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Russians Seek Answers To Central Moscow GPS Anomaly ( 158

stevegee58 writes: Russians have been noticing that their GPS doesn't work in Moscow near the Kremlin. Everyone from taxi drivers to Pokemon Go players suddenly notice that they're transported 18 miles away at the airport when they near the Kremlin. While this may be an annoyance to the public it seems like a reasonable countermeasure to potential terrorist threats. Is it only a matter of time before other vulnerable sites such as the White House or the Capitol in Washington start doing the same? "A programmer for Russian internet firm Yandex, Grigory Bakunov, said Thursday his research showed a system for blocking GPS was located inside the Kremlin, the heavily guarded official residence of Russian President Vladimir Putin," reports Yahoo. "The first anomaly was recorded in June, according to Russian media reports, which have also suggested that the GPS interference comes and goes in a pattern. Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday he did not know why the malfunction was occurring and admitted experiencing the problem himself when driving recently. Peskov redirected questions to Russia's Federal Guards Service, which is responsible for protecting the Kremlin and senior Russian officials."

Macs End Up Costing 3 Times Less Than Windows PCs Because of Fewer Tech Support Expense, Says IBM's IT Guy ( 489

An anonymous reader shares a report on Yahoo (edited): Last year, Fletcher Previn became a cult figure of sorts in the world of enterprise IT. As IBM's VP of Workplace as a Service, Previn is the guy responsible for turning IBM (the company that invented the PC) into an Apple Mac house. Previn gave a great presentation at last year's Jamf tech conference where he said Macs were less expensive to support than Windows. Only 5% of IBM's Mac employees needed help desk support versus 40% of PC users. At that time, some 30,000 IBM employees were using Macs. Today 90,000 of them are, he said. And IBM ultimately plans to distribute 150,000 to 200,000 Macs to workers, meaning about half of IBM's approximately 370,000 employees will have Macs. Previn's team is responsible for all the company's PCs, not just the Macs. All told IBM's IT department supports about 604,000 laptops between employees and its 100,000+ contractors. Most of them are Windows machines -- 442,000 -- while 90,000 are Macs and 72,000 are Linux PCs. IBM is adding about 1,300 Macs a week, Previn said.

HackerOne CEO: Every Computer System is Subject To Vulnerabilities ( 49

An anonymous reader writes: Every computer system in the world is vulnerable to hackers and criminals, according to Marten Mickos, CEO of HackerOne. That's nothing new with major data breaches at Yahoo and the federal government. But not to worry, teams of ethical hackers could be an answer to the growing cybersecurity concerns. "There are far more ethical hackers, white hat hackers, in the world than criminals," Mickos told CNBC's "Squawk Alley" on Thursday. "So when you just invite the good guys to help you, you will always be safe. It's like a neighborhood watch. You're asking the good guys around you to help you see what's wrong with your system and help you fix it." Mickos has assembled 70,000 white hat hackers in his venture-backed company HackerOne. He explains the intent of white hat hackers is to hack for good and not for exploitation.

Yahoo Wants To Know If FBI Ordered Yahoo To Scan Emails ( 87

Reader Trailrunner7 writes: In an odd twist to an already odd story, Yahoo officials have asked the Director of National Intelligence to confirm whether the federal government ordered the company to scan users' emails for specific terms last year and if so, to declassify the order. The letter is the result of news reports earlier this month that detailed an order that the FBI allegedly served on Yahoo in 2015 in an apparent effort to find messages with a specific set of terms. The stories allege that Yahoo complied with the order and installed custom software to accomplish the task. Yahoo officials said at the time the Reuters story came out that there is no such scanning system on its network, but did not say that the scanning software never existed on the network at all. "Yahoo was mentioned specifically in these reports and we find ourselves unable to respond in detail. Your office, however, is well positioned to clarify this matter of public interest. Accordingly, we urge your office to consider the following actions to provide clarity on the matter: (i) confirm whether an order, as described in these media reports, was issued; (ii) declassify in whole or in part such order, if it exists; and (iii) make a sufficiently detailed public and contextual comment to clarify the alleged facts and circumstances," the letter says.

Google Reveals It Received Secret FBI Subpoena ( 61

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Intercept: Google revealed Wednesday it had been released from an FBI gag order that came with a secret demand for its customers' personal information. The FBI secret subpoena, known as a national security letter, does not require a court approval. Investigators simply need to clear a low internal bar demonstrating that the information is "relevant to an authorized investigation to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities." The national security letter issued to Google was mentioned without fanfare in Google's latest bi-annual transparency report, which includes information on government requests for data the company received from around the world in the first half of 2016. Google received the secret subpoena in first half of 2015, according to the report. An accompanying blog post titled "Building on Surveillance Reform," also identified new countries that made requests -- Algeria, Belarus, and Saudi Arabia among them -- and reveals that Google saw an increase in requests made under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. But Google in its short blog post did not publish the contents of the actual letter the way other companies, including Yahoo, have done in recent months. Asked about plans to release the national security letter, a Google spokesperson told The Intercept it will release it, though it wouldn't say when or in what form it will do so. Google hasn't previously published any national security letters, though it's possible gag orders for prior demands are still in place. It's also unclear why Google wouldn't immediately publish the document -- unless the gag is only partially lifted, or the company is involved in ongoing litigation to challenge the order, neither of which were cited as reasons for holding it back

Billionaire Tech Investors Support Divisive Plan To Ban San Francisco's Homeless Camps ( 270

An anonymous reader shares a USA Today report: The images are startling: Homeless men, women and children huddled on the streets of the San Francisco Bay Area -- often in the shadows of start-ups and high-tech behemoths generating billions of dollars in wealth. It's a stark contrast that has gripped the region, and prompted four county measures on the Nov. 8 ballot to generate $3 billion over the next 25 years for affordable housing and services. Under the most-ambitious measure, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee has proposed a 0.75% increase in the sales tax, to 9.5%, to raise $50 million a year. Propositions J and K would generate $1.2 billion for the next quarter-century via a simple majority. "There is clearly not enough affordable housing, or housing at any level," says Kevin Zwick, CEO of Housing Trust Silicon Valley.TechCrunch adds: The debate over what to do about San Francisco's homeless population has been building for awhile among the many startups and residents here. But now tech billionaires Ron Conway, Michael Moritz and well-to-do hedge fund manager William Oberndorf have each thrown about $50,000 behind a measure to rid San Francisco of its homeless tent cities. Other notable investors, including Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer's husband and venture capitalist Zach Bogue, have also donated. Bogue reportedly gave about $2,500 to support it.

Yahoo Dodges Questions On Hacking, Verizon Deal By Canceling Earnings Call ( 27

Verizon has been growing wary of their pending $4.83 billion acquisition deal of Yahoo ever since the technology company revealed a massive data breach affecting at least 500 million of its users. Today, Yahoo canceled their earnings call to avoid talking about the incident. Huffington Post reports: The internet company announced Friday that it will not hold the customary conference call after it released its third-quarter earnings next week "due to the pending transaction with Verizon." Verizon announced in July that it had agreed to buy Yahoo for $4.8 billion. The New York Post reported last week that Verizon wanted to cut $1 billion off the acquisition price due to the hack. Verizon denied the report. Yahoo's announcement reads in part: "Due to the pending transaction with Verizon, Yahoo will not have an earnings call or webcast for its third quarter results. Concurrently with release of its financial results, supplemental financial information will also be posted on the Company's Investor Relations website at
The Almighty Buck

2016 Has Been an Ugly Year For Tech Layoffs, and It's Going To Get Worse, Says Analyst ( 272

IEEE Spectrum writer Tekla Perry writes: Early this year, analyst Trip Chowdhry from Global Equities Research predicted that the tech world was going to see big layoffs in 2016 -- some 330,000 in all at major tech companies. At the time, these numbers seemed way over the top. Then IBM started slashing jobs in March -- and continued to wield the ax over and over as the year progressed. Yahoo began layoffs of some 15 percent of its employees in February. Intel announced in April that it would lay off 12,000 this year. So, was Chowdhry right? "Yes," he told me when I asked him this week. "The layoffs I predicted have been occurring." And worse, he says, these laid-off workers are never again going to find tech jobs: "They will always remain unemployed," at least in tech, he said. "Their skills will be obsolete." Some of these layoffs are due to a sea change in the industry, as it transforms to the world of mobile and cloud. But some are signs of a bubble about to pop. It's all going to get worse in 2017, he predicts, because that's when the tech bubble will burst. Chowdhry, someone who has never been reluctant to go out on a limb, is predicting that'll happen in March.

Yahoo Explains Why It Recently Disable Automatic Forwarding On Yahoo Mail; Reinstates the Feature ( 51

Earlier this month, Yahoo disabled the auto-forwarding feature from its Yahoo Mail email service, leaving people with little choice but to use Yahoo Mail client to check the emails their received on their Yahoo account. The company has now acknowledged the issue, explaining why it all happened, and most importantly, switched email forwarding feature on again. From a BusinessInsider report: "Why the pause? Over the past year, Yahoo Mail has been upgrading its platform. This has allowed us to bring a better search experience to Yahoo Mail, add multiple account support, and improve performance as we quickly scale this new system globally. The feature was temporarily disabled as part of this process," Michael Albers, VP of Yahoo Mail product management, wrote in a blog post. To turn on mail forwarding, go to Settings -- Account in Yahoo Mail and enter your forwarding address. After confirming that you, in fact, control that other address, automatic forwarding should be turned on.

Verizon Believes Yahoo Email Hacking 'Material,' Could Affect Deal ( 14

In the aftermath of disclosure of a mega-breach at Yahoo which affects over 500 million users, Verizon may be looking at a way out of Yahoo's $4.83 billion acquisition deal. From a Reuters report: The company has a "reasonable basis" to believe that Yahoo's massive data breach of at least 500 million email accounts represents a material impact that could allow Verizon to withdraw from its $4.83 billion deal to buy Yahoo. Silliman told reporters that the data breach could trigger a clause that could allow Verizon to withdraw from the deal. "I think we have a reasonable basis to believe right now that the impact is material and we're looking to Yahoo to demonstrate to us the full impact. If they believe that it's not then they'll need to show us that," he said.

Yahoo Patents Smart Billboard That Would Deliver Targeted Ads To Passersby or Motorists ( 131

An anonymous reader writes: Yahoo has filed a patent for advertising billboards outfitted with a wide array of sensors -- including drone-based cameras -- which would use facial and vehicle recognition, data brokers, cell-tower information and social network information to attempt to identify worthwhile advertising targets and aim personalized ads at them as they pass on foot or in cars. The scheme, which was submitted on October 6th, anticipates using the same kind of micro-auction processes that currently determine which ads users see in webpages and mobile apps. The implementation of public ad-targeting brings up some fascinating and chilling prospects, as users find that the ads which "bloom" around them betray much about their private lives. Yahoo provides an example via its patent application: "According to one example, a digital billboard adjacent a busy freeway might be instrumented with or located near traffic sensors that detect information about the context of the vehicles approaching the billboard, e.g., the number and average speed of the vehicles. Such information might be used in conjunction with information about the time of day and/or the day of the week (e.g., Monday morning rush hour) to select advertisements for display that would appeal to an expected demographic and to display the advertisements for durations that are commensurate with the level of traffic congestion." The patent application also mentions how it will gather required information from individuals: "Various types of data (e.g., cell tower data, mobile app location data, image data, etc.) can be used to identify specific individuals in an audience in position to view advertising content. Similarly, vehicle navigation/tracking data from vehicles equipped with such systems could be used to identify specific vehicles and/or vehicle owners. Demographic data (e.g., as obtained from a marketing or user database) for the audience can thus be determined for the purpose of, for example, determining whether and/or the degree to which the demographic profile of the audience corresponds to a target demographic."

Uber and Didi Face Regulatory Challenges Throughout China ( 15

hackingbear writes: Contrary to the central government's wish to boost employment from peer-to-peer economy, the Chinese cities of Shenzhen, Shanghai, and Beijing, who have invested big interest in traditional taxi services, are all looking to pass municipal regulations on ride-hailing businesses that could wipe out many of Uber and Didi's drivers and cars. "There will be a sharp drop in market supply of rideshare vehicles. In Shanghai, for instance, less than 20 percent of existing rideshare vehicles meet the proposed (wide) wheelbase requirements. There will be significant decrease in the number of rideshare drivers. Of over 410,000 activated driver accounts in Shanghai, only less than 10,000 are residents with Shanghai residency registration," said Didi on its social media outlets. In China, ridesharing drivers are usually migrant workers who have few other choices of employments, and rich urban residents are not interested in such jobs. Given the sore state of the economy in China, high unemployment would mean social unrest; the ridesharing economy may prevail at the end as it has become too big to be strictly regulated. Separately, the Chinese government opened an antitrust probe into Uber's sale of its China operations to Didi in September after the announcement of the merger.
The Internet

Yahoo Disables Automatic Email Forwarding Feature, Making It Difficult For Users To Leave ( 205

After it was revealed that Yahoo secretly scanned customer emails for U.S. intelligence agencies, now's as good of time as any to leave Yahoo Mail. However, the company has made it more difficult to leave by disabling the automatic email forwarding feature. Reuters reports: While those who have set up forwarding in the past are unaffected, users who would want to leave following recent hacking and surveillance revelations are struggling to shift to rival services, the AP reported on Monday. The company has been under scrutiny from investors after disclosing last month that at least 500 million user accounts were stolen from its network in 2014. The AP said that several users were leaving or had already left the service because of the negative headlines. The company's website says that the "automatic email forwarding" feature is under development and has been temporarily disabled.

As Contradictions Mount, Experts Call For Declassification of Yahoo's Email-Scanning Order ( 50

An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: Look at this contradiction in the government's story about their secret scans on hundreds of millions of Yahoo emails. "Intelligence officials told Reuters that all Yahoo had to do was modify existing systems for stopping child pornography from being sent through its email or filtering spam messages." But three former Yahoo employee have now said that actually the court-ordered search "was done by a module attached to the Linux kernel -- in other words, it was deeply buried near the core of the email server operating system, far below where mail sorting was handled... They said that made it hard to detect and also made it hard to figure out what the program was doing."
Slashdot reader Trailrunner7 writes: Now, experts at the EFF and Sen. Ron Wyden say that the order served on Yahoo should be made public according to the text of a law passed last year. The USA Freedom Act is meant to declassify certain kinds of government orders, and the EFF says the Yahoo order fits neatly into the terms of the law. "If the reports about the Yahoo order are accurate -- including requiring the company to custom build new software to accomplish the scanning -- it's hard to imagine a better candidate for declassification and disclosure under Section 402," Aaron Mackey of the EFF said.

A Spotify Ad Slipped Malware Onto PCs and Macs ( 96

An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes TechHive: Spotify's ads crossed from nuisance over to outright nasty this week, after the music service's advertising started serving up malware to users on Wednesday. The malware was able to automatically launch browser tabs on Windows and Mac PCs, according to complaints that surfaced online...the ads directed users' browsers to other malware-containing sites in the hopes that someone would be duped into downloading more malicious software.
It didn't last long -- Spotify quickly posted that they'd identified "the source of the problem." And they're not the only company dealing with hidden malware in ads, since the same thing has happened to both Google and Yahoo.

More Software Engineers Over Age 40 May Join a Lawsuit Against Google ( 162

More trouble for tech giants and how they are dealing with people. Google suffered a setback in an age discrimination suit this week. A judge ruled that other software engineers over age 40 who interviewed with the company but didn't get hired can step forward and join the lawsuit. From a Business Insider report: The suit was brought by two job applicants, both over the age of 40, who interviewed but weren't offered jobs. Specifically, the judge has approved turning the suit into a "collective action" meaning that people who "interviewed in person with Google for a software engineer, site reliability engineer, or systems engineer position when they were 40 years old or older, and received notice on or after August 28, 2014, that they were refused employment, will have an opportunity to join in the collective action against Google," the ruling says. While this isn't good news for Google, the ruling was strictly focused on whether the suit could be broadened to include more people. It doesn't mean that Google will ultimately lose the case. Google says it's fighting the suit.

Yahoo's Government Email Scanner Was Not A Modified Spam Filter, But a Secret Hacking Tool: Motherboard ( 45

The spy tool that the US government ordered Yahoo to install on its systems last year at the behest of the NSA or the FBI was a "poorly designed" and "buggy" piece of malware, according to two sources closely familiar with the matter, reports Motherboard. From the article: Last year, the US government served Yahoo with a secret order, asking the company to search within its users' emails for some targeted information, as first reported by Reuters this week. It's still unclear what was the information sought, but The New York Times, citing an anonymous official source, later reported that the government was looking for a specific digital "signature" of a "communications method used by a state-sponsored, foreign terrorist organization." Anonymous sources told The Times that the tool was nothing more than a modified version of Yahoo's existing scanning system, which searches all email for malware, spam and images of child pornography. But two sources familiar with the matter told Motherboard that this description is wrong, and that the tool was actually more like a "rootkit," a powerful type of malware that lives deep inside an infected system and gives hackers essentially unfettered access.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer Led Illegal Purge of Male Employees, Lawsuit Charges ( 566

A prominent local media executive fired from Yahoo last year has filed a lawsuit accusing CEO Marissa Mayer of leading a campaign to purge male employees. "Mayer encouraged and fostered the use of (an employee performance-rating system) to accommodate management's subjective biases and personal opinions, to the detriment of Yahoo's male employees," said the suit by Scott Ard filed this week in federal district court in San Jose. From a MercuryNews article: Ard, who worked for Yahoo for 3 and a half years until January 2015, is now editor-in-chief of the Silicon Valley Business Journal. His lawsuit also claims that Yahoo illegally fired large numbers of workers ousted under a performance-rating system imposed by Mayer. That allegation was not tied to gender. Yahoo spokeswoman Carolyn Clark said Yahoo couldn't comment on pending litigation, but she defended the company's performance-review process, which she said was guided by "fairness." "Our performance-review process was developed to allow employees at all levels of the company to receive meaningful, regular and actionable feedback from others," Clark said. "We believe this process allows our team to develop and do their best work. Our performance-review process also allows for high performers to engage in increasingly larger opportunities at our company, as well as for low performers to be transitioned out."

Verizon Wants $1 Billion Discount On Yahoo Deal After Reports of Hacking, Email Scanning ( 77

As if Yahoo's reputation couldn't get any worse after the company revealed a massive data breach that occurred in 2014, compromising at least 500 million accounts, Reuters issued a report claiming the company secretly scanned customer emails for U.S. intelligence agencies. These reports certainly don't look good to the companies looking to acquire Yahoo, like Verizon, which has been nearing a deal since late July. Now, it appears that Verizon wants a $1 billion discount off its $4.83 billion deal to buy Yahoo. New York Post reports: Verizon is pushing for a $1 billion discount off its pending $4.8 billion agreement to buy Yahoo, several sources told The Post exclusively. "In the last day we've heard that Tim [Armstong] is getting cold feet. He's pretty upset about the lack of disclosure and he's saying can we get out of this or can we reduce the price?" said a source familiar with Verizon's thinking. That might just be tough talk to get Yahoo to roll back the price. Verizon had been planning to couple Yahoo with its AOL unit to give it enough scale to be a third force to compete with Google and Facebook for digital ad dollars. The discount is being pushed because it feels Yahoo's value has been diminished, sources said. AOL/Yahoo will reach about 1 billion consumers if the deal closes in the first quarter, with a stated goal to reach 2 billion by 2020. AOL boss Tim Armstrong flew to the West Coast in the past few days to meet with Yahoo executives to hammer out a case for a price reduction, a source said. "Tim was out there this week laying the law down and Marissa is trying to protect shareholders," said a source close to talks. "Tim knows how to be fair, while Verizon is pushing him, he can bridge the gap." At the same time, the Yahoo deal team is pushing back hard against any attempts to negotiate the price down, sources said. Yahoo is telling Verizon that a deal is a deal and that telecom giant has no legal recourse to change the terms.

Yahoo Scan By US Fell Under Foreign Spy Law Expiring Next Year ( 50

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: A Yahoo operation in 2015 to scan the incoming email of its customers for specific information requested by the U.S. government was authorized under a foreign intelligence law, parts of which will expire next year, two U.S. government officials familiar with the matter said. The collection in question was specifically authorized by a warrant issued by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, said the two government sources, who requested anonymity to speak freely. Yahoo's request came under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the sources said. The two sources said the request was issued under a provision of the law known as Section 702, which will expire on Dec. 31, 2017, unless lawmakers act to renew it. The FISA Court warrant related specifically to Yahoo, but it is possible similar such orders have been issued to other telecom and internet companies, the sources said. Section 702 of the FISA governs a program exposed by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden known as Prism, which gathers messaging data from Alphabet Inc's Google, Facebook Inc, Microsoft Corp, Apple Inc and other major tech companies that involves a foreign target under surveillance. Another type of spying the authority allowed under Section 702 is known as "upstream," and allows the NSA to copy web traffic flowing along the internet backbone located inside the United States and search for certain terms associated with a target. "The NSA has said that it only targets individuals under Section 702 by searching for email addresses and similar identifiers," Senator Ron Wyden (OR-D) said in a statement to Reuters on Monday. "If that has changed, the executive branch has an obligation to notify the public."

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