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sudo -E wget --output-document=/etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list http://www.medibuntu.org/sources.list.d/$(lsb_release -cs).list && sudo apt-get --quiet update && sudo apt-get --yes --quiet --allow-unauthenticated install medibuntu-keyring && sudo apt-get --quiet updateIn a teminal
IDG News Service
(04/20/12) Lucian Constantin
Researchers at Pennsylvania State University and IBM have developed TapLogger, a proof-of-concept Android Trojan app that can steal passwords and other sensitive information by using the smartphone's motion sensors to determine what keys users tap on their touchscreens. The researchers developed TapLogger to demonstrate how data from a smartphone's accelerometer and orientation sensors can be abused by applications to compromise privacy. The researchers note that accelerometer and orientation sensor data are not protected under Android's security model, which exposes that data to any application regardless of its permissions on the system. TapLogger functions as an icon-matching game, but has several background components that capture and use data from the motion sensors to infer touchscreen-based user input. After the data is collected, the application builds tap event patterns and uses them to infer user input during targeted operations. "While the applications relying on mobile sensing are booming, the security and privacy issues related to such applications are not well understood yet," the researchers say.
From ACM TechNews:
Secret Computer Code Threatens Science
(04/13/12) Jeremy Hsu
Although modern science calls for researchers to share their work so that their peers can verify the success or failure of experiments, most researchers still do not share the source code for the software used in their projects. However, a group of researchers is pushing for new standards that require newly published studies to make their source code available. "As computing becomes an ever larger and more important part of research in every field of science, access to the source code used to generate scientific results is going to become more and more critical," says Harvard University researcher Andrew Morin. Of the 20 most-cited scientific journals in 2010, only three require that computer source code be made available upon publication. The researchers propose that public funding or policy-setting agencies should support the idea of openly sharing source code. In addition, research institutions and universities should use open source software licenses to allow for source-code sharing while protecting the commercial rights to possible innovation spinoffs from research. "The encouraging thing is that all of the proposals we have made have already been implemented by various journals, funding agencies, and research institutions in one form or another," Morin says.
From ACM TechNews:
Programming Project Comes to Primary Schools
A volunteer project in the United Kingdom is writing session plans for teaching the basics of computer programming to children between the ages of 10 and 11. Called Code Clubs, the sessions will give schoolchildren an opportunity to engage in hands-on tasks such as making games and eventually controlling robots. "The idea is to build things that are really exciting," says Clare Sutcliffe, who developed the idea for Code Clubs along with Linda Sandvik. Several schools have volunteered to test the session plans. The club sessions will make use of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Scratch tool, which enables youngsters to engage in programming by dragging and dropping code elements instead of typing them. The first 12 sessions should be free for participating schools to run, and the only extra step would be to download and install Scratch on their computers. Volunteers would run the Code Clubs, rather than teachers. Sutcliffe and Sandvik hope to have Code Clubs in 25 percent of British primary schools by 2014. The Code Club would "slot neatly alongside" the changes to the national curriculum that will emphasize programming, Sutcliffe notes.
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(04/11/12) Jacob Aron
University of Louisville researchers are developing the field of artificial biometrics, known as artimetrics, to serve as a way to authenticate and identify non-biological agents such as avatars, physical robots, and chatbots. The researchers, led by Roman Yampolskiy, have developed facial recognition techniques specifically designed for avatars. "Not all avatars are human looking, and even with those that are humanoid there is a huge diversity of color," Yampolskiy says. Therefore, the software uses a large variety of colors to improve the recognition of avatars. The researchers also are studying how to match a human face to an avatar generated from that face. Combining the color-based technique with existing facial recognition software led to the best results, suggesting that it could be possible to track users between the physical and virtual worlds. Yampolskiy also intends to create recognition algorithms for robots, forecasting that, in Japan at least, autonomous robots may become sufficiently ubiquitous to require their own identification. Meanwhile, Yampolskiy is working with his Louisville colleagues to develop methods for determining the legitimacy of chatbots. The researchers fed text written by chatbots into software originally designed to identify human authors and found that they were often able to determine the chatbot responsible.
New Scientist (04/11/12) Paul Marks
University College London researchers Soo Ling Lim and Peter Bentley have developed a simulation of the Apple App Store to study how it works. The researchers note that Apple's online marketplace of more than 500,000 apps is a self-regulating ecosystem that does not tolerate copycats. The simulated App Store, known as AppEco, uses software that obeys unique behavioral rules to mimic apps, developers, and consumers. The simulation mimics four types of developers, which are known as innovators, optimizers, milkers, and copycats. The researchers ran a series of simulations, each time starting with all four categories of developers contributing an equal number of apps. If they forced the proportion of apps from each group to stay constant, the copycats quickly made the most money. But their advantage soon disappeared as the ecosystem suffered from a lack of novel products. In another simulation, consumers' choices dictated which apps thrived and which did not. Under those conditions, optimizers sold the most apps, followed by innovators, milkers, and copycats. "Surprisingly, it naturally suppresses the copycat 'bad guys' without even needing the App Store owners to start imposing rules," Bentley says.
From ACM TechNews:
Undergrad Computer Science Enrollments Rise for Fourth Straight Year
Computing Research Association
(04/09/12) Peter Harsha
The number of undergraduate students enrolled in computer science programs rose 9.6 percent in the 2011-12 school year, the fourth consecutive annual increase, according to the Computing Research Association's (CRA's) Taulbee Survey. The data compares schools that responded to both the 2011 and 2010 Computing Degree and Enrollment Trends survey, which documents trends in student enrollment, degree production, employment of graduates, and faculty salaries in academic units in the United States and Canada that grant the Ph.D. in computer science, computer engineering, or information. The CRA Taulbee Survey also suggests that students’ interest in computer science may even be higher than indicated by the enrollment statistics, because some schools’ enrollments are constrained by enrollment caps in computer science departments. The total number of bachelors degrees in computer science awarded by U.S. schools increased by 10.5 percent in the 2010-11 school year, the survey found. In addition, total Ph.D. production in computing programs held steady in 2010-11, with 1,782 degrees granted.
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From ACM TechNews:
Hacking IT Systems to Become a Criminal Offense
European Parliament News (Brussels)
A draft law supported by the Civil Liberties Committee would criminalize the hacking of information technology (IT) systems and carry a minimum prison sentence of two years throughout the European Union (EU). The proposal also would outlaw the possession or distribution of hacking software or tools, while companies would be liable for cyberattacks perpetrated for their advantage. The draft law would set up harmonized penal sanctions against people who hack information systems. At least two years' incarceration would be the maximum penalty imposed by EU member states for such crimes, while offenses aggravated by the use of tools specifically designed for large-scale attacks or attacks that cause considerable damage would carry a minimum penalty of five years' imprisonment. Exploiting another person's electronic identity to execute an attack, and causing prejudice to the rightful identity owner, would be an aggravating circumstance as well, for which member states must set a maximum penalty of at least three years' imprisonment. European Parliament members also suggest harsher penalties for attacks committed by a criminal organization and/or that target critical infrastructure, but minor cases such as attacks that cause negligible damage will not face criminal sanctions.
From ACM TechNews:
The ALICE Computing Project
(03/27/12) Federico Carminati
The ALICE software environment (AliRoot) is a framework within which all ALICE data are processed and analyzed, and the next challenge will be to adapt the code to new parallel architectures to maximize the performance of modern hardware. The Grid implementation for ALICE required the development of a complete grid system using open source software. The AliRoot developers built a lightweight framework written in Perl, which linked together many individual open source components to create the Alice Environment (AliEn). From the beginning, the core of this system consists of a distributed file catalog and a workload-management system based on the pull mechanism, in which computer centers find appropriate workloads from a central database. AliEn was built as a metasystem aimed at presenting the user with a seamless interface while joining together the different grid systems that harness the various resources. One important step was achieved with the tight integration of AliEn with the MonALISA monitoring system, which enables large quantities of dynamic parameters related to the grid operation to be stored and processed. In the future, the ALICE grid must improve the optimization tools for workload scheduling and data access, which would increase the capabilities to exploit opportunistic computing resources.
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From ACM TechNews:
Google Launches Go Programming Language 1.0
(03/28/12) Darryl K. Taft
Google has released version 1.0 of its Go programming language, which was initially introduced as an experimental language in 2009. Google has described Go as an attempt to combine the development speed of working in a dynamic language such as Python with the performance and safety of a compiled language such as C or C++. "We're announcing Go version 1, or Go 1 for short, which defines a language and a set of core libraries to provide a stable foundation for creating reliable products, projects, and publications," says Google's Andrew Gerrand. He notes that Go 1 is the first release of Go that is available in supported binary distribution, identifying Linux, FreeBSD, Mac OS X, and Windows. Stability for users was the driving motivation for Go 1, and much of the work needed to bring programs up to the Go 1 standard can be automated with the go fix tool. A complete list of changes to the language and the standard library, documented in the Go 1 release notes, will be an essential reference for programmers who are migrating code from earlier versions of Go. There also is a new release of the Google App Engine SDK.