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Hacked Sign Warns San Franciscans Of ‘Godzilla Attack’

Hacked Sign Warns San Franciscans Of ‘Godzilla Attack’.


A Bay Area prankster hacked a mobile road sign to warn motorists of an imminent Godzilla attack.

According to CBS San Francisco, a sign reading “Godzilla Attack – Turn Back” was spotted on Van Ness Avenue on Wednesday night. It’s since been restored to display its intended message — warning drivers of potential traffic delays during Sunday’s Bay to Breakers foot race.

In the latest Godzilla movie, which comes out Friday, the reptilian behemoth makes a huge mess of San Francisco. Some Twitter users speculated that the prank was a promotional stunt for the movie.

The U.S. Air Force believes it could stop an assault by Godzilla.

However, government agencies have proven incapable of preventing tampering with road signs. In the past, people have hacked them to warn drivers of zombies and various other made-up hazards.

Earlier this week, a road sign in New Jersey was altered to read “Assville next left,”referring to the Jersey Shore.

New algorithm shakes up cryptography — ScienceDaily

Researchers at the Laboratoire Lorrain de Recherches en Informatique et ses Applications (CNRS/Université de Lorraine/Inria) and the Laboratoire d’Informatique de Paris 6 (CNRS/UPMC) have solved one aspect of the discrete logarithm problem. This is considered to be one of the ‘holy grails’ of algorithmic number theory, on which the security of many cryptographic systems used today is based. They have devised a new algorithm (1) that calls into question the security of one variant of this problem, which has been closely studied since 1976.

Research and on the HAL open access archive, was presented at the international conference Eurocrypt 2014 held in Copenhagen on 11-15 May 2014 and published in Advances in cryptology. It discredits several cryptographic systems that until now were assumed to provide sufficient security safeguards. Although this work is still theoretical, it is likely to have repercussions especially on the cryptographic applications of smart cards, RFID chips (2), etc.

To protect confidentiality of information, cryptography seeks to use mathematical problems that are difficult to solve, even for the most powerful machines and the most sophisticated algorithms.

The security of a variant of the discrete logarithm, reputed to be very complex, has been called into question by four researchers from CNRS and the Laboratoire d’Informatique de Paris 6 (CNRS/UPMC), namely Pierrick Gaudry, Răzvan Bărbulescu, Emmanuel Thomé and Antoine Joux (3). The algorithm they devised stands out from the best algorithms known to date for this problem. Not only is it significantly easier to explain, but its complexity is also considerably improved. This means that it is able to solve increasingly large discrete logarithm problems, while its computing time increases at a far slower rate than with previous algorithms. The computation of discrete logarithms associated with problems that are deliberately made difficult for cryptographic applications is thus made considerably easier.

Since solving this variant of the discrete logarithm is now within the capacity of current computers, relying on its difficulty for cryptographic applications is therefore no longer an option. This work is still at a theoretical stage and the algorithm still needs to be refined before it is possible to provide a practical demonstration of the weakness of this variant of the discrete logarithm. Nonetheless, these results reveal a flaw in cryptographic security and open the way to additional research. For instance, the algorithm could be adapted in order to test the robustness of other cryptographic applications.

(1) A method consisting in a series of instructions that enables a computer to solve a complex problem.

(2) An RFID chip is a computer chip coupled with an antenna that enables it to be activated at a distance by a reader and to communicate with it.

(3) Antoine Joux, who was attached to the Laboratoire Parallélisme, Réseaux, Systèmes, Modélisation (PRISM) (CNRS/UVSQ) at the time of open access publication, is currently a researcher at the Laboratoire d’Informatique de Paris 6 (CNRS/UPMC) and has since obtained the Chair of Cryptology at the Fondation UPMC.

Emory Accidentally Sends Reformat Request to All Windows PCs

Have you ever reformatted a computer and then immediately realized you shouldn’t have? Well, an “accident” at Emory University this week will make your mistake look like a brilliant, carefully considered decision.

Here’s the crux of what happened:

A Windows 7 deployment image was accidentally sent to all Windows machines, including laptops, desktops, and even servers. This image started with a repartition/reformat set of tasks. As soon as the accident was discovered, the SCCM server was powered off – however, by that time, the SCCM server itself had been repartitioned and reformatted.

What did we learn today? Always backup. Backup everything. Everything always.

Teen spots alleged robbers on Google Street View – CNET

A teen alleges he is robbed. Six months later he sees what he believes is evidence of the two men who robbed him on Google Street View. Dutch police arrest two men after seeing the unblurred pictures.

The world weaves odd, strangely patterned webs.

Last September, a 14-year-old boy told police in Groningen, Holland, that he had been knocked off his bike and robbed of some money and his cell phone.

What evidence did he have of his alleged assailants? Very little.

Six months later, the Associated Press reports, he was pootling around on Google Street View when he saw an image of himself–and of two males behind him, who, he seemed to remember, were just in the place where he was allegedly robbed.

So he called the police again.

Paul Heidanus, a spokesman for the Groningen police, told the AP that the police had to make a formal request to Google in order to obtain the unblurred photo from Street View.

“The photo could provide an important contribution to solving a crime,” he said.

The police subsequently arrested twin brothers, one of whom was allegedly recognized by Groningen’s robbery squad.

But here’s what I would love to know: what was the 14-year-old alleged victim doing on Google Street View six months after the alleged event? Why pick that moment to return to the scene of the alleged crime?

And, secondly, what was the kind and sensitive Street View driver doing at the time of the alleged incident? Did the driver really just miss it?

Amazon, AT&T, Snapchat rated among the least trustworthy with data, EFF finds | ITworld

Amazon, AT&T, Snapchat rated among the least trustworthy with data, EFF finds
The companies ranked poorly in a report by the Electronic Frontier Foundation

By Zach Miners, IDG News Service |
May 15, 2014, 4:15 PM — Amazon, Snapchat and AT&T rank among the least trustworthy technology companies when it comes to how they handle government data requests, according to a report from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

The nonprofit privacy advocacy group released its fourth annual “Who Has Your Back” report Thursday, ranking trustiworthiness of tech firms based on a variety of criteria, including whether they require a warrant for user data and their publication of transparency reports.

Of the more than two dozen companies ranked, Apple, Credo Mobile, Dropbox, Facebook, Google, Microsoft,, Twitter and Yahoo took top honors, earning the maximum six stars in each category studied.

AT&T and Amazon earned only two stars, while Snapchat was awarded just one.

A wealth of personal information and data is stored with Internet companies, and concerns over the handling of data have skyrocketed in the wake of disclosures about government spying, as well as cyberattacks and companies’ own policies and products.

The report’s findings are based on the actions companies take on matters relating to government user-data demands, as well as their stance on transparency. The report was based on publicly available data and records, and did not look at any secretive anti-surveillance measures the companies may have in place. Responses to national security requests cloaked by a gag order weren’t factored in either.

Companies were assessed based on six criteria: requiring a warrant for data; telling users about government data requests; publishing transparency reports; publishing law enforcement guidelines; fighting for users’ privacy in courts; and publicly opposing mass surveillance.

Following leaks made by former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, more companies have sought to be more forthcoming in how they handle government demands for data. Companies such as AT&T, Verizon and Comcast issued their first-ever transparency reports during the period that EFF examined, and it’s partly why major companies like Google and Facebook ranked high on the list.

But others haven’t stepped up to the plate as much, according to the EFF. Snapchat earned only one star for publishing law enforcement guidelines, the report said. A Snapchat spokeswoman said the company routinely requires a search warrant when law enforcement comes knocking, but the nature of its service means often there is no content to divulge.

Amazon received two stars for requiring a search warrant and for fighting for users’ privacy in courts.

To develop its report, EFF collaborated with the data analysis company Silk to analyze trends in government access requests.
The EFF characterized the report’s findings as generally positive. “We saw a remarkable improvement in the areas we’ve been tracking,” said Cindy Cohn, legal director at the EFF, with nearly a year’s worth of Snowden leaks helping to lend public attention on the issues.

But researchers also lamented the government’s turtle-like pace in protecting users as the technology industry plows ahead. Even more troubling, the government has relied on legal uncertainties to gain greater access to user data, they said.

“Too often, technology companies are the weak link, providing the government with a honeypot of rich data,” the EFF’s report said.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach’s e-mail address is

Is AMD finally ready to give Intel a real fight?

For quite some time now, AMD’s CPU strategy seems to have been “good enough.” When it came out with new chips, they were often around the middle to upper-middle of what Intel already had on the market, which mean when Intel shipped something new, it left AMD behind.

The result was an AMD that never really grew. It hung on to what it had for market share, primarily gamers, but that was about it. It was very good at making affordable chips, and AMD-powered PCs could save consumers $100 or more over comparable Intel machines.

But the real fight of a decade ago, when AMD was first to 1GHz, the first to 64-bit, the first to dual core, seemed missing. It’s not surprising since the company was facing a real threat to its survival. But with a gravy train from the gaming consoles, it looks like the company is ready for a fresh battle, with a familiar face at the helm.

A report on a Chinese tech site says Jim Keller, one of the company’s main chip designers who initiated many of those firsts I mentioned, is leading the design of a new architecture for 2016. Keller left the company more than a decade ago before returning in 2012. This would be separate from the K12/Skybridge x86/ARM hybrid core that was recently announced.

Keller’s work is spectacular, putting him on par with AMD’s Dirk Meyer and Intel’s Pat Gelsinger. He worked with Meyer on the DEC Alpha 64-bit RISC processor, then came to AMD to work on what would be the K7 architecture, more commonly known as the Athlon. He was also involved in the development of the Hyper Transport interface and 64-bit x86 specs, which appeared in the K8 design.

He left AMD for a company called Sibyte, later acquired by Broadcom, and then joined PA Semi as the vice president of engineering in 2004. Apple acquired PA Semi in 2008, and Keller went to Apple, where he worked on the A4 and A5 SoCs.

His task will be a new microarchitecture to overcome some of the shortcomings in AMD’s current generation microarchitecture, called Bulldozer. Bulldozer adopted clustered multi-thread (CMT) designs used in the Alpha 21264 microprocessor, which isn’t surprising given how much overlap there has been between the Alpha and Athlon.

The processor runs one or more dual-core modules that communicate via HyperTransport if there is more than one module (two for quad-core, etc). The problem is that each module has two integer cores but one floating point unit, which is shared. And given how much computing is floating point calculations to begin with, this means a Bulldozer is inherently less efficient than Intel’s chips, which have the FPU in every core, and Intel’s FPU is ridiculously fast, too.

What Keller will do, no one knows. And AMD would be nuts to tip its hand. The most logical move for Keller would be to dump the CMT design in favor of a design with simultaneous multi-threading (SMT), which is what Intel does (and IBM’s Power and Oracle’s Sparc line). AMD for a long time eschewed hyperthreading in favor of cores; its Opteron server chips come in 12- and 16-core designs, for example.

So if he throws out CMT, that basically means a whole new design from the ground up with much more focus on performance. Expreview rightly points out that the Athlon FX and Opteron line don’t have a roadmap beyond 2015, and Keller’s project is set for a late 2015 introduction and ship in 2016.

Bulldozer is getting a little long in the tooth. It’s gone through three revisions: Piledriver, Steamroller, and Excavator. Yes, AMD likes its heavy equipment. Chips with the Excavator cores will appear this year under the codenames Carrizo and Toronto.