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Bug

Bug In Windows Kernel Could Prevent Security Software From Identifying Malware (bleepingcomputer.com) 75

An anonymous reader writes: "Malware developers can abuse a programming error in the Windows kernel to prevent security software from identifying if, and when, malicious modules have been loaded at runtime," reports Bleeping Computer. "The bug affects PsSetLoadImageNotifyRoutine, one of the low-level mechanisms some security solutions use to identify when code has been loaded into the kernel or user space. The problem is that an attacker can exploit this bug in a way that PsSetLoadImageNotifyRoutine returns an invalid module name, allowing an attacker to disguise malware as a legitimate operation. The issue came to light earlier this year when enSilo researchers were analyzing the Windows kernel code. Omri Misgav, Security Researcher at enSilo and the one who discovered the issue, says the bug affects all Windows versions released since Windows 2000. Misgav's tests showed that the programming error has survived up to the most recent Windows 10 releases." In an interview, the researcher said Microsoft did not consider this a security issue. Bug technical details are available here.
Transportation

Spinning Metal Sails Could Slash Fuel Consumption, Emissions On Cargo Ships (sciencemag.org) 170

sciencehabit shares a report from Science Magazine: U.K. soccer star David Beckham was known for "bending" his free kicks over walls of defenders and around sprawling goal tenders, thanks to a physical force called the Magnus effect. Now, the physics behind such curving kicks is set to be used to propel ocean ships more efficiently. Early next year, a tanker vessel owned by Maersk, the Danish transportation conglomerate, and a passenger ship owned by Viking Line will be outfitted with spinning cylinders on their decks. Mounted vertically and up to 10 stories tall, these "rotor sails" could slash fuel consumption up to 10%, saving transportation companies hundreds of thousands of dollars and cutting soot-causing carbon emissions by thousands of tons per trip.

Rotor sails rely on a bit of aerodynamics known as the Magnus effect. In the 1850s, German physicist Heinrich Gustav Magnus noticed that when moving through air a spinning object such as a ball experiences a sideways force. The force comes about as follows. If the ball were not spinning, air would stream straight past it, creating a swirling wake that would stretch out directly behind the ball like the tail of a comet. The turning surface of a spinning ball, however, drags some air with it. The rotation deflects the wake so that it comes off the ball at an angle, closer to the side of the ball that's rotating into the oncoming air. Thanks to Isaac Newton's third law that every action must have an equal and opposite reaction, the deflected wake pushes the ball in the opposite direction, toward the side of the ball that's turning away from the oncoming air. Thus, the spinning ball gets a sideways shove.

Desktops (Apple)

The Google Drive App For PC, Mac Is Being Shut Down In March (theverge.com) 92

Google announced in a blog post today that the Google Drive app for desktop will be shut down. The Verge reports: Support will be cut off on December 11th and the app will shut down completely on March 12th, 2018. Users who are still running the Drive app will start seeing notifications in October that it's "going away," and the company will steer customers towards one of two replacements depending on whether they're a consumer or business user. Google Drive the service isn't going anywhere. You can still access it from the web, smartphone apps, and either of the software options mentioned below. Google now has two fairly new software tools for backing up your data and/or accessing files in the cloud. There's Backup and Sync, the all-encompassing consumer app that replaces both the standalone Google Drive and Google Photos Uploader apps. It offers essentially the same functionality as Drive and works much the same way. And on the enterprise side, Google has rolled out Drive File Streamer, which saves space on your local drive while providing access to "all of your Google Drive files on demand, directly from your computer."
Education

Following Cheating Scandals, Harvard Dean of Undergrad Ed Visits CS50 Class and Tells Students Not To Cheat (thecrimson.com) 107

theodp writes: After a flood of cheating cases roiled Harvard's Computer Science 50: "Introduction to Computer Science I" last year, Dean of Undergraduate Education Jay Harris implored students in the course not to cheat on assignments at an orientation session Wednesday night. Course head David Malan, the Harvard Crimson reports, spent the last five minutes of the orientation session fielding questions from students confused about the course's collaboration policy and whether or not CS50 enrollees are allowed to use code found online. He told them never to Google solutions, and never to borrow a friend's work. Last week, CS50 students were informed via a CS50 FAQ that they are also now "encouraged" to physically attend the course's taped weekly lectures. In an essay last year, Prof. Malan had questioned the value of saying everyone should attend every lecture. Attendance is now also expected at every discussion section until the first mid-semester exam. In case you're curious, the estimated sticker price for attending Harvard College during the 2017-2018 school year is $69,600-$73,600 (health insurance sold separately).
Facebook

Facebook Finds a New Service To Copy: Tinder (vice.com) 46

An anonymous reader shares a report from Motherboard, written by Jacob Dube: Facebook is trying out a new feature that connects users on its Messenger chat platform, but only if they both accept. It looks a lot like Tinder, except it only appears to be connecting people who are already friends with each other. While using Facebook on my phone Wednesday night, I was greeted by a notification that said "[Name redacted] and 15 others may want to meet up with you this week." When I opened the link, I was taken to a page with photos of my Facebook friends and a question: "Want to meet up with [name redacted] this week?" It indicated that my response would be private unless we both said yes. Tap "No Thanks," and that's the end of it. The feature seems to be in beta, and, though it is currently available to me and a few of my friends in Canada, the rest of Motherboard was unable to access it. It's unclear what the feature might be called. It's not hard to see the similarity between the feature and dating apps like Tinder or Bumble, but the Facebook feature seems to connect you only to people you already know, and could have already reached on the Messenger app. The feature didn't just show me potential love interests, however. It also displayed some of my friends, indicating that it might be used to encourage people who are already friends on Facebook to hang out IRL. "People often use Facebook to make plans with their friends," a Facebook spokesperson told Motherboard in an email. "So, we're running a very small test in the Facebook app to make that easier. We look forward to hearing people's feedback." The test is reportedly limited to a small number of users in parts of Toronto and New Zealand, on iOS and Android.
Star Wars Prequels

Disney Is Pulling Star Wars and Marvel Films From Netflix (arstechnica.com) 195

Disney CEO Bob Iger announced on Thursday that his company will pull the full catalog of films from the Star Wars franchise and Marvel universe from Netflix after 2019. Last month, Disney announced it would be pulling a number of Disney titles from the Netflix catalog, but left the door open to keeping the Star Wars franchise and Marvel films. That door has since been slammed shut, "choosing instead to use movies like Iron Man, Captain America, and the forthcoming Star Wars: Episode IX as a draw to a new Disney-owned streaming service," reports Ars Technica. From the report: It's not clear exactly which films are affected by Iger's announcement. A Netflix spokesperson told The Verge last month that "we continue to do business with the Walt Disney Company on many fronts, including our ongoing deal with Marvel TV." That refers to a collaboration between Disney and Netflix to produce several live-action television series based on lesser-known Marvel characters Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage. Some of those series are still being actively developed. It's a high-risk gamble for Disney. It makes sense for Disney to bring its best-known franchises back under its own roof to give the Disney streaming service the best possible chance of success. But Disney is leaving a lot of money on the table by not doing a deal with Netflix or one of its competitors. It could be an expensive mistake if the Disney streaming service doesn't get traction.
Businesses

VR Company Upload Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit (techcrunch.com) 83

An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Upload, formerly UploadVR, the virtual reality startup at the center of a sexual harassment and wrongful termination lawsuit filed earlier this year, has settled the case with its former employee and is aiming to put the ensuing damage behind it. The lawsuit, filed against the startup and its co-founders by former director of digital and social media Elizabeth Scott, alleged that the company had sought to create a "boy's club" environment and described "rampant" sexual behavior in the office, allegations that co-founders Will Mason and Taylor Freeman denied as "entirely without merit." The lawsuit is now over, according to people familiar with the matter, and though the terms of the agreement were undisclosed, some in the virtual reality community feel that the company has dodged a bullet in reaching some conclusion over the litigation.

"The matter has been concluded," was Upload's official statement. Neither Scott, nor her legal counsel, responded to a request for comment for this story. Upload has also released the following statement around the conclusion of the legal case. "Our primary focus at Upload is education, which we believe is the key to growing the mixed reality ecosystem. We are deeply committed to creating an inclusive community to empower the pioneers building the future."

Security

Credit Reporting Firm Equifax Announces 'Cybersecurity Incident Impacting Approximately 143 Million US Consumers' (cnbc.com) 299

Equifax, which supplies credit information and other information services, said Thursday that a cybersecurity incident discovered on July 29 could have potentially affected 143 million consumers in the U.S. "The leaked data includes names, birth dates, social security numbers, addresses and potentially drivers licenses," reports CNBC. "209,000 U.S. credit card numbers were also obtained, in addition to 'certain dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 U.S. consumers."

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Richard F. Smith said in a statement: "This is clearly a disappointing event for our company, and one that strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do. I apologize to consumers and our business customers for the concern and frustration this causes. We pride ourselves on being a leader in managing and protecting data, and we are conducting a thorough review of our overall security operations. We also are focused on consumer protection and have developed a comprehensive portfolio of services to support all U.S. consumers, regardless of whether they were impacted by this incident." Equifax is now alerting customers whose information was included in the breach via mail, and is working with state and federal authorities.

UPDATE (9/7/17): According to Bloomberg, "three Equifax senior executives sold shares worth almost $1.8 million" in the days after the company discovered the security breach. Regulatory filings show that three days after the breach was discovered on July 29th, Chief Financial Officer John Gamble sold shares worth $946,374 and Joseph Loughran, president of U.S. information solutions, exercised options to dispose of stock worth $584,099." Meanwhile, "Rodolfo Ploder, president of workforce solutions, sold $250,458 of stock on Aug. 2."
Social Networks

67% of Americans Use Social Media To Get Some of their News 71

Shan Wang, writing for Neiman Lab: Sixty-seven percent of Americans report getting some of their news via social media at some point, according to a Pew Research survey of just under 5,000 U.S. adults conducted last month and published Thursday. That overall percentage is only up slightly from 62 percent in 2016, in the run-up to the November election. But among specific demographics, using social media for news has increased: 74 percent of non-white U.S. adults now get news from social media, up from 64 percent of that group who got news that way in 2016. Fifty-five percent of Americans 50 and older say the have gotten news from social media, up from 45 percent (older people are also driving the increasing percentage of people who get news via mobile). Facebook is still the dominant social media source for news. But when Pew looked at the percentage of users on each social media platform who were using it for news, it was Twitter, Snapchat, and YouTube that saw increases (remember that user bases are vastly different sizes, from YouTube to Facebook to Tumblr to Twitter):
Science

'No Fire Risk' With New Lithium Batteries (bbc.com) 49

Lithium-ion batteries that are resistant to exploding or catching fire have been developed by scientists. From a report: The devices produced sufficient energy for use in household electronics, but did not ignite -- even when punctured repeatedly with a nail. The batteries use a water-salt solution as their electrolyte, removing the risks carried by some non-aqueous commercial models. The research is published in the journal Joule. "In the past, if you wanted high energy, you would choose a non-aqueous lithium-ion battery, but you would have to compromise on safety. If you preferred safety, you could use an aqueous battery such as nickel/metal hydride, but you would have to settle for lower energy," said co-author Kang Xu, from the US Army Research Laboratory (ARL). "Now, we are showing that you can simultaneously have access to both high energy and high safety."
Firefox

AskSlashdot: How Do You See Your Life After Firefox 52 ESR? (mozilla.org) 465

Artem Tashkinov writes: Soon to be released Firefox 56 says that out of 35+ add-ons that I have installed only a single one is a proper WebExtension which means that Firefox 57 will disable over 95% of my add-ons many of which I just cannot live without and for most of them there are simply no alternatives. This number of add-ons sound like an overkill, but actually they are all pretty neat and improve your browsing abilities. That's the reason why I'm using Firefox 52 ESR, which still fully supports XUL add-ons, however after June 2018, it will stop being supported.

Let's list the most famous ones:
  • DownThemAll is still largely irreplaceable since you can download from many parts of the internet much faster if you split the downloaded files in chunks and download them simultaneously;
  • GreaseMonkey allows you to fix or extend your favourite websites using JavaScript;Lazarus: Form Recovery has saved my time and life numerous times; it regularly backups the contents of web forms and allows to restore them after browser restart or accidental page refresh;
  • NoScript: allows you to whitelist JS execution only for websites that you really trust; JS has been used as an attack and tracking tool since its inception;
  • Status-4-Ever and Classic Theme Restorer return Firefox to the time when it was a powerful tool with its own identity and looks, and not a Chrome clone;
  • UnMHT add-on allows you to save complete web pages as a single MHT file;

So what will you do less than a year from now?


Businesses

Amazon Was Tricked By a Fake Law Firm Into Removing a Popular Product, Costing the Seller $200,000 (cnbc.com) 98

Eugene Kim, reporting for CNBC: Shortly before Amazon Prime Day in July, the owner of the Brushes4Less store on Amazon's marketplace received a suspension notice for his best-selling product, a toothbrush head replacement. The email that landed in his inbox said the product was being delisted from the site because of an intellectual property violation. In order to resolve the matter and get the product reinstated, the owner would have to contact the law firm that filed the complaint. But there was one problem: the firm didn't exist. Brushes4Less was given the contact information for an entity named Wesley & McCain in Pittsburgh. The website wesleymccain.com has profiles for five lawyers. A Google image search shows that all five actually work for the law firm Brydon, Swearengen & England in Jefferson City, Missouri. The phone number for Wesley & McCain doesn't work while the address belongs to a firm in Pittsburgh called Robb Leonard Mulvihill. The person who supposedly filed the complaint is not registered to practice law in Pennsylvania. One section on Wesley & McCain's site stole language from the website of the Colby Law Office. The owner of Brushes4Less agreed to tell his story to CNBC but asked that we not use his name out of concern for his privacy. As far as he can tell, and based on what CNBC could confirm, Amazon was duped into shutting down the seller's key product days before the site's busiest shopping event ever.
Businesses

iPhone's Summer Production Glitches Create Holiday Jitters (wsj.com) 48

Yoko Kubota, Tripp Mickle, and Takashi Mochizuki, reporting for WSJ: Apple's new iPhone, which is expected to be unveiled Tuesday, was plagued by production glitches early in the manufacturing process this summer, according to people familiar with the situation, which could result in extended supply shortfalls and shipping delays when customers start ordering the device later this month (alternative source). New iPhones are typically in short supply when first released. But if shortfalls of the new phone extend beyond the initial sales period, which is expected to begin September 22, they could weaken analysts' and investors' projections for sales in the crucial holiday period. The production glitches led to a setback of about a month in the manufacturing timetable. Foxconn, the Apple contractor that assembles iPhones, has been ramping up production at its manufacturing complex in Zhengzhou, China. The company is paying bonuses to employees who can help bring new hires on board at its Zhengzhou plant, which Foxconn said in June employs about 250,000 people.
Security

Software To Capture Votes in Upcoming National Election is Insecure (vice.com) 91

Hackers could have manipulated the results of the upcoming election in Germany by using "trivial" attacks against a program used to count and transmit voting results, researchers warned on Thursday. From a report: White hat hackers from the Chaos Computer Club (CCC), a well-known hacking organization in Germany, claim to have found a series of serious vulnerabilities in PC-Wahl 10, software used by German authorities to count and transmit voting results. The researchers said their attacks show the software is in a "sad state" and that malicious hackers could have compromised it with "one click." "The amount of vulnerabilities and their severity exceeded our worst expectations," Linus Neumann, one of the researchers who conducted the study, said in a press release. The good news, however, is that the researchers believe it would have been hard for malicious hackers to get away with such attacks during the upcoming German election on September 24 without anyone noticing. "Technically, manipulation would be possible in several ways, but it is unlikely that manipulation would remain undetected," Thorsten Schroder, another researcher involved in the study, wrote in an op-ed for the magazine Der Spiegel.
Books

Amazon Tries To Snuff Out a Bunch of Kindle Publishing Scams (cnet.com) 16

Amazon has been working for years to clean its sites of fake reviews and fake products. It's still got work to do. From a report: The online retailer on Wednesday filed five separate legal actions through the American Arbitration Association to cut down on a variety of alleged scams used to make money on Amazon's Kindle self-publishing service, according to documents obtained by CNET. "Today's news reflects yet another step in our ongoing efforts to protect readers and authors from individuals who violate our terms of service and manipulate programs readers and authors rely on," an Amazon spokesman said in a statement. He added that only a "small minority" of those using Kindle Direct Publishing engage in such scams. Amazon since 2015 has been using these kinds of legal actions to fight against scams and already sued over 1,000 entities involved in allegedly creating fake product reviews on its sites. The company last year also sued alleged counterfeiters. As part of Wednesday's filings, one alleged scammer used a novel approach to try making money through Amazon. The man named in the filing, Nilmer Rubio, of Olongapo City in the Philippines, allegedly reached out to authors who used the Kindle self-publishing platform and told them he could artificially inflate the number of pages customers read of their books in two Kindle programs. He apparently did this with the use of hundreds of Amazon accounts he created.
Television

TV Turns 90 (axios.com) 117

An anonymous reader shares a report: A live webcast today will celebrate the transmission of the first electronic TV signal on Sept. 7, 1927, and the man behind it, Philo T. Farnsworth, per AP: The webcast is set for 6 p.m. ET from the original location of Farnsworth's San Francisco lab. It'll be repeated at 9 p.m. and midnight. Veteran producer Phil Savenick created the site to detail the medium's history and the contributions of Farnsworth and other TV pioneers.
Google

Google Drive Faces Outage, Users Report [Update] (google.com) 75

Numerous Slashdot readers are reporting that they are facing issues access Google Drive, the productivity suite from the Mountain View-based company. Google's dashboard confirms that Drive is facing outage. Third-party web monitoring tool DownDetector also reports thousands of similar complaints from users. The company said, "Google Drive service has already been restored for some users, and we expect a resolution for all users in the near future. Please note this time frame is an estimate and may change. Google Drive is not loading files and results in a failures for a subset of users."

Update: 09/07 17:13 GMT: Google says it has resolved the issue.
Businesses

Speed Report Finds T-Mobile and Xfinity Providing Fastest Mobile and Broadband Internet in US (geekwire.com) 39

Mobile and fixed broadband internet speeds in the U.S. are improving, but not all carriers and providers are created equal and not all areas of the country are benefitting equally from fast speeds. From a report: Those are the findings according to a new market report from Speedtest by Ookla out of Seattle, which relied on data it captured from user-initiated tests during the first half of 2017. And for customers using T-Mobile for mobile internet and Comcast Xfinity for broadband, the results are especially good. Speedtest credits infrastructure investments and upgrades as well as increased affordability of higher tiered packages for the fact that fast broadband keeps getting faster. The average download speed in the U.S. over fixed broadband during Q1 to Q2 was 64.17 Mbps (ranking 15th in the world) and average upload speed was 22.79 Mbps (24th in the world). Xfinity is the top provider when it comes to Speed Score -- which incorporates low-end, median and top-end performance for both download and upload speed -- with a score of 69.58. Speedtest says that Comcast has been aggressively seeding the market over the past year with advanced modems capable of delivering a more consistent experience for customers. The cable provider has also been increasing the amount of DOCSIS 3.1 channels in order to deliver faster speeds, according to the report.
The Courts

Judge Dismisses 'Inventor of Email' Lawsuit Against Techdirt (arstechnica.com) 127

A federal judge in Massachusetts has dismissed a libel lawsuit filed earlier this year against tech news website Techdirt. From a report: The claim was brought by Shiva Ayyadurai, who has controversially claimed that he invented e-mail in the late 1970s. Techdirt (and its founder and CEO, Mike Masnick) has been a longtime critic of Ayyadurai and institutions that have bought into his claims. "How The Guy Who Didn't Invent Email Got Memorialized In The Press & The Smithsonian As The Inventor Of Email," reads one Techdirt headline from 2012. One of Techdirt's commenters dubbed Ayyadurai a "liar" and a "charlatan," which partially fueled Ayyadurai's January 2017 libel lawsuit. In the Wednesday ruling, US District Judge F. Dennis Saylor found that because it is impossible to define precisely and specifically what e-mail is, Ayyadurai's "claim is incapable of being proved true or false."
Music

Happy Music Boosts Brain's Creativity, Study Says (newscientist.com) 102

An anonymous reader quotes a report from New Scientist: Need inspiration? Happy background music can help get the creative juices flowing. Simone Ritter, at Radboud University in the Netherlands, and Sam Ferguson, at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia, have been studying the effect of silence and different types of music on how we think. They put 155 volunteers into five groups. Four of these were each given a type of music to listen to while undergoing a series of tests, while the fifth group did the tests in silence. The tests were designed to gage two types of thinking: divergent thinking, which describes the process of generating new ideas, and convergent thinking, which is how we find the best solutions for a problem. Ritter and Ferguson found that people were more creative when listening to music they thought was positive, coming up with more unique ideas than the people who worked in silence. However, happy music -- in this instance, Antonio Vivaldi's Spring -- only boosted divergent thinking. No type of music helped convergent thinking, suggesting that it's better to solve problems in silence. The study was published in the journal PLoS One.
Android

Android Oreo Bug Eats Up Mobile Data Even When On Wi-Fi (betanews.com) 89

Mark Wilson shares a report from BetaNews: An apparent bug with Android Oreo has been discovered which means Google's mobile operating system could be munching its way through your data allowance, even if you're connected to a wireless network. A thread on Reddit highlighted the issue, with many people pointing out that it could prove expensive for anyone not using an unlimited data plan. Google is apparently aware of the problem and is working on a patch, but in the meantime Oreo users are being warned to consider disabling mobile data when they are at home or using a wireless connection elsewhere.
Businesses

Huawei Surpasses Apple As the World's Second Largest Smartphone Brand (theverge.com) 115

According to analysis by consulting firm Counterpoint Research, China's leading smartphone marker, Huawei, surpassed Apple's global smartphone sales for the first time in June and July. The company is only behind Samsung in sales. The Verge reports: Figures haven't been released yet for August, though Counterpoint indicates sales for that month also look strong. However, it's worth noting that with Apple's new iPhone releases just around the corner, the iPhone maker is almost certain to get back on top in September. Researchers at Counterpoint also point out that Huawei has a weak presence in the South Asian, Indian, and North American markets, which "limits Huawei's potential to the near-to-mid-term to take a sustainable second place position behind Samsung." Its strongest market is China, and it's also popular in Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. Still, Apple doesn't have much to worry about; Counterpoint says the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus remain the world's best-selling smartphones, while Oppo's R11 and A57 claimed the third and fourth spots, respectively, followed by Samsung's Galaxy S8, Xiaomi's Redmi Note 4X, and Samsung's Galaxy S8 Plus. Surprisingly, despite overtaking Apple in global sales, none of Huawei's phones appear on the Top 10 list.

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