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Net Neutrality Complaints Rise Amid FCC Repeal

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2017-12-26 20:00
An anonymous reader shares a report: Internet users are complaining more about net neutrality-related issues since the FCC voted to repeal the existing net neutrality rules earlier this month, according to the FCC's consumer complaint data. The FCC allows consumers to submit complaints about a variety of telecom-related problems, from receiving unwanted phone calls to billing fraud. After adopting net neutrality rules in 2015, the FCC added net neutrality to the list of possible gripes, such as slowed-down internet service or content being blocked. The FCC can use those complaints to spot trends or even launch investigations. According to the data (via the FCC's Consumer Complaint Center), people appear to file more net neutrality complaints when the topic is in the news and people are paying more attention to their internet performance.

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China Closes More Than 13,000 Websites in Past Three Years

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2017-12-26 03:30
China has closed more than 13,000 websites since the beginning of 2015 for breaking the law or other rules and the vast majority of people support government efforts to clean up cyberspace, state news agency Xinhua reports. From the report: The government has stepped up already tight controls over the internet since President Xi Jinping took power five years ago, in what critics say is an effort to restrict freedom of speech and prevent criticism of the ruling Communist Party. The government says all countries regulate the internet, and its rules are aimed at ensuring national security and social stability and preventing the spread of pornography and violent content. A report to the on-going session of the standing committee of China's largely rubber stamp parliament said the authorities had targeted pornography and violence in their sweeps of websites, blogs and social media accounts, Xinhua said.

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Man Threatened Company With Cyber Attack To Fire Employee and Hire Him Instead

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pn, 2017-12-25 19:01
An anonymous reader writes: A North Carolina judge sentenced a Washington man this week to 37 months in prison for threatening a company with attacks unless they fire one of their employees and hire him instead. According to court documents obtained by Bleeping Computer, on April 18, 2016, Todd Michael Gori sent an email to TSI Healthcare, a healthcare software vendor based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Gori, a 28-year-old resident of Wenatchee, Washington, threatened the company with cyber attacks by him and unnamed friends if the company did not fire one of its employees and hire him instead. "I am giving you, TSI healthcare two choices," Gori wrote in the email. "You either lay-off [identity redacted] and replace her with me, an operator 100x better that she is oppressing. Or I will take out your entire company along with my comrades via a cyber attack. Again you have two choices. Get ride of her and hire me. Or slowly be chipped away at until you are gone. She is a horrible operator that can only manage 2 screens with an over inflated travel budget. I fly at least 10x as many places as this loon on 1/5th of the budget," the email reads. "I have petitioned for a job with you guys with her as a reference as I am a felon with computer skills and need assistance getting work as technically I have 'no work history'. She declines everytime and burries me even further."

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12 Days In Xinjiang - China's Surveillance State

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - N, 2017-12-24 17:34
Long-time Slashdot reader b0s0z0ku writes: China has turned Xinjiang, the Northwestern part of the country surrounding Urumqi, into one of the most advanced surveillance states in the world. Officially, the purpose is to prevent terrorism and control resistance to the government in one of the few parts of China where ethnic Chinese are a minority. From routine use of facial recognition cameras, to police checkpoints where people's cell phones randomly are checked for unauthorized software, to needing to swipe an ID card and be photographed to buy gasoline and other necessities, the level of technology — and control — is frightening and awe-inspiring.

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Republican's 'Net Neutrality' Proposal Called 'Bait and Switch'

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - N, 2017-12-24 14:34
Remember that net neutrality legislation introduced by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.)? TechCrunch is calling it "half-hearted" -- and suspect. It's not going to happen, it wouldn't help if it did and Blackburn isn't someone you want writing this kind of legislation. Among other things, she thinks it's the ISPs' job to police content, and voted to kill the Broadband Privacy Rule. In fact, Blackburn's legislation would deal a "fatal blow" to net neutrality, argues Evan Greer, campaign director at the nonprofit Fight for the Future, writing in Newsweek: Already one of Big Cable's best friends in Congress, Marsha Blackburn, who has taken more than $600,000 from the industry, is pushing for legislation that would permanently undermine the FCC's ability to enforce open internet protections. This bait and switch has been in the works for months. The telecom lobby's end game is to use the crisis they've created to ram through legislation that's branded as a compromise but amounts to a fatal blow to net neutrality... We don't need legislation that's been watered down with kool-aid. A better solution, he suggests, is pushing Congress to overrule the FCC with a Congressional Resolution of Disapproval.

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Russian Submarines are 'Prowling Around' Undersea Internet Cables

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - N, 2017-12-24 01:09
An anonymous reader quotes The Hill: Russian submarine activity around undersea cables that provide internet and other communications connections to North America and Europe has raised concerns among NATO officials, according to The Washington Post. NATO officials say an unprecedented amount of Russian deep-sea activity, especially around undersea internet lines, constitutes a newfound "vulnerability" for NATO nations. "We are now seeing Russian underwater activity in the vicinity of undersea cables that I don't believe we have ever seen," said NATO submarine forces commander and U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Andrew Lennon. "Russia is clearly taking an interest in NATO and NATO nations' undersea infrastructure." "The Russian Defense Ministry did not respond to a request for comment about the cables," reports the Washington Post, adding that "prowling around" the cables "could give the Kremlin the power to sever or tap into vital data lines, officials said." They cite the commander of NATO's submarine forces, who says "We know that these auxiliary submarines are designed to work on the ocean floor, and they're transported by the mother ship, and we believe they may be equipped to manipulate objects on the ocean floor."

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Court Throws Out Grsecurity Libel Lawsuit Against Bruce Perens

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - N, 2017-12-24 00:04
Long-time Slashdot reader SlaveToTheGrind writes: As previously discussed on Slashdot, Grsecurity developer Open Source Security sued Bruce Perens for allegedly defamatory statements about Grsecurity's licensing policies. Thursday, Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler of the District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed the lawsuit, holding that Perens's statements were not libelous: "Mr. Perens counters, and the court agrees, that the blog posts are opinions about a disputed legal issue, are not false assertions of fact, and thus are not actionable libel. . . . Mr. Perens -- who is not a lawyer — voiced an opinion about whether the Grsecurity Access Agreement violated the General Public License. No court has addressed the legal issue. Thus, his "opinion" is not a "fact" that can be proven provably false and thus is not actionable as defamation." While Open Source Security technically has the ability to amend its complaint to allege a new legal theory, Judge Beeler said any amendment likely would fall under California's anti-SLAPP statute: "Mr. Perens's statements were made in a public forum and concern issues of public interest, and the plaintiffs have not shown a probability of prevailing on their claims."

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UK Police's Porn-Spotting AI Keeps Mistaking Desert Pics for Nudes

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2017-12-23 20:49
An anonymous reader quotes Gizmodo: London's Metropolitan Police believes that its artificial intelligence software will be up to the task of detecting images of child abuse in the next "two to three years." But, in its current state, the system can't tell the difference between a photo of a desert and a photo of a naked body... "Sometimes it comes up with a desert and it thinks its an indecent image or pornography," Mark Stokes, the department's head of digital and electronics forensics, recently told The Telegraph. "For some reason, lots of people have screen-savers of deserts and it picks it up thinking it is skin colour." The article concludes that the London police software "has yet to prove that it can successfully differentiate the human body from arid landscapes."

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65% of Washington DC's Outdoor Surveillance Cameras Infiltrated by Romanian Hackers

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2017-12-23 19:44
An anonymous reader quotes The Hill: Two Romanian hackers stand accused of hacking more than 100 outdoor police security cameras in the D.C. area during the days leading up to President Trump's inauguration, according to a court document obtained by CNN. According to an affidavit from Secret Service agent James Graham, Mihai Alexandru Isvanca and Eveline Cismaru are accused of hacking and disabling 123 out of 187 of the city's cameras between Jan. 12 and Jan. 15... Isvanca and Cismaru are also accused in the affidavit of spreading ransomware. In a possibly-related story, the Washington Post reports: Five Romanian hackers were arrested over the past week as part of an international investigation into computer ransomware, officials in the United States and Europe said Wednesday. In six houses across Romania, law enforcement operatives from Romania, Britain, the United States and the Netherlands seized hard drives, laptops, external storage devices and documents related to malicious software called CTB-Locker or Critroini.

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Can the FCC's 'Net Neutrality' Decision Be Overturned in Congress?

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2017-12-23 17:34
"Cancel the funeral and get ready to fight: Net neutrality is far from dead," argues Evan Greer, the campaign director for the pro-net neutrality group Fight for the Future in Newsweek: Our elected officials in Congress have the power to reverse what is swiftly becoming one of the U.S. government's most unpopular decisions ever. And if they don't, they'll pay for it come election season... 26 senators have already signed on to a Resolution of Disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), a vehicle to overturn the FCC's net neutrality repeal with a simple majority vote in both the Senate and House. [UPDATE: 28 Senators have now co-sponsored the resolution]. It's not going to be easy, but it's increasingly within reach with Democrats in lock step against the FCC rollback and half a dozen Republicans already publicly criticizing the move. Outside of Washington, DC, net neutrality is not a partisan issue. Voters from across the political spectrum overwhelmingly agree that they don't want their cable companies controlling where they get news, how they stream music and videos, or which apps they use to pay for things, get directions, or communicate with friends and family. Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T poured money into misleading advertisements, ghost written op-eds, and astroturf campaigns, to fool customers into thinking that they would voluntarily abide by the principles of net neutrality... But after all of that, they've completely failed to build any real grassroots support for their attack on net neutrality, from the left or the right. And every member of Congress knows that. 75 percent of Republican voters support the net neutrality protections the FCC just slashed... No matter how hard they try, telecom lobbyists will just never convince a meaningful number of Republican voters that killing net neutrality, and ending the internet as a free market of ideas, is a good thing. And that's what gives us a unique chance to get our normally gridlocked Congress to take action and overrule the FCC's politically toxic order. Lawmakers in every state have been getting hammered for months with millions of phone calls, emails, protests, constituent meetings, media requests, and pressure from small businesses at volumes that just never happen. Net neutrality is becoming one of the most talked about political issues in recent human history... The FCC did something that a supermajority of people in this country oppose. Our elected officials have to decide whether to rubber stamp that betrayal or overturn it. The internet makes the impossible possible. If we harness our anger and direct it strategically, we can get the votes we need to restore the net neutrality protections that should never have been taken away in the first place. Any lawmaker who refuses to listen to their constituents will have to go on the record right before an election as having voted against the free and open web. They would be wise not to underestimate the internet's power to hold them accountable.

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Lithuania Calls On EU To Stop Adjusting Clocks For Daylight Savings

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2017-12-23 05:30
AmiMoJo shares a report from The Guardian: Lithuania has said that it would push the European Union to abolish its law on daylight saving time, claiming that most people find it annoying to have to adjust their clocks twice a year. An opinion poll published this year showed that 79% of people in the nation of 2.8 million were against the annual ritual of adjusting clocks forward by one hour in the spring and then back an hour in the autumn. Proponents of daylight saving time, adopted at the beginning of the 20th century, say the longer evening daylight hours in the summer help save energy and bolster productivity. The European Commission said it was "currently examining the summertime question based on all available evidence."

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Amazon Acquires Connected Camera and Doorbell Startup 'Blink'

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2017-12-23 02:03
In an effort to push further into smart home and connected security products, Amazon has acquired Blink -- a wireless security camera company that launched back in 2014 and then subsequently closed a million-dollar Kickstarter campaign. SlashGear reports: The deal was announced today, and for the moment will see Blink continue to operate as-is, with no changes to the company's line-up. That includes the recently announced Blink Video Doorbell. Blink first broke cover back in 2014, then the following year announced a crowdfunding campaign aiming to raise $200k for its entirely wire-free security camera. Unlike rival systems that require a wired power connection, or the few battery-powered cameras already on the market which generally had relatively short battery life, Blink's promised more than a year of home monitoring from a single charge. The campaign was a success, with Blink raising five times the amount it initially targeted. It's not hard to see, therefore, why Amazon might have been interested. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed at this stage, but the retailer is making a serious push into smart home and connected security products. That started with the Amazon Cloud Cam, a streaming video camera that requires mains power, and which is an instrumental part of Amazon Key, its home delivery service.

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Comcast May Have Enrolled Thousands in a Near-Worthless Protection Program Without Their Consent

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2017-12-22 20:40
Comcast has been embroiled in a legal battle since 2016 regarding potentially deceptive business practices surrounding its "Service Protection Plan" -- a $6 a month program which covered almost nothing. But as an amended complaint recently filed by the Washington state attorney general alleges, Comcast didn't just dupe customers, it may have signed them up for the plan without their knowledge. From a report: You might expect such a plan to, uh, protect the service a customer is paying for, by decreasing or eliminating the cost of repairs in the event something goes haywire. Not so! The fine print of the program excludes in-wall wiring and some outdoor wiring. This led the attorney general to conclude that the plan "simply covers the technician visiting the customer's house and declaring that the customer's equipment is broken."

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Man in China Sentenced To Five Years' Jail For Running VPN

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2017-12-22 20:10
A Chinese entrepreneur has been sentenced to five and a half years in prison for selling VPN service, a government newspaper said, as Beijing tries to stamp out use of technology that evades its internet filters. From a report: Wu Xiangyang was also fined 500,000 yuan ($75,900), an amount equal to his profits since starting the service in 2013, according to a report in the newspaper of China's national prosecutor's office. The Great Firewall, as the censorship apparatus is commonly known, means people in China are banned from visiting thousands of websites, including Google, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. Wu ran his VPN service from 2013 until June this year and claimed to serve 8,000 foreign clients and 5,000 businesses.

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'Username or Password is Incorrect' Security Defense is a Weak Practice

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2017-12-22 18:41
Travis Jeffery, writing for HackerNoon: There's a security best practice where sign ins aren't supposed to say "password is incorrect." Instead they're supposed to say the "username or password is incorrect." This "best practice" is bullshit. Stripe's and GitHub's sign ins for example follow this practice. The idea is if an attacker knows a username, he or she could concentrate on that account using SQL injection, brute forcing the password, phishing, and so on. Here's the problem. All a hacker has to do is sign up to know whether the username is valid or not. Why bother then with obfuscating the sign in? Only the dumbest, laziest hacker is stopped by the "username or password is incorrect" sign in. You gain no security, yet your customers lose clarity. Stripe has their form submission behind reCAPTCHA to prevent naive scripts attacking their sign up. However this has been broken multiple times and likely won't ever be perfect. Even if reCAPTCHA was perfect, a hacker could manually validate their usernames of interest by trying to sign up, then automate an attack on the sign in page.

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Russian Hackers Targeted More Than 200 Journalists Globally

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2017-12-22 16:40
The Associated Press: Russian television anchor Pavel Lobkov was in the studio getting ready for his show when jarring news flashed across his phone: Some of his most intimate messages had just been published to the web. Days earlier, the veteran journalist had come out live on air as HIV-positive, a taboo-breaking revelation that drew responses from hundreds of Russians fighting their own lonely struggles with the virus. Now he'd been hacked. The Associated Press found that Lobkov was targeted by the hacking group known as Fancy Bear in March 2015, nine months before his messages were leaked. He was one of at least 200 journalists, publishers and bloggers targeted by the group as early as mid-2014 and as recently as a few months ago. The AP identified journalists as the third-largest group on a hacking hit list obtained from cybersecurity firm Secureworks, after diplomatic personnel and U.S. Democrats. About 50 of the journalists worked at The New York Times. Another 50 were either foreign correspondents based in Moscow or Russian reporters like Lobkov who worked for independent news outlets. Others were prominent media figures in Ukraine, Moldova, the Baltics or Washington.

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Snowden's New App Haven Uses Your Smartphone To Physically Guard Your Laptop

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2017-12-22 16:00
An anonymous reader shares a report: The NSA whistleblower and a team of collaborators have been working on a new open source Android app called Haven that you install on a spare smartphone, turning the device into a sort of sentry to watch over your laptop. Haven uses the smartphone's many sensors -- microphone, motion detector, light detector, and cameras -- to monitor the room for changes, and it logs everything it notices. The first public beta version of Haven has officially been released; it's available in the Play Store and on F-Droid, an open source app store for Android.

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Apple Hit With Class Action Lawsuit After Admitting To Slowing Down Old iPhones

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2017-12-22 15:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Apple Insider: A day after Apple acknowledged slowing down iPhones with degraded batteries, a Los Angeles man is pursuing a class action lawsuit in the matter. Owners didn't agree to the prospect, and it hurts the devices' value, according to a filing by plaintiff Stefan Bodganovich, cited by TMZ. The case is said to be particularly concerned with the impact on iPhone 7 users. The suit asks that Apple stop throttling older devices, and pay compensation to affected people. Over the course of December, a number of people on Reddit and elsewhere have speculated that iPhones perform faster after battery replacements, mostly citing anecdotal evidence. Apple effectively confirmed that situation on Wednesday, but with the provision that it only throttles phones to prevent sudden, potentially damaging shutdowns. UPDATE: A second lawsuit has been filed against the company. Chicago Sun-Times reports "five customers have filed a federal lawsuit in Chicago against the tech giant for what they're calling 'deceptive, immoral and unethical' practices that violate consumer protection laws."

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AnyDVD Supports UHD Blu-Ray Ripping, While Devices Patch Security Holes

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2017-12-22 04:05
The controversial ripping tool AnyDVD has released a new beta version that allows users to decrypt and copy UHD Blu-Ray discs. The software makes use of the leaked keys that came out recently and appears to work well. Meanwhile, disc drive manufacturers are patching security holes. TorrentFreak reports: This year there have been some major developments on this front. First, full copies of UHD discs started to leak online, later followed by dozens of AACS 2.0 keys. Technically speaking AACS 2.0 is not confirmed to be defeated yet, but many discs can now be ripped. This week a popular name jumped onto the UHD Blu-Ray bandwagon. In its latest beta release, AnyDVD now supports the format, relying on the leaked keys. "New (UHD Blu-ray): Fetch AACS keys from external file for use with 'UHD-friendly' drives," the release notes read. The involvement of AnyDVD is significant because it previously came under legal pressure from decryption licensing outfit AACS LA. This caused former parent company Slysoft to shut down last year, but the software later reappeared under new management. Based on reports from several AnyDVD users, the UHD ripping works well for most people. Some even claim that it's faster than the free alternative, MakeMKV.

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Facial Scans at US Airports Violate Americans' Privacy, Report Says

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2017-12-21 18:40
Ron Nixon, writing for The New York Times: A new report concludes that a Department of Homeland Security pilot program improperly gathers data on Americans when it requires passengers embarking on foreign flights to undergo facial recognition scans to ensure they haven't overstayed visas. The report, released on Thursday by researchers at the Center on Privacy and Technology at Georgetown University's law school, called the system an invasive surveillance tool that the department has installed at nearly a dozen airports without going through a required federal rule-making process. The report's authors examined dozens of Department of Homeland Security documents and raised questions about the accuracy of facial recognition scans. They said the technology had high error rates and are subject to bias, because the scans often fail to properly identify women and African-Americans. "It's telling that D.H.S. cannot identify a single benefit actually resulting from airport face scans at the departure gate," said Harrison Rudolph, an associate at the center and one of the report's co-authors. "D.H.S. doesn't need a face-scanning system to catch travelers without a photo on file. It's alarming that D.H.S. still hasn't supplied evidence for the necessity of this $1 billion program," he added.

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