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Netflix Open-Sources Security Incident Management Tool

/. - 1 hour 38 min ago
alphadogg writes: Netflix has released under an open-source license an internal tool it developed to manage a deluge of security alerts and incidents. Called FIDO (Fully Integrated Defense Operation), the tool is designed to research, score and categorize threats in order to speed up handling of the most urgent ones.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

AMD Teases x86 Improvements, High Bandwidth Memory GPUs

Soylent New - 6 May 2015 - 10:15pm

Today was Advanced Micro Devices' (AMD) 2015 Financial Analyst Day. The last one was held in 2012. Since then, the company has changed leadership, put its APUs in the major consoles, and largely abandoned the high-end chip market to Intel. Now AMD says it is focusing on gaming, virtual reality, and datacenters. AMD has revealed details of upcoming CPUs and GPUs at the event:

Perhaps the biggest announcement relates to AMD's x86 Zen CPUs, coming in 2016. AMD is targeting a 40% increase in instructions-per-clock (IPC) with Zen cores. By contrast, Intel's Haswell (a "Tock") increased IPC by about 10-11%, and Broadwell (a "Tick") increased IPC by about 5-6%. AMD is also abandoning the maligned Bulldozer modules with Clustered Multithreading in favor of a Simultaneous Multithreading design, similar to Intel's Hyperthreading. Zen is a high priority for AMD to the extent that it is pushing back its ARM K12 chips to 2017. AMD is also shifting focus away from Project Skybridge, an "ambidextrous framework" that combined x86 and ARM cores in SoCs. Zen cores will target a wide range of designs from "top-to-bottom", including both sub-10W TDPs and up to 100W. The Zen architecture will be followed by Zen+ at some point.

On the GPU front, AMD's 2016 GPUs will use FinFETs. AMD plans to be the first vendor to use High Bandwidth Memory (HBM), a 3D/stacked memory standard that enables much higher bandwidth (hence the name) and saves power. NVIDIA also plans to use HBM in its Pascal GPUs slated for 2016. The HBM will be positioned around the processor, as the GPU's thermal output would make cooling the RAM difficult if it were on top. HBM is competing against the similar Hybrid Memory Cube (HMC) standard.

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Self-Destructing Virus Kills Off PCs

/. - 6 May 2015 - 10:09pm
mpicpp sends word about particularly bad virus making the rounds. "A computer virus that tries to avoid detection by making the machine it infects unusable has been found. If Rombertik's evasion techniques are triggered, it deletes key files on a computer, making it constantly restart. Analysts said Rombertik was 'unique' among malware samples for resisting capture so aggressively. On Windows machines where it goes unnoticed, the malware steals login data and other confidential information. Rombertik typically infected a vulnerable machine after a booby-trapped attachment on a phishing message had been opened, security researchers Ben Baker and Alex Chiu, from Cisco, said in a blogpost. Some of the messages Rombertik travels with pose as business inquiry letters from Microsoft. The malware 'indiscriminately' stole data entered by victims on any website, the researchers said. And it got even nastier when it spotted someone was trying to understand how it worked. 'Rombertik is unique in that it actively attempts to destroy the computer if it detects certain attributes associated with malware analysis,' the researchers said."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Global Carbon Dioxide Levels Reach New Monthly Record

/. - 6 May 2015 - 8:30pm
mrflash818 writes: For the first time since we began tracking carbon dioxide in the global atmosphere, the monthly global average concentration of carbon dioxide gas surpassed 400 parts per million in March 2015, according to NOAA's latest results. “It was only a matter of time that we would average 400 parts per million globally,” said Pieter Tans, lead scientist of NOAA’s Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network. “We first reported 400 ppm when all of our Arctic sites reached that value in the spring of 2012. In 2013 the record at NOAA’s Mauna Loa Observatory first crossed the 400 ppm threshold. Reaching 400 parts per million as a global average is a significant milestone."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Comcast Servicing Emerging Legion of Broadband Customers

Soylent New - 6 May 2015 - 8:25pm
Cable Cutters Boost Comcast Profits

Comcast has revealed that for the first time in company history they have more broadband customers than they do TV customers. In a story covered by just about everybody, Comcast Cable President Neil Smit said on a conference call that in the current period "broadband [customers] have in fact surpassed video."

Comcast reported $2 billion in profits for the first quarter, a 10 percent increase over the same period a year ago. The improved earnings were largely built on robust growth in its high-speed Internet business. Revenue increased 2.6 percent to nearly $18 billion. Profit and sales topped analysts' estimates as the broadband division posted its strongest revenue growth in more than four years. Comcast continues to generate significantly more revenue from its video business than from broadband. Video revenue was $5.3 billion for the quarter, compared with $3 billion for high-speed Internet. But the rapid growth of broadband more than offset a loss of 8,000 video customers in the first quarter, which compared with the addition of 24,000 cable-TV subscribers a year earlier.

However, there may be more "cable cutting" going on than appears at first glance. According to the Wall Street Journal [paywall]:

The popularity of "Skinny Bundles" offerings poses a threat to TV channels, because any skinny bundles necessarily leave some channels out. The trend of "cord-shaving"—people downgrading to cheaper TV subscriptions with fewer channels—is closely watched in the industry, as it has contributed to declines in the reach of many major channels into American homes.

The US is moving to on-demand streaming, a trend we've all suspected. This is a game changer, because it changes the way the industry is financed, how programming is developed, and sold. It suggests more TVs will be "smart" TVs in the future, and there will be even faster broadband connections.

Personally I suspect it signals that people are unwilling to sit through an ever increasing number of commercials. That leaves unsaid what financing arrangements will prevail in the future. Would the patronage proponents actually see a real large scale trial? Or would pirates simply have a field day? And, yes, Frojack is still worried that we don't have enough IP bandwidth to support this. But apparently, that's just me.

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Researcher: Drug Infusion Pump Is the "Least Secure IP Device" He's Ever Seen

/. - 6 May 2015 - 7:47pm
chicksdaddy writes: This is a bad month for the medical equipment maker Hospira. First, security researcher Billy Rios finds a raft of serious and remotely exploitable holes in the company's MedNet software, prompting a vulnerability alert from ICS CERT. Now, one month later, ICS CERT is again warning of a "10 out of 10" critical vulnerability, this time in Hospira's LifeCare PCA drug infusion pump. The problem? According to this report by Security Ledger the main problem was an almost total lack of security controls on the device. According to independent researcher Jeremy Williams, the PCA pump listens on Telnet port 23. Connecting to the device via Telnet, he was brought immediately to a root shell account that gave him total, administrator level access to the pump without authentication. "The only thing I needed to get in was an interest in the pump," he said. Richards found other examples of loose security on the PCA 3: a FTP server that could be accessed without authentication and an embedded web server that runs Common Gateway Interface (CGI). That could allow an attacker to tamper with the pump's operation using fairly simple scripts. Also: The PCA pump stores wireless keys used to connect to the local (medical device) wireless network in plain text on the device. That means anyone with physical access to the Pump (which has an ethernet port) could gain access to the local medical device network and other devices on it. The problems prompted Richards to call the PCA 3 pump "the least secure IP enabled device" he has ever worked with.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

FBI Releases Its Files On DEF CON: Not Amused By Spot-the-Fed

/. - 6 May 2015 - 7:04pm
v3rgEz writes: Not surprisingly, the FBI has compiled reports on notorious hacker gathering DEF CON, now released thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request. The files detail the lack of amusement at the Spot-the-Fed game, as well as which conference tracks attract the most interest. "In a bit of FOIrony, the file contains a copy of the Spot the Fed contest rules, including the facetious aside to feds offering t-shirts in exchange for agency coffee mugs."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Massive New Study Reaffirms That Vaccines Don't Cause Autism

Soylent New - 6 May 2015 - 6:42pm

The Center for American Progress reports:

A large new study--which was published just in time for National Infant Immunization Week--is being hailed as the final "nail in the coffin" of the persistent conspiracy theory that [the vaccine for measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) is] linked to autism.

[...]In the years since [disgraced British doctor Andrew] Wakefield's [completely discredited] research on the topic, several different studies have reaffirmed the safety of the recommended childhood vaccination schedule. No credible evidence has emerged that vaccines have any effect on autism rates.

Now, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has ruled out a potential vaccine-autism link even among a small group of children who are more at risk for the disorder. The review of nearly 100,000 children found (paywall) that even when toddlers have an older sibling who has been placed on the autism spectrum--which means they could have a greater chance of developing autism themselves--getting the MMR shot does nothing to increase that risk.

This still doesn't solve the Jenny McCarthy (bimbo) problem:
A lie can go around the world while the truth is lacing up its boots.

Read more of this story at SoylentNews.

Grooveshark Resurrected Out of US Jurisdiction

/. - 6 May 2015 - 6:40pm
New submitter khoonirobo writes: Less than a week after music streaming service Grooveshark was shutdown, it seems to have been brought back to life by an unknown person "connected to the original grooveshark" according to this BGR report. Seemingly, the plan is to get away with it by registering and hosting it outside of U.S. jurisdiction. From the article: "It’s still in the early stages of development, but the team hopes to reproduce the old Grooveshark UI in its entirety, including playlists and favorites."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

MacKeeper May Have To Pay Millions In Class-Action Suit

/. - 6 May 2015 - 6:18pm
jfruh writes: If you use a Mac, you probably recognize MacKeeper from the omnipresent popup ads designed to look vaguely like system warnings urging you to download the product and use it to keep your computer safe. Now the Ukranian company behind the software and the ads may have to pay millions in a class action suit that accuses them of exaggerating security problems in order to convince customers to download the software.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

AMD Outlines Plans For Zen-Based Processors, First Due In 2016

/. - 6 May 2015 - 5:35pm
crookedvulture writes: AMD laid out its plans for processors based on its all-new Zen microarchitecture today, promising 40% higher performance-per-clock from from the x86 CPU core. Zen will use simultaneous multithreading to execute two threads per core, and it will be built using "3D" FinFETs. The first chips are due to hit high-end desktops and servers next year. In 2017, Zen will combine with integrated graphics in smaller APUs designed for desktops and notebooks. AMD also plans to produce a high-performance server APU with a "transformational memory architecture" likely similar to the on-package DRAM being developed for the company's discrete graphics processors. This chip could give AMD a credible challenger in the HPC and supercomputing markets—and it could also make its way into laptops and desktops.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Volunteer Bob Paulin Turns Kids on to Tech with Devoxx4Kids (Video)

/. - 6 May 2015 - 4:52pm
You can call Bob Paulin 'Coach' and he'll probably respond, because he's been coaching youth football since 2005. Now he's also coaching what you might call 'youth science and technology' as the Chicagoland organizer of Devoxx4Kids.org. A motto on the group's website says, 'Game programming, robotics, engineering for kids in a fun way!' And that's what the group is all about, as Bob says in this video (and in the accompanying transcript for those who prefer reading over watching).

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

When Bosses 'Serve' Their Employees, Everything Improves

Soylent New - 6 May 2015 - 4:14pm

When managers create a culture where employees know the boss puts employees' needs over his or her own, measureable [sic] improvements in customer satisfaction, higher job performance by employees, and lower turnover are the result, according to research by Robert Liden, Sandy Wayne, Chenwei Liao, and Jeremy Meuser, that has just been published in the Academy of Management Journal.

Employees feel the most valued, and in return give back to the company and its customers when their bosses create a culture of trust, caring, cooperation, fairness and empathy. According to Sandy Wayne one of the authors of the research, "The best business leadership style is far from, 'Do this. Don't do that.' A servant leader looks and sounds a lot more like, 'Is there anything I can do to help you?' Or, 'Let me help you....' Or, 'What do you need to...?' This approach helps employees reach their full potential."

The study was conducted at the Jason's Deli national restaurant chain, and the sample included:
961 employees
71 Jason's Deli restaurants
10 metropolitan areas.
The findings were based on data from surveys completed by managers, employees, and customers, and data from corporate records.


[Study]: http://amj.aom.org/content/57/5/1434

[Also Covered By]: http://phys.org/news/2015-05-bosses-employees.html

[Source]: http://business.uic.edu/docs/default-source/chrm-documents/2015-website-servant-leadership-and-serving-culture-linden-wayne-liao-meuser.pdf?sfvrsn=2 [PDF]

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Ubuntu May Beat Windows 10 To Phone-PC Convergence After All

/. - 6 May 2015 - 4:08pm
An anonymous reader writes with news that Mark Shuttleworth plans to have a Ubuntu smartphone that can be used as a PC out sometime this year. "Despite the recent announcement that Windows 10 phones will be able to be used as PCs when connected to an external monitor, Ubuntu—the first operating system to toy with the idea—hasn't conceded the smartphone-PC convergence race to Microsoft just yet. 'While I enjoy the race, I also like to win,' Ubuntu Foundation founder Mark Shuttleworth said during a Ubuntu Online Summit keynote, before announcing that Canonical will partner with a hardware manufacturer to release a Ubuntu Phone with smartphone-PC convergence features this year.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

17-Year-Old Radio Astronomy Mystery Traced Back To Kitchen Microwave

/. - 6 May 2015 - 3:25pm
New submitter Bo'Bob'O writes: The BBC reports that the scientists at the Parkes and Bleien Radio Observatories in New South Whales, Australia, have tracked down earth-based signals that had been eluding observation for 17 years. These signals, which came to be called Perytons "occurred only during office hours and predominantly on weekdays." The source, as it turned out, was located right inside the antenna's tower where impatient scientists had been opening the kitchen microwave door before its cycle had finished. As the linked paper concludes, this, and a worn magnetron caused a condition that allowed the microwaves to emit a burst of frequencies not expected by the scientists, only compounding the original mystery.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Woman Alerts Police of Hostage Situation Through Pizza Hut App

/. - 6 May 2015 - 3:03pm
mpicpp writes with this story about how a Pizza Hut app may have saved a woman's life. "A Florida mother held hostage by her boyfriend used the Pizza Hut app to notify police she needed help, authorities said. Cheryl Treadway, 25, was allegedly being held at knife point in her home by Ethan Nickerson, 26, in Avon Park on Monday, the Highlands County Sheriff's Office told ABC News today. 'She was held hostage by him all day,' Public Information Officer Nell Hays said. Nickerson took away Treadway's phone, police said, but she was eventually able to persuade him to let her order a pizza using her Pizza Hut app. 'She told him, "The kids are hungry. Let's order a pizza. Let's get them some food,"' Hays said, noting that's when Treadway was able to sneak in a written message through the delivery. Along with her order of a small, classic pepperoni pizza, she wrote: 'Please help. Get 911 to me,' according to police. She also wrote: '911hostage help!'"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Why Was Linux the Kernel That Succeeded?

/. - 6 May 2015 - 2:42pm
jones_supa writes: One of the most puzzling questions about the history of free and open source software is this: Why did Linux succeed so spectacularly, whereas similar attempts to build a free or open source, Unix-like operating system kernel met with considerably less success? Christopher Tozzi has rounded up some theories, focusing specifically on kernels, not complete operating systems. These theories take a detailed look at the decentralized development structure, pragmatic approach to things, and the rich developer community, all of which worked in favor of Linux.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Online Courses Not Working Well at Community Colleges

Soylent New - 6 May 2015 - 2:19pm

AlterNet reports

Online instruction at community colleges isn't working--yet policymakers are continuing to fund programs to expand online courses at these schools, which primarily serve low-income minority students, and community college administrators are planning to offer more and more of them.

The latest salvo comes from researchers at the University of California-Davis, who found that community college students throughout California were 11 percent less likely to finish and pass a course if they opted to take the online version instead of the traditional face-to-face version of the same class. The still-unpublished paper, entitled Online Course-taking and Student Outcomes in California Community Colleges, was presented on April 18, 2015, at the American Educational Research Association's annual conference in Chicago.

[...]Community colleges [educate 45 percent of the nation's undergraduates] and [that sector] is under fire for low graduation rates.

[...]Despite the flexibility, it appears that many students find it hard to manage their time to complete the lectures and coursework throughout an entire semester.

[...]These are very different results from what researchers are finding for students at four-year colleges.

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NASA Will Award You $5,000 For Your Finest Mars City Idea

/. - 6 May 2015 - 1:55pm
coondoggie writes: NASA this week said it would look to the public for cool ideas on how to build a sustainable environment on Mars with the best plan earning as much as $5,000. With the Journey to Mars Challenge, NASA wants applicants to describe one or more Mars surface systems or capabilities and operations that are needed to set up and establish a technically achievable, economically sustainable human living space on the red planet. Think air, water, food, communications systems and the like.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Apple's Plans For Your DNA

/. - 6 May 2015 - 1:09pm
An anonymous reader writes: MIT's Technology Review breaks news that Apple is working with scientists to create apps that collect and evaluate users' DNA. "The apps are based on ResearchKit, a software platform Apple introduced in March that helps hospitals or scientists run medical studies on iPhones by collecting data from the devices' sensors or through surveys." A source says Apple's plan is to enable users to easily share their DNA information with medical workers and researchers performing studies. "To join one of the studies, a person would agree to have a gene test carried out—for instance, by returning a "spit kit" to a laboratory approved by Apple. The first such labs are said to be the advanced gene-sequencing centers operated by UCSF and Mount Sinai."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.