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Earth

Climate Change Will Stir 'Unimaginable' Refugee Crisis, Says Military (theguardian.com) 327

Citing military experts, The Guardian is reporting that if the rise in global warming is held under 2 degrees Celsius, there still could be a major humanitarian crisis to sort out. From the report: Climate change is set to cause a refugee crisis of "unimaginable scale," according to senior military figures, who warn that global warming is the greatest security threat of the 21st century and that mass migration will become the "new normal." The generals said the impacts of climate change were already factors in the conflicts driving a current crisis of migration into Europe, having been linked to the Arab Spring, the war in Syria and the Boko Haram terrorist insurgency. Military leaders have long warned that global warming could multiply and accelerate security threats around the world by provoking conflicts and migration. They are now warning that immediate action is required. "Climate change is the greatest security threat of the 21st century," said Maj Gen Munir Muniruzzaman, chairman of the Global Military Advisory Council on climate change and a former military adviser to the president of Bangladesh. He said one metre of sea level rise will flood 20% of his nation. "Weâ(TM)re going to see refugee problems on an unimaginable scale, potentially above 30 million people."
United Kingdom

48 Organizations Now Have Access To Every Brit's Browsing Hstory (zerohedge.com) 251

schwit1 quotes a report from Zero Hedge on Great Britain's newly-enacted "snoopers' charter": For those who missed our original reports, here is the new law in a nutshell: it requires telecom companies to keep records of all users' web activity for a year, creating databases of personal information that the firms worry could be vulnerable to leaks and hackers. Civil liberties groups say the law establishes mass surveillance of British citizens, following innocent internet users from the office to the living room and the bedroom. They are right. Which government agencies have access to the internet history of any British citizen? Here is the answer courtesy of blogger Chris Yuo, who has compiled the list
Click through to the comments to read the entire list.
Government

Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn Had 'Forbidden' Internet Connection At the Pentagon, Says Report (businessinsider.com) 314

According to The New Yorker, President-elect Donald Trump's national security advisor, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, installed a secret internet connection into his office at the Pentagon even though it was "forbidden." Business Insider reports: The network connection was among other rules the former chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency broke because he found them to be "stupid," including sometimes sneaking out of a CIA station in Iraq without authorization and sharing classified information with NATO allies without approval, according to The New Yorker. While Flynn -- who was recently tapped to be President-elect Donald Trump's national security adviser -- apparently had his own private connection, the New Yorker profile doesn't provide a clear picture as to why. It's likely his Pentagon office already had an authorized, unclassified connection to the internet called NIPRNet, which is separate from classified networks such as SIPRNet and JWICS, a former DIA analyst told Business Insider. All of those networks are monitored in some way. A separate, unknown network would not have had the same -- or possibly any -- level of monitoring. If it were implemented in secret, it would also not have the same protections from hackers that a known connection would have. It's also possible that Flynn's Pentagon office was known as a SCIF, or sensitive compartmented information facility -- a secure facility in which intelligence can be discussed without fear of it being compromised. Network connections in SCIFs are closely controlled, and outside electronics such as mobile phones are not allowed inside.
Power

US Navy's High-Tech Ship Loses Power In Panama Canal (usni.org) 143

bsharma writes: USS Zumwalt suffered engine failure and collided with lock walls while transiting the Panama Canal. The ship lost propulsion in its port shaft during the transit and the crew saw water intrusion in two of the four bearings that connect to Zumwalt's port and starboard Advanced Induction Motors (AIMs) to the drive shafts, a defense official told USNI News on Tuesday. The AIMs are the massive electrical motors that are driven by the ship's gas turbines and, in turn, electrically power the ship's systems and drive the shafts. USNI News reports: "Zumwalt entered the Panama Canal following a successful port visit to Columbia last week -- a visit which the service intended to skip if it thought the engineering problems would continue, several defense officials told USNI News. The ship's engineering plant -- the Integrated Power System (IPS) -- is arguably the most complex and unique in the service. Installing and testing the system -- that provides ship additional power margins to power high energy weapons and sensors -- was a primary reason the ship delivered months late to the service. Before the casualty, the ship was set to arrive in San Diego by the end of the year and start weapon system activation period before joining the fleet as an operational warship sometime in 2018. (Zumwalt is the first of three in the $22-billion class.)
Programming

American Computer Scientists Grace Hopper, Margaret Hamilton Receive Presidential Medals of Freedom (fedscoop.com) 126

An anonymous reader quotes a report from FedScoop: President Barack Obama awarded Presidential Medals of Freedom to two storied women in tech -- one posthumously to Grace Hopper, known as the "first lady of software," and one to programmer Margaret Hamilton. Hopper worked on the Harvard Mark I computer, and invented the first compiler. "At age 37 and a full 15 pounds below military guidelines, the gutsy and colorful Grace joined the Navy and was sent to work on one of the first computers, Harvard's Mark 1," Obama said at the ceremony Tuesday. "She saw beyond the boundaries of the possible and invented the first compiler, which allowed programs to be written in regular language and then translated for computers to understand." Hopper followed her mother into mathematics, and earned a doctoral degree from Yale, Obama said. She retired from the Navy as a rear admiral. "From cell phones to Cyber Command, we can thank Grace Hopper for opening programming up to millions more people, helping to usher in the Information Age and profoundly shaping our digital world," Obama said. Hamilton led the team that created the onboard flight software for NASA's Apollo command modules and lunar modules, according to a White House release. "At this time software engineering wasn't even a field yet," Obama noted at the ceremony. "There were no textbooks to follow, so as Margaret says, 'there was no choice but to be pioneers.'" He added: "Luckily for us, Margaret never stopped pioneering. And she symbolizes that generation of unsung women who helped send humankind into space."
Transportation

Flying Robot Ambulance Finally Takes Its First Flight (popsci.com) 43

What weighs 2,400 pounds, flies 100 miles per hour, and doesn't haven't a pilot? An anonymous reader writes: This week Popular Science remembers a 2007 article which discovered "an amazing machine of the future, almost like a flying car, that seemed plausible but just out of reach" -- and reports that it's now finally performed "a full, autonomous flight on a preplanned route." Designed to provide unmanned emergency evacuations, it's been described as "a hovercar-like aircraft" flown with a built-in AI-controlled flight system.

Tuesday's route was two minutes long, and "According to Urban Aeronautics, the vehicle's Flight Control System made the decision to land too early." But what's significant is there's no human pilot. "Decisions by the flight controls are checked by the craft's flight management system, like a pilot overseen by a captain...all informed by an array of sensors, including 'two laser altimeters, a radar altimeter, inertial sensors, and an electro-optic payload camera.'"

The test brings the giant unmanned vehicle one step closer to its ultimate goal of becoming "a robot that can fly inside cities, weaving between buildings and hovering above any dangers on the ground below."
Government

James Clapper, US Director of National Intelligence, Has Resigned (thehill.com) 170

Reader cold fjord writes: James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, resigned last night. Clapper spent 30 years in military intelligence at the National Imagery and Mapping Agency. He was selected to be the Director of National Intelligence in 2010 with responsibility for 17 US intelligence agencies. Clapper was DNI during the monumental Snowden leaks of documents from NSA and various allied intelligence agencies as well as the release by WikiLeaks of the documents provided by (at the time) Private Bradley Manning. Besides the Snowden and Manning leaks, Clapper was engulfed in controversy over testimony to Congress in which he is alleged to have lied about NSA data collection in responding to a question from Senator Wyden. Clapper had previously stated he would leave at the end of the Obama administration. Clapper's resignation clears the way for incoming president-elect Trump to appoint his own Director of National Intelligence.
The Military

Royal Navy Giving Up Anti-Ship Missiles, Will Rely On Cannons For Naval Combat (telegraph.co.uk) 432

cold fjord writes: It will soon be a bit more difficult for Britain's Royal Navy to rule the waves as it gives up anti-ship missiles as a result of budget cuts. That will force the Royal Navy to go "old school" and rely upon naval gunfire for ship-to-ship combat. Cannon fire as the primary means of ship-to-ship combat has been largely obsolete since the 1950s following the invention of guided missiles in World War 2. Prior to that, cannon fire had been the primary means of naval combat for hundreds of years. Although the Royal Navy ranged up to 16" guns on battleships, the largest gun currently in active service is a 4.5" gun. That will leave the Royal Navy unable to engage targets beyond approximately 17 miles / 27 km, whereas Harpoon missiles provide an 80 mile / 130 m range. The loss of anti-ship missile capability will begin in 2018 and may last for 10 years for warships, and 2 years for helicopters. The Sun quotes a naval insider who said: "It's like Nelson saying, 'don't worry, I don't need canons, we've got muskets.'" The loss of missile capability heaps more misfortune upon a naval force that recently has seen its available frontline combat force drop to an unprecedented 24 warships.
The Military

Uranium-Filled 'Lost Nuke' Missing Since 1950 May Have Been Found (bbc.com) 107

Although the U.S. government "does not believe the bomb contains active nuclear material," schwit1 shares this report from the BBC: A commercial diver may have discovered a lost decommissioned U.S. nuclear bomb off the coast of Canada. Sean Smyrichinsky was diving for sea cucumbers near British Columbia when he discovered a large metal device that looked a bit like a flying saucer. The Canadian Department of National Defence believes it could be a "lost nuke" from a US B-36 bomber that crashed in the area in 1950.... The plane was on a secret mission to simulate a nuclear strike and had a real Mark IV nuclear bomb on board to see if it could carry the payload required...

The American military says the bomb was filled with lead, uranium and TNT but no plutonium, so it wasn't capable of a nuclear explosion... Several hours into its flight, its engines caught fire and the crew had to parachute to safety... The crew put the plane on autopilot and set it to crash in the middle of the ocean, but three years later, its wreckage was found hundreds of kilometers inland.

The crew says they dumped their bomb-like cargo into the ocean first to avoid a detonation on land.
Books

UK Bookstores Found Selling Banned US Bomb-Making Handbooks (engadget.com) 108

Three major online retailers in the UK have been listing a number of bomb-making manuals on their websites. Engadget adds:These books were originally made back in the 1960s for US military personnel and include titles like Improvised Munitions Handbook, Boobytraps, and Explosives and Demolitions. But since the end of the Vietnam War, these books have become popular resources for terrorists of all stripes. Thomas Mair, the man who assassinated Labour MP Jo Cox, reportedly owned a copy of Improvised Munitions, for example. The surfacing of these books for sale on the WH Smith, Amazon UK and Waterstones websites, has at least one of the companies scrambling to scrub the listings. WH Smith shut down its entire website for more than four hours on Thursday to eliminate the offending material, however it appears they are still available on Amazon and Waterstones.
The Almighty Buck

Long-Range Projectiles For Navy's Newest Ship Too Expensive To Shoot (arstechnica.com) 303

An anonymous reader writes: The USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) is the U.S. Navy's latest warship, commissioned just last month -- and it comes with the biggest guns the Navy has deployed since the twilight of the battleships. But it turns out the Zumwalt's guns won't be getting much of a workout any time soon, aside from acceptance testing. That's because the special projectiles they were intended to fire are so expensive that the Navy has canceled its order. As [Ars] described [Zumwalt's Advanced Gun System (AGS)] in a story two years ago: "The automated AGS can fire 10 rocket-assisted, precision-guided projectiles per minute at targets over 100 miles away. Those projectiles use GPS and inertial guidance to improve the gun's accuracy to a 50 meter (164 feet) circle of probable error -- meaning that half of its GPS-guided shells will fall within that distance from the target." The projectile responsible for that accuracy -- something far too complex to just be called a "shell" or "bullet" -- is the Long Range Land-Attack Projectile (LRLAP). Each projectile has precision guidance provided by internal global positioning and inertial sensors, and bursts of LRLAPs could in theory be fired over a minute following different ballistic trajectories that cause them to land all at the same time. Lockheed Martin won the competition to produce the LRLAPs, and the company described their capabilities thusly: "155mm LRLAP provides single strike lethality against a wide range of targets, with three times the lethality of traditional 5-inch naval ballistic rounds -- and because it is guided, fewer rounds can produce similar or more lethal effects at less cost. LRLAP has the capability to guide multiple rounds launched from the same gun to strike single or multiple targets simultaneously, maximizing lethal effects." The "less cost" part, however, turned out to be a pipe dream. With the reduction of the Zumwalt class to a total of three ships, the corresponding reduction in requirements for LRLAP production raised the production costs just as the price of the ships they would be deployed to soared. Defense News reports that the Navy is canceling production of the LRLAP because of an $800,000-per-shot price tag -- more than 10 times the original projected cost.
United States

Secret Service, DHS Scramble To Secure America's Election (yahoo.com) 360

Secret service agents rushed Donald Trump off a stage in Nevada Saturday night, CNN reports. "A scuffle could be seen breaking out in the audience, but it was not immediately clear what happened... Secret Service and police tactical units rushed in to detain a man [who] was then rushed by a throng of police officers, Secret Service agents and SWAT officers armed with assault rifles to a side room... A law enforcement official told CNN no weapon was discovered. The GOP nominee was apparently unharmed and returned to the stage minutes later to finish his speech." Meanwhile, an anonymous reader writes: "All but two U.S. states have accepted help from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to probe and scan voter registration and election systems for vulnerabilities, a department official told Reuters." Ohio is relying on the National Guard's cyber protection unit, while Arizona says they've held discussions with the FBI, DHS and state-level agents on cyber security. But in addition, "U.S. military hackers have penetrated Russia's electric grid, telecommunications networks and the Kremlin's command systems, making them vulnerable to attack by secret American cyber weapons should the U.S. deem it necessary, according to a senior intelligence official and top-secret documents reviewed by NBC News."

American officials believe Russian hacking efforts will continue through 2018, according to the Wall Street Journal. "By hacking and dumping emails, Russia is trying 'to denigrate the American electoral system, to make it look chaotic, make it look manipulable, make it look subject to intrusion, cheating and vulnerable so you can't trust it...to make us look no better than the Russian electoral system,'" said one senior White House official. Russia is also expected to extend their efforts toward elections in Europe.

Microsoft

Ukraine's Military Wants To Use the HoloLens For Its Tanks (ubergizmo.com) 56

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ubergizmo: Microsoft's HoloLens has so far been positioned as a device for gaming. However it seems that over in the Ukraine, they believe that the technology has use in the military as well, particularly by tank commanders. Given that a tank is more or less fully sealed, it means that looking around isn't quite as easy. Usually this is achieved by mounting cameras on the vehicle with the images projected inside the tank, but with the HoloLens, it will make it easier. Created by Limpid Armor, the HoloLens-enabled helmet will be dubbed the Circular Review System. The video feeds that are gathered from the cameras outside of the tank will then be stitched together and sent to the headset, thus allowing the wearer to see around the vehicle. Not only will this allow them to have a better view, but apparently the helmet will also let the wearer tag enemy and friendly soldiers, and also designate targets and send information back to the commander.
Microsoft

Microsoft Says Russia-Linked Hackers Are Exploiting Newly Discovered Flaw In Windows OS (reuters.com) 111

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: Microsoft Corp said on Tuesday that a hacking group previously linked to the Russian government and U.S. political hacks is behind recent cyber attacks that exploit a newly discovered flaw in its Windows operating system. Microsoft said that a patch to defend Windows users against this sort of attack will be released on Nov. 8. The software maker said in an advisory on its website there had been a small number of attacks using "spear phishing" emails from a hacking group known Strontium, which is more widely known as "Fancy Bear" or APT 28. A U.S. intelligence expert on Russian cyber activity said that Fancy Bear primarily works for or on behalf of the GRU, Russia's military intelligence agency, which U.S. intelligence officials have concluded were responsible for hacks of Democratic Party databases and emails. Microsoft said the attacks exploited a vulnerability in Adobe Systems Inc's Flash software and one in the Windows operating system. Adobe released a patch for that vulnerability on Monday as security researchers with Google went public with details on the attack.
The Military

Air Force Says F-35 Glitches Mean the A-10 Will Keep Flying 'Indefinitely' (jalopnik.com) 325

The A-10 aircraft "is just too effective to get rid of," wrote one defense blogger -- especially in light of ongoing issues with the F-35. schwit1 quotes Jalopnik: Strategists have feared that the jet will be axed in favor of funding the F-35, but the U.S. Air Force recently confirmed that it plans to keep the A-10 flying "indefinitely." While the Air Force is theoretically supposed to be diverting the A-10's operating expenses to feed the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the people in charge are now planning to keep the plane running...

Air Force Materiel Command chief Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski told AviationWeek in a interview, "Our command, anyway, is approaching this as another airplane that we are sustaining indefinitely." While the beancounters and product planners are trying to push the A-10 off the board, Materiel Command is going to keep on keeping the planes in peak condition, which will give the A-10 it's best chance of proving its worth over and over again. And it seems to be working -- the A-10 posted a 5% increase in its availability rate from 2014 to 2015, and the Air Force seems to keep postponing its demise.

In Congress one representative has even suggested an operational testing "fly-off" between the two aircraft -- a jet-vs-jet competition to determine whether any more A-10s get retired.
Earth

Russia Unveils 'Satan 2' Missile Powerful Enough To 'Wipe Out UK, France Or Texas' (telegraph.co.uk) 1028

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Telegraph: Russia has released the first image of its new nuclear missile, a weapon so powerful that it could wipe out nearly all of the United Kingdom or France. The RS-28 Sarmat thermonuclear-armed ballistic missile was commissioned in 2011 and is expected to come into service in 2018. The first images of the massive missile were declassified on Sunday and have now been published for the first time. It has been dubbed "Satan 2," as it will replace the RS-36M, the 1970s-era weapon referred to by Nato as the Satan missile. Sputnik, the Russian government-controlled news agency, reported in May that the missile could destroy an area "the size of Texas or France." Russian media report that the missile will weigh up to 10 tons with the capacity to carry up to 10 tons of nuclear cargo. With that type of payload, it could deliver a blast some 2,000 times more powerful than the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Russia reportedly tested a hypersonic warhead in April that is apparently intended for use on the Satan 2 missiles. The warhead is designed to be impossible to intercept because it does not move on a set trajectory.
Security

The Phone Hackers At Cellebrite Have Had Their Firmware Leaked Online (vice.com) 29

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: Cellebrite, an Israeli company that specializes in digital forensics, has dominated the market in helping law enforcement access mobile phones. But one apparent reseller of the company's products is publicly distributing copies of Cellebrite firmware and software for anyone to download. Although Cellebrite keeps it most sensitive capabilities in-house, the leak may still give researchers, or competitors, a chance to figure out how Cellebrite breaks into and analyzes phones by reverse-engineering the files. The apparent reseller distributing the files is McSira Professional Solutions, which, according to its website, "is pleased to serve police, military and security agencies in the E.U. And [sic] in other parts of the world." McSira is hosting software for various versions of Cellebrite's Universal Forensic Extraction Device (UFED), hardware that investigators can use to bypass the security mechanisms of phones, and then extract data from them. McSira allows anyone to download firmware for the UFED Touch, and a PC version called UFED 4PC. It is also hosting pieces of Cellebrite forensic software, such as the UFED Cloud Analyzer. This allows investigators to further scrutinize seized data. McSira is likely offering downloads so customers can update their hardware to the latest version with as little fuss as possible. But it may be possible for researchers to take those files, reverse-engineer them, and gain insight into how Cellebrite's tools work. That may include what sort of exploits Cellebrite uses to bypass the security mechanisms of mobile phones, and weaknesses in the implementation of consumer phones that could be fixed, according to one researcher who has started to examine the files, but was not authorised by his employer to speak to the press about this issue.
The Military

US Army 'Will Have More Robot Soldiers Than Humans' By 2025, Says Former British Spy (express.co.uk) 114

John Bassett, a British spy who worked for the agency GCHQ for nearly two decades, has told Daily Express that the U.S. was considering plans to employ thousands of robots by 2025. At a meeting with police and counter-terrorism officials in London, he said: "At some point around 2025 or thereabouts the U.S. army will actually have more combat robots than it will have human soldiers. Many of those combat robots are trucks that can drive themselves, and they will get better at not falling off cliffs. But some of them are rather more exciting than trucks. So we will see in the West combat robots outnumber human soldiers." Daily Express reports: Robotic military equipment is already being used by the U.S Navy and Air Force, in the shape of drones and autonomous ships. In April robotic warfare took a major leap forward after the U.S. Navy launched its very first self-piloting ship designed to hunt enemy submarines. Drones have been a feature of U.S. operations in the Middle East to disrupt terrorist groups. However, those aircrafts are still controlled by humans operating from bases in the U.S. Mr. Bassett also said artificial intelligence and robots technology would combine to create powerful fighting machines. The cyber security expert said: "Artificial intelligence, robotics in general, those will begin to mesh together."
Privacy

DNA Testing For Jobs May Be On Its Way, Warns Gartner (computerworld.com) 228

Reader dcblogs writes: It is illegal today to use DNA testing for employment, but as science advances its understanding of genes that correlate to certain desirable traits -- such as leadership and intelligence -- business may want this information. People seeking leadership roles in business, or even those in search of funding for a start-up, may volunteer their DNA test results to demonstrate that they have the right aptitude, leadership capabilities and intelligence for the job. This may sound farfetched, but it's possible based on the direction of the science, according to Gartner analysts David Furlonger and Stephen Smith, who presented their research Wednesday at the firm's Symposium IT/xpo in Orlando. This research is called 'maverick' in Gartner parlance, meaning it has a somewhat low probability and is still years out, but its potential is nonetheless worrisome to the authors. It isn't as radical as it seems. Job selection on the basis of certain desirable genetic characteristics is already common in the military and sports. Even without testing, businesses, governments and others may use this understanding about how some characteristics are genetically determined to develop new interview methodologies and testing to help identify candidates predisposed to the traits they desire.
Crime

Ethiopia's State of Emergency Makes Posting To Facebook a Crime (qz.com) 38

Due to anti-government protests occurring in the country, Ethiopia has declared a state of emergency that, among other things, makes it a crime to post updates on Facebook about the current status of the country. "The military command will take action on those watching and posting on these social media outlets," Siraj Fegessa, Ethiopia's minister of defense, said on state television. Those who violate the terms of the state of emergency may be subject to prison for up to five years. Quartz reports: Ethiopia's largest ethnic groups, the Oromo and the Amhara, are protesting what they see as the marginalization of their rights and freedoms by the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), dominated by the Tigray minority. After a week of intensified protests that left businesses and government property destroyed, prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn declared a state of emergency on Oct 9 for the next six months. Under the state of emergency, all expressions or communication that could incite violence have been banned, including the now famous protest gesture of raised hands, crossed at the wrist. Authorities can search and detain citizens without prior approval. Discussing issues with foreigners that could incite violence or communicating with groups deemed terrorists is also illegal.

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