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Submission + - Attacking Ransomware By Watching The Filesystem (

An anonymous reader writes: Ransomware — what hackers use to encrypt your computer files and demand money in exchange for freeing those contents — is an exploding global problem with few solutions, but a team of University of Florida researchers says it has developed a way to stop it dead in its tracks.

The answer, they say, lies not in keeping it out of a computer but rather in confronting it once it's there and, counterintuitively, actually letting it lock up a few files before clamping down on it.

"Our system is more of an early-warning system. It doesn't prevent the ransomware from starting ... it prevents the ransomware from completing its task ... so you lose only a couple of pictures or a couple of documents rather than everything that's on your hard drive, and it relieves you of the burden of having to pay the ransom," said Nolen Scaife, a UF doctoral student and founding member of UF's Florida Institute for Cybersecurity Research.
Scaife is part of the team that has come up with the ransomware solution, which it calls CryptoDrop.
Read more at:

Submission + - We need a better Private Browsing Mode (

Miche67 writes: Many browsers have some type of 'private' browsing. The settings aren't enough, though, to offer real protection.

As this writer says, Chrome's Incognito Mode "doesn't offer strong protection at all," and Firefox's Private Browsing with Tracking Protection — while stronger than Chrome — is an all-or-nothing option. "You can’t turn it off for sites you trust, but have it otherwise enabled by default."

Every single link to non-trusted websites should open, by default, in a Private/Incognito window. C'mon, browser makers, get this done.

Submission + - Why Google Stores Billions of Lines of Code in a Single Repository (

An anonymous reader writes: Google proves that distributed version control systems can't replace centralized ones. The centralized approach to source control has served Google well for more than 16 years, and today the vast majority of Google's software assets continues to be stored in a single, shared repository.

The Google codebase includes approximately one billion files and has a history of approximately 35 million commits spanning Google's entire 18-year existence. The repository contains 86TB of data, including approximately two billion lines of code in nine million unique source files.

Submission + - Dubai to build world's lowest cost solar plant (

Nishamalhotra writes: Dubai has announced that it will build a gigantic 800 MW solar plant, and the key highlight is that the plant will produce electricity at the most reasonable cost of 2.99 cents per kilowatt hour. This means that Dubai is set to welcome the world’s lowest cost solar plant, surpassing the ever-dominant coal plant, which is the cheapest alternative as of now.

Submission + - Oracle may have stopped funding and development efforts on Java EE (

An anonymous reader writes: ArsTechnica is reporting that Oracle has quietly pulled funding and development efforts away from Java EE, the server-side Java technology that is part of hundreds of thousands of Internet and business applications. Java EE even plays an integral role for many apps that aren't otherwise based on Java, and customers and partners have invested time and code. It wouldn't be the first time this has happened, but the implications are huge for Java as a platform.

Submission + - The Languages Which Almost Became CSS (

zackbloom writes: In fact, it has been a constant source of delight for me over the past year to get to continually tell hordes (literally) of people who want to – strap yourselves in, here it comes – control what their documents look like in ways that would be trivial in TeX, Microsoft Word, and every other common text processing environment: “Sorry, you’re screwed.”

— Marc Andreessen 1994

Submission + - Data Can Help Fix America's Overcrowded Jails, Says White House (

An anonymous reader writes: The White House launched a program called the Data-Driven Justice (DDJ) initiative to help reduce the population of jails. It will allow states to better divert low-level offenders with mental illness out of the criminal justice system and keep low-risk defendants out of jail while they await trial. The DDJ program could help alleviate the cost and congestion facing many of America's local jails, which costs local governments nearly $22 billion a year for minor offenses and low-level non-violent misdemeanors. Every year, 11 million people move through America's local jails. In local jails, 64 percent of people suffer from mental illness, 68 percent have a substance abuse and 44 percent suffer from chronic health problems, according to the White House. Seven states and 60 communities committed to DDJ. The plan is to use data collected on individuals who are often in touch with the police, emergency departments and other services and link them to health, behavioral health and social services within the community. Law enforcement and first responders will also be trained in how to deal with people experiencing mental health issues to better direct them to the proper services. The administration is developing a toolkit that will guide jurisdictions toward the best practices, policies and programs that have been successful in DDJ communities. DDJ will also put in place pre-trial assessment tools to determine whether the individual can safely return to society while awaiting trial without having to post bond.

Submission + - A Shocking Find In a Neanderthal Cave In France (

schwit1 writes: In February 1990, thanks to a 15-year-old boy named Bruno Kowalsczewski, footsteps echoed through the chambers of Bruniquel Cave for the first time in tens of thousands of years.

Recognizing the site’s value, they brought in archaeologist Francois Rouzaud. Using carbon-dating , Rouzaud estimated that a burnt bear bone found within the chamber was 47,600 years old, which meant that the stalagmite rings were older than any known cave painting. It also meant that they couldn’t have been the work of Homo sapiens. Their builders must have been the only early humans in the south of France at the time: Neanderthals.

The discovery suggested that Neanderthals were more sophisticated than anyone had given them credit for. They wielded fire, ventured deep underground, and shaped the subterranean rock into complex constructions. Perhaps they even carried out rituals; after all, there was no evidence that anyone actually lived in the cave, so what else were the rings and mounds for? After drilling into the stalagmites and pulling out cylinders of rock, the team could see an obvious transition between two layers. On one side were old minerals that were part of the original stalagmites; on the other were newer layers that had been laid down after the fragments were broken off by the cave’s former users. By measuring uranium levels on either side of the divide, the team could accurately tell when each stalagmite had been snapped off for construction.

Their date? 176,500 years ago, give or take a few millennia.

“When I announced the age to Jacques, he asked me to repeat it because it was so incredible,” says Verheyden. Outside Bruniquel Cave, the earliest, unambiguous human constructions are just 20,000 years old. Most of these are ruins—collapsed collections of mammoth bones and deer antlers. By comparison, the Bruniquel stalagmite rings are well-preserved and far more ancient.

Submission + - SPAM: GalliumOS 2.0beta1 (Xenon) ready for prime time

Mal-2 writes: GalliumOS, a lightweight Linux distro tailored specifically for Chromebooks and Chromeboxes, has released its first official beta for the 2.0 release (Xenon) based on Ubuntu 16.04 (Xenial). Packages are hardware-specific, so you need to know which one to download. Download Links: 1 2 3 (I warned them they'd get a /. effect so they prepared for it).

Needless to say, it is not without issues. It's a beta.

Why So Soon after 1.0? It seems like just a few weeks ago that we released GalliumOS 1.0. And it was...! :)

GalliumOS 2.0 is based on upstream Ubuntu 16.04 (Xenial Xerus), which was released 20160421. Xenial is an LTS (long term support) release, so it will receive security and major bugfix updates for five years from Canonical.

I am not part of the GalliumOS project (aside from providing a fanfare/startup sound they have yet to figure out how to use), but installed the OS on an Acer CB3-111. The effect was to turn an internet appliance into a full-fledged, silent, slim, light, cheap, and admittedly low-storage Linux notebook. I had difficulties with the in-place upgrade from 1.0 to 2.0beta1, but with the help of the dev team on their IRC channel, I was able to resolve them. They are particularly interested in participation from people with unusual ChromeOS hardware such as Pixels and Falcos, and/or with unusual usage patterns that might reveal issues not seen by less demanding users.

Submission + - Germany's Energiewende: The intermittency problem remains (

An anonymous reader writes: Recent headlines talk about moments of high renewable generation in Germany, but the celebrations are premature. A nearly carbon-free economy is still an ambitious goal for a major Western economy, or any industrial powerhouse of the developed world.

This energy transition has come at a high cost and created not only winners. The Energiewende has also destroyed the effort embedded in existing infrastructure and put an unprecedented strain on German society.

Thus, despite what some op-ed writers may have said, Germany’s energy-turnaround is most assuredly neither cheap nor a done deal, technologically speaking. There are still many issues to be sorted out, and we have more work to do.

Submission + - Exploit Kits Are The Greatest Danger For Windows Users (

An anonymous reader writes: Exploit kits are how most malware gets on victims’ computers and, according to Microsoft, encounters with exploit kits increased by more than a third from 3Q15 to 4Q15. The second place on the list of exploits most commonly detected and blocked by Microsoft real-time antimalware products in 2H15 is the one for CVE-2010-2568, the Windows Shell Shortcut Icon Loading Vulnerability which was one of the four flaws used by the attackers who released the Stuxnet malware.

Submission + - African Banks and Governments Making Hackers' Lives Easy

An anonymous reader writes: I was intrigued by a news article I read recently which reported that hacking group Anonymous had decided to target the Nigerian government in a fight against poverty and corruption. I was intrigued as even for very gifted hackers, surely the task of infiltrating government websites must be getting difficult now. Surely, cyber-security, I thought, would be top of the agenda for all governments? Well, it seems not

This is my initial article:

This is a follow-up I wrote on banks and governments that have actually been attacked:

Submission + - 15 years old make stunning discovery of a new major maya city with his brain (

Eloking writes: Many teens (and adults) don’t know much about the Mayans, if it is not that their schedule has led some people to believe that the end of the world would occur in 2012. But at age 15, William Gadoury, has discovered a new Mayan city which we had been unaware until now of the existence, as reported by the Journal de Montréal.

The teenager from Saint-Jean-de-Matha has made this extraordinary discovery with his theory that the Maya chose the location of their cities as a function of the shape of certain constellations of stars. This correlation was previously unknown to researchers. He had indeed impressed the researchers from the canadian space Agency and NASA by introducing them to his research, in November 2014

His discovery has enabled him to be selected to participate in the Expo-Sciences international du Mouvement international pour le Loisir scientifique et technique (MILSET) , which will take place in Brazil in August 2017.

Submission + - 30 Years Later, QBasic is Still the Best 1

theodp writes: After looking for a way to introduce his 7-year-old son to the world of code, Nicolas Bize writes: "For the past 5 months, I have been looking for the holy grail of language/IDE for kids in the hope of turning that spark of interest into a memorable experience. My quest has led me to endless forums, through which I have tried countless suggestions: SmallBasic, Pico-8, Smalltalk, Scratch, etc. I have even inquired of the Great Oracles of StackOverflow, to no avail. After 5 months, I ended up with a disappointing conclusion: nothing is even close to what I had back in another era. 30 years later, QBasic is still the best when it comes to discovering programming." By the way, if you're concerned your kid is being taught how to use Microsoft Office in school but not coding, you can remind their teacher that BASIC programming is just an ALT-F11 away. Heck, with a few dozen lines of code, one can even knock out a quick-and-dirty Excel VBA parody of the real up-down-left-right Hour of Code tutorials that's comparable in 'rigor' to the one credited with 'teaching President Obama to code'.

Submission + - Australian entrepreneur says that he IS bitcoin's inventor (

Faizdog writes: Australian entrepreneur Craig Wright says he's the inventor of the digital currency bitcoin; Wright told the BBC that he is Satoshi Nakamoto, the shadowy creator of the cryptocurrency, in a move that could end the years-long search for the inventor.

To prove his claim, Wright digitally signed a message using the cryptographic keys that were associated with the creator and was backed up by experts.

  Jon Matonis, co-founder of the nonprofit Bitcoin Foundation, said he believed Wright's claims after seeing the same demonstration.

"During the London proof sessions, I had the opportunity to review the relevant data along three distinct lines: cryptographic, social, and technical. Based on what I witnessed, it is my firm belief that Craig Steven Wright satisfies all three categories," Matonis wrote in a blog post on Monday.

"The social evidence, including his unique personality, early emails that I received, and early drafts of the Bitcoin white paper, points to Craig as the creator. I also received satisfactory explanations to my questions about registering the domain and the various time-of-day postings to the BitcoinTalk forum. Additionally, Craig's technical working knowledge of public key cryptography, Bitcoin's addressing system, and proof-of-work consensus in a distributed peer-to-peer environment is very strong."

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