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Submission + - Is Vodafone's new broadband service a man-in-the-middle attack? (vodafone.co.uk)

Duncan J Murray writes: Vodafone's recent entry into the competitive broadband ADSL and fibre market in the UK has been met with accusations that they are partaking in a man in a middle attack by providing certificates from contentcontrol.vodafone.co.uk. bored writes "Vodafone are performing a man-in-the-middle attack... Rather than subverting a wifi router, they have a proxy server which is intercepting your encrypted data requests, making the connection to the encrypted endpoint itself and getting you to send your requests to the Vodafone proxy server...."

Vodafone broadband also seems to be falling foul noscript's Application Boundary Enforcer designed to prevent DNS rebinding attacks, requiring system ABE rules to be disabled to access https addresses.

So far vodafone have responded by suggesting a security exception is created for each occurrence, and another reply from vodafone respond "I've double checked this with our Broadband team and this is how our routers are set up, we're unable to change any settings at our end."

Though we should not attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity, is this unwittingly compromising the security of vodafone broadband users?

Submission + - Superbugs being treated with Brazilian Traditional Medicine (nature.com)

tomhath writes: A recently published study identifies the active compounds in fruits of the Brazilian Peppertree that help heal wounds while also blocking the ability of Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa to necrotize flesh. From the report:

One of the earliest written records concerning the use of S. terebinthifolia date back to 1648 when it was described by Dutch naturalist, Willem Piso, in his book Historia Naturalis Brasiliae... It is included in the Brazilian Pharmacopoeia and has served as a staple in Brazilian traditional medicine for its anti-septic and anti-inflammatory qualities in the treatment of wounds and ulcers as well as for urinary and respiratory infections. Bark extracts have demonstrated antibacterial activity against several pathogens, including S. aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Aspergillus species. Bark extracts were also found to be active against Pseudomonas aeruginosa and were effective against peritonitis when injected into the abdominal cavity of rats...

Very little is known, however, regarding the chemistry and bioactivity of the fruits, which were used traditionally as topical poultices for infected wounds and ulcers. Furthermore, while many studies have focused on growth inhibitory, anti-inflammatory, and wound-healing properties of this plant, none have examined its potential as a source of anti-virulence drugs.


Submission + - Ransomware may help a grandmother-killer escape justice (thedailybeast.com) 1

craighansen writes: This article from the Daily Beast suggests the possibility that the ransomware attack on DC police cameras may prevent the identification of the killer of 68-year-old Mrs. Vivian Marrow, who appears to have been killed by a stray bullet in when a gunman was chasing another person. At the time, DC police had 123 of 187 surveillance cameras disabled by a ransomware attack, which they were involved in countering without paying the ransom over a four-day period. Reportedly, two 50-year-old persons in Britain and Sweden have been arrested, and are out on bail, in connection with the ransomware attack, but no arrests have been made, nor suspects named, in the Morrow killing.

Submission + - Police and FAA Are Making It Impossible To Use Drones To Document Protests (vocativ.com)

schwit1 writes: Last November, an aerial drone flown by a member of the resistance camp opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline captured dramatic footage of riot police blasting crowds with water cannons as temperatures dipped below freezing, sending 17 of the camp’s occupants to the hospital with injuries and hypothermia.

The video quickly spread on social media, spurring global news coverage of the fight against the oil pipeline, which saw activists clash with police and security forces in tense standoffs last year. A few weeks later, the Army Corps of Engineers halted construction of the pipeline, which had encroached on Native American sacred lands and threatened water supplies near North Dakota’s Standing Rock reservation.

It was another example of how drones have become a crucial technology, allowing activists and journalists to document protests and hold police accountable for abuses. But as a new era of civil resistance dawns under the Trump administration, at the Standing Rock site and in anti-Trump demonstrations across the country, drone experts say police and government have made it unnecessarily difficult — sometimes impossible — for civilians to deploy drones at large protests.

Just a few days after the video from Standing Rock went viral, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) gave permission to local authorities to effectively ban all civilian drone flights in 4 mile radius above the Oceti Sakowin resistance camp and drill site. The same thing happened two years earlier, during the civil unrest in Ferguson, Missouri: Police were granted what is called a Temporary Flight Restriction, or TFR, which legally restricts airspace above a designated area to law enforcement and emergency aircraft. In Ferguson, the explicit goal was to stop news helicopters and drones from observing the Black Lives Matter protests, where cops were firing tear gas and menacing protesters with military vehicles and weapons.

Submission + - At-home brain-zapping treatment for depression may soon be mainstream (ieee.org)

the_newsbeagle writes: This isn't old-school brain zapping: It's not electroshock therapy, in which doctors flood a depressed patient's brain with some 900 milliamps of current to cause a seizure and something like a mood reset. This is tDCS (transcranial direct current stimulation), which would let psychiatrists send their depressed patients home with a brain-zapping headband that sends perhaps 2 milliamps of current through specific portions of their brains. A doctor's prescription might call for the patient to do a 20-minute stimulation session daily for a few weeks, then less frequent maintenance sessions.

While tDCS is being investigated as a treatment for all sorts of neuropsychiatric disorders, many researchers and doctors think depression may be the killer app. A South Korean company called Ybrain thinks its consumer-friendly headband for depression will be the product that makes this treatment mainstream — first in Korea, then in Europe, then in the United States and around the world.

Submission + - Scientists create auto-focusing smart glasses that adjust to wearer's eyesight (ibtimes.co.uk)

drunkdrone writes: A team of engineers has developed a pair of eyeglasses that automatically adjust focal length based on what the wearer is looking at.

The so-called adaptive eyeglasses contain special liquid lenses and sensors that make them capable of focusing on both nearby and faraway objects, without the wearer having to switch frames.

The 'smart glasses' have been developed by a team of engineers at the University of Utah and could do away with the need for bifocals entirely. And, because the lenses continually adjust to the wearer's eyesight, there's no need to continually change prescriptions as eyesight deteriorates with age: all the wearer has to do is programme in their prescription using a smartphone companion app and they're set for life.

Submission + - Nicotine shown to reduce symptoms of schizophrenia (newatlas.com)

future guy writes: New Atlas reports, "A meta-analysis of worldwide studies conducted in 2005 definitively showed what many doctors had been anecdotally noting for decades. Schizophrenia patients were much more likely to become heavy smokers than than those in the general population. In fact some studies found over 80 percent of those diagnosed with schizophrenia were smokers. There were many social and psychological hypotheses proposed to explain this strange anomaly, but none were ever sufficient.
A new study published in Nature Medicine has not only revealed how smoking can normalize the impairments in brain activity associated with schizophrenia, but unlocks an entirely new field of drug research to combat the disease."

Submission + - France to review food whitener additive, titanium dioxide, for health risks (reuters.com)

Eloking writes: The French government has ordered a review of the safety of titanium dioxide as a food additive after a scientific study released on Friday found health effects in animals that consumed the substance.

Titanium dioxide is widely used in industry as a whitener, notably for paint. It is an ingredient in some foods such as sweets and known as additive E171.

France's National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) and partners in a study on oral exposure to titanium dioxide had shown for the first time that E171 crosses the intestine wall in animals to reach other parts of the body, INRA said.

Submission + - Superbugs now Killing more Americans than Breast Cancer

randomErr writes: Antibiotic-resistant superbugs are now slaying more patients than breast cancer, according to a new statistics by the UK Sepsis Trust. The British Department of Health say about 5,000 people die each year from drug-resistant infections The UK Sepsis Trust looked at the Department of Health’s own data to produce an estimate of 12,000 killed per year by superbugs. That’s more than twice as high as the current estimate.

Submission + - Facebook's 2016 EEO-1 Diversity Report Still MIA on MLK Day

theodp writes: EEO-1 reports for 2016 were due to be submitted to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by 9-30-2016. So, it's not too surprising that Microsoft, Apple, and Google have gotten around to posting theirs to company diversity sites, albeit with footnotes urging visitors not to pay much heed to the government-mandated raw numbers and to instead trust the tech company-provided as-seen-in-How-to-Lie-With-Statistics percentages. Move-fast-and-break-things Facebook, on the other hand, is still dragging its feet on disclosing its numbers. For all its talk of making the world more open and transparent, Facebook had to be dragged kicking-and-screaming to the EEO-1 disclosure table. Last year, Facebook didn't see fit to reveal its 2015 EEO-1 report until July 2016 (and oddly did so with a no-copy-and-paste-allowed .png), with a mea culpa for its lack of improved numbers and a $15 million pledge to Mark Zuckerberg-backed Code.org to make U.S. kids more CS-savvy. To be fair to (legally) H-1B visa-dependent Facebook, its Black employees may actually make up a higher percentage of U.S.-born (vs. U.S. payroll-based) Facebook employees than 1.72%, although one doesn't imagine Facebook — or Google or Microsoft or Apple for that matter — will be using that defense and voluntarily disclosing those numbers anytime soon.

Submission + - Google Bans AdNauseam Chrome Extension, the Ad Blocker That Clicks on All Ads (bleepingcomputer.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Google has banned the AdNauseam Chrome extension from the Chrome Web Store, an add-on that became very popular with users because it automatically clicked on all ads on a page, which prevented advertisers from building profiles on the extension's users.

Google didn't provide any in-depth details about why it did so, only saying that "An extension should have a single purpose that is clear to users," but the AdNauseam team suspects the extension's purpose might have played a role in having their product banned, which they say contradicts "Google’s business model."

Nevertheless, when Google bans a Chrome extension, it also takes proactive steps that prevent users from updating or re-installing the add-on. This mechanism helps Google ban malware-laced Chrome extension, but it can inadvertently serve as a tool to blackball developers or any unwanted add-ons.

Users that want to bypass Google's ban and install the AdNauseam extension can do so by following this tutorial that shows them how to load the extension using Chrome's Developer Mode. The AdNauseam Firefox and Opera extensions remain standing, and the AdNauseam source code is available on GitHub.

Submission + - How Russia Recruited Elite Hackers for Its Cyberwar (nytimes.com)

Lasrick writes: 'For more than three years, rather than rely on military officers working out of isolated bunkers, Russian government recruiters have scouted a wide range of programmers, placing prominent ads on social media sites, offering jobs to college students and professional coders, and even speaking openly about looking in Russia’s criminal underworld for potential talent.' Important read.

Submission + - Heat-activated penile implant might restore sexual function

randomErr writes: Brian Leis, from Southern Illinois University, hoping that a heat-activated memory metal called Nitinol (NiTi) will create a better implant for men with erectile dysfunction. Nitinol is a nickel-titanium alloy which remains flaccid at body temperature but can "remember" an expanded shape and return to that shape when heated. The heat source will be a remote-control device that can be waved over the penis, using induction to heat the NiTi a few degrees above body temperature and ratcheting open the alloy prosthesis to expand the penis in length and girth. "We're hoping that, with a better device, a better patient experience, and a simpler surgery, more urologists would perform this operation, and more patients would want to try the device," Le sa

Submission + - How Social Isolation Is Killing Us (nytimes.com) 1

schwit1 writes: Social isolation is a growing epidemic — one that’s increasingly recognized as having dire physical, mental and emotional consequences. Since the 1980s, the percentage of American adults who say they’re lonely has doubled from 20 percent to 40 percent.

About one-third of Americans older than 65 now live alone, and half of those over 85 do. People in poorer health — especially those with mood disorders like anxiety and depression — are more likely to feel lonely. Those without a college education are the least likely to have someone they can talk to about important personal matters.

A wave of new research suggests social separation is bad for us. Individuals with less social connection have disrupted sleep patterns, altered immune systems, more inflammation and higher levels of stress hormones. One recent study found that isolation increases the risk of heart disease by 29 percent and stroke by 32 percent.

Another analysis that pooled data from 70 studies and 3.4 million people found that socially isolated individuals had a 30 percent higher risk of dying in the next seven years, and that this effect was largest in middle age.

Loneliness can accelerate cognitive decline in older adults, and isolated individuals are twice as likely to die prematurely as those with more robust social interactions. These effects start early: Socially isolated children have significantly poorer health 20 years later, even after controlling for other factors. All told, loneliness is as important a risk factor for early death as obesity and smoking.

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