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Health Apps Sell User Data

A recent study from the BMJ found that many popular health apps share more data with advertisers than they probably should. The researchers analyzed 24 Android apps with scripts that simulate real world usage, and found that 19 of them shared potentially sensitive user data (PDF Warning) with 55 "unique entities." 14 of the apps transmitted the data over an unencrypted connection. The researchers stressed that the entities collecting the data not only have the ability to aggregate it with user information from other sources, but that they turn around and sell this information to other 3rd parties, which represents a huge potential privacy violation.

Sharing of user data is routine, yet far from transparent. Clinicians should be conscious of privacy risks in their own use of apps and, when recommending apps, explain the potential for loss of privacy as part of informed consent. Privacy regulation should emphasise the accountabilities of those who control and process user data. Developers should disclose all data sharing practices and allow users to choose precisely what data are shared and with whom.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 21, 2019 10:34 AM (CDT)

Intel Ice Lake Shows Up In EEC Database

Intel showed off a 10nm Ice Lake "client SoC" at CES this year, and revealed that it will use the "Sunny Cove" CPU architecture. While they gave a few details about the upcoming mobile chips and the core itself, we didn't hear much about Ice Lake in higher power parts. However, Twitter user and data-miner Komachi has once again found some unreleased hardware on the Eurasian Economic Commission's Online Portal. The first listing shows an "Idaville Ice Lake-D Pre-Alpha 85W Clear Linux Internal 32G Physical SDP," suggesting that Intel will brink the upcoming 10nm architecture to their (relatively) high power Xeon-D server chip lineup. Assuming the listing is accurate (as some other EEC listings have been,) this more or less confirms that Ice Lake won't be confined to the realm of low-power laptop chips.
Meanwhile, the next listing suggests that the low power "Ice Lake-Y" chips will have a "4+2" core config. Intel's current Amber Lake processors top out at 2 cores, so if I'm reading the listing right, it looks like ultra low power notebooks could get a core count boost next generation. There's also an Ice Lake-U "upgrade kit" listing with the same "4+2" core config. Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 19, 2019 9:48 AM (CDT)

All Myspace Data Before 2016 is Gone

Thanks to a "faulty server migration," MySpace has lost all data uploaded to the site before 2016. MySpace users started noticing the problem over a year ago, but tech support staff only recently started acknowledging that users' data may never come back. The Guardian claims "50m tracks from 14 million artists have been lost," and according to one of their articles from last year, the site still has many dedicated users.

Some have questioned how the embattled company, which was purchased by Time Inc in 2016, could make such a blunder. "I'm deeply sceptical this was an accident," wrote the web expert Andy Baio. "Flagrant incompetence may be bad PR, but it still sounds better than, 'We can't be bothered with the effort and cost of migrating and hosting 50m old MP3s.'" Myspace initially claimed the deletion was a temporary error, with customer support staff telling one user: "I have been informed the issue will be fixed." But by July last year it was publicly acknowledging that no such fix was forthcoming.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 19, 2019 8:39 AM (CDT)

Halo Insider Program: Sign Up for Early Access to Halo: The Master Chief Collection

While there is still no release date in sight, 343 Industries has announced an early-access program that should not only make the wait for Halo: The Master Chief Collection easier but improve the much-anticipated PC port in the process. Eager Spartans can visit the Halo Waypoint site to sign up for the "Halo Insider Program," which queues them for beta testing on console and PC.

The Halo Insider Program is the new way Halo fans and community members can partner with 343 Industries to improve our games, products, and services. As a Halo Insider, you’ll have the opportunity to regularly provide feedback and insights that help shape and inform current franchise initiatives and the future of Halo. You will also be given exclusive opportunities to participate in public flights of in-progress Halo game releases and provide feedback to the development teams.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 17, 2019 5:35 PM (CDT)

Valve Doesn't Sound Too Happy about the Epic Store Copying Steam Data

Could a lawsuit be brewing? A spokesperson with Valve has told Bleeping Computer the company is "looking into what information the Epic launcher collects from Steam" following allegations the software was stealing users’ information without their express permission. Engineers with Epic have admitted some of the scrapped data could be sent to the company's servers.

In other words, Valve doesn't think the Epic Store client should be touching localconfig.vdf at all, and presumably would prefer it if Epic used the Steam API to gather friends lists. For Epic's part, it has not said that the entire file is uploaded, only that it parses out user IDs and uploads hashes of them, should users import Steam friends. In the future, Valve could potentially encrypt local user data to prevent the Epic client and other software from copying it.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 16, 2019 1:40 PM (CDT)

Facebook is Under Criminal Investigation for Data Sharing Practices

Facebook's news coverage hasn't been particularly positive over the past few months, but they had a particularly bad day yesterday. Following a widespread outage that lasted over 14 hours, and likely cost the company millions in advertising revenue, the New York Times released a report claiming that the U.S. Department of Justice has launched a criminal investigation into Facebook over their data sharing practices. According to their sources, two major handset manufacturers have already been subpoenaed. At this point, Facebook's public image seems to be in "it couldn't possibly get any worse" territory, hence their stock price barely budged in response to the incident and the story, and is still significantly up since to the beginning of March.

"It's already been reported that there are ongoing federal investigations, including by the Dept of Justice. As we've said, we're cooperating with investigators and take those probes seriously. We've provided public testimony, answered questions, and pledged that we'll continue to do so."

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 14, 2019 10:00 AM (CDT)

Halo: The Master Chief Collection Is Coming to the PC

Microsoft has announced that Halo: Reach is being added to Halo: The Master Chief Collection and the entire collection is coming to the PC via the Microsoft Store and Steam! The team at 343 Industries has updated the games with improved and modernized matchmaking and services, support for 4K/HDR, offline LAN, better controls and input customization, and more. The PC launch will be staggered over time as each title in the collection will be scrutinized and right before it is released. The plan is to release Halo: Reach first and then the rest of the titles appearing in chronological order.

For the team at 343 Industries, the most important and critical element of this project is ensuring that MCC delivers a true "first class" experience on PC. We're embarking on a journey with our community to build a real PC experience that delivers on PC gamer expectations. The team is passionately committed to ensuring that all the features, bells, and whistles expected in a modern PC title are included with MCC. These features may vary somewhat by title, and we won't get everything in there all at once -- this is a product and an experience that will grow and evolve over time. We are laying the groundwork for PC native features such as excellent mouse and keyboard controls, support for multiple resolutions and aspect ratios, field-of-view sliders, and adjustable framerates, to name but a few. And yes, there will be support for Xbox gamepads and other PC controllers.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 12, 2019 8:55 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)

Halo: The Master Chief Collection for PC Might Be Announced Next Week

Microsoft has teased that the next episode of its monthly live news broadcast, Inside Xbox, will feature some exciting information on Halo: The Master Chief Collection. While the show isn’t known for major announcements, some believe 343 Studios could finally announce the long-awaited PC port of the Halo compilation. Fueling rumors, insider Brad Sams published a video Tuesday confirming it was in development.

There's no guarantee that the PC port will be announced then, but recent reports have made it seem likely that the game is on its way. In a recent YouTube vid, Xbox expert Brad Sams claimed the game is definitely in development, that its release is fairly imminent, and that it's possible an unveiling will occur at E3 2019.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 09, 2019 9:25 AM (CST)

German Court Upholds Paid Amazon Review Case

Representing another win in the fight against paid reviews, a recent report claims that a German court upheld an Amazon case against undisclosed, paid reviews on their site. The provider supposedly offered 3rd party Amazon sellers positive reviews in exchange for some sort of compensation, such as a discount on the product, but the court banned the company from publishing reviews without advertising their "commercial background."

The ruling is not yet legally binding as the company can still appeal. Amazon's community guidelines prohibit compensation for reviews, but the practice has still proliferated, prompting Amazon to seek to sue sellers who buy reviews. Amazon tightened up its rules in 2016 to only allow reviewers to accept a free or discounted product as long as they disclose that fact, and use the Amazon "Vine" program to post their opinions.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 05, 2019 11:51 AM (CST)

Nanoparticle Experiment: Humans Could Get X-Men "Super Vision" to See in the Dark

Chinese and US scientists have performed a successful experiment giving mice the ability to see infrared light after injecting them with nanoparticles, and they suggest human vision could be modified in the same way, allowing people to detect a wider spectrum of colors. "Current infrared technology allows the user to see heat emitted from animals, but its effectiveness is hampered by bulky batteries and interference from visible light."

Lead researcher Dr Tian Xue said the applications include military use and could be adapted to treat people who are colour blind and can’t detect red. "We believe this technology will also work in human eyes, not only for generating super vision but also for therapeutic solutions in human red colour vision deficits," said Dr Xue. "This is an exciting subject because the technology we made possible here could eventually enable human beings to see beyond our natural capabilities."

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 03, 2019 11:40 AM (CST)

Hackers Use Stolen Credentials from Data Breaches to "Hack" a Nest Thermostat

Jonathan Schisler thought his Amazon Alexa or kids had changed the temperature to 90 degrees on his Nest thermostat. But while scrolling through the device to clear a message about changing the air filter, he noticed that the email address on the device wasn't his wife's. Even his phone app was logged in under another person's name as the owner of the account. Nest says the Schisler family was affected by a data breach from another website where the credentials were initially exposed. Because the Schisler family used the same username and password for multiple websites, the hackers were able to commandeer the Nest thermostat. Taking stolen usernames and passwords from data breaches and inputting them into the login page of random websites is known as "credential stuffing."

Nest said it hasn't been breached. Instead, the company, which is owned by Google, said Schisler's password was breached on another website. For example, he was using the same password for his Nest thermostat that he used for another site. "In nearly all cases, two-factor verification eliminates this type of security risk," a Google spokesperson said. "We take security in the home extremely seriously, and we're actively introducing features that will reject compromised passwords, and allow customers to monitor access to their accounts and track external entities that abuse credentials."

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru February 20, 2019 8:02 AM (CST)