Tech Today w/ Ken May

Archive for May 13th, 2017

Microsoft Finally Bans SHA-1 Certificates In Its Browsers

Posted by kenmay on May - 13 - 2017

An anonymous reader quotes ZDNet: With this week’s monthly Patch Tuesday, Microsoft has also rolled out a new policy for Edge and Internet Explorer that prevents sites that use a SHA-1-signed HTTPS certificate from loading. The move brings Microsoft’s browsers in line with Chrome, which dropped support for the SHA-1 cryptographic hash function in January’s stable release of Chrome 56, and Firefox’s February cut-off… Apple dropped support for SHA-1 in March with macOS Sierra 10.12.4 and iOS 10.3… Once Tuesday’s updates are installed, Microsoft’s browsers will no longer load sites with SHA-1 signed certificates and will display an error warning highlighting a security problem with the site’s certificate. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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One of the more intriguing features Microsoft will include in this fall’s Windows 10 Creators Update is Timeline. As the name suggests, it’s a way for you to move backwards in time and see things you were working on in the past and resume what you were doing. Microsoft described it as a visual timeline of everything you were doing on your computer, and you can jump back into files, applications and websites where you left off. Introducing Timeline. Easily jump back in time to continue where you left off. #Windows10 #MSBuild pic.twitter.com/e3gxhXnp6W — Windows (@Windows) May 11, 2017 Timeline lives in the Windows app switcher. When you click it, you’ll see your active apps, but below that you’ll see what you were running earlier in the day. Clicking down on one of those things that you were using earlier will pop it open just as you were using it before. This works across multiple devices, as well — when you open up another Windows device where you’re signed in, you can resume the tasks you were using before. This will even work across other devices like an iPhone using the Cortana app. If you’re somewhere where you have Cortana, it’ll prompt you to continue working on whatever you were doing before. If you don’t have the specific app installed on your phone, it’ll help point you to the right app as well. At first glance, it sounds a little bit like the Time Machine backup feature that Apple has included in macOS for years now. But Time Machine is more of a file backup system that lets you go back and see earlier versions of files that you might want to restore. Microsoft’s Timeline covers applications and websites as well as just files, and it doesn’t require an external hard drive, as it’s not really a true backup system in the way Time Machine is. Indeed, Timeline appears more like Microsoft’s answer to Continuity, a feature Apple build into macOS and iOS that lets you pick up and resume work across whatever Apple device you’re using. Timeline is just one feature in the forthcoming Creators Update, which features a host of tools for using Microsoft’s software and services across devices. The “Microsoft Graph” set of APIs will let you pick up and continue work across multiple devices and will iOS and Android as well as Windows. It’ll also let you have a “universal clipboard” across your devices. Click here to catch up on the latest news from Microsoft Build 2017.

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Reddit Users Lose Real Money After Meme Currency Bot Dies

Posted by kenmay on May - 13 - 2017

Another day, another cryptocurrency clusterfuck. This week, the creator of the tipping bot “dogetipbot”—a service that let Reddit users “tip” each other in Dogecoin— announced that his company is broke, he’s broke, and the bot is broke because he spent all the coins, after he himself ran out of money. Read more…

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An anonymous reader writes: A confidential computer project designed to break military codes was accidentally made public by New York University engineers. An anonymous digital security researcher identified files related to the project while hunting for things on the internet that shouldn’t be, The Intercept reported. He used a program called Shodan, a search engine for internet-connected devices, to locate the project. It is the product of a joint initiative by NYU’s Institute for Mathematics and Advanced Supercomputing, headed by the world-renowned Chudnovsky brothers, David and Gregory, the Department of Defense, and IBM. Information on an exposed backup drive described the supercomputer, called — WindsorGreen — as a system capable of cracking passwords. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Bikers interested in going green have reason to rejoice today. Harley-Davidson has already shown off its prototype Livewire electric bike, and it’s promised to offer you a real one in the next five years . Today, the motorcycle manufacturer said it has plans to make 100 new motorcycles over the next 10 years, including an entire range of electric vehicles. Vice president Bill Davidson confirmed that electric bikes are Harley-Davidson’s future to Drive magazine while in Sydney to celebrate the brand’s 100th anniversary in Australia. While an electric Harley won’t have the signature engine boom that its combustion-powered bikes have, Davidson said that the company is working on a sound that he likens to a jet engine. “It is an amazing motorcycle, ” he told Drive . “While it doesn’t have a 45-degree, pushrod twin-cylinder engine it has the performance expected from a Harley Davidson even if it won’t sound the same, ” he said. So far, we’ve only seen the one Livewire concept model with a limited top speed and range, it’s likely thHarleyely-Davidson will create both sport and cruiser-style bikes to appeal to both the speed freaks and the touring bikers. Davidson noted that as automated cars become more ubiquitous, driving enthusiasts may turn to motorcycles to get their manual fix, telling Drive , “I think the more automatic cars [happen], motorcycling will become more appealing. I see it as a huge opportunity.” Via: Autoblog Source: Drive

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Trump Signs Executive Order On Cybersecurity

Posted by kenmay on May - 13 - 2017

President Trump on Thursday signed a long-delayed executive order on cybersecurity that “makes clear that agency heads will be held accountable for protecting their networks, and calls on government and industry to reduce the threat from automated attacks on the internet, ” reports The Washington Post. From the report: Picking up on themes advanced by the Obama administration, Trump’s order also requires agency heads to use Commerce Department guidelines to manage risk to their systems. It commissions reports to assess the country’s ability to withstand an attack on the electric grid and to spell out the strategic options for deterring adversaries in cyberspace. [Thomas Bossert, Trump’s homeland security adviser] said the order was not, however, prompted by Russia’s targeting of electoral systems last year. In fact, the order is silent on addressing the security of electoral systems or cyber-enabled operations to influence elections, which became a significant area of concern during last year’s presidential campaign. The Department of Homeland Security in January declared election systems “critical infrastructure.” The executive order also does not address offensive cyber operations, which are generally classified. This is an area in which the Trump administration is expected to be more forward-leaning than its predecessor. Nor does it spell out what type of cyberattack would constitute an “act of war” or what response the attack would invite. “We’re not going to draw a red line, ” Bossert said, adding that the White House does not “want to telegraph our punches.” The order places the defense secretary and the head of the intelligence community in charge of protecting “national security” systems that operate classified and military networks. But the secretary of homeland security will continue to be at the center of the national plan for protecting critical infrastructure, such as the electric grid and financial sector. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Germany was able to set a new national record for the last weekend of April with 85 percent of all electricity consumed in the country being produced from renewables — wind, solar, biomass, and hydroelectric power. Digital Trends reports: Aided by a seasonal combination of windy but sunny weather, during that weekend the majority of Germany’s coal-fired power stations weren’t even operating, while nuclear power stations (which the country plans to phase out by the year 2022) were massively reduced in output. To be clear, this is impressive even by Germany’s progressive standards. By comparison, in March just over 40 percent of all electricity consumed in the country came from renewable sources. However, while the end-of-April weekend was an aberration, the hope is that it won’t be for too much longer. According to Patrick Graichen of the country’s sustainability-focused Agora Energiewende Initiative, German renewable energy percentages in the mid-80s should be “completely normal” by the year 2030. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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The Ocean Cleanup , a Dutch foundation that aims to deal with plastics polluting our seas, says it’s finally ready to put its technology to work. In a statement released today, the organization has revealed that it plans to start cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in early 2018 using its newly redesigned cleaning system. That garbage patch is the biggest collection of debris in the ocean, a massive soup of visible and microscopic plastic particles poisoning marine life. The ship captain who discovered it in 2003 said he “never found a clear spot” in the week it took to cross the region. While Boyan Slat (the organization’s founder) originally envisioned trapping plastic trash with one large screen tethered to the ocean floor, the new design is smaller, sturdier and can save the group a ton of money. Instead of deploying a 60-mile stationary screen, they plan on releasing 50 smaller ones that measure 0.6 miles in length. They’ll weigh the floating screens down with anchor, so they can move with the currents like plastics do, albeit a bit slower in order to trap debris. Slat told FastCompany that he expected the original design to clean up half of the massive garbage patch in 10 years for $320 million. Now, he expects the new design to cut that timespan in half and to cost the group significantly less than that amount. Since he and his team still need to fund the project, though, they plan to use the plastic they collect to make items they can sell, such as sunglasses, chairs and car bumpers. Source: The Ocean Cleanup

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A one-of-a-kind Harry Potter prequel has been stolen, and author J.K. Rowling is eager to get it back in the right hands. Read more…

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Something unusual happens when a drop of molten glass falls into water. As it cools, it creates a crystal clear tadpole-like droplet that’s bulletproof on one end, but impossibly fragile on the other. We’ve known about these droplets for 400 years, but scientists have only recently figured out what makes them almost… Read more…

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