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Security

Ask Slashdot: Dealing With Companies With Poor SSL Practices? 103

Posted by timothy
from the stochastic-protection dept.
An anonymous reader writes Despite recent highly-publicized hacking incidents making the news, companies continue to practice poor cyber-security. I signed-up to buy something from [an online vendor] and upon completing signup through HTTPS, was sent my username and password in plain-text through e-mail. This company has done everything in its power to avoid being contacted for its poor technical practices, including using GoDaddy's Domains By Proxy to avoid having even WHOIS information for their webmaster's technical contact from being found. Given such egregious behavior, what do you do when you're left vulnerable by companies flagrantly violating good security practice?
Businesses

Sony Accused of Pirating Music In "The Interview" 169

Posted by timothy
from the such-a-loaded-term dept.
the simurgh writes As the controversy surrounding Sony's handling of it's hack, the movie The Interview and it's aftermath continues, a singer is claiming that after failing to reach terms with Sony, the company put her music in the movie anyway. Yoon Mi-rae (real name Natasha Shanta Reid) is a US-born hip hop and R&B singer who currently releases music on the Feel Ghood Music label. she and her label claim that her track we learned that the track 'Pay Day' has been used without permission, legal procedure, or contracts.
Facebook

Startup Acquisitions Herald Virtual, Augmented Reality Apps From Facebook 11

Posted by timothy
from the taking-a-farmville-to-the-face dept.
giulioprisco writes Oculus VR, the Virtual Reality (VR) technology company acquired by Facebook earlier this year, announced recently that they are acquiring two small start-up companies, Nimble VR and 13th Lab, to fill gaps in their virtual reality capabilities. The acquisitions may indicate that, besides VR games and social worlds, Facebook may target Augmented Reality (AR) applications, like Google is doing with Google Glass.
Businesses

Prosecutors Raid LG Offices Over Alleged Vandalism of Samsung Dishwashers 87

Posted by timothy
from the aren't-you-glad-those-are-machines dept.
As reported by Reuters, Korean manufacturing giant LG's Seoul headquarters have been raided over allegations that LG employees sabotaged dishwashers made by rival Samsung. The Samsung machines were "on display at two stores in September ahead of the IFA electronics show in Berlin." From the article: On Friday, investigators searched the Seoul offices of LG Elec's home appliance head, Jo Seong-jin, and others and secured documents and computer hard disks related to the IFA fair, Yonhap News Agency said. They also combed through LG Electronics' home appliance factory in the southeastern city of Changwon, the report said. ... Samsung sued LG Electronics employees after the incident in Germany, and LG said the company has counter-sued Samsung employees on Dec. 12. Media reports have earlier said prosecutors banned LG's Seong-jin from leaving the country ahead of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to be held January 6-9.
Programming

Donald Knuth Worried About the "Dumbing Down" of Computer Science History 141

Posted by Soulskill
from the from-the-guy-who-made-it dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Thomas Haigh, writing for Communications of the ACM, has an in-depth column about Donald Knuth and the history of computer science. It's centered on a video of Knuth giving a lecture at Stanford earlier this year, in which he sadly recounts how we're doing a poor job of capturing the development of computer science, which obscures vital experience in discovering new concepts and overcoming new obstacles. Haigh disagrees with Knuth, and explains why: "Distinguished computer scientists are prone to blur their own discipline, and in particular few dozen elite programs, with the much broader field of computing. The tools and ideas produced by computer scientists underpin all areas of IT and make possible the work carried out by network technicians, business analysts, help desk workers, and Excel programmers. That does not make those workers computer scientists. ... Computing is much bigger than computer science, and so the history of computing is much bigger than the history of computer science. Yet Knuth treated Campbell-Kelly's book on the business history of the software industry (accurately subtitled 'a history of the software industry') and all the rest of the history of computing as part of 'the history of computer science.'"
Power

Bill Gates Sponsoring Palladium-Based LENR Technology 183

Posted by samzenpus
from the betting-on-it dept.
Baldrson writes Kitco.com reports that: "Low energy nuclear reactor (LENR) technology, and by extension palladium, is attracting the attention of one of the richest men in the world and a pioneer inventor of new technology... In a recent visit to Italy, billionaire business man, investor and inventor Bill Gates said that for several years he has been a believer in the idea of LENR, and is a sponsor of companies developing the technology... During his trip to Italy he visited the national agency for new technologies energy and sustainable economic development (ENEA) where scientists have made significant progress towards a working design for low energy nuclear fusion. The centerpiece of their design is the same as in Mitsubishi's, palladium. Creating palladium foil with just the right parameters, and managing stress levels in the material was a key issue, one that the researchers at EMEA were able to resolve several years ago."
Cellphones

Kodak-Branded Smartphones On the Way 93

Posted by samzenpus
from the shake-to-call dept.
An anonymous reader sends news about Kodak's latest attempt to come back from the grave. "For a while there it looked like Kodak's moment had come and gone, but the past few months have seen the imaging icon fight back from the brink of irrelevance. Now the company's planning to push a Kodak-branded smartphone, and thankfully it's not going to sue everyone in the business along the way this time. To be clear, Kodak won't actually make its own devices — instead, it's going to farm out most of the development work to an English company called Bullitt."
PlayStation (Games)

Xbox Live and PlayStation Networks Downed By Apparent Attack 160

Posted by timothy
from the no-fun-for-you dept.
mrspoonsi writes Both Xbox Live and PlayStation Network [were] down this morning, apparently due to a denial-of-service attack. The notorious hacking group Lizard Squad — which already carried out earlier attacks on Microsoft and Sony — has claimed responsibility on Twitter for these latest outages. While the group's role in all of this remains unconfirmed, it's worth noting that the group threatened last week to take down Xbox Live and PSN, according to Business Insider. And again, Lizard Squad has already proven it can successfully pull off such attacks, not to mention other malicious pranks.

Whatever the cause, the timing is obviously terrible: Plenty of people surely received one of the two consoles as Christmas presents today, while many more gamers would have happily spent the afternoon in front of the TV. In the meantime, both Sony and Microsoft have acknowledged the problem, with Sony issuing a tweet and Microsoft posting a message on its support website: "We're working to address this as quickly as we possibly can," reads its status website. "Thanks for your patience, Xbox members." In an email, a Microsoft spokesperson declined to comment further or say when the company expects to restore service. We've also asked Sony to comment and will update this post if and when it does.
The Xbox Live status page says service remains "limited," and the Playstation Network is listed as offline.
Android

Nokia's Back In the Tablet Business, With the Android Lollipop-Based N1 57

Posted by timothy
from the serious-side-talkin' dept.
Esra Erimez writes It's been a little over a year since the announcement of Microsoft Corp.'s acquisition of Finnish tech veteran Nokia Oyj.'s Devices unit. A year later Chinese leaks site SINA Tech says Nokia is back and ready to compete against its former unit, suggesting it will launch in China on Jan. 7. As one commenter on the Daily Tech story points out (as does this ExtremeTech article from last month), the not-yet-launched N1, with its "one piece aluminum body, 7.9", 2048*1536, [and] 3:4 aspect ratio" looks an awful lot like the iPad mini, but costs quite a bit less.
Facebook

Federal Judge: Facebook Must Face Suit For Scanning Messages 48

Posted by timothy
from the we-were-only-doing-the-usual-peeking dept.
Rambo Tribble writes U.S. District Court Judge Phyllis Hamilton on Tuesday denied Facebook's bid to dismiss a class-action lawsuit against the social media giant for violating users' privacy through the scanning of message content. In her rejection of Facebook's argument, the judge said the firm had, "...not offered a sufficient explanation of how the challenged practice falls within the ordinary course of its business."
Businesses

How Target's Mobile App Uses Location Tech To Track You 59

Posted by timothy
from the bullseye-on-your-back dept.
An anonymous reader writes Big-box retailers are figuring out how to use mobile apps to drive in-store sales, but they're also concerned about privacy. To see how they're doing, Xconomy took Target's app for a spin on one of the busiest shopping days of the year. The app uses indoor location-mapping technology from a startup called Point Inside. The verdict? The app saved a few minutes in locating items around the store, but it would work better if it knew where shoppers (and the items on their lists) are at any time. With Apple's iBeacons set to roll out more widely, retail privacy will be a hot issue in 2015.
China

Inside China's 'Christmas Factory' Town, Yiwu 32

Posted by timothy
from the large-scale dept.
jones_supa writes China's manufacturing industry continues booming, which has led to the the town of Yiwu (a city of about 1.2m people in central Zhejiang province) being christened "China's Christmas village." The town has become the home of 600 factories that collectively churn out over 60% of all the world's Christmas decorations and accessories. The "elves" that staff these factories are mainly migrant labourers, working 12 hours a day for a maximum of £200 to £300 a month – and it turns out that all of them are not even entirely sure what Christmas is. Nevertheless, there are corridors lined with nothing but tinsel, streets throbbing with competing LED light shows, stockings of every size, plastic Christmas trees in blue and yellow and fluorescent pink, plastic pine cones in gold and silver. The complex of Yiwu International Trade Market was declared by the United Nations to be the "largest small commodity wholesale market in the world" and the scale of the operation necessitates a kind of urban plan, with this festival of commerce organised into five different districts, of which District Two is solely dedicated for Christmas stuff.
Businesses

Startups: the Crazy Ones, the Misfits, the Rebels ... the Dumb 34

Posted by timothy
from the pets-dot-com dept.
An anonymous reader writes Many companies emerged in 2014 offering new ways to help people connect, get stuff done, or find that special someone. Slack, for example, offers a chatty alternative to work email. Or Yonomi might actually make an Internet connected home feasible. But other new startups, looking for that new and original thing, peddled products that were gimmicky, legally unsound, or just not super useful. On the other hand, sometimes things that seem gimmicky get revised down the road; Kozmo.com is my favorite example — the business model might not have been perfect, but the underlying idea wasn't so bad. Sometimes there's a large not-being-the-first-mover advantage.
Government

North Korean Defector Spills Details On the Country's Elite Hacking Force 162

Posted by timothy
from the can't-hack-in-here-this-is-the-hacking-room dept.
mattydread23 writes Business Insider interviewed Jang Se-yul, a North Korean defector who trained in the country's Mirim University alongside some of the hackers who make up its elite Bureau 121 hacking squad. He explains how they train: 'They take six 90-minute classes every day, learning different coding languages and operating systems, from C to Linux. Jang says a lot of time was spent dissecting Microsoft programs, like the Windows operating system, and how to attack the overall computer IT systems of enemy countries like the U.S. or South Korea.' He also explains that these hackers are among the elite in North Korea, and even though they have unfiltered information about the outside world that their countrymen lack, most of them would never dream of leaving. (See also this story from earlier this month about the life of North Korea's elite hackers.)
Google

Google Motion Denied In Lawsuit Against Mississippi Attorney General 23

Posted by samzenpus
from the take-a-deep-breath dept.
An anonymous reader points out that a judge has called a time-out on a case between Google and Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood. "A federal judge has denied Google's motion to block enforcement of a subpoena issued by Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood that seeks information from Google about parts of its operations, including information about advertising for imported prescription drugs. Federal court records also show U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate put Google's response to the subpoena on hold until after the new year. Wingate scheduled a Feb. 13 hearing for further discussions on Google's motion. He asked attorneys for both sides to file new briefs in January."
Sony

Sony To Release the Interview Online Today; Apple Won't Play Ball 225

Posted by samzenpus
from the watch-it-now dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The BBC reports: "Sony Pictures is to distribute its film The Interview online, after a cyber-attack and a row over its release. The film will be offered on a dedicated website — seetheinterview.com — as well as via Google and Microsoft services." Notably absent among the services to provide The Interview is Apple. The New York Times reports: "According to people briefed on the matter, Sony had in recent days asked the White House for help in lining up a single technology partner — Apple, which operates iTunes — but the tech company was not interested, at least not on a speedy time table. An Apple spokesman declined to comment. "
Android

De-escalating the Android Patent War 63

Posted by Soulskill
from the can't-we-all-just-bilk-the-USPTO-together dept.
In 2011, a consortium formed from Microsoft, Apple, Sony, BlackBerry, and others spent $4.5 billion acquiring Nortel's patent portfolio, which contained a great deal of ammunition that could be used against Android. That threat has now been reduced. Today, 4,000 of the patents were purchased by a corporation called RPX, which has licensing agreements from Google, Cisco, and dozens more companies. [RPX is] a company that collects a bunch of patents with the goal of using those patents for member companies for defensive purposes. Even though RPX has generally been "good," the business model basically lives because of patent trolling. Its very existence is because of all the patent trolling and abuse out there. In this case, though, it's making sure that basically anyone can license these patents under FRAND (fair and reasonable, non-discriminatory) rates. The price being paid is approximately $900 million. While that article points out that this is considerably less than the $4.5 billion Microsoft and Apple paid originally, again, this is only 4,000 of the 6,000 patents, and you have to assume the 2,000 the other companies kept were the really valuable patents. In short, this is basically Google and Cisco (with some help from a few others) licensing these patents to stop the majority of the lawsuits -- while also making sure that others can pay in as well should they feel threatened. Of course, Microsoft, Apple and the others still have control over the really good patents they kept for themselves, rather than give to Rockstar. And the whole thing does nothing for innovation other than shift around some money.
Businesses

Comcast-TWC Merger Review On Hold 86

Posted by Soulskill
from the checking-their-bona-fides dept.
An anonymous reader writes: When the U.S. Federal Communications Commission began reviewing the merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable, it imposed a 180-day deadline on the review process. The agency has now pushed that deadline back a few weeks after learning that TWC withheld over 7,000 documents they shouldn't have. TWC originally claimed the documents fall under attorney-client privilege, but that appears not to be the case.

Perhaps more disturbing, the article says another 31,000 documents "went missing" because of a vendor error. (Perhaps even more disturbing is that this is a drop in the bucket compared to the sum total of information TWC dumped on the FCC — apparently over 5 million pages. How they can be expected to properly review that much material is beyond me.)

The FCC is also ready to close the public comment period for the merger, during which over 600,000 comments were filed. Critics are making their final arguments and Comcast is tallying up all the nice things people (and paid public relations agencies) had to say.
Networking

Hotel Group Asks FCC For Permission To Block Some Outside Wi-Fi 291

Posted by timothy
from the just-baby-steps dept.
alphadogg writes The FCC will soon decide whether to lay down rules regarding hotels' ability to block personal Wi-Fi hotspots inside their buildings, a practice that recently earned Marriott International a $600,000 fine. Back in August, Marriott, business partner Ryman Hospitality Properties and trade group the American Hotel and Lodging Association asked the FCC to clarify when hotels can block outside Wi-Fi hotspots in order to protect their internal Wi-Fi services. From elsewhere in the article: During the comment period, several groups called for the agency to deny the hotel group’s petition. The FCC made clear in October that blocking outside Wi-Fi hotspots is illegal, Google’s lawyers wrote in a comment. “While Google recognizes the importance of leaving operators flexibility to manage their own networks, this does not include intentionally blocking access to other commission-authorized networks, particularly where the purpose or effect of that interference is to drive traffic to the interfering operator’s own network,” they wrote.
Businesses

JP Morgan Breach Tied To Two-Factor Authentication Slip 71

Posted by timothy
from the something-borrowed-something-blue dept.
itwbennett writes The attackers who stole information about 83 million JPMorgan Chase customers earlier this year gained a foothold on the company's network because a server reportedly lacked two-factor authentication, despite the company's practice of using two-factor authentication on most of its systems. The story, reported in the New York Times, echoes the warnings of security experts over the years that the breach of a single server or employee computer can put an entire network at risk.

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