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Britain To Create 2,000-Strong Cyber Force, Boost Budget By £250M

SlashDot - 1 hour 25 min ago
Slashdot reader cold fjord writes: Britain's Ministry of Defence and GCHQ signals intelligence establishment have put forward a plan to increase staff devoted to offensive cyber operations up to 2,000, quadrupling it over current levels. Funding would also increase by at least £250m, according to one source. The initiative comes "amid a growing cyber threat from Russia and after the UK used cyber weapons for the first time to fight Islamic State." General Sir Richard Barrons commented, "By adopting offensive cyber techniques in the UK we are levelling the playing field and providing new means of both deterring and punishing states that wish to do us harm."

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6 ways the first Android phone changed absolutely everything - CNET

CNET News - 1 hour 59 min ago
10 years after Google's T-Mobile G1 (aka HTC Dream) launched, it's clear how Android challenged the iPhone from the very beginning.

Japan's Hayabusa 2 mission lands on target asteroid

Engadget - 2 hours 27 min ago
After months of hovering around its target, Japan's Hayabusa 2 mission has made contact. Two of the host spacecraft's landers (ROVER-1A and 1B) have touched down on the surface of the asteroid 162173 Ryugu and have already been hopping around as the...

Sennheiser is making spatial audio accessories for Magic Leap

Engadget - 5 hours 16 min ago
Magic Leap has teamed up with audio giant Sennheiser to help it "explore and enhance [its] spatial audio accessory solutions." The secretive mixed reality-maker's first headset, the One Creator Edition, is equipped with onboard speakers for audio. Ho...

Why Attackers Are Using C# For Post-PowerShell Attacks

SlashDot - 5 hours 25 min ago
An anonymous Slashdot reader summarizes an article by a senior security researcher at Forecepoint Security Labs: Among cyber criminals, there has been a trend in recent years for using more so called 'fileless' attacks. The driver for this is to avoid detection by anti-virus. PowerShell is often used in these attacks. Part of the strategy behind fileless attacks is related to the concept of 'living off the land', meaning that to blend in and avoid detection, attackers strive for only using the tools that are natively available on the target system, and preferably avoiding dropping executable files on the file system. Recently, C# has received some attention in the security community, since it has some features that may make it more appealing to criminals than PowerShell. [Both C# and Powershell use the .NET runtime.] A Forcepoint researcher has summarized the evolvement of attack techniques in recent years, particularly looking at a recent security issue related to C# in a .NET utility in terms of fileless attacks. From the article: A recent example of C# being used for offensive purposes is the PowerShell/C# 'combo attack' noted by Xavier Mertens earlier this month in which a malware sample used PowerShell to compile C# code on the fly. Also, a collection of adversary tools implemented in C# was released. Further, an improved way was published for injecting shellcode (.NET assembly) into memory via a C# application.... Given recent trends it seems likely that we'll start to see an increased number of attacks that utilize C# -- or combinations of C# and PowerShell such as that featured in Xavier Mertens' SANS blog -- in the coming months.

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Google and uBreakiFix provide free Pixel repairs to hurricane victims

Engadget - Sat, 2018-09-22 23:45
If you own one of Google's Pixel phones and it fell victim to Hurricane Florence, relief might be at hand. Google is partnering with uBreakiFix to offer free repairs for any Pixel phone damaged in the storm So long as you can visit one of uBreakiFi...

Slashdot Asks: Anyone Considering an Apple Watch 4?

SlashDot - Sat, 2018-09-22 23:44
Long-time Slashdot reader kwelch007 writes: I finally gave in, after years of Android loyalty, because the iPhone and Apple Watch just worked, so I was told (and it is true). I changed from my Motorola Maxx for an iPhone 7, because I wanted the Apple Watch. Shortly after, I purchased a second-hand Apple Watch Series 1. I have never looked back...and I'm happy with it. Last week, I was able to buy an Apple Watch Series 4 with the exact specs I wanted... Wow! The screen is a ton bigger than my Series 1. I noticed right away when it asked me to set my passcode...the buttons were WAY bigger! It truly has the "side-to-side"'s noticable... "Walkie Talkie" is super convenient (used with my associate who told me that it was in stock at Best Buy...) Cool: 1) It's big, but not much bigger on your wrist than the 42mm versions previous...rather, the screen is bigger, brighter, and more usable. 2) The speakers and mics are far and away better than previous versions of the Apple Watch. But they don't yet have access to "the highly-touted 'ECG' capability". (Fortune reports it was only approved by America's FDA the day before the launch event -- and isn't yet available for "international" customers.) And the software also isn't ready yet for "Fall Protection," a feature which calls emergency responders if it detects that you've fallen to the ground and you don't respond to prompts for the next 60 seconds. ("The feature is automatic with Watch owners who identify themselves as 65 and up," USA Today reported last week.) "I spoke to several people in their 40s or 50s who said the same thing: they were already considering buying Series 4 watches for their parents for this feature alone," reported Daring Fireball, and both sites concluded that excitement was actually higher for Apple's new watches than it was for their new iPhones. ("We're talking about a device used by over a billion people -- the iPhone," writes USA Today, "compared with an accessory that analysts say have sold about 15 million units.") Daring Fireball acknowledges that the Apple Watch isn't the "nicest" watch in the world, but it's definitely the nicest if you compare it only to other smart watches and fitness trackers. (Though "that's like saying you're the richest person in the poorhouse.") But what do Slashdot readers think? Is anyone considering an Apple Watch 4?

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Logitech's latest media keyboard is designed for your smart TV

Engadget - Sat, 2018-09-22 22:10
There aren't many media keyboards devoted to smart TVs (they tend to be built for home theater PCs), but Logitech might have just given you another viable option. Its new K600 offers a compact keyboard-and-trackpad combo designed for modern smart TV...

Huge Trove of Employee Records Discovered At Abandoned Toys 'R' Us

SlashDot - Sat, 2018-09-22 21:34
An anonymous reader writes: Hackaday recently engaged in a bit of urban exploration, taking a look inside of a recently purchased Toys "R" Us location that has been boarded up since the once giant toy store chain folded in June. Inside they found plenty of hardware left behind, from point-of-sale systems to the Cisco networking gear in the server room. But the most interesting find was on paper. In a back office, they found "several boxes" of personal information about the store's employees, from their medical records to photocopies of their driver's licenses and Social Security cards [and also tax forms]. A video included with the article gives the viewer an impression of just how large a collection of files were left behind. The author wonders if the situation in this particular store was a fluke, or if the other [800] Toys "R" Us locations were left in a similar state. The article calls it "a very surprising look at what get's left behind when the money runs out and the employees simply give up...." "We saw the great lengths the company went to protect customer information, so to see how little regard they had for their own people was honestly infuriating."

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Tommy Wiseau's wonderfully terrible 'The Room' is free on YouTube

Engadget - Sat, 2018-09-22 20:36
You no longer have to go to a special screening (or track down bootlegs) to watch The Room. Tommy Wiseau has posted his so-bad-it's-good classic movie on YouTube for free in its entirety. If you've ever wanted to relive every "oh hi" moment or see...

MIT's Elegant Schoolbus Algorithm Was No Match For Angry Parents

SlashDot - Sat, 2018-09-22 19:34
"Computers can solve your problem. You may not like the answer," writes the Boston Globe. Slashdot reader sandbagger explains: "Boston Public Schools asked MIT graduate students Sebastien Martin and Arthur Delarue to build an algorithm that could do the enormously complicated work of changing start times at dozens of schools -- and re-routing the hundreds of buses that serve them. In theory this would also help with student alertness...." MIT also reported that "Approximately 50 superfluous routes could be eliminated using the new method, saving the school district between $3 million and $5 million annually." The Globe reports: They took to the new project with gusto, working 14- and 15-hour days to meet a tight deadline -- and occasionally waking up in the middle of the night to feed new information to a sprawling MIT data center. The machine they constructed was a marvel. Sorting through 1 novemtrigintillion options -- that's 1 followed by 120 zeroes -- the algorithm landed on a plan that would trim the district's $100 million-plus transportation budget while shifting the overwhelming majority of high school students into later start times.... But no one anticipated the crush of opposition that followed. Angry parents signed an online petition and filled the school committee chamber, turning the plan into one of the biggest crises of Mayor Marty Walsh's tenure. The city summarily dropped it. The failure would eventually play a role in the superintendent's resignation... Big districts stagger their start times so a single fleet of buses can serve every school: dropping off high school students early in the morning, then circling back to get the elementary and middle school kids. If you're going to push high school start times back, then you've probably got to move a lot of elementary and middle schools into earlier time slots. The district knew that going in, and officials dutifully quizzed thousands of parents and teachers at every grade level about their preferred start times. But they never directly confronted constituents with the sort of dramatic change the algorithm would eventually propose -- shifting school start times at some elementary schools by as much as two hours. Even more... Hundreds of families were facing a 9:30 to 7:15 a.m. shift. And for many, that was intolerable. They'd have to make major changes to work schedules or even quit their jobs... Nearly 85% of the district had ended up with a new start time, and "In the end, the school start time quandary was more political than technical... This was a fundamentally human conflict, and all the computing power in the world couldn't solve it." But will the whole drama play out again? "Last year, even after everything went sideways in Boston, some 80 school districts from around the country reached out to the whiz kids from MIT, eager for the algorithm to solve their problems."

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White House downplays talk of executive order targeting internet bias

Engadget - Sat, 2018-09-22 19:07
Is President Trump looking at an executive order that would investigate internet companies over his accusations of political bias? Not officially... although the government isn't strictly denying the claims, either. After Bloomberg reported the exist...

Comcast Outbids Fox With $40 Billion Offer For Sky In Auction

SlashDot - Sat, 2018-09-22 18:34
Comcast outbid Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox after offering $40 billion in an auction on Saturday. According to Yahoo Finance, "The U.S. cable giant bid $22.59 a share for control of London-listed Sky, bettering a $20.49 dollars-a-share offer by Fox, Britain's Takeover Panel said." From the report: Buying Sky will make Philadelphia-based Comcast, which owns the NBC network and Universal Pictures, the world's largest pay-TV operator with around 52 million customers. Chairman and chief executive Brian Roberts has had his eye on Sky as a way to help counter declines in subscribers for traditional cable TV in its core U.S. market as viewers switch to video-on-demand services like Netflix and Amazon. Comcast's knock-out offer thwarted Murdoch's long-held ambition to win control of Sky, and is also a setback for U.S. entertainment giant Walt Disney which would have likely been its ultimate owner. Disney agreed a separate $71 billion deal to buy most of Fox's film and TV assets, including its existing 39 percent stake in Sky, in June and would have taken full ownership after a successful Fox takeover.

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3D gun distributor Cody Wilson deported to the US

Engadget - Sat, 2018-09-22 17:36
Authorities aren't wasting any time bringing Cody Wilson, the owner of 3D-printed gun maker Defense Distributed, back to the US. Taiwan officials deported Wilson to the US on September 22nd following his arrest a day earlier over his annulled legal s...

NSA's 'Codebreaker Challenge' Features Exploiting Blockchain To Steal Ethereum

SlashDot - Sat, 2018-09-22 17:34
"The National Security Agency's 2018 Codebreaker Challenge kicked off on Friday, 9/21, and runs through 12/31," writes Slashdot reader eatvegetables. Each year's challenge -- which is open to U.S. students -- comes with its own (fictitious) backstory which the organizers say is "meant for providing realistic context." This year's story? A new strain of ransomware has managed to penetrate several critical government networks and NSA has been called upon to assist in remediating the infection to prevent massive data losses. For each infected machine, an encrypted copy of the key needed to decrypt the ransomed files has been stored in a smart contract on the Ethereum blockchain* and is set to only be unlocked upon receipt of the ransom payment. Your mission is to ultimately (1) find a way to unlock the ransomware without giving in to the attacker's demands and (2) figure out a way to recover all of the funds already paid by other victims. * For the purposes of this challenge, a private blockchain has been created with no real monetary value associated with the Ether. "The first half focuses on network protocol analysis and binary reverse-engineering," writes eatvegetables, while "The second half is all about attempting to exploit the blockchain." An email address from "a recognized U.S. school or university" is required, and the original submission notes that America's college students "are already hard at work trying to push their school to the top of the leaderboard."

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Comcast buys Sky, beating out Fox - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2018-09-22 16:35
Traditional broadcasters are scrambling to strengthen their position against Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Should The US Government Break Up Google, Twitter, and Facebook?

SlashDot - Sat, 2018-09-22 16:34
The Bay Area Newsgroup reports: Political momentum for a crackdown on Silicon Valley's social media giants got a boost this week when a state attorney general said he would tell U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions next week that Google, Facebook and Twitter should be broken up. Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry wants the federal government to do to the social media firms what it did to Standard Oil in 1911, according to a Louisiana newspaper report Tuesday... "This can't be fixed legislatively," Landry told the paper. "We need to go to court with an antitrust suit." He or another high official from his office will next week present the break-up proposal to Sessions... Landry, president of the National Association of Attorneys General, had spent months with his colleagues probing what they described as anti-competitive practices by Facebook, Google and Twitter, according to the paper. CNET reports: On Friday, Bloomberg reported it had obtained a draft of a potential White House executive order that asks certain government agencies to recommend actions that would "protect competition among online platforms and address online platform bias." The order, reportedly in its preliminary stages, asks US antitrust authorities to "thoroughly investigate whether any online platform has acted in violation of the antitrust laws."

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Comcast to acquire Sky for $39 billion following bidding war

Engadget - Sat, 2018-09-22 16:04
The fierce bidding battle over Sky has come to a close -- Comcast has successfully outbid 21st Century Fox to acquire the UK media giant for $39 billion. It clinched the deal following an unusual blind auction through the UK's Takeover Panel, which...

Cody Wilson, 3D-Printed Gun Pioneer, Arrested In Taiwan

SlashDot - Sat, 2018-09-22 15:34
Cody Wilson, maker of the first 3D-printed plastic gun, has been arrested in Taiwan. Long-time Slashdot reader SonicSpike quotes Reason: Earlier this week, Texas police issued a warrant for his arrest. Wilson, they claimed, found a woman on, a website that requires all users to assert they are 18 or over, then met her and paid for sex with her. Police say the woman was actually 16, which made that act a violation of Texas penal code 22.011 (A)(2)(a), regarding sex with a minor, which is legally considered sexual assault regardless of consent or payment. While Taiwan has no formal extradition treaty with the U.S., and Wilson was not said to have been doing anything directly criminal in Taiwan, the press there reports that he was arrested without incident because the U.S. had revoked his passport, making his mere presence in Taiwan illegal. (The U.S. government has the power to revoke the passports of people facing felony arrest warrants.) Wilson was then, according to The New York Times, " the National Immigration Agency" in Taiwan. It is expected to deport him to the U.S. to face those charges, which carry a potential 2 to 20 years in prison and $10,000 fine. A reporter for Ars Technica visited Wilson's home weapons printing company, and was told that "A management restructuring is coming." But they also contacted Adam Bhala Lough, who directed and wrote a documentary film about Wilson. Prior to Wilson's arrest, Lough argued that "Without Cody, it can't last. It's like Tesla and Elon Musk, you can't separate the two. "If he comes home and faces the music, there is a chance Defense Distributed will survive because it is a totally independent company without a board or any regulatory body. And the buyers of these products -- not to generalize, but at least the ones I met while doing the documentary -- they won't care about buying a product from an [accused] pedophile. In fact they may be even more emboldened by the idea that Cody was 'set-up' or that it is a 'deep-state conspiracy' against him, even if (or when) he admits to it."

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai pens memo warning employees against bias - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2018-09-22 14:52
Pichai says the idea that Google alters search results to favor a political agenda is "absolutely false." He also says employees will be held accountable.