Technology News

First details emerge about new batch of Intel processor security flaws

Apple Insider - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 11:44


Details of the first of the second wave of Spectre-style vulnerabilities in Intel processors has been published earlier than expected, with the "LazyFP" vulnerability potentially allowing an attacker to access sensitive data, such as cryptographic keys.
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The CIA 'Can Neither Confirm Nor Deny' It Has Documents on Satoshi Nakamoto

Slashdot - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 11:20
An anonymous reader shares a report: Who is Satoshi Nakamoto? Ever since this pseudonymous person or group unleashed Bitcoin on the world in 2008, Nakamoto's real identity has been one of the biggest mysteries in the cryptocurrency world. And based on a response to my recent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, if the CIA knows anything, it's not talking. [...] In 2016, Alexander Muse, a blogger who mostly writes about entrepreneurship, wrote a blog post that claimed the NSA had identified the real identity of Satoshi Nakamoto using stylometry, which uses a person's writing style as a unique fingerprint, and then searched emails collected under the PRISM surveillance program to identify the real Nakamoto. Muse said the identity was not shared with him by his source at the Department of Homeland Security. [...] I figured it couldn't hurt to ask some other three-letter agencies what they know about Nakamoto. [...] I received a terse reply that informed me that "the request has been rejected, with the agency stating that it can neither confirm nor deny the existence of the requested documents."

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How to toggle Dark Mode with a keyboard shortcut or the Touch Bar

Apple Insider - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 10:40


Apple's macOS Mojave is coming this Fall, and it's bringing Dark Mode, a feature that users have requested for years. AppleInsider shares one way to make it easier to turn Dark Mode on and off, without needing to enter System Preferences every time.
Categories: Technology News

Antarctica Is Melting Three Times As Fast As a Decade Ago

Slashdot - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 10:40
An anonymous reader writes: Between 60 and 90 percent of the world's fresh water is frozen in the ice sheets of Antarctica, a continent roughly the size of the United States and Mexico combined. If all that ice melted, it would be enough to raise the world's sea levels by roughly 200 feet. While that won't happen overnight, Antarctica is indeed melting, and a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature shows that the melting is speeding up. The rate at which Antarctica is losing ice has tripled since 2007, according to the latest available data. The continent is now melting so fast, scientists say, that it will contribute six inches (15 centimeters) to sea-level rise by 2100. That is at the upper end of what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has estimated Antarctica alone could contribute to sea level rise this century. "Around Brooklyn you get flooding once a year or so, but if you raise sea level by 15 centimeters then that's going to happen 20 times a year," said Andrew Shepherd, a professor of earth observation at the University of Leeds and the lead author of the study. Even under ordinary conditions, Antarctica's landscape is perpetually changing as icebergs calve, snow falls and ice melts on the surface, forming glacial sinkholes known as moulins. But what concerns scientists is the balance of how much snow and ice accumulates in a given year versus the amount that is lost.

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Future Mac or iPad screens could be used as a smart mirror

Apple Insider - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 10:23


Apple is considering the possibility of producing devices that have a screen with adjustable reflectiveness, one that could potentially switch between displaying information to the user and acting as a mirror.
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Another Day, Another Intel CPU Security Hole: Lazy State

Slashdot - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 10:00
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, writing for ZDNet: The latest Intel revelation, Lazy FP state restore, can theoretically pull data from your programs, including encryption software, from your computer regardless of your operating system. Like its forebears, this is a speculative execution vulnerability. In an interview, Red Hat Computer Architect Jon Masters explained: "It affects Intel designs similar to variant 3-a of the previous stuff, but it's NOT Meltdown." Still, "it allows the floating point registers to be leaked from another process, but alas that means the same registers as used for crypto, etc." Lazy State does not affect AMD processors. This vulnerability exists because modern CPUs include many registers (internal memory) that represent the state of each running application. Saving and restoring this state when switching from one application to another takes time. As a performance optimization, this may be done "lazily" (i.e., when needed) and that is where the problem hides. This vulnerability exploits "lazy state restore" by allowing an attacker to obtain information about the activity of other applications, including encryption operations. Further reading: Twitter thread by FreeBSD's security officer Colin Percival, BleepingComputer, and HotHardware.

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Lowest prices anywhere: Apple Watch Series 1 for $149; $249 iPads; $400 off loaded 15" MacBook Pro

Apple Insider - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 09:23


Apple authorized resellers have launched fresh discounts on budget-friendly iPads and Apple Watches with Series 1 devices starting at just $149 (up to 40% off) while supplies last. A loaded 15" MacBook Pro is also $400 off exclusively for AI readers with coupon.
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Microsoft is Working on Technology That Would Eliminate Cashiers and Checkout Lines From Stores, Says Report

Slashdot - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 09:20
Microsoft is working on technology that would eliminate cashiers and checkout lines from stores, in a nascent challenge to Amazon.com's automated grocery shop, Reuters reported, citing six people familiar with the matter. From the report: The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant is developing systems that track what shoppers add to their carts, the people say. Microsoft has shown sample technology to retailers from around the world and has had talks with Walmart about a potential collaboration, three of the people said. Microsoft's technology aims to help retailers keep pace with Amazon Go, a highly automated store that opened to the public in Seattle in January. Amazon customers scan their smartphones at a turnstile to enter. Cameras and sensors identify what they remove from the shelves. When customers are finished shopping, they simply leave the store and Amazon bills their credit cards on file. Amazon Go, which will soon open in Chicago and San Francisco, has sent rivals scrambling to prepare for yet another disruption by the world's biggest online retailer. Some have tested programs where customers scan and bag each item as they shop, with mixed results.

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iPhone 3GS returns to life with South Korean carrier

Apple Insider - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 09:04


In an unusual move, a South Korean company is planning to resell units of Apple's nine-year-old iPhone 3GS -- new and unused in original packaging.
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Comcast Says It Isn't Throttling Heavy Internet Users Anymore

Slashdot - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 08:40
Comcast, which has been throttling speeds to slow down heavy internet users since 2008, has had a change of heart. From a report: Comcast has deactivated this "congestion management" system, according to an announcement this week. "As reflected in a June 11, 2018 update to our XFINITY Internet Broadband Disclosures, the congestion management system that was initially deployed in 2008 has been deactivated. As our network technologies and usage of the network continue to evolve, we reserve the right to implement a new congestion management system if necessary in the performance of reasonable network management and in order to maintain a good broadband Internet access service experience for our customers, and will provide updates here as well as other locations if a new system is implemented."

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Valve not giving up, rolls out new Steam Link beta for iOS, Apple TV

Apple Insider - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 07:40


Valve Software is having another go at bringing the Steam Link game-streaming app to iOS and tvOS following Apple's public refusal to list the app in the App Store.
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Elon Musk's Boring Company To Build High-Speed Transit Tunnels in Chicago

Slashdot - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 07:30
Chicago has picked Elon Musk's Boring Company to build a futuristic transportation link to the city's airport, The Boring Company said late Wednesday. "We're really excited to work with the Mayor and the City to bring this new high-speed public transportation system to Chicago!' it said in a statement posted on Twitter. Chicago Tribune: Autonomous 16-passenger vehicles would zip back and forth at speeds exceeding 100 mph in tunnels between the Loop and O'Hare International Airport under a high-speed transit proposal being negotiated between Mayor Rahm Emanuel's City Hall and billionaire tech entrepreneur Elon Musk's The Boring Co., city and company officials have confirmed. Emanuel's administration has selected Musk's company from four competing bids to provide high-speed transportation between downtown and the airport. Negotiations between the two parties will ensue in hopes of reaching a final deal to provide a long-sought-after alternative to Chicago's traffic gridlock and slower "L" trains. In choosing Boring, Emanuel and senior City Hall officials are counting on Musk's highly touted but still unproven tunneling technology over the more traditional high-speed rail option that until recently had been envisioned as the answer to speeding up the commute between the city's central business district and one of the world's busiest airports.

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iPhone X burst mode, slo-mo featured in new Apple photography tutorials

Apple Insider - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 05:55


Apple is capitalizing on the popularity of the Fifa World Cup tournament to teach iPhone X owners how to use advanced features of the smartphone's camera.
Categories: Technology News

Nearly Half the Patents on Marine Genes Belong To Just One Company

Slashdot - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 05:34
A creature as majestic as a whale, you might think, should have no owner. Yet it turns out that certain snippets of the DNA that makes a sperm whale a sperm whale are actually the subjects of patents -- meaning that private entities have exclusive rights to their use for research and development. From a report: The same goes for countless other marine species. And new research shows that a single German chemical company owns 47 percent of patented marine gene sequences. A just-published paper in Science Advances finds that 862 separate species of marine life have genetic patents associated with them. "It's everything from microorganisms to fish species," says lead author Robert Blasiak, a conservation researcher at the University of Stockholm who was shocked to find out how many genetic sequences in the ocean were patented. "Even iconic species" -- like plankton, manta rays, and yes, sperm whales. Of some 13,000 genetic sequences targeted by patents, nearly half are the intellectual property of a company called Baden Aniline and Soda Factory (BASF).

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Cybercrime is Costing Africa's Businesses Billions

Slashdot - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 04:00
An anonymous reader shares a report: Sophisticated malware, software security breaches, mobile scams -- the list of cybercrime threats is growing. Yet African nations continue to fall short of protecting themselves and must constantly grapple with the impact. A new study from IT services firm Serianu shows the pervasive nature of cybercrime across the continent, affecting businesses, individuals, families, financial institutions, and government agencies. The study shows how weak security architectures, the scarcity of skilled personnel and a lack of awareness and strict regulations have increased vulnerability. Cybercrime cost the continent an estimated $3.5 billion in 2017. The report found more than 90% of African businesses were operating below the cybersecurity "poverty line" -- meaning they couldn't adequately protect themselves against losses. At least 96% of online-related security incidents went unreported and 60% of organizations didn't keep up to date with cybersecurity trends and program updates. (In addition, at least 90% of parents didn't understand what measures to take to protect their children from cyber-bullying.)

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Apple in talks to open first Israeli store in country's tallest building, report says

Apple Insider - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 02:09


Apple is reportedly in talks with an Israeli retail property group to bring its company-owned brick-and-mortar stores to the country, the latest in an effort to open consumer hubs in the world's major metropolitan centers.
Categories: Technology News

Uber Seeks Patent For AI That Determines Whether Passengers Are Drunk

Slashdot - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 01:00
In an effort to "reduce undesired consequences," Uber is seeking a patent that would use artificial intelligence to separate sober passengers from drunk ones. The pending application details a technology that would be used to spot "uncharacteristic user activity," including passenger location, number of typos entered into the mobile app, and even the angle the smartphone is being held. CNET reports: Uber said it had no immediate plans to implement the technology described in the proposed patent, pointing out the application was filed in 2016. "We are always exploring ways that our technology can help improve the Uber experience for riders and drivers," a spokesperson said. "We file patent applications on many ideas, but not all of them actually become products or features."

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MIT's AI Uses Radio Signals To See People Through Walls

Slashdot - Wed, 06/13/2018 - 21:30
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a new piece of software that uses wifi signals to monitor the movements, breathing, and heartbeats of humans on the other side of walls. While the researchers say this new tech could be used in areas like remote healthcare, it could in theory be used in more dystopian applications. Inverse reports: "We actually are tracking 14 different joints on the body [...] the head, the neck, the shoulders, the elbows, the wrists, the hips, the knees, and the feet," Dina Katabi, an electrical engineering and computer science teacher at MIT, said. "So you can get the full stick-figure that is dynamically moving with the individuals that are obstructed from you -- and that's something new that was not possible before." The technology works a little bit like radar, but to teach their neural network how to interpret these granular bits of human activity, the team at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) had to create two separate A.I.s: a student and a teacher. [T]he team developed one A.I. program that monitored human movements with a camera, on one side of a wall, and fed that information to their wifi X-ray A.I., called RF-Pose, as it struggled to make sense of the radio waves passing through that wall on the other side. The research builds off of a longstanding project at CSAIL lead by Katabi, which hopes to use this wifi tracking to help passively monitor the elderly and automate any emergency alerts to EMTs and medical professionals if they were to fall or suffer some other injury. For more information, a press release and video about the software are available.

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China's Surveillance State Will Soon Track Cars

Slashdot - Wed, 06/13/2018 - 19:05
China is establishing an electronic identification system to track cars nationwide, according to a report on WSJ, which cites records and people briefed on the matter. From a report: Under the plan being rolled out July 1, a radio-frequency identification chip for vehicle tracking will be installed on cars when they are registered. Compliance will be voluntary this year but will be made mandatory for new vehicles at the start of 2019, the people said. Authorities have described the plan as a means to improve public security and to help ease worsening traffic congestion, documents show, a major concern in many Chinese cities partly because clogged roads contribute to air pollution. But such a system, implemented in the world's biggest automotive market, with sales of nearly 30 million vehicles a year, will also vastly expand China's surveillance network, experts say. That network already includes widespread use of security cameras, facial recognition technology and internet monitoring.

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China's Ambitions To Power the World's Electric Cars Took a Huge Leap Forward This Week

Slashdot - Wed, 06/13/2018 - 18:05
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: Future Mobility Corporation (FMC), the Chinese parent company behind electric car start-up Byton, has placed an order for a paint shop capable of handling 150,000 cars per year, German supplier Duerr said on Wednesday. China's Byton, a newcomer headed by the former head of BMW's i8 program, has already released plans for a premium electric SUV vehicle, the latest in a series of China-backed electric autonomous prototypes. Byton has financial backing from Chinese state-owned carmaker FAW Group and the country's dominant battery producer Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. (CATL) This is just one of the stories this week relating to China and the electric car industry. MIT Technology Review adds: In a public offering on June 11 in Shenzhen, battery giant Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd. (CATL) raised nearly $1 billion to fund ambitious expansion plans, and its stock has been shooting up every day since. Thanks largely to the company's new plants, China will be making 70 percent of the world's electric-vehicle batteries by 2021, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). Just seven years later, CATL has built up the biggest lithium-ion manufacturing facilities in the world, according to BNEF. The company can crank out around 17 gigawatt-hours of lithium-ion cells annually, placing it just ahead of Korea's LG Chem, the Tesla and Panasonic partnership, and China's electric-vehicle giant BYD. Flush with capital from its offering, CATL plans to build two new plants and expand existing facilities, pushing its capacity to nearly 90 gigawatt-hours by 2020. [...] Notably, it's the only Chinese battery company so far to line up deals to supply foreign automakers, including BMW, Honda, Nissan, Toyota, and Volkswagen.

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