Compare cell phone plans using Wirefly's innovative plan comparison tool ×
Social Networks

YouTube Plans To Bring Photos, Polls, and Text To Its Video Service (venturebeat.com) 22

An anonymous reader quotes a report from VentureBeat: YouTube is developing a feature internally called Backstage where users can share photos, polls, links, text posts, and videos with their subscribers. Backstage is expected to launch by the end of the year, possibly this fall, on mobile and desktop, initially with select popular YouTube accounts and with limited features, VentureBeat has learned. Akin to a Facebook Timeline or Twitter profile, Backstage will live alongside the Home and Videos tabs within individual YouTube channels. Posts shared to Backstage will appear in reverse chronological order, and, crucially, will also appear in subscribers' feeds and notifications, making them highly visible to fans. While Backstage is expected to introduce entirely new types of content to YouTube, including tweet-like text posts and topical polls, it also presents new opportunities for video sharing. Backstage will eventually enable users to share both traditional YouTube videos and Backstage-only videos, possibly creating an opportunity for more intimate, or even ephemeral, video sharing between YouTubers and their fans.
Google

Google Search Removes 'Mobile-Friendly' Label, Will Tackle Interstitials Next (venturebeat.com) 79

An anonymous reader quotes a report from VentureBeat: Google today announced two updates to mobile search results: an aesthetic one rolling out now and an algorithmic one coming next year. The former consists of removing the "mobile-friendly" label in search results and the latter will punish mobile sites that use interstitials. The goal is to "make finding content easier for users," though as always, the company didn't share exactly how much of an impact users and webmasters can expect. The report adds: "If your site is in the 15 percent group, here's a quick recap. A webpage is considered 'mobile friendly' if it meets the following criteria, as detected in real time by Googlebot: Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash; Uses text that is readable without zooming; Sizes content to the screen so users don't have to scroll horizontally or zoom; Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped. The company now wants to tackle 'intrusive interstitials' as they 'provide a poorer experience to users than other pages where content is immediately accessible.' After January 10, 2017, pages where content is not easily accessible when coming from mobile search results 'may not rank as highly.' Interstitials that Google doesn't like include showing a popup that covers the main content (immediately or delayed), displaying a standalone interstitial that the user has to dismiss before accessing the main content, and using a layout where the above-the-fold portion is similar to a standalone interstitial but the original content is inlined underneath. Interstitials that Google deems OK include legal obligations (cookie usage or for age verification), login dialogs on sites where content is not publicly indexable, and banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space and are easily dismissible."
Piracy

Scammers Use Harvard Education Platform to Promote Pirated Movies (torrentfreak.com) 27

TorrentFreak reports: Spammers are using Harvard's educational sharing tool H2O to promote pirated movies. Thousands of links to scammy sites have appeared on the site in recent weeks. Copyright holders are not happy with this unintended use and are targeting the pages with various takedown notices. H2O is a tool that allows professors and students to share learning material in a more affordable way. It is a welcome system that's actively used by many renowned scholars. However, in recent weeks the platform was also discovered by scammers. As a result, it quickly filled up with many links to pirated content. Instead of course instructions and other educational material, the H2O playlists of these scammers advertise pirated movies. The scammers in question are operating from various user accounts and operate much like traditional spam bots, offering pages with movie links and related keywords such as putlocker, megashare, viooz, torrent and YIFY.
Nintendo

Nintendo Shuts Down 'Pokemon Uranium' Fan Game After 1.5 Million Downloads (thewrap.com) 140

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Wrap: The fan-made "Pokemon Uranium" game took a pair of programmers more than nine years to develop. Nintendo needed just about nine days to kill it. "After receiving more than 1,500,000 downloads of our game, we have been notified of multiple takedown notices from lawyers representing Nintendo of America," the creators of "Pokemon Uranium" said in a statement. "While we have not personally been contacted, it's clear what their wishes are, and we respect those wishes deeply. Therefore, we will no longer provide official download links for the game through our website," they continued. "We have no connection to fans who re-upload the game files to their own hosts, and we cannot verify that those download links are all legitimate. We advise you to be extremely cautious about downloading the game from unofficial sources." The role-playing game was free, though creators @JVuranium and Involuntary Twitch were open to suggested PayPal donations of $2-$10. Set in the tropical Tandor region, "Uranium" players can encounter more than 150 all-new species of Pokemon in their quest to collect all eight Gym Badges and triumph over the Tandor League, per the official description. Along the way, the players must battle against a sinister threat that's causing Nuclear Meltdowns.
Google

Malware That Fakes Bank Login Screens Found In Google Ads (fastcompany.com) 120

tedlistens quotes a report from Fast Company: For years, security firms have warned of keystroke logging malware that surreptitiously steals usernames and passwords on desktop and laptop computers. In the past year, a similar threat has begun to emerge on mobile devices: So-called overlay malware that impersonates login pages from popular apps and websites as users launch the apps, enticing them to enter their credentials to banking, social networking, and other services, which are then sent on to attackers. Such malware has even found its way onto Google's AdSense network, according to a report on Monday from Kaspersky Lab. The weapon would automatically download when users visited certain Russian news sites, without requiring users to click on the malicious advertisements. It then prompts users for administrative rights, which makes it harder for antivirus software or the user to remove it, and proceeds to steal credentials through fake login screens, and by intercepting, deleting, and sending text messages. The Kaspersky researchers call it "a gratuitous act of violence against Android users." "By simply viewing their favorite news sites over their morning coffee users can end up downloading last-browser-update.apk, a banking Trojan detected by Kaspersky Lab solutions as Trojan-Banker.AndroidOS.Svpeng.q," according to the company. "There you are, minding your own business, reading the news and BOOM! -- no additional clicks or following links required." The good news is that the issue has since been resolved, according to a Google spokeswoman. Fast Company provides more details about these types of attacks and how to stay safe in its report.
Republicans

Cracking The Code On Trump Tweets (time.com) 330

jIyajbe writes: From Electoral-Vote.com: "A theory has been circulating that the Donald Trump tweets that come from an Android device are from the candidate himself, while the ones that come from an iPhone are the work of his staff. David Robinson, a data scientist who works for Stack Overflow, decided to test the theory. His conclusion: It's absolutely correct. Robinson used some very sophisticated algorithms to analyze roughly 1,400 tweets from Trump's timeline, and demonstrated conclusively that the iPhone tweets are substantively different than the Android tweets. The former tend to come later at night, and are vastly more likely to incorporate hashtags, images, and links. The latter tend to come in the morning, and are much more likely to be copied and pasted from other people's tweets. In terms of word choice, the iPhone tweets tend to be more neutral, with their three most-used phrases being 'join,' '#trump2016,' and '#makeamericagreatagain.' The Android tweets tend to be more emotionally charged, with their three most-used phrases being 'badly,' 'crazy,' and 'weak.'" reifman adds: In an excellent forensic text analysis of Trump's tweets with the Twitter API, data geek David Robinson demonstrates Trump authors his angriest, picture-less, hashtag-less Android tweets often in the morning, while staff tweet from an iPhone with pictures, hashtags and greater joy mostly in the middle of the day. Robinson's report was inspired by a tweet by artist Todd Vaziri. As for why Robinson decided to look into Trump's tweets, he told TIME, "For me it's more about finding a really interesting story, a case where people suspect something, but don't have the data to back it up. For me it was much more about putting some quantitive details to this story that has been going around than it was about proving something about Trump's campaign."
Education

Bill Gates Has Spent $1+ Million To Get Mark Zuckerberg's Software In Schools 105

theodp writes: "Today is a milestone for personalized learning," boasted Mark Zuckerberg in a Facebook post Tuesday. "For the first time, more than 100 new schools will adopt personalized learning tools this school year. [...] A couple of years ago, our engineering team partnered with Summit [a Zuckerberg, Facebook, and Gates Foundation supported charter school network] to build out their personalized learning software platform so more schools could use it. [...] Congratulations to the Summit team, the new Basecamp schools and the entire personalized learning community on an exciting milestone!" Perhaps Zuckerberg should have also given a shout-out to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which awarded a $1.1 million grant last year "to support the Summit BaseCamp Program that will bring Next Generation learning at no cost to all partner schools that are accepted into the program." The New York Times characterized the Facebook-Summit partnership as "more of a ground-up effort to create a national demand for student-driven learning in schools." Before you scoff at that idea, consider that an earlier Gates-Zuckerberg collaboration helped give rise to a national K-12 Computer Science crisis!
Crime

Kansas Couple Sues IP Mapping Firm For Turning Their Life Into a 'Digital Hell' (arstechnica.com) 175

Ever since James and Theresa Arnold moved into their rented 623-acre farm in Butler County, Kansas, in March 2011, they have seen "countless" law enforcement officials and individuals turning up at their farm day and night looking for links to alleged theft and other supposed crime. We covered this story on Slashdot a few months ago. All of these people are arriving because of a rounding error on a GPS location, which wrongly points people to their farm. ArsTechnica adds:In their lawsuit filed against MaxMind, the IP mapping firm, the Arnolds allege: "The following events appeared to originate at the residence and brought trespassers and/or law enforcement to the plaintiffs' home at all hours of the night and day: stolen cars, fraud related to tax returns and bitcoin, stolen credit cards, suicide calls, private investigators, stolen social media accounts, fund raising events, and numerous other events." James Arnold has even been "reported as holding girls at the residence for the purpose of making pornographic films."
Australia

Australian Census Website Shut Down On Census Night After 4 DDoS Attacks (smh.com.au) 129

Heart44 writes: News sites are reporting that the Australian census website has been shut down until further notice. This happened on census night, Tuesday (Australian time), August 9th, 2016. This is the first attempt at an online census where [the internet] is the default data collection method. You had to call an often busy number to get a paper form. This is on top of a long running controversy that the Australian Bureau of Statistics will keep the names and addresses of everyone for five years. I presume more useful links will appear over time. "The site was targeted by four denial of service (DoS) attacks," chief statistician David Kalisch told ABC radio. The Sydney Morning Herald reports: "The first three caused minor disruptions and did not stop more than two million census forms from being 'successfully submitted and safely stored,' he said. But the site was shut down after a 'gap' in the system's security measures was found during a fourth attack (AEST), Mr Kalisch said. 'After the fourth attack, which took place just after 7:30pm [on Tuesday AEST], the ABS took the precaution of closing down the system to ensure the integrity of the data,' Mr Kalisch said. 'I can certainly reassure Australians the data they provided is safe,' he said."

UPDATE 8/09/16: Many reports are contradicting Kalisch's claim that the website was shut down from DDoS attacks. User @mhackling on Twitter tweeted a screenshot of Digital Attack Map showing "nothing unusual DDoS wise for Australia and yesterday."
Security

Aggressive Hackers Are Targeting Rio's Olympics (fastcompany.com) 71

The Daily Dot is warning about fake wi-fi hubs around Rio, but also networks which decrypt SSL traffic. And Slashdot reader tedlistens writes: Steven Melendez at Fast Company reports on the cybercrime threat in Rio, and details a number of specific threats, from ATMs to promotional USB sticks to DDoS attacks [on the networks used by Olympic officials]... "Last week, a reporter for a North Carolina newspaper reported that his card was hacked immediately after using it at the gift shop at the IOC press center. And on Friday, two McClatchy reporters in Rio said their cards had been hacked and cloned soon after arrival."
Even home viewers will be targeted with "fraudulent emails and social media posts" with links to video clips, games, and apps with malware, as well as counterfeit ticket offers -- but the threats are worse if you're actually in Rio. "In an analysis last month of over 4,500 unique wireless access points around Rio, Kaspersky found that about a quarter of them are vulnerable or insecure, protected with an obsolete encryption algorithm or with no encryption at all."
Microsoft

Ask Slashdot: Share Your Experiences With Windows 10 376

Long-time Slashdot reader shanen writes: The Start button is broken on one of my Windows 10 machines. Left click is dead. Fairly well known problem, but none of the solutions from non-Microsoft web pages has fixed it... My little meta-problem of the day is being locked out of Microsoft's so-called support. The email part (on outlook.live.com) works as usual, but every attempt to access the support part returns "Something went wrong and we can't sign you in right now. Please try again later." It's a black hole page with no links or options or suggestions. Once you get there, you are dead to Microsoft. Whenever I try to go to Microsoft support, that's all I've seen for several weeks now. ..

In general, Windows 10 seems to be a good thing -- but I don't really know how much it is abusing my personal information and privacy. The abusive relationship with Microsoft support is clearly the same, bad as it ever was.

The original submission has more thoughts on the market for consumer operating systems, and asks for suggestions about these two previously-known issues -- a start button that ignores left clicks, and an ongoing lock-out from Microsoft support. But there's obviously much more to talk about -- so share your thoughts in the comments. Have you had any interesting recent experiences with Windows 10?
The Internet

The World's First Web Site Celebrates 25 Years Online (info.cern.ch) 136

An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNN: Twenty-five years ago, the first public website went live. It was a helpful guide to this new thing called the World Wide Web. The minimalist design featured black text with blue links on a white background. It's still online today if you'd like to click around and check out the frequently asked questions or geek out over the technical protocols.
Its original URL was info.cern.ch, where CERN is now also offering a line-mode browser simulator and more information about the birth of the web. CNN is also hosting screenshots of nine web "pioneers", including the Darwin Awards site, the original Yahoo, and the San Francisco FogCam, which claims to be the oldest webcam still in operation.

What are some of the first web sites that you remember reading? (Any greybeards remember when the Internet Movie Database was just a Usenet newsgroup where readers collaborated on a giant home-made list of movie credits?)
Firefox

Firefox Will Try To Show You Saved Archive Of a Page Instead Of 404 Error (ndtv.com) 119

Firefox has announced a new add-on dubbed No More 404s in its Test Pilot platform which aims to change the way we see 404 links on the web. The add-on, Firefox says, replaces the Error 404 from missing webpages, and replaces them with saved archives from the Wayback Machine. From a report on Gadgets 360: Normally, when presented with a missing link, the browser shows the 404 error. However, Mozilla's No More 404s add-on will give Firefox users the choice to see old Internet snapshots saved in the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine. This is especially handy for users trying to do research or just digging up some old graves out of curiosity. For now, this add-on is only available in Firefox's experimental Test Pilot platform, with no details on availability for regular Firefox users. Interested users can install the test version here. Apart from this, the Test Pilot platform also introduced improved search results through the Awesome Bar, redesigned the Tabs bar to the side, and even tweaked the history feed.
Facebook

Facebook's New Anti-Clickbait Algorithm Buries Bogus Headlines (techcrunch.com) 123

Facebook is going to make some changes to its newsfeed, again, it said on Thursday. The company is now having another go at sweeping clickbait news stories away from people's newsfeed. The move comes as the social networking giant struggles to entice many people from coming back to its service every few hours. Under the new changes to the feed algorithm, articles with headlines that "withhold or distort information" will be classified as distort. Such stories won't completely disappear, but as the company says, will appear less frequently in users' feeds. TechCrunch adds: Facebook manually classified tens of thousands of headlines with a clickbaitiness score to train the new algorithm. Now it can detect headlines like "When She Looked Under Her Couch And Saw THIS... I Was SHOCKED!"; "He Put Garlic In His Shoes And What Happens Next Is Hard To Believe"; or "The Dog Barked At The Deliveryman And His Reaction Was Priceless." The algorithm then punishes the entire Page that shared them or site they link to by making all their posts or referral links less visible. Facebook's VP of Product Management on News Feed Adam Moserri said "If you post 50 times a day and post one piece a clickbait, this shouldn't affect you. If you're a spammer and post clickbait all day this should affect you a lot."
Security

Project Hosting Service Fosshub Compromised, Embedding Malware Inside Hosted Files (softpedia.com) 57

At least some applications on Fosshub, a free project hosting service appear to have been compromised, according to several reports. (Update: Fosshub has acknowledged the hack.) The software portal, furthermore, is serving malware payloads, reports add. Catalin Cimpanu of Softpedia says that a hacking group which goes by the name of PeggleCrew is responsible for the hack. "In short, a network service with no authentication was exposed to the internet," the hacker told Softpedia in an email. "We were able to grab data from this network service to obtain source code and passwords that led us further into the infrastructure of FOSSHub and eventually gain control of their production machines, backup and mirror locations, and FTP credentials for the caching service they use, as well as the Google Apps-hosted email." The hacker group told the publication that they have compromised the entire website, "including the administrator's email. He also revealed he didn't dump the site's database but claimed that "passwords weren't salted." A user on Reddit, who has since received lots of upvotes, adds: Some popular apps that have links to FossHub that may be infected include: Audacity, WinDirStat, qBittorrent, MKVToolNix, Spybot Search&Destroy, Calibre, SMPlayer, HWiNFO, MyPhoneExplorer, and IrfanView.Another application which has reportedly been compromised is Classic Shell. It is ostensibly overwriting the MBR on users' computers. Many users are upset with the timing of hack, noting that plenty of people were looking for Classic Shell amid the release of Windows 10 Anniversary Update. Update: 08/03 17:30 GMT by M :In a blog post, Audacity said that Fosshub was serving a hacked copy of its audio editing software for three hours. It adds that "no Audacity Team infrastructure was compromised." Fosshub team writes: Last night we had a security incident caused by a group of hackers that allowed them to log-in to FossHub developer *through* an user that was compromised. Shortly after, we noticed two users that were compromised. They simply logged-in using their passwords and this allowed them to escalate. [...] Several hours later, we noticed the attackers were able to gain access through an FTP account and we decided to shut down the main server immediately to prevent any further infection/damage. FossHub.com is down on purpose until we are able to identify the way hackers were able to escalate. Fosshub insists that the hacked copy of Classic Shell was only downloaded 300 times. In the meantime, if you know someone who may have downloaded the compromised copy of Classic Shell, here's what they need to do next.
Chrome

Ask Slashdot: Best Browser Extensions -- 2016 Edition 195

Reader LichtSpektren writes: Almost eleven years ago, Slashdot featured an Ask titled "Favorite Firefox Extensions?". I thought it might be worthwhile to ask the question again (Editor's note: we couldn't agree more!), but expand the query to all web browsers now that there's more choices available.

Right now my main browser is Firefox, which I use with uBlock Origin, Disconnect, HTTPS Everywhere, Privacy Badger, NoScript, Self-Destructing Cookies, Decentraleyes, Privacy Settings, and Clean Links. (N.B. the first four of these are also available in Chromium-based browsers.) I use Chrome as a secondary browser, with the first four of the aforementioned extensions, plus also Clear Cache and occasionally Flashcontrol.

This one has nothing to do with security or privacy, but Reedy on Chromium is a really nice tool for speed reading.

What do you use?
Let's get this going.
Censorship

Facebook Admits Blocking WikiLeaks' DNC Email Links, But Won't Say Why (thenextweb.com) 270

An anonymous reader writes: Facebook has admitted it blocked links to WikiLeaks' DNC email dump, but the company has yet to explain why. WikiLeaks has responded to the censorship via Twitter, writing: "For those facing censorship on Facebook etc when trying to post links directly to WikiLeaks #DNCLeak try using archive.is." When SwiftOnSecurity tweeted, "Facebook has an automated system for detecting spam/malicious links, that sometimes have false positives. /cc," Facebook's Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos replied with, "It's been fixed." As for why there was a problem in the first place, we don't know. Nate Swanner from The Next Web writes, "It's possible its algorithm incorrectly identified them as malicious, but it's another negative mark on the company's record nonetheless. WikiLeaks is a known entity, not some torrent dumping ground. The WikiLeaks link issue has reportedly been fixed, which is great -- but also not really the point. The fact links to the archive was blocked at all suggests there's a very tight reign on what's allowed on Facebook across the board, and that's a problem." A Facebook representative provided a statement to Gizmodo: "Like other services, our anti-spam systems briefly flagged links to these documents as unsafe. We quickly corrected this error on Saturday evening."
Communications

Tinder Scam Promises Account Verification, But Actually Sells Porn (csoonline.com) 29

itwbennett writes: Tinder users should be on the lookout for Tinder profiles asking them to get "verified" and then sending them a link to a site called "Tinder Safe Dating." The service asks for credit card information, saying this will verify the user's age. Once payment information has been captured, the user is then signed up for a free trial of porn, which will end up costing $118.76 per month unless the service is cancelled. In Tinder's safety guidelines, the company warns users to avoid messages that contain links to third-party websites or ask money for an address.
Crime

Feds Seize KickassTorrents Domains and Arrest Owner In Poland (arstechnica.com) 302

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Federal authorities announced on Wednesday the arrest of the alleged mastermind of KickassTorrents (KAT), the world's largest BitTorrent distribution site. As of this writing, the site is still up. Prosecutors have formally charged Artem Vaulin, 30, of Ukraine, with one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and two counts of criminal copyright infringement. Like The Pirate Bay, KAT does not host individual infringing files but rather provides links to .torrent and .magnet files so that users can download unauthorized copies of TV shows, movies, and more from various BitTorrent users. According to a Department of Justice press release sent to Ars Technica, Vaulin was arrested on Wednesday in Poland. The DOJ will shortly seek his extradition to the United States. "Vaulin is charged with running today's most visited illegal file-sharing website, responsible for unlawfully distributing well over $1 billion of copyrighted materials," Assistant Attorney General Caldwell said in the statement. "In an effort to evade law enforcement, Vaulin allegedly relied on servers located in countries around the world and moved his domains due to repeated seizures and civil lawsuits. His arrest in Poland, however, demonstrates again that cybercriminals can run, but they cannot hide from justice." KickassTorrents added a dark web address last month to make it easier for users to bypass blockades installed by ISPs.
Communications

Facebook Pitches Laser Beams As The High-Speed Internet Of The Future (pcworld.com) 93

An anonymous reader quotes a report from PCWorld: Facebook says it has developed a laser detector that could open the airwaves to new high-speed data communications systems that don't require dedicated spectrum or licenses. The component, disclosed on Tuesday in a scientific journal, comes from the company's Connectivity Lab, which is involved in developing technology that can help spread high-speed internet to places it currently doesn't reach. At 126 square centimeters, Facebook's new laser detector is thousands of times larger. It consists of plastic optical fibers that have been "doped" so they absorb blue light. The fibers create a large flat area that serves as the detector. They luminesce, so the blue light is reemitted as green light as it travels down the fibers, which are then bundled together tightly before they meet with a photodiode. It's described in a paper published on Tuesday in the journal Optica. Facebook says there are applications for the technology both indoors and outdoors. Around the home, it could be used to transmit high-definition video to mobile devices. Outdoors, the same technology could be used to establish low-cost communications links of a kilometer or more in length. In tests, the company managed to achieve a speed of 2.1Gbps using the detector, and the company thinks it can go faster. By using materials that work closer to infrared, the speed could be increased. And using yet-to-be developed components that work at wavelengths invisible to the human eye, the speed could be increased even more. If invisible to humans, the power could also be increased without danger of harming someone, further increasing speed and distance.

Slashdot Top Deals