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QAnon/8Chan Sites Back Online After Being Ousted By DDoS-Protection Vendor

Slashdot - Tue, 2020-10-20 04:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: A few dozen QAnon and 8chan-related sites were knocked offline temporarily yesterday when a DDoS-protection vendor disabled their access, according to an article by security reporter Brian Krebs. The websites [...] are connected to the Internet via the US-based ISP VanwaTech, which in turn "had a single point of failure on its end," Krebs wrote. "The swath of Internet addresses serving the various 8kun/QAnon sites were being protected from otherwise crippling and incessant distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks by Hillsboro, Ore. based CNServers LLC." That changed yesterday when security researcher Ron Guilmette called CNServers, which apparently didn't realize it was providing security protection to the websites. "Within minutes of that call, CNServers told its customer -- Spartan Host Ltd., which is registered in Belfast, Northern Ireland -- that it would no longer be providing DDoS protection for the set of 254 Internet addresses that Spartan Host was routing on behalf of VanwaTech," Krebs wrote. Those 254 addresses included the few dozen related to QAnon and 8chan, which is now known as 8kun. The websites didn't remain offline for long because Spartan Host quickly "changed its settings so that VanwaTech's Internet addresses were protected from attacks by ddos-guard[.]net, a company based in St. Petersburg, Russia," Krebs wrote. "VanwaTech CEO Nick Lim in November 2019 defended his company's role in keeping 8kun websites online, writing on Twitter, 'I do what I do because I truly believe in free speech and I believe in protecting people from cyber security attacks,'" adds Ars Technica. Spartan Host founder Ryan McCully told Krebs yesterday that he intends to keep VanwaTech as a customer. "We follow the 'law of the land' when deciding what we allow to be hosted with us, with some exceptions to things that may cause resource issues etc.," McCully told Krebs. "Just because we host something, it doesn't say anything about [what] we do and don't support; our opinions don't come into hosted content decisions." Further reading: Is QAnon an 8Chan Game Gone Wrong?

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Pakistan restores TikTok, says it needs to crack down on video nasties, and anything else outside 'societal norms'

The Register - Tue, 2020-10-20 03:29
App promises to curb behaviour but this might be about control than morals

Pakistan has allowed TikTok to resume operations within its borders.…

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A Group of Materials Called Perovskites Could Be a Game-Changer For Solar Power

Slashdot - Tue, 2020-10-20 03:02
Researchers from Australia have discovered that the widely acclaimed mineral perovskite can be used to transform the solar industry through cheaper and more efficient photovoltaics. The Independent reports: Perovskite, which is forged deep within the Earth's mantle, has been hailed for its unprecedented potential to convert sunlight into electricity. Researchers have already improved its sunlight-to-energy efficiency from around 3 per cent to over 20 per cent in the space of just a few years. "It's unbelievable, a miracle material," Z. Valy Vardeny, a materials science professor from the University of Utah, said about perovskite in 2017. At the time it was thought that it would be at least 10 years before it reached a point that the material could be used in commercial solar cells, however the latest breakthrough could see the wide uptake of the technology much sooner. "It was one of those unusual discoveries that you sometimes hear about in science," said Dr Hall from the University of Melbourne. With the help of researchers at the University of Sydney, the scientists were able to use computational modeling to solve the problem of instability within the material when exposed to sunlight. The unlikely solution was to undo the disruption caused by light at lower intensities by focussing the light into a high-intensity beam. Dr Hall added: "What we've shown is that you can actually use the material in the state that you want to use it, for a solar cell - all you need to do is focus more light onto it." The research could also have significant implications for data storage, with perovskites offering a way to dramatically increase a device's potential capacity. The study has been published in the journal Nature Materials.

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IKEA To Buy Back Used Furniture In Recycling Push

Slashdot - Tue, 2020-10-20 02:25
Last week, the BBC reported that IKEA, the world's biggest furniture business, is planning to launch a scheme to buy back your unwanted furniture you no longer need or want. From the report: Under the plan, it will offer vouchers worth up to 50% of the original price, to be spent at its stores. The "Buy Back" initiative will launch to coincide with Black Friday. "By making sustainable living more simple and accessible, Ikea hopes that the initiative will help its customers take a stand against excessive consumption this Black Friday and in the years to come," it said in reference to November 27, when lots of retailers offer discounts on their products. The international scheme will see customers given vouchers to spend at Ikea stores, the value of which will depend on the condition of the items they are returning. Customers must log the item they wish to return and will then be given an estimate of its value. "As new" items, with no scratches, will get 50% of the original price, "very good" items, with minor scratches, will get 40% and "well used," with several scratches, will get 30%. They should then return them -- fully assembled -- to the returns desk where they will be checked and the final value agreed. The offer, which will run in 27 countries, applies to furniture typically without upholstery, such as the famous Billy bookcases, chairs, stools, desks and dining tables. Ikea said that anything that cannot be resold will be recycled. Ikea plans to have dedicated areas in every store where people can sell back their old furniture and find repaired or refurbished furniture.

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Let’s check in with that 30,000-job $10bn Trump-Foxconn Wisconsin plant. Wow, way worse than we'd imagined

The Register - Tue, 2020-10-20 01:58
Surreal tales from the Midwest

It’s been three years since Wisconsin approved more than $3bn in incentives to bring Foxconn to the US state.…

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Google Confirms the Nest Secure Has Been Discontinued

Slashdot - Tue, 2020-10-20 01:45
Google's Nest Secure alarm system, which was discussed on Slashdot for featuring an unlisted, disabled microphone, has been discontinued by Google, though it will continue functioning. Android Police reports: Google released the Nest Guard in 2017 as a simple security system with motion sensors and a keypad, but it never received an upgrade, even as other Nest devices were updated again and again. The product page for the Nest Guard on the Google Store was updated last week with a 'No longer available' message, possibly indicating it had been discontinued. Google later confirmed to Android Police that the Nest Guard will no longer be sold, but it will continue to work for people who have already bought it.

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Chess's Cheating Crisis: 'Paranoia Has Become the Culture'

Slashdot - Tue, 2020-10-20 01:02
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: In one chess tournament, five of the top six were disqualified for cheating. In another, the doting parents of 10-year-old competitors furiously rejected evidence that their darlings were playing at the level of the world No 1. And in a third, an Armenian grandmaster booted out for suspicious play accused his opponent of "doing pipi in his Pampers." These incidents may sound extreme but they are not isolated -- and they have all taken place online since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Chess has enjoyed a huge boom in internet play this year as in-person events have moved online and people stuck at home have sought new hobbies. But with that has come a significant new problem: a rise in the use of powerful chess calculators to cheat on a scale reminiscent of the scandals that have dogged cycling and athletics. One leading 'chess detective' said that the pandemic was "without doubt creating a crisis". At the heart of the problem are programs or apps that can rapidly calculate near-perfect moves in any situation. To counter these engines, players in more and more top matches must agree to be recorded by multiple cameras, be available on Zoom or WhatsApp at any time, and grant remote access to their computers. They may not be allowed to leave their screens, even for toilet breaks. In some cases they must have a "proctor" or invigilator search their room and then sit with them throughout a match. [E]ye-tracking programs may be a way to raise a red flag if a player appears to be looking away with suspicious frequency. Chess.com, the world's biggest site for online play, said it had seen 12 million new users this year, against 6.5 million last year. The cheating rate has jumped from between 5,000 and 6,000 players banned each month last year to a high of almost 17,000 in August. The growth in cheating and a corresponding explosion in social media discussion of the problem has created a new atmosphere of suspicion and recrimination. "Paranoia has become the culture," said Le-Marechal, whom a friend declared "the cyber chess detective" when he got the job. "There is this very romantic vision of the game which is being scuppered." Without a significant culture change, most say, the cheats are unlikely to go straight.

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NASA hires Nokia to build first 4G network on the Moon as part of plan to boldly go back to lunar surface by 2024

The Register - Tue, 2020-10-20 00:43
And 5G hype goes out of this world

NASA has hired Nokia to build a 4G network on the Moon, paying the telecoms manufacturer $14.1m to set up a communications system that will give astronauts voice, data, triangulation, and video-on-demand.…

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Instagram's Handling of Kids' Data Is Now Being Probed In the EU

Slashdot - Tue, 2020-10-20 00:20
Facebook's lead data regulator in Europe has opened another two probes into its business empire -- both focused on how the Instagram platform processes children's information. TechCrunch reports: The action by Ireland's Data Protection Commission (DPC), reported earlier by the Telegraph, comes more than a year after a U.S. data scientist reported concerns to Instagram that its platform was leaking the contact information of minors. David Stier went on to publish details of his investigation last year -- saying Instagram had failed to make changes to prevent minors' data being accessible. He found that children who changed their Instagram account settings to a business account had their contact info (such as an email address and phone number) displayed unmasked via the platform -- arguing that "millions" of children had had their contact information exposed as a result of how Instagram functions. Facebook disputes Stier's characterization of the issue -- saying it has always made it clear that contact info is displayed if people choose to switch to a business account on Instagram. It also does now let people opt out of having their contact info displayed if they switch to a business account. Nonetheless, its lead EU regulator has now said it has identified "potential concerns" relating to how Instagram processes children's data. "The DPC has been actively monitoring complaints received from individuals in this area and has identified potential concerns in relation to the processing of children's personal data on Instagram which require further examination," it writes. The regulator's statement specifies that the first inquiry will examine the legal basis Facebook claims for processing children's data on the Instagram platform, and also whether or not there are adequate safeguards in place. [...] The DPC says the second inquiry will focus on the Instagram profile and account settings -- looking at "the appropriateness of these settings for children." "Amongst other matters, this Inquiry will explore Facebook's adherence with the requirements in the GDPR in respect to Data Protection by Design and Default and specifically in relation to Facebook's responsibility to protect the data protection rights of children as vulnerable persons," it adds. A Facebook company spokesperson said in a statement: "We've always been clear that when people choose to set up a business account on Instagram, the contact information they shared would be publicly displayed. That's very different to exposing people's information. We've also made several updates to business accounts since the time of Mr. Stier's mischaracterization in 2019, and people can now opt out of including their contact information entirely. We're in close contact with the IDPC and we're cooperating with their inquiries."

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Microsoft Adds Option To Disable JScript In Internet Explorer

Slashdot - Mon, 2020-10-19 23:40
As part of the October 2020 Patch Tuesday security updates, Microsoft has added a new option to Windows to let system administrators disable the JScript component inside Internet Explorer. ZDNet reports: The JScript scripting engine is an old component that was initially included with Internet Explorer 3.0 in 1996 and was Microsoft's own dialect of the ECMAScript standard (the JavaScript language). Development on the JScript engine ended, and the component was deprecated with the release of Internet Explorer 8.0 in 2009, but the engine remained in all Windows OS versions as a legacy component inside IE. Across the years, threat actors realized they could attack the JScript engine, as Microsoft wasn't actively developing it and only rarely shipped security updates, usually only when attacked by threat actors. [...] Now, 11 years after deprecating the component, Microsoft is finally giving system administrators a way to disable JScript execution by default. According to Microsoft, the October 2020 Patch Tuesday introduces new registry keys that system administrators can apply and block the jscript.dll file from executing code. Details on how this can be done are available below, as taken from Microsoft's documentation.

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When you tell Chrome to wipe private data about you, it spares two websites from the purge: Google.com, YouTube

The Register - Mon, 2020-10-19 23:25
Is this another case of one rule for the Chocolate Factory and one for everyone else?

Google exempts its own websites from Chrome's automatic data-scrubbing feature, allowing the ads giant to potentially track you even when you've told it not to.…

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Tesla Powerwall Rival Seeks To Bring Hydrogen Into Your Home

Slashdot - Mon, 2020-10-19 23:02
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: It's about the size of Tesla Inc.'s Powerwall, but can store up to three times as much energy over a longer period. That's the promise of a new hydrogen-based energy-storage system for homes and businesses being developed by Australian startup Lavo Hydrogen Technology Ltd. The technology, developed with scientists at the University of New South Wales, uses power from rooftop solar panels to produce hydrogen from water by electrolysis. The gas is stored in a metal hydride container and converted back into electricity when needed using a fuel cell. Australia's world-beating rooftop-solar take-up rates make it an ideal early market, said Lavo Chief Executive Officer Alan Yu. The unit will go on sale from November, with installations starting in June 2021, subject to final approvals. The company plans to sell 10,000 units a year by 2022. At about triple the price of a Powerwall, the Lavo unit's main selling point will be its ability to store more energy for longer. Each system will initially cost A$34,750 ($24,620) and will be able to hold 40 kilowatt-hours of power -- enough to supply an average household for more than two days, according to the company. Tesla's Powerwall holds about 13.5 kilowatt-hours. Lavo's Yu acknowledged that the higher cost of the system might initially limit interest to energy-technology enthusiasts initially, but he also sees it as a solution for small off-grid rural villages to replace diesel generators or a compact solution for communities and homes cut off from the main grid by natural disasters such as bushfires.

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OpenBSD Turns 25 With a New Release

Slashdot - Mon, 2020-10-19 22:28
ArchieBunker writes: The OpenBSD project has turned 25 years old and is celebrating this with release 6.8.

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Apple Launches 'Apple Music TV', a 24-Hour Music Video Livestream

Slashdot - Mon, 2020-10-19 21:50
Apple has launched Apple Music TV, a free 24-hour curated livestream of popular music videos that will also include "exclusive new music videos and premiers, special curated music video blocks, and live shows and events as well as chart countdowns and guests," according to the announcement. From a report: Apple Music TV will be available to U.S. residents only on the Apple Music app and the Apple TV app. It can be found at apple.co/AppleMusicTV and in the browse tab in the Apple Music and Apple TV app. The service premiered Monday morning with a countdown of the top 100 all-time most-streamed songs in the U.S. on Apple Music. On Thursday (October 22), it will celebrate the upcoming release of Bruce Springsteens's "Letter to You" album with an "all day Bruce takeover" featuring music-video blocks of his most popular videos, an interview with Zane Lowe, anchor of Apple Music's radio station, and a special livestream fan event.

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Notpetya, Olympics hacking, Novichok probe meddling... America throws the book at six alleged Kremlin hackers

The Register - Mon, 2020-10-19 21:47
While the UK says Russia probed 2020 Games systems, too

Six men have been named as Russian military hackers and accused of spreading malware, disrupting the Olympics in retaliation for Russia's doping ban, and meddling with elections as well as probes into Novichok poisonings.…

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EU Shoots For $11.7B 'Industrial Cloud' To Rival US

Slashdot - Mon, 2020-10-19 21:10
The European Union aims to spend up to 10 billion euro ($11.7 million) over the next seven years to help build up a homegrown cloud computing sector that could rival foreign corporations such as Amazon, Google and Alibaba. From a report: Twenty-five EU countries signed a joint declaration last week pledging public money to power up the cloud sector and establishing the "European Alliance on Industrial Data and Cloud," a partnership geared toward facilitating such projects. The alliance -- whose funding is to be drawn from existing EU programs and hoped-for pledges from industry and national capitals -- will be launched by the end of the year. Cyprus and Denmark were the only EU member countries not to sign the declaration due to "technical reasons." The declaration "is a foundation stone for the establishment of European cloud technology, which will be very high performing," said Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton, following a meeting of European telecoms ministers organized by the German government, which currently holds the EU's rotating Council presidency. "Contrary to the prejudices, we are not late [on cloud development]. We are the first to get involved in the industrial cloud," he added.

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FreedomFi presses the public-beta-release button on its roll-your-own open-source 5G/LTE gateway gear

The Register - Mon, 2020-10-19 20:49
A few downsides: no voice, for starters

Open-source mobe biz FreedomFi celebrated the start of this year's Open Infrastructure Summit by opening the doors to a public beta of its FreedomFi Gateway for those keen on building their own LTE or 5G networks.…

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US Charges Russian Hackers Behind NotPetya, KillDisk, OlympicDestroyer Attacks

Slashdot - Mon, 2020-10-19 20:30
The US Department of Justice has unsealed charges today against six Russian nationals believed to be part of one of Russia's most elite and secretive hacking groups, universally known as Sandworm. From a report: US officials said all six nationals are officers in Unit 74455 of the Russian Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), a military intelligence agency of the Russian Army, DOJ officials said today. Under orders from the Russian government, US officials said the six (believed to be part of a much larger group) conducted cyber-attacks on behalf of the Russian government with the intent to destabilize other countries, interfere in their internal politics, and cause havoc and monetary losses. Their attacks span the last decade and include some of the biggest cyber-attacks known to date: Ukrainian Government & Critical Infrastructure (between December 2015 to December 2016), French Elections (April and May 2017), Worldwide Businesses and Critical Infrastructure (aka NotPetya; June 2017), PyeongChang Winter Olympics Hosts, Participants, Partners, and Attendees (December 2017 through February 2018), PyeongChang Winter Olympics IT Systems (aka Olympic Destroyer; 2017 through February 2018), Novichok Poisoning Investigations (April 2018), and Georgian Companies and Government Entities (a 2018 spearphishing campaign targeting a major media company, 2019 efforts to compromise the network of Parliament, and a wide-ranging website defacement campaign in 2019.)

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Marvel Shortens Window Between Print and Digital Comics

Slashdot - Mon, 2020-10-19 19:50
Marvel Entertainment has announced that it is halving the wait time for fans choosing to read releases on its digital subscription Marvel Unlimited, with titles now appearing on the service just three months after print release. The change takes effect immediately. From a report: Marvel Unlimited launched in 2007, and offers access to the publisher's digital library of titles -- currently numbering more than 27,000 issues -- for either a monthly or annual subscription fee. The service is available as an iOS, Android and web app.

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Drivers To Be Banned From Picking Up Mobile Phones

Slashdot - Mon, 2020-10-19 19:09
It will become illegal for anyone in the UK to pick up and use their mobile phone while driving, under new legislation to be enacted next year. From a report: The change will end a loophole that can allow drivers to escape punishment for using a hand-held phone to take a photo or play a game. Mobiles will still be able to be used to pay for a drive-through takeaway. And drivers will still be able to use devices hands-free under the plans, the Department for Transport said. At present, making phone calls and sending text messages are banned while driving. Ministers have rejected calls to also ban the use of hands-free function, for example using a sat-nav in a phone cradle. Roads minister Baroness Vere said hand-held phone use behind the wheel was "distracting and dangerous" and that "for too long risky drivers have been able to escape punishment." The change in law would apply across the UK and is expected to come into effect early next year, depending on the outcome of the consultation.

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