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Submission + - The 'Stalkerware' Surveillance Market

Presto Vivace writes: Inside the 'Stalkerware' Surveillance Market, Where Ordinary People Tap Each Other's Phones

Ordinary people—lawyers, teachers, construction workers, parents, jealous lovers—have bought malware to monitor mobile phones or computers, according to a large cache of hacked files from Retina-X and FlexiSpy, another spyware company.

This will not end well.

Submission + - Twitter Sues US Government Over Attempt To Unmask Anti-Trump Account (theverge.com)

An anonymous reader writes: According to Twitter’s suit, filed today in Northern California District Court, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has attempted to use a “limited-purpose investigatory tool” to unmask the owner of the Twitter account “@ALT_USCIS.” The account, one of several “alt” or “rogue” government accounts that appeared in the wake of Trump’s ascent to the presidency, was used “to express public criticism of the Department and the current Administration,” according to Twitter’s complaint. In the suit, Twitter writes that @ALT_USCIS has purported to be a dissenting member of US Citizenship and Immigration Services. On March 14, Twitter received a summons from Customs requesting records that could reveal the identity of the account’s operator, including IP logs and any associated phone number or mailing address. In addition to the Department of Homeland Security and its subagency, the lawsuit names four individuals as defendants: DHS secretary John Kelly, acting CBP commissioner Kevin McAleenan, and special agents Stephen P. Caruso and Adam Hoffman, who issued and served the order itself.

Submission + - New Destructive Malware Intentionally Bricks IoT Devices (bleepingcomputer.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A new malware strain called BrickerBot is intentionally bricking Internet of Things (IoT) devices around the world by corrupting their flash storage capability and reconfiguring kernel parameters in order to one single processing thread. The malware spreads by launching brute-force attacks on IoT (BusyBox-based) devices with open Telnet ports. After BrickerBot attacks, device owners often have to reinstall the device's firmware, or in some cases, replace the device entirely.

Attacks started on March 20, and two versions have been seen. One malware strain launches attacks from hijacked Ubiquiti devices, while the second, more advanced, is hidden behind Tor exit nodes. Several security researchers believe this is the work of an Internet vigilante fed up with the amount of insecure IoT devices connected to the Internet and used for DDoS attacks.

"Wow. That's pretty nasty," said Cybereason security researcher Amit Serper after Bleeping Computer showed him Radware's security alert. "They're just bricking it for the sake of bricking it. [They're] deliberately destroying the device."

Submission + - Publish Georgia's state laws, you'll get sued for copyright and lose 2

Presto Vivace writes: If you publish Georgia’s state laws, you’ll get sued for copyright and lose

Malamud thinks reading the law shouldn't cost anything. So a few years back, he scanned a copy of the state of Georgia's official laws, known as the Official Georgia Code Annotated, or OCGA. Malamud made USB drives with two copies on them, one scanned copy and another encoded in XML format. On May 30, 2013, Malamud sent the USB drives to the Georgia speaker of the House, David Ralson, and the state's legislative counsel, as well as other prominent Georgia lawyers and policymakers. ... ... Now, the case has concluded with US District Judge Richard Story having published an opinion (PDF) that sides with the state of Georgia. The judge disagreed with Malamud's argument that the OCGA can't be copyrighted and also said Malamud's copying of the laws is not fair use. "The Copyright Act itself specifically lists 'annotations' in the works entitled to copyright protection," writes Story. "Defendant admits that annotations in an unofficial code would be copyrightable."

It could have been worse, at least he was not criminally charged liked Aaron Schwartz.

Submission + - House approves bill to force public release of EPA science (ap.org)

schwit1 writes: House Republicans are taking aim at the Environmental Protection Agency, targeting the way officials use science to develop new regulations.

A bill approved Wednesday by the GOP-controlled House would require that data used to support new regulations to protect human health and the environment be released to the public.

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, said "the days of 'trust me' science are over," adding that the House bill would restore confidence in the EPA's decision-making process.

Connecticut Rep. Elizabeth Esty and other Democrats said the bill would cripple EPA's ability to conduct scientific research based on confidential medical information and risks privacy violations by exposing sensitive patient data.

The bill was approved 228-194 and now goes to the Senate.

Submission + - UW Professor: The Information War Is Real, And We're Losing It (seattletimes.com)

An anonymous reader writes: It started with the Boston marathon bombing, four years ago. University of Washington professor Kate Starbird was sifting through thousands of tweets sent in the aftermath and noticed something strange. Too strange for a university professor to take seriously. “There was a significant volume of social-media traffic that blamed the Navy SEALs for the bombing,” Starbird told me the other day in her office. “It was real tinfoil-hat stuff. So we ignored it.” Same thing after the mass shooting that killed nine at Umpqua Community College in Oregon: a burst of social-media activity calling the massacre a fake, a stage play by “crisis actors” for political purposes. “After every mass shooting, dozens of them, there would be these strange clusters of activity,” Starbird says. “It was so fringe we kind of laughed at it. “That was a terrible mistake. We should have been studying it.” Starbird argues in a new paper, set to be presented at a computational social-science conference in May, that these “strange clusters” of wild conspiracy talk, when mapped, point to an emerging alternative media ecosystem on the web of surprising power and reach. There are dozens of conspiracy-propagating websites such as beforeitsnews.com, nodisinfo.com and veteranstoday.com. Starbird cataloged 81 of them, linked through a huge community of interest connected by shared followers on Twitter, with many of the tweets replicated by automated bots. Starbird is in the UW’s Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering — the study of the ways people and technology interact. Her team analyzed 58 million tweets sent after mass shootings during a 10-month period. They searched for terms such as “false flag” and “crisis actor,” web slang meaning a shooting is not what the government or the traditional media is reporting it to be. Then she analyzed the content of each site to try to answer the question: Just what is this alternative media ecosystem saying? Starbird is publishing her paper as a sort of warning. The information networks we’ve built are almost perfectly designed to exploit psychological vulnerabilities to rumor.

Submission + - Verizon to Force AppFlash Spyware on Android phones

saccade.com writes: Verizon is joining with the creators of a tool called "Evie Launcher" to make a new app search / launcher tool called AppFlash, to be installed on all Verizon phones running Android. The app provides no functionality to users beyond what Google Search does. It does, however, give Verizon a steady stream of metrics on your app usage and searches. A quick glance at the AppFlash privacy policy confirms this is the real purpose behind it:

We collect information about your device and your use of the AppFlash services. This information includes your mobile number, device identifiers, device type and operating system, and information about the AppFlash features and services you use and your interactions with them. We also access information about the list of apps you have on your device. ... AppFlash information may be shared within the Verizon family of companies, including companies like AOL who may use it to help provide more relevant advertising within the AppFlash experiences and in other places, including non-Verizon sites, services and devices.

Submission + - The 265 members of Congress who sold you out to ISPs

Presto Vivace writes: They betrayed you for chump change

Republicans in Congress just voted to reverse a landmark FCC privacy rule that opens the door for ISPs to sell customer data. Lawmakers provided no credible reason for this being in the interest of Americans, except for vague platitudes about “consumer choice” and “free markets,” as if consumers at the mercy of their local internet monopoly are craving to have their web history quietly sold to marketers and any other 3rd party willing to pay. ... The only people who seem to want this are the people who are going to make lots of money from it. (Hint: they work for companies like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T.) Incidentally, these people and their companies routinely give lots of money to members of Congress.

Submission + - The CFPB is asking for public comments on Lending w alternative data:

Presto Vivace writes: Request for Information Regarding Use of Alternative Data and Modeling Techniques in the Credit Process (PDF)

SUMMARY: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) seeks information about the use or potential use of alternative data and modeling techniques in the credit process. Alternative data and modeling techniques are ch anging the way that some financial service providers conduct business. These changes hold the promise of pot entially significant benefits for some consumers but also present certain potentially significant risks. The Bureau seeks to learn more about current and future market developments, including existing and emerging consumer benefits and risks, and how these developments could alter the marketplace and the consumer experience. The Bureau also seeks to learn how market participants are or could be mitigating certain risks to consumers, and about consumer preferences, views, and concerns. DATES: Comments must be received on or before May 19, 2017.

Submission + - Slashdot poll: Should Pluto be restored to it's status as a planet?

BarbaraHudson writes: With the issue of Pluto's status as a planet coming up for debate at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Texas, how would you vote?

1. Pluto is a planet
2. Pluto was never a planet
3. Pluto is a dog and I'm boycotting Disney
4. Are you Sirius?
5. Sure, and let's upgrade he earth and moon as a binary planet system
6. Who cares, as long as we can declare war against it to increase defense spending
7. Who cares, there's no oil there
8. Cowboyneal says "I hear there might be oil there. We need more money for NASA".

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