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  • Dan Bielefeld, Keynote Speaker Akademy 2018: Exposing Injustice Through the Use of Technology (KDE)


    Dan Bielefeld speaks at a Transitional Justice Working Group event.

    Dan Bielefeld is an activist that works for a South Korean NGO. Dan worked in the Washington, D.C. area training young activists in the areas of politics and journalism before going into researching atrocities committed by the North Korean regime. He is currently the Technical Director of the Transitional Justice Working Group and helps pinpoint the locations of mass burial and execution sites using mapping technologies.

    Dan will be delivering the opening keynote at this year's Akademy and he kindly agreed to talk to us about activism, Free Software, and the sobering things he deals with every day.

    Paul Brown: Hello Dan and thanks for agreeing to sit down with us for this interview.

    Dan Bielefeld: Thanks for the opportunity, Paul.

    Paul: You work for the the Transitional Justice Working Group, an organization that researches human rights violations of the North Korean regime, correct?

    Dan: Yes, we have a mapping project that tries to identify specific coordinates of sites with evidence related to human rights violations.

    Paul: And you were a web designer before joining the organization... I've got to ask: How does one make the transition from web designer to human rights activist?

    Dan: I was a web developer for several years before moving to Korea. When I moved here, I enrolled as a Korean language student and also spent most of my free time volunteering with North Korean human rights groups. So, unfortunately, that meant putting the tech stuff on hold for a while (except when groups wanted help with their websites).

    Paul: You are originally from the US, right?

    Dan: Yes, from Wisconsin.

    Paul: Was this a thing that preoccupied you before coming to Korea?

    Dan: I initially came on a vacation with no idea that I'd one day live and work here. In the lead-up to that trip, and especially after that trip, I sought out more information about Korea, which inevitably brought me repeatedly to the subject of North Korea.

    Most of the news about North Korea doesn't grab my attention (talking about whether to resume talking, for instance), but the situation of regular citizens really jumped out at me. For instance, it must've been in 2005 or so that I read the book The Aquariums of Pyongyang by a man who had literally grown up in a prison camp because of something his grandfather supposedly did. This just didn't seem fair to me. I had thought the gulags where only a thing of history, but I learned they still exist today.

    Paul: Wait... So people can inherit "crimes" in North Korea?

    Dan: They call it the "guilt-by-association" system. If your relative is guilty of a political crime (e.g., defected to the South during the Korean War), up to three generations may be punished.

    Paul: Wow. That is awful, but somehow I feel this is not the most awful thing I am going to hear today...

    Dan: For a long time I thought it was just North Korea, but I have since learned that this logic / punishment method is older than the division of the North and South. For a long time after the division, in the South it was hard to hold a government position if your relative was suspected of having fled to the North, for instance.

    Paul: What's your role in Transitional Justice Working Group?

    Dan: I'm the technical director, so I'm responsible for our computer systems and networks, which includes our digital security. I also manage the mapping project, and I am also building our mapping system.

    Paul: Digital security... I read that North Korea is becoming a powerhouse when it comes to electronic terrorism. How much credibility do these stories have? I mean, they seem to be technologically behind in nearly everything else.


    Dan explaining the work of the The Transitional Justice Working Group to conference attendees. Photo by David Weaver.

    Dan: This is a really interesting question and the answer is very important to my work, of course.

    Going up against great powers like the US, the North Korean leadership practices asymmetrical warfare. Guerilla warfare, terrorism, these are things that can have a big impact with relatively little resources against a stronger power.

    In digital security, offense tends to be easier than defense, so they naturally have gravitated online. Eike [Hein -- vice-president at KDE e.V.] and I went to a conference last year at which a journalist, Martyn Williams of NorthKoreaTech.org said they train thousands of hackers from an early age. The average person in North Korea doesn't have a lot of money and may not even have a computer, but those the regime identifies and trains will have used computers and received a great deal of training from an early age. They do this not only for cyber-warfare, but to earn money for the regime. For instance, the $81 million from the Bangladesh bank heist.

    Paul: Ah, yes! They did Wannacry too.

    Dan: Exactly.

    Paul: Do your systems get attacked?

    Dan: One of our staff members recently received a targeted phishing email that looked very much like a proper email from Google. The only thing not real was the actual URL it went to. Google sent her the warning about being targeted by state-sponsored attackers and recommended she join their Advanced Protection Program, which they launched last year for journalists, activists, political campaign teams, and other high-risk users.

    We of course do our best to monitor our systems, but the reality today is that you almost have to assume they're already in if they're motivated to do so.

    Paul: That is disturbing. So what do you do about that? What tools do you use to protect and monitor your systems?

    Dan: What I've learned over the last three years is that the hardest part of digital security is the human element. You can have the best software or the best system, but if the password is 123456 or is reused everywhere, you aren't really very secure.

    We try to make sure that, for instance, two-factor authentication is turned on for all online accounts that offer it -- for both work and personal accounts. You have to start with the low-hanging fruit, which is what the attackers do. No reason to burn a zero-day if the password is "password". Getting people to establish good digital hygiene habits is crucial. It's sort of like wearing a seatbelt -- using 2FA might take extra time every single time you do it, and 99.9% of the time, it's a waste of time, but you'll never really know in advance when you'll really need it, so it's best to just make it a habit and do it every time.

    Another thing, of course, is defense in layers: don't assume your firewall stopped them, etc.

    Paul: What about your infrastructure? Bringing things more to our terrain: Do you rely on Free Software or do you have a mix of Free and proprietary? Are there any tools in particular you find especially useful in your day-to-day?

    Dan: I personally love FOSS and use it as much as I can. Also, being at a small NGO with a very limited budget, it's not just the freedom I appreciate, but the price often almost makes it a necessity.

    Paul: But surely having access to the code makes it a bit more trustworthy than proprietary blackboxes. Or am I being too biased here?


    The Transitional Justice Working Group uses QGIS to locate sites of North Korean human rights violations.

    Dan: Not all of my colleagues have the same approach, but most of them use, for instance, LibreOffice everyday. For mapping, we use Postgres (with PostGIS) and QGIS, which are wonderful. QGIS is a massive project that so far we've only scratched the surface of. We also use Google Earth, which provides us with imagery of North Korea for our interviews (I realize GE is proprietary).

    I agree, though, that FOSS is more trustworthy -- not just for security, but privacy reasons. It doesn't phone home as much!

    Paul: What about your email server, firewalls, monitoring software, and so on. What is that? FLOSS or proprietary?

    Dan: Mostly FLOSS, but one exception, I must admit, is our email hosting. We do not have the resources to safely run our own email. A few years ago we selected a provider that was a partner with a FOSS project to run our own email service, but we ultimately switched to Google because that provider was slow to implement two-factor authentication.

    Paul: Getting back to North Korea's human rights violations, you are mapping burial sites and scenes of mass killings, and so on, is that right? How bad is it?

    Dan: The human right situation in North Korea is very disturbing and the sad thing is it's continued for 60+ years. The UN's Report of the Commission of Inquiry on human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea from 2014 is a must-read on the general human rights situation in North Korea. From the principal findings section (para. 24), "The commission finds that systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations have been and are being committed by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. In many instances, the violations found entailed crimes against humanity based on State policies."

    Their mandate looked at "violations of the right to food, the full range of violations associated with prison camps, torture and inhuman treatment, arbitrary arrest and detention, discrimination; in particular, in the systemic denial and violation of basic human rights and fundamental freedoms, violations of the freedom of expression, violations of the right to life, ... enforced disappearances, including in the form of abductions of nationals of other States," and so on.

    For our mapping project, we published our first report last year, based on interviews with 375 escapees from North Korea who have now settled in South Korea.

    They collectively told us the coordinates of 333 killing sites, usually the sites of public executions, which local residents, including school children, are encouraged and sometimes forced to watch. It should be noted that this number hasn't been consolidated to eliminate duplicates. Some people reported more than one site, others none at all, but on average, almost one site per person was reported.

    Paul: And how do you feel about the situation? I am guessing you have met North Korean refugees passing through your workplace and that you, like most of us, come from a very sheltered and even cushy Western society background. How do you feel when faced with such misery?


    Suspected killing sites per province.

    Dan: It's a good question and hard to put into words what I feel. I guess, more than anything, I find the North Korean regime so unfair. Those we met in Seoul have been through so much, but they also are the ones who overcame so many obstacles and now have landed on their feet somewhere. It's not easy for them, but usually the longer they're here, the better they end up doing.

    Continuing about the mapping project's first report findings, from those 375 interviewees, we were also told the coordinates of 47 "body sites" - we use the term "body sites" because it's more general than burial sites. Most of the sites were burial sites, but some were cremation sites or places where bodies had been dumped without being buried, or stored temporarily before being buried. This 47 figure IS consolidated / de-duped (from 52), unlike the killing sites number.

    Paul: You manually plot sites on maps, correct? You have to rely on witnesses remembering where they saw things happen...

    Dan: We manually plot them using Google Earth, yes. During the interview, our interviewer (who himself is originally from the North) looks together with the interviewee at Google Earth's satellite imagery. You have to get used to looking down at the world, which takes some getting used to for some people.

    Paul: Is there no technology that would help map these things? Some sort of... I don't know... thermal imaging from satellites?

    Dan: Our goal eventually would be to interview all 30,000-plus North Koreans who've resettled in South Korea. The more we interview, and the more data points we get, the more we can cross-reference testimonies and hopefully get a better picture of what happened at these locations. I went to the big FOSS4G (G=Geospatial) conference last year in Boston and also the Korean FOSS4G in Seoul, and got to meet people developing mapping systems on drones. The only problem right now with drones is that flying them over North Korea will probably be seen as an act of war.

    When we get enough data points, we could use machine learning to help identify more potential burial sites across all of North Korea. Something similar is being done in Mexico, for instance, where they predict burial sites of the victims of the drug wars.

    Paul: Interesting.

    Dan: Patrick Ball of the Human Rights Data Analysis Group is doing very, very good stuff.

    Paul: You mentioned that the crimes have been going on for 60 years now. What should other countries be doing to help stop the atrocities? Because it seems to me that, whatever they have been doing, hasn't worked that well...

    Dan: Very true, that. North Korea is very good at playing divide and conquer. The rivalry between the Soviets and the Chinese, for instance, allowed them to extract more aid or resources from them.

    They also try to negotiate one-on-one, they don't want to sit down to negotiate with the US and South Korea at the same time, only with one or the other, for instance. North Korea - South Korea and North Korea - US meetings are dramatically being planned right now, and it puts a lot of stress on the alliance between the US and South Korea. That's definitely a goal of North Korea's leadership. Again, divide and conquer.

    So one thing that's an absolute must is for South Korea to work very closely with other countries and for them to all hold to the same line. But there are domestic and external forces that are pulling all of the countries in other directions, of course.

    I would say to any government to always keep human rights on the agenda. This does raise the bar for negotiations, but it also indicates what's important. It also sends an important message to the people of North Korea, whom we’re trying to help.

    I also think strategies that increase the flow of information into, out of, and within North Korea are key. For instance, the BBC recently opened a Korea-language service for the whole peninsula including North Korea. And Google’s Project Loon and Facebook’s similar project with drones could theoretically bring the internet to millions.

    Paul: Do you think these much-trumpeted US - North Korean negotiations will happen? And if so, anything productive will come from them?

    Dan: I really don't know. Also, one can't talk about all this without mentioning that China is North Korea's enabler, so if you want to significantly change North Korea, you have to influence China.

    To more directly answer the question, two US presidents (one from each party) made big deals with the North Koreans but the deals fell apart. We’ll see.

    Paul: We've covered what governments can do, but what can private citizens do to help?

    Dan: One major thing is to help amplify the voices of North Korean refugees and defectors. There are a few groups in Seoul, for instance, that connect English speakers with North Korean defectors who want to learn and practice their English. There are small North Korean defector communities in cities like London, Washington DC, etc. I don't know about Berlin, but I wouldn't be surprised!

    That's at the individual-to-individual level, but also, those with expertise as software developers, could use their skills to empower North Korean refugee organizations and activists, as well as other North Korean human rights groups.

    Paul: Empower how? Give me a specific thing they can do.

    Dan: For instance, one time I invited an activist to the Korea KDE group. He and some KDE community leaders had a very interesting discussion about how to use Arduino or something similar to control a helium-filled balloon to better drop leaflets, USB sticks, etc. over North Korea.

    Paul: That is a thing? What do the Arduinos do, control some sort of rotor?

    Dan: I can't really get into specifics, but, speaking of USB sticks with foreign media and content on it, one group has a project to reuse your old USB sticks and SD cards for just that purpose.

    Paul: What do you put on the sticks and cards? "The Interview"? "Team America"?

    Dan: There are several groups doing this, which is good, since they all probably have different ideas of what North Koreans want to watch. I think South Korean TV shows, movies, and K-Pop are staples. I have heard Wikipedia also goes on to some sticks, as do interviews with North Koreans resettled in South Korea...

    Paul: Dan, thank you so much for your time.

    Dan: Thanks so much, Paul, I look forward to meeting you and the rest of the KDE gang this summer.

    Paul: I too look forward to seeing you in Vienna.

    Dan will be delivering the opening keynote at Akademy 2018 on the 11th of August. Come to Akademy and find out live how you too can fight injustice from the realms of Free Software.

    About Akademy

    For most of the year, KDE—one of the largest free and open software communities in the world—works on-line by email, IRC, forums and mailing lists. Akademy provides all KDE contributors the opportunity to meet in person to foster social bonds, work on concrete technology issues, consider new ideas, and reinforce the innovative, dynamic culture of KDE. Akademy brings together artists, designers, developers, translators, users, writers, sponsors and many other types of KDE contributors to celebrate the achievements of the past year and help determine the direction for the next year. Hands-on sessions offer the opportunity for intense work bringing those plans to reality. The KDE Community welcomes companies building on KDE technology, and those that are looking for opportunities.

    You can join us by registering for Akademy 2018. Registrations open in April. Please watch this space.

    For more information, please contact the Akademy Team.

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  • Plasma 5.14 Beta Updates Discover, KWin and Adds New Widgets (KDE)



    Plasma 5.14 Beta

    KDE Plasma 5.14 Beta

    Thursday, 13 September 2018. Today KDE launches the beta release of Plasma 5.14.

    Plasma is KDE's lightweight and full featured Linux desktop. For the last three months we have been adding features and fixing bugs and now invite you to test the beta pre-release of Plasma 5.14.

    A lot of work has gone into improving Discover, Plasma's software manager, and, among other things, we have added a Firmware Update feature and many subtle user interface improvements to give it a smoother feel. We have also rewritten many effects in our window manager KWin and improved it for slicker animations in your work day. Other improvements we have made include a new Display Configuration widget which is useful when giving presentations.

    Please test and send us bug reports and feedback. The final release is scheduled for three weeks' time.


    Browse the full Plasma 5.14 Beta changelog to find out about more tweaks and bug fixes featured in this release: Full Plasma 5.14 Beta changelog


    New in Plasma 5.14 Beta


    New Features



      Display Configuration Widget

      Display Configuration Widget

    • There's a new Display Configuration widget for screen management which is useful for presentations.
    • The Audio Volume widget now has a built in speaker test feature moved from Phonon settings.
    • The Network widget now works for SSH VPN tunnels again.
    • Switching primary monitor when plugging in or unplugging monitors is now smoother.
    • The lock screen now handles user-switching for better usability and security.
    • You can now import existing encrypted files from a Plasma Vault.
    • The Task Manager implements better compatibility with LibreOffice.




    • System Monitor Tools

      System Monitor Tools

    • The System Monitor now has a 'Tools' menu full of launchers to handy utilities.
    • The Kickoff application menu now switches tabs instantly on hover.




    • Old Panel Widget Edit Menu
         

      New Slicker Panel Widget Edit Menu

      Panel Widget Edit Menu Old and New Style

    • Widget and panels get consistent icons and other user interface improvements.




    • Logout Warning

      Logout Warning

    • Plasma now warns on logout when other users are logged in.
    • The Breeze widget theme has improved shadows.





    Plasma Discover

    Plasma Discover

    Plasma Discover

    Discover, our software and add-on installer, has more features and improves its look and feel.

    • Discover gained fwupd support, allowing it to upgrade your computer's firmware.
    • It gained support for Snap channels.
    • Discover can now display and sort apps by release date.
    • You can now see an app's package dependencies.
    • When Discover is asked to install a standalone Flatpak file but the Flatpak backend is not installed, it now offers to first install the backend for you.
    • Discover now tells you when a package update will replace some packages with other ones.
    • We have added numerous minor user interface improvements: update button are disabled while checking for updates, there is visual consistency between settings and the update pages, updates are sorted by completion percentage, we have improved the review section of the update notifier plasmoid, etc..
    • We have improved reliability and stability through a bunch of bug fixes.





    Improved KWin Glide Effect

    KWin and Wayland:

    • We fixed copy-paste between GTK and non-GTK apps on Wayland.
    • We fixed non-centered task switchers on Wayland.
    • We have improved pointer constraints.
    • There are two new interfaces, XdgShell and XdgOutput, for integrating more apps with the desktop.
    • We have considerably improved and polished KWin effects throughout, including completely rewriting the Dim Inactive effect, adding a new scale effect, rewriting the Glide effect, and more.


    Bugfixes

    We fixed many bugs, including:

    • Blurred backgrounds behind desktop context menus are no longer visually corrupted.
    • It's no longer possible to accidentally drag-and-drop task manager buttons into app windows.
  • Friday Squid Blogging: Bobtail Squid Photos (Schneier on Security)

    Pretty.

    As usual, you can also use this squid post to talk about the security stories in the news that I haven't covered.

  • Announcing the KDE community's Distribution Outreach Program (KDE)

    puzzle-cooperation-partnership
    The people who package and distribute our software to the world are crucial to our user's experience. In keeping with our original KDE vision, we want to improve the working relationships between distributions and KDE developers. Not only do we want to foster professional friendship, but we also want to help our software shine in each distribution.

    KDE is distro-agnostic. We do not prefer any distributions over others, and want our software to run everywhere. This extends beyond Linux; we want our software to work for our users on Windows, Mac, BSD and Android as well. Our focus is always on our users having the best experience possible.

    We are aware that the more closely we cooperate, the better the experience for all, including those who package our software, and we think that open and free communication is the best way to cooperate. KDE developers should be able to tell distributions what our software needs from a distribution in order to work best. And in turn, distributions should be able to tell us what makes our software easy to distribute. 

    To centralize this communication, we have created distributions@kde.org. We'd encourage everyone who is interested in improving the collaboration between KDE and distributions who distribute our software to join this list. The list is not for packagers only; KDE-distro-packagers is for packaging issues. We want to extend the communication to everyone interested. So whether you are part of KDE or part of a distribution team or both, please subscribe now at https://mail.kde.org/mailman/listinfo/distributions.

    Dot Categories:

  • GNOME Asia Summit 2019 to take place this weekend in Gresik, Indonesia (GNOME)
    GNOME Asia Summit 2019 will take place this weekend in Gresik, Indonesia. The main focus is primarily on the GNOME desktop, but also applications and platform development tools are covered. The summit brings together the GNOME community in Asia to provide a forum for users, developers, foundation leaders, governments and businesses to discuss the present […]
  • KDE Software Compilation 4.4.0 Introduces Netbook Interface, Window Tabbing and Authentication Framework (KDE)
    KDE Official News
    KDE Official News

    Today KDE announces the immediate availability of the KDE Software Compilation 4.4, "Caikaku", bringing an innovative collection of applications to Free Software users. Major new technologies have been introduced, including social networking and online collaboration features, a new netbook-oriented interface and infrastructural innovations such as the KAuth authentication framework. According to KDE's bug-tracking system, 7293 bugs have been fixed and 1433 new feature requests were implemented. The KDE community would like to thank everybody who has helped to make this release possible.

    Read the Official KDE SC 4.4.0 Announcement and the Visual Guide To KDE Software Compilation 4.4 for more details on the improvements in 4.4.

    read more

  • Three Weeks Until QtCon! (KDE)
    QtCon

    From 1 to 4 September 2016 the communities of KDE, Qt, FSFE, VideoLAN and KDAB join forces in Berlin for QtCon. The program consists of a mix of Qt trainings on day 1, unconference sessions, lightning talks and more than 150 in-depths talks on technical and community topics on days 2 to 4. Track topics range from KDE‘s Latest and Greatest, Testing and Continuous Integration and QtQuick to Free Software policies and politics, Community and Beyond code. Check out the program.

    The main conference days will take place at the bcc. The KDE community part of the conference with BoFs and hacking will happen at the Technical University of Berlin from 5 to 8 September.

    If you haven't registered yet, do it now!

    Attendance for QtCon (but not for the Training day) is generally free for community members if you register in advance. However, we're asking for a donation during the registration process that will help to cover parts of the organization costs (venue, catering which includes lunch and so on) not covered by our sponsors. There's a recommended amount, but any contribution will be welcome. Thank you for your support.

    Also, please be aware that you will have to pay a full fee of 200 Euro if you register on the day, so make sure to register through the website now.

    Looking forward to seeing you in Berlin!

    Dot Categories:

  • Lightweight Web Serving with thttpd (BSD DevCenter)
    tile imageApache httpd is full of features and abilities, but sometimes it's too heavy for simple sites or static pages. In some cases, a simpler, lighter web server is a good alternative (or addition). Julio M. Merino Vidal demonstrates how to install and configure the simple, fast, and powerful thttpd to serve simple static and generated content very quickly.
  • Presenting the Local Akademy Team 2010 (KDE)

    It is a while now since Akademy 2010, KDE's annual conference, came to a close. There were a huge number of blogs and articles about what happened and it is safe to say that the latest conference was a success. Many attendees noted how smoothly everything ran, thanks to the KDE organizers and the local team. The local team did an awesome job, not only during the conference itself but also during the many months of thought and hard work before Akademy. The Dot managed to catch up with some key players in the local team to get their take on the KDE invasion of Tampere and find out what it is like to organize such a large event.

    read more

  • Dirk Hohndel at Akademy (KDE)

    At Akademy in Tampere we interviewed Dirk Hohndel, Chief Linux and Open Source Technologist (we would call him 'dude') at Intel. He was present representing Intel and checking out what the KDE community is up to. As he sacrificed spending the 4th of July with his family for this, we were anxious to talk to him.

    read more

  • CYCLONE Hx9: NSA Exploit of the Day (Schneier on Security)

    Today's item from the NSA's Tailored Access Operations (TAO) group implant catalog:

    CYCLONE Hx9

    (S//SI//FVEY) EGSM (900MGz) macro-class Network-In-a-Box (NIB) system. Uses the existing Typhon GUI and supports the full Typhon feature base and applications.

    (S//SI//REL) Operational Restrictions exist for equipment deployment.

    (S//SI//REL) Features:

    • EGSM 900MHz
    • Macro-class (+43dBm)
    • 32+Km Range
    • Optional Battery Kits
    • Highly Mobile and Deployable
    • Integrated GPS, MS, & 802.11
    • Voice & High-speed Data
    • GSM Security & Encryption

      (S//SI//REL) Advanced Features:

      • GPS -- Supporting Typhon applications
      • GSM Handset Module -- Supports auto-configuration and remote command and control features.
      • 802.11 -- Supports high speed wireless LAN remote command and control

        (S//SI//REL) Enclosure:

        • 3.5"H x 8.5"W x 9"D
        • Approximately 8 lbs
        • Actively cooled for extreme environments

          (S//SI//REL) Cyclone Hx9 System Kit:

          • Cyclone Hx9 System
          • AC/DC power converter
          • Antenna to support MS, GPS, WIFI, & RF
          • LAN, RF, & USB cables
          • Pelican Case
          • (Field Kit only) Control Laptop and Accessories

            (S//SI//REL) Separately Priced Options:

            • 800 WH LiIon Battery Kit

              (S//SI//REL) Base Station Router Platform:

              • Overlay GSM cellular communications supporting up to 32 Cyclone Mx9 systems providing full mobility and utilizing a VoIP back-haul.
              • GPRS data service and associated application

                Unit Cost: $70K for two months

                Status: Just out of development, first production runs ongoing.

                Page, with graphics, is here. General information about TAO and the catalog is here.

                In the comments, feel free to discuss how the exploit works, how we might detect it, how it has probably been improved since the catalog entry in 2008, and so on.

  • GNOME to participate in Google Summer of Code 2016 (GNOME)
    We are happy to announce that GNOME has been accepted to participate in Google Summer of Code 2016. GNOME has participated in the program every year since its inception in 2005 and it’s a pleasure to be participating once again! Google Summer of Code allows students to work for the summer on a Free Software […]
  • EBSR: NSA Exploit of the Day (Schneier on Security)

    Today's item from the NSA's Tailored Access Operations (TAO) group implant catalog:

    EBSR

    (S//SI//REL) Multi-purpose, Pico class, tri-band active GSM base station with internal 802.11/GPS/handset capability.

    (S//SI//REL) Operational Restrictions exist for equipment deployment.

    (S//SI//REL) Features:

    • LxT Model: 900/1800/1900MHz
    • LxU Model: 850/1800/1900MHz
    • Pico-class (1Watt) Base station
    • Optional Battery Kits
    • Highly Mobile and Deployable
    • Integrated GPS, MS, & 802.11
    • Voice & High-speed Data
    • SMS Capability

      (S//SI//REL) Enclosure:

      • 1.9"H x 8.6"W x 6.3"D
      • Approximately 3 lbs
      • Actively cooled for extreme environments

        (S//SI//REL) EBSR System Kit:

        • EBSR System
        • AC/DC power converter
        • Antenna to support MS, GPS, WIFI, & RF
        • LAN, RF, & USB cables
        • Pelican Case
        • (Field Kit only) Control Laptop and Accessories

          (S//SI//REL) Separately Priced Options:

          • 90 WH LiIon Battery Kit

            (S//SI//REL) Base Station Router Platform:

            • Multiple BSR units can be interconnected to form a macro network using 802.3 and 802.11 back-haul.
            • Supports Landshark/Candygram capabilities.

              Status:

              Unit Cost: $40K

              Page, with graphics, is here. General information about TAO and the catalog is here.

              In the comments, feel free to discuss how the exploit works, how we might detect it, how it has probably been improved since the catalog entry in 2008, and so on.

  • Quantum computing for everyone, a programmer’s perspective (IBM Developerworks)
    About a week ago, IBM launched Quantum Experience. The cornerstone of this initiative is to make a real, working quantum computer available for anyone. This blog discusses Quantum Experience, gives the basics while trying to dwell as little as possible on Algebra or Physics and, at the end, we’ll build a simple algorithm and discuss the results.
  • KPresenter Invites Creative Minds to Template Contest (KDE)
    Applications

    Today, the KOffice team presents a contest to create great KPresenter slide templates, offering t-shirts for the winners and of course inclusion in the next KPresenter releases for all good submissions. Read on for information on the contest!

    read more

  • The Enermax Revolution SFX 650W PSU Review: Compact & Capable (AnandTech)

    High performance SFX PSUs are gaining ground on the market and Enermax joins the train with the Revolution SFX series. The Revolution SFX units are modular, 80Plus Gold certified and boasting impressive performance specifications that rival these of current ATX designs. The Revolution SFX units are available in just two variations, the ERV550SWT and the ERV650SWT, and we are having a close look at the more powerful 650W version in this review.

  • Red Hat Virtualization (RHV) environment on IBM Power Systems (IBM Developerworks)
    This article describes how to install and configure RHV components based on RHEL 7.3 LE, on an IBM POWER8 host.
  • GNOME to be present at FOSDEM 2018 (GNOME)
    GNOME will be present at FOSDEM, one of the largest gatherings for Free Software contributors and enthusiasts taking place in Brussels, Belgium January 3 & 4 February. GNOME is hosting a booth where attendees can test the latest GNOME version, get promotion material, talk to contributors and learn about how to get involved in the […]
  • Razer Launches The BlackWidow Tournament Edition Chroma Keyboard (AnandTech)

    Razer’s latest mechanical keyboard is a new Tournament edition of their BlackWidow keyboard (see our review of the pre-chroma version here). The BlackWidow is a fully mechanical keyboard with Razer’s Chroma backlighting, which offers fully configurable coloring using Razer’s Synapse software. The original BlackWidow is Razer’s best-selling keyboard.

    The BlackWidow Tournament Edition Chroma is for those that need to take their keyboard with them, and is an update to the non-Chroma model. It is a compact version, which drops the number pad on the right, and the macro keys on the left. It also features a detachable USB cable, as well as a custom hard carrying case to package the keyboard in to. The keyboard itself features mechanical switches designed by Razer, and the Chroma backlighting is the new feature to this model, and offers 16.8 million color options which can be defined into key zones, or different lighting effects just like it’s full sized sibling.

     

    For those that are interested in a RGB mechanical keyboard they can more easily tote about, Razer is selling the new model today on their website and are offering it as an exclusive through BestBuy in the USA and Canada.

    Source: Razer

  • GNOME files defense against patent troll (GNOME)
    Orinda, CA – 2019/10/21 A month ago, GNOME was hit by a patent troll for developing the Shotwell image management application. It’s the first time a free software project has been targeted in this way, but we worry it won’t be the last. Rothschild Patent Imaging, LLC offered to let us settle for a high five figure amount, for which they would drop […]
  • Thoughts on Our Possible Future Without Work (Slashdot)
    There's a new book called A World Without Work by economics scholar/former government policy adviser Daniel Susskind. The Guardian succinctly summarizes its prognostications for the future: It used to be argued that workers who lost their low-skilled jobs should retrain for more challenging roles, but what happens when the robots, or drones, or driverless cars, come for those as well? Predictions vary but up to half of jobs are at least partially vulnerable to AI, from truck-driving, retail and warehouse work to medicine, law and accountancy. That's why the former US treasury secretary Larry Summers confessed in 2013 that he used to think "the Luddites were wrong, and the believers in technology and technological progress were right. I'm not so completely certain now." That same year, the economist and Keynes biographer Robert Skidelsky wrote that fears of technological unemployment were not so much wrong as premature: "Sooner or later, we will run out of jobs." Yet Skidelsky, like Keynes, saw this as an opportunity. If the doomsayers are to be finally proven right, then why not the utopians, too...? The work ethic, [Susskind] says, is a modern religion that purports to be the only source of meaning and purpose. "What do you do for a living?" is for many people the first question they ask when meeting a stranger, and there is no entity more beloved of politicians than the "hard-working family". Yet faced with precarious, unfulfilling jobs and stagnant wages, many are losing faith in the gospel of work. In a 2015 YouGov survey, 37% of UK workers said their jobs made no meaningful contribution. Susskind wonders in the final pages "whether the academics and commentators who write fearfully about a world with less work are just mistakenly projecting the personal enjoyment they take from their jobs on to the experience of everyone else". That deserves to be more than an afterthought. The challenge of a world without work isn't just economic but political and psychological... [I]s relying on work to provide self-worth and social status an inevitable human truth or the relatively recent product of a puritan work ethic? Keynes regretted that the possibility of an "age of leisure and abundance" was freighted with dread: "For we have been trained too long to strive and not to enjoy." The state, Susskind concedes with ambivalence, will need to smooth the transition. Moving beyond the "Age of Labour" will require something like a universal basic income (he prefers a more selective conditional basic income), funded by taxes on capital to share the proceeds of technological prosperity. The available work will also need to be more evenly distributed. After decades of a 40-hour week, the recent Labour manifesto, influenced by Skidelsky, promised 32 hours by 2030. And that's the relatively easy part. Moving society's centre of gravity away from waged labour will require visionary "leisure policies" on every level, from urban planning to education, and a revolution in thinking. "We will be forced to consider what it really means to live a meaningful life," Susskind writes, implying that this is above his pay grade. The review concludes that "if AI really does to employment what previous technologies did not, radical change can't be postponed indefinitely. "It may well be utopia or bust."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Benchmarks Of LLVM Clang 6.0 Through Clang 10.0 Compilers (Phoronix)
    At the end of 2019 I ran some GCC 5 through GCC 10 compiler benchmarks while here are the similar tests conducted on the LLVM side for seeing how the Clang C/C++ compiler performance has evolved over the past few years...
  • GNOME acknowledge AWS Sponsorship (GNOME)
    The GNOME Foundation wants to recognize AWS for donating credits that have allowed us (GNOME) to taking advantage of the multitude of services Amazon provides. In particular, the GNOME Infrastructure utilizes AWS S3 service as a file store for the multitude of Docker images that are generated or updated daily. GNOME uses GitLab as its […]
  • Killer Robots Reconsidered: Could AI Weapons Actually Save Lives? (Slashdot)
    "On the surface, who could disagree with quashing the idea of supposed killer robots?" writes Slashdot reader Lasrick. "Dr. Larry Lewis, who spearheaded the first data-based approach to protecting civilians in conflict, wants us to look a bit closer." From the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: The proponents of a UN ban are in some respects raising a false alarm. I should know. As a senior advisor for the State Department on civilian protection in the Obama administration, I was a member of the US delegation in the UN deliberations on lethal autonomous weapons systems... Country representatives have met every year since 2014 to discuss the future possibility of autonomous systems that could use lethal force. And talk of killer robots aside, several nations have mentioned their interest in using artificial intelligence in weapons to better protect civilians. A so-called smart weapon -- say a ground-launched, sensor-fused munition -- could more precisely and efficiently target enemy fighters and deactivate itself if it does not detect the intended target, thereby reducing the risks inherent in more intensive attacks like a traditional air bombardment. I've worked for over a decade to help reduce civilian casualties in conflict, an effort sorely needed given the fact that most of those killed in war are civilians. I've looked, in great detail, at the possibility that automation in weapons systems could in fact protect civilians. Analyzing over 1,000 real-world incidents in which civilians were killed, I found that humans make mistakes (no surprise there) and that there are specific ways that AI could be used to help avoid them. There were two general kinds of mistakes: either military personnel missed indicators that civilians were present, or civilians were mistaken as combatants and attacked in that belief. Based on these patterns of harm from real world incidents, artificial intelligence could be used to help avert these mistakes... Artificial intelligence may make weapons systems and the future of war relatively less risky for civilians than it is today. It is time to talk about that possibility.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • KDE Devs Fix Several Wayland Bugs, Annoying KWin Issues Plus Easier To Toggle Night Color (Phoronix)
    KDE developers fixed a number of Wayland and KWin bugs this week along with a number of other annoying bugs as well as making several other noteworthy refinements to the growing KDE ecosystem...
  • Getting started with Neo4j on IBM Power Systems running Linux (IBM Developerworks)
    Neo4j on IBM Power Systems running Linux is an ideal solution for managing big data workloads. In this article, you can learn how to install Neo4j and begin using it with your application and data set today.
  • Transmageddon 1.0 Transcoder Supports VP9, DVD Ripping (Phoronix)
    We've been waiting for it and today the Transmageddon 1.0 release finally took place for the open-source audio/video transcoder application...
  • Equifax's Stock Rose More Than 50% In 2019 (Slashdot)
    "There's still time to file a claim for a share of the $425 million that Equifax agreed to cough up after hosing almost half of the country in its massive data breach a few years ago," writes a Pennyslvania newspaper columnist, pointing victims to equifaxbreachsettlement.com. "But unless you can prove you were an identity theft victim who lost money, or had to waste time cleaning up the mess, don't expect much of a payout. Victims are being hosed again." The breach affected an estimated 147 million Americans. Hackers exploited a known but unpatched website vulnerability and gained access to names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, driver's license numbers and credit card numbers. Facing lawsuits from federal and state consumer protection agencies, Equifax agreed to a settlement. It offered several ways for people to file claims, with a deadline of Jan. 22. The option that applies to most people is 10 years of free credit monitoring, or a cash payout of up to $125 for those who already have monitoring. But you aren't going to get anywhere near $125. The settlement called for a pot of only $31 million for those payouts. And based on the number of people who have applied, that's not enough to cover the maximum payment. You may not even get enough to buy a decent sandwich, according to Ted Frank, director of litigation for Hamilton Lincoln Law Institute, which includes the Center for Class Action Fairness. "That's down to $6 or $7 now," Frank told CNBC in December. "Maybe even less than that." Frank spoke after the federal judge overseeing the settlement awarded $77.5 million of the $425 million settlement fund to the attorneys who represented consumers against Equifax. His organization had opposed that award as being too much. Meanwhile, the Motley Fool notes that in 2019 Equifax's stock rose 50.5% -- after dropping 21% in 2018 and remaining "relatively flat" in 2017. "The credit-reporting company's stock rose thanks to a series of earnings beats and with the shadow of the big 2017 data breach receding further into the rear view...."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Microsoft's Azure Cloud Service Is Becoming More Popular Than Amazon's AWS At Big Companies (Slashdot)
    Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has been focusing the company on cloud services -- and CNBC reports on the results: A Goldman Sachs survey of technology executives at large companies last month showed that Microsoft remained the most popular supplier of public cloud services, even as Amazon leads the market overall in terms of revenue. Goldman Sachs based its latest findings on an information-technology spending survey of 100 IT executives at Global 2000 companies. It performs the survey each June and December. The latest survey showed that 56 executives are using Azure for cloud infrastructure, versus 48 using AWS. Across cloud infrastructure and platform as a service put together, Microsoft's lead has been increasing since December 2017, according to the analysts. Additionally, more respondents expect their companies to be using Azure than any other cloud in three years, the analysts wrote... The results lead the analysts to conclude that about 23% of IT workloads are now on public clouds, up from 19% in June, and they expect the percentage to reach 43% in three years. That leaves plenty of room for growth for other contenders, like Google, for example... About 91% of analysts surveyed by FactSet have the equivalent of buy ratings on Microsoft stock, including Goldman Sachs. In the original submission Slashdot reader soldersold wonders if it's pre-existing business relationships with Microsoft (plus a workforce that's already been trained and certified in their technologies). Another caveat: The survey only included large companies. It'd be interesting to hear from Slashdot readers working in the cloud about whether they're using AWS or Azure?

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Charter's Spectrum Kills Home Security Business, Refuses Refunds on Now-Worthless Equipment (Slashdot)
    Charter Comunications' Spectrum cable service includes a home security service, and -- whoops. No it doesn't. "Spectrum customers who are also users of the company's home security service are about a month away from being left with a pile of useless equipment that in many cases cost them hundreds of dollars," reports Gizmodo: On February 5, Spectrum will no longer support customers who've purchased its Spectrum Home Security equipment. None of the devices -- the cameras, motion sensors, smart thermostats, and in-home touchscreens -- can be paired with other existing services. In a few weeks, it'll all be worthless junk. While some of the devices may continue to function on their own, customers will soon no longer be able to access them using their mobile devices, which is sort of the whole point of owning a smart device... Spectrum is hoping to smooth things over with "exclusive offers" from other home security companies, including Ring, which is owned by Amazon... Spectrum apparently believes it can afford to aggravate these customers, some if not most of whom will have no choice but to continue paying Spectrum for internet service. Spectrum "inherited" the business after acquiring Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks in 2016, Gizmodo reports. "It's not offering refunds, though... The firmware on the devices doesn't allow switching to other services, either."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.