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Submission + - Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter join forces to fight terrorism (betanews.com) 3

BrianFagioli writes: Unfortunately, terrorists thrive on the internet too. Using social media and video platforms like YouTube, these evil-doers look to recruit new members while sharing propaganda. Today, Google announces that it is partnering with some major players — Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter — to fight online terrorism with a special database. The partners will look to protect user privacy in the process.

Submission + - Al Gore has "an extremely interesting conversation" with Trump (bbc.com)

tomhath writes: Mr Gore told reporters he met Ivanka before his meeting with her father.

"The bulk of the time was with the president-elect, Donald Trump. I found it an extremely interesting conversation, and to be continued," Mr Gore said.

Mr Trump has been stocking his administration with conservative ideologues, and many of the possible names for his environmental posts are sceptical of current policy. If Ms Trump pushes the issue and Mr Gore continues his "extremely interesting conversation" with the president, however, this could become a test of how willing President Trump is to cross party orthodoxy.

A free-agent president — beholden to neither party and willing to strike deals according to his own fancy — may be exactly what his voters wanted and what Washington insiders fear.

Submission + - Expedia Hacker uses tech to replicate Old Boys Network

ghoul writes: Talk about disruption. Stock trading and insider tips have traditionally been shared verbally amongst old boy networks developed at Ivy colleges. This hacker from an impoverished background decided to level the playfield. Too bad he got caught

Submission + - White House Silence Seems to Confirm $4B CS For All K-12 Initiative Is No More

theodp writes: "2016 as a year of action builds on a decade of national, state, and grassroots activity to revitalize K-12 computer science education," reads the upbeat White House blog post kicking off Computer Science Education Week. But conspicuous by its absence in the accompanying fact sheet for A Year of Action Supporting Computer Science for All is any mention of the status of President Obama's proposed $4B Computer Science For All initiative, which enjoyed support from the likes of Microsoft, Facebook, and Google. On Friday, tech-backed Code.org posted An Update on Computer Science Education and Federal Funding, which explained that Congress's passage of a 'continuing resolution' extending the current budget into 2017 spelled curtains for federal funding for the program in 2016 and beyond. "We don’t have any direct feedback yet about the next administration’s support for K-12 CS," wrote CEO Hadi Partovi and Govt. Affairs VP Cameron Wilson, "other than a promise to expand 'vocational and technical education' as part of Trump’s 100-day plan which was published in late October. I am hopeful that this language may translate into support for funding K-12 computer science at a federal level. However, we should assume that it will not."

Submission + - Nuclear Bailout for Excelon Again (bnd.com)

mdsolar writes: A nuclear power plant “bailout” bill appears set to become law after making its way through the Illinois House and Senate on Thursday.
The legislation funnels $235 million a year to power-producing giant Exelon Corp. for 13 years. The money subsidizes unprofitable nuclear plants in Clinton and the Quad Cities that Exelon said would be shuttered over the next 18 months.
Opponents argued that it was wrong to subsidize a company that remains profitable, and that coal-fired power companies haven’t gotten such help. They also argued it will cost consumers.

“Here we go again, picking winners and losers,” said Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon. “The money has to come from somewhere. This is a bailout for a very profitable company.”

Submission + - Has any of you worked through TAOCP? (wikipedia.org)

Qbertino writes: I've got TAOCP ("The Art of Computer Programming") on my book-buying list for just about two decades now and I'm still torn here and there about actually getting it. I sometimes believe I would mutate into some programming demi-god if I actually worked through this beast, but maybe I'm just fooling myself.

This leads me to the question:
Have any of you worked or with through TAOCP or are you perhaps working through it? And is it worthwhile? I mean not just for bragging rights. And how long can it reasonably take? A few years?

Please share your experiences with TAOCP below. Thank you.

Submission + - USB Death Sticks for Sale (arstechnica.com)

npslider writes: "A USB Killer", a USB stick that fries almost everything that it is plugged into has been mass produced—available online for about £50/$50. Arstechnica first wrote about this diabolical device that looks like a fairly humdrum memory stick a year ago. From the ARS article:

"The USB Killer is shockingly simple in its operation. As soon as you plug it in, a DC-to-DC converter starts drawing power from the host system and storing electricity in its bank of capacitors (the square-shaped components). When the capacitors reach a potential of -220V, the device dumps all of that electricity into the USB data lines, most likely frying whatever is on the other end. If the host doesn't just roll over and die, the USB stick does the charge-discharge process again and again until it sizzles.

Since the USB Killer has gone on sale, it has been used to fry laptops (including an old ThinkPad and a brand new MacBook Pro), an Xbox One, the new Google Pixel phone, and some cars (infotainment units, rather than whole cars... for now). Notably, some devices fare better than others, and there's a range of possible outcomes—the USB Killer doesn't just nuke everything completely."


Submission + - 6 seconds: How hackers only need moments to guess card number and security code (telegraph.co.uk) 1

schwit1 writes: Criminals can work out the card number, expiry date and security code for a Visa debit or credit card in as little as six seconds using guesswork, researchers have found.

Fraudsters use a so-called Distributed Guessing Attack to get around security features put in place to stop online fraud, and this may have been the method used in the recent Tesco Bank hack.

According to a study published in the academic journal IEEE Security & Privacy, that meant fraudsters could use computers to systematically fire different variations of security data at hundreds of websites simultaneously.

Within seconds, by a process of elimination, the criminals could verify the correct card number, expiry date and the three-digit security number on the back of the card.

Mohammed Ali, a PhD student at the university's School of Computing Science, said: "This sort of attack exploits two weaknesses that on their own are not too severe but, when used together, present a serious risk to the whole payment system.

Submission + - Alien life could thrive in the clouds of failed stars (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: There’s an abundant new swath of cosmic real estate that life could call home – and the views would be spectacular. Floating out by themselves in the Milky Way galaxy are perhaps a billion cold brown dwarfs, objects many times as massive as Jupiter but not big enough to ignite as a star. According to a new study, layers of their upper atmospheres sit at temperatures and pressures resembling those on Earth, and could host microbes that surf on thermal updrafts.

The idea expands the concept of a habitable zone to include a vast population of worlds that had previously gone unconsidered. “You don’t necessarily need to have a terrestrial planet with a surface,” says Jack Yates, a planetary scientist at the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, who led the study.

Submission + - A real-names domain-registration policy would discourage political lying.

lpress writes: The Internet was a major source of news — fake and real — during the election campaign. The operators of fake sites, whether motivated by politics or greed, are often anonymous. We avoid voter fraud by requiring verification of ones name, age and address. A verifiable real-names domain registration policy would discourage information fraud.

Submission + - More evidence of hacker intervention in the election (democraticunderground.com) 1

shanen writes: The prominent website Democratic Underground, a major gathering place and discussion forum for enthusiastic Democrats, was thoroughly pwned on Election Day. The website is only partly operational at this point. Probably not that significant, though many Hillary-supporting volunteers were using it as a communications channel.

Just for background, I'm sure you remember how a certain sexter's computer influenced the election. Not clear if the hacked and possibly doctored data released via WikiLeaks had much effect, but I'm personally more curious now about the effects of the fake news stories propagated via Facebook, Google News, and of course Twitter. I even predict the factor that tipped this election was the enthusiasm of angry losers who imagine they are going to be helped by the anti-christ, er... I mean the anti-loser.

Submission + - Having trouble hailing that taxi? This could be why (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: We've all been there: You're waiting for your Uber or Lyft driver to pick you up. You've got just enough time to make your meeting. But then the ride gets canceled and now you're definitely going to be late. Did you just get turned down by a driver that is searching for better fares? The results of a massive study of taxi drivers in Beijing support that suspicion: Avoiding certain passengers based on their destination is profitable. As companies like Uber and Lyft become the de facto public transportation system in many places, this profit-motivated bias will leave some people stranded on the curb.

Submission + - 2016 on track to become hottest year on record (wmo.int)

ventsyv writes: In June NASA reported that the first 6 months of 2016 were the hottest 6 months on record. Now WMO reports that 2016 has stayed on track and will probably break the 2015 record.

Preliminary data shows that 2016’s global temperatures are approximately 1.2 Celsius above pre-industrial levels, according to an assessment by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Global temperatures for January to September 2016 have been about 0.88 Celsius (1.58F) above the average (14C) for the 1961-1990 reference period, which is used by WMO as a baseline.

Long-term climate change indicators are also record breaking. Concentrations of major greenhouse gases in the atmosphere continue to increase to new records. Arctic sea ice remained at very low levels, especially during early 2016 and the October re-freezing period, and there was significant and very early melting of the Greenland ice sheet.

NOAA lists the current ranking as:

  1. 2015
  2. 2014
  3. 2010
  4. 2013
  5. 2005

https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc...

Submission + - How Republicans can make the net neutrality rules go away 1

Presto Vivace writes: Republican FCC or Congress could get rid of Title II and net neutrality rules.

But once the FCC is in Republican hands, the agency will have multiple options for taking the rules off the books. One is “forbearance.” Wheeler used the legal tool of forbearance to avoid applying the strictest types of Title II regulation (such as rate regulation and tariff requirements) to consumer Internet service providers. ... Basically, forbearance is a way for the FCC to enforce some parts of a statute but not others. Republicans could decide to forbear from the parts of Title II that were used to impose net neutrality rules, eliminating them without reversing the Title II reclassification. A Republican-led FCC could also reclassify ISPs again, removing Title II from the residential and mobile broadband markets entirely.

Submission + - Smartphone WiFi Signals Can Leak Your Keystrokes and Passwords

An anonymous reader writes: The way users move fingers across a phone's touchscreen alters the WiFi signals transmitted by a mobile phone, causing interruptions that an attacker can intercept, analyze, and reverse engineer to accurately guess what the user has typed on his phone or in password input fields.

The attacker can achieve this by using the access over the WiFi access point to sniff the user's traffic and detect when he's accessing pages with authentication forms. The attack sounds futuristic, but it's actually leveraging radio signals called CSI (Channel State Information). CSI is part of the WiFi protocol, and it provides general information about the status of the WiFi signal.

Because the user's finger moves across the smartphone when he types text, his hand alters CSI properties for the phone's outgoing WiFi signals, which the attacker can collect and log on the rogue access point. Research paper here.

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