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Axel Springer Goes After iOS 9 Ad Blockers In New Legal Battlle ( 213

An anonymous reader writes: Germany's Axel Springer, owner of newspapers like Bild and Die Welt, is pursuing legal action against the developers of Blockr, an ad blocker for iOS 9. Techcrunch reports: "In October, Axel Springer forced visitors to Bild to turn off their ad blockers or pay a monthly fee to continue using the site. Earlier this month, the publisher reported the success of this measure, saying that the proportion of readers using ad blockers dropped from 23% to the single digits when faced with the choice to turn off the software or pay. 'The results are beyond our expectations,' said Springer chief exec Mathias Döpfner at the time. 'Over two-thirds of the users concerned switched off their adblocker.' He also noted that the website received an additional 3 million visits from users who could now see the ads in the first two weeks of the experiment going live."
The Almighty Buck

Exploit Vendor Publishes Prices For Zero-Day Vulnerabilities 20

An anonymous reader writes: An exploit vendor published a price list for the zero-day bugs it's willing to buy. The highest paid bugs are for remote jailbreaks for iOS. Second is Android and Windows Phone. Third there are remote code execution bugs for Chrome, Flash, and Adobe's PDF Reader. This is the same company that just paid $1 million to a hacker for the first iOS9 jailbreak.

Python Is On the Rise, While PHP Falls ( 231

Nerval's Lobster writes: While this month's lists of the top programming languages uniformly put Java in the top spot, that's not the only detail of interest to developers. Which language has gained the most users over the past five years? And which are tottering on the edge of obsolescence? According to PYPL, which pulls its raw data for analysis from Google Trends, Python has grown the most over the past five years—up 5 percent since roughly 2010. Over the same period, PHP also declined by 5 percent. Since PYPL looks at how often language tutorials are searched on Google, its data is a good indicator of how many developers are (or aren't) learning a language, presumably because they see it as valuable to their careers. Just because PYPL shows PHP losing market-share over the long term doesn't mean that language is in danger of imminent collapse; over the past year or so, the PHP community has concentrated on making the language more pleasant to use, whether by improving features such as package management, or boosting overall performance. Plus, PHP is still used on hundreds of millions of websites, according to data from Netcraft. Indeed, if there's any language on these analysts' lists that risks doom, it's Objective-C, the primary language used for programming iOS and Mac OS X apps, and its growing obsolescence is by design.

Tim Cook: Apple Won't Create 'Converged' MacBook and iPad ( 337

LichtSpektren writes: In an interview with, Apple CEO Tim Cook has stated that Apple is currently not looking to create an iPad that runs Mac OS X. "We feel strongly that customers are not really looking for a converged Mac and iPad, because what that would wind up doing, or what we're worried would happen, is that neither experience would be as good as the customer wants. So we want to make the best tablet in the world and the best Mac in the world. And putting those two together would not achieve either. You'd begin to compromise in different ways." Cook also commented that he does not travel with a Mac anymore, only his iPad Pro and iPhone.

With Respect To Gaming, Android Still Lags Behind iOS ( 166

An anonymous reader writes: No matter what you think about the Android/iOS divide from either a hardware or software perspective, there's simply no getting around the fact that many developers still take an iOS-first approach with respect to app development. With games, where development costs are already sky-high, the dynamic is even more pronounced. For instance, one of the most addictive, successful, and highly rated apps currently available on the App Store is a great snowboarding game called Alto's Adventure. It was originally released this past February for the iPhone and iPad (and now the Apple TV). Still today, nine months after its initial release, an Android version of the app remains non-existent. Now if you're an Android user who happens to enjoy mobile gaming, it's easy to see how this dynamic playing out over and over again can quickly become an endless source of frustration.

How a Mobile App Firm Found the XcodeGhost In the Machine ( 69

SpacemanukBEJY.53u writes: A Denver-based mobile app development company, Possible Mobile, had a tough time figuring out why Apple recently rejected its app from the App Store. After a lot of head scratching, it eventually found the XcodeGhost malware hidden in an unlikely place — a third-party framework that it had wrapped into its own app. Their experience shows that the efforts of malware writers can have far-ranging effects on the mobile app component supply chain.

Should Programmers Be Called Engineers? ( 568

New submitter nervouscat writes: Game designer Ian Bogost argues that programmers shouldn't use the term "engineer" to describe themselves. He says the tech industry has "cheapened" the title, and that it's more aspirational than anything else. Quoting: "Traditional engineers are regulated, certified, and subject to apprenticeship and continuing education. Engineering claims an explicit responsibility to public safety and reliability, even if it doesn’t always deliver. ... Today’s computer systems pose individual and communal dangers that we’d never accept in more concrete structures like bridges, skyscrapers, power plants, and missile-defense systems. Apple’s iOS 9 update reportedly “bricked” certain phones, making them unusable. Services like Google Docs go down for mysterious reasons, leaving those whose work depends on them in a lurch. ... When it comes to skyscrapers and bridges and power plants and elevators and the like, engineering has been, and will continue to be, managed partly by professional standards, and partly by regulation around the expertise and duties of engineers. But fifty years’ worth of attempts to turn software development into a legitimate engineering practice have failed."

Apple Wages Battle To Keep App Store Malware-Free ( 85

alphadogg writes: Apple is facing growing challenges keeping suspicious mobile applications out of its App Store marketplace. Over the last two months, researchers have found thousands of apps that could have potentially stolen data from iOS devices. Apple has removed some of affected apps since it was alerted by security companies. But the problems threaten to taint the App Store's years-long reputation as being high quality and malware free.

Android App Mutates Source Code, Spreads Virally and Enables Mesh Networks ( 74

An anonymous reader writes: Researchers from the Delft University of Technology have developed a self-replicating, mutating Android app which can create on-the-fly mesh networks in the event of an infrastructural disaster, or the enabling of internet kill switches by oppressive regimes. The app's source is available at GitHub, and the app itself requires no root privileges to propagate. It can self-compile while it mutates — for example, from a game to a calculator — in transit from one Android device to another, and compatibility with iOS and Windows phones is anticipated.

FireEye: Many Companies Still Running XcodeGhost-Infected Apple Apps ( 23

itwbennett writes: In September, more than 4,000 applications were found to have been modified with a counterfeit version of Xcode, dubbed XcodeGhost. On Tuesday, FireEye said in a blog post that it has detected 210 enterprises that are still using infected apps, showing that the XcodeGhost malware 'is a persistent security risk.' In addition, whomever created XcodeGhost has also developed a new version that can target iOS 9, called XcodeGhost S, FireEye wrote.

Somebody Just Claimed a $1 Million Bounty For Hacking the iPhone ( 100

citadrianne writes with news that security startup Zerodium has just paid a group of hackers $1 million for finding a remote jailbreak of an iPhone running iOS 9. Vice reports: "Over the weekend, somebody claimed the $1 million bounty set by the new startup Zerodium, according to its founder Chaouki Bekrar, a notorious merchant of unknown, or zero-day, vulnerabilities. The challenge consisted of finding a way to remotely jailbreak a new iPhone or iPad running the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system iOS (in this case iOS 9.1 and 9.2b), allowing the attacker to install any app he or she wants app with full privileges. The initial exploit, according to the terms of the challenge, had to come through Safari, Chrome, or a text or multimedia message. This essentially meant that a participant needed to find a series, or a chain, of unknown zero-day bugs."

Apple Faces Class Action Lawsuit Over iOS Wi-Fi Assist ( 212

An anonymous reader writes: A class-action suit has been filed against Apple in U.S. District Court over Wi-Fi Assist being turned on by default in iOS 9. Wi-Fi Assist is designed to switch to cellular data when a user is trying to perform an action over the internet on a poor Wi-Fi signal. This has the natural side effect of using cellular data. Since iOS 9 turned it on for many users, they weren't necessarily expecting that extra use, causing some of them to exceed their data caps. A former Apple employee who was in a leadership position for Mac OS X Wi-Fi software has commented on the issue, saying that the Wi-Fi Assist mess was unavoidable given how Apple's management treats that part of the business.

Quoting :"[O]ne particular directorial edict which I pushed back against at the end of my tenure sticks out as not just particularly telling, but deeply misguided: 'Make it self-healing.' Self healing in this context meaning that the networking system, Wi-Fi in particular, should try to correct problems that caused the network to fail, which, if you have spent any time trying to diagnose networking issues is a clear misunderstanding of the issues involved. ... Asking the devices which connect to this vast complex network of networks to detect, and then transparently fix problems in the infrastructure without the permission of the administrators is, well, it's absolutely the pinnacle of buzzword driven product management. Real pointy-haired boss territory."

Data Storage

Samsung 950 Pro Brings NVMe To M.2, Over 2.5GB/s 36

Vigile writes: Samsung just released its first non-OEM, consumer level NVMe enabled SSD, the 950 Pro series. This drive will ship in an M.2 form factor rather than a 2.5-in drive size that is the standard for users today, allowing installation into notebooks, small form factor PCs and desktop PCs that have at least one M.2 slot on-board. It peaks at 512GB capacity today but Samsung promises a 1TB version using 48-layer VNAND in 2016. The NVMe protocol allows much better performance directly over the PCIe bus without the overhead of the AHCI protocol used in hard drives and previous SSDs. PC Perspective's review has performance breaking the 2.5GB/s read speed level while also introducing an entirely new type of performance evaluation for SSDs centered around latency distribution of IOs. By measuring how long each IO takes, rather than reporting only an average, the performance of an SSD can be determined on a per-workflow basis and drives can be compared in an entirely new light. There is a lot of detail on to be read over and digested but again the new NVMe Samsung 950 Pro impresses. Hot Hardware takes a similarly data-dump-heavy look at the same drive.

"YouTube Red" Offers Premium YouTube For $9.99 a Month, $12.99 For iOS Users ( 236

An anonymous reader writes: YouTube is launching a subscription plan in the U.S. called Red that combines ad-free videos, new original series and movies. The official blog post reads in part: "On October 28, we’re giving fans exactly what they want. Introducing YouTube Red -- a new membership designed to provide you with the ultimate YouTube experience. YouTube Red lets you enjoy videos across all of YouTube without ads, while also letting you save videos to watch offline on your phone or tablet and play videos in the background, all for $9.99 a month. Your membership extends across devices and anywhere you sign into YouTube, including our recently launched Gaming app and a brand new YouTube Music app we’re announcing today that will be available soon."

Apple Tells US Judge It's 'Impossible' To Break Through Locks On New iPhones ( 225

An anonymous reader writes: Apple told a U.S. judge that accessing data stored on a locked iPhone would be "impossible" with devices using its latest operating system, but the company has the "technical ability" to help law enforcement unlock older phones. Apple's position was laid out in a brief filed late Monday, after a federal magistrate judge in Brooklyn, New York, sought its input as he weighed a U.S. Justice Department request to force the company to help authorities access a seized iPhone during an investigation. In court papers, Apple said that for the 90 percent of its devices running iOS 8 or higher, granting the Justice Department's request "would be impossible to perform" after it strengthened encryption methods.

New iOS 9 Features Mean System-Wide Tor Is In the Works For the First Time ( 34

Patrick O'Neill writes: At a time when privacy and encryption on mobile devices are the subject of political storm, last month's iOS 9 release means that Apple devices will finally get what Android has had for years: System-wide Tor anonymity. A handful of security experts recently set to work on projects to bring more powerful anonymity to iOS. “There are a bunch of pieces in the works,” Tor developer and Guardian Project leader Nathan Freitas told the Daily Dot. “We just started to work on it and think about it. Tor knows we can’t ignore all the iOS 9 users in the world.”

Why Paywalls Need To Be So Fragile ( 98

An anonymous reader writes: Despite the ferment that occurs when yet another digital publisher paywalls a news-site, most paywalls are absurdly easy to circumvent, even using no other software than a web-browser, because of the need to present unrestricted content to the search engines that publicise it. None of the parties involved are considering anyone else's point of view: Google wants free flow of information funded by merit-based advertising revenue; publishers want to restore consumer lock-in in a network environment of story-led consumers who have completely abandoned the concept; and Apple is fine with content-blocking, since it just wants to sell hardware.

Objective-C Use Falls Hard, Apple's Swift On the Rise ( 161

Nerval's Lobster writes: When Apple rolled out Swift last summer, it expected its new programming language to eventually replace Objective-C, which developers have used for years to build iOS and Mac OS X apps. Thanks to Apple's huge developer ecosystem (and equally massive footprint in the world of consumer devices), Swift quickly became one of the most buzzed-about programming languages, as cited by sites such as Stack Overflow. And now, according to new data from TIOBE Software, which keeps a regularly updated index of popular programming languages, Swift might be seriously cannibalizing Objective-C. On TIOBE's latest index, Objective-C is ranked fourteenth among programming languages, a considerable drop from its third-place spot in October 2014. Swift managed to climb from nineteenth to fifteenth during the same period. "Soon after Apple announced to switch from Objective-C to Swift, Objective-C went into free fall," read TIOBE's text accompanying the data. "This month Objective-C dropped out of the TIOBE index top 10." How soon until Swift eclipses Objective-C entirely?