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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)

Octane from Apex Legends Is Now Available

Apex Legend's newest playable character is called Octane. The speed runner will have abilities that allow him to trade health for speed, regenerate the health that he lost, and drop a launch pad that shoots him and his teammates into the air. Apex Legends is the latest hit title from Respawn Entertainment. The Battle Pass for Season 1 was recently launched.

Fresh off a record-breaking gauntlet speed-run, Octane is jumping into the Apex Games with even bigger ambitions. With abilities that let him trade health for speed, regenerate the health he lost, and drop a launch pad that shoots him and his teammates into the air, he never has to slow down. Apex Legends is a free-to-play battle royale game where legendary characters battle for glory, fame, and fortune on the fringes of the Frontier.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 19, 2019 3:37 PM (CDT)

Apple Launches iMac With Coffee Lake and Vega

Today, Apple updated its iMac lineup with 9th generation Intel processors and AMD Vega graphics. The 21.5 inch iMac now sports up to 6 cores, while the 27 inch iMac gets what's presumably a fully enabled 8-core Coffee Lake die. Apple also says they're they're offering "Radeon Pro Vega graphics" in both the 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMacs. The subtext reveals that the smaller iMac has an optional "Vega 20" graphics card, while the larger one features the long-rumored Radeon Pro Vega 48. It's not clear if we'll ever see desktop gaming versions of these Vega GPUs, but some people have already pointed out that smaller Vega GPUs could cut into sales for the recently-launched RX 590.

Apple revolutionized personal technology with the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984. Today, Apple leads the world in innovation with iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV. Apple's four software platforms - iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS - provide seamless experiences across all Apple devices and empower people with breakthrough services including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud. Apple's more than 100,000 employees are dedicated to making the best products on earth, and to leaving the world better than we found it.

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Posted by alphaatlas March 19, 2019 11:13 AM (CDT)

A Reminder from AMD: Our Processors Aren't Affected by New "SPOILER" Vulnerability

AMD has published a support article confirming its chips should be immune to "SPOILER," a new CPU vulnerability outlined by computer scientists at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and the University of Lubeck. As explained in their paper, SPOILER takes advantage of "a weakness in the address speculation of Intel’s proprietary implementation of the memory subsystem." This makes it easier for memory attacks such as "Rowhammer" to be carried out, but evidently, only Intel users need worry.

We are aware of the report of a new security exploit called SPOILER which can gain access to partial address information during load operations. We believe that our products are not susceptible to this issue because of our unique processor architecture. The SPOILER exploit can gain access to partial address information above address bit 11 during load operations. We believe that our products are not susceptible to this issue because AMD processors do not use partial address matches above address bit 11 when resolving load conflicts.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 17, 2019 4:40 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)

Valve Addresses Review Bombing on Steam by Removing Them from Review Scores

To mitigate the effects of review bombing, Valve announced Friday it has a built a tool that would identify and alert the moderation team of any game with "anomalous review activity." After a case of review bombing is confirmed, the reviews submitted under this time period would then be removed from the review score calculation. Gamers can opt out of this change, however, and "off-topic review bombs" will remain on the site for anyone curious enough to read them.

Once our team has identified that the anomalous activity is an off-topic review bomb, we'll mark the time period it encompasses and notify the developer. The reviews within that time period will then be removed from the Review Score calculation. As before, the reviews themselves are left untouched - if you want to dig into them to see if they're relevant to you, you'll still be able to do so. To help you do that, we've made it clear when you're looking at a store page where we've removed some reviews by default, and we've further improved the UI around anomalous review periods.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 17, 2019 9:30 AM (CDT)

Apple Will Unveil Its Streaming Video Service on March 25

"It’s show time": Apple has sent out an invite for its next event on March 25, which indicates an official unveiling of the company’s long-rumored streaming video service. While the actual launch is reportedly months away, Apple is expected to tease some of its original TV content, which includes stars such as Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carell. A Bloomberg report suggests the company wants to win an Oscar badly.

Apple is spending billions of dollars on projects that feature stars like Jennifer Aniston and Kevin Durant, and producers such as J.J. Abrams. It’s also building a slate of films from Oscar-winning studios A24 and Cartoon Saloon. The company is racing to complete content deals with partners by this Friday, Bloomberg News reported this week. Apple will charge for some content, while other video will be free for Apple device users.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 16, 2019 1:05 PM (CDT)

Win Some, Lose Some in Qualcomm vs Apple Saga

A jury in federal court in San Diego awarded Qualcomm $31 million in a patent infringement case against Apple. Qualcomm requested damages amounting to $1.41 per iPhone. The three patents that Apple allegedly violated were related to battery life in mobile phones. In another case, a U.S. federal judge issued a preliminary ruling favoring Apple related to patent royalty rebate payments. Factories that build Apple iPhones paid Qualcomm billions of dollars to use Qualcomm's technology. Apple agreed to reimburse the factories. "Qualcomm and Apple had a cooperation agreement under which Qualcomm would pay Apple a rebate on the iPhone patent payments if Apple agreed not to attack in court or with regulators." Apple filed a lawsuit after it says Qualcomm refused to issue $1 billion in patent royalty rebates. Qualcomm alleged that "Apple had broken the agreement by urging other smartphone makers to complain to regulators and making "false and misleading" statements to the Korean Fair Trade Commission." Apple said it was just responding to regulators.

The decision will not become final until after the trial in the case, which begins next month. And it is unlikely that Qualcomm will make a new payment to Apple. Apple's contract factories, which under normal circumstances would pay Qualcomm for patent royalties owed on iPhones, have already withheld the nearly $1 billion in payments to Qualcomm. "Apple has already offset the payment at issue under the agreement against royalties that were owed to Qualcomm," Qualcomm's Rosenberg told Reuters.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 15, 2019 3:32 PM (CDT)

Astronauts From Failed Launch Will Return to the ISS Today

Last October, three astronauts aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket survived an explosive, mid flight failure. The ancient, Soviet-designed Soyuz rockets are notoriously reliable, with only 1 other recorded manned launch failure in 1975, but the 2018 incident put the future of the International Space Station in jeopardy, as it was, and still is, the only launch platform deemed reliable enough to haul astronauts to the ISS. Today, at 2:14 PM Central Time, two of the three astronauts that survived the original failure are scheduled to try again. In spite of an abort sequence that subjected them to nearly 8G, the astronauts don't seem worried at all. SpaceFlightNow is covering the event in real time, and NASA's official YouTube channel will stream the launch later today, which you can see below:

Ovchinin and Hague took off aboard the Soyuz MS-10/56S spacecraft on Oct. 11. But two minutes after liftoff, one of the rocket's four strap-on boosters failed to separate cleanly, triggering a catastrophic failure. The Soyuz spacecraft's abort system immediately kicked in, propelling the crew ship to safety for a parachute descent to Earth. The problem with the normally reliable Soyuz booster was quickly identified and corrected and the station's current crew - Soyuz MS-11/57S commander Oleg Kononenko, Canadian astronaut-physician David Saint-Jacques and NASA flight engineer Anne McClain - enjoyed a problem-free ride to orbit Dec. 3. Speaking with CBS News by satellite from Moscow last month, Hague said he continued to have full confidence in the safety and reliability of the Soyuz. "I'm 100 percent confident," he said. "In the aftermath of the launch abort, watching the response from the Russians, the transparency and the way they approach that in terms of sharing their data and resolving the issues, it was impressive. The strength of the international cooperation was tested, and it's as strong as it's ever been."

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 14, 2019 12:05 PM (CDT)

Gigabyte Factory Tour Shows Motherboard Manufacturing from Start-To-Finish

Gamers Nexus recently took a tour of the Gigabyte factory located on Nanping Road in Taiwan. At this location, Gigabyte manufacturers both video cards and motherboards. Although most of the SMT factory is automated, some of the components and wires must be installed by hand. It takes 40 - 50 minutes for a motherboard to be created and Gigabyte processes 600 - 800 motherboards per hour or about 5,000 per 8 hour workday. Make sure that you compare the Gigabyte tour to the MSI factory tour that Hardocp documented in 2007. I thought it was fascinating that the Gigabyte "museum" featured test equipment similar to what Hardocp observed over a decade ago. My, how things have changed!

Motherboard manufacturing is a refined process, but each board still takes upwards of an hour to finalize on the assembly line. About half of the assembly is now done by automated SMT lines, with the rest being manual quality checks and large component installation (like PCIe slots). As for how to make a video card, it follows exactly the same process -- the difference is just which board is being fed through the machines on each day.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 13, 2019 8:59 PM (CDT)

Ubisoft Will Prevent Third-Party Digital Stores from Selling "The Division 2" after Release

According to a statement issued by Gamesplanet, Ubisoft and Epic Games have decided to ban third-party game-key vendors from selling The Division 2 after its official release. Post March 15, the title will only be available for purchase on Uplay and the Epic Games Store, so fans who want to save a bit of money may want to visit their preferred vendor straight away. The Division 2 will have a 50GB day-one patch for disc buyers, and the PS4 version weighs in at 100GB.

Needless to say that we are against this anti-consumer move from both Ubisoft and Epic Games. It’s one thing securing a game to launch exclusively on your launcher but to prevent all third-party digital stores from selling keys? That’s a new low in our opinion. Bad move Epic Games, especially when your boss, Tim Sweeney, was whining about UWP and how anti-consumer it was compared to Win32.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 10, 2019 12:05 PM (CDT)

Cyberpunk 2077 Development "Is Far from Over"

"Coming: When It’s Ready": Cyberpunk 2077 fans probably have a long wait ahead of them, as CD Projekt Red has admitted in a new featurette the futuristic RPG isn’t anywhere near completion. While the game will be presented at this year’s E3, gamers should not be surprised if the final product is somewhat different from what is demoed. The studio did reveal 2077 takes place in a parallel timeline from Michael Pondsmith’s original tabletop game.

"This gave the team the freedom to create a game that respected and referenced the source material," the gruff-voiced narrator says, "but also suited the shift to the videogame medium." ...the video concludes with a distinct "don't start holding you breath just yet" tone: "Cyberpunk 2077 may no longer be the mystery it once was, but work on it is far from over," the narrator says, before warning -- you've heard this one before -- that it will be released "when it's ready."

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 09, 2019 1:55 PM (CST)