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Security

Submission + - Iran confirms cyberattacks against oil facilities (computerworld.com)

CWmike writes: "Iran's oil ministry confirmed Monday that it was the target of malware attacks over the weekend, adding to reports by state-run media that the country's oil industry was hit by hackers. The Mehr News Agency, which is a semi-official arm of the Iranian government, reported Monday that the country's principal oil terminal on Kharg Island was disconnected from the Internet as part of the response to the attacks. Email systems associated with the targets were also pulled offline. Kharg Island, which is in the Persian Gulf off the western coast of Iran, handles the bulk of the country's oil exports. A spokesman for the Ministry of Petroleum acknowledged the attacks, but said that critical servers at the reported targets — the ministry, Iran's national oil company and Kharg Island — were not affected because they are isolated from the Internet. The ministry spokesman also said that the malware, which he did not identify, resulted in the theft of some user information from websites and some minor damage to data stored on the web servers. According to the ministry, no data was actually lost because backups were available. Later Monday, Mehr reported that the attacks had prompted authorities to create a crisis management committee to counter the threats."
Education

Submission + - University of Florida eliminating Computer Science research, department (huffingtonpost.com)

nastav writes: In response to budget cuts instituted by the State of Florida, the University of Florida has found an excellent (sarcasm) solution — eliminate all Computer Science research, and redistribute different parts of CS into Electrical, Industrial Engineering departments. This plan, according to the Dean of the College of Engineering Cammy Abernathy, will save the college $1.7 million, and is supported by employers like Harris Corp. and Lockheed Martin.

Students, alumni and faculty have taken to activism against this, have set up a WordPress blog (http://saveufcise.wordpress.com/) and are taking to social media through Facebook and Change.org to generate support for protecting the department.

A few prominent academics like Zvi Galil (Dean of College of Computing at GA Tech), Peter Freeman (former asst. director of NSF for CS & founding dean of GA Tech's College of Computing), Carl De Boor (National Medal of Science winner in '03), S.N.Maheshwari (former Dean of IIT, Delhi) have written letters expressing their opposition to the elimination of the CS department.(http://saveufcise.wordpress.com/letters-from-luminaries/)

The situation at UFL is disturbing, and arguably a counterintuitive move given the role of computing and software in the modern world. It is also a challenging problem to get the UFL administration to reverse their position, and find alternatives to their budget crisis. Peer pressure and activism helps, but it is a nascent movement with little real influence at this point — and lacks any real negotiating power. Coverage in media thus far has been minimal (Huffington Post and some local newspapers seem to be the extent of it).

The readers of Slashdot understand better than most the value of CS as a first-class discipline, and also understand how government policies have failed thus far in improving education in the US. The story unfolding in Florida seems to be the result of a combination of bad government policy, and shortsighted University administration. Slashdot has a very wide reach, and I'm hoping that having this story published here will succeed in bringing national attention to the issue.

The Wordpress blog has a lot of background information, links to the Dean's original proposal, response from current CISE faculty members in UFL and more — material that would help readers make up their own minds about this and decide for themselves whether this move from UF is as ludicrous as I seem to think it is.

Disclosure: I'm an alumnus from the UF CISE department, and graduated with an MS degree in '03.

Cloud

Submission + - Is your stuff secured on the Cloud?

An anonymous reader writes: If you use cloud services, do you protecting all your stuff before sending it to the remote servers? Meaning: do you rely on the encryption that the services say they use, or you do it your self using something like PGP, GnuPG or compacting tools like 7-Zip, Winzip, WinRar, or others with encryption enabled before Sync them?
News

Submission + - Court battle over terrorist no-fly list includes 3 Calif. residents (homelandsecuritynet.com)

HSNnews writes: "Three California residents are among 15 plaintiffs preparing a renewed challenge to the nation’s secretive no-fly list, created after the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackings to keep suspected terrorists off commercial airliners.

Maintained by the Terrorist Screening Center and overseen by the FBI, the no-fly list reportedly contains some 20,000 names, among them about 500 U.S. citizens. As many as 800 changes, such as removing or adding names, are made to the list each day."

Submission + - LibreOffice 3.4.2 for enterprise users released (documentfoundation.org)

Bill_the_Engineer writes: The Document Foundation (TDF) announces LibreOffice 3.4.2, the third version of the 3.4 family, targeting both private individuals and enterprises. LibreOffice 3.4.2 fixes the majority of the most-important bugs identified by users in the previous version, and can be deployed for production needs by most enterprises.

Submission + - WikiLeaks Starts Mass Mirroring Site (wikileaks.ch)

A beautiful mind writes: WikiLeaks is asking for hosting space on unix-based servers. The replication is implemented by a rsync+ssh based push that copies static files to a known path, authenticated via the private half of this public key. The complete website is a few GB in size, making it feasible to replicate on a large scale. The mirror list will be published when the number of independent mirrors reaches 50.

Submission + - Lieberman et al. Introduce anti-Wikileaks bill (wired.com) 1

Amorymeltzer writes: Sens. John Ensign (R-Nev.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Scott Brown (R-Mass.) introduced a bill Thursday aimed at stopping WikiLeaks by making it illegal to publish the names of military or intelligence community informants. ( http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/131885-senators-unveil-anti-wikileaks-legislation ) Leaking information is already a crime, but the proposed SHIELD Act (somebody watched Iron Man 2 recently) would go after publishers of information. Sen. Ensign (recently cleared http://www.8newsnow.com/story/13597653/breaking-news-sen-john-ensign-cleared-by-justice-department) claimed Assange was making US sources "death targets" for Al Qaeda. Of course, since criminal laws can't be retroactive, this will have no bearing on current Wikileaks activity.
Music

Submission + - What Is The Value Of 24 Pirated Songs? (conceivablytech.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Jammie Rassett-Thomas has received her fourth sentence: A jury found her guilty of illegally sharing 24 songs back in 2005 and awarded a sentence of $1.5 million in damages to the plaintiffs — Sony BMG, Arista Records LLC, Interscope Records, UMG Recordings, Capitol Records and Warner Bros. Records. So what is the exact value of those 24 songs? The U.S. law system has already come up with $222,000, $1.92 million, $54,000 and now $1.5 million. I am sure that was not the last number and we will be hearing more. The purpose of this trial appears to have been lost a long time ago. It has turned into a fight for headlines and the pure principle of Rasset-Thomas believing that she was treated unfairly and the music industry not been able to let go of this case as it would have to fear the aftershock in other cases.
Linux

Submission + - How Well Do You Know Your Code? (linux.com)

jennifercloer writes: Uncover what exactly is in your code: If you work with open source software of any kind — whether at work or as a volunteer — then you understand the importance of license compliance and keeping track of copyright ownership. But as a project grows, those tasks can get tricky, even when everyone is on the same page...
Security

Submission + - Firm Finds Holes in PayPal, Other Mobile Apps (threatpost.com)

Trailrunner7 writes: eBay's PayPal online payment division is rushing a software patch to users of its iPhone mobile payments application to plug a hole that leaves users vulnerable to man-in-the-middle and phishing attacks, but the firm that found that hole said transaction security is just one problem facing the mobile payments application.

An audit by Chicago firm ViaForensics discovered serious security holes in the PayPal mobile payment application for Apple's iPhone. Flaws that could allow attackers to set up a phony PayPal phishing site and snoop user credentials was the most critical, but the application also fell short in protecting user login and potentially sensitive application data, according to ViaForensics co-founder, Andrew Hoog. The company later said there are problems with Android and iPhone apps from Bank of America and several other financial institutions as well.

Image

Horse Track Hosts Bikini Race Screenshot-sm 4

Officials at The Gold Coast Turf Club think their two piece bathing suit race is one piece of awesome. The first annual event will see over 150 bikini clad racers competing for a $5000 first prize. Turf Club chief executive Grant Sheather says he knows some won't see the genius of the event, but said it will become a yearly promotion for the summer season anyway.
Science

Submission + - Things you drink can be use to track you (sciencemag.org) 1

sciencehabit writes: Science reports: Have you lapped up any lemonade in Laramie? Downed a daiquiri in Denver? Knocked back a microbrew in Boston? New research suggests that your visits to such places can be tracked by analyzing chemical traces in your hair. That's because water molecules differ slightly in their isotope ratios depending on the minerals at their source. Researchers found that water samples from 33 cities across the United State could be reliably traced back to their origin based on their isotope ratios. And because the human body breaks down water's constituent atoms of hydrogen and oxygen to construct the proteins that make hair cells, those cells can preserve the record of a person's travels. Such information could help prosecutors place a suspect at the scene of a crime, or prove the innocence of the accused.

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