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Showing posts from February 16, 2018

Facebook: Two-factor authentication spam was caused by a bug

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A number of people have been receiving random notifications from Facebook after giving the social network their phone number for two-factor authentication. Worse, if they attempt to cancel that by replying to the message, say with STOP or CANCEL, Facebook would post their replies as a status update for all to see. Now, the social network has admitted that the issues were caused by a bug and promised to roll out a fix that will stop non-security-related notifications in the next few days.Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos explained that the website didn't intentionally spam people who signed up for two-factor using their phone numbers. After all, Facebook doesn't want to deter people from signing up for 2FA. "[T]he last thing we want is for people to avoid helpful security features because they fear they will receive unrelated notifications," he said.The exec has also revealed that responses to the notifications got posted as status updates due to an old feat…

Microsoft’s Cortana is finally on IFTTT

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Microsoft keeps striving to find Cortana a place in the crowded smart assistant market, and despite losing a minor feature, it's still adding functionality. Today, Cortana added IFTTT, and launched with interactions to link it up with 550 apps and devices.Cortana lags behind some of its peers in this field, too: Google Assistant added IFTTT functionality in October 2016, while Amazon's Alexa included an IFTTT channel the year before. But if you've committed to Microsoft's voice assistant, at least you can set up your own interactions -- and create your own 'applets' for free now given IFTTT's free 'maker' tier.Source:IFTTT blog via Engadget RSS Feed "http://ift.tt/2CqL4SK"

LG's next flagship phone may tout an extra-bright, low-power screen

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Just because LG is shying away from typical smartphone release cycles doesn't mean it will have nothing big to show in 2018. Well-known leaker Evan Blass has heard that LG is planning to unveil a new flagship phone, nicknamed Judy. The star attraction, as with the G6, would be the display -- though not for the usual reasons like size or resolution. Judy would have a 6.1-inch, 18:9 ratio screen whose MLCD+ technology (which includes white sub-pixels) promises a high 800-nit brightness while consuming 35 percent less power than a typical IPS LCD panel. You could use the phone outside on a sunny day without killing your battery as quickly as usual.After that? Mostly, LG would be ticking checkboxes on what you'd hope for in a 2018 smartphone. You'd get a Snapdragon 845 processor (albeit with 'just' 4GB of RAM), dual 16-megapixel rear cameras with glass optics and f/1.6 apertures, stereo speakers, HDR visuals, water resistance and wireless charging. Logically, the AI ca…

Facebook admits SMS notifications sent using two-factor number was caused by bug

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Facebook this evening clarified the situation around SMS notifications sent using the company’s two-factor authentication (2FA) system, admitting that the messages were indeed caused by a bug. In a blog post penned by Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos, the company says the error led it to “send non-security-related SMS notifications to these phone numbers.”Facebook uses the automated number 362-65, or “FBOOK,” as its two-factor authentication number, which is a secure way of confirming a user’s identity by sending a numeric code to a secondary device like a mobile phone. That same number ended up sending users Facebook notifications without their consent. When users would attempt to get the SMS notifications to stop, the...Continue reading… via The Verge - Tech Posts "http://ift.tt/2Fb99QG"

Atari will use cryptocurrency to bolster its online gambling business

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In its latest bid for relevance, Atari is glomming onto the cryptocurrency craze. The company is hoping to bolster its gambling business in Europe with Atari Token, according to Bloomberg. "Our aim is to take strategic positions with a limited cash risk, in order to best create value with the assets and Atari brand," CEO Frederic Chesnais noted in a release. Like Kodak and, err, Long Island Iced Tea before it, the stock market has responded favorably to the news, pushing Atari share prices up by over 60 percent after the company announced its intent to jump into cryptocurrency. Maybe now the company can afford to tell people what it's going to include in the Ataribox.Source:Bloomberg via Engadget RSS Feed "http://ift.tt/2ExMZXA"

Twitter pulls the plug on its official Mac app

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We had high hopes about Twitter for Mac after the company acquired Tweetie and put its name on the desktop app, but now Twitter is shutting it off. This evening its Support account revealed that its app has been pulled from the Mac store, and will be in 30 days "will no longer be supported." Twitter said that it's "focusing our efforts on a great Twitter experience that's consistent across platforms" so users will have to use the website, Tweetdeck or third-party apps.It's not really surprising either -- back in 2015 we predicted that a 2018 update might bring already-behind the curve features like timeline syncing, but it was not to be. Most hardcore users are probably opting for other apps that have survived over the years like Tweetbot or Twitterific, so this news is more of a sad closing note to the app's development than a major loss.We're focusing our efforts on a great Twitter experience that's consistent across platforms. So, startin…

Twitter discontinues its Mac desktop app after years of spotty support

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Twitter’s erratic support for its dedicated desktop Mac application is coming to an end, with the company announcing today that it’s pulled the application from the web and from Apple’s App Store. Support for Twitter for Mac will end in 30 days, the company adds.The app, before Twitter pulled it, had an average user rating on the App Store of 1.7 out of 5. That’s an accurate approximation of most people’s attitude toward the software, which has never quite been as robust as third-party clients like Tweetbot or even in-house services like Tweetdeck.We're focusing our efforts on a great Twitter experience that's consistent across platforms. So, starting today the Twitter for Mac app will no longer be available for download, and in 30... Continue reading… via The Verge - Tech Posts "http://ift.tt/2Hn5Eap"

Google spending $2.5 billion to expand operations across the US

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Just over two years ago, Google announced it would convert a 1,300-sq ft former Hemlock Semiconductor facility in Clarksville, Tennessee into a new $600 million data center. Today, the search giant broke ground on the site -- and Google CEO Sundar Pichai used the opportunity to announce the company will invest $2.5 billion to open new facilities or expand existing ones in 14 states.In addition to the upcoming Clarksville facility, part of the $2.5 billion will go to opening or expanding data centers in Alabama, Oregon, Virginia and Oklahoma. The company will create or add to offices in nine other states: California, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington. The expansion plan will add thousands of jobs and bring Google's operations to a total of 21 states and six data centers.Google planned the Clarksville site to be a model of efficiency, and purchased enough renewable energy to offset 100 percent of its electricity use, in keeping…

James Damore’s labor complaint against Google was completely shut down

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Google didn’t violate labor laws by firing engineer James Damore for a memo criticizing the company’s diversity program, according to a recently disclosed letter from the US National Labor Relations Board. The lightly redacted statement is written by Jayme Sophir, associate general counsel of the NLRB’s division of advice; it dates to January, but was released yesterday, according toLaw.com. Sophir concludes that while some parts of Damore’s memo were legally protected by workplace regulations, “the statements regarding biological differences between the sexes were so harmful, discriminatory, and disruptive as to be unprotected.”Damore filed an NLRB complaint in August of 2017, after being fired for internally circulating a memo...Continue reading… via The Verge - Tech Posts "http://ift.tt/2GkP1uy"

Fluctuating temperatures are causing massive river ice jams

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Science Fluctuating temperatures are making ice jams worse this year.Warm weather, rain, and melting snow can cause havoc on ice-covered rivers. via Popular Science "http://ift.tt/2Cqe90N"

How Mattel is using AR to let you preview Hot Wheels playsets

Google conducts test to help 911 accurately locate callers

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Google has conducted a trial to test the efficiency of using its technology to help 911 operators more accurately figure out the location of cellphone callers. The test included tens of thousands of 911 calls over the span of two months in several states, and had encouraging results, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.The test was done in conjunction with two companies that have connections into 911 centers, West Corp. and RapidSOS. Under the current 911 system, wireless carriers are normally responsible for providing location information, but it isn’t very accurate. RapidSOS says that using Google’s technology, about 80 percent of the 911 calls had more accurate location data within the first 30 seconds. Google’s data also...Continue reading… via The Verge - Tech Posts "http://ift.tt/2obCBOo"

Zelle users are getting scammed just like on Venmo

Cyber attacks reportedly cost the US as much as $109 billion in 2016

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Cyber attacks are increasingly becoming a fact of life. North Korea attacked aerospace and telecom networks last year. Olympics officials confirmed a recent attack that took place during the opening ceremonies. While Russia denied its involvement in the devastating NotPetya attacks, the US has finally joined other countries in blaming Russia for them. Now, a report from the White House Council of Economic Advisers says that malicious cyber activity like this cost the US economy between $57 and $109 billion in 2016.The report stated that while the main actors are foreign governments like Russia, China, Iran and North Korea, corporate competitors, activists looking to advance their agendas and organized crime are also responsible for the staggeringly large cost. Effective efforts to combat all the malicious activity, said the report's authors, will likely add to the growth of our country's gross domestic product.Source:Reuters via Engadget RSS Feed "http://ift.tt/2C2U2d4&qu…

Russia’s troll identities were more sophisticated than anyone thought

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The Russian troll farm has been hit with its first major indictment. Today, special counsel Robert Mueller laid out his criminal case against Russia’s Internet Research Agency, charging that the agency engaged in a sustained campaign to influence the 2016 presidential election. It’s a major shift for the organization, which has largely escaped blowback from the US, and it gives us the best look yet into how the Russian influence campaign actually played out.One of the most surprising lessons of the indictment is just how seriously the Russians took their fake identities. We might associate troll accounts with spam or weird visuals, but at least some of the accounts described by Mueller were backed up by full-scale identity theft....Continue reading… via The Verge - Tech Posts "http://ift.tt/2ob7xy5"

A phishing attack scored credentials for more than 50,000 Snapchat users

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In late July, Snap’s director of engineering emailed the company’s team in response to an unfolding privacy threat. A government official from Dorset in the United Kingdom had provided Snap with information about a recent attack on the company’s users: a publicly available list, embedded in a phishing website named klkviral.org, that listed 55,851 Snapchat accounts, along with their usernames and passwords.The attack appeared to be connected to a previous incident that the company believed to have been coordinated from the Dominican Republic, according to emails obtained by The Verge. Not all of the account credentials were valid, and Snap had reset the majority of the accounts following the initial attack. But for some period of time,...Continue reading… via The Verge - Tech Posts "http://ift.tt/2C2XyEm"

Microsoft expands Cortana for the smart home with IFTTT integrations

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Today, Microsoft announced that its digital assistant, Cortana, will now work with IFTTT and a number of new smart home devices, such as the Ecobee, Honeywell Lyric, and LIFX. To set them up, just open Cortana on Windows 10 or launch the Cortana app and add the new products under the Connected Home menu.The IFTTT compatibility helps open Cortana up to a number of new third-party services. Rather than wait for third-party companies to offer new Cortana features, just as they do for Amazon Alexa skills, users can find “recipes” that already exist on IFTTT’s platform and connect them to their Cortana-enabled device.The update today comes several months after the release of Microsoft’s first Cortana smart speaker, the Harmon Kardon Invoke....Continue reading… via The Verge - Tech Posts "http://ift.tt/2ELD7wz"

California man indicted by Robert Mueller ran a scheme to defraud e-commerce companies

SonarPen is a $30 iPad stylus that connects to the headphone jack

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When the Apple Pencil was released, I was briefly outraged by the fact that it wasn’t supported by older iPads, then sucked it up and bought an iPad Pro. Hong Kong-based company Greenbulb is setting out to minimize this dilemma by crowdfunding SonarPen, a $30 stylus that senses pressure via the headphone jack, so it works with any iPad released after 2011.The SonarPen works by turning pressure information into sound waves sent to the iPad through the audio cable, which the iPad then interprets back into digital information. Because it uses an analog signal, Greenbulb claims it can deliver a wider range of pressure sensitivity than a standard Bluetooth stylus. And since there’s no Bluetooth to fiddle around with or batteries to charge,...Continue reading… via The Verge - Tech Posts "http://ift.tt/2C2Nzih"

Google Pixel 2 users report warming phones and shortened battery life

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If you've noticed your Pixel 2 running warm lately or found its battery life to suddenly be shortened, you're not alone. As 9to5Google points out, Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL users are reporting on Reddit and Google's Pixel User Community that their phones are having some issues since they installed Google's February security update. 9to5Google's Ben Schoon reports that his own Pixel 2 XL has been running warm while in standby mode since the update and that its battery life is noticeably reduced.Some users are reporting both issues affecting their phones, while others have experienced just one or neither. Some reports say that they've experienced greater battery drain, but inconsistently even with similar phone usage. Most complaints seem to point to the problems occuring after installing this month's security update, though what might be causing these issues is still up in the air.We've reached out to Google about the reports and we'll update this post …

IKEA and Teenage Engineering preview their collaboration on Instagram

Essential’s Amazon-exclusive phone comes with Alexa onboard

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Oh, you thought Essential was out of new color options to show off? Not quite. The company announced today that a new, so-called Halo Gray model is now available to purchase exclusively from Amazon. Unlike the other, limited-edition versions of the PH-1, this new model goes for $449 rather than $599 and it ships with Amazon's Alexa app pre-installed.With its matte black ceramic rear and titanium trim, the Halo Gray isn't as ostentatious as some of the models Essential revealed yesterday, but Linda Jiang — the young head of Essential's industrial design — told Engadget the look was meant to use "two finishes and colors that exemplified the materials in their best light.""The reason why we have the matte black on the back is that it doesn't fingerprint at all," Jiang said. "It has a super-nice, almost silky bone-like finish to it." The phone's metal frame, meanwhile, was chosen because of its specific character as a metal. "It has s…

How security became more important than convenience

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Since the dawn of infosec, the belief that we users are a group of dullard cattle who blindly trade our own security for convenience at every turn has been trumpeted by the stewards of IT and the infosec-arrogant, while bolstered by old research.Not anymore, says a new in-depth study from IBM on consumers' relationships with biometrics, authentication and the future of identity. If they have a choice, consumers now prefer taking extra security steps over using "123456" as a password.According to IBM Security's new "Future of Identity Study," users of both mobile and desktop are wide awake to what's happening with each new high profile breach, and it's made them change their priorities. Strong security and privacy are now at the forefront of the average user's concerns, especially when it comes to banking, financial, online marketplaces, and their email accounts.That's a sharp contrast to research from Gartner in 2008, which also surveyed 4,0…

It took carbon fiber—and spy work—to get Paralympic skiers better gear

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Technology The Paralympic Games begin in South Korea on March 9.After an IED explosion in Afghanistan in 2005, Andy Soule had both legs amputated above the knee. via Popular Science "http://ift.tt/2EytUEv"

The fumes from spray cleaners and perfumes are a major source of air pollution

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Environment Our cars are getting cleaner, but our cleaning products? Not so much.A new study from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration finds that common household items emit a greater proportion of air pollutants than we thought. via Popular Science "http://ift.tt/2F976MW"

Wes Anderson's 'Isle of Dogs' VR mock-doc is live on Pixel phones

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Big-budget VR tie-ins are nothing new. Dunkirk got its own version from Intel, Blade Runner 2049 has one that debuted at Comic-Con and even Spider-Man got his own virtual reality "experience" when the reboot launched last year. Wes Anderson's Isle of Dogs premieres next month in the US, but you can experience the film's VR tie-in now via Google Spotlight Stories app and your Pixel phone. The faux-documentary will go live for everyone else via YouTube (VR, 360 and 2D) March 2.The Isle of Dogs Behind the Scenes (in virtual reality) features dogs from the upcoming film as they're interviewed for a faux behind-the-scenes VR feature. You'll be able to listen to the dogs as voiced by Bryan Cranston, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Liev Schreiber, Jeff Goldblum, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, F. Murray Abraham and Bob Balaban. As the stop-animated canines talk about their "making of" stories, you'll be able to look around the set, which moves much fast…

Apple resumes sales of Belkin’s $40 iPhone X screen protector after recall

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Apple has once again started selling Belkin’s $40 “InvisiGlass Ultra” iPhone X tempered glass screen protector in its stores and online after customer complaints prompted a recall in late December. The thin sheet of glass was found to crack far too easily during regular daily use of the iPhone, which led to an avalanche of angry customers. Paying 40 bucks for a screen protector is a questionable choice even in cases where it lasts; plenty of companies on Amazon are selling these things for under $10 — and often give you several of them in the package.As MacRumors notes, there’s now a revised Belkin model that’s slightly thicker (0.29mm as opposed to 0.21mm). Will that make the difference? Who knows. Belkin’s version of the InvisiGlass...Continue reading… via The Verge - Tech Posts "http://ift.tt/2FauzNQ"

Smart Fortwo EV Cabrio is the tiny car for the big city

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There are cars out there that fill a need in someone else's life. Maybe you live in a large city and don't have the room or desire for a truck with a powerful diesel engine. Or you're part of a couple that has no need for an SUV with seats for eight. For me, the Smart Fortwo Cabrio EV seemed to fit the bill of cars that would be good for someone, just not me. I like electric cars, but I also need something large enough to haul gear and, well, I like going fast. Then I spent a week with the tiny EV.The $28,100 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive Cabrio takes the existing tiny-car platform, throws in an electric motor and makes it a convertible just for fun. It has a range of 57 miles and a footprint that would fit into the back of most pickup trucks. That small size is the allure, and an occasional curse, of the Fortwo.The obvious benefit of its size is that you can park it almost anywhere. In San Francisco, that's a blessing. I could fit it into side street spaces that don'…

US indicts 13 Russian nationals for alleged election tampering

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Today, the office of special counsel Robert Mueller announced that a federal jury has indicted 13 Russian nationals on charges of conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud, aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to defraud the US. The charges mean that these individuals are now officially wanted by the US government, though actual arrests may be hard to come by. "Defendant Internet Research Agency LLC is a Russian organization engaged in operations to interfere with elections and political processes," says the indictment. "Beginning as early as 2014, [it] began operations to interfere with the US political system, including the 2016 US presidential election."The indictment alleges that the named individuals were involved in illegal use of social mediaplatforms all in an effort to encourage political division and promote the campaign of Donald Trump. "US law bans foreign nationals from making certain expenditures or financial disbursements for the purpose of i…