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Iran Shuts Down Country's Internet In the Wake of Fuel Protests

Slashdot - Sun, 17/11/2019 - 23:41
"Iran, one of the countries most strongly identified with the rise cyber terrorism and malicious hacking, appears now to be using an iron fist to turn on its own," reports TechCrunch: The country has reportedly shut down nearly all internet access in the country in retaliation to escalating protests that were originally ignited by a rise in fuel prices, according to readings taken by NetBlocks, a non-governmental organization that monitors cybersecurity and internet governance around the world... The protests arose in response to a decision by the state to raise the price of gas in the country by 50%. As this AP article points out, Iran has some of the cheapest gas in the world -- in part because it has one of the world's biggest crude oil reserves -- and so residents in the country see cheap gas as a "birthright." Many use their cars not just to get around themselves but to provide informal taxi services to others, so -- regardless your opinion on whether using fossil fuels is something to be defended or not -- hiking up the prices cuts right to ordinary people's daily lives, and has served as the spark for protest in the country over bigger frustrations with the government and economy, as Iran continues to struggle under the weight of U.S. sanctions. Clamping down on internet access as a way of trying to contain not just protesters' communication with each other, but also the outside world, is not an unprecedented move; it is part and parcel of how un-democratic regimes control their people and situations. Alarmingly, its use seems to be growing. Pakistan in September cut off internet access in specific regions response to protests over conflicts with India. And Russia -- which has now approved a bill to be able to shut down internet access should it decide to -- is now going to start running a series of drills to ensure its blocks work when they are being used in live responses. On Twitter, NetBlocks reported yesterday that realtime network data "shows connectivity at 7% of ordinary levels after twelve hours of progressive network disconnections."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Why Firefox Fights for the Future of the Web

Slashdot - Sun, 17/11/2019 - 22:34
"Mozilla is no longer fighting for market share of its browser: it is fighting for the future of the web," writes the Guardian, citing Mozilla Project co-founder Mitchell Baker: Baker's pitch is that only Mozilla is motivated, first and foremost, to make using the web a pleasurable experience. Google's main priority is to funnel user data into the enormous advertising engine that accounts for most of its revenue. Apple's motivation is to ensure that customers continue to buy a new iPhone every couple of years and don't switch to Android...." Firefox now runs sites such as Facebook in "containers", effectively hiving the social network off into its own little sandboxed world, where it can't see what's happening on other sites. Baker says: "It reduces Facebook's ability to follow you around the web and track you when you're not on Facebook and just living your life...." Mozilla has launched Monitor, a data-breach reporting service; Lockwise, a password manager; and Send, a privacy-focused alternative to services such as WeSendit. It's also beta-testing a VPN (virtual private network) service, which it hopes to market to privacy-conscious users... Apple's iOS (mobile operating system) is an acknowledged disaster for Mozilla. Safari is the default and, while users can install other browsers, they come doubly hindered: they can never be set as the default, meaning any link clicked in other applications will open in Safari; and they must use Safari's "rendering engine", a technical limitation that means that even the browsers that Firefox does have on the platform are technically just fancy wrappers for Apple's own browser, rather than full versions of the service that Mozilla has built over the decades... "Even if you do download a replacement, iOS drops you back into the default. I don't know why that's acceptable. Every link you open on a phone is the choice of the phone maker, even if you, as a user, want something else." Summarizing Baker's concerns, the Guardian writes that "It is perfectly possible to build a browser that prevents advertising companies from aggregating user data. But it is unlikely that any browser made by an advertising company would offer such a feature..." And an activist for the Small Technology Foundation tells them that Google "wants the web to go through Google. It already mostly does: with eyes on 70% to 80% of the web."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Microsoft To Kids With Chromebooks: No 2019 Minecraft Hour of Code For You!

Slashdot - Sun, 17/11/2019 - 21:34
Long-time Slashdot reader theodp writes: In years past, Microsoft's wildly popular Minecraft-themed Hour of Code tutorials were browser-based, pretty much allowing schoolchildren to participate regardless of whether their schools used PCs, Macs or Chromebooks. "Computer science is a foundation for every student," Microsoft explained on a web page about the Hour of Code, adding that "a quality computer science education should be available to every child, not just a lucky few." But that was then, and this is now. "The new Minecraft Hour of Code tutorial," explains a new announcement at Microsoft-sponsored Code.org, "is now available in Minecraft: Education Edition for Windows, Mac, and iPad." So, when will the Chromebook version be available? Silly Rabbit, the 2019 Minecraft Hour of Code is for Windows and Apple kids! From the Minecraft 2019 Hour of Code Lesson FAQ: Q. Does the Hour of Code Lesson work on Chromebooks? A. The Hour of Code Lesson is not compatible with Chromebooks. If your class has Chromebooks and would like to do a Minecraft Hour of Code lesson, we recommend using one of the [old] Minecraft tutorials on Code.org." Yes, but that means schoolkids with Chromebooks won't be exposed to the teased AI for Good concepts introduced in the 2019 Minecraft tutorial, which seems at odds with Microsoft's professed focus on democratizing AI and putting AI developer tools in the hands of "every public sector organization around the world."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Leaked Russian Interference Report Raises Questions About Brexit, UK Election Security

Slashdot - Sun, 17/11/2019 - 20:34
A report from the U.K. Parliament's intelligence committee concludes that "Russian interference may have had an impact on the Brexit referendum," reports the Times of London, adding that "the effect was 'unquantifiable.'" The Associated Press reports: The committee said British intelligence services failed to devote enough resources to counter the threat and highlighted the impact of articles posted by Russian new sites that were widely disseminated on social media, the newspaper reported... [Conservative Prime Minister Boris] Johnson's government has said it needs more time to review the security implications of the report, but it will be released after the election. Critics have alleged the report is being withheld because it shows Russians have made large donations to the Conservative Party, which is seeking to win a majority that would allow Johnson to push his Brexit deal through Parliament.... The House of Commons Intelligence and Security Committee began its investigation following allegations of Russian interference in both the 2016 U.S. election and the Brexit referendum earlier that year. The committee sent its report to Johnson for review on Oct. 17, saying it expected to "publish the report imminently." Committee Chairman Dominic Grieve has criticized Johnson's government for failing to release the document amid media reports it has already been cleared by British security services. The debate comes amid growing concerns about the security of elections fought in an increasingly digital world. Britain's election laws were written for a time when campaigns pushed mass-produced leaflets through mail slots, rather than flooding Facebook and Twitter accounts with individually targeted messages.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Yes, Dead Island 2 is still alive and it's going to be a "kick-ass zombie game"

Eurogamer - Sun, 17/11/2019 - 19:49

Remember that Dead Island sequel we were promised? Since its reveal waaaaaay back at E3 2014, the sequel's seen three development studios and a number of delays, but if you're worried publisher Koch Media has forgotten all about it, CEO Klemens Kundratitz wants you to know the numerous delays are merely evidence of the team's dedication to "getting it right".

"My favourite question," Kundratitz said when our friends at GI.biz asked for an update on the beleaguered zombie sequel. "Look, Dead Island is a very important brand for us and we've got to get it right. It's just a testimony of our dedication to get it right.

"It's a great story to tell everyone that it's on its third studio, but we like to be judged on the end result and we're really confident that when it comes out it's going to be a kick-ass zombie game. We'll certainly give it all our power."

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Categories: Video Games

Will Electric Cars Last Longer Than Combustion-Engine Cars?

Slashdot - Sun, 17/11/2019 - 19:34
Long-time Slashdot reader jimminy_cricket shared Qz's report on some of "the highest-mileage Teslas in the world": Few have driven a Tesla to the point at which the vehicle really starts to show its age. But Tesloop, a shuttle service in Southern California composed of Teslas, was ticking the odometers of its cars well past 300,000 miles with no signs of slowing... These long days have pushed Tesla's engineering to the limit, making Tesloop an extreme testbed for the durability of Elon Musk's cars.Tesloop provided Quartz with five years of maintenance logs, where its vehicles racked up over more than 2.5 million miles, to understand how the electric vehicles (EV) are living up to the promise of cheaper vehicles with unprecedented durability compared to their conventional combustion-engine counterparts. The results reveal Tesla to be a company still ironing out bugs in its products, but one that pushes the limits of what vehicles can do. "When we first started our company, we predicted the drive train would practically last forever," Tesloop founder Haydn Sonnad told Quartz. "That's proven to be relatively true." He notes that every car except one, a vehicle taken out of service after a collision with a drunk driver, is still running. "The cars have never died of old age," he added.... [T]he implications could be huge. Every year, corporations and rental car companies add more than 12 million vehicles in Europe and North America to their fleets. Adding EVs to the mix could see those cars lasting five times longer -- costing a fraction of conventional cars over the same period -- while feeding a massive new stream of used electric cars into the marketplace.... One of the first surveys done on EVs came this March when New York City revealed its first lifetime analysis of fuel and maintenance costs for its light-passenger fleet. It found conventional vehicle maintenance was two to four times higher than the $386 spent on EVs. That's before gas... If EVs continued to perform well past this point, the economics of the car market could change. Lower fuel prices and more durable vehicles could, theoretically, push total cost of ownership below conventional vehicles. Several of the Teslas in their fleet have already driven nearly half a million miles.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Researcher Finally Explains Why Saturn's Moon Enceladus Has 'Tiger Stripes'

Slashdot - Sun, 17/11/2019 - 18:34
In 2005, the Cassini space probe orbited Saturn's frozen moon Enceladus to photograph "enormous jets of water ice and vapor emanating from four parallel slashes near its south pole," reports Science. "Since then, researchers have detected organic molecules and hydrogen in the jets -- potential food for microbes -- making Enceladus one of the top destinations in the search for life elsewhere in the Solar System." But a new paper posted this week on the preprint server arXiv claims to finally understand the mystery of that moon's "tiger stripes": The stripes...are 130 kilometers long and are spaced roughly 35 kilometers apart -- rather large features on a moon only 500 kilometers in diameter. Nobody quite understood their origin, or why they were only seen at one pole... As it orbits around Saturn, Enceladus experiences gravitational tidal forces that squeeze and heat it. Cassini data had already shown that a liquid water ocean sits underneath the outer ice shell, which is thinnest at the north and south poles. According to the new study, led by Douglas Hemingway of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C., as the moon cooled over time and some of the ocean water refroze, the new ice generated strain that built up in the surface until it broke. "It's like your pipes freezing on a cold day," says planetary scientist Francis Nimmo of the University of California, Santa Cruz, who was not involved in the study... That first fissure, extending down to the ocean, allowed a geyser to spray snow on its two flanks. The weight of this extra material produced more strains. In their study, the researchers calculate that these forces should have cracked additional grooves on either side, roughly 35 kilometers from the original one... The moon's low gravity means that fractures can bust all the way through its outer shell and persist. On a more massive moon, the researchers say in their study, the weight of heavier ice would tend to squeeze cracks shut.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Magic the Gathering and MTG Arena users urged to change passwords following data breach

Eurogamer - Sun, 17/11/2019 - 18:06

The creators of Magic the Gathering have contacted MTG Arena and Magic Online players following a data breach that leaked users' names, email addresses, and passwords.

In an email sent to those affected by the incident, Wizards of the Coast explained that an internal database from a "decommissioned version of the WotC login" was accidentally "made accessible" online. While the incident has reportedly been described as isolated and WotC has no reason to believe "that any malicious use has been made of the data", information was nevertheless obtained outside the company.

Furthermore, it's reported no payment or financial information was at risk, and passwords were stored securely in an encrypted form, so it's unlikely they can be extracted for malicious purposes.

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Categories: Video Games

Foreigners Visiting China Are Increasingly Stumped By Its Cashless Society

Slashdot - Sun, 17/11/2019 - 17:34
"Technically, it's illegal for Chinese merchants to refuse payment in cash, but this rule is hardly ever enforced," writes BoingBoing, "and China has been sprinting to a cashless society that requires mobile devices -- not credit-cards -- to effect payments, even to street hawkers." ttyler (Slashdot reader #20,687) shares their report: This has lots of implications for privacy, surveillance, taxation, and fairness, but in the short term, the biggest impact is on visitors to China, who are increasingly unable to buy anything because they lack Chinese payment apps like Wechat, and even when they install them, the apps' support for non-Chinese bank accounts and credit cards is spotty-to-nonexistent. This is also affecting Chinese people, of course: some elderly people who have been slow to embrace mobile devices are finding themselves frozen out of the system, offering cash to passersby to buy them goods from vending machines. There are also refuseniks who are equally locked out. Tourists are increasingly corralled into guided tours, with paid guides who make purchases on their behalf. The Wall Street Journal provides an amusing example: In a bathroom near the Great Wall recently, Catherine De Witte, a Belgian marketing consultant, was getting frustrated. She waved her hands in front of a high-tech toilet-paper dispenser, jammed her fingers into the slot and finally pounded on the machine. She wasn't amused when she saw the QR code. "You really need the restroom, and the restroom only gives you toilet paper if you can do something strange with your phone," she fumed.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Looks like there's a subscription coming to Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp

Eurogamer - Sun, 17/11/2019 - 16:35

Hot on the heels of the Mario Kart Tour subscription, it seems Nintendo is rolling out a similar subscription service for Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp.

Spotted by eagle-eyed ResetEra user ZeoVGM (thanks, NintendoLife), the service - which has yet to be formally announced by Nintendo - looks to be launching on 21st November, 2019. Two tiers will be available but as yet, no price information has been revealed but for comparison's sake, Nintendo's sibling mobile game, Mario Kart Tour, features a Gold Pass for $5 / £5 per month.

"In one plan, you'll be able to appoint one lucky animal as your camp caretaker and get some extra help around the campsite," says a screenshot reportedly taken from the game. "In the other plan, you'll be able to receive fortune cookies and store your furniture and clothing items in warehouses."

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Categories: Video Games

UK's Labor Party Promises Free Fiber Broadband For All, Paid For By Taxing Tech Companies

Slashdot - Sun, 17/11/2019 - 16:34
Only 7% of the U.K. has access to full-fiber broadband, according to the country's telecommunications regulator. But now long-time Slashdot reader AmiMoJo writes: With a General Election next month the UK's Labour Party has promised to give every home and business in the UK free full-fibre broadband by 2030. The party would nationalise OpenReach, which owns the existing copper network, to deliver the policy and introduce a tax on tech giants to help pay for it. The plan will cost £20 billion, but the opposition Conservative Party is promising to bring fibre to every home by 2025 for just £5 billion in partnership with industry. Either way the UK's ageing, slow broadband infrastructure may be getting an upgrade. The party claims it would "literally eliminate bills for millions of people across the UK," according to the BBC, with the Labor party's shadow chancellor telling them that companies like Apple and Google "should pay their way and other countries are following suit."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Golem feels like a relic from the early days of PSVR

Eurogamer - Sun, 17/11/2019 - 16:00

The control schemes for VR games have come a leaps and bounds since the launch of the PSVR in 2016. Hell, just a couple of days ago I was praising the Rift exclusive, Stormland for pushing boundaries and creating a unique feeling of freedom with its smooth and speedy locomotion.

This is probably why I found Golem to be so intensely disappointing. Going from flinging myself around a huge virtual world like a sci-fi Spider-Man to what felt like wading through treacle using a bizarre, unnatural and imprecise method of locomotion was something that gave me serious Kinect flashbacks.

You can watch me swear my way through the first 90 minutes of Golem in this week's Ian's VR Corner, which you'll find just below these words. In it you'll be able to watch my disbelief as I experience the 'lean your body to move' locomotion method for the first time, something that made me feel sick in VR for the first time since July of 2018 when I experienced the pitch and yaw of Detached.

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Categories: Video Games

Brace yourself for "a flurry of fun" as Mario Kart Tour's next tour gets us in the Christmas mood

Eurogamer - Sun, 17/11/2019 - 15:37

UPDATE 19/11/19: Nintendo has now fully detailed Mario Kart Tour's forthcoming Winter Tour, due to arrive at 6am tomorrow morning UK time.

Just one new course will be added - the snowy DK Pass from Mario Kart DS - along with three new racers to unlock via the game's gacha-style mechanics. There's yet another new Mario design - Santa Mario - plus Rose Gold Peach from Mario Kart 8 and a black-coloured Shy Guy. Each has their own special attack, which you can see in the video below.

Subscribers to the app's £5/month Gold Pass get the Radish Rider kart.

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Categories: Video Games

Publishing boss leaves Double Fine just months after Microsoft acquisition

Eurogamer - Sun, 17/11/2019 - 14:04

Double Fine's business development VP, Greg Rice, has left the company just months after the studio was acquired by Microsoft.

As spotted by our friends at VGC, Rice confirmed the departure on his personal Twitter account on Friday. He'd been at the studio for almost ten years across a range of positions, but most recently led the company's publishing business, Double Fine Presents.

Concerns about Double Fine's publishing arm surfaced shortly after Microsoft's acquisition back in June, with boss Tim Schafer saying at the time: "How Double Fine Presents will evolve is kind of an unknown," and that "from a business sense, I don't know if it structurally makes sense to have a publisher within [another publisher]. It's a complicated issue".

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Categories: Video Games

You Can Now Buy Pretend Food for Your $2,900 Sony Robot Dog

Slashdot - Sun, 17/11/2019 - 13:34
Gizmodo reports that Sony "will happily sell you make-believe virtual meals" for their robotic Aibo dog to unlock tricks, one of several new features added since its re-launch in 2017: The new feature that will appeal to most owners, however, is Aibo Food, which allows the robot to be virtually fed using augmented reality through the Aibo smartphone app. Meals can be purchased using coins, which are awarded to users through random actions like repeatedly using the Aibo app, or during special events. But once users runs out of coins, which is bound to quickly happen as they try out the new Aibo Food feature, they can either wait for more Sony handouts or purchase additional coins for a fee. Sony points out that Aibo's performance and features aren't dependent on whether the dog is regularly fed -- it is, after all, just a robot. So hopefully the company won't change its mind down the line, making your pup act sluggish and distracted when you're not forking out for pretend food.... Of course, other complications arrive once you start feeding an animal, and the new software update also allows users to finally potty train their Aibos using a new mapping feature so the robot doesn't pretend-shit all over your house. This appears to be a free feature, until Sony realises it can sell owners virtual poop bags. There's also a new web-based API/developer program that lets you program the robot dog to perform custom actions -- and Aibo dogs now come equipped with some new patrol/security functionality. "Using its facial recognition and room-mapping capabilities, Aibo will be able to patrol homes and locate various family members, providing reports on where everyone is, and helping owners track down specific people, according to Sony."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

'Doom' Creator John Romero Explains What's Wrong With Today's Shooter Games

Slashdot - Sun, 17/11/2019 - 10:34
An anonymous reader quotes the Guardian: "Give us more guns!" is a common battle-cry among players of first-person shooters, the videogame industry's bloodiest genre. Doom co-creator John Romero has a rather different opinion. "I would rather have fewer things with more meaning, than a million things you don't identify with," he says, sitting in a Berlin bar mocked up to resemble a 1920s Chicago speakeasy. "I would rather spend more time with a gun and make sure the gun's design is really deep -- that there's a lot of cool stuff you learn about it...." Modern shooters are too close to fantasy role-playing games in how they shower you with new weapons from battle to battle, Romero suggests. This abundance of loot -- which reflects how blockbuster games generally have become Netflix-style services, defined by an unrelenting roll-out of "content" -- means you spend as much time comparing guns in menus as savouring their capabilities. It encourages you to think of each gun as essentially disposable, like an obsolete make of smartphone. "The more weapons you throw in there, the more you're playing an inventory game." Romero contrasts this to the sparing design of the original Doom, which launched in 1993 with a grand total of eight guns. "For Doom, it was really important that every time you got a new weapon, it never made any previous weapons useless...." Doom is also a game that knows how to keep a secret. It isn't just a firefight simulator but a treacherous, vaguely avant-garde work of 3D architecture. Its levels are mazes of hidden rooms and camouflaged doors that screech open behind you -- sometimes revealing a pile of ammunition, sometimes disgorging enemies into areas you've cleared. Today's shooters set less store by secret spaces, Romero says, because they cost so much to make.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

As Left 4 Dead 2 turns 10, we speak to its creators about the Valve game that won't die

Eurogamer - Sun, 17/11/2019 - 10:00

When you get to the end of a hard-fought round in Left 4 Dead 2, you're usually crawling towards a rugged red door. Maybe there's only two of your zombie-slaying quartet left... your health bars stripped away by the horde, your eyesight drained of colour, signalling that one more knockdown equals permadeath. If you're lucky, you push through the pain and make it into the safe room on borrowed time, grab some ammo and shoot the charging zombies to carve a safe route for the rest of your team.

That's unless you're playing Funny Doors. Funny Doors dictates that if you get into the safe room before a fellow survivor, in spite of earning those precious 25 points for letting them live to see the next round, you must hammer the E button to open and close the safe room door as they approach, turning the final moments of each round into one hilarious test of strength.

Left 4 Dead 2's safe room doors have a serious heft to them, and as such, each swing animation creates a tiny window of opportunity for the survivor to get past your self-flagellating trap as they howl at you on comms. Usually, they'll get pummeled by a charger and you'll have to head out and save them. It's an evil habit. Barbaric, you could say, but it's one of many peculiar bits of communal context that have ensured this game has become a weekly inevitability where many modern titles have failed to hold our attention.

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Categories: Video Games

Boeing Fires Its Fuselage-Assembling Robots, Goes Back To Using Humans

Slashdot - Sun, 17/11/2019 - 06:34
schwit1 quotes the Seattle Times: After enduring a manufacturing mess that spanned six years and cost millions of dollars as it implemented a large-scale robotic system for automated assembly of the 777 fuselage, Boeing has abandoned the robots and will go back to relying more on its human machinists... The technology was implemented gradually from 2015 inside a new building on the Everett site. But right from the start, the robots proved painful to set up and error-prone, producing damaged fuselages and others that were incompletely assembled and had to be finished by hand. "The Fuselage Automated Upright Build process is a horrible failure," one mechanic told The Seattle Times in 2016. Another called the system "a nightmare" that was snarling 777 production. Yet Boeing insisted then that these were teething pains that would pass... The automation has never delivered its promise of reduced hand labor and Boeing has had to maintain a substantial workforce of mechanics to finish the work of the robots. Because of the errors in the automation, that often took longer than if they had done it all by hand from the start... It's taken six years to finally throw in the towel. Yet the article also notes that Boeing will continue to use its highly-automated autonomous robotic systems on other parts of their 777 assembly process.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Lessons From the Cyberattack On India's Largest Nuclear Power Plant

Slashdot - Sun, 17/11/2019 - 04:34
Dan Drollette shares an article by two staffers at the Center for Global Security Research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory from The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. "Indian officials acknowledged on October 30th that a cyberattack occurred at the country's Kudankulam nuclear power plant," they write, adding that "According to last Monday's Washington Post, Kudankulam is India's biggest nuclear power plant, 'equipped with two Russian-designed and supplied VVER pressurized water reactors with a capacity of 1,000 megawatts each.'" So what did we learn? While reactor operations at Kudankulam were reportedly unaffected, this incident should serve as yet another wake-up call that the nuclear power industry needs to take cybersecurity more seriously. There are worrying indications that it currently does not: A 2015 report by the British think tank Chatham House found pervasive shortcomings in the nuclear power industry's approach to cybersecurity, from regulation to training to user behavior. In general, nuclear power plant operators have failed to broaden their cultures of safety and security to include an awareness of cyberthreats. (And by cultures of safety and security, those in the field -- such as the Fissile Materials Working Group -- refer to a broad, all-embracing approach towards nuclear security, that takes into account the human factor and encompasses programs on personnel reliability and training, illicit trafficking interception, customs and border security, export control, and IT security, to name just a few items. The Hague Communique of 2014 listed nuclear security culture as the first of its three pillars of nuclear security, the other two being physical protection and materials accounting.) This laxness might be understandable if last week's incident were the first of its kind. Instead, there have been over 20 known cyber incidents at nuclear facilities since 1990. This number includes relatively minor items such as accidents from software bugs and inadequately tested updates along with deliberate intrusions, but it demonstrates that the nuclear sector is not somehow immune to cyber-related threats. Furthermore, as the digitalization of nuclear reactor instrumentation and control systems increases, so does the potential for malicious and accidental cyber incidents alike to cause harm. This record should also disprove the old myth, unfortunately repeated in Kudankulam officials' remarks, that so-called air-gapping effectively secures operational networks at plants. Air-gapping refers to separating the plant's internet-connected business networks from the operational networks that control plant processes; doing so is intended to prevent malware from more easily infected business networks from affecting industrial control systems. The intrusion at Kudankulam so far seems limited to the plant's business networks, but air gaps have failed at the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant in Ohio in 2003 and even classified U.S. military systems in 2008. The same report from Chatham House found ample sector-wide evidence of employee behavior that would circumvent air gaps, like charging personal phones via reactor control room USB slots and installing remote access tools for contractors... [R]evealing the culprits and motives associated with the Kudankulam attack matters less for the nuclear power industry than fixing the systemic lapses that enabled it in the first place. "The good news is that solutions abound..." the article concludes, noting guidance, cybersecurity courses, technical exchanges, and information through various security-minded public-private partnerships. "The challenge now is integrating this knowledge into the workforce and maintaining it over time... "But last week's example of a well-established nuclear power program responding to a breach with denial, obfuscation, and shopworn talk of so-called 'air-gaps' demonstrates how dangerously little progress the industry has made to date."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Ask Slashdot: What Should You Do If Someone's Trying To Steal Your Identity?

Slashdot - Sun, 17/11/2019 - 02:59
Long-time Slashdot reader shanen "just got the darnedest phone call..." The caller knew my name and the name of a bank that I've done business with, and obviously my phone number, but beyond that I have no idea what was going on... There is no problem with my account. She was quite clear about that, but she had no clear reason for calling. As I got more and more suspicious, she asked me to wait and she eventually transferred the call to a man, who claimed to be a manager at the bank, but the entire thing stinks to high heaven. All I could think of was to suggest that I call him back, but he was apparently unable to provide a phone number that I could independently verify. Why not give me the bank's phone number that I could check on the Internet? One would think that I could then transfer to his extension. After almost nine minutes I just hung up, and now I realize that I have the caller's phone number, but that isn't definitive evidence of anything. A scammer might know that blocking the phone number would have made things more suspicious... So what should I have done? Do you have any similar experiences to share? Or have I missed warnings about some new scam that's going around? Now I realize that they could start from names and phone numbers and just guess for the largest banks. Maybe I got suspicious too quickly, before she could start asking for the personal information she was really after? The original submission also includes this question: "If it's an identity theft in progress, then I want to stop it and fast, but how can I tell what's going on?" So leave your own thoughts in the comments. What should you do if you think someone is trying to steal your identity?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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