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Submission + - Study Reveals Bot-On-Bot Editing Wars Raging On Wikipedia's Pages (theguardian.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A new study from computer scientists has found that the online encyclopedia is a battleground where silent wars have raged for years. Since Wikipedia launched in 2001, its millions of articles have been ranged over by software robots, or simply “bots," that are built to mend errors, add links to other pages, and perform other basic housekeeping tasks. In the early days, the bots were so rare they worked in isolation. But over time, the number deployed on the encyclopedia exploded with unexpected consequences. The more the bots came into contact with one another, the more they became locked in combat, undoing each other’s edits and changing the links they had added to other pages. Some conflicts only ended when one or other bot was taken out of action. The findings emerged from a study that looked at bot-on-bot conflict in the first ten years of Wikipedia’s existence. The researchers at Oxford and the Alan Turing Institute in London examined the editing histories of pages in 13 different language editions and recorded when bots undid other bots’ changes. While some conflicts mirrored those found in society, such as the best names to use for contested territories, others were more intriguing. Describing their research in a paper entitled Even Good Bots Fight in the journal Plos One, the scientists reveal that among the most contested articles were pages on former president of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf, the Arabic language, Niels Bohr and Arnold Schwarzenegger. One of the most intense battles played out between Xqbot and Darknessbot which fought over 3,629 different articles between 2009 and 2010. Over the period, Xqbot undid more than 2,000 edits made by Darknessbot, with Darknessbot retaliating by undoing more than 1,700 of Xqbot’s changes. The two clashed over pages on all sorts of topics, from Alexander of Greece and Banqiao district in Taiwan to Aston Villa football club.

Submission + - UK Police Arrest Suspect Behind Mirai Malware Attacks on Deutsche Telekom (bleepingcomputer.com)

An anonymous reader writes: German police announced today that fellow UK police officers have arrested a suspect behind a serious cyber-attack that crippled German ISP Deutsche Telekom at the end of November 2016. The attack in question caused over 900,000 routers of various makes and models to go offline after a mysterious attacker attempted to hijack the devices through a series of vulnerabilities.

The attacks were later linked to a cybercrime groups operating a botnet powered by the Mirai malware, known as Botnet #14, which was also available for hire online for on-demand DDoS attacks.

According to a statement obtained by Bleeping Computer from Bundeskriminalamt (the German Federal Criminal Police Office), officers from UK's National Crime Agency (NCA) arrested yesterday a 29-year-old suspect at a London airport. German authorities are now in the process of requesting the unnamed suspect's extradition, so he can stand trial in Germany. Bestbuy, the name of the hacker that took credit for the attacks has been unreachable for days.

Submission + - Website Builder Wix Acquires Art Community DeviantArt For $36 Million (techcrunch.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Wix.com has made another acquisition to build out the tools that it provides to users to build and administer websites: it has acquired DeviantArt, an online community for artists, designers and art/design enthusiasts with some 325 million individual pieces of original art and more than 40 million registered members, for $36 million in cash, including $3 million of assumed liabilities. Wix said that it will continue to operate DeviantArt as a standalone site, but it will also use it to boost its own business in a couple of ways. First, DeviantArt users will get access to Wix’s web design tools to build out more dynamic online presences. These tools do not only cover design, but commerce and other features for running businesses online. Second, Wix will open up DeviantArt’s repository of art and creative community to the Wix platform, giving Wix’s users access to that work to use in their own site building. The deal will also include putting further investment into developing DeviantArt’s desktop and mobile apps. (Today, that desktop experience is based on a very simple, pared-down interface that is reminiscent of the 2000 birthdate of the startup itself.)

Submission + - Ad Blocking Isn't As Widespread As You Yhink

Mickeycaskill writes: Adoption of adblocking software in the UK has remained static at 22 percent, despite widespread concern among online publishers, and even the government, about impact on revenues and the creative industries.

A report believes levels of use could even be lower as 1/5 of respondents to its survey claimed their antivirus software was an adblocker. The Internet Advertising Bureau believes consumers are becoming more aware about the trade off between access to content and viewing ads.

“The continued rise in ad blocking that some predicted simply hasn’t materialised,” said the IAB UK’s CEO Jon Mew. “A key reason is publishers denying access to content to ad blockers which, in effect, has created that ‘lightbulb’ moment for people who realise that they cannot access free content without seeing the advertising that funds it. The industry has worked hard on promoting this ‘value exchange’ and it’s paying off.”

Submission + - Announcing the first SHA1 collision (googleblog.com)

matafagafo writes: Google Security Blog just published

Cryptographic hash functions like SHA-1 are a cryptographer’s swiss army knife. You’ll find that hashes play a role in browser security, managing code repositories, or even just detecting duplicate files in storage. Hash functions compress large amounts of data into a small message digest. As a cryptographic requirement for wide-spread use, finding two messages that lead to the same digest should be computationally infeasible. Over time however, this requirement can fail due to attacks on the mathematical underpinnings of hash functions or to increases in computational power. Today, 10 years after of SHA-1 was first introduced, we are announcing the first practical technique for generating a collision.


Submission + - Judge Rules Against Forced Fingerprinting

An anonymous reader writes: A federal judge in Chicago has ruled against a government request which would require forced fingerprinting of private citizens in order to open a secure, personal phone or tablet. In the ruling, the judge stated that while fingerprints in and of themselves are not protected, the government’s method of obtaining the fingerprints would violate the Fourth and Fifth amendments. The government’s request was given as part of a search warrant related to a child pornography ring. The court ruled that the government could seize devices, but that it could not compel people physically present at the time of seizure to provide their fingerprints ‘onto the Touch ID sensor of any Apple iPhone, iPad, or other Apple brand device in order to gain access to the contents of any such device.’

Submission + - Google: 99.95% of Recent 'Trusted' DMCA Notices Were Bogus (torrentfreak.com)

AmiMoJo writes: In comments submitted to a U.S. Copyright Office consultation, Google has given the DMCA a vote of support, despite widespread abuse. Noting that the law allows for innovation and agreements with content creators, Google says that 99.95% of URLs it was asked to take down last month didn't even exist in its search indexes. “For example, in January 2017, the most prolific submitter submitted notices that Google honored for 16,457,433 URLs. But on further inspection, 16,450,129 (99.97%) of those URLs were not in our search index in the first place.”

Submission + - Microsoft Research's DeepCoder AI may put programmers out of a job

jmcbain writes: Are you a software programmer who voted in a recent Slashdot poll that a robot/AI would never take your job? Unfortunately, you're wrong. Microsoft, in collaboration with the University of Cambridge, is developing such an AI. This software "can turn your descriptions into working code in seconds. Called DeepCoder, the software can take requirements by the developer, search through a massive database of code snippets and deliver working code in seconds, a significant advance in the state of the art in program synthesis." Another article describes program synthesis as "creating new programs by piecing together lines of code taken from existing software — just like a programmer might. Given a list of inputs and outputs for each code fragment, DeepCoder learned which pieces of code were needed to achieve the desired result overall." The original research paper can be read online.

Submission + - Disney Develops Room With 'Ubiquitous Wireless' Charging (cnet.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The scientific and tech arm of the entertainment giant Disney has built a prototype room with "ubiquitous wireless power delivery" that allows several devices to be charged wirelessly in much the way we get internet access through Wi-Fi. By tapping quasistatic cavity resonance, researchers discovered they could generate magnetic fields inside specially built structures to deliver kilowatts of power to mobile devices inside that structure. "This new innovative method will make it possible for electrical power to become as ubiquitous as WiFi," Alanson Sample, associate lab director & principal research scientist at Disney Research, told Phys.org. "This in turn could enable new applications for robots and other small mobile devices by eliminating the need to replace batteries and wires for charging." All you have to do is be in the room and your device will start charging automatically. And depending on where you are in the room, delivery efficiency can be as high as 95 percent, researchers said. There is one potential issue: you have to not mind being in a room constructed mostly of aluminum, that includes the walls, ceiling and floor. There's a copper pole in the middle of the room, and 15 discrete high quality factor capacitors that separate the magnetic field from the electric field.

Submission + - Controversial LTE-U wireless tech OK'd by FCC (networkworld.com)

alphadogg writes: The Federal Communications Commission announced Wednesday that it had approved two cellular base stations – one each from Ericsson and Nokia – to use LTE-U, marking the first official government thumbs-up for the controversial technology. FCC chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement https://www.fcc.gov/document/c... that the unlicensed spectrum – historically, the territory of Wi-Fi – can now be used to help ease the load on carrier mobile networks.

Submission + - Software Vendor Who Hid Supply Chain Breach Outed (krebsonsecurity.com)

tsu doh nimh writes: Researchers at RSA released a startling report last week that detailed a so-called "supply chain" malware campaign that piggybacked on a popular piece of software used by system administrators at some of the nation's largest companies. This intrusion would probably not be that notable if the software vendor didn't have a long list of Fortune 500 customers, and if the attackers hadn't also compromised the company's update servers — essentially guaranteeing that customers who downloaded the software prior to the breach were infected as well. Incredibly, the report did not name the affected software, and the vendor in question has apparently chosen to bury its breach disclosure as a page inside of its site — not linking to it anywhere. Brian Krebs went and digged it up.

Submission + - Signal from Andromeda. Probable evidence of Dark matter. (spacefellowship.com)

William Robinson writes: NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has found a signal at the center of the neighboring Andromeda galaxy that could indicate the presence of the mysterious stuff known as dark matter. The gamma-ray signal is similar to one seen by Fermi at the center of our own Milky Way galaxy. The latest Fermi data shows the gamma rays in Andromeda are confined to the galaxy’s center instead of spread throughout. To explain this unusual distribution, scientists are proposing that the emission may come from several undetermined sources. One of them could be dark matter and another possible source for this emission could be a rich concentration of pulsars in Andromeda’s center. Scientists are excited that Fermi has detected a similar gamma-ray signature in both Andromeda and the Milky Way, scientists can use this information to solve mysteries within both galaxies.

Submission + - Google releases open source file sharing project 'Upspin' on GitHub (betanews.com)

BrianFagioli writes: Today, Google unveils yet another way to share files. Called "Upspin," the open source project aims to make sharing easier for home users. With that said, the project does not seem particularly easy to set up or maintain. For example, it uses Unix-like directories and email addresses for permissions. While it may make sense to Google engineers, I am dubious that it will ever be widely used.

"Upspin looks a bit like a global file system, but its real contribution is a set of interfaces, protocols, and components from which an information management system can be built, with properties such as security and access control suited to a modern, networked world. Upspin is not an 'app' or a web service, but rather a suite of software components, intended to run in the network and on devices connected to it, that together provide a secure, modern information storage and sharing network," says Google.

Submission + - Studies Show Testosterone Offers Little Benefits To Aging Men (arstechnica.com)

An anonymous reader writes: In decades of research, scientists have found only one medical condition that’s clearly and effectively treated with testosterone supplements: pathological hypogonadism—that’s low testosterone levels due to disease of the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, or testes. In a series of placebo-controlled, randomized trials, researchers tracked the effect of testosterone on the cognition, bone health, anemia, and cardiovascular health of 788 men for a year. All the men were aged 65 or older and had low testosterone levels that couldn’t be explained by anything other than age. The results, reported Tuesday in JAMA and JAMA Internal Medicine, offer mixed results. Among the 493 in the trial who also had age-related memory declines, testosterone didn’t have any effect on memory or cognitive abilities. In the study, 247 got testosterone and 246 got a placebo. But for cardiovascular health, there was an effect—a bad one. Over the year, plaque buildup in the coronary artery—which is a risk factor for heart disease—increased in 73 men on testosterone compared with 65 on placebo. However, other studies have found mixed results on this. Longer, bigger trials will be needed to sort out the risks. In the anemia study, testosterone did seem to improve iron levels in men with mild anemia. The bone health study also showed that testosterone could improve bone density. However, it’s unclear if those benefits outweigh the possible cardiovascular risks. And other drugs may be more effective at treating anemia and improving bone mass than testosterone.

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