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Links 18/11/2012: Linux 3.7 RC6, FreeBSD.org Intrusion

Posted in News Roundup at 12:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Free Software/Open Source

  • LongTail Video Launches New Version Of Its Open Source Video Player, With Support For Apple HLS
  • Events

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD.org intrusion announced November 17th 2012

      On Sunday 11th of November, an intrusion was detected on two machines within the FreeBSD.org cluster. The affected machines were taken offline for analysis. Additionally, a large portion of the remaining infrastructure machines were also taken offline as a precaution.

    • DragonFlyBSD 3.2.1 vs. Ubuntu Linux Performance

      At the beginning of this month there was the release of DragonFlyBSD 3.2.1 that claimed a battle for speed against Linux with major improvements for the multi-threaded application performance against Linux. PostgreSQL was the only benchmark cited by the DragonFly camp with the new performance results, so a couple Phoronix tests were carried out.

      Being interested in seeing what changes DragonFlyBSD 3.2.1 has for performance against the earlier DragonFlyBSD 3.0 release and Linux distributions, I ran a couple quick and informal benchmarks. For the available hardware, an Intel Core i7 3960X Extreme Edition CPU was used, which has six physical cores plus Hyper Threading. Intel HT plus the individual cores can be easily toggled from the BIOS of the motherboard.

    • Hackers obtained access to FreeBSD servers

      The team behind the FreeBSD operating system reported that an intrusion into two of its servers was detected on 11 November. The security team says that the two affected servers were taken offline immediately and that investigations show that the first unauthorised access probably took place on 19 September. Apparently, the intruders didn’t exploit any security holes in FreeBSD; instead, they stole the SSH key of a developer with regular access privileges.

  • Project Releases

  • Programming

    • Clang Can Analyze Code Comments, Generate Docs

      Aside from why LLVM/Clang was ported to one of the fastest super computer’s in the world and using Clang to implement Microsoft’s C++ AMP, another interesting session at this month’s LLVM Developers’ Conference in San Jose was about using Clang to analyze code comments.

      By having Clang parse documentation comments, Clang could be enhanced to do additional semantic checking, ensure the code comments remain relevant to the actual code, and code completion APIs could take advantage of the documentation within the code. Ultimately, a Doxygen-like tool could be created based upon Clang for generating proper documentation out of the code itself and the associated comments. Further out, automatic comment re-factoring could be done to update names referenced within the inline code comments so that the resulting documentation is always up-to-date.

    • Pairing A C Compiler With QEMU’s Code Generator

      Earlier this week when writing about the state of the Tiny C Compiler, I learned more about QCC. QCC is a new initiative to pair a forked version of the Tiny C Compiler (TCC) with QEMU’s code generator.

      The QCC compiler is being worked on by Rob Landley, a developer with much compiler development experience that previously worked on early 64-bit TCC support. The QEMU CPU emulator has a code generator named TCG, which is short for Tiny Code Generator. The TCG generator translates code fragments from any target code supported by QEMU into a code representation that can be then executed on the host.


  • following in ethically-challenged footsteps of Scalia and Thomas

    Oops: They’re doing it again: Another Supreme Court Justice flouts ethical standards

  • Science

    • Why Cell Phones Went Dead After Hurricane Sandy

      After Hurricane Sandy, survivors needed, in addition to safety and power, the ability to communicate. Yet in parts of New York City, mobile communications services were knocked out for days.

      The problem? The companies that provide them had successfully resisted Federal Communications Commission calls to make emergency preparations, leaving New Yorkers to rely on the carriers’ voluntary efforts.

  • Security

    • What do we do about untrustworthy Certificate Authorities?

      OpenSSL maintainer and Google cryptographer Ben Laurie and I collaborated on an article for Nature magazine on technical systems for finding untrustworthy Certificate Authorities. We focused on Certificate Transparency, the solution that will shortly be integrated into Chrome, and also discuss Sovereign Keys, a related proposal from the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Both make clever use of cryptographic hashes, arranged in Merkle trees, to produce “untrusted, provable logs.”

    • Anonymous attacks over 650 Israeli sites, wipes databases, leaks email addresses and passwords (updated)

      When the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) this week began taking military action in the Gaza strip against Hamas (as the IDF announced on Twitter), Anonymous declared its own war as part of #OpIsrael. Among the casualties are thousands of email addresses and passwords, hundreds of Israeli Web sites, government-owned as well as privately owned pages, as well as databases belonging to Bank Jerusalem and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Cablegate

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • True Amount of BP Settlement Will Depend on Hidden Tax Giveaways

      Today, BP agreed to a $4.5 billion settlement to resolve felony and misdemeanor charges related to the Gulf oil spill, but taxpayers may end up indirectly covering up to 35 percent of that amount if the company is allowed to take the settlement as a tax write-off.

      “The judge shouldn’t approve this settlement if BP could pass off much of this settlement cost onto taxpayers,” said Phineas Baxandall, the Senior Tax and Budget Policy Analyst at the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG). “Especially in the context of pressing budget shortfalls, every dollar BP writes off means an additional dollar Americans will pay in the form of higher taxes, budget cuts, or more national debt.”

    • Fukushima fish ‘may be inedible for a decade’

      Fish from the waters around the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan could be too radioactive to eat for a decade to come, as samples show that radioactivity levels remain elevated and show little sign of coming down, a marine scientist has warned.

    • How BP’s historic Deepwater Horizon fine will be paid by the US military

      An explosion Friday on a rig in the Gulf owned by Houston-based Black Elk Energy has reportedly injured several workers, with four missing, two possibly killed. This latest incident – just a day after the US department of justice’s historic settlement with BP over the Deepwater Horizon disaster – highlights the risks of offshore oil-drilling, and the need for tougher regulations on one of America’s most hazardous industries.

  • Finance

    • Economists: US Wages Stagnant for Over a Decade

      As wages remain stagnant since 2002, the past ten years have been effectively been a “lost decade for workers,” says writer Kevin G. Hall.

    • Slovenia Should Sell Assets to Lure Investors, Goldman Says

      Slovenia, the first post-communist nation to introduce the euro in 2007, is struggling to avoid the need for a bailout from international lenders as political gridlock grips the nation of 2 million people. The government of Prime Minister Janez Jansa is pushing ahead with an overhaul of the economy with some measures threatened by a possible referendum.

      Labor unions and opposition leaders have filed a motion for a people’s vote on government plans to recapitalize state-owned lenders like Nova Ljubljanska Banka d.d. and the creation of a wealth fund.

    • Occupy hatches plot to destroy payday loan industry

      In today’s ever-perplexing world of personal finance, there’s no question consumers could benefit from a little clarity.

      Just don’t expect to find any in the pages of Occupy Wall Street’s new manifesto on consumer debt.

  • Censorship

    • Yelp Takes Down Review That Sparked Legal Threat

      Yesterday we had the story of how an 18-month-old Yelp review for Casey Movers in Massachusetts spurred the company to send a legal threat to the author, Kristen Buckley, leading her husband, Phil Buckley to do some research and uncover questionable “positive” reviews of the company, and to call the company out for its legal threat. That story has been getting a lot of attention from a variety of sources, and some have noticed that the original review is gone. Yes, gone. If you go there, you can now see Kristen’s followup comment about the legal threat, and Casey Movers’ response to the original review — but not the original review itself.

    • Christian wins case against employers over gay marriage comments

      A Christian who was demoted for posting his opposition to gay marriage on Facebook has won a legal case against his employer.

      Adrian Smith lost his managerial position, had his salary cut by 40%, and was given a final written warning by Trafford Housing Trust (THT) after posting in February last year that gay weddings in churches were “an equality too far”.

    • Victory: government backs down from “default” filtering?

      According to reports this Saturday in the Daily Mail and Telegraph, David Cameron will be asking ISPs to ask customers if they have children, and if so, help them install filtering technology.

      While the Daily Mail cite this as a “victory” for their campaign to switch porn off in every household, and allow people to “opt in to porn”, in fact it would be a humiliating climb down.

    • Restrictions to Internet free speech: Assange and Manning

      The US quite regularly rebukes Russia for putting a leash on the freedom of speech. This May, the US State Department focused on the Russian media in its annual human rights report.

    • What you can and can’t say on social networking sites

      The situation raises an interesting debate about the right to free speech and protecting people from unjustified attacks.

  • Privacy

    • UK government threatens firms over hidden customer data

      The UK government has repeated its threat to legislate if businesses do not voluntarily release data gathered on customers who ask to see it.

    • German police stop man with mobile office in car

      Forget texting while driving. German police say they nabbed a driver who had wired his Ford station wagon with an entire mobile office.

      Saarland state police said Friday the 35-year-old man was pulled over for doing 130 kph (80 mph) in a 100 kph zone while passing a truck Monday.

  • Civil Rights

    • Taliban Oops Reveals Mailing List IDs

      Somewhere out there, Mullah Omar must be shaking his head.

      In a Dilbert-esque faux pax, a Taliban spokesperson sent out a routine email last week with one notable difference.He publicly CC’d the names of everyone on his mailing list.

      The names were disclosed in an email by Qari Yousuf Ahmedi, an official Taliban spokesperson, on Saturday. The email was a press release he received from the account of Zabihullah Mujahid, another Taliban spokesperson. Ahmedi then forwarded Mujahid’s email to the full Taliban mailing list, but rather than using the BCC function, or blind carbon copy which keeps email addresses private, Ahmedi made the addresses public.

    • Leaders should be sacked for incompetence, not cheating

      US generals Petraeus and Allen had to bow to what feels close to mob rule. Is this how we do accountability now?

    • Why smart people do dumb things online

      Petraeus is smart: He graduated in the top 5% of his class at West Point and went on to earn a Ph.D.

      Petraeus has self-control: His self-discipline was “legendary,” according to Time Magazine.

      And Petraeus knows what he’s doing: During his time as a four-star general and as director of the CIA, he acquired an intimate knowledge of how easily email can be hacked.

      And that’s why it’s so incredible that even Petraeus did the dumbest thing imaginable when it came to his email: He trusted it with his secrets.


    • Trying to Keep Your E-Mails Secret When the C.I.A. Chief Couldn’t

      In the past, a spymaster might have placed a flower pot with a red flag on his balcony or drawn a mark on page 20 of his mistress’s newspaper. Instead, Mr. Petraeus used Gmail. And he got caught.

      Granted, most people don’t have the Federal Bureau of Investigation sifting through their personal e-mails, but privacy experts say people grossly underestimate how transparent their digital communications have become.


      Google reported that United States law enforcement agencies requested data for 16,281 accounts from January to June of this year, and it complied in 90 percent of cases.

    • Website Calls Out Authors of Racist Anti-Obama Posts
    • In UK, Twitter, Facebook rants land some in jail

      One teenager made offensive comments about a murdered child on Twitter. Another young man wrote on Facebook that British soldiers should “go to hell.” A third posted a picture of a burning paper poppy, symbol of remembrance of war dead.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Ofcom: mobile blocking Skype but we don’t care

      ISPreview UK: “Ofcom used this report to keep a close eye (sic) on the issue of Net Neutrality and Traffic Management, although they found that “there are currently no substantive concerns in relation to the traffic management practices used by fixed ISPs“. The regulator noted some “concern” with how some mobile operators block Skype (VoIP) but not enough to take any action against.” The traffic management section starts on p49 and includes this choice example of how ISPs are largely ignoring Ofcom’s evidence-gathering:

    • Russia demands broad UN role in Net governance, leak reveals

      Leaked document from upcoming treaty negotiations reveals Russia wants transfer of authority over Net to national governments. The U.N.’s increasingly shrill denials are ringing ever more hollow.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • DuPont-Dow Corn Defeated by Armyworms in Florida: Study

      Fall armyworms in southern Florida survived a pesticide engineered into corn by Dow Chemical Co. (DOW) and DuPont Co., the second insect to show signs of resistance to genetically modified crops in the U.S., according to a study.
      Fall armyworms ate the leaves of corn engineered to produce an insecticidal protein and lived, according to 2012 field trial data presented Nov. 13 at a conference in Knoxville, Tennessee. The protein is marketed by Dow and DuPont as Herculex.

    • MEPs demand better evaluation of GMOs

      The study by the biologist Gilles-Eric Seralini (University of Caen), conducted over two years on rats fed diets containing genetically modified maize (NK603 variety), with and without the Roundup herbicide, as well as with Roundup alone, the results of which were published on September 19 in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, has reignited the debate about the possible risks associated with the use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and the reliability of the 90-day toxicology studies previously used to justify their approval.

    • Copyrights

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