Technology News

Researchers Crack Open AMD's Server VM Encryption

(13 minutes ago)
Shaun Nichols, reporting for The Register: A group of German researchers have devised a method to thwart the VM security in AMD's server chips. Dubbed SEVered (PDF), the attack would potentially allow an attacker, or malicious admin who had access to the hypervisor, the ability to bypass AMD's Secure Encrypted Virtualization (SEV) protections. The problem, say Fraunhofer AISEC researchers Mathias Morbitzer, Manuel Huber, Julian Horsch and Sascha Wessel, is that SEV, which is designed to isolate VMs from the prying eyes of the hypervisor, doesn't fully isolate and encrypt the VM data within the physical memory itself.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

US Reaches Deal To Keep Chinese Telecom ZTE in Business

(55 minutes ago)
The Trump administration told lawmakers the U.S. government has reached a deal to put Chinese telecommunications company ZTE Corp back in business, a senior congressional aide said on Friday. From a report: The deal, communicated to officials on Capitol Hill by the Commerce Department, requires ZTE to pay a substantial fine, place U.S. compliance officers at the company and change its management team, the aide said. The Commerce Department would then lift an order preventing ZTE from buying U.S. products. ZTE was banned in April from buying U.S. technology components for seven years for breaking an agreement reached after it violated U.S. sanctions against Iran and North Korea. The Commerce Department decision would allow it to resume business with U.S. companies, including chipmaker Qualcomm Inc.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Valve Slammed Over 'Horrendous' Steam School-Shooting Game

(One hour ago)
Several readers have shared an EuroGamer report: Just a week after the Santa Fe High School shooting in Texas that saw 10 people fatally shot and 13 others were wounded, Valve has come under fire for a Steam school-shooting game that encourages you to "hunt and destroy" children. Active Shooter, which at the time of publication is live on Steam and due for release on 6th June, is described by its developer as "a dynamic S.W.A.T. simulator." The idea is you're sent in to deal with a shooter at a school, but you can also play as the actual shooter, gunning down school children. Now, an anti-gun violence charity has called on Valve to pull the game from Steam. The developer of Active Shooter is called Revived Games, the publisher Acid. Revived Games' credits include White Power: Pure Voltage and Dab, Dance & Twerk. "Acid", who plans to add a survival mode in which you play as a civilian and have to "escape or perform a heroic action such as fight against the shooter itself," took to Active Shooter's Steam page to defend the game. "First of all, this game does not promote any sort of violence, especially any soft [sic] of a mass shooting," Acid said.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Exclusive: Tesla flies in new battery production line for Gigafactory

(One hour ago)
FRANKFURT/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Tesla Inc has flown six planes full of robots and equipment from Europe to California in an unusual, high-stakes effort to speed up battery production for its Model 3 electric sedan, people familiar with the matter told Reuters this week.

U.S. reaches deal to keep Chinese telecom ZTE in business: congressional aide

(One hour ago)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Trump administration told lawmakers the U.S. government has reached a deal to put Chinese telecommunications company ZTE Corp back in business, a senior congressional aide said on Friday.

In Apple Mail, There's No Protecting PGP-Encrypted Messages

(2 hours ago)
It has been nearly two weeks since researchers unveiled "EFAIL," a set of critical software vulnerabilities that allow encrypted email messages to be stolen from within the inbox. The Intercept reports that developers of email clients and encryption plugins are still scrambling to come up with a permanent fix. From the report: Apple Mail is the email client that comes free with every Mac computer, and an open source project called GPGTools allows Apple Mail to smoothly encrypt and decrypt messages using the 23-year-old PGP standard. The day the EFAIL paper was published, GPGTools instructed users to workaround EFAIL by changing a setting in Apple Mail to disable loading remote content. Similarly, the creator of PGP, Phil Zimmermann, co-signed a blog post Thursday stating that EFAIL was "easy to mitigate" by disabling the loading of remote content in GPGTools. But even if you follow this advice and disable remote content, Apple Mail and GPGTools are still vulnerable to EFAIL. I developed a proof-of-concept exploit that works against Apple Mail and GPGTools even when remote content loading is disabled (German security researcher Hanno Bock also deserves much of the credit for this exploit, more on that below). I have reported the vulnerability to the GPGTools developers, and they are actively working on an update that they plan on releasing soon.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Tesla settles class action lawsuit over 'dangerous' Autopilot system

(2 hours ago)
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Tesla on Thursday reached an agreement to settle a class action lawsuit with buyers of its Model S and Model X cars who alleged that the company's assisted-driving Autopilot system was "essentially unusable and demonstrably dangerous."

EU privacy law enters into force, activist takes aim

(2 hours ago)
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - New European privacy regulations went into effect on Friday that will force companies to be more attentive to how they handle customer data.

Austrian data privacy activist takes aim at 'forced consent'

(2 hours ago)
VIENNA/LONDON (Reuters) - As Europe's new privacy law took effect on Friday, one activist wasted no time in asserting the additional rights it gives people over the data that companies want to collect about them.

China to use cornerstones to help Alibaba, Xiaomi list in mainland: sources

(2 hours ago)
HONG KONG/BEIJING (Reuters) - China plans to use cornerstone investors to help its overseas-listed tech giants such as Alibaba and Xiaomi [IPO-XMGP.HK] to sell shares at home, on worries the size of the deals could overwhelm mainland markets, three sources said.

South Africa investigates $80 million bitcoin scam

(2 hours ago)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African authorities are investigating an alleged cryptocurrency scam that defrauded investors of 1 billion rand ($80 million) with promises of huge returns that never materialized, police said on Friday.

Merkel calls for Germany and China to regear relations for digital era

(2 hours ago)
SHENZHEN (Reuters) - Berlin and Beijing must revamp their relationship to adapt to digital changes, said Angela Merkel, who has made the issue a top priority of her fourth term as German Chancellor.

EU states agree rules to make search engines pay for news

(2 hours ago)
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Search engines like Google and Microsoft's Bing could be made to pay for showing snippets of news articles under draft copyright rules endorsed by European Union ambassadors on Friday.

U.S. reached deal to keep Chinese telecom ZTE in business: Congressional aide

(2 hours ago)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Trump administration told lawmakers that the U.S. government has reached a deal to put Chinese telecommunications company ZTE Corp back in business, a senior Congressional aide said on Friday.

Gut Sensor Could Monitor Health -- and Beam Results to a Smartphone

(2 hours ago)
Doctors are now one step closer to deploying sensors that can travel to parts of a patient's body to diagnose hard-to-detect conditions. From a report: Researchers have devised a new way to get a sneak peek into what's going on deep in your digestive system, creating a swallowable sensor that, with the help of engineered bacteria and a tiny electrical circuit, can detect the presence of molecules that might be signs of disease and then beam the results to a smartphone app. The device, which scientists validated in pigs, remains a prototype and needs to be refined before it could be used in people. But the researchers, who reported their work Thursday in the journal Science, combined innovations in synthetic biology and microelectronics to create a modular platform that could be adapted to identify a wide range of molecules. "We want to try to illuminate and provide understanding into areas that are not easily accessible," said Dr. Timothy Lu, a bioengineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and senior author of the paper.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Vermont Wants To Pay Companies To Let Employees Work Remotely

(3 hours ago)
A proposal for an act in the Vermont legislature is actively trying to give grants to small companies to employ remote workers. From a report: Under the terms of S-0094, a $10,000 micro-grant will be given to a business that will "establish or enhance a facility that attracts small companies or remote workers, or both, including generator and maker spaces, co-working spaces, remote work hubs, and innovation spaces, with special emphasis on facilities that promote colocation of nonprofit, for-profit, and government entities."Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Vulnerability in Z-Wave Wireless Communications Protocol, Used By Some IoT and Smart Devices, Exposes 100 Million Devices To Attack

(4 hours ago)
An anonymous reader writes: The Z-Wave wireless communications protocol used for some IoT/smart devices is vulnerable to a downgrade attack that can allow a malicious party to intercept and tamper with traffic between smart devices. The attack -- codenamed Z-Shave -- relies on tricking two smart devices that are pairing into thinking one of them does not support the newer S-Wave S2 security features, forcing both to use the older S0 security standard. The Z-Shave attack is dangerous because devices paired via an older version of Z-Wave can become a point of entry for an attacker into a larger network, or can lead to the theft of personal property. While this flaw might prove frivolous for some devices in some scenarios, it is a big issue for others -- such as smart door locks, alarm systems, or any Z-Wave-capable device on the network of a large corporation. The company behind the Z-Wave protocol tried to downplay the attack's significance, but its claims were knocked down by researchers in a video.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

FBI says foreign hackers have compromised home router devices

(4 hours ago)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The FBI warned on Friday that foreign cyber criminals had compromised "hundreds of thousands" of home and small office router devices around the world which direct traffic on the internet by forwarding data packets between computer networks.

Robot Worries Could Cause a 50,000-Worker Strike in Las Vegas

(4 hours ago)
Thousands of unionized hotel and casino workers in Las Vegas are ready to go on strike for the first time in more than three decades. From a report: Members of the Culinary Union, who work in many of the city's biggest casinos, have voted to approve a strike unless a deal is reached soon. Some background: On June 1, the contracts of 50,000 union workers expire, making them eligible to strike. Employees range from bartenders to guest room attendants. The last casino worker strike, in 1984, lasted 67 days and cost more than $1 million a day. Why? Higher wages, naturally. But the workers are also looking for better job security, especially from robots. "We support innovations that improve jobs, but we oppose automation when it only destroys jobs," says Geoconda Arguello-Kline, secretary-treasurer for the Culinary Union. "Our industry must innovate without losing the human touch."Read more of this story at Slashdot.

As The Planet Warms, We'll Be Having Rice With A Side Of CO2

(5 hours ago)
Grains are the bedrock of civilization. They led humans from hunting and gathering to city-building. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, the fruits of three grasses provide the world with 60 percent of its total food: corn, wheat and rice. Aside from energy-rich carbohydrates, grains feed us protein, zinc, iron and essential B vitamins. But rice as we know it is at risk. An anonymous reader shares a report: As humans expel billions of metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere and raze vast swaths of forests, the concentration of carbon dioxide in our air hurries ever higher. That has the potential to severely diminish the nutritional value of rice, according to a new study published this week in Science Advances. For people who depend heavily on rice as a staple in their diets, such a nutritional loss would be devastating, says Kristie Ebi, a professor at the University of Washington and an author on the study.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Microsoft Explains Why Windows Defender Isn't Ranked Higher in New Antivirus Tests

(6 hours ago)
In its most recent reports, AV-Test had very few flattering things to say about Windows Defender. Microsoft's security suite was rated as the seventh best antivirus product in the independent test. In total, 15 AV products were tested. Microsoft, however, has now disputed AV-Test's methodology and conclusion. For some context, the top AV products rated by AV-Test on Windows 10 were Trend Micro, Vipre, AhnLab, Avira, Bitdefender, Kaspersky, and McAfee. Windows Defender was able to detect 100 percent of new and old malware, but it lost few points for performance (which, AV-Test measures on the basis of how a security suite slows applications and websites on the test computer); and usability (which counts false-positives or instances where AV wrongly identifies a file as malicious.) From a report: Windows Defender's performance rating was dragged down because it slowed the installation of frequently used applications more than the industry average, and wrongly detected 16 pieces of legitimate software compared with the industry average of four. But Microsoft wants enterprise customers to know that Windows Defender is only half the picture, given the option for customers to also deploy Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection's (ATP) "stack components" including Smartscreen, Application Guard, and Application Control. In the January and February test Windows Defender also scored 100 percent on protection. However it did miss two samples. Since then it's retrained its[..]

Apple Blocks Steam's Plan To Extend Its Video Games To iPhones

(7 hours ago)
Citing "business conflicts," Apple has blocked Steam's plans to distribute PC-based video games to iPhones. It's "a sign that Apple is serious about protecting its ability to take a cut of digital purchases made inside games on its mobile devices," reports Reuters. From the report: Steam, the dominant online store for downloaded games played on Windows PCs, had planned to release a free mobile phone app called Steam Link so that gamers could continue playing on their mobile phones while away from their desktop machines. But Apple has rejected the app, blocking its release, according to a statement from Steam's parent company, the Bellevue, Washington-based Valve. Steam did not give a precise reason for the App Store denials, saying only that Apple cited "business conflicts with app guidelines." But the conflict likely centers on what are known as in-app purchases or micro-transactions, in which gamers can spend small sums of money inside games to buy tokens, extra lives or others so-called digital goods. Lombardi said Steam disabled purchasing its iOS app but did not elaborate on how the change was made. Many analysts believe Apple could lose revenue if they allow Steam's app, which is essentially a store-within-a-store. "Apple takes a 30 percent cut of such purchases made within apps distributed through its App Store," Reuters notes. "[T]hose purchases are among the primary drivers of revenue in Apple's services business."Read more of this story at Slashdot.

EU privacy law enters into force, activist takes aim

(7 hours ago)
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - New European privacy regulations went into effect on Friday that will force companies to be more attentive to how they handle customer data.

Apple blocks Steam's plan to extend its video games to iPhones

(7 hours ago)
(Reuters) - Apple Inc has blocked the plans of the biggest distributor of PC-based video games to extend its reach into iPhones, according to the game distributor, a sign that Apple is serious about protecting its ability to take a cut of digital purchases made inside games on its mobile devices.

New privacy law forces some U.S. media offline in Europe

(9 hours ago)
LONDON (Reuters) - Major U.S.-media outlets including the LA Times and Chicago Tribune were forced to shutter their websites in parts of Europe on Friday following the roll out of stringent new privacy regulations by the European Union.

Google and Facebook accused of breaking GDPR laws

(9 hours ago)
Complaints against the web giants are filed on the first day of the EU's new data protection law.

YouTube star John 'TotalBiscuit' Bain dies aged 33

(9 hours ago)
Game critic John Bain - known as TotalBiscuit and the Cynical Brit - dies of cancer.

A Star Wars Boba Fett Movie Is In the Works

(10 hours ago)
"Logan" director James Mangold is reportedly directing a "Star Wars" standalone movie centered on the bounty hunter Boba Fett. Variety reports: The untitled movie will be a part of the studio's Star Wars Anthology films, which are being spun off as origin stories. The first anthology film was 2016's "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," followed by "Solo: A Star Wars Story," starring Alden Ehrenreich as a young Han Solo. "Solo" began opening in previews on Thursday night in North America, with forecasts of an debut weekend of $130 million to $150 million. Boba Fett debuted in 1980's "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back" and re-appeared in 1983's "Star Wars: Return of the Jedi" as a mercenary for the Galactic Empire. Jeremy Bulloch played the character in the two movies and Jason Wingreen provided Fett's voice. Here's a video highlighting all the scenes starring Boba Fett in the Star Wars trilogy. Do you think it's wise to produce a movie around a character who's had such few scenes, relative to the others?Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Facebook Accused of Conducting Mass Surveillance Through Its Apps

(13 hours ago)
A court case in California alleges that Facebook used its apps to gather information about users and their friends, including some who had not signed up to the social network, reading their text messages, tracking their locations and accessing photos on their phones. The Guardian reports: The claims of what would amount to mass surveillance are part of a lawsuit brought against the company by the former startup Six4Three, listed in legal documents filed at the superior court in San Mateo as part of a court case that has been ongoing for more than two years. The allegations about surveillance appear in a January filing, the fifth amended complaint made by Six4Three. It alleges that Facebook used a range of methods, some adapted to the different phones that users carried, to collect information it could use for commercial purposes. "Facebook continued to explore and implement ways to track users' location, to track and read their texts, to access and record their microphones on their phones, to track and monitor their usage of competitive apps on their phones, and to track and monitor their calls," one court document says. But all details about the mass surveillance scheme have been redacted on Facebook's request in Six4Three's most recent filings. Facebook claims these are confidential business matters. It has until next Tuesday to submit a claim to the court for the documents to remain sealed from public view.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Tencent's WeChat drops 'sugar daddy' dating website

(13 hours ago)
BEIJING (Reuters) - China's top social media app WeChat has removed "sugar daddy" dating website SeekingArrangement from its platform, after a recent surge in the popularity of the U.S.-founded service attracted scrutiny from state media.

EU privacy law heralds new era in online data protection

(13 hours ago)
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - New European privacy regulations that go into effect on Friday will force companies to be more attentive to how they handle customer data, while bringing consumers both new ways to control their data and tougher enforcement of existing privacy rights.

Tencent's WeChat drops 'sugar daddy' dating website

(14 hours ago)
BEIJING (Reuters) - China's top social media app WeChat has removed "sugar daddy" dating website SeekingArrangement from its platform, after a recent surge in the popularity of the U.S.-founded service attracted scrutiny from state media.

EU privacy law heralds new era in online data protection

(14 hours ago)
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - New European privacy regulations that go into effect on Friday will force companies to be more attentive to how they handle customer data, while bringing consumers both new ways to control their data and tougher enforcement of existing privacy rights.

Uber to open Paris lab for flying taxis

(14 hours ago)
Ride-hailing firm wants to create a sky-based taxi service and is investing in France to make it happen.

Strawb bots

(14 hours ago)
Strawberry producers say labour shortages are driving them to find robotic fruit pickers instead.

The robot that performs like an acrobat and other news

(14 hours ago)
BBC Click's Marc Cieslak looks at some of the best technology news stories of the week.

The strawberry-picking robots coming to a farm near you

(14 hours ago)
Strawberry producers say they can't find enough humans to pick their fruit, so are robots the answer?

Why is there a row about Galileo?

(14 hours ago)
Britain may be denied full access to the EU's Galileo satellite navigation system on security grounds after Brexit.

Is Cockroach Milk the Ultimate Superfood?

(16 hours ago)
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Global News: It may not be everyone's cup of milk, but for years now, some researchers believe insect milk, like cockroach milk, could be the next big dairy alternative. A report in 2016 found Pacific Beetle cockroaches specifically created nutrient-filled milk crystals that could also benefit humans, the Hindustan Times reports. Others report producing cockroach milk isn't easy, either -- it takes 1,000 cockroaches to make 100 grams of milk, Inverse reports, and other options could include a cockroach milk pill. And although it has been two years since the study, some people are still hopeful. Insect milk, or entomilk, is already being used and consumed by Cape Town-based company Gourmet Grubb, IOL reports. Jarrod Goldin, [president of Entomo Farms which launched in 2014], got interested in the insect market after the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation in 2013 announced people around the world were consuming more than 1,900 insects. As his brothers were already farming insects for fishing and reptile use, Goldin thought it would be a smart business opportunity to focus on food. Goldin adds studies have shown cricket powder can be a high source of protein and B12. The PC version his company produces has 13 grams of protein per every 2 1/2 tbsps. Toronto-based registered dietitian Andy De Santis says for protein alternatives, insects are definitely in the playing field. According to ScienceAlert, Diploptera punctate[..]

Samsung Must Pay Apple $539 Million For Infringing iPhone Design Patents, Jury Finds

(18 hours ago)
Samsung must pay Apple $539 million for infringing five patents with Android phones it sold in 2010 and 2011, a jury has found in a legal fight that dates back seven years. "The unanimous decision, in the U.S. District Court in San Jose in the heart of Silicon Valley, is just about halfway between what the two largest mobile phone makers had sought in a high-profile case that reaches back to 2011," reports CNET. From the report: The bulk of the damages payment, $533,316,606, was for infringing three Apple design patents. The remaining $5,325,050 was for infringing two utility patents. Samsung already had been found to infringe the patents, but this trial determined some of the damages. The jury's rationale isn't clear, but the figure is high enough to help cement the importance of design patents in the tech industry. Even though they only describe cosmetic elements of a product, they clearly can have a lot of value. Samsung showed its displeasure and indicated the fight isn't over. "Today's decision flies in the face of a unanimous Supreme Court ruling in favor of Samsung on the scope of design patent damages. We will consider all options to obtain an outcome that does not hinder creativity and fair competition for all companies and consumers," Samsung said.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Vevo To Shut Down Site, Giving In To YouTube Empire

(19 hours ago)
Vevo, the video-hosting service founded in 2009 as a joint venture between the big three record companies, is shutting down. The company announced in a blog post Thursday that it is shuttering its mobile apps and website, and that "going forward, Vevo will remain focused on engaging the biggest audiences and pursuing growth opportunities." Vevo is almost entirely succumbing to YouTube. Rolling Stone reports: The major record labels set up Vevo -- an abbreviation for "video evolution" -- in 2009 as a designated streaming service for music videos that would ideally bring in greater revenue from more high-end advertisers. Via a distribution deal with YouTube, it received a cut of revenue from putting its music videos on the Google-owned site. But YouTube's might has grown: The video-streaming service recently took Vevo's branding off its music videos, while also securing permission under a new licensing deal to sell Vevo's clips directly to advertisers, cutting out the smaller company's sales force. Though Vevo has been trying to peel away from its dependence on YouTube by touting its own suite of apps and offerings for years, it seems those efforts haven't been met with much success. "Our catalog of premium music videos and original content will continue to reach a growing audience on YouTube and we are exploring ways to work with additional platforms to further expand access to Vevo's content," the company said in its blog post. Vevo users on its website and Android, iOS and[..]

Android Creator Puts Essential Up For Sale, Cancels Next Phone

(19 hours ago)
Bloomberg reports that Andy Rubin's Essential Products business is considering selling itself and has canceled development of a new smartphone. The news comes several months after numerous reports suggested that the Essential Phone's sales were tepid. From the report: The startup has hired Credit Suisse Group AG to advise on a potential sale and has received interest from at least one suitor, the people said. Essential is now actively shopping itself to potential suitors, one of the people said. The startup, part of Rubin's incubator Playground Global, has raised about $300 million from several investors, including Amazon, Tencent, and Redpoint Ventures. It was valued at $900 million to $1 billion about a year ago, according to an analysis by Equidate, which runs a market for private company stock. The startup has spent more than $100 million on developing its first products, about a third of the money it raised to build the company, the people said. Current discussions are focused on a sale of the entire company, including its patent portfolio, hardware products like the original smartphone, an upcoming smart home device and a camera attachment for the phone. Essential's engineering talent, which includes those hired from Apple and Alphabet's Google, would likely be part of a deal. The company hasn't yet made a final decision on a sale, the people said.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Google tries to ease tensions on eve of new EU privacy law

(20 hours ago)
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Alphabet Inc's Google sought to ease online publisher concerns on Thursday about the effects European data privacy rules going into effect in just a few hours will have on their ad business.
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