SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

New developments in research etc.

Microsoft is downloading Windows 10 to PCs, even if you don’t “reserve” a copy

You might be in the process of acquiring Windows 10—whether you want the free upgrade or not. Microsoft has confirmed that it is “helping upgradable devices get ready for Windows 10 by downloading the files they need” in the event that owners decide to migrate to the new OS, even if they have heretofore passed up on "reserving" their free upgrade from Windows 7 or 8.

The issue seems to revolve around the Microsoft update KB3035583, and as such it appears to only afflict individuals who have chosen to receive automatic updates. As far as we can tell, if you have automatic updates turned off, Windows 10 won't be pre-loaded onto your PC.
READ MORE: http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2015/09/microsoft-is-downl...

Lockpickers 3-D Print TSA Master Luggage Keys From Leaked Photos

The TSA is learning a basic lesson of physical security in the age of 3-D printing: If you have sensitive keys—say, a set of master keys that can open locks you’ve asked millions of Americans to use—don’t post pictures of them on the Internet.

A group of lock-picking and security enthusiasts drove that lesson home Wednesday by publishing a set of CAD files to Github that anyone can use to 3-D print a precisely measured set of the TSA’s master keys for its “approved” locks—the ones the agency can open with its own keys during airport inspections.
READ MORE: http://www.wired.com/2015/09/lockpickers-3-d-print-tsa-luggage-keys-leak...

Why there must be freedom to publish flaws and security vulnerabilities

Two academics have been given permission to publish their security research which reveals vulnerabilities in a wireless car locking system. It comes two years after Volkswagen, one of the manufacturers using it, won a court injunction banning publication.

Despite a court order in its favour, Volkswagen has now allowed the report to be republished with only minor redactions. However the case reveals the tension between security researchers and software firms, or in this case the software used by car manufacturers. While some firms such as Facebook, Google and Microsoft offer financial rewards for those finding bugs, others such as Fiat Chrysler assert that such activity is criminal or as Volkswagen did, take it to the courts – while failing to address the highlighted problems that expose their customers to risks.
READ MORE: https://theconversation.com/why-there-must-be-freedom-to-publish-flaws-a...

How Debian Is Trying to Shut Down the CIA and Make Software Trustworthy Again

In response to the Snowden revelation that the CIA compromised Apple developers' build process, thus enabling the government to insert backdoors at compile time without developers realizing, Debian, the world's largest free software project, has embarked on a campaign to to prevent just such attacks. Debian's solution? Reproducible builds.

In a talk at Chaos Communication Camp in Zehdenick, Germany, earlier this month (full text here), Debian developer Jérémy Bobbio, better known as Lunar, told the audience how the Linux-based operating system is working to bring reproducible builds to all of its more than 22,000 software packages.
READ MORE: http://motherboard.vice.com/read/how-debian-is-trying-to-shut-down-the-c...

Conservative Politics Leads The Global Change Game

In 2003 Robert Altemeyer, the father of contemporary Right-wing authoritarianism research, reported on a series of global leadership simulations. Publishing in the Journal “Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy” Altemeyer named his paper, “What Happens When Authoritarians Inherit the Earth? A Simulation”.

Using a paradigm known as the Global Change Game, Altemeyer created two mock worlds, one in which leaders and followers were high on Right-wing authoritarianism (RWA), and one in which they were low. Right-wing authoritarianism correlates with political conservatism and involves punitive submission to authority and the status quo.
READ MORE: https://newmatilda.com/2015/09/02/right-wingers-lead-simulated-global-po...

FUN FACT: In June 1999, Bhutan became the last nation on earth to introduce TV—an unprecedented crime wave followed

Bhutan is a country with no traffic lights and no fast-food chains. It has more monks than soldiers. It may be the only country in the world to measure Gross National Happiness.

Tucked between India and China, the Buddhist kingdom is the size of Switzerland and has less than a million people. For centuries it has remained isolated in the Himalayan mountains. But now it has opened itself to what critics call "an electronic invasion" -- cable TV.
READ MORE: http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/bhutan/thestory.html
http://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/2003/jun/14/weekend7.weekend2
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/3812275.stm

Microsoft backports privacy-invading Windows 10 features to Windows 7, 8

Every time Microsoft releases a new version of an operating system, there’s always a few users bitterly unhappy at the company’s decision not to support new features on older products. Microsoft has finally listened to these die-hard devotees of older operating systems. If you felt like Windows 7 and Windows 8 offered you a little too much privacy, rejoice: Microsoft is updating those operating systems with the same telemetry gathering software it deployed on Windows 10.
READ MORE: http://www.extremetech.com/computing/213183-once-more-with-tracking-micr...

Neurohacking and the mind as the 6th domain of human warfare

It’s been fashionable in military circles to talk about cyberspace as a “fifth domain” for warfare, along with land, space, air and sea. But there’s a sixth and arguably more important warfighting domain emerging: the human brain.

This new battlespace is not just about influencing hearts and minds with people seeking information. It’s about involuntarily penetrating, shaping, and coercing the mind in the ultimate realization of Clausewitz’s definition of war: compelling an adversary to submit to one’s will. And the most powerful tool in this war is brain-computer interface (BCI) technologies, which connect the human brain to devices.
READ MORE: http://www.wired.com/2012/12/the-next-warfare-domain-is-your-brain/

Microsoft Starts Collecting User Data from Windows 7 and Windows 8 PCs

Microsoft has been accused of spying on its users with some of the features that it implemented in Windows 10, and the company not only refrains from commenting too much on these claims but it has also released some updates for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 computers, which appear to enhance data collection on older OS versions.

A number of updates that Redmond has recently released “introduce the Diagnostics and Telemetry tracking service” in Windows 7 and 8.1 and “add telemetry points to the User Account Control (UAC) feature to collect information on elevations that come from low integrity levels,” as the company says in the official KB pages.
READ MORE: http://news.softpedia.com/news/microsoft-starts-collecting-user-data-fro...
HOW TO COMPLETELY DISABLE MICROSOFT SPYING: https://youtu.be/XKI024wUTUw

Concerns new Tor weakness is being exploited prompt dark market shutdown

A dark market website that relies on the Tor privacy network to keep its operators anonymous is temporarily shutting down amid concerns attackers are exploiting a newly reported weakness that can identify server locations.

As Ars reported last month, the technique requires the adversary to control the Tor entry point for the server hosting the hidden service. It also requires the attacker to have previously collected unique network characteristics that can serve as a fingerprint for that particular service. Still, once that bar is met, the attack has an 88-percent accuracy rate. Hidden services are sites that are accessible only from within the Tor, which conceals IP addresses of servers and users.
READ MORE: http://arstechnica.com/security/2015/08/concerns-new-tor-weakness-is-bei...

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