Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


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Submission + - Researchers Bypass ASLR Protection on Intel Haswell CPUs (

An anonymous reader writes: A team of scientists from two US universities has devised a method of bypassing ASLR (Address Space Layout Randomization) protection by taking advantage of the BTB (Branch Target Buffer), a component included in many modern CPU architectures.

The researchers discovered that by blasting the BTB with random data, they could run a successful collision attack that reveals the memory locations where apps execute code in the computer's memory, the very thing that ASLR protection was meant to hide.

While during their tests they used a Linux PC with a Intel Haswell CPU, researchers said the attack can be ported to other CPU architectures and operating systems where ASLR is deployed, such as Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows.

From start to finish, the collision attack only takes 60 milliseconds, meaning it can be embedded with malware or any other digital forensics tool and run without needing hours of intense CPU processing.

Submission + - Stanford professor releases VR software intended to change real-world behavior (

Tekla Perry writes: Stanford's Jeremy Bailenson and his Virtual Human Interaction Lab have for more than a decade been testing whether experiences virtual reality can change real world behavior. Now they are using their knowledge--and expertise at developing VR software--in what they hope will be a large-scale move towards making people behave better. The lab this week released, for free, a VR experience for the HTC Vive. It's aimed at giving people the sense of diving down to a coral reef--but the real goal is getting them to consider how carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere is killing the oceans. He hopes, with the dearth of good VR content available, this software will proliferate at least as fast as VR hardware does. Next up for the lab, a deep dive into homelessness.

Submission + - Linux Community Considers NSA's Hand in systemd

Robotron23 writes: Several sources within the Linux community (here, here, here and here) have continued to discuss the possibility of NSA involvement with systemd. Various commentaries argue that the pace, scope and vociferousness surrounding the Debian kernel updates signify cause for suspicion. Discussion upon this subject has simmered since April, when Julian Assange branded the Debian project as being under the ownership of the NSA.

With examples, iGuru summarizes the arguments in this post. Noted is the worrying influence of developers working in billion-dollar corporate giant Red Hat, the potential for infiltration and manipulation within and between systemd supporters, plus numerous possible security holes and vulnerabilities in the code. Meanwhile, systemd's 217 update was announced as implemented.

Submission + - Dutch inventor embeds Bitcoin wallet into his hands (

An anonymous reader writes: Dutch entrepreneur Martin Wismeijer has implanted two computer chips in his hands which are capable of communicating with other Near Field Communication (NFC) chips, and is experimenting with using the system to make Bitcoin exchanges. Wismeijer, who installs and manages Bitcoin-based ATMS under his Mr Bitcoin venture, installed the microchips via syringe, and the chips measure 2mm by 12mm.

Recognising that many doctors will be reluctant to undertake such specious surgical procedures, Wismeijer recommends seeking out a qualified piercer or tattoo artist.

The inventor says: "I personally feel that by supporting these bio-hacking developments we can learn what works and what doesn't and that someday, in the not so distant future we will be able to implant more functionality like sub dermal glucose sensors or heart rate monitors and other vital health monitoring devices. Imagine a normally invisible tattoo on your arm glowing red when you get a heart attack — swipe your phone and your phone will notify a doctor...I believe we are paving the way for social acceptance while at the same time we support the bio-hacking technology that drives it."

Submission + - Tel Aviv joins war against Airbnb (

An anonymous reader writes: Tel Aviv Municipality has filed its first official indictment against a Tel Aviv resident for renting his apartment out to tourists through Airbnb. The resident in question, Elon Ohev-Ami, divided his apartment into two and rented the second half out to Airbnb travelers. The Municipality claims the apartment owner went against city planning code, which forbids residential units from being used as vacation rentals.

Submission + - Using Metal for Parallel Computing on an iPad

An anonymous reader writes: Apple's new Metal technology allows developers to write high performance compute shaders in a C++ style language for iOS devices.

By bundling up a series of compute shaders in a single Metal transaction, Simon Gladman demonstrates a Swift based iPad application that can solve up to 1,000 reaction diffusion cellular automata iterations per second on a 640x640 grid.

Submission + - 16 teraflop Cray to replace IBM at UK Met Office (

Memetic writes: The UK weather forecasting service the Met Office is replacing its IBM supercomputer with a 16 teraflop,17 petabyte of storage Cray XC40 — Cray's biggest deal outside the US.

It should be 13 times faster than the current system. The aim is to enable more accurate modeling of the unstable UK climate, with UK-wide forecasts at a resolution of 1.5km run hourly, rather than every three as now.

The official release has the bare bones, the BBC report, linked has more comparative details.

Submission + - EFF Rates Which Service Providers Side With Users (

An anonymous reader writes: The Electronic Frontier Foundation has issued a report grading online service providers for how well they side with users over intellectual property disputes. They looked at sites like YouTube, Imgur, tumblr, and Twitter. "The services could receive a maximum of five stars, based on criteria including publicly documented procedures for responses to DMCA takedown notices and counter-notices, how the services handle trademark disputes, and if the company issued detailed transparency reports." Only two sites got a perfect rating: WordPress and Namecheap. tumblr got the worst score, and Imgur was not far behind. The rest of the sites were in between, though the EFF did give a bit of extra credit to Etsy for its educational guides and Twitter for its transparency reports.

Submission + - Danes make $20 an hour, Americans $9 for same jobs ( 1

nbauman writes: Fast food workers in Denmark make at least $20 an hour, with time and a half for evenings and Sunday. In the U.S., they average $8.90 an hour for the same jobs, and get public assistance. A Big Mac costs $5.60 in Denmark, $4.80 in the U.S. Restaurants are less profitable for the owners in Denmark, but profitable enough for the chains to set up shop there. Workers get a bigger share of the profits. Why is that?
“We Danes accept that a burger is expensive, but we also know that working conditions and wages are decent when we eat that burger,” said Soren Kaj Andersen, an economics professor.
Danish fast food workers also have a strong union, 3F, which works cooperatively with the employer associations. McDonald's arrived and refused to join, but after a year of protests, caved in.
The New York Times compares Hampus Elofsson, 24, who works for Burger King in Copenhagen, Denmark, with Anthony Moore, shift manager at Burger King, Tampa, FL. Elofsson has enough for a night out with his friends and a savings account (plus government health care). Moore makes $9 an hour for a 35-hour week, gets $164 a month in food stamps, is behind on his bills, can't buy clothes for his kids, and can't afford Burger King's health plan.
A pair of stories in the New Yorker reports on the (hopeless for now) movement to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 or at least $10 an hour, and debunks the arguments that minimum wage workers are teenagers getting their first job for gas money. It quotes some candid remarks by an adviser to Charles Koch, secretly recorded at a fundraising filet mignon dinner.

Submission + - Happy Saint Patricks Day! Dyeing the Chicago River Green 2014 - Time-lapse (

frootis writes: Every year, the Chicago River is dyed green for the St. Patricks Day parade. This time-lapse video taken yesterday may seem like it’s in black-and-white at first, but that’s just the colors of the city. It’s a slight shock when the green starts! The dumping was done by members of the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Union Local 130. Here’s a view from a little closer to the action.

Submission + - Windows XP can put SOX, HIPAA, credit card security-compliance at risk (

coondoggie writes: When Microsoft stops supporting Windows XP next month businesses that have to comply with payment card industry (PCI) data security standards as well as health care and financial standards may find themselves out of compliance unless they call in some creative fixes, experts say. Strictly interpreted, the PCI Security Standards Council requires that all software have the latest vendor-supplied security patches installed, so when Microsoft stops issuing security patches April 8, businesses processing credit cards on machines using XP should fall out of PCI compliance,

Submission + - OpenGL ES 3.1 Specification Published (

jones_supa writes: The Khronos Group today announced the immediate release of the OpenGL ES 3.1 specification, bringing significant functionality enhancements to the royalty-free 3D graphics API that is used on nearly all of the world’s mobile devices. Key features of ES 3.1 include: compute shaders, mixing and matching shaders without explicit linking step, indirect memory-fetched draw commands, enhanced texturing functionality, new shader language features and, optional extensions. The API will retain compatibility with previous versions of OpenGL ES. The OpenGL ES working group at Khronos expects also to update the OpenGL ES Adopter’s Program to provide extensive conformance tests for OpenGL ES 3.1 within three months. This ensures that conformant OpenGL ES implementations provide a reliable, cross-platform graphics programming platform.

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