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posted by martyb on Sunday May 29, @01:28AM   Printer-friendly
from the did-the-fat-lady-sing? dept.

Opera, once known for revolutionizing web browsing and pushing boundaries has suffered greatly the last few years.

First their origin engine [Presto] was abandoned in favor of Chromium so as to be able to be competitive again. Many users did not like this as many features were taken away. Then the possible news of a sale and now this.

What will the future bring for Opera? Nobody knows, there is only once constant: Many people dislike that Chinese investors are taking control over the company and will leave Opera.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Saturday May 28, @11:45PM   Printer-friendly
from the security-is-difficult,-but-not-that-difficult dept.

Submitted via IRC for TheMightyBuzzard

A group of researchers has discovered 184 HTTPS servers that are wide open to attackers looking to inject seemingly valid content into encrypted sessions. Some of these servers belong to the credit card company VISA, the Polish banking association ZBP, and the German stock exchange.

They are vulnerable to these attacks because they used a duplicate cryptographic nonce with the AES-GCM cipher during the TLS handshake between the browser and the HTTPS-protected sites. This means attackers that are able to monitor the connection could reconstruct the authentication key and misuse it to, let's say, inject malicious code in the site or bogus forms to harvest user data.

The user, i.e. the browser, would have no way of noticing the attack.


The researchers have also found over 70,000 HTTPS servers using random nonces, which theoretically puts them in danger of nonce reuse attacks. Such an attack would be much more difficult to pull off – but not impossible.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Saturday May 28, @10:01PM   Printer-friendly
from the over-to-you dept.

We receive our fair share of slashvertisements. Not daily, certainly, but when we get one we often get a handful. Most get a cursory read by the editors, are identified for what they are, and go straight into the bin. But not all.

Recently we have also covered the enforced Windows 10 upgrade currently being pushed by Microsoft. If there is anyone out there who has not seen such stories you really haven't been paying attention. The effort being expended by MS to make sure that you upgrade - whether intentionally or not - is matched only by that being expended by users trying to avoid the upgrade while still being able to use their licensed software. Even the Chinese are getting in on the act.

And today, both of these things, have come together.

Spybot Anti-Beacon: block and stop the various tracking (telemetry) issues present in Windows 7/8/8.1/10

"Spybot Anti-Beacon is a standalone tool which was designed to block and stop the various tracking (telemetry) issues present in Windows 10. It has since been modified to block similar tracking functionality in Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 operating systems.

Anti-Beacon is small, simple to use, and is provided free of charge. It was created to address the privacy concerns of users of Windows 10 who do not wish to have information about their PC usage sent to Microsoft. Simply clicking "Immunize" on the main screen of Anti-Beacon will immediately disable any known tracking features included by Microsoft in the operating system.

If any issues occur with your PC while using Anti-Beacon, undoing the changes made can be done by clicking the "Undo" button in the main window. This will re-enable all tracking services. If you experience any issues using Anti-Beacon or have any suggestions/recommendations, please be sure to let us know on the forum thread relating to this tool."

We are not making any claims as the the efficacy of this piece of software, nor are we supporting it or suggesting that you should download it. It might work perfectly or may be as bad as the problem that it claims to cure. We simply do not know. But if anyone has tried it we would welcome any comments that you wish to make. You will understand that the community is likely to be a little skeptical regarding comments submitted as Anonymous Coward - that is how we received the slashvertisement in the first instance.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Saturday May 28, @08:17PM   Printer-friendly
from the finding-Santa-Claus dept.

SoylentNews covers cyborg/transhumanist stories from time to time. This particular concept, of a sensor that tells you true magnetic north, has arisen before. The story is a promo for a crowd-funded project, but it's interesting to check in on where the thinking on tech-based body augmentation is headed:

North Sense is a miniature Artificial Sense, vibrating each time it faces the Magnetic North. Your North Sense will not depend on an internet connection and will come with a dedicated app so you can make personal adjustments. It's a standalone artificial sensory organ, coated in the highest quality body-compatible materials.

Fitting North Sense to the body is not complicated and requires the installment of two dedicated surface-to-surface barbells. Its small size and unique design makes sure North Sense will co-exist comfortably with your body.

In a few months, you'll be able to experience new memories, maps and life moments, created and influenced by a new spiritual layer—your North Sense.

The sensor itself is external, but anchored to you by implantable metal posts--nothing more extreme than the piercings people already get. You have to recharge it, though.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Saturday May 28, @06:31PM   Printer-friendly
from the no-nonsense-oregonians dept.

El Reg reports

The US state of Oregon says it will charge Comcast tens of millions of dollars in taxes after revoking a tax break the cable giant had claimed on its broadband service.

The state's Department of Revenue (DOR) has denied a request by Comcast that it be granted an exemption reserved for companies that offer gigabit internet service in the state.

Written to lure Google's Fiber service to Portland after years of courtship, the tax break would give exemptions to reward the installation of high-speed fiber broadband.

Comcast [claimed] its "Gigabit Pro" service tops out at 2Gbit/s and thus made the cable giant eligible to claim the same breaks as Google.

The DOR, however, did not agree, and it ruled earlier this week that Comcast will have to pay the taxes.

[...] Critics of Comcast have previously argued that the Gigabit Pro service is prohibitively expensive (up to $4,600 a year) and only reaches a small number of Oregon residents.

[...] Both Google and Frontier also had their applications denied because neither has an active gigabit service in the state.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Saturday May 28, @04:47PM   Printer-friendly
from the chipping-away-at-security dept.

"Worth a read: this paper [PDF][1][2] From Kaiyuan Yang et al. on how an analog back door can be placed into a hardware platform like a CPU. "In this paper, we show how a fabrication-time attacker can leverage analog circuits to create a hardware attack that is small (i.e., requires as little as one gate) and stealthy (i.e., requires an unlikely trigger sequence before effecting [sic] a chip's functionality). In the open spaces of an already placed and routed design, we construct a circuit that uses capacitors to siphon charge from nearby wires as they transition between digital values. When the capacitors fully charge, they deploy an attack that forces a victim flip-flop to a desired value. We weaponize this attack into a remotely-controllable privilege escalation by attaching the capacitor to a wire controllable and by selecting a victim flip-flop that holds the privilege bit for our processor.""

[1] Link to PDF in article:
[2] Read PDF online as images: (Large print)
[3] Read PDF online as images: (Small print)

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Saturday May 28, @02:55PM   Printer-friendly
from the time-out! dept.

Securityweek has an article about a presentation at the Hack in the Box (HITB) conference this week, where Yuwei Zheng and Haoqi Shan of China-based security firm Qihoo360 showed how a remote attacker can shift time on a stratum 1 NTP server by wirelessly sending it forged radio time signals.

Shifting time on an NTP server can have serious consequences — it allows attackers not only to damage or disrupt systems, but also to authenticate to services using expired credentials, bypass HTTP STS and certificate pinning, and cause TLS clients to accept revoked or expired certificates.

Direct link to the presentation PDF.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Saturday May 28, @01:13PM   Printer-friendly
from the dense-memory dept.

Tom's Hardware reports on a crude method that may enable the production of vertical/3D NAND with more than 100 layers in the future:

Today's 3D NAND weighs in at 32 to 48 layers, but increasing the density beyond 100 layers appears to be an impossible challenge due to the limitations of high-aspect ratio etch tools, which etch the holes in the NAND (1.8 billion for Samsung 48-layer NAND). Today's tools have 30:1 to 40:1 aspect ratios for 32- and 48-layer NAND, respectively, but creating 64-layer NAND will require an aspect ratio of 60:1 to 70:1. The only problem? There are no tools that can achieve that aspect ratio.

Several NAND vendors are reportedly developing a new "string-stacking" method that will merely stack the 3D NAND devices on top of each other. For instance, three 48-layer stacks will be stacked upon each other to create a 144-layer chip. String stacking may allow for scaling up to 300 layers, but the challenge will be how to link the stacks and produce it in a cost-effective manner. Unfortunately, the NAND fabs have not even mastered that for standard 3D NAND as of yet.

In other NAND news, there may be a shortage of 3D NAND, indicated by Samsung using 16nm 2D TLC NAND in its new 750 EVO SSDs.

Original Submission

posted by cmn32480 on Saturday May 28, @11:28AM   Printer-friendly
from the snake-on-snake-violence dept.

Python in Thai toilet gives man nasty shock:

A Thai man is recovering in hospital after a 3m (10ft) python emerged from a squat toilet and sank its teeth into his penis.
Attaporn Boonmakchuay said the python was "yanking very hard" as he and his wife tried to wrestle it off. The incident happened as Mr Attaporn, 38, went to the toilet at his home in Chachoengsao province, east of Bangkok, before leaving for work on Wednesday.

As he used the toilet he said he suddenly felt a sharp pain. "I felt as though my penis had been severed. The snake was yanking very hard," he said, according to the Bangkok Post. As the python tried to pull him down, he called for his wife and neighbours to help him, the post reported. Mr Attaporn told Thai TV that his wife tied a rope around the snake and he pried its jaws open before passing out.

Original Submission

posted by takyon on Saturday May 28, @09:42AM   Printer-friendly
from the amoeblood dept.

Vampires are real, and they've been around for millions of years. At least, the amoebae variety has. So suggests new research from UC Santa Barbara paleobiologist Susannah Porter.

Using a scanning electron microscope to examine minute fossils, Porter found perfectly circular drill holes that may have been formed by an ancient relation of Vampyrellidae amoebae. These single-celled creatures perforate the walls of their prey and reach inside to consume its cell contents. Porter's findings appear in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

"To my knowledge these holes are the earliest direct evidence of predation on eukaryotes," said Porter, an associate professor in UCSB's Department of Earth Science. Eukaryotes are organisms whose cells contain a nucleus and other organelles such as mitochondria.
Porter examined fossils from the Chuar Group in the Grand Canyon -- once an ancient seabed -- that are between 782 and 742 million years old. The holes are about one micrometer (one thousandth of a millimeter) in diameter and occur in seven of the species she identified. The holes are not common in any single one species; in fact, they appear in not more than 10 percent of the specimens.

"I also found evidence of specificity in hole sizes, so different species show different characteristic hole sizes, which is consistent with what we know about modern vampire amoebae and their food preferences," Porter said. "Different species of amoebae make differently sized holes. The Vampyrellid amoebae make a great modern analog, but because vampire-like feeding behavior is known in a number of different unrelated amoebae, it makes it difficult to pin down exactly who the predator was."

Tiny vampires in ancient seas: evidence for predation via perforation in fossils from the 780–740 million-year-old Chuar Group, Grand Canyon, USA (DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2016.0221)

Original Submission

posted by cmn32480 on Saturday May 28, @07:44AM   Printer-friendly
from the blame-the-acorn dept.

Using radar data collected by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, a Southwest Research Institute-led team found evidence of an ice age recorded in the polar deposits of Mars. Ice ages on Mars are driven by processes similar to those responsible for ice ages on Earth, that is, long-term cyclical changes in the planet's orbit and tilt, which affect the amount of solar radiation it receives at each latitude.

"We found an accelerated accumulation rate of ice in the uppermost 100 to 300 meters of the polar cap," said Dr. Isaac Smith, a postdoctoral researcher at SwRI and lead author of a paper published in the May 27 issue of Science. "The volume and thickness of ice matches model predictions from the early 2000s. Radar observations of the ice cap provide a detailed history of ice accumulation and erosion associated with climate change."

Like Earth, modern-day Mars experiences annual rotation and seasonal cycles, as well as longer cycles, that influence the distribution of ice. However, these longer cycles might be more pronounced on Mars. This is because Mars' tilt changes substantially -- by as much as 60 degrees -- on timescales of hundreds of thousands to millions of years. By comparison, the Earth's tilt varies by only about 2 degrees over the same period. On Mars, this greater variability determines the amount of sunlight reaching a given spot on the surface and thus the stability of ice at all latitudes.

An ice age recorded in the polar deposits of Mars (DOI: 10.1126/science.aad6968)

Original Submission

posted by cmn32480 on Saturday May 28, @06:03AM   Printer-friendly
from the think-before-you-criticize dept.

As a return to our topic of why business persons are not in charge of science, we have the most recent contribution of one Nathan Myhrvold:

Before joining Microsoft, Nathan was a postdoctoral fellow in the department of applied mathematics and theoretical physics at Cambridge University, and he worked with Professor Stephen Hawking. He earned a doctorate in theoretical and mathematical physics and a master's degree in mathematical economics from Princeton University, and he also has a master's degree in geophysics and space physics and a bachelor's degree in mathematics from UCLA. [ ]

Sounds legit! But now, according to the Christian Science Monitor, he is going after the "NEOWISE results in a paper submitted to the journal Icarus and published online ahead of review, says that the WISE and NEOWISE research is filled with errors."

Christian Science Monitor

Now this may be the case, I am not one to judge, since I am not a rocket scientist, I am only the Greek philosopher who came up with the Heliocentric model of the Universe, but there is a lot of criticism, especially about the release of the paper before peer-evaluation was done (better than National Review, but not much.) One actual scientist says:

One error is that Myhrvold mixes up diameter and radius in one of his formulas, says Amy Mainzer, the principal investigator for NEOWISE at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

Now the point of this submission is not so much that it is news, but that it represents a trend, a trend of wealthy non-experts feeling entitled to critique actual science. With Anthropogenic Global Warming, there are obvious conflicts of interest to be drawn. But in this, and other similar cases, we just have to wonder if it is not a case of "if I am so rich, I must be smart!" The usual retort is, "If you are so smart, why aren't you rich?". But I really think we need to start asking, "If you are so rich, why aren't you smart?"

Washington Post version here:

Original Submission

posted by cmn32480 on Saturday May 28, @04:13AM   Printer-friendly
from the edumacated-guesses dept.

For archaeologists and historians interested in the ancient politics, religion and language of the Indian subcontinent, two UCLA professors and their student researchers have creatively pinpointed sites that are likely to yield valuable transcriptions of the proclamations of Ashoka, the Buddhist king of northern India's Mauryan Dynasty who ruled from 304 B.C. to 232 B.C.

In a study published this week in Current Science, archaeologist Monica Smith and geographer Thomas Gillespie identified 121 possible locations of what are known as Ashoka's "edicts."

First they isolated shared features of 29 known locations of Ashokan edicts, which were found carved into natural rock formations in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. They then harnessed species-distribution modeling tactics—which includes examining sophisticated geographic information systems datasets along with Google Earth images—to overlay those unique characteristics against a geological and population map of ancient India. They believe they have identified locations that hold the same characteristics as proven sites and are significantly accurate markers for future discovery.

Sounds like data-driven archaeology is the wave of the future.

Original Submission

posted by cmn32480 on Saturday May 28, @02:31AM   Printer-friendly
from the no-place-to-hide dept.

A study of more than 6,000 marine fossils from the Antarctic shows that the mass extinction event that killed the dinosaurs was sudden and just as deadly to life in the polar regions.

Previously, scientists had thought that creatures living in the southernmost regions of the planet would have been in a less perilous position during the mass extinction event than those elsewhere on Earth.

The research, published today in the journal Nature Communications, involved a six-year process of identifying more than 6,000 marine fossils ranging in age from 69- to 65-million-years-old that were excavated by scientists from the University of Leeds and the British Antarctic Survey on Seymour Island in the Antarctic Peninsula.

This is one of the largest collections of marine fossils of this age anywhere in the world. It includes a wide range of species, from small snails and clams that lived on the sea floor, to large and unusual creatures that swam in the surface waters of the ocean. These include the ammonite Diplomoceras, a distant relative of modern squid and octopus, with a paperclip-shaped shell that could grow as large as 2 metres, and giant marine reptiles such as Mosasaurus, as featured in the film Jurassic World.

Original Study

Original Submission

posted by cmn32480 on Saturday May 28, @12:46AM   Printer-friendly
from the back-to-a-bag-phone dept.

Federal scientists released partial findings Friday from a $25 million animal study that tested the possibility of links between cancer and chronic exposure to the type of radiation emitted from cell phones and wireless devices. The findings, which chronicle an unprecedented number of rodents subjected to a lifetime of electromagnetic radiation, present some of the strongest evidence to date that such exposure is associated with the formation of rare cancers in at least two cell types in the brains and hearts of rats.

There are some major caveats, though. The results were only observed in male rats; there weren't any significant effects seen in female rats. Exposure in utero didn't seem to affect cancer risk. And in male rats, the incidence of those two cancers was quite low. But even a small increase in the incidence of those cancers could have a major public health impact given how many people in the world regularly use cell phones.

Original Submission

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