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Crime

3 Million Strong RAMNIT Botnet Taken Down 22

Posted by samzenpus
from the bring-it-down dept.
An anonymous reader writes The National Crime Agency's National Cyber Crime Unit worked with law enforcement colleagues in the Netherlands, Italy and Germany, co-ordinated through Europol's European Cybercrime Centre, to shut down command and control servers used by the RAMNIT botnet. Investigators believe that RAMNIT may have infected over three million computers worldwide, with around 33,000 of those being in the UK. It has so far largely been used to attempt to take money from bank accounts.
Medicine

The Peculiar Economics of Developing New Antibiotics 242

Posted by samzenpus
from the killing-bugs dept.
HughPickens.com writes Every year at least two million people are infected with bacteria that can't be wiped out with antibiotics but the number of F.D.A.-approved antibiotics has decreased steadily in the past two decades. Now.Ezekiel J. Emanuel writes at the NYT that the problem with the development of new antibiotics is profitability. "There's no profit in it, and therefore the research has dried up, but meanwhile bacterial resistance has increased inexorably and there's still a lot of inappropriate use of antibiotics out there," says Ken Harvey. Unlike drugs for cholesterol or high blood pressure, or insulin for diabetes, which are taken every day for life, antibiotics tend to be given for a short time so profits have to be made on brief usage. "Even though antibiotics are lifesaving, they do not command a premium price in the marketplace," says Emanuel. "As a society we seem willing to pay $100,000 or more for cancer drugs that cure no one and at best add weeks or a few months to life. We are willing to pay tens of thousands of dollars for knee surgery that, at best, improves function but is not lifesaving. So why won't we pay $10,000 for a lifesaving antibiotic?"

Emanuel says that we need to use prize money as an incentive. "What if the United States government — maybe in cooperation with the European Union and Japan — offered a $2 billion prize to the first five companies or academic centers that develop and get regulatory approval for a new class of antibiotics?" Because it costs at least $1 billion to develop a new drug, the prize money could provide a 100 percent return — even before sales. "From the government perspective, such a prize would be highly efficient: no payment for research that fizzles. Researchers win only with an approved product. Even if they generated just one new antibiotic class per year, the $2-billion-per-year payment would be a reasonable investment for a problem that costs the health care system $20 billion per year." Unless payers and governments are willing to provide favorable pricing for such a drug, the big companies are going to focus their R&D investments in areas like cancer, depression, and heart disease where the return-on-investments are much higher.
Star Wars Prequels

Star Wars-Style "Bionic Hand' Fitted To First Patients 72

Posted by samzenpus
from the that's-quite-a-grip dept.
schwit1 writes "Three Austrians have replaced injured hands with bionic ones that they can control using nerves and muscles transplanted into their arms from their legs. The three men are the first to undergo what doctors refer to as "bionic reconstruction," which includes a voluntary amputation, the transplantation of nerves and muscles and learning to use faint signals from them to command the hand. Previously, people with bionic hands have primarily controlled them with manual settings."
United Kingdom

Use Astrology To Save Britain's Health System, Says MP 315

Posted by Soulskill
from the gullible-like-a-capricorn dept.
An anonymous reader writes: An MP from the governing Conservative Party has said that using astrology could radically improve the performance of Britain's National Health Service and that its opponents are "racially prejudiced" and driven by "superstition, ignorance and prejudice." David Treddinick even claims he has "helped" fellow legislators through astrology.
Networking

UK Scientists Claim 1Tbps Data Speed Via Experimental 5G Technology 71

Posted by timothy
from the hefty-overages dept.
Mark.JUK writes A team of Scientists working at the University of Surrey in England claim to have achieved, via an experimental lab test, performance of 1Tbps (Terabit per second) over their candidate for a future 5G Mobile Broadband technology. Sadly the specifics of the test are somewhat unclear, although it's claimed that the performance was delivered by using 100MHz of radio spectrum bandwidth over a distance of 100 metres. The team, which forms part of the UK Government's 5G Innovation Centre, is supported by most of the country's major mobile operators as well as BT, Samsung, Fujitsu, Huawei, the BBC and various other big names in telecoms, media and mobile infrastructure. Apparently the plan is to take the technology outside of the lab for testing between 2016 and 2017, which would be followed by a public demo in early 2018. In the meantime 5G solutions are still being developed, with most in the early experimental stages, by various different teams around the world. Few anticipate a commercial deployment happening before 2020 and we're still a long way from even defining the necessary standard.
Encryption

NSA, GHCQ Implicated In SIM Encryption Hack 155

Posted by samzenpus
from the protect-ya-neck dept.
First time accepted submitter BlacKSacrificE writes Australian carriers are bracing for a mass recall after it was revealed that a Dutch SIM card manufacturer Gemalto was penetrated by the GCHQ and the NSA in an alleged theft of encryption keys, allowing unfettered access to voice and text communications. The incident is suspected to have happened in 2010 and 2011 and seems to be a result of social engineering against employees, and was revealed by yet another Snowden document. Telstra, Vodafone and Optus have all stated they are waiting for further information from Gemalto before deciding a course of action. Gemalto said in a press release that they "cannot at this early stage verify the findings of the publication" and are continuing internal investigations, but considering Gemalto provides around 2 billion SIM cards to some 450 carriers across the globe (all of which use the same GSM encryption standard) the impact and fallout for Gemalto, and the affected carriers, could be huge.
Games

"Exploding Kittens" Blows Up Kickstarter Records 104

Posted by timothy
from the someone's-gotta-be-in-the-lead dept.
The Register reports that the crowdfunded Exploding Kittens card game from Oatmeal (and Tesla museum fund-raiser) Matthew Inman, along with X-box veterans Elan Lee and Shane Small, has become the highest-grossing game project yet on Kickstarter. After an intensive fundraising campaign, the trio collected $8.78m from 219,382 backers to launch the game. This breaks the record for the largest ever Kickstarter game project, previously held by hackable Android gaming console Ouya. According to the blurb on Exploding Kittens' (now closed) Kickstarter page, players "take turns drawing cards until someone draws an exploding kitten and loses the game."
Earth

Stephen Hawking: Biggest Human Failing Is Aggression 531

Posted by Soulskill
from the other-than-reality-tv dept.
hypnosec writes: Aggression is the human failing that celebrity scientist Stephen Hawking would most like to correct, as it holds the potential to destroy human civilization. Hawking expressed his views while escorting Adaeze Uyanwah — London's Official Guest of Honor — around London's Science Museum. Uyanwah asked Hawking what human shortcomings he would alter, and which virtues he would enhance if this was possible. He replied, "The human failing I would most like to correct is aggression. It may have had survival advantage in caveman days, to get more food, territory, or partner with whom to reproduce, but now it threatens to destroy us all. A major nuclear war would be the end of civilization, and maybe the end of the human race."
United Kingdom

Scotland's Police Lose Data Because of Programmer's Error 108

Posted by samzenpus
from the who's-to-blame dept.
Anne Thwacks writes Assistant Chief Constable Wayne Mawson told the [Scottish Police Authority] committee that a total of 20,086 records had been lost because a computer programmer pressed the wrong button between May and July last year. He added: "....they had been properly put on the system by the officers as a result of stopping and searching people, but we lost the outcome of it as a computer programming error. We have been working really hard to recover that data. I have personally overseen the sending out of several thousand emails to officers and follow-up audits. We have been working hard with HMICS to oversee everything that we do, to make sure it is done properly and I am pleased to say that the vast majority of that data, those results, are now back on the system."
Government

Fedcoin Rising? 127

Posted by timothy
from the insert-quarter dept.
giulioprisco writes US economists are considering a government-sponsored digital currency. On February 3, David Andolfatto, Vice President of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, wrote a blog post based on a presentation he gave at the International Workshop on P2P Financial Systems 2015 [YouTube video]. The title of the blog post is "Fedcoin: On the Desirability of a Government Cryptocurrency."
Security

Jamie Oliver's Website Serving Malware 125

Posted by samzenpus
from the worse-than-nuggets dept.
jones_supa writes While routinely checking the latest exploited websites, Malwarebytes came across a strange infection pattern that seemed to start from the official site of British chef Jamie Oliver. Contrary to most web-borne exploits we see lately, this one was not the result of malicious advertising but rather carefully placed malicious JavaScript injection in the site itself. This, in turn, has been used to serve visitors a delicious meal consisting an exploit kit downloading the Dorkbot trojan. Malwarebytes has contacted the administrators immediately upon discovery of this infection.
United States

Government, Military and Private Sector Fighting Over Next-Gen Cyber-Warriors 68

Posted by samzenpus
from the best-people-for-the-job dept.
An anonymous reader writes Both the U.S. Army and Britain's intelligence agency GCHQ launched new initiatives to address their severe shortfalls in cyber-security specialists. The United States Army Reserve launched the "cyber private public partnership" (Cyber P3) on Capitol Hill, which will give reservists the opportunity to train as cyber-warriors in six U.S. universities, in partnership with 11 employers. In the UK GCHQ announced an "Insiders Summer School", where first and second-year computer science undergraduates will be paid to attend a ten week intensive cyber-training course, culminating in a live display of their online and hacking acumen. The Government Accountability Office estimates a shortfall of 40,000 cyber security operatives, and with multiple branches of government in several western countries fighting each other (and the private sector, and the criminal arena) for the patronage of computer science students, cyber-security is looking to be the safest career path an undergraduate could pursue.
United Kingdom

BBC Radio Drops WMA For MPEG-DASH 64

Posted by Soulskill
from the changing-horses dept.
gbjbaanb writes: The BBC has converted its legacy WMA (Windows Media Audio) streams to the "industry-wide and open source" MPEG-DASH format. While this has left some users of old devices unable to receive the broadcasts, the BBC claims the use of WMA was "prohibitively expensive to operate"when existing licence agreements ran out. The BBC says that they are working with "radio industry and manufacturers towards using just one standard."
Toys

1950s Toy That Included Actual Uranium Ore Goes On Display At Museum 280

Posted by Soulskill
from the potassium-iodide-sold-separately dept.
hypnosec writes: The Gilbert Atomic Energy Lab — dubbed the world's most dangerous toy — has gone on display at the Ulster Museum in Northern Ireland. The toy earned the title because it includes four types of uranium ore, three sources of radiation, and a Geiger counter that enables parents to measure just how contaminated their child have become. The Gilbert Atomic Energy Lab was only available between 1951 and 1952 and was the most elaborate atomic energy educational kit ever produced. The toy was one of the most costly toys of the time, retailing at $50 — equivalent to around $400 today.
Robotics

What To Do After Robots Take Your Job 389

Posted by timothy
from the have-them-train-you dept.
sarahnaomi writes In 2013, researchers Carl Frey and Michael Osborne of the Oxford Martin School dropped the bombshell that 47 percent of US jobs were at risk of computerisation. Since then, they've made similar predictions for the UK, where they say 35 percent of jobs are at high risk. So what will our future economy look like? "My predictions have enormously high variance," Osborne told me when I asked if he was optimistic. "I can imagine completely plausible, incredibly positive scenarios, but they're only about as probable as actually quite dystopian futures that I can imagine."

In a new report produced as part of a programme supported by Citi, he and Frey outline how increased innovation—read: automation—could lead to stagnation.
Crime

Kim Dotcom's Lawyer Plays Down Megaupload Worker's Guilty Plea 102

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-biug-deal dept.
mrspoonsi writes with the latest from Kim Dotcom. "Kim Dotcom's US lawyer has denied that a guilty plea by one of the Megaupload's former employees has major implications for his client's case. Andrus Nomm was sentenced to a year in jail after pleading guilty on Friday to conspiracy to commit copyright infringement while working for the now defunct file-sharing site. The US is currently trying to extradite Mr Dotcom, who founded Megaupload, from New Zealand to stand trial. Mr Dotcom denies wrongdoing. The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has alleged that Megaupload's staff had "operated websites that wilfully reproduced and distributed infringing copies of copyrighted works" over a period of five years, causing more than $400m (£260m) of harm to copyright owners. Nomm — a 36-year-old Estonian citizen — agreed to this damages estimate as part of his plea, according to a press release from the DoJ. He had been living in the Netherlands before he travelled to Virginia to make the deal with the US authorities. The DoJ added that Nomm had acknowledged that through his work as a computer programmer for Megaupload, he had become aware of copyright-infringing material being stored on its sites, including films and TV shows that had contained FBI anti-piracy warnings. It said he had also admitted to having downloaded copyright-infringing files himself. "This conviction is a significant step forward in the largest criminal copyright case in US history," said assistant attorney general Leslie Caldwell."
Mars

Mars One: Final 100 Candidates Selected 233

Posted by samzenpus
from the one-step-closer-to-the-end dept.
hypnosec writes "The Mars One project has picked the final 100 candidates for the next round of the selection process. Initially, 202,586 people applied and ultimately around 40 will undertake a one-way trip to Mars. “The large cut in candidates is an important step towards finding out who has the right stuff to go to Mars,” said Bas Lansdorp, Co-founder & CEO of Mars One. “These aspiring martians provide the world with a glimpse into who the modern day explorers will be.”
Earth

Oxford University Researchers List 12 Global Risks To Human Civilization 213

Posted by samzenpus
from the birds-and-snakes-an-airplane-and-lenny-bruce-is-not-afraid dept.
An anonymous reader writes The 12 greatest threats to civilization have been established by Oxford University scientists, with nuclear war and extreme climate change topping the list. Published by the Global Challenges Foundation, the report explores the 12 most likely ways civilization could end. "[This research] is about how a better understanding of the magnitude of the challenges can help the world to address the risks it faces, and can help to create a path towards more sustainable development," the study's authors said. "It is a scientific assessment about the possibility of oblivion, certainly, but even more it is a call for action based on the assumption that humanity is able to rise to challenges and turn them into opportunities."
United Kingdom

Online UK Courts Modelled On EBay To Settle Legal Disputes 40

Posted by samzenpus
from the login-and-litigate dept.
First time accepted submitter infolation writes The UK justice system should receive a radical overhaul for the digital age with the creation of an online court to expand access to justice and resolve claims of up to £25,000, the official body that oversees civil courts has recommended. The report says existing services — such as eBay's disagreement negotiation procedure and Cybersettle's blind-bidding operations — provide prototypes worth studying. Only the judge need be legally qualified. If necessary, telephone hearings could be built into the last stage. Rulings by the online judge would be as enforceable as any courtroom judgment.
Transportation

Apple Hiring Automotive Experts 138

Posted by Soulskill
from the cars-with-just-one-button dept.
An anonymous reader writes: A report at the Financial Times (paywalled) says Apple is on an aggressive hiring push to pick up automotive experts. Recent rumors suggest Apple is putting together a transportation research lab, and nobody outside the company is quite sure why. It's unlikely they's want to build an entire car themselves, but quite possible they see a big space for Apple technology within motor vehicles, much as Google seems to. They already have CarPlay, and it will doubtless grow, but we still don't have anything approaching a dominant platform for car software. Whatever they're working on, it looks like the competition for more robust computer technology in cars is heating up.