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Comments:99 | Votes:263

posted by martyb on Tuesday October 08, @11:19PM   Printer-friendly
from the voice-of-the-people^W-bots dept.

A consultant working for the US broadband industry's lobbying group "Broadband for America" sent over 1 million comments to the FCC opposing net neutrality.

Many of the names and email addresses in these comments are tied to a single data breach. Here's how Buzzfeed figured out what happened.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday October 08, @09:37PM   Printer-friendly

How ICE Picks Its Targets in the Surveillance Age:

The winter after Donald Trump was elected president, strangers began appearing in a parking lot on southern Washington State's Long Beach Peninsula, at the port where the oyster boats come and go. Rather than gaze at the bay or the boats or the building-size piles of bleached shells, two men — one thinner, one thicker — stared at the shellfish workers. The strangers sat in their vehicle and watched the workers arrive in their trucks. They watched the workers grab their gear and walk to the docks. The workers watched them watching, too, and they soon began to realize that the men were from Immigration and Customs Enforcement. When the workers made eye contact, the officers nodded politely, but they said very little. For weeks, they just watched. Then the workers began to vanish.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday October 08, @07:59PM   Printer-friendly
from the what-if-all-players-added-the-same-.sig? dept.

Bloomberg, Endadget and the rest of the digital news world are reporting on Blizzard suspending a Hearthstone Pro for adding a pro-Hong Kong message at the end of his stream.

From Bloomberg

A unit of Activision Blizzard Inc. has punished a player for expressing support for Hong Kong's protest movement, the latest example of a U.S. company attempting to rein in speech that might displease the Chinese communist party.

Blizzard's official release says that he violated competition rules, namely

Engaging in any act that, in Blizzard's sole discretion, brings you into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages Blizzard image will result in removal from Grandmasters and reduction of the player's prize total to $0 USD, in addition to other remedies which may be provided for under the Handbook and Blizzard's Website Terms.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday October 08, @06:20PM   Printer-friendly
from the the-cloud-is-safe-data-storage-for-everybody dept.

When the cloud apps are the only thing accessible, then your access is no longer yours. And, apparently, you will simply be cut off. No refunds of any kind. So, no more photoshop for you in that country. From Ars:

Adobe is deactivating all user accounts in Venezuela, saying that the action is necessary to comply with an executive order issued by President Donald Trump. The action affects both free and paid accounts. In an FAQ titled "Adobe compliance with US Executive Order," the company explained yesterday why it is canceling its Venezuela-based customers' subscriptions:

The US Government issued Executive Order 13884, the practical effect of which is to prohibit almost all transactions and services between US companies, entities, and individuals in Venezuela. To remain compliant with this order, Adobe is deactivating all accounts in Venezuela.

The story is also on the Verge.

Using SaaS, PaaS and IaaS is painful if you are on the wrong side of the line. What happens if you turn on your computer in Venezuela, but are not from there? Will you be blocked too? And, who is next? Eventually, you may (will) become a bargaining chip in a fight that is not yours, just because you use a cloud service.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Tuesday October 08, @03:15PM   Printer-friendly

Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:

Young adults who experience annual income drops of 25 percent or more may be more at risk of having thinking problems and reduced brain health in middle age, according to a study published in the October 2, 2019, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

“Income volatility is at a record level since the 1980s and there is growing evidence that it may have pervasive effects on health, yet policies intending to smooth unpredictable income changes are being weakened in the United States and many other countries,” said study author Leslie Grasset, PhD, of the Inserm Research Center in Bordeaux, France. “Our exploratory study followed participants in the United States through the recession in the late 2000s when many people experienced economic instability. Our results provide evidence that higher income volatility and more income drops during peak earning years are linked to unhealthy brain aging in middle age.

” The study involved 3,287 people who were 23 to 35 years old at the start of the study and were enrolled in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study, which includes a racially diverse population. Participants reported their annual pre-tax household income every three to five years for 20 years, from 1990 to 2010. Researchers examined how often income dropped as well as the percentage of change in income between 1990 and 2010 for each participant. Based on the number of income drops, participants fell into three groups: 1,780 people who did not have an income drop; 1,108 who had one drop of 25 percent or more from the previous reported income; and 399 people who had two or more such drops. Participants were given thinking and memory tests that measured how well they completed tasks and how much time it took to complete them. For one test, participants used a key that paired numbers 1 to 9 with symbols.

They were then given a list of numbers and had to write down the corresponding symbols. Researchers found that people with two or more income drops had worse performances in completing tasks than people with no income drops. On average, they scored worse by 3.74 points or 2.8 percent. “For reference, this poor performance is greater than what is normally seen due to one year in aging, which is equivalent to scoring worse by only 0.71 points on average or 0.53 percent”, said Grasset. Participants with more income drops also scored worse on how much time it took to complete some tasks. The results were the same after researchers adjusted for other factors that could affect thinking skills, such as high blood pressure, education level, physical activity and smoking. There was no difference between the groups on tests that measured verbal memory.

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday October 08, @12:59PM   Printer-friendly

Submitted via IRC for TheMightyBuzzard

Fast-food hamburger chain Wendy's has released their very own tabletop role-playing game called Feast of Legends. No, you are not having a stroke. No, I am not having a stroke either. Yes, they actually made a Wendy's RPG.


Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday October 08, @11:27AM   Printer-friendly

Submitted via IRC for SoyCow9088

Attackers exploit 0-day vulnerability that gives full control of Android phones

Attackers are exploiting a zero-day vulnerability in Google's Android mobile operating system that can give them full control of at least 18 different phone models, including four different Pixel models, a member of Google's Project Zero research group said on Thursday night.

There's evidence the vulnerability is being actively exploited, either by exploit developer NSO Group or one of its customers, Project Zero member Maddie Stone said in a post. NSO representatives, meanwhile, said the "exploit has nothing to do with NSO." Exploits require little or no customization to fully root vulnerable phones. The vulnerability can be exploited two ways: (1) when a target installs an untrusted app or (2) for online attacks, by combining the exploit with a second exploit targeting a vulnerability in code the Chrome browser uses to render content.

"The bug is a local privilege escalation vulnerability that allows for a full compromise of a vulnerable device," Stone wrote. "If the exploit is delivered via the Web, it only needs to be paired with a renderer exploit, as this vulnerability is accessible through the sandbox."

[...] "This issue is rated as high severity on Android and by itself requires installation of a malicious application for potential exploitation," Tim Willis, another Project Zero member, wrote, citing Android team members. "Any other vectors, such as via web browser, require chaining with an additional exploit."

[...] While the vulnerability reported on Thursday is serious, vulnerable Android users shouldn't panic. The chances of being exploited by attacks as expensive and targeted as the one described by Project Zero are extremely slim. Just the same, it may make sense to hold off installing non-essential apps and to use a non-Chrome browser until after the patch is installed.

[Editor's Note: The link pointing to the comment made by Maddie Stone (2nd Para) has broken and now points to an empty page. We will try to find a replacement for it. The problem might be browser-specific, I am still investigating. --JR 13:08 UTC 8 Oct]

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday October 08, @09:55AM   Printer-friendly
from the pining-for-the-fjords! dept.

Monty Python at 50: a half-century of silly walks, edible props and dead parrots:

In a memo sent in 1969, the BBC head of comedy seems to have lost his sense of humour. "Please will you have a word with the writers?" said Michael Mills. "I haven't reacted to the funny titles that have appeared on the scripts so far. I hoped that they would cease of their own accord."

The titles that irritated him included "Bunn Wackett Buzzard Stubble and Boot", apparently a spoof legal firm, which came to be shortened to Bunwackett. The show, meanwhile, had the working title The Circus. Now, though, Mills had had enough: "The time has come when we must stop having peculiar titles and settle on one overall title ... Please would you have words with them and try to produce something palatable?"

Following this intervention, a title was finally agreed upon: Monty Python's Flying Circus. And on 19 September 1969, BBC North sent an invitation to journalists to go on location for the filming of the show at the Cow and Calf pub on Ilkley Moor. They were promised "crazy antics" and "the first opportunity to see this new-style brand of late-night nutty comedy in action, and all its writer-stars: John Cleese, Terry Jones, Eric Idle, Graham Chapman and Michael Palin." (As would often be the case, the animator Terry Gilliam was omitted, though he played many on-screen roles, and his brutal cartoons were the show's signature innovation.)

This memo and press release are among the documentation relating to the premiere, exactly 50 years ago, of Monty Python's Flying Circus. Until exhumed by a researcher, the creative entrails of old BBC shows are buried in pink folders, hole-punched and tied with green bootlaces. Now, a rare peek inside the binders has uncovered all the secrets of the Pythons' earliest days.

If you want more, you're going to have to actually read the fine article. I dare not attempt to paraphrase anything pertaining to Monty Python's Flying Circus!

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday October 08, @08:23AM   Printer-friendly
from the quite-the-layer-cake dept.

Samsung has developed the first 12-layer High Bandwidth Memory stacks:

Samsung's 12-layer DRAM KGSDs (known good stack die) will feature 60,000 [through silicon via (TSV)] holes which is why the manufacturer considers its technology one of the most challenging packaging for mass production. Despite increase of the number of layers from eight to 12, thickness of the package will remain at 720 microns, so Samsung's partners will not have to change anything on their side to use the new technology. It does mean that we're seeing DRAM layers getting thinner, with acceptable yields for high-end products.

One of the first products to use Samsung's 12-layer DRAM packaging technology will be the company's 24 GB HBM2 KGSDs that will be mass produced shortly. These devices will allow developers of CPUs, GPUs, and FPGAs to install 48 GB or 96 GB of memory in case of 2048 or 4096-bit buses, respectively. It also allows for 12 GB and 6 GB stacks with less dense configurations.

"12-Hi" stacks were added to the HBM2 standard back in December, but there were no immediate plans by Samsung or SK Hynix to manufacture it.

Future AMD CPUs (particularly Epyc) may feature HBM stacks somewhere on the CPU die. Intel has already used its embedded multi-die interconnect bridge (EMIB) technology with HBM to create an advanced APU with AMD's own graphics, and is using HBM on field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) and other products.

AMD's Radeon VII GPU has 16 GB of HBM2. Nvidia's V100 GPU has 16 or 32 GB on a 4,096-bit memory bus.

Also at Electronics Weekly.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Tuesday October 08, @06:51AM   Printer-friendly
from the I'm-sure-there-is-a-good-use-for-this dept.

Submitted via IRC for TheMightyBuzzard

Thanks to the wonders of neural networks and machine learning algorithms, it's now possible to do things that were once thought to be inordinately difficult to achieve with computers. It's a combination of the right techniques and piles of computing power that make such feats doable, and [Robert Bond's] ant zapping project is a great example.

The project is based around an NVIDIA Jetson TK1, a system that brings the processing power of a modern GPU to an embedded platform. It's fitted with a USB camera, that is used to scan its field of view for ants. Once detected, thanks to a little OpenCV magic, the coordinates of the insect are passed to the laser system. Twin stepper motors are used to spin mirrors that direct the light from a 5 mW red laser, which is shined on the target. If you're thinking of working on something like this we highly recommend using galvos to direct the laser.

Because why wouldn't you want to?


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Tuesday October 08, @05:23AM   Printer-friendly
from the never-say-it-can't-be-done dept.

Submitted via IRC for SoyCow1337

How an iOS developer built an alternative App Store for the iPhone

Riley Testut has spent the better part of the last decade trying to sneak in through the side door of the iPhone. Since he was a teenager, the Dallas-Fort Worth native has been fascinated with app development — in particular, with emulation technology that allows modern computing devices to run the video game software of decades-old game consoles.

Yet Testut, a longtime Apple fan, was disheartened when he came to realize that classic video games from developers like Nintendo would never make their way onto the official iOS App Store. Nintendo has no interest in porting its games to iOS — it has since opted to make mobile-specific versions instead — and Apple has always had strict policies against apps that can be used for piracy. So Testut decided to try to build the emulation technology that would let you do it yourself.

AltStore is a way to distribute iPhone apps that are not allowed on the official App Store

"As a kid, I played all these games, and so I just came across some code that I thought I could turn into an app to play Game Boy games, and that just started a whole thing," Testut says. "I just found myself in this whole emulation scene. I probably don't know if I would have picked it really if I had thought through everything. Because it's a lot to work on these apps, knowing that they're not going to be in the App Store ever."

His initial emulation work, spanning the last two years of high school, resulted in a Game Boy emulator known as GBA4iOS. It made headlines in 2014 when both Apple and Nintendo moved to shut his project down. (GBA4iOS lived on for some time, thanks to a clever loophole, but it is no longer available.)

Now, Testut, a 22-year-old freelance software developer living in Los Angeles, may have figured out a way for his software to live on Apple's iOS platform for good. He calls it AltStore, and it's an alternative mobile app distribution platform that lets anyone download software that's not available on the official App Store.

The store's very first app: Delta, a GBA4iOS successor Testut has been building since well before he entered the University of Southern California a half-decade ago. The really interesting part is that none of it requires you to jailbreak your iPhone, so it's available to anyone who's willing to download it, for free.

Delta is a powerful app with the kind of polish you'd expect from a major software maker. It lets anyone run corresponding game files for NES, SNES, Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, and even Nintendo 64 consoles. Testut is also working on Nintendo DS emulation and other related projects for future updates. It's the kind of app Apple would never allow, but it's also the kind of software iPhone users have been dreaming about for years.

"It's more fun working on it for iOS because, yeah, on Android, I could just release a tiny [emulator]. But on iOS, I know that people want this. I know people want to relive those games. I also know that so many people have iPhones. I have an iPhone," he says. "So I want to bring what I know people want to everyone. That's really the motivation here."

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Tuesday October 08, @03:53AM   Printer-friendly
from the took-it's-time-getting-here dept.

Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:

The neutrino event IceCube 170922A, detected with IceCube at the South Pole, appears to originate from the distant active galaxy TXS 0506+056, at a distance of 3.8 billion light years.
An team of researchers led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, studied high-resolution radio observations of the source between 2009 and 2018, before and after the neutrino event. The team proposes that the enhanced neutrino activity during an earlier neutrino flare and the single neutrino could have been generated by a cosmic collision within TXS 0506+056. The clash of jet material close to a supermassive black hole seems to have produced the neutrinos.

On July 12, 2018, the IceCube collaboration announced the detection of the first high-energy neutrino, IceCube-170922A, which could be traced back to a distant cosmic origin. While the cosmic origin of neutrinos had been suspected for quite some time, this was the first neutrino from outer space whose origin could be confirmed.

The „home“ of this neutrino is an Active Galactic Nucleus (AGN) – a galaxy with a supermassive black hole as central engine. An international team could now clarify the production mechanism of the neutrino and found an equivalent to a collider on Earth: a cosmic collision of jetted material.

AGN are the most energetic objects in our Universe. Powered by a supermassive black hole, matter is being accreted and streams of plasma (so-called jets) are launched into intergalactic space. BL Lac objects form a special class of these AGN, where the jet is directly pointing at us and dominating the observed radiation.

The neutrino event IceCube-170922A appears to originate from the BL Lac object TXS 0506+056, a galaxy at a redshift of z=0.34, corresponding to a light travel distance of 3.8 billion light years. An analysis of archival IceCube data by the IceCube Collaboration had revealed evidence of an enhanced neutrino acitvity earlier, between September 2014 and March 2015.


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Tuesday October 08, @02:28AM   Printer-friendly
from the you-can-trust-your-friends,-right? dept.

Submitted via IRC for carny

Millions Of Android Phones Are Vulnerable To Israeli Surveillance Dea...

Google issued an alert overnight about a fresh vulnerability affecting hundreds of millions of Android phones, including its own Pixel 1 and 2 devices. According to Google security researcher Maddie Stone, the weakness is actively being used against targets of the Israeli spyware dealer NSO Group.

If you own any of the following phones, your device likely remains vulnerable today as patches are not yet available: the Google Pixel 1 and 2, Huawei P20. Xiaomi Redmi 5A, Xiaomi Redmi Note 5. Xiaomi A1, Moto Z3, Oreo LG phones and the Samsung S7, S8, S9 models. Those are some of the most popular Android phones in existence today. Huawei has shipped over 16 million P20 smartphones around the world, according to the Chinese company's figures from the end of 2018. (A source told Forbes after publication that the number of affected devices is likely much higher, as those were the only ones that Google had been able to test).

[...] The problem was defined by Stone as a kernel privilege escalation bug, which means it provided a way for a hacker who'd already found a way onto the device to get deeper access, right into the heart of the Android operating system. Getting control of the kernel allows a hacker to do almost whatever they like on the phone, grabbing much of the data within. Whoever was exploiting the vulnerability would have likely used other bugs, combining them in what's known as an "exploit chain" to completely own an Android device remotely. That is, after all, what NSO trades in; it's built a reputation for being able to remotely target and take over smartphones, but its reported sales of this technology to Mexico and the U.A.E. has put it at the center of a storm over privacy and surveillance.

from the all-phones-are-surveillance-devices dept.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Tuesday October 08, @12:54AM   Printer-friendly
from the don't-go-out-without-your-umbrella dept.

Extreme Solar Storms may be More Frequent than Previously Thought:

The September 1859 Carrington Event ejected concentrated solar plasma towards Earth, disrupting the planet's magnetic field and leading to widespread telegraph disturbances and even sporadic fires. New research in AGU's journal Space Weather indicates storms like the Carrington Event are not as rare as scientists thought and could happen every few decades, seriously damaging modern communication and navigation systems around the globe.

"The Carrington Event was considered to be the worst-case scenario for space weather events against the modern civilization... but if it comes several times a century, we have to reconsider how to prepare against and mitigate that kind of space weather hazard," said Hisashi Hayakawa, lead author of the new study and an astrophysicist at Osaka University in Osaka, Japan and Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in the United Kingdom.

[...] The researchers collected observations of the storm's auroras from the Russian Central Observatory, Japanese diaries, and newspapers from Portugal, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and Brazil. They then compared these observations to previous reports of the storm from the Western Hemisphere, like ship logs, contemporary scientific journals, and more newspapers.

[...] After reconstructing the storms around the Carrington Event, the researchers compared the solar storm to other storms in 1872, 1909, 1921, and 1989 and found two of them – those in 1872 and 1921 – were comparable to this event. The 1989 event caused a serious blackout throughout all of Quebec, Canada. This means events like the Carrington may not be as legendary and elusive as once thought, and scientists need to consider the hazards of such events more seriously than before, according to Hayakawa.

"While the 1859 storm was certainly one of the most extreme events, this seems at best comparable to the 1872 storm and 1921 storm in terms of its intensity," he said. "So, the Carrington event is no longer something unique. This fact may require us to reconsider the occurrence frequency of this kind of 'worst-case scenario' of space weather events."

More information:
Hisashi Hayakawa et al. Temporal and Spatial Evolutions of a Large Sunspot Group and Great Auroral Storms around the Carrington Event in 1859, Space Weather (2019). DOI: 10.1029/2019SW002269

Today we have continuous observations of the sun being reported to us by STEREO, among others, so we will at least have some advance notice when the next "Big One" comes our way. Satellite operators can re-orient their birds, or even put them in a low-power mode to avoid damage.

But how well will today's society be able to function when things we now take for granted are not available? Consider if several communications satellites were shut down and the traffic they once carried now needed to go over landlines, instead. Can the internet backbone deal with the extra traffic? If people cannot access their Satellite TV, will they then spend more time surfing videos on the internet, thereby adding to the already increased load?

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Monday October 07, @11:22PM   Printer-friendly
from the haven't-you-changed-yet? dept.

Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story from RIPE (Réseaux IP Européens):

Today we allocated the last of our contiguous /22 IPv4 address blocks. We still have approximately one million addresses available, in the form of /23s and /24s, and we will continue making /22-equivalent allocations made up of these smaller blocks. Once we can no longer allocate the equivalent of a /22, we will announce that we have reached run-out. We expect this to occur in November 2019.

Following our last update in August, we received a very high number of new LIR[*] applications. We have now reached a point where the number of LIRs waiting to be activated is larger than the number of /22-equivalents remaining. This means that some of these LIRs will only be eligible to request a /24 via the waiting list by the time they are activated. We alerted these applicants to this possibility during the application process.

Due to the number of new LIR applications still to be processed, we estimate that it could be around eight weeks before we get to an application that is submitted today. To ensure fairness, we are processing all LIR applications (and IPv4 requests) in the order they were received.

It is important to note that the delay is only with LIR applications - not IPv4 requests. Existing members can still request their final /22 allocations, provided we still have addresses available.

[*] LIR: Local Internet Registry.

What, if any, measures have you taken to deal with this?

Original Submission