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Comment Re:Your move, Assange.... (Score 1) 441

I think everyone's missing the major loophole here. I'm not sure there even is an extradition request from the US for Assange, but even if there is one, the laws an Australian citizen can be prosecuted for regarding US secrets are dubious.

The actual extradition request that actually matters, the one the UK has agreed to, is to Sweden. Assange doesn't mention that one.

As you point out, it's not offer for a some future negotiation of a treaty. And as others have pointed out, "Clemency" somehow only meaning "pardoning" isn't Assange's escape route either. But it'd be interesting if he was extradited to the US, and then promptly extradited to Sweden.

Submission + - Online Security: Dumb WhatsApp Scam Spreads Malware - Beware

jamilnaws writes: Dumb WhatsApp Scam Spreads Malware, Touting 'Free Internet' Without Wi-Fi: Beware

A pretty dumb WhatsApp scam is making rounds in chain mail form, promising "free internet" without Wi-Fi on an invite-only basis.

First of all, the scam is quite dumb to begin with because the only way to use WhatsApp without Wi-Fi is to have a cellular data connection and WhatsApp cannot offer data — it's just an app, not a provider.

Secondly, the scam is spreading because it prompts victims to forward the message to 13 friends or five groups on WhatsApp to activate the "free internet."

How It Works

"As usual, the message spreads via WhatsApp groups or comes from a friend who 'recommends' the service — often unaware of it. In this case, you receive a special invitation with a link," explains the WeLiveSecurity blog of antivirus and security firm ESET.

"You can already get Internet Free Without WI-FI with Whatsapp, and it is by means of invitations, here I give you an invitation," reads the poorly written message.

Upon clicking on the included link, users are taken to a website mimicking the WhatsApp domain. It detects the device's language based on the browser settings and invites users to pass along the invitation to more people, ensuring that the scam keeps spreading.

The message also shows fake reviews from fake users, claiming to be incredibly satisfied with this amazing offer. Those users don't even exist, much like this "free internet" invite-only deal. Don't fall for it, or you'll get more than you bargained for — and not in a good way.

Surprise! Malware

After sharing the message with at least 13 people or five groups, users who have fallen victim to this sham end up on various sites where a number of malicious actions can wreak havoc.

According to WeLiveSecurity, such actions range from subscriptions to premium and expensive SMS services to installing third-party apps on the device, of course aiming to generate some money for the scammer on the victims' expense.

Victims will see various offers, but they obviously will not get any "free internet." The only way to use WhatsApp to communicate with people is to have an active internet connection, be it cellular data or Wi-Fi, and the scam does absolutely nothing to change this reality.

At best, victims waste their time and end up disappointed that the magical chain message didn't work. At worst, they end up with malicious software on their phones.

How To Avoid Such Scams

First of all, keep in mind that any message that shows up out of the blue, poorly written and making seemingly attractive promises are most likely fake, part of a scam. Raising awareness regarding these scams plays a crucial role in limiting their damage and slowing their spread rate.

If you've received this "free internet" offer or some other dubious message that looks like a scam, warn the sender and your friends so that they're aware it's a scam. Moreover, reporting the fraud is also important and it's not that big of a hassle — just flag it in your browser as you'd normally report any phishing campaign.

Comment Re:Shudder. (Score 1) 185

That's all fine and dandy until the day comes at MSFT stops maintaining the WSL subsystem and/or lets subtle incompatibilities creep in.

Bring it up with Microsoft? What do Windows app developers do when Wine doesn't run their application correctly?

How does it compare to offering a build linked against the Cygwin library?

Zero extra work and no need for a separate box or VM, and a Windows licence, to test the build.

Comment Re:Explore the ocean depths (Score 1) 93

I mostly agree with you, but you're leaving out the critical factor, which is the motivation for the people who stay behind on earth to develop and fund this project. The US got a return on the investment of going to the moon: USA #1 FUCK COMMIES. If we could establish a moon or mars base without breaking the bank it would be similarly useful. Commercialization of anything beyond satellites seems a long way off, but there are at least ideas in development about asteroid mining although the engineering challenges are still daunting. Everybody loves to talk about the trillions of tons of platinum in them thar asteroids, but they don't mention that minerals on earth have been concentrated by eons of geological, hydrological, and biological processes that didn't take place on a dead asteroid. There's tons of platinum! There's an atom over there and an atom over there and an atom over there...

But as far as launching an interstellar colony mission that will take 10k years (earth frame of reference), those people will have (figuratively) fallen out of the light cone of human civilization. Might as well have been swallowed by a black hole. No one will hear back from them for 20k years. No resources will ever be traded between the homeworld and the colony. There is no good PR, there is no ROI, just vast resources shot into space to be forgotten about after the next celebrity scandal knocks the launch out of the news cycle.

I imagine launching such a mission would be one of the most expensive endeavors in human history. And there is absolutely nothing in it for anyone who stays behind on earth, not even the satisfaction of "well at least somewhere else humans have survived if we all die" because everyone on earth who had any part in making the mission happen will have been dead for 10k years before the colonists arrive and 20k years before their descendents (twice as far removed from us as we are from the cavemen) could hear back.

Any attempt to fund such a mission will be met with very obvious responses: "that sounds neat, but what's in it for us? And don't we have plenty of other problems to which we could direct these resources?"

You would have to make it cheap enough that nobody cares that some nutjobs are taking off to the far corners of the galaxy on their own dime. And that ain't happening without new physics.

Comment This. (Score 1) 146

I have close knowledge of one project in which a codebase performs an action using an initial human-supplied table of data, then records the result as either a positive or negative outcome and adds that result back into the table. Then it performs another action based on the table data, records the result as a positive or negative, and adds that back into the table. Over time, of course, the table entries with the highest positive rate rise to the top and influence the actions that are chosen. It's CS101 stuff on a fairly mundane dataset.

But the codebase is hosted on Amazon and it's a marketing-led company, so they went to press with "Our innovative new artificial intelligence system uses a deep machine learning algorithm running on new exascale computing platforms to determine the best course of action to take in each case."

The engineers in the room were not happy about this. The marketing person said, "Don't sell yourself short. You developed a system that records data about what has already happened, remembers it, then makes decisions about what to do next based on what has already happened. I call that artificial intelligence."

One of the engineers shot back with, "When I was in college, we just called that 'computation.'"

Submission + - Law for Autonomous Vehicles: Supporting an Aftermarket for Driving Computers (perens.com)

Bruce Perens writes: How will we buy self-driving cars, and how will we keep them running as self-driving software and hardware becomes obsolete much more rapidly than the vehicle itself? Boalt Hall legal professor Lothar Determann and Open Source Evangelist Bruce Perens are publishing an article in the prestigious Berkeley Technology Law Journal on how the law and markets might support an aftermarket for self-driving computers, rather than having the manufacturer lock them down or sell driving as a service rather than selling cars. The preprint is available to read now, and discusses how an Open Car, based on Open Standards and an Open Market, but not necessarily Open Source, can drive prices down and quality up over non-competitive manufacturer lock-in.

Comment Re: He cheated OTHER players (Score 1) 393

If the house were doing it knowingly and willingly to cheat the player they would lose their gambling license and be subject to all kinds of criminal laws and civil lawsuits. Any casino doing that would be mind-numblingly stupid because they don't need to cheat...the games are already in their favor so they'll win in the long run and over a large customer base. Cheating an individual player would be stupid, because one of those minimum wage casino employees would rat them out and there goes the gravy train.

The difference here is intent. The house didn't intentionally choose marked cards and use them to cheat the players. They didn't know the cards had an asymmetric pattern and didn't use that fact to cheat.

Comment Re:wake me up when elon musk announces this (Score 1) 136

He's also a target of the Republican party... which I have NO idea why. I mean, aren't we supposed to celebrate entrepreneurs?

Is he? I can't recall ever hearing a Republican say anything cross about Musk. I will occasionally see libertarians roll their eyes at Musk fanboys because Musk relied so heavily on government subsidies, but that's about it. What are you talking about?

Comment Re: He cheated OTHER players (Score 1) 393

The Casino played with marked cards. He just noticed and used that to his advantage. If the house marks the cards, is it illegal to read the marks?

I think it's that gaming regulations do not allow games with marked cards to be played, regardless of who marks and who reads. So once it was determined the cards were "marked," the games themselves were void.

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