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Submission + - Marriott fined $600,000 for jamming guest hotspots (slashgear.com) 1

schwit1 writes: Marriott will cough up $600,000 in penalties after being caught blocking mobile hotspots so that guests would have to pay for its own WiFi services, the FCC has confirmed today. The fine comes after staff at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee were found to be jamming individual hotspots and then charging people up to $1,000 per device to get online.

Marriott has been operating the center since 2012, and is believed to have been running its interruption scheme since then. The first complaint to the FCC, however, wasn't until March 2013, when one guest warned the Commission that they suspected their hardware had been jammed.

Submission + - Google Lowers Search Ranking of Websites That Don't Use Encryption (itworld.com)

itwbennett writes: Google is taking Internet security into its own hands, punishing sites that don't use encryption by giving them lower search rankings. The use of https is now one of the signals, like whether a Web page has unique content, that Google uses to determine where a site will appear in search rankings, although it will be a 'lightweight' signal and applies to about 1 percent of search queries now, wrote Zineb Ait Bahajji and Gary Illyes, both Google webmaster trends analysts, in a blog post.

Submission + - Indian space agency prototypes its first crew capsule (electronicsweekly.com)

sixsigma1978 writes: India is about to take one small step towards human space flight. Last week the country’s space agency unveiled a prototype of its first crew capsule, a 4-metre-high module designed to carry two people into low Earth orbit.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning a test flight for later this year – even though it still awaits government approval and funding for a human space-flight programme. The unpiloted capsule will fly on the maiden launch of a new type of rocket that would otherwise have carried a dummy payload.

Submission + - Quebec language police target store owner's Facebook page (cfra.com)

wassomeyob writes: In Canada, the province of Quebec has their Official Language Act of 1974 (aka Bill 22) which makes French their sole official language. It has famously been used to force business owners to modify signage to give French pre-eminance over other languages. Now, the Quebec language police seem to be extending their reach to Facebook.

Eva Cooper owns Delilah in the Parc — a shop in Chelsea, Quebec near the Quebec/Ontario border. She received a letter from the language office telling her to translate everything posted on her store's Facebook page into French.

Submission + - Spy agency intercepts webcam images .. (theguardian.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Britain's surveillance agency GCHQ, with aid from the US National Security Agency, intercepted and stored the webcam images of millions of internet users not suspected of wrongdoing, secret documents reveal.

GCHQ files dating between 2008 and 2010 explicitly state that a surveillance program codenamed Optic Nerve collected still images of Yahoo webcam chats in bulk and saved them to agency databases, regardless of whether individual users were an intelligence target or not.

Submission + - The Linux Backdoor Attempt of 2003

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: Ed Felton writes about an incident, in 2003, in which someone tried to backdoor the Linux kernel. Back in 2003 Linux used a system called BitKeeper to store the master copy of the Linux source code. If a developer wanted to propose a modification to the Linux code, they would submit their proposed change, and it would go through an organized approval process to decide whether the change would be accepted into the master code. But some people didn’t like BitKeeper, so a second copy of the source code was kept so that developers could get the code via another code system called CVS. On November 5, 2003, Larry McAvoy noticed that there was a code change in the CVS copy that did not have a pointer to a record of approval. Investigation showed that the change had never been approved and, stranger yet, that this change did not appear in the primary BitKeeper repository at all. Further investigation determined that someone had apparently broken in electronically to the CVS server and inserted this change.

if ((options == (__WCLONE|__WALL)) && (current->uid = 0))
retval = -EINVAL;

A casual reading by an expert would interpret this as innocuous error-checking code to make wait4 return an error code when wait4 was called in a certain way that was forbidden by the documentation. But a really careful expert reader would notice that, near the end of the first line, it said “= 0” rather than “== 0” so the effect of this code is to give root privileges to any piece of software that called wait4 in a particular way that is supposed to be invalid. In other words it’s a classic backdoor. We don’t know who it was that made the attempt—and we probably never will. But the attempt didn’t work, because the Linux team was careful enough to notice that that this code was in the CVS repository without having gone through the normal approval process. "Could this have been an NSA attack? Maybe. But there were many others who had the skill and motivation to carry out this attack," writes Felton. "Unless somebody confesses, or a smoking-gun document turns up, we’ll never know."

Submission + - How to Grow a New Head (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: Cut most species of flatworm in half, and you end up with two flatworms. The front half will grow a new tail and, more impressively, the back half will grow a new head—complete with a fully functioning brain. But a few species of these worms mysteriously lack this ability, at least when it comes to regrowing a head. Now, three teams of researchers have not only zeroed in on the biological reason for this limitation, they've also managed to restore the worms' full regenerative abilities by manipulating a single genetic pathway, reversing a million years of evolution with a single genetic switch.

Submission + - Apple to make Bing default iPhone search engine? (businessweek.com)

recoiledsnake writes: Business Week is reporting that Apple is in talks with Microsoft to replace Google as the default search engine on its iPhone, according to two people familiar with the matter. "Apple and Google know the other is their primary enemy," says one of the people, who's familiar with Apple's thinking. "Microsoft is now a pawn in that battle." Apple is also working on ways to manage ad placement on its mobile devices, a move that would encroach on Google's ad-serving business. The person familiar with Apple's thinking says Apple has a "skunk works" looking at a search offering of its own, and believes that "if Apple does do a search deal with Microsoft, it's about buying itself time."
Role Playing (Games)

Submission + - Co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons dies at 61 (slashdot.org)

BeanBagKing writes: From Amy Forliti of the Associated Press:
Dave Arneson, one of the co-creators of the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy game and a pioneer of role-playing entertainment, died after a two-year battle with cancer, his family said Thursday. He was 61.

Arneson and Gary Gygax developed Dungeons & Dragons in 1974 using medieval characters and mythical creatures. The game known for its oddly shaped dice became a hit, particularly among teenage boys.

The full article can be found here


Submission + - Apple overtakes Microsoft in vulnerabilities count

peekay4 writes: Apple has the highest number of disclosed security vulnerabilities, according to the IBM X-Force Mid-Year Security Report.

Apple has also moved into the #3 spot of vendors affected by the highest number of public exploits, behind Microsoft and HP. The report notes that exploits which until recently only affected Windows-based systems, such as Trojan.Win32.DNSChanger, now have MacOS variants active in the wild.

According to the report, attackers are exploiting vulnerabilities within days of public disclosure. For example, the first public exploit of the QuickTime RTSP URL vulnerability was seen only two days after its public disclosure. 94% of all browser exploits occur within 24-hours of disclosure.

More on the report's conclusions from Infoworld

Submission + - The 42-light-year Doritos commercial

An anonymous reader writes: People in the UK have an opportunity to get their Doritos-sponsored message sent to 47 Ursae Majoris, which is believed to be supporting living organisms — 42 light years away from Earth. The will be using a 2000 million watts strong signal to get the commercial into space, enough to tell living organisms hundreds of light years away that there is a snack called Doritos somewhere in the universe. Well, besides the fact that this ad will also have some user-created content about life on earth, thankfully.

Submission + - SPAM: A new strategy to fight HIV and AIDS

Roland Piquepaille writes: "An international team of researchers has developed a novel strategy against HIV. They added two genes to immune cells which 'transformed them into potent weapons that destroy cells infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.' This idea of 'genetically engineering immune cells to redirect their infection-fighting ability toward killing HIV-infected cells could lead to an entirely new approach for combating AIDS.' This research looks promising, but it's only working in labs right now. But read more and please note that this is a very different story from the one you mentioned on March 1, Researchers Discover Gene That Blocks HIV."

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