City of Moscow to ditch 600k Exchange and Outlook licences

The city of Moscow has announced it’s going to start ditching Microsoft, following a call by president Vladimir Putin for Russia to be more self-reliant, and is starting with an untried-at-scale e-mail system.

The phase-out will start by replacing Microsoft Exchange servers and Outlook clients, on 6,000 of the city’s computers, with an e-mail system from state-run carrier Rostelecom.

Windows and Office could be next on the list, and local reports suggest the shift could impact as many as 600,000 end users.

According to local business news outlet Vedomosti (in Russian here), the scale of the eventual rollout is because eventually schools, doctors, and housing and community service workers will be using the city-provided e-mail software.

The migration to e-mail servers hosted at Rostelcom, using software from New Cloud Technologies in Russia, is expected to take two years.

Vedomosti says the city has budgeted RUB 43.6 million (about US$700,000) for the initial project, and that the new licenses will be around 30 per cent cheaper than Moscow’s current Microsoft bill.

An IT integrator told the outlet it was the first big win for New Cloud’s My Office product.

Bloomberg claims Russia represents a US$3 billion software market for the likes of Microsoft, SAP, and Oracle.

The financial news service quotes communications minister Nikolay Nikiforov as saying “We want the money of taxpayers and state-run firms to be primarily spent on local software”.

Moscow’s CIO Artem Yermolaev said the city has already swapped out Cisco’s surveillance camera software for local product.

In March, Oracle slagged off PostgreSQL in an attempt to fend off Russian moves towards the libre database. ®

Application managers: What’s keeping you up at night?

via The Register

Elon Musk Proposes Spaceship That Can Send 100 People To Mars In 80 Days

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Today, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk unveiled the Mars vehicle — the spaceship his company plans to build to transport the first colonists to Mars. It will have a diameter of 17 meters. The plan is to send about 100 people per trip, though Musk wants to ultimately take 200 or more per flight to make the cost cheaper per person. The trip can take as little as 80 days or as many as 150 depending on the year. The hope is that the transport time will be only 30 days "in the more distant future." The rocket booster will have a diameter of 12 meters and the stack height will be 122 meters. The spaceship should hold a cargo of up to 450 tons depending on how many refills can be done with the tanker. As rumored, the Mars vehicle will be reusable and the spaceship will refuel in orbit. The trip will work like this: First, the spaceship will launch out of Pad 39A, which is under development right now at the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida. At liftoff, the booster will have 127,800 kilonewtons of thrust, or 28,730,000 pounds of thrust. Then, the spaceship and booster separate. The spaceship heads to orbit, while the booster heads back to Earth, coming back within about 20 minutes. Back on Earth, the booster lands on a launch mount and a propellant tanker is loaded onto the booster. The entire unit — now filled with fuel — lifts off again. It joins with the spaceship, which is then refueled in orbit. The propellant tankers will go up anywhere from three to five times to fill the tanks of the spaceship. The spaceship finally departs for Mars. To make the trip more attractive for its crew members, Musk promises that it’ll be "really fun" with zero-G games, movies, cabins, games, a restaurant. Once it reaches Mars, the vehicle will land on the surface, using its rocket engines to lower itself gently down to the ground. The spaceship’s passengers will use the vehicle, as well as cargo and hardware that’s already been shipped over to Mars, to set up a long-term colony. At the rate of 20 to 50 total Mars trips, it will take anywhere from 40 to 100 years to achieve a fully self-sustaining civilization with one million people on Mars, says Musk.

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via Slashdot

Spammers Increasingly Hijacking IPv4 Addresses

As new IPv4 addresses are more and more difficult to come by, spammers are increasingly hijacking existing IP address ranges for their nefarious purposes, Spamhaus researchers warn.

The issue, researchers explain, is that spammers need a constant flow of fresh IP addresses, because those they use get a bad reputation of being sources of spam quite fast. This issue isn’t new, and spammers are constantly looking for new means of getting fresh IP addresses.

Back in January, researchers accused Verizon of routing over 4 million IP addresses that were in the hands of cybercriminals. At the time, the Internet Service Provider (ISP) was accused of not looking closely at the routing requests, which allowed cybercriminals to use their stolen addresses unhindered.

Now, Spamhaus reveals that spammers are “hijacking existing IP address ranges from under the noses of the legitimate owners and ARIN (American Registry for Internet Numbers),” and that Legacy IP address ranges are most targeted by cybercriminals. These addresses, issued before ARIN’s inception in 1997, can’t be revoked even if the yearly fees aren’t paid, meaning that they can lie dormant, sometimes forgotten by the legitimate owners.

One of the first incidents where hijacked legacy IP address ranges were used for spam was observed in 2012, when cybercriminals were abusing the ranges, owned by Chemstress Consultant Company. The original record is dated in 1991, but hijackers started their abuse in 2011 by registering a domain to “Timothy Tausch,” the name from the original ARIN records.

After that, the hijackers tricked ARIN into updating Timothy Tausch’s contact information with an email address they were in control of. Next, the IP addresses started being announced on behalf of the hijacker. The nefarious activity was rapidly shut down by the ISP for non-payment, researchers say.

In recent years, hijacking incidents have been getting worse, researchers say. Below, you can see a chart of the network BGP announcements of ranges believed to be hijacked (only ranges with “live” SBL listings are included – nobody has claimed legitimate ownership yet).

Chart of Hijacked IPs

According to Spamhaus, while the announcements on the left-hand side of the chart are mainly legitimate, they slowly decrease as more companies that become defunct stop using their IP address ranges.

“Then, in recent years, these ranges start being hijacked by spammers, at times, announcements of up to 5 million IP addresses,” Spamhaus researchers explain. “Sending email through hijacked IP address ranges is of course one of the few criminal provisions of the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act. And hijacking usually involves other serious crimes such as wire fraud, forgery, and identity theft.”

According to Spamhaus, it appears that this type of malicious activity might continue until law enforcement begins prosecuting the criminal hijacking gangs and the spammers they work with. They also explain that ARIN’s ability to take action is sometimes limited, because it must abide by procedures defined via its Policy Development Process, and might not be able to take action even when notified of false information being added to its records.

Related: Necurs Botnet Fuels Jump in Spam Email

Related: Top Websites Fail to Prevent Email Spoofing

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

Previous Columns by Ionut Arghire:


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BitTorrent’s and uTorrent’s new Altruistic Mode uploads double what you download


BitTorrent today announced a new feature for its BitTorrent and uTorrent clients: Altruistic Mode. In short, the new experiment (available in BitTorrent 7.9.9 and above as well as uTorrent 3.4.9 and above) is for users who want to make sure that they upload more than they download, and who are okay with downloads never completing.

BitTorrent commonly refers to the infamous peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing protocol associated with piracy. But there is also a company by the name of BitTorrent, which owns the two most popular clients for the protocol: BitTorrent and uTorrent. Adding features like Altruistic Mode to these two clients means the feature could one day be adopted by other clients.

Altruistic Mode guarantees that your upload to download ratio is never much less than 2 to 1. Put another way, Altruistic Mode downloads if there are two peers who are interested, because for each new downloaded piece, it can upload to two peers. If there is only one interested peer, Altruistic Mode stops downloading, because it can’t uphold the ratio. Because BitTorrent peers upload as much as they can under normal conditions, the only way to improve the ratio is by downloading less. Thus, Altruistic Mode downloads will often never complete.

Why would you want to do this? BitTorrent explains the purpose of this mode and how it chose the ratio:

The intended use of Altruistic Mode is to help out a swarm. This can help other peers download faster or ensure a peer has a good sharing ratio. This is especially helpful in conditions where there are already plenty of seeds, which often happens after a torrent has been available for a while.

We selected a 2:1 ratio because it’s impossible to have a number of interested peers between 1 and 2, and 1 is too small, so that left 2 as a logical choice. Shooting for a higher ratio would result in very little uploading even in some conditions where it makes sense to do so, which was extremely confusing to users in testing and is a waste of resources. Going for a higher number could also cause swarms to no longer have a complete copy of the file if too many peers are in Altruistic Mode, which would harm not just the one peer in Altruistic Mode but other peers as well. Because of this, we feel that a 2:1 ratio is a sweet spot and aren’t offering any user configuration options for it.

Because Altruistic Mode isn’t how most users expect BitTorrent clients to function, the company has made sure it needs to be unlocked first (Preferences => BitTorrent => Enable Altruistic Mode). Only then can you turn it on from the download dialog or in the properties of a given torrent.

If this experiment goes well, BitTorrent is considering rolling out another feature in which a peer starts out in Altruistic Mode and later turns it off (returning to regular Download Mode). This would let peers who want to get a complete file eventually, but aren’t in a rush, help speed up the process for other peers who care about getting it sooner.

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via VentureBeat

How to Cover a Charlatan Like Trump (Nicholas Kristof/New York Times)

Nicholas Kristof / New York Times:
How to Cover a Charlatan Like Trump  —  WITH presidential debates approaching, we in journalism are locked in a fierce dispute: How should we report on a duplicitous demagogue?  —  Traditionally, American reporters respond to a controversy by quoting people on each side and letting the public decide.


Every video game launching this fall that you need to know about

As of this week, fall has officially begun. That means a whole lot of things—changing colors, cooler temperatures, the weirdest presidential election of all time—but more importantly, it means that a truckload of video games are coming out.

And by truckload, I means dozens and dozens for each and every platform (save for the Wii U). But rather than list all of the titles, we’ve decided to round up the best of the best; the ones you really need to be looking out for this fall.

DON’T MISS: Report: Nintendo’s NX has entered production

Below you’ll find all the most important video games launching this season:



  • Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade | PC | September 23rd
  • Darkest Dungeon | PS4, PS Vita | September 27th
  • FIFA 17 | PS4, PS3, Xbox One, 360, PC | September 27th
  • Forza Horizon 3 | Xbox One, PC | September 27th
  • Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice | 3DS | September 27th
  • XCOM 2 | PS4, Xbox One | September 27th
  • Yo-Kai Watch 2: Bony Spirits | 3DS | September 30th
  • Yo-Kai Watch 2: Fleshy Souls | 3DS | September 30th



  • Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide | PS4, Xbox One | October 4th
  • Mafia III | PS4, Xbox One, PC | October 7th
  • Paper Mario: Color Splash | Wii U | October 7th
  • 100ft Robot Golf | PS4, PSVR | October 10th
  • Dragon Quest Builders | PS4, PS Vita | October 10th
  • Gears of War 4 | Xbox One | October 11th
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider | PS4 | October 11th
  • WWE 2K17 | PS4, PS3, Xbox One, 360 | October 11th
  • PlayStation VR | Hardware | October 13th
  • Shadow Warrior 2 | PS4, Xbox One, PC | October 13th
  • Skylanders Imaginators | PS4, PS3, Xbox One, 360, Wii U | October 16th
  • Battlefield 1 | PS4, Xbox One | October 21st
  • Sid Meier’s Civilization VI | PC | October 21st
  • Dragon Ball Z Xenoverse 2 | PS4, Xbox One, PC | October 25th
  • World of Final Fantasy | PS4, Vita | October 25th
  • TES V: Skyrim Special Edition | PS4, Xbox One, PC | October 28th
  • Titanfall 2 | PS4, Xbox One, PC | October 28th



  • Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare | PS4, Xbox One, PC | November 4th
  • Mario Party: Star Rush | 3DS | November 4th
  • PlayStation 4 Pro | Hardware | November 10th
  • Dishonored 2 | PS4, Xbox One, PC | November 11th
  • Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection | PS4, Xbox One | November 15th
  • Watch Dogs 2 | PS4, Xbox One, PC | November 15th
  • Killing Floor 2 | PS4, PC | November 18th
  • Pokémon Moon | 3DS | November 18th
  • Pokémon Sun | 3DS | November 18th
  • Final Fantasy XV | PS4, Xbox One | November 29th


The Last Guardian Preview 2

  • Gravity Rush 2 | PS4 | December 2nd
  • Steep | PS4, Xbox One, PC | December 2nd
  • Super Mario Maker 3DS | 3DS | December 2nd
  • Dead Rising 4 | Xbox One, PC | December 6th
  • The Last Guardian | PS4 | December 6th

Although most of the September and October games are set in stone at this point, there are sure to be several delays and release date announcements between now and the end of the year. We’ll update and add to this list as we learn more.

via BGR