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SHOCKER - Coinhive URL Shortener Used for Crypto Mining Attacks

Security researches at Securi have identified hundreds of websites that have been utilizing the Coinhive URL shortener to mine cryptocurrency on unsuspecting user devices. What is the Coinhive URL shortener? I'm glad you asked. Coinhive describes it as this: "If you have an URL you’d like to forward your users to, you can create a shortlink to it. The user has to solves[sic] a number of hashes (adjustable by you) and is automatically forwarded to the target URL afterwards."
In the URL shortener's intended form, end users would then be presented with a progress bar showing that Coinhive is now solving hashes on their device. The plot thickens. Some denizens of cyberspace with less than scrupulous intentions (certain website owners / cyber criminals) have found a way to load the progress bar in an IFrame that sports an area of 1 pixel by 1 pixel with zero interaction from the end user. Essentially, the IFrame loads as a 1x1 pixel, no one sees the notification, resource usage jumps to 100%, and BAM! Someone else is making money at your expense. A list of some of the websites identified can be found here. Thanks to SCHTASK for the link and the story. Discussion
Posted by Kyle May 23, 2018 2:25 PM (CDT)

Amazon Pushes Facial Recognition Tech out to Law Enforcement

Mass surveillance and identification is on its way somewhere near to you soon in the form of Amazon Rekognition. We already know that there are cameras hung on the corner of every building and street post throughout the world. Amazon Rekognition gives law enforcement to take that visual data and match it up to the individual in question. Surely there are some great benefits when utilized in hunting down those responsible for crimes, but we all know that is a slippery slope. The New York Times has an article on this that is worth a read. (Archive here.)

Not long after, it began pitching the technology to law enforcement agencies, saying the program could aid criminal investigations by recognizing suspects in photos and videos. It used a couple of early customers, like the Orlando Police Department in Florida and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon, to encourage other officials to sign up.

Posted by Kyle May 22, 2018 10:40 AM (CDT)

April's Fool Joke Turns Real for Weaponized Kitties

Not a tech related story, but all of geeks have a culture that waits for internet April Fool's jokes. Badai joked back in April that it would release a line of weaponized cat figures. It seems that there has been enough support to make this become a reality. What netizens don't like cats and guns? These are to be released in August and we look forward to many pictures in the forums of your system setups with one of these sitting near.
Posted by Kyle May 22, 2018 10:18 AM (CDT)

Freedom From Facebook Call for Breakup

Freedom from Facebook, looks to be an activist group, but very little information on the site gives us any insight into who is actually behind it. The following organizations are listed as backing it: Citizens Against Monopoly, Content Creators Coalition, Demand Progress, Jewish Voice for Peace, MoveOn, Mpower Change, Open Markets Institute, and SumOfUs. It looks that the goal of the organization is to have Facebook broken up into separate companies by the FTC. Of course, if you truly wanted Freedom From Facebook, you would just stop using it and delete your account. You can see the FFF Facebook page here. An ICANN Whois on the domain gives no insight as to the ownership of the site.

But Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg have amassed a scary amount of power. Facebook unilaterally decides the news that billions of people around the world see every day. It buys up or bankrupts potential competitors to protect its monopoly, killing innovation and choice. It tracks us almost everywhere we go on the web and, through our smartphones, even where we go in the real world. It uses this intimate data hoard to figure out how to addict us and our children to its services. And then Facebook serves up everything about us to its true customers -- virtually anyone willing to pay for the ability to convince us to buy, do, or believe something. And it is spending millions on corporate lobbyists, academics, and think tanks to ensure no one gets in their way. Enough. The five members of the Federal Trade Commission, which is the part of our government tasked with overseeing Facebook, can make Facebook safe for our democracy by breaking it up, giving us the freedom to communicate across networks, and protecting our privacy. Together, we will make sure that they do.

Posted by Kyle May 22, 2018 8:26 AM (CDT)

Fortnite $100M Tournaments Upcoming

Epic Games is looking to shore up the interest in Fortnite even further with big money backing esports tournaments in the upcoming season. You had better get to sharpening those defensive building skills! Thanks @cageymaru.

Grab your gear, drop in and start training. Since the launch of Fortnite Battle Royale we’ve watched the passion for community competition grow and can’t wait to empower you to battle with the best. In the 2018 - 2019 season, Epic Games will provide $100,000,000 to fund prize pools for Fortnite competitions. We’re getting behind competitive play in a big way, but our approach will be different - we plan to be more inclusive, and focused on the joy of playing and watching the game.

Posted by Kyle May 21, 2018 1:42 PM (CDT)

Bird Hunting is the new Pokemon Go for Fun and Profit

We did not even know this was a thing, but it is. Bird is an rent-to-ride electric scooter company in a number of larger cities. You rent it with your smartphone, then leave it where ever you want. Then later on, contract "Bird Hunters" track the abandoned scooters with their smartphones, collect those, charge those up, and return the scooter back to a Bird rental location. Some folks are making up to $600 a night. Apparently the hardware review business is the wrong line of work. We are now heading to Austin.

Bird is a scooter-sharing company that launched in 2017 and has been dubbed the "Uber of scooters." Its goal is to alleviate congestion and allow people an easy way to travel quickly for short distances of just a few miles. Riders can locate and unlock scooters using the company’s smartphone app, and after paying the $1 unlocking fee are charged 15 cents per minute during use. "Charging scooters for Bird is like Pokémon Go, but when you get paid for finding Pokémon," says Nick Abouzeid, a 21-year-old charger in San Francisco. Several nights a week after work, he and his girlfriend go on walks around the city, collecting scooters and bringing them back to his apartment building to charge in the basement.

Posted by Kyle May 21, 2018 8:44 AM (CDT)

Tesla Model 3 Dual Motor, AWD, Performance Version Specs Revealed

Elon Musk has revealed the preliminary specs and pricing for the dual-motor all-wheel-drive and performance versions of the Model 3. The AWD performance Model 3 will do 0-60 in less than four seconds and reach 155 MPH, while the normal dual-motor will do 0-60 in 4.5 seconds and reach 140 MPH. Both will feature 310 miles of driving range.

What is the cost of such performance? $78,000 including "cost of all options, wheels, paint, etc. (apart from Autopilot)," says Musk. The CEO continued, "About same as BMW M3, but 15-percent quicker & with better handling. Will beat anything in its class on the track," he claims. (BMW's 3.0-liter turbocharged sport sedan features 425 horsepower, a 3.9-second 0-60 time and starts at $66,500).

Posted by Megalith May 20, 2018 1:55 PM (CDT)

Samsung Readies 49-Inch 5120x1440 120Hz Display Panels for Gaming Monitors

Following the release of their 49" 3840x1080 CHG90, Samsung appears to be investing further in these types of super-wide displays. The company’s latest panel development plans allude to new curved ultra-wides ranging from 34" to 49" with 18.5:9 and 32:9 aspect ratios. One panel will allegedly feature "dual quad HD" 5120x1440 resolution, with a 120Hz refresh rate.

It will also boast an 1800R curvature, because let's face it, a curved panel makes sense when you're talking about a 49-inch display monitor for PC gaming. Curved panels are of questionable value on smaller size displays, but for a super-wide monitor like the CHG90 and whatever other 49-inch monitors are in the pipeline, it can make things easier on your peripheral vision.

Posted by Megalith May 19, 2018 2:50 PM (CDT)

Sony Working on AMD Ryzen LLVM Compiler Improvements, Possibly for PlayStation 5

Phoronix is speculating that the next PlayStation will likely be powered by a Ryzen CPU/APU based on information gleaned from Simon Pilgrim’s LinkedIn profile and recent GitHub submissions. Pilgrim, who serves as one of Sony’s top programmers, appears to be spending much of his time tuning Ryzen for a future product.

It's interesting that Sony is working on upstream LLVM improvements specific to AMD Zen processors when they aren't currently shipping any Ryzen/EPYC-based systems. But let's not forget that the PlayStation 4 is powered by a semi-custom AMD Jaguar CPU with GCN Radeon graphics. On top of that, Sony indeed uses LLVM/Clang as the compiler for the PlayStation 4.

Posted by Megalith May 19, 2018 12:45 PM (CDT)

Overwatch Pink Mercy Skin Raises Almost $10 Million for Breast Cancer Research

On May 5th, Blizzard announced a campaign in which Overwatch fans could buy a special charity skin for Mercy to support the BCRF and their mission to end breast cancer. The effort seems to be pretty successful so far, as a tweet this week revealed that nearly $10 million worth of skins have been sold. (The skin costs $15, so about 650,000 people chipped in.)

Blizzard is also selling a special pink Mercy shirt in their stores, but sales of that product have not been disclosed at this time. 100% of those proceeds from both of these items are going directly to the BCRF, despite some initial claims that Sony was taking a percentage of sales made via PlayStation consoles.

Posted by Megalith May 19, 2018 10:50 AM (CDT)

NVIDIA’s First 4K G-Sync HDR Monitor Is Available to Preorder for $2,000

Acer’s Predator X27 has finally gone up for preorder at Newegg. The display will be one of the first to grant gamers the privilege of 4K at 144Hz, with 1,000 nits of peak brightness and NVIDIA’s G-Sync technology. Unfortunately, the "holy grail of monitors" does not come cheap: it will ship on June 1 for $2,000.

The initial displays bearing AMD’s FreeSync 2 technology max out at 600 nits of brightness, for comparison, and the Samsung CHG70 we’ve tested only hits 144Hz and 1440p resolution. It’s one of the best monitors I’ve used, and "only" costs $700, but it can’t come close to matching the specs of these G-Sync HDR displays.

Posted by Megalith May 19, 2018 10:15 AM (CDT)

Fortnite is Coming to Android

In a "State of Mobile" press release today, Fortnite developer Epic Games went over some in-development improvements to the mobile battle-royale carpal tunnel inducer. Such upgrades are a customizable in-game HUD, voice chat, performance, and stats. However buried in the middle of the post, they announce that Fortnite is coming to Android, with a summer release. Always interesting how developers wait to release stuff on the platform with nearly 90 percent of the market share.

We are targeting this summer for the release. We know many of you are excited for this release, and we promise that when we have more information to share, you’ll hear it from us first.

Posted by rgmekanic May 18, 2018 7:26 PM (CDT)