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  • TechCentral Scams Call Center Scammers

    An anonymous reader writes "At TechCentral, we get on average called at least once a week — sometimes far more often — by a friendly sounding Indian national warning us that our Windows computer is infected with a virus. The call, which originates from a call centre, follows exactly the same script every time. Usually we shrug them off and put the phone down, but this week we thought we'd humour them to find out how they operate. As this week's call came in, the first thing the "operator" at the other end of the line tried to establish was who was owner of the Windows computer in the household. I'd taken the call. It was time to have some fun. I told the scammer that I was the PC owner. He proceeded to introduce himself as "John Connor." I laughed quietly as I imagined Arnold Schwarzenegger's Terminator hunting down this scamster in the streets of Calcutta. Perhaps he should have come up with a more convincing name."

    249 comments | about a week ago

  • Choose Your Side On the Linux Divide

    snydeq writes The battle over systemd exposes a fundamental gap between the old Unix guard and a new guard of Linux developers and admins, writes Deep End's Paul Venezia. "Last week I posted about the schism brewing over systemd and the curiously fast adoption of this massive change to many Linux distributions. If there's one thing that systemd does extremely well, it is to spark heated discussions that devolve into wild, teeth-gnashing rants from both sides. Clearly, systemd is a polarizing subject. If nothing else, that very fact should give one pause. Fundamental changes in the structure of most Linux distributions should not be met with such fervent opposition. It indicates that no matter how reasonable a change may seem, if enough established and learned folks disagree with the change, then perhaps it bears further inspection before going to production. Clearly, that hasn't happened with systemd."

    811 comments | about a week ago

  • Couchsurfing Hacked, Sends Airbnb Prank Spam

    Slashdot regular (and Couchsurfing.org volunteer) Bennett Haselton writes with a report that an anonymous prankster hacked the Couchsurfing.org website and sent spam to about 1 million members, snarkily advertising their commercial arch-rival Airbnb as "the new Couchsurfing." (Read on below for more on the breach.) As of now, the spam's been caught, but not the spammer.

    44 comments | about two weeks ago

  • Bezos-Owned Washington Post Embeds Amazon Buy-It-Now Buttons Mid-sentence

    McGruber writes: While reading a story in the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post, I saw that the paper had begun embedding Amazon Buy-It-Now links in the middle of story sentences. For example, in this article, a sentence about the sales figures for differing covers of The Great Gatsby read: At Politics and Prose, the traditional [BUY IT NOW] version — featuring the iconic eyes floating on a blue background — sold better than the DiCaprio [BUY IT NOW] cover. This change follows the July news of much larger than expected losses at Amazon and a 10-percent decline in the Amazon's stock value. In related news, the Post reports that the literary executor of George Orwell's estate has accused Amazon.com of doublespeak after they cited one of Orwell's essays in their ebook pricing debate with Hachette and other publishers.

    136 comments | about two weeks ago

  • Solid State Drives Break the 50 Cents Per GiB Barrier, OCZ ARC 100 Launched

    MojoKid (1002251) writes Though solid state drives have a long way to go before they break price parity with hard drives (and may never make it, at least with the current technology), the gap continues to close. More recently, SSD manufacturers have been approaching 50 cents per GiB of storage. OCZ Storage Solutions, with the help of their parent company Toshiba's 19nm MLC NAND, just launched their ARC 100 family of drives that are priced at exactly .5 per GiB at launch and it's possible street prices will drift lower down the road. The ARC 100 features the very same OCZ Barefoot 3 M10 controller as the higher-end OCZ Vertex 460, but these new drives feature more affordable Toshiba A19nm (Advanced 19 nanometer) NAND flash memory. The ARC 100 also ships without any sort of accessory bundle, to keep costs down. Performance-wise, OCZ's new ARC 100 240GB solid state drive didn't lead the pack in any particular category, but the drive did offer consistently competitive performance throughout testing. Large sequential transfers, small file transfers at high queue depths, and low access times were the ARC 100's strong suits, as well as its low cost. These new drives are rated at 20GB/day write endurance and carry a 3-year warranty.

    183 comments | about three weeks ago

  • Password Gropers Hit Peak Stupid, Take the Spamtrap Bait

    badger.foo (447981) writes Peter Hansteen reports that a new distributed and slow-moving password guessing effort is underway, much like the earlier reports, but this time with a twist: The users they are trying to access do not exist. Instead, they're taken from the bsdly.net spamtrap address list, where all listed email addresses are guaranteed to be invalid in their listed domains. There is a tiny chance that this is an elaborate prank or joke, but it's more likely that via excessive automation, the password gropers have finally hit Peak Stupid.

    100 comments | about three weeks ago

  • Gmail Now Rejects Emails With Misleading Combinations of Unicode Characters

    An anonymous reader writes: Google today announced it is implementing a new effort to thwart spammers and scammers: the open standard known as Unicode Consortium's "Highly Restricted" specification. In short, Gmail now rejects emails from domains that use what the Unicode community has identified as potentially misleading combinations of letters. The news today follows Google's announcement last week that Gmail has gained support for accented and non-Latin characters. The company is clearly okay with international domains, as long as they aren't abused to trick its users.

    79 comments | about three weeks ago

  • Memo to Users: SpamCop Winding Down Webmail Service

    LuserOnFire (175383) writes with word that on Saturday SpamCop users received an email that says in part: "For over 12 years, Corporate Email Services has been partnering with SpamCop to provide webmail service with spam filtering via the SpamCop Email System for our users. Back then, spam filtering was rare. We heard story after story about how our service rescued people from unfiltered email. Nowadays, webmail service with spam filtering has become the norm in the general public. As such, the need for the webmail service with SpamCop filtered email has decreased. Due to these reasons, we have decided to retire the SpamCop Email System and its webmail service; while SpamCop will continue to focus on providing the World's best spam reporting platform and blacklist for the community. As of September 30, 2014 (Tuesday) 6pm ET, the current SpamCop Email service will be converted to email forwarding-only with spam filtered by SpamCop for all existing SpamCop Email users."

    44 comments | about three weeks ago

  • Harvesting Wi-Fi Backscatter To Power Internet of Things Sensors

    vinces99 (2792707) writes "Imagine a world in which your wristwatch or other wearable device communicates directly with your online profiles, storing information about your daily activities where you can best access it – all without requiring batteries. Or, battery-free sensors embedded around your home that could track minute-by-minute temperature changes and send that information to your thermostat to help conserve energy. This not-so-distant 'Internet of Things' reality would extend connectivity to perhaps billions of devices. Sensors could be embedded in everyday objects to help monitor and track everything from the structural safety of bridges to the health of your heart. But having a way to cheaply power and connect these devices to the Internet has kept this from taking off. Now, University of Washington engineers have designed a new communication system that uses radio frequency signals as a power source and reuses existing Wi-Fi infrastructure to provide Internet connectivity to these devices. Called Wi-Fi backscatter, this technology is the first that can connect battery-free devices to Wi-Fi infrastructure. The researchers will publish their results at the Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Data Communication's annual conference this month in Chicago. The team also plans to start a company based on the technology. The Pre-print research paper.

    138 comments | about a month ago

  • Internet Explorer Vulnerabilities Increase 100%

    An anonymous reader writes Bromium Labs analyzed public vulnerabilities and exploits from the first six months of 2014. The research determined that Internet Explorer vulnerabilities have increased more than 100 percent since 2013, surpassing Java and Flash vulnerabilities. Web browsers have always been a favorite avenue of attack, but we are now seeing that hackers are not only getting better at attacking Internet Explorer, they are doing it more frequently.

    137 comments | about a month ago

  • The Psychology of Phishing

    An anonymous reader writes Phishing emails are without a doubt one of the biggest security issues consumers and businesses face today. Cybercriminals understand that we are a generation of clickers and they use this to their advantage. They will take the time to create sophisticated phishing emails because they understand that today users can tell-apart spam annoyances from useful email, however they still find it difficult identifying phishing emails, particularly when they are tailored to suit each recipient individually. Fake emails are so convincing and compelling that they fool 10% of recipients into clicking on the malicious link. To put that into context a legitimate marketing department at a FTSE 100 company typically expects less than a 2% click rate on their advertising campaigns. So, how are the cybercriminals out-marketing the marketing experts?

    128 comments | about a month ago

  • Why My LG Optimus Cellphone Is Worse Than It's Supposed To Be

    Bennett Haselton writes My LG Optimus F3Q was the lowest-end phone in the T-Mobile store, but a cheap phone is supposed to suck in specific ways that make you want to upgrade to a better model. This one is plagued with software bugs that have nothing to do with the cheap hardware, and thus lower one's confidence in the whole product line. Similar to the suckiness of the Stratosphere and Stratosphere 2 that I was subjected to before this one, the phone's shortcomings actually raise more interesting questions — about why the free-market system rewards companies for pulling off miracles at the hardware level, but not for fixing software bugs that should be easy to catch. Read below to see what Bennett has to say.

    291 comments | about a month and a half ago

  • "Intelligent" Avatars Poised To Manage Airline Check-In

    An anonymous reader writes One of the developers behind special effects used in the film Avatar has inked a deal with airline check-in kiosk manufacturer BCS to implement avatars for personalized and interactive customer service. Dr Mark Sagar's Limbic IO is applying 'neurobehavioral animation' combining biologically based models of faces and neural systems to create live, naturally intelligent, and expressive interactive systems. "One of the comments levelled at self-service check in is that it has lost the human touch that people had when checking in at a traditional manned counter," Patrick Teo, BCS CEO says. "Travelling can be stressful and our aim is to make the interaction between human (passenger) and computer (check-in) as natural and helpful as possible."

    102 comments | about a month and a half ago

  • How To Fix The Shortage of K-5 Scholastic Chess Facilitators

    theodp writes The good news, writes Michael Thomas, is that wired kids are learning chess at an unprecedented rate. Young children learning chess from tablets can quickly become more knowledgeable than their parents. But the bad news, laments Thomas, is there is so much demand for scholastic chess that there are not enough experienced chess facilitators to go around. Could technology like RFID-tagged chess pieces or services like ChessStream.com be employed to referee second-grader chess matches, Thomas wonders, or are more well-meaning-but-not-necessarily-expert human facilitators — a la T-ball coaches — the answer?

    128 comments | about 1 month ago

  • How Google Map Hackers Can Destroy a Business

    An anonymous reader writes with an excerpt from Wired about the one big problem that comes with crowdsourced data: enough eyeballs may make all bugs shallow, but may not fare as well against malice and greed: Maps are dotted with thousands of spam business listings for nonexistent locksmiths and plumbers. Legitimate businesses sometimes see their listings hijacked by competitors or cloned into a duplicate with a different phone number or website. In January, someone bulk-modified the Google Maps presence of thousands of hotels around the country, changing the website URLs to a commercial third-party booking site ... Small businesses are the usual targets. ....These attacks happen because Google Maps is, at its heart, a massive crowdsourcing project, a shared conception of the world that skilled practitioners can bend and reshape in small ways using tools like Google's Mapmaker or Google Places for Business. ... In February, an SEO consultant-turned-whistleblower named Bryan Seely demonstrated the risk dramatically when he set up doppelganger Google Maps listings for the offices of the FBI and Secret Service..

    132 comments | about 2 months ago

  • Krebs on Microsoft Suspending "Patch Tuesday" Emails and Blaming Canada

    tsu doh nimh writes In a move that may wind up helping spammers, Microsoft is blaming a new Canadian anti-spam law for the company's recent decision to stop sending regular emails about security updates for its Windows operating system and other Microsoft software. Some anti-spam experts who worked very closely on Canada's Anti-Spam Law (CASL) say they are baffled by Microsoft's response to a law which has been almost a decade in the making. Indeed, an exception in the law says it does not apply to commercial electronic messages that solely provide "warranty information, product recall information or safety or security information about a product, goods or a service that the person to whom the message is sent uses, has used or has purchased." Several people have observed that Microsoft likely is using the law as a convenient excuse for dumping an expensive delivery channel.

    130 comments | about 2 months ago

  • Microsoft Suspending "Patch Tuesday" Emails

    New submitter outofluck70 (1734164) writes Got an email today from Microsoft, text is below. [Note: text here edited for formatting and brevity; see the full text at seclists.org.] They are no longer going to send out emails regarding patches, you have to use RSS or keep visiting their security sites. They blame "governmental policies" as the reason. What could the real reason be? Anybody in the know? From the email: "Notice to IT professionals: As of July 1, 2014, due to changing governmental policies concerning the issuance of automated electronic messaging, Microsoft is suspending the use of email notifications that announce the following: Security bulletin advance notifications; Security bulletin summaries; New security advisories and bulletins; Major and minor revisions to security advisories and bulletins. In lieu of email notifications, you can subscribe to one or more of the RSS feeds described on the Security TechCenter website." WindowsIT Pro blames Canada's new anti-spam law.

    145 comments | about 2 months ago

  • Researchers Outline Spammers' Business Ecosystem

    An anonymous reader writes A team of researchers at the UC Santa Barbara and RWTH Aachen presented new findings on the relationship of spam actors [abstract; full paper here] at the ACM Symposium on Information, Computer and Communications Security. This presents the first end-to-end analysis of the spam delivery ecosystem including: harvesters crawl the web and compile email lists, botmasters infect and operate botnets, and spammers rent botnets and buy email lists to run spam campaigns. Their results suggest that spammers develop a type of "customer loyalty"; spammers likely purchase preferred resources from actors that have "proven" themselves in the past. Previous work examined the market economy of the email address market in preparatory work: 1 million email addresses were offered on the examined forum for anywhere ranging between 20 and 40 Euros.

    14 comments | about 3 months ago

  • LinkedIn Spam Lawsuit Can Continue

    Charliemopps (1157495) writes "A lawsuit filed in September 2013 in the Northern District of California alleged that LinkedIn misled its users about the number of times it would attempt to invite their contacts using their name. LinkedIn tried to get the suit dismissed but Thursday Judge Lucy Koh ruled the suit can continue."

    50 comments | about 3 months ago

  • Cybercriminals Ramp Up Activity Ahead of 2014 World Cup

    wiredmikey (1824622) writes With the FIFA World Cup 2014 kicking off this week in Brazil, cybercriminals and scammers are working hard to take advantage of visitors to the World Cup in Brazil and those following the world soccer tournament online. In recent months, several security vendors have published advisories about the various scams, phishing and malware operations that target Internet users interested in the World Cup. While individuals from all over the world have been targeted, many of the malicious campaigns focus on Brazil and neighboring South American countries. While news that cybercriminals are zoning in on a large global event is no surprise, the scale and tactics being used is quite wide in scope, ranging from malware distribution and phishing scams, to fraudulent ticket sales, spam and other promising yet fraudulent schemes.For those visiting Brazil to watch the games in person, the cyber threats also include rogue wireless access points, ATMs rigged with card skimmers and Point-of-Sale malware.

    90 comments | about 3 months ago

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