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  • Did Alcatraz Escapees Survive? Computer Program Says They Might Have

    In June of 1962, three prisoners escaped the penitentary on Alcatraz, in an elaborate plot that was dramatized in a Clint Eastwood movie. A question that has long puzzled the public is whether these men ever made it to shore; the many factors that made Alcatraz a secure prison include sharks, cold water, and contrary currents. Still, some artifacts from the attempt, and perhaps the appeal of stories about survival against high odds, have led many people to believe that the men actually landed safely and faded into society. coondoggie writes This week Dutch scientists from Delft University of Technology presented findings from a computer modeling program they were working on, unrelated to the mystery, that demonstrated the escapees could have survived the journey. "In hindsight, the best time to launch a boat from Alcatraz was [11:30 am], one and a half hours later than has generally been assumed. A rubber boat leaving Alcatraz at [11:30 am] would most likely have landed just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. The model also shows that debris in that scenario would be likely to wash up at Angel Island, exactly where one of the paddles and some personal belongings were found.

    72 comments | 8 hours ago

  • Councilmen Introduce Bills Strongly Regulating UAV Use in NYC

    SternisheFan passes on this excerpt from an Ars Technica article: On Wednesday Councilman Dan Garodnick introduced a bill to the New York City council seeking to ban all use of drones except those operated by police officers who obtain warrants. A second, parallel bill introduced by councilman Paul Vallone would place more stringent restrictions on drone use but stop short of banning drones for hobbyists and companies altogether. Both bills have been passed to the city's committee on public safety. An all-out ban on drones within the metropolis would be a quite wide-reaching step, especially as the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) seems poised to adopt more permissive rules, with respect to commercial interests in particular. Earlier this year, the FAA formally granted six Hollywood companies exemptions to drone ban rules. A couple of months later, the FAA granted similar exemptions for construction site monitoring and oil rig flare stack inspections. The article explains that Vallone's bill is less restrictive, and rather than propose an outright ban "lists 10 instances where operating a UAV would be illegal, including at night, out of the operator's eyesight, or above 400 ft high. Outside of those conditions, hobbyists and commercial interests would be free to fly drones."

    60 comments | 10 hours ago

  • RFID-Blocking Blazer and Jeans Could Stop Wireless Identity Theft

    An anonymous reader writes A pair of trousers and blazer have been developed by San Francisco-based clothing company Betabrand and anti-virus group Norton that are able to prevent identity theft by blocking wireless signals. The READY Active Jeans and the Work-It Blazer contain RFID-blocking fabric within the pockets' lining designed to prevent hacking through radio frequency identification (RFID) signals emitted from e-passports and contactless payment card chips. According to the clothing brand, this form of hacking is an increasing threat, with "more than 10 million identities digitally pick pocketed every year [and] 70% of all credit cards vulnerable to such attacks by 2015."

    101 comments | yesterday

  • Over 9,000 PCs In Australia Infected By TorrentLocker Ransomware

    First time accepted submitter River Tam writes Cybercriminals behind the TorrenLocker malware may have earned as much as $585,000 over several months from 39,000 PC infections worldwide, of which over 9,000 were from Australia. If you're a Windows user in Australia who's had their files encrypted by hackers after visiting a bogus Australia Post website, chances are you were infected by TorrentLocker and may have contributed to the tens of thousands of dollars likely to have come from Australia due to this digital shakedown racket.

    78 comments | yesterday

  • Sony Pictures Leak Reveals Quashed Plan To Upload Phony Torrents

    retroworks writes Motherboard.vice offers an interesting scoop from the hacked Sony Pictures email trove. A plan championed by Polish marketing employee Magda Mastalerz was to upload false versions of highly-pirated Sony programming, effectively polluting torrent sites with false positives. For example, a "Hannibal"-themed anti-piracy ad to popular torrent sites disguised as the first episode. Sony Pictures legal department quashed the idea, saying that if pirate sites were illegal, it would also be illegal for Sony Pictures to upload onto them. There were plans in WW2 to drop phony counterfeit currency to disrupt markets, and I wonder why flooding underground markets with phony products isn't widespread. Why don't credit card companies manufacture fake lists of stolen credit card numbers, or phony social security numbers, for illegal trading sites? For that matter, would fake ivory, fake illegal porn, and other "false positives" discourage buyers? Or create alibis?

    130 comments | 3 days ago

  • Tracking the Mole Inside Silk Road 2.0

    derekmead writes: The arrest of the Silk Road 2.0 leader and subsequent seizure of the site was partially due to the presence of an undercover U.S. Department of Homeland Security agent, who "successfully infiltrated the support staff involved in running the Silk Road 2.0 website," according to the FBI.

    Referencing multiple interviews, publicly available information, and parts of the moderator forum shared with me, it appears likely that the suspicions of many involved in Silk Road 2.0 are true: the undercover agent that infiltrated the site was a relatively quiet staff member known as Cirrus.

    81 comments | about a week ago

  • Apple, IBM Partnership Yields First Results: 10 Mobile Apps

    itwbennett writes IBM and Apple have unveiled the first results of the enterprise IT partnership they announced in July: 10 mobile applications aimed at businesses in six industries as well as government users. One of the apps, for example, allows a flight crew to personalize a passenger's in-flight experience. An app targeted at the banking industry allows a financial advisor to remotely access and manage a client's portfolio. And police officers can use iPhones to view video feeds from crime scenes with an app for law enforcement.

    53 comments | about a week ago

  • Fraud Bots Cost Advertisers $6 Billion

    Rambo Tribble writes A new report claims that almost a quarter of the "clicks" registered by digital advertisements are, in fact, from robots created by cyber crime networks to siphon off advertising dollars. The scale and sophistication of the attacks which were discovered caught the investigators by surprise. As one said, "What no one was anticipating is that the bots are extremely effective of looking like a high value consumer."

    190 comments | about a week ago

  • Uber Banned In Delhi After Taxi Driver Accused of Rape

    RockDoctor writes BBC News is reporting that a 26-year old Indian woman is alleging rape against a driver for the embattled Uber transport-managing company. In a post on the Uber blog, one "Saad Ahmed" implicitly admits that the driver was a Uber driver, that the lift was arranged through Uber's service, and that the full range of Uber's safety mechanisms had been applied to his employment, and by implication, that Uber accepts some culpability for putting this (alleged) rapist into contact with his (alleged) victim. "Our initial investigations have revealed shortcomings of the private cab company which didn't have GPS installed in its cabs and the staff wasn't verified," Delhi Special Commissioner Deepak Mishra said. But Uber says safety was paramount, and added it had GPS traces of all journeys. "We work with licensed driver-partners to provide a safe transportation option, with layers of safeguards such as driver and vehicle information, and ETA-sharing [estimated time of arrival] to ensure there is accountability and traceability of all trips that occur on the Uber platform," its statement added.

    180 comments | about two weeks ago

  • Ask Slashdot: Can a Felon Work In IT?

    First time accepted submitter Lesrahpem writes I'm a felon with several prior misdemeanor convictions from an immature time in my life. I've since cleaned up my act, and I want to go back into the IT sector. I keep running into potential employers who tell me they'd like to hire me but can't because of my past record (expunging won't work, I'm in Ohio). Does anyone have any suggestions for me? Should I just give up and change careers?"

    717 comments | about two weeks ago

  • Man Caught Trying To Sell Plans For New Aircraft Carrier

    New submitter cyberjock1980 tips news that an engineer has been caught trying to deliver schematics for an aircraft carrier to the Egyptian government. The 35-year-old civilian received security clearance four months ago after working for the U.S. Navy since February. FBI agents made contact with him, pretending to be with the Egyptian government. They struck a deal to buy documents about the U.S.S. Gerald R. Ford, the first in a new line of improved, nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. The man sold four CAD drawings for the carrier, and was later seen photographing another set of schematics. A bond hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

    388 comments | about two weeks ago

  • DOJ Launches New Cybercrime Unit, Claims Privacy Top Priority

    msm1267 writes: Leslie Caldwell, assistant attorney general in the criminal division of the Department of Justice, announced on Thursday the creation of a new Cybercrime Unit, tasked with enhancing public-private security efforts. A large part of the Cybersecurity Unit's mission will be to quell the growing distrust many Americans have toward law enforcement's high-tech investigative techniques. (Even if that lack of trust, as Caldwell claimed, is based largely on misinformation about the technical abilities of the law enforcement tools and the manners in which they are used.) "In fact, almost every decision we make during an investigation requires us to weigh the effect on privacy and civil liberties, and we take that responsibility seriously," Caldwell said. "Privacy concerns are not just tacked onto our investigations, they are baked in."

    61 comments | about two weeks ago

  • The Sony Pictures Hack Was Even Worse Than Everyone Thought

    An anonymous reader writes with today's installment of Sony hack news. "It's time to take a moment of silence for Sony Pictures, because more startling revelations about leaked information just came out and employees are starting to panic. BuzzFeed raked through some 40 gigabytes of data and found everything from medical records to unreleased scripts. This is probably the worst corporate hack in history. Meanwhile, Fusion's Kevin Roose is reporting on what exactly happened at Sony Pictures when the hack went down. The hack was evidently so extensive that even the company gym had to shut down. And once the hackers started releasing the data, people started 'freaking out,' one employee said. That saddest part about all of this is that the very worst is probably still to come. Hackers say they stole 100 terabytes of data in total. If only 40 gigabytes contained all of this damning information, just imagine what 100 terabytes contains."

    528 comments | about two weeks ago

  • Every Weapon, Armored Truck, and Plane the Pentagon Gave To Local Police

    v3rgEz writes You may have heard that the image-conscious Los Angeles Unified School District chose to return the grenade launchers it received from the Defense Department's surplus equipment program. You probably have not heard about some of the more obscure beneficiaries of the Pentagon giveaway, but now you can after MuckRock got the Department of Defense to release the full database, letting anyone browse what gear their local department has received.

    191 comments | about two weeks ago

  • 'Moneyball' Approach Reduces Crime In New York City

    HughPickens.com writes The NYT reports that NY County District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.'s most significant initiative has been to transform, through the use of data, the way district attorneys fight crime. "The question I had when I came in was, Do we sit on our hands waiting for crime to tick up, or can we do something to drive crime lower?" says Vance. "I wanted to develop what I call intelligence-driven prosecution." When Vance became DA in 2009, it was glaringly evident that assistant D.A.s fielding the 105,000-plus cases a year in Manhattan seldom had enough information to make nuanced decisions about bail, charges, pleas or sentences. They were narrowly focused on the facts of cases in front of them, not on the people committing the crimes. They couldn't quickly sort minor delinquents from irredeemably bad apples. They didn't know what havoc defendants might be wreaking in other boroughs.

    218 comments | about two weeks ago

  • UK MP Says ISPs Must Take Responsibility For Movie Leaks, Sony Eyes North Korea

    An anonymous reader writes that the recent IP advisor to Prime Minister David Cameron has laid some of the blame for the recent Sony hack at the feet of ISPs. Meanwhile, it's reported that Sony is close to officially blaming North Korea. As the fallout from the Sony hack continues, who is to blame for the leak of movies including Fury, which has been downloaded a million times? According to the UK Prime Minister's former IP advisor, as 'facilitators' web-hosts and ISPs must step up and take some blame. Mike Weatherley MP, the recent IP advisor to Prime Minister David Cameron, has published several piracy reports including one earlier in the year examining the advertising revenue on pirate sites. He believes that companies with no direct connection to the hack or subsequent leaks should shoulder some blame. 'Piracy is a huge international problem. The recent cyber-attack on Sony and subsequent release of films to illegal websites is just one high-profile example of how criminals exploit others' Intellectual Property,' Weatherley writes in an email to TF. 'Unfortunately, the theft of these films – and their subsequent downloads – has been facilitated by web-hosting companies and, ultimately, ISPs who do have to step-up and take some responsibility.' Weatherley doesn't provide detail on precisely why web-hosts and ISPs should take responsibility for the work of malicious hackers (possibly state-sponsored) and all subsequent fall out from attacks. The theory is that 'something' should be done, but precisely what remains elusive."

    216 comments | about two weeks ago

  • Interviews: Malcolm Gladwell Answers Your Questions

    A few weeks ago, you had a chance to ask Malcolm Gladwell about his writing and social science research. Below you'll find his answers to your questions.

    48 comments | about two weeks ago

  • UK Authorities Launching Massive Child Abuse Database

    mrspoonsi sends news that "Data taken from tens of millions of child abuse photos and videos will shortly be used as part of a new police system to aid investigations into suspected pedophiles across the UK." The Child Abuse Image Database (CAID) will be available to authorities starting December 11th. It's been populated with data seized in earlier investigations. The database assigns a hash to each photograph, so when a new drive full of illegal images is confiscated, it can immediately be plugged in and quickly scanned to see if there are any matches. It will also catalog GPS coordinates from Exif data.

    The purpose of CAID is to eliminate the duplication of effort when investigating these photos. Often when storage drives are seized, they contain thousands or millions of images, and dozens of different police departments could end up unknowingly investigating the same victims. Law enforcement liaison officer Johann Hofmann said, "We're looking at 70, 80, up to 90% work load reduction. We're seeing investigations being reduced from months to days."

    150 comments | about two weeks ago

  • Obama Offers Funding For 50,000 Police Body Cameras

    An anonymous reader writes: Today President Obama announced $263 million worth of funding for law enforcement agencies around the country to outfit officers with body cameras and improve training. The money requires matching funds from state and local authorities, and the $75 million dedicated to body-cams should buy about 50,000 of them. This is in response to the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri. "Obama also plans to overhaul how the federal government disperses military equipment to local police departments, the White House said Monday. ... The Ferguson police department deployed officers wearing gas masks, military fatigues, stun guns and rubber bullets during the initial protests. Studies show the procurement of military equipment by police departments has been on the rise as law enforcement has been allowed to cheaply purchase gear originally deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan."

    262 comments | about two weeks ago

  • Cyber Ring Stole Secrets For Gaming US Stock Market

    chicksdaddy writes Reuters has the scoop this morning on a new report out from the folks at FireEye about a cyber espionage ring that targets financial services firms. The campaign, dubbed FIN4 by FireEye, stole corporate secrets for the purpose of gaming the stock market. FireEye believes that the extensive cyber operation compromised sensitive data about dozens of publicly held companies. According to the report, the victims include financial services firms and those in related sectors, including investment bankers, attorneys and investor relations firms. Rather than attempting to break into networks overtly, the attackers targeted employees within each organization. Phishing e-mail messages led victims to bogus web sites controlled by the hackers, who harvested login credentials to e-mail and social media accounts. Those accounts were then used to expand the hackers' reach within the target organization: sending phishing email messages to other employees.

    37 comments | about two weeks ago

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