More than a million Britons have signed an online petition begging the government to prevent American President Donald Trump from making a state visit to the United Kingdom.
The petition, which the Monday-muddled hacks at The Register are guessing is the most popular to have ever graced the site, broke 1,000,000 signatures shortly before 10am this morning.
It states: “Donald Trump should be allowed to enter the UK in his capacity as head of the US Government, but he should not be invited to make an official State Visit because it would cause embarrassment to Her Majesty the Queen.”
A top Austrian hotel coughed up thousands in ransom to cybercrooks, who hacked its computer system and locked guests out of their rooms until the money was paid.
The Romantik Seehotel Jaegerwirt went public with its problems as a warning to other hotels. This is the second time the four-star destination has been hit.
The latest attack left the Jaegerwirt unable to program room keycards – thus preventing arriving guests from getting into their rooms – and also infiltrated the reservation and cash desk systems. The extortionists demanded €1,500 (US$1,605), according to reports.
Among the more interesting denizens of GitHub are the many projects devoted to rediscovering and preserving the history of computing – such as a system called the Incompatible Timesharing System for the legendary Digital PDP-10.
If Wikipedia is correct, ITS (its name a play on an earlier MIT project, the Compatible Time Sharing System) was created because of dissatisfaction with Multics.
There’s at least one ITS characteristic that stands out, to Vulture South’s eye: the creation of virtual devices running as user processes, which supported using the then-ARPAnet for distributed computing, with connected machines able to treat each others’ storage as if it were local.
The GitHub PDP-10 ITS project says MIT shut down its ITS in 1990, but “enthusiasts continue to operate ITS systems to this day”.
“This is the closest to midnight the Doomsday Clock has ever been in the lifetime of almost everyone in this room. It’s been 64 years since it was closer,” said Lawrence Krauss, a theoretical physicist at Arizona State University and the chair of the Bulletin’s board of sponsors. The clock has edged closer to midnight only once before: In 1953, it was moved to two minutes to midnight after the United States and the Soviet Union both tested hydrogen bombs, kicking off the mid-century nuclear-arms race. It remained at two minutes to midnight for another seven years.
At a press conference two blocks from the White House on Thursday, the scientists of the Bulletin specified that they were taking the action out of specific concern for the words of two men: Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. Not in the 70-year history of the clock had rhetoric from so few individuals so affected the movement of the clock, they said.
“Nuclear rhetoric is now loose and destabilizing. We are more than ever impressed that words matter, words count,” Thomas Pickering, a longtime American diplomat who served as George H. W. Bush’s ambassador to the United Nations and Bill Clinton’s ambassador to Russia, said at the press conference.
Up to 20 countries have indicated support for the Netherlands’ plan to set up an international safe abortion fund to plug a $600m funding gap caused by Donald Trump’s reinstatement of the “global gag rule”, the Dutch international development minister, Lilianne Ploumen, said on Wednesday.
Ploumen took soundings from a number of her colleagues around the world on Tuesday evening after the Netherlands said it would act to mitigate the impact on hundreds of charities around the world.
The “global gag rule”, also known as the Mexico City policy, was reimposed by Trump on Monday, and bans US federal funding for NGOs in foreign countries that provide abortion services or abortion advocacy.
President Donald Trump called on Wednesday for “a major investigation” into voter fraud, following through with baseless claims he has made since November’s election alleging millions of illegal votes during the general election without citing any evidence.The probe into voter fraud may not be limited to the 2016 presidential election and could center on large states where Trump didn’t necessarily compete, according to White House press secretary Sean Spicer, who added, without citing evidence, that problems with illegal voting occurred in bigger states.“I will be asking for a major investigation into VOTER FRAUD, including those registered to vote in two states, those who are illegal and … even, those registered to vote who are dead (and many for a long time). Depending on results, we will strengthen up voting procedures!” Trump wrote in two consecutive tweets.
The US military shot down President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration team’s bid to have tanks and missile launchers rolling down his parade route Friday, according to a report.
“They were legit thinking Red Square/North Korea-style parade,” an inauguration team source told the Huffington Post, referring to grandiose military parades in Moscow and Pyongyang that are often considered displays of bellicosity.
Trump has made showing off US military might part of his platform.
The military “may come marching down Pennsylvania Avenue,” Trump told the Washington Post this week. “That military may be flying over New York City and Washington, DC, for parades. I mean, we’re going to be showing our military.”
French translators have had a tough time translating Donald Trump’s speeches into the language of Molière.
Translator Bérengère Viennot believes the new US President is difficult to translate because “he seems not to know quite where he’s going,” she told the LA Review of Books.
The first step for a translator is to be able to “get into someone’s mind,” explained Mrs Viennot, but it’s not always easy to understand the point Mr Trump is trying to make.
“Trump’s vocabulary is limited, his syntax is broken; he repeats the same phrases over and over, forcing the translator to follow suit,” she said.
“It’s as if he had thematic clouds in his head that he would pick from with no need of a logical thread to link them.”
This creates difficulties for the French, whose language is, in general, more structured and logical, and translators are left with a dilemma over whether to prioritise meaning over style.
From his pick of nominees for posts in his cabinet to his belligerent use of Twitter (our conversation was a day before he traded barbs with Congressman John Lewis) to his unwillingness to cut ties with his business to avoid conflicts of interest, they see the same person they’ve always seen—the consummate classroom troublemaker; a vain, insecure bully; and an anti-institutional schemer, as adept at “gaming the system” as he is unashamed. As they look ahead to his inauguration speech in two days, and to his administration beyond, they feel confident predicting that he will run the country much as he has run his company. For himself.
“He’s not going to be that concerned with the actual competent administration of the government,” D’Antonio said. “It’s going to be what he seems to be gaining or losing in public esteem. So almost like a monarch. The figurehead who rallies people and gets credit for things.”
Last month, I wrote about Amazon’s new concept for a grocery store, Amazon Go, where you would be able to walk in, pick up what you want, and leave, as computers and sensors track you and your phone’s every move. I argued that it, combined with increasingly algorithmic social media platforms, apps that can apparate anything you desire at the push of a button, and chatbots that depersonalize the experience of dealing with companies points to a bleak future where we won’t have to talk to or hear from anyone we don’t want to.
But sitting frustrated late last night along with 200 other humans at Las Vegas’s McCarran Airport after our flight to New York was canceled, I realized a worse future may already be here: We, in the US at least, live in a world where we often can’t talk to humans, even when we want to.
Even behind bars, Bernie Madoff is still the master of monopolizing people’s money. The business he ran from prison, however, is vastly more legit than the multibillion-dollar con that landed him a 150-year sentence.
According to Steve Fishman, the host of Ponzi Supernova, a new Audible audio series focused on the disgraced former money manager, Madoff found much success steering his talents to the prison supply of Swiss Miss.
“At one point, he cornered the hot chocolate market,” Fishman told MarketWatch. “He bought up every package of Swiss Miss from the commissary and sold it for a profit in the prison yard. … He made it so that, if you wanted any, you had to go through Bernie.”
They liked him so much they made him judge of the puppy kicking contest.
Google has published an Infrastructure Security Design Overview that explains how it secures the cloud it uses for its own operations and for public cloud services.
Revealed last Friday, the document outlines six layers of security and reveals some interesting factoids about the Alphabet subsidiary’s operations, none more so than the disclosure that: “We also design custom chips, including a hardware security chip that is currently being deployed on both servers and peripherals. These chips allow us to securely identify and authenticate legitimate Google devices at the hardware level.”
That silicon works alongside cryptographic signatures employed “over low-level components like the BIOS, bootloader, kernel, and base operating system image.”
“Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.”
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
A local Connecticut Republican politician has been arrested for allegedly grabbing a female in the groin area without her consent.
According to the Wesport Daily Voice, Greenwich Representative Town Meeting board member Christopher von Keyserling was charged with fourth-degree sexual assault and was released on $2,500 bond. He’s due to appear in court on January 25.
In December of 2016, Keyserling engaged in a “political argument” with a woman and allegedly declared, “I love this new world. I no longer have to be politically correct.” As the woman turned to walk away, Keyserling reportedly reach from behind and placed his hand between her legs and pinched on or near her genital area.
On cross-examination, I established that:
– He was not present at the time of the alleged violation.
– He has no photographic evidence of the driver.
– There were no witnesses.
– He does not know where Adam MacLeod was at the time of the alleged violation.
And so on. I then asked the question one is taught never to ask on cross—the last one. “So, you signed an affidavit under the pains and penalties of perjury alleging probable cause to believe that Adam MacLeod committed a violation of traffic laws without any evidence that was so?”
Without hesitating he answered, “Yes.” This surprised both of us. It also surprised the judge, who looked up from his desk for the first time. A police officer had just testified under oath that he perjured himself in service to a city government and a mysterious, far-away corporation whose officers probably earn many times his salary.
The city then rested its case. I renewed my motion to dismiss, which the judge immediately granted.
At war with the US intelligence agencies he compares to Nazi Germany, damning them for leaking an unverified dossier on his alleged links with Moscow, Donald Trump’s bizarre press conference left the world agog. What if the Russians have so well destabilised America that no sooner inaugurated, their chosen president has to be impeached? Don’t count on it. Ordinary rules don’t apply to the man who is the raw spirit of the lawless wild west.
And Trump’s nature was never a secret. He has never dissembled, he can’t dissemble. Why would he when he worships every aspect of himself, each hair on his head, each word he tweets? Greater self-love hath no man.
Apart from his lost good looks, he is unchanged since I interviewed him for the Guardian back in 1988. He was 41 and in Britain to plug his book, The Art of the Deal. Then as now, he was a petrifying megalomaniac with no grip on reality, or not a reality shared by others. At the time I described his “demonic power and energy waiting to spring”. Now look how far he has sprung.
I wrote about his aura of “glitz, greed, glamour and an ambition so colossal that it will probably not rest until he rules the world – which one day he just might”. And next week, God help us, he will.
Here is that 1988 article.
For some on Wall Street, one executive told Newsweek, they have created a new strategy betting on “Trump slumps”, in which traders watch television news reports for a corporate development that might anger Donald Trump and then, in hopes he will tweet mean things, enter short-term trades where they would profit if the company’s stock price falls.
All of these extraordinary events are the result of government by Twitter, a bizarre new world where an internet communications platform combines with an impulsive president-elect to create global chaos in investment markets, overseas halls of power and domestic agencies. In the morning or afternoon or the middle of night, Trump delivers 140-character proclamations on policy and piffle in arbitrary flashes of power and spite that shoot across the virtual firmament without warning. Discussions and debates about their content in the news media and on the internet follow for a few hours – Why can’t flag burning be banned? Why is a new Air Force One being built? – before moving on, unresolved, to another Trump topic d’Tweet.
“These devices don’t recognize your specific voice and so then we have the situations where you have a guest staying or you have a child who is talking and accidentally order something because the device isn’t aware that it’s a child versus a parent,” said Stephen Cobb, senior security researcher for ESET North America.
Which is exactly what happened today during CW6 in the morning when Jim Patton and Lynda Martin were talking about a child who accidentally bought a dollhouse and four pounds of cookies
“I love the little girl, saying ‘Alexa ordered me a dollhouse,’” said Patton.
As soon as Patton said that, viewers all over San Diego started complaining their echo devices had tried to order doll houses. It’s a common problem experts say can be avoided.
I think I’ve avoided it just fine…
US president-elect Donald Trump’s freshly minted cyber-tsar Rudy Giuliani runs a website with a content management system years out of date and potentially utterly hackable.
Former New York City mayor and Donald loyalist Giuliani was today unveiled by Trump’s transition team as the future president’s cybersecurity adviser – meaning Giuliani will play a crucial role in the defense of America’s computer infrastructure.
Giulianisecurity.com, the website for the ex-mayor’s eponymous infosec consultancy firm, is powered by a roughly five-year-old build of Joomla! that is packed with vulnerabilities. Some of those bugs can be potentially exploited by miscreants using basic SQL injection techniques to compromise the server.
This seemingly insecure system also has a surprising number of network ports open – from MySQL and anonymous LDAP to a very out-of-date OpenSSH 4.7 that was released in 2007.
“It speaks volumes,” Tentler told The Register, referring to Giuliani’s computer security credentials, or lack of, and fitness for the top post.
“Seventy-year-old luddite autocrats who often brag about not using technology are somehow put in charge of technology: it’s like setting our country on fire and giving every extranational hacker a roman candle – or, rather, not setting on fire, but dousing in gasoline.”
“We are trying to stop racist websites by stopping their ad dollars,” reads the Sleeping Giants profile. “Many companies don’t even know it’s happening. It’s time to tell them.” They say it’s not about taking away Breitbart’s right to free speech, but about giving consumers and advertisers control over where their money goes. The group’s Twitter page offers a simple set of instructions to anyone who wants to follow suit. Step 1: “Go to Breitbart and take a screenshot of an ad next to some of their content.” Step 2: “Tweet the screenshot to the company with a polite, nonoffensive note.”
The activists’ back-and-forth with companies reveals a fog of confusion surrounding online advertising. Many organizations have no idea that their ads may end up next to content they find abhorrent.
You might blame this — in part — on robots. According to the research firm eMarketer, American companies are now spending more than $22 billion a year on “programmatic ads,” the kind of advertising that is bought with little human oversight. Joshua Zeitz, vice president of corporate communications at the ad-tech company AppNexus, explained to me how this automated ad buying works. When you click on a link, “in less than a second, a call goes out, and algorithms and automated software bid in an auction to put their advertisement up on your page,” he said. “So maybe the Nabisco algorithm wants to put an ad up there; so does Macy’s and so does Honda.” The algorithm that places the highest bid wins the chance to appear on your screen.
Programmatic ads can also follow individuals around the internet, based on their browsing history, as happened with Mr. Philips. A single targeted ad could cost just a fraction of a penny, but the pennies add up to a billion-dollar industry.
The amendments proposed by the Democrats and defeated by the Republicans were designed to put the majority on the wrong side of the most popular aspects of the law. It was really all they had left, but, in six months, when all those people who voted for the president-elect secure in the knowledge that he’d never do what he promised to do, discover that their pre-existing conditions suddenly matter again, the odds are that they will blame themselves or The Government or liberals or Barack Obama and nobody will remember how the mugging happened, and the rain will wash away the chalk outline of the victim from the sidewalk. And the death of the Affordable Care Act will become a cold case, an unsolved mystery mouldering in a pauper’s grave.
It’s heartwarming to know that the president-elect is so concerned about how fake news can destroy real people. If only he had the self-awareness and self-discipline to live by his own words.
A Dutch vegan who applied for a Swiss passport has had her application rejected because the locals found her too annoying.
McDonald’s hooks us by appealing to our bodies’ craving for certain flavors; Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter hook us by delivering what psychologists call “variable rewards.” Messages, photos, and “likes” appear on no set schedule, so we check for them compulsively, never sure when we’ll receive that dopamine-activating prize. (Delivering rewards at random has been proved to quickly and strongly reinforce behavior.) Checking that Facebook friend request will take only a few seconds, we reason, though research shows that when interrupted, people take an average of 25 minutes to return to their original task.
A Facebook spokesperson told me the social network focuses on maximizing the quality of the experience—not the time its users spend on the site—and surveys its users daily to gauge success. In response to this feedback, Facebook recently tweaked its News Feed algorithm to punish clickbait—stories with sensationalist headlines designed to attract readers. (LinkedIn and Instagram declined requests for comment. Twitter did not reply to multiple queries.)
Even so, a niche group of consultants has emerged to teach companies how to make their services irresistible. One such guru is Nir Eyal, the author of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, who has lectured or consulted for firms such as LinkedIn and Instagram. A blog post he wrote touting the value of variable rewards is titled “Want to Hook Your Users? Drive Them Crazy.” While asserting that companies are morally obligated to help those genuinely addicted to their services, Eyal contends that social media merely satisfies our appetite for entertainment in the same way TV or novels do, and that the latest technology tends to get vilified simply because it’s new, but eventually people find balance.
Smart electricity meters, of which there are more than 100m installed around the world, are frequently “dangerously insecure”, a security expert has said.
The lack of security in the smart utilities raises the prospect of a single line of malicious code cutting power to a home or even causing a catastrophic overload leading to exploding meters or house fires, according to Netanel Rubin, co-founder of the security firm Vaultra.
“Reclaim your home,” Rubin told a conference of hackers and security experts, “or someone else will.”