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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)

Facebook Unveils the Oculus Rift S

At GDC, Facebook unveiled their next PC virtual reality headset. Among other things, the Oculus Rift S features a "higher pixel density" and "improved optics," but doesn't divulge many technical details. According to UploadVR, the new headset now uses a single 2560x1440 LCD instead of dual PenTile 2160x1200 OLED displays. And instead of requiring external sensors, the new Rift uses built-in cameras for tracking. It also features "enhanced" comfort, integrated audio, a better passthrough feature to keep you from bumping into walls, as well as compatibility with the same game library as the previous Rift, along with the same hardware requirements. Facebook says that the Rift S is launching in Spring 2019 for $399 USD.

Oculus Rift S is our most advanced PC-powered headset. Take on VR's best games with improved resolution and comfortable new design. No external sensors. No complicated set up. Just hands-on action and interaction. Step into the game and the future of PC VR. Coming Spring 2019.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 20, 2019 10:47 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)

Remastering "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" with Machine Learning

As significant portions of the show were shot on video (and not film, which can be easily scanned to higher resolutions), Star Trek: Deep Space Nine may never get a legitimate HD remaster, but that hasn’t stopped one fan from experimenting with other technologies to see what it could look like: Stefan Rumen ("CaptRobau"), who has been upscaling Final Fantasy VII using AI Gigapixel, has applied that same neural-networking technique to bump DVD footage of DS9 to 1080p quality. While the results are arguably mild, Rumen hopes CBS and other studios take note of how machine learning can be used for improving video quality.

Since I do not own DS9, I cannot just do what I want with it. While I would love to release full episodes, this is just not legally possible. These videos serve more as a proof of concept for CBS to look into machine learning and neural networks to help remaster DS9 and move it a bit closer to the HD era. Imagine what a real team could do, with more powerful equipment, custom trained neural networks (perhaps training the network on TNG vs. TNG Remastered images) and access to the original SD files instead of a DVDRip like me.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 16, 2019 2:40 PM (CDT)

Crytek Demos Real-Time Ray Traced Reflections Running on an AMD Vega 56

Crytek has released a new video demonstrating the results of a CRYENGINE research and development project called Neon Noir. Neon Noir is based on an advanced version of CRYENGINE's Total Illumination showcasing real-time ray tracing. The demo shown below is running on an AMD Vega 56 and demonstrates how real-time mesh ray-traced reflections and refractions can deliver highly realistic visuals for games. This feature is expected to be available to developers using CRYENGINE in 2019. The demo was created on a bespoke version of CRYENGINE 5.5 and the experimental ray tracing feature is both API and hardware agnostic. This means that it will run on AMD and NVIDIA GPUs. Crytek will optimize the technology to benefit both the current generation of graphics cards and supported APIs like Vulkan and DX12. Thanks @Gideon !

Neon Noir follows the journey of a police drone investigating a crime scene. As the drone descends into the streets of a futuristic city, illuminated by neon lights, we see its reflection accurately displayed in the windows it passes by, or scattered across the shards of a broken mirror while it emits a red and blue lighting routine that will bounce off the different surfaces utilizing CRYENGINE's advanced Total Illumination feature. Demonstrating further how ray tracing can deliver a lifelike environment, neon lights are reflected in the puddles below them, street lights flicker on wet surfaces, and windows reflect the scene opposite them accurately.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 15, 2019 4:32 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)

A "Server Misconfiguration" Was Behind the Facebook Outage

Facebook and Instagram were down for about 14 hours earlier this week, and earlier reports suggested that the underlying cause was a BGP routing issue. As time went on without an official explanation, many started to suspect that the outage was related to an attack on the platform. But yesterday, Facebook tweeted that the trouble was a "result of a server configuration change." There's still no mention of the incident in Facebook's official newsroom, and some news outlets are starting to criticize the timeliness of Facebook's response and explanation. One security analyst told the BBC that "Facebook's motto always used to be 'move fast and break things'. That's fine when you're an innovative start-up, but when billions of people are using your site every month it's not a good way to run the business."

Yesterday, as a result of a server configuration change, many people had trouble accessing our apps and services. We've now resolved the issues and our systems are recovering. We're very sorry for the inconvenience and appreciate everyone's patience.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 15, 2019 9:00 AM (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)

Facebook Outage Caused by BGP Routing Error

NETSCOUT has released a statement to BleepingComputer that the Facebook and Instagram outages were caused by a BGP routing error.

"'At approximately 12:52PM EST on March 13th, 2019, it appears that an accidental BGP routing leak from a European ISP to a major transit ISP, which was then propagated onwards to some peers and/or downstreams of the transit ISP in question, resulted in perceptible disruption of access to some well-known Internet properties for a short interval. While not malicious in nature, such events can prove disruptive on a widespread basis. It is very important that all network operators implement BGP peering best current practices (BCPs), including prefix-lists, max-prefixes, 'peer-locking' via AS-PATH filters, RPKI Origin Validation (RFC6811), and other techniques incorporated into the industry Mutually Agreed Norms for Routing Security (MANRS) detailed at .' -Roland Dobbins, NETSCOUT Principal Engineer"

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 13, 2019 5:30 PM (CDT)

Facebook and Instagram Are down

Facebook and Instagram are reportedly down. This probably means that your personal information will have to wait until both services are back up before it is harvested (sarcasm.) Facebook acknowledged the connection troubles on Twitter since it couldn't announce it on its own social media platform. Maybe this is part of Mark Zuckerberg's plan to shift Facebook to a "privacy-focused" platform?

We're aware that some people are currently having trouble accessing the Facebook family of apps. We're working to resolve the issue as soon as possible.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 13, 2019 2:31 PM (CDT)

Facebook Acquires Interconnect IP Provider Sonics

Hot on the heels of Nvidia's Mellanox acquisition, EE Times reports that Facebook has acquired Sonics, a Silicon Valley-based IP provider that specializes in on-chip networking and power management. The report initially came from sources claiming "key Sonics executive members are now working for Facebook," but Facebook contacted EE Times shortly after the article went live and confirmed the acquisition. They said "we're rapidly developing new VR and AR products and deepening our technology expertise in silicon is an important step for our 10-year roadmap. We're excited to welcome the remarkable Sonics team and technology to AR/VR at Facebook." However, what's particularly interesting is what Facebook could do with the newly acquired company outside of standalone AR/VR headsets. The publication asked the social media giant if they intended to use Sonic's IP for datacenter chips, and Facebook said "It's too early to rule out anything. But our initial focus will be VR and AR." While that's certainly far from a confirmation, it's not a denial either, and the technology I see on an archived version of Sonic's website and their YouTube Channel seemingly lends itself to high performance datacenter chips. In other words, this could be evidence that Facebook is following in the footsteps of Amazon, and working on their own datacenter hardware to reduce their reliance on 3rd parties.

"It would indicate to me that Facebook is indeed working on its own multicore, and probably heterogeneous, processor," Krewell said. Of course, that's what all the cool cloud players are apparently doing these days, he added. Mike Demler, senior analyst at the Linley Group, however, is the only one who suggested, "Yes, Facebook designs ASICs for its data centers, but they also may develop chips for Oculus VR headsets." Surprising to Krewell, though, is that Facebook bought the company rather than just licensing the technology. Linley has another theory. "If the Facebook team decided to use Sonics IP, and Sonics was running out of money, Facebook could have stepped in to ensure the continuity of its design project." He said this would be similar to what happened in the case of Intel's NetSpeed acquisition deal last year.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 13, 2019 12:51 PM (CDT)

Star Wars Episode 1: Racer Reimagined in Unreal Engine 4

A Star Wars fan has recreated a track from Star Wars Episode 1: Racer in Unreal Engine 4. CG artist Rob Jin worked on the project for around 10 months and even created a trailer for the game. The article has download links for the files.

For those unfamiliar with Star Wars Episode I: Racer, the original was developed and published by LucasArts and released in 1999 on PC, N64, Game Boy Color and eventually Dreamcast. The game was hugely popular - selling over three million copies on the N64 alone - and prompted Sega to create a podracing title in 2000. It's since been recognised for its speed, nifty steering controls, and creating a sense of Star Wars wonder.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 12, 2019 2:46 PM (CDT)