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United States

Trump Will Get Power To Send Unblockable Mass Text Messages To All Americans (nymag.com) 552

President-elect Donald Trump will have access to a system which can send unblockable texts to every phone in the United States once he becomes the president. From a report on NYMag: These 90-character messages, known as Wireless Emergency Alerts (or WEAs), are part of a program put in place after Congress passed the Warning, Alert, and Response Network (WARN) Act, in 2006. WEAs allow for targeted messages to be sent to every cell phone getting a signal from certain geographically relevant cell towers (or, in a national emergency, all of them). While it'd be a true nightmare to get screeching alerts from your phone that "Loser Senate Democrats still won't confirm great man Peter Thiel to Supreme Court. Sad!", there are some checks and balances on this. While President-elect Trump hasn't shown much impulse control when it comes to his favorite mass-messaging service, Twitter, the process for issuing a WEA isn't as simple as typing out a 90-character alert from a presidential smartphone and hitting "Send." All WEAs must be issued through FEMA's Integrated Public Alert Warning System, meaning that an emergency alert from the president still has at least one layer to pass through before being issued. While FEMA is under control of the executive branch (the head of FEMA is selected by the president, and reports to the Department of Homeland Security), the agency would have a vested interest in not seeing their alert system bent toward, uh, non-emergency ends.
Android

More Than 1 Million Android Devices Rooted By Gooligan Malware (onthewire.io) 42

Reader Trailrunner7 writes: A new version of an existing piece of malware has emerged in some third-party Android app stores and researchers say it has infected more than a million devices around the world, giving the attackers full access to victims' Google accounts in the process. The malware campaign, known as Gooligan, is a variant of older malware called Ghost Push that has been found in many malicious apps. Researchers at Check Point recently discovered several dozen apps, mainly in third-party app stores, that contain the malware, which is designed to download and install other apps and generate income for the attackers through click fraud. The malware uses phantom clicks on ads to generate revenue for the attackers through pay-per-install schemes, but that's not the main concern for victims. The Gooligan malware also employs exploits that take advantage of several known vulnerabilities in older versions of Android, including Kit Kat and Lollipop to install a rootlet that is capable of stealing users' Google credentials.Although the malware has full remote access to infected devices, it doesn't appear to be stealing user data, but rather is content to go the click-fraud route. Most users are being infected through the installation of apps that appear to be legitimate but contain the Gooligan code, a familiar infection routine for mobile devices.

Submission + - New Mirai Botnet Strain Has Gone Far Beyond Deutsche Telekom (csoonline.com)

itwbennett writes: On Monday, Deutsche Telekom reported that close to a million customers experienced internet connection problems from the new Mirai strain infecting their routers. Now security firm Flashpoint is saying the problem is more widespread and could affect up to 5 million internet routers and modems across the globe, including in the U.K., Brazil, Iran and Thailand. It’s still unclear how many devices have been infected, but Flashpoint estimates that as many as five million devices are vulnerable. 'If even a fraction of these vulnerable devices were compromised, they would add considerable power to an existing botnet,' Flashpoint said in a Tuesday blog post.

Submission + - Backdoor encryption sneaks into UK law (theregister.co.uk)

Coisiche writes: Seems that all the US companies that said any encryption backdoors would undermine global competitiveness, when such a thing was recently mooted there, can now find out if they were correct or not by watching the UK. Meanwhile various TLA agencies will be wondering if it could be as easily slipped into law in their jurisdiction.
Cellphones

Feds Walk Into a Building, Demand Everyone's Fingerprints To Open Phones (dailyherald.com) 432

An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes the Daily Herald: Investigators in Lancaster, California, were granted a search warrant last May with a scope that allowed them to force anyone inside the premises at the time of search to open up their phones via fingerprint recognition, Forbes reported Sunday. The government argued that this did not violate the citizens' Fifth Amendment protection against self incrimination because no actual passcode was handed over to authorities...

"I was frankly a bit shocked," said Andrew Crocker, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, when he learned about the scope of search warrant. "As far as I know, this warrant application was unprecedented"... He also described requiring phones to be unlocked via fingerprint, which does not technically count as handing over a self-incriminating password, as a "clever end-run" around constitutional rights.

Submission + - 'Consumer Reports' for software vulnerabilities

Presto Vivace writes: Karen Epper Hoffman reporting for Government Computer News:

During a presentation at last week’s Black Hat conference in Las Vegas, computer scientists Peiter Zatko (better known as Mudge) and Sarah Zatko discussed the independent organization they are building to impartially benchmark commercial software security flaws.



“All the certifications and evaluations that come out, they’re not about security,” said Sarah Zatko, who is chief scientist for the Cyber Independent Testing Lab and a member of the Army's Order of Thor, which recognizes contributions of cybersecurity professionals.

Submission + - SpaceX releases video of full 2:30 burn of a used Falcon 9 (morningticker.com)

Peter Hudson writes: SpaceX has so far launched and landed five different Falcon 9 rocket boosters since December 2015, but has not yet reused any of them. Today SpaceX released video of a full two minute and thirty second burn on a used Falcon 9 stage. This is the first time that SpaceX has conducted a burn on a used stage for the full duration of a Falcon 9 first stage boost.

Submission + - Actor Anton Yelchin was killed in a fatal accident. (variety.com)

ChasmCoder writes: variety.com reports:

“Actor Anton Yelchin was killed in a fatal traffic collision early this morning,” said a statement from his representative. “His family requests you respect their privacy at this time.”

The LAPD said he was pinned by his own car at his Studio City home. Friends apparently became concerned when Yelchin did not show up for a band performance. They found him at his home pinned between his car and a brick mailbox pillar.

“It appears he had exited his car and was behind it when the vehicle rolled down a steep driveway,” the LAPD said in a statement.

Police reportedly told TMZ that the engine was still running when he was found, and that his car was in neutral. It’s not clear why he got out of his car with the engine running." "

Submission + - Pentagon's first bug bounty leads to new responsible disclosure policy (windowsitpro.com)

v3rgEz writes: Between April 18 and May 12, over 1,400 attackers set their sights on the Pentagon, finding 138 security holes ranging from Cross-Site Scripting attacks to SQL injections. The attacks, part of the Department of Defense's first bug bounty program, were so successful the DOD decided to invite the hackers back and make it a regular event. It's also lead the DOD to decide on setting up a "responsible disclosure" policy, which a DOD official said would allow attackers to report flaws "without fear of prosecution" in the future.

Submission + - Nest CEO Tony Fadell Steps Down After Tumultuous Two Years At Google (bloomberg.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Bloomberg reports: "Tony Fadell is stepping down as head of Nest Labs, just over two tumultuous years after selling the smart-home gadget maker to Google. Fadell will leave Nest immediately and be replaced by Marwan Fawaz, former executive vice president of Motorola Mobility where he served as CEO of Motorola Home, Nest said in a statement. Fadell will still advise Alphabet Inc. and Larry Page, the Google co-founder and chief executive officer of the holding company. Nest took longer than expected to release new products and a smoke and carbon monoxide detector was recalled due to software problems. When the company did release an updated product, the Nest Cam security camera in June 2015, Fadell admitted it had been a "grueling" year. In recent months, Nest employees complained publicly about Fadell’s management, while claiming the business had missed sales targets, botched upgrades and delayed future products." Fadell said, "I don't know of any regrets that I have. To do what we do at the level we do it, no one's done it before. So you're bound to make mistakes."

Submission + - MS declines to make a 64 bit Visual Studio (uservoice.com) 1

OhPlz writes: A request was made back in 2011 for Microsoft to provide a 64 bit version of Visual Studio to address out-of-memory issues. After sitting on the request for all that time, MS is now declining it stating that it would not be good for performance. It's amazing that with everything MS is attempting to do, their main development product is still living in the past.

Submission + - Windows 10 upgrade activates by clicking red X close button in prompt message (bbc.co.uk)

Raging Bool writes: In a move guaranteed to annoy many people, MS has "jumped the shark" on encouraging users to upgrade to Windows 10. From the article: "Microsoft has faced criticism for changing the pop-up box encouraging Windows users to upgrade to Windows 10. Clicking the red cross on the right hand corner of the pop-up box now activates the upgrade instead of closing the box."
What are they thinking of?

Submission + - TSA Replaces Security Chief as Tension Grows at Airports

HughPickens.com writes: Ron Nixon reports at the NYT that facing a backlash over long security lines and management problems, TSA administrator Peter V. Neffenger has shaken up his leadership team, replacing the agency’s top security official Kelly Hoggan and adding a new group of administrators at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. Beginning late that year, Hoggan received $90,000 in bonuses over a 13-month period, even though a leaked report from the Department of Homeland Security showed that auditors were able to get fake weapons and explosives past security screeners 95 percent of the time in 70 covert tests. Hoggan’s bonus was paid out in $10,000 increments, an arrangement that members of Congress have said was intended to disguise the payments. During a hearing of the House Oversight Committee two weeks ago, lawmakers grilled Mr. Neffenger about the bonus, which was issued before he joined the agency in July. Last week and over the weekend, hundreds of passengers, including 450 on American Airlines alone, missed flights because of waits of two or three hours in security lines, according to local news reports. Many of the passengers had to spend the night in the terminal sleeping on cots. The T.S.A. has sent 58 additional security officers and four more bomb-sniffing dog teams to O’Hare.

Several current and former TSA employees said the moves to replace Hoggan and add the new officials in Chicago, where passengers have endured hours long waits at security checkpoints, were insufficient. “The timing of this decision is too late to make a real difference for the summer,” says Andrew Rhoades, an assistant federal security director at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport who testified his supervisor accused him of “going native” after attending a meeting at a local mosque and that TSA’s alleged practice of “directed reassignments,” or unwanted job transfers were intended to punish employees who speak their minds.. “Neffenger is only doing this because the media and Congress are making him look bad.”

Submission + - Get ready for the return of 'Killjoys' and 'Dark Matter' to the SyFy Channel (blastingnews.com)

MarkWhittington writes: One of the reasons for looking forward to the summer will be the return of the Canadian-produced science fiction dramas “Killjoys” and “Dark Matter” to the SyFy Channel this July 1. Both series were fun space adventures that are filled with action and intrigue during the first seasons last year

Submission + - Microsoft Auto-Scheduling Windows 10 Updates (tomshardware.com)

Pikoro writes: Windows 10 has been with us for a little over eight months now, which means there are only about four months remaining to get a free upgrade from an older Windows operating system. As the clock counts down, Microsoft has begun to auto-schedule PCs to upgrade to Windows 10 with or without consent from end users.

Now, as we near the end of the free upgrade period, Microsoft’s malware-like upgrade system is becoming even more intrusive by autoscheduling upgrades to Windows 10. I noticed that the Windows 10 upgrade reminder pop-up on a Windows 7 PC was no longer asking me to upgrade; instead, it’s now informing me that it has already scheduled an update for May 17.

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