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2014 in Tux Machines

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OUR FIRST couple of months at Tux Machines were pleasurable and we hope that readers found the links we've shared valuable. We even posted links while on vacation, i.e. away from home.

Migration of the site to Drupal 7 (and another server) has been planned for over a month now and it did not happen over Christmas because if things go wrong, not much help will be at hand. We have already tested a prototype of the site and it will need to be upgraded, integrated, etc. Whether we can retain the existing theme (compatibility changes between major releases of Drupal) remains to be seen, but the format of the site will definitely stay the same.

Happy new year to all our readers, whom we very much value. This site is a public service.

NSA reportedly intercepting laptops purchased online to install spy malware

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According to a new report from Der Spiegel based on internal NSA documents, the signals intelligence agency's elite hacking unit (TAO) is able to conduct sophisticated wiretaps in ways that make Hollywood fantasy look more like reality. The report indicates that the NSA, in collaboration with the CIA and FBI, routinely and secretly intercepts shipping deliveries for laptops or other computer accessories in order to implant bugs before they reach their destinations. According to Der Spiegel, the NSA's TAO group is able to divert shipping deliveries to its own "secret workshops" in a method called interdiction, where agents load malware onto the electronics or install malicious hardware that can give US intelligence agencies remote access.

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GNU: The GNU C Library 2.28 and Guix on Android

  • Glibc 2.28 Upstream Will Build/Run Cleanly On GNU Hurd
    While Linux distributions are still migrating to Glibc 2.27, in the two months since the release changes have continued building up for what will eventually become the GNU C Library 2.28. The Glibc 2.28 work queued thus far isn't nearly as exciting as all the performance optimizations and more introduced with Glibc 2.27, but it's a start. Most notable at this point for Glibc 2.28 is that it will now build and run cleanly on GNU/Hurd without requiring any out-of-tree patches. There has been a ton of Hurd-related commits to Glibc over the past month.
  • Guix on Android!
    Last year I thought to myself: since my phone is just a computer running an operating system called Android (or Replicant!), and that Android is based on a Linux kernel, it's just another foreign distribution I could install GNU Guix on, right? It turned out it was absolutely the case. Today I was reminded on IRC of my attempt last year at installing GNU Guix on my phone. Hence this blog post. I'll try to give you all the knowledge and commands required to install it on your own Android device.
  • GNU Guix Wrangled To Run On Android
    The GNU Guix transactional package manager can be made to run on Android smartphones/tablets, but not without lots of hoops to jump through first.

Node.js 10.9 and npm milestone

  • Open Source Node.js Hits v10, with Better Security, Performance, More
    Speaking of which, the brand-new Node.js 10.0 is expected to soon support npm version 6 (currently Node.js ships with npm 5.7.x). The company npm Inc., which maintains the npm software package management application, today announced that major update, called npm@6. The npm company said its JavaScript software installer tool includes new security features for developers working with open source code.
  • Announcing npm@6
    In coordination with today’s announcement of Node.js v10, we’re excited to announce npm@6. This major update to npm includes powerful new security features for every developer who works with open source code. Read on to understand why this matters.

Openwashing: Sony, Scality and Ericsson

Voyage/Open Autonomous Safety (OAS) Now on GitHub

  • Voyage open-sources autonomous driving safety practices
    Dubbed Open Autonomous Safety, the initiative aims to help autonomous driving startups implement better safety-testing practices. Companies looking to access the documents, safety procedures and test code can do so via a GitHub repository.
  • Open-Sourcing Our Approach to Autonomous Safety
    Without a driver to help identify and mitigate failures, autonomous vehicle systems need incredibly robust safety requirements and an equally comprehensive and well-defined process for analyzing risks and assessing capabilities. Voyage models its safety approach after the ISO 26262 standard for automotive safety, taking the best practices from the automotive industry and applying them to autonomous technology. The automotive industry continues to reach for new levels of safety in manufacturing vehicles, and we are inspired by that approach.
  • Startup Voyage Wants to Open Source Self-Driving Car Safety
    Under what the company calls its Open Autonomous Safety initiative, Voyage is publishing information on its safety procedures, materials, and test code in a series of releases. The goal is to create an open-source library of safety procedures that multiple companies can use as a standard, a Voyage blog post said.
  • This startup’s CEO wants to open-source self-driving car safety testing
    The initial release, which Voyage calls Open Autonomous Safety (OAS), will take the form of a GitHub repository containing documents and code. The functional safety requirements are Voyage's interpretation of the ISO 26262 standard for automotive safety, updated for autonomous vehicles. "This is our internal driving test for any particular software build," says Cameron. "It lets us evaluate our designs and look for the different ways they can fail in the real world."