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Submission + - Mirai evolves as Windows-based spreader is discovered on 500 systems

ericjon writes: A Windows-based spreader for Mirai malware has been discovered by Kaspersky Lab, whose engineers were analysing the spreader in a recently published blog post.
Kaspersky analysis showed the spreader on 500 unique systems so far this year. Although those attempts were blocked, researchers warn that emerging markets currently investing in connected technology are particularly vulnerable. The Lab is reportedly working with CERTs in order to take emerging IoT botnets down. .Source

Submission + - Early Apple internal memos found at Seattle thrift shop (blogspot.com)

An anonymous reader writes: "I was at the Seattle Goodwill outlet recently and I noticed the Apple logo on letterhead sticking out from a bin of books, so I started digging. What I found were the 1979-1980 files of Jack MacDonald, manager of system software for the Apple II and /// at the time.

"They tell the story of project "SSAFE" or "Software Security from Apples Friends and Enemies." This was a proposal to bring disk copy protection in-house to sell as a service to outside developers. Inter-office memos, meeting notes and progress reports all give a good idea of what a project life cycle looked like. Different schemes and levels of protection are considered, as well as implementation primarily on the Apple II+ and the upcoming SARA (The Apple ///) and Lisa computers."

Submission + - Study Reveals Bot-On-Bot Editing Wars Raging On Wikipedia's Pages (theguardian.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A new study from computer scientists has found that the online encyclopedia is a battleground where silent wars have raged for years. Since Wikipedia launched in 2001, its millions of articles have been ranged over by software robots, or simply “bots," that are built to mend errors, add links to other pages, and perform other basic housekeeping tasks. In the early days, the bots were so rare they worked in isolation. But over time, the number deployed on the encyclopedia exploded with unexpected consequences. The more the bots came into contact with one another, the more they became locked in combat, undoing each other’s edits and changing the links they had added to other pages. Some conflicts only ended when one or other bot was taken out of action. The findings emerged from a study that looked at bot-on-bot conflict in the first ten years of Wikipedia’s existence. The researchers at Oxford and the Alan Turing Institute in London examined the editing histories of pages in 13 different language editions and recorded when bots undid other bots’ changes. While some conflicts mirrored those found in society, such as the best names to use for contested territories, others were more intriguing. Describing their research in a paper entitled Even Good Bots Fight in the journal Plos One, the scientists reveal that among the most contested articles were pages on former president of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf, the Arabic language, Niels Bohr and Arnold Schwarzenegger. One of the most intense battles played out between Xqbot and Darknessbot which fought over 3,629 different articles between 2009 and 2010. Over the period, Xqbot undid more than 2,000 edits made by Darknessbot, with Darknessbot retaliating by undoing more than 1,700 of Xqbot’s changes. The two clashed over pages on all sorts of topics, from Alexander of Greece and Banqiao district in Taiwan to Aston Villa football club.

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.

Comment Solution: suspend "trusted" status (Score 1) 70

When you (Google) detect that a medium- or high-volume submitter has "obvious flaws" in more than a very small percentage of its submissions, suspend their "trusted sender" status until the flaws are fixed.

Ditto if more than a small percentage of a medium- or high-volume submitter's requests get overturned or "overturned by default" by an un-challenged counter-notice.

For low-volume submitters, the "kick out" threshold would need to be much higher, something like "5 bad submissions out of the last 10 or 10 bad submissions out of the last 100," along with a "you can't become 'trusted' until we see at least 10 consecutive submissions that aren't challenged and at least 90% of the ones submitted in the last month are okay."

If the legal requirements of the DMCA prevent this, then take "bad submitters" to court and get a court order declaring that you (Google) can ignore requests from that submitter that haven't been approved by the court.

Submission + - Cellebrite can now unlock iPhone 6 and 6+ (cyberscoop.com)

Patrick O'Neill writes: A year after the battle between the FBI and Apple over unlocking an iPhone 5s, smartphone cracking company Cellebrite announced it can now unlock the iPhone 6 and 6+ for customers at rates ranging from $1,500 to $250,000. The company's newest products also extract and analyze data from a wide range of popular apps including all of the most popular secure messengers around.

Submission + - Self-driving cars, trucks may always need a human behind the wheel (computerworld.com)

Lucas123 writes: Even as self-driving car technology quickly evolves, technologists and lawmakers are still grappling with a big problem : In the event of an accident, who's to blame? For example, the U.K.'s Department for Transport announced plans this month to require owners of cars with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) to carry two-in-one insurance policies: one to cover the person when they're controlling the vehicle and the other for the car when it is in autonomous mode. One glaring problem with trusting autonomous vehicle software to control a one-ton car (or a 16-ton semi-tractor truck) is that each manufacturer programs its product differently from its competitors. And, if a software glitch exists in one vehicle, it exists in the entire line of cars or trucks. André Platzer, who is part of DARPA's High-Assurance Cyber Military Systems project which learns from the military's experience in developing hardened technology for controlling autonomous vehicle system. Platzer believes autonomous vehicles should always have a human being behind the wheel so that in instances where the vehicle is outside of its operating parameters, it can alert the driver to take control. Platzer, an associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science, is also part of a team developing software that would make self-driving vehicles self aware in the sense that the vehicle would know its operating limitations. "The world is a complicated place and that makes the road a complicated place. Most of the time, roads are the same, but every once in a while the situation is a bit different," Platzer said. "Even if you take a million of these scenarios..., you've still not tried all the cases by testing alone."

Comment The rush to "publish or perish" (Score 2) 244

The authors should have done it themselves before publication

In the rush to "publish or perish," you don't have time to re-run your experiment.

A "solution" would be "split publication" - publish results after the first experiment but call it "unverified." Then when you or another researcher reproduces the experiment, publish again.

The first researcher would receive the primary "credit" but only if the results held up under scrutiny.

Over time, researchers who accumulated a lot of "un-verified" initial publications would see their reputations suffer.

Submission + - naturalnews.com delisted from Google search results (scienceblogs.com)

bazorg writes: As of 23rd February, organic search results for the alternative medicine website naturalnews.com seem to have disappeared from Google, along with other domains owned by self-appointed Health Ranger Mike Adams, who sits in 3rd place on QuackWatch on their list of "promoters of questionable methods and/or advice".

This website is described in its wikipedia entry as "a website for the sale of various dietary supplements, promotion of alternative medicine, controversial nutrition and health claims, and various conspiracy theories, such as "chemtrails", chemophobic claims (including the purported dangers of fluoride in drinking water, anti-perspirants, laundry detergent, monosodium glutamate, aspartame), and purported health problems caused by allegedly "toxic" ingredients in vaccines, including the now-discredited link to autism." source

While this website does not fit exactly the profile of "fake news" that have been in everyone's radar as of late, it seems to be have received direct attention from Google, with no public explanation for the fact. True to form, the editor of the site makes important claims about the establishment trying to silence him:

The removal of Natural News from Google’s index means that millions of people may now be unnecessarily harmed by toxic medicines, herbicides and brain-damaging mercury in vaccines because they are being denied the “other side of the story” that’s censored by the corporate-controlled media. By censoring Natural News, Google is, in effect, siding with the criminal pharmaceutical industry that has been charged with multiple felony crimes and caught bribing doctors, fraudulently altering scientific studies, conducting medical experiments on children and price fixing their drugs to maximize profits. In effect, censorship of Natural News is part of the establishment’s war on humanity which includes depopulation measures (Bill Gates), covert infertility vaccines, corporate-run media disinfo campaigns and a full-on assault against scientific truth and free speech conducted in the public interest.

Submission + - World's only sample of 'holy grail' metallic hydrogen lost in laboratory mishap (ibtimes.co.uk)

drunkdrone writes: A piece of rare meta poised to revolutionise modern technology and take humans into deep space has been lost in a laboratory mishap. The first and only sample of metallic hydrogen ever created on earth was the rarest material on the planet when it was developed by Harvard scientists in January this year, and had been dubbed "the holy grail of high pressure physics".

The metal was created by subjecting liquid hydrogen to pressures greater that those at the centre of the Earth. At this point, the molecular hydrogen breaks down and becomes an atomic solid.

Scientists theorised that metallic hydrogen – when used as a superconductor – could have a transformative effect on modern electronics and revolutionise medicine, energy and transportation, as well as herald in a new age of consumer gadgets.

Sadly, an attempt to study the properties of metallic hydrogen appears to have ended in catastrophe after one of the two diamonds being used like a vice to hold the tiny sample was obliterated.

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.’

Comment The plus side of small things (Score 1) 303

It is much easier to prove there are no software (including firmware and microcode) bugs in a system that small than in a modern $5 single-board computer.

There are systems where a single-bit computer with 40 bits of storage is the right tool for the right job. Maybe not many systems, but they do exist.

Comment This should be taught starting in preschool (Score 1) 388

Detecting the difference between lies, exaggerations, BS, sincere-but-false claims, and facts should be taught on an age-appropriate basis from birth through adulthood, at home, in school, and in life.

For school-aged children and teenagers, this doesn't have to be a formal class every year, it can be integrated into the curriculum across most or all disciplines.

Ditto for detecting the difference between a sound argument and an unsound argument and the difference between an unsound argument that leads to a false conclusion and an unsound argument that leads to a conclusion that happens to be true anyway.

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