SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

New developments in research etc.

Your 'Smart' Power Outlets Are Now Botnets Thanks To The Internet Of Broken Things

The latest gift of the Internet of Things industry, revealed last week by security researchers at Bitdefender, is smart electrical sockets that can be hacked to hand over e-mail credentials, create a botnet, or (potentially) burn your house down by firing up connected appliances. The devices are sold as an amazing new tool to help create a connected home, allowing users to manage any device plugged into them via a smartphone and/or the internet. The problem, as usual, is an (unspecified) company that treated security as an afterthought.
READ MORE: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20160819/07473935285/your-smart-power-...

The NSA Hacking Team Known as the "Equation Group" Appears to Have Been Hacked and Their Advanced Hacking Tools Have Been Leaked Online

The leak over the weekend of advanced hacking tools contains digital signatures that are almost identical to those in software used by the state-sponsored Equation Group, according to a just-published report from security firm Kaspersky Lab.

Group claims to hack NSA-tied hackers, posts exploits as proof "While we cannot surmise the attacker's identity or motivation nor where or how this pilfered trove came to be, we can state that several hundred tools from the leak share a strong connection with our previous findings from the Equation group," Kaspersky researchers wrote in a blog post published Tuesday afternoon.
READ MORE: http://arstechnica.com/security/2016/08/code-dumped-online-came-from-omn...

How the father of the World Wide Web plans to reclaim it from Facebook and Google

When the World Wide Web first took off in the mid 1990s, the dream wasn’t just big, it was distributed: Everyone would have their own home page, everyone would post their thoughts – they weren’t called “blogs” until 1999 – and everyone would own their own data, for there was no one around offering to own it for us. The web consisted of nodes joined by links, with no center.

Now a handful of companies own vast swaths of web activity – Facebook for social networking, Google for searching, eBay for auctions – and quite literally own the data their users have provided and generated.
READ MORE: http://www.digitaltrends.com/web/ways-to-decentralize-the-web/

Mint 18 review: “Just works” Linux doesn’t get any better than this


Mint 18.x is well poised to continue to drive Mint's popularity. It's a solid release with some big changes, most of which won't cause the average user any problems. Both Cinnamon and MATE look and behave more or less as they always have with a number of incremental improvements.

Mint 18 has a lot of updates under the hood, most of which the average desktop user can safely ignore. However, there is one change that will mean an extra installation step for many users. Mint 18 is the first Mint release to ship without patent-encumbered codecs and plugins. The change is a result of legal and copyright issues in some countries, particularly the United States.
READ MORE: http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2016/08/mint-18-review-jus...

The Tragedy of the Google

In 1833 the Victorian economist William Forster Lloyd published Two Lectures on the Checks to Population, which introduced an idea we later understood as the Tragedy of the Commons. The example used was of a common grazing area and how the interests of the people using this “free” public land would inevitably work at odds with one another in maintaining the public land. Everyone had an incentive to take as much as they could, as quickly as they could, but no one had an incentive to put back.

Today this is best understood in the management of fisheries. You can’t own parcels of the ocean and even if you can assign areas to particular fishermen, the fish don’t pay attention to these boundaries. The fisherman has no incentive to limit his cod harvest because the fish he does not catch will simply swim over to the next guy, who will catch them.
READ MORE: http://thezman.com/wordpress/?p=8222

Are piracy kill switches in operating systems the key to stopping illegal downloads?

In order to combat the issue proactively, a new report published by Black Market Watch and the Global Initiative against Transnational Organised Crime has detailed an approach just so wild it might actually work.

Rather than trying to combat the issue online, the report suggests there should be mandatory blocking of pirated content on the operating system level.

“Other players that possess the potential ability to limit piracy are the companies that own the major operating systems which control computers and mobile devices such as Apple, Google and Microsoft,” the report reads.
READ MORE: http://www.news.com.au/technology/online/piracy/are-piracy-kill-switches...

Windows 10 Anniversary Update Borks Dual-Boot Partitions

Windows 10 Anniversary Update may affect and even delete other partitions on the same disk, OMGUbuntu is reporting, citing several complaints by users. "Broken boot loaders on an update are one thing but losing data, even entire partitions?" asks the author. Microsoft-centric news blog WindowsReport is corroborating on the report, adding that in some cases, the new OS was not able to detect some partitions.
READ MORE: http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2016/08/windows-10-anniversary-update-delete-...

FSB Detects Cyberattacks on 20 Russian Organizations, Including Military Targets

Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) exposed planting of malicious software designed for cyber espionage in computer networks of about 20 Russian institutions, including government and military bodies, FSB press service said Saturday.

"Instances of planting of malicious software designed for cyber espionage in computer networks of some 20 organizations located on the territory of Russia have been exposed… Information resources of public authorities, scientific and military institutions, enterprises of the military — industrial complex and other objects of country's critical infrastructure were contaminated," the statement read.
READ MORE: http://sputniknews.com/russia/20160730/1043780821/fsb-cuber-attacks.html

New attack bypasses HTTPS protection on Macs, Windows, and Linux

The attack can be carried out by operators of just about any type of network, including public Wi-Fi networks, which arguably are the places where Web surfers need HTTPS the most. It works by abusing a feature known as WPAD—short for Web Proxy Autodisovery—in a way that exposes certain browser requests to attacker-controlled code. The attacker then gets to see the entire URL of every site the target visits. The exploit works against virtually all browsers and operating systems. It will be demonstrated for the first time at next week's Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas in a talk titled Crippling HTTPS with Unholy PAC.
READ MORE: http://arstechnica.com/security/2016/07/new-attack-that-cripples-https-c...

You will use Cortana, Microsoft says


Surprise, surprise. If things remain as they are, Windows 10 users who upgrade to the Anniversary Update won't be able to turn off Cortana anymore using the Cortana settings.

If you compare the start menu settings of Cortana of the current version of Windows (version 1511) with those of the Anniversary Update (version 1607) you will notice that Cortana's off switch is no longer available (thanks Ian Paul @ PC World for spotting that)

Cortana, the digital assistant that Microsoft touts as one of the major features of Windows 10 supports interaction via touch, typing, ink and voice.
READ MORE: http://www.ghacks.net/2016/07/26/you-will-use-cortana-says-microsoft/

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