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Hacker Taunts Blizzard After Knocking Gamers Offline

SlashDot - Mon, 06/20/2016 - 10:23am
Reader itwbennett writes: A person nicknamed AppleJ4ck, who has been previously been linked to Lizard Squad, a group notorious for DDoS attacks against gaming platforms, including the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live, has taken credit for server outages affecting gaming giant Blizzard (Alternate source: ZDNet) Monday morning. The outages led to authentication lockouts for gamers attempting to access Overwatch, Hearth Stone, World of Warcraft, Diablo, Heroes of the Stone, and others. During the outage, AppleJ4ck said Monday's problems were just a test, promising more outages in the future.

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Categories: Geek News

Microsoft Says Edge Browser Is More Power-Efficient Than Chrome

SlashDot - Mon, 06/20/2016 - 9:45am
An anonymous reader writes: It's no secret that Google's Chrome browser eats up a considerable amount of memory (and by extension, battery). On Monday, Microsoft announced that its Edge browser has succeeded on that front. Citing several tests, Microsoft claims Edge browser is a better choice for portable device owners. The company took four identical laptops running Windows 10 to see which of the four most popular browsers would be most efficient when it comes to battery life. Interestingly, Chrome was the first to kill the laptop in the video streaming test at 4 hours and 19 minutes. Firefox closely followed its rival at 5 hours and 9 minutes, while Opera (running on the same tech as Chrome) managed to hit 6 hours and 18 minutes. In Microsoft's tests, it was found that Edge was best of the bunch when it came to enjoying a video online, lasting for 7 hours and 22 minutes. That's worked out to be 70% longer than Chrome.In a blog post, Microsoft wrote: "We designed Microsoft Edge from the ground up to prioritize power efficiency and deliver more battery life, without any special battery saving mode or changes to the default settings. Our testing and data show that you can simply browse longer with Microsoft Edge than with Chrome, Firefox, or Opera on Windows 10 devices."

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China Builds World's Fastest Supercomputer Without U.S. Chips

SlashDot - Mon, 06/20/2016 - 9:00am
Reader dcblogs writes: China on Monday revealed its latest supercomputer, a monolithic system with 10.65 million compute cores built entirely with Chinese microprocessors. This follows a U.S. government decision last year to deny China access to Intel's fastest microprocessors. There is no U.S.-made system that comes close to the performance of China's new system, the Sunway TaihuLight. Its theoretical peak performance is 124.5 petaflops (Linpack is 93 petaflops), according to the latest biannual release today of the world's Top500 supercomputers. It has been long known that China was developing a 100-plus petaflop system, and it was believed that China would turn to U.S. chip technology to reach this performance level. But just over a year ago, in a surprising move, the U.S. banned Intel from supplying Xeon chips to four of China's top supercomputing research centers. The U.S. initiated this ban because China, it claimed, was using its Tianhe-2 system for nuclear explosive testing activities. The U.S. stopped live nuclear testing in 1992 and now relies on computer simulations. Critics in China suspected the U.S. was acting to slow that nation's supercomputing development efforts. There has been nothing secretive about China's intentions. Researchers and analysts have been warning all along that U.S. exascale (an exascale is 1,000 petaflops) development, supercomputing's next big milestone, was lagging.

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Ask Slashdot: How Can You Manage Developers Distributed Across Multiple Projects?

SlashDot - Mon, 06/20/2016 - 6:30am
An anonymous Slashdot reader asks whether it's possible to manage a "distributed" team of software developers in different locations who are all assigned to different projects, each with their own independent project managers: All embedded software engineers from multiple offices in different countries are now being reorganized into this new distributed team [with] better control of its own development practices, processes and tools, since everyone is working in embedded software... While there's extensive material throughout the Internet on best practices for managing distributed teams, it seems to either take an agile perspective, the project manager's perspective or be otherwise based on the assumption that everyone in the team are working in the same project. In my case, I'd be managing a distributed team of developers all assigned to different projects. How can I build cohesion, alignment and trust for my team of embedded software developers in this new three-dimensional distributed matrix organization? Anyone have any relevant experiences to share with distributed teams or "matrix" organizations? Leave your answers in the comments. How can you manage developers who are all distributed across multiple projects?

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Hacker Who Stole Half-Life 2's Source Code Interviewed For New Book

SlashDot - Mon, 06/20/2016 - 2:30am
"Can you love a game so much you must take its sequel?" asks Ars Technica, posting an excerpt from the new book "Death By Video Game: Danger, Pleasure, and Obsession on the Virtual Frontline." At 6am on May 7, 2004, Axel Gembe awoke in the small German town of Schonau im Schwarzwald to find his bed surrounded by police officers bearing automatic weapons... "You are being charged with hacking into Valve Corporation's network, stealing the video game Half-Life 2, leaking it onto the Internet, and causing damages in excess of $250 million... Get dressed..." The corridors were lined by police, squeezed into his father's house... Gembe had tried creating homegrown keystroke-recorders specifically targeted at Valve, according to the book, but then poking around their servers he'd discovered one which wasn't firewalled from the internal network. Gembe spent several weeks discovering notes and design documents, until eventually he stumbled onto the latest version of the unreleased game's source code. He'd never meant for the code to be leaked onto the internet -- but he did share it with another person who did. ("I didn't think it through. The person I shared the source with assured me he would keep it to himself. He didn't...") Eventually Gembe contacted Valve, apologized, and asked them for a job -- which led to a fake 40-minute job interview designed to gather enough evidence to arrest him. But ultimately a judge sentenced him to two years probation -- and Half-Life 2 went on to sell 8.6 million copies.

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California Researchers Build The World's First 1,000-Processor Chip

SlashDot - Sun, 06/19/2016 - 10:35pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from the University of California, Davis about the world's first microchip with 1,000 independent programmable processors: The 1,000 processors can execute 115 billion instructions per second while dissipating only 0.7 Watts, low enough to be powered by a single AA battery...more than 100 times more efficiently than a modern laptop processor... The energy-efficient "KiloCore" chip has a maximum computation rate of 1.78 trillion instructions per second and contains 621 million transistors. Programs get split across many processors (each running independently as needed with an average maximum clock frequency of 1.78 gigahertz), "and they transfer data directly to each other rather than using a pooled memory area that can become a bottleneck for data." Imagine how many mind-boggling things will become possible if this much processing power ultimately finds its way into new consumer technologies.

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New 'Hardened' Tor Browser Protects Users From FBI Hacking

SlashDot - Sun, 06/19/2016 - 8:34pm
An anonymous reader quotes an article from Motherboard: According to a new paper, security researchers are now working closely with the Tor Project to create a "hardened" version of the Tor Browser, implementing new anti-hacking techniques which could dramatically improve the anonymity of users and further frustrate the efforts of law enforcement... "Our solution significantly improves security over standard address space layout randomization (ASLR) techniques currently used by Firefox and other mainstream browsers," the researchers write in their paper, whose findings will be presented in July at the Privacy Enhancing Technologies Symposium in Darmstadt, Germany. The researchers say Tor is currently field-testing their solution for an upcoming "hardened" release, making it harder for agencies like the FBI to crack the browser's security, according to Motherboard. "[W]hile that defensive advantage may not last for too long, it shows that some in the academic research community are still intent on patching the holes that their peers are helping government hackers exploit."

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J.J. Abrams Reacts To Death of Star Trek Actor Anton 'Chekov' Yelchin

SlashDot - Sun, 06/19/2016 - 6:32pm
On Sunday morning 27-year-old actor Anton Yelchin, who plays Chekov in the new Star Trek movies, was killed in a freak accident with his own car in the driveway of his home in Studio City. "It appears he momentarily exited his car and it rolled backward, causing trauma that led to his death," a police spokesperson told the Hollywood Reporter. This afternoon J. J. Abrams tweeted a picture of a handwritten eulogy addressed to Anton. "You were brilliant. You were kind. You were funny as hell, and supremely talented. And you weren't here nearly long enough. Missing you..." Zachary Quinto, who plays Mr. Spock, also tweeted a link to a picture posted in memorial on Instagram, where he called Yelchin "one of the most open and intellectually curious people I have ever had the pleasure to know... wise beyond his years, and gone before his time..." Stephen King called him a "crazily talented actor gone too soon," remembering Yelchin from one of his last roles in a 10-episode adaptation of King's "Mr. Mercedes". Yelchin will play a mentally deranged ice cream truck driver who's also an IT worker for a Geek Squad-like company named "Cyber Patrol".

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One Million IP Addresses Used In Brute-Force Attack On A Bank

SlashDot - Sun, 06/19/2016 - 5:34pm
Cisco says in just one week in February they detected 1,127,818 different IP addresses being used to launch 744,361,093 login attempts on 220,758,340 different email addresses -- and that 93% of those attacks were directed at two financial institutions in a massive Account Takeover (ATO) campaign. An anonymous reader writes: Crooks used 993,547 distinct IPs to check login credentials for 427,444,261 accounts. For most of these attacks, the crooks used proxy servers, but also two botnets, one of compromised Arris cable modems, and one of ZyXel routers/modems. Most of these credentials have been acquired from public breaches or underground hacking forums. This happened before the recent huge data breaches such as MySpace, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and VK.com. It's apparently similar to the stolen-credentials-from-other-sites attack that was launched against GitHub earlier this week.

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IBM Engineer Builds a Harry Potter Sorting Hat Using 'Watson' AI

SlashDot - Sun, 06/19/2016 - 4:33pm
An anonymous reader writes: As America celebrates Father's Day, The Next Web reports on an IBM engineer who found a way to combine his daughters' interest in the Harry Potter series with an educational home technology project. Together they built a Hogwarts-style sorting hat -- which assigns its wearer into an appropriate residence house at the school of magic -- and it does it using IBM's cognitive computing platform Watson. "The hat uses Watson's Natural Language Classifier and Speech to Text to let the wearer simply talk to the hat, then be sorted according to what he or she says..." reports The Next Web. "Anderson coded the hat to pick up on words that fit the characteristics of each Hogwarts house, with brainy and cleverness going right into Ravenclaw's territory and honesty a recognized Hufflepuff attribute." The hat's algorithm would place Stephen Hawking and Hillary Clinton into Ravenclaw, according to the article, while Donald Trump "was assigned to Gryffindor for his boldness -- but only with a 48 percent certainty." The sorting hat talks, drawing its data directly from the IBM Cloud, and if you're interested in building your own, the IBM engineer has shared a tutorial online.

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New Ransomware Written Entirely In JavaScript

SlashDot - Sun, 06/19/2016 - 3:35pm
An anonymous reader writes: Security researchers have discovered a new form of ransomware written entirely in JavaScript and using the CryptoJS library to encode a user's files. Researchers say the file is being distributed through email attachments, according to SC Magazine, which reports that "Opening the attachment kicks off a series of steps that not only locks up the victim's files, but also downloads some additional malware onto the target computer. The attachment does not visibly do anything, but appears to the victim as a corrupted file. However, in fact it is busy doing its dirty work in the background. This includes deleting the Windows Volume Shadow Copy so the encrypted files cannot be recovered and the ransomware is set to run every time Windows starts up so it can capture any new information." "It's a little bit unusual to see an actual piece of ransomware powered by a scripting language," one security executive tells the magazine, which suggests disabling e-mail attachments that contain a JavaScript file.

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Will Self-Driving Cars Destroy the Auto Insurance Industry?

SlashDot - Sun, 06/19/2016 - 2:37pm
An anonymous reader quotes an article from the Bay Area News Group: Imagine your fully autonomous self-driving car totals a minivan. Who pays for the damages? "There wouldn't be any liability on you, because you're just like a passenger in a taxi," says Santa Clara University law professor Robert Peterson. Instead, the manufacturer of your car or its software would probably be on the hook... Virtually everything around car insurance is expected to change, from who owns the vehicles to who must carry insurance to who -- or what -- is held responsible for causing damage, injuries and death in an accident." Ironically, if you're only driving a semi-autonomous car, "you could end up in court fighting to prove the car did wrong, not you," according to the article. Will human drivers be considered a liability -- by insurers, and even by car owners? The article notes that Google is already testing a car with no user-controlled brake pedal or steering wheel. Of course, one consumer analyst warns the newspaper that "hackers will remain a risk, necessitating insurance coverage for hostile takeover of automated systems..."

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Ethereum Debate Marred By Second Digital Currency Heist

SlashDot - Sun, 06/19/2016 - 1:38pm
Thursday's news of a $50 million heist of digital currency at Ethereum. was followed today by reports of a second heist from the DAO, according to the Bitcoin News Service -- this one for just 22 Ether. "It appears this is just someone who wanted to test the exploit and see if they could use it to their advantage... " Slashdot reader Patrick O'Neill writes: The currency's community is currently debating a course forward for a currency who is built on the idea that it is governed by software and not human beings. One option is to fork the code, another is to do absolutely nothing at all." Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum, posted Sunday that "Over the last day with the community's help we have crowdsourced a list of all of the major bugs with smart contracts on Ethereum so far, including both the DAO as well as various smaller 100-10000 ETH thefts and losses in games and token contracts." The list begins by including "The DAO (obviously)," but is followed by a warning that "progress in smart contract safety is necessarily going to be layered, incremental, and necessarily dependent on defense-in-depth. There will be further bugs, and we will learn further lessons; there will not be a single magic technology that solves everything." The Daily Dot wrote Friday that "Because of the way the code in question is written, Etherum's developers and community have 27 days to decide what to do before the hackers are able to move the money and cash out... What's happening now amounts to a political campaign. But the debate is far from over. The clock is ticking now, the world is watching, and the next step of the cryptocurrency experiment is unfolding under a spotlight burning hotter every day."

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Slashdot Asks: Does Your Company Have A Breach Response Team?

SlashDot - Sun, 06/19/2016 - 12:35pm
This week HelpNetSecurity reported on a study that found that "the average data breach cost has grown to $4 million, representing a 29 percent increase since 2013.. 'The amount of time, effort and costs that companies face in the wake of a data breach can be devastating, and unfortunately most companies still don't have a plan in place to deal with this process efficiently," said Caleb Barlow, Vice President, of IBM Security." But the most stunning part of the study was that each compromised record costs a company $158 (on average), and up to $355 per record in more highly-regulated industries like healthcare, according to the study -- $100 more than in 2013. And yet it also found that having an "incident response team" greatly reduces the cost of a data breach. So I'd be curious how many Slashdot readers work for a company that actually has a team in place to handle data breaches. Leave your answers in the comments. Does your company have an incident response team ?

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Big Tech Squashes New York's 'Right To Repair' Bill

SlashDot - Sun, 06/19/2016 - 11:30am
Damon Beres, writing for The Huffington Post: Major tech companies like Apple have trampled legislation that would have helped consumers and small businesses fix broken gadgets. New York state legislation that would have required manufacturers to provide information about how to repair devices like the iPhone failed to get a vote, ending any chance of passage this legislative session. Similar measures have met the same fate in Minnesota, Nebraska, Massachusetts and, yes, even previously in New York. Essentially, politicians never get to vote on so-called right to repair legislation because groups petitioning on behalf of the electronics industry gum up the proceedings. "We were disappointed that it wasn't brought to the floor, but we were successful in bringing more attention to the issue," New York state Sen. Phil Boyle (R), a sponsor of the bill, told The Huffington Post.

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KDE Bug Fixed After 13 Years

SlashDot - Sun, 06/19/2016 - 10:30am
About 50 KDE developers met this week in the Swiss Alps for the annual Randa Meetings, "seven days of intense in-person work, pushing KDE technologies forward and discussing how to address the next-generation demands for software systems." Christoph Cullmann, who maintains the Kate editor, blogs that during this year's sprint, they finally fixed a 13-year-old bug. He'd filed the bug report himself -- back in 2003 -- and writes that over the next 13 years, no one ever found the time to fix it. (Even though the bug received 333 "importance" votes...) After finally being marked Resolved, the bug's tracking page at KDE.org began receiving additional comments marveling at how much time had passed. Just think, when this bug was first reported: -- The current Linux Kernel was 2.6.31... -- Windows XP was the most current desktop verison. Vista was still 3 years away. -- Top 2 Linux verions? Mandrake and Redhat (Fedora wouldn't be released for another 2 months, Ubuntu's first was more than a year away.)

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South Australia Refuses To Stop Using An Expired, MS-DOS-Based Health Software

SlashDot - Sun, 06/19/2016 - 9:30am
jaa101 writes: The Australian state of South Australia is being sued for refusing to stop using CHIRON, an MS-DOS-based software from the '90s that stores patient records. Their license expired in March of 2015, but they claim it would be risky to stop using it. CHIRON's vendor, Working Systems, says SA Health has been the only user of CHIRON since 2008 when they declined to migrate to the successor product MasterCare ePAS. SA Health has 64 sites across South Australia -- all of which are apparently still using the MS-DOS-based health software from the 1990s.

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Mattel Sells Out Of 'Game Developer Barbie'

SlashDot - Sun, 06/19/2016 - 8:30am
Long-time Slashdot reader sandbagger writes: The Mattel people have released a new Barbie doll figurine touted as Game Developer Barbie. Dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, she was apparently designed by a game developer. It's already sold out on Mattel's web site, with CNET saying it provides a better role model than a 2014 book In which "computer engineer" Barbie designed a cute game about puppies, then admitted "I'll need Steven's and Brian's help to turn it into a real game," before her laptop crashed with a virus. Mattel says that with this new doll, "young techies can play out the creative fun of this exciting profession," and the doll even comes with a laptop showing an IDE on the screen. Sandbagger's original submission ended with a question. Do Slashdot readers think this will inspire a new generation of programmers to stay up late writing code?

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The Geek Behind Google's Takeover of the Map

SlashDot - Sun, 06/19/2016 - 6:30am
tedlistens writes: Google's map isn't just a map. It's a living, complex manifestation of the data that billions of users and a team of thousands of engineers and designers feed it every day. The public face of the company's mapping effort is Ed Parsons, a gregarious Briton and geographer who as Google's Geospatial Technologist evangelizes for its mission of organizing the world's geographic information. He also works on building the trust the company needs to make Google Maps and Google Earth more detailed, useful, and increasingly, 3-D and interactive -- what he describes as "a selfie for the planet." The terrain isn't easy: that mission faces challenges from cartographical purists, hoping to preserve the art of cartography, and the democratic mappers of OpenStreetMap ("it's become almost a parody"); from governments seeking to police sensitive borders; from a host of tech companies fighting over the map business; and from privacy defenders concerned about what Google does with that data. "We're kind of looking at what to do with it. We've got a very rich source of data there, but also one that we have to be very careful of," he says. "Your location on the planet is one of the most sensitive pieces of information that anyone can hold on you."

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Bill Gates' Donation of Thousands of Chickens Rejected by Bolivia

SlashDot - Sun, 06/19/2016 - 2:30am
HughPickens.com shares an article from The Verge: Bill Gates' philanthropic efforts are usually greeted with near-universal praise, but a recent attempt by the US billionaire to donate 100,000 chickens ruffled some feathers. The leftist government of Bolivia...has refused the donation, describing Gates' gift as "offensive." "He does not know Bolivia's reality to think we are living 500 years ago, in the middle of the jungle not knowing how to produce," said Cesar Cocarico [Bolivia's minister of land and rural development]... "Respectfully, he should stop talking about Bolivia, and once he knows more, apologize to us." Gates' "Coop Dreams" initiative partnered with Heifer International, a group which fights poverty by delivering livestock and agricultural training, to deliver 100,000 chickens around the world, mostly to sub-Saharan Africa, as a way to improve the lives of people making $2 a day. In a blog post Gates noted that chickens are cheap and easy to take care, while selling flocks of chickens can be a profitable business, and raising chickens offers other benefits to children and families. "Our foundation is betting on chickens..." Gates writes, adding "if I were in their shoes, that's what I would do -- I would raise chickens."

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