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  • NRA Complaint Takes Down 38,000 Websites
    Sarah Jeong, reporting for Motherboard:38,000 websites hosted by the automated publishing service Surge went down today, after the National Rifle Association sent a legal notice over a parody website created by the Yes Men. A few days ago, the Yes Men released the parody video, "Share the Safety" -- announcing a supposed NRA program to deliver firearms into the hands of those too impoverished to afford guns. The opening frame of the video says "Paid for in part by the National Rifle Association of America with additional support from Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation." "Systemic poverty and dumb laws keep the urban poor unable to acquire life-saving firearms," says the video, which is available on YouTube. "That's why we at the NRA are teaming up with Smith & Wesson to share the safety.â The YouTube description includes a link to the "official" website, ShareTheSafety.org.

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  • Hacker Takes Over Oculus CEO's Twitter Account, Announces New CEO
    Another day, another high-profile becoming victim of a hack attack. Somebody managed to find a way into Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe's Twitter account late Wednesday. The hacker, who appears to be a user who goes by the alias "lid" on Twitter changed Iribe's bio and cover photo, and made a couple of interesting "announcements" -- including him becoming the new CEO of Facebook-owned virtual reality company. TechCrunch reports:This is just the latest in a string of tech CEO's having their Twitter accounts compromised, this attack does not appear to be from the same hacker group responsible for the hacks on the accounts of Travis Kalanick, Sundar Pichai, Mark Zuckerberg and Dick Costolo. Late Wednesday night, Iribe's Twitter bio temporarily read, "hey its @Lid ... im not testing ya security im just havin a laugh." The hacker told me in a Twitter DM that he accessed the password via last month's MySpace breach, he also said that he also would've managed to access Iribe's email account had he not had two-factor authentication enabled.

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  • Spanish Authorities Raid Google Offices Over Tax
    An anonymous reader shares a Reuters report:Spanish officials raided Google's Madrid offices on Thursday in a probe related to its payment of taxes, a person familiar with the matter said, barely a month after the internet company had its headquarters in France searched on suspicion of tax evasion. A spokeswoman for Google said in a brief statement the company complied with fiscal legislation in Spain just as it did in all countries where it operated. The company was working with authorities to answer all questions, the spokeswoman added. Google is under pressure across Europe from politicians and the public upset at how multinationals exploit their presence around the world to minimize their tax bills.

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  • US Efforts To Regulate Encryption Have Been Flawed, Government Report Finds
    An anonymous reader writes from a report via The Guardian: U.S. Republican congressional staff said in a report released Wednesday that previous efforts to regulate privacy technology were flawed and that lawmakers need to learn more about technology before trying to regulate it. The 25-page white paper is entitled Going Dark, Going Forward: A Primer on the Encryption Debate and it does not provide any solution to the encryption fight. However, it is notable for its criticism of other lawmakers who have tried to legislate their way out of the encryption debate. It also sets a new starting point for Congress as it mulls whether to legislate on encryption during the Clinton or Trump administration. "Lawmakers need to develop a far deeper understanding of this complex issue before they attempt a legislative fix," the committee staff wrote in their report. The committee calls for more dialogue on the topic and for more interviews with experts, even though they claim to have already held more than 100 such briefings, some of which are classified. The report says in the first line that public interest in encryption has surged once it was revealed that terrorists behind the Paris and San Bernardino attacks "used encrypted communications to evade detection." Congressman Ted Lieu is pushing the federal government to treat ransomware attacks on medical facilities as data breaches and require notifications of patients.

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  • Congressman Wants Ransomware Attacks To Trigger Breach Notifications
    Trailrunner7 quotes a report from On the Wire: A powerful California congressman is pushing the federal government to treat ransomware attacks on medical facilities as data breaches and require notifications of patients. The pressure is coming from Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) and follows comments from officials at the Department of Health and Human Services about the department's plan to issue guidance to health care organizations about ransomware attacks. The Office for Civil Rights section of HHS, which has responsibility for health information privacy, will provide guidance on how to handle ransomware attacks, and Lieu is eager to ensure that the guidance specifically addresses how ransomware attacks relate to data breach regulations. "I welcome the news of HHS providing guidance to health providers on a matter that threatens so many hospital IT systems. However, we need to make clear that ransomware is not the same as conventional breaches. The threat to patients from ransomware is typically due to the denial of access to their medical records and medical services. Not only could this be a threat to privacy, but it could result in medical complications and deaths if hospitals can't access patient information," Lieu said in a statement. He sent a letter to the deputy director for health information privacy in the Office of Civil Rights at HHS, Deven McGraw, asking him to instruct health organizations and providers to notify patients of an attack if it results in a denial of access to a medical record or a loss of functionality thats necessary to provide patient care. In the past, Lieu has called for a full congressional investigation into the aforementioned widespread flaw in global phone networks that allows hackers to track anyone's location and spy on their phone calls and text messages. He was also one of the first lawmakers to publicly express his pro-encryption view after a federal judge ordered Apple to help the FBI break into the San Bernardino shooter's iPhone, saying it effectively "forces private-sector companies like Apple to be used as an arm of law enforcement."

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  • 2 Million-Person Terror Database Leaked Online
    An anonymous reader writes from a report via The Stack: A 2014 version of the World-Check database containing more than 2.2 million records of people with suspected terrorist, organized crime, and corruption links has been leaked online. The World-Check database is administered by Thomson-Reuters and is used by 4,500 institutions, 49 of the world's 50 largest banks and by over 300 government and intelligence agencies. The unregulated database is intended for use as "an early warning system for hidden risk" and combines records from hundreds of terror and crime suspects and watch-lists into a searchable resource. Most of the individuals in the database are unlikely to know that they are included, even though it may have a negative impact on their ability to use banking services and operate a business. A Reddit user named Chris Vickery says he obtained a copy of the database, saying he won't reveal how until "a later time." To access the database, customers must pay an annual subscription charge, that can reach up to $1 million, according to Vice, with potential subscribers then vetted before approval. Vickery says he understands that the "original location of the leak is still exposed to the public internet" and that "Thomas Reuters is working feverishly to get it secured." He told The Register that he alerted the company to the leak, but is still considering whether to publish the information contained in it.

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  • Scientists Say The Asteroid That Killed The Dinosaurs Almost Wiped Us Out Too
    HughPickens.com writes: Conventional wisdom states that mammalian diversity emerged from the ashes of the Cretaceous/Tertiary mass extinction event, ultimately giving rise to our own humble species. But Joshua A. Krisch writes at This Week that the asteroid that decimated the dinosaurs also wiped out roughly 93 percent of all mammalian species. "Because mammals did so well after the extinction, we have tended to assume that it didn't hit them as hard," says Nick Longrich. "However our analysis shows that the mammals were hit harder than most groups of animals, such as lizards, turtles, crocodilians, but they proved to be far more adaptable in the aftermath." Mammals survived, multiplied, and ultimately gave rise to human beings. So what was the great secret that our possum-like ancestors knew that dinosaurs did not? One answer is that early mammals were small enough to survive on insects and dying plants, while large dinosaurs and reptiles required a vast diet of leafy greens and healthy prey that simply weren't available in the lean years, post-impact. So brontosauruses starved to death while prehistoric possums filled their far smaller and less discerning bellies. "Even if large herbivorous dinosaurs had managed to survive the initial meteor strike, they would have had nothing to eat," says Russ Graham, "because most of the earth's above-ground plant material had been destroyed." Other studies have suggested that mammals survived by burrowing underground or living near the water, where they would have been somewhat shielded from the intense heatwaves, post-impact. Studies also suggest that mammals may have been better spread-out around the globe, and so had the freedom to recover independently and evolve with greater diversity. "After this extinction event, there was an explosion of diversity, and it was driven by having different evolutionary experiments going on simultaneously in different locations," Longrich says. "This may have helped drive the recovery. With so many different species evolving in different directions in different parts of the world, evolution was more likely to stumble across new evolutionary paths."

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