Student Exposes Bad Police Encryption, Gets Suspended Sentence

Slashdot - Sun, 22/05/2016 - 4:30pm
An anonymous reader shares a story about Dejan Ornig, a security analyst in Slovenia who warned the Slovenian police department about vulnerabilities in their supposedly secure communication system TETRA in 2013. (Here's Google's English translation of the article, and the Slovenian original.) He discovered that the system, which was supposed to provide encrypted communication, was incorrectly configured. As a result lots of communication could be intercepted with a $25 piece of equipment and some software. To make matters worse, the system is not used just by the police, but also by the military, military police, IRS, Department of Corrections and a few other governmental institutions which rely on secure communications. After waiting for more than two years for a reaction, from police or Ministry of Interior and getting in touch with security researchers at the prestigious institute Jozef Stefan, he eventually decided to go public with his story... The police and Ministry of interior then launched an internal investigation, which then confirmed Ornig's findings and revealed internal communications problems between the departments... Ornig has been subject to a house search by the police, during which his computers and equipment that he used to listen in on the system were seized. Police also found a "counterfeit police badge" during the investigation. All along Ornig was offering his help with securing the system. On May 11th Ornig received a prison sentence of 15 months suspended for duration of three years, provided that he doesn't repeat any of the offenses for which he was found guilty (illegal access of the communications system). He can appeal this judgment.

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Categories: Science

Researchers Generate Electricity Using Seawater and Sunlight

Slashdot - Sun, 22/05/2016 - 3:30pm
Slashdot reader sosume writes: Scientists at Osaka University have created a new method to use sunlight to turn seawater into hydrogen peroxide which can then be used in fuel cells to generate electricity. It's the first photocatalytic method of H2O2 production that achieves a high enough efficiency so that the H2O2 can be used in a fuel cell. It's easier and safer to transport liquid H2O2, according to the article, and while its total efficiency is much lower than conventional solar cells, the researchers hope to get better results by using better materials.

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Categories: Science

Ransomware Adds DDoS Attacks To Annoy More People

Slashdot - Sun, 22/05/2016 - 2:30pm
An anonymous reader writes: Ransomware developers have found another method of monetizing their operations by adding a DDoS component to their malicious payloads. So instead of just encrypting your files and locking your screen, new ransomware versions seen this week also started adding a DDoS bot that quietly blasts spoofed network traffic at various IPs on the Internet. Softpedia points out that "Renting out DDoS botnets on the Dark Web is a very lucrative business, even if prices have gone down in recent years."

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Categories: Science

Google-Backed Solar Plant Catches on Fire

Slashdot - Sun, 22/05/2016 - 1:30pm
An anonymous reader writes:"The world's largest solar plant just torched itself," read the headline at Gizmodo, reporting on a fire Thursday at the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System. Built on 4,000 acres of public land in the Mojave Desert, the $2.2 billion plant "has nearly 350,000 computer controlled mirrors -- each roughly the size of a garage door," according to the Associated Press, which reports that misaligned mirrors focused the sunlight on electrical cables, causing them to burst into flames, according to the local fire department. The facility was temporarily shut down, and the fire damaged one of the facility's three towers, according to the Associated Press, while another tower is closed for maintenance, "leaving the sprawling facility on the California-Nevada border operating at only a third of its capacity." The New York Times reported that by 2011 Google had invested $168 in the facility.

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Categories: Science

Second 'Star Trek: Beyond' Trailer Reveals Starship Enterprise In Peril

Space.com - Sun, 22/05/2016 - 1:27pm
If this trailer is any indication, the third installment of the 'rebooted' movie franchise looks like another action-packed adventure. Hits theaters July 22, 2016.
Categories: Science

Space Shuttle External Tank Completes Road Trip to CA Science Center

Space.com - Sun, 22/05/2016 - 1:23pm
NASA's retired space shuttle Endeavour has received its external tank. The burnt orange fuel tank, NASA's last remaining example of its type, built for, but never launched, arrived at the California Science Center.
Categories: Science

While You Were Offline: Kanye Wasn’t Kidding When He Said He Called Payless

Wired News - Sun, 22/05/2016 - 1:00pm
This week, Kanye West offered up ideas to make the world a better place, a political hashtag went awry (again), and one James Bond became James Gone. The post While You Were Offline: Kanye Wasn’t Kidding When He Said He Called Payless appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Hubble's Decades-Long Look at Mars Reveals Much About the Red Planet (Video)

Space.com - Sun, 22/05/2016 - 1:00pm
The Hubble Space Telescope snapped a new image of Mars, as the planet approaches its closest position to Earth. NASA scientist Jennifer Wiseman discussed the significance of Hubble's long-term observations of the Red Planet.
Categories: Science

Saturn Dances with the Moon Tonight: How to See It

Space.com - Sun, 22/05/2016 - 11:34am
As summer kicks into gear, the top target of star parties and balmy outdoor astronomy gatherings will almost certainly be Saturn, the "Lord of the Rings." You can see the gorgeous planet pair up with the moon on Sunday evening (May 22).
Categories: Science

Node.js Now Runs COBOL and FORTRAN

Slashdot - Sun, 22/05/2016 - 11:30am
Last summer a developer created a plugin which made it possible to run snippets of COBOL code embedded in JavaScript using the Node.js interpreter. Now Slashdot reader techfilz writes: Romanian developer Bizau Ionica has engineered a software bridge called node.cobol which can execute Node.js scripts from within COBOL programs. The link shows COBOL code executing a Node.js script that launches a Web server and creates ASCII art from a JPEG image -- in this case, Admiral Grace Hopper, who helped create COBOL in 1959. And Ars Technica points out the same developer has also built a Node.js bridge for FORTRAN.

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Categories: Science

The Citizen Lobbyists Gunning for a Trip to Mars

Wired News - Sun, 22/05/2016 - 11:00am
A small group of citizens are on a mission to convince lawmakers that going to Mars is both possible and affordable. The post The Citizen Lobbyists Gunning for a Trip to Mars appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Outlander Recap: Just Close Your Eyes and Think of Scotland

Wired News - Sun, 22/05/2016 - 11:00am
Even with all the violence and sadness, it's still possible to enjoy Outlander---because we know that Claire will ultimately get back to the 20th century. The post Outlander Recap: Just Close Your Eyes and Think of Scotland appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

How Preacher Went From Fringe Comic to Sinfully Good TV

Wired News - Sun, 22/05/2016 - 11:00am
We caught up with executive producers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg to hear how they skirted Preacher's many adaptation pitfalls on the way to TV heaven. The post How Preacher Went From Fringe Comic to Sinfully Good TV appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Japanese Startup Wants To Rain Down Man-Made Meteor For Tokyo Olympics

Slashdot - Sun, 22/05/2016 - 7:30am
A startup called Star-ALE wants to create a man-made meteor shower over the city of Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics opening ceremonies. The pyrotechnics show, Star-ALE says, will be visible from an area 200km across Japan, and the pyrotechnics will actually shower from space. Starting next year, Star-ALE will begin sending a fleet of microsatellites carrying 500 to 1000 specially-developed pellets that ignite and intensely glow as they re-enter the earth's atmosphere. ScienceAlert reports: But wonderment comes at a cost, and in this case, that cost isn't cheap. Each combustible pellet comes in at about $8,100 to produce, and that's not including the costs involved in actually launching the Sky Canvas satellite. The company has tested its source particles in the lab, using a vacuum chamber and hot gases to simulate the conditions the pellets would encounter upon re-entering Earth's atmosphere. In its testing, the particles burn with an apparent magnitude of -1, which should ensure they're clearly visible in the night sky, even in the polluted skyline of a metropolis like Tokyo.

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Categories: Science

How Militarized Cops Are Zapping Rights With Stingray

Slashdot - Sun, 22/05/2016 - 3:29am
"Police nationwide are secretly exploiting intrusive technologies with the feds' complicity," argues a new article on Alternet -- calling out Stingray, which mimics a cellphone tower to identify every cellphone nearby. "It gathers information not only about a specific suspect, but any bystanders in the area as well... Some Stingrays are capable of collecting not only cell phone ID numbers but also numbers those phones have dialed and even phone conversations." The ACLU says requests for more information have been meeting heavy resistance from police departments since 2011, with many departments citing nondisclosure agreements with Stingray's manufacturer and with the FBI, and "often, the police get a judge's sign-off for surveillance without even bothering to mention that they will be using a Stingray...claiming that they simply can't violate those FBI nondisclosure agreements. "More often than not, police use Stingrays without bothering to get a warrant, instead seeking a court order on a more permissive legal standard. This is part of the charm of a new technology for the authorities: nothing is settled on how to use it." Stingray is more than a 1960s TV series with puppets. Several state judges estimate there have been hundreds of instances where police have used the Stingray tool without a warrant or telling a judge. Slashdot reader Presto Vivace writes: This is why it matters who wins the mayor and city council races. Localities do not have to accept this technology.

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Categories: Science

Abrams Says Paramount Will Drop Star Trek/Axenar Lawsuit

Slashdot - Sun, 22/05/2016 - 1:29am
An anonymous reader writes:At a fan event Friday for the upcoming Star Trek movie, producer J. J. Abrams said Paramount Pictures' lawsuit against Axanar Productions was "going away." Director Justin Lin had been outraged by the lawsuit against the crowdfunded fan Star Trek film, and when he'd started discussing the situation with Abrams, the two "realized this was not an appropriate way to deal with the fans. The fans should be celebrating this thing. Fans of Star Trek are part of this world. So he went to the studio and pushed them to stop this lawsuit and now, within the next few weeks, it will be announced this is going away, and that fans would be able to continue working on their project." In a statement, Axanar said they still "want to make sure we go through all the proper steps to make sure all matters are settled with CBS and Paramount..." adding "There is still a lot of work to do, but receiving this kind of public support helps immensely."

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Categories: Science

Fake Facebook Event Draws Police, Spawns New Meme

Slashdot - Sat, 21/05/2016 - 11:29pm
An anonymous reader writes: A fake event announcement on Facebook has now launched "a long string of viral jokes featuring fake concert events for music acts at oddly appropriate venues," according to CNET -- for example, a Radiohead concert at Radio Shack or a Sunday Brunch with Insane Clown Posse. It began with a fake announcement touting an upcoming concert with Limp Bizkit on April 20 at a Sunoco gas station. "The event got so much viral attention and local and national news coverage that the Dayton Police Department had to issue a statement to the local press and on its Twitter page on April 19 that there would be no Limp Bizkit concert..." CNET reports. "That still didn't stop a crowd of 100 Limp Bizkit fans from going to the Sunoco and chanting 'Fred! Fred! Fred!' in front of the station. The station had to close up for the night and police were called to the scene to disperse the crowd. Since then, other Facebook users decided to try their luck at tricking the more gullible people on the Internet into going to concerts that don't exist." In an unrelated development, 12 Facebook employees and their guests were stuck in an elevator at Facebook's California headquarters for more than two hours on Friday, until being rescued by local firefighters using the Jaws of Life.

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Categories: Science

The World's Largest Cruise Ship and Its Supersized Pollution Problem

Slashdot - Sat, 21/05/2016 - 10:30pm
An anonymous reader cites a report on the Guardian: When the gargantuan Harmony of the Seas slips out of Southampton docks on Sunday afternoon on its first commercial voyage, the 16-deck-high floating city will switch off its auxiliary engines, fire up its three giant diesels and head to the open sea. But while the 6,780 passengers and 2,100 crew on the largest cruise ship in the world wave goodbye to England, many people left behind in Southampton say they will be glad to see it go. They complain that air pollution from such nautical behemoths is getting worse every year as cruising becomes the fastest growing sector of the mass tourism industry and as ships get bigger and bigger. According to its owners, Royal Caribbean, each of the Harmony's three four-storey high 16-cylinder Wartsila engines will, at full power, burn 1,377 US gallons of fuel an hour, or about 96,000 gallons a day of some of the most polluting diesel fuel in the world.

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Categories: Science

Did A German Nuclear Plant Intentionally Leak Radioactive Waste?

Slashdot - Sat, 21/05/2016 - 9:29pm
mdsolar shares this report from a Berlin news site: A former engineer at one of Germanyâ(TM)s nuclear reactors has made an astonishing claim: that the plant intentionally pumped radioactive waste into the atmosphere in 1986. Speaking to the Westfalischer Anzeiger, 83-year-old retired engineer Hermann Schollmeyer apparently decided it was time to come clean, three decades after the incident he describes. The official story had always been that radioactive waste was unintentionally leaked into the air at the THTR reactor in Hamm in May 1986, the western German newspaper reports. But Schollmeyer now claims that the plant used the cover of the Chernobyl -- which had released a cloud of radioactive waste over western Europe -- to pump their own waste into the atmosphere, believing no one would notice. "It was done intentionally," Schollmeyer said. "We had problems at the plant and I was present at a few of the meetings."

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Categories: Science

Linux Advocate Suggests Using More Closed-Source Software

Slashdot - Sat, 21/05/2016 - 8:29pm
An anonymous reader writes: Open Source advocate Jack Wallen is a writer for Linux.com and Tech Republic. He predicts that both Windows and OS X will be Open Source within 5 years, writing that "neither Microsoft nor Apple make serious money from operating systems any longer" (with both companies giving away major OS upgrades), but argues that smaller software companies still see close-sourced code as a profit center. So yesterday Wallen wrote a surprising column urging Linux fans to begin considering closed-source software. "That doesn't mean, in any way, you are giving up on the idea of freedom. What it means is that the best tool for the job is the one you should be using...be that open, closed, or somewhere in between. Should you close your mind to close sourced tools, you could miss out on some seriously amazing applications. On top of that (and this is something I've harped on for decades), the more you use closed source applications on open source environments, the more will be made available." I'd be curious to hear how many Slashdot readers agree with Mr. Wallen...

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Categories: Science