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Submission + - Obama one-time tax on $2 trillion US companies hoard overseas

mrspoonsi writes: President Barack Obama's fiscal 2016 budget would impose a one-time 14 percent tax on some $2 trillion of untaxed foreign earnings accumulated by U.S. companies abroad and use that to fund infrastructure projects, a White House official said. The money also would be used to fill a projected shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund. "This transition tax would mean that companies have to pay U.S. tax right now on the $2 trillion they already have overseas, rather than being able to delay paying any U.S. tax indefinitely," the official said. "Unlike a voluntary repatriation holiday, which the president opposes and which would lose revenue, the president’s proposed transition tax is a one-time, mandatory tax on previously untaxed foreign earnings, regardless of whether the earnings are repatriated." In the future, the budget proposes that U.S. companies pay a 19 percent tax on all of their foreign earnings as they are earned, while a tax credit would be issued for foreign taxes paid, the official said.

Submission + - Murder case may hinge on iPhone encryption.

An anonymous reader writes: According to eye witness news (http://ewn.co.za/2014/02/10/Pistorius-case-Cellphone-still-not-analysed) South African police are confidant of a conviction in the murder case of former paralympic gold medalist Oscar Pistorius. I thought Slashdot might find a twist in the pending case of interest. The police still do not have access WhatsApp messages stored on his encrypted iPhone. It is believed this information could be crucial to the case but Pistorius claims to have forgotten his Apple ID. They have contacted the FBI to assist together with Apple to unlock the device but it seems red-tape may delay the process until after the case starts.

Submission + - Microsoft Appears Resolved to Destroy the Internet in April 2014 (blogspot.com)

timwhaller writes: Security blogger Mark Gamache points out Microsoft's odd hypocrisy of shutting down botnets and policing in the internet for free, while planning to stop issuing security patches for a desktop OS that covers almost 30% of the desktops connected to the web. Will his plea to Satya Nadella be heard?

Submission + - Microsoft Tops Expectations With Record Revenue (google.com)

jones_supa writes: Microsoft soared to record revenues in Q4/2013, confounding Wall Street forecasts on the back of strong demand for Xbox consoles, Surface tablets and Internet cloud services. The US-based technology titan reported net income of $6.56 billion on revenue that hit a record high of $24.52 billion in the quarter that ended December 31. 'Our Commercial segment continues to outpace the overall market, and our Devices and Consumer segment had a great holiday quarter,' said outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer. Sales of Surface tables more than doubled from previous quarter, and Bing's share of the Internet search market grew to 18.2%, but money made from selling Windows software to computer makers slid down by 3%. Microsoft reported that cloud services to businesses and consumers posted 'strong growth'. All in all, Microsoft shares climbed more than 3% to $37.37 in after-market trades on the Nasdaq following release of the earnings figures.

Submission + - Edward Snowden Wants to Come Home (vice.com)

Daniel_Stuckey writes: In a live chat this afternoon, Edward Snowden gave the world a glimpse of the changes he hopes to see now that his bombshell leaks have the world fired up about government surveillance and digital privacy. But the text-based Q&A wasn't all about NSA spying. Snowden took the moment of publicity to call for whistleblower protection reform in the US and the chance for a fair trial. He made it clear he wants to come home.

"Returning to the US, I think, is the best resolution for the government, the public, and myself," Snowden said. "But it’s unfortunately not possible in the face of current whistleblower protection laws, which through a failure in law did not cover national security contractors like myself."

Submission + - Court Says Craigslist Sperm Donor Must Pay Child Support

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: David Stout reports at Time Magazine that what began with a Craigslist ad from a lesbian couple calling for a sperm donor in rural Topeka, Kansas ended in court on Wednesday with a judge ordering the sperm donor to pay child support. The Kansas Department for Children and Families filed the case in October 2012 seeking to have William Marotta declared the father of a child born to Jennifer Schreiner in 2009 so he can be held responsible for about $6,000 in public assistance the state provided, as well as future child support. "In this case, quite simply, the parties failed to perform to statutory requirement of the Kansas Parentage Act in not enlisting a licensed physician at some point in the artificial insemination process, and the parties' self-designation of (Marotta) as a sperm donor is insufficient to relieve (Marotta) of parental right and responsibilities to the child," wrote Judge Mattivi. Marotta opposed that action, saying he had contacted Schreiner and her partner at the time, Angela Bauer, in response to an ad they placed on Craigslist seeking a sperm donor and signed a contract waiving his parental rights and responsibilities. "We stand by that contract," says Defense attorney Swinnen adding that the Kansas statute doesn't specifically require the artificial insemination be carried out by a physician. "The insinuation is offensive, and we are responding vigorously to that. We stand by our story. There was no personal relationship whatsoever between my client and the mother, or the partner of the mother, or the child. Anything the state insinuates is vilifying my client, and I will address it."

Submission + - What's The Best Programming Language To Learn First? (itworld.com) 3

jfruh writes: Sure, your first programming language was probably BASIC on the Apple IIe or Atari 800. But what should the kids today learn? Matthew Mombrea takes a systematic look at the question, considering it in light of which languages are the most commercially useful and which lay a good foundation for learning other useful languages.

Submission + - CryptoLocker Evolves into a Worm to Spread Independently (ibtimes.co.uk)

DavidGilbert99 writes: CryptoLocker was a worrying enough piece of malware when it was a simple Trojan horse, but it has evolved into a worm, and can now easily spread under its own steam via removable drives. It means the figure of 250,000 infected PCs could soon skyrocket. Researchers believe that the differences in the new variant, discovered by Trend Micro, could mean it is the work of a copycat gang of cyber criminals and not the creators of CryptoLocker.

Submission + - Windows 8 And Windows 8.1 Pass 10% Market Share, Windows XP Falls Below 30%

An anonymous reader writes: With the release of Windows 8.1 to the world in October, Microsoft ended 2013 with two full months of availability for its latest operating system version. While Windows 8.1 is certainly growing quickly and eating into Windows 8s share, the duo has only now been able to pass 10 percent market share, while Windows 7 seems to be plowing forward unaffected. The latest market share data from Net Applications shows that Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 made steady progression in December 2013, gaining a combined 1.19 percentage points (from 9.30 percent to 10.49 percent). More specifically, Windows 8 gained 0.23 percentage points (from 6.66 percent to 6.89 percent), while Windows 8.1 jumped 0.96 percentage points (from 2.64 percent to 3.60 percent).

Submission + - Backdoor discovered in Netgear and Linkys routers, NSA? (github.com) 2

An anonymous reader writes: "Reverse engineer Eloi Vanderbeken a backdoor in the Linksys WAG200G router, that give access to the admin panel without authentication. Further research shows that these devices are made by Sercomm, meaning that Cisco, Watchguard, Belkin and various others maybe affected as well. The first NSA backdoor?"

Submission + - Why Snapchat and Its Ilk Face a Revenue Conundrum (slashdot.org)

Nerval's Lobster writes: Snapchat managed to attract a lot of buzz in 2013—perhaps more than any other app on the market—and it’s easy to see why: in these paranoid times, with the NSA allegedly sniffing around the world’s collective inbox, and lots of software on the market designed to snoop into people’s lives, it’s comforting to have an app that’ll vaporize your messages within seconds of their opening. Snapchat’s executives see the startup’s future as so bright, in fact, that they reportedly turned down a $3 billion buyout from Facebook. But whether Snapchat eventually accepts a buyout offer, or tries to parlay its popularity into some sort of IPO, it faces a rather unique problem: how do you make money off a free app that near-instantly vaporizes all content? Snapchat could emulate enterprise-centric vaporizing-message firms such as Silent Circle and start charging for subscriptions, but that would probably kill the service; a multitude of free rivals would likely spring up, with the express purpose of stealing irate customers away. More likely, Snapchat will probably launch some sort of display ad system, similar to what Facebook and Twitter have now—but given how it doesn’t store user information on its servers, it’ll probably be hard to monetize its users as extensively as those social networks. With that in mind, Snapchat might be left with two options going forward—either expand its services in a radical new (and more profitable) direction, or sell to a Tech Big Fish for a whole lot of money.

Submission + - The Mysterious Malware that Jumps Airgaps

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: Dan Goodwin writes at Ars Technica about a rootkit that seems straight out of a science-fiction thriller. According to security consultant Dragos Ruiu one day his MacBook Air, on which he had just installed a fresh copy of OS X, spontaneously updated the firmware that helps it boot. Stranger still, when Ruiu then tried to boot the machine off a CD ROM, it refused and he also found that the machine could delete data and undo configuration changes with no prompting. Next a computer running the Open BSD operating system also began to modify its settings and delete its data without explanation or prompting and further investigation showed that multiple variants of Windows and Linux were also affected. But the story gets stranger still. Ruiu began observing encrypted data packets being sent to and from an infected laptop that had no obvious network connection with—but was in close proximity to—another badBIOS-infected computer. The packets were transmitted even when the laptop had its Wi-Fi and Bluetooth cards removed. Ruiu also disconnected the machine's power cord so it ran only on battery to rule out the possibility it was receiving signals over the electrical connection. Even then, forensic tools showed the packets continued to flow over the airgapped machine. Then, when Ruiu removed internal speaker and microphone connected to the airgapped machine, the packets suddenly stopped. With the speakers and mic intact, Ruiu said, the isolated computer seemed to be using the high-frequency connection to maintain the integrity of the badBIOS infection as he worked to dismantle software components the malware relied on. It's too early to say with confidence that what Ruiu has been observing is a USB-transmitted rootkit that can burrow into a computer's lowest levels and use it as a jumping off point to infect a variety of operating systems with malware that can't be detected. It's even harder to know for sure that infected systems are using high-frequency sounds to communicate with isolated machines. But after almost two weeks of online discussion, no one has been able to rule out these troubling scenarios, either. "It looks like the state of the art in intrusion stuff is a lot more advanced than we assumed it was," says Ruiu. "The take-away from this is a lot of our forensic procedures are weak when faced with challenges like this. A lot of companies have to take a lot more care when they use forensic data if they're faced with sophisticated attackers."

Submission + - New MIT paper reveals encryption is less secure than everyone thought

rjmarvin writes: Researchers from MIT and the National University of Ireland have discovered http://sdt.bz/63006 a flaw to disprove the Shannon Theory, the 1948 standard assumption for information entropy. According to the paper, Shannon's theory of averages does not account for the improbable correlations of cryptography. Bottom line: hackers and code breakers can crack encryptions significantly faster than anyone thought. How does this affect email encryption? SIM cards? Embedded chips in credit cards? We'll see...

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