

Submission + - After Weeks Of Trying, UK Cryptographers Fail To Crack World War II Code

An anonymous reader writes: A dead pigeon discovered a few weeks ago in a UK chimney may be able to provide new answers to the secrets of World War II. Unfortunately, British cryptographers at the country’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) have been unable to crack the code encrypting a message the bird was tasked with sending and say they are confident it cannot be decoded “without access to the original cryptographic material.”
Transportation

Submission + - With Pot Legal, Police Worry About Traffic Safety 13

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "AP reports that with Pot soon legal under state laws in Washington and Colorado, officials in both states are trying to figure out how to keep stoned drivers off the road as law enforcement officials wonder about whether the ability to buy or possess marijuana legally will bring about an increase of marijuana users on the roads. "We've had decades of studies and experience with alcohol," says Washington State Patrol spokesman Dan Coon. "Marijuana is new, so it's going to take some time to figure out how the courts and prosecutors are going to handle it. But the key is impairment: We will arrest drivers who drive impaired, whether it be drugs or alcohol." Marijuana can cause dizziness and slowed reaction time, and drivers are more likely to drift and swerve while they're high and Marijuana legalization activists agree people shouldn't smoke and drive. But setting a standard comparable to blood-alcohol limits has sparked intense disagreement because unlike portable breath tests for alcohol, there's no easily available way to determine whether someone is impaired from recent pot use. If scientists can't tell someone how much marijuana it will take for him or her to test over the threshold, how is the average pot user supposed to know? "A lot of effort has gone into the study of drugged driving and marijuana, because that is the most prevalent drug, but we are not nearly to the point where we are with alcohol," says Jeffrey P. Michael, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's impaired-driving director. "We don't know what level of marijuana impairs a driver.""
Government

Department of Homeland Security Wants Nerds For a New "Cyber Reserve'" 204

pigrabbitbear writes "Just three weeks after Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told an audience at the Sea, Air and Space Museum that the U.S. is on the brink of a 'cyber Pearl Harbor,' the government has decided it needs to beef up the ranks of its digital defenses. It's assembling a league of extraordinary computer geeks for what will be known as the 'Cyber Reserve.'"
Earth

Earthquakes Correlated With Texan Fracking Sites 259

eldavojohn writes "A recent peer reviewed paper and survey by Cliff Frohlich of the University of Texas' Institute for Geophysics reveals a correlation between an increase in earthquakes and the emergence of fracking sites in the Barnett Shale, Texas. To clarify, it is not the actual act of hydrofracking that induces earthquakes, but more likely the final process of injecting wastewater into the site, according to Oliver Boyd, a USGS seismologist. Boyd said, 'Most, if not all, geophysicists expect induced earthquakes to be more likely from wastewater injection rather than hydrofracking. This is because the wastewater injection tends to occur at greater depth, where earthquakes are more likely to nucleate. I also agree [with Frohlich] that induced earthquakes are likely to persist for some time (months to years) after wastewater injection has ceased.' Frohlich added, 'Faults are everywhere. A lot of them are stuck, but if you pump water in there, it reduces friction and the fault slips a little. I can't prove that that's what happened, but it's a plausible explanation.' In the U.S. alone this correlation has been noted several times."
Android

Submission + - Android SMS Malware Firm Fined £50,000 (sophos.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A Moscow-based firm has been ordered to refund victims who lost money as a result of Android malware.

Earlier this year, security firm Sophos discovered a malicious link that had been spread on Facebook — which would force an Android app to automatically download onto visiting smartphones.

The app, detected as Andr/Opfake-C, tricked users into believing they would have access to online games — but actually subscribed to a premium rate SMS service at a cost of £10.

Moscow-based firm (translated as Connect Ltd) is said to have made up to £250,000 from the scheme.

UK regulatory authority PhonepayPlus has fined the firm £50,000, ordered it to repay all victims and banned them from introducing other premium rate services without permission for the next two years.

Apple

Submission + - Apple working the broken patent system (informationweek.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A pretty tight op-ed on how apple used the broken parts of the patent system to gain a very favorable portion of the smart-phone market from a design perspective.
Security

Submission + - Frankenstein - Stitching Code Bodies Together To Hide Malware (i-programmer.info) 1

mikejuk writes: A recent research technique manages to hide malware by stitching together bits of program that are already installed in the system to create the functionality required. Although the Frankenstein system is only a proof of concept, and the code created just did some simple tasks, sorting and XORing, without having the ability to replicate, computer scientists from University of Texas, Dallas, have proved that the method is viable.
What it does is to scan the machine’s disk for fragments of code, gadgets, that do simple standard tasks. Each task can have multiple gadgets that can be used to implement it and each gadget does a lot of irrelevant things as well as the main task. The code that you get when you stitch a collection of gadgets together is never the same and this makes it difficult to detect the malware using a signature. Compared to the existing techniques of hiding malware the Frankenstein approach has lots of advantages — the question is, is it already in use?

Submission + - Wiper May have Links with DuQu, Stuxnet; Kaspersky Analysis Indicates (paritynews.com)

hypnosec writes: Wiper malware known for its unforgiving ways hasn’t left a clue behind of its origin or its code as it deletes itself as well as everything in its path once activated but, security researchers over at Kaspersky Lab may have just found a couple of evidences that may point to the origins of Wiper. According to Kaspersky, Wiper has a couple of characteristics that it shares with DuQu and Stuxnet indicating that probably the malware has its roots in US and Israel. Still the security company says that the evidence might just be circumstantial and that one shouldn’t come to conclusions just yet.
Science

Submission + - Calorie Restriction May Not Extend Lifespan (sciencemag.org) 1

sciencehabit writes: Slash your food intake and you can live dramatically longer—at least if you're a mouse or a nematode. But a major study designed to determine whether this regimen, known as caloric restriction, works in primates suggests that it improves monkeys' health but doesn't extend their lives. Researchers not involved with the new paper say the results are still encouraging. Although the monkeys didn't evince an increase in life span, both studies show a major improvement in "health span," or the amount of time before age-related diseases set in. "I certainly wouldn't give up on calorie restriction as a health promoter" based on these findings, says molecular biologist Leonard Guarente of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.
Open Source

Man Tries To Live an Open Source Life For a Year 332

jfruh writes "Sam Muirhead, a New Zealand filmmaker living Berlin, will, on the 1st of August, begin an experiment in living an open source life for a year. But this is going way beyond just trading in his Mac for a Linux machine and Final Cut Pro for Novacut. He's also going to live in a house based on an open source design, and he notes that trying to develop and use some form of open source toilet paper will be an "interesting and possibly painful process.""

Comment Creates barrier of entry for competitors (Score 2) 84

It seems to that the various privacy laws in place across Europe targeting Google Maps have little effect on Google, which has enough resources that they can easily apply technical fixes to tackle each states differing privacy requirement. The net effect though, is to provide a high barrier of entry for competitors. A young startup wishing to start a competing street level mapping service will not have army of lawyers to sort through each states differing laws. Nor may they have the technical expertise to accurately implement blurring algorithms to the satisfaction of the courts. In short, while these laws are intended to target Google, they end up benefiting it, by making it more difficult for competitors to enter the field.
Microsoft

Submission + - Is Microsoft's Kinect A Gaming Failure? (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: "E3 is well underway in Los Angeles, and Microsoft has already made a major splash with its "SmartGlass" technology, game demos, and its announcement that a Kinect-powered version of Internet Explorer will debut on the Xbox 360. This is a marked change from last year, when Kinect was the unquestioned centerpiece of Microsoft's display and the company's demos focused on how Kinect-powered games used your full body as a controller. Kinect is in the interesting position of having both sold extremely well while failing to move the bar forward in any of the ways Microsoft projected in the run up to it's launch. Scroll through the ratings on Kinect-required titles, and the percentages are abysmal. Kinect's biggest problem is rooted in ergonomics. Gamepads with buttons may be crude approximations of real life, but they're simple and intuitive. They're also flexible — a great many games have conditional scenarios that allow the same button to perform different functions depending on what's going on within the game. Pure Kinect games don't have a simple mechanism to incorporate these features, and there's no easy way around them. The motion-controller's most enduring features may ultimately be its capabilities outside the gaming sphere."
The Military

Submission + - Air Force believes anti-g suit is cause of F-22's oxygen problems (flightglobal.com) 2

wired_parrot writes: The USAF believes it may have identified the root cause of the F-22 Raptor's oxygen troubles: pilots are running into physiological limitations in attempting to breath oxygen while under high-g loads, leading to a condition know as acceleration atelectasis. This is being aggravated by the anti-g suit worn by pilots, which puts pressure in their chest. It may be that the F-22 has reached the edge of what a human pilot can handle
Graphics

Modeling People and Places With Internet Photo Collections 27

CowboyRobot writes "Two researchers have created a system that aggregates thousands of photos from around the Web and integrates them into single images. One application is creating maps by taking the GPS coordinates of photos taken from a collection. Another is creating 3D models of historical buildings by automatically pasting together tourists' photos taken from different angles. 'The challenge is that online data sets are largely unstructured and thus require sophisticated algorithms that can organize and extract meaning from noisy data. In our case, this involves developing automated techniques that can find patterns across millions of images.'"
Businesses

Submission + - As Facebook prepares IPO, a wave of apps startups follows behind (siliconvalley.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Facebook, which is set to go public next week, has spawned a wave of startups based on its apps platform, particularly in the Bay Area. A University of Maryland study estimates that at the Facebook ecosystem supports at least 18 times as many jobs as the parent company itself. The Mercury News article contains a chart of the top 20 Facebook apps developers in the Bay Area, based on active users; Zynga is #1 by a large margin. Meanwhile, some social networking entrepreneurs are trying to avoid becoming dependent on Facebook's platform.

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