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2014 in Tux Machines

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OUR FIRST couple of months at Tux Machines were pleasurable and we hope that readers found the links we've shared valuable. We even posted links while on vacation, i.e. away from home.

Migration of the site to Drupal 7 (and another server) has been planned for over a month now and it did not happen over Christmas because if things go wrong, not much help will be at hand. We have already tested a prototype of the site and it will need to be upgraded, integrated, etc. Whether we can retain the existing theme (compatibility changes between major releases of Drupal) remains to be seen, but the format of the site will definitely stay the same.

Happy new year to all our readers, whom we very much value. This site is a public service.

NSA reportedly intercepting laptops purchased online to install spy malware

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According to a new report from Der Spiegel based on internal NSA documents, the signals intelligence agency's elite hacking unit (TAO) is able to conduct sophisticated wiretaps in ways that make Hollywood fantasy look more like reality. The report indicates that the NSA, in collaboration with the CIA and FBI, routinely and secretly intercepts shipping deliveries for laptops or other computer accessories in order to implant bugs before they reach their destinations. According to Der Spiegel, the NSA's TAO group is able to divert shipping deliveries to its own "secret workshops" in a method called interdiction, where agents load malware onto the electronics or install malicious hardware that can give US intelligence agencies remote access.

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35 Open Source Tools for the Internet of Things

In a nutshell, IoT is about using smart devices to collect data that is transmitted via the Internet to other devices. It's closely related to machine-to-machine (M2M) technology. While the concept had been around for some time, the term "Internet of Things" was first used in 1999 by Kevin Ashton, who was a Procter & Gamble employee at the time. Read more

IoT tinkerers get new Linux hub & open platforms

Cloud Media, the maker of entertainment box Popcorn Hour, launched a project on Kickstarter, Inc. that will add to the growing number of smart hubs for people to connect and control smart devices. Called the STACK Box, it features a Cavium ARM11 core processor, 256MB DDR3 RAM, 512MB flash, SD slot, 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth LE 4.0, Z-Wave, standard 10/100 Ethernet port, optional X10 wired communication, 5 USB 2.0 ports, RS-232 port, 2 optocoupler I/O, Xbee Bus, Raspberry Pi-compatible 26-pin bus and runs Linus Kernel 3.10. IT also features optional wireless communications for Dust Networks and Insteon with RF433/315, EnOcean, ZigBee, XBee, DCLink, RFID, IR coming soon. Read more

Citrix and Google partner to bring native enterprise features to Chromebooks

Chromebooks are making inroads into the education sector, and a push is coming for the enterprise with new native Chrome capabilities from Citrix. Google and Citrix have announced Citrix Receiver for Chrome, a native app for the Chromebook which has direct access to the system resources, including printing, audio, and video. To provide the security needed for the enterprise, the new Citrix app assigns a unique Receiver ID to each device for monitoring, seamless Clipboard integration across remote and local applications, end user experience monitoring with HDX Insight, and direct SSL connections. Read more

Is Open Source an Open Invitation to Hack Webmail Encryption?

While the open source approach to software development has proven its value over and over again, the idea of opening up the code for security features to anyone with eyeballs still creates anxiety in some circles. Such worries are ill-founded, though. One concern about opening up security code to anyone is that anyone will include the NSA, which has a habit of discovering vulnerabilities and sitting on them so it can exploit them at a later time. Such discoveries shouldn't be a cause of concern, argued Phil Zimmermann, creator of PGP, the encryption scheme Yahoo and Google will be using for their webmail. Read more