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Congress Introduces Bill To Improve 'Internet of Things' Security

Slashdot - Tue, 12/03/2019 - 04:30
Members of the US Senate and House of Representatives introduced the Internet of Things Cybersecurity Improvement Act on Monday, hoping to bring legislative action to the emerging technology. From a report: Connected devices are expected to boom to 20.4 billion units by 2020, but they don't all have the same levels of security. Hackers often target IoT devices that don't have built-in security, leading to problems like default passwords and vulnerabilities that can't be fixed. [...] Lawmakers are looking to fix that with the bill, which would require a bare minimum of security standards for any IoT devices that the federal government uses. "While I'm excited about their life-changing potential, I'm also concerned that many IoT devices are being sold without appropriate safeguards and protections in place, with the device market prioritizing convenience and price over security," Sen. Mark Warner, a Democrat from Virginia, said in a statement.

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QuadrigaCX Allegedly Traded Against Its Own Customers Without Assets To Back Them

Slashdot - Tue, 12/03/2019 - 03:40
geoskd writes: QuadrigaCX, the Canadian crypto exchange that made news recently with the passing of its CEO, Gerald Cotten, has been alleged to have been buying cryptocurrency from traders on its platform without having actual assets to perform the transactions. The transactions showed credit to the customers accounts, but when the customer tried to withdraw cash, they had to wait until other customers deposited cash before the funds became available. There is also an accusation that this behavior exists at many other crypto exchanges as well. Perhaps it is time to take a fresh look at Tether...

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Trump Endorses Permanent Daylight Savings Time

Slashdot - Tue, 12/03/2019 - 03:00
President Trump on Monday threw his support behind efforts to keep the United States permanently on daylight saving time, which took effect Sunday morning. "Making Daylight Saving Time permanent is O.K. with me!" Trump tweeted. The Hill reports: California and several other states are considering measures that would end the biannual clock changes between standard and daylight saving time. Three GOP lawmakers from Florida introduced legislation in Congress this month that would end the November clock change from daylight saving time back to standard time. The measures, introduced by Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott and Rep. Vern Buchanan, would keep the country in daylight saving time, the clock change made in early March that is observed by most states for eight months of the year. Rubio introduced a similar measure in 2018. That bill did not advance in the Senate.

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To Keep Track of World's Data, You'll Need More Than a Yottabyte

Slashdot - Tue, 12/03/2019 - 02:20
An anonymous reader shares a report: In 10 or 15 years, Dr. Brown, who is head of metrology at the National Physical Laboratory in the U.K., anticipates the amount of computerized data worldwide will exceed 1 yottabyte in size, and without expanding the list of prefixes, there will be no way to talk about the next great chunk of numbers. Even worse, dilettantes could fill the void by popularizing glib prefixes such as bronto or hella -- terms that have already won fans. Without professional intervention, Dr. Brown fears, the next numerical prefix could become the Boaty McBoatface of weights and measures. [...] For the record, there is an argument to be made for adopting a prefix like bronto: giga and tera are based on the Greek words for "giant" and "monstrous." Why not make bronto, named for the brontosaurus, official, perhaps along with tyranno, stego, colosso or even yeti? Dr. Brown is sympathetic to the argument but unconvinced. Instead, he proposes four prefixes that adhere to recent naming conventions [Editor's note: the link may be paywalled; an alternative source was not available.]: ronna and quecca for octillion (27 zeros) and nonillion (30 zeros), along with ronto and quecto for their fractional counterparts, octillionth and nonillionth. Like the latest sanctioned prefixes, Dr. Brown's proposals are loosely related to Latin and Greek words for numbers (in this case, nine and 10). And like most of the prefixes, his suggestions end in "a" or "o." But the process of expanding, or even amending, the official measurements is lengthy.

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Debit Card With Built-In Fingerprint Reader Begins Trial In the UK

Slashdot - Tue, 12/03/2019 - 01:40
British bank Natwest is trialing the use of a new NFC payment card with a built-in fingerprint scanner. "The trial, which will include 200 customers when it begins in mid-April, will allow its participants to make NFC payments (called 'contactless' in the UK) without needing to input a PIN or offer a signature," reports The Verge. "The standard [30 British pound] limit for contactless payments will not apply when the fingerprint is used." From the report: Currently, anyone can make a contactless payment in the UK by tapping their card on the terminal to make a payment. As a result of this lack of security, a [30 British pound] limit is applied to such payments, with retailers requiring you to place your card into the card reader and enter a PIN for more expensive purchases (commonly referred to as the "Chip and PIN" method). Although mobile payments require authentication, customers often find they're subject to the same [30 British pound] limit. The fingerprint data is stored locally on the card, meaning there's no security information for a hacker to be able to steal from a bank's central database. It's not foolproof -- there's always the risk a sufficiently determined thief could steal and imitate your fingerprint -- but it's much more secure than a PIN that someone could learn by simply looking over your shoulder as you enter it.

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FAA Says Boeing 737 MAX Planes Are Still Airworthy

Slashdot - Tue, 12/03/2019 - 01:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNBC: The Boeing 737 MAX, the type of plane involved in a deadly crash in Ethiopia over the weekend, is still airworthy and the Federal Aviation Administration plans to issue a notice to the international aviation community later Monday, a person familiar with the matter said. "The FAA continuously assesses and oversees the safety performance of U.S. commercial aircraft," the FAA said in a statement. "If we identify an issue that affects safety, the FAA will take immediate and appropriate action." Aviation officials in China and Indonesia ordered domestic airlines to ground their fleets of the popular Boeing single-aisle planes after the deadly crash of one operated by Ethiopian Airlines on Sunday. The 149 passengers and eight crew members on board were killed when the plane crashed shortly after takeoff. The incident was the second deadly crash of the new Boeing planes in less than five months. A Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX 8 plunged into the Java Sea shortly after taking off from Jakarta in October, killing all 189 people on board.

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Facebook Sues Over 'Data-Grabbing' Quizzes

Slashdot - Tue, 12/03/2019 - 00:20
Facebook is suing Andrew Gorbachov and Gleb Sluchevsky, of Ukraine, who worked for a company called Web Sun Group that developed "data-grabbing" quizzes for its social media site. The malicious quiz apps were used to harvest thousands of users' profile data. "The firm says anyone who wanted to take the quizzes was asked to install browser extensions, which then lifted data ranging from names and profile pictures to private lists of friends," reports the BBC. "These were installed about 63,000 times between 2016 and October 2018, it says." From the report: The quizzes, with titles such as "What does your eye color say about you?" and "Do people love you for your intelligence or your beauty?", gained access to this information via the Facebook Login system -- which enables connections between third party apps and Facebook profiles. While the system is intended to verify that such connections are secure, in this case, Facebook says, users were falsely told the app would retrieve only a limited amount of public data from their profiles. "In total, defendants compromised approximately 63,000 browsers used by Facebook users and caused over $75,000 in damages to Facebook," the company said in court documents first published by online news site The Daily Beast. The documents accuse the two men of breaking US laws against computer hacking as well as breaching Facebook's own terms of use.

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Apple Confirms March 25th Event, Expected To Announce New TV Service

Slashdot - Mon, 11/03/2019 - 23:40
Apple is holding an event on March 25th where it's expected to announce its long-rumored TV streaming and Apple News subscription services. The invitation shows an animated countdown GIF with the caption "It's show time," hinting that the new TV service will play a big role. The Verge reports: Rumors of an event at the end of March began last month, saying that the company will reportedly focus exclusively on services. Although, there is always a chance that we could see the anticipated announcements of revamped AirPods, a new entry-level iPad, and the long-delayed AirPower wireless charging pad. This is not the first time that Apple has used this tagline for an event: the company first used it for a September 2006 event where it announced that it would start offering movies on iTunes, along with the first reveal of the iTV (which would be renamed Apple TV on release in 2007). It's certainly a fitting teaser for the upcoming event. Just like in 2006, we could see Apple's media offerings for its devices expand yet again. Along with the TV service, which is rumored to launch later this spring, Apple is also expected to take the wraps off its Apple News subscription service. The Apple News service will reportedly look to offer a Netflix-style bundle for magazines and subscription newspapers all in one convenient place. An early report from The Wall Street Journal indicated that Apple was having trouble with negotiations, reportedly demanding a staggering 50 percent of revenue from the service.

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US Seeks To Allay Fears Over Killer Robots

Slashdot - Mon, 11/03/2019 - 22:55
Humans will always make the final decision on whether armed robots can shoot, the US Department of Defense said today. From a report: The statement comes as plans emerge for gun platforms that can choose their own targets on the battlefield. The plans seek to upgrade existing aiming systems, using developments in machine intelligence. The US said rules governing armed robots still stood and humans would retain the power to veto their actions. The defense department's plans seek to upgrade the current Advanced Targeting and Lethality Automated System (Atlas) used on ground combat vehicles to help human gunners aim. The military is seeking commercial partners to help develop aiming systems to "acquire, identify, and engage targets at least three times faster than the current manual process."

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John Oliver Fights Robocalls By Robocalling Ajit Pai and the FCC

Slashdot - Mon, 11/03/2019 - 22:15
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Comedian John Oliver is taking aim at the Federal Communications Commission again, this time demanding action on robocalls while unleashing his own wave of robocalls against FCC commissioners. In a 17-minute segment yesterday on HBO's Last Week Tonight, Oliver described the scourge of robocalls and blamed Pai for not doing more to stop them. Oliver ended the segment by announcing that he and his staff are sending robocalls every 90 minutes to all five FCC commissioners. "Hi FCC, this is John from customer service," Oliver's recorded voice says on the call. "Congratulations, you've just won a chance to lower robocalls in America today... robocalls are incredibly annoying, and the person who can stop them is you! Talk to you again in 90 minutes -- here's some bagpipe music." When it came to robocalling the FCC, Oliver didn't need viewers' help. "This time, unlike our past encounters [with the FCC], I don't need to ask hordes of real people to bombard [the FCC] with messages, because with the miracle of robocalling, I can now do it all by myself," Oliver said. "It turns out robocalling is so easy, it only took our tech guy literally 15 minutes to work out how to do it," Oliver also said. He noted that "phone calls are now so cheap and the technology so widely available that just about everyone has the ability to place a massive number of calls." Under U.S. law, political robocalls to landline telephones are allowed without prior consent from the recipient. Such calls to cell phones require the called party's prior express consent, but Oliver presumably directed his robocalls to the commissioners' office phones. Oliver told the FCC commissioners: "if you want to tell us that you don't consent to be robocalled, that's absolutely no problem. Just write a certified letter to the address we buried somewhere within the first chapter of Moby Dick that's currently scrolling up the screen... find the address, write us a letter, and we'll stop the calls immediately."

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Less Than a Month To Go Before Google Breaks Hundreds of Thousands of Links All Over the Internet

Slashdot - Mon, 11/03/2019 - 21:30
Philip Greenspun:Google purchased Picasa, a super efficient photo editor that offered seamless integration with online publishing (e.g., you add a photo to an album on your desktop computer and it automatically gets pushed to the online version of the album). When they were pushing their Facebook competitor, Google+, they set it up so that Picasa created Google+ albums. They wasted a huge amount of humanity's time and effort by shutting down Picasa. Now they're going to waste millions of additional hours worldwide by breaking links to all of the Google+ albums that they had Picasa create. People will either have to edit a ton of links and/or, having arrived at a broken link, will have to start searching to see if they can find the content elsewhere.

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EU's Plan To Ban Sale of User-Moddable RF Devices Draws Widespread Condemnation

Slashdot - Mon, 11/03/2019 - 20:50
Reader simpz writes: The Register is reporting that the EU is looking to block users from tinkering the firmware/software of their RF devices. This seems to have been very under reported, with a fairly short consultation period that has now expired. It could force manufacturers to lock down phones and routers etc to stop you from installing the likes of Lineage OS or OpenWRT. The way this is written it could stop devices like laptops or Raspberry Pi's having their software changed. From the report: The controversy centres on Article 3(3)(i) of the EU Radio Equipment Directive, which was passed into law back in 2014. However, an EU working group is now about to define precisely which devices will be subject to the directive -- and academics, researchers, individual "makers" and software companies are worried that their activities and business models will be outlawed. Article 3(3)(i) states that RF gear sold in the EU must support "certain features in order to ensure that software can only be loaded into the radio equipment where the compliance of the combination of the radio equipment and software has been demonstrated." If the law is implemented in its most potentially harmful form, no third-party firmware could be installed onto something like a home router, for example.

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How Badly Are We Being Ripped Off On Eyewear? Former Industry Execs Tell All

Slashdot - Mon, 11/03/2019 - 20:05
LA Times reports: Charles Dahan knows from firsthand experience how badly people get ripped off when buying eyeglasses. He was once one of the leading suppliers of frames to LensCrafters, before the company was purchased by optical behemoth Luxottica. He also built machines that improved the lens-manufacturing process. In other words, Dahan, 70, knows the eyewear business from start to finish. And he doesn't like what's happened. "There is no competition in the industry, not anymore," he told me. "Luxottica bought everyone. They set whatever prices they please." Both Butler and Dahan (former executives with LensCrafters) acknowledged what most consumers have long suspected: that the prices we pay for eyewear in no way reflect the actual cost of making frames and lenses. When he was in the business, in the 1980s and '90s, Dahan said it cost him between $10 and $16 to manufacture a pair of quality plastic or metal frames. Lenses, he said, might cost about $5 a pair to produce. With fancy coatings, that could boost the price all the way to $15. He said LensCrafters would turn around and charge $99 for completed glasses that cost $20 or $30 to make -- and this was well below what many independent opticians charged. Nowadays, he said, those same glasses at LensCrafters might cost hundreds of dollars. Butler said he recently visited factories in China where many glasses for the U.S. market are manufactured. Improved technology has made prices even lower than what Dahan recalled. "You can get amazingly good frames, with a Warby Parker level of quality, for $4 to $8," Butler said. "For $15, you can get designer-quality frames, like what you'd get from Prada."

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New direct-to-video Doom movie gets first trailer and it…doesn't look great

Eurogamer - Mon, 11/03/2019 - 19:39

As if one god-awful Doom movie wasn't enough for a single lifetime, Universal has flexed fingers, delved into its unfathomable depths and proffered up a new direct-to-video film inspired by id's legendary FPS franchise. It's called Doom: Annihilation and, I dunno, it could be good?

Written and directed by Tony Giglio (Death Race 2, Death Race 3, Soccer Dog: The Movie), Doom: Annihilation is a reboot of the franchise's live-action form, meaning you probably won't need to rush out and catch up on the plot intricacies of the first Doom film to understand it.

Doom: Annihilation, as you might well imagine, follows a group of space marines as they respond to a distress call from a Martian moon base. As you might also imagine, things do not go as planned, and the team discovers the base has been overrun by demonic creatures "who threaten to create Hell on Earth". And here they are now:

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Categories: Video Games

23andMe Plans New Genetic Test on Risk of Getting Diabetes

Slashdot - Mon, 11/03/2019 - 19:27
In an update to its genetic test, 23andMe is trying to make it easier for people to combat type 2 diabetes. From a report: When customers now purchase the company's $199 Health & Ancestry Service test, they'll get their saliva screened for type 2 diabetes, among a variety of other health conditions, the company said in a statement on Sunday. The test won't say for sure whether a person has diabetes or will definitely get it, but the results will provide insight into whether someone is at risk of becoming diabetic. According to 23andMe, its test to determine diabetes risk comes from an analysis of data the company collected from more than 2.5 million customers who opted in to its research. Scientists evaluated the user data and created a system of scoring a person's likelihood of getting type 2 diabetes based on more than 1,000 genetic factors.

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