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Submission + - Mozilla Releases The Internet Health Report, An Open-Source Document

Krystalo writes: Fresh off its brand redesign, Mozilla has released The Internet Health Report, an open-source initiative to document the state of the internet, combining research and reporting from multiple sources. The report, which will be improved and expanded throughout the year, covers five key topics: decentralization, digital inclusion, open innovation, privacy and security, and web literacy.

Submission + - FBI never examined hacked DNC servers (buzzfeed.com) 2

schwit1 writes: “According to one intelligence official who spoke to the publication, no U.S. intelligence agency has performed its own forensics analysis on the hacked servers. Instead, the official said, the bureau and other agencies have relied on analysis done by the third-party security firm CrowdStrike, which investigated the breach for the DNC.”

Submission + - One Text Can Disable iOS Messages Forever

randomErr writes: A new exploit has been found that will permanently disable the Messages app on iOS. The exploit discover by hacker vincedes3 who used a ridiculously complex vCard in a message. While the average vCard contains about 200-300 lines the offending vCard contains 14,281 lines of code. When the vCard is opened the large amount of data overloads the Messages app which makes it shut down. When you restart Messages it tried to read the first new message which still contains the same vCard data and shuts it down. There a fix to make Siri generate a new message that pushes the bad message out of the starting position. Current iOS version 8-10 and possibly some versions of Android are affected by this bug.

Submission + - Satellite spots massive object hidden under the frozen wastes of Antarctica (thesun.co.uk) 5

schwit1 writes: SCIENTISTS believe a massive object which could change our understanding of history is hidden beneath the Antarctic ice.

The huge and mysterious “anomaly” is thought to be lurking beneath the frozen wastes of an area called Wilkes Land. It stretches for a distance of 151 miles across and has a maximum depth of about 848 metres. This “Wilkes Land gravity anomaly” was first uncovered in 2006, when NASA satellites spotted gravitational changes which indicated the presence of a huge object sitting in the middle of a 300 mile wide impact crater.

Submission + - Voice Is the Next Big Platform, and Alexa Will Own It (backchannel.com) 1

mirandakatz writes: In 2017, voice-controlled products like Alexa are going to start going mainstream: more people will be purchasing devices like Echos, and the tech that controls them is only getting better. It's predicted that by the following year, more than 30% of our interactions with technology will happen in conversations with machines. At Backchannel, Jessi Hempel argues that "the Alexa-enabled Echo is a true unicorn, one of those rare products that arrives every few years and fundamentally changes the way we live...but if Amazon’s lead is secure in 2017, it shouldn’t count its competitors out for the future."

Submission + - Starting next year, Evernote employees could access your unencrypted notes (betanews.com)

Mark Wilson writes: Evernote has published an update to its Privacy Policy, revealing that as of 23 January 2017, employees will be able to access unencrypted notes. The change is being wheeled in because of the apparent failings of machine learning.

Perhaps more worrying is the fact that Evernote says that it is not possible to opt out of having employees possibly accessing your unencrypted notes. The only way to fully protect your privacy is to delete all your notes and close your Evernote account.

Submission + - Bad Neighborhoods Theory Applies to Bots, Also (securityledger.com)

chicksdaddy writes: It turns out that the “bad neighborhoods” theory (http://ns.umich.edu/new/releases/8588) applies to computers, as well as people.

Researchers from the firm Recorded Future said that the company has developed what it described as a “support vector machine” model to analyze contextual open source intelligence (OSINT) data on malicious online behavior. (https://www.recordedfuture.com/artificial-intelligence-cyber-defense/) That is cross referenced to “CIDR neighborhoods” – blocks of Internet addresses identified using Classless Internet Domain Routing. The AI's output is a predictive risk score for specific IP addresses that are likely to turn to crime.

So far the results are promising. In one case, Recorded Future tagged an IP address as likely to be used in an attack a full 10 days before it actually was. In an analysis of 500 previously unseen IPs with a predictive risk scores that suggested they would become malicious, 25% turned up on independent, open source lists of malicious IP addresses within 7 days, the company said. By comparison, just %.02 percent of the entire population of global (IPV4) IP addresses are marked as malicious at any time, the company said.

As for why, the explanation that Recorded Future gives sounds similar to the findings of sociological and psychologic research on the effects of bad neighborhoods. The notion there is that “bad neighborhoods” – characterized by crime, poverty and a scarcity of good role models and economic opportunities – can affect the cognitive development of children and even of the children of those children.(https://psmag.com/growing-up-poor-has-effects-on-your-children-even-if-you-escape-poverty-df11e668378a#.a27begtv0)

In the case of Internet connected systems that are destined to ‘go bad,’ the issue is proximity to computers that are involved in malicious activity, Staffan Truve, CTO, Recorded Future told The Security Ledger.(https://securityledger.com/2016/12/bad-neighborhoods-predict-which-computers-turn-to-crime-also/)

Hackers and botnet operators are rational, economic beings, he observes. That means that they will eventually use infrastructure that they rent for a purpose (like virtual systems in a data center that might be rented out for use in a denial of service attack). By analyzing the “closeness” of IPV4 addresses, Recorded Future found a predictor of future malicious activity. Proximity to one of those bad apples makes it more likely that you’re a bad apple, also – or soon will be, he said. “There’s an underlying logic, which is that the neighborhood (the system) is in will be the core part of whether it becomes malicious, but also how your neighbors are talked about.”

Submission + - Pebble Is No More After Fitbit Buys Smartwatch Assets

Mickeycaskill writes: Pebble will no longer support or make smartwatches, ending its bid to become an independent challenger to Apple, Samsung and others.

The original Pebble watch was funded on Kickstarter and other devices had been added to the range over the years. However the journey is at an end.

Fitbit's acquisition does not include the products Pebble has, mostly variants of its smartwatch, but rather adds assets that aim to help fitness wearable specialist Fitbit better establish a platform from which other fitness and health related products and services can be built upon.

“The additional resources will facilitate the faster delivery of new products, features and functionality while introducing speed and efficiencies to develop the general purpose utility consumers value in a connected device,” Fitbit said.

Pebble on the other hand will case creating its smartwatches and will cease to operate as an independent entity.

Submission + - ESPN Loses Another 555,000 Subscribers Per Nielsen (outkickthecoverage.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Last month ESPN lost 621,000 subscribers according to Nielsen media estimates, which was the worst month in the company's history. This month things weren't much better — ESPN lost another 555,000 subscribers according to Nielsen media estimates, meaning that the worst month in the history of ESPN has now been followed up by the second worst month in ESPN history. ESPN has now lost a jawdropping 1.176 million subscribers in the past two months.

Putting that into perspective, that means nearly 20,000 people a day are leaving ESPN for each of the past two months. If that annual average subscriber loss continued, ESPN would lose over seven million subscribers in the next 12 months. And at an absolute minimum, these 1.176 million lost subscribers in the past two months will lead to a yearly loss in revenue of over $100 million. According to Nielsen ESPN now has 88.4 million cable and satellite subscribers, a precipitous decline from well over 100 million subscribers just a few years ago.

Submission + - Matt Taibbi: 'Washington Post' 'Blacklist' Story Is Shameful and Disgusting (rollingstone.com)

MyFirstNameIsPaul writes: From the article:

Most high school papers wouldn't touch sources like these. But in November 2016, both the president-elect of the United States and the Washington Post are equally at ease with this sort of sourcing.

Even worse, the Post apparently never contacted any of the outlets on the "list" before they ran their story. Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism says she was never contacted. Chris Hedges of Truthdig, who was part of a group that won the Pulitzer Prize for The New York Times once upon a time, said the same. "We were named," he tells me. "I was not contacted."

Hedges says the Post piece was an "updated form of Red-Baiting."

"This attack signals an open war on the independent press," he says. "Those who do not spew the official line will be increasingly demonized in corporate echo chambers such as the Post or CNN as useful idiots or fifth columnists."


Submission + - The IRS Just Declared War on Bitcoin Privacy (fee.org)

SonicSpike writes: The Internal Revenue Service has filed a “John Doe” summons seeking to require U.S. Bitcoin exchange Coinbase to turn over records about every transaction of every user from 2013 to 2015.

That demand is shocking in sweep, and it includes: “complete user profile, history of changes to user profile from account inception, complete user preferences, complete user security settings and history (including confirmed devices and account activity), complete user payment methods, and any other information related to the funding sources for the account/wallet/vault, regardless of date.” And every single transaction.

The demand is not limited to owners of large amounts of Bitcoin or to those who have transacted in large amounts. Everything about everyone.

Equally shocking is the weak foundation for making this demand. In a declaration submitted to the court, an IRS agent recounts having learned of tax evasion on the part of one Bitcoin user and two companies. On this basis, he and the IRS claim “a reasonable basis for believing” that all U.S. Coinbase users “may fail or may have failed to comply” with the internal revenue laws.

The IRS’s effort to strip away the privacy of all Coinbase users is more broad than the government’s effort in recent cases dealing with cell site location information. In the CSLI cases, the government has sought data about particular suspects, using a standard below the probable cause standard required by the Fourth Amendment (“specific and articulable facts showing that there are reasonable grounds to believe”).

Submission + - Facebook fake-news writer: "Donald Trump is in the White House because of me" (washingtonpost.com) 1

JoeyRox writes: "Paul Horner, the 38-year-old impresario of a Facebook fake-news empire, has made his living off viral news hoaxes for several years. He has twice convinced the Internet that he’s British graffiti artist Banksy; he also published the very viral, very fake news of a Yelp vs. “South Park” lawsuit last year. But in recent months, Horner has found the fake-news ecosystem growing more crowded, more political and vastly more influential: In March, Donald Trump’s son Eric and his then-campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, even tweeted links to one of Horner’s faux-articles. His stories have also appeared as news on Google."

Submission + - OAuth 2.0 Flaw Exposes 1 Billion Mobile Apps to Takeover (threatpost.com)

msm1267 writes: Third-party applications that allow single sign-on via Facebook and Google and support the OAuth 2.0 protocol, are exposed to account hijacking.

Three Chinese University of Hong Kong researchers presented at Black Hat EU last week a paper called “Signing into One Billion Mobile LApp Accounts Effortlessly with OAuth 2.0.” The paper describes an attack that takes advantage of poor OAuth 2.0 implementations and puts more than one billion apps in jeopardy.

The researchers examined 600 top U.S. and Chinese mobile apps that use OAuth 2.0 APIs from Facebook, Google and Sina—which operates Weibo in China—and support SSO for third-party apps. The researchers found that 41.2 percent of the apps they tested were vulnerable to their attack, including popular dating, travel, shopping, hotel booking, finance, chat, music and news apps. None of the apps were named in the paper, but some have been downloaded hundreds of millions of times and can be exploited for anything from free phone calls to fraudulent purchases.

Submission + - The sorry state of science the last time the Cubs won the World Series (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: In 1908, the last time the Chicago Cubs won the World Series, humans were far from ignorant. People already crossed continents and oceans on trains and ships, and they sent and received messages over vast distances using the telegraph. Yet, scientifically, people had only begun to systematically decipher nature's mysteries. Indeed, a quick look at the state of the sciences shows how shockingly far humans have comes since the Cubs last won baseball's championship. Astronomers knew of only one galaxy (our own), DNA was unknown, and the terms "big bang", "black hole", and "antimatter" had not been invented. Science has the full list of what we did--and didn't--know 100 years ago.

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