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Submission + - Remote vs. In-Office Software Teams: Which Is Better? (techbeacon.com)

mikeatTB writes: While Yahoo and Reddit are sold on banning remote work, there is generally increased acceptance of remote versus co-located teams, and the availability of effective tools that enable it are among the most significant trends affecting technology industry employment today. As with most things in business, productivity and cost are the dominant factors when choosing between remote and co-located workplaces. But there's no one answer. Which is the better fit for your software teams? Dave Fecak does a review of the science, and how peers in the industry are dealing with the modern workplace. One interesting take on the issues is raised by ThoughtWorks' Martin Fowler: Individuals are more productive in a co-located environment, but remote teams are often more productive than co-located teams. This is because a remote team has the advantage of hiring without geographic boundaries, and that enables employers to assemble world-class groups.

Submission + - Qrator: 1 Tbps DDoS attacks will become a new norm in 2017 (qrator.net)

atomlib writes: Qrator, a DDoS mitigation company based in Prague, published a report with rather grim outline of distributed denial-of-service security landscape. Their report discusses overall shifts which took place in 2016. Thanks to woefully unprotected Internet of Things 1 Tbps attacks the world saw last year are about to become a new reality. The company notes a dramatic drop in level of expertise required for a successful attack against even a big company. In addition to that more and more DDoS attacks target application level protocols which are much harder to defend. An example of that is Pingback vulnerability in Wordpress which allows to use servers as amplificators to coordinate attacks using HTTPS. The latter is much harder to filter since it requires ability to decipher all HTTPS traffic wirespeed. The only solution Qrator sees to upcoming DDoS issue is proactive threat monitoring and geo-distributed cloud solutions with presence allocation.

The report also details a few changes company proposed to Internet Engineering Task Force for BGP protocol. These changes are aimed at reducing amount of route leaks in anycast networks and establishing ways to monitor these incidents.

Submission + - Microsoft President Calls On World Governments To Join Forces In Cyber War

Mickeycaskill writes: Microsoft President Brad Smith has called on governments around the world to put aside their differences to tackle cybersecurity threats.

Speaking at the opening keynote of RSA Conference 2017 in San Francisco, he said the 2014 attack on Sony was a "turning point" with regards to cyberwarfare.

“Here was a nation state attack not for espionage, not related to the military, but to attack a private company for engaging in freedom of expression around, as it turned out, not a terribly popular movie," he said, before referring to the recent allegations around Russia.
“For over two thirds of a century the world’s governments have been committed to protecting civilians in times of war. But when it comes to cyber attacks, nation state hacking has evolved into attacks on civilians in times of peace. This is not the world that the Internet’s inventors envisioned a quarter of a century ago but it is the world that we inhabit today,”

Submission + - Google's New AI Has Learned to Become "Highly Aggressive" in Stressful Situation (sciencealert.com)

schwit1 writes: Late last year, famed physicist Stephen Hawking issued a warning that the continued advancement of artificial intelligence will either be "the best, or the worst thing, ever to happen to humanity".

We've all seen the Terminator movies, and the apocalyptic nightmare that the self-aware AI system, Skynet, wrought upon humanity, and now results from recent behaviour tests of Google's new DeepMind AI system are making it clear just how careful we need to be when building the robots of the future.

In tests late last year, Google's DeepMind AI system demonstrated an ability to learn independently from its own memory, and beat the world's best Go players at their own game.

It's since been figuring out how to seamlessly mimic a human voice.

Now, researchers have been testing its willingness to cooperate with others, and have revealed that when DeepMind feels like it's about to lose, it opts for "highly aggressive" strategies to ensure that it comes out on top.

Submission + - Apple Will Fight 'Right To Repair' Legislation (vice.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Apple is planning to fight proposed electronics "Right to Repair" legislation being considered by the Nebraska state legislature, according to a source within the legislature who is familiar with the bill's path through the statehouse. The legislation would require Apple and other electronics manufacturers to sell repair parts to consumers and independent repair shops, and would require manufacturers to make diagnostic and service manuals available to the public. Nebraska is one of eight states that are considering right to repair bills; last month, Nebraska, Minnesota, New York, Massachusetts, Kansas, and Wyoming introduced legislation. Last week, lawmakers in Illinois and Tennessee officially introduced similar bills. According to the source, an Apple representative, staffer, or lobbyist will testify against the bill at a hearing in Lincoln on March 9. AT&T will also argue against the bill, the source said. The source told me that at least one of the companies plans to say that consumers who repair their own phones could cause lithium batteries to catch fire. So far, Nebraska is the only state to schedule a hearing for its legislation.

Submission + - More Serotonin, Less Motivation? It Depends on the Circumstances (neurosciencenews.com)

baalcat writes: A new study in mice shows that increasing serotonin, one of the major mediators of brain communication, affects motivation – but only in certain circumstances. Furthermore, the study revealed that the short and long term effects of increased serotonin levels are opposed – a completely unforeseen property of this neurotransmitter’s functional system.

A surprising behavioral effect, discovered in mice by neuroscientists at the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown (CCU), in Lisbon, Portugal, strongly suggests that serotonin is involved in a biological mechanism which affects the animals’ motivation. The study has now been published in the online open access journal eLife.

Serotonin, one of the chemical “messengers”, or neurotransmitters, in the brain, is used by neurons to communicate with each other. It plays an important role in the regulation of sleep, movement and other behaviors which are essential for animal survival. But for motivation in particular, it was unclear whether serotonin was involved.

Submission + - Researchers Demonstrate Ransomware for Industrial Control Systems (helpnetsecurity.com)

dinscott writes: A group of researchers from Georgia Tech School of Electrical and Computer Engineering showed that it’s possible to craft ransomware aimed at compromising and fiddling with industrial control systems.

The team demonstrated their own proof-of-concept ransomware targeting programmable logic controllers (PLCs) at RSA Conference 2017 on Monday, showing how a hacker might disrupt the regular functioning of a water treatment plant.

Submission + - University DDoSed by Its Own IoT Devices (bleepingcomputer.com)

An anonymous reader writes: An unnamed university has suffered a DDoS attack at the hand of its own IoT devices, according to a sneak preview of Verizon's upcoming yearly data breach report. The DDoS attack was caused by an unnamed IoT malware strain that connected to the university's smart devices, changed their default password, and then launched brute-force attacks to guess the admin credentials of nearby devices.

Investigators said that the hacked devices would then start an abnormally high level of DNS lookups that flooded the university's DNS server, which in turn resulted in the server dropping many DNS requests, including legitimate student traffic. The university's IT team said that many of these rogue DNS requests were related to seafood-related domains. The university said that over 5,000 smart devices had been taken over during this incident. Investigators regained access over hijacked devices after they took the university's network offline and used a script to capture the new admin password, and then rewrite it with their own.

Submission + - Microsoft Delays February Patch Tuesday Indefinitely (sans.edu) 1

UnderAttack writes: Microsoft today announced that it had to delay its February patch Tuesday due to issues with a particular patch. This was also supposed to be the first patch Tuesday using a new format, which led some to believe that even Microsoft had issues understanding how the new format is exactly going to work with no more simple bulletin summary and patches being released as large monolithic updates.

Submission + - Microsoft's Open-Source Graph Engine Takes On Neo4j (infoworld.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Sometimes the relationships between the data you've gathered are more important than the data itself. That's when a graph processing system comes in handy. It's an important but often poorly understood method for exploring how items in a data set are interrelated. Microsoft's been exploring this area since at least 2013, when it published a paper describing the Trinity project, a cloud-based, in-memory graph engine. The fruits of the effort, known as the Microsoft Graph Engine, are now available as an MIT-licensed open source project as an alternative to the likes of Neo4j or the Linux Foundation's recently announced JanusGraph. Microsoft calls Graph Engine (GE) as "both a RAM store and a computation engine." Data can be inserted into GE and retrieved at high speed since it's kept in-memory and only written back to disk as needed. It can work as a simple key-value store like Memcached, but Redis may be the better comparison, since GE stores data in strongly typed schemas (string, integer, and so on). How does all this shape up against the leading open source graph database, Neo4j? For one, Neo4j has been in the market longer and has an existing user base. It's also available in both an open source community edition and a commercial product, whereas GE is only an open source project right now.

Submission + - H-1b Reduced Computer Programmer Employment By Up To 11%, Study Finds (marketwatch.com)

An anonymous reader writes: There would have been up to 11% more computer science jobs at wages up to 5% higher were it not for the immigration program that brings in foreign high-skilled employees, a new study finds. The paper — by John Bound and Nicolas Morales of the University of Michigan and Gaurav Khanna of the University of California, San Diego — was conducted by studying the economy between 1994 and 2001, during the internet boom. It was also a period where the recruitment of so-called H-1B labor was at or close to the cap and largely before the onset of the vibrant IT sector in India. In 2001, the number of U.S. computer scientists was between 6.1%-10.8% lower and wages were between 2.6% and 5.1% lower. Of course, there also were beneficiaries — namely consumers and employers. Immigration lowered prices by between 1.9% and 2.4%, and profits increased as did the total number of IT firms.

Submission + - Electric Car Battery Prices Fell By 80% In the Last 7 Years, Says Study (hardavenue.com)

An anonymous reader writes: According to the study made by McKinsey, the cost of electric car batteries has decreased by 80% since 2010. Tesla offers much lower cost batteries. As electric cars become more widely used, drivers are expected to see lower prices for electric cars and lower charging costs, as well as increased awareness of climate-changing carbon-emissions-rich gasoline and diesel vehicles. The reduction in the production costs of electric cars is very important for both the company and the drivers because if the production costs are low, the drivers will have a low price electric cars and it will be easier to spread these vehicles. According to McKinsey’s research on the sale of electric cars and the profitability of companies, the costly electric vehicle batteries are the biggest obstacle ahead of the profitability of the companies, but this will come to an end in the near future, as the cost of electric vehicle batteries will fall below $ 100 per kWh. According to the research result, we can see that the same batteries can be produced at 227 kWh per kWh in 2010, while an electric car battery at 1000 USD per kWh. Of course, this cost is still very high compared to the battery cost of a car with a similar derivative internal combustion engine, but the researchers think that the cost of electric vehicles will decline evenly, and that by 2020 there will be $ 190 per kWh and $ 20 per kWh less than $ 100 per kWh. The pioneer in the field of electric cars, is one step ahead of competition. McKinsey’s research suggests electric car battery costs to be $ 190 in 2020, while Tesla has already announced that in 2016, battery costs are $ 190 per kWh. Elon Musk has earlier announced that in 2020 the cost of the battery will be at the level of $ 100 per kWh.

Submission + - Let a Robot Carry Your Stuff

R3d M3rcury writes: Have you always wanted a lackey who will follow you around and carry your stuff? Well, Piaggio Fast Forward (PFF) may have the next best thing: Gita, a cargo-carrying robot. From TechCrunch:

It can follow a person, or roll autonomously in an environment it has already mapped. At 26 inches tall, the Gita can carry up to 40 pounds at a time and has a maximum speed of 22 miles per hour, so it can keep up with a person on foot or riding a bike. It can run for about 8 hours of continuous use, the company said.

In the next six months, Piaggio Fast Forward plans to run pilot tests with Gita on different college campuses and in towns in the U.S. The company is not thinking about delivering burritos or groceries, so much. It envisions the Gita assisting maintenance, gardening and custodial workers, and others who must cart heavy things around to get their jobs done on a given day, especially at resorts, senior living and school campuses.

So if you're in the Boston area for the next six months, keep an eye out for one of these.

Submission + - Now more than ever, don't neglect America's cyber infrastructure

mikehusky writes: With distance from the 2016 presidential and Congressional races, we are beginning to gain perspective on the challenges that lie ahead, including the cybersecurity of our nation’s critical infrastructure.

Just last month, D.C.’s police surveillance cameras were temporarily disabled due to a ransomware attack. From unsecured cameras on the Internet of Things, to our nation’s vulnerable power grid, to the 29 million electronic health records breached from 2010 to 2013, we consistently underestimate and under-resource the cybersecurity challenges our nation faces. .Source

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