Linux fréttir

Sopra Steria wins Highways England National Traffic Information Service deal after £8m falls off contract value

TheRegister - Mon, 2021-02-01 10:26
Platform to handle data from roadside sensors and in-vehicle systems

Sopra Steria has won a £42m contract from Highways England to upgrade the National Traffic Information Service to help keep travellers on the move throughout the country's 4,300 miles (6,920km) of strategic road network.…

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Missing GOV.UK link has potentially cost taxpayers £50m as civil servants are forced to shuffle paper forms

TheRegister - Mon, 2021-02-01 09:30
medConfidential spots tiny yet staggering web blunder

Exclusive A single missing web link on GOV.UK has cost the taxpayer £51m over the last five years because civil servants are being forced to handle paper forms posted to the Home Office.…

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Did SpaceX's Explosive Starship Test Violate Its Launch License?

Slashdot - Mon, 2021-02-01 08:34
The Verge reports that SpaceX's first high-altitude test flight of its Starship rocket, "which launched successfully but exploded in a botched landing attempt in December, violated the terms of its Federal Aviation Administration test license, according to two people familiar with the incident." Both the landing explosion and license violation prompted a formal investigation by the FAA, driving regulators to put extra scrutiny on Elon Musk's hasty Mars rocket test campaign. The so-called mishap investigation was opened that week, focusing not only on the explosive landing but on SpaceX's refusal to stick to the terms of what the FAA authorized, the two people said. It was unclear what part of the test flight violated the FAA license, and an FAA spokesman declined to specify in a statement to The Verge. "The FAA will continue to work with SpaceX to evaluate additional information provided by the company as part of its application to modify its launch license," FAA spokesman Steve Kulm said Friday. "While we recognize the importance of moving quickly to foster growth and innovation in commercial space, the FAA will not compromise its responsibility to protect public safety. We will approve the modification only after we are satisfied that SpaceX has taken the necessary steps to comply with regulatory requirements." The heightened scrutiny from regulators after the launchpad spectacle has played a role in holding up SpaceX's latest "SN9" Starship test attempt, which the company said would happen on Thursday. The shiny steel alloy, 16-story-tall rocket was loaded with fuel and ready to fly. But at the time, FAA officials were still going through their license review process for the test because of several changes SpaceX made in its license application, a source said. Musk, frustrated with the process, took to Twitter. "Unlike its aircraft division, which is fine, the FAA space division has a fundamentally broken regulatory structure," Musk tweeted on Thursday. "Their rules are meant for a handful of expendable launches per year from a few government facilities. Under those rules, humanity will never get to Mars." The Verge also notes that Musk was asked by the Wall Street Journal what role government should play in regulating innovation just a few hours before Starship's test in December. Musk's reply? "A lot of the time, the best thing the government can do is just get out of the way."

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Momentum builds behind campaign to fire Nominet CEO, board – though success still far from certain

TheRegister - Mon, 2021-02-01 08:26
Battle between members and management of .UK registry follows long history of tension

Analysis An effort to oust the CEO and most of the board of .uk registry operator Nominet is building momentum within Britain’s internet industry, although success remains far from clear.…

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How do you save an ailing sales pitch? Just burn down the client's office with your foreign power cord

TheRegister - Mon, 2021-02-01 08:01
At least the whiteboard could be wiped clean of evidence

Who, Me? The Register readership knows no bounds when it comes to electrical snafus, as demonstrated by a Who, Me? entry featuring motorised mayhem and a certain South Korean semiconductor manufacturer.…

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IBM cloud tries to subvert subscriptions with pricing plan that stretches some discounts

TheRegister - Mon, 2021-02-01 07:30
May be a decent AWS alternative - if sudden 106 percent cloudy DB2 price hike doesn’t scare you off

IBM’s trying a new pricing plan to lure more folk to its cloud.…

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Countless emails wrongly blocked as spam after Cisco's SpamCop failed to renew domain name at the weekend

TheRegister - Mon, 2021-02-01 07:04
Plus: Second ransomware operation in the sights of Uncle Sam – and the insurance industry under fire for fueling extortionware rise

In brief Cisco's anti-spam service SpamCop failed to renew spamcop.net over weekend, causing it to lapse, which resulted in countless messages being falsely labeled and rejected as spam around the world.…

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Xioami proof we’re a military company, says Xiaomi as it sues USA over ban

TheRegister - Mon, 2021-02-01 06:02
Smartphone-slinger wants off America’s naughty list, now and forever

Chinese consumer tech company Xiaomi has sued the United States for designating it a "Communist Chinese military company" and banning transactions with the firm.…

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While Recreating CentOS as 'Rocky Linux', Gregory Kurtzer Also Launches a Sponsoring Startup

Slashdot - Mon, 2021-02-01 04:34
"Gregory Kurtzer, co-founder of the now-defunct CentOS Linux distribution, has founded a new startup company called Ctrl IQ, which will serve in part as a sponsoring company for the upcoming Rocky Linux distribution," Ars Technica reports: Kurtzer co-founded CentOS Linux in 2004 with mentor Rocky McGaugh, and it operated independently for 10 years until being acquired by Red Hat in 2014. When Red Hat killed off CentOS Linux in a highly controversial December 2020 announcement, Kurtzer immediately announced his intention to recreate CentOS with a new distribution named after his deceased mentor. The Rocky Linux concept got immediate, positive community reaction — but there's an awful lot of work and expense that goes into creating and maintaining a Linux distribution. The CentOS Linux project itself made that clear when it went for the Red Hat acquisition in 2014; without its own source of funding, the odds of Rocky Linux becoming a complete 1:1 replacement — serving the same massive volume of users that CentOS did — seemed dicey at best. In a statement Ctrl IQ notes the Rocky Linux community was already "in the thousands of people driving the foundation of the organization..." And as for Gregory Kurtzer, he was "originally basing Ctrl IQ's stack on CentOS, but he needed to pivot, as did most of the community to something else. Due to the alignment, Greg chose Rocky, and has been asked to help support it." Ars Technica adds: The company describes itself in its announcement as the suppliers of a "full technology stack integrating key capabilities of enterprise, hyper-scale, cloud and high-performance computing..." Wading through the buzzword bingo, Ctrl IQ's real business seems to be in supplying relatively turn-key infrastructure for high-performance computing (HPC) workloads, capable of running distributed across multiple sites and/or cloud providers... Not all of Ctrl IQ's offerings are theoretical. Warewulf, also founded by Kurtzer, is currently developed and maintained by the US Department of Energy. Anyone can freely download and use Warewulf, but it's not difficult to imagine value added in consulting with one of its founders... Ctrl IQ is one of three Tier 1 sponsors identified by the Rocky Linux project, along with Amazon Web Services (which provides core build infrastructure) and Mattermost, which is providing enterprise collaboration services... Rocky Linux is generally expected to be widely available in Q2 2021, with a first-release candidate build expected on March 31.

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IKEA China and ASUS team on gaming products, resist urge to call them FRÄG

TheRegister - Mon, 2021-02-01 03:58
Chairs, desks, cup-holders, and a weird wearable cushion will reach the west in late 2021

If you’ve ever felt that IKEA lacks a sense of humour, here’s proof: the company’s new collection of gaming furniture and accessories produced in collaboration with ASUS is not called “FRÄG”.…

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Google Gave Top Spot For 'Home Depot' Searches to a Malicious Ad

Slashdot - Mon, 2021-02-01 02:34
"A malicious Home Depot advertising campaign is redirecting Google search visitors to tech support scams," claims Bleeping Computer. Slashdot reader nickwinlund77 shares their report: BleepingComputer searched for 'home depot' and was shown the malicious advertisement on our first try. Even worse, the ad is the top spot in the research result, making it more likely to be clicked... [T]he ad clearly states it's for www.homedepot.com, and hovering over it shows the site's legitimate destination URL. However, when visitors click on the ad, they will be redirected through various ad services until eventually they are redirected to a tech support scam. Ultimately, the visitor will land at a page showing an incredibly annoying "Windows Defender - Security Warning' tech support scam. This scam will repeatedly open the Print dialog box, as shown below, which prevents the visitor from easily closing the page. To make it more difficult for security professionals to diagnose these ads, it appears that they only redirect to the scam once every 24 hours to the same IP address. Once a tech support scam is shown by clicking on the ad, subsequent clicks bring visitors to the legitimate site.

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India plans national digital currency plus a ban on ‘private’ crypto-cash

TheRegister - Mon, 2021-02-01 01:59
Seems to be full steam ahead on blockchain for uses other than funny money

India has signalled it intends to create a digital version of its currency.…

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To Re-Enable Flash Support, South Africa's Tax Agency Released Its Own Web Browser

Slashdot - Mon, 2021-02-01 00:34
"The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has released this week its own custom web browser," reports ZDNet, "for the sole purpose of re-enabling Adobe Flash Player support, rather than port its existing website from using Flash to HTML-based web forms." To prevent the app from continuing to be used in the real-world to the detriment of users and their security, Adobe began blocking Flash content from playing inside the app starting January 12, with the help of a time-bomb mechanism... As SARS tweeted on January 12, the agency was impacted by the time-bomb mechanism, and starting that day, the agency was unable to receive any tax filings via its web portal, where the upload forms were designed as Flash widgets. But despite having a three and a half years heads-up, SARS did not choose to port its Flash widgets to basic HTML & JS forms, a process that any web developer would describe as trivial. Instead, the South African government agency decided to take one of the most mind-blowing decisions in the history of bad IT decisions and release its own web browser. Released on Monday on the agency's official website, the new SARS eFiling Browser is a stripped-down version of the Chromium browser that has two features. The first is to re-enable Flash support. The second is to let users access the SARS eFiling website. As Chris Peterson, a software engineer at Mozilla, pointed out, the SARS browser only lets users access the official SARS website, which somewhat reduces the risk of users getting their systems infected via Flash exploits while navigating the web. But as others have also pointed out, this does nothing for accessibility, as the browser is only available for Windows users and not for other operating systems such as macOS, Linux, and mobile users, all of which are still unable to file taxes.

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Satya Nadella and Mark Zuckerberg spoke with Australian PM and Treasurer about pay-for-news-plan

TheRegister - Sun, 2021-01-31 23:42
And the day after news of those chats emerged, Google said it never threatened to pull search from Australia

Satya Nadella and Mark Zuckerberg spoke to Australia’s leaders last week to discuss the nation’s News Media Bargaining Code, a plan to force Google and Facebook to pay when they link to news content.…

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Biofuel-Powered Rocket Makes Historic Launch in Maine

Slashdot - Sun, 2021-01-31 23:34
Despite bad weather and early technical difficulties, employee-owned bluShift Aerospace "made history Sunday afternoon when it launched its prototype rocket, Stardust 1.0," reports Maine's Portland Press Herald: The company became the first in Maine to launch a commercial rocket and the first in the world to launch a rocket using bio-derived fuel... It carried three payloads, two commercial and one, free of charge, from Falmouth High School... The rocket and payloads returned to the ground under a parachute shortly after launch and were retrieved by a team of snowmobilers. The rocket is intended to be reusable and environmentally friendly. While the components of the biofuel remain a company secret, bluShift CEO Sascha Deri said it is solid, non-toxic and carbon neutral. "I can tell you this much, I discovered it with a friend of mine on my brothers farm here in Maine," he said. The company describes its business model as the Uber of space, where they will target a specific customer who wishes to send their payload into a particular orbit. "We are targeting people that want to go to a specific orbit, they want to have control of their launches, they want to be the primary payload even though their payload is very small," Deri said. The rocket is roughly 20 feet tall and 14 inches in diameter, the newspaper reports — noting that an earlier launch planned for January 15th had to be called off due to bad weather. "It turns out launching rockets is complicated, apparently it's rocket science," CEO Deri told them. "We did learn a lot from that failed launch. We learned, first and foremost, that you can't rely upon weather websites, you really need to use a professional meteorologist." The Associated Press also reports the rocket carried "a Dutch dessert called stroopwafel, in an homage to its Amsterdam-based parent company. Organizers of the launch said the items were included to demonstrate the inclusion of a small payload."

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CNN: Tesla's Net Profit 'Doesn't Come From Selling Cars'

Slashdot - Sun, 2021-01-31 22:34
"Tesla posted its first full year of net income in 2020 — but not because of sales to its customers," reports CNN: Eleven states require automakers sell a certain percentage of zero-emissions vehicles by 2025. If they can't, the automakers have to buy regulatory credits from another automaker that meets those requirements — such as Tesla, which exclusively sells electric cars. It's a lucrative business for Tesla — bringing in $3.3 billion over the course of the last five years, nearly half of that in 2020 alone. The $1.6 billion in regulatory credits it received last year far outweighed Tesla's net income of $721 million — meaning Tesla would have otherwise posted a net loss in 2020. "These guys are losing money selling cars. They're making money selling credits. And the credits are going away," said Gordon Johnson of GLJ Research and one of the biggest bears on Tesla shares... Tesla also reports other measures of profitability, as do many other companies. And by those measures, the profits are great enough that they do not depend on the sales of credits to be in the black... Its automotive gross profit, which compares total revenue from its car business to expenses directly associated with the building the cars, was $5.4 billion, even excluding the regulatory credits sales revenue... But the debate between skeptics and devotees of the company whether Tesla is truly profitable has become a "Holy War," according to Gene Munster, managing partner of Loup Ventures and a leading tech analyst. "They're debating two different things. They'll never come to a resolution," he said. Munster believes critics focus too much on how the credits still exceed net income. He contends that automotive gross profit margin, excluding those sales of regulatory credits, is the best barometer for the company's financial success. "It's a leading indicator," of that measure of Tesla's profit, he said. "There's no chance that GM and VW are making money on that basis on their EVs..." Tesla shares are now worth roughly as much as those of the combined 12 largest automakers who sell more than 90% of autos globally. What Tesla has that other automakers don't is rapid growth... Tech analyst Gene Munster also tells CNN "Something most people can agree on... Electric vehicles are the future. I think that's a safe assumption."

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A 'Severe' Bug Was Found In Libgcrypt, GnuPG's Cryptographic Library

Slashdot - Sun, 2021-01-31 21:34
Early Friday the principal author of GNU Privacy Guard (the free encryption software) warned that version 1.9.0 of its cryptographic library Libgcrypt, released January 19, had a "severe" security vulnerability and should not be used. A new version 1.9.1, which fixes the flaw, is available for download, Help Net Security reports: He also noted that Fedora 34 (scheduled to be released in April 2021) and Gentoo Linux are already using the vulnerable version... [I]t's a heap buffer overflow due to an incorrect assumption in the block buffer management code. Just decrypting some data can overflow a heap buffer with attacker controlled data, no verification or signature is validated before the vulnerability occurs. It was discovered and flagged by Google Project Zero researcher Tavis Ormandy and affects only Libgcrypt v1.9.0. "Exploiting this bug is simple and thus immediate action for 1.9.0 users is required..." Koch posted on the GnuPG mailing list. "The 1.9.0 tarballs on our FTP server have been renamed so that scripts won't be able to get this version anymore."

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A 25-Year-Old Bet Comes Due: Has Tech Destroyed Society?

Slashdot - Sun, 2021-01-31 20:34
"Twenty five years ago I made a bet in the pages of Wired. It was a bet whether the world would collapse by the year 2020." So writes the 68-year-old founding executive editor of Wired magazine, Kevin Kelly. He'd made the bet with a "Luddite-loving doomsayer," according to Wired — author Kirkpatrick Sale. "Sale while a student in the 1950s co-wrote a musical with Thomas Pynchon about escaping a dystopian America ruled by IBM," remembers Slashdot reader joeblog. This month a new article in Wired re-visits that 25-year bet: They argued about the Amish, whether printing presses denuded forests, and the impact of technology on work. Sale believed it stole decent labor from people. Kelly replied that technology helped us make new things we couldn't make any other way. "I regard that as trivial," Sale said. Sale believed society was on the verge of collapse. That wasn't entirely bad, he argued. He hoped the few surviving humans would band together in small, tribal-style clusters. They wouldn't be just off the grid. There would be no grid. Which was dandy, as far as Sale was concerned... Kelly then asked how, in a quarter century, one might determine whether Sale was right. Sale extemporaneously cited three factors: an economic disaster that would render the dollar worthless, causing a depression worse than the one in 1930; a rebellion of the poor against the monied; and a significant number of environmental catastrophes... "I bet you $1,000 that in the year 2020, we're not even close to the kind of disaster you describe," Kelly said. Sale barely had $1,000 in his bank account. But he figured that if he lost, a thousand bucks would be worth much less in 2020 anyway. He agreed... "Oh, boy," Kelly said after Sale wrote out the check. "This is easy money." Twenty-five years later, the once distant deadline is here. We are locked down. Income equality hasn't been this bad since just before the Great Depression. California and Australia were on fire this year. We're about to find out how easy that money is... Sale failed to account for how human ingenuity would keep us from getting tossed into forests and caves. Kelly didn't factor in tech companies' reckless use of power or their shortcomings in solving (or sometimes stoking) tough societal problems... Sale believes more than ever that society is basically crumbling — the process is just not far enough along to drive us from apartment blocks to huts. The collapse, he says, is "not like a building imploding and falling down, but like a slow avalanche that destroys and kills everything in its path, until it finally buries the whole village forever." "I cannot accept that I lost," he wrote... "The clear trajectory of disasters shows that the world is much closer to my prediction. So clearly it cannot be said that Kevin won..." Kelly warns Sale that history will recall him as a man who doesn't honor his word. But Sale doesn't believe that there will be a history. Kelly responded by offering Sale a second double-or-nothing bet: I believe that we are in fact on the eve of a 25-year period of global progress and prosperity, the likes of which we have not seen before on this planet. In 25 years, poverty will be rare, and middle class lifestyle the norm. War between nations will also be rare. A bulk of our energy will be renewables, slowing down climate warming. Lifespans continue to lengthen. I'll bet on it. Kelly added later that his rival "did not take me up on the double or nothing offer."

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Corporate Trolls? A Covert, Pro-Huawei Influence Campaign on Social Media

Slashdot - Sun, 2021-01-31 19:34
"Huawei, the crown jewel of China's technology industry, has suffered from a sustained American campaign to keep its equipment from being used in new 5G networks around the world," reports the New York Times. Now they've identified "a covert pro-Huawei influence campaign in Belgium about 5G networks." [Alternate URL here] It began when trade lawyer Edwin Vermulst was paid to write an article criticizing a Belgian policy that would block Huawei from lucrative contracts: First, at least 14 Twitter accounts posing as telecommunications experts, writers and academics shared articles by Mr. Vermulst and many others attacking draft Belgium legislation that would limit "high risk" vendors like Huawei from building the country's 5G system, according to Graphika, a research firm that studies misinformation and fake social media accounts. The pro-Huawei accounts used computer-generated profile pictures, a telltale sign of inauthentic activity. Next, Huawei officials retweeted the fake accounts, giving the articles even wider reach to policymakers, journalists and business leaders. Kevin Liu, Huawei's president for public affairs and communications in Western Europe, who has a verified Twitter account with 1.1 million followers, shared 60 posts from the fake accounts over three weeks in December, according to Graphika. Huawei's official account in Europe, with more than five million followers, did so 47 times... Twitter said it had removed the fake accounts after Graphika alerted it to the campaign on Dec. 30... Many of their followers appeared to be bots... The effort suggests a new twist in social media manipulation, said Ben Nimmo, a Graphika investigator who helped identify the pro-Huawei campaign. Tactics once used mainly for government objectives — like Russia's interference in the 2016 American presidential election — are being adapted to achieve corporate goals. "It's business rather than politics," Mr. Nimmo said. "It's not one country targeting another country. It looks like an operation to promote a major multinational's interests — and to do it against a European state." Though the social media campaign had little impact on Belgian policymakers, one telecom consultancy noted Huawei's fear that similar legislation "could spread to other parts of the world." (The article points out Belgium is the headquarters of both NATO and the European Union.) But Phil Howard, the director of the Oxford Internet Institute, see a future where disinformation will become increasingly commercialized. "The flow of money is increasingly there," he tells the Times. "Large-scale social media influence operations are now part of the communications tool kit for any large global corporation."

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Is Misinformation on Nextdoor Impacting Local Politics?

Slashdot - Sun, 2021-01-31 18:34
Was Nextdoor's impact on the world exemplified by a crucial funding referendum for the Christina School District of Newark, Delaware? Medium's tech site OneZero reports: As the 2019 referendum approached, I saw Nextdoor posts claiming that the district was squandering money, that its administrators were corrupt, and that it already spent more money per student than certain other districts with higher test scores. The last of those was true — but left out the context that Christina hosts both the state's school for the deaf and its largest autism program. District advocates told me later that they had wanted to post counterarguments to the platform, but were hindered by Nextdoor's decentralized structure. Some district officers, for instance, couldn't even access the posts and discussions happening in the city of Newark, because they were only visible to other Newark residents, and they lived outside the city's borders. (The district's headquarters are actually in nearby Wilmington.) After the referendum failed, some pointed to misinformation on Nextdoor as a factor in its defeat.... A month after the failed Christina School District referendum in 2019 the school board voted 4-3 to eliminate 63 jobs, with the alternative being bankruptcy and a bid for a state bailout. Some parents gave up hope; a neighbor of mine who had been among the district's staunch supporters abruptly sold her house and moved her family to suburban Pennsylvania, where public schools are better-funded. Others who could afford it moved their children to private schools, furthering one of the trends that had put the district in tough shape to begin with. The district and its backers started planning another referendum campaign for 2020, with the stakes now desperate... This time, their strategy included arming supporters with facts and counter-arguments to post whenever they encountered criticism on their respective Nextdoor networks around the district... On election day, June 9, polling places had lines out the door — a rarity for a single-issue local election. Turnout was unprecedented, nearly doubling that of 2019. And the result was a landslide: Some 70% of voters approved all four funding requests, with more people voting "yes" than the total number who had voted the year before. Suddenly, the district's future looked hopeful again. Exactly what role Nextdoor played in that dramatic turnaround is hard to disentangle. The option to vote by mail due to Covid-19 may have helped; the sense of urgency for the district certainly did. Claire O'Neal [a parent who won appointment to the school board later that year], believes the informal Nextdoor information campaign made a difference. "I do think it was a factor in its passing," she told me. The lesson for the district, and other public agencies, she believes, is that they can no longer win the battle of public opinion on their own. They have to actively enlist advocates in the community to wage it on their behalf on Nextdoor and other hyperlocal online networks. "It just requires more of individual citizens," the schoolboard member added. "It's a lot more work because there's just so much information out there, and it's up to you to decide what's right and what's wrong. "There's a part of that that's beautiful, and there's a part of that that's really scary."

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