Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. ×

Comment Re: pointless (Score 3, Funny) 159

Just because you have a "smart" TV doesn't mean you're stuck using the "smart" bits. Plug in an HDMI cable or three to the video source of your choosing, and you never have to touch the smart OS stuff unless you want to.

Just because it has a network connection doesn't mean you have to connect it to a network.

Comment Re:Obsolete (Score 1) 96

Bots creating GoFundMe pages have replaced bums, no need to stand on the street holding a tin cup when you can create a bot to create an online story of distress and have it beg money for you.

That's what this article is about. There are two bots standing on the street corner holding their tin cups, jostling each other for position, and spilling half their money in the process. The AI is converging on a solution using cooperation, where each bot assesses the traffic, and parcels out the begging duty to the robot more likely to succeed with that particular potential donor.

In other words, "two bots one cup".

Submission + - Google has demonstrated a successful practical attack against SHA-1 (googleblog.com)

Artem Tashkinov writes: Ten years after of SHA-1 was first introduced, Google has announced the first practical technique for generating an SHA-1 collision. It required two years of research between the CWI Institute in Amsterdam and Google. As a proof of the attack, Google has released two PDF files that have identical SHA-1 hashes but different content. The amount of computations required to carry out the attack is staggering: nine quintillion (9,223,372,036,854,775,808) SHA1 computations in total which took 6,500 years of CPU computation to complete the attack first phase and 110 years of GPU computation to complete the second phase.

Google says that people should migrate to newer hashing algorithms like SHA-256 and SHA-3, however it's worth noting that there are currently no ways of finding a collision for both MD5 and SHA-1 hashes simultaneously which means that we still can use old proven hardware accelerated hash functions to be on the safe side.

Comment Re:These two may have been least at risk (Score 1) 54

There are plenty of people I know who would fall for this, because they simply don't know. They were issued a laptop for work and were told it was secured through a VPN, but don't understand how networks or routing actually works. They think they're secure only because an expert told them that VPNs are secure.

And not all VPNs are secure. Corporate VPN solutions are increasingly looking to split tunnelling to cut costs: internal corporate IP addresses are correctly routed to the VPN tunnel interface, so things like internal email and corporate web sites are all secured, but the external IP addresses (Google, Microsoft, Slashdot, etc.,) are left to route through the local gateway, reducing bandwidth through the corporate network. So if your wireless adapter connects to a WiFi Pineapple using one of those corporate laptops (thinking it's connecting to a conference AP or something), the rogue AP will faithfully route the still-secure VPN traffic to the proper corporate headquarters servers, but it will just as happily MiTM the rest of the regular unsecured traffic, scanning for credentials, cookies, API keys, or whatever other external sites the computer may happen to access. They could expose personal email account credentials, various web apps, DNS requests, discovery packets, or other loud network traffic. And this allows scenarios where the browser gets cache poisoned while browsing the unsecured web, then used to connect to an internal corporate web site where the malicious cached javascript echoes all the booty back to the attacker.

Of course, you expect the tech folks at the RSA conference would know how it all works, but a significant fraction of the attendees are not tech employees. There are no doubt many finance people; executives with expense accounts and instructions to "come back with a security contract"; salespeople; politicians; and the press in attendance.

I just hope the guys with the rogue access points are no worse than gray hats who are posting them on a Wall of Sheep somewhere at the conference, and not actually hacking the attendees.

Comment Re:TANSTAAFL (Score 3, Insightful) 207

The point is, the actors and actresses feel the need to make way too much and anyone in economics would tell you they are trying to optimize their profit. The problem with that is it inherently creates people who are not willing to pay the market rate for the content and since it is "free" to copy it - they do.

This is one area I feel the entertainment industry just doesn't get it. The general attitude often seems to be "I cost us X to make this thing, therefore it is worth X".

Unfortunately, that's not how any other markets work. Things are only worth what people are willing to pay for them. This goes for virtually anything that is bought and sold -- toys, comic books, computers, cars, stocks, collector coins, individual pieces of art, gold -- the price is based completely off what people are willing to pay for an item, and has little or nothing to do with how much it cost to produce. This is actually a good thing -- items with a high perceived value can command higher prices and reap more profits, while at the same time there is a push to find ways to lower prices to enhance the perceived value vs. price ratio.

I view media piracy along these lines. It's part of the markets way of telling the media companies that the perceived value of what they produce is lower for many people than what they charge.

Now admittedly in the last few years better pricing models with (legal) streaming services like Netflix have helped to improve the situation for many consumers. TV in particular seems to have done a really good job of coming up with ways of putting content online for free (TV shows are highly advertising supported anyway). But other parts of the industry seem to be fixated upon fixed pricing, especially for new media, that is above the value much of the population would put on it. People willing pay for things when they perceive the value as being more than the price; but when you price things above that perceived value line, you just drive piracy. It doesn't matter how much something cost to make -- if you want to charge more than the market is willing to pay, people simply aren't going to pay.


Comment Re:How can this possibly work? (Score 1) 301

If these mice have all male offspring, why won't they be out-bred by the mice that have females too? Why would a non-advantageous mouse gene be passed down and take over? Wouldn't natural selection kill off the genetically modified mice?

The answer to your first question answers your entire set of questions.

The basic driving force of evolution is reproduction. Fitter animals should produce more and fitter offspring, whereas less fit animals will either produce no offspring, or will produce less-fit offspring. That is one of the most basic premises of evolution.

The issue here then is "fitness"[0], and whether or not the modified mice will have sufficient fitness to a) reproduce, and b) introduce their genes into the next generation.

The modification only changes the outcome of birth -- all mice fathered by the modified mice will exhibit the same modification, and will be born male. It doesn't impact their ability to reproduce, or their ability to fill their ecological niche. The mice will be at no reproductive disadvantage when compared to non-modified male mice, in that they will be just as likely to survive to reproduce, and will not have a shortened lifespan that causes them to reproduce any less than a non-modified male. Thus they won't be out-bred; a female mouse isn't going to have any way to distinguish (at an evolutionary level) between a modified and non-modified male. Now if the modified males also glowed bright green and failed to attract female mates, then you'd have a situation where the modified males would be at a disadvantage, however, that isn't the case here.

Not only will there will be no evolutionary disadvantage to the modified males in terms of reproduction, over time they'll actually have the advantage. Assuming litter sizes average out the same, ALL the offspring of modified males will also be modified males. Let's call that average M. The offspring of unmodified males will be mixed male and female; the average number of unmodified male mice offspring will be M/2 (as half will be male, half female). The modified mouse will have double the male offspring of the unmodified mouse. The population of modified male mice will increase linearly, whereas the population of unmodified mice will (at least initially) be relatively stable.

Over a longer time period, female mice will be more and more likely to mate with modified male mice, as they will be more available. I essence, this gene modification hacks evolution by making the modified mice MORE fit than the unmodified mice, in that their offspring will be more competitive in terms of mating with females, due to sheer numbers. As females die and are replaced with fewer and fewer females, and as the modified male population continues to soar, you're eventually going to get to a point where the only available males in a community to mate with the few remaining females is going to be modified males, who will only produce male offspring. Those last remaining females will eventually die off, and with no new females within a given local population, no further reproduction can occur, at which point the population of remaining males eventually dies off.

(I do note a "local population", as this only works within populations that reproduce together. Geographic or other divisions in reproductive populations may cause certain islands of mice to continue unaffected if there isn't a critical mass of modified males. So if the country mice and city mice don't reproduce together, one or the other may be unaffected if the modified mice aren't artificially introduced).

All of which would make for an interesting computer simulation. I may have to get on that this weekend.

All that said, it will be interesting to see what behavioural changes may be introduced in newer generations as the number of males begins to strongly outnumber the females, and opportunities for the males to reproduce decreases. Will male mice become more territorial? Mouse combat to the death for access to females? If they go ahead with this plan, I hope there is funding somewhere to study the behavioural changes as time progresses.



[0] - In popular culture, the idea of "Darwinian fitness" is often confused with strength, physical fitness, or lifespan; the concept is really about the ability of an individual to pass on its genes to as many individuals as possible by fitting best into a suitable ecological niche.

Comment Re:How the hell is this still a problem? (Score 2) 49

No, the whole point of Chip and PIN is the use of symetric key cryptography to generate a one time transaction with no need to share account details to the terminal. Basically the same thing as Apply Pay/etc. do, but embedded in a passive chip instead of requiring an active device.

This is not correct. Chip cards use cryptography only to produce a "cryptogram" called the ARQC. This is a Message Authentication Code, a checksum-like number that authenticates the card containing the secret key produced the message. By adding a PIN, the card can also fold the PIN into the cryptogram, authenticating the user, too. However, the card data, including the PAN is still sent in the clear for authorizing. The chip does not encrypt the card data.

Also, the chip is not passive. The chip contains a CPU and performs lots of cryptography, including validating the certificate presented by the terminal, the selection of various applications, protocol negotiations, etc. (And because that chip runs Java, every card issued gets to tithe Oracle for the privilege.)

But because of stupid, we use a crippled system that still allows that system to be bypassed with simple swipes and no crypto between the card and the terminal.

For the most part the data does not need to be encrypted. The payment terminal is responsible for rejecting a swipe that has a Service Code indicating that a chip is present, so you can't just bypass the chip. The skimmer only sees the data flow past, but has no way of computing valid ARQC because the secret key remains embedded securely in the chip. As long as the user doesn't have to also enter the CVV2 from the back of the card, there's not enough information to abuse the card. (Any web page that accepts an account number without requiring the CVV2 is out of compliance with PCI requirements, and is liable for any fraud committed with that card number.)

However, if the payment terminal doesn't encrypt the data before sending it to the store's payment gateway (let alone from the terminal to the cash register), that's still plenty of stupid.

Comment Re:ARBY'S (Score 1) 49

A breach that impacted 355,000 member cards is huge, indicating it was deployed to a large percentage of their chain, if not the whole chain. Since their breach "ended" on January 19 and it still took them 3 weeks to produce the list of affected cards, that tells me that Arby's response time is pretty damn poor, and that they may not be very good at tracking what's going on. Some senior VP said that "not all [of their 1000] corporate restaurants [out of 4000] were affected", but with news this bad combined with such a poor response time, it's hard to trust that they have a complete handle on the problem.

So, IF YOU ATE THE MEATS, it's a pretty good bet that your card got eaten too. Watch your statements.

Now that Arby's has submitted their list of impacted cards to the card associations, Visa or Mastercard will soon contact your bank. Your bank will then send you a letter saying "haxx0rs! Too bad, here's a new card, and if you want to sign up for a year of free credit monitoring, contact ohshitwewerebreached.com and tell them R.B sent you."

Comment Re: Credit card fraud? I'm thinking Arby's! (Score 1) 49

How does it only effect ards issued by one bank.if it was malware on the PoS machines?

The thieves likely stole numbers from any and all cards that ran through their infected payment terminals.

PCSU isn't a single bank, it's an association of about 800 credit unions. Arby's didn't report the number above, that came from PCSU's count of impacted member cards. They said 355,000 cards were impacted, a figure that does not include any other cards issued by any other banks. If those 800 member banks represent 10% of all cardholders (I don't know that for sure, that's just a rough guess to demonstrate the math), it's possible that this breach could impact a total of about 3 million cardholders.

Comment Re:Blowing smoke? (Score 2) 92

The value I got from Design Patterns is that these were describing the solutions to actual problems I had already had to solve on my own (often not as well), and they covered the side effects of those solutions, some of which I hadn't thought too much about before reading the book. (The observer pattern creates hidden long-term maintenance dependencies on the semantics of the data published by the subject, for example. That was really useful to me when I hadn't yet recognized the problem.)

However, once it was published it seemed that every Tom, Dick, and Bjarne published a book like "23 More Design Patterns" "Web 2.0 Design Patterns", "Design Patterns that Won't Clash With Stripes and Pastels", "Summer Design Patterns to Take to the Beach", etc. They were so specialized as to be almost entirely useless. Yes, the GoF book had a few shortcomings, but its real value to me came from the idea that we could name these things, study them, and understand them. When I read it in the 1990s I thought that was pretty darn novel.

Comment Re:A minimal C++ library (Score 2) 92

The hell do you need all of them for?

To broaden your skillset? To be more effective at what you do? To write more maintainable code? To make fewer errors? To interact with your peers? More specific to C++ and those particular books, to prevent race conditions, to have strong error handling, and to make more efficient use of multiple core processors? Perhaps most importantly, so that when the company hires a snot-nosed kid who actually does know and practice these things, that he won't show you up as the fossil you're describing yourself as?

I've been programming since 1976, and I think it's fair to say that computers have changed since then. If you think that programming now is anything like programming 20 years ago, you haven't been paying nearly enough attention.

Comment Re:What about the actual code? (Score 4, Interesting) 77

If DRM is ever successful, it won't be due to companies like Denuvo. Effective DRM requires some critical-path hardware to be complicit in the hiding of a secret from the device's owner. It can't just be pasted-on code that says "check for a valid dongle", because the attackers patch around that. The hardware has to hide something of great importance to the operation of the application, something that can't simply be replicated by software.

Denuvo makes it hard to crack, but without the hardware's participation, it will never be impossible.

Comment Re:What are the known risks (Score 2) 122

It sounds like they're describing ScotchGard, a surface treatment whose key ingredient was PFOS.

As far as your other questions, measuring direct contact of one burger wrapper with one person's blood levels isn't how these studies are typically done. There are too many variables: how long was the food in contact with the wrapper, how much surface area of the wrapper actually came in contact with how much surface area of the food, what kind of food, how many liquids from the food soaked into the paper and were returned to the food, etc. Another problem is the levels in the individual interactions are so low that they're difficult to measure. Instead, they look at the prevalence of the chemical in the environment, and the levels of the chemical in the blood of members of the population over time. But that means the data won't allow them to draw detailed conclusions, such as "Burger Chain's wrappers for their Big Beef Burger deliver 3x more PFAS than Taco Chain's wrappers for their Bottomless Burrito."

And it turns out the details of individual interactions don't matter much because the solution is almost always a broad spectrum approach: once they determine the link between levels of PFAS in the blood and rates of diseases, they'll simply ban the substance entirely from all products, not just food wrappers. ScotchGard was never used to treat food wrappers - it was used to make furniture, carpeting, and fabrics stain resistant - yet we all ended up with PFOS in our blood as a result of it simply being in the environment.

The good news is that bans are an effective approach. Once the substance is banned, measured levels of it in the population decline.

Comment Re:skeptical (Score 1) 62

Maybe Apple has figured out the magical formula to scale "down" production to remain profitable while delivering just enough devices for a single nation. Normally, manufacturers want to scale up to realize the cost benefit of global production, but that doesn't work in India. They never want to import anything they don't have to.

India has dialed in on the way to make stuff happen locally. They recognize that every job created boosts their middle class, and reduces their overall poverty, so they don't seem to care much if the jobs or the output is similar to the rest of the planet. As long as paychecks are going out to more of her citizens, it's a big win for them.

Slashdot Top Deals

Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. - Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan