Bitcoin

10 People Arrested In the Netherlands For Bitcoin Laundering (reuters.com) 44

New submitter Incadenza writes: 10 people were arrested in the Netherlands today according to the Public Prosecution Service (In Dutch). The arrests were said to be part of an international investigation, including requests from the USA, Morocco, Australia and Lithuania. Apparently the investigators followed the trace from 'Bitcoin-cashers' (who convert the Bitcoin profits to old money) back to Bitcoin transactions on the Dark Web. How successful this was is yet to be seen, since all the main suspects are said to be 'cashers', not traders.
Government

TPP Signing Ceremony To Take Place In February (freezenet.ca) 192

Dangerous_Minds writes: New Zealand officials are hoping that the TPP signing ceremony is to take place in February in Auckland, New Zealand. According to the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, it is expected that all 12 countries are going to sign the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Those 12 countries are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the U.S., and Vietnam. Note: signing doesn't necessarily make the agreement law, but it is one critical step closer to ratification.
Biotech

New Class of Sound Wave Gentle Enough To Use In Biomedical Devices (dispatchtribunal.com) 14

hypnosec writes: In a first kind of discovery in decades, researchers have created a new class of hybrid sound waves that are gentle enough to be used in biomedical devices. Known as "surface reflected bulk waves", the new class of sound waves are a hybrid of bulk waves and surface waves and have been created by a team at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. According to the team the new class of sound waves have already proved their worth in delivering vaccines and other drugs directly to the lung and are hopeful that their creation could lead to a revolution in stem cell therapy. As Dr Amgad Rezk, from RMIT's Micro/Nano Research Laboratory, explains, they have already dramatically improved the efficiency of an innovative new "nebuliser" that could deliver vaccines and other drugs directly to the lung in as little as 30 seconds [study abstract]. Researchers are hopeful that their work opens up the possibility of using stem cells more efficiently for treating lung disease enabling them to nebulise stem cells straight into a specific site within the lung to repair damaged tissue and this could be a real game changer for stem cell treatment in lungs as well as other organs.
Privacy

Australian Government Tells Citizens To Turn Off Two-factor Authentication (arstechnica.com) 146

An anonymous reader writes with this news from Ars Technica: The Australian government has repeatedly called for citizens to turn off two-factor authentication (2FA) at its main digital government portal, myGov. The portal's Twitter account has recently been updated several times with cute pictures encouraging holidaymakers to "turn off your myGov security codes" so that "you can spend more time doing the important things."

The portal is the place where Australian citizens can use and manage a number of governmental services, including health insurance, tax payments, and child support. In case of myGov, two-factor authentication is implemented by sending users text messages that contain one-time codes to complement their usual passwords.

Education

Poverty Stunts IQ In the US But Not In Other Developed Countries (arstechnica.com) 519

An anonymous reader writes: New research published in the journal Psychological Science (abstract) found that children who grow up in poverty within the United States tend to have lower IQs than peers from other socioeconomic brackets. Previous studies have shown a complex relationship between a child's genetics, his environment, and his IQ. Your genes can't pinpoint your IQ, but they can indicate a rough range of values within which your IQ is quite likely to fall. For kids in poverty, they seem to consistently end up on the low end of that window. Interestingly, this effect was not seen for any of the other countries hosting kids within the study, which included Australia, Germany, England, Sweden, and the Netherlands. The study authors speculate that "inequalities in educational and medical access in the U.S." may be the root of the differences, though another researcher is planning to study the effect of school environments as well.
Australia

Dallas Buyers Club Case Struck Down By Federal Court (businessinsider.com.au) 33

thegarbz writes: After a previous court ruling covered on Slashdot where Dallas Buyers Club was forced to post a $600,000AU bond and accused of speculative invoicing, it appears they have once again failed to make a case for damages in the Australian Federal Court. After asking for a reduced bond of $60,000AU in exchange for details of only 10% of the original alleged pirates, and after dropping the request for punitive damages, Justice Perram concluded that the damages sought were still unrealistic severely limiting the liability of the alleged pirates if the case manages to go ahead. Dallas Buyers Club now has 60 days to respond before the case is terminated.
Bug

Boeing 787 "Blacklisted" From Some Air Traffic Control Services (flightglobal.com) 96

An anonymous reader writes: A software glitch causes the Boeing 787 to report its position incorrectly, which has led Australia and Canada to 'blacklist' the aircraft from using ADB-S and until it is resolved the latest Boeing is treated as an aircraft without ADS-B capabilities. The practical implication is that the aircraft is not allowed to use reduced separation procedures and an maximum altitude limit of 29,000 feet was also considered. Boeing denies that the bug causes a safety hazard because existing services (radar) still allow safe operation. A bugfix is coming to restore ADS-B functionality.
United Kingdom

Google Favors Less-Regulated UK For Self-Driving Car Development (telegraph.co.uk) 82

An anonymous reader writes: According to documents obtained by The Telegraph, Google considers the UK a key market for development of its self-driving car program. In one of the five meetings the documents describe, Sarah Hunter, head of Google's experimental SDV division, commented that the company is "very positive about the non-regulatory approach being taken in the UK [which] places the UK in a good position and could be seen as an example of best practice." Google has also escaped excessive regulation in the area of drone development by pursuing Project WinG in the easier regulatory climes of Australia.
Bitcoin

Alleged Bitcoin Creator Raided By Australian Authorities (arstechnica.com) 181

wbr1 writes: As reported yesterday, Wired and Gizmodo think Bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto is actually Australian businessman Craig Wright

Now, Craig Wright has been raided by Australian police. Curiously, a statement from the Australian federal police said that the raids were not related to the recent Bitcoin revelation. "The AFP can confirm it has conducted search warrants to assist the Australian Taxation Office at a residence in Gordon and a business premises in Ryde, Sydney. This matter is unrelated to recent media reporting regarding the digital currency bitcoin." Supposedly not related, but interesting nonetheless.

Reuters adds,"At Wright's rented home, a modest brick house in the leafy middle class suburb of Gordon, three police workers wearing white gloves could be seen searching the garage, which contained gym equipment. A man who identified himself as the owner of the house, Garry Hayres, told Reuters that Wright and his family had lived there for a year, and were due to move out on Dec. 22 to move to Britain. Hayres said that Wright had a 'substantial computer system set-up' and had attached a 'three-phase' power system to the back of the house for extra power."

Science

Disease Threatens 99% of the Banana Market (washingtonpost.com) 199

An anonymous reader writes: In the 1950s, Panama Disease wiped out the dominant type of banana that was imported worldwide. Banana-growers had to switch to a different strain, the Cavendish banana, at great expense. Now, a new study finds that a more virulent strain of the disease is directly threatening the Cavendish banana. Banana plants are dying from it throughout Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Australia. It hasn't reached Latin America yet, which is good — that's where the vast majority of the world's bananas are produced. But the researchers say it's just a matter of time. "The latest strain is likely to put the risks of monoculture on display once more. And while scientists might find or breed a better one in the mean time, the reality is that this time around we don't have a formidable replacement that's resistant to the new strain of Panama Disease. Once it reaches Latin America, as it is expected to, it could be only a matter of decades before the most popular banana on the planet once again disappears."
Australia

China Blamed For Attack On Australian Bureau of Meteorology (abc.net.au) 44

New submitter ElectronF sends news that officials within the Australian government are blaming China for an attack on computer systems at the Bureau of Meteorology. "The bureau owns one of Australia's largest supercomputers and provides critical information to a host of agencies. Its systems straddle the nation, including one link into the Department of Defence at Russell Offices in Canberra." China has denied involvement, saying, "We have stressed that cyber security needs to be based on mutual respect. We believe it is not constructive to make groundless accusations or speculation." The Bureau's systems are still fully operational, though officials say the breach will require significant investment to recover from.
Earth

Arkansas Has a Growing Population of "Climate Change Refugees" 276

HughPickens.com writes: Located between Hawaii and Australia, the Marshall Islands are made up of 29 atolls and five islands with a population of about 70,000, all of whom live about six feet above sea level. Now Story Hinkley writes in the Christian Science Monitor that another 10,000 Marshallese have moved to Springdale, Arkansas because of climate change. Because this Pacific island nation is so small, the Marshallese population in Arkansas attribute their Springdale settlement to one man, John Moody, who moved to the US in 1979 after the first wave of flooding. Moody's family eventually moved to Springdale to live with him and work for Tyson and other poultry companies based in Arkansas, eventually causing a steady flow of extended friends and family migrating to Springdale. "Probably in 10 to 20 years from now, we're all going to move," says Roselinta Keimbar adding that she likes Arkansas because it is far away from the ocean, meaning it is safe.

For more than three decades, Marshallese have moved in the thousands to the landlocked Ozark Mountains for better education, jobs and health care, thanks to an agreement that lets them live and work in the US.. This historical connection makes it an obvious destination for those facing a new threat: global warming. Marshallese Foreign Minister Tony de Brum says even a small rise in global temperatures would spell the demise of his country. While many world leaders in Paris want to curb emissions enough to cap Earth's warming at 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius), de Brum is pushing for a target that's 25 percent lower. "The thought of evacuation is repulsive to us," says de Brum. "We think that the more reasonable thing to do is to seek to end this madness, this climate madness, where people think that smaller, vulnerable countries are expendable and therefore they can continue to do business as usual." Meanwhile residents jokingly call their new home "Springdale Atoll," and there's even a Marshallese consulate in Springdale, the only one on the mainland US. "Its not our fault that the tide is getting higher," says Carlon Zedkaia,. "Just somebody else in this world that wants to get rich."
Space

Diamond Nanothreads Could Support Space Elevator (space.com) 171

Taco Cowboy writes with news that Penn State researchers have discovered a way to produce ultra-thin diamond nanothreads that could be ideal for a space elevator. According to the report at Space.com, The team, led by chemistry professor John Badding, applied alternating cycles of pressure to isolated, liquid-state benzene molecules and were amazed to find that rings of carbon atoms assembled into neat and orderly chains. While they were expecting the benzene molecules to react in a disorganized way, they instead created a neat thread 20,000 times smaller than a strand of human hair but perhaps the strongest material ever made. ... Just recently, a team from the Queensland University of Technology in Australia modeled the diamond nanothreads using large-scale molecular dynamics simulations and concluded that the material is far more versatile than previously thought and has great promise for aerospace properties.
Australia

Australian State Bans Possession of Blueprints For 3D Printing Firearms (computerworld.com.au) 313

angry tapir writes: Possessing files that can be used to 3D print firearms will soon be illegal in the Australian state of New South Wales after new legislation, passed last week by state parliament, comes into effect. Possessing files for 3D printing guns will be punishable by up to 14 years in prison. The provisions "are targeted at criminals who think they can steal or modify firearms or manufacture firearms from 3D blueprints," NSW's justice minister, Troy Grant, said when introducing the bill in the state's lower house on 27 October. "Those who think they can skirt the law will find themselves facing some of the toughest penalties for firearms offences in this country," Grant said.
The Internet

New Anti-Piracy Law In Australia Already Being Abused (abc.net.au) 73

Gumbercules!! writes: A small Australian ISP has received a demand that it block access to an overseas website or face legal action in the Federal Court, in a case in which a building company is demanding the ISP block access to an overseas site with a similar name. This case is being seen as a test case, potentially opening the way for companies and aggregated customers to use the new anti-piracy laws to block access to companies or their competition. The ISP in question has obviously been selected because they're very small and have limited financial capacity to fight a legal case.
China

China, Russia Try To Hack Australia's Upcoming Submarine Plans 83

An anonymous reader writes: Chinese and Russian spies have attempted to hack into the top secret details of Australia's future submarines (paywalled), with both Beijing and Moscow believed to have mounted repeated cyber attacks in recent months. One of the companies working on a bid for Australia's new submarine project said it records between 30 and 40 cyberattacks per night.
Encryption

Australian PLAID Crypto, ISO Conspiracies, and German Tanks 62

New submitter Gaglia writes: PLAID, the Australian 'unbreakable' smart card identification protocol has been recently analyzed in this scientific paper (disclaimer: I am one of the authors, and this is a personal statement.)

Technically, the protocol is a disaster. In addition to many questionable design choices, we found ways for tracing user identities and recover card access capabilities. The attacks are efficient (few seconds on 'home' hardware in some cases), and involve funny techniques such as RSA moduli fingerprinting and... German tanks. See this entry on Matt Green's crypto blog for a pleasant-to-read explanation.

But the story behind PLAID's standardization is possibly even more disturbing. PLAID was pushed into ISO with a so-called "fast track" procedure. Technical loopholes made it possible to cut off from any discussion the ISO groups responsible for crypto and security analysis. Concerns from tech-savvy experts in the other national panels were dismissed or ignored. We contacted ISO and CERT Australia before going public with our paper, but all we got was a questionable and somewhat irate response (PDF) by PLAID's project editor (our reply here). Despite every possible evidence of bad design, PLAID is now approved as ISO standard, and is coming to you very soon inside security products which will advertise non-existing privacy capabilities.

The detailed story of PLAID in the paper is worth a read, and casts many doubts on the efficacy of the most important standardizing body in the world. It is interesting to see how a "cryptography" product can be approved at ISO without undergoing any real security scrutiny.

On a related note, the enthusiastic comments to PLAID's design made by a few readers in the old Slashdot story reminds us as a cautionary tale that you need cryptographers to assess the security of cryptography. Quoting Bruce Schneier: amateurs produce amateur cryptography.
Shark

Australia Working On High-Tech Shark-Detection Systems (itworld.com) 81

jfruh writes: Even if you're a frequent ocean swimmer, you're much more likely to die in a car accident than from a shark attack — and yet sharks strike fear into people's hearts in ways that directly affect the economies of surf paradises like Australia. That's why the Australian government is working on a host of techologies to detect shark incursions on popular beaches, including drones and smart buoys (PDF) that can identify potential predators (PDF).
Australia

Australians Set To Pay 50% More For Apps After Apple Price Spike (heraldsun.com.au) 117

SlappingOysters writes: Within 36-hours the price of Apple apps is set to increase in Australia, Sweden and Indonesia. It will bring the price of buying an app out of alignment with the value of the Australian dollar, and leave the country's Apple fans paying 50% more for their iOS software than their American counterparts. It's unfortunate timing, with the recent launch of the iPhone 6s and the upcoming fourth generation of Apple TV.
Australia

Australian ISPs Not Ready For Mandatory Data Retention (abc.net.au) 85

ferrisoxide.com writes: October 13 marks the day Australian ISPs are required by law to track all web site visits and emails of their users, but according to an article on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's news site the majority of ISPs are not ready to begin mandatory data retention. The article's author, Will Ockenden, had previously released his own metadata to readers in an experiment to see how effectively this kind of data reveals personal habits of online users. The majority of Australians appear unconcerned with this level of scrutiny of their lives, given the minimal reaction to this and proposed tougher legislation designed to deal with the threats of crime and terrorism.

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