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  • jkabtech 9:35 pm on February 29, 2016 Permalink |
    Tags: , Curiosity, Depends   

    Curiosity Depends on What You Already Know 


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  • jkabtech 6:30 pm on February 29, 2016 Permalink |
    Tags: , , operation, Prosecutors, wiretap   

    Prosecutors halt vast, likely illegal DEA wiretap operation 

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    Riverside County, Calif. once accounted for nearly a fifth of all U.S. wiretaps. Prosecutors now say they have dramatically scaled back that eavesdropping, which the Justice Department feared was illegal.

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    USA TODAY’s Brad Heath discusses Riverside County, California wiretipes once nation’s highest dropped considerably in 2015.

    PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — Prosecutors in a Los Angeles suburb say they have dramatically scaled back a vast and legally questionable eavesdropping operation, built by federal drug agents, that once accounted for nearly a fifth of all U.S. wiretaps.

    The wiretapping, authorized by prosecutors and a single state-court judge in Riverside County, alarmed privacy advocates and even some U.S. Justice Department lawyers, who warned that it was likely illegal. An investigation last year by The Desert Sun and USA TODAY found that the operation almost certainly violated federal wiretapping laws while using millions of secretly intercepted calls and texts to make hundreds of arrests nationwide.

    Riverside’s district attorney, Mike Hestrin, acknowledged being concerned by the scope of that surveillance, and said he enacted “significant” reforms last summer to rein it in. Wiretap figures his office released this week offer the first evidence that the enormous eavesdropping program has wound down to more routine levels.

    “I definitely don’t apologize for using this tool to hit the cartels in Riverside County,” said Hestrin, who took office last year. “I think the reforms I put in place were necessary, but this is still a tool that I believe in. It needs to be used cautiously, but it should be available when necessary.”

    The number of wiretaps authorized in Riverside County started to climb in 2010; it quadrupled by 2014, when the county court approved 624 wiretaps — three times as many as any other state or federal court. Most of the surveillance was conducted at the behest of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents, who used the eavesdropping to make arrests and seize drugs and cash as far away as New York and Virginia.

    Officials approved another 607 wiretaps in 2015, according to the figures released by the district attorney’s office. Most were approved in the first half of the year, before Hestrin said he installed a “stricter” standard that required every new wiretap application to have a “strong investigatory nexus” to Riverside County.

    Taps have dwindled since then. So far this year, Hestrin has approved only 14. In the first two months of last year, his office approved 126.

    If the current rate continues, Riverside County will end 2016 with about between 85 and 120 wiretaps — still enough to rank it among the nation’s busiest wiretapping jurisdictions, based on 2014 records. But the county will no longer be in a stratosphere all its own.

    “I’m pleased to hear this, but it never should have gotten out of hand in the first place,” said Steve Harmon, the Riverside County Public Defender. “If there is no strong investigative connection to Riverside County, then Riverside County has no interest being in this business.”

    Privacy advocates, who had expressed alarm in the past, were more cautious.

    Jennifer Lynch, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said it was “reassuring” the Riverside wiretap numbers had normalized, but worried there is “no oversight” even for new eavesdropping orders. Almost all wiretaps are sealed, and are sometimes kept secret even from the suspects who are arrested as a result of the eavesdropping, Lynch said.

    “We are reliant on the prosecutors and the law enforcement officers to do their jobs and the judges not to just stamp a signature on them, but without releasing these on a regular basis it’s hard to be satisfied that the system is operating the way it should be,” Lynch said.

    A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment on the abrupt drop in eavesdropping. In the past, DEA officials had said the surveillance was an important tool for targeting cartels that  had turned the suburbs around Riverside into one of the nation’s busiest drug trafficking corridors.

    The majority of Riverside’s wiretap surge occurred under the watch of former District Attorney Paul Zellerbach, a one-term top prosecutor who was ousted by Hestrin at the end of 2014.

    In interviews last fall, Zellerbach said his staff was “efficient and effective” at processing wiretaps. As word spread through law enforcement circles, the office received more and more requests to eavesdrop. Zellerbach had no qualms about leading the nation in taps. “I thought we were doing a hell of a job,” Zellerbach said in November.

    Others did not share that opinion. Justice Department lawyers warned the DEA in private that the wiretaps were unlikely to withstand a legal challenge, and they generally refused to use them as evidence in federal court.

  • jkabtech 2:05 pm on February 29, 2016 Permalink |
    Tags: , ,   

    Distribution Release: Tiny Core Linux 7.0 

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    Tiny Core Linux 7.0 has been released. This is the first stable build in the minimalist distribution’s new 7.x branch, featuring the Linux kernel 4.2.9, glibc 2.22 and GCC 5.2.0. From the release announcement: “Team Tiny Core is proud to announce the release of Core 7.0. Changelog: Linux kernel updated to 4.2.9 with the latest stable patch, with these configuration changes – minstrel enabled for some wireless cards, vmmouse disabled for VMWare + Xvesa, the CPU limit on the 64-bit kernel raised to 64; BusyBox updated to 1.24.1; BusyBox patched to fix ‘crontab -e’ error; glibc updated to 2.22 and patched for DNS vulnerability; GCC updated to 5.2.0; e2fsprogs base libraries and applications updated to 1.42.13; util-linux base libraries and applications updated to 2.27; tc-config – use full path for hwclock. Notes: there is a drm/i915 kernel driver error pending a fix; the ALSA extensions have been refactored and updated; the X.Org 7.7 extensions have been updated.” Here is the brief release announcement. Download links: TinyCore-7.0.iso (16.0MB, MD5, includes flwm only), CorePlus-7.0.iso (106MB, MD5, includes flwm, JWM, IceWM, Fluxbox, Hackedbox, Openbox), TinyCorePure64-7.0.iso (24.0MB, MD5, includes flwm only).

    Tiny Core Linux is a 12 MB graphical Linux desktop. It is based on a recent Linux kernel, BusyBox, Tiny X, Fltk, and Flwm. The core runs entirely in memory and boots very quickly. The user has complete control over which applications and/or additional hardware to have supported, be it for a desktop, a nettop, an appliance or server; selectable from the project’s online repository.

    <IMG title="Tiny Core Linux" border=1 hspace=6 vspace=6 src="https://jkabtekk.files.wordpress.com/2016/02/tinycore-small.png&quot; a
    Only three weeks have passed since the 6.2 version, but the developers of Tiny Core Linux have released another update – Tiny Core Linux 6.3, the latest stable build of the minimalist Linux distribution built from scratch: “Team Tiny Core is proud to announce the release of Tiny Core Linux 6.3. Changelog for 6.3: tce-load – exit if fromwhere doesn’t exist; tc-config – nfs4 patch from gerald_clark; tce-load – separate the listing and handling loops, patch from aswjh; tce-audit – fix adding missing extensions to tce_lst; tce-setup – move extension loop to tce-load, 4% speedup in CorePlus tce-setup time from aswjh; tce-load – simplification by aswjh; tce-load – simplify app_exists by aswjh; tce-load – the -t TCEDIR patch from aswjh. Note also that Xvesa/Xfbdev included in TinyCore and CorePlus and the Xfbdev in TinyCorePure64 have been updated to the latest repository version.” Here is the brief release announcement. Download links: TinyCore-6.3.iso (15.0MB, MD5, includes flwm only), CorePlus-6.3.iso (78.0MB, MD5, includes flwm, JWM, IceWM, Fluxbox, Hackedbox, Openbox), TinyCorePure64-6.3.iso (24.0MB, MD5, includes flwm only).The developers of Tiny Core have announced the release of Tiny Core Linux, version 6.2, the new stable build from the project that attempts to build the world’s smallest Linux distribution with a graphical desktop: “Team Tiny Core is proud to announce the release of Core 6.2. Changelog for 6.2: tce-audit – similar speedup patch from aswjh; tc-config – nfs4 mount changes from gerald_clark; tce-load – 2% speedup from aswjh; tce-size – apply patch from Greg Erskine for no-deps files; tce-remove, rc.shutdown – update copy2fs name; tce-ab – convert to a symlink; tce-load – awk recursion changes changed to a subshell, so exit status needs to be passed; tce-setup – wait for slow CD drives. In addition, TinyCorePure64 6.2.iso is now legacy-BIOS/(U)EFI multi-boot.” Here is the brief release announcement. Download one of the three available editions from the project’s website: TinyCore-6.2.iso (15.0MB, MD5, includes flwm only), CorePlus-6.2.iso (77.0MB, MD5, includes flwm, JWM, IceWM, Fluxbox, Hackedbox, Openbox), TinyCorePure64-6.2.iso (24.0MB, MD5, includes flwm only).Tiny Core Linux 6.1 has been released. This is the latest stable build of the minimalist (15 MB to download) desktop Linux distribution built from scratch. From the release announcement: “Team Tiny Core is proud to announce the release of Core 6.1. Changelog: tce-load – remove extraneous ls check, apply awk patch, remove unused depi variable; tc-functions – getbasefile speedup; tce-audit, tce-load – ignore spaces in dep files; BusyBox 1.23.1 patched for modinfo, modprobe, wget and dc; BusyBox updated to 1.23.1; settime.sh – fix systems with default year not 1970; search.sh – awk patch and move common part to a function; tce-audit – awk patch. Also in conjunction with the above in Xprogs: apps – quote the search argument, reload the list on an empty search, set a minimum size to the window, nicer resize behaviour. Several elements of X.Org 7.7 were also updated between 6.0 and 6.1 so users should use the apps GUI to check for updates and check for changed deps after upgrading.” Download links: TinyCore-6.1.iso (15.0MB, MD5, includes flwm only), CorePlus-6.1.iso (76.0MB, MD5, includes flwm, JWM, IceWM, Fluxbox, Hackedbox, Openbox), TinyCorePure64-6.1.iso (20.0MB, MD5, includes flwm only).Béla Markus has announced the release of version 6.0 of Tiny Core Linux “piCore” edition, a minimalist distribution designed for the Raspberry Pi single-board computer: “Team Tiny Core is pleased to announce the immediate availability of piCore 6.0. The most important change is the use of the official long-term 3.12.y (3.12.36) Linux kernel to offer more stable operation over experimental kernels and to get wider range of hardware supported, specially audio devices. The FLTK library has been updated to 1.3.3 to enable Unicode. FLTK 1.1 and 1.3 can be installed at the same time, and old applications using 1.1 will continue to work. The size of SD card images has been reduced. It boots in safe overclocking mode to shorten boot time by 20% with performance governor; switch to ‘ondemand’ when startup completes. Other changes: Core base synchronised with the common 6.0 base; Raspberry Pi firmware updated to January 19, 2015 version; e2fsprogs updated to 1.42.12….” Here is the full release announcement. Download: piCore-6.0-X.zip (24.7MB).Béla Markus has announced the availability of a new version of “piCore”, a specialist edition of Tiny Core Linux designed for the Raspberry Pi single-board computer: “Team Tiny Core is pleased to announce the immediate availability of piCore-5.3. Changelog: Linux kernel updated to 3.14.4; Raspberry Pi firmware updated to 2014-05-12 version; e2fsprogs updated to 1.42.10; util-linux updated to 2.24; official BusyBox patches applied; curaga’s wget3 BusyBox patch applied, setting default timeout to 10s; tce-load – don’t show an error when extension contains multiple modules; tce-load – use sudo when unmounting meta-extensions; patched to enable HDMI sound at 192 kbit/s rate; patched rtl8192cu driver to disable power saving; enabled CMA and FIQ-FSM by default.” See the release announcement for a full changelog and update instructions. Download from here: piCore-5.3-X.zip (24.7MB).Version 5.3 of Tiny Core Linux, the latest stable build of the fast and minimalist (less than 15 MB) desktop Linux distribution built from scratch, has been released and is now available for download: “Team Tiny Core is pleased to announce the release of Tiny Core Linux 5.3: Changelog: BusyBox – updated nosuid to 1.22.1, added ntpd, corrected dc failure, modified wget timeout to 10s; tce-load – don’t show an error when extension contains multiple modules; tc-config – change owner /tmp/tce/optional to support tftplist (thanks to Gerald Clark); tce-load – use sudo when unmounting meta-extensions; added full path to sudo commands; tc-config – introduce ntpserver boot option; switch getTime.sh to ntpd; replace aliases with functions in useBusyBox.” Here is the brief release announcement. Download links: TinyCore-5.3.iso (14.0MB, MD5, includes flwm only), CorePlus-5.3.iso (72.0MB, MD5, includes flwm, JWM, IceWM, Fluxbox, Hackedbox, Openbox).Béla Markus has announced the release of “piCore” 5.2.1, the Raspberry Pi port of Tiny Core Linux for the Raspberry Pi single-board computer: “Team Tiny Core is pleased to announce the availability of piCore 5.2.1. It is an independent system architected by Robert Shingledecker and now developed by a small team of developers with strong community support. Tiny Core Linux is not a traditional distribution but a toolkit to create your own customized system. It offers not only flexibility, small footprint but a very recent kernel and set of applications making it ideal for custom systems, appliances as well as to learn Linux, matching Raspberry Pi perfectly. It is running entirely in RAM. There is no installation in conventional terms; extensions mounted read only, after reboot the same clean system is available. Base raw SD card image with CLI version is only 21.5 MB including RPi boot loader, firmware and support files. Changes from 5.2: kernel updated to 3.13.6; updated RPi firmware; added more protection of TC scripts against bad extensions; added kernel modules required by USB 3G adapters; added kernel modules required to connect WiFi AP with SHA encryption….” Here is the full release announcement. Download: piCore-5.2.1-X.zip (21.5MB).Béla Markus has announced the release of “piCore”, an edition of Tiny Core Linux designed specifically for the Raspberry Pi single-board computer: “Team Tiny Core is pleased to announce the availability of piCore 5.2, the Raspberry Pi port of Tiny Core Linux. It is an independent system architected by Robert Shingledecker and now developed by a small team of developers with strong community support. Changes from 5.1: Linux kernel updated to 3.13.3; updated RPi firmware; use BusyBox in tc-functions changed to eliminate interference with certain installed GNU apps; rebuildfstab: do not replace fstab entries for a device that does not have ‘Added by TC’ on the line; init: increase the default inode count; ondemand: don’t list extensions under subdirs in onboot maintenance; BusyBox split suid/nosuid for better security; ldd – added quotes for binaries with spaces in their names; /etc/services – modified to suit rpcbind rather than portmap….” Read the rest of the release announcement for a complete changelog. Download: piCore-5.2-X.zip (20.4MB).

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  • jkabtech 9:27 am on February 29, 2016 Permalink |
    Tags: , , Xubuntu   

    Development Release: Xubuntu 16.04 Beta 1 

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    The Ubuntu Release Team has announced the availability of new beta test images for select community editions. The new development release, which carries the designation 16.04 Beta 1, is recommended for testers only and is not considered suitable for daily use. “This beta features images for Lubuntu, Ubuntu Cloud, Ubuntu GNOME, Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Kylin, Ubuntu Studio and Xubuntu. Pre-releases of Xenial Xerus are not encouraged for anyone needing a stable system or anyone who is not comfortable running into occasional, even frequent breakage. They are, however, recommended for Ubuntu flavour developers and those who want to help in testing, reporting and fixing bugs as we work towards getting this release ready.” Additional information can be found in the release announcement. Download: lubuntu-16.04-beta1-desktop-amd64.iso (868MB, SHA256, torrent, pkglist), ubuntu-mate-16.04-beta1-desktop-amd64.iso (1,592MB, SHA256, torrent, pkglist), ubuntu-gnome-16.04-beta1-desktop-amd64.iso (1,252MB, SHA256, torrent, pkglist), ubuntustudio-16.04-beta1-dvd-amd64.iso (2,693MB, SHA256, torrent, pkglist), ubuntukylin-16.04-beta1-desktop-amd64.iso (1,558MB, SHA256, torrent, pkglist), xubuntu-16.04-beta1-desktop-amd64.iso (1,227MB, SHA256, torrent, pkglist).

    Xubuntu is a community-developed operating system based on Ubuntu. It comes with Xfce, which is a stable, light and configurable desktop environment.

    <IMG title=Xubuntu border=1 hspace=6 vspace=6 src="https://jkabtekk.files.wordpress.com/2016/02/xubuntu-small.png&quot; a
    The Xubuntu team has announced a new release of their distribution which combines packages from the Ubuntu repositories with the Xfce desktop environment. The new release, Xubuntu 15.10, swaps out Gnumeric and AbiWord for the LibreOffice productivity suite. The new release also includes version 4.12 of the Xfce desktop. The 15.10 release has the following highlights: Xfce4 Panel Switch for backup and restoration of panels. Included are five preset panel layouts. LibreOffice Calc and Writer and now included. These applications replace Gnumeric and AbiWord respectively. A new theme for LibreOffice, libreoffice-style-elementary is also included and is default for Wily Werewolf. Greybird accessibility icons for window manager. Known issue: gmusicbrowser is known to crash on close.” Further information can be found in the distribution’s release announcement and a full list of changes and new packages are provided in the release notes. Download: xubuntu-15.10-desktop-amd64.iso (1,052MB, SHA256, torrent, pkglist).The Xubuntu development team has launched Xubuntu 15.04. The Xubuntu distribution is based on packages pulled from the Ubuntu repositories and offers users Xfce as the default desktop environment. The latest version of Xubuntu ships with Xfce 4.12 and improves the appearance of Qt-based applications running in the Xfce environment. “Xubuntu now uses Xfce 4.12, which was released on February 28. The new release has brought both some new features and many bug fixes over the old 4.10/4.11 components. For a complete changelog for Xfce 4.12, see the 4.12 changelog on Xfce.org. In addition to the new Xfce release, the 15.04 release has the following highlights: New/Updated Xubuntu Light/Dark colour schemes in Mousepad, Terminal; Mousepad colour scheme set to Xubuntu Light by default; Better appearance for Qt applications out of the box (default to GTK theme); Redundant File Manager (Settings) menu entry removed.” Further information can be found in the release announcement and a full list of changes are provided in the release notes. Download: xubuntu-15.04-desktop-amd64.iso (963MB, SHA256, torrent, pkglist).The Ubuntu family of distribution is one step closer to version 15.04 as the first beta builds of Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu GNOME, Ubuntu Kylin, Ubuntu MATE and now also Xubuntu get ready for testing: “The Xubuntu team is pleased to announce the immediate release of Xubuntu 15.04 Beta 1. This is the first beta towards the final release in April. The first beta release also marks the end of the period to land new features in the form of Ubuntu feature freeze. This means any new updates to packages should be bug fixes only, the Xubuntu team is committed to fixing as many of the bugs as possible before the final release. New features and enhancements: LightDM GTK+ Greeter settings tool added; development wallpaper introduced; XFCE Panel now has an intelligent hiding mode….” See the general announcement as well as Xubuntu’s own release announcement for more details and known issues. Download links: kubuntu-15.04-beta1-desktop-amd64.iso (1,218MB, SHA256, torrent), lubuntu-15.04-beta1-desktop-amd64.iso (678MB, SHA256, torrent), ubuntu-gnome-15.04-beta1-desktop-amd64.iso (1,005MB, SHA256, torrent), ubuntukylin-15.04-beta1-desktop-amd64.iso (1,307MB, SHA256, torrent), ubuntu-mate-15.04-beta1-desktop-amd64.iso (1,094MB, SHA256, torrent), xubuntu-15.04-beta1-desktop-amd64.iso (957MB, SHA256, torrent).Xubuntu 14.10 has been released. Xubuntu is a desktop Linux distribution focusing on usability and performance through its classic Xfce desktop. From the release announcement: “The Xubuntu team is pleased to announce the immediate release of Xubuntu 14.10. To celebrate the 14.10 code name ‘Utopic Unicorn’ and to demonstrate the easy customisability of Xubuntu, highlight colors have been turned pink for this release. You can easily revert this change by using the theme configuration application under the Settings Manager; simply turn Custom Highlight Colors ‘Off’ and click ‘Apply’. Of course, if you wish, you can change the highlight color to something you like better than the default blue. Starting with Xubuntu 14.10, you should use pkexec instead of gksudo for running graphical applications with root access from the terminal for improved security.” See also the release notes for a full changelog and a list of known issues. Download: xubuntu-14.10-desktop-amd64.iso (979MB, SHA256, torrent, pkglist).Pasi Lallinaho has announced the release of Xubuntu 14.04, a desktop distribution shipping with the latest development build of the Xfce desktop, version 4.11: “The Xubuntu team is pleased to announce the immediate release of Xubuntu 14.04. Xubuntu 14.04 is an LTS (long-term support) release and will be supported for 3 years. The highlights of this release include: Light Locker replaces XScreenSaver for screen locking, a settings GUI is included; the panel layout is updated, it now uses Whisker Menu by default; Mugshot is included to allow editing personal preferences; MenuLibre for menu editing with full Xfce support replaces Alacarte; a community wallpapers package which includes work from the five winners of the wallpaper contest; GTK+ Theme Config to customize desktop theme colors; updated artwork, including various enhancements to themes as well as a new default wallpaper.” Here is the release announcement with known issues and acknowledgements. Download: xubuntu-14.04-desktop-amd64.iso (913MB, SHA256, torrent).The Xubuntu development team has announced that the first beta release of Xubuntu 14.04 is now ready for download and testing: “The Xubuntu team is pleased to announce the release of Xubuntu 14.04 Beta 1. This is the first beta towards the final LTS release, and with it we have landed a lot of new features and improvements we’ve been preparing since the last LTS release two years ago. The highlights of this release include: Light Locker replaces XScreenSaver for screen locking, a setting editing GUI is included; the panel layout is updated, it now uses Whisker Menu as the default menu; Mugshot is included to allow you to easily edit your personal preferences; MenuLibre for menu editing with full Xfce support….” See the release announcement for more information and known issues. Download: xubuntu-14.04-beta1-desktop-amd64.iso (937MB, SHA256). Other Ubuntu distributions that released new testing CD/DVD images today include Edubuntu (download), Kubuntu (release notes, download), Lubuntu (release notes, download), Ubuntu GNOME (announcement, download), Ubuntu Kylin (download) and Ubuntu Studio (announcement, download).The second alpha release of Xubuntu 14.04 and several other members of the Ubuntu family (but without Ubuntu itself) is now ready for download and testing: “The Xubuntu team is happy to announce the immediate release of Xubuntu 14.04 Alpha 2. As often expected with very early cycle releases, this release has some issues which we will be working to resolve before the final release. Notably, it is impossible to successfully use the alpha 2 to set up an auto-resized system automatically. You will not be able to set the partition sizes. Other known issues: top ruler missing from AbiWord; keyboard input method closing unexpectedly; Ubiquity window spans monitor width; desktop items have background; Thunar not always automounting USB; resize bar missing when running auto-resize install option.” Here is the brief release announcement. Download: xubuntu-14.04-beta1-desktop-amd64.iso (894MB, SHA256). Other distributions that opted to participate in alpha 2 testing include Edubuntu (release notes, download), Kubuntu (release notes, download), Ubuntu GNOME (release notes, download) and Ubuntu Kylin (download).Pasi Lallinaho has announced the release of Xubuntu 13.10, an official flavour of the Ubuntu operating system with Xfce – a stable, light and configurable desktop environment: “The Xubuntu team is delighted to announce the release of Xubuntu 13.10! Some of the highlights for Xubuntu 13.10 include: a new version of xfce4-settings has been uploaded, bringing amongst other things a new dialog to set up your displays; a tool for changing your theme colors easily, gtk-theme-config, has been added to the default installation; new wallpaper; new releases of our GTK+ themes (with GTK+ 3.10 support) as well as the LightDM greeter, fixing many visual bugs; updated documentation. Known problems: indicator sound no longer functions with Xfce indicator plugin; gmusicbrowser’s albuminfo plugin is deactivated by default and causes the app to hang if enabled….” See the release announcement and release notes for further details. Download: xubuntu-13.10-desktop-amd64.iso (842MB, SHA256, torrent).

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  • jkabtech 4:55 am on February 29, 2016 Permalink |
    Tags: 14044, , , Ubuntu   

    Distribution Release: Ubuntu 14.04.4 

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    Adam Conrad has announced the release of Ubuntu 14.04.4, the fourth maintenance update of the distribution’s latest long-term support branch. This version is provided for users performing new installations of Ubuntu 14.04 (or any of the official Ubuntu flavours). From the release announcement: “The Ubuntu team is pleased to announce the release of Ubuntu 14.04.4 LTS (long-term support) for its Desktop, Server, Cloud, and Core products, as well as other flavours of Ubuntu with long-term support. We have expanded our hardware enablement offering since 12.04, and with 14.04.4, this point release contains an updated kernel and X stack for new installations to support new hardware across all our supported architectures.” Download links: ubuntu-14.04.4-desktop-amd64.iso (1,020MB, SHA256, torrent, pkglist), edubuntu-14.04.4-dvd-amd64.iso (3,034MB, SHA256, torrent, pkglist), kubuntu-14.04.4-desktop-amd64.iso (1,054MB, SHA256, torrent, pkglist), lubuntu-14.04.4-desktop-amd64.iso (737MB, SHA256, torrent, pkglist), mythbuntu-14.04.4-desktop-amd64.iso (1,074MB, SHA256, torrent, pkglist), ubuntu-gnome-14.04.4-desktop-amd64.iso (962MB, SHA256, torrent, pkglist), ubuntukylin-14.04.4-desktop-amd64.iso (1,169MB, SHA256, torrent, pkglist), ubuntustudio-14.04.4-dvd-amd64.iso (2,662MB, SHA256, torrent, pkglist), xubuntu-14.04.4-desktop-amd64.iso (960MB, SHA256, torrent, pkglist).

    Ubuntu is a complete desktop Linux operating system, freely available with both community and professional support. The Ubuntu community is built on the ideas enshrined in the Ubuntu Manifesto: that software should be available free of charge, that software tools should be usable by people in their local language and despite any disabilities, and that people should have the freedom to customise and alter their software in whatever way they see fit. “Ubuntu” is an ancient African word, meaning “humanity to others”. The Ubuntu distribution brings the spirit of Ubuntu to the software world.

    <IMG title=Ubuntu border=1 hspace=6 vspace=6 src="https://jkabtekk.files.wordpress.com/2016/02/ubuntu-small.png&quot; a
    Adam Conrad has announced the launch of Ubuntu 15.10. The new Ubuntu release features version 4.2 of the Linux kernel, updated packages of Firefox, LibreOffice and the GNU Compiler Collection along with several bug fixes. “Codenamed `Wily Werewolf’, 15.10 continues Ubuntu’s proud tradition of integrating the latest and greatest open source technologies into a high-quality, easy-to-use Linux distribution. The team has been hard at work through this cycle, introducing new features and fixing bugs. Under the hood, there have been updates to many core packages, including a new 4.2-based kernel, a switch to gcc-5, and much more. Ubuntu Desktop has seen incremental improvements, with newer versions of GTK and Qt, updates to major packages like Firefox and LibreOffice, and stability improvements to Unity. Ubuntu Server 15.10 includes the Liberty release of OpenStack, alongside deployment and management tools that save devops teams time when deploying distributed applications – whether on private clouds, public clouds, x86, ARM, or POWER servers, or on developer laptops. Several key server technologies, from MAAS to juju, have been updated to new upstream versions with a variety of new features.” Further information can be found in the project’s release announcement and in the release notes. Download (pkglist): ubuntu-15.10-desktop-amd64.iso (1,123MB, SHA256, torrent), ubuntu-15.10-server-amd64.iso (632MB, SHA256, torrent).Adam Conrad has announced the availability of new testing images for the Ubuntu distribution and Ubuntu’s many community projects. The new images represent the second (and final) beta release of Ubuntu 15.10 and will likely be the last set of testing media prior to the final release of Ubuntu 15.10. “Codenamed `Wily Werewolf’, 15.10 continues Ubuntu’s proud tradition of integrating the latest and greatest open source technologies into a high-quality, easy-to-use Linux distribution. The team has been hard at work through this cycle, introducing new features and fixing bugs.” There is one known bug in the beta’s installer related to detecting time zones. The workaround, should the bug be encountered, is to install Ubuntu without an active network connection. Further information can be found in the release announcement. Downloads: ubuntu-15.10-beta2-desktop-amd64.iso (1,210MB, SHA256, torrent, release notes, pkglist), kubuntu-15.10-beta2-desktop-amd64.iso (1,358MB, SHA256, torrent, release notes, pkglist), lubuntu-15.10-beta2-desktop-amd64.iso (805MB, SHA256, torrent, release notes, pkglist), ubuntu-gnome-15.10-beta2-desktop-amd64.iso (1,171MB, SHA256, torrent, release notes, pkglist), ubuntukylin-15.10-beta2-desktop-amd64.iso (1,424MB, SHA256, torrent, release notes, pkglist), ubuntu-mate-15.10-beta2-desktop-amd64.iso (1,163MB, SHA256, torrent, release notes, pkglist), ubuntustudio-15.10-beta2-dvd-amd64.iso (2,475MB, SHA256, torrent, pkglist), xubuntu-15.10-beta2-desktop-amd64.iso (1,170MB, SHA256, torrent, pkglist).Martin Wimpress has announced the availability of a new set of testing images for version 15.10 Beta 1 of the various Ubuntu community distributions. These new beta images provide previews of new technologies present in the community distributions and offer users a way to test the software and report bugs. “The first beta of the Wily Werewolf (to become 15.10) has now been released! This beta features images for Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu GNOME, Ubuntu Kylin, Ubuntu MATE, Xubuntu and the Ubuntu Cloud images. Pre-releases of the Wily Werewolf are not encouraged for anyone needing a stable system or anyone who is not comfortable running into occasional, even frequent breakage.” Downloads: kubuntu-15.10-beta1-desktop-amd64.iso (1,341MB, SHA256, torrent, pkglist, release announcement), lubuntu-15.10-beta1-desktop-amd64.iso (775MB, SHA256, torrent, pkglist, release announcement)), ubuntu-gnome-15.10-beta1-desktop-amd64.iso (1,161MB, SHA256, torrent, pkglist, release announcement), ubuntu-mate-15.10-beta1-desktop-amd64.iso (1,132MB, SHA256, torrent, pkglist, release announcement), xubuntu-15.10-beta1-desktop-amd64.iso (1,150MB, SHA256, torrent, pkglist, release announcement), ubuntukylin-15.10-beta1-desktop-amd64.iso (1,401MB, SHA256, torrent, pkglist, release announcement).Adam Conrad has announced the release of an updated version of the Ubuntu distribution and Ubuntu’s many community spins. The new download media does not represent a separate new release, rather it provides fresh installation media with up to date packages and bug fixes. Apart from Ubuntu itself, fresh installation media are also available for the Edubuntu, Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu Studio, Ubuntu GNOME, Ubuntu Kylin, Xubuntu and Mythbuntu projects. “We have expanded our hardware enablement offering since 12.04, and with 14.04.3, this point release contains an updated kernel and X stack for new installations to support new hardware across all our supported architectures, not just x86.” Further information is available in the release announcement. Download links, upgrade information and more technical details can be found in the release notes. Download: ubuntu-14.04.3-desktop-amd64.iso (1,006MB, SHA256, torrent, pkglist), edubuntu-14.04.3-dvd-amd64.iso (3,021MB, SHA256, torrent, pkglist), kubuntu-14.04.3-desktop-amd64.iso (1,050MB, SHA256, torrent, pkglist), lubuntu-14.04.3-desktop-amd64.iso (727MB, SHA256, torrent, pkglist), mythbuntu-14.04.3-desktop-amd64.iso (1,051MB, SHA256, torrent, pkglist), ubuntu-gnome-14.04.3-desktop-amd64.iso (955MB, SHA256, torrent, pkglist), ubuntukylin-14.04.3-desktop-amd64.iso (1,145MB, SHA256, torrent, pkglist), ubuntustudio-14.04.3-dvd-amd64.iso (2,653MB, SHA256, torrent, pkglist), xubuntu-14.04.3-desktop-amd64.iso (949MB, SHA256, torrent, pkglist).The Ubuntu Release Team has announced the availability of a new test release of Ubuntu’s community distributions. These community distributions are independently maintained while sharing infrastructure and resources with Ubuntu. The new release, version 15.10 Alpha 2, is still under heavy development and is intended for testing purposes only. From the release announcement: “The second alpha of the Wily Werewolf (to become 15.10) has now been released! This alpha features images for Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Kylin and the Ubuntu Cloud images. Pre-releases of the Wily Werewolf are not encouraged for anyone needing a stable system or anyone who is not comfortable running into occasional, even frequent breakage. They are, however, recommended for Ubuntu flavor developers and those who want to help in testing, reporting and fixing bugs as we work towards getting this release ready. Alpha 2 includes a number of software updates that are ready for wider testing.” Downloads: kubuntu/wily-desktop-amd64.iso (1,275MB, SHA256, torrent, pkglist, release notes), lubuntu/wily-desktop-amd64.iso (728MB, SHA256, torrent, pkglist, release notes), ubuntumate/wily-desktop-amd64.iso (1,038MB, SHA256, torrent, pkglist, release notes), ubuntukylin/wily-desktop-amd64.iso (1,310MB, SA256, torrent, pkglist, release notes).Adam Conrad has announced the availability of alpha test images for the family of Ubuntu community editions. The Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu MATE and UbuntuKylin projects have released development snapshots of their upcoming 15.10 releases for people who want to test the distributions and report bugs. “The first alpha of the Wily Werewolf (to become 15.10) has now been released! This alpha features images for Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu MATE, UbuntuKylin and the Ubuntu Cloud images. Pre-releases of the Wily Werewolf are not encouraged for anyone needing a stable system or anyone who is not comfortable running into occasional, even frequent breakage. They are, however, recommended for Ubuntu flavor developers and those who want to help in testing, reporting and fixing bugs as we work towards getting this release ready. Alpha 1 includes a number of software updates that are ready for wider testing. This is quite an early set of images, so you should expect some bugs.” More details and download links can be found in the release announcement. Downloads: kubuntu/wily-desktop-amd64.iso (1,271MB, SHA256, torrent, pkglist, release notes), lubuntu/wily-desktop-amd64.iso, (700MB, SHA256, torrent, pkglist, release notes, ubuntu-mate/wily-desktop-amd64.iso (1,121MB, SHA256, torrent, pkglist, release notes), ubuntukylin/wily-desktop-amd64.iso (1,326MB, MD5, torrent, pkglist).Canonical has announced the launch of Ubuntu 15.04. The new release, which will be supported for nine months, features LibreOffice 4.4, version 3.19 of the Linux kernel and a switch from Canonical’s Upstart init to systemd. “systemd has replaced Upstart as the standard boot and service manager on all Ubuntu flavors except Touch. At the time of the 15.04 release there are no known major problems which prevent booting. The only service which does not currently start is Juju, which will be fixed in a post-release update soon; all other packaged Ubuntu services are expected to work. Upstart continues to control user sessions… You can boot with Upstart once by selecting `Advanced options for Ubuntu’ in the GRUB boot menu and starting the `Ubuntu, with Linux … (upstart)’ entry. To switch back permanently, install the upstart-sysv package (this will remove systemd-sysv and ubuntu-standard).” The new release offers several updates and improvements for LXC containers and this is the first version of Ubuntu to offer the LXD container management utility. Ubuntu is available in a number of editions, including Desktop, Server and Snappy, a minimal “core” installation. More details on Ubuntu 15.04 can be found in the release notes. Downloads: ubuntu-15.04-desktop-amd64.iso (1,097MB, SHA256, torrent, pkglist), ubuntu-15.04-server-amd64.iso (616MB, SHA256, torrent), ubuntu-15.04-snappy-amd64-generic.img.xz (122MB, SHA256).Canonical has announced the launch of Ubuntu 15.04 Final Beta along with the availability of beta images for the many Ubuntu community distributions. These test images should be mostly bug-free, but are still intended to be used for testing purposes. “Codenamed “Vivid Vervet”, 15.04 continues Ubuntu’s proud tradition of integrating the latest and greatest open source technologies into a high-quality, easy-to-use Linux distribution. The team has been hard at work through this cycle, introducing new features and fixing bugs. This beta release includes images from not only the Ubuntu Desktop, Server, Cloud, and Core products, but also the Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu GNOME, Ubuntu Kylin, Ubuntu Studio and Xubuntu flavours. In addition to the usual suspects, we’re also welcoming a new flavour to the family this cycle with Ubuntu MATE.” More information can be found in the project’s release notes. Downloads: ubuntu-15.04-beta2-desktop-amd64.iso (1,094MB, SHA256, torrent), kubuntu-15.04-beta2-desktop-amd64.iso (1,247MB, SHA256, torrent), lubuntu-15.04-beta2-desktop-amd64.iso (686MB, SHA256, torrent), ubuntu-gnome-15.04-beta2-desktop-amd64.iso (1,010MB, SHA256, torrent), ubuntukylin-15.04-beta2-desktop-amd64.iso (1,320MB, SHA256, torrent), ubuntu-mate-15.04-beta2-desktop-amd64.iso (1,085MB, SHA256, torrent), ubuntustudio-15.04-beta2-dvd-amd64.iso (2,359MB, SHA256, torrent), xubuntu-15.04-beta2-desktop-amd64.iso (961MB, SHA256, torrent).

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  • jkabtech 1:54 am on February 29, 2016 Permalink |
    Tags: ReactOS,   

    OS Release: ReactOS 0.4.0 

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    Ziliang Guo has announced the release of ReactOS 0.4.0, a major new update of the built-from-scratch operating system that attempts to clone the design of the Microsoft Windows NT architecture. This release brings many dramatic improvements, including USB and wireless networking support: “Nearly ten years ago the ReactOS project released version 0.3.0. Today we are proud to announce the formal release of version 0.4.0. A great deal of work has gone into making this release happen and, as we look back, it is remarkable to consider how far the project has come since that release a decade ago. Here we document some of the highlights that separate 0.4.0 from not just the 0.3.17 release but also the cumulative achievements that the 0.3.x series achieved. User-centric improvements: ext2 read/write and NTFS read support; new explorer shell and theme support; SerialATA support; sound support; USB support; VirtualBox and VirtualPC support; wireless networking.” Read the rest of the release announcement for detailed information and a screenshot. Download (MD5) the installation or the live CD image from SourceForge: ReactOS-0.4.0-REL-iso.zip (93.8MB), ReactOS-0.4.0-REL-live.zip (65.7MB).

    ReactOS is a free and open-source operating system based on the best design principles found in the Windows NT architecture. Written completely from scratch, ReactOS is not a Linux-based system and it shares none of the UNIX architecture. The main goal of the ReactOS project is to provide an operating system which is binary compatible with Windows. This will allow Windows applications and drivers to run as they would on a Windows system. Additionally, the look and feel of the Windows operating system is used, such that people accustomed to the familiar user interface of Windows would find using ReactOS straightforward. The ultimate goal of ReactOS is to allow people to use it as an alternative to Windows without the need to change software they are used to.

    <IMG title=ReactOS border=1 hspace=6 vspace=6 src="https://jkabtekk.files.wordpress.com/2016/02/reactos-small.png&quot; a

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  • jkabtech 1:31 am on February 28, 2016 Permalink |
    Tags: , exApple, , ,   

    Why Apple is right to fight FBI: ex-Apple security 

    Rick Orloff, former Apple security chief Monday, 22 Feb 2016 | 12:00 PM ETCNBC.com

    The U.S. Department of Justice’s motion issued last week to compel Apple to create a bypass of its iPhone data self-destruct feature is understandable. The FBI wants to access data stored on an encrypted iPhone owned by Syed Farook, who, with his wife, killed 14 people in San Bernardino last December.

    Apple’s CEO Tim Cook wrote a public letter to customers, calling the order a dangerous precedent.

    However, when we examine the implications of having Apple and other companies build “backdoors” into their products that enable law enforcement authorities to access encrypted data on endpoint devices, we soon find that building such backdoors actually creates more problems than it solves.

    Apple CEO Tim Cook.

    It could lead to putting these backdoors into everyone’s smart phone, PC or other computing device, creating a whole new attack vector for hackers to exploit. Hackers and hostile foreign countries will see this as an opportunity to use this vulnerability to their benefit.

    If these backdoors are built, it will be a question of when, not if, a hacker will create his own exploit and use it to get his hands on an enterprise’s, person’s or government agency’s data.

    In addition, if we start down the slippery slope of including backdoors in our computing devices, then sophisticated terrorists and other criminals will pursue alternative security solutions. Rather than depend on an endpoint’s built-in encryption and other security features, they will add off-the-shelf security tools to protect their data.

    The Department of Justice will end up finding itself playing a game of “whack-a-mole,” working to compel every third-party encryption vendor within its jurisdiction to build backdoors into its products. Yet even if the government finds a way to win this game it will still lose.

    Sooner or later, companies located in countries beyond the U.S. Department of Justice’s legal jurisdiction will develop and sell their own encryption tools – companies that the U.S. Department of Justice will be unable to compel to install backdoors.

    Meanwhile, the negative impact of creating these backdoors in hardware and software products is significant. Corporations and individuals will no longer trust that the data they save on their smart phones, PCs and other computing devices is safe – unless they add complex and expensive third-party encryption tools to these devices themselves.

    Also, computing device manufacturers would likely need to create whole new teams to manage the hundreds to thousands of unlock requests they are likely to get from not just the federal government, but state, local, and foreign governments as well.

    Moreover, creating backdoors to access encrypted data on endpoint devices is not a silver bullet that will win the war on terrorism. If law enforcement agencies have a suspect in their sights, there are many tools, processes and capabilities they can leverage to gather data that will further their investigations. Trying to decrypt data on an endpoint, while very valuable, isn’t the only option.

    In the end, if we force companies to build backdoors that the government can use to access encrypted data we wind up making our security problem worse, not better. Terrorists and criminals will continue to use other tools to secure or encrypt their data.

    Corporations, governments, and individuals will need to add yet another piece of software to their technology stack to mitigate a known backdoor. If they don’t, and they are compromised, government leaders and executives will ask the security team, “If you knew about the vulnerability, why didn’t you protect us from it?”

    I believe we all want to prevent terrorism. But in doing so, we should not weaken the security posture of the internet, and only make ourselves less safe, not more.

    Commentary by Rick Orloff, Chief Security Officer, software company Code42. Previously he was Apple’s senior director of security.

    For more insight from CNBC contributors, follow @CNBCopinion on Twitter.

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  • jkabtech 8:59 pm on February 27, 2016 Permalink |
    Tags: , , , prepared   

    Most companies aren’t prepared for a hack attack 

    Ralph de la Vega, vice chairman at AT&T Monday, 22 Feb 2016 | 9:44 AM ETCNBC.com

    The Internet of Things is changing the world around us. It’s advancing the future of business and bringing new capabilities and efficiencies to companies to help them stay competitive. It’s disrupting industries, from health care to hotels to hair salons.

    Catch Ralph de la Vega today on CNBC’s “Squawk Alley” on Monday Feb. 22 at 11:15am ET.

    Cyber security weerapatkiatdumrong | Getty Images

    The impact of IoT is being likened to a new industrial revolution. But, with its great potential comes new opportunities for cybercriminals.

    A single cyberattack can inflict millions of dollars in damage. These threats are unfortunately inherent to IoT technology, which is reshaping almost every element of modern life, from driving our cars to taking medication and adjusting the thermostat. In just the past two years, AT&T observed an astonishing 458 percent increase in vulnerability scans of IoT devices, according to AT&T’s second Cybersecurity Insights Report, this one on Exploring IoT Security.

    Unlike data and privacy breaches, which threaten to compromise medical records and credit-card information, the security risks to IoT devices could have far greater consequences — for example putting patients, automobile drivers and others at risk. According to the AT&T report, the threat is likely to increase as the number of connected devices swells to an estimated 50 billion devices by 2020.

    There are clear signs, however, that businesses aren’t yet effectively addressing IoT security.

    According to the report, less than half of respondents (47 percent) say their organizations analyze connected device security logs and alerts more than once a day — a pace that will need to quicken as the risk profile rises. Only 14 percent of companies have instituted a formal audit process to help understand whether their devices are secure and how many devices they have, and just 17 percent involve their boards in decision-making around IoT security.

    Perhaps most startling, among health care/life sciences professionals, just 30 percent of respondents are analyzing the logs and alerts of connected devices in real time, even though 64 percent say they are confident or extremely confident in their IoT cybersecurity defenses.

    What more can be done?

    The good news is that efforts are underway to create standards for securing IoT devices that will help make them safer from cyberattacks. To help businesses address the urgent need for IoT security, we recently announced plans to work with Bayshore Networks to explore innovation in virtualized security protections and capabilities for IoT customers.

    While Bayshore has been a leader in developing industrial IoT security solutions, most other efforts are still largely in their early stages, making it all the more imperative that business leaders find ways to maximize the tremendous benefits IoT technology can provide to their customers and their workforce while minimizing the risks it presents.

    To help do that, the AT&T report identifies six principles business leaders should adopt to protect their companies and their customers from IoT cyberattacks.

    Adopt a risk-driven approach. Identify your most critical assets or highest risks — which in IoT may extend beyond data to physical impacts – and then apply security controls that are commensurate with each level of risk.

    Look beyond IoT device security. It’s important to secure not just device-based data and operations, but also the many levels and types of communications networks and applications that support IoT solutions.

    Don’t reinvent the wheel. Existing security controls and procedures may be sufficient for many IoT deployments, but be mindful of unique IoT devices, applications and increased scale that require new controls and protections.

    Address the entire IoT ecosystem and know your supply chain. Evaluate the security capabilities and responsibilities of your IoT product and service providers, as well as those of your business partners.

    Automate security where possible. Given the massive increase in connected endpoints and the data volumes they can generate, IoT deployments are driving the need for increased automation in data monitoring, threat identification, and other facets of security.

    Involve your board. Communicating often with your board of directors will see to it that corporate leaders clearly understand both the opportunities and risks of IoT deployments.

    The Internet of Things has the potential to reshape the way we work, live and communicate. But with this great promise comes great responsibility to provide products and services that are highly secure.

    Commentary by Ralph de la Vega, the vice chairman of AT&T and CEO of AT&T Business Solutions & AT&T International.

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  • jkabtech 5:58 pm on February 27, 2016 Permalink |
    Tags: , ,   

    Feds ‘frustrated’ by Tim Cook interview: Official 

    Thursday, 25 Feb 2016 | 2:28 PM ETCNBC.com

    A senior law enforcement official told CNBC that officials are “frustrated” by Apple CEO Tim Cook’s interview on ABC News Wednesday, particularly Cook’s argument that the FBI’s proposal in the dispute about access to a San Bernardino, California, shooter’s iPhone would affect “hundreds of millions of users.”

    Officials point to the text of the court order issued last week and argue that their proposal is “a solution for a single device by serial number in a single case.”

    The official also responded to Cook’s analogy that creating new software to access the iPhone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook would be akin to creating the “software equivalent of cancer.” Cook’s argument is that new software designed just to eliminate the security features of Farook’s iPhone would inevitably be targeted by hackers and thieves and possibly escape into the control of hostile third parties.

    Apple CEO Tim Cook Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images News | Getty Images

    That doesn’t convince many officials in Washington.

    “If you’re talking cancer cells,” the official said, responding to Cook’s analogy, “in this case [Apple] would create the cancer cell, they would use the cancer cell and they would destroy the cancer cell, in their own facility, where you would think they have very good security.”

    That private assessment by a government official differed from the public tone of FBI Director James Comey in testimony Thursday before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. In his public remarks, Comey went out of his way to praise Apple for its cooperation before the dispute went public last week.

    He declined an opening offered by a member of Congress to repeat government claims that Apple is acting out of concern for its business model. And Comey suggested he could see both sides of the issue, saying the dispute “is the hardest question I’ve seen in government” and emphasizing the need for conversation and negotiation.

    For his part, Apple CEO Cook used his ABC News interview to frame the debate in terms of the fundamental aspects of American life. “This is not about one phone — this is about the future,” he said. “It’s about freedom of expression and freedom of speech, these are core principles in America.”

    And Cook also worried aloud about the potential consequences of being forced to write new software for the government. “If a court can ask us to write this piece of software, think about what else they can ask us to write,” he said. “Maybe it’s an operating system for surveillance. Maybe it’s the ability for the law enforcement to turn on the camera. I mean, I don’t know where this stops.”

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  • jkabtech 1:25 pm on February 27, 2016 Permalink |
    Tags: , , ,   

    CEO email scam costs companies $2 billion 

    Thursday, 25 Feb 2016 | 10:48 AM ETFinancial Times

    Cyber security hacking Brian A Jackson | Getty Images

    A scam in which criminals impersonate the email accounts of chief executives has cost businesses around the globe more than $2bn in little over two years, according to the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.

    The FBI has seen a sharp increase in “business email crime,” a simple scam that is also known as “CEO fraud”, with more than 12,000 victims affected globally.

    In the scam, a criminal mimics a chief executive’s email account and directs an employee to wire money to an overseas bank account. By the time the company realises it has been duped, the money is gone.

    Read more from the Financial Times:
    How companies are hit by email scams
    One in four companies hit by cyber attacks
    Apple to strengthen iCloud encryption

    The average loss is $120,000 but some companies have been tricked into sending as much as $90m to offshore accounts, US authorities say.

    Reports of CEO fraud are accelerating. Between October 2013 and August 2015, about $1.2bn globally was lost to the scheme, the FBI said, but that loss increased by another $800m in the past six months. US authorities have traced the money involved to 108 countries.

    “Criminals don’t have borders and this is a global problem,” said James Barnacle, chief of the FBI’s money laundering unit. “We’re working with our criminal investigation resources, our cyber resources, our international operations divisions — which is all our legal attachés overseas — and we’re working with foreign partners around the world to try to tackle this crime problem.”

    The rise in reported CEO frauds can be partly attributed to companies detecting the crime, but it also reflects the simple nature of the scheme that can be run from anywhere around the globe.

    “It’s easy. All you need is a computer,” Mr Barnacle said.

    Most of the offshore bank accounts in which the money ends up are located in Asia or Africa, where it can be harder for the US to gain the assistance of local authorities.

    The FBI has seen similarities between different CEO fraud schemes but it is not clear if there is one dominant global ring.

    “We’re putting more resource to it. We’re trying to find those patterns,” Mr Barnacle said.

    The FBI advises companies to be more guarded with their information even if it means taking additional steps that are not cost-effective, such as making a phone call to the executive to confirm the transfer.

    The crime has hit very large companies and small ones. Most recently, there have been new reports in the US of criminals targeting real estate firms to steal closing fees on housing sales. Some companies have been asked by imposters to email employee wage and tax statements.

    Last year police from Italy, Spain and other European countries arrested more than 60 members of an alleged criminal group, including several Nigerians, for their role in an email fraud scheme that affected hundreds of individuals and tens of companies.

    Still, few cases have been made, reflecting the challenges of combating international cyber crimes.

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  • jkabtech 9:49 am on February 27, 2016 Permalink |
    Tags: ,   

    More tech giants take on US government 

    Monday, 22 Feb 2016 | 11:33 AM ETCNBC.com

    Apple isn’t alone.

    The tech giant is dominating the headlines in a standoff over whether to help the FBI access the locked, encrypted iPhone of one of the San Bernardino terrorists.

    But this case is just one example of the broader tension that has erupted between tech companies and the Justice Department across a range of national security and criminal issues.

    For example, Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella is fighting the DOJ in a drug-trafficking case. The government is trying to force Microsoft to turn over emails stored in data centers in Ireland as part of the investigation.

    Microsoft contends that emails stored in the cloud belong to the customer, with the same privacy protection as paper letters sent by mail. Brad Smith, Microsoft’s chief legal officer, has also argued that the U.S. government must have a warrant, but a search warrant cannot reach beyond U.S. shores.

    In other words, according to Microsoft, the DOJ is exceeding its authority. The company told CNBC it is willing to take the battle to the Supreme Court if necessary.

    Apple CEO Tim Cook (L), Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella (C) and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsy (R). Apple CEO Tim Cook (L), Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella (C) and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsy (R).

    Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is also going head-to-head with the department. The company says it is being prohibited from reporting on the scope of surveillance of Twitter users by the U.S. government. Twitter argues that it entitled to do so under the First Amendment, and seeks to publish a full and complete report on transparency.

    The government counters that Twitter can’t publish that report because it contains classified information, and it wants the case dismissed. Twitter told CNBC that the government’s motion will be heard in court next month.

    One reason for these growing tensions is Edward Snowden, said Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy, a tech research firm.

    Snowden’s revelations about the NSA generated increased public scrutiny about the relationships between Silicon Valley and U.S. intelligence agencies. Now tech companies are forced to dig in their heels and take on the government in court so their users can be assured that big tech is protecting their data, Moorhead said.

    “These tech companies do believe in privacy,” Moorhead said. “But compromising [with the government] also becomes more challenging when the fight is public.”

    In contrast, the government argues that it needs these data to protect those very same users. The Justice Department did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

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  • jkabtech 6:14 am on February 27, 2016 Permalink |
    Tags: , , spotlight   

    Apple vs FBI puts spotlight on RSA Conference 

    Wednesday, 24 Feb 2016 | 1:53 PM ETCNBC.com

    Cyber security

    As our online and offline lives merge, cybersecurity has crept into mainstream consciousness as both a business and personal concern.

    The World Economic Forum predicts that crimes in cyberspace will cost the global economy $445 billion this year. At the same time, the number of smartphone users worldwide is expected to cross 2.1 billion, making the Apple vs. the FBI battle around the issues of encryption and privacy relevant to almost a third of the global population.

    Read MorePublic still divided on Apple’s encryption stance

    Hack attacks are increasing in sophistication and success — 2015 saw a record number of reported data breaches, with 3,930 incidents exposing more than 736 million records, according to Dataloss DB. At the same time, the “Internet of Things” (IoT) is exposing a whole set of new devices, from connected cars to heart rate monitors.

    “If you look at the results over the last 10 years, no one would suggest we would have more privacy and security; we have less,” said Arthur Coviello, an industry leader, investor and former executive vice chairman of RSA. (RSA is owned by EMC Corp.)

    Apple CEO Tim Cook (left) and FBI Director James Comey. Apple CEO Tim Cook (left) and FBI Director James Comey.

    The industry has been working to solve these issues for decades, and next week’s RSA Conference, celebrating its 25th year, will be a coming out party of sorts. Cryptologists are suddenly cool, white hat hackers have never been more in demand, and investment dollars are free flowing.

    “It’s on TV all the time and there are whole movies about IT security and hacking,” said Gartner analyst Anton Chuvakin. “It’s more of a mainstream issue now.”

    Last year, venture capital and private equity investors poured $10.8 billion into the global security industry, up from $8.2 billion in 2014, according to Pitchbook. Global security acquisitions accounted for $16.7 billion in deal flow and IPOs accounted for $749.2 million in capital raised.

    2016 is on pace to see even more money invested in security start-ups, and the deals are getting bigger. Between Jan. 1 and Feb. 8, $483.6 million was invested across 34 deals, up from $124.8 million across 39 deals in the same period in 2015.

    “It’s an exciting time,” said Coviello. “I have never seen so much VC invested in security and products that will enhance security infrastructures.”

    U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter

    More than 33,000 attendees are expected to attend the conference this year. Organizers have assembled an impressive lineup of speakers, including industry and government leaders.

    A number of sessions are aimed at doing just that. For example, on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. Eastern Ted Schlein, a partner at VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers will interview Department of Homeland Security Secretary Ashton B. Carter. Schlein was one of Symantec’s early employees and invests in security start-ups, and Carter has made building relationships with Silicon Valley a priority of his tenure.

    Read MoreDefense Secretary Carter: Accelerate fight against ISIS

    Fostering a more harmonious relationship between tech and government may be tough as long as the Apple/FBI dispute dominates the headlines. Coviello has made shifting the conversation to a more friendly dialogue a key priority. On Tuesday, he announced a new security and privacy initiative called the Digital Equilibrium Project aimed at developing a “digital constitution” to provide a legal and social framework for situations where security and privacy are at odds.

    Another panel will bring together privacy and security experts to discuss moving beyond partisan policies on these issues. The panel features former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and former National Security Agency Director Michael McConnell to debate with Nuala O’Conner, CEO for the Center for Democracy and Technology, and Trevor Hughes, president and CEO of the International Association of Privacy Professionals.

    “Two administrations have been talking about public-private partnerships for the better part of 12 years, and nothing has changed,” said Coviello.

    A session on Wednesday aims to test just how well governments and industry partners can work together in the event of an advanced cyberattack. Led by Jason Healey, a senior research scholar at Columbia University, and Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder and CTO of Crowdstrike, 50 attendees will work through policy responses and actions to combat an imagined cyberattack on a nation-state.

    Bloodstream monitor Thierry Dosogne | Getty Images

    Experts agree that the rise in the IoT opens up a whole new host of challenges. Marie Moe, a research scientist with Scandinavia’s largest research organization, SINTEF, will talk about her research into protecting her personal critical infrastructure from hack attacks. Moe has a rare heart condition and relies on a pacemaker — featuring wireless interfaces with network connectivity — to help control every single beat of her heart.

    Last year’s Jeep hack — which caused the automaker to recall more than a million vehicles — is at the center of several panels. General Motors Co. chief product cybersecurity officer Jeff Massimilla will discuss how the industry can avoid such missteps going forward. A separate panel looks at liability when things do go wrong, Eric Hibbard, CTO for security and privacy at the Federal Trade Commission, will examine emerging theories of liability for manufacturers and vendors when a hacked device turns fatal.

    Read MoreHackers remotely kill Jeep’s engine on highway

    Attendees can also witness the live hacking of a professional police drone. IBM security consultant Nils Rodday will hack into the drone and take control of the device. The goal is to demonstrate just how vulnerable drones currently in use by police forces around the world to execute critical missions are to hackers.

    “IoT hacking en masse will make this more of a living room issue,” said Chuvakin. “It’s a real threat — it’s not an existential threat — but it’s something that’s probably more of a conversation for two or three years in the future.”

    With security in the spotlight at the RSA Conference, insiders expect companies to announce new deals on Monday. With so many key players in one building, it’s an important way to figure out how the complex vendor ecosystem fits together, and which technologies have the most potential to disrupt legacy players.

    “This is the entire industry in one building,” said Chuvakin. “That’s where the conference is valuable.”

    “Security is a very fragmented industry, and there are a lot of small companies in this space, and it’s important to have a broader spectrum across the different companies to understand who’s doing well and what technologies are doing well,” said JMP Securities analyst Erik Suppiger.

    Beyond deals, for analysts who cover the industry, their eyes are trained on advances in some of the less sexy, but continually important security challenges. For example, technology to combat older malware is still very much needed despite recent advances, said Chuvakin. “People still get burned by malicious software.”

    Sean Penn

    Of course, it’s often the after-hours events that are most fruitful for industry insiders. Security vendors large and small will host a slew of events around the conference, and on Thursday evening RSA is throwing a giant celebration at San Francisco’s AT&T Park featuring a live performance from Sheryl Crow.

    Organizers are hoping to lure attendees back on Friday with a closing keynote featuring another star: Sean Penn. Previous keynotes have featured Alec Baldwin and Stephen Colbert.

    “They have a fresh perspective,” said RSA Conference General Manager Linda Gray. “With Sean Penn, apart form his own activism, philanthropy and interest in Internet privacy, he was also involved in the interview with ‘El Chapo.’ “

    In a story published in Rolling Stone, Penn said he used burner phones, encryption and anonymous email addresses to communicate with the Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman, known as “El Chapo.” Penn acknowledged that the Mexican government and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration were likely tracking his movements.

    Correction: An earlier version of this story had the wrong day listed for a panel discussion.

    Harriet Taylor SHOW COMMENTS Please add a username to view or add commentsPublic Username for Commenting

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  • jkabtech 2:04 am on February 27, 2016 Permalink |
    Tags: , awkward, position   

    Apple in an awkward position: Tim Cook 

    Sorry, I could not read the content fromt this page.

    View the original article here

  • jkabtech 10:00 pm on February 26, 2016 Permalink |
    Tags: cybercrime, , ,   

    Third of global firms now hit by cybercrime 

    Thursday, 25 Feb 2016 | 8:06 AM ETCNBC.com

    Economic crime is on the rise, with cybercrime affecting almost a third of global businesses, according to the latest survey by audit firm PwC.

    In the last two years, 36 percent of organizations surveyed experienced economic crime, the Global Economic Crime Survey revealed on Thursday. The most common forms of economic crime were asset misappropriation, cybercrime, and bribery or corruption.

    The rate of economic crime rose in Africa, Western Europe and the Middle East, while 14 percent of total respondents said they had lost more than $1 million as a result of crime in the last two years.

    Hlib Shabashnyi | Getty Images

    The environment for economic crime is becoming increasingly complex as the cost of crime rises, according to Andrew Gordon, global leader of forensic services at PwC.

    “Too few companies are adapting their risk assessments and control frameworks fast enough,” he said in a press release.

    “Action on economic crime is not the responsibility of one person or team, it must be embedded within an organizations’ culture.”

    More worryingly, PwC found corporations are becoming less effective at dealing with crime.

    “Often the response to a threat is taking more control. But our report shows that corporate control environments are 7 percent less effective in detecting and preventing economic crime than they were two years ago,” said Trevor White, PwC’s survey leader, in a press release.

    “Tackling economic crime means a strong culture and ethics focus as well as effective monitoring and compliance programs.”

    Incidents of cybercrime rose to 32 percent compared to 24 percent in 2014. More than a third of organisations (34 percent) feared they would experience cybercrime in the next two years.

    Security company Palo Alto Networks stressed the need for robust defences and precautions to deter criminals.

    According to the company, almost 60 percent of threats can be eliminated if businesses can increase how long it takes for someone to complete an attack.

    “A prevention-first attitude can slow down a cyberattacker enough for them to abandon the attack in favour of an easier target,” said Greg Day, CSO of EMEA at Palo Alto Networks, in a press release.

    “Ultimately, the adoption of a prevention-first mind-set will make it economically unviable for criminals to attack a business.”

    PwC’s bi-annual survey spoke to more than 6,000 people in 115 countries across all sectors of the economy using an online questionnaire. Most of the respondents were at board level or were heads of department.

    Follow CNBC International on Twitter and Facebook.

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  • jkabtech 1:54 am on February 25, 2016 Permalink |
    Tags: , Hygienic, , Macros   

    ZL: A C/C++ Compatible Language with Hygienic Macros 

    AppId is over the quota

    maintained by Kevin Atkinson

    ZL is a C compatible and C++ like programming language that focuses on extensiblilty and giving the programmer control over how high-level constructs (such as classes) are implemented. ZL archives the first goal by means of a customizable grammar and a powerful Scheme-like macro system. ZL archives the second goal by using the macro system to define high-level constructs from a C-like core language in a similar in spirit to Scheme.

    Details ZL and its application are given in my dissertation. The version of ZL corresponding the dissertation is 0.03. Since version 0.03 there has been a few API changes. The most notable one is that match_args is now match_f and match is now match_parts_f.

    There has also been numerous enhancements to ZL since the dissertation was published. I have partly addressed enhancements to error messages and debugging support outlined in Section 11.2; implemented the ideas of Section 11.5.1 (Always Reparsing); and added basic support for extending the parser without having to modify the grammar as mentioned in Section 11.6. In addition I have added a high-level syntax for procedural macros, which included support for quasi and anti-quotes.

    The more up-to-date ZL Manual includes many parts of my dissertation and if you are interested in ZL itself it best to consult it instead. What the documentation leaves out is how ZL can be used to mitigate ABI compatibility issues, which is the topic of my dissertation.

    Parts of ZL and its applications are also described in the GPCE’10 paper (uses version 0.02) and details on parsing and the macro system is described in the Scheme’11 paper (uses version 0.03). The examples for both papers can be found in the test/ directory.

    View the original article here

  • jkabtech 10:53 pm on February 24, 2016 Permalink |
    Tags: AdBlocking, CharacterBased, , , Sentiment   

    Open Character-Based Deep Convolutional Models: From Sentiment to Ad-Blocking 

    AppId is over the quota
    Character-Based Deep Convolutional Models Character-Based Deep Convolutional Models

  • jkabtech 6:20 pm on February 24, 2016 Permalink |
    Tags: , thinking,   

    You can train your body into thinking it’s had medicine 

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    Mosaic-Placebo-Hero-Aaron-Tilley-Kerry-Hughes © Aaron Tilley and Kerry Hughes

    Jo Marchant asks if we can harness the mind to reduce side-effects and slash drug costs.

    9 February 2016

    Marette Flies was 11 when her immune system turned against her. A cheerful student from Minneapolis, Minnesota, she had curly brown hair and a pale, moon-shaped face, and she loved playing trumpet in her high-school band. But in 1983, she was diagnosed with lupus, a condition in which the immune system destroys the body’s healthy tissues.

    It ran rampant, attacking her body on multiple fronts. She was given steroids to suppress her immune system; the drugs made her face swell up, and her hair fell out onto her pillow and into her food. But despite the treatment her condition worsened over the next two years, with inflamed kidneys, seizures and high blood pressure. She suffered frequent headaches and her whole body was in pain.

    By 1985, antibodies were attacking a vital clotting factor in Marette’s blood, causing her to bleed uncontrollably. It got so bad that her doctors considered giving her a hysterectomy, because they were worried that when her periods started she might bleed to death. She took drugs including barbiturates, antihypertensives, diuretics and steroids but her blood pressure kept rising. Then her heart started to fail, and her doctors reluctantly decided give her Cytoxan, an extremely toxic drug.

    Cytoxan is very good at suppressing the immune system. But it causes vomiting, stomach aches, bruising, bleeding, and kidney and liver damage, as well as increased risk of infections and cancer, and at the time its use in humans was experimental. Karen Olness, a psychologist and paediatrician now at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, was helping Marette to cope with the stress and pain of her condition, and she was concerned that if lupus didn’t kill the teenager, this new drug might. Then Marette’s mother showed Olness a scientific paper she had seen. It claimed to have slowed lupus in mice – but with just half the usual dose of Cytoxan.

    The results were part of a well-known and seemingly mundane phenomenon that has been driving a quiet revolution in immunology. Its proponents hope that by cutting drug doses, it will not only minimise harmful side-effects but also slash billions from healthcare costs, transforming treatment for conditions such as autoimmune disorders and cancer. The secret? Teaching your body how to respond to a particular medicine, so that in future it can trigger the same change on its own.


    For most doctors and scientists, the concept of treatments with no pharmaceutical component just makes no sense.

    Ever eaten a favourite food that made you sick – prawns, say – and discovered that for weeks or months afterwards, you couldn’t face eating it? This effect is called learned or conditioned taste aversion and it makes sense: avoiding foods that have poisoned us in the past protects us from getting ill again.

    In 1975, a psychologist in New York was studying taste aversion in a group of rats and got an utterly mystifying result.

    Robert Ader, working at the University of Rochester, gave his animals saccharin solution to drink. Rats usually love the sweet taste but for this experiment, Ader paired the drink with injections of Cytoxan, which made them feel sick. When he later gave the animals the sweetened water on its own they refused to drink it, just as he expected. So to find out how long the learned aversion would last, he force-fed this harmless drink to them using an eyedropper. But the rats didn’t forget. Instead, one by one, they died.

    Though Cytoxan is toxic, Ader’s rats hadn’t received anything close to a fatal dose. Instead, after a series of other experiments, Ader concluded that when the animals received saccharin and the drug together, they hadn’t just associated the sweet taste with feeling sick, they’d also learned the immunosuppression. Eventually, they’d responded to the sweetened water just as they had to the drug. Even though the second phase of the experiment involved no drug at all, the doses of water Ader fed them suppressed their immune systems so dramatically that they succumbed to fatal infections. In other words, their bodies were reacting to something that wasn’t really there, just because the circumstances made them expect it.

    The phenomenon in which we learn to associate a contextual cue with a physiological response is well known. It’s called conditioning and was discovered in the 1890s by the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov, who noticed that dogs learned to associate his presence with being fed, so that his arrival caused them to salivate even if he had no food. He showed that different signals – such as a buzzer or electric shock – could all be made to trigger the same automatic response.

    Such learned associations are an important part of our daily lives. Cues prepare the body for important biological events such as eating or sex, and they trigger responses that have evolved to help us avoid – or flee from – danger. As well as inducing nausea, for example, exposure to a stimulus we associate with a previous allergic reaction (such as a grassy field or fluffy cat) can make us cough or sneeze even if no physical allergen is present, while previously scary situations (like a barking dog or enclosed space) can induce a state of fight-or-flight.

    But Ader’s result was revolutionary because it showed that learned associations don’t only affect responses – such as nausea, heart rate and salivation – that scientists knew were regulated by the brain. His rats proved that these associations influence immune responses too, to the point at which a taste or smell can make the difference between life and death. The body’s fight against disease, his experiment suggested, is guided by the brain.

    In fact, a similar discovery had already been made in Russia. In the 1920s, researchers at the University of St Petersburg were following up on Pavlov’s work, to see which other physiological responses could be conditioned.

    Among them was the immunologist Sergey Metalnikov. Instead of suppressing the immune system, like Ader would, Metalnikov wanted to boost it. In one series of experiments, he repeatedly warmed guinea pigs’ skin at the same time as giving them injections (small doses of bacteria, for example) that triggered an immune response. Then he gave them – and another group of guinea pigs that hadn’t had this conditioning – a normally lethal dose of Vibrio cholerae bacteria, at the same time as warming their skin. The unconditioned animals died within 8 hours, Metalnikov reported, whereas the conditioned ones survived an average of 36 hours, and some of them recovered completely. Their response to a learned cue – the feeling of heat – appeared to have saved their lives.

    Just like other learned associations, the phenomenon of conditioned immune responses makes evolutionary sense. Imagine that you encounter a pathogen – perhaps Salmonella bacteria in your prawn sandwich. As well as making you feel sick, this triggers a particular immune response. The next time you have a similar sandwich, your immune system doesn’t have to wait for physical signs of bacterial invaders before mounting that response. Through conditioning, it can get one step ahead by triggering the same defence as soon as you taste or even smell the prawns.

    The Russian studies weren’t noticed in the West, however. And at first Ader’s work was ignored too, largely because there was no known mechanism by which an animal could learn an immune response. The immune system and nervous system were thought to be completely independent, so Ader’s theory that the two networks communicate was seen as crazy. Scientists were convinced that the immune system responds to physical signs of infection and injury without any help from the brain.


    She sipped the cod liver oil as Cytoxan flowed through an intravenous line into a vein in her right foot. Meanwhile Olness uncapped the rose perfume and waved it around the room.

    “The time wasn’t right for this new thinking.” Manfred Schedlowski, a medical psychologist at the University of Essen in Germany, could be talking about Ader, but actually he’s describing his own experiences in the mid-1990s, when he first set out to study conditioned immune responses for himself.

    He was always interested in the links between mind and body, he tells me. At school, he enjoyed philosophy as much as physiology. His PhD investigated the effects of stress on the immune system in skydivers. As a researcher at Hannover Medical School, he turned his attention to conditioning, determined to transform the phenomenon described by Ader into a therapy that could be used to help patients.

    He met obstacles straight away. On the hunt for other scientists to collaborate with, he knocked on the doors of the big immunologists. “Some did not have time for me. Some listened to my story. One interrupted me after two to three minutes talking about the brain and the immune system. He said, ‘Dr Schedlowski, if you want to do something like that, become an artist. That has nothing to do with science.’”

    Undaunted, Schedlowski set about training rats to associate the taste of saccharin with the immunosuppressant effects of a drug similar to Cytoxan, called CsA. He found that their conditioned response to saccharin suppresses proliferation of white blood cells in their spleens, and cuts the production of two vital chemicals that the immune system uses for signalling (the cytokines IL-2 and IFN-?), just as the drug does.

    Schedlowski wanted to know whether these conditioned responses could be medically useful. In particular, he thought they might be able to help with organ transplants, where a common risk is that the recipient’s immune system will attack the foreign organ. To find out, Schedlowski transplanted second hearts into the abdomens of rats that had been conditioned with sweetened water and CsA, and then gave them daily doses of sweetened water alone. They tolerated the transplanted hearts for around 3 days longer than a control group (which had received sham conditioning with a placebo), and for as long as rats that had received no conditioning but got a short course of treatment with CsA after transplant. The conditioned response was as good as the actual drug.

    A second trial, in which Schedlowski combined this conditioned response with very low doses of CsA, was even more dramatic. In unconditioned rats that got a low-dose course of CsA treatment, the transplanted hearts survived on average 8 days, the same as with no treatment. A full-dose course raised this to 11 days. But in rats that had the conditioned response plus low-dose CsA, the hearts survived on average 28 days, and more than 20 per cent of them lasted for several months, the full length of the experiment.

    Schedlowski had feared that if learned associations weaken over time – a process known as extinction – then conditioned immune responses wouldn’t be useful for patients on medication long-term. But by combining conditioning with a low drug dose, he says, “we can interfere with this extinction”. Once the rats were trained, the combination of a sweet taste and just a tiny amount of the original drug protected the hearts. It was a stunning result that suggested Ader had been right about the power of conditioned responses, even in life-threatening situations such as organ transplants.


    Quite a lot of our patients die prematurely. Not because the transplant fails… It’s due to the drugs that we have to prescribe to them.

    A few years after Ader first published his findings, David Felten, then a neuroscientist at the Indiana University School of Medicine, found what the critics said was missing – proof that the immune system and nervous system were linked.

    Felten was using a powerful microscope to track the paths of different nerves in the bodies of dissected mice. He was particularly interested in the autonomic nervous system, which controls bodily functions like heart rate, blood pressure and digestion. He found nerves connecting to blood vessels, for example, just as expected, but was flabbergasted to see them also running into immune organs such as the spleen and thymus. “We were almost afraid to say anything,” he later told a reporter for PBS, in case he and his team had missed something and would “look like a bunch of doofuses”.

    But Felten’s work checked out. It proved that there is a physical connection between nerves and immune cells. Felten moved to the University of Rochester to work with Ader and his colleague Nicholas Cohen, and the three are credited with founding the field known as psychoneuroimmunology, which is based on idea that the brain and immune system work together to protect us from illness. It’s now known that communication runs in both directions, through hardwired nerves but also chemical messengers – cytokines and neurotransmitters – that speak to both the immune system and the brain.

    Ader wondered if this new understanding could be harnessed to help patients. Conditioning had killed his rats, but could it treat disease, as in the Russian guinea pigs? Then he got a call about a girl who desperately needed his help.


    In a 1982 study, Ader had used conditioning to treat mice that had a lupus-like disease. He trained them to associate Cytoxan with saccharin solution, just as in his original experiment. After they learned the association, he kept giving the mice sweetened water along with half the usual drug dose for lupus. Compared to mice that received the same dose but weren’t conditioned, their disease progressed more slowly and they lived longer. This was the paper that Marette’s mother had seen.

    Karen Olness telephoned Ader and asked: would his conditioning work on Marette? Could they train her immune system to respond to a lower drug dose than normal, sparing her from the worst of its toxicity?

    Ader agreed to try.

    The pair worked fast to design a conditioning regime for Marette. The first question was what taste to use. “We had to choose something that was unique, that she hadn’t experienced before,” says Olness. She considered vinegars, horehound, eucalyptus chips and various liqueurs before finally settling on a combination of rose perfume and cod liver oil.

    The hospital’s ethics board approved the trial in an emergency meeting and Marette’s treatment started the next morning. She sipped the cod liver oil as Cytoxan flowed through an intravenous line into a vein in her right foot. Meanwhile Olness uncapped the rose perfume and waved it around the room.

    They repeated this bizarre ritual once a month for the next three months. After that, Marette was exposed to cod liver oil and perfume every month, but received Cytoxan only every third month. By the end of the year, she had received just six doses of the drug instead of the usual twelve.

    Marette responded just as her doctors would have hoped from the full drug amount. The clotting factor that her antibodies had been destroying reappeared, and her blood pressure returned to normal. After 15 months she stopped the cod liver oil and rose perfume but continued to imagine a rose, which she believed helped to calm her immune system. She graduated from high school and went to college, where she drove a sports car and played trumpet in the college band.


    At around nine o’clock every morning and evening, an alarm goes off on Barbara Nowak’s mobile phone. When she hears it, the 46-year-old geologist sits down at the kitchen table of her home in Sprockhövel, northern Germany, and takes a powerful cocktail of immunosuppressant drugs. Their names – tacrolimus, Mowel, prednisolone – are now woven into the fabric of her life. But today there’s a change to her daily routine. Before swallowing the pills, she pours herself a drink and downs it in one. It’s sweet, bitter, neon green – and tastes strongly of lavender.

    In 1988, when she was 19 and studying for high-school exams, Nowak lost her kidneys to lupus. She has spent many exhausting years since on dialysis, sitting 12 hours a week at her local clinic with huge needles in her arm – her flesh is still gouged with scars. Receiving a donated kidney transformed her health. “It’s another life,” she says. She has energy again and can travel – she now takes part in geocaching challenges across Europe with her pet beagle. But there’s a downside. She’s dependent on twice-daily medication to suppress the immune responses that would destroy her transplant.

    The drugs keep her kidney working but have side-effects, from tremors and nerve pain to gum disease and growth of facial hair. Nowak has been lucky enough so far to avoid the worst of these: although one drug started to destroy her red blood cells, since switching to an alternative she is dealing with her medication well. But she knows she is at increased risk of life-threatening infections, heart failure and cancer. And the drugs slowly poison the very organ she’s trying to save.

    So Nowak is drinking this gaudy concoction as part of a pioneering trial at the nearby University of Essen. The “famous green drink” – as Schedlowski’s students like to call it – is an updated version of Marette’s rose and cod liver oil, invented to test conditioned responses in people. Like Ader, Schedlowski wanted something strange and unforgettable that stimulates several senses at once. He hit on strawberry milk mixed with green food colouring and essential oil. Its bright colour and overwhelming lavender flavour creates a bewildering mix of sensory cues, like drinking a violent, bittersweet battle between green and purple.

    So far, Schedlowski has shown that after being associated with CsA, the drink reliably induces immunosuppression in healthy volunteers, creating on average 60–80 per cent of the effect of the drug. And just as in the rats, combining the conditioned response with a low drug dose prevents the learned association from fading. But will it work in patients?

    I’m with Nowak on the trial’s last day. She is small but looks strong, and her tanned face is etched with smile lines. She says she was already familiar with the power of conditioning after using clicker training with her beagle, Ivy, and loved the idea of trying it on herself. “I thought it was so funny,” she says.

    She removes her fleece to reveal a T-shirt with a stethoscope printed on it, then a research assistant hands her a 50-ml centrifuge tube, full to the brim with the green lavender milk. It’s the brightest thing in the room. “Danke schön!” she says. She gulps it fast, makes a face, and reaches into her rucksack for a sweet to take away the taste.

    Schedlowski is running this trial with Oliver Witzke, a nephrologist at Essen’s University Hospital. For Witzke, the dangers of high drug doses are agonisingly real. He spends his career prescribing powerful immunosuppressants including CsA to kidney transplant recipients like Nowak. “Quite a lot of our patients die prematurely,” he says. “Not because the transplant fails… It’s due to the drugs that I prescribe every day.”

    In every transplant patient he cares for, getting drug doses right is a delicate balancing act. Get the dose too low, and the patient will reject the kidney. But get it too high, and you’ll destroy the kidney or kill the patient. “We lose about 10 per cent of transplants in the first year,” says Witzke. Half of those patients go back on dialysis, the other half die. After that, the rate of decline slows, but some kidneys are still lost each year, and patients are at an increased risk of death due to drug complications.

    One of the most damaging side-effects is nephrotoxicity: the drugs directly destroy kidney cells. The average life of a transplanted kidney is eight to ten years, says Witzke, and often when a kidney fails it isn’t clear whether the underlying cause is rejection or toxicity. “The dream for every transplant person is not to feed the patient from the first hour with a drug that’s toxic for the transplant.”

    The search for immunosuppressants that aren’t nephrotoxic hasn’t been successful so far, but Witzke hopes that using conditioning to reduce doses will keep his patients alive longer. When he first heard about the concept, “I thought it was rubbish,” he admits. “As a doctor, I believe in pharmaceutics and drugs.” But Schedlowski’s experiments convinced him that the effect is not just a psychological trick. “It has a biochemical basis,” he says.

    At this stage it’s too risky for Nowak and her fellow trial participants to reduce their drug doses, so the first step is to see if conditioning can suppress their immune systems over and above the effect of their normal pills. Some of the participants are taking CsA, but Nowak is on tacrolimus. In the learning phase of the study, she drank the lavender milk alongside her drugs, morning and evening, for three days. Then, after a two-day break, came the “evocation” phase, using the green drink to try to amplify the effect of her medication. She again downed the drink with her drugs, but this time, she drank it two extra times during the day, along with a placebo pill.

    A pilot trial carried out in 2013 was promising: in all four patients, adding the green drink suppressed immune-cell proliferation and levels of the signalling molecule IL-2 by 20–40 per cent more than drugs alone. Now Nowak is part of a larger study of around 20 patients. If that works too, the next step will be to test whether this conditioned response can maintain immunosuppression while drug doses start to be reduced.

    The hope is that this will reduce unwanted side-effects. Some problems, like infection risk, are likely to be an inevitable consequence of suppressing the immune system, whether that’s achieved using drugs or lavender milk. Others, like nausea, will perhaps be conditioned along with the immunosuppression. But Witzke argues that side-effects caused directly by drug toxicity – including kidney damage and increased cancer risk – are unlikely to accompany conditioned immune responses. It won’t be possible to lose the drugs completely, he says, but he hopes that even reducing doses by 20–30 per cent would improve quality of life while prolonging the survival of transplanted kidneys to perhaps 12 or 15 years.

    Nowak isn’t convinced by the drink itself. “It’s awful!” she says. The taste got worse the more she drank, she explains, and she didn’t like carrying the odorous liquid around with her all day. An odd-tasting candy might be more practical and palatable, she suggests. But she’s right behind the principle of the trial, describing anything that might preserve her kidney as “very important”.

    At 46, she is already on her third transplanted kidney. The first failed after a week, the second after 13 years – possibly because of drug toxicity – and her doctors say that after five years, her current kidney is ageing more quickly than expected. “It would be better if this one lasts longer,” she says bluntly. If it fails, she faces more years on risky, exhausting dialysis – average life expectancy on dialysis is just five to ten years – and the agonising wait for another donor.


    An assistant hands her a 50-ml centrifuge tube, full to the brim with the green lavender milk. It’s the brightest thing in the room. Danke schön!

    Besides helping with organ transplants, there’s a plethora of uses that conditioning might have, by reducing harmful side-effects or simply making treatment more cost-effective for patients and governments that can’t afford constant full doses of the most expensive drugs. Other possibilities include allergies and autoimmune conditions.

    For example, Ader carried out a small study in 1996 that paired Cytoxan with aniseed-flavoured syrup in ten people who had the autoimmune condition multiple sclerosis. When later given the syrup alongside a placebo pill, eight of them responded with immunosuppression similar to that produced by the active drug. In another study, published shortly before he died in 2011, Ader reported that quarter- or half-doses of corticosteroid ointment plus conditioned responses could control psoriasis just as well as a full drug dose.

    Schedlowski aims to test that psoriasis result in a pilot study planned for spring 2016. He has already shown that after conditioning with the antihistamine drug desloratadine, the green drink reduces immune responses and symptoms in people allergic to dust mites. And he is collaborating with Rainer Straub, an immunologist at the University of Regensburg, Germany, to study conditioned immune responses in rats with a model of arthritis. The results are not yet published, but Straub says that so far, conditioned responses plus a low drug dose appears to suppress the inflammatory response “even better” than full-dose drug alone.

    Animal studies hint that the approach might also be useful in the treatment of some cancers. In the 1980s and 90s, researchers at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, trained mice to associate the taste of camphor with a drug that activates natural killer cells – white blood cells that attack tumours. Then they transplanted aggressive tumours into the mice. After the transplant, mice given doses of camphor survived longer than those treated with immunotherapy, and in one experiment, two mice defeated their cancer altogether, despite receiving no active drug. Schedlowski is following up on these results too, and so far has shown that the effects of the anti-tumour drug rapamycin, which stops immune cells from dividing, can be conditioned in rats.

    Key questions include pinning down the precise mechanism of conditioned immune responses, and working out why some individuals respond more strongly to conditioning than others. “Some people respond very nicely, but others don’t respond at all or they show only a minor response,” says Schedlowski. So far, he has discovered that the effect is mediated by the sympathetic nervous system, which drives our response to stress and is part of the network that Felten discovered linking the brain and immune system. In experiments where Schedlowski cut the nerve running to rats’ spleens, the conditioned response was completely blocked. Intriguingly, he has also found that people with high levels of anxiety, and of the stress hormone noradrenaline, respond better to conditioning, possibly because they have a more active sympathetic nervous system.

    Another important area for future research is looking at which physiological responses – not just immune responses but among other systems too – can be conditioned. For example, Schedlowski hasn’t been able to condition the effects of corticotropin-releasing hormone, which is involved in the stress response. On the other hand, learned associations are known to be strong in pain and psychiatric disorders such as depression. It’s one reason why placebos are so effective in these conditions: our bodies learn the appropriate physiological response to pills we take and will subsequently repeat it, for example releasing pain-killing endorphins, even if a pill contains no active drug.

    Years of research are required before conditioning regimes for cancer or transplant patients reach the clinic, but Schedlowski says the principle could be used much sooner to reduce drug doses for non-life-threatening conditions such as asthma or arthritis. Paul Enck, a medical psychologist at the University of Tübingen, Germany, agrees. He suggests a method that he calls “placebo-controlled dose reduction”. For example: when someone is prescribed a suitable drug, after two or three weeks of taking it regularly they could switch to a pack in which their pills are interspersed with identical placebos.

    In a 2010 trial, children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) were asked to take a distinctive green-and-white placebo pill alongside their drugs. The children knew these pills were placebos. But those who went through this conditioning process later did just as well on the placebo plus half their normal drug dose as another group did on the full drug dose – and significantly better than children who received a half-dose without conditioning. If used widely, advocates say, substituting some of the drugs we take for placebos could save billions of dollars in healthcare costs. In the US, for example, drugs for ADHD alone cost more than $5.3 billion a year.

    But the idea is not widely accepted. That’s perhaps partly because the prospect of reducing drug doses isn’t attractive for drug companies, which drive most research and development into new therapies. “They don’t like the story very much,” says Schedlowski. “They see their drug and their marketing jeopardised.” A wider problem is that for most doctors and scientists, the concept of treatments with no pharmaceutical component just makes no sense.

    This scepticism is familiar to Adrian Sandler, a paediatrician at the Olson Huff Center for Child Development in Asheville, North Carolina, who carried out the 2010 ADHD trial. He says he’d love to run more trials to see how reducing drug doses might help with ADHD and other disorders such as autism, but his applications for funding have been rejected. “I think it’s a highly unusual kind of study,” he says. “The idea of using placebos in open-label to treat a condition is innovative, it turns things upside down. Some reviewers may find that hard to accept.”

    When Ader and Karen Olness published Marette’s case, they were careful to say there was no proof that she wouldn’t have done just as well without the conditioning. Schedlowski has since built a strong case, however, that immune responses can be conditioned in humans with wide-ranging potential benefits. Marette, despite the initial success of her Cytoxan treatment, didn’t live to see it. She died aged 22, in February 1995. According to Olness, the toxic drugs she took earlier in life had irreparably damaged her heart.

    Twenty years on, is Nowak likely to see benefits in her lifetime, or is resistance to this unconventional approach simply too strong? Brian Ferguson, who studies the innate immune system at the University of Cambridge, offers some hope. He thinks we’re on the verge of a “snowball” of research interest in brain–immune connections, driven in part by growing awareness of the importance of inflammation in neurodegenerative disease. That’s helping to break down barriers between neuroscience and immunology, he says, and might ultimately help acceptance of behavioural studies too.

    Meanwhile Schedlowski is steadfastly optimistic that the benefits of conditioning are too great to ignore. “Ten years ago, nobody believed us,” he says. “Now, journals are much more open-minded to this kind of approach.” He believes that within a decade or two we’ll see a revolution in which learning regimes will become a routine component of drug treatment for a wide range of conditions. Drug companies might not see the advantages now, but in future, he argues, they could use the reduced side-effects of lower doses as a selling point.

    For now, though, there’s a long way to go before the potential for conditioned immune responses is widely accepted, let alone used in the clinic. It’s hard enough for people to entertain the idea of using placebos to treat pain, or psychiatric disorders, and using them to influence immune responses sounds even crazier.

    Brain–immune interactions are a “blind spot” for immunologists, admits Ferguson, with funding and interest for this type of work practically non-existent. Researchers are “vaguely” aware that the two systems communicate, he says, “but there’s this traditionality whereby people describe the immune system as everything going on from the neck downwards, and the central nervous system is everything from the neck upwards, and the two things haven’t been linked very much.”

    Pavlov won a Nobel Prize for showing that the digestive system, previously thought to function independently, is in fact tightly controlled by the brain. Despite showing that the same is true for the immune system, Ader and Felten are barely known, even among immunologists. Schedlowski, supported by the DFG (the German Research Foundation), leads one of the only teams researching conditioned immune responses. “I like to say we’re the best in the world,” he jokes. “Because there is nobody else!”

    Join in the discussion on Twitter with the hashtag #placebo.

  • jkabtech 11:09 am on February 24, 2016 Permalink |
    Tags: Accelerate, Automate, , , , , , , Simplify,   

    Cisco Launches Ultra Services Platform to Simplify, Automate and Accelerate the Mobile Cloud 

    BARCELONA, February 22, 2016 – Deutsche Telekom is creating a multi-country mobile cloud. SK Telecom of South Korea is automating new service creation in minutes versus days, and bringing network control to one place. They are doing it with the Cisco® Ultra Services Platform, which formally launches today at GSMA Mobile World Congress.

    Cisco Ultra is a complete, virtualized, feature-rich, mobile services platform that helps mobile operators launch and deploy new services faster and more efficiently. Benefits include:

    A software-defined networking (SDN) distributed network: It applies SDN to separate control and user plane functionality. User plane functionality can be distributed close to the radio access network, allowing data to shortcut to the Internet. This can help save up to 35 percent of backhaul costs.

    Service creation and control can be centralized, allowing operators to be more agile

    Massive scale: In its first release, the system is tested to over two terabytes per second of traffic handling capacity, and over 20 million connections.

    Time to revenue: It simplifies and speeds the introduction of new services, from Connected Car to enterprise private mobile networks.

    Automated deployments: It automates the deployment of services through an easy to use user interface. Deployment intervals can be reduced from months to minutes, and deployment costs can be reduced by 30 percent or more.

    It helps reduces total cost of ownership up to 30 to 35 percent.

    It utilizes and enhances the Cisco family of world-class virtual applications including packet core, policy, security and more.

    It is open and extensible: Ultra can easily integrate with third-party components. A full member of the Cisco Open Network Architecture and Evolved Services Platform, Ultra can easily onboard any of the more than 100 virtual applications in the virtualized network functions portfolio, plus third-party virtual applications.

    Rapid Time-to-Market of Hybrid Cloud and SaaS Offerings

    Ultra is deployable over public, private, or hybrid clouds, and may be combined with Cisco SaaS solutions like Infinite Video, Spark, and others.

    5G Capabilities Today

    Ultra makes 5G capabilities like control and user plane separation (CUPS) and network slicing available today. Operators can take advantage of these features without having to wait for end-to-end 5G.

    “As our customers embrace digitization, they are expecting a much more flexible and faster service introduction from their network operators,” said Franz Seiser, vice president Core Network and Services, Deutsche Telekom AG. “We have proven that our distributed approach based on SDN and NFV within our Network-optimized Infrastructure Cloud gives us the flexibility and scale needed to enhance our customers’ digital experience to a much higher level.”

    “SDN holds much promise to make things easier and faster for our consumer and enterprise customers,” said Park Jin-hyo, senior vice president and head of Network Technology R&D Center at SK Telecom. “It helps our network keep up with the growing demands as customers digitize. Cisco’s approach of integrating SDN into the mobile services core will enable our customers to be served better with exactly what they want, when they want it.”

    “With the new Ultra services platform, our global customers will be able to do things in near real time, that previously took hours or days,” said Kelly Ahuja, senior vice president, Service Provider business, products and solutions, Cisco. “Together we are able to deliver a transformational customer experience today, while preparing the industry path to 5G.”

    “We are seeing early customer adoption for the Ultra Services Platform, with eight operators worldwide, including three North American operators,” said Scott Yow, vice president, Ultra Services Platform, Cisco. “This unique, SDN distributed architecture will enable our customers to harness the full potential of virtualization, SDN, and cloud.”

    Supporting Resources

    About Cisco? (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide leader in IT that helps companies seize the opportunities of tomorrow by proving that amazing things can happen when you connect the previously unconnected. For ongoing news, please go to http://newsroom.cisco.com.

    View the original article here

  • jkabtech 6:59 am on February 24, 2016 Permalink |
    Tags: Blockchain, , , ushers, Value   

    Blockchain technology ushers in the “Internet of Value” 

    It was the buzz at the recent World Economic Forum in Davos. Wall Street banks are pouring money into it. And Mark Andreesen has called it the most important technology since the Internet itself.

    What is it? The blockchain, of course.

    Created by the mysterious hacker known as Satoshi Nakamoto, the blockchain—the distributed ledger technology that underlies the Bitcoin virtual currency—Blockchain has the potential to upend industries from finance to real estate to entertainment. has the potential to upend industries from finance to real estate to entertainment. That has Silicon Valley titans, global finance leaders and even indie artists scrambling to grasp the implications of the technology—and make sure they aren’t broadsided by it.

    Tim Swanson, head of research at R3, a New York technology startup backed by a consortium of big banks, has described the blockchain as being “a bit like gluten—everybody is talking about it but no one knows what it is in great detail.”

    In the simplest terms, the blockchain transfers value from one party to another over the Internet. That could be money, a share of stock, a property deed, a digital royalty—even a vote cast in an election.

    Today, such transactions often pass through multiple intermediaries to be validated, cleared and processed, and are stored in central ledgers maintained by an authority, such as a central bank in the case of financial transactions or the Mortgage Electronic Registration System (MERS) for mortgages.

    The blockchain distributes the validation and storage of transactions over many computers in a secure and public way, eliminating the need for a middleman. In doing so, it drastically reduces the time and cost to process a transaction to close to zero.

    Alex Tapscott, CEO of Northwest Passage Ventures, an advisory firm in the blockchain space and author of an upcoming book on the subject, says blockchain technology represents the next generation of the Internet, what he calls the Internet of Value.Blockchain technology represents the next generation of the Internet- the Internet of Value.

    While the technology—both the original Bitcoin blockchain and new variations of it—has sweeping potential to transform vast sectors of the economy, says Tapscott, the first blockchain applications are taking root in two areas: financial services and creative industries such as music and media.

    As a ledger system, the blockchain’s most obvious application is in finance, and banks have awoken to the threat and opportunity it poses. R3CEV, a blockchain technology company owned by a consortium of banks, has grown from nine members at its founding in September 2015 to more than 40 today. By one estimate, Wall Street spending on blockchain could reach $400 million in the next few years. By one estimate, Wall Street spending on blockchain could reach $400 million in the next few years.

    Consider stock trading. In a market where competitive advantage is measured in nanoseconds, trades can still take up to three days to settle, notes Tapscott. Blockchain-based systems could cut that to seconds or minutes. That’s especially attractive for complex trades such as derivatives, where market conditions can change before a trade is settled, creating substantial counterparty risk.

    The Commodity Futures Trading Commission is studying the potential application of distributed ledger technology to the derivatives market. And Nasdaq recently conducted its first trade using the blockchain. “Through this initial application of blockchain technology, we begin a process that could revolutionize the core of capital markets infrastructure systems,” said Nasdaq CEO Bob Greifeld in announcing the milestone. “The implications for settlement and outdated administrative functions are profound.”

    Another financial market ripe for disruption is foreign exchange and cross border remittance. Nearly $500 billion a year is transferred between countries, often by people working abroad that send money home to relatives. That process is slow and cumbersome, with high fees that take a painful bite out of hard-earned savings. A startup called Abra has created a mobile app that uses the blockchain to streamline the remittance process, allowing individuals to transfer money from one continent and currency to another instantaneously and without hefty fees.

    By collapsing the time and cost of a transaction, distributed ledger technology paves the way for true micropayments in increments as small as a penny. Such micropayments are seen as the Holy Grail for creative industries such as music and media that have been pummeled by the harsh economics of the Internet and an outmoded royalty payment system.

    Blockchain-enabled technology could allow new artist-friendly business models to flourish. For example, musicians might be paid, say, a nickel every time someone listens to a song. Journalists, likewise, might be paid a few cents every time someone reads an article. Artists, most notably Grammy award winner Imogen Heap, are exploring the use of blockchain for music distribution and compensation.

    Many creative assets, from films to songs, are produced by a team, and the blockchain could make tracking and paying royalties to these contributors more efficient and transparent.

    Blockchain technology is still new, and like gluten, it has received a fair amount of hype. There are issues to be worked out—such as whether blockchain ledgers will scale without being overwhelmed. But these are “implementation challenges” that can be solved, says Tapscott.  Blockchain, he says, “is a big breakthrough that could ultimately change the nature of business and the corporation itself.”


    The contents or opinions in this feature are independent and may not necessarily represent the views of Cisco. They are offered in an effort to encourage continuing conversations on a broad range of innovative technology subjects. We welcome your comments and engagement.

    We welcome the re-use, republication, and distribution of “The Network” content. Please credit us with the following information: Used with the permission of http://thenetwork.cisco.com/.


    About Amy Cortese @locavesting

    Amy Cortese is an award-winning journalist and the author of Locavesting (Wiley, 2011)

    View the original article here

  • jkabtech 2:55 am on February 24, 2016 Permalink |
    Tags: , , , , , , Telefonica   

    Telefonica Offers Cisco Collaboration Cloud Services Portfolio 

    Madrid (Spain), February 15th, 2016. – Telefonica Business Solutions, a leading provider of a wide range of integrated communication solutions for the enterprise market, has become one of the first service providers to offer the Cisco® portfolio of collaboration cloud services as a fully integrated service.

    Telefonica’s new offer brings together best-in-class and market-leading business collaboration applications such as Cisco Unified Communications, virtual contact center, Cisco TelePresence®, Cisco WebEx® and Collaboration Meeting Rooms, all delivered “as a service” to end-users over mobile and fixed connections.

    Telefonica customers can take advantage of all the features and functionality of Cisco collaboration solutions as if they were installed on-premises, without incurring major capital expenditures and platform updating costs, using a flexible consumption model.


    Global scale reach. Telefonica offers its own branded collaboration services based on Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution (Cisco Unified Communications, customer collaboration and telepresence as a service) and connects it to Cisco conferencing services from the Cisco Collaboration Cloud (WebEx, Collaboration Meeting Rooms, and WebEx Cloud Connected Audio). Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS) is deployed in Telefonica’s data centers across the globe and is interconnected to Cisco’s data centers hosting Cisco conferencing services (two in the United States and two in Europe).Better productivity and agility. By using a simple subscription model, customers can improve both productivity and agility accessing the latest collaboration tools on demand, aligning with fast-moving business needs, and scaling with ease, with no capital investments.Anywhere, any device collaboration. Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS) provides integration into Telefonica’s mobile networks, as well as highly secure remote access over the public Internet, to truly enable anywhere, any device collaboration. End users enjoy personalized collaboration tools in accordance with their profile, at any time and place and using any device.Simple-to-join meetings for everyone. Bring employees, customers, and partners together to collaborate from anywhere with integrated voice, video, and content sharing on any device. Cisco conferencing supports highly secure collaboration across devices, from mobile devices to desk phones to immersive telepresence systems in both scheduled and impromptu meetings.End-to-end management and security. Telefonica offers complete support and end-to-end management through a single provider and resilient data centers with the highest levels of quality, security and regulatory compliance.

    Supporting quotes

    Hugo de los Santos, Communication Services Director at Telefonica Business Solutions: “As a global company with a robust network spanning Europe, the Americas and Asia, we’re committed to give our customers more choice, flexibility and innovation. This new and holistic platform offers our customers and its final users flexible, economic, agile, efficient and highly secure Cloud Collaboration business services, enabling a new way of working and the best user experience regardless of location or device based on Cisco’s and Telefonica’s global reach and trusted services and solutions.”Scot Gardner, Vice president, Global Service Provider segment, Cisco EMEAR: “Telefonica and Cisco have worked together over many years to address the most critical collaboration needs of businesses around the world. Customers want collaboration tools to increase their productivity, but they also require them to be highly secure, cost effective and easy to deploy and easy to use. Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution and Cisco conferencing solutions have been developed with services providers like Telefonica in mind so that their end-customers can enjoy industry-leading, highly secure collaboration applications delivered as a service anywhere in the world over the service providers’ cloud infrastructure”.

    Supporting resources

    About Telefonica Business Solutions

    Telefonica Business Solutions, a leading provider of a wide range of integrated communication solutions for the B2B market, manages globally the Enterprise (Large Enterprise and SME), MNC (Multinational Corporations), Wholesale (fixed and mobile carriers, ISPs and content providers) and Roaming businesses within the Telefonica Group. Business Solutions develops an integrated, innovative and competitive portfolio for the B2B segment including digital solutions (Cloud and Security) and telecommunication services (international voice, IP, bandwidth capacity, satellite services, mobility, integrated fixed, mobile, IT services and global solutions). Telefonica Business Solutions is a multicultural organization, working in over 40 countries and with service reach in over 170 countries.

    Follow us on: Twitter: @telefonicab2b LinkedIn: Telefonica Business Solutions YouTube: Telefonica Business Solutions.

    About Cisco Collaboration

    From award-winning IP communications to mobility, customer care, web conferencing, messaging, and interoperable telepresence experiences, Cisco brings together network-based, integrated collaboration solutions based on open standards. These solutions offered across on-premises, cloud-based or virtualized platforms, as well as services from Cisco and our partners, are designed to help promote business growth, innovation and productivity. They are also designed to help accelerate team performance, protect investments, and simplify the process of finding the right people and information.

    About Cisco

    Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide leader in IT that helps companies seize the opportunities of tomorrow by proving that amazing things can happen when you connect the previously unconnected. For ongoing news, please go to http://thenetwork.cisco.com.

    Cisco and the Cisco logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Cisco and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries. A listing of Cisco’s trademarks can be found at http://www.cisco.com/go/trademarks. Third-party trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners. The use of the word partner does not imply a partnership relationship between Cisco and any other company.

    #   #   #

    View the original article here

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