02.20.15

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Links 20/2/2015: Bloomberg Joins Linux Foundation, ClearOS Community 6.6.0

Posted in News Roundup at 12:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • 5 ethical open source hacking tools for business

    Many businesses routinely employ “ethical” hackers as a means of testing whether their systems are secure, paying the tech-savvy to break into their computers in what is known as penetration testing, or pen testing.

  • ONF launches open source community to bolster SDN software development
  • Graylog 1.0 Eliminates Cost Barriers to Unlocking Big Data

    HOUSTON — Graylog, Inc., the company behind the popular Graylog open source log analysis platform, today announced that it has released v1.0 of its Open Source Graylog product. This enterprise-grade platform enables organizations to store, search and analyze machine data collected from their IT infrastructures to quickly pinpoint and address the root cause of operational problems. Graylog is providing paid services/support to make it even easier for enterprises to deploy this affordable alternative to expensive log analysis tools such as Splunk.

  • Events

    • SCALE 13x Day 0: Exceeding expectations

      It was a first for the Southern California Linux Expo — a midweek start on Thursday for SCALE 13x, and those of us on the SCALE Team did not know what to expect. The day was composed of a variety of sessions — an all-day Intro to Chef, Puppet Labs held its separate-registration Puppet Camp LA, openSUSE held its mini-summit, PostgreSQL held the first of its two-day PostgreSQL days, Fedora held its Fedora Activity Day, and an all-day Apache session.

    • Collaboration Summit 2015 Keynote Speakers

      The Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit 2015 took place Feb. 18-20 in Santa Rosa, Calif.

  • CMS

    • 4 tips for how to migrate to Drupal

      Well, to jump from your current CMS (or lack thereof) and make the transition to Drupal, you want to know much it costs and exacting what that migration entails. First, there are several factors that have to be taken into an account before any Drupal development company can give you a quote. But, while there isn’t an exact price range for migrating to Drupal, you can do some in-house work to keep your migration costs down and prepare your team for the migration, keeping headaches down too.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Facebook Announces The Hack Specification

      Last year Facebook launched Hack, a new programming language derived from PHP and powered by their HHVM software. The Hack specification serves as official documentation for those wanting to come out with their own Hack implementation rather than relying upon HHVM. The Hack specification complements the existing Hack programming documentation.

  • Standards/Consortia

Leftovers

  • I gave up social media for Lent

    Could getting off Twitter be a religious experience?

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • U.S. officials, in blunt language, say Israel is distorting reality of Iran talks

      The Obama administration on Wednesday accused the Israeli government of misleading the public over the Iran nuclear negotiations, using unusually blunt and terse language that once again highlighted the rift between the two sides.

      In briefings with reporters, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki and White House spokesman Josh Earnest suggested Israeli officials were not being truthful about how the United States is handling the secretive talks.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • How a Snowdenista Kept the NSA Leaker Hidden in a Moscow Airport

      Since spiriting NSA leaker Edward Snowden to safety in Russia two years ago, activist and WikiLeaks editor Sarah Harrison has lived quietly in Berlin. Sara Corbett meets the woman some regard as a political heroine—others as an accomplice to treason.

      Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport is, like so many international airports, a sprawling and bland place. It has six terminals, four Burger Kings, a sweep of shops selling duty-free caviar, and a rivering flow of anonymous travelers—all of them headed out or headed in or, in any event, never planning to stay long. But for nearly six weeks in the summer of 2013, the airport also housed two fugitives: Edward Snowden, the NSA contractor who had just off-loaded an explosive trove of top-secret U.S. government documents to journalists, and a 31-year-old British woman named Sarah Harrison, described as a legal researcher who worked for the online organization WikiLeaks.

    • A Stronger Freedom of Information Act

      Congress came tantalizingly close last year to passing a bill to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act, which allows journalists and the public to access federal government records. The legislation, which would have brought more transparency, was blocked in December when the House speaker, John Boehner, refused to hold a vote on the Senate bill with no explanation. Two months later, lawmakers have a second chance.

  • Finance

    • NYT Hopes India Can Avoid China’s Plight: a High-Paid, Well-Educated Workforce

      There aren’t a lot of numbers in the Times piece, so it’s useful to pause here and note that according to the IMF database, China’s per capita GDP (measured in terms of purchasing power) grew by 8.6 percent last year, vs. 6.0 percent for India. So any stumbling, slowing or faltering seen in China’s economy is based on forecasts of future growth–which are notoriously unreliable, though often given great credence in articles like these.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Op-Ed on Venezuela Slips Past NYT Factcheckers

      Krauze begins by claiming that the Venezuelan government, first under President Hugo Chávez and then his successor Nicolás Maduro, has taken control over the media. Chávez “accumulated control over the organs of government and over much of the information media: radio, television and the press,” we are told, and then Maduro “took over the rest of Venezuelan television.”

      A simple factcheck shows this to be false. The majority of media outlets in Venezuela–including television–continue to be privately owned; further, the private TV audience dwarfs the number of viewers watching state TV.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Lenovo caught installing adware on new computers

      It looks like Lenovo has been installing adware onto new consumer computers from the company that activates when taken out of the box for the first time.

    • Law enforcement divided over releasing StingRay docs

      State and local law enforcement agencies that use StingRays must weigh their obligations under public records statutes against nondisclosure agreements with the FBI and the device’s manufacturer. While some police departments have ruled that they cannot share any documents whatsoever, a handful of key disclosures in recent weeks — including the cleanest version of the NDA released to date — together shed new light on the FBI’s involvement in cell-site simulator deployments nationwide.

    • How to Remove Superfish Adware From Your Lenovo Computer

      We recently learned that PC manufacturer Lenovo is selling computers preinstalled with a dangerous piece of software, called Superfish, that uses a man-in-the-middle attack to break Windows’ encrypted Web connections for the sake of advertising. (Here’s a list of affected products.) Research from EFF’s Decentralized SSL Observatory has seen many thousands of Superfish certificates that have all been signed with the same root certificate, showing that HTTPS security for at least Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Safari for Windows, on all of these Lenovo laptops, is now broken. Firefox users also have the problem, because Superfish also inserts its certificate into the Firefox root store.

    • Lenovo In Denial: Insists There’s No Security Problem With Superfish — Which Is Very, Very Wrong.

      Late last night, people started buzzing on Twitter about the fact that Lenovo, makers of the famous Thinkpad laptops, had been installing a really nasty form of adware on those machines called Superfish. Many news stories started popping up about this, again, focusing on the adware. But putting adware on a computer, while ethically questionable and a general pain in the ass, is not the real problem here. The problem is that the adware in question, Superfish, has an astoundingly stupid way of working that effectively allows for a very easy man in the middle attack on any computer with the software installed, making it a massive security hole that is insanely dangerous.

    • Lenovo accused of compromising user security by installing adware on new PCs

      The information extracted by Graham can now be used to break the security on every compromised Lenovo computer. This leaves infected users essentially open to any eavesdropping if they are using the net on a public Wi-Fi account, and also enables future malware authors to convince Lenovo owners that their software is produced by a trusted vendor, such as Microsoft.

    • Russian Researchers Uncover Sophisticated NSA Malware

      Over the weekend Russian IT security vendor Kaspersky Lab released a report about a new family of malware dubbed “The Equation Family”. The software appears, from Kaspersky’s description, to be some of the most advanced malware ever seen. It is composed of several different pieces of software, which Kaspersky Lab reports work together and have been infecting computer users around the world for over a decade. It appears that specific techniques and exploits developed by the Equation Group were later used by the authors of Stuxnet, Flame, and Regin. The report alleges that the malware has significant commonalities with other programs that have been attributed to Western intelligence agencies; Reuters subsequently released an article about the report in which an anonymous former NSA employee claims that the malware was directly developed by the NSA.

    • US and UK accused of hacking Sim card firm to steal codes

      US and British intelligence agencies illegally hacked into a major manufacturer of Sim cards to steal codes and facilitate eavesdropping on mobiles, a US news website says.

    • Snowden’s Revenge: New Mega-Spying Project Revealed

      A giant cellphone surveillance program is just one of the dark NSA secrets being dragged out into the light, thanks to a certain whistleblower and a Russian cybersecurity firm.

    • NSA, British spies hack Gemalto to tap mobile calls – Intercept

      Digital security company Gemalto NV was hacked by American and British spies to steal encryption keys used to protect the privacy of cellphone communications, news website Intercept reported, citing documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    • Sim card database hack gave US and UK spies access to billions of cellphones

      International row likely after revelations of breach that could have given NSA and GCHQ the power to monitor a large portion of world’s cellular communications

    • Edward Snowden reveals that NSA and GCHQ hacked SIM card manufacturer Gemalto: reports

      British and American spies stole the encryption keys from the largest SIM card manufacturer in the world, according to a government document handed to The Intercept by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    • How to paint yourself into a corner (Lenovo edition)
    • Superfish: A History Of Malware Complaints And International Surveillance

      Superfish, a little-known “visual search” and ad tech provider from Palo Alto whose CEO was once part of the surveillance industrial complex, is about to learn what it feels like to face the unwavering wrath of the privacy and security industries. Lenovo will take much of the blame for potentially placing users at risk by contracting Superfish to effectively carry out man-in-the-middle attacks on users to intercept their traffic just to get the firm’s “visual” ads up during customers’ web searches.

    • Your Mobile Privacy is Under Threat Because of US and UK Spies

      One of the “biggest Snowden stories yet” has arrived today, according to journalist Glenn Greenwald.

      Spies from the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA) and the United Kingdom’s Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ) “hacked into the internal computer network of the largest manufacturer of SIM cards in the world, stealing encryption keys used to protect the privacy of cellphone communications across the globe.” The information was obtained from top-secret documents leaked by Edward Snowden.

  • Civil Rights

    • Proposed Florida Body Camera Law Riddled With Exceptions At Behest Of Police Union

      Florida’s legislators are pushing through bills mandating body camera use by the state’s law enforcement officers. So far, so good, except for the fact that law enforcement officers aren’t really looking for greater transparency or accountability, at least not according to Florida Police Benevolent Association chief Gary Bradford.

    • Why a Reporter’s ‘Epic Rant’ on Twitter Gets No Argument Here

      Mr. Risen, an investigative reporter for The Times, was writing in response to Mr. Holder’s statements in a National Press Club speech Tuesday defending the Obama administration’s record on press rights. Mr. Risen, who narrowly escaped jail time as he insisted on protecting a confidential source, begged to differ – in no uncertain terms.

      Referring to the Obama administration as “the greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation,” Mr. Risen called the attorney general “the nation’s top censorship officer.”

      Although the wording of the Risen tweets was outside the tacitly accepted norm for Times reporters on social media, The Times declined to criticize them and issued a statement in his support.

      I followed up in a conversation with the standards editor, Philip Corbett, and some email correspondence with Mr. Risen.

    • Did the US Prison Boom Lead to the Crime Drop? New Study Says No

      Louisiana — a state whose motto is Union, Justice and Confidence — is known for many things. The Bayou State is the birthplace of jazz, Creole, and Cajun food, and New Orleans is the site of the country’s largest annual Mardi Gras Carnival. But as the Times-Picayune found in a major series years ago, Louisiana is also “the world’s prison capital,” with an incarceration rate that is “nearly five times Iran’s, 13 times China’s and 20 times Germany’s.”

    • FBI Flouts Obama Directive to Limit Gag Orders on National Security Letters

      Despite the post-Snowden spotlight on mass surveillance, the intelligence community’s easiest end-run around the Fourth Amendment since 2001 has been something called a National Security Letter.

    • Yes, Eric Holder Does Do the Intelligence Community’s Bidding in Leak Prosecutions

      The second-to-last witness in the government’s case against Jeffrey Sterling, FBI Special Agent Ashley Hunt, introduced a number of things she had collected over the course of her 7.5 year investigation into James Risen’s chapter on Operation Merlin. That included a few things — most notably two lines from Risen’s credit card records from 2004 — that in no conceivable way incriminated Sterling.

    • Hacker Claims Feds Hit Him With 44 Felonies When He Refused to Be an FBI Spy

      A year ago, the Department of Justice threatened to put Fidel Salinas in prison for the rest of his life for hacking crimes. But before the federal government brought those charges against him, Salinas now says, it tried a different tactic: recruiting him.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Net neutrality: UK Lords call for internet to be reclassified as a utility

      THE HOUSE OF LORDS IS BACKING the idea of a free and gloriously open internet that is available to all, and is – rather less exciting sounding – reclassified as a utility.

      The plans come on the heels of similar noises from the US where Title II reclassification is a hot and contentious topic.

      Here we have the Lords releasing a report advocating that the government takes the internet and makes it a ;utility service’ much like it is in Estonia where it is considered a human right, and much as people like Tim Berners-Lee would appreciate.

    • Former FCC Boss Turned Top Cable Lobbyist Michael Powell Blames Everyone But Himself For Current Net Neutrality Mess

      You might recall that top cable industry lobbyist Michael Powell, formerly head of the FCC, got much of the current Title II debate rolling back in 2002 when he reclassified cable broadband as an “information service.” This effectively opened the door to a massive era of broadband deregulation Powell and friends at the time insisted would usher forth an immense new wave of broadband competition. If you’ve checked your broadband bill or oh, stepped outside lately, you may have noticed that this utopian broadband landscape never materialized.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Cerf Warns Of A ‘Lost Century’ Caused By Bit Rot; Patents And Copyright Largely To Blame

      The main obstacles to creating software that can run old programs, read old file formats, or preserve old webpages, are patents and copyright. Patents stop people creating emulators, because clean-room implementations that avoid legal problems are just too difficult and expensive to carry out for academic archives to contemplate. At least patents expire relatively quickly, freeing up obsolete technology for reimplementation. Copyright, by contrast, keeps getting extended around the world, which means that libraries would probably be unwilling to make backup copies of digital artefacts unless the law was quite clear that they could — and in many countries, it isn’t.

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