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Submission + - Professors claim passive cooling breakthrough via plastic film (economist.com)

charlesj68 writes: An article in the Economist discusses the development of a plastic film by two professors at the University of Colorado in Boulder that provides a passive cooling effect. The film contains embedded glass beads that absorb and emit infrared in a wavelength that is not blocked by the atmosphere. Combining this with half-silvering to keep the sun from being the source of infrared absorption on the part of the beads, and you have way of pumping heat at a claimed rate of 93 watts per square meter.
Actual paper in Science: http://science.sciencemag.org/...
Original research by others in Nature: http://www.nature.com/nature/j...

Submission + - World's Largest Spam Botnet Adds DDoS Feature (bleepingcomputer.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Necurs, the world's largest spam botnet with nearly five million infected bots, of which one million active each day, has added a new module that can be used for launching DDoS attacks. The sheer size of the Necurs botnet, even in its worst days, dwarfs all of today's IoT botnets, who barely managed to reach 400,000 (albeit the owner of that botnet has now been arrested).

If this new feature would ever to be used, a Necurs DDoS atack would easily break every DDoS record there is. Fortunately, no such attack has been seen until now. Until now, the Necurs botnet has been seen spreading the Dridex banking trojan and the Locky ransomware. According to industry experts, there's a low chance to see the Necurs botnet engage in DDoS attacks because the criminal group behind the botnet is already making too much money to risk exposing their full infrastructure in DDoS attacks.

Submission + - AZ Bill Would Make Students in Grades 4-12 Participate Once In An Hour of Code

theodp writes: Christopher Silavong of Cronkite News reports: "A bill, introduced by [Arizona State] Sen. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, would mandate that public and charter schools provide one hour of coding instruction once between grades 4 to 12. Kavanagh said it’s critical for students to learn the language – even if it’s only one session – so they can better compete for jobs in today’s world. However, some legislators don’t believe a state mandate is the right approach. Senate Bill 1136 has passed the Senate, and it’s headed to the House of Representatives. Kavanagh said he was skeptical about coding and its role in the future. But he changed his mind after learning that major technology companies were having trouble finding domestic coders and talking with his son, who works at a tech company." According to the Bill, the instruction can "be offered by either a nationally recognized nonprofit organization [an accompanying Fact Sheet mentions tech-backed Code.org] that is devoted to expanding access to computer science or by an entity with expertise in providing instruction to pupils on interactive computer instruction that is aligned to the academic standards."

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 + - Autism Risk Linked to Herpes Infection During Pregnancy (neurosciencenews.com)

baalcat writes: Women with signs of active genital herpes had twice the odds of giving birth to offspring with autism spectrum disorder.

Women actively infected with genital herpes during early pregnancy had twice the odds of giving birth to a child later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to a study by scientists at the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

The study is the first to provide immunological evidence on the role of gestational infection in autism, reporting an association between maternal anti-herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2) antibodies and risk for ASD in offspring. Results appear in mSphere, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

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 + - 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 + - Consumers Can Now Legally Trash Businesses Online with No Fear of Retribution (cepro.com) 1

CIStud writes: Service businesses can no longer include a non-disparagement clause in their contract with consumers. A new law that calls for the removal of a non-disparagement clause from form contracts was enacted and signed into law in the waning days of the the Obama Administration. It will take effect on March 14, 2017.The "Consumer Review Fairness Act of 2016," H.R. 5111, makes certain clauses of a form contract void if it prohibits, or restricts, an individual from engaging in a review of a seller's goods, services, or conduct.

The new legislation puts an end to fine print clauses in contracts that prohibit customers from posting negative reviews, and furthermore takes away the right of businesses to sue for damages if the customer disobeys. Specifically, the Act voids any provision in a form contract (like a website’s terms of use) that (1) restricts a party’s ability to leave reviews, (2) imposes penalties for leaving negative reviews, or (3) transfers intellectual property rights in reviews or feedback content to the other party in the contract.
Employers can still include non-disparagement clauses in contracts with their employees.

Submission + - Is Slack Safe? (fastcompany.com)

An anonymous reader writes: If you work in media (or most other tech-oriented jobs), chances are you've come across Slack—or you find yourself using it every waking hour. It's an easy way to chat and collaborate with fellow employees. But amid increasing concerns about press freedom in the U.S. and elsewhere, are chatroom apps like Slack really the best way for journalists—and anyone else with sensitive information—to communicate? Reporters, editors, and privacy advocates aren't so sure.

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 + - The Alternate Facts of Cable Companies (backchannel.com) 1

mirandakatz writes: New York's attorney general sued Spectrum earlier this month, essentially alleging that the cable company had blatantly lied about the internet speeds it was providing to customers. At Backchannel, Susan Crawford offers some much-need analysis of why this happened in the first place, and what if all means. Crawford writes that "in a world in which Spectrum faces little to no competition, now expects even less regulation than before, and has no need to spend money on better services, the lawsuit won’t by itself make much of a difference. But maybe the public nature of the AG’s assault—charging Spectrum for illegal misconduct—will lead to a call for alternatives...We’d get honest, straightforward, inexpensive service, rather than the horrendously expensive cable bundles we’re stuck with today."

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