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'Spam King' Sanford Wallace Sentenced To 2.5 Years In Prison For Facebook Phishing Scam (bbc.com) 56

Xochil writes: Sanford Wallace gets a two-year prison term and $310K fine on charges of fraud and criminal contempt for sending over 27 million spam messages to Facebook users. Sanford Wallace has made a name for himself over the course of the last several years. In 1998, the "Spam King" announced he would put an end to spamming on his part, instead resorting to a new scheme in which ISPs would be paid to receive the mail. Flash forward to 2004, the Associated Press reported that a judge issued a temporary restraining order against Wallace for alleged spyware distribution. Last August, Wallace admitted to compromising around 500,000 Facebook accounts, using them to send over 27 million spam messages through Facebook's servers, between November 2008 and March 2009. While he could have been sentenced to as many as 16 years in prison, he was only sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison and five years of supervised release. In addition, Wallace was ordered to pay about one cent for every message sent or about 60 cents per account compromised, totaling $310,628.55 in restitution. The phishing scam consisted of Wallace automating the process of signing into a Facebook user's account, retrieving a list of their friends and sending them each a message that encouraged them to log into a website. The website would trick users into divulging their Facebook username and password before directing them to an affiliate website that would pay him for the traffic.

Trent Reznor: YouTube Is Built On the Back Of Stolen Content (theguardian.com) 428

An anonymous reader writes: Singer and record producer Trent Reznor has become the latest artist to attack Google's video service YouTube. "I find YouTube's business to be very disingenuous. It is built on the backs of free, stolen content and that's how they got that big," said Reznor in an interview with Billboard. Reznor was not speaking purely as an artist, however. He is also chief creative officer at Apple Music, the streaming service launched by Apple in 2015, which is one of the key rivals to YouTube in the digital music world. "I think any free-tiered service is not fair. It's making their numbers and getting them a big IPO and it is built on the back of my work and that of my peers. That's how I feel about it. Strongly," said Reznor, widening his criticism to other rivals like Spotify in the process.

Android Ransomware Hits Smart TVs (trendmicro.com) 112

Reader Trailrunner7 writes: Security researchers have discovered a variant of the FLocker Android ransomware that not only infects mobile devices, but also can infect smart TVs running certain versions of the operating system. FLocker ransomware has been active for more than a year now, and it is many ways a typical piece of mobile ransomware. It is designed to scare victims into paying a ransom -- $200 in this case -- by locking the infected device and throwing up a screen that accuses the victim of some fictitious crime. The ransomware doesn't appear to encrypt files on an infected device, but it locks the screen so the user can't open any other apps or take any other actions until paying the ransom.

Researchers at Trend Micro said they have seen various versions of FLocker over the last year and the activity level of the ransomware has varied. The newest version of the malware, however, includes the ability to infect art TVs, many of which run Android.


Autonomous Robot Intentionally Hurts People To Make Them Bleed (fastcompany.com) 186

Asimove's first law of robotics has been broken, writes an anonymous reader, sharing this article from Fast Company: A Berkeley, California man wants to start a robust conversation among ethicists, philosophers, lawyers, and others about where technology is going -- and what dangers robots will present humanity in the future. Alexander Reben, a roboticist and artist, has built a tabletop robot whose sole mechanical purpose is to hurt people... The harm caused by Reben's robot is nothing more than a pinprick, albeit one delivered at high speed, causing the maximum amount of pain a small needle can inflict on a fingertip.
Though the pinpricks are delivered randomly, "[O]nce something exists in the world, you have to confront it. It becomes more urgent," says the robot's creator. "You can't just pontificate about it.... " But the article raises an interesting question. Is he responsible for the pain which his robot inflicts?
XBox (Games)

Microsoft Mistakenly Sold Fallout 4 For Free On Xbox (polygon.com) 260

On Thursday the $110 Deluxe Edition Bundle of Fallout 4 appeared in the Xbox store priced at $0.00. The Escapist reports that "The mistake went viral, and there's no telling how people were able to take advantage before the error was corrected..." An anonymous reader shares their report: If you grabbed Fallout 4 for free on Xbox One, it will be disappearing from your account... Microsoft has confirmed that any copies obtained due to the error will have their license revoked, and the games will disappear from the user's Xbox One library.
Now Microsoft is telling affected users that "your free download will no longer work. For the inconvenience we will deposit $10 by the end of June in your Microsoft Account."

Scientists Discover Why Your Dirty Laundry Stinks (discovery.com) 142

HughPickens.com writes: Discovery News reports that dirty laundry smells bad because of certain chemicals called volatile organic compounds, which can't always be washed out on an eco-friendly 20C cycle. Researchers identified six volatile organic compounds (VOCs) on dirty t-shirts and socks. "The need to conserve the environment by reducing the wash temperature and the use of biodegradable washing products have grown in importance in the new millennium, making this type of research more high profile," says Professor John Dean. The researchers gave 6 men and two women a new pair of socks. They asked the volunteers to wash their feet with tap water and dry them before wearing the socks for at least 10 hours in a specified type of shoe. They then put each sock into a separate sample bag and stored them in the dark overnight. The researchers graded each sock and t-shirt on a scale of 0 (no malodor) to 10 (malodorous) by smelling them. To determine the chemicals present, samples were taken from each one. Items were then washed on a cold cycle using unscented detergent, and resampled before they were dried, at which point researchers took one final series of specimens. Following a method called static headspace-multi-capillary column-gas chromatography-ion mobility spectrometry (SHS-MCC-GC-IMS), six main VOCs were identified as the main culprits behind smelly clothing. Each one left its own scented signature. Butyric acid, for example, produced a rancid butter-like odor, while 2-heptanone created a banana-like fruity smell. "The work is fascinating as it links an everyday event -- the washing of clothes -- with cutting-edge research," says Dean. "In this particular research project we applied a new and innovative analytical technique for the detection of volatile compounds found in laundry items. We hope this provides a way of analyzing the effectiveness of different washing techniques."

Why Don't Scientists Kill The 'Demon In The Freezer'? 287

HughPickens.com writes: Smallpox was one of the most devastating diseases humanity has ever faced, killing more than 300 million people in the 20th century alone. But thanks to the most successful global vaccination campaign in history, the disease was completely eradicated by 1980. By surrounding the last places on earth where smallpox was still occurring -- small villages in Asia and Africa -- and inoculating everyone in a wide circle around them, D. A. Henderson and the World Health Organization were able to starve the virus of hosts. Smallpox is highly contagious, but it is not spread by insects or animals. When it is gone from the human population, it is gone for good. But Errol Moris writes in the NYT that Henderson didn't really eliminate smallpox. In a handful of laboratories around the world, there are still stocks of smallpox, tucked away in one freezer or another. In 2014 the CDC announced that vials containing the deadly virus had been discovered in a cardboard box in a refrigerator located on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) campus in Bethesda, Maryland. How can you say it's eliminated when it's still out there, somewhere? The demon in the freezer.

Some scientists say that these residual stocks of smallpox should not be destroyed because some ruthless super-criminal or rogue government might be working on a new smallpox, even more virulent than existing strains of the virus. We may need existing stocks to produce new vaccines to counteract the new viruses. Meanwhile, opponents of retention argue that there's neither need nor practical reason for keeping the virus around. In a letter to Science Magazine published in 1994, the Nobel laureate David Baltimore wrote, "I doubt that we so desperately need to study smallpox that it would be worth the risk inherent in the experimentation." It all comes down to the question of how best to protect ourselves against ourselves. Is the greater threat to humanity our propensity for error and stupidity, or for dastardly ingenuity?

Men Are Sabotaging The Online Reviews Of TV Shows Aimed At Women (fivethirtyeight.com) 858

FiveThirtyEight has an interesting article today which accuses men of sabotaging the online reviews of TV shows aimed at women. The publication cites an example of "Sex and the City", a show which apparently won plenty of awards and ran for many years on TV, getting hammered by males on IMDb. Compared to women, who amounted to 60% of the people who rated the show with an average of 8.1, men gave it a 5.8 rating. It's not an isolated case, FiveThirtyEight says, citing several other instances where the male audience has downvoted shows aimed at women audience. From the article: The shows with the largest proportion of male raters are mostly sports, video game web series, science fiction and cartoons. The programs with the highest proportion of female voters are -- at least the American ones -- mostly from The CW and Freeform, the new name of the network previously called ABC Family. This list is pretty hilarious. Beyond the top 25, shown in the table above, male-dominated shows of note include: "Blue Mountain State" (92 percent male), "Batman: Beyond" (91 percent), "Batman: The Animated Series" (90 percent), "The Shield" (90 percent), "Ballers" (90 percent), "Justice League" (90 percent), and "The League" (88 percent). "Star Trek: Enterprise" is the most male-heavy of the various official live-action Trek enterprises, while "Battlestar Galactica" still managed to grab 15 percent of its ratings from women, which is somewhat shocking. For women, other skewed programming includes "Private Practice" (71 percent female), "Gossip Girl" and "Gilmore Girls" (67 percent each), "Grey's Anatomy" (60 percent), "Scandal" (60 percent), and "One Tree Hill" (59 percent).

Netflix Enables Streaming Quality Control To Reign In Mobile Data Usage (hothardware.com) 69

MojoKid writes from a report on HotHardware: Netflix wants to put users in control of their mobile data usage when it comes to its iOS and Android apps. Up until today, Netflix held all the cards and adjusted video quality settings on its end (and how much cellular data was consumed) when users were on a cellular connection. Now, Netflix is opening up user-selectable settings that allow you to sip data (at the expense of video quality of course) or gulp it down if you're one of the few with an unlimited data plan. Making the adjustment is as simple as navigating to App Settings and then selecting Cellular Data Usage. From there, you will be able to select from Automatic (Default), Low, Medium, High, or Unlimited options. If you're on a Wi-Fi connection, these quality settings are disabled altogether.

Submission + - Artist Prince Dies at 57 (nydailynews.com)

astrodoom writes: The much-beloved musical genius passed away today, surprising many. No immediate details were available as to the cause of death. The artist had been hospitalized last week with what was reported as the flu, but had appeared at a party on Saturday, quieting the speculation on his health.

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