Communications

Grandma's Phone, DSL, and the Copper They Share (hackaday.com) 159

szczys writes: DSL is high-speed Internet that uses the same twisted pair of copper wire that still works with your Grandmother's wall-mounted telephone. How is that possible? The short answer is that the telephone company is cheating. But the long answer delves into the work of Claude Shannon, who figured out how much data could be reliably transferred using a given medium. His work, combined with that of Harry Nyquist and Ralph Hartley (pioneers of channel capacity and the role noise plays in these systems), brings the Internet Age to many homes on an infrastructure that has been in use for more than a hundred years.
Networking

Japanese Researchers Achieve Record 56Gbps Wireless Transmission 33

Mickeycaskill writes: Fujitsu and the Tokyo Institute of Technology have achieved a wireless transmission of 56Gbps over a 10cm distance using millimeter-wave (mmWave) frequencies located between 30-300GHz. While cellular capacity is improved in some areas through the addition of new mobile masts and small cells, the fibre networks used to link these sites to the wider network is either absent or not feasible to deploy in urban locations or on difficult terrain. This makes the wireless capacity of mobile masts even more important. To achieve the speed, researchers developed custom chips and interface technology to boost capacity of wireless signals without significant data loss.

It is claimed that by pairing the technology developed with a high-output amplifier, the same effect can be achieved outdoors and could be commercialised for mobile operators by 2020.
Communications

Big Satellite Systems, Simulated On Your Desktop (sf.net) 44

An anonymous reader writes: Big systems of hundreds of satellites are under development to provide wireless Internet globally, with Richard Branson's OneWeb and Thales' LeoSat aiming at consumers and business markets respectively. It's like reliving the late 1990s, when Bill Gates' Teledesic and Motorola's Celestri were trying to do the same thing before merging their efforts and then giving up. And now you can simulate OneWeb and LeoSat for yourself, and compare them to older systems, in the new release of the vintage SaVi satellite simulation package, which was created in the 1990s during the first time around. Bear in mind Karl Marx's dictum of history: the first time is tragedy, and the second time is farce. Do these new systems stand a chance?
Google

Google Testing Project Loon: Concerns Are Without Factual Basis (thestack.com) 78

An anonymous reader writes: In a filing submitted to the FCC, Google has stated that while concerns for health and environmental risks posed by Project Loon testing were 'genuinely held,' 'there is no factual basis for them.' Google's filing attempts to address a wide range of complaints, from environmental concerns related to increased exposure to RF and microwave radiation, to concerns for loss of control and crashes of the balloons themselves. First, it states that its proposed testing poses no health or environmental risks, and is all well within the standards of experimentation that the FCC regularly approves. It also pledges to avoid interference with any other users of the proposed bandwidth, by collocating transmitters on shared platforms and sharing information kept current daily by an FCC-approved third party database manager.
Debian

Privacy-Centric Linux Distro Tails Hits 2.0 Release 42

A_Mythago writes: The Amnesic Incognito Live System (Tails) has finalized version 2.0, which has several improvements and updates to continue to meet their mission of preserving privacy, anonymity and circumventing censorship without a trace, using a Debian 8.0 custom live distro. More details about Edward Snowden's use of Tails and the distro itself can be found at a previous Slashdot story from 2014.
Networking

FreeBSD-Powered Firewall Distro OPNsense 16.1 Released (phoronix.com) 64

An anonymous reader writes: OPNsense, the open-source firewall project powered by FreeBSD that began as a fork of pfSense, is out with a new release. OPNsense 16.1 was developed over the past half-year and is a big update. OPNsense 16.1 has upgraded to using a FreeBSD 10.2 base, support for a high-speed IPS mode, a redesigned captive portal, firewall improvements, and a wide range of other work.
Facebook

Top Telcos Join Facebook Open Source Hardware Project (thestack.com) 18

An anonymous reader sends word about the latest telcos to join Facebook's Open Compute Project. The Stack reports: "A new wave of communications companies has joined Facebook's non-profit Open Compute Project (OCP), including AT&T, Verizon, Deutsche Telekom and South Korea's SK Telecom, as the movement seeks to share innovative hardware designs and drive down costs in the telecom arena. An OCP sub-section focused entirely on telecom requirements has been set up to look into servers and networking efficiency in the field. As one of the largest hardware buyers, telcos will provide a significant new market for the project, alongside its successful data center efforts.
Networking

CERN Engineers Have To Identify and Disconnect 9,000 Obsolete Cables (vice.com) 169

An anonymous reader writes: CERN, home to the Large Hadron Collider, has grand plans to update the world's largest particle accelerator complex in the next few years. But engineers have identified a barrier to the upgrade: there's no space for new cables in the injectors that accelerate particles before they enter the LHC. In the past, when parts of the accelerators have been upgraded or added to, engineers would often additionally replace the cables that connected them. In the process, they would leave in place the old cables that were no longer in use. Now, a heap of obsolete cables are blocking the way to install new ones needed for the accelerator’s next big upgrade. To make space, CERN engineers have set out to identify and remove the old, unused cables. All 9,000 of them.
Communications

The Telecommunications Ball Is Now In Cuba's Court 59

lpress writes: The FCC has dropped Cuba from its exclusion list (PDF), so there are now no restrictions on U.S. telecom company dealings with ETECSA, the Cuban government telecommunication monopoly, or any other Cuban organization. Last week the U.S. sent its second high-level telecommunication delegation to Cuba. The delegates were FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and other government officials plus representatives of Cisco, Comcast, and Ericsson. Some of the news: there are at least 6 proposals for an undersea cable between Havana and Florida; Cisco has proposed a Network Academy at Cuba's leading computer science university (Chinese infrastructure dominates today); 4G mobile connectivity was discussed and Google was conspicuously absent. The time for Cuba to act is now — while President Obama is still in office.
HP

Exposed HP LaserJet Printers Offer Anonymous FTP To the Public (csoonline.com) 74

itwbennett writes: In a blog post on Monday, security researcher Chris Vickery outlined the risks associated with networked HP LaserJet printers, which have been made available to the public by the organizations hosting them. 'There are a few free, open source pieces of software that can be used to upload and interact with HP printer hard drives over port 9100. After uploading to a printer, the file can be accessed by ... any web browser... It doesn't take much creativity to realize that even highly illegal materials could be stored this way,' Vickery wrote. CSO's Steve Ragan picked up the thread: A quick search on Shodan to confirm Vickery's findings returned thousands of results.
Hardware Hacking

OpenWrt Turns a $14 Card Reader Into the Smallest Wireless AP (livejournal.com) 42

An anonymous reader writes: The Zsun Wifi card reader is a tiny micro SD card reader with WiFi connectivity. While people managed to access the device's serial console a few months ago, the plan was to eventually run OpenWrt since it's based on the popular Atheros AR9331 WiSoC combined with 64MB RAM and 16MB SPI Flash. A team of Polish hackers have managed this feat, and have now posted instructions to install OpenWrt, as well as other documentation: for example, a description of the board's GPIOs.
Security

FortiGuard SSH Backdoor Found In More Fortinet Security Appliances (fortinet.com) 41

itwbennett writes: Earlier this month, an SSH backdoor was identified in Fortinet firewall appliances. Last week, the company said that the problem was not an intentional backdoor, but the result of a management feature which relied on an undocumented account with a hard-coded password. Now, it has found that the same issue also exists in some versions of FortiSwitch, FortiAnalyzer and FortiCache. They said, "In accordance with responsible disclosure, today we have issued a security advisory that provides a software update that eliminates this vulnerability in these products. This update also covers the legacy and end-of-life products listed above. We are actively working with customers and strongly recommend that all customers using [those] products update their systems with the highest priority."
Networking

Ask Slashdot: Affordable Hardware For Remote-Booting USB Devices? 81

phlawed writes: USB ports are everywhere. It is very convenient for powering low-power devices, and by using a run-of-the-mill phone charger you can easily get 10+ watts or so. In other words: everyone already has the generic power supply and power cable. No issue with voltage or polarity. Perfect for the hobbyist market.

Another ubiquitous power source (in the enterprise environment) is Power over Ethernet. Active PoE splitters for 12V output are available for ~6-7 USD and up on eBay. With PoE you get networking and power over the same wires, and booting your (possibly borked) PoE device is a matter of instructing the PoE source to cycle the power on that port. (Also, USB chargers with 12V input are available for less than 1 USD on eBay. They are likely all crap, though.)

I am looking for the combination of these two concepts in a compact, affordable, quality product. I found one product offering USB power from PoE. That product appears to have left out Ethernet and has a MSRP of 30 USD. Otherwise, I find PoE wall sockets for a MSRP of USD 100 or more. It appears excessive, given the cost figures of the pieces listed above.

So, if it does not already exist... anyone feel like running with this on your favorite crowdsourcing platform? Any experienced electronics people who can do a back-of-the-envelope calculation for cost of parts and assembly?
Hardware Hacking

Sys-Admin Dispenses Passwords With a Banana (thenewstack.io) 89

An anonymous reader writes: A network administrator in Denmark is requiring users to perform a finger press on a banana to receive their Wi-Fi passwords. "The banana is mounted and in production," he posted Thursday, sharing two pictures. The banana uses a special new circuit board from Makey Makey to form a connection between the banana and a cheap Raspberry Pi computer with a screen attached, according to one technology site. They note that it could also detect finger presses on a doughnut, an apple, or even Jell-o, and offer this quote from the sys-admin about his motivations. "It's fun... It'll make people smile. It beats a static WPA password in funnyness." And most importantly, "When people leave our office, they can't access our WI-Fi because there's no banana to touch." This guy deserves some kind of award, come July 29th.
Google

For Data Centers, Google Likes the Southeast (datacenterfrontier.com) 63

1sockchuck writes: With new construction projects underway in Alabama and Tennessee, Google will soon have 5 of its 8 company-built U.S. data center campuses located in the Southeast. The strategy is unique among major cloud players, who typically have server farms on each coast, plus one in the heartland. Is Google's focus on the Southeast a leading indicator of future data center development in the region? Or is it simply a case of a savvy player unearthing unique retrofit opportunities that may not work for other cloud builders?
The Internet

Civil Construction Wipes Out Internet Connectivity Across Africa (thestack.com) 61

An anonymous reader writes: Submarine cable operator Seacom has announced that civil construction activity was the cause of widespread outages which left large parts of Africa without internet connectivity yesterday. According to the firm, its Northern Trans-Egypt cable was damaged between Cairo and Alexandria, and the Southern Trans-Egypt route was also disrupted outside of Cairo. Adding to the interruption, Seacom's backup route, the West Africa Cable System (WACS), was also down at the same time, leaving most African countries without connectivity.
Bitcoin

Bank Consortium Successfully Tests Bitcoin Tech (thestack.com) 47

An anonymous reader writes: R3CEV, a startup dedicated to bringing blockchain technology to traditional finance, yesterday ran a successful test of transactions between 11 of the world's largest financial institutions. This represents a big step forward in bringing blockchain, the foundation for Bitcoin, to traditional banking. The test, which connected the banks on a private 'distributed ledger' using Microsoft's cloud-based Azure service, allowed participants to execute sample financial transactions instantly, globally, and without a centralized third-party clearing house. Participants included Barclays, BMO Financial, Credit Suisse, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, TD Bank, UBS, and UniCredit among other leading financial groups.
Networking

Benefits of a Homebrew Router (arstechnica.com) 247

An anonymous reader writes: Jim Salter has posted an article explaining why it can be a good idea to build your own router, and how he put his together. Quoting: "In the consumer world, routers mostly have itty-bitty little MIPS CPUs under the hood without a whole lot of RAM (to put it mildly). These routers largely differentiate themselves from one another based on the interface: How shiny is it? ... I wanted to go a different route. A lot of interesting and reasonably inexpensive little x86-64 fanless machines have started showing up on the market lately. The trick for building a router is finding one with multiple NICs." Once assembled, the homebrew router blows away even high-end SOHO routers for throughput and performance. "Given that nobody's offering any Internet connections over 200mbps in my area yet, that makes my inner crypto nerd dance with glee. I could literally encrypt every single byte of my Internet traffic, in either direction, without a performance penalty." Of course, it won't do wireless, but you can get separate wireless access points to handle that.
Networking

Advantech Industrial Serial-To-Internet Gateways Left Wide Open (rapid7.com) 35

itwbennett writes: Researchers from Rapid7 have discovered a vulnerability in serial-to-IP gateway devices from Advantech that would allow the Internet-connected industrial devices to be accessible to anyone, with no password. In October, the Taiwanese firm patched the firmware in some of these devices to remove a hard-coded SSH (Secure Shell) key that would have allowed unauthorized access by remote attackers. But it overlooked an even bigger problem: Any password will unlock the gateways, which are used to connect legacy serial devices to TCP/IP and cellular networks in industrial environments around the world.
Networking

Tracking Protection In Wi-Fi Networks Coming Soon To Linux 112

prisoninmate writes: Fedora contributor and NetworkManager developer Lubomir Rintel explains how your devices are being identified on a network by a unique number that most of us know by the name of MAC address. Same goes for mobile networking, as your laptop's or mobile phone's MAC address is, in most cases, broadcasted everywhere you go before you even attempt a connection to a wireless network. And that's a problem for your privacy. The solution? Randomization of the MAC address while scanning for Wi-Fi networks. Apple is already using this method on iOS 8 and later mobile operating systems, and so is Microsoft in Windows 10, so Linux users will ["likely"] get it in the upcoming NetworkManager 1.2 release.

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