Technology archive for 2016-06-04

World's Largest Shared-Workspace Startup WeWork Is Cutting About 7% of Staff

(3 years ago)
Ellen Huet, reporting for Bloomberg: WeWork Cos., the $16B startup, plans to cut about 7 percent of its staff and has instituted a temporary pause on hiring, according to e-mails obtained by Bloomberg. The cutbacks come just three months after the New York company said it raised a round of $430 million led by Chinese investors. Managers were instructed to begin dismissals this week, said one of the e-mails. The startup, which lets members rent desks in an open office, ballooned from about 230 employees early last year to more than 1,000 today, according to research firm Mattermark. WeWork said it hired 175 people in May and expects to add about 500 employees by the end of the year. The company said it expects to lift the pause on hiring as soon as next week. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Athletes will test Visa's prototype NFC payment ring at the Olympics in Rio (Kris Naudus/Engadget)

(3 years ago)
Kris Naudus / Engadget:Athletes will test Visa's prototype NFC payment ring at the Olympics in Rio  —  For those making their way to this year's Olympic games in Rio, Visa will be the only card accepted at official venues — a pretty sweet deal for the credit provider.  But, rather than be satisfied with exclusive access …

CiCi's Pizza May Have Been Hacked

(3 years ago)
An anonymous reader writes:Security expert Brian Krebs says more than half a dozen financial institutions contacted him, "all asking if I had any information about a possible credit card breach. Every one of these banking industry sources said the same thing: They'd detected a pattern of fraud on cards that all had one thing in common: They'd all been used in the last few months at various CiCi's Pizza locations... The data available so far suggests that hackers obtained access to card data at affected restaurants by posing as technical support specialists for the company's point-of-sale provider, and that multiple other retailers have been targeted by this same cybercrime gang." The pizza chain referred Krebs to an outside firm managing their restaurants, who referred him to an outside PR firm, so he eventually just contacted the chain's point-of-sale provider, Datapoint. They confirmed that the Secret Service was investigating several different point-of-sale vendors in "one particular franchise... All of these attacks have been traced to social engineering/Team Viewer breaches because stores from several POS vendors let supposed techs in to conduct 'support'." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

IBM Has Been Awarded An Average Of 24 Patents Per Day So Far In 2016

(3 years ago)
Traditional companies continue to score a huge number of patents, reports Quartz. The publication deep dived into the patent filings to find which company has been awarded the most number of patents this year. According to its finding, IBM has been awarded 3,617 patents so far this year, whereas Samsung comes close with 3,032 patents during the same period. Behind these giants sit Google with 1,530 patents, Intel with 1,293, Qualcomm with 1,262, Microsoft with 1,232, and Apple with 1,060 patents. From the report: Although IBM's patent-producing power slowed somewhat in 2015, the number of patents it's received so far this year is up more than 13% compared to a year earlier. The company is in the middle of a painful reinvention, that sees the company shifting further away from hardware sales into cloud computing, analytics, and AI services. It's also plugging away on a myriad of fundamental scientific research projects -- many of which could revolutionize the world if they can come to fruition -- which is where many of its patent applications originate. IBM accounted for about 1% of all US patents awarded in 2015. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Ex-Facebook employee reflects on company's culture and how Mark Zuckerberg responded to the launch of Google+ by enforcing a company "lockdown" (Antonio García Martínez/Vanity Fair)

(3 years ago)
Antonio García Martínez / Vanity Fair:Ex-Facebook employee reflects on company's culture and how Mark Zuckerberg responded to the launch of Google+ by enforcing a company “lockdown”  —  In Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg built not just a business, but a company culture with the fervor of a messianic sect.

Microsoft Declines To Make a 64-Bit Visual Studio

(3 years ago)
OhPlz writes: A request was made back in 2011 for Microsoft to provide a 64 bit version of Visual Studio to address out-of-memory issues. After sitting on the request for all that time, Microsoft is now declining it, stating that it would not be good for performance. After almost five years, the request received 3,127 votes on the UserVoice forum for Visual Studio. Microsoft instead recommended the vsFunnel extension to optimize memory by filtering low-priority projects, adding "we highly value your feedback." They cited a December MSDN post that had argued "smaller is faster," and that no performance benefits would be realized for users whose code and data already fit into a 32-bit address space, while most other issues could be addressed with better data design. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

TeamViewer Denies Being Hacked, Blames Users, Introduces New Security Measures

(3 years ago)
Mark Wilson writes: In the last couple of weeks there have been a huge number of reports from TeamViewer users that their computers have been hijacked. In addition to this, users of the remote access tool have complained of funds being extracted from PayPal and bank accounts. But TeamViewer insists that there has not been a security breach, instead shifting the blame to users. The company says [users] are in the habit of reusing the same passwords for a number of apps and services. It suggests that recent high profile security breaches -- such as the password dumps from MySpace and LinkedIn -- have allowed cyber criminals to learn TeamViewer log in credentials. "We are appalled by the behaviour of cyber criminals, and are disgusted by their actions towards TeamViewer users," reads the company's statement. But they will now notify users whenever a new device logs in to a TeamViewer account, and in the future will also require a new password whenever suspicious account activity is detected. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

How the full dump of LinkedIn passwords from 2012 hack will speed cracking of hashed passwords from any future breaches (Jeremi M. Gosney/Ars Technica)

(3 years ago)
Jeremi M. Gosney / Ars Technica:How the full dump of LinkedIn passwords from 2012 hack will speed cracking of hashed passwords from any future breaches  —  Second data dump lets hackers be 6 times better cracking future dumps. … Me: “The full dump from the 2012 LinkedIn breach just dropped, so you're probably not going to see much of me over the next week.”

Even In Remotest Africa, Windows 10 Nagware Ruins Your Day

(3 years ago)
Iain Thomson, writing for The Register: When you're stuck in the middle of the Central African Republic (CAR) trying to protect the wildlife from armed poachers and the Lord's Resistance Army, then life's pretty tough. And now Microsoft has made it tougher with Windows 10 upgrades. The Chinko Project manages roughly 17,600 square kilometres (6,795 square miles) of rainforest and savannah in the east of the CAR, near the border with South Sudan. Money is tight, and so is internet bandwidth. So the staff was more than a little displeased when one of the donated laptops the team uses began upgrading to Windows 10 automatically, pulling in gigabytes of data over a radio link. And it's not just bandwidth bills they have to worry about. "If a forced upgrade happened and crashed our PCs while in the middle of coordinating rangers under fire from armed militarized poachers, blood could literally be on Microsoft's hands," said one member of the team.This is not a one-off case. We're reading about similar incidents everyday. Automatic updates, accidental automatic update, and the humongous data that these updates eat are ruining user experience for many. These are real issues. It's been roughly a year since Windows 10 has been officially available to consumers, and Microsoft is yet to address the issue. Read more[..]

Apple Offers No Explanation for 7-Hour Outage

(3 years ago)
Apple services went offline for up to 7 hours Thursday -- and the company has yet to offer an explanation. An anonymous reader writes:The outage affected the App Store, iTunes in the Cloud, Apple TV, Mail Drop, Find my iPhone, and Photos. During the outage, Apple responded to complaints on Twitter, "Thank you for the information. We're aware of this issue and are investigating,"Tech Times reports that the iCloud Music Library had also experienced an outage on Wednesday, and that just weeks ago Apple released an operating system update which bricked several iPad Pros. And yesterday Amazon also experienced a service outage. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Python/Unix Hybrid Demoed at PyCon

(3 years ago)
A new shell "combines the Python language with features of Bash Unix and the fish and zsh shells," according to InfoWorld. An anonymous reader writes: Pronounced "conch," but spelled Xonsh, it runs on Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X systems, bringing Python libraries to the command line -- for example, the ability to use regular expressions when globbing files. "The first thing you'll notice about Xonsh is that it's really meant to be used as a general-purpose shell," the lead developer explained in a presentation at PyCon. "But on the other hand, it really is Python, so you can do things like add two numbers together." They're describing it as "a Python-ish, BASHwards-looking shell language and command prompt...a superset of Python 3.4+ with additional support for the best parts of shells that you are used to, such as Bash, zsh, fish, and IPython...the superglue that bonds Python to a command-line interface and other shells." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Facebook is disabling messaging in its mobile web app to push people to Messenger (Devin Coldewey/TechCrunch)

(3 years ago)
Devin Coldewey / TechCrunch:Facebook is disabling messaging in its mobile web app to push people to Messenger  —  Facebook is removing the messaging capability from its mobile web application, according to a notice being served to users: “Your conversations are moving to Messenger,” it reads.

Wonder Boy Remake Finally On The Way

(3 years ago)
SlappingOysters writes: Sega has a number of fan favorite IP locked away in its vault, and one is about to be let out after a 27-year hiatus. Lizardcube has announced a remake of Wonder Boy 3: The Dragon's Trap for PC and consoles, which originally appeared on the Sega Master System in 1989. The game has a striking, modern visual style, but retains the classic story and gameplay. Lizardcube was founded by ex-developers of Media Molecule and Dreamworks, and the original game's creator, Ryuichi Nishizawa, is also on board. You can watch the reveal trailer here. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Frontier Has No Plans For Data Caps As They're Not Necessary, Says CEO

(3 years ago)
An anonymous reader writes: Frontier's CEO Dan McCarthy has said at an investors conference that the company has no plans to institute data caps that squeeze overage fees from data-hungry customers, yet. "The nice part of technology and what has happened is that transport costs continue to decline," he explained. "We have not really started or have any intent about initiatives on usage based pricing," said McCarthy. "We want to make sure our products meet the needs of customers for what they want to do and it does not inhibit them or force them to make decisions on how they want to use the product." He did note that data caps could someday come into play: "There may be a time when usage-based pricing is the right solution for the market, but I really don't see that as a path the market is taking at this point in time." The gist of what McCarthy is saying as noted via Ars Technica is that data caps are a business decision, not a network necessity. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

UK Risks Over-Blocking Content Online, Warns Human Rights Watchdog

(3 years ago)
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: The UK is at serious risk of over-blocking web content, the Council of Europe has warned in a scathing report. "Governments have an obligation to combat the promotion of terrorism, child abuse material, hate speech and other illegal content online. However, I am concerned that some states are not clearly defining what constitutes illegal content. Decisions are often delegated to authorities who are given a wide margin for interpreting content, potentially to the detriment of freedom of expression," said CoE secretary general, Thorbjorn Jagland. The 32-page report also concluded that some British practices may be in breach of the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, and that the current framework seems more concerned with protecting ISPs from liability, than the general public's freedom of expression. The study singled out the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) whose job it is to police online child abuse material. The IWF has existed in some form since 1996, but is not a government body or law enforcement agency, but instead, a registered charity, funded by the European Union and the wider online industry, including big players such as Google and Microsoft. Although the report noted that "the IWF has taken a number of steps to better ensure that its operations are transparent and proportionate, in the absence of legal safeguards against over-blocking, the threshold for the kind of material which may be subjected[..]

Twitter tests Promoted Tweet Carousel, an ad format that lets brands include multiple tweets, including tweets from other users with their permission (George Slefo/Ad Age)

(3 years ago)
George Slefo / Ad Age:Twitter tests Promoted Tweet Carousel, an ad format that lets brands include multiple tweets, including tweets from other users with their permission  —  New Swipeable Ad Unit Can Include Videos, Images, Text  —  Twitter is testing out a new ad scheme that would allow brands to leverage …

Remote desktop tool TeamViewer introduces new security features after reports of PC and Mac hijacks (Shaun Nichols/The Register)

(3 years ago)
Shaun Nichols / The Register:Remote desktop tool TeamViewer introduces new security features after reports of PC and Mac hijacks  —  Stable door settles for bolt long after brief relationship with passing horse  —  TeamViewer is whacking anti-hacker protections into its remote-desktop tool - as its customers continue …

Exclusive: NY Fed first rejected cyber-heist transfers, then moved $81 million

(3 years ago)
DHAKA/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Hours before the Federal Reserve Bank of New York approved four fraudulent requests to send $81 million from a Bangladesh Bank account to cyber thieves, the Fed branch blocked those same requests because they lacked information required to transfer money, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter.

Wal-Mart says tech investments will boost online sales

(3 years ago)
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc executives touted the technology investments the world's No. 1 retailer is making to boost online sales, during the annual shareholder meeting on Friday.

Microsoft Wants To Power Self-Driving Cars With Software, Not Build One

(3 years ago)
An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft's Peggy Johnson said at the Converge conference (Warning: WSJ source paywalled) in Hong Kong this week that the company is not interested in manufacturing its own self-driving cars, but instead is interested in building software for cars. "We won't be building our own autonomous vehicle but we would like to enable autonomous vehicles and assisted driving as well," said Johnson, head of business development at Microsoft. "We in different ways enabled a variety of different partners and you'll see us continuing to do that." Microsoft is open to partners requesting an operating system for cars. The company has partnered with Harman to integrate Microsoft Office 365 into its infotainment systems, bringing Word, Excel, and PowerPoint to cars for the first time. "You're sitting in the car for many, many minutes a day. Can that be part of your new office, can it be your new desk, a place where you actually get work done?" asked Johnson. "We believe it can." Two years ago, Microsoft unveiled their "Windows in the car" initiative to compete against Apple's CarPlay. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

A look at Nest's new low-key CEO Marwan Fawaz and his challenge of standing up for the firm within Alphabet while retaining Fadell's loyalists at Nest (Mark Bergen/Recode)

(3 years ago)
Mark Bergen / Recode:A look at Nest's new low-key CEO Marwan Fawaz and his challenge of standing up for the firm within Alphabet while retaining Fadell's loyalists at Nest  —  A look at the newest, low-key CEO under Alphabet.  —  The intrepid entrepreneur behind Nest, one of the most high-profile tech acquisitions ever, has left.

WordPress Sites Under Attack From New Zero-Day In WP Mobile Detector Plugin

(3 years ago)
An anonymous reader writes: A large number of websites have been infected with SEO spam thanks to a new zero-day in the WP Mobile Detector plugin that was installed on over 10,000 websites. The zero-day was used in real-world attacks since May 26, but only surfaced to light on May 29 when researchers notified the plugin's developer. Seeing that the developer was slow to react, security researchers informed Automattic, who had the plugin delisted from WordPress.org's Plugin Directory on May 31. In the meantime, security firm Sucuri says it detected numerous attacks with this zero-day, which was caused by a lack of input filtering in an image upload field that allowed attackers to upload PHP backdoors on the victim's servers with incredible ease and without any tricky workarounds. The backdoor's password is "dinamit," the Russian word for dynamite. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

FBI Developing Software To Track, Sort People By Their Tattoos

(3 years ago)
An anonymous reader writes: According to an Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) investigation, the FBI is working to create software with government researchers that will allow law enforcement to sort and identify people based off their tattoos. The advanced tattoo recognition technology aims to determine "affiliation to gangs, sub-cultures, religious or ritualistic beliefs, or political ideology" and decipher tattoos that "contain intelligence, messages, meaning and motivation." Such research first originated at the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) in 2014, and used a database of prisoner's tattoos. The technology developed by NIST would "map connections between people with similarly themed tattoos or make inferences about people from their tattoos," the EFF reports. What some may view as even more unnerving is that the EFF investigation claims the researchers disregarded basic ethical government research standards, especially those relating specifically to prisoners. The obtained documents reveal NIST researchers sought permission from supervisors only after they had conducted their initial research. The EFF argues that a database that sorts citizens based on their tattoos may or may not reflect their religious or political beliefs, social affiliations, or interests. Read more of[..]

FTC Has Serious Concerns About IoT Security and Privacy

(3 years ago)
Trailrunner7 quotes a report from On The Wire: The Federal Trade Commission has sent comments to the Department of Commerce, outlining a list of concerns about the security and privacy of connected and embedded devices, saying that while many IoT devices have tangible benefits for consumers, "these devices also create new opportunities for unauthorized persons to exploit vulnerabilities." One of the key security problems that researchers have cited with IoT devices is the impracticality of updating them when vulnerabilities are discovered. Installing new firmware on light bulbs or refrigerators is not something most consumers are used to, and many manufacturers haven't contemplated those processes either. The FTC said the lack of available updates is a serious problem for consumers and businesses alike. "Although similar risks exist with traditional computers and computer networks, they may be heightened in the IoT, in part because many IoT chips are inexpensive and disposable, and many IoT devices are quickly replaceable with newer versions. As a result, businesses may not have an incentive to support software updates for the full useful life of these devices, potentially leaving consumers with vulnerable devices. Moreover, it may be difficult or impossible to apply updates to certain devices," the FTC comments say. In early May, the FTC issued a 10-page letter to eight leading players in the mobile communications arena requiring them to tell the agency how they issue[..]

After report about 50+ breaches at the Federal Reserve from 2011-2015, Congressional committee asks for all breach-related documents since 2009 (Reuters)

(3 years ago)
Reuters:After report about 50+ breaches at the Federal Reserve from 2011-2015, Congressional committee asks for all breach-related documents since 2009  —  A U.S. congressional committee has launched an investigation into the Federal Reserve's cyber security practices after a Reuters report revealed …

Snapchat Secretly Acquires Seene, A Startup That Let's Mobile Users Make 3D Selfies

(3 years ago)
An anonymous reader writes: TechCrunch has learned of a secret acquisition by Snapchat of a computer vision startup company called Seene. TechCrunch reports: "Seene lets you capture 3D models from your phone with a simple smartphone camera. Snapchat could use Seene's format for a brand new category of selfie lenses, a new 3D photo format, and potentially for future virtual reality projects. Seene scans and reconstructs full 3D geometry on your phone. Unlike Project Tango or Microsoft's Kinect, Seene doesn't need special infrared sensors and multiple cameras. Similarly, Seene doesn't need a cloud backend to process 3D scans and recreate 3D objects -- everything happens on the phone. For instance, you can scan your face in a few seconds and create a 3D selfie. It would make a lot of sense to use Seene's technology to improve Snapchat's selfie lenses -- including for advertising purposes. (Snapchat debuted sponsored lenses in fall last year, and charges a pretty penny to advertisers wanting to get their brand on people's faces.) Also last year, Snapchat acquired Looksery to power its selfie lenses. Combining Looksery's technology with Seene's technology would allow Snapchat to create more complex lenses with a real sense of depth. Think ads that people want to touch." While on the subject of lenses, U.S. inventors claim their flat lens made of paint whitener on a sliver of glass could revolutionize optics.[..]

Electric Bikes Won Over China. Is the US Next?

(3 years ago)
Sales of electric-bike is growing in many parts of the world. Asia-Pacific region, for instance, is estimated to see 32.8M of them sell this year, and 1.6m of e-bikes are expected to be sold in Western Europe by the end of this year. In China, in particular, the ban on motorcyle has lead to massive e-bike adoption. Over the years we've seen many companies such as BG and Pedego dish out models after models, offering bikes ranging from elegant folding versions to flat-tire variants. Despite all the growth elsewhere in the world, North America and Latin America are estimated to see less than 250,000 inventories move this year. But going forward, the number is likely to see a major growth. From a Bloomberg article: Electrics "finally have legs to be able to take off in the U.S.," because cyclists are feeling safer on the roads, battery and motor technology is improving, and retail prices are dropping, says Todd Grant, president of the National Bicycle Dealers Association. However, e-bikes have been banned in some U.S. cities because of safety concerns. [...] The U.S. market could develop "way faster" than Europe's did, says Claus Fleischer, who heads Bosch's e-bike division. The German multinational began selling motors and batteries for electric bikes in 2011 and now supplies more than 60 brands, primarily in Europe. It opened a subsidiary in Irvine, Calif., in 2014 and is sponsoring e-bike expos across the U.S., including one in Portland, Ore., that ran for three days in late[..]

Nest CEO Tony Fadell Steps Down After Tumultuous Two Years At Google

(3 years ago)
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Tony Fadell is stepping down as head of Nest Labs, just over two tumultuous years after selling the smart-home gadget maker to Google. Fadell will leave Nest immediately and be replaced by Marwan Fawaz, former executive vice president of Motorola Mobility where he served as CEO of Motorola Home, Nest said in a statement. Fadell will still advise Alphabet Inc. and Larry Page, the Google co-founder and chief executive officer of the holding company. Nest took longer than expected to release new products and a smoke and carbon monoxide detector was recalled due to software problems. When the company did release an updated product, the Nest Cam security camera in June 2015, Fadell admitted it had been a "grueling" year. In recent months, Nest employees complained publicly about Fadell's management, while claiming the business had missed sales targets, botched upgrades and delayed future products. Fadell said, "I don't know of any regrets that I have. To do what we do at the level we do it, no one's done it before. So you're bound to make mistakes." Read more of this story at Slashdot.


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