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Submission + - Terabit-Scale DDoS Events Are On The Horizon (

Orome1 writes: Corero Network Security has disclosed a new DDoS attack vector observed for the first time against its customers last week. The technique is an amplification attack, which utilizes the LDAP: one of the most widely used protocols for accessing username and password information in databases like Active Directory, which is integrated in most online servers. While experts have so far only observed a handful of short but extremely powerful attacks originating from this vector, the technique has potential to inflict significant damage by leveraging an amplification factor seen at a peak of as much as 55x. When combined with other methods, particularly IoT botnets, we could soon see attacks reaching previously unimaginable scale, with far-reaching impact. Terabit scale attacks could soon become a common reality and could significantly impact the availability of the Internet.

Submission + - Rich People Pay Less Attention To Other People, Says Study (

An anonymous reader writes: In a small recent study, researchers from New York University found that those who considered themselves in higher classes looked at people who walked past them less than those who said they were in a lower class did. The results were published in the journal of the Association for Psychological Science. According to Pia Dietze, a social psychology doctoral student at NYU and a lead author of the study, previous research has shown that people from different social classes vary in how they tend to behave towards other people. So, she wanted to shed some light on where such behaviors could have originated. The research was divided into three separate studies. For the first, Dietze and NYU psychology lab director Professor Eric Knowles asked 61 volunteers to walk along the street for one block while wearing Google Glass to record everything they looked at. These people were also asked to identify themselves as from a particular social class: either poor, working class, middle class, upper middle class, or upper class. An independent group watched the recordings and made note of the various people and things each Glass wearer looked at and for how long. The results showed that class identification, or what class each person said they belonged to, had an impact on how long they looked at the people who walked past them. During Study 2, participants viewed street scenes while the team tracked their eye movements. Again, higher class was associated with reduced attention to people in the images. For the third and final study, the results suggested that this difference could stem from the way the brain works, rather than being a deliberate decision. Close to 400 participants took part in an online test where they had to look at alternating pairs of images, each containing a different face and five objects. Whereas higher class participants took longer to notice when the face was different in the alternate image compared to lower classes, the amount of time it took to detect the change of objects did not differ between them. The team reached the conclusion that faces seem to be more effective in grabbing the attention of individuals who come from relatively lower class backgrounds.

Submission + - New Study Shows HIV Epidemic Started Spreading In New York In 1970 (

An anonymous reader writes: A new genetic study confirms theories that the global epidemic of HIV and AIDS started in New York around 1970, and it also clears the name of a gay flight attendant long vilified as being "Patient Zero." Researchers got hold of frozen samples of blood taken from patients years before the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS was ever recognized, and teased out genetic material from the virus from that blood. They use it to show that HIV was circulating widely during the 1970s, and certainly before people began noticing a "gay plague" in New York in the early 1980s. "We can date the jump into the U.S. in about 1970 and 1971," Michael Worobey, an expert on the evolution of viruses at the University of Arizona, told reporters in a telephone briefing. Their findings also suggest HIV moved from New York to San Francisco in about 1976, they report in the journal Nature. Their findings confirm widespread theories that HIV first leapt from apes to humans in Africa around the beginning of the 20th century and circulated in central Africa before hitting the Caribbean in the 1960s. The genetic evidence supports the theory that the virus came from the Caribbean, perhaps Haiti, to New York in 1970. From there it spread explosively before being exported to Europe, Australia and Asia. The Worobey team also sequenced samples of virus taken from Gaetan Dugas, a Canadian flight attendant named as "Patient Zero." Dugas died in 1984 and stunned researchers when he told them he'd had about 250 sexual partners a year between 1979 and 1981, although it later became clear that was not uncommon. The sequences make it clear he was a victim of an epidemic that had already been raging, and not its originator, Worobey said. "It's shocking how this man's name has been sullied and destroyed by this incorrect history," said Peter Staley, a former Wall Street bond trader who became an AIDS activist in New York in the 1980s. "He was not Patient Zero and this study confirms it through genetic analysis," Staley told NBC News. "No one should be blamed for the spread of viruses," Worobey said.

Submission + - Police use cell tower logs to contact potential witnesses to unsolved murder (

itamblyn writes: It what appears to be the first example of a new approach in investigative policing, Ontario Provincial Police are using cell phone tower logs to reach out to potential witnesses in an unsolved homicide case from 2015.

CBC reports ( that police "will be sending texts to about 7,500 people on Thursday to ask for information" to individuals that were, according to the cell phone tower logs, within the tower area near the time of the incident.

While we have heard lots of stories about cell phone tower logs being used in policing before (they are even discussed at length in Season 1 of Serial), I think this is the first case where they have been used to actively contact potential witnesses.

A news release by the police states that the texts will ask the recipient to "voluntarily answer a few simple questions to possibly help the Ontario Provincial Police solve this murder". CBC reports that "Investigators will also consider calling the numbers of people who don't respond voluntarily, but they would be required to obtain another court order to do so."

On one hand, this seems like the natural progression from the traditional approach of canvassing local residents by putting up flyers and knocking on doors. Indeed, the investigators use the term "digital canvas" to describe their plan.

On the other hand, I think one can reasonably ask — Are we OK with this approach? For example, presumably, it would be possible to get a better view of who was in the area by checking credit card transaction logs for all stores within the area. License plate readers and speed cameras might also give information about which vehicles were in the area. There are many levels of tracking that could be used simultaneously as a means of generating lists. The question is, do we want this to happen whenever there is a major crime? A minor one? Maybe this is just how things work now, and it really is no different than walking around, knocking on doors. I figured it was worth a discussion at the very least.

Submission + - How Vigilante Hackers Could Stop the Internet of Things Botnet (

An anonymous reader writes: Some have put forth a perhaps desperate—and certainly illegal—solution to stop massive internet outages, like the one on Friday, from happening: Have white-hat vigilante hackers take over the insecure Internet of Things that the Mirai malware targets and take them away from the criminals. Several hackers and security researchers agree that taking over the zombies in the Mirai botnet would be relatively easy. After all, if the “bad guys” Mirai can do it, a “good guys” Mirai—perhaps even controlled by the FBI—could do the same. The biggest technical hurdle to this plan, as F-Secure chief research officer Mikko Hypponen put it, is that once it infects a device, Mirai “closes the barn door behind it.” Mirai spreads by scanning the internet for devices that have the old-fashioned remote access telnet protocol enabled and have easy to guess passwords such as “123456” or “passwords.” Then, once it infects them, it disables telnet access, theoretically stopping others from doing the same. The good news is that the code that controls this function actually doesn’t at times work very well, according to Darren Martyn, a security researcher who has been analyzing the malware and who said he’s seen some infected devices that still have telnet enabled and thus can be hacked again. Also, Mirai disappears once an infected device is rebooted, which likely happens often as owners of infected cameras and DVRs try to fix their devices that suddenly have their bandwidth saturated. The bad news is that the Mirai spreads so fast that a rebooted, clean, device gets re-infected in five minutes, according to the estimates of researchers who’ve been tracking the botnets. So a vigilante hacker has a small window before the bad guys come back. The other problem is what a do-gooder hacker could do once they took over the botnet. The options are: brick the devices, making them completely unusable; change the default passwords, locking out even their legitimate owners; or try to fix their firmware to make them more resistant to future hack attempts, and also still perfectly functioning. The real challenge of this whole scenario, however, is that despite being for good, this is still illegal. “No one has any real motivation to do so. Anyone with the desire to do so, is probably afraid of the potential jail time. Anyone not afraid of the potential jail time...can think of better uses for the devices,” Martyn told Motherboard, referring to criminals who can monetize the Mirai botnet.

Submission + - Comcast Sues Nashville To Halt Rules That Help Google Fiber (

An anonymous reader writes: Comcast yesterday sued the Nashville metro government and mayor to stop a new ordinance designed to give Google Fiber faster access to utility poles. Comcast's complaint in US District Court in Nashville (full text) is similar to one already filed by AT&T last month. Both ISPs are trying to invalidate a One Touch Make Ready ordinance that lets new ISPs make all of the necessary wire adjustments on utility poles themselves instead of having to wait for incumbent providers like AT&T and Comcast to send work crews to move their own wires. The ordinance was passed largely to benefit Google Fiber, which is offering service in Nashville but says that it hasn't been able to deploy faster because it is waiting to get access to thousands of poles. Nearly all the Nashville utility poles are owned either by the municipal Nashville Electric Service or AT&T. Because Comcast has wires on many of the poles, it has some control over how quickly Google Fiber can expand its network. When Google Fiber wants to attach wires to a new pole, it needs to wait for ISPs like Comcast to move their wires to make room for Google Fiber's. The Nashville One Touch Make Ready ordinance "permits third parties to move, alter, or rearrange components of Comcast’s communications network attached to utility poles without Comcast’s consent, authorization, or oversight, and with far less notice than is required by federal law and by an existing Comcast contract with Metro Nashville," Comcast's complaint said. Comcast asked the court to declare the ordinance invalid and permanently enjoin Nashville from enforcing it. The pre-existing Make Ready process "seek[s] to ensure that all providers can share available pole space cooperatively and safely, without interfering with or damaging any provider’s equipment or services," Comcast said. The new procedures mandated by Nashville "are so intrusive that, tellingly, Metro Nashville has wholly exempted its own utility pole attachments from the Ordinance’s coverage."

Submission + - Tesla shocks Wall St. with huge earnings surprise and actual profits (

anderzole writes: Tesla on Wednesday posted its earnings report for the quarter gone by and investors will have a lot to cheer about. While analysts on Wall St. were expecting Tesla to post a loss, Tesla during its September quarter actually posted a profit, and an impressive profit at that. When the dust settled, Tesla posted a quarterly profit of $22 million and EPS of $0.71. Revenue for the quarter checked in at $2.3 billion.

Illustrating how impressive Tesla’s performance was this past quarter, Wall St. was anticipating Tesla to post a loss amid $1.9 billion in revenue for the quarter.

Submission + - Carriers to Implement Do Not Originate List to Defeat Robocalls

Trailrunner7 writes: An industry led strike force is preparing to take away one of the most valuable pieces of technology used by phone scammers: caller ID spoofing.

The Robocall Strike Force, convened by the FCC and comprising wired and wireline telecom companies, has been working since August on a handful of new technologies, standards, and other techniques to help address the robocall problem. On Wednesday, members of the strike force delivered their report to the FCC and said that a trial of a new Do Not Originate list has shown tremendous promise in preventing scammers from being able to spoof numbers belonging to government agencies, charities, and other legitimate organizations.

A trial of the DNO list that’s been running for the last few weeks on some IRS numbers has resulted in a 90 percent drop in the volume of IRS scam calls, officials from AT&T, which leads the strike force, said during the FCC meeting Wednesday. The carriers on the strike force, which include Sprint, Verizon, and many others, plan to continue testing the DNO list in the coming months, with the intent to fully implement it some time next year.

Comment Re:No, they didn't. (Score 4, Interesting) 989

"Wipe out" is indeed what it would do.

Let's imagine this is a MIRV with 15 separate warheads, totaling 50 megatons, total (maybe). Let's imagine the targets are the following British cities: London, Bristol, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Birmingham, Sheffield, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Glasgow, Edinborough, with the larger ones receiving two warheads.

Britain would basically cease to exist as a nation. So much damage would be done the economy would be non-functional. All the transport links in the country flow through those now destroyed cities, and that infrastructure would be destroyed. Every single piece of modern electronics in the country and in neighbouring countries that was not EMP hardened would no longer work, and everything (especially the transportation system) depends on all this stuff working. The prevailing south west winds would ensure that enough fallout would end up on surrounding areas adding to the casualties, and areas with nearby nuclear power stations would receive a lot of extra fallout. Just feeding the survivors with a barely functioning transportation system would be a logistical nightmare - ground transportation would be difficult thanks most of the major road and rail routes having been destroyed. Injured survivors would be left to fend for themselves - the entire capacity of the health service would be overwhelmed with the casualties of just one of the bombs. The electricity grid would be destroyed, even to the undamaged areas, it would be years before power was restored.

The survivors themselves, many of them would be suffering PTSD in the years afterwards, and virtually everyone will have lost friends and family and probably most of what they own in the attacks. What survived wouldn't be Britain, it would be a grotesque almost zombie like Britain with at best third world conditions for decades following.

Just because there are survivors and some land left untouched doesn't mean the country is effectively destroyed.

Comment Re: Hmm (Score 1) 989

> You think Russia is going to bother bombing North Dakota?

Yes, absolutely North Dakota would be bombed, because that's where a bunch of American missile silos are, and Minot AFB. North Dakota might not exactly be carpet bombed but it would be the recipient of more and larger weapons than you might think.

> A nuclear war would be horrifying but it wouldn't wipe out all life on earth

No, but human life afterwards wouldn't be much fun for generations, and even after the planet had recovered, would be like pre-industrial times. A nuclear winter caused by an all out exchange would be deeply unpleasant and finish off most of the survivors. Industrial society would unlikely ever restart, given the lack of people and lack of easy to mine resources (to get much of the resources we use now requires an already existing high technology base, that would no longer exist after a catastrophic exchange of nuclear weapons).

Submission + - Science announces winner of "Dance Your PhD" contest (

sciencehabit writes: Every year, Science asks researchers around the world to interpret their PhDs in dance form. The results are often quite impressive, and frequently hilarious. This year's winner incorporated tap dance, salsa, circus, and what can only be described as a cow doing the worm. The final scene depicts the ugly truth about Ph.D. research: Sometimes it just doesn’t work. A dancing scientist laments “Whyyyyy ?” as the experiment—and the entire dance—falls apart.

Submission + - Nuclear plants leak critical alerts in unencrypted pager messages (

mdsolar writes: A surprisingly large number of critical infrastructure participants—including chemical manufacturers, nuclear and electric plants, defense contractors, building operators and chip makers—rely on unsecured wireless pagers to automate their industrial control systems. According to a new report, this practice opens them to malicious hacks and espionage.

Earlier this year, researchers from security firm Trend Micro collected more than 54 million pages over a four-month span using low-cost hardware. In some cases, the messages alerted recipients to unsafe conditions affecting mission-critical infrastructure as they were detected. A heating, venting, and air-conditioning system, for instance, used an e-mail-to-pager gateway to alert a hospital to a potentially dangerous level of sewage water. Meanwhile, a supervisory and control data acquisition system belonging to one of the world's biggest chemical companies sent a page containing a complete "stack dump" of one of its devices.

Other unencrypted alerts sent by or to "several nuclear plants scattered among different states" included:

Reduced pumping flow rate
Water leak, steam leak, radiant coolant service leak, electrohydraulic control oil leak
Fire accidents in an unrestricted area and in an administration building
Loss of redundancy
People requiring off-site medical attention
A control rod losing its position indication due to a data fault
Nuclear contamination without personal damage

Submission + - Apple removes ESC key new Macbook "Pro" ( 2

fyngyrz writes: The Mac "Pro's" ESC key, used by many at the console / shell level, has apparently succumbed to overwhelming... courage. Er, design intent. Yeah, that's it. You have to admit, Apple is brave. No console-friendly person will be happy with this. I suspect that will be true to a degree where they'll be happy with... something other than a Macbook "Pro." BTW, those aren't "scare" quotes. Those are "no, wrong word" quotes. I could have gone with "pro[sic]", but... oy. Oh. And hey. You didn't want function keys, did you? Of course not... Okay, one hopes these missing features will at least sometimes, possibly, appear on the new touch bar, there to blunt the ends of your fingers as they use a key-striking habit to stomp on a touch surface.

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