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The Almighty Buck

Google To Invest $550 Million In Chinese E-Commerce Giant JD.com (yahoo.com) 2

hackingbear shares a report from Yahoo News: Google will invest $550 million in Chinese e-commerce powerhouse JD.com, part of the U.S. internet giant's efforts to expand its presence in fast-growing Asian markets and battle rivals including Amazon.com. The two companies described the investment announced on Monday as one piece of a broader partnership that will include the promotion of JD.com products on Google's shopping service. This could help JD.com expand beyond its base in China and Southeast Asia and establish a meaningful presence in U.S. and European markets. For JD.com, the Google deal shows its determination to build a set of global alliances as it seeks to counter Alibaba, which has been more focused on forging domestic retail tie-ups.
IT

HPE Announces World's Largest ARM-based Supercomputer (zdnet.com) 17

The race to exascale speed is getting a little more interesting with the introduction of HPE's Astra -- what will be the world's largest ARM-based supercomputer. From a report: HPE is building Astra for Sandia National Laboratories and the US Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). The NNSA will use the supercomputer to run advanced modeling and simulation workloads for things like national security, energy, science and health care.

HPE is involved in building other ARM-based supercomputing installations, but when Astra is delivered later this year, "it will hands down be the world's largest ARM-based supercomputer ever built," Mike Vildibill, VP of Advanced Technologies Group at HPE, told ZDNet. The HPC system is comprised of 5,184 ARM-based processors -- the Thunder X2 processor, built by Cavium. Each processor has 28 cores and runs at 2 GHz. Astra will deliver over 2.3 theoretical peak petaflops of performance, which should put it well within the top 100 supercomputers ever built -- a milestone for an ARM-based machine, Vildibill said.

Android

Android Messages Will Now Let You Send Texts From Your Computer (www.blog.google) 29

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Google is beginning to roll out desktop browser support for Android Messages, allowing people to use their PC for sending messages and viewing those that have been received on their Android smartphone. Google says the feature is starting to go out to users today and continuing for the rest of the week. Text, images, and stickers are all supported on the web version.

To get started, the Android Messages website has you scan a QR code using the Android Messages mobile app, which creates a link between the two. In today's blog post, Google also goes over numerous other recent improvements to Android Messenger including built-in GIF search, support for smart replies on more carriers, inline link previews, and easy copy/paste for two-factor authentication messages.

Security

The 'World's Worst' Smart Padlock Is Even Worse Than Previously Thought (sophos.com) 54

Last week, cybersecurity company PenTest Partners managed to unlock TappLock's smart padlock within two seconds. They "found that the actual code and digital authentication methods for the lock were basically nonexistent," reports The Verge. "All someone would need to unlock the lock is its Bluetooth Low Energy MAC address, which the lock itself broadcasts." The company also managed to snap the lock with a pair of 12-inch bolt cutters.

Today, Naked Security reports that it gets much worse: "Tapplock's cloud-based administration tools were as vulnerable as the lock, as Greek security researcher Vangelis Stykas found out very rapidly." From the report: Stykas found that once you'd logged into one Tapplock account, you were effectively authenticated to access anyone else's Tapplock account, as long as you knew their account ID. You could easily sniff out account IDs because Tapplock was too lazy to use HTTPS (secure web connections) for connections back to home base -- but you didn't really need to bother, because account IDs were apparently just incremental IDs anyway, like house numbers on most streets. As a result, Stykas could not only add himself as an authorized user to anyone else's lock, but also read out personal information from that person's account, including the last location (if known) where the Tapplock was opened.

Incredibly, Tapplock's back-end system would not only let him open other people's locks using the official app, but also tell him where to find the locks he could now open! Of course, this gave him an unlocking speed advantage over Pen Test Partners -- by using the official app Stykas needed just 0.8 seconds to open a lock, instead of the sluggish two seconds needed by the lock-cracking app.

Transportation

Google Maps Removes Uber Integration (arstechnica.com) 22

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Back in January 2017, Google and Uber teamed up to put a cool feature in Google Maps: You could search for, book, and pay for an Uber all directly from Google Maps. You didn't even need the Uber app installed. Now, 18 months later, the feature is dead. Google posted a new support page (first spotted by Android Police) that flatly states, "You can no longer book Uber rides directly in Google Maps."

The feature would have you search for a location in Google Maps and ask for directions like normal, but instead of choosing walking, driving, biking, or mass transit directions, a tab for ride-sharing would allow you to book a ride directly. The ride-sharing tab still exists, but instead of booking an Uber, it just gives you an estimate and offers to kick you out to the Uber app.

Security

75% of Malware Uploaded on 'No-Distribute' Scanners Is Unknown To Researchers (bleepingcomputer.com) 6

Catalin Cimpanu, writing for BleepingComputer: Three-quarters of malware samples uploaded to "no-distribute scanners" are never shared on "multiscanners" like VirusTotal, and hence, they remain unknown, US-based security firm Recorded Future reports, to security firms and researchers for longer periods of time. Although some antivirus products will eventually detect this malware at runtime or at one point or another later in time, this leaves a gap in terms of operational insight for security firms hunting down up-and-coming malware campaigns.
The Military

President Trump Directs Pentagon To Create New 'Space Force' Military Branch (defensenews.com) 297

Gunfighter shares a report from Defense News: President Donald Trump on Monday appeared to sign an executive order directing the Pentagon to create a new "Space Force," a move that could radically transform the U.S. military by pulling space functions variously owned by the Air Force, Navy and other military branches into a single independent service.

"I am hereby directing the Department of Defense and Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a Space Force as the sixth branch of the armed forces," Trump said during a meeting of the National Space Council. "That's a big statement. We are going to have the Air Force and we are going to have the Space Force. Separate but equal. It is going to be something. So important," Trump added. "General Dunford, if you would carry that assignment out, I would be very greatly honored." Dunford responded in the affirmative, telling Trump, "We got you."
The oddity of Trump's statement was that it was followed up with a White House readout that "contained no language related to the creation of a new military branch, leaving open the question of whether Trump has actually issued formal guidance to the military," reports Defense News. It is believed that Trump still needs the support of Congress to actually establish a space force.
Media

YouTube Videos From Some High-Profile Channels Have Disappeared (venturebeat.com) 67

Late last week, YouTube videos from several high-profile channels began to mysteriously disappear, puzzling both the owners of those channels and viewers. Some of these channels include MIT Open Courseware, Blender Foundation, Jamendo Music, India's Press Information Bureau, soccer club Sparta Praha, and England Rugby. In a statement, MIT Open Courseware said, "You may have noticed that we are having some trouble with our videos! Please stand by. The elves are working around the clock to fix the issue. There is still a ton of content you can use on MIT OCW's website that doesn't have video. Hang in there folks!" Ton Roosendaal, the chairman of Blender Foundation, has been tweeting his frustration at YouTube. The issue, which per Roosendaal YouTube is aware of, is yet to be resolved at the time of publication.

TorrentFreak, a news website which covers piracy and copyright issues, speculates that YouTube's piracy filters could be the bottleneck here.

YouTube has addressed the issue, says it is working to bring the videos back online.
Google

Google Is Training Machines To Predict When a Patient Will Die (bloomberg.com) 102

A newly developed tool by Google can forecast a host of patient outcomes, including how long people may stay in hospitals, their odds of re-admission and chances they will soon die. Google documented some of this tool's abilities in May; in one instance, Google's tool estimated, by taking 175,639 data points into consideration, that a particular patient's odds at dying during her stay at the hospital was 19.9 percent, up from 9.3 percent that the hospital's computers had estimated. Now Bloomberg reports what Google intends to do with this new tool next. From the report: Google's next step is moving this predictive system into clinics, AI chief Jeff Dean told Bloomberg News in May. Dean's health research unit -- sometimes referred to as Medical Brain -- is working on a slew of AI tools that can predict symptoms and disease with a level of accuracy that is being met with hope as well as alarm. Inside the company, there's a lot of excitement about the initiative.

"They've finally found a new application for AI that has commercial promise," one Googler says. Since Alphabet's Google declared itself an "AI-first" company in 2016, much of its work in this area has gone to improve existing internet services. The advances coming from the Medical Brain team give Google the chance to break into a brand new market -- something co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have tried over and over again. Software in health care is largely coded by hand these days. In contrast, Google's approach, where machines learn to parse data on their own, "can just leapfrog everything else," said Vik Bajaj, a former executive at Verily, an Alphabet health-care arm, and managing director of investment firm Foresite Capital. "They understand what problems are worth solving," he said. "They've now done enough small experiments to know exactly what the fruitful directions are."
The report adds that, among other things, Google's tool has the ability to sift through notes buried in PDFs or scribbled on old charts.
Privacy

Amazon Shareholders To Jeff Bezos: Stop Marketing Facial Recognition Tool (nbcnews.com) 53

A group of Amazon shareholders are calling on the company to stop pitching its facial recognition tool to local law enforcement agencies, writing in a letter to CEO Jeff Bezos that the technology could pose a privacy threat and a financial risk. From a report: The letter comes amid mounting criticism of the tool, called Rekognition, from privacy activists and civil rights organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union. The groups have raised concerns that the tool could be used to build a system to automate the widespread identification and tracking of anyone. Rekognition is already being used by at least one law enforcement agency, the Washington County Sheriff's Office in Oregon, according to a customer testimonial page. "While Rekognition may be intended to enhance some law enforcement activities, we are deeply concerned it may ultimately violate civil and human rights," the shareholders said in the letter to Bezos, a copy of which was provided to NBC News by the ACLU.
Transportation

Norway Tests Tiny Electric Plane, Sees Passenger Flights by 2025 (reuters.com) 101

Norway tested a two-seater electric plane on Monday and predicted a start to passenger flights by 2025 if new aviation technologies match a green shift that has made Norwegians the world's top buyers of electric cars. From a report: Transport Minister Ketil Solvik-Olsen and Dag Falk-Petersen, head of state-run Avinor which runs most of Norway's airports, took a few minutes' flight around Oslo airport in an Alpha Electro G2 plane, built by Pipistrel in Slovenia. "This is ... a first example that we are moving fast forward" toward greener aviation, Solvik-Olsen told Reuters. "We do have to make sure it is safe - people won't fly if they don't trust it." He said plane makers such as Boeing and Airbus were developing electric aircraft and that battery prices were tumbling, making it feasible to reach a government goal of making all domestic flights in Norway electric by 2040.
NASA

US Eyes Robot Moon Missions as it Prepares For Astronauts' Return (reuters.com) 79

The United States wants to send robotic explorers to the moon as soon as next year as a preparatory step toward sending astronauts back there for the first time since 1972, a NASA official said on Monday. From a report: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is planning a series of lunar missions beginning next year aimed at developing the capacity for a return to the moon, said Cheryl Warner, a spokeswoman for NASA's Human Exploration Directorate. NASA will work with private companies, which have not yet been chosen, on the missions, Warner said in a phone interview. U.S. President Donald Trump in December signed a directive that he said would enable astronauts to return to the moon and eventually lead a mission to Mars. Last month he ordered the government to review regulations on commercial space flights.
Games

WHO Classifies 'Gaming Disorder' as Mental Health Condition (cnn.com) 144

The World Health Organization has announced "gaming disorder" as a new mental health condition included in the 11th edition of its International Classification of Diseases, released Monday. From a report: "I'm not creating a precedent," said Dr. Vladimir Poznyak, a member of WHO's Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, which proposed the new diagnosis to WHO's decision-making body, the World Health Assembly. Instead, he said, WHO has followed "the trends, the developments, which have taken place in populations and in the professional field." However, not all psychologists agree that gaming disorder is worthy of inclusion in the International Classification of Diseases, known as the ICD.

A diagnosis standard, the ICD defines the universe of diseases, disorders, injuries and other related health conditions. Researchers use it to count deaths, diseases, injuries and symptoms, and doctors and other medical practitioners use it to diagnose disease and other conditions. In many cases, health care companies and insurers use the ICD as a basis for reimbursement. Poznyak said the expectation is that the classification of gaming disorder means health professionals and systems will be more "alerted to the existence of this condition" while boosting the possibility that "people who suffer from these conditions can get appropriate help."

Operating Systems

Linux 4.18 Preparing Many New Features While Dropping 100k+ Lines of Code (phoronix.com) 75

An anonymous reader writes: Linux 4.18 development is going strong with recent 4.18-rc1 release. This kernel cycle has dropped 107,210 lines of code so far but Linux 4.18 is adding many new features. The kernel is coming in lighter as a result of the LustreFS code being removed and other code cleanups. On the feature front, Phoronix reports, "ew AMDGPU support improvements, mainlining of the V3D DRM driver, initial open-source work on NVIDIA Volta GV100 hardware, merging of the Valve Steam Controller kernel driver, merging of the BPFILTER framework, ARM Spectre mitigation work, Speck file-system encryption support, removal of the Lustre file-system, the exciting restartable sequences system call was merged, the new DM writecache target, and much more."
Desktops (Apple)

macOS Breaks Your OpSec by Caching Data From Encrypted Hard Drives (bleepingcomputer.com) 130

Apple's macOS surreptitiously creates and caches thumbnails for images and other file types stored on password-protected / encrypted containers (hard drives, partitions), according to macOS security experts Wojciech Regula and Patrick Wardle. From a report: The problem is that these cached thumbnails are stored on non-encrypted hard drives, in a known location and can be easily retrieved by malware or forensics tools, revealing some of the content stored on encrypted containers. On macOS, these thumbnails are created by Finder and QuickLook. Finder is the default macOS file explorer app, similar to Windows Explorer. Whenever a user navigates to a new folder, Finder automatically loads icons for the files located in those folders. For images, these icons are gradually replaced by thumbnails that show a preview of the image at a small scale.

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