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Submission + - Google Plans to Alter JavaScript Popups After Abuse from Tech Support Scammers (bleepingcomputer.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Chromium engineers are discussing plans to change how JavaScript popups work inside Chrome and other similar browsers. In a proposal published on the Google Developers portal, the Chromium team acknowledged that JavaScript popups are consistently used to harm users.

To combat this threat, Google engineers say they plan to make JavaScript modals, like the alert(), confirm(), and dialog() methods, only work on a per-tab basis, and not per-window. This change means that popups won't block users from switching and closing the tab, putting an end to any overly-aggresive tactics on the part of the website's owner(s).

There is no timeline on Google's decision to move JavaScript popups to a per-tab model, but Chromium engineers have been debating this issue since July 2016 as part of Project OldSpice. A similar change was made to Safari 9.1, released this week. Apple's decision came after crooks used a bug in Safari to block users on malicious pages using popups. Crooks then tried to extort payment, posing as ransomware.

Submission + - Obama allowed use of NSA data in politics (circa.com)

mi writes: Barack Obama’s top aides routinely reviewed intelligence reports gleaned from the National Security Agency’s incidental intercepts of Americans abroad, taking advantage of rules their boss relaxed starting in 2011 to help the government better fight terrorism, espionage by foreign enemies and hacking threats.

Dozens of times in 2016, those intelligence reports identified Americans who were directly intercepted talking to foreign sources or were the subject of conversations between two or more monitored foreign figures. Sometimes the Americans’ names were officially unmasked; other times they were so specifically described in the reports that their identities were readily discernible.

Some intercepted communications from November to January involved Trump transition figures or foreign figures' perceptions of the incoming president and his administration.

Submission + - Bay Area tech executives indicted for H-1B visa fraud (mercurynews.com)

s.petry writes:

FREMONT – Two Bay Area tech executives are accused of filing false visa documents through a staffing agency in a scheme to illegally bring a pool of foreign tech workers into the United States.

An indictment from a federal grand jury unsealed on Friday accuses Jayavel Murugan, Dynasoft Synergy’s chief executive officer, and a 40-year-old Santa Clara man, Syed Nawaz, of fraudulently submitting H-1B applications in an effort to illegally obtain visas, according to Brian Stretch, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of California.

The men are charged with 26 counts of visa fraud, conspiracy to commit visa fraud, use of false documents, mail fraud and aggravated identity theft, according to prosecutors. Each charge can carry penalties of between two and 20 years in prison.

While not the only problem with the H-1B Visa program, this is a start at investigating and hopefully correcting problems.

Submission + - An Unexpected New Lung Function Has Been Found - They Make Blood (sciencealert.com) 1

schwit1 writes: Researchers have discovered that the lungs play a far more complex role in mammalian bodies than we thought, with new evidence revealing that they don't just facilitate respiration — they also play a key role in blood production.

In experiments involving mice, the team found that they produce more than 10 million platelets (tiny blood cells) per hour, equating to the majority of platelets in the animals' circulation. This goes against the decades-long assumption that bone marrow produces all of our blood components.

Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco also discovered a previously unknown pool of blood stem cells that makes this happen inside the lung tissue — cells that were incorrectly assumed to mainly reside in bone marrow.

"This finding definitely suggests a more sophisticated view of the lungs — that they're not just for respiration, but also a key partner in formation of crucial aspects of the blood," says one of the researchers, Mark R. Looney.

Submission + - Microsoft Posts 'No Boys Allowed' Signs at State of RI High School CS Event 4

theodp writes: "Girls and women are half of the world's population," Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo told hundreds of high school girls gathered behind doors with signs that read "[Microsoft] DigiGirlz: No Boys Allowed". "They are half of the world’s brains, problem-solvers, leaders. This world cannot solve problems unless they are at the table. That’s why I started programs like CS4RI, partnering with Microsoft and other leaders [including Microsoft-backed Code.org] to offer computer science in every Rhode Island school." Raimondo also noted she was dismayed to learn that only 12 of Rhode Island's 42 students who took the AP Computer Science test were girls (RI has 43,000+ enrolled HS students). The best way to make girls feel welcome in K-12 CS education, some influence-wielding tech giants, politicians, and educators seem to agree, is by making boys even more unwelcome via things like gender-based federal K-12 CS education funding; girls-only learn-to-code initiatives, STEM schools and summer computer camps; and gender-weighted teacher incentive programs from Google and tech-backed Code.org (Google and the U.S. Government even sought to exclude boys from programming White House Christmas tree lights in 2014).

Comment Re:Geometry is hard, as is geography (Score 1) 320

Leave it to Boston to pretend there's an issue where none exists. Maps and different projections were being taught to us (uneducated southern folk) decades ago. Heck, there were maps using different projections in the classroom.

Going from a oblate spheroid to a two-dimensional illustration will involve distortion. Boston is just now figuring this out? It's more likely that they just found another reason to whine.

Comment Re:I'm using an Orange Pi (Score 3, Interesting) 55

There is one Raspberry Pi in my house. It just sits there being lonely. The 13 orange Pi devices, mostly Ones, are having the most fun. The most recent is streaming video and running the Octoprint frontend. The 2e is a take on the road to tinker during down time board.

There hasn't been a bit of trouble using the Armbian distro. Do keep away, or at least be cautious, of the "Official" images. They were piling heaps of dung when I first looked at the Oranges. Google will have your issues sorted out in a few searches.

Check out the comparison charts that are out there. With Raspberry, you're paying for a fancy label and gimmicky tricks. They may be a fine fit to spin a wheel for a science fair project. For me, the Oranges are much cheaper and even more capable.

Submission + - Microsoft Anti-Porn Workers Sue Over PTSD (thedailybeast.com)

An anonymous reader writes: When former Microsoft employees complained of the horrific pornography and murder films they had to watch for their jobs, the software giant told them to just take more smoke breaks, a new lawsuit alleges. Members of Microsoft’s Online Safety Team had “God-like” status, former employees Henry Soto and Greg Blauert allege in a lawsuit filed on Dec. 30. They “could literally view any customer’s communications at any time.” Specifically, they were asked to screen Microsoft users’ communications for child pornography and evidence of other crimes. But Big Brother didn’t offer a good health care plan, the Microsoft employees allege. After years of being made to watch the “most twisted” videos on the internet, employees said they suffered severe psychological distress, while the company allegedly refused to provide a specially trained therapist or to pay for therapy. The two former employees and their families are suing for damages from what they describe as permanent psychological injuries, for which they were denied worker’s compensation. “Microsoft applies industry-leading, cutting-edge technology to help detect and classify illegal images of child abuse and exploitation that are shared by users on Microsoft Services,” a Microsoft spokesperson wrote in an email. “Once verified by a specially trained employee, the company removes the image, reports it to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and bans the users who shared the images from our services. We have put in place robust wellness programs to ensure the employees who handle this material have the resources and support they need.” But the former employees allege neglect at Microsoft’s hands.

Submission + - Why You Shouldn't Trust Geek Squad (networkworld.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The Orange County Weekly reports that Best Buy's "Geek Squad" repair technicians routinely search devices brought in for repair for files that could earn them $500 reward as FBI informants. This revelation came out in a court case, United States of America v. Mark A. Rettenmaier. Rettenmaier is a prominent Orange County physician and surgeon who took his laptop to the Mission Viejo Best Buy in November 2011 after he was unable to start it. According to court records, Geek Squad technician John "Trey" Westphal found an image of "a fully nude, white prepubescent female on her hands and knees on a bed, with a brown choker-type collar around her neck." Westphal notified his boss, who was also an FBI informant, who alerted another FBI informant — as well as the FBI itself. The FBI has pretty much guaranteed the case will be thrown out by its behavior, this illegal search aside. According to Rettenmaier's defense attorney, agents conducted two additional searches of the computer without obtaining necessary warrants, lied to trick a federal magistrate judge into authorizing a search warrant for his home, then tried to cover up their misdeeds by initially hiding records. Plus, the file was found in the unallocated "trash" space, meaning it could only be retrieved by "carving" with sophisticated forensics tools. Carving (or file carving) is defined as searching for files or other kinds of objects based on content, rather than on metadata. It's used to recover old files that have been deleted or damaged. To prove child pornography, you have to prove the possessor knew what he had was indeed child porn. There has been a court case where files found on unallocated space did not constitute knowing possession because it's impossible to determine who put the file there and how, since it's not accessible to the user under normal circumstances.

Submission + - President Obama Signs Legislation Establishing Information Control Agency

stephenmac7 writes: President Obama has recently signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, which "authorizes FY2017 appropriations and sets forth policies regarding the military activities of the Department of Defense (DOD), military construction, and the national security programs of the Department of Energy (DOE)." Perhaps more notably, it establishes a new Department of State agency, the Global Engagement Center, that some claim may be the beginning of an Orwellian propaganda agency. Its task is to “understand, expose, and counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation aimed at undermining United States national security interests" and support “the development and dissemination of fact-based narratives and analysis to counter propaganda and disinformation directed at the United States and” its partners and allies. It is also authorized to gather information from intelligence agencies and financially support various groups, apparently of its own choosing, including “civil society groups, media content providers, nongovernmental organizations, federally funded research and development centers, private companies, or academic institutions.”

Submission + - Abrupt product termination consequences for Google?

managerialslime writes: I wonder how many good Google products never get adopted because IT executives (like me) are now too anxious about application abandonment?

When I was the CIO at a mid-size company, I rejected adoption of Google Voice, Google Wave, and Google Hangouts after seeing them abandon Google Desktop Search.

I reasoned that if Google could not give multi-year sunsetting like Microsoft, then they were not a partner I could rely on.

At what point will Google's advantage due to the flexibility of abrupt terminations be outweighed by resistance to adopting their products?

Hmm....

Submission + - US Intelligence report offers no direct evidence of Russian Hacking (dni.gov)

bongey writes: The declassified DNI report offers no direct evidence of Russia hacking DNC or Podesta emails. Exactly half of the report (subtract blank and TOC) 9 of 18 is just devoted to going after rt.com by claiming they have close ties to Russia and therefore a propaganda arm, trying to imply that rt.com is related to the hacking.
"Many of the key judgments in this assessment rely on a body of reporting from multiple sources that are consistent with our understanding of Russian behavior. Insights into Russian efforts—including specific cyber operations—and Russian views of key US players derive from multiple corroborating sources. Some of our judgments about Kremlin preferences and intent are drawn from the behavior of Kremlin loyal political figures, state media, and pro-Kremlin social media actors, all of whom the Kremlin either directly uses to convey messages or who are answerable to the Kremlin"

Submission + - The other Russian cyberattack that never happened (muckrock.com)

v3rgEz writes: Earlier this week, the Washington Post made headlines of its own for reporting that “intelligence sources” were saying Russia had hacked into the U.S. power grid, which is a thing that did not happen. In fact, this wasn't even the first time it hadn't happened — just five years ago, a Senate report tore into Homeland Security for making the same claims with even less evidence. Will legislators ever learn?

Submission + - What Hack? Burlington Electric Speaks Out (threatpost.com)

msm1267 writes: Burlington Electric Department general manager Neale Lunderville explains how his Vermont electric distribution utility was dragged into the center of a potential geopolitical nightmare shortly before the start of the New Year weekend.

Lunderville recaps the three days that thrust Burlington Electric into the national spotlight after the Washington Post wrongly reported that the utility was penetrated by Russian hackers.

Those reports came on the heels of a DHS alert on Grizzly Steppe, activities by two Russian APT groups alleged to have hacked the DNC. Lunderville also covers how benign indicators of compromise shared by DHS played a role in a long, disruptive weekend for his organization.

Submission + - WikiLeaks: 2017 will 'blow you away' and, no, Russia didn't hack the US election (betanews.com)

Mark Wilson writes: The hatred WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange feels towards Hillary Clinton is far from being a secret. During the election campaign, the non-profit organization leaked Clinton emails in the hope that it would destroy her presidential hopes — and we all know the result of the election.

As we slide gently into 2017, the WikiLeaks Twitter account has turned on the ignition and is about to hit the accelerator. The tweet says: "If you thought 2016 was a big WikiLeaks year 2017 will blow you away". On top of this, Assange himself is due to appear in an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity, denying Russia's involvement in hacking DNC emails.

WikiLeak's tweet comes as part of a plea for donations, but it promises that this will be the year of a 'showdown'.

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