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Links 14/7/2015: Android in Enterprise, TOP500 Has 486 on GNU/Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 12:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • True confessions: I wrote for an Internet content mill

    The list goes on; it’s seemingly infinite. Such search terms offer insight into both our fears (“how bad is caffeine during pregnancy”) and desires (“bronies”). And thanks to thousands of poorly paid freelance writers looking to pick up some extra cash or toiling for wages, the results we’re served in these vulnerable moments are often hastily scribbled, poorly written, ungrammatical filler text. This old world relic represents a time when getting to the top of Google rankings wasn’t dependent on the quality of information you supplied but how many people linked to your site.

    This kind of text—the equivalent of fast food or hangover-friendly TV—is the preserve of content mills, an Internet subculture where for-hire workers are tasked with writing vast amounts of online copy for a pittance. Today, when more media outlets and self-publishing tools exist than ever before, such word factories somehow continue to exist.

  • Science

    • Solved? How scientists say mystery craters were formed in northern Siberia

      A new expedition to the craters in Yamal, in northern Russia, shows how they have rapidly altered since they were first noticed last year, but also indicates the possibility that not all the craters were formed in identical ways. The holes – first noticed last year – intrigued and perplexed scientists from around the world, initially provoking a number of explanations as to their cause, the most outlandish of which was that they were caused by stray missiles or even aliens from outer space.

    • Mammal–Carnivorous Plant Mutualism

      A pitcher plant species in Borneo attracts bat inhabitants by reflecting sonar signals from the flying mammals, advertising a cozy roost, and getting nitrogen-rich guano in return.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Monday
    • rolling expired certs

      My cert expired after a year because that seems to be the thing to do. I imagine there’s some nebulous threat model where somebody stole my server key and has been impersonating me for the past six months, but now they can’t. Although, if they stole the old key, they can probably steal the new key. I suppose we do this because revocation doesn’t work, but a six month half life is a long time to sit exposed.

    • Hacking Team claims terrorists can now use its tools
    • Hacking Team: government-sponsored cyberattack company likely hacked by another country, it claims

      An elite cyberattack group that was employed by governments and agencies was probably hacked by another country, it has said — and the attack has led to its powerful hacking tools being released into the wild.

      Hacking Team was hacked last week, revealing private emails and documents as well as insights into its tools. The leaked documents showed many of the vulnerabilities that were being used by the group — such as a bug in Adobe Flash that can be exploited to get complete control of a computer — which has meant that anyone can counteract them as well as use them for their own ends.

    • Flash HOLED AGAIN TWICE below waterline in fresh Hacking Team reveals
    • Adobe to Patch Two More Zero-Day Flaws in Flash
    • Mozilla blocks Flash as Facebook security chief calls for its death

      After yesterday’s news that Facebook’s new chief security officer wants to set a date to kill Flash once and for all, the latest version Mozilla’s Firefox browser now blocks Adobe’s vulnerability-riddled software as standard. Mark Schmidt, the head of the Firefox support team at Mozilla, tweeted that all versions of Flash Player are blocked in the browser as of its latest update, accompanying the news with an image showing a raised fist and the phrase “Occupy Flash.”

    • Can we kill Adobe Flash?

      Yesterday the usual tech news outlets were buzzing over an accidental tweet which the media incorrectly interpreted as Mozilla was ditching flash (Blame The Verge for the chain reaction of copied news articles) entirely as a policy. While that is not the case, I was just as excited as many at the faux-news. This got me thinking: what would it really take for the web to kill Adobe Flash? Could Mozilla really make such a move and kill Flash on its own if it wanted to?

    • No Flash 0.5 – still fighting the legacy

      Last week I released No Flash 0.5, my addon for Firefox to fix the legacy of video embedding done with Flash. If you are like me and don’t have Flash installed, sometime you encounter embedded video that don’t work. No Flash will fix some by replacing the Flash object with a HTML5 video. This is done using the proper video embedding for HTML5.

    • Facebook’s New Security Chief Calls On Adobe To Kill Flash

      This message comes after it was revealed that the recently hacked “Hacking Team” was using Flash zero-day vulnerabilities to hack journalists, activists, governments and more. Alex Stamos, like other security experts, must have also gotten tired of hearing about so many security vulnerabilities that Flash has had during its entire lifetime.

    • How to disable Flash Player: Why now’s a better time than ever

      Now more than ever, leaving Adobe Flash Player on your system is looking like a dubious proposition.

      While Flash has long been a popular vector for malware, last week’s security breach of surveillance software firm Hacking Team underscored just how vulnerable Flash can be. Hacking Team was relying on at least three unpatched Flash exploits, which cybercriminals immediately adapted for their own nefarious uses. Adobe is scrambling to patch the exploits, but at least one remains unfixed as of this writing.

    • Linux Foundation serves up a tasty dish of BUGS [Ed: FUD theme]
    • Linux tools infested by huge bugs [Ed: FUD theme]

      Dubbed the Census Project the initiative has been finding an embarrassing number of flaws in common core Linux system utilities that have network access. Some of them have nowhere near enough development relative to their importance.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Texans to “practice counter-insurgency” while U.S. special forces participate in Operation Jade Helm

      In response to the multi-state military exercise organized by the federal government, a group of very concerned Texans have organized what they’re calling “Counter Jade Helm,” in which “citizens will participate in an unofficial fashion to practice counter-insurgency, organizational and intelligence gathering and reporting skills.”

      Operation Jade Helm begins on July 15th, but as the media is barred from covering the exercise, citizen surveillance is the only option that people like retired firefighter Eric Johnson have to assuage their concerns about what the SEALs, Green Berets, and Air Force Special Ops are actually up to.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Yanis Varoufakis full transcript: our battle to save Greece

      Yanis Varoufakis: I’m feeling on top of the world – I no longer have to live through this hectic timetable, which was absolutely inhuman, just unbelievable. I was on 2 hours sleep every day for five months. … I’m also relieved I don’t have to sustain any longer this incredible pressure to negotiate for a position I find difficult to defend, even if I managed to force the other side to acquiesce, if you know what I mean.

    • The Laziness Dogma
  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Authors Guild: ISPs Should Monitor and Filter Pirated Content

      The Authors Guild has sent a letter to the U.S. Congress asking lawmakers to strengthen current copyright law. To stop dozens of millions in claimed losses, the authors want to increase liability for Internet service providers and make it mandatory for the companies to monitor and filter pirated content.

    • Australian woman jailed in Abu Dhabi for ‘bad words’ posted on social media

      A 39-year-old Australian woman has been arrested and jailed in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates after she was found guilty of “writing bad words on social media”.

      West Australian Jodi Magi remains in jail and it’s not known how long she will be held for.

      Middle East correspondent Sophie McNeill reports.

      SOPHIE MCNEIL: In February, 39-year-old Jodi Magi took a photo of a car in her apartment block in Abu Dhabi that was parked across two disabled parking spaces without any disability stickers.

    • Seven in ten Sky internet users block out porn: Now rival providers face pressure to follow suit

      Almost three-quarters of Sky’s internet customers have opted to block online pornographic websites after being forced to choose.

      The company announced an automatic block on harmful sites six months ago in a bid to prevent children from stumbling across hardcore images and videos.

    • China’s new Internet law introduces stricter censorship, surveillance powers

      Powers to require online surveillance, remove content, block foreign web sites and shut down parts of the network are contained in the draft of a new Internet security law recently published by the Chinese government. Although these approaches have all been used in the past, their legal basis has sometimes been unclear. If approved, the new law will make it much easier for the Chinese authorities to force compliance from Internet service providers, which will have major knock-on effects for users in the country.

  • Privacy

    • Privacy talk at DEF CON canceled under questionable circumstances

      Earlier this month, several news outlets reported on a powerful tool in the fight between those seeking anonymity online, versus those who push for surveillance and taking it away.

      The tool, ProxyHam, is the subject of a recently canceled talk at DEF CON 23 and its creator has been seemingly gagged from speaking about anything related to it. Something’s off, as this doesn’t seem like a typical cancellation.

    • Feds can read every email you opened last year without a warrant

      It’s no longer a surprise that the government is reading your emails. What you might not know is that it can readily read most of your email without a warrant.

      Any email or social networking message you’ve opened that’s more than six months old can also be accessed by every law enforcement official in government — without needing to get a warrant. That’s because a key provision in a law almost three decades’ old allows this kind of access with a mere subpoena, which doesn’t require a judge.

    • All Instant Messaging Could Be Killed In The UK Within Weeks

      UK Prime Minister David Cameron is pressing ahead with new powers that plan to stop people from sending any form of encrypted messages. Under the rather Orwellian “Draft Communications Data Bill” (nicknamed Snooper’s Charter) the legislation proposed would require ISPs and mobile providers to maintain records of each user’s internet browsing activity (including social media), email correspondence, voice calls, and mobile phone messaging services and store the records for 12 months.

    • How the NYPD Uses Facebook to Surveil, Entrap and Arrest Teenagers

      In October 2012, then-New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly announced a new initiative, called “Operation Crew Cut,” which would target gang activity by focusing on so-called street crews. Kelly doubled the size of the anti-gang unit to 300 police officers, assigned to the task of surveilling teenagers on Facebook. Many of these kids are under 18, some as young as 12, and just about all of them are black and brown, from low-income neighborhoods. The officers involved are encouraged to make fake Facebook profiles in order to spy on individuals’ Facebook statuses. The operation often entails reading private Facebook messages between friends and is sometimes coupled with phone and video surveillance. Soon press releases were coming out of the NYPD offices announcing dozens of alleged gang members had been arrested due to the Crew Cut initiative.

    • Warning – Firefox Has You in the Pocket
    • Hacking Team’s ‘Project X’ Wants To Spy on Tor Users

      After the Edward Snowden revelations and the rise of deep web marketplaces, more and more people are using the anonymity network Tor to take back their privacy or access hidden sites, sometimes to break the law.

      In response to this trend, surveillance tech company Hacking Team let slip last month that they were working on a solution to de-anonymize users of Tor for their customers, which include US law enforcement agencies and authoritarian regimes. After the massive Hacking Team leak last week, details of a work-in-progress system to monitor Tor and other encrypted traffic have emerged.

      Called “Project X,” Hacking Team’s method proposes to re-route a target’s internet traffic before it enters the Tor network, so it could be monitored by the company’s clients. This is described in two PowerPoint presentations included in the 400 GB Hacking Team breach.

  • Civil Rights

    • Man arrested after charging iPhone on London Overground train

      A man has accused British Transport police of being “overzealous” and “ridiculous” after he was arrested for charging his iPhone using a socket on a London Overground train.

      Robin Lee, a 45-year-old artist based in Islington, was handcuffed and taken to a British Transport Police station on Caledonian Road after his arrest for “abstracting electricity”.

    • Teenager handcuffed by police after giving £1 to a homeless man wins £5,000 pay out for unlawful detention

      A student who stopped to give money to a homeless person was handcuffed by a police officer who thought they were swapping drugs.

      Apprentice George Wilson, from Wallasey, received a £5,000 pay out after police accepted he had been detained unlawfully.

      A shocking recording of the incident reveals that when Mr Wilson denied he was behaving in a drunk and disorderly manner, as police had alleged, the officer replies: “That’s not how I’ll write it up pal.”

    • Nicky Hager heads to court over raid

      Investigative journalist Nicky Hager is set to make his case against a police raid on his Wellington home.

      Mr Hager will appear in the High Court in Wellington today for a judicial review into how police obtained a warrant for, and undertook, the raid on October 2, 2014.

      The 10-hour search of Mr Hager’s home was part of the police investigation into the hacking of Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater’s emails, which were given to Mr Hager by anonymous hacker Rawshark and formed the basis of his book Dirty Politics.

    • Oscar and Pulitzer Award-Winning Journalist Laura Poitras Sues U.S. Government To Uncover Records After Years of Airport Detentions and Searches
    • Laura Poitras Sues U.S. Government to Find Out Why She Was Repeatedly Stopped at the Border

      Over six years, filmmaker Laura Poitras was searched, interrogated and detained more than 50 times at U.S. and foreign airports.

      When she asked why, U.S. agencies wouldn’t say.

      Now, after receiving no response to her Freedom of Information Act requests for documents pertaining to her systemic targeting, Poitras is suing the U.S. government.

      In a complaint filed on Monday afternoon, Poitras demanded that the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Office of the Director of National Security release any and all documentation pertaining to her tracking, targeting and questioning while traveling between 2006 and 2012.

    • ​Ross Ulbricht Is Tutoring Inmates, Keeping a Pet Mouse in Prison

      More than a month after being sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison, convicted Silk Road mastermind Ross Ulbricht is trying to keep his head up and help other inmates out, his mother Lyn said.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Mega’s biggest shareholder leaves board

        Mega’s biggest shareholder, Shen Zhao Wu, has left the board of the file storage and encryption firm and transferred his stake to a Beijing-based Chinese national just days after a constitution re-write made it easier to go public, while Auckland businessman William Yan increased his influence over the company after an entity linked to his wife took a small shareholding.

      • Pirate Bay’s founders acquitted in Belgian court

        The four founders of the piracy website, The Pirate Bay, have been acquitted on charges alleging criminal copyright infringement and abuse of electronic communications in a Belgian court. The court decided that because they sold the website in 2006 that they could not be held accountable for what the site was used for afterwards.

      • Pirate Bay Founders Acquitted in Criminal Copyright Case

        Four key Pirate Bay figures have a little something to celebrate this morning. After standing accused of committing criminal copyright infringement and abusing electronic communications, yesterday a Belgian court acquitted Gottfrid Svartholm, Fredrik Neij, Peter Sunde and Carl Lundström.

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