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Self-Destructing Virus Kills Off PCs

Slashdot -

mpicpp sends word about particularly bad virus making the rounds. "A computer virus that tries to avoid detection by making the machine it infects unusable has been found. If Rombertik's evasion techniques are triggered, it deletes key files on a computer, making it constantly restart. Analysts said Rombertik was 'unique' among malware samples for resisting capture so aggressively. On Windows machines where it goes unnoticed, the malware steals login data and other confidential information. Rombertik typically infected a vulnerable machine after a booby-trapped attachment on a phishing message had been opened, security researchers Ben Baker and Alex Chiu, from Cisco, said in a blogpost. Some of the messages Rombertik travels with pose as business inquiry letters from Microsoft. The malware 'indiscriminately' stole data entered by victims on any website, the researchers said. And it got even nastier when it spotted someone was trying to understand how it worked. 'Rombertik is unique in that it actively attempts to destroy the computer if it detects certain attributes associated with malware analysis,' the researchers said."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.7 Beta Screencast

LXer -

We are pleased to announce the beta release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.7, the latest version of our Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 platform. The enhanced functionality provided by Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.7 beta enables organizations to tailor their infrastructure for the business needs of today while remaining flexible enough to prepare for the IT challenges of tomorrow, starting with helping enterprises to preserve investments in existing infrastructure. These include: Increased interoperability with Active Directory and Identity Management servers through the addition of new capabilities to the Identity Management client code (SSSD); Clufter, included as a Technology Preview, a tool/library for analyzing and transforming cluster configuration formats enables system administrators to update existing high-availability configurations to run on the latest high-availability tools from Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Bitcoin Developer Officially Proposes Raising Block Size Limits

Bitcoin feeds -

Recently bitcoin\'s most senior head developer and the chief scientist for the Bitcoin Foundation, Gavin Andresen, published some core code changes to the bitcoin client and protocol. Along with this publication Andresen has started writing blog posts in his new, rousing series in an attempt to convince bitcoiners everywhere of the vital changes needed to scale the bitcoin network.

Andresen\'s proposed changes specifically address the block size limitation originally set by Satoshi Nakamoto. A larger block size will help increase the number of transactions that can be simultaneously sent across the network.

Seven Transactions Per Second (TPS) is a rate commonly quoted by bitcoiners when talking about the bandwidth of the bitcoin network. This number comes from the Bitcoin wiki, which states, "the Bitcoin network is restricted to a sustained rate of 7 TPS due to the bitcoin protocol restricting block sizes to 1MB."

For six years head developers of bitcoin have considered plans to accommodate a larger number of bitcoin transactions. Ideas include compressing the blockchain, using sidechains and side trees, and even splitting the blockchain into 3 tiers of service. Some or maybe all of these solutions could be used in the future, as bitcoin\'s popularity rises, but for now Andresen believes that raising the block size limit from 1 MB to 20 MB is the fastest and surest remedy for scalability.

"I believe this is the simplest possible set of changes that will work."

- Andresen

Along with the bitcoin core code revisions, Andresen has set a date of March 1, 2016 for this block size limit change. With almost a year until the change is implemented, the head developers will have plenty of time to consider all arguments for and against this change.

In Andresens Blog posts he attempts to address a list of known arguments against the idea. Andresen has posted many different types of concerns including added centralization, reduced privacy, higher mining fees, and even the complete loss of user confidence in the blockchain. With such a diversity of concerns Andresen\'s has committed to making a daily post to address them individually.

The proposed solution does not just raise the number of TPS available. This solution can better be described as a way to make the naturally-rising number of confirmations less risky, Andresen explains "[As] the queue of transactions waiting to be confirmed grows, using more and more memory inside every full node, Full nodes could (and probably will in a future release of Bitcoin Core) start to drop transactions from the queue, which will make transaction confirmation less reliable.”

As confirmations become less reliable, and new transactions are not confirmed after a few blocks, Andresen states that wallets may re-broadcast transactions, “then bandwidth usage spikes as every wallet on the network rebroadcasts its unconfirmed transactions.”

“If the number of transactions waiting gets large enough, the end result will be an over-saturated network, busy doing nothing productive. I don\'t think that is likely– it is more likely people just stop using Bitcoin because transaction confirmation becomes increasingly unreliable"

- Andresen

The proposed change may not be easy, even assuming the change is accepted by the other core developers, and all of them agree to make the change next March. To implement the change the code inside the Bitcoin core client software, which both miners and original wallet users run, must be altered. Bitcoin core users then need to install the newly modified version, consenting to the change in the process.

The type of change Andresen has suggested requires a hard fork, a divergence in the bitcoin network resulting in two separate blockchains. A majority upgrade throughout the network is required to confirm the changes, and the old chain would become obsolete. In March 2013 a hard fork occurred without any major issues, but did cause the Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange to briefly halt bitcoin deposits. During that time bitcoin prices dipped by 23% to $37 as panic first spread onto the market. The price quickly recovered to around $48, within a few hours.

Once March 1 arrives, and the new code is released, word will quickly be spread throughout the Bitcoin community urging everyone to upgrade their bitcoin core wallet software to the new version in a coordinated effort.

As soon as 51% of the network has reached a consensus on the proposed changes the new blockchain, with a 20 Megabytes block size, will be standard.

An introduction to Linux

LXer -

What is Linux? For many this seems like a question with an obvious answer, but the truth is there are a large number of people who would shrug their shoulders. Many have never heard of Linux (gasp!) or aren[he]#039[/he]t confident in their answer.read more

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