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Australian website waits three years to tell customers about a data breach

AlbanX (2847805) writes | about 2 months ago

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AlbanX (2847805) writes "Australian daily deals website Catch of the Day waited three years to tell its customers their email addresses, delivery addresses, hashed passwords, and some credit card details had been stolen.

Its systems got hacked in April 2011 and the company told police, banks and credit cards issues, but didn't tell the Privacy Commissioner until later, or customers until last night."

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Math, Programming, and Language Learning

Anonymous Coward writes | about 2 months ago

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An anonymous reader writes "There's often debate amongst modern programmers about how much math developers should know, and to what extent programming is math. Learning to program is often viewed as being on a spectrum between learning math and learning spoken/written languages. But in a new article, Jeremy Kun argues that the spectrum should be formulated another way: Human language -> Mathematics -> Programming. "Having studied all three subjects, I’d argue that mathematics falls between language and programming on the hierarchy of rigor. ... [T]he hierarchy of abstraction is the exact reverse, with programming being the most concrete and language being the most abstract. Perhaps this is why people consider mathematics a bridge between human language and programming. Because it allows you to express more formal ideas in a more concrete language, without making you worry about such specific hardware details like whether your integers are capped at 32 bits or 64. Indeed, if you think that the core of programming is expressing abstract ideas in a concrete language, then this makes a lot of sense. This is precisely why learning mathematics is 'better' at helping you learn the kind of abstract thinking you want for programming than language. Because mathematics is closer to programming on the hierarchy. It helps even more that mathematics and programming readily share topics.""
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Linux Needs Resource Management for Complex Workloads

storagedude (1517243) writes | about 2 months ago

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storagedude (1517243) writes "Resource management and allocation for complex workloads has been a need for some time in open systems, but no one has ever followed through on making open systems look and behave like an IBM mainframe, writes Henry Newman at Enterprise Storage Forum. Throwing more hardware at the problem is a costly solution that won’t work forever, notes Newman.

He writes: 'With next-generation technology like non-volatile memories and PCIe SSDs, there are going to be more resources in addition to the CPU that need to be scheduled to make sure everything fits in memory and does not overflow. I think the time has come for Linux – and likely other operating systems – to develop a more robust framework that can address the needs of future hardware and meet the requirements for scheduling resources. This framework is not going to be easy to develop, but it is needed by everything from databases and MapReduce to simple web queries.’"

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Tesla Model S hacking prize claimed

savuporo (658486) writes | about 2 months ago

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savuporo (658486) writes "AutoBlogGreen reports: The $10,000 prize for successfully hacking a Tesla Model S has been claimed. A team from Zhejiang University in China claimed victory at the Symposium on Security for Asia Network (SyScan360) event in Beijing by exploiting a "flow design flaw," whatever that means, to gain access to vital systems including the door locks, horn and window controls, while the vehicle was moving.

Last year, potential security pitfalls of high-tech electric and hybrid cars came to light when the DARPA successfully hacked into hybrids from Ford and Toyota. For illustration about why this might become a big deal, here is a video report about Prius ECUs and internal CAN network being messed around with while driven."

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PayPal allows change of amount without customer confirmation

Anonymous Coward writes | about 2 months ago

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An anonymous reader writes "Like if a restaurant owner could change the billed amount in the card-terminal _after_ you entered your PIN,
or just like changing the amount in an already signed cheque by the recipient without knowledge.

The worst part is that PayPal actually calls this a 'feature' and not a BUG.."

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Biggest "patent troll" slapped hard by appeals court

mpicpp (3454017) writes | about 2 months ago

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mpicpp (3454017) writes "Dozens of companies were sued over an old Polaroid digital imaging patent.

The most litigious "patent troll" in the US has lost a major case after the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit found its patent was too abstract.

Court declines to stop software patents altogether.

The ruling from last week is one of the first to apply new Supreme Court guidance about when ideas are too "abstract" to be patented. In the recent Alice v. CLS Bank case, the high court made clear that adding what amounts to fancy computer language to patents on basic ideas shouldn't hold up in court.

The patents in this case describe a type of "device profile" that allows digital images to be accurately displayed on different devices. US Patent No. 6,128,415 was originally filed by Polaroid in 1996. After a series of transfers, in 2012 the patent was sold to Digitech Image Technologies, a branch of Acacia Research Corporation, the largest publicly traded patent assertion company. A study on "patent trolls" by RPX found that Acacia Research Corporation was the most litigious troll of 2013, having filed 239 patent lawsuits last year."

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Faulty red light cameras produced thousands of bogus traffic tickets

mpicpp (3454017) writes | about 2 months ago

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mpicpp (3454017) writes "Report reveals suspicious ticketing patterns at dozens of Chicago intersections.

At least 13,000 Chicago motorists have been cited with undeserved tickets thanks to malfunctioning red-light cameras, according to a 10-month investigation published Friday by the Chicago Tribune. The report found that the $100 fines were a result of "faulty equipment, human tinkering or both."

According to the investigation:

Cameras that for years generated just a few tickets daily suddenly caught dozens of drivers a day. One camera near the United Center rocketed from generating one ticket per day to 56 per day for a two-week period last summer before mysteriously dropping back to normal.

Tickets for so-called rolling right turns on red shot up during some of the most dramatic spikes, suggesting an unannounced change in enforcement. One North Side camera generated only a dozen tickets for rolling rights out of 100 total tickets in the entire second half of 2011. Then, over a 12-day spike, it spewed 563 tickets—560 of them for rolling rights.

Many of the spikes were marked by periods immediately before or after when no tickets were issued—downtimes suggesting human intervention that should have been documented. City officials said they cannot explain the absence of such records."

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U.S. Senator blasts Microsoft's H-1B push as it lays 18,000 off workers

dcblogs (1096431) writes | about 2 months ago

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dcblogs (1096431) writes "On the floor of U.S. Senate Thursday, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) delivered a scalding and sarcastic attack on the use of highly skilled foreign workers by U.S. corporations that was heavily aimed at Microsoft, a chief supporter of the practice. Sessions' speech began as a rebuttal to a recent New York Times op-ed column by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, investor Warren Buffett and Sheldon Adelson, a casino owner that has chastised Congress for failing to take action on immigration reform. But the senator's attack on "three of our greatest masters of the universe," and "super billionaires," was clearly primed by Microsoft's announcement, also on Thursday, that it was laying off 18,000 employees. "What did we see in the newspaper today?" said Sessions, "News from Microsoft. Was it that they are having to raise wages to try to get enough good, quality engineers to do the work? Are they expanding or are they hiring? No, that is not what the news was, unfortunately. Not at all.""
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Google To Stop Describing Games With In-App Purchases as 'Free'

Anonymous Coward writes | about 2 months ago

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An anonymous reader writes "After a series of investigations, lawsuits, and fines into how in-app purchases are advertised and communicated to users, Google has agreed to stop labeling games that use in-app purchases as "Free." This change is the result of a request by the European Commission to stop misleading customers about the costs involved with using certain apps. "Games should not contain direct exhortation to children to buy items in a game or to persuade an adult to buy items for them; Consumers should be adequately informed about the payment arrangements for purchases and should not be debited through default settings without consumers’ explicit consent." The EC notes that Apple has not yet done anything to address these concerns."
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$10 million lawsuit against Wikipedia editors "stragetically" withdrawn

The ed17 (2834807) writes | about 2 months ago

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The ed17 (2834807) writes "On the same day the Wikimedia Foundation announced it would offer assistance to English Wikipedia editors embroiled in a legal dispute with Yank Barry, the lawsuit has been dismissed without prejudice at the request of Barry's legal team—but this action is being described as "strategic" so that they can refile the lawsuit with a "new, more comprehensive complaint.""
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Dell Starts Accepting Bitcoin

Anonymous Coward writes | about 2 months ago

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An anonymous reader writes "Mainstream retail companies have been slow to adopt Bitcoin, perhaps skeptical of its long-term value or unwilling to expend the effort required to put a payment system into place. Today, Bitcoin adoption got a momentum boost with Dell's announcement that it will accept Bitcoin as a payment method. Dell is by far the biggest company to start accepting Bitcoin. It's interesting to note that Dell, like many of the larger companies interacting with Bitcoin right now, is doing so through a third-party payment processor. On one hand, it's good — we don't necessarily want each company building their own implementation and possibly screwing it up. On the other hand, it scales back slightly the decentralized and feeless nature of Bitcoin, which are important features to many of its supporters."
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UK Government Faces Lawsuit Over emergency Surveillance Bill

judgecorp (778838) writes | about 2 months ago

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judgecorp (778838) writes "The British Government has had to produce an emergency surveillance Bill after the European Court of Justice ruled that European rules on retaining metadata were illegal. That Bill has now been passed by the House of Commons with almost no debate, and will become law if approved by the House of Lords. But the so-called DRIP (Data retenteion and Investigatory Powers) Bill could face a legal challenge: the Open Rights Group (ORG) is fund-raising to bring a suit which would argue that blanket data retention is unlawful, so these emergency measures would be no more legal than the ones they replaced."
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New Critroni Crypto Ransomware is First to Use Tor for Command and Control

Trailrunner7 (1100399) writes | about 2 months ago

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Trailrunner7 (1100399) writes "There’s a new kid on the crypto ransomware block, known as Critroni, that’s been sold in underground forums for the last month or so and is now being dropped by the Angler exploit kit. The ransomware includes a number of unusual features and researchers say it’s the first crypto ransomware seen using the Tor network for command and control.

The Critroni ransomware is selling for around $3,000 and researchers say it is now being used by a range of attackers, some of whom are using the Angler exploit kit to drop a spambot on victims’ machines. The spambot then downloads a couple of other payloads, including Critroni. Once on a victim’s PC, Critroni encrypts a variety of files, including photos and documents, and then displays a dialogue box that informs the user of the infection and demands a payment in Bitcoins in order to decrypt the files.

“It uses C2 hidden in the Tor network. Previously we haven’t seen cryptomalware having C2 in Tor. Only banking trojans,” said Fedor Sinitsyn, senior malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab, who has been researching this threat. “Executable code for establishing Tor connection is embedded in the malware’s body. Previously the malware of this type, this was usually accomplished with a Tor.exe file. Embedding Tor functions in the malware’s body is a more difficult task from the programming point of view, but it has some profits, because it helps to avoid detection, and it is more efficient in general.”"

Point-of-Sale System Bought On eBay Yields Treasure Trove Of Private Data

jfruh (300774) writes | about 2 months ago

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jfruh (300774) writes "Point-of-sale systems aren't cheap, so it's not unusual for smaller merchants to buy used terminals second-hand. An HP security researcher bought one such unit on eBay to see what a used POS system will get you, and what he found was distrubing: default passwords, a security flaw, and names, addresses, and social security numbers of employees of the terminal's previous owner."
Link to Original Source

Gene Therapy Converts Heart Cells Into "Biological Pacemakers"

Zothecula (1870348) writes | about 2 months ago

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Zothecula (1870348) writes "Pacemakers serve an invaluable purpose, by electrically stimulating a recipient's heart in order to keep it beating at a steady rate. The implantation of a pacemaker is a major surgical procedure, however, plus its presence in the body can lead to complications such as infections. Now, for the first time, scientists have instead injected genes into the defective hearts of pigs, converting unspecialized heart cells into "biological pacemakers.""
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This wearable Robot will give 2 extra fingers to our Hand.

rtoz (2530056) writes | about 2 months ago

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rtoz (2530056) writes "Researchers at MIT have developed a robot that enhances the grasping motion of the human hand. This wrist-wearable robot gives two extra fingers to our hand.

The robotic fingers are at either side of the the hand — one outside the thumb, and the other outside the little finger.

A control algorithm enables it to move in sync with the wearer's fingers to grasp objects of various shapes and sizes.

With the assistance of these extra fingers, we can grasp objects that are usually too difficult to do with a single hand."

Ask Slashdot: How Many Employees Does Microsoft Really Need?

Anonymous Coward writes | about 2 months ago

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An anonymous reader writes "Yesterday, word came down that Microsoft was starting to lay off some 18,000 workers. As of June 5th, Microsoft reported a total employee headcount of 127,005, so they're cutting about 15% of their jobs. That's actually a pretty huge percentage, even taking into account the redundancies created by the Nokia acquisition. Obviously, there's an upper limit to how much of your workforce you can let go at one time, so I'm willing to bet Microsoft's management thinks thousands more people aren't worth keeping around. How many employees does Microsoft realistically need? The company is famous for its huge teams that don't work together well, and excessive middle management. But they also have a huge number of software projects, and some of the projects, like Windows and Office, need big teams to develop. How would we go about estimating the total workforce Microsoft needs? (Other headcounts for reference: Apple: 80,000, Amazon: 124,600, IBM: 431,212, Red Hat: 5,000+, Facebook: 6,800, Google: 52,000, Intel: 104,900.)"
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Verizon's Accidental Mea Culpa

Barryke (772876) writes | about 2 months ago

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Barryke (772876) writes "Verizon has blamed Netflix for the streaming slowdowns their customers have been seeing. It seems the Verizon ">blog post defending this has backfired in a spectacular way: The chief has clearly admitted that Verizon has capacity to spare, and is deliberately constraining capacity from network providers. The Level3 blog posted in reply to Verizon show a diagram visualising underpowered interconnect problem, and offer a free upgrade for Verizon hardware: the interconnect network cables and ports to plug them in. "(..) these cards are very cheap, a few thousand dollars for each 10 Gbps card which could support 5,000 streams or more. If that’s the case, we’ll buy one for them. Maybe they can’t afford the small piece of cable between our two ports. If that’s the case, we’ll provide it. Heck, we’ll even install it." It seems there isn't much more to say, although i am very curious to the response of the ISP about this straight forward accusation of throttling paying users."
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CCP explains why virtual reality first person shooters still don't work

Anonymous Coward writes | about 2 months ago

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An anonymous reader writes "Icelandic studio CCP is better known for EVE Online, but its first foray into virtual reality with space shooter Valkyrie has caused a stir, and is widely seen as a flagship game for the Oculus Rift headset. In a new interview, Valkyrie executive producer Owen O'Brien explains what advantages the game will have when played with a headset — and gives his view on why a dogfighter is better suited to VR than a first person shooter:

"People have hacked it together, but it doesn't really work," he says. "The basic problem is Simulator Sickness. In Valkyrie or any cockpit game or driving game, what you're doing in the real world, assuming you're sitting down, more or less mimics what your brain is telling you you're doing in the game. So you don't get that disconnect, and it's that disconnect that causes sickness. So, the problem with first-person shooters is that you're running or crouching or jumping in the game but not in the real world, and because it's so realistic it can make some people (not everybody) feel nauseated if they start doing it for extended periods of time.""

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Preparing for Satellite War

Taco Cowboy (5327) writes | about 2 months ago

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Taco Cowboy (5327) writes "In May 2013 the Chinese government conducted what it called a science space mission from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China. The liftoff took place at night and employed a powerful rocket as well as a truck-based launch vehicle

The Pentagon never commented in detail on last year’s launch — and the Chinese have stuck to their story

The U.S. is most vulnerable to a Chinese attack because 43 percent of all satellites in orbit belong to the U.S. military or U.S. companies. According to Lance Gatling, president of Nexial Research, an aerospace consultant in Tokyo, Besides testing missiles that can intercept and destroy satellites, the Chinese have developed jamming techniques to disrupt satellite communications. Furthermore, the Chinese have studied ground-based lasers that could take down a satellite’s solar panels, and satellites equipped with grappling arms that could co-orbit and then disable expensive U.S. hardware

U.S. is exploring ways to mitigate the perceived threat from China, including dispatching a fleet of smaller, mobile satellites that would be harder for adversaries to find and destroy. Enabling satellite transmitters to quickly hop between frequencies could address the Chinese jamming threat, Gatling says.

In June the U.S. Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin (LMT) a $914 million contract to build a ground-based radar system that will track objects as small as a baseball, which could help identify a satellite attack as it’s happening. “Destroying someone’s satellite is an act of war,” says Dave Baiocchi, an engineering professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. “You need to know what’s going on up there.”"

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