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  • How To Hack a BMW: Details On the Security Flaw That Affected 2.2 Million Cars
    0x2A (548071) writes BMW recently fixed a security hole in their ConnectedDrive software, which left 2.2 million cars open to remote attacks. Security expert Dieter Spaar reverse engineered the system and found some serious flaws [note: if you'd prefer English to German, try this translation], including using the same symmetric keys in all vehicles, not encrypting messages between the car and the BMW backend or using the outdated DES.

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  • Employees In Swedish Office Complex Volunteer For RFID Implants For Access
    Lucas123 writes A Swedish office building is enabling corporate tenants to implant RFID chips into employee's hands in order to gain access through security doors and use services such as photocopiers. The employees working at Epicenter, a 15,000-square-foot building in Stockholm, can even pay for lunch with a swipe of their hand. Hannes Sjöblad, founder of Bionyfiken, a Swedish association of Biohackers, said Epicenter is not alone in a movement to experiment with uses for implanted chips that use RFID/NFC technology. There are also several other offices, companies, gyms and education institutions in Stockholm where people access the facilities with implanted chips. Bionyfiken just began a nationwide study using volunteers implanted with RFID/NFC. "It's a small, but indeed fast-growing, fraction which has chosen to try it out." The goal of the Bionyfiken project is to create a user community of at least 100 people with RFID implants who experiment with and help develop possible uses. But, not everyone is convinced it's a good idea. John Kindervag, a principal security and privacy analyst at Forrester Research, said RFID/NFC chip implants are simply "scary" and pose a major threat to privacy and security. The fact that the NFC can't be shielded like a fob or chip in a credit card can with a sleeve means it can be activated without the user's knowledge, and information can be accessed. "I think it's pretty scary that people would want to do that [implant chips]," Kindervag said.

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  • Facebook Will Soon Be Able To ID You In Any Photo
    sciencehabit writes Appear in a photo taken at a protest march, a gay bar, or an abortion clinic, and your friends might recognize you. But a machine probably won't — at least for now. Unless a computer has been tasked to look for you, has trained on dozens of photos of your face, and has high-quality images to examine, your anonymity is safe. Nor is it yet possible for a computer to scour the Internet and find you in random, uncaptioned photos. But within the walled garden of Facebook, which contains by far the largest collection of personal photographs in the world, the technology for doing all that is beginning to blossom.

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  • How a Hardware Designer Was Saved By His Own Creation
    szczys writes Would you do a better job designing hardware if your life depended on it? Chris Nefcy is in that exact position. Years ago he developed an Automatic External Defibrilator for First Medic. The device allows non-doctors to restart a human heart in the field. When Chris had a heart attack his ticker was restarted with shocks from his own hardware. His story isn't just heartwarming, he also covers the path that led him into developing the AED and the bumpy road encountered getting the hardware to market.

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  • Verizon Sells Off Wireline Operations, Blames Net Neutrality Plans
    itwbennett (1594911) writes "Verizon Communications will sell its local wireline operations in California, Florida and Texas for $10.5 billion, citing uncertainty around federal Internet regulation as one reason for the move, although Verizon executives said the sale has been in the works for several years. It's no secret that local wireline phone service has been a shrinking industry, and Verizon and other carriers see mobile as their greatest growth opportunity. Verizon Chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam cited the Federal Communications Commission's upcoming net neutrality proposal as another potential threat to the growth of wired services. 'Washington should be very thoughtful how they go forward here,' he said. 'This uncertainty is not good for investment, and it's not good for jobs here in America.'"

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  • TurboTax Halts E-filing of State Tax Returns Because of Potential Fraud
    mpicpp writes with this news from Marketwatch: Intuit, the parent company of TurboTax, has stopped e-filing all state tax returns due to increased suspicion of fraud. The company says it is investigating criminal attempts to use stolen data to file fraudulent returns and claim refunds, after hearing concerns from a handful of states, Intuit spokeswoman Diane Carlini told MarketWatch. After a preliminary examination with security experts, Intuit believes its systems weren't breached, but crooks may have used TurboTax software to file fraudulent returns after stealing identities, she said. Intuit said in a release that "the information used to file fraudulent returns was obtained from other sources outside the tax preparation process." The company called pausing e-filings to states a "precautionary step." Utah, the first state to reach out to Intuit, issued a notice Thursday saying the state tax commission has discovered 28 fraud attempts that "originate from data compromised through a third-party commercial tax preparation software process," as well as 8,000 returns flagged as potentially fraudulent.

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  • Kickstarted Firefox OS HDMI Dongle Delayed, DRM Support Being Added
    An anonymous reader writes: You may recall last September when Mozilla and a new company named Matchstick announced a Kickstarter project for a new device that would compete with Google's Chromecast. It was an HDMI dongle for streaming media that runs on Firefox OS. They easily quadrupled their $100,000 funding goal, and estimated a ship date of February, 2015. Well, they emailed backers today to say that the Matchstick's release is being pushed back to August. They list a few reasons for the delay. For one, they want to upgrade some of the hardware: they're swapping the dual-core CPU for a quad-core model, and they're working on the Wi-Fi antenna to boost reception. But on the software side, the biggest change they mention is that they're adding support for DRM. This is a bit of a surprise, since all they said on the Kickstarter about DRM was that they hoped it would be handled "either via the playback app itself or the OS." Apparently this wasn't possible, so they're implementing Microsoft PlayReady tech on the Matchstick.

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  • Why It's Important That the New Ubuntu Phone Won't Rely On Apps
    tedlistens writes: To tackle the chicken-and-egg problem faced by the Windows Phone or Blackberry — you need an app ecosystem to gain market share, but you need market share in order to entice developers to your platform — Canonical, the creators of the free, open-source Linux-based OS Ubuntu, have taken a novel approach with their new phone, which will be launched in Europe next week: The phone — the Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition, made with Spanish manufacturers BQ — won't feature apps. Instead, it will have a new user experience paradigm called Scopes. These are "essentially contextual home-screen dashboards that will be much simpler and less time-consuming to develop than full-on native apps." For instance, the music Scope will pull songs from Grooveshark alongside music stored locally on your device, without strong differentiation between the two. The user experience, writes Jay Cassano at Fast Company, seems a lot more intuitive than the "app grids" that dominate most devices.

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  • Linux Mint Debian Edition 2 Will Be Rolling-Release
    jones_supa writes: Following the trend of rolling-release Linux distributions, Linux Mint brings you some news and information about Linux Mint Debian Edition 2, aka. "Betsy." As you might know, the Linux Mint team maintains two distributions: Linux Mint and LMDE. LMDE was a rolling distro for a while and eventually turned into a semi-rolling one. This was good at the time but it also presented challenges: the biggest issue in LMDE was the fact that it required a lot more maintenance than Linux Mint but that it had far less users. This hurt the frequency of updates it received but also the quality of the distribution. Now, LMDE 2 is going back to be continuously upgraded and to occasionally just receive media refresh ISO images. You can check the Roadmap to see the remaining issues. As the quality of Betsy is getting higher and higher, the project is getting closer to QA stage to iron out the bugs and perform proper testing.

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  • CrunchBang Linux Halts Development
    An anonymous reader writes: Philip Newborough, the developer behind CrunchBang Linux, has put an end to work on the distro. CrunchBang was built as a layer on top of Debian using the Openbox window manager that focused on performance and customization. Newborough says the changing landscape of Linux over the past decade has obviated the need for a distro like CrunchBang. "Whilst some things have stayed exactly the same, others have changed beyond all recognition. It's called progress, and for the most part, progress is a good thing. That said, when progress happens, some things get left behind, and for me, CrunchBang is something that I need to leave behind. I'm leaving it behind because I honestly believe that it no longer holds any value, and whilst I could hold on to it for sentimental reasons, I don't believe that would be in the best interest of its users, who would benefit from using vanilla Debian."

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  • Firefox Succeeded In Its Goal -- But What's Next?
    trawg writes: It's been more than 10 years since Mozilla released version 1.0 of Firefox, one of their first steps in their mission to 'preserve choice and innovation on the Internet'. Firefox was instrumental in shattering the web monoculture, but the last few years of development have left users uninspired. "Their goal was never to create the most popular browser in the world, or the one with the best UX, or the one with the most features, or the one with the best developer mode. ... It would be foolish to say a monoculture will never arise again (Google are making some scary moves with Chrome-only web applications). But at this point in time while Chrome is the ascendant browser (largely at the expense of Firefox), Mozilla’s ability to impact the web in general is greatly reduced." Perhaps it is time to move on to the next challenge — ensuring there is a strong Thunderbird to help preserve a free and open email ecosystem.

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  • Ask Slashdot: With Whom Do You Entrust Your Long Term Data?
    jppiiroinen writes: F-Secure, a company based in Finland, has sold its cloud storage business to a U.S. company (Synchronoss Technologies, Inc) speculated to have ties to the NSA. In previous, public announcements, they used arguments equivalent to, "trust us, your data will be safe." Now, it's likely F-Secure simply realized that competing against the big players, such as Google and Dropbox, didn't make much sense. But it makes me wonder: Whom do you trust with your data? And who really owns it? What about in 3-6 years from now? How should I make sure that I retain access to today's data 20 years from now? Is storing things locally even a reasonable option for most people? I have a lot of floppies and old IDE disks from the 90s around here, but no means to access them, and some of the CDs and DVDs has gone bad as well.

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  • Students Demo Firefighting Humanoid Robot On US Navy Ship
    An anonymous reader sends this report from Robohub: In fall 2014 in Mobile Bay, Alabama, Virginia Tech engineering students made history during a five-minute demo that placed an adult-sized humanoid robot with a hose in front of a live fire aboard a U.S. Navy ship.The robot located the fire and sprayed water from the hose. Water blasted the flames. The demo, four years in the making, is part of a new effort by the U.S. Navy to better assist sailors in fighting fires, controlling damage, and carrying out inspections aboard ships via user-controlled unmanned craft or humanoid robots. The firefighting robot is named SAFFiR, short for Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot, and the U.S. Office of Naval Research envisions a future — long off, but tangible — in which every ship has a robot as a tool for firefighters.

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  • The Search For Neutrons That Leak Into Our World From Other Universes
    KentuckyFC writes: One of the more exciting predictions from "braneworld" theories of high energy physics is that matter can leak out of other universes into our own, and vice versa. The basic idea is that our three-dimensional universe or brane is embedded in a much larger multi-dimensional cosmos. These branes can become coupled so that a quantum particle such as a neutron can exist in a superposition of states in both universes at the same time. When the neutron collides with something, the superposition collapses and the particle must suddenly exist in one brane or the other. That means neutrons from our universe can leak into other branes and then back again. Now physicists are devising an experiment to look for this neutron leakage. They plan to put a well shielded neutron detector next to a shielded nuclear reactor that produces neutrons at a research facility in France. All this shielding means the detector should not see any neutrons from inside the reactor. However, if the neutrons are leaking into another brane and then back into our world, they can bypass this shielding and trigger the detector. The team has not yet set a date for the experiment but the discovery of neutrons (or anything else) leaking into our universe would be huge.

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  • Automakers Move Toward OTA Software Upgrades
    Lucas123 writes: While some carmakers today offer over-the-air software upgrades to navigation maps and infotainment head units, Tesla became the first last week to perform a powertrain upgrade overnight. But as the industry begins adopting internal vehicle bus standards with greater bandwidth and more robust security, experts believe vehicle owners will no longer be required to visit dealerships or perform downloads to USB sticks. IHS predicts that in the next three to five years, most, if not all automakers, will offer fully fledged OTA software-enabled platforms that encompass upgrades to every vehicle system — from infotainment, safety, comfort, and powertrain. First, however, carmakers must deploy more open OS platforms, remove hardened firewalls between vehicle ECUs, and deploy networking topologies such as Ethernet, with proven security.

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  • Does Showing a Horrific Video Serve a Legitimate Journalistic Purpose?
    HughPickens.com writes: Erik Wemple writes at the Washington Post that Fox News recently took the controversial step of posting a horrific 22-minute video online that shows Jordanian pilot Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh being burned to death. Fox warned internet users that the presentation features "extremely graphic video." "After careful consideration, we decided that giving readers of FoxNews.com the option to see for themselves the barbarity of ISIS outweighed legitimate concerns about the graphic nature of the video," said Fox executive John Moody. "Online users can choose to view or not view this disturbing content." But Fox's decision drew condemnation from some terrorism experts. "[Fox News] are literally — literally — working for al-Qaida and ISIS's media arm," said Malcolm Nance. "They might as well start sending them royalty checks." YouTube removed a link to the video a few hours after it was posted, and a spokesperson for Facebook told the Guardian that if anyone posted the video to the social networking site it would be taken down. CNN explained that it wouldn't surface any of the disturbing images because they were gruesome and constituted propaganda that the network didn't want to distribute. "Does posting this video advance the aims of this terror group or hinder its progress by laying bare its depravity?" writes Wemple. "Islamic State leaders may indeed delight in the distribution of the video — which could be helpful in converting extremists to its cause — but they may be mis-calibrating its impact. If the terrorists expected to intimidate the world with their display of barbarity, they may be disappointed with the reaction of Jordan, which is vowing 'strong, earth-shaking and decisive' retaliation."

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  • GnuPG Gets Back On Track With Funding
    jones_supa writes: Soon after the poor state of the GnuPG was unveiled, the online community has rallied to help Werner Koch. He wanted to hire a full-time programmer to work on the project alongside him and to ensure that he's not living on the brink of bankruptcy all the time. Immediately after the article was published, it was revealed that he got a one-time grant of $60,000 from the Linux Foundation's Core Infrastructure Initiative. Also, the community donated over $150,000, and Facebook and Stripe have each pledged to provide $50,000 per year. All in all, it looks like Werner Koch won't be worried about funding for quite some time. The problem remains: it's very likely that other projects just as important as this one are probably facing the same kind of issues, but it would be nice to hear about them before they get in trouble, and not after.

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  • Google-Advised Disney Cartoon Aims To Convince Preschool Girls Coding's Cool
    theodp writes: Cereal and fast food companies found cartoons an effective way to market to children. Google is apparently hoping to find the same, as it teams with Disney Junior on a cartoon to help solve its computer science "pipeline" problem. The LA Times reports the tech giant worked with the children's channel on the new animated preschool series Miles From Tomorrowland, in an effort to get kids — particularly girls — interested in computer science. The program, which premieres Friday, introduces the preschool crowd to Miles Callisto, a young space adventurer, and his family — big sister (and coder extraordinaire) Loretta and their scientist parents Phoebe and Leo. Google engineers served as consultants (YouTube video) on the show. "When we did our computer science research, we found the No. 2 reason why girls in particular are not pursuing it as a career is because their perception was fairly negative and they associated it as a field for boys," said Julie Ann Crommett, Google's program manager for computer science in media. Can't wait for the episode where Google and Disney conspire to suppress Loretta's wages!

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  • Bipartisan Bill Would Mandate Warrant To Search Emails
    jfruh writes: Bills were introduced into both the House and Senate yesterday that would amend the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, requiring a warrant to search Americans' email messages stored on third-party servers even if they're more than 180 days old. The current version of the law was passed in 1986, and was written in an environment where most email users downloaded emails to their computer and erased them after reading them.

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  • Farmers Struggling With High-Tech Farm Equipment
    An anonymous reader writes: Farming is a difficult profession. One of the constants throughout the generations is that if you're working out in the field all day, machinery eventually breaks down. Farmers tend to deal with this harsh reality by becoming handy at basic repair — but that strategy is starting to fail in the digital age. Kyle Wiens, founder of iFixit, writes about the new difficulties in repairing your broken tractors and other equipment. Not only do you often need experience in computer software, but proprietary technology actively blocks you from making repairs. "Dave asked me if there was some way to bypass a bum sensor while waiting for the repairman to show up. But fixing Dave's sensor problem required fiddling around in the tractor's highly proprietary computer system—the tractor's engine control unit (tECU): the brains behind the agricultural beast. One hour later, I hopped back out of the cab of the tractor. Defeated. I was unable to breach the wall of proprietary defenses that protected the tECU like a fortress. I couldn't even connect to the computer. Because John Deere says I can't." Wiens also tells us about Farm Hack, a community that has sprung up to build a library of open source tools and knowledge for dealing with high-tech modification and repair in agriculture.

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