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Linux.Slashdot.org - 1 hour 48 min ago
Categories: Linux

How Google Ruined the Internet

Slashdot.org - 2 hours 22 min ago
An anonymous reader shares a column: Remember that story about the Polish dentist who pulled out all of her ex-boyfriend's teeth in an act of revenge? It was complete and utter bullshit. 100% fabricated. No one knows who wrote it. Nevertheless, it was picked up by Fox News, the Los Angeles Times and many other publishers. That was eight years ago, yet when I search now for "dentist pulled ex boyfriends teeth," I get a featured snippet that quotes ABC News' original, uncorrected story. Who invented the fidget spinner? Ask Google Assistant and it will tell you that Catherine Hettinger did: a conclusion based on poorly-reported stories from The Guardian, The New York Times and other major news outlets. Bloomberg's Joshua Brustein clearly demonstrated that Ms. Hettinger did not invent the low friction toy. Nevertheless, ask Google Assistant "who really invented the fidget spinner?" and you'll get the same answer: Catherine Hettinger. In 1998, the velocity of information was slow and the cost of publishing it was high (even on the web). Google leveraged those realities to make the best information retrieval system in the world. Today, information is free, plentiful and fast moving; somewhat by design, Google has become a card catalog that is constantly being reordered by an angry, misinformed mob. The web was supposed to forcefully challenge our opinions and push back, like a personal trainer who doesn't care how tired you say you are. Instead, Google has become like the pampering robots in WALL-E, giving us what we want at the expense of what we need. But, it's not our bodies that are turning into mush: It's our minds.

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Amazon Exec Called Fired Worker 'Not Smart' in Leaked Memo

Slashdot.org - 3 hours 1 min ago
A senior Amazon executive called a fired Staten Island warehouse worker "not smart or articulate" in internal discussions about how the company should respond to employee criticism of its handling of the pandemic, Bloomberg reported Friday. From a report: Amazon General Counsel David Zapolsky said fired worker Chris Smalls should be the focus of Amazon's public-relations campaign countering activist employees, said the person who saw an internal memo. Amazon workers around the country have been walking off the job or holding demonstrations to highlight what they describe as inadequate safety precautions. Smalls said the memo reveals that Amazon is more interested in managing its public image than protecting workers, and he called on employees to keep pressuring the company to implement stronger safeguards. "Amazon wants to make this about me, but whether Jeff Bezos likes it or not, this is about Amazon workers -- and their families -- everywhere," he said, referring to the company's chief executive officer. "There are thousands of scared workers waiting for a real plan from Amazon so that its facilities do not become epicenters of the crisis. More and more positive cases are turning up every day."

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Zoom's Encryption Is 'Not Suited for Secrets' and Has Surprising Links To China, Researchers Discover

Slashdot.org - 3 hours 39 min ago
Meetings on Zoom, the increasingly popular video conferencing service, are encrypted using an algorithm with serious, well-known weaknesses, and sometimes using keys issued by servers in China, even when meeting participants are all in North America, according to researchers at the University of Toronto. From a report: The researchers also found that Zoom protects video and audio content using a home-grown encryption scheme, that there is a vulnerability in Zoom's "waiting room" feature, and that Zoom appears to have at least 700 employees in China spread across three subsidiaries. They conclude, in a report for the university's Citizen Lab -- widely followed in information security circles -- that Zoom's service is "not suited for secrets" and that it may be legally obligated to disclose encryption keys to Chinese authorities and "responsive to pressure" from them.

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A Hacker Has Wiped, Defaced More Than 15,000 Elasticsearch Servers

Slashdot.org - 4 hours 20 min ago
For the past two weeks, a hacker has been breaking into Elasticsearch servers that have been left open on the internet without a password and attempting to wipe their content, while also leaving the name of a cyber-security firm behind, trying to divert blame. From a report: According to security researcher John Wethington, one of the people who saw this campaign unfolding and who aided ZDNet in this report, the first intrusions began around March 24. The attacks appear to be carried with the help of an automated script that scans the internet for ElasticSearch systems left unprotected, connects to the databases, attempts to wipe their content, and then creates a new empty index called nightlionsecurity.com. The attacking script doesn't appear to work in all instances, though, as the nightlionsecurity.com index is also present in databases where the content has been left intact.

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Facebook Wanted NSO Spyware To Monitor Users, NSO CEO Claims

Slashdot.org - 4 hours 59 min ago
Facebook representatives approached controversial surveillance vendor NSO Group to try and buy a tool that could help Facebook better monitor a subset of its users, according to an extraordinary court filing from NSO in an ongoing lawsuit. From a report: Facebook is currently suing NSO for how the hacking firm leveraged a vulnerability in WhatsApp to help governments hack users. NSO sells a product called Pegasus, which allows operators to remotely infect cell phones and lift data from them. According to a declaration from NSO CEO Shalev Hulio, two Facebook representatives approached NSO in October 2017 and asked to purchase the right to use certain capabilities of Pegasus. At the time, Facebook was in the early stages of deploying a VPN product called Onavo Protect, which, unbeknownst to some users, analyzed the web traffic of users who downloaded it to see what other apps they were using. According to the court documents, it seems the Facebook representatives were not interested in buying parts of Pegasus as a hacking tool to remotely break into phones, but more as a way to more effectively monitor phones of users who had already installed Onavo.

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