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Submission + - Inside the Tech Support Scam Ecosystem

Trailrunner7 writes: A team of three doctoral students, looking for insights into the inner workings of tech support scams, spent eight months collecting data on and studying the tactics and infrastructure of the scammers, using a purpose-built tool. What they uncovered is a complex, technically sophisticated ecosystem supported by malvertising and victimizing people around the world.

The study is the first analysis of its kind on tech support scams, and it’s the work of three PhD candidates at Stony Brook University. The team built a custom tool called RoboVic that performed a “systematic analysis of technical support scam pages: identified their techniques, abused infrastructure, and campaigns”. The tool includes a man-in-the-middle proxy that catalogs requests and responses and also will click on pop-up ads, which are key to many tech-support scams.

In their study, the researchers found that the source for many of these scams were “malvertisements”, advertisements on legitimate websites, particularly using ad-based URL shorteners, that advertised for malicious scams. This gives the scammers an opportunity to strike on what would seem like a relatively safe page. Although victims of these scams can be anywhere, the researchers found that 85.4 percentof the IP addresses in these scams were located across different regions of India, with 9.7 percentlocated in the United States and 4.9 percent in Costa Rica. Scammers typically asked users for an average of $291, with prices ranging from $70 to $1,000.

Submission + - Slashdot ads compromised (

An anonymous reader writes: The Slashdot ad network is potentially spreading malware through malicious redirects as part of what's at the very least a phishing campaign and at worst a drive-by malware delivery network.

This was reproduced on a fresh, fully patched device.

Submission + - xkcd Creator Randall Munroe Nominated for Hugo (

ewhac writes: "Easter Sunday saw the release of the nominations for the 2011 Hugo Awards. Among the many distinguished names was Randall Munroe, creator of xkcd, nominated for the 2011 award for Best Fan Artist. The 2011 Hugos will be presented at WorldCon 2011 in Reno in August this year. (Be sure to fill out and return your ballot!)"

Submission + - Youtube Censors Scientology Critic

epiphani writes: "On Sunday, outspoken Scientology critic Mark Bunker posted a teaser of an interview with actor Jason Behge on Youtube — and announced that the full interview would be posted today. The actor had recently left Scientology after 12 years in the organization, and wanted to tell his story to as many people as possible. This afternoon, Youtube suspended Mark Bunkers' account with no notification or explanation. The teaser trailer, mirrored here (NSFW language), had been viewed nearly 600,000 times in the four days since its release. This is the second time in less than a week that a major Scientology critic has had their account suspended — the first being Tory Christman. See a video from Mark Bunker stating his situation here."
User Journal

Journal Journal: 1nm transistors on graphene

Well, it now appears the University of Manchester in England has built 1nm transistors on graphene. The article is short on details, but it appears to be a ring of carbon atoms surrounding a quantum dot, where the quantum dot is not used for quantum computing or quantum states but rather for regulating the electrical properties. This is still a long way
The Courts

Submission + - Court Finds Part of Copyright Act Unconstitutional (

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes: "A US District Court in the Southern District of California has found the Copyright Remedy Clarification Act to be unconstitutional. That act is what removes the sovereign immunity for infringement that state workers have in their official capacity, something many argued would jeopardize universities with liability for faculty infringement, not to mention other state agencies. In a rather dense legal ruling (PDF), the Court found that the Clarification Act was not a valid exercise of congressional power under the 14th Amendment. For those of you who have absolutely no idea what I just said, I recommend either being glad that a small piece of copyright law may soon bite the dust, or hoping that NYCL will explain this better."

Submission + - Things not looking for the BBC's iPlayer (

An anonymous reader writes: The future of iPlayer, the BBC's new online on-demand system for delivering content is continuing to look bleaker. With ISPs threatening to throttle the content delivered through the BBC's iPlayer, consumers petitioning the UK government and the BBC to drop the DRM and Microsoft-only technology, and threatened legal action from the OSC, the last thing the BBC wanted today was street protests at their office and at the BBC Media Complex accompanied by a report issued by DefectiveByDesign about their association with Microsoft.

Submission + - What window manager do you use/prefer?

davidork writes: I Know this is probably going to start a flame war, but out of curiosity, I'm wondering, for all the linux users in the land of slashdot: What window manager do you use?

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