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Foiled! 15 tricks to hold off the hackers

Malicious hackers have outsize reputations.

They are über-geniuses who can guess any password in seconds, hack any system, and cause widespread havoc across multiple, unrelated networks with a single keystroke—or so Hollywood says.

Those of us who fight hackers every day know the good guys are usually far smarter. Hackers simply have to be persistent.Each year, a few hackers do something truly new.

But for the most part, hackers repeat the tried and true.
It doesn’t take a supergenius to check for missing patches or craft a social engineering attack. Hacking by and large is tradework: Once you learn a few tricks and tools, the rest becomes routine.

The truly inspired work is that of security defenders, those who successfully hack the hackers.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

An AI wrote all of David Hasselhoff’s lines in this bizarre...

Ars Film Debut: It's No Game was written partly by an AI destined to replace screenwriters.

6 Times Hollywood Got Security Right

Hollywood has struggled to portray cybersecurity in a realistic and engaging way. Here are films and TV shows where it succeeded.

How Ghost in the Shell got its main characters wrong—and why...

Apparently, "you can't lead" with philosophy in Hollywood.

Get ready for The Matrix reboot

Could this be The One that makes the franchise awesome again?

Casey Neistat wants to make his own news network, with help...

Plans start with a YouTube-based news channel, and extend to new broadcast options.

PHP vs. Node.js: An epic battle for developer mind share

It’s a classic Hollywood plot: the battle between two old friends who went separate ways. Often the friction begins when one pal sparks an interest in what had always been the other pal’s unspoken domain. In the programming language version of this movie, it’s the introduction of Node.js that turns the buddy flick into a grudge match: PHP and JavaScript, two partners who once ruled the internet together but now duke it out for the mind share of developers. In the old days, the partnership was simple. JavaScript handled little details on the browser, while PHP managed all the server-side tasks between port 80 and MySQL. It was a happy union that continues to support many crucial parts of the internet. Between WordPress, Drupal, and Facebook, people can hardly go a minute on the web without running into PHP.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Apple sued over singer’s right of publicity in iPhone ad singing

No copyright, but can an artist's voice sustain a "right of publicity" case?

Doctor: my hometown has basically banned drones entirely, so I’m suing

Lee Hutchinsonreader comments 14 Share this story A doctor and drone enthusiast from Newton, Massachusetts has sued his hometown, arguing that a new local ordinance restricting drone flights, is unconstitutional. In the suit, Michael Singer v.

City of Newton
, which was filed in federal court in Massachusetts last Tuesday, the plaintiff argued that the city has effectively banned drones over the entire town.
In short, he argues that Newton, which sits about seven miles west of downtown Boston, doesn't have the authority to regulate drones in this manner and that his First and Fourth Amendment rights, among others, are being violated. The lawsuit gets to the heart of a question that continues to bubble up in the age of personal, inexpensive drones: to what degree can individuals and municipalities restrict drone use? The new Newton ordinance, which was passed in December 2016, specifically bans sUAS (small unmanned aerial systems), or drone flights over private property at or below 400 feet without the property owner’s permission.

The law also requires that all drones be registered with the city.

The ordinance further stipulates that drones cannot "conduct surveillance," or capture video, still imagery, audio recordings, anywhere that people on the ground would have a "reasonable expectation of privacy." As Singer, who is representing himself in the lawsuit, wrote: Defendant crafted the "below 400 feet" restriction as a precise counterpart to the [Federal Aviation Administration’s] "higher than 400 feet" restriction, such that the two rules, concurrently applied, would presumptively prohibit sUAS over most of the land area of Newton, Massachusetts. It's a tad bit late The best case-law on the issue dates back to 1946, long before inexpensive consumer drones were technically feasible.

That year, the Supreme Court ruled in a case known as United States v.

Causby
that a farmer in North Carolina could assert property rights up to 83 feet in the air. However, the court declined to impose a firm limit as to how high a property owner’s claims go into the sky. Another lawsuit, Boggs v. Merideth, which is currently progressing in federal court in Kentucky, aims to force a court to make the determination on trespassing. "Right now, no one knows where to draw the line, but it’s important for the courts to draw the line," James Mackler, a Tennessee attorney who is representing Boggs, told Ars. "That’s why these lawsuits are important, because otherwise we’re not going to get there.
If you climb over someone’s fence you know that’s trespassing." In an e-mail interview with Ars, Singer explained that he is an entrepreneur, who wishes to provide medical services via drone. He’s concerned that national airspace could "become hopelessly fragmented" if local laws like this are allowed to stand. "As a practical matter, the Ordinance will ban commercial UAV operations from our city," he wrote. "Consider an aerial video service hired to fly a simple, unobtrusive, circular route around a property for a real estate agent.

The service can try, as the ordinance now requires, to contact the city and every homeowner under the planned flight path.

But will they all agree to the flight? What if the pilot needs to deviate from the planned flight path for safety reasons? Now suppose you’re an entrepreneur like me who wants to provide medical services, or for that matter, any kind of rapid response. You have no time to seek permission.

The city has grounded your business before it can even spread its wings." Regulators Other cities have already tried to restrict how and where drones can fly. Nearly a year ago, lawmakers in West Hollywood, California voted to regulate drone flights after one crashed into a power line. Last year, a report from the National Conference of State Legislatures noted that in Nevada, property owners now have the right to sue for trespass for any drone operator who flies at a height of less than 250 feet over that property, and if the owner has warned the pilot once before.
Similarly, a law in Oregon also allows for civil suits, but the height requirement is less than 400 feet.

Ars is not aware of any civil complaints that have been filed in those states as a result. A similar 2016 report from the National League of Cities highlighted that at least seven states—Arizona, Delaware, Maryland, Michigan, Oregon, Rhode Island and Virginia—have passed laws that forbid municipalities in those states from regulating drones. Neither the FAA nor the Newton City Solicitor’s office responded to Ars’ request for comment. "In sum, I believe that airspace and aircraft should be regulated by our nation's aviation experts—the FAA—not by a band of small-town politicians," Singer concluded. The case has been assigned to US District Judge William G. Young, but no hearings have been scheduled yet.

Trump voters need fast broadband and net neutrality too, Tom Wheeler...

Enlarge / FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in his Washington, DC, office in February 2016.Jon Brodkin reader comments 13 Share this story Donald Trump's election has put Republicans in position to eliminate net neutrality rules and gut the Federal Communications Commission's authority to regulate broadband providers. But Trump voters need the consumer protections provided by the FCC as much or more than anyone, said Tom Wheeler, whose resignation as FCC chairman takes effect today. Wheeler, a Democrat appointed to the FCC by President Barack Obama, isn't happy about Trump's victory.

But in making the case for continued net neutrality rules and consumer protections, he pointed out that Trump voters in rural areas are vulnerable to the actions of major broadband providers. "The Trump administration campaigned that they are the voice of the forgotten," Wheeler said in a phone interview with Ars yesterday. "Well you know, the half-dozen major carriers [lobbying against FCC regulations] are hardly forgotten." The people who are forgotten are the "two-thirds of consumers in America who have one or fewer broadband choices," Wheeler said. "Where are those choices most limited? In the areas where Donald Trump got the strongest response, in rural areas, outside of major cities.
If indeed this is an administration that is speaking for those that feel disenfranchised, that representation has to start with saying, 'we need to make sure you have a fast, fair, and open Internet because otherwise you will not be able to connect to the 21st century.'" Wheeler brought up Trump voters again when asked about his own Internet service. Wheeler once noted that he is "a happy Comcast subscriber" but has generally avoided describing his own experiences as an Internet customer. "I’m a privileged consumer, you know? I live in the Georgetown section of Washington, DC.

The problem is what do you do about the non-privileged?" Wheeler said. "Let's talk about Trump voters.

The Trump voters are people who don’t have choices in Internet providers, the Trump voters are folks that don’t have the resources to pay the ever escalating bills for either cable or broadband." Wheeler: Gutting consumer protection is “tragic” But so far, signs point to the Trump-era FCC dismantling consumer protections opposed by Internet service providers. Republicans at the FCC and Congress say they intend to repeal or replace net neutrality rules.

Trump's transition team is also reportedly pushing a proposal to strip the Federal Communications Commission of its role in overseeing competition and consumer protection and to move those functions to the Federal Trade Commission.
Such a major change would require Congressional approval and thus may not happen, but it's worrying to Wheeler nonetheless. "I think it would be tragic," Wheeler said of taking away the FCC's competition and consumer protection authority. "This is tragic for the American consumer and the competitive marketplace." Upon my @FCC departure, I would like to sign off with 3 words of wisdom that guided me well: competition, competition, competition — Tom Wheeler (@TomWheelerFCC) January 20, 2017 The FTC is "a great agency" that does excellent work but has more narrow authority over communications providers than the FCC, Wheeler said.

The FTC "has enforcement authority, not rulemaking authority," he said. "They can say, 'we think this is an unfair and deceptive act or practice,' but they can't say, 'here’s how networks have to operate so they're fast, fair, and open.'" The only companies that would benefit from a weaker FCC and the repeal of net neutrality are the major ISPs, Wheeler said. (That would include Comcast, Charter, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile USA, and Sprint.) "We’re talking about a handful of companies who are lobbying for their own self-interest, and trying to say to the new commission, 'you need to listen to us, not to consumers, not to a competitive marketplace, not to those who could be affected by a network where we act as gatekeepers,'" Wheeler said. "And if they are successful, that will put in jeopardy tens of thousands of other companies that rely on open networks and millions of consumers." FTC could be powerless to stop ISP abuses As evidence of the dangers of shifting FCC functions to the FTC, Wheeler pointed to a recent US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decision that could dramatically limit the FTC's ability to regulate ISPs. The FTC is statutorily forbidden from regulating "common carriers," a designation the FCC has long applied to phone companies like AT&T and Verizon and more recently to all ISPs.

The FTC attempted to punish AT&T for throttling the Internet connections of customers with unlimited data plans before the FCC reclassified broadband as a common carrier service.

The FTC assumed it could punish AT&T for activity that at the time was unrelated to its common carrier services, but judges ruled in favor of AT&T, saying that the carrier is exempt from FTC oversight entirely. ISPs have been pushing the idea of moving FCC authority to the FTC for years, Wheeler said. "The surprise is that they continue with this mantra despite the fact that AT&T sued the FTC alleging that they did not have authority over common carriers," he said. The idea of removing FCC authority has also been pushed by the conservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI), "and lo and behold AEI comes in as the principal force in the Trump transition," Wheeler said.

Three of the advisors Trump appointed to make recommendations about the FCC transition are affiliated with the AEI, and one of them has proposed eliminating most of the FCC. ISPs, competition, and Google Fiber Under Wheeler, the FCC pushed for more competition in part by requiring further broadband construction as a condition for granting the AT&T/DirecTV and Charter/Time Warner Cable mergers.
In May 2015, Wheeler challenged cable companies to compete directly against each other. "I thought [calling for competition] was a conservative message," Wheeler said. "I thought Republicans would be responsive to the idea that a competitive economy is the basic bulwark of how the American economy works and that there ought to be competitive alternatives.
I went to the cable association and I said, 'hey, the costs of building are going down, you guys have to start thinking about competing with each other and not just having an exclusive franchise.'" Cable companies have continued avoiding each other's territory for the most part, but the emergence of Google Fiber was important for boosting competition, Wheeler said.

Though Google Fiber recently downsized, Wheeler said, "I’m thrilled at what Google Fiber did because every time they built something, wasn’t it amazing that the incumbent suddenly decided that it was time for them to build fast fiber as well?" The FCC tried to encourage municipal broadband by preempting state laws that limit the rights of cities and towns to offer Internet service, but it lost in court.

Going forward, Wheeler said local policies should encourage competition by providing easier access to poles, conduits, and rights-of-way. He'd also like to see new ISPs get more affordable access to video programming so they can offer competitive TV-and-Internet bundles. Chairman leaves unfinished business Wheeler regrets not finishing certain initiatives, such as a rulemaking that would have required pay-TV operators to make free TV applications, giving customers an option besides rented set-top boxes.

Also unfinished was a proposed $100 million fine of AT&T for allegedly misleading customers about unlimited data throttling, as well as price cap decreases for business data services. Wheeler told Ars that he didn't have enough Democratic votes to push final versions of those items through.

Though Democrats had a 3-2 majority led by Wheeler, Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel didn't support a final version of the set-top box rules because of concerns over how cable company applications would be licensed to third-party device makers. "We lost. We got outmuscled" on the cable app rules, Wheeler said. "I call it Cablewood: it’s cable and Hollywood in this incestuous relationship... they did an excellent job lobbying the issue both here at the commission and in the Congress." Regarding that $100 million fine, the FCC never was able to negotiate a settlement with AT&T.

Given that, the FCC could have issued a final ruling requiring AT&T to pay the fine, waited for AT&T to sue, and then let a court decide.

But Wheeler said he didn't have enough votes to support that approach, either. Wheeler also ran out of time while challenging major wireless carriers over paid data cap exemptions. Just last week, Wheeler accused AT&T and Verizon Wireless of violating net neutrality rules by letting their own video stream without counting against mobile data caps while charging other video providers for the same data cap exemptions (aka "zero-rating"). Wheeler's statement and a related report by FCC staff won't have any impact in the short term because the FCC's Republicans vowed to ignore the findings and they want to overturn the net neutrality rules altogether. Wheeler said the FCC's net neutrality rules didn't ban zero-rating entirely because free data services can benefit consumers. "Free is good, OK?" he said. "But the problem is that when a carrier decides to favor its non-carrier activity by placing that for free on the network, but anybody who competes with that non-carrier activity has to pay full freight, that is a blatantly anti-competitive activity." This is the sort of behavior that shows "why you have to have an open Internet," Wheeler said. "Unfortunately, we’re not going to be around to do something about it, so we thought it was important to make sure the record was clear." Wheeler won’t be a lobbyist again Wheeler, a former lobbyist for the cable and wireless phone industries, surprised some observers by pushing for more extensive regulation of ISPs during his 39 months as chairman.

As he leaves the FCC, he said, "I’m proud of what we accomplished.
I wish there were other circumstances but the American people had other thoughts about that and I respect that decision." When asked if he might become a lobbyist again, Wheeler answered with an emphatic "no." For now, Wheeler is joining the Aspen Institute as a senior fellow, becoming the sixth consecutive FCC chairman to do so upon leaving the commission.

The nonpartisan policy forum has become "the home for recovering chairmen," Wheeler joked. "What it allows you to do is, while you are chairman, not worry about what you do next, and therefore not have to lose focus, not have to start recusing yourself" from matters that might affect a potential future employer, Wheeler said. That'll be a temporary job for the 70-year-old Wheeler, who said he plans to "decompress" and spend more time with his wife. "I hope to write and teach and maybe do some consulting, but we’ll just see how things develop," he said. "I don't think I'm going to have a 'job' job, if you will."

Ransomware brutes smacked 1 in 3 NHS trusts last year

One was hit 19 times over 12 months A third (30 per cent) of NHS trusts have been infected by ransomware, with one – the Imperial College Healthcare in London – suffering 19 attacks in just 12 months. According to results of a Freedom of Information-based study, none of the trusts reported paying a ransom or informed law enforcement.

All preferred to deal with the attacks internally. Additionally, of the 15 trusts who were able to provide further information about the origin of the attacks, 87 per cent reported that the attacker gained access through a networked NHS device, with 80 per cent targeted by a phishing scheme. The figures are based on a Freedom of Information request from cyber security firm SentinelOne, which received responses from 94 of the 129 trusts quizzed. Ransomware, which encrypts data on compromised devices before demanding a ransom to regain access, has affected a number of hospitals worldwide over recent months.

For example, the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Angeles paid cybercriminals £12,000 last February after being infected by Locky, one of the most prolific ransomware variants. Tony Rowan, chief security consultant at SentinelOne, commented: "Public sector organisations make a soft target for fraudsters because budget and resource shortages frequently leave hospitals short-changed when it comes to security basics like regular software patching." ® Sponsored: Flash enters the mainstream.
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