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Submission + - Trump's Treasury pick appears to be part of a federal investigation (muckrock.com)

v3rgEz writes: Trump's transition strategy of picking some of the shadiest people on earth is still going strong. The latest: According to the FBI, his Treasury pick Steven Mnuchin is involved with an "ongoing investigation", as reported by Mike Best over at the FOIA site MuckRock. Best requested Mnuchin's FBI files, but the request was rejected under the grounds of an open investigation, likely related to Mnuchin's superbly-timed exit from Relativity Media — right before it cratered.

Submission + - Vapour Voting in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

Presto Vivace writes: Jill Stein has done the nation a tremendous public service

Pennsylvania has the worst voting system of all. The vast majority of voters use machines with no paper ballot to verify the vote. According to leading computer scientists, these direct recording electronic machines, or DREs, are unreliable, antiquated and easy to hack. ... ... The machines claim, for example, that more than 4,000 voters in Montgomery County , Pa., took the trouble to go to the polls, then supposedly voted for no one in any election. In reality, when these voters in Montgomery selected candidates on the machine, a “no vote” box popped up, meaning thousands of votes were lost inside those machines.

Submission + - Parents sue Apple for toddler's death after a traffic accident. (fox5sandiego.com)

sabri writes: A Texas couple is going after the money by suing Apple for the tragic death of their daughter. How Apple contributed to the girl's death?

Garrett Wilhelm, 22, was able to use FaceTime while driving 65mph on Interstate I-35 near Dallas on Christmas Eve in 2014, when he slammed into the back of someone else's vehicle.

Wait while I sue McDonalds for being fat.

Submission + - Smart Electricity Meters Can Be Dangerously Insecure, Warns Expert (theguardian.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Smart electricity meters, of which there are more than 100 million installed around the world, are frequently “dangerously insecure," a security expert has said. The lack of security in the smart utilities raises the prospect of a single line of malicious code cutting power to a home or even causing a catastrophic overload leading to exploding meters or house fires, according to Netanel Rubin, co-founder of the security firm Vaultra. If a hacker took control of a smart meter they would be able to know “exactly when and how much electricity you’re using”, Rubin told the 33rd Chaos Communications Congress in Hamburg. An attacker could also see whether a home had any expensive electronics. “He can do billing fraud, setting your bill to whatever he likes [...] The scary thing is if you think about the power they have over your electricity. He will have power over all of your smart devices connected to the electricity. This will have more severe consequences: imagine you woke up to find you’d been robbed by a burglar who didn’t have to break in. “But even if you don’t have smart devices, you are still at risk. An attacker who controls the meter also controls the meter’s software, allowing him to cause it to literally explode.” The problems at the heart of the insecurity stem from outdated protocols, half-hearted implementations and weak design principles. To communicate with the utility company, most smart meters use GSM, the 2G mobile standard. That has a fairly well-known weakness whereby an attacker with a fake mobile tower can cause devices to “hand over” to the fake version from the real tower, simply by providing a strong signal. In GSM, devices have to authenticate with towers, but not the other way round, allowing the fake mast to send its own commands to the meter. Worse still, said Rubin, all the meters from one utility used the same hardcoded credentials. “If an attacker gains access to one meter, it gains access to them all. It is the one key to rule them all.”

Submission + - How Internet Service Providers Promote Poverty

Presto Vivace writes: Digital Redlining: How Internet Service Providers Promote Poverty

A study by the Center for Digital Democracy published in March found that internet service providers, including Comcast, Cox Communications, Time Warner Cable and Verizon reap income, education level and purchase behavior data points to sell to the likes of financial marketers, fast food companies and health care businesses. Advertisers may buy financial data, for example, to market high-interest credit card or loan offers to consumers in debt. The report also asserted that, in conjunction with its data partners, Verizon offers advertisers "targeting packages" directed toward low-income communities that specifically push gambling, cigarette smoking and soda consumption.

Submission + - Online Security: 2016 Holiday Shopping Fraud Report Shows Bitcoin Remains Most S (newsbtc.com)

witchfieldaron writes: In the end, it goes to show traditional payment methods suffer from a lot of security issues.
During the 2016 holiday weekend, global online sales have seen a significant nudge upwards. At the same time, payment card fraud increased by a whopping 20%. Consumer’s financial details are always at risk when dealing with payment cards these days. Bitcoin is a far safer option, as there is no sensitive personal information leaked during the transaction process.
The rise in payment fraud during the 2016 holiday shopping season is not surprising. Both Black Friday and Cyber Monday saw an influx of global customers. However, this transaction volume makes it harder to determine which transactions are legitimate. But the concerns ago much deeper, as five types of fraud reports were filed.
First of all, there is credit card fraud. Everyone knows payment cards are inherently insecure, and provide significant risks to both owner and retailer. Very few companies perform thorough checks of payment card data when processing an order, making life easier for criminals shopping online.
Bitcoin Remains the Safe Way To Shop Online
Identity theft is another major concern, particularly during the holiday season. Vast amounts of personal information are floating around on the Internet, and criminals will sniff out sensitive details with relative ease. Thanks to email scams, which complete the top three, users are often tricked into giving up that type of information as well.
Promotion abuse is another popular trend, although its impact can often be negated. Users will experience annoyance through this type of fraud, but it should not affect them in a significant manner. Account takeover, on the other hand, is far more troublesome. Hacked social media profiles become far more common during the holiday season. Mostly due to consumers being more careless with their passwords.
During Black Friday and Cyber Monday, mobile transactions were on the rise as well. Although mobile devices are commonly used for payments, they are not secure. Malware, scareware, and remote access trojans are just a few of the looming threats. Consumers storing payment information on these devices are at risk at any given time.
In the end, it goes to show traditional payment methods suffer from a lot of security issues. Bitcoin is a more secure solution, as no sensitive information can be obtained by analyzing transactions. Unfortunately, cryptocurrency is not as widespread when it comes to online shopping. But that situation can change at any given moment.

Submission + - No, You Can't Predict Likely Criminals Based On Their Facial Features (backchannel.com)

mirandakatz writes: In a recent paper, researchers Xiaolin Wu and Xi Zhang claim they've found evidence that criminality can be predicted based on facial features—they say they've trained classifiers using various machine learning techniques that were able to distinguish photos of criminals from photos of non-criminals with a high level of accuracy. At Backchannel, Katherine Bailey points out one major flaw with that notion: if human beings can be prone to bias, the machine learning systems they trained can, too.

Submission + - T-Mobile CFO: Repeal of Net Neutrality Would Be 'Positive For My Industry' (tmonews.com)

An anonymous reader writes: T-Mobile CFO Braxton Carter spoke at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference in New York City, and he touched a bit on President-elect Donald Trump and what his election could mean for the mobile industry. Carter expects that a Trump presidency will foster an environment that’ll be more positive for wireless. “It’s hard to imagine, with the way the election turned out, that we’re not going to have an environment, from several aspects, that is not going to be more positive for my industry,” the CFO said. He went on to explain that there will likely be less regulation, something that he feels “destroys innovation and value creation.” Speaking of innovation, Carter also feels that a reversal of net neutrality and the FCC’s Open Internet rules would be good for innovation in the industry, saying that it “would provide opportunity for significant innovation and differentiation” and that it’d enable you to “do some very interesting things.”

Submission + - Orwell's toys

Presto Vivace writes: These Toys Don’t Just Listen To Your Kid; They Send What They Hear To A Defense Contractor

According to a coalition of consumer-interest organizations, the makers of two “smart” kids toys — the My Friend Cayla doll and the i-Que Intelligent Robot — are allegedly violating laws in the U.S. and overseas by collecting this sort of voice data without obtaining consent. ... ... In a complaint [PDF] filed this morning with the Federal Trade Commission, the coalition — made up of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC), the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD), and our colleagues at Consumers Union — argue that Genesis Toys, a company that manufactures interactive and robotic toys, and Nuance Communications, which supplies the voice-parsing services for these toys, are running afoul of rules that protect children’s privacy and prohibiting unfair and deceptive practices.

Submission + - EU Data Regulations Will Disrupt Online Advertising Business Model

Presto Vivace writes: New EU Data Regulations Will 'Rip Global Digital Ecosystem Apart'

The European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) doesn't come into force until May 2018, but when it does it will have a profound effect on businesses. The regulation will apply to data about every one of the EU's 500 million citizens, wherever in the world it is processed or stored. ... ... Put simply, targeting and tracking companies will need to get user consent somehow. Everything that invisibly follows a user across the internet will, from May 2018, have to pop up and make itself known in order to seek express permission from individuals.

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