Microsoft Xbox One review: a fast and powerful work in progress

Your new running shoes have WiFi, but there are still — still! — no flying cars. We’ve got mini-supercomputers in our pockets, but where’s the kitchen machine that materializes beef bourguignon? It’s not quite the future we predicted, at least as far as Back to the Future 2 and The Jetsons informed us, but it’s the future we’ve got. Something as basic as, say, turning on electronics using your voice is still novel. Microsoft’s Xbox One is representative of just such a novelty, pairing old tech like IR and HDMI passthrough with brand-new 1080p video capture and voice control — all to impressive effect. When you turn on your Xbox One and TV in one fell “Xbox: On!” grandpa’s gonna be wowed, as will little Suzie. Guaranteed. The deeply integrated fantasy sports and ESPN apps will no doubt get pigskin-obsessed Aunt Linda interested.

But it’s not the expensive camera and sports partnerships that makes Microsoft’s proposition impressive to the hardcore gaming faithful. The Xbox One is a beast of a games console, capable of running beautiful games. But can it serve two masters? It’s not quite the game box we would’ve predicted, but it’s the one we’ve got.

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Source: http://feeds.engadget.com/~r/weblogsinc/engadget/~3/Ks9XBhA5ez4/
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Belgium, Netherlands investigate alleged NSA spying on bank payments data

The Belgian and Dutch Data Protection Authorities (DPAs) said Wednesday that they will investigate the security of SWIFT, which runs an international bank messaging system, following allegations that the U.S. National Security Agency unlawfully accessed SWIFT data.

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) is member-owned and exchanges millions of standardized financial messages for more than 10,000 financial institutions in 212 countries each day. SWIFT is based in La Hulpe, Belgium, a municipality close to Brussels, and has an operating center in the Netherlands, where traffic is processed and stored.

On Sept. 15, a report from German magazine Der Spiegel alleged that an NSA program has been collecting global financial data, including credit card transactions and SWIFT data. The program is called “Follow the Money” and it feeds the financial information into a system called “Tracfin,” according to Der Spiegel, which based its story on documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Beginning in June, documents leaked by Snowden to several news organizations have unleashed a series of disclosures about NSA spying internationally, setting off debate about the surveillance programs.

After publication of the report, SWIFT officials testified before the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) on Sept. 24. During that testimony, officials said it had no evidence to suggest that there has ever been any unauthorized access to the system or its data.

“There is in itself no reason to doubt this internal audit,” said Lysette Rutgers, a spokeswoman of the Dutch Data Protection Authority (CBP), which will be conducting the investigation together with the Belgian Data Protection Authority (CPP). “But we are a supervisory authority and we will not depend on what an organization says,” she said.

The DPAs will be conducting an investigation on whether third parties could have gained unauthorized or unlawful access to European citizens’ bank data, they said in a news release.

If the U.S. indeed has gained direct access to that data, it could have handled the information in a manner contrary to the privacy terms in the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program II Agreement (TFTP agreement) that SWIFT is subject to, they said. This agreement between the European Union and the U.S. enables the U.S. to request data on bank transactions through a special procedure in order to fight terrorism.

However, the European Parliament though voted in October to suspend the TFTP because of the allegations that the NSA had spied on SWIFT data without going through legal channels. The Parliament has no formal powers to suspend an international agreement. However, the European Commission, the E.U.’s executive body, must take under advisement Parliament’s votes on such deals.

The TFTP agreement includes strictures on how SWIFT data may be used as well as on external oversight of this use, the DPAs said.

Rutgers declined to comment on possible sanctions SWIFT could face or on how long the inquiry would take.

It is much too early to talk about possible sanctions, said CPP spokeswoman Eva Wiertz in an email. “Moreover, the Belgian DPA cannot impose sanctions,” she said, adding that if the DPA determines Belgian privacy laws are breached it can pass its findings on to the public prosecutor. The investigation will take at least a few weeks, she said.

SWIFT is cooperating with the Belgian and Dutch Data Protection Authorities, the organization said in a statement on its website. “There is no evidence at this time to suggest that there has been any form of confidentiality breach. SWIFT takes these matters extremely seriously and looks forward to confirming the positive outcome of this DPA review,” it said.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com


Loek Essers, IDG News Service Amsterdam correspondent for IDG News Service, IDG News Service

Loek Essers focuses on online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues.
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Source: http://www.pcworld.com/article/2063120/belgium-netherlands-investigate-alleged-nsa-spying-on-bank-payments-data.html#tk.rss_all
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Evan Rachel Wood Chats With Fans at Apple Store SoHo

Taking care of some promotional duties for her new film “The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman,” Evan Rachel Wood showed up at the Apple Store SoHo last night (November 13).

Joined by director Fredrik Bond, the “Wrestler” babe looked fabulous as she fielded questions during the “Meet The Actor” event.

As for her amazing post-baby body, Evan told press she just tries to eat right and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

“I don’t know, I stayed really healthy during my pregnancy and still doing the same thing, still trying to stay healthy. But it’s been great.”

Wood also sounds like she’s been enjoying motherhood, since giving birth back in July- “The first time the smile and laugh at you and they show some kind of love and affection back, that’s the best. That’s it for me.”

Source: http://celebrity-gossip.net/evan-rachel-wood/evan-rachel-wood-chats-fans-apple-store-soho-1115393
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Pentagon report shows spike in Afghan troop deaths

(AP) — The number of Afghan national security troops killed in combat shot up almost 80 percent during this summer’s fighting season, compared with the same time in 2012, as Afghans take the lead in the fight across the country.

A Pentagon report says that U.S. and coalition deaths, meanwhile, dropped by almost 60 percent during the same six-month period. The Defense Department refused to release numbers to explain the percentages, but U.S. military leaders have said that the number of Afghans killed each week had spiked to more than 100 earlier this year.

The high number of casualties and the Afghans’ limited ability to evacuate their wounded, “adversely affects morale, retention and recruiting,” according to the report, which the Defense Department released Friday.

A senior U.S. military official, when asked about the casualty rate, said late last month that as the fighting season begins to wind down, the Afghan deaths had also started to decline. In one recent week, about 50 were killed in action, said the official, who spoke to reporters at a recent NATO meeting and requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly under NATO rules.

The Pentagon report covers the time period from April 1, 2013, to Sept. 30, 2013, before snow and cold temperatures begin to make travel difficult.

The drop in U.S. and coalition casualties reflects the Afghans’ increased role taking the lead of combat operations as well as the ongoing decrease in the number of international forces in the country. As of this week, there are about 48,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, down from a peak of slightly more than 100,000 in 2010.

According to the report, Afghan forces now conduct 95 percent of conventional operations and 98 percent of special operations in Afghanistan. Coalition forces continue to provide training and assistance but are still needed for air support, security, route clearance for roadside bombs, air lift for wounded or dead troops and counterterror operations.

Under the current plan, coalition combat forces will leave Afghanistan at the end of next year. Negotiations between the U.S. and the Afghan government are continuing to determine whether a small U.S. force will remain after 2014, and, if so, how many. U.S. and coalition officials have outlined plans to leave between 8,000-12,000 troops there to train and advise the Afghans, but any decision depends on whether the two sides can finalize a security agreement. The U.S. is expected to provide no more than 8,000, but the number could be substantially fewer depending on the agreement reached.

Overall, the report said that the Afghans are gaining capabilities, but it also warned that the insurgency “consolidated gains in some of the rural areas in which it has traditionally held power.” And it says that as more U.S. and coalition troops leave in the coming months it will be difficult for the Afghans to take on all the needed capabilities, including both the fighting force and the government institutions and ministries needed to support it.

Afghan capabilities, “are not yet fully self-sustainable, and considerable effort will be required to make progress permanent,” the report said. “After 2014, (Afghan forces’) sustainability will be at high risk without continued aid from the international community and continued coalition force assistance including institutional advising.”

With international aid, however, the Afghans could continue to increase their ability to maintain a force and fight the Taliban, the report said.

According to the report, there are more than 344,000 Afghan security troops, which is nearly at the goal of 352,000. But over the last 12 months, the attrition rate has been more than 34 percent. The troop loss is blamed on poor leadership, inadequate living and working conditions, the lack of a good program for leaves and the effects of seasonal demands for harvesting and planting.

Associated PressSource: http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/386c25518f464186bf7a2ac026580ce7/Article_2013-11-08-United%20States-Afghanistan/id-cc0eebf6f5be4136965aa7f6fb35b62a
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The Establishment’s Man

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie after voting on Tuesday.

Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images

When one election booth closes, another one opens. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will secure his re-election today and begin his race for the White House tomorrow. Wherever he falls in the ultimate order of GOP candidates trying to win their party’s nomination, he will occupy a familiar historical spot: the untested juggernaut. Christie’s advantages for the 2016 presidential race are many: He’s a media darling, can raise boatloads of cash, has a plausible nomination story, and he’s an exciting and forceful personality. But like other high-expectation candidates, he has also never been tested in the unique crucible of a presidential campaign. Christie is a volatile hothead about to enter a process that makes the most even-tempered fly off the handle. Primaries are irritating, petty, and grueling, and 2016 could be particularly brutish if it turns out to be the grand reckoning in the GOP’s civil war over the soul of the party. As the establishment’s man, Christie will face tests a lot more challenging than the Garden State’s Democratic Party. 

The Christie bedtime story being sold by his staff is that he can do for Republicans nationally what he has done for New Jersey. He can govern as a conservative, even in a state with 700,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans, and win bipartisan love along the way. In a country thirsty for pragmatism and progress, he is the top dog among Republican governors selling themselves as the competent conservative cousins to the backward and grumpy relations in Congress. After losing the popular vote in five of the last six elections, Republicans are hungry for success and they want a winner. “Sometimes, I feel like our party cares more about winning the argument than they care about winning elections. And if you don’t win elections, you can’t govern,” Christie told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Tuesday. If you need proof of what the alternative political strategy looks like, Gov. Christie would like to introduce you to the darling of the party’s hard-core conservatives, Ken Cuccinelli—the governor of nothing at all.

What is that going to look like when Christie pops off at some conservative activist who corners him in a windowless ballroom at a Lincoln Day Dinner?

It’s a compelling pitch, but it isn’t going to spare Christie a fight that will test his temperament. He could very well survive the Republican primaries just fine—the GOP has tapped the establishment candidate more often than not—but the question for Christie is whether he has the skills to emerge from the warping primary process with his pleasing bedtime story intact. That has always been a challenge for any candidate, but it may be particularly acute in Christie’s case: Grassroots Republicans are trying to look into candidates’ souls and Christie’s can be a volatile place. Bombast and periodic eruptions are part of Christie’s act, but what is that going to look like when he pops off at some conservative activist who corners him in a windowless ballroom at a Lincoln Day Dinner?

What issue is likely to trip up Christie and cause this problem? He’s pro-life and against gay marriage, which would suggest he should fare well with cultural conservatives. His trouble will come from his request for relief money to fight the effects of Hurricane Sandy and accepting federal Medicaid money as a part of the Affordable Care Act. But to dissect the issues puts too much emphasis on them. The overarching worry among conservatives will be that no matter what the issue, a man who makes such a fetish of his ability to work with Democrats is going to sell out conservatives in the end. This tension has been at the core of the fight between the Republican Party establishment and grassroots since the 1940s. Sometimes that fight is about policy, but often the candidates are so close in their positions that the fight is more about personality and tactics. A quote from Michael Bowen’s Roots of Modern Conservatism: Dewey, Taft, and the Battle for the Soul of the Republican Party brings this home. “It is important to bear in mind that the major political controversies today do not center about objectives,” said a Republican staffer, “but mainly about methods of attaining objectives.” That was a quote from more than 60 years ago, but could just as easily apply to last month’s fight over defunding Obamacare.

The fight over “methods for attaining objectives” is already underway. Embedded in Christie’s argument for his presidential candidacy is a jab at grassroots conservatives. The purists don’t get it, he has argued; Republicans need to win elections to get their policies enacted, and if they insist on purity they’ll never nominate anyone who can get elected. Conservatives, on the other hand, believe that if you run on principle and stand on principle you bring voters to you.

The exact policy terrain where this inevitable fight will take place has yet to be determined, but there are other reasons conservatives are suspicious of Christie. He has all the wrong friends. The media likes Christie and so does the establishment. As Dan Balz writes in his book Collision 2012, a who’s-who of the Eastern elite begged Christie in one of those vast polished wood rooms in a private New York club and pushed him to run for president. During one quarter of fundraising, Christie received money from top Democratic donors. Those who anticipate Christie will abandon them in the end point to his self-centered 2012 convention speech and his embrace of President Obama in the late days of the campaign. That is the brew that kept Christie from getting an invitation to the Conservative Political Action Conference, despite his being the most popular conservative in the nation, proof that purity tests are being administered regardless of other factors.

So who will fill the ABC (Anybody But Christie) slot, and will they be able to lay a glove on him? There’s no clear choice, but in the 2012 contest voters cycled through a series of Anybody But Romney misfits, suggesting that activists will back pretty much anyone if they run as the anti-establishment figure. In 2008, proof of this tissue rejection was that when the grassroots thought Sen. John McCain wasn’t conservative enough, they actually rallied around Romney.

Will all of this infighting doom Christie? Only if he lets it. He enters the next level of 2016 speculation facing three options: He blows up like Rudy Giuliani and Rick Perry, he warps himself to please the base like McCain and Romney, or he gets in a life and death struggle and emerges to win the general election the way George Bush did in 2000. 

The only qualification for the launchpad blow-up is high expectations and the comfort that comes from being lauded for your greatness. Both Giuliani and Perry were considered formidable at one time, but turned out to be incapable of handling the rigors of a campaign. When they cratered, they had no campaign experience to fall back on that allowed them to climb back into the race. McCain, a born fighter, rescued his campaign in 2012 in part because he had been through the presidential slog before. But McCain, like Romney, also warped himself and his message in the GOP primary process in order to appeal to conservative voters. That undermined his general election appeal. Christie doesn’t seem to be taking that route. If he does, his friends in the green rooms and board rooms will bury him under a mountain of advice that he’s ruining his straight-talking brand. The likely avenue is that Christie will run against the Democrats whose votes he’s been courting, arguing that his ability to get anything conservative done in a blue state shows that he can stick to his principles even under the constant assault of baying socialists.

George Bush’s challenge didn’t come from the right, but from McCain in the middle. Bush emerged from the contest honed and sharpened—and with few lasting scars that his opponent could exploit. That’s not going to happen this time. The reverse is more likely: Christie surfs the Civil War, allowing those competing on his right to punch themselves out and leave him standing. That will take a lot of patience and thick skin. His training begins now. 

Source: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2013/11/chris_christie_s_2016_presidential_ambitions_can_the_new_jersey_governor.html
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Mark Leibovich on Sen. Ted Cruz

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Source: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2013/11/03/mark_leibovich_part_two.html
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Double-pronged attack could treat common children’s cancer

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Contact: Lauren King
lauren.king@icr.ac.uk
020-715-35380
Institute of Cancer Research

A dual-pronged strategy using two experimental cancer drugs together could successfully treat a childhood cancer by inhibiting tumour growth and blocking off the escape routes it uses to become resistant to treatment, finds a new study.

Scientists at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, found that combining two separate molecularly targeted therapies could stop processes driving growth in a cancer called rhabdomyosarcoma, a major cause of cancer death in children.

The drugs, called AZD8055 and AZD6244, block two different signalling pathways involved in cancer growth acting like road-blocks on two separate routes that cancers could otherwise use to evade treatment.

The study, published in Clinical Cancer Research today (Friday, 1 November), was funded by the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre for Cancer at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), with additional funding from Cancer Research UK, The Royal Marsden Hospital Charitable Fund and the Chris Lucas Trust.

Rhabdomyosarcoma tumours can form anywhere in the body and resemble primitive muscle tissue. Despite advances in treatment options, there has been little improvement in outcome for patients with rhabdomyosarcoma in decades and they remain difficult to treat.

Previous research has shown that many rhabdomyosarcomas display activity of the PI3 Kinase signalling pathway, which plays a key role in cancer growth. However, blocking this pathway in other cancer types can lead to alternative signalling pathways becoming active to compensate, allowing resistance to treatment to develop.

In this study, scientists at the ICR targeted the PI3 Kinase pathway and a second pathway called MAP Kinase, to assess any compensatory signalling and determine if blocking both pathways could effectively inhibit rhabdomyosarcoma cell growth.

The researchers found that the PI3 Kinase pathway was active in 83% of rhabdomyosarcoma samples from patients, and that 43% of these also showed activation of the MAP Kinase pathway. In experiments on rhabdomyosarcoma cells to block either pathway alone, they saw compensatory signalling through the alternative pathway, suggesting that inhibiting both pathways is an essential approach to treatment, irrespective of whether MAP kinase signalling was initially activated.

The researchers tested rhabdomyosarcomas with drugs known to be effective against the PI3 Kinase and MAP Kinase pathways. When they tried the drugs AZD8055 and AZD6244 separately they saw reduced cell growth and a decrease in levels of markers showing the activity of the signalling pathways. However, compensatory activity was clearly evident.

But when they combined the two drugs they found a synergistic effect, with cell growth reduced to a greater extent than with either treatment alone. They saw similar synergistic results when AZD8055 and AZD6244 were used together in mice with rhabdomyosarcoma tumours, with tumour marker levels reduced to less than 30% of those in controls.

Co-author Dr Janet Shipley, Team Leader in Sarcoma Molecular Pathology at The Institute of Cancer Research, said:

“Rhabdomyosarcoma is the main type of sarcoma to affect children and little improvement has been made recently using conventional treatments like chemotherapy and radiotherapy – survival rates for some patients with this disease remain bleak. More effective targeted treatment is desperately needed. Our study shows that treating with one or other of these two drugs is not a good strategy but that combining them is a very promising option.”

Co-author Dr Jane Renshaw, Senior Scientific Officer at The Institute of Cancer Research, said:

“We found that while most rhabdomyosarcoma tumours seem to have active PI3K signalling, inhibiting this pathway alone isn’t enough to be an effective treatment. Cross-talk between the PI3 Kinase and MAP Kinase pathways means that cancer is able to find an alternative route, like traffic finding a way around a road-block. Targeting both pathways using two drugs together stops that compensatory action.

“These two drugs are being tested for use against cancers in adults so the next step will be to progress with clinical trials for children using the dual approach.”

Nell Barrie, Cancer Research UK’s Senior Science Communication Manager, said:

“Understanding the inner workings of cancer cells is crucial to finding the best ways to tackle the disease. This lab research emphasises the importance of targeting each cancer’s weak points and combining drugs to develop more effective treatments which are urgently needed to improve survival for children’s cancers like rhabdomyosarcoma. Further research and clinical trials will shed light on whether this promising drug combination could help save more lives.”

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Contact: Lauren King
lauren.king@icr.ac.uk
020-715-35380
Institute of Cancer Research

A dual-pronged strategy using two experimental cancer drugs together could successfully treat a childhood cancer by inhibiting tumour growth and blocking off the escape routes it uses to become resistant to treatment, finds a new study.

Scientists at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, found that combining two separate molecularly targeted therapies could stop processes driving growth in a cancer called rhabdomyosarcoma, a major cause of cancer death in children.

The drugs, called AZD8055 and AZD6244, block two different signalling pathways involved in cancer growth acting like road-blocks on two separate routes that cancers could otherwise use to evade treatment.

The study, published in Clinical Cancer Research today (Friday, 1 November), was funded by the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre for Cancer at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), with additional funding from Cancer Research UK, The Royal Marsden Hospital Charitable Fund and the Chris Lucas Trust.

Rhabdomyosarcoma tumours can form anywhere in the body and resemble primitive muscle tissue. Despite advances in treatment options, there has been little improvement in outcome for patients with rhabdomyosarcoma in decades and they remain difficult to treat.

Previous research has shown that many rhabdomyosarcomas display activity of the PI3 Kinase signalling pathway, which plays a key role in cancer growth. However, blocking this pathway in other cancer types can lead to alternative signalling pathways becoming active to compensate, allowing resistance to treatment to develop.

In this study, scientists at the ICR targeted the PI3 Kinase pathway and a second pathway called MAP Kinase, to assess any compensatory signalling and determine if blocking both pathways could effectively inhibit rhabdomyosarcoma cell growth.

The researchers found that the PI3 Kinase pathway was active in 83% of rhabdomyosarcoma samples from patients, and that 43% of these also showed activation of the MAP Kinase pathway. In experiments on rhabdomyosarcoma cells to block either pathway alone, they saw compensatory signalling through the alternative pathway, suggesting that inhibiting both pathways is an essential approach to treatment, irrespective of whether MAP kinase signalling was initially activated.

The researchers tested rhabdomyosarcomas with drugs known to be effective against the PI3 Kinase and MAP Kinase pathways. When they tried the drugs AZD8055 and AZD6244 separately they saw reduced cell growth and a decrease in levels of markers showing the activity of the signalling pathways. However, compensatory activity was clearly evident.

But when they combined the two drugs they found a synergistic effect, with cell growth reduced to a greater extent than with either treatment alone. They saw similar synergistic results when AZD8055 and AZD6244 were used together in mice with rhabdomyosarcoma tumours, with tumour marker levels reduced to less than 30% of those in controls.

Co-author Dr Janet Shipley, Team Leader in Sarcoma Molecular Pathology at The Institute of Cancer Research, said:

“Rhabdomyosarcoma is the main type of sarcoma to affect children and little improvement has been made recently using conventional treatments like chemotherapy and radiotherapy – survival rates for some patients with this disease remain bleak. More effective targeted treatment is desperately needed. Our study shows that treating with one or other of these two drugs is not a good strategy but that combining them is a very promising option.”

Co-author Dr Jane Renshaw, Senior Scientific Officer at The Institute of Cancer Research, said:

“We found that while most rhabdomyosarcoma tumours seem to have active PI3K signalling, inhibiting this pathway alone isn’t enough to be an effective treatment. Cross-talk between the PI3 Kinase and MAP Kinase pathways means that cancer is able to find an alternative route, like traffic finding a way around a road-block. Targeting both pathways using two drugs together stops that compensatory action.

“These two drugs are being tested for use against cancers in adults so the next step will be to progress with clinical trials for children using the dual approach.”

Nell Barrie, Cancer Research UK’s Senior Science Communication Manager, said:

“Understanding the inner workings of cancer cells is crucial to finding the best ways to tackle the disease. This lab research emphasises the importance of targeting each cancer’s weak points and combining drugs to develop more effective treatments which are urgently needed to improve survival for children’s cancers like rhabdomyosarcoma. Further research and clinical trials will shed light on whether this promising drug combination could help save more lives.”

###


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AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert! system.

Source: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-11/iocr-dac110113.php
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Mozilla patches several critical Firefox security holes

Mozilla released 10 patches for three versions of its Firefox browser on Tuesday, five of which are considered critical and could be used to remotely install malicious code.

The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team warned that the problems “could allow a remote attacker to execute arbitrary code, bypass intended access restrictions, cause a denial-of-service condition or obtain sensitive information.”

The Mozilla products affected are Firefox 25, Firefox ESR 24.1, Firefox Extended Support Release (ESR) 17.0.10, Thunderbird 24.1, Thunderbird ESR 17.0.10, and Seamonkey 2.22.

Among the flaws fixed were several memory safety bugs in the browser engine, which is also in Mozilla’s Thunderbird email client and Seamonkey, a suite of applications and web development tools.

Those bugs, tagged as update MFSA 2013-93, “showed evidence of memory corruption under certain circumstances, and we presume that with enough effort at least some of these could be exploited to run arbitrary code,” according to Mozilla’s advisory.

The other four critical vulnerabilities could cause potentially exploitable crashes, Mozilla said.

One of the vulnerabilities given a “high” risk rating, MFSA 2013-99, could divulge information on a computer’s local system. A security researcher, Cody Crews, discovered “a method to append an iframe into an embedded PDF object rendered with the chrome privileged PDF.js.”

“This can used to bypass security restrictions to load local or chrome privileged files and objects within the embedded PDF object,” Mozilla wrote.

In August, the TOR project warned that a vulnerability in Firefox ESR may have been used to collect information on computers visiting websites configured as TOR hidden services.

TOR, short for The Onion Router, is a system that allows for more anonymous browsing by routing encrypted requests for websites through servers worldwide. The TOR Project distributes a Browser Bundle, which includes Firefox for browsing with TOR.

The vulnerability could have facilitated the execution of remote code, but instead may have been used to collect the hostname and MAC address of Windows computers, it said. The TOR Project typically updates its browser bundle package quickly after Mozilla releases new patches.

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Source: http://www.pcworld.com/article/2059360/mozilla-releases-10-patches-five-critical-for-firefox.html#tk.rss_all
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iCloud Keychain and why it’s not going to improve security habits… yet

Why iCloud Keychain in its current form can't change years of bad password habits

iCloud Keychain, which ships as part of iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks, is Apple’s attempt to help mainstream iPhone, iPad, and Mac owner get better at managing and protecting their passwords and credit cards, and with minimal inconvenience. With a random password generation, autofill, and iCloud sync, it holds a lot of promise. Unfortunately, it may not be enough for everyone, at least not yet. Here’s why…

Obviously, iCloud Keychain is completely tied into the Apple ecosystem. Unfortunately, this is exactly what will cause it to break down for many people, and almost immediately. Let’s start with the random password generator. In theory, when you need to create a new password, you simply let iCloud Keychain pick a secure, strong one for you and you get on about your business. But lets say you do that in Safari on your iPhone, and then go to Chrome or Firefox on your Mac, what happens? If you go to Windows at work? As you’ve probably guessed, nothing. You’ll have to jump back to your iPhone and retrieved the password iCloud Keychain generated for you, which is cumbersome to say the least.

For Mac users that are strictly dedicated to Safari, the password generator feature of iCloud Keychain may be a perfectly acceptable, and free option. For people that use other browsers, or other platforms, it’s going to be a non-starter.

Same with the autofill. Safari can remember your existing passwords as you enter them, but once you’ve saved them to iCloud Keychain, they’re still only usable in Safari. You can’t use them with Web.app (the framework that pins websites and web apps to your Home screen), or with embedded web views in other apps.

Some websites also prevent passwords from being remembered – a security feature intended to prevent people from having their passwords saved on public machines. That can sometimes be overcome by toggling “Allow AutoFill even for websites that request passwords not be saved”, sometimes not.

Consistency is a feature. For iCloud Keychain to really take off, and really help more people be more secure, it has to be almost everywhere and work almost all the time. Right now, that’s simply not the case. Right now, iCloud Keychain is only in Safari, and only works most of the time there.

For some, that might be enough. For many, I suspect, it’ll be a show stopper, and they’ll stick to third-part apps like 1Password or Lastpass, or worse, stick to the same, simple, insecure old password everywhere.

I’ll be doing the former. 1Password doesn’t get the same Apple-level access, which would be ideal, but it works 100% of the time on 100% of the platforms I use and that’s more valuable to me than anything iCloud Keychain currently has to offer.

At least on the Mac Apple has the standalone Keychain app that other apps can tie into for password storage. Maybe some form of Keychain app or system-level service on iOS could provide similar functionality? After all, if there’s one thing that benefits people almost as much as security, it’s ubiquity.

Are you using iCloud Keychain? If so, let me know how it’s working for you. If not, let me know why not!

    



Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TheIphoneBlog/~3/uei-Xw6k8H0/story01.htm
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High court test of surveillance law could be ahead

FILE – In this Jan. 21, 2012, file photo a television photographer interviews the next door neighbor of terror suspect Jamshid Muhtorov, a refugee from Uzbekistan, in Aurora, Colo., on the day of his arrest at Chicago’s O’Hare airport. For the first time the Justice Department says it intends to use information gained from one of the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance programs against an accused terrorist, Muhtorov, setting the stage for an expected Supreme Court test. Muhtorov was accused in 2012 of providing material support to the Islamic Jihad Union, an Uzbek terrorist organization that, authorities say, was engaging NATO coalition and U.S. forces in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski, File)

FILE – In this Jan. 21, 2012, file photo a television photographer interviews the next door neighbor of terror suspect Jamshid Muhtorov, a refugee from Uzbekistan, in Aurora, Colo., on the day of his arrest at Chicago’s O’Hare airport. For the first time the Justice Department says it intends to use information gained from one of the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance programs against an accused terrorist, Muhtorov, setting the stage for an expected Supreme Court test. Muhtorov was accused in 2012 of providing material support to the Islamic Jihad Union, an Uzbek terrorist organization that, authorities say, was engaging NATO coalition and U.S. forces in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department says for the first time that it intends to use information gained from one of the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance programs against an accused terrorist, setting the stage for a likely Supreme Court test of the Obama administration’s approach to national security.

The high court so far has turned aside challenges to the law on government surveillance on the grounds that people who bring such lawsuits have no evidence they are being targeted.

Jamshid Muhtorov was accused in 2012 of providing material support to the Islamic Jihad Union, an Uzbek terrorist organization that, authorities say, was engaging NATO coalition and U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

According to court papers in the case, the FBI investigated Muhtorov after his communications with an overseas website administrator for the IJU.

In a court filing Friday, the government said it intends to offer into evidence in Muhtorov’s case “information obtained or derived from acquisition of foreign intelligence information conducted pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978.”

Last February, a sharply divided Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 vote that a group of American lawyers, journalists and organizations could not sue to challenge the 2008 expansion of the law. The court those who sued could not show that the government would monitor their communications along with those of potential foreign terrorist and intelligence targets.

Last month, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who had ruled with the majority in the earlier 5-4 decision, said the courts ultimately would have to determine the legality of the NSA surveillance program.

In the majority opinion last February, Justice Samuel Alito suggested a way for a challenge to be heard. He said if the government intends to use information from such surveillance in court, it must provide advance notice. In his argument before the court’s decision, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli had made similar comments to the justices on behalf of the administration.

Justice Department spokesman Brian Fallon declined comment Saturday on the new development beyond the court filing.

The program at issue in the Muhtorov case is commonly called “702,” a reference to the numbered section of the surveillance law on Internet communication.

In the Muhtorov case, after his contact with the IJU’s website administrator, the FBI went to court and obtained email from two accounts that Muhtorov used, according to the court papers.

The FBI also went to court to obtain communications originating from Muhtorov’s phone lines. In one call, Muhtorov told an associate that the Islamic Jihad Union said it needed support, an FBI agent said in an affidavit filed in the case. The associate warned Muhtorov to be careful about talking about a founder of group, the affidavit stated.

The FBI also said Muhtorov communicated with a contact in the group by email using code words, telling a contact that he was “ready for any task, even with the risk of dying.”

Muhtorov, a refugee from Uzbekistan, resettled in Aurora, Colo., in 2007 with the help of the United Nations and the U.S. government. He was arrested Jan. 21, 2012, in Chicago with about $2,800 in cash, two shrink-wrapped iPhones and an iPad as well as a GPS device.

In March 2012, Muhtorov’s attorney, federal public defender Brian Leedy, said at a court hearing that Muhtorov denied the allegations and had been headed to the Uzbekistan region to visit family, including a sister who remains imprisoned in that country.

The IJU first conducted attacks in 2004, targeting a bazaar and police, and killing 47 people, according to court papers in the case. The organization subsequently carried out suicide bombings of the U.S. and Israeli embassies and the Uzbekistani prosecutor general’s office in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, the court papers stated.

Before the recent leak of U.S. documents showing widespread government surveillance, dozens of consumer suits were filed against the government and telecommunications companies over obtaining customer data without warrants. Nearly all the cases were tossed out when Congress in 2008 granted the telecommunication companies retroactive immunity from legal challenges.

Associated PressSource: http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/cae69a7523db45408eeb2b3a98c0c9c5/Article_2013-10-26-US-Terrorist-Surveillance/id-2d4bd6e2ed8a417f8cc765c59f8a3e94
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