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04.15.17

Links 15/4/2017: OpenELEC 8.0.1 Released, Windows Security Up in Flames

Posted in News Roundup at 4:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • The Future of Desktop Ubuntu

      There hasn’t been this much news about a single Linux distro in like forever. Well, maybe when Caldera, operating under the name SCO, sued IBM for a cool billion, but other than that…nada. One thing’s for sure, the announcements that have been coming out of the Isle of Man for the last couple of weeks mean that Canonical has forever changed its course.

      It also indicates that Mark Shuttleworth has decided that it’s now do or die time — you know, put up or shut up, money talks and bullcrap walks and all that. This means that from this point forward, Canonical will no longer be a company focused on the desktop. From here on out, it’s enterprise all the way, baby.

      That’s probably going to work out well for enterprise users of Linux — time will tell. It doesn’t bode well for down in the trenches users of desktop Linux. From here on out, at Canonical, desktop Linux will be job number two. If that.

    • Galago Pro Available for Preorder

      Today Denver-based System76 allowed for preorder of the new Galago Pro. The Galago Pro is a 13” aluminum-body laptop, weighing in at 2.87lbs (1.3kg). The new laptop is very thin, but despite its size sports up to 32GB of RAM, 6TB of storage, and a 7 th Gen Intel i5 or i7 CPU. On top of that, the Galago Pro has many ports missing from modern ultra-thin laptops, such as an ethernet port. The starting price is $899.

    • Old Vista Laptop Into A Linux ZFS File Server Part 2

      In the previous Linux ZFS File Server article I put forth a list of parts that allowed me to utilize an old Vista laptop as a Linux+ZFS fileserver. In this article, I will detail how to put all the pieces together, from installing the Linux OS to connecting all the hard drives.

      First, we need to connect all the hardware. The eSATA card needs to be plugged into the slot, the USB3 Ethernet adapter needs to go in an available USB2 slot and connected with a CAT5 or better (CAT5e, CAT6) Ethernet cord to your existing router.

    • Old Vista Laptop Into A Linux ZFS File Server Part 3

      In the previous article, I showed you how to install Lubuntu 14.04 64-bit and install the important bits of Samba and the ZFS filesystem. In this article, I will give you the interesting details on how to get your Probox-connected disks up and running as a ZFS RAID10, starting with (1) disk and growing to a full 4-disk RAID10 in real-time. Please note: Follow these steps at your own risk. I take no responsibility for data loss! You will need to be careful and make sure you are using the right disks when entering administration commands.

  • Server

    • Rancher Launches Tiny Linux Distro

      Rancher Labs is announcing general availability today for RancherOS, the stripped-down version of Linux that the company uses with its own container management platform.

      The container management platform, called simply Rancher, is what the startup is best known for, and it doesn’t even have to run on RancherOS. It can run on any variety of Linux.

    • Containers are Linux

      Containers are Linux. The operating system that revolutionized the data center over the past two decades is now aiming to revolutionize how we package, deploy and manage applications in the cloud. Of course, you’d expect a Red Hatter to say that, but the facts speak for themselves. Interest in containers technology continues to grow, as more organizations realize the benefits they can provide for how they manage applications and infrastructure. But it’s easy to get lost in all the hype and forget what containers are really about. Ultimately, containers are a feature of Linux. Containers have been a part of the Linux operating system for more than a decade, and go back even further in UNIX. That’s why, despite the very recent introduction of Windows containers, the majority of containers we see are in fact Linux containers. That also means that if you’re deploying containers, your Linux choices matter a lot.

    • Running system services in containers

      Our computers run many programs that talk to the Internet, and the Internet is an unsafe place as we all know—with states and assorted organizations collecting “zero-day exploits” to exploit them as they see fit. One of the big tasks of operating system distributions has been to keep track of known software vulnerabilities and patch their packages as soon as possible.

      When we look closer, many vulnerabilities out there can be exploited because of a combination of two major weaknesses of GNU/Linux and similar Unix-like operating systems: lack of memory-safety in the C language family, and ambient authority in the operating system itself. The former leads to a huge class of bugs that become security issues: buffer overflows, use-after-free, and so on. The latter makes them more exploitable because processes have access to many resources beyond those they really need.

    • Enterprise Container Spending Is Skyrocketing

      A new study from container data services company Portworx, released on the eve of Dockercon 2017, bodes well for container vendors.

      Docker and other application container platforms are rapidly gaining traction in enterprise IT environments and spending is following suit. In its survey of 491 IT professionals, Portworx discovered that nearly a third (32 percent) of organizations are poised to spend $500,000 or more on container license and usage fees in 2017. Last year, only five percent were spending as much.

  • Kernel Space

    • Big Linux bug, low security concerns

      This Linux/Android bug sure sounded bad.

      The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Symantec announced a LinuxKernel ipv4/udp.c bug that made the LinuxKernel 4.4 and earlier vulnerable to remote code-execution. In turn, an attacker could exploit this issue to execute arbitrary code. Worse still, even failed exploits might cause denial-of-service attacks.

      There’s only one problem with this analysis and the resulting uproar: It’s wrong.

      Yes, the bug existed. NIST described it as a “critical” bug, and its description makes it sound like it can open Linux and Android-powered devices to attacks via UDP network traffic. The important phrase is “sound like.”

    • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

      • AMD Ryzen 5 1600X Linux Benchmarks and Review: Good CPU Poor Value

        Finally, we have the top model of the AMD Ryzen 5 launch series, the AMD Ryzen 7 1600X. This is a really interesting CPU. In terms of specs, it is a 6 core 12 thread part with 16MB L3 cache and a 95W TDP. Immediately that gives it an advantage in a market where the average consumer space PC has, at most, 4 cores and 8 threads. While a lot of sites are pitting the AMD Ryzen 5 1600X against competition from Intel, we have the full Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 lineups to pit the CPU against. In our view, the AMD Ryzen 5 1600X is a great CPU, but it struggles in the value department against AMD’s other CPU offerings. With a dozen test systems set up, mostly for DemoEval, and running and over a month worth of hours on the clock with Ryzen, we have a good idea regarding where value lies in the continuum.

      • Blender Cycles: OpenCL now is on par with CUDA

        AMD videocard owners rejoice! With the work on the split Cycles OpenCL Kernel, the performance of AMD GPU’s has increased dramatically.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Qt World Summit 2017 Early Bird Tickets Now Available!
      • ArcGIS Runtime SDK 100.0 by Esri is here

        In 100.0, Qt developers have even more capabilities for adding mapping and geographic analysis to native apps than ever before. 3D geographic visualization, 2D vector tiled basemap support, enriched error handling in the API, and additional geoprocessing tools are just a few of the new highlights.

      • Progressive Web App and Planet KDE

        Since I started to programming more serious, was with Qt and with the goal to made Desktop applications. And I was running with all my strength from Web Development. My little experience with the web made me be pissed. It’s hard to debug and find solutions for a web problem, because exist too many solutions for the same problem in a lot of languages, see for example the Js frameworks that each day a new one appears.

      • Kubuntu 17.04 Released!
      • Qt 3D Animation Easter Teaser

        As an Easter treat here is a quick taster of some of the animation goodies coming to Qt 3D along with Qt 5.9. In this post we will briefly outline the steps needed to create a simple Qt 3D application and the assets it uses to produce this little animation:

      • WikiToLearn: now available in German!

        Thanks to the work of our volunteers, with a special mention to Matthias Heil and Karin Cienkowski, we’re happy to announce the official opening of the German portal of WikiToLearn. We hope it will be of great service to the German community and we’re sure it will help creating even more free textbooks for everyone to use.

      • KActionRunner

        Sometimes I create a small widget for my own usecase and never blog about it, but this one I think it should be pushed upstream. It’s a small KComboBox that uses a KActionCollection based model to display *all* of the actionCollection’s actions.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Q4OS 1.8.3 Orion review – Bayeux distro

        Q4OS is like an ancient tapestry. Beautiful, stylish, iconic, but then, also fraying at the seams. The initial impression is mighty. You can’t argue that. I was amazed by the virtual machine setup, and loved the live session even on the LG laptop. But then, the more I used it, the more I started seeing problems.

        Orion does some things exceptionally well – it’s friendly, it’s designed to assist newbs in getting underway, it has a calm presence, and it’s very frugal. But the hardware side of things is mediocre. First, no boot on UEFI. Then, no smartphone or Bluetooth support. Wonky suspend & resume. Moreover, customization is weak, UI has some rather rusty spots, and the multimedia front can benefit from improvement. The worst part is, prehistoric bugs linger, souring the experience.

        All in all, Q4OS 1.8.3 Orion is the kind of desktop that got worse the more I used it, rather than better. Eventually, I settled in and enjoyed most of the experience, but there’s a lot missing that most people take for granted. Curiously, it does some things exceptionally well, especially where some other distros struggle. But the balance isn’t worth it. At the end of the day, TDE isn’t the promised desktop and Q4OS isn’t the promised distro. Good, but a lot more effort is needed to nail that professional feel. If you have an old laptop, you should definitely give it a try, just remember that the Ghost of KDE3.5 may come to haunt you. 5.5-6/10.

    • New Releases

      • [Stable] OpenELEC 8.0.1 released

        OpenELEC 8.0.1 release has been published. Users running OpenELEC 8.0.0 or later with auto-update enabled will be prompted on-screen to reboot and apply the update once it has been downloaded and enabled in some hours. Users running older OpenELEC releases or with auto-update disabled will need to manually update. If you would like to update from an older OpenELEC release please read update instructions/advice on the Wiki before updating. Manual update files can be obtained from the downloads page.

    • Red Hat Family

      • An Important Linux Kernel Security Patch Is Available for CentOS 7, Update Now

        CentOS maintainer Johnny Hughes has informed the community about the availability of yet another important kernel security update, this time for users of the CentOS Linux 7 operating system series.

      • Red Hat Updates OpenShift Container Platform

        Red Hat officially announced the general availability of its OpenShift Container Platform 3.5 release on April 13, providing new application container features.

        OpenShift is Red Hat’s packaged distribution of the open-source Kubernetes container management and orchestration system. The OpenShift 3.5 update is based on the Kubernetes 1.5 update that was released in December 2016. Kubernetes 1.6 is actually the most recent release of KubernetesRed Hat CloudForms and debuted on March 29.

      • Red Hat Tunes Up OpenShift For Legacy Code In Kubernetes

        When Red Hat began building out its OpenShift cloud application platform more than five years ago, the open source software vendor found itself in a similar situation as others in the growing platform-as-a-service (PaaS) space: they were all using technologies developed in-house because there were no real standards in the industry that could be used to guide them.

      • Manage OpenStack deployments with Red Hat’s Platform Director

        An OpenStack deployment doesn’t always come easy for an IT team. Learn how Red Hat’s Platform Director can help with OpenStack implementation and lifecycle management.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Fedora Workstation: Get the features you want now

          Christian Schaller is a long time free software contributor and advocate. He’s also a manager of emerging platform development at Red Hat. The groups in this area include desktop engineering, where developers work on many GNOME features seen in Fedora. Recently Christian posted on his blog about desktop features and improvements users want. He also discussed how Fedora delivers them.

          Many such comments came in a recent Hacker News thread concerning Ubuntu. But listening to users doesn’t stop with just Linux users. Christian writes, “I often read such articles and threads about non-Linux systems too, to help understand what people are looking for and thus enable us to prioritize what we do with Fedora Workstation even better.”

        • The new Fedora Project mission statement

          When we started Fedora.next, we decided to work underneath the mission as it stood. This has worked out well enough, but we’re coming up to what feels like the limit. This is clear in the “Budget.next” process — it’s one thing to say that spending is to be determined in public based on clear objectives and measurable results, but for it to really work, those objectives need to be attached to a goal with a more clear scope.

    • Debian Family

      • The State Of Debian 9.0 Stretch

        Debian developers are preparing for the final phase of the development freeze on Debian 9.0 “Stretch” and it’s looking like the official release might not be too far out.

      • Status on the stretch release
      • Underestimating Debian

        I had two issues in the last days that lead me a bit into panic until they got solved. In both cases the issue was external to Debian but I first thought that the problem was in Debian. I’m not sure why I had those thoughts, I should be more confident in myself, this awesome operating system, and the community around it! The good thing is that I’ll be more confident from now on, and I’ve learned that hurry is not a good friend, and I should face my computer “problems” (and everything in life, probably) with a bit more patience (and backups).

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Gets Serious About Doing Enterprise Right

            With what we now know — that Canonical is working overtime to attract investors — it become apparent that the activity we’ve seen coming from the Isle of Man during the past week or so is a carefully orchestrated series of events designed to both reassure its enterprise customers and to get word to potential investors that Canonical is getting its priorities in order.

            It all started last week with Mark Shuttleworth’s announcement that the company is killing Unity, which has been Ubuntu’s default desktop since 2011. Development of Unity 8 is ceasing immediately, he said, and Unity 7 will no longer be the default desktop, beginning with version 18.04 which will be released next April. With the death of Unity comes the death of Ubuntu’s phone and convergence efforts, which never got traction, as well as the company’s go-it-alone display server, Mir, which had been seen as a disruption by many Linux developers. Mir will still have a life, however, in the company’s IoT offerings.

          • What To Do After Installing Ubuntu 17.04 Zesty Zapus

            If you’re a new comer to Ubuntu in 17.04 Zesty Zapus release, then welcome, this article is for you. This introduces some options you can do once finished installing Ubuntu. There are 13 options listed you can choose, mainly about applications and some tweakings. You’ll find some list about software replacements (if you come from Windows) and also educational apps. I hope this what-to-do article helps you to be a new Ubuntu user easier. Enjoy Ubuntu 17.04!

          • Ubuntu 17.04 (Zesty Zapus) Available For Download
          • Ubuntu 17.04 “Zesty Zapus” All Flavors Download Links
          • Ubuntu 17.04 Zesty Zapus Has Been Released (Download Links)
          • Downloading Ubuntu 17.04 with Zsync, Saving Bandwidth Cost
          • Ubuntu 17.04 Released, Not Much Changed

            Canonical finally announced the release of Ubuntu 17.04. Codenamed “Zesty Zapus”. In general, there doesn’t exist any new features or important updates. Just newer packages with bugs fixed and problems addressed from previous releases.

          • Ubuntu Unity – Present, Past and Future Discussed
          • Ubuntu GNOME 17.04 Released and What’s Next

            The Ubuntu GNOME developers are proud to announce our latest non-LTS release 17.04. For the first time in Ubuntu GNOME’s history, this release includes the latest stable release of GNOME, 3.24.

            Although Ubuntu’s release schedule was originally centered around shipping the latest GNOME release, this had not been possible since Ubuntu GNOME’s first release four years ago.

          • “Jono Bacon” – Lunduke Hour – Apr 11, 2017

            In this episode of the Lunduke Hour, I talk with my buddy Jono Bacon. The former Community Manager for Canonical waxes poetic about the recent announcements and what they mean — and offers some advice for the current team at Canonical. He also says the word “community” very few times. So proud of the little guy.

          • Return Home to GNOME

            A while back I wrote about the importance of those of us in the Ubuntu community coming together around Ubuntu’s Unity 8 project. The post was called “Return Home and Unify”. I wrote that in order to promote the idea to contributing to the desktop that would inevitably ship on Ubuntu so that the experience would be a good one for its users. I wanted convergence to be a real thing, so that there would be a more open alternative to iOS (closed-source) and Android (open source but heavily controlled by Google) in the phone and tablet space. But that Unity 8 isn’t happening and, here’s the kicker, I’m just fine with it.

          • 6 Things Gnome Shell needs to do Before Ubuntu 18.04

            Few days ago Canonical, company behind Ubuntu, announced that they will end development of their signature desktop environment, Unity. Starting with 18.04 release, Ubuntu will ship with Gnome Shell as the default environment. Although I have been using Ubuntu Gnome as my primary work environment for about two years now, this made me a bit sad since Unity 8 preview looked really amazing.

          • Snaps and snapcraft.io explained in 3 minutes
          • [Video] Ubuntu convergence Phone Tablet Desktop
          • Flavours and Variants

            • Ubuntu Mate 17.04 – The Refined Gold Standard

              In this video we take a look at some of the refinements of Ubuntu Mate 17.04 and I get into a little history of the OS from Martin himself. This is a great all around distro and it is worth your time to try it out. Thanks for watching and thanks to everyone involved on the project.

            • The theater of Linux distributions

              The two most extreme Theater distros are Linux Lite and LXLE. The only thing that gives them their character are the PPAs they’re built with, and if even one of those PPAs isn’t maintained by its creator, the whole thing falls apart. You can’t do any updates but the ones they demand, and you have to do every one of those. If you add something or change something, it’s all over, they just disintegrate. Can’t afford to have actors ad-lib!

            • Welcome Ubuntu Budgie 17.04: A Short Review

              Ubuntu Budgie begins its debut as official Ubuntu family in 17.04 “Zesty Zapus” release. It’s a new choice of flavors with new desktop environment (Budgie) as operating system for us. Ubuntu Budgie is crafted purely for desktop use, no tablet-like interface (like Unity or GNOME), thanks to Budgie DE. So I want to introduce Ubuntu Budgie 17.04 to beginners especially if they’re new to GNU/Linux. I hope you’ll enjoy Ubuntu Budgie starting from this review.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • What is GNU social and is Mastodon Social a “Twitter Clone”?

    Mastodon Social is the name of an instance on GNU social which uses the OStatus protocol to connect to a vast variety of servers in what’s known as a federation. Mastodon is also the name of the software being used on that server, which was developed by Eugen “Gargron” Rochko. It was built with Ruby on Rails, Redux, and React.js. I learned the latter from the Wikipedia page, which is about the extent of research given by any of the other articles published this week.

  • Events

    • Registration for Linux Plumbers Conference is now open

      The 2017 Linux Plumbers Conference organizing committee is pleased to announce that the registration for this year’s conference is now open. Information on how to register can be found here [1]. Registration prices and cutoff dates are published in the ATTEND [2] page of the web site. A reminder that we are following a quota system to release registration slots. Therefore the early registration rate will remain in effect until early registration closes on June 18 2017, or the quota limit (150) is reached, whatever comes earlier. As usual, contact us [3] if you have questions.

    • CloudNativeCon and KubeCon Europe 2017: an overview

      CloudNativeCon and KubeCon Europe 2017 took place in Berlin on March 29th and 30th, and they were packed with clever things you can do in, around, and on top of, Kubernetes. It is possible that not every reader of LWN is familiar with Kubernetes, so I’d like to give a brief description of it before I describe any of the talks that I heard there. To do that, I’ll have to at least mention tools, containerization, cloud-native computing and microservices, and the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF).

      Containers are an elegant way to combine two Linux primitives, control groups and and namespaces, with loopback filesystems to provide isolated structures that in many ways resemble virtual machines (VMs), though they don’t have their own kernels. It is important to remember, however, that they are not actually VMs; no less an authority than Jessie Frazelle, who maintained Docker and now hacks on containers for Google when not speaking at KubeCon 2017, says exactly that in her blog. If you treat your containers like VMs, you’re using them wrong, and things may not end well if you do that in production.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • BSD

    • 1.3.0 Development Preview: New icon themes

      As version 1.3.0 of the Lumina desktop starts getting closer to release, I want to take a couple weeks and give you all some sneak peaks at some of the changes/updates that we have been working on (and are in the process of finishing up).

      This week’s preview covers the new icon theme which will be distributed/used by default in the upcoming version of Lumina.

      The “material-design-[light/dark]” themes[1] are collections of ~800 SVG icons (each) from the Google “material design” application icon theme[2] plus some of the “Templarian” additions[3] to the material design icon pack.

    • Lumina Desktop Environment 1.3 Preparing For Release

      TrueOS developers continue working on their Lumina Desktop Environment and coming up soon is the v1.3 release of their Qt5-powered desktop environment.

      Lumina 1.3 is releasing soon and the developers have begun delivering weekly sneak-peaks of their progress. In today’s preview, they share the work done on their new icon theme.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • “Richard Stallman” – Lunduke Hour – Apr 14, 2017

      In today’s episode of the Lunduke Hour, I get the chance to sit down and chat with the one and only Richard Stallman. Founder of the Free Software Foundation. We talk about everything from the W3C’s stance on DRM to opinions on the movie “Galaxy Quest”.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Indian Engineer wins UN Challenge to create open-source tool providing greater visibility into Member State voting patterns

      Unite Ideas is a big data crowd-sourcing platform developed by the Office of Information and Communications Technology, which seeks to provide a platform for collaboration between academia, civil society, and the United Nations.The vast amount of information generated by the UN in at least 6 official languages, and formats e.g. documents, datasets, and multimedia is increasingly being made available to the public as “open data”. At Unite Ideas, the public can access not just these these datasets, but also the source code of the solutions to previously completed challenges and build on them. Solutions and expertise developed can be re-used by governments and civil society to support international peace and security, sustainable development, human rights, international law, and humanitarian aid.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Ubuntu ditches Unity, Maryland embraces open textbooks, and more open source news
    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Happy Hardware Freedom Day 2017!

        And today is the day where we celebrate Free Hardware and the possibilities to build and design upon other people’s work or simply start something with the community in mind by ensuring projects can be shared and improved at will. In case you’ve missed our announcement the registration for Hardware Freedom Day will remain open for the month to come allowing you to celebrate at a later date, just make sure you specify the new date on your wiki page.

  • Programming/Development

    • HHVM 3.19

      HHVM 3.19 is released! This release has some exciting new experimental features. Packages have been published in the usual places; see the installation instructions for more information.

    • Ask Hackaday: How Do You Python?

      Python is the Arduino of software projects. It has a critical mass of libraries for anything from facial recognition and neural networks to robotics and remote sensing. And just like Arduino, I have yet to find the killer IDE for Python. Perhaps I just haven’t tried the right one yet, but it could be that I’m just doing Python wrong.

    • Learn Swift Programming with No-Charge Books

      Swift is a new language, first appearing in 2014. It is friendly to new programmers, feels familiar to Objective-C developers, and the language is optimized for development. It was launched under a proprietary license, but Apple made the language open source in December 2015 by releasing Swift 2.2 and later under the Apache License 2.0. By open-sourcing Swift, developers are able to use the language for their own purposes and go beyond OS X, iOS and watchOS apps.

Leftovers

  • Seoul Taxi Drivers to Wear Uniform Again

    Some 490,000 self-employed cab drivers will be given their new outfits by the Seoul Private Taxi Association.

  • Apple

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Capsule8 Building Container-Aware Security Platform for Linux

      Security startup Capsule8 emerged from its stealth mode in February with a plan to help provide a new model for application container security. In a video interview with eWEEK, Capsule8 CTO Dino Dai Zovi and CEO John Viega explain what’s missing from container security today and what they are building to help fill the gap.

      “Capsule8 is container-aware, real-time threat protection for Linux-based production environments,” Dai Zovi said.

      Dai Zovi explained that the company name Capsule8 is a pun on what it does—which is encapsulates security knowledge in software, providing a secure approach to application delivery and deployment.

    • Security updates for Friday
    • careful with the chrome HSTS

      I mean, yes, I set the HSTS header, but that was with the same cert that chrome is now insisting can’t be trusted. Why in the world would you permanently store “must have trusted cert” on the basis of an untrusted cert?

    • Microsoft blocks Kaby Lake and Ryzen PCs from Windows 7, 8 updates

      That means all updates, including security updates, will be unavailable on PCs with brand new hardware running the two older operating systems.

    • Hacked NSA tools put Windows users at possible risk

      The hacking group known as Shadow Brokers claims to have released National Security Agency malware designed to break into Windows computers. The software could make millions of Microsoft users vulnerable to malicious parties.

      [...]

      The NSA didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. But this isn’t the first US intelligence agency whose tools have been leaked to the public. Just last month, WikiLeaks released techniques it claimed the CIA used for breaking into phones, computers, cars and smart TVs.

    • Leaked NSA point-and-pwn hack tools menace Win2k to Windows 8

      The Shadow Brokers have leaked more hacking tools stolen from the NSA’s Equation Group – this time four-year-old exploits that attempt to hijack venerable Windows systems, from Windows 2000 up to Server 2012 and Windows 7 and 8.

      The toolkit puts into anyone’s hands – from moronic script kiddies to hardened crims – highly classified nation-state-level weaponry that can potentially compromise and commandeer systems around the world. This is the same powerful toolkit Uncle Sam used once upon a time to hack into and secretly snoop on foreign governments, telcos, banks, and other organizations.

    • Leaked NSA Malware Threatens Windows Users Around the World

      The ShadowBrokers, an entity previously confirmed by The Intercept to have leaked authentic malware used by the NSA to attack computers around the world, today released another cache of what appears to be extremely potent (and previously unknown) software capable of breaking into systems running Windows. The software could give nearly anyone with sufficient technical knowledge the ability to wreak havoc on millions of Microsoft users.

    • EFF Director: WikiLeaks Move to Share CIA Hacking Tools with Tech Giants Could “Make Us All Safer”

      DN! talks with Electronic Frontier Foundation Executive Director Cindy Cohn about thousands of documents WikiLeaks published this week, dubbed “Vault 7,” that describe CIA programs to hack into both Apple and Android cellphones, smart TVs and even cars. Some of the released documents describe tools to take over entire phones, allowing the CIA to then bypass encrypted messenger programs such as Signal, Telegram and WhatsApp. Other documents outline a CIA and British intelligence program called “Weeping Angel,” through which the spy agency can hack into a Samsung smart television and turn it into a surveillance device that records audio conversations, even when it appears to be off. Other documents outline how the CIA has used the U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt, Germany, as a covert base to spy on Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “It’s extremely troubling that the CIA was keeping all of this information rather than giving it to the tech companies so that they could fix these problems and make us all safer,” Cohn notes.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • N. Korea blasts US ‘military hysteria & aggression’ in Syria, vows to mercilessly foil provocations

      Pyongyang has called the US cruise-missile strike against Syria a war crime, urging Washington to stop its “military hysteria” and come to its “senses” – or otherwise face a merciless response in case of any provocations against North Korea.

      “The US should be punished according to international law as its military attack on Syria was an undisguised act of aggression and war crime,” a spokesman for the Korean Jurists Committee said in a statement cited by KCNA.

    • China seeks Russia’s help to ‘cool’ N Korea situation

      China is seeking Russia’s help to cool surging tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions, the country’s foreign minister has told his Moscow counterpart, after Beijing warned of possible conflict over North Korea.

      Fears over the North’s rogue weapons programme have soared in recent days, with a US naval strike force deployed near the Korean peninsula, while President Donald Trump has warned the threat “will be taken care of” and Pyongyang has vowed a “merciless” response to any provocation.

      China — the North’s sole major ally and economic lifeline — on Friday warned that war over North Korea could break out “at any moment”.

    • A Businessman’s Murder Unmasks a Web of Violent Police

      The abduction and killing of an innocent South Korean executive in the Philippines has blossomed into a national scandal amid President Duterte’s war on drugs

    • North Korea Parades New Long-Range ‘Frankenmissile’

      North Korea showed off what appeared to be at least one new long-range missile at a military parade Saturday, as tensions simmer over the possibility of a military confrontation between the U.S. and North Korea.

    • Neocons Point Housebroken Trump at Iran

      The Trump administration’s growing use of military force in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen has neoconservative hawks rooting for armed confrontation with what they view as the root of all evil in the Middle East: Iran.

    • Roaming Charges: Love at First Strike

      Ivanka, our Park Avenue Electra, did it. She’s the one who softened her daddy’s leathery heart by forcing him to watch those dreadful pictures of dead and dying babies, eyes fixed on the carnage scrolling across the screen like Alex in A Clockwork Orange. The obscene photos made Donald squirm. His eyes even moistened. Then he began to tremble with rage.

      “What kind of evil animal could kill innocent babies, Ivanka?”

      “A monster, Daddy, a real monster. You must do something! This cannot stand!”

      “But do what, Sweetie? I’ll call that guy who works for me, Steve something. He’ll know what to do…”

      “No, not Bannon, daddy. He won’t do a damn thing. Call Jared. He’s already talked to the generals. They’re dialing up the targets right now.”

      “Ivanka, I’m so glad I picked you to join me in the West Wing. I only worry about the business. Are your brothers really up to it on their own?”

    • Handing Killer Drones to Donald Trump

      The news is rife with President Trump’s threatened and actual military misadventures: in Syria, Yemen, and North Korea. But these military actions take on a new gravity considering the vast and secret powers Trump inherited.

      [...]

      Specifically, President Obama’s constraints on drones included that targets pose an “imminent threat,” that their capture is “not feasible,” and that there be “near certainty” civilians will not be injured or killed. However, Obama didn’t always hew closely to his own policy, which evolved throughout his Presidency as legitimate criticism of drone strikes increased.

    • Never Give Robots Guns

      Never give robots guns. Guns are for killing. Robots can’t make analogue decisions and those are the only ones that should ever control the taking of the life of another person. Robots make quantised decisions, not analogue ones. The quanta reflect the programming, and the programming arises from the approximation and modelling of a human view.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

  • Finance

    • Yext: The newest $1 billion tech company

      Companies like McDonald’s (MCD), one of Yext’s clients, need the addresses, hours and contact info for its many restaurants up to date on sites as diverse as Google Maps, Yelp, Facebook, Bing, etc. Yext provides the software for companies to update their information on all of those sites with one click.

      [...]

      But for all its success, the company still isn’t profitable.

    • British government realises Brexit is a mistake, official says

      The British government is slowly realising Brexit is “an act of great self-harm” and that upcoming EU-UK negotiations must seek to limit the damage, the State’s top Brexit official has said.

      The official, John Callinan, said on Thursday: “I see signs in the contacts that we’re having, both at EU level and with the UK, of a gradual realisation that Brexit in many ways is an act of great self-harm, and that the focus now is on minimising that self-harm.”

      The remarks by Mr Callinan, the second secretary-general at the Department of the Taoiseach, were delivered at a Brexit seminar organised by the trade unions Impact and Siptu.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Secret Service has spent $35,000 on golf cart rentals since inauguration: report
    • Paul Ryan Raised $657,000 While Avoiding His Constituents During Recess

      We already reported, based on fundraising brochures we obtained, that Ryan had scheduled a whirlwind of stops for his Team Ryan PAC — in Miami, Corpus Christi, Fort Worth, Dallas, Houston, and Menlo Park — rather than meet with constituents.

    • New York Times Promises Truth and Diversity, Then Hires Climate-Denying Anti-Arab White Guy

      And although Stephens has been hailed as an anti-Trump conservative, he and Trump share a very significant belief that defies reality: They both deny the existence of climate change. Stephens used his Wall Street Journal columns to compare climate science to a religion, saying that environmental groups “have been on the receiving end of climate change-related funding, so all of them must believe in the reality (and catastrophic imminence) of global warming just as a priest must believe in the existence of God.”

      In April of 2010, he proclaimed that “global warming is dead, nailed into its coffin one devastating disclosure, defection and re-evaluation at a time. Which means that pretty soon we’re going to need another apocalyptic scare to take its place.”

      He then mockingly proposed “a readers’ contest to invent the next panic. It must involve something ubiquitous, invisible to the naked eye, and preferably mass-produced. And the solution must require taxes, regulation, and other changes to civilization as we know it.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Snowden Says Cyberweapons Dump Underscores NSA Hacking Tools Are Not Secure

      Hackers and security experts are raising alarm over a massive cyberweapons dump that they say underscores the danger of government spy agencies developing intrusive surveillance tools.

      On Friday, the hacking group Shadow Brokers released a cache of cyberweapons developed by the National Security Agency (NSA) to access computers that run on Microsoft Windows, a release described by Vice New’s Motherboard as “the hacking equivalent of a bomb.”

      This means that any computer-savvy individual could download the tools and hack into any of the millions of personal Microsoft computers worldwide.

    • US government ‘hacked global bank system’

      The BBC is not able to verify the authenticity of the files – and the NSA has not commented on the leak.

    • Apathy about privacy is a myth: why users do care about data collection

      In recent weeks, two events have deviled the digital-privacy community and online commentariat. In March, Wikileaks released Vault7, a series of leaks detailing the CIA’s comprehensive program to surveil American citizens through such devices as smart TVs, Web browsers, and operating systems. Later that month, Congress voted in favor of S.J. Res. 34, a bill repudiating the late-Obama-era regulations of surreptitious user-data collection by internet service providers (ISPs) for commercial gain. In the wake of these developments, the matter of online privacy has reached the forefront of political discourse, lightly evoking the fevered concerns of Edward Snowden’s 2013 NSA revelations.

    • When Did You First Realize the Importance of Online Privacy?

      Maybe your parents snooped around an email account when you forgot to log out. Maybe photos you thought were private ended up online. Maybe you didn’t land your dream job, and you suspect an old LiveJournal account still visible in search results of your name may be the culprit. Maybe you got hacked.

    • PIA and freenode joining forces

      I am incredibly excited to be able to share some amazing news with you today. For the last few years, Private Internet Access has been a dedicated supporter of the freenode project and we are delighted to be able to announce that freenode is now officially part of the PIA family.

      freenode has been providing services to Free and Open Source Software projects, peer-directed projects and other projects that have a broadly licensed output for the past 18 years, and there is a great deal of overlap between the visions and missions of the two organisations, as well as the projects and organisations the two organisations have supported, albeit in very different ways over the years.

    • EFF’s “Spying on Students” Report Highlights Tech Companies’ Data Collection, Parents’ Frustrations
    • Victory for Now: California Hits Pause on A.B. 165, Bill that Sought to Undermine Student Privacy

      It’s a great day for digital privacy in California. Confronted with opposition from a powerful and diverse coalition, Assemblymember Jim Cooper has pulled his legislation, A.B. 165, from consideration by the Assembly Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee. EFF joined over 60 civil rights organizations, technology companies, and school community groups in fighting A.B. 165, and we thank all the EFF members and friends who joined us in speaking out. The unrelenting, principled opposition to this anti-privacy bill stopped it from reaching its first committee hearing.

      A.B. 165 attempted to create a carve-out in the California Electronic Communications Privacy Act (CalECPA), one of the strongest digital privacy bills in the nation. If A.B. 165 had passed, it would have left millions of Californians who attend our schools without strong protections against invasive digital searches.

    • EFF Releases Spying on Students Ed Tech Report

      A goal of the “Spying on Students” survey was to highlight the struggles of average people trying to navigate the student privacy issue. So throughout the discussion of the survey results, we present the case studies of a parent, technology director, system administrator, and school librarian.

    • Whispers from the Past: Political Figures Caught Up in NSA Intercepts

      Word that President Donald Trump as well as some of his family and associates may have appeared in National Security Agency (NSA) intercepts as masked (and in some cases later unmasked) identities has caused a great deal of sturm und drang in the United States. Many Americans are convinced that the mentions of Trump-linked personalities in signals intelligence reports indicates that the “deep state” or the Obama administration was “surveilling” them and that this is a dangerous politicization of the intelligence community.

    • Hackers release files indicating NSA monitored global bank transfers

      Hackers released documents and files on Friday that cybersecurity experts said indicated the U.S. National Security Agency had accessed the SWIFT interbank messaging system, allowing it to monitor money flows among some Middle Eastern and Latin American banks.

      The release included computer code that could be adapted by criminals to break into SWIFT servers and monitor messaging activity, said Shane Shook, a cyber security consultant who has helped banks investigate breaches of their SWIFT systems.

      The documents and files were released by a group calling themselves The Shadow Brokers. Some of the records bear NSA seals, but Reuters could not confirm their authenticity.

      The NSA could not immediately be reached for comment.

    • New Leak Shows NSA Hacked Overseas Banking Networks
    • New leak shows how a major hacking group cracked Windows and international banks

      Likely originating with the NSA, the tools give new clues as to the group’s targets in recent years, which seem to include both international anti-money-laundering groups and oil companies in the Persian Gulf region.

    • Major Leak Suggests NSA Was Deep in Middle East Banking System
    • NSA-leaking Shadow Brokers just dumped its most damaging release yet

      The Shadow Brokers—the mysterious person or group that over the past eight months has leaked a gigabyte worth of the National Security Agency’s weaponized software exploits—just published its most significant release yet. Friday’s dump contains potent exploits and hacking tools that target most versions of Microsoft Windows and evidence of sophisticated hacks on the SWIFT banking system of several banks across the world.

    • Microsoft says U.S. foreign intelligence surveillance requests more than doubled

      Microsoft said it received between 1,000 and 1,499 FISA orders for user content between January and June of 2016, compared to between 0 and 499 during both January-June 2015 as well as the second half of 2015.> Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) said on Thursday it had received at least a thousand surveillance requests from the U.S. government that sought user content for foreign intelligence purposes during the first half of 2016.

    • Facebook is stepping up efforts to automatically identify fake accounts and Likes
    • Not even the telcos like Australia’s mandatory metadata retention scheme aka the Big Brother policy

      Now that all of these Australian companies are holding all of this data, at their own cost, they’re going to need to think of ways to make more money from that data – hopefully without following the American example.

    • Why one Republican voted to kill privacy rules: “Nobody has to use the Internet”

      Sensenbrenner did not address the fact that the privacy rules would have let customers make a choice about whether their data is tracked and used. The rules would have required ISPs to get customers’ opt-in consent before using, sharing, or selling their Web browsing history and app usage history. Because Congress eliminated the rules before they could go into effect, ISPs can continue to use customers’ browsing and app usage history without offering anything more than a chance to opt out. Without such rules, customers may not even be aware that they have a choice.

    • Tor exit node operator arrested in Russia – a solidarity Tor Relay Challenge launched

      Russia counts 230.000 Tor users everyday and only 46 exit nodes. Tor is extremely popular after a bunch of laws restricting usage of Internet and enforcing the lawful interception procedures (obliging ISPs to store all metadata for 3 years, and the traffic – even though encrypted – for 6 months). However, the Bogatov case has had an influence on the perception of Tor by ‘end users’.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Fears as fleeing Saudi woman is returned to her ‘abusers’

      However eyewitnesses in Manila airport said Ali warned officials that if they sent her back to Saudi with her uncles, who had come to collect her, she would be “killed”.

    • The place in Afghanistan where it’s “easy to kill women”
    • Four brothers confess to killing sister for ‘hanging around with men’ in Turkish capital

      In their testimonies, the brothers said Aykutluğ was “hanging around with men and everyone in the village was talking about it.”

    • Swedish Muslim Association Risks Losing State Funding Over Misogyny, Extremism

      However, the SFM landed subsequently landed in hot water as it turned out that one of its hired speakers was none other than Sweden’s arguably best-known jihadist Michael Skråmo, who repeatedly called on his fellow Muslims to join Daesh (ISIS/ISIL) and bomb their workplaces. Gothenburg native Skråmo converted to Islam, changed his name to Abdul Samad al Swedi and moved to Syria with his family.

      [...]

      Terror researcher Magnus Ranstorp of the National Defense College previously voiced his surprise that the SFM had been awarded state grants.

    • ‘Stop being racist to Muslims or die,’ hackers tell far-right group Britain First
    • Pak university closes after journalism student lynched for ‘blasphemy’

      A university in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province was closed until further notice after a journalism student was killed by his peers for allegedly sharing blasphemous {sic} content online and promoting the Ahmadi faith.

    • Oregon Cop’s Inability To Keep His Hands Off A Resident’s Phone Costs Taxpayers $85,000 In Legal Fees

      Oregon residents will be opening up their wallets and handing out $85,000 to a citizen and her ACLU representation, thanks to a police officer being the only cop on the scene unable to handle being filmed while effecting an arrest.

      Carrie Medina sued the city of Portland in early 2015 after an officer seized her camera and ended her livestream of an arrest two years earlier. The lawsuit [PDF], filed by the ACLU, contains the full conversation between Officer Taylor Letsis and Medina during the livestream’s premature conclusion.

      It contains some choice highlights in law enforcement overreach and the assertion of nonexistent authority. The confrontation starts with Officer Letsis claiming Medina’s phone probably contains “evidence of a crime,” and continues on through to Letsis claiming his seizure and search of the phone is neither a seizure or a search but is very definitely something he has the “legal jurisdiction” to do.

    • On Ambedkar Jayanti, Naidu says religion-based reservation will create ‘another Pakistan’

      Union minister Venkaiah Naidu said implementation of reservations on the basis of religion may result in social unrest in the country and “lead to creation of another Pakistan”.

      Speaking at a BJP meeting organised on the occasion of the Ambedkar Jayanthi, Naidu also hinted that Telangana s recent proposal to hike reservations for certain sections may not be constitutionally valid.

      He also said that architect of Constitution B R Ambedkar had opposed religion-based reservation.

    • President Trump Can Take Concrete Action to Protect Syrian Civilians by Lifting the Muslim Ban

      President Trump seemed visibly moved by the suffering of Syrian civilians in the wake of a brutal chemical attack in the country that killed over 89 civilians. However, there are far more effective ways for him to alleviate their plight than with military action that contravenes the Constitution.

    • In crisis-stricken Somalia, no safe haven

      During Somalia’s 2011 famine, in which a quarter of a million people died, Hassan lost many of his cattle. With the few that survived, he managed to stay at home in Qansahdheere, in southwestern Somalia. Six years on, as Somalia faces yet another humanitarian disaster, Hassan and his family have fled to Mogadishu hoping to find aid. Hassan and his family made it to the capital city’s only government-managed camp, Badbaado.

      Half of Somalia’s population of 12.3 million people currently need humanitarian assistance. Legal, political and security restrictions and limited funding are restricting the access of international aid agencies to parts of the country, including areas controlled by the Islamist armed group Al-Shabab. Every day thousands of people like Hassan are moving into urban areas under government control, where international assistance is more likely to arrive. According to the United Nations, just under half a million people have fled their homes since November largely because of the drought, many arriving in Mogadishu and Baidoa, a town at the epicenter of the crisis.

    • Why Was a 3-Year-Old in South Dakota Forcibly Catheterized as He Screamed in Pain?

      This incident raises a multitude of practical, moral, and constitutional questions. Collecting bodily fluids from a toddler to gather evidence against an adult member of the household is simply unreasonable. Period. Second, catheterization of anyone — adults and children alike — is an incredibly invasive procedure that should only be employed when absolutely necessary. Additionally, the compelled production of bodily fluids is a search under the Fourth Amendment, which, absent consent, requires a warrant supported by probable cause. In this case, the DSS conducted the search without a warrant, without legal justification, and without judicial oversight. (To be clear, when a parent “consents” to the collection of her children’s bodily fluids under the threat of losing her children, that consent is invalid.)

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Tennessee Could Give Taxpayers America’s Fastest Internet For Free, But It Will Give Comcast and AT&T $45 Million Instead

      “Tennessee will literally be paying AT&T to provide a service 1000 times slower than what Chattanooga could provide without subsidies.”

      Chattanooga, Tennessee has the fastest, most affordable internet in the United States. Many of the rural areas surrounding it have dial up, satellite, or no internet at all. Chattanooga wants to expand its network so these rural areas can have the same Gbps and 10 Gpbs connections the city has. Rather than allow that to happen, Tennessee’s legislature just voted to give Comcast and AT&T a $45 million taxpayer handout.

    • Congress kills FCC Internet privacy rule: Help states resist

      On April 3, Trump signed in to law Senate Joint Resolution 34, nullifying broadband privacy rules that were to take effect at the end of 2017, and preventing the FCC from introducing similar rules in the future. This leaves Internet users in the United States with little recourse if their Internet service providers (ISPs) want to collect and even sell information about their Internet activity. By 2015, more than half of all broadband customers in the United States purchased from a single company, in part due to monopolization of broadband offerings.

      The right to use the Internet without fear of indisciminate bulk surveillance is an important aspect of software freedom. We’ve spoken out against mass surveillance by governments before, and when people’s options for Internet access become limited to a few huge companies, they become more vulnerable to the possibility of having records of their Internet activity collected.

  • DRM

    • That Was Fast: Denuvo’s Version 3 Update Has Been Cracked

      It’s seems like just yesterday that I was writing about how Denuvo’s DRM, the once-vaunted but since defeated DRM unicorn, had been patched to Version 4 with the company proclaiming that it was once again out ahead of the pirate groups that had cracked its previous versions. Oh, wait. That actually was yesterday.

      Anywho, the latest version of Denuvo is being used on several recently released games, out since January, with much made about how those games were once again taking quite a bit of time before cracks for them appeared in the wild. With the company pushing the narrative that protecting the first few weeks of a game’s release was where the value of Denuvo really stood, companies using the DRM likely cheered. This week, however, things took a familiar turn for the DRM unicorn.

    • W3C Pushes Past Critics as DRM Gets Closer to Becoming an Official Web Standard

      The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has elevated the Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) to the status of “Proposed Recommendation,” the last step before becoming an official W3C standard, pending a vote from its members.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright Society’s ‘World IP Day’ Lesson: Give Us Your Copyrights For Nothing

        Every year around April 26th, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) hosts a weird dog and pony show of copyright/patent/trademark maximalism that it calls World IP Day. In the past, we’ve pointed out that the events and festivities are disturbingly one-sided and frequently clueless. For example, two years ago, WIPO used Bob Marley’s famous line “Get Up, Stand Up” as the theme for World IP Day, ignoring the history of Jamaican music, in which the lack of copyright protections in the 50s and early 60s is basically what allowed Bob Marley to become a world phenomenon (and, later, the fact that Marley and Universal Music got tangled up in a fight over copyrights).

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