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Submission + - US ISP Goes Down as Two Malware Families Go to War Over Its Modems (bleepingcomputer.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Two malware families battling for turf are most likely the cause of an outage suffered by Californian ISP Sierra Tel at the beginning of the month, on April 10. The attack, which the company claimed it was a "malicious hacking event," was the work of BrickerBot, an IoT malware family that bricks unsecured IoT and networking devices.

"BrickerBot was active on the Sierra Tel network at the time their customers reported issues," Janit0r told Bleeping Computer in an email, "but their modems had also just been mass-infected with malware, so it's possible some of the network problems were caused by this concomitant activity."

The crook, going by Janit0r, tried to pin some of the blame on Mirai, but all the clues point to BrickerBot, as Sierra Tel had to replace bricked modems altogether, or ask customers to bring in their modems at their offices to have it reset and reinstalled. Mirai brought down over 900,000 Deutsche Telekom modems last year, but that outage was fixed within hours with a firmware update. All the Sierra Tel modems bricked in this incident were Zyxel HN-51 models, and it took Sierra Tel almost two weeks to fix all bricked devices.

Submission + - Why Did Google Really Block A Guerrilla Fighter In The Ad War? (fastcompany.com)

tedlistens writes: Google's decision to ban the Chrome plug-in AdNauseum due to a violation of its "single purpose policy"—shortly after the app began supporting the EFF's new Do Not Track standard—was only the latest salvo in an ongoing war over online advertising. The ad industry knows that ads are a nuisance, and it's now taking pre-emptive measures to make them more palatable—or, in Google's case, to block the unpalatable ones. But Google's positions also point to a crucial disagreement at the heart of the ad war: What makes ads such a nuisance to begin with?

Ads aren't just ugly, annoying, and bandwidth-sucking: They pose a risk to privacy, as the networks of software behind ads—cookies, trackers, and malware—watch not only where you go on the web but, through your phone and your purchases, what you do in real life. But privacy is largely missing from Google's discussion of problematic ads, says Howe. By avoiding mentioning AdNauseum's actual intent, Google's explanation for banning it echoes the advertising industry's discussion of web ads, which focuses on aesthetics rather than privacy.

Submission + - Windows 95 and 98 still power Pentagon's critical systems

SmartAboutThings writes: The Pentagon is set to complete its Windows 10 transition by the end of this year, but nearly 75% of its control system devices still run Windows XP or other older versions, including Windows 95 and 98. A Pentagon official now wants the bug bounty program of the top U.S. defense agency expanded to scan for vulnerabilities in its critical infrastructure.

Submission + - Computer pioneer Harry Huskey dies aged 101 (bbc.co.uk)

Big Hairy Ian writes: Engineer Harry Huskey, who helped build many of the first ever computers, has died aged 101.
Dr Huskey was a key member of the team that built the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (Eniac) which first ran in February 1946.
Eniac is widely considered to be one of the first electronic, general purpose, programmable computers.
Dr Huskey also helped complete work on the Ace — the Automatic Computing Engine — designed by Alan Turing.

Comment Re:It has its uses (Score 2) 405

And spaghetti inheritance is especially prevalent in some solutions where there's an unnecessary amount of interfaces declared - so that everything is just declared and accessed through badly documented interface items so you can't figure out how to create new objects when you need them.

Don't get me wrong - interface declarations are good too, but they have to be documented so others can understand how the objects they carry are constructed. The overall system design strategy is also something that has to be well thought out. Too much work put into abstracting away the physical world can create a system that's hard to maintain too. Layers upon layers hiding how stuff really works means that nobody will be able to understand it after a while.

Comment Re:It has its uses (Score 4, Insightful) 405

Strong typing with static declarations may seem to be cumbersome to many but the good thing with the strong static typing is that you get slapped already when compiling and not late during execution when an obscure obnoxious condition is fulfilled. Of course unit testing should capture even obscure obnoxious conditions but since not every test is updated when the code is updated then it's easy to miss.

However sometimes lambdas are also useful - but they shall be used with care. There's no golden solution that can capture everything, instead different parts of an application shall be implemented in different ways to get the most effective solution. It will of course mean that developers have to know more than one programming language and paradigm.

Submission + - A battery made of molten metals (mit.edu) 2

Z00L00K writes: This story came out a while ago, but didn't seem to surface:

A novel rechargeable battery developed at MIT could one day play a critical role in the massive expansion of solar generation needed to mitigate climate change by midcentury. Designed to store energy on the electric grid, the high-capacity battery consists of molten metals that naturally separate to form two electrodes in layers on either side of the molten salt electrolyte between them. Tests with cells made of low-cost, Earth-abundant materials confirm that the liquid battery operates efficiently without losing significant capacity or mechanically degrading — common problems in today’s batteries with solid electrodes. The MIT researchers have already demonstrated a simple, low-cost process for manufacturing prototypes of their battery, and future plans call for field tests on small-scale power grids that include intermittent generating sources such as solar and wind.


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