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Security

'StrongPity' Malware Infects Users Through Legitimate WinRAR and TrueCrypt Installers (neowin.net) 105

Kaspersky Labs has revealed a new strain of malware -- named 'StrongPity' which targets users looking for two popular applications - WinRaR and TrueCrypt. The malware contains components that not only has the ability to give attackers complete control on the victim's computer, but also steal disk contents and download other software that the cybercriminals need. From a Neowin report: To be able to gather victims, the attackers have built special fake websites that supposedly host the two programs. One instance that was discovered by the researchers is that the criminals transposed two letters in a domain name, in order to fool the potential victim into thinking that the program was a legitimate WinRAR installer website.
Businesses

Woman Faces $9,100 Verizon Bill For Data She Says She Didn't Use (dslreports.com) 209

A Verizon Wireless customer says she received a bill of $9,100 for hundreds of gigabytes of data usage which never consumed. The woman told the Cleveland Plain Dealer she was on Verizon's 4GB shared data plan, and like any normal person, the bill of $8,535 from Verizon for consuming 569GB of data in a matter of few days doesn't compute well with her. The problem, as DSLR reports, is that when she tried to find out what caused the data usage, Verizon website told her "the activity you are trying to perform is currently unavailable. Please try again later." She couldn't and switched to T-Mobile, after which Verizon charged her a penalty of $600.
AI

Amazon, NVIDIA and The CIA Want To Teach AI To Watch Us From Space (technologyreview.com) 60

An anonymous reader quotes a report from MIT Technology Review: Satellite operator DigitalGlobe is teaming up with Amazon, the venture arm of the CIA, and NVIDIA to make computers watch the Earth from above and automatically map our roads, buildings, and piles of trash. MIT Technology Review reports: "In a joint project, DigitalGlobe today released satellite imagery depicting the whole of Rio de Janeiro to a resolution of 50 centimeters. The outlines of 200,000 buildings inside the city's roughly 1,900 square kilometers have been manually marked on the photos. The SpaceNet data set, as it is called, is intended to spark efforts to train machine-learning algorithms to interpret high-resolution satellite photos by themselves. DigitalGlobe says the SpaceNet data set should eventually include high-resolution images of half a million square kilometers of Earth, and that it will add annotations beyond just buildings. DigitalGlobe's data is much more detailed than publicly available satellite data such as NASA's, which typically has a resolution of tens of meters. Amazon will make the SpaceNet data available via its cloud computing service. Nvidia will provide tools to help machine-learning researchers train and test algorithms on the data, and CosmiQ Works, a division of the CIA's venture arm In-Q-Tel focused on space, is also supporting the project." "We need to develop new algorithms for this data," says senior vice president at DigitalGlobe, Tony Frazier. He goes on to say that health and aid programs are to benefit from software that is able to map roads, bridges and various other infrastructure. The CEO of Descartes Labs, Mark Johnson, a "startup that predicts crop yields from public satellite images," says the data that is collected "should be welcome to startups and researchers," according to MIT Technology Review. "Potential applications could include estimated economic output from activity in urban areas, or guiding city governments on how to improve services such as trash collections, he says."
Television

North Korea Unveils Netflix-Like Streaming Service Called 'Manbang' (bbc.com) 162

North Korea has unveiled a set-top box that offers video-on demand services similar to Netflix. The service is called Manbang, which translates to "everywhere" in Korean, and allows consumers to stream documentaries about Kim Jong Un and other "educational" programs, as well as five live TV channels. "If a viewer wants to watch, for instance, an animal movie and sends a request to the equipment, it will show the relevant video to the viewer [...] this is two-way communications," according to NK News. It reportedly works by plugging the set-top box into an internet modem, then connecting an HDMI cable from the cable box to the TV. A very small number of North Koreans will actually be able to use the device as "only a few thousand [...] have access to the state-sanctioned internet, in a nation of 25 million people," reports New York Daily News.
Biotech

Scientists Find Chemical-Free Way To Extend Milk's Shelf Life For Up To 3 Weeks (digitaltrends.com) 258

An anonymous reader writes from a report via Digital Trends: Researchers at Purdue University and the University of Tennessee have found a non-chemical way to extend regular milk's shelf life to around 2-3 weeks, and without affecting the nutrients or flavor. The technology they've developed involves increasing the temperature of milk by just 10 degrees for less than a second, which is well below the 70-degree Celsius threshold needed for pasteurization. That quick heat blast is still able to eliminate more than 99 percent of the bacteria left from pasteurization. "The developed technology uses low temperature, short time (LTST) in a process that disperses milk in the form of droplets with low heat/pressure variation over a short treatment time in conjunction with pasteurization," Bruce Applegate, Purdue's associate professor in the Department of Food Science, explained to Digital Trends. "The resultant product was subjected to a taste panel and participants had equal or greater preference for the LTST pasteurized milk compared to normally pasteurized milk. The shelf was determined to be a minimum of two weeks longer than the standard shelf life from pasteurization alone." As for whether or not this method will make its way to store shelves, it won't in the near future. "Currently an Ohio-based milk processor is using this technology and distributing the milk," Applegate says. "The unit is approved for processing milk in Ohio and distribution nationwide. The product is currently being distributed, however it has not been labeled as extended shelf life milk. Once the commercial application is validated the milk will be labelled with the extended shelf life." Scientists from Duke University believe there may be a large source of hydrogen gas under the ocean, caused by rocks forming from fast-spreading tectonic plates.
Space

Why Did The Stars Wars and Star Trek Worlds Turn Out So Differently? (marginalrevolution.com) 359

HughPickens.com writes: In the Star Trek world there is virtual reality, personal replicators, powerful weapons, and, it seems, a very high standard of living for most of humanity, while in Star Wars there is widespread slavery, lots of people seem to live at subsistence, and eventually much of the galaxy falls under the Jedi Reign of Terror. Why the difference? Tyler Cowen writes about some of the factors differentiating the world of Star Wars from that of Star Trek: 1) The armed forces in Star Trek seem broadly representative of society. Compare Uhura, Chekhov, and Sulu to the Imperial Storm troopers. 2) Captains Kirk and Picard do not descend into true power madness, unlike various Sith leaders and corrupted Jedi Knights. 3) In Star Trek, any starship can lay waste to a planet, whereas in Star Wars there is a single, centralized Death Star and no way to oppose it, implying stronger checks and balances in the world of Star Trek. 4) Star Trek embraces egalitarianism, namely that all humans consider themselves part of the same broader species. There is no special group comparable to the Jedi or the Sith, with special powers in their blood. 5) Star Trek replicators are sufficiently powerful it seems slavery is highly inefficient in that world.
AT&T

Citigroup Sues AT&T For Saying 'Thanks' To Customers (techdirt.com) 281

An anonymous reader writes: Citigroup has a trademark on "THANKYOU" and is currently using it to sue ATT for using "Thanks." Ars Technica reports: "Who knew? Banking giant Citigroup has trademarked 'THANKYOU' and is now suing technology giant ATT for how it says thanks to its own loyal customers. This is 'unlawful conduct' amounting to wanton trademark infringement, Citigroup claims in its federal lawsuit." Citigroup doesn't appear to be gracious in its branding: Despite actual knowledge of Citigroup's substantial use of and exclusive rights in the THANKYOU Marks, Citigroup's use of the marks in connection with ATT co-branded credit cards, and Citigroup's concerns regarding ATT's proposed trademarks, ATT launched a customer loyalty program under the trademarks "thanks" and "ATT thanks" on or about June 2, 2016. ATT's use of the "thanks" and "ATT thanks" trademarks is likely to cause consumer confusion and constitutes trademark infringement, false designation of origin, and unfair competition in violation of Citigroup's rights. Citigroup therefore seeks to enjoin ATT's infringing conduct and to recover damages based on the injury ATT's conduct has caused to Citigroup as well as ATT's unjust enrichment. In April, ATT applied to trademark "ATT THANKS." Citigroup wants that trademark to be rejected because it thinks that proposed trademark is "confusingly similar to Citigroup's "THANKYOU Marks," according to its lawsuit.
Media

Gawker Files For Bankruptcy After Hulk Hogan Lawsuit (usatoday.com) 284

Gawker has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The move comes after the media house was ordered to pay up $140M to Hulk Hogan for publishing his sex tape. Gawker, which is known for its irreverent voice, is currently facing multiple lawsuits, backed by billionaire Peter Thiel, one of the people that Gawker has extensively reported on. USA Today reports: In its filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, Gawker is seeking to reorganize under the bankruptcy protection and there's no indication, as of yet, that it will cease publication. Gawker listed estimated assets of $50 million to $100 million and liabilities of $100 million to $500 million. [...] Thiel's funding triggered concerns about the possibility of First Amendment rights being quashed by wealthy individuals' funding of third-party legal claims against media organizations.According to a separate report, Ziff Davis is interested in purchasing Gawker and various properties that it owns. Gawker media also runs Gizmodo, LifeHacker, and Deadspin among other popular publications.
Government

US Agency Lines Up Broad Support For ICANN Transition (pcworld.com) 64

An anonymous reader quotes a report from PCWorld: A U.S. agency has lined up broad support for its plan to end the government's oversight of the Internet's domain name system, despite opposition from some Republicans in Congress. The U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) on Thursday released statements of support for a plan to end its oversight of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Among supporters of a plan, developed by the ICANN community, to transition ICANN's domain name coordination functions to a multistakeholder governance model are Amazon.com, Google, Cisco Systems, Microsoft, Facebook, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Computer and Communications Industry Association. NTIA on Thursday announced it had reviewed the community proposal and found it meets the agency's criteria for allowing the ICANN privatization plan to move forward. The community plan maintains the openness of the Internet and maintains the security and stability of the DNS, said NTIA Administrator Lawrence Strickling. It does not replace NTIA's oversight with another government organization, he said, although that's been a fear of some critics of the NTIA plan. On Wednesday, Ted Cruz proposed a bill, the Protecting Internet Freedom Act, that would prohibit the U.S. government from relinquishing its role with respect to overseeing the web's domain name system (DNS), unless explicitly authorized by Congress.
Android

Google Steps Up Pressure on Partners Tardy in Updating Android (bloomberg.com) 85

Google is actively tracking the time its partner OEMs take to release a new version of Android onto their devices. According to a Bloomberg report, the company is drawing up rankings that could shame some phone makers into better behavior. From the report: Google shared this list with Android partners earlier this year. It has discussed making it public to highlight proactive manufacturers and shame tardy vendors through omission from the list, two of the people said. [...] Google is making progress persuading phone makers and carriers to install security updates quicker "for the good of users," Android chief Hiroshi Lockheimer said. The same expedited process may then be used to send operating system updates to phones, he explained. The most challenging discussions are with carriers, which can be slow to approve updates because they test them thoroughly to avoid network disruption. The report adds that several OEMs are also stepping up their game to better comply with Google's new wishes. Motorola, for instance, is working on offering quarterly updates to its three years old devices.

For users with non-Nexus devices, it's really frustrating to wait for months, and in some cases, years, before their devices from Samsung, Xiaomi, Huawei, HTC and other manufacturers get upgraded to a newer version of Android. Another challenge for Google is to push its partners to actively release updates to affordable and mid-range smartphones. Many OEMs mostly worry about serving those users who have the flagship and high-end models.
Bug

iOS 9.3.2 Bricking Some 9.7-inch iPad Pro Devices With 'Error 56' Message (macrumors.com) 35

An anonymous reader writes: iOS 9.3.2 is causing problems for some 9.7-inch iPad Pro owners, with multiple users reporting issues shortly after installing the update over the air. Affected users are seeing an "Error 56" message that instructs them to plug their devices into iTunes. Apple has issued a statement to iMore, simply stating the company is "looking into a small number of reports" regarding this issue. The statement reads: "We're looking into a small number of reports that some iPad units are receiving an error when updating the software. Those unable to restore their device through iTunes should contact Apple support."
Movies

Live-Action Tetris Movie Secures $80 Million Funding, Plans To Be Part Of A Trilogy (arstechnica.com) 122

An anonymous reader writes: In 2014, Threshold Entertainment announced it would be producing a live-action film based on the Russian stacking game Tetris. Today, Threshold Entertainment announced it had secured $80 million in funding for the project. Threshold's Larry Kasanoff has worked on the Mortal Kombat film in 1995, which grossed $70 million. Media mogul Bruno Wu, will serve as co-producer on the film ensuring that the movie will be able to sustain any unplanned budget overruns. According to Deadline, the film is planned for a 2017 release with Chinese locations and a Chinese case. However, Kasanoff notes "the goal is to make world movies for the world market." What's more is that the movie could be the basis of a trilogy, the producer says, with a plot that's "not at all what you think; it will be a cool surprise." Kasanoff told the Wall Street Journal that "this isn't a movie with a bunch of lines running around the page. We're not giving feet to the geometric shapes... What you [will] see in Tetris is the teeny tip of an iceberg that has intergalactic significance."
Technology

Gadget Claims To Fit In Your Ear and Translate Foreign Languages In Real-Time (telegraph.co.uk) 103

An anonymous reader cites a report on the Telegraph about a tiny gadget that lets two people who speak a different language understand each other. The gadget dubbed Pilot translates English, French, Spanish and Italian. Pilot, which is yet to be launched, is priced at $129. From the report: It works by being connected to two different people, speaking two different languages, and translates what they are saying in your ear. Pilot is supposedly the first 'smart earpiece' capable of translating between two languages. Waverly Labs, who have developed the technology, said on their website: "This little wearable uses translation technology to allow two people to speak different languages but still clearly understand each other." They have not said how it works except for that it uses "translation technology" embedded in an app. We have reached out to them to find out more.

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