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Submission + - Hacking Group Is "Charging" German Companies €250 for "DDoS Tests" (bleepingcomputer.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A group calling itself XMR Squad has spent all last week launching DDoS attacks against German businesses and then contacting the same companies to inform them they had to pay €250 ($275) for "testing their DDoS protection systems." Attacks were reported against DHL, Hermes, AldiTalk, Freenet, Snipes.com, the State Bureau of Investigation Lower Saxony, and the website of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The attack against DHL Germany was particularly effective as it shut down the company's business customer portal and all APIs, prompting eBay Germany to issue an alert regarding possible issues with packages sent via DHL.

While the group advertised on Twitter that their location was in Russia, a German reporter who spoke with the group via telephone said "the caller had a slight accent, but spoke perfect German." Following the attention they got in Germany after the attacks, the group had its website and Twitter account taken down. Many mocked the group for failing to extract any payments from their targets.

DDoS extortionists have been particularly active in Germany, among any other countries. Previously, groups named Stealth Ravens and Kadyrovtsy have also extorted German companies, using the same tactics perfected by groups like DD4BC and Armada Collective.

Submission + - Details on what Juno drivers are getting out of the Gett acquisition

BradyDale writes: It's been widely reported that Gett has acquired fellow rideshare upstart Juno. Juno promised it would dominate the industry by being super nice to drivers. Less than a year later, its founders are taking $200M and running. This story is the first to offer some details on how much money drivers are getting out of the restricted share units that they earned by driving.

Submission + - Popular belief that saturated fat clogs up arteries is a myth, experts say (independent.ie)

schwit1 writes: The authors, led by Dr Aseem Malhotra, from Lister Hospital, Stevenage, wrote: “Despite popular belief among doctors and the public, the conceptual model of dietary saturated fat clogging a pipe is just plain wrong.”

Dr Malhotra and colleagues Professor Rita Redberg, from the University of California at San Francisco, and Pascal Meier from University Hospital Geneva in Switzerland and University College London, cited a “landmark” review of evidence that appeared to exonerate saturated fat.
They said relative levels of “good” cholesterol, or high density lipoprotein (HDL), were a better predictor of heart disease risk than levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL), also known as “bad” cholesterol.

High consumption of foods rich in saturated fat such as butter, cakes and fatty meat has been shown to increase blood levels of LDL.
The experts wrote: “It is time to shift the public health message in the prevention and treatment of coronary artery disease away from measuring serum lipids (blood fats) and reducing dietary saturated fat.

“Coronary artery disease is a chronic inflammatory disease and it can be reduced effectively by walking 22 minutes a day and eating real food.”

Submission + - Pirate Site Blockades Violate Free Speech, Mexico's Supreme Court Rules (torrentfreak.com)

happyfeet2000 writes: Broad pirate sites blockades are disproportional, Mexico's Supreme Court of Justice has ruled. The Government can't order ISPs to block websites that link to copyright-infringing material because that would also restrict access to legitimate content and violate the public's freedom of expression. The ruling is a win for local ISP Alestra, which successfully protested the Government's blocking efforts.

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 + - Are accurate software development time predictions a myth? (medium.com)

DuroSoft writes: For myself and the vast majority of people I have talked to, this is the case. Any attempts we make to estimate the amount of time software development tasks will take inevitably end in folly. Do you find you can make accurate estimates, or is it really the case, as the author suggests, that "writing and maintaining code can be seen as a fundamentally chaotic activity, subject to sudden, unpredictable gotchas that take up an inordinate amount of time" and that therefore attempting to make predictions in the first place is itself a waste of our valuable time?

Submission + - Murdered woman's Fitbit nails cheating husband

BarbaraHudson writes: A murdered woman's Fitbit data shows she was still alive an hour after her husband claims she was murdered and he was tied up, contradicting her husband's description of events.

Richard Dabate, 40, was charged this month with felony murder, tampering with physical evidence and making false statements following his wife Connie's December 2015 death at their home in Ellington, Tolland County.

Dabate called 911 reporting that his wife was the victim of a home invasion, alleging that she was shot dead by a "tall, obese man" with a deep voice like actor Vin Diesel's, sporting "camouflage and a mask," according to an arrest warrant.

Dabate alleged her death took place more than an hour before her Fitbit-tracked movements revealed.

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 + - Gene silencing may treat two fatal neurological disorders

An anonymous reader writes: In studies of mice, scientists discovered a drug, designed to silence a gene called ataxin 2, may be effective at treating ALS and SCA2.NIH/NINDS
In two studies of mice, researchers showed that a drug, engineered to combat the gene that causes spinocerebellar ataxia type 2 (SCA2), might also be used to treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Both studies were published in the journal Nature with funding from National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health.

“Our results provide hope that we may one day be able to treat these devastating disorders,” said Stefan M. Pulst, M.D., Dr. Med., University of Utah, professor and chair of neurology and a senior author of one the studies. In 1996, Dr. Pulst and other researchers discovered that mutations in the ataxin 2 gene cause spinocerebellar ataxia type 2, a fatal inherited disorder that primarily damages a part of the brain called the cerebellum, causing patients to have problems with balance, coordination, walking and eye movements.
Read the full story here:
http://healthwithfitness.org/g...

Submission + - School-Issued Devices and Student Privacy

Presto Vivace writes: Spying on Students: School-Issued Devices and Student Privacy

Student laptops and educational services are often available for a steeply reduced price, and are sometimes even free. However, they come with real costs and unresolved ethical questions.4 Throughout EFF’s investigation over the past two years, we have found that educational technology services often collect far more information on kids than is necessary and store this information indefinitely. This privacy-implicating information goes beyond personally identifying information (PII) like name and date of birth, and can include browsing history, search terms, location data, contact lists, and behavioral information. Some programs upload this student data to the cloud automatically and by default. All of this often happens 'families.

Don't we have laws prohibiting the electronic stalking of children?

Submission + - The Myth of A Superhuman AI (backchannel.com) 1

mirandakatz writes: One of the most common questions about the future of artificial intelligence goes something like this: "I’ve heard that in the future computerized AIs will become so much smarter than us that they will take all our jobs and resources, and humans will go extinct. Is this true?" But the assumption that AI will render humans obsolete is serious hyperbole. As Kevin Kelly writes at Backchannel, "buried in this scenario of a takeover of superhuman artificial intelligence are five assumptions which, when examined closely, are not based on any evidence...If the expectation of a superhuman AI takeover is built on five key assumptions that have no basis in evidence, then this idea is more akin to a religious belief—a myth." Don't miss the full, impeccably argued debunking of this pervasive myth.

Submission + - Galveston Capital Tourism and Marketing Texas - Cruise destinations that depart (chron.com)

stewartrob70 writes: Not too surprisingly, the cruise industry has been a boon to the Port of Galveston.

Between Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean Cruises, Galveston offers people from all over the region numerous opportunities to explore a slate of tropical ports on three to 14-day tours.

In its first quarter of 2017, Carnival is showing strong growth.

WHAT NYT GOT RIGHT AND WRONG: The New York Times highlights some of Galveston's best restaurants and attractions

"We are off to a good start delivering another quarter of operational improvement on top of a very strong first quarter last year," Carnival Corporation & plc President and Chief Executive Officer Arnold Donald said in a statement. "Our performance was driven by increased demand, particularly for our core Caribbean itineraries, leading to higher year-over-year ticket prices which enabled us to overcome the significant negative impact of both fuel and currency to exceed the high end of our guidance range."

That might be why the company expanded its destinations to include the Panama Canal. It's part of a 14-day voyage on the line's "Carnival Freedom," and it only launches once a year.

"We get quite a few inquiries each month about Panama Canal cruises from Galveston," Dru Walters, Cruise Agent at GalvestonCruises.com said. "When Carnival announced new itineraries with the canal, we held a small block of cabins because we knew they would go fast."

The historic waterway was built from 1903 through 1914 as a way of traveling from the Atlantic to the Pacific coasts without having to circumnavigate South America.

GO DIRECT: Non-stop flights from Houston for summer travel 2017

This year's trip to the Panama Canal in Colon, Panama will embark Oct. 28 and will include stops in Aruba and Bonaire. Seating is very limited, and reservations can be made at 409-763-8678.

As for Royal Caribbean, it's now offering four and six-night cruises to Havana, Cuba. Although these only depart from Miami. Here's hoping they add a route from Galveston sometime soon.

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