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Wednesday October 18, 2017

BoundHook Attack Exploits Intel Skylake MPX Feature

A post-intrusion technique developed by researchers at CyberArk Labs called BoundHooking allows attackers to exploit a feature in all Intel chips introduced since Skylake. The attack technique allows for the execution of code from any process without detection by antivirus software or other security measures, researchers said. However, since the machine has to already be compromised to use this attack both Microsoft and Intel have no plans to patch for it. In lieu of a Microsoft patch, CyberArk researchers said admin should rein-in user account privileges to minimize the type of lateral and system penetration an adversary can carry out in a BoundHooking attack.

As was the case with GhostHook and also now with BoundHooking, Microsoft and Intel don’t see either as a vulnerability on their end. Both told CyberArk it will not patch the issue because the attack requires that the adversary already has already fully compromised the targeted system. Naim said that such an attack is within the realm of a nation-state attacker and that some well-known targeted intrusions such as Flame and Shamoon could easily make use of malware to establish a foothold on machines and networks. Once that foothold is established, adversaries can easily go unnoticed.

Discussion Posted by Montu 4:20 PM (CDT)

Google Maps Pulls Cupcake Calorie Counter After Backlash

Due to backlash from the community Google has pulled its Cupcake Calorie Counter from Goggle Maps. I'm probably like most of you and don't have any idea what this is all about. Anyway, Google tried an experiment where users would see a pink cupcake icon that automatically showed how many calories could be burned if they walked to their destination. Apparently this didn't go over well because some people complained it promoted body-shaming. I believe they should have left the functionality in and just had a way to toggle it on or off.

It's spectacularly bad timing on Google's part. It turns out that Wednesday is National Chocolate Cupcake Day (not to be confused with regular National Cupcake Day, which is Dec. 15) -- which would have been a prime opportunity for gimmicks galore to show off Google's cupcake calorie counter. But the Google cupcakes weren't chocolate anyway. They were pink -- whatever flavor that is.

Discussion Posted by Montu 3:23 PM (CDT)

Bid on Auctions at the Game Using the Scoreboard

Dropit, a New Zealand startup, has been testing an app that utilizes the stadium scoreboard to host live 60-second auctions. Once the auction starts the first fan to "swipe up" in real time wins that item for the price shown. Price drops over the 60-second time period. Sounds like this might be a cool way to buy something cheap when your'e at the game. As a matter of fact this is about to break into the NBA on October 23rd with the Phoenix Suns.

There’s no doubt that our collective mobile device addictions are hurting real-world engagement for advertisers. This is especially true in professional sports stadiums, where looking down at your phone means you’re not paying attention to announcements, advertisements, and sometimes even the live game.

Discussion Posted by Montu 2:20 PM (CDT)

Myriad Missions for Murfreesboro Drones

Murfreesboro became the first city in the state of Tennessee to earn a FAA certificate of authorization to fly unmanned aircraft systems. The city's IT director found that what took $400K to $500K to do every five years might drop to $75K if they did it with UAVs. Furthermore, they plan to use their drones to work Fatal Accident Crash Team investigations and rescue missions that require thermal imaging. Hopefully more cities across the country will do the same thing and improve disaster/accident response for all of us while saving precious tax dollars that can be used to further leverage technology.

To get a better view of what’s happening on the ground, officials in Murfreesboro, Tenn., looked to the sky. With a goal of saving money on costly missions to take aerial photos for map updates every five years, Murfreesboro became the first city in the state to earn a Federal Aviation Administration certificate of authorization to fly unmanned aircraft systems.

Discussion Posted by Montu 1:38 PM (CDT)

Samsung Jumps into the Tracker Business

Samsung is launching a new device called the Samsung Connect Tag. There are others already out there, Tile and the Orbit Card, to name a couple, but the Samsung Connect Tag is different because it is the first to utilize a narrow band design that combines GPS, Cell ID and Wi-Fi-based positioning systems. Additionally, the Connect Tag works in conjunction with the Samsung SmartThings ecosystem and allows you to setup a geo-fence feature that can notify your chosen smart devices you are approaching. Sounds like pretty nifty technology.

The Samsung Connect Tag will work with GPS, Wi-Fi-based positioning (WPS) and Cell ID, so it can receive accurate location information both indoors and outdoors for effortless location tracking. It can be attached to a young child’s backpack so his or her whereabouts can be tracked, clipped to a dog’s collar so it won’t go missing, and secured the keys so they are never lost. These tracking and notification abilities will minimize anxiety about the user’s favorite items or loved ones, offering an exciting way to use technology for increased family security and an enhanced lifestyle.

Discussion Posted by Montu 12:58 PM (CDT)

Why Google is Terrified About Alexa and What it's Doing in Response

According to a report last month from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, Amazon (WARNING auto play video) controls more than three-quarters of the market for home automation devices and Google accounts for most of the rest. This isn't a position Google likes to find itself in and they plan on doing something about it. One recent change they made was to add reminders to its home assistant that lets consumers get voice prompts to walk their dog or take out the trash. They want to personalize their devices as much as possible. Furthermore, Google sits on a mountain of data and they plan to use it to compete better with Amazon.

In the new world of voice-powered computing, Amazon is rolling out popular features like skills and reminders that take users entirely out of Google's massive ecosystem. Late last month, Google added reminders to its home assistant, a long-awaited feature that lets consumers get voice prompts to walk their dog or take out the trash.

Discussion Posted by Montu 11:34 AM (CDT)

It Takes Just $1000 to Track Someone's Location With Mobile Ads

Researchers at the University of Washington have discovered you don't have to be a huge corporation to steal someone's privacy. They say for as little as $1000 an individual can exploit mobile advertising networks to find out where you live and work. It's probably a good time for all of us to reconsider using any apps that are advertising supported.

And in the meantime, for users who'd rather not become a target of that individualized ad-spying? Perhaps consider which ad-supported apps you use, when you use them, and what they reveal about you. It may be worthwhile to pay for the premium version of that gay hookup app, rather than allow it to be populated with ads that can potentially track your sexual preference and location. Every ad that you see on your smartphone, after all, can in some sense see you too and so can the unknown entity that paid for it.

Discussion Posted by Montu 10:45 AM (CDT)

New Skin for Robots Help Them Perform Everyday Tasks Better

Up to now it has been difficult for robots to accurately sense vibrations and shear forces that occur, for example, when a finger is sliding along a table top or when an object begins to fall. The new skin is bio-inspired and mimics the way a human finger experiences tension and compression as it slides along a surface. From surgery to bomb disposal this skin is going to change the way prosthetic limbs and other robots work.

"It’s really following the cues of human biology," said lead author Jianzhu Yin, who recently received his doctorate from the UW in mechanical engineering. "Our electronic skin bulges to one side just like the human finger does and the sensors that measure the shear forces are physically located where the nailbed would be, which results in a sensor that performs with similar performance to human fingers."

Discussion Posted by Montu 10:00 AM (CDT)

'Future city' to be Built in Canada by Alphabet Company

Sidewalk Labs, owned by the parent company of Google, Alphabet, is going to build a digital city in Toronto. They plan to turn the waterfront area into a working laboratory for a range of "smart" technologies. Sounds interesting, but you have to wonder if it's a good idea to continue putting potential surveillance devices everywhere we live, shop, or work. Privacy is becoming a very limited word/reality if you ask me.

Sidewalk Labs has already started smart projects in other cities. It plans to provide fast wi-fi across New York, using old payphones. But its goal has always been to build a smart city from the ground up. The Quayside area in Toronto - some 800 acres (3.2 sq km) in total - is one of the largest underdeveloped urban areas in North America.

Discussion Posted by Montu 9:34 AM (CDT)

Child Safety Smartwatches ‘easy’ to Hack, Watchdog Says

According to the Norwegian Consumer Council, they discovered flaws in child safety smartwatches that would allow attackers to track, eavesdrop or even communicate with the wearers. That sounds to me these so called safety watches could end up being just what a molester needs to track his target. Definitely buyer beware.

UK retailer John Lewis has withdrawn one of the named smartwatch models from sale in response. The smartwatches tested essentially serve as basic smartphones, allowing parents to communicate with their children as well as track their location. Some include an SOS feature that allows the child to instantly call their parents.

Discussion Posted by Montu 9:11 AM (CDT)

Garmin Just Put Alexa in the Car

Amazon is spreading Alexa to more and more devices all the time. Garmin (WARNING auto play video) has created a little device call Garmin Speak that utilizes Alexa. It displays simplified turning directions and arrows on the front and is fairly unobtrusive. For those interested in the Amazon ecosystem this might be another device you'll want to try out.

Its own devices, such as the Amazon Echo speaker, have brought Alexa to living rooms and kitchens. The Amazon Tap makes Alexa portable, and the forthcoming Echo Spot lets Alexa serve as your alarm clock. Now, Garmin -- maker of GPS devices and wearables -- has created a mini Alexa gadget specifically for the car.

Discussion Posted by Montu 8:20 AM (CDT)

Using Artificial Intelligence to Improve Early Breast Cancer Detection

Did you know over 40,000 women die from breast cancer every year? The researchers at MIT want to do something about that and have developed an AI system to improve diagnosis and detection of the cancer while it is in an early stage. Not only do they want to detect it early, but reduce the risk of performing a surgery that isn't necessary. I'm sure any woman would love to go without a scar-inducing surgery if at all possible.

"Because diagnostic tools are so inexact, there is an understandable tendency for doctors to over-screen for breast cancer," says Regina Barzilay, MIT’s Delta Electronics Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and a breast cancer survivor herself. "When there’s this much uncertainty in data, machine learning is exactly the tool that we need to improve detection and prevent over-treatment."

Discussion Posted by Montu 7:45 AM (CDT)

Big Content Creators Sue TickBox Streaming Device

Netflix, Amazon, and six major studios have gotten together to file suit against TickBox TV as tools for mass infringement. The lawsuit claims the piracy is done from the device linking copyrighted content to streams from the internet. I wonder if the other companies will turn around and sue Amazon for its Fire Sticks and Fire TVs side-loaded with Kodi.

The device's marketing materials let users know the box is meant to replace paid-for content, with "a wink and a nod," by predicting that prospective customers who currently pay for Amazon Video, Netflix, or Hulu will find that "you no longer need those subscriptions."

TickBox is powered by Android 6.0, along with Kodi, an open source media player software. The box doesn't host any content but rather searches the Internet for streams that it can make available to users.

Discussion Posted by seth 12:29 AM (CDT)

Science Fantasy RPG, ELEX is Out

Publisher THQ Nordic has released its latest game ELEX for the masses. Developed by Germany-based Piranha Bytes of Risen and Gothic fame, the studio enters into the science-fantasy genre, which isn't a far cry from its previous franchises. Although rough around the edges, the game does have an in-depth choice system that affects what happens in the campaign -- said every game studio ever.
Discussion Posted by seth 12:10 AM (CDT)
Tuesday October 17, 2017

PayPal Rolls Out Venmo Payments for Online Shopping

More than 2 million US retailers will start accepting Venmo payments for online purchases. Originally started as a platform for friends to pay each other for cab fares or dinners, the digital wallet app as been a part of PayPal since 2013. Users can link cards and bank accounts to shop on most mobile sites that accept PayPal payments. The service has come a long way since its investigation by the FTC.

San Jose, California-based PayPal has been expanding its services to gain advantage over rivals in the digital payments market, particularly in P2P payments, where competition has intensified.

Discussion Posted by seth 11:36 PM (CDT)

Overgrowth Releases After 9 Years of Development

For anyone that has been following Overgrowth's development, I respect your patience. RPS reports after 9 years of development, Overgrowth has finally released. Bunny hop your way as a giant anthropomorphic rabbit across the land and take on baddies with your impressive martial-arts. DRM-free version and a Steam key be purchased at the Wolfire Games.
Discussion Posted by seth 10:30 PM (CDT)

AMDGPU-Pro Beta Mining Driver 17.40 for Linux Notes

AMD released version 17.40 update for AMDGPU-Pro Beta Mining Driver for Linux. Release notes and instructions can be found over here.

Compatible Operating Systems

  • RedHat Enterprise Linux 7.3 (64-bit version)
  • CentOS 7.3 (64-bit version)
  • Ubuntu 16.04.3 (64-bit version)

Introduces Large Page Support for Blockchain Compute Workloads. This driver is provided as a beta level support driver which should be considered "as is" and will not be supported with further updates, upgrades or bug fixes. This driver is not intended for graphics or gaming workloads.

Discussion Posted by seth 9:54 PM (CDT)

IRS Believes 'Significant' Number of Victims Compromised Before Equifax Hack

Not to lessen the impact of the recent Equifax hack, the IRS estimates that more than 100 million Americans already had their personal info stolen before the security breach. The IRS commissioner suggests that Americans should already expect their info to be out there and taxpayers should "act accordingly."

The IRS touted its data security efforts ahead of the 2018 tax filing season on Tuesday during a briefing on the agency's Security Summit, a joint effort with state tax agencies and the private sector launched in 2015.

The tax collection agency boasts about putting extra security measures since 2015. Of course, the agency was breached in 2015 with thieves retrieving information on over 700,000 accounts, more than what was originally speculated.

On Tuesday, Koskinen touted the "tremendous progress" of the initiative to guard against tax-related identity theft, disclosing that the agency has witnessed the number of identity theft-related tax returns decline by two-thirds in two years.

Discussion Posted by seth 8:29 PM (CDT)

Megabots Tonight on Twitch

In a few hours (7PM PDT / 10PM EDT) you can watch Megabots "fight" live on Twitch. While I have high hopes, I am keeping my expectations fairly low.

This is Eagle Prime, America's entrant into the Giant Robot Duel, in its first-ever live-fire combat trial. Eagle Prime is the first MK3-class MegaBot from MegaBots, Inc. It weighs in at 12 tons, stands 16 feet tall, seats two, is powered by a 430 horsepower V8 LS3 engine, and costs a cool $2.5M. Cupholders come standard. Eagle Prime will be representing Team USA in the upcoming Giant Robot Duel against Suidobashi Heavy Industries. Subscribe to this channel to watch the Duel!

Ongoing Discussion Posted by Kyle 5:52 PM (CDT)

DRAM Capacity Crunch Expected to Persist in 2018

According to DRAMeXchange, tight supply conditions that have characterized the DRAM chip market throughout 2017 are expected to persist for much of 2018, with suppliers planning only limited capacity additions. Suppliers will likely adjust their product mixes to allocate more production capacity to server DRAM in 2018 due to increased demand for data center building by technology giants such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon.

DRAMeXchange also said that prices for mobile DRAM chips are forecast to rise 10 to 15 percent in the fourth quarter, outgrowing the overall DRAM market, as OEMs ramp up production of smartphones. The expected increase will move mobile DRAM prices past PC DRAM prices for the first time this year, the firm said. DRAM prices have risen consistently throughout the year amid a shortage and higher demand created by their use in a greater number of products.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 3:00 PM (CDT)

EA Shuts Down Visceral Studios

Another EA studio bites the dust: this time, it’s Dead Space’s Visceral Games. They were developing an action-adventure title set in the Star Wars universe that was shaping up to be a story-based, linear adventure game. Apparently, EA did not like how this was going and is now "pivoting the design" to something that sounds multiplayer-ish and ripe for DLC or microtransactions.

A development team from across EA Worldwide Studios will take over development of this game, led by a team from EA Vancouver that has already been working on the project. Our Visceral studio will be ramping down and closing, and we’re in the midst of shifting as many of the team as possible to other projects and teams at EA. Lastly, while we had originally expected this game to launch late in our fiscal year 2019, we’re now looking at a new timeframe that we will announce in the future. Bringing new Star Wars games to life for every passionate fan out there is what drives us as creators.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 2:30 PM (CDT)

ZTE Announces the Axon M, a Folding Phone

ZTE’s Axom M is a foldable, dual-screen phone that transforms into a tiny tablet: two 5.2-inch screens flatten out to give you 6.8 inches of screen real estate. What can you do with double the screens? Open two different apps, for one, each on its own display. You can also fold the phone like a sandwich board and mirror the content of one screen to the other.

ZTE USA announced the upcoming launch of the revolutionary ZTE Axon M with AT&T as the exclusive carrier in the United States available in the next month. The foldable, dual-screen smartphone will also be available to customers in China, Europe and Japan. The ZTE Axon M lets customers multitask and enjoy entertainment in new and exciting ways. The ZTE Axon M is the size of a traditional smartphone when folded, fitting easily into a pocket or purse and functions in four different modes.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 2:05 PM (CDT)

Intel Unveils the Nervana Neural Network Processor

Intel on Tuesday is taking the wraps off of the Nervana Neural Network Processor (NNP), formerly known as "Lake Crest," a chip three years in the making that's designed expressly for AI and deep learning. Along with explaining its unique architecture, Intel announced that Facebook has been a close collaborator as it prepares to bring the Nervana NNP to market. The chipmaker also laid out the beginnings of a product roadmap.

The Intel Nervana NNP promises to revolutionize AI computing across myriad industries. Using Intel Nervana technology, companies will be able to develop entirely new classes of AI applications that maximize the amount of data processed and enable customers to find greater insights -- transforming their businesses. We have multiple generations of Intel Nervana NNP products in the pipeline that will deliver higher performance and enable new levels of scalability for AI models. This puts us on track to exceed the goal we set last year of achieving 100 times greater AI performance by 2020.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 1:25 PM (CDT)

First Batch of iPhone Xs Is Reportedly Just 46,500 Units

According to a China-based report, Foxconn Electronics has started shipping iPhone X devices out from Zhengzhou and Shanghai to the Netherlands and United Arab Emirates (UAE): unfortunately, the shipment barely exceeds 46,000 phones. I suspect that we will see some outrageously priced ones on auction sites this holiday season.

The first-batch shipments of the iPhone X units were much lower than the previous iPhone models, which apparently will make the iPhone X one of the most difficult-to-find smartphone these days, according to a Chinese-language Commercial Times report. Although Foxconn has ramped up its output of iPhone X to 400,000 units a week recently from the previous 100,000 units, the increased production still cannot meet market demand, said the report, citing data from Rosenblatt.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 1:00 PM (CDT)

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