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How to Set Up and Use Open365, an Open Source Alternative to Office 365

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If you use the LibreOffice suite of programs, you’ll be happy to learn about Open365. Just as LibreOffice is the free, open source alternative to Microsoft Office, Open365 is the free counterpart to the cloud-based Office 365.

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Snailreactor
850 days ago
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The troubled history of the foreskin

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On a recent Saturday morning, Craig Adams stood outside the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey. It was sunny but cold. Adams, who had turned 40 the day before, wore white sneakers and a black T-shirt over a long-sleeve shirt. A fuzz of thinning hair capped his still-youthful face. His appearance would have been unremarkable if not for the red splotch of fake blood on the crotch of his white trousers. The stain had the intended effect: drivers rounding the corner were slowing down just enough to see the sign he was holding, which read “No Medical Excuse for Genital Abuse.”

Next to him, Lauren Meyer, a 33-year-old mother of two boys, held another sign, a white poster adorned only with the words: “Don’t Cut His Penis." She had on a white hoodie with a big red heart and three red droplets, and a pair of leopard-print slipper-boots to keep her feet warm for the several hours she would be outside. Meyer’s first son is circumcised; she sometimes refers to herself as a “regret mother” for having allowed the procedure to take place.

It was two days after Christmas. Adams and Meyer had each driven about an hour to stand by the side of a road holding up signs about penises. On that same day, a woman stood alone at what qualifies as a busy intersection in the small town of Show Low, Arizona. She also wore white trousers with a red crotch, and held aloft anti-circumcision signs. A few people more people did the same in the San Francisco Bay area.

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Snailreactor
1331 days ago
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The Equation Group's Sophisticated Hacking and Exploitation Tools

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This week, Kaspersky Labs published detailed information on what it calls the Equation Group -- almost certainly the NSA -- and its abilities to embed spyware deep inside computers, gaining pretty much total control of those computers while maintaining persistence in the face of reboots, operating system reinstalls, and commercial anti-virus products. The details are impressive, and I urge anyone interested to read the Kaspersky documents, or this very detailed article from Ars Technica.

Kaspersky doesn't explicitly name the NSA, but talks about similarities between these techniques and Stuxnet, and points to NSA-like codenames. A related Reuters story provides more confirmation: "A former NSA employee told Reuters that Kaspersky's analysis was correct, and that people still in the intelligence agency valued these spying programs as highly as Stuxnet. Another former intelligence operative confirmed that the NSA had developed the prized technique of concealing spyware in hard drives, but said he did not know which spy efforts relied on it."

In some ways, this isn't news. We saw examples of these techniques in 2013, when Der Spiegel published details of the NSA's 2008 catalog of implants. (Aside: I don't believe the person who leaked that catalog is Edward Snowden.) In those pages, we saw examples of malware that embedded itself in computers' BIOS and disk drive firmware. We already know about the NSA's infection methods using packet injection and hardware interception.

This is targeted surveillance. There's nothing here that implies the NSA is doing this sort of thing to every computer, router, or hard drive. It's doing it only to networks it wants to monitor. Reuters again: "Kaspersky said it found personal computers in 30 countries infected with one or more of the spying programs, with the most infections seen in Iran, followed by Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Mali, Syria, Yemen and Algeria. The targets included government and military institutions, telecommunication companies, banks, energy companies, nuclear researchers, media, and Islamic activists, Kaspersky said." A map of the infections Kaspersky found bears this out.

On one hand, it's the sort of thing we want the NSA to do. It's targeted. It's exploiting existing vulnerabilities. In the overall scheme of things, this is much less disruptive to Internet security than deliberately inserting vulnerabilities that leave everyone insecure.

On the other hand, the NSA's definition of "targeted" can be pretty broad. We know that it's hacked the Belgian telephone company and the Brazilian oil company. We know it's collected every phone call in the Bahamas and Afghanistan. It hacks system administrators worldwide.

On the other other hand -- can I even have three hands? -- I remember a line from my latest book: "Today's top-secret programs become tomorrow's PhD theses and the next day's hacker tools." Today, the Equation Group is "probably the most sophisticated computer attack group in the world," but these techniques aren't magically exclusive to the NSA. We know China uses similar techniques. Companies like Gamma Group sell less sophisticated versions of the same things to Third World governments worldwide. We need to figure out how to maintain security in the face of these sorts of attacks, because we're all going to be subjected to the criminal versions of them in three to five years.

That's the real problem. Steve Bellovin wrote about this:

For more than 50 years, all computer security has been based on the separation between the trusted portion and the untrusted portion of the system. Once it was "kernel" (or "supervisor") versus "user" mode, on a single computer. The Orange Book recognized that the concept had to be broader, since there were all sorts of files executed or relied on by privileged portions of the system. Their newer, larger category was dubbed the "Trusted Computing Base" (TCB). When networking came along, we adopted firewalls; the TCB still existed on single computers, but we trusted "inside" computers and networks more than external ones.

There was a danger sign there, though few people recognized it: our networked systems depended on other systems for critical files....

The National Academies report Trust in Cyberspace recognized that the old TCB concept no longer made sense. (Disclaimer: I was on the committee.) Too many threats, such as Word macro viruses, lived purely at user level. Obviously, one could have arbitrarily classified word processors, spreadsheets, etc., as part of the TCB, but that would have been worse than useless; these things were too large and had no need for privileges.

In the 15+ years since then, no satisfactory replacement for the TCB model has been proposed.

We have a serious computer security problem. Everything depends on everything else, and security vulnerabilities in anything affects the security of everything. We simply don't have the ability to maintain security in a world where we can't trust the hardware and software we use.

This article was originally published at the Lawfare blog.

EDITED TO ADD (2/17): Slashdot thread. Hacker News thread. Reddit thread. BoingBoing discussion.

EDITED TO ADD (2/18): Here are are two academic/hacker presentations on exploiting hard drives. And another article.

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Snailreactor
1336 days ago
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Which Web Browser Is The Most Secure?

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SecureBrowserFeat

When you choose a web browser, the first thing you probably worry about is usability. Can it do everything you want it to do in a way that feels comfortable? You probably think about extensions and performance as well. But do you think about security? If you’re not, you definitely should be. So, which browser is the most secure? Which should you install to make sure your web browsing experience is safe? What can you do to make sure your existing browser is as secure as possible? All of this and more is answered in the handy infographic below! Via...

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Snailreactor
1364 days ago
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Clearing Out Clutter Is Good For You — But Why?

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Around the beginning of every new year, people start thinking about decluttering and organizing their lives. It’s a great way to start the year feeling fresh, and it gives you a big sense of accomplishment — but there’s more to it than that. Decluttering can really improve your life — and here’s the psychology to prove it. Cognitive Clutter We’ve showed you how to declutter your cables, your music collection, and your newsletters. We’ve even given you some tips on where to get started if you’re looking to embrace minimalism. A lot of these articles fall into our Self-Improvement section,...

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Snailreactor
1364 days ago
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Here’s What Happens When You Install the Top 10 Download.com Apps

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We installed the top 10 apps from Download.com, and you’ll never believe what happened! Well… I guess maybe you might have a good guess. Awful things. Awful things are what happens. Join us for the fun!

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Snailreactor
1374 days ago
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