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Facebook Employees Had Access to Millions of User Passwords Stored in Plain Text

In a new blog post entitled "Keeping Passwords Secure" Facebook VP Engineering, Security and Privacy Pedro Canahuati explains how the social media giant accidentally stored Facebook user's passwords on internal data storage systems in plain text. Pedro explains how "these passwords were never visible to anyone outside of Facebook and we have found no evidence to date that anyone internally abused or improperly accessed them. We estimate that we will notify hundreds of millions of Facebook Lite users, tens of millions of other Facebook users, and tens of thousands of Instagram users." To keep your account safe, Facebook suggests changing your Facebook and Instagram passwords, pick strong passwords, use a password manager, and enable a security key or two-factor authentication. In recent months, Facebook has vowed to clean up its act as it has been accused of sharing user data, one click account takeover bugs, paying minors to harvest their data without parental consent, had its enterprise certificate revoked by Apple, access token hack, Cambridge Analytica, and many more fines and hacks. I would suggest picking a password so long and complex that Facebook employees would get tired from writing it down.

As part of a routine security review in January, we found that some user passwords were being stored in a readable format within our internal data storage systems. This caught our attention because our login systems are designed to mask passwords using techniques that make them unreadable. We have fixed these issues and as a precaution we will be notifying everyone whose passwords we have found were stored in this way.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 21, 2019 1:17 PM (CDT)

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)

Microsoft Will Pester Windows 7 Users to Upgrade to W10 with Pop-Up Notifications

Microsoft has come up with another way to convince users to upgrade to Windows 10: corporate vice president Matt Barlow explained in a blog post this week Windows 7 users would be subjected to regular pop-up messages urging them to update to the latest version of the OS. That may not be the worst idea, as support for W7 officially ends January 14, 2020.

This is a courtesy reminder that you can expect to see a handful of times in 2019. By starting the reminders now, our hope is that you have time to plan and prepare for this transition. These notifications are designed to help provide information only and if you would prefer not to receive them again, you'll be able to select an option for "do not notify me again", and we will not send you any further reminders. Just as software has changed over the years, so has hardware.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 16, 2019 5:00 PM (CDT)

No Mans Sky "Beyond" Update Will Feature Multiplayer

No Man's Sky had a rough launch, to say the least, and most people expected the developers to distance themselves from it as much as they could. Instead, Hello Games has been steadily working No Man's Sky over the years, and the game managed to make a big comeback in 2018. Today, the developers announced what they claim to be the biggest overhaul to No Man's Sky yet. The "Beyond" update is supposedly the culmination of several features they've been planning for some time, as it "will contain those three major updates rolled into one larger free release." The first of those components is a new multiplayer experience, and Hello Games says they'll talk about the other components "in the coming weeks."

No Man's Sky Online includes a radical new social and multiplayer experience which empowers players everywhere in the universe to meet and play together. Whilst this brings people together like never before, and has many recognisable online elements, we don't consider No Man's Sky to be an MMO - it won't require a subscription, won't contain microtransactions, and will be free for all existing players. These changes are an answer to how we have seen people playing since the release of NEXT, and is something we've dreamed of for a long time. We will talk more about each component when we know we can be precise, and look forward to sharing more in the coming weeks.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 15, 2019 10:16 AM (CDT)

AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.3.2 Supports DX12 on Windows 7

The AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.3.2 driver has been released and it is optimized for Tom Clancy's The Division 2 and Sid Meier's Civilization VI: Gathering Storm. AMD Radeon VII owners should see a 4% performance uplift in Sid Meier's Civilization VI: Gathering Storm when compared to the 19.2.3 driver. This driver brings DirectX 12 to Windows 7 for supported game titles. AMD supports more Vulkan extensions in this driver. Fixed issues include: Radeon ReLive for VR may sometimes fail to install during Radeon Software installation. Fan curve may fail to switch to manual mode after the manual toggle is switched when fan curve is still set to default behavior. Changes made in Radeon WattMan settings via Radeon Overlay may sometimes not save or take effect once Radeon Overlay is closed.

Known issues include: Rainbow Six Siege may experience intermittent corruption or flickering on some game textures during gameplay. DOTA2 VR may experience stutter on some HMD devices when using the Vulkan API. Mouse cursors may disappear or move out of the boundary of the top of a display on AMD Ryzen Mobile Processors with Radeon Vega Graphics. Performance metrics overlay and Radeon WattMan gauges may experience inaccurate fluctuating readings on AMD Radeon VII.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 14, 2019 8:41 PM (CDT)

Intel Comet Lake Processors Could Pack 10 Cores

A recently updated file in coreboot's Github repository seemingly corroborates previous rumors that claim Intel's upcoming Comet Lake processors could pack up to 10 cores. The "report_platform.c" file contains references to various Comet Lake CPU + Graphics core configurations, including a "CometLake-S (10+2)" config.
The listing also suggests that Intel will launch low power, 6-core U-series parts for laptops, as well as a variety of other 2, 4, 6, and 8 core configs designed to supplement or replace the existing Coffee Lake and Whiskey Lake lineup. Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 14, 2019 11:05 AM (CDT)

Windows Update Fixes Previous Patch's Mouse Issues

Microsoft has released a fix to a previous update that reportedly caused "graphics and mouse performance degradation with desktop gaming when playing certain games, such as Destiny 2." KB4482887 contained the performance enhancing "Retpoline" Spectre mitigation, and in addition to the new mouse and graphics fixes, the newly released KB4489899 update patches some Microsoft Hololens calibration and tracking issues as well.

After installing this update on machines that have multiple audio devices, applications that provide advanced options for internal or external audio output devices may stop working unexpectedly. This issue occurs for users that select an audio output device different from the "Default Audio Device." Examples of applications that may stop working include: Windows Media Player, Realtek HD Audio Manager, Sound Blaster Control Panel

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 13, 2019 10:19 AM (CDT)

Microsoft Announces DX12 Support for Windows 7

Blizzard Entertainment added Windows 10 DX12 support to its MMO World of Warcraft (WoW) and fans of the game responded with a warm welcome to new features such as multi-threading. Blizzard Entertainment contacted Microsoft about bringing the same improvements to WoW gamers that remain on Windows 7. Microsoft responded to feedback from Blizzard Entertainment and has now ported the user mode D3D12 runtime to Windows 7. "This unblocks developers who want to take full advantage of the latest improvements in D3D12 while still supporting customers on older operating systems." With the latest patch, WoW now supports DX12 on Windows 7! Microsoft is now working with other developers to port their D3D12 games to Windows 7.

How are DirectX 12 games different between Windows 10 and Windows 7? Windows 10 has critical OS improvements which make modern low-level graphics APIs (including DirectX 12) run more efficiently. If you enjoy your favorite games running with DirectX 12 on Windows 7, you should check how those games run even better on Windows 10!

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 12, 2019 7:33 PM (CDT)

Update 5.0 for Hunt Showdown is Out

Hunt Showdown's 5.0 Update is out, and among other things, it seems to make make the already visually stunning game look even better. The developers have added times of day to the Lawson Delta and Stillwater Bayou Maps, meaning you can now hunt in "Daylight, Nighttime, Golden, and Foggy" conditions. The developers also made a number of performance optimizations, added the Immolator AI, introduced a new pistol, and re-balanced shotguns. You can read the lengthy patch notes on the Steam announcement page. As we noted yesterday, the developers announced that Hunt: Showdown is coming to the Xbox One "this spring," but as far as I can tell, no-one knows if the game will support crossplay with PC. Some company representatives allegedly gave ambiguous answers to the question on the forums and the official Discord, and one staff member said "We will announce more information in the near future!"

With 5.0 we are finally able to take another look at how shotguns work in Hunt. We've never really been happy with the RNG gameplay their current implementation caused, spreading the individual shot pellets randomly within the spread cone defined by the crosshair. The changes we have done allow us to do two things: Make sure a certain number of pellets are more likely to hit closer to the center of the crosshair to help normalize damage between shots. And on the other hand, allow us to push shotgun gameplay closer to how real shotguns work. In video games, shotguns are often seen as room sweepers that pepper large areas, while in reality, the choke is actually quite narrow, requiring some aiming to be effective and being lethal at quite impressive distances still. Shotguns in HUNT will feel a bit different now, allowing players to reach out further with them, but also require more precise aiming to score hits. We also tried to make shotguns feel different now, with the Romero and its Handcannon variant having more range and a tighter spread pattern than the other shotguns to give them a meaningful place in the arsenal. Please spend some time playing with shotguns and also play AGAINST shotguns using other weapons to get a feeling for these changes and let us know how you feel about them. We plan on doing additional tweaks based on your feedback over the next weeks!

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 12, 2019 9:59 AM (CDT)

Windows 10 Will Uninstall Incompatible Updates

Microsoft has rolled out a new feature for Windows 10 that allows the operating system (OS) to automatically uninstall broken or incompatible updates. Windows 10 will attempt to fix startup failures with automatic recovery attempts before uninstalling the updates. Users will see this message "We removed some recently installed updates to recover your device from a startup failure." The OS will prevent problematic updates from installing automatically for the next 30 days. Users can manually install the updates, but Windows 10 will still remove the problematic updates if it detects issues with startup. Thanks @Monkey34 !

To ensure that your device can start up and continue running as expected, Windows will also prevent problematic updates from installing automatically for the next 30 days. This will give Microsoft and our partners the opportunity to investigate the failure and fix any issues. After 30 days, Windows will again try to install the updates. If your device is unable to start up properly after automatic or manual installation of these updates, Windows will uninstall them again.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 12, 2019 9:30 AM (CDT)

Windows 7 Is One Obstinate OS

Computerworld looked at the latest numbers from web analytics vendor Net Applications and discovered Windows 7 managed to grow "for the second straight month, gaining a whopping 1.2 percentage points to rebound to 38.4% of all PCs and 43.9% of those running Windows." Windows 10 wasn’t as lucky, falling "by six-tenths of a percentage point in February, ending the month at 40.3% of all personal computers and 46.1% of all PCs running Windows." Some say users are just reluctant to upgrade, while others call this proof W10 is despised.

At the same time, the should-be-dead Windows XP put on six-tenths of a points during February, climbing to 3.3% of all PCs and stretching to 3.8% of systems powered by Windows. All in all, it was a mess. Windows 10 was supposed to be growing but it wasn't. Windows 7 and Windows XP were to be shedding share, but they weren't. Windows overall has been losing share, surely if slowly, but instead it gained.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 10, 2019 8:35 PM (CDT)

Windows 10 Update Can Degrade Graphics, Mouse Performance in Certain Games

Microsoft has alerted gamers that a recent Windows 10 update (KB4482887) can have adverse effects on some titles: "After installing KB4482887, users may notice graphics and mouse performance degradation with desktop gaming when playing certain games (eg: Destiny 2)." The company is still working on an official fix, but those who need an immediate solution may merely uninstall the update.

On March 1st, Microsoft released a brand-new update for Windows 10 that brought a number of quality improvements. However, and after various reports, Microsoft has confirmed that this latest update can degrade graphics and mouse performance in certain games (like for example Destiny 2). Microsoft has not explained/detailed the reasons behind this performance degradation. Moreover, this issue may not affect everyone therefore we strongly suggest uninstalling this update only if you are experiencing worse performance in your favorite games after applying it.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 09, 2019 4:00 PM (CST)