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The DHS Issues Medical Advisory for Medtronic Cardiac Devices

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a cybersecurity warning that documents vulnerabilities in the Medtronic Conexus Radio Frequency Telemetry Protocol. Medtronic makes cardio-defibrillators that are planted into a patient's chest and can be read and programmed by trained medical personnel. This allows the devices to communicate with home monitoring devices and Carelink programmers found at doctor's offices. These vulnerabilities require a low level of skill to exploit as the proprietary Conexus telemetry protocol utilized within this ecosystem does not implement authentication or authorization. An attacker can inject, replay, modify, and/or intercept data within the telemetry communication. This communication protocol provides the ability to read and write memory values to affected implanted cardiac devices; therefore, an attacker could exploit this communication protocol to change memory in the implanted cardiac device. Because the devices also lack encryption, attackers can listen to communications, including the transmission of sensitive data. Medtronics is working on developing updates to fix the vulnerabilities.

"It is possible with this attack to cause harm to a patient, either by erasing the firmware that is giving necessary therapy to the patient's heart, or by directly invoking shock related commands on the defibrillator," he said. "Since this protocol is unauthenticated, the ICD cannot discern if communications its receiving are coming from a trusted Medtronic device, or an attacker." A successful attacker could erase or reprogram the defibrillator's firmware, and run any command on the device.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 22, 2019 4:05 PM (CDT)

Intel Shows Off Graphics Card Designs at GDC 2019

Intel reportedly unveiled some "early designs" of their upcoming discrete graphics cards at their GDC 2019 presentation. The graphics card in the first and 2nd slides they showed largely reassembles an Optane 905P SSD with a blower fan and a conspicuously short PCB. While the Xe's specs and performance levels are still unknown, to me, the short PCB suggests that Intel will use some kind of on-package memory with their upcoming GPU, or a relatively narrow GDDR memory bus at the very least. A shot of the back reveals a full backplate, as well as 3 DisplayPort outputs and one HDMI port. Finally, the last slide shows a card with a fan right on top of the graphics chip, which is something I haven't seen on a high-end reference card in some time.

Unfortunately, full specifications are still not yet available for Intel's upcoming graphics card. Real world performance is essentially completely unknown for now. As the year goes on, there is a good chance Intel may share some numbers given how eager the company is to make everyone aware that they have a major new product incoming.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 21, 2019 8:32 AM (CDT)

Toyota and Suzuki Announce Electric Car Partnership

Toyota and Suzuki have announced a partnership to produce electrified vehicles for the world's markets. The two companies had been considering the terms of a collaboration involving electrified cars since 2017. Toyota brings its Toyota Hybrid System (THS), hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) components such as engines and batteries, and new electrified platforms such as the RAV4 and Corolla Wagon to Suzuki. Suzuki will use its strengths to supply small car platforms to Toyota for India, allow Toyota to adopt and manufacture newly developed Suzuki engines for small compact cars, and OEM supply Toyota with Suzuki's India-produced cars for the African market. The two companies will continue to compete against each other.

"When it comes to vehicle electrification, which is expected to make further inroads, hybrid technologies are seen as playing a huge role in many markets, as from before. Widespread acceptance is necessary for electrified vehicles to be able to contribute to Earth's environment. Through our new agreement, we look forward to the wider use of hybrid technologies, not only in India and Europe, but around the world. At the same time, we believe that the expansion of our business partnership with Suzuki-from the mutual supply of vehicles and powertrains to the domains of development and production-will help give us the competitive edge we will need to survive this once-in-a-century period of profound transformation. We intend to strengthen the competitiveness of both our companies by applying our strong points and learning from each other."

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 20, 2019 1:48 PM (CDT)

Google Fined $1.7 Billion Over Monopolistic Practices

The European commission has reportedly slapped Google with a 1.49 billion Euro (or $1.69 billion USD) fine for "abusing its monopoly in online advertising." More specifically, the report alleges that Google prevented companies that using its search service from running any third party adverts, and the commission claims that "Google's rivals were not able to compete on the merits, either because there was an outright prohibition for them to appear on publisher websites or because Google reserved for itself by far the most valuable commercial space on those websites, while at the same time controlling how rival search adverts could appear." Google apparently changed these practices in 2016, but it took some time for the repercussions to catch up with them.

Margrethe Vestager, the EU's competition commissioner, said: "Google has cemented its dominance in online search adverts and shielded itself from competitive pressure by imposing anti-competitive contractual restrictions on third-party websites. This is illegal under EU antitrust rules. The misconduct lasted over 10 years and denied other companies the possibility to compete on the merits and to innovate - and consumers the benefits of competition."

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 20, 2019 10:30 AM (CDT)

Digital Foundry Analyzes Google's Stadia Platform

Following Google's "Stadia" game streaming service announcement yesterday, Digital Foundry decided to take a closer look at the hardware behind the platform. Google says they use a "Custom 2.7GHz hyper-threaded x86 CPU with AVX2 SIMD and 9.5MB L2+L3 cache," and while they didn't mention the vendor, DF notes that they haven't seen such a configuration in any of AMD's currently shipping server CPUs, and that it should significantly outpace anything found in a modern console. Meanwhile, the GPU largely resembles a Vega 56 card with 16GB of HBM2, and the games are reportedly loaded from an SSD. Through their own testing, DF came away impressed with the platform's consistent frame pacing, and in some cases, total latency is on par with locally-run games on a console or PC.

Google has also demonstrated scalability on the graphics side, with a demonstration of three of the AMD GPUs running in concert. Its stated aim is to remove as many of the limiting factors impacting game-makers as possible, and with that in mind, the option is there for developers to scale projects across multiple cloud units: "The way that we describe what we are is a new generation because it's purpose-built for the 21st century," says Google's Phil Harrison. "It does not have any of the hallmarks of a legacy system. It is not a discrete device in the cloud. It is an elastic compute in the cloud and that allows developers to use an unprecedented amount of compute in support of their games, both on CPU and GPU, but also particularly around multiplayer."

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 20, 2019 9:14 AM (CDT)

Google Partners with AMD for Google Stadia Game Streaming Service

Google has selected AMD as its partner for the Google Stadia game streaming service. Google will use high-performance, custom AMD Radeon datacenter GPUs for its Vulkan and Linux-based Google Stadia. AMD noted how its commitment to open-source AMD Linux drivers would allow Google and its development partners to inspect the code and understand exactly how the driver works, enabling them to better optimize their applications to interface with AMD Radeon GPUs. AMD supplies other tools such as the AMD Radeon GPU Profiler (RGP) that allows developers to identify timing issues that might lead to optimizations. The Google Stadia service will feature game streams with resolutions up to 4K HDR 60 FPS. Google announced a 2019 launch time for the game streaming service.

Streaming graphics-rich games to millions of users on demand and from the cloud requires ultra high-performance processing capabilities to minimize latency and maximize game performance. It also requires advanced technologies to tackle unique datacenter challenges, including security, manageability, and scalability. The AMD graphics architecture supports a wide range of today's gaming platforms -- from PCs to major game consoles -- enabling developers to optimize their games for a single GPU architecture and extend these benefits across multiple platforms which now include large-scale cloud gaming platforms.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 19, 2019 4:41 PM (CDT)

Google GDC 2019 Gaming Announcement

Here is the Google GDC gaming announcement.

Gather around as we unveil Google's vision for the future of gaming at #GDC19.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 19, 2019 12:23 PM (CDT)

JPMorgan Chase Uses AI Powered Video Game as a Recruitment Tool

Recent reports claim that JPMorgan Chase are trialing "neuroscience-based video games" from pymetrics as a intern recruiting tool. The games supposedly assess applicants' "social, cognitive and behavioral features, such as attention, memory and altruism," and attempt to identify what job the applicant might be best suited for. But, unlike Amazon's "biased" AI recruiting tool, pymetrics says their "Netflix-like recommendation algorithm" is fair and accurate. As the report mentions, it appears that companies are getting more comfortable with the use of machine learning powered recruitment tools, in spite of the potential pitfalls associated with their use.

Large firms have been increasingly turning to technology to make recruitment and other human resources processes more fair. Systems also include applications that scan performance reviews for unconscious bias or that monitor job ads for phrases that might dissuade a certain demographic from applying ."Our re-imagining of how we hire is part of a broader objective at the firm where we are asking ourselves: 'Can we better meet our diversity goals by broadening the pool of candidates we are considering?'," Mitro said. JPMorgan's pilot will continue with applicants for 2020 internships in the United States, he added, noting that this technology would only be one step of the selection process.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 18, 2019 10:00 AM (CDT)

Toyota Has a Curious Justification for Not Selling Any EVs

Toyota is one the biggest automakers, but it doesn’t sell a single fully electric vehicle in the United States. Why is that? According to vice president of research and development for Europe Gerald Killmann, it has all to do with battery production -- or the lack thereof. Toyota’s manageable supply can only allow for either 28,000 EVs or 1.5 million hybrid cars, and they’ve chosen the latter for being the more environmentally sound choice. Critics say the automaker is making excuses for terrible business decisions that have forced it to the back of the EV race.

...the calculation seems to assume that for every hybrid sold, a fully gasoline-powered car would be taken off the road. In reality, many Toyota hybrid buyers are replacing a Toyota hybrid. And, based on Toyota’s own revelation that they are losing Prius drivers to Tesla, it stands to reason that many Toyota hybrid drivers would jump at the opportunity to transition to an all-electric Toyota. Ultimately, Toyota's strategic decision to invest in gasoline-electric hybrids and bet on fuel cells in the long term is the reason that it isn't currently producing any electric cars.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 17, 2019 3:45 PM (CDT)

Texas Is Trying to Block Tesla from Servicing Its Cars

Tesla’s problems are beginning to grow in the Lone Star State: the automaker’s direct-sales model is already banned in Texas due to the clever use of old laws by local car dealers with a loud lobbying voice, but legislators have now introduced a bill that would prevent the company from servicing its cars through its own service centers. While Texans have managed to get their hands on Tesla vehicles by having them delivered from other states, the passing of this law could mean a whole new can of problems.

Well, Texas’s use of direct-sale laws was already ridiculously abused but they are now pushing it to a whole new level of stupidity. If the legislature actually approves this bill, it would be extremely disappointing from a political standpoint and a major hit to Tesla itself and Tesla owners in Texas. Texan EV fans, or free market fans for that matter, should contact their local representatives and let them know how you feel about this ridiculous attempt to abuse legislation to give a monopoly to franchise dealers who are afraid of fair competition from Tesla and other companies looking to sell and service their own vehicles.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 17, 2019 10:45 AM (CDT)

"Back 4 Blood": Left 4 Dead Creator Announces New Co-op Zombie Game

Nobody knows if Valve’s Left 4 Dead 3 will ever see the light of day, but the franchise’s original developer may have the next best thing: Turtle Rock Studios announced "Back 4 Blood" this week, a co-op zombie shooter with a campaign and PVP mode that should cater well to L4D fans who have been clamoring for more. "We know we have some big shoes to fill, but we’re going all out to surpass everything we’ve done before."

"We get to return to a genre that was born in our studio with over 10 years of additional experience and zombie ideas racked up in our brains. We also have some of the best teammates in the business at WBIE, who understand our development process and are equally committed to our player-first mentality. We love being able to announce, so we can start working with the community right away."

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 16, 2019 12:30 PM (CDT)

Careless Employees Expose Sensitive Data as Public on the Cloud

Adversis has discovered employees at numerous companies are sharing files by enabling public file sharing in Box Enterprise. This combined with the ability to brute force the the sub-domain, URL, and folder names of Box Enterprise accounts means that these sensitive files, documents, and more are easily discovered and some are even being indexed by Google. Files found by Adversis include hundreds of passport photos, social security and bank account numbers, tech prototype and design files, employee lists, financial data, invoices, VPN configurations, and more. It is unknown how Box Enterprise can be changed to save employees from themselves. This is not a vulnerability or bug as public sharing is a feature of Box Enterprise. Adversis noted that in 2014 the issue was brought up and ignored by companies. Box released a Public Service announcement, but most companies ignored it also. Techcrunch listed some of the interesting files discovered on Box including passwords and backdoors for major municipality public works, customer phone numbers; names and email addresses, healthcare provider patient information, and more. Adversis has open-sourced its scanning tool.

Box spokesperson Denis Roy said in a statement: "We take our customers' security seriously and we provide controls that allow our customers to choose the right level of security based on the sensitivity of the content they are sharing. In some cases, users may want to share files or folders broadly and will set the permissions for a custom or shared link to public or 'open'. We are taking steps to make these settings more clear, better help users understand how their files or folders can be shared, and reduce the potential for content to be shared unintentionally, including both improving admin policies and introducing additional controls for shared links."

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 11, 2019 4:54 PM (CDT)