Daily Archives: August 20, 2015

Man’s Finger Is Also USB Drive

oringinal post with article

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BitTorrent Can Be Exploited For Large-scale DoS Attacks

Up to 120 times traffic amplification.

Researchers have discovered a weakness in the popular BitTorrent file sharing protocol that could be abused to anonymously generate large-scale denial of service attacks against networks.

Florian Adamsky and Muttukrishnan Rajaran from the City University of London, Rudolf Jäger from Technichesche Hochschule Mittelhesssen and Syed Ali Khayam of security vendor PLUMgrid discovered that a single attacker can exploit BitTorrent peers to generate up to 50 times the amount of traffic originally initiated.

In the case of the BTSync file synchronisation application, an attacker could amplify initial traffic 120 times by sending out specifically crafted requests to peers which exploit weaknesses in their data transmission protocols.

As BitTorrent operates with the user datagram protocol (UDP) – which does not have address-spoofing defences like transmission control protocol (TCP) – attackers can hide their origins and send a large amount of data via other users’ clients.

continue http://www.itnews.com.au/News/407944,bittorrent-can-be-exploited-for-large-scale-dos-attacks.aspx

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The Delicate Electrostatic Dance of Falling Space Dust

In a nearly gravity-free environment the tiniest micron-scale flecks of matter undergo interactions mimicking the orbital relationships of the largest planets. This observation, which may offer crucial insights into the process of large-structure formation in the interstellar medium, comes courtesy of physicists at the University of Chicago via an innovative experiment using a high-speed video camera and streams of falling particles of fine dust. The resulting electrostatic dance can be seen below.

Note that these aren’t “particles” in the sense of electrons and protons and quarks—instead, they’re macro-scale (on the order of hundreds of micrometers) grains of zirconium dioxide–silicate, a somewhat toxic dielectric material with a number of uses in manufacturing and industry. So: silicon dust, essentially.

The task of the U of C researchers was to observe the electrostatic interactions between these dust grains. This is made difficult in large part due to the confounding influence of gravity, a force that acts to obscure the much smaller forces at work governing the interactions between the grains themselves. The answer was to use a three-meter desktop drop tower, a cylinder from which all of the air has been sucked out of it, and a high-speed video camera. The particles are dropped from the top of the vacuum cylinder while the camera falls at the same rate. The resulting video makes it seem like the particles aren’t falling at all, but are instead suspended, dancing and interacting only with each other.
continue http://motherboard.vice.com/read/the-delicate-electrostatic-dance-of-falling-space-dust

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SEC Admits It’s Not Monitoring Stock Buybacks to Prevent Market Manipulation

The Securities and Exchange Commission has admitted that it has no ability to enforce the main rule intended to prevent market manipulation when companies buy back their own stock, and has no intention to do so.

SEC Chair Mary Jo White made the acknowledgement in a response to Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., who queried the agency about stock buybacks. Baldwin is one of a growing number of politicians — including presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders — who are citing buybacks as an example of deliberate financial engineering that bolsters concentration of wealth and keeps working-class wages stagnant.

Stock buybacks are an increasingly common practice in which corporations take profits, and instead of investing in facilities, research and development, or boosting worker wages, buy shares of their own stock on the open market, thereby boosting demand and driving up its price. Companies bought back over half a trillion dollars’ worth of their own shares last year.

The practice creates short-term rewards for executives who are paid in stock and stock options, and benefit from an increased price. They also make corporate earnings look better by reducing outstanding shares and increasing the commonly reported ratio of earnings-per-share.

continue https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/08/13/sec-admits-monitoring-stock-buybacks-prevent-market-manipulation/

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Firefox 40: Add-ons Manager shows Warnings for Unsigned Add-ons

Disable add-on signing in Firefox Nightly and Developer streams. It’s a norm from Firefox 40 version that all add-ons you’re going to install in Firefox browser should be signed and verified by Mozilla, that means you can no longer install unsigned third-party add-ons in Nightly, Developer, Beta and Stable channels.

For more details, read: Mozilla introduces extension Signing for Firefox

When you try to install an unverified add-on, you’ll get this error or warning: ‘Nightly has prevented this site from installing an unverified add-on’.

How to install unsigned third-party add-ons
1. Visit about:config

2. Toggle xpinstall.signatures.required preference value to ‘false’.

After doing this, you can able to install the add-on after going through two warnings and that’s normal: first you need to ‘Allow’ it, next, read the caution prompt and click ‘install’ button.
source http://techdows.com/2015/05/firefox-40-add-ons-manager-shows-warnings-for-unsigned-add-ons.html

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80 million plastic balls to prevent Los Angeles reservoirs from becoming carcinogenic

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is buying 80 million 4-inch black polyethylene balls to cover the surfaces of three Los Angeles reservoirs that serve 4 million residents. At a cost of 33 cents each, the hollow spheres are designed to block sunlight from turning bromide and chlorine in the water into bromate, a suspected carcinogen.
source http://boingboing.net/

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How Muzak Shaped A Conformist America

Although it might be easier to ignore in an age where nearly ever American carries thousands of songs in their pocket, the unmistakable sound of Muzak still haunts us all. An estimated 100 million people (nearly a third of America’s population) are exposed to Muzak’s background music each day, whether in an elevator, on hold with the cable company or elsewhere. Although the Muzak brand technically went bankrupt in 2009 and lost its name in 2013 after new owners moved in, its technology set the stage for almost a century of bland, instrumental music that became the soundtrack to postwar America and continues to this day.

Muzak was founded in 1934 by former Army General George O. Squier, who had led the U.S. Army’s communication efforts during World War I. Squier was elected to the National Academy of Science in 1919 after his patented multiplexing system allowed for multiple signals to be transferred over one phone line. This was the technology that made the invention of Muzak possible (a fan of Kodak, Squier thought giving his company a similar name would optimize marketing success). For just $1.50 a month, home consumers could have the latest hits played by Muzak’s orchestra through their phone line.

Of course, Squier’s brilliant idea was soon replaced by radio technology, so the company did an old-fashioned pivot and switched its focus to providing businesses with license-free music to play in their stores and workspaces. A hallmark of the Fordist economy, Muzak ads touted all the latest science of work productivity, promising that the carefully curated playlists would boost worker efficiency and happiness levels. The company patented a “Stimulus Progression” technique where 15-minute blocks of music were arranged by tempo to match an optimal work speed. According to surveys done by the company with their early clients (including Prudential Life Insurance, Bell Telephone, and the Federal Reserve), only 1.6 percent of employees found the background noise distracting.

continue http://all-that-is-interesting.com/muzak

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