Technology News

PayPal Told Customer Her Death Breached Its Rules

(6 days ago)
dryriver shares a report from the BBC: PayPal wrote to a woman who had died of cancer saying her death had breached its rules and that it might take legal action as a consequence. The firm has since acknowledged that the letter was "insensitive," apologized to her widower, and begun an inquiry into how it came to be sent. Lindsay Durdle died on May 31 aged 37. She had been first diagnosed with breast cancer about a year-and-a-half earlier. The disease had later spread to her lungs and brain. PayPal was informed of Mrs Durdle's death three weeks ago by her husband Howard Durdle. He provided the online payments service with copies of her death certificate, her will and his ID, as requested. He has now received a letter addressed in her name, sent to his home in Bucklebury, West Berkshire. It was headlined: "Important: You should read this notice carefully." It said that Mrs Durdle owed the company about 3,200 pounds (~$4,200) and went on to say: "You are in breach of condition 15.4(c) of your agreement with PayPal Credit as we have received notice that you are deceased... this breach is not capable of remedy." According to a PayPal staff member, there were three possible explanations for how the letter was sent: a bug, a bad letter template, or human error. PayPal is continuing to work with Mr Durdle and has written off the debt in the meantime.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Daimler, Bosch to deploy self-driving taxis in California test program

(6 days ago)
German automaker Daimler AG and auto supplier Bosch Corp [ROBSCJ.UL] will deploy self-driving taxis in California's Silicon Valley region next year as part of a test program of vehicles designed for city driving, the two companies said on Tuesday.

DOJ Reaches Settlement On Publication of Files About 3D Printed Firearms

(7 days ago)
He Who Has No Name writes: Those who remember Cody Wilson and Defense Distributed -- the self-described cryptoanarchist and his organization that published plans for 3D printable firearm parts, respectively -- also remember that not long after the plans for the printable Liberator single-shot pistol hit the web, the Department of State seized the Defense Distributed website and prohibited Wilson from publishing 3D printable firearm plans, claiming violations of ITAR -- the International Traffic in Arms Regulation, a U.S. law taxing and restricting the distribution of a wide variety of physical goods listed as having military value. Slashdot covered the website seizure here (the Department of Defense was initially misreported in sources to have been the agency responsible). In both a First and Second Amendment win, the Second Amendment Foundation has settled with the Department of State after suing on behalf of Defense Distributed. Slashdot reader schwit1 shares an excerpt from the report: "Under terms of the settlement, the government has agreed to waive its prior restraint against the plaintiffs, allowing them to freely publish the 3-D files and other information at issue. The government has also agreed to pay a significant portion of the plaintiffs' attorney's fees, and to return $10,000 in State Department registration dues paid by Defense Distributed as a result of the prior restraint. Significantly, the government expressly acknowledges that non-automatic firearms up to[..]

Analog Devices to partner with Baidu on autonomous driving project

(7 days ago)
U.S. chipmaker Analog Devices Inc said on Tuesday it had partnered with Baidu Inc to advance development of the Chinese search engine giant's autonomous driving technologies.

U.S. regulators grappling with self-driving vehicle security

(7 days ago)
In closed-door meetings last March, U.S. transportation regulators and others grappled with questions about whether police should have the power to disable self-driving cars and whether an automatic alert that a robo-taxi had been in a wreck could violate an occupant's privacy, a report released on Tuesday showed.

Apple's China-Friendly Censorship Caused An iPhone-Crashing Bug

(7 days ago)
Security researcher Patrick Wardle helped Apple fix a bug that would crash apps displaying the word "Taiwan" or the Taiwanese flag emoji. Some iPhones could be remotely crashed by something as simple as receiving a text message with the Taiwanese flag. Apple confirmed the fix in a security update Monday. Wired reports: "Basically Apple added some code to iOS with the goal that phones in China wouldn't display a Taiwanese flag," Wardle says, "and there was a bug in that code." Since at least early 2017, iOS has included that Chinese censorship function: Switch your iPhone's location setting to China, and the Taiwanese flag emoji essentially disappears from your phone, evaporating from its library of emojis and appearing as a "missing" emoji in any text that appears on the screen. That code likely represents a favor from Apple to the Chinese government, which for the last 70 years has maintained that Taiwan is a part of China and has no legitimate independent government. But Wardle found that in some edge cases, a bug in the Taiwan-censorship code meant that instead of treating the Taiwan emoji as missing from the phone's library, it instead considered it an invalid input. That caused phones to crash altogether, resulting in what hackers call a "denial of service" attack that would let anyone crash a vulnerable device on command. Wardle's still not sure how many devices are affected, or what caused that bug to be triggered only in some iOS devices and not others, but he[..]

Ex-Apple worker charged with stealing self-driving car trade secrets

(7 days ago)
U.S. authorities on Monday charged a former Apple Inc employee with theft of trade secrets, alleging that the person downloaded a secret blueprint related to a self-driving car to a personal laptop and later trying to flee the country, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court.

Former Apple employee charged with criminal theft of trade secrets

(7 days ago)
U.S. authorities on Monday charged a former Apple Inc employee with theft of trade secrets, alleging that the person downloaded a secret blueprint related to a self-driving car to a personal laptop and later trying to flee the country, according to a criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

DOD Seeks Classification 'Clippy' To Help Classify Data, Control Access

(7 days ago)
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: The DOD has issued a request for information (RFI) from industry in a quest for technology that will prevent the mislabeling and accidental (or deliberate) access and sharing of sensitive documents and data. In an announcement posted in May by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), the Pentagon stated that the DOD CIO's office -- part of the Office of the Secretary of Defense -- is "investigating the use of commercial solutions for labeling and controlling access to sensitive information." Defense IT officials are seeking software that "must be able to make real-time decisions about the classification level of the information and an individual's ability to access, change, delete, receive, or forward the information based on the credentials of the sending and/or receiving individual, facility, and system." In other words, the DOD is looking for a classification Clippy. In a response to questions regarding the RFI issued in late June, DOD officials said that the system should be able to ideally protect "any file type on a Microsoft operating system (OS) file system and active directory domain."Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Researchers Devise AI System To Reduce Noise in Photos

(7 days ago)
Researchers from Nvidia, MIT, and Aalto University are using artificial intelligence to reduce noise in photos. The team used 50,000 images from the ImageNet dataset to train its AI system for reconstructing photos, and the system is able to remove noise from an image even though it has never seen the image without noise. VentureBeat: Named Noise2Noise, the AI system was created using deep learning and draws its intelligence from 50,000 images from the ImageNet database. Each came as a clean, high-quality image without noise but was manipulated to add randomized noise. Computer-generated images and MRI scans were also used to train Noise2Noise. Denoising or noise reduction methods have been around for a long time now, but methods that utilize deep learning are a more recent phenomenon.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Hacker Breaches Chrome Extension of Popular VPN Service Hola, Directs Users To Compromised Cryptocurrency Website

(7 days ago)
Catalin Cimpanu, reporting for BleepingComputer: A hacker has breached a Hola VPN developer account and has replaced the official Chrome extension with one that redirected users of the MyEtherWallet.com website to a phishing page controlled by the attacker. The compromise took place yesterday and only lasted for five hours the MyEtherWallet (MEW) team said in a tweet. The Hola VPN team admitted to the hack. "The attack was programmed to inject a JavaScript tag in to the MEW site to 'phish' information about MEW accounts that are logging in without being in 'incognito mode', by re-directing the MEW users to the hacker's website," the Hola VPN team said.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Is iOS 11.4 Draining Your iPhone's Battery? You're Not Alone

(7 days ago)
If you've noticed that the battery life on your iPhone is not what it used to be, it's likely that the problem isn't with your iPhone or some setting or app, but a bug in iOS 11.4. From a report: Apple's support forum has been blowing up with complaints from users that battery life has been seriously curtailed since installing iOS 11.4. The problems seems to be reasonably widespread and affects the iPhone line up across the board. I've seen this issue on the iPhones that I use. It seems to be accompanied by the device running unusually hot.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

With So Many Eyeballs, Is Open Source Security Better?

(7 days ago)
Sean Michael Kerner, writing for eSecurity Planet: Back in 1999, Eric Raymond coined the term "Linus' Law," which stipulates that given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow. Linus' Law, named in honor of Linux creator Linus Torvalds, has for nearly two decades been used by some as a doctrine to explain why open source software should have better security. In recent years, open source projects and code have experienced multiple security issues, but does that mean Linus' Law isn't valid? According to Dirk Hohndel, VP and Chief Open Source Officer at VMware, Linus' Law still works, but there are larger software development issues that impact both open source as well as closed source code that are of equal or greater importance. "I think that in every development model, security is always a challenge," Hohndel said. Hohndel said developers are typically motivated by innovation and figuring out how to make something work, and security isn't always the priority that it should be. "I think security is not something we should think of as an open source versus closed source concept, but as an industry," Hohndel said.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

India's TCS posts record profit, expects strong growth in financial services to continue

(7 days ago)
India's biggest software services firm, Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS), expects growth in its banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) unit to remain strong in the next one to two years as it posted a record net profit, helped by a rebound in the key division.

Apple To Deploy 1Password To All 123,000 Employees; In Talks To Acquire Password Manager's Parent-Firm AgileBits: Report

(7 days ago)
Jonathan S. Geller, reporting for BGR: Apple acquires an average of 15 to 20 companies a year, according to CEO Tim Cook. Of that number, we only hear about a couple, as most of these acquisitions or aqcui-hires are not consumer-facing, nor disclosed. However, we have exclusively learned that Apple is planning an interesting partnership and a potential acquisition of AgileBits, maker of the popular password manager 1Password. According to our source, after many months of planning, Apple plans to deploy 1Password internally to all 123,000 employees. This includes not just employees in Cupertino, but extends all the way to retail, too. Furthermore, the company is said to have carved out a deal that includes family plans, giving up to 5 family members of each employee a free license for 1Password. With more and more emphasis on security in general, and especially at Apple, there are a number of reasons this deal makes sense. We're told that 100 Apple employees will start using 1Password through this initiative starting this week, with the full 123,000+ users expected to be activated within the next one to two months.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Google leans more on algorithms for ads as critics highlight risks

(7 days ago)
Alphabet Inc's Google introduced new ad-buying tools on Tuesday that showcase its growing push to allow machines instead of humans to fine-tune ads and determine where they should run.

BlackTech Threat Group Steals D-Link Certificates To Spread Backdoor Malware

(7 days ago)
Security researchers have discovered a new malicious campaign that utilizes stolen D-Link certificates to sign malware. From a report: A lesser-known cyber-espionage group known as BlackTech was caught earlier this month using a stolen D-Link certificate to sign malware deployed in a recent campaign. "The exact same certificate had been used to sign [official] D-Link software; therefore, the certificate was likely stolen," says Anton Cherepanov, a security researcher for Slovak antivirus company ESET, and the one who discovered the stolen cert. Cherepanov says BlackTech operators used the stolen cert to sign two malware payloads -- the first is the PLEAD backdoor, while the second is a nondescript password stealer. According to a 2017 Trend Micro report, the BlackTech group has used the PLEAD malware in the past. Just like in previous attacks, the group's targets for these most recent attacks were again located in East Asia, particularly in Taiwan. The password stealer isn't anything special, being capable of extracting passwords from only four apps -- Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Outlook.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

AT&T to buy cybersecurity firm AlienVault

(7 days ago)
AT&T Inc said on Tuesday that it has agreed to buy privately held Silicon Valley-based startup AlienVault, allowing the telecommunications giant to expand its line of cybersecurity products targeted at small and medium businesses.

Google leans more on algorithms for ads as critics highlight risks

(7 days ago)
Alphabet Inc's Google introduced new ad-buying tools on Tuesday that showcase its growing push to allow machines instead of humans to fine-tune ads and determine where they should run.

Messages, sketches and hashtags: Thai cave rescue dominates social media

(7 days ago)
Audiences around the world cheered the successful rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach from a cave in Thailand with messages of support as the saga generated suggestions of help, prayers and -- finally -- expressions of relief.

Tesla goes big in China with Shanghai plant

(7 days ago)
Tesla Inc Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk on Tuesday landed a deal with Chinese authorities to build a new auto plant in Shanghai, its first factory outside the United States, that would double the size of the electric car maker's global manufacturing.

In World First, Danish Court Rules Stream-Ripping Site Illegal

(7 days ago)
An anonymous reader shares a report: Convert2MP3 is a site that allows users to download audio from platforms including YouTube. Following legal action carried out by Rights Alliance on behalf of music industry group IFPI, Convert2MP3 has been declared unlawful by a Danish court which has now ordered ISPs to block it. It's the first time worldwide that a so-called stream-ripping site has been declared illegal.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

YouTube Is Fighting Conspiracy Theories With 'Authoritative' Context and Outside Links

(7 days ago)
In an effort to reduce misinformation on YouTube, the video-sharing website will be adding "authoritative" context to search results about conspiracy-prone topics, as well as putting $25 million toward news outlets producing videos. YouTube made the announcement today as part of a new step in its Google News Initiative, a journalism-focused program that aims to help publishers earn revenue and combat fake news. The Verge reports: This update includes new features for breaking news updates and long-standing conspiracy theories. YouTube is implementing a change it announced in March, annotating conspiracy-related pages with text from "trusted sources like Wikipedia and Encyclopedia Britannica." And in the hours after a major news event, YouTube will supplement search results with links to news articles, reasoning that rigorous outlets often publish text before producing video. YouTube is also funding a number of partnerships. It's establishing a working group that will provide input on how it handles news, and it's providing money for "sustainable" video operations across 20 markets across the world, in addition to expanding an internal support team for publishers.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Half of ICOs Die Within Four Months After Token Sales Finalized

(7 days ago)
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: About 56 percent of crypto startups that raise money through token sales die within four months of their initial coin offerings. That's the finding of a Boston College study that analyzed the intensity of tweets from the startups' Twitter accounts to infer signs of life. The researchers determined that only 44.2 percent of startups survive after 120 days from the end of their ICOs. The researchers, Hugo Benedetti and Leonard Kostovetsky, examined 2,390 ICOs that were completed before May. Acquiring coins in an ICO and selling them on the first day is the safest investment strategy, Kostovetsky said in a phone interview. But many individual investors can't participate in ICOs, so this option isn't open to them. Still, all investors should probably sell their coins within the first six months, the study found. "What we find is that once you go beyond three months, at most six months, they don't outperform other cryptocurrencies," Kostovetsky said. "The strongest return is actually in the first month." The Boston College study also found that ICO returns are declining, as startups have becoming savvier about pricing coin offerings and more people have jumped into ICO investing. According to Bloomberg, "Returns of people who sold tokens on the first day they were listed on an exchange have been declining by four percentage points a month, Kostovetsky said."Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Success with Snap helps venture firm Lightspeed raise $1.8 billion for new funds

(7 days ago)
Venture capital firm Lightspeed Venture Partners has raised $1.8 billion to invest in startups from cryptocurrency to beauty supplies, hoping to build on its streak of lucrative bets in companies such as Snap Inc , the firm's partners told Reuters.

OTE starts Greece's first fiber-to-the-home for ultra-fast broadband

(7 days ago)
Greece's biggest telecom operator OTE Group flicked the switch on the first "fiber-to-the-home" ultra-fast internet connection on Tuesday which will help the country make a leap to faster speeds within the next four years.

India's TCS posts record quarterly profit on strong growth in BFSI unit

(7 days ago)
India's top software services exporter, Tata Consultancy Services Ltd, posted a record quarterly net profit in the June quarter, driven by robust growth in its Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) division.

OTE starts Greece's first fiber-to-the-home for ultra-fast broadband

(7 days ago)
Greece's biggest telecom operator OTE Group flicked the switch on the first "fiber-to-the-home" ultra-fast internet connection on Tuesday which will help the country make a leap to faster speeds within the next four years.

Glenn Burrows: Illegal Sky TV device trader jailed

(7 days ago)
Glenn Burrows traded under the names "Ooberstick" and "Oober media".

BP says card payment problem resolved

(7 days ago)
The fuel giant said all its petrol stations can now accept card payments after a three-hour outage.

Fetch rover! Robot to retrieve Mars rocks

(7 days ago)
UK engineers will design a robot in an audacious plan to bring home Mars rocks to study for signs of life.

UK slips further down global broadband league table

(7 days ago)
Singapore has average speeds of 60Mbps and speeds are rising around the world but UK still lags behind.

India's TCS first-quarter profit rises 24 percent, beats estimates

(7 days ago)
India's biggest software services exporter, Tata Consultancy Services Ltd, posted a better-than-expected rise of about 24 percent in first-quarter net profit, helped by strong growth in its banking, financial services and insurance division.

China's Didi signs up Continental for purpose-built electric cars

(7 days ago)
China's Didi Chuxing signed an agreement with German automotive supplier Continental AG on Tuesday to cooperate in developing internet-connected, electric cars tailor-made for Didi's ride hailing services.

Scientists Discover the World's Oldest Colors

(7 days ago)
1.1 billion-year-old bright pink pigments extracted from rocks deep beneath the Sahara desert in Africa are the oldest colors on record. They were discovered by scientists from The Australian National University (ANU), with support from Geoscience Australia and researchers in the United States and Japan. Phys.Org reports: Dr. Nur Gueneli from ANU said the pigments taken from marine black shales of the Taoudeni Basin in Mauritania, West Africa, were more than half a billion years older than previous pigment discoveries. The fossils range from blood red to deep purple in their concentrated form, and bright pink when diluted. The researchers crushed the billion-year-old rocks to powder, before extracting and analyzing molecules of ancient organisms from them. "The precise analysis of the ancient pigments confirmed that tiny cyanobacteria dominated the base of the food chain in the oceans a billion years ago, which helps to explain why animals did not exist at the time," Dr. Gueneli said. Senior lead researcher Associate Professor Jochen Brocks from ANU said that the emergence of large, active organisms was likely to have been restrained by a limited supply of larger food particles, such as algae. "Algae, although still microscopic, are a thousand times larger in volume than cyanobacteria, and are a much richer food source," said. The study has been published in the journal PNAS.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

China Internet Report 2018

(7 days ago)
At Rise Conference in Hong Kong on Tuesday, Abacus executive producer Ravi Hiranand, South China Morning Post technology editor Chua Kong Ho, and 500 Startups partner Edith Yeung presented China Internet Report 2018, highlighting the big names and wider trends shaping China's technology. The takeaway: China has nearly 3 times the number of internet users as the United States, and the gap will only widen: China has 772 million internet users, vastly more than the 292 million in the US. And there's still plenty of room to grow -- internet penetration is only at 55% in China, while in the US, it's 89%. Beijing is China's unicorn capital: Some of China's biggest tech giants may have started in Shenzhen, but Beijing leads the way with 31 tech unicorns. (Shenzhen has just 11!) China's internet giants are doing everything: From streaming video to self-driving cars, the big three (Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent) are present in almost every tech sector, either by investing in startups or by building it themselves. Government policy continue to actively shape China's tech industry. China's online shopping giants are going offline. China loves short videos. WeChat's mini-programs are cementing its place as China's virtual mobile operating system: Mini-programs, which are no bigger than 10 megabytes and running in the WeChat app are gaining ground -- WeChat now hosts 1 million mini-apps, and the number of people who use them daily is expected to reach 400 million. China lags behind the US[..]
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