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Submission + - Ransomware may help a grandmother-killer escape justice ( 1

craighansen writes: This article from the Daily Beast suggests the possibility that the ransomware attack on DC police cameras may prevent the identification of the killer of 68-year-old Mrs. Vivian Marrow, who appears to have been killed by a stray bullet in when a gunman was chasing another person. At the time, DC police had 123 of 187 surveillance cameras disabled by a ransomware attack, which they were involved in countering without paying the ransom over a four-day period. Reportedly, two 50-year-old persons in Britain and Sweden have been arrested, and are out on bail, in connection with the ransomware attack, but no arrests have been made, nor suspects named, in the Morrow killing.

Submission + - ISIS using encrypted communication to remote-control attacks on the west (

schwit1 writes: The New York Times published a story by Rukmini Callimachi today which explains how ISIS handlers are using encrypted communication to remote-control attacks on western nations, including the United States. The attackers, who are often mistaken for lone wolves, have sometimes been trained and guided by ISIS handlers right up to the moment of the attack. One example: The attackers who opened fire on the Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in Garland, Texas. Remote terror planners have been behind a number of attacks that made international news and which, at first glance, appeared to be the work of lone wolves. For instance:

In Germany, a man who set off a bomb outside a concert and a teenager who assaulted train passengers with an ax were both chatting with handlers until minutes before their attacks. The teenager's handler urged him to use a car instead of an ax — “The damage would be much greater,” the handler advised — but the young man said he did not have a driving permit. “I want to enter paradise tonight,” he said, according to a transcript obtained by a German newspaper.

In northern France, a pair of attackers who had been guided by an Islamic State cybercoach slit the throat of an 85-year-old priest. The pair had not known each other, and according to the investigative file, the handler introduced them, organizing for them to meet days before the attack. Intelligence records obtained by The Times reveal that the same handler in Syria also guided a group of young women who tried to blow up a car in front of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris.

The NY Times story describe how just one ISIS planner, out of perhaps a dozen, was working with several potential attackers in Britain, Canada and America all at once:

One of the Islamic State's most influential recruiters and virtual plotters was known by the nom de guerre Abu Issa al-Amriki, and his Twitter profile instructed newcomers to contact him via the encrypted messaging app Telegram ...

Amriki was grooming attackers in Canada and Britain, as well as at least three other young men in suburbs across America, according to court records. They included a former member of the Army National Guard living in Virginia; a warehouse worker from Columbus; and Emanuel L. Lutchman, a 25-year-old in Rochester.

Amriki and his wife were killed by a U.S. airstrike last April.

Submission + - Lenovo Yoga 900 & Ideapad 710S can now install Linux (

craighansen writes: The Lenovo Yoga 900 & Ideapad 710S devices were originally released as Windows-only, lacking support for AHCI in the BIOS. After user complaints, Lenovo has released a BIOS upgrade that permits Linux installations using AHCI for storage device interfaces. Although Lenovo calls the BIOS update "Linux-Only," online forum posts indicate that Dual-Boot configurations are possible as well, by switching the Windows installation to use AHCI.

Submission + - FBI 'Granted FISA Warrant' Covering Trump Camp's Ties To Russia (

An anonymous reader writes: Contrary to earlier reporting in the New York Times, which cited FBI sources as saying that the agency did not believe that the private server in Donald Trump’s Trump Tower which was connected to a Russian bank had any nefarious purpose, the FBI’s counter-intelligence arm, sources say, re-drew an earlier FISA court request around possible financial and banking offenses related to the server. The first request, which, sources say, named Trump, was denied back in June, but the second was drawn more narrowly and was granted in October after evidence was presented of a server, possibly related to the Trump campaign, and its alleged links to two banks; SVB Bank and Russia’s Alfa Bank. While the Times story speaks of metadata, sources suggest that a FISA warrant was granted to look at the full content of emails and other related documents that may concern US persons.

The FBI agents who talked to the New York Times, and rubbished the ground-breaking stories of Slate ( Franklin Foer) and Mother Jones (David Korn) may not have known about the FISA warrant, sources say, because the counter-intelligence and criminal sides of the FBI often work independently of each other employing the principle of ‘compartmentalization’.

Comment Re:Its not the thinner fonts... (Score 1) 331

Specify font size in points, please. Those of us who've been working in typography for years all specify point size. While the definition of a point has varied with geography and time, the most common definition today is 1/72 of an inch (0.013888... in), or 3.175/9 mm (0.352777.... mm). This "DTP point" definition came to be as Warnock & Geschke of Adobe either didn't know or care that Donald Knuth was already using 1/72.27 in in Tex.

Even so, fonts are often designed to be a little bigger or smaller than the stated point size, as subtle adjustments are made for font weight and other design issues, such as running curved lines slightly beyond straight ones so that characters appear to be properly aligned to the human eye - at least they used to be until display on low-resolution CRTs and printers totally destroyed the subtle adjustments that font designers made - though greyscale fonts can somewhat repair the damage.

Comment Will banning even work? (Score 1) 77

Amazon's naive to think that banning incentive-driven reviews will make them go away. Of course they'd like to think that all vendors will transition to Vine, but more likely they'll just go underground - when they're not marked, readers can't adjust their interpretation based upon the information, nor can they be studied statistically. Vendors will also get suckered into participating in underground paid reviewing, increasing their real sales costs, and run the risk of losing the invested money when they get caught.

There's been several comments about "co-mingling" of products. I'd agree that we, and Amazon, should be concerned about that, too. Amazon could address the co-mingling issue for reviews that are connected to a purchase by identifying the vendor associated with that purchase, just as when products are lumped together, the reviews have a notation as to which of the several products are reviewed. Amazon needs to go even further, and separate the star rating average by product and vendor as appropriate. Probably, it would help identify poor vendors more quickly.

Comment Re:Don't buy these--they WERE wonderful (Score 2) 180

I'm speaking as the author of one of the top-rated reviews on Amazon for the WRT-54GL soon after it came out. My review cited the availability of open-source firmware for the device as the main reason for buying it, and its compatibility with the earlier WRT-54G v2-v4 devices that had enough available memory bringing on firmware with greater features than the design had with the stock software.

However, that review was written December 2, 2005, and more than ten years have passed. Now, if you want a low-cost router that runs open source software, I'd instead recommend the ASUS RT-N12, which is more than 30% cheaper, uses a 50% faster processor, all-black exterior, adds 802.11n at 300Mbps, and runs Tomato by Shibby firmware just fine.

Submission + - Panama Papers: data leak exposes massive official corruption

An anonymous reader writes: Truly Breaking News — A data leak, this time from legal firm Mossack Fonseca that has incorporated 300,000 entities across the world, has had a massive leak of data, exposing official corruption that will have far-reaching effects on governments around the world, including Iceland, Russia, Argentina, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Ukraine, specifically including: Mauricio Macri, president of Argentina, Bidzina Ivanishvill. ex PM of Georgia, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, PM of Iceland, Ayad H. Allawi, ex PM of Iraq, Ali Abu-Ragheb, ex PM of Jordan, Hamad Jasim J.M. Al-Thani, ex PM of Qatar, Sheik Al-Thani, Emir of Qatar, HRH Prince Salman, King of Saudi Arabia, Ahmad Al-Nirghani, ex-president of Sudan, Sultan Al-Nahyan, president of the UAE, Pavlo Lazarenko, ex-PM of Ukraine., Petro Poroshenko, president of Ukraine.:

Submission + - Financial Leaks: The Rich, The Powerfull - Not You (

the monolith writes: The week is getting off to a good start, but not for some. The German newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung, has gone public on a year-long investigation originating from an anonymous 11.5 million document, about 2.6 terabyte, windfall. It is being hailed as 'The Panama Papers', originates from a Panamanian legal company called Mossack Fonseca, involves past and present national heads of state, offshore companies, tax havens, fake share transactions, and a ski resort.

The news outlets have been lining up for a grand revelation, and there are planned TV documentaries planned over the next few days. The BBC is planning a Panorama special on the story, 7:30pm Monday 4 April, and I am sure that there will be coverage elsewhere (censorship allowing, that is).

Given the story, and the immensity of the revelation, it is only a matter of time before the movie rights and book deals will roll over the truth. In the mean time, how is your nation's reportage on this story working out for you?

Additional story links from the BBC

Comment Re:$7500 federal income tax credit (Score 2) 161

Reserving one of these cars now increases the likelihood that your car will be eligible for the $7500 tax credit. As I understand it, this credit only applies to the first 200,000 qualifying vehicles sold by a manufacturer. At last estimates, Tesla sold about 100,000 or so vehicles which leaves about 100,000 credits left.

I reserved mine last night. The deposit is fully refundable. At the very least, I think I've got a shot at getting the federal credit.

It's not a bad deal.

Note that only US sales count against the 200k limit. Based upon some knapkin-scratch computation (I got to an estimate of 175k by end of 2017), the 200k figure (assuming 50% of sales are in the US and 50% annual sales growth) seems likely to be hit about the end of 2017, which is when the Model 3 is supposed to start shipping. It's not a sure thing, as sales over the next two years may be depressed by the Model 3 announcement (as iPhone new model expectations depress sales of existing models), and Telsa has been at least a little late in first shipping of each new model. I'd estimate that if you don't get an early order of the Model 3, you're not likely to get the 7.5k bonus rebate from the US, unless Congress (hah!) sees fit to extend the program.

Comment Public Hotspot software (Score 1) 92

This kind of application desperately needs to include hotspot software that does a VPN over SSL or TLS (https security layer, relying on PKI). An ideal platform for doing this would be for email providers to add VPN for internet access alongside the SSL/TLS links they already operate for IMAP/POP3/SMTP, as it provides for some level of user authentication and traceability. There's also existing standalone VPN hotspots, but incorporating VPN into email would help make VPN ubiquitous.

Submission + - ISIS use of TrueCrypt, and origins of TrueCrypt software

craighansen writes: While previous articles have suggested that burner phones and not encryption were the primary mechanism for ISIS-linked operations in Europe, a New York Times article describes tell-tale signs of the use of TrueCrypt software by ISIS operatives. A further New Yorker article discusses the origins of TrueCrypt software in E4M software authored by Paul Le Roux, who was arrested by the DEA in 2012 and became a cooperator with the federal government for years, resulting in dropping support in 2014 for the software until a security audit completed in 2015 considered the possibilities of back doors or other security faults. Nevertheless, documents released by Edward Snowden in 2013 indicated that the NSA was having difficulty cracking TrueCrypt absent external breaks.

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