Lawyers Blocked Demo on De-Anonymising Tor

July 30th, 2014

Via: Guardian:

The Tor network promises online privacy by routing users’ internet traffic through a number of servers – or layers – while encrypting data.

The surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden is known to have used Tor to maintain his privacy, while the documents he leaked showed that the US National Security Agency (NSA) struggled to uncover identities of those on the network.

However, a presentation promising to detail flaws in the anonymising network has been cancelled, organisers of a major hacker conference have confirmed.

The talk, called “You don’t have to be the NSA to break Tor: de-anonymising users on a budget”, was due to be delivered by the Carnegie Mellon researchers Alexander Volynkin and Michael McCord, but a notice on the Black Hat conference website said lawyers from the university had stepped in.

The counsel for Carnegie Mellon said that neither the university nor its Software Engineering Institute (SEI), had given approval for public disclosure of the material set to be detailed by Volynkin and McCord, according to the Black Hat organisers.

Their talk was one of the most anticipated sessions at this year’s conference, which starts on 2 August in Las Vegas. They promised to explain how anyone with $3,000 could de-anonymise users of Tor.

Details on the presentation, which have now been removed from the Black Hat site, suggested that a determined hacker could “de-anonymise hundreds of thousands Tor clients and thousands of hidden services within a couple of months”.

Related: Russia Offers $111,000 to Crack Tor

Research Credit: MP


Israel Launches Airstrike at Crowded Fruit and Vegetable Market Near Gaza City

July 30th, 2014

Via: BBC:

At least 17 people have been killed and 160 wounded in an Israeli strike that hit a fruit and vegetable market near Gaza City, Palestinian officials say.

Hundreds of people were shopping in the market in Shejaiya, a spokesman for the Gaza health ministry said.

The attack came during a four-hour truce called by the Israeli military. Hamas, which controls Gaza, had rejected the truce as meaningless.

Meanwhile, Israel said three more of its soldiers had been killed in Gaza.

Palestinian doctors also said that another Israeli air strike after the partial humanitarian ceasefire was announced had killed seven people in Khan Younis.


UK to Allow Driverless Cars on Public Roads in January

July 30th, 2014

Via: BBC:

The UK government has announced that driverless cars will be allowed on public roads from January next year.

It also invited cities to compete to host one of three trials of the tech, which would start at the same time.

In addition, ministers ordered a review of the UK’s road regulations to provide appropriate guidelines.

The Department for Transport had originally pledged to let self-driving cars be trialled on public roads by the end of 2013.

Business Secretary Vince Cable revealed the details of the new plan at a research facility belonging to Mira, an automotive engineering firm based in the Midlands.

“Today’s announcement will see driverless cars take to our streets in less than six months, putting us at the forefront of this transformational technology and opening up new opportunities for our economy and society,” he said.


Robot with Broken Leg Learns to Walk Again in 2 Minutes

July 30th, 2014

Via: Medium:

When animals lose a limb, they learn to hobble remarkably quickly. And yet when robots damage a leg, they become completely incapacitated. That’s not so much of a problem for robots that are confined to factories where help is always on hand.

But robots have been evolving rapidly and are now on the verge of being able to cope with much more varied environments. In the next few years, we should see robots capable of domestic chores in the home, providing assistance to the elderly and of working side-by-side with humans in factories and offices.

It’s inevitable that these robots will become damaged. So how will they cope?

Today, Antoine Cully at the Sorbonne University in Paris and a couple of pals say they’ve developed a technique that allows a damaged robot to learn how to walk again in just a few seconds. They say their work has important consequences for the reliability and robustness of future robots and may also provide some insight into the way that animals adapt to injury as well.


Collective Punishment in Gaza

July 30th, 2014

Via: The New Yorker:

Three days after the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu launched the current war in Gaza, he held a press conference in Tel Aviv during which he said, in Hebrew, according to the Times of Israel, “I think the Israeli people understand now what I always say: that there cannot be a situation, under any agreement, in which we relinquish security control of the territory west of the River Jordan.”

It’s worth listening carefully when Netanyahu speaks to the Israeli people. What is going on in Palestine today is not really about Hamas. It is not about rockets. It is not about “human shields” or terrorism or tunnels. It is about Israel’s permanent control over Palestinian land and Palestinian lives. That is what Netanyahu is really saying, and that is what he now admits he has “always” talked about. It is about an unswerving, decades-long Israeli policy of denying Palestine self-determination, freedom, and sovereignty.

What Israel is doing in Gaza now is collective punishment. It is punishment for Gaza’s refusal to be a docile ghetto. It is punishment for the gall of Palestinians in unifying, and of Hamas and other factions in responding to Israel’s siege and its provocations with resistance, armed or otherwise, after Israel repeatedly reacted to unarmed protest with crushing force. Despite years of ceasefires and truces, the siege of Gaza has never been lifted.

As Netanyahu’s own words show, however, Israel will accept nothing short of the acquiescence of Palestinians to their own subordination. It will accept only a Palestinian “state” that is stripped of all the attributes of a real state: control over security, borders, airspace, maritime limits, contiguity, and, therefore, sovereignty. The twenty-three-year charade of the “peace process” has shown that this is all Israel is offering, with the full approval of Washington. Whenever the Palestinians have resisted that pathetic fate (as any nation would), Israel has punished them for their insolence. This is not new.


Why Hoboken is Throwing Away All of its Student Laptops

July 30th, 2014

In other news: Finns Beat U.S. with Low-Tech Take on School.

Via: WNYC:

Inside Hoboken’s combined junior-senior high school is a storage closet. Behind the locked door, some mothballed laptop computers are strewn among brown cardboard boxes. Others are stacked one atop another. Dozens more are stored on mobile computer carts, many of them on their last legs.

That’s all that remains from a failed experiment to assign every student a laptop at Hoboken Junior Senior High School. It began five years ago with an unexpected windfall of stimulus money from Washington, D.C., and good intentions to help the district’s students, the majority of whom are under or near the poverty line, keep up with their wealthier peers. But Hoboken faced problem after problem and is abandoning the laptops entirely this summer.

“We had the money to buy them, but maybe not the best implementation,” said Mark Toback, the current superintendent of Hoboken School District. “It became unsustainable.”


Billionaire Hedge Fund Manager to Clients: EMP Greatest Risk to Society

July 30th, 2014

Yeah, and there were only two seasons of Jericho:

Jericho

Via: CNBC:

Billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Singer has issued an unusual warning for investors, calling the threat of a widespread blackout from an electromagnetic surge the “most significant danger” in the world.

Called an “electromagnetic pulse” or EMP, the events can occur naturally from solar storms or artificially from a high-altitude explosion of nuclear weapons.

“While these pages are typically chock full of scary or depressing scenarios, there is one risk that is head-and-shoulders above all the rest in terms of the scope of potential damage adjusted for the likelihood of occurrence,” Singer wrote to clients of his $24.8 billion Elliott Management on Monday in a standard investment update letter.


Australia Bans Reporting of Multi-Nation Corruption Case Involving Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam

July 30th, 2014

Via: Wikileaks:

Today, 29 July 2014, WikiLeaks releases an unprecedented Australian censorship order concerning a multi-million dollar corruption case explicitly naming the current and past heads of state of Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam, their relatives and other senior officials. The super-injunction invokes “national security” grounds to prevent reporting about the case, by anyone, in order to “prevent damage to Australia’s international relations”. The court-issued gag order follows the secret 19 June 2014 indictment of seven senior executives from subsidiaries of Australia’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA). The case concerns allegations of multi-million dollar inducements made by agents of the RBA subsidiaries Securency and Note Printing Australia in order to secure contracts for the supply of Australian-style polymer bank notes to the governments of Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and other countries.


35 Percent in U.S. Facing Debt Collectors

July 29th, 2014

Via: AP:

More than 35 percent of Americans have debts and unpaid bills that have been reported to collection agencies, according to a study released Tuesday by the Urban Institute.

The study found that 35.1 percent of people with credit records had been reported to collections for debt that averaged $5,178, based on September 2013 records. The study points to a disturbing trend: The share of Americans in collections has remained relatively constant, even as the country as a whole has whittled down the size of its credit card debt since the official end of the Great Recession in the middle of 2009.

The delinquent debt is overwhelmingly concentrated in Southern and Western states. Texas cities have a large share of their populations being reported to collection agencies: Dallas (44.3 percent); El Paso (44.4 percent), Houston (43.7 percent), McAllen (51.7 percent) and San Antonio (44.5 percent).

Almost half of Las Vegas residents— many of whom bore the brunt of the housing bust that sparked the recession— have debt in collections. Other Southern cities have a disproportionate number of their people facing debt collectors, including Orlando and Jacksonville, Florida; Memphis, Tennessee; Columbia, South Carolina; and Jackson, Mississippi.


Russia Offers $111,000 to Crack Tor

July 28th, 2014

Starting to get interesting

Via: Ars Technica:

The Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) has offered a 3.9 million ruble (approximately $111,000) contract for technology that can identify the users of Tor, the encrypted anonymizing network used by Internet users seeking to hide their activities from monitoring by law enforcement, government censors, and others.

In a notice on the Russian government’s procurement portal under the title “Perform research, code ‘TOR’ (Navy),” originally posted on July 11, the MVD announced it was seeking proposals for researchers to ”study the possibility of obtaining technical information about users and users equipment on the Tor anonymous network.” The competition, which is open only to Russian citizens and companies, requires entrants to pay a 195,000 ruble (approximately $5,555) application fee. Proposals are due by August 13, and a winner of the contract will be chosen by August 20.

The MVD had previously sought to ban the use of any anonymizing software. That proposal was dropped last year. However, a new “blogger law” passed in April, which goes into effect in August, requires all bloggers with an audience of over 3,000 readers to register their identity with the government—and enforcement of the law could be made difficult if bloggers use the Tor network to retain their anonymity.


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