News & Updates

Article intro image

Enlarge / John can now switch between two Switch consoles.

Switch owners can now easily load digital software purchases onto more than one console following a firmware update that was rolled out last night.

Switch firmware version 6.0.0, which is necessary to use the new Switch Online service, introduces the ability to associate “non-primary consoles” with your Nintendo Account (in addition to the “primary console” where you first used the account). Those non-primary consoles will be able to download any digital games purchased on the account, though Nintendo notes you “must have an active Internet connection” while playing those games on any secondary system.

Before you start planning to share your Nintendo Account game library with a few dozen friends, note that only one Switch at a time can access the digital library on that account. “When using downloadable software on a non-primary console, your game will pause if your Nintendo Account is used to access downloadable software on any other Nintendo Switch console,” Nintendo writes.

Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments


Article intro image

Enlarge / The Facebook sign and logo at its Menlo Park, California, headquarters. (credit: Josh Edelson/Getty Images)

Hundreds of thousands of Americans drive for Uber. And the company is looking for many more. It runs ads on Facebook that say, for example, “Driving toward something? Make extra money when it works for you and get there faster.” Another touts, “Earn $1,100 in Nashville for your first 200 Trips. Limited time guarantee! Terms apply.”

There’s just one catch: Many of those ads are not visible to women.

A ProPublica review of Facebook ads found that many purchased by Drive with Uber, the company’s recruiting arm, targeted only men in more than a dozen cities across the US. Our survey of 91 Uber ads found just one targeting only women; three did not target a specific sex.

They were all gathered as a part of our Facebook Political Ad Collector project, in which readers sign up to send us the ads they see in their News Feeds.

The review found Uber to be among 15 employers in the past year who have advertised jobs on Facebook exclusively to one sex. Many of the ads seem to target in accordance with stereotypes. The Pennsylvania State Police, for example, boosted a post targeted to men with text saying “Pennsylvania State Troopers earn a starting salary of $59,567 per year. Apply now.” A Michigan-based truck company took out ads targeting not just men, but men interested in college football. And a community health center in Idaho sought nurses and certified medical assistants—and limited its audience to women.

The Supreme Court ruled in 1973 that it is illegal for an employer to take out job ads in newspapers with parameters such as “Help wanted—men.”

“The ads themselves are illegal,” Galen Sherwin, an ACLU lawyer, said. “It’s been established for five decades.”

The ACLU, the Communications Workers of America and the firm Outten & Golden filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Tuesday about Facebook’s practices. The filing, which is the first step before filing a lawsuit, names 10 employers who had advertised jobs only to men. The complaint argues that Facebook itself has broken the law by publishing the ads.

In a statement, Facebook spokesman Joe Osborne said, “There is no place for discrimination on Facebook; it’s strictly prohibited in our policies. We look forward to defending our practices once we have an opportunity to review the complaint.”

The company has previously said that giving advertisers the ability to target employment ads by sex and age does not facilitate discrimination.

In response to other suits, Facebook has argued that it is not liable for the content its users—in this case, advertisers—post on its platform.

In response to questions about the breakdown of its ads that target a specific sex, an Uber spokesperson said, “Driving with Uber is not typical 9 to 5 work, and the platform is available to anyone who is qualified—regardless of gender.” The spokesperson added, “We use a variety of channels to reach prospective drivers—both offline and online—with the goal of enabling more people, not fewer, to earn on their own schedule.”

Other advertisers say they use such tactics as part of larger recruiting efforts that include ads targeting men and women. ProPublica found an ad by Johnsonville Sausage, for example, targeting men ages 18 to 60 who are interested in hunting, but the company says it is only one ad in a greater recruiting campaign for men and women. Ryan Tarkowski, communications director for the Pennsylvania State Police, says their Facebook ad targeting men was part of a larger recruitment campaign that also targeted women and other groups.

Targeting by sex is just one way Facebook and other tech companies let advertisers focus on certain users—and exclude others. Based on rich data provided by users and deduced from their Web activity, that powerful targeting is key to Facebook’s massive popularity with advertisers, and it accounts for much of its revenue. It lets advertisers spend only on those they want to reach.

That level of targeting also gives advertisers the power to discriminate in ways that may violate the law. ProPublica reported in 2016 that Facebook allows advertisers to exclude users by race. And last year we detailed how job ads on Facebook can exclude older workers.

Since our reporting, Facebook has removed the ability for advertisers to exclude certain categories of people by race, religion and national origin. Facebook has not made similar changes for age and sex.

Facebook also now has humans review certain ads that include or exclude people in ways that implicate “politics, religion, ethnicity or social issues.” Facebook wouldn’t say if it considers job ads targeted by sex to be sensitive enough to trigger manual review, citing concerns about “bad actors.”

In some instances, companies appear to be targeting job ads by sex in order to diversify their workforce or address disparities. ProPublica’s database, for instance, found ads by T-Mobile and Boeing promoting engineering careers to women. Both companies declined to comment.

But the complaint found instances of ads that don’t seem aimed at correcting historic imbalances. It cites ads from 10 traditionally male-dominant industries targeted just at men, including a software company, a moving company, and a police department.

Sometimes, advertisers don’t seem to recognize they’re excluding users by gender. The city of Omaha, for example, advertised a job for a civil rights investigator. Among the duties listed: “investigating discrimination charges” and “processing complaints alleging discrimination in employment.” The ad was set to be shown only to women.

Contacted by ProPublica, Tim Young, human resources director for the city of Omaha, says it was an honest oversight.

“We have a lean staff here,” he said. “Our social media staff is one person. We didn’t realize, and it won’t happen again.”

Amanda Collins, director of outreach and enrollment at HealthWest Inc., the community health center in Idaho that sought nurses and certified medical assistants, also said the targeting was unintentional. She says that women make most health care decisions and that she markets services and events accordingly. When it came time to post the jobs, she suspects Facebook filled in her usual targeting categories and the person who placed the ad didn’t think twice.

“So, it’s an oversight for us but also obviously fairly easy to do,” Collins said. “We would never just completely target those jobs specifically to women.”

NTB Trucking, the Michigan-based company, did not reply to a request for comment.

Facebook has taken some steps to try to address the problem of advertiser confusion through “self-certification.” For more than a year, it has required anyone running ads for jobs to check a box saying their ads stay within all legal boundaries. The company has recently said that it will show a pop-up message to all advertisers asking them to agree to obey the law.

Some attorneys and policy experts think that requirement isn’t enough. “It’s pretty easy for Facebook to stop” this sort of discrimination on their platform, Sherwin said, saying the company should eliminate the option for targeting employment, housing and credit ads by sex. Facebook’s tools, she said, are “the means by which companies are being allowed to do this.”

As an alternative, Facebook should “make it easier for regulators and civil rights groups to see what’s going on,” suggests Miranda Bogen, a senior policy analyst at Upturn, a think tank that researches equity issues in the design and governance of technology.

“Paid messages about housing, employment, and credit deeply implicate civil rights and economic opportunity, and they should be just as visible and accessible as the political ads,” she said, referencing Facebook’s political ad archive database. Regulators, she said, “have very little visibility into the billions of ads that flow across Facebook’s platform every day, and even less into how those ads are targeted, so it’s really hard for them to do their job.”

ProPublica’s database collects only a tiny sample of advertisements on Facebook. But the presence of targeted ads do raise further questions about the scope of the practice.

“If Facebook thought parallel ads—older worker ad, younger worker ad; women ad, men ad—were legal, it should be monitoring these type of exclusionary ads to make sure there is a paired ad,” said Peter Romer-Friedman, an attorney at Outten & Golden who helped file the case. “We don’t know the full picture.”

Here are the job ads ProPublica found that target by sex. We’ve contacted each of the companies and noted their response when they have given one.

Boeing declined to comment.

Tim Young, human resources director for the city of Omaha, says it was an honest oversight. “We have a lean staff here,” he said. “Our social media staff is one person. We didn’t realize, and it won’t happen again.”

An Uber spokesperson said the company uses “a variety of channels to reach prospective drivers—both offline and online—with the goal of enabling more people, not fewer, to earn on their own schedule,” regardless of sex.

Amanda Collins, director of outreach and enrollment at HealthWest Inc., said the targeting was unintentional. She says that women make most health care decisions and that she markets services and events accordingly. She says the targeting categories were likely mirrored by campaigns the company has run.

Johnsonville says it only uses Facebook recruiting to hire for positions that have been hard to fill, and it runs comprehensive ad campaigns that target both men and women.

OneClass Note Taker Program says it abides by Facebook’s guidelines regarding hiring practices and says these are not ads for full or part-time employment. The company says it employs both men and women, all recruited from Facebook ads, organic search, or direct traffic.

Ryan Tarkowski, communications director for the Pennsylvania State Police, says their Facebook ad targeting men was also part of a larger recruitment campaign that included women and other groups with other ads. He says the full strategy is designed to increase diversity among the troopers, and the ads are run by a third-party advertising agency.

T-Mobile declined to comment.

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.

Read on Ars Technica | Comments


Three young hackers who were sentenced late last year for creating and spreading the notorious Mirai botnet are now helping the FBI to investigate other “complex” cybercrime cases in return to avoid their lengthy prison terms.

Paras Jha, 21 from New Jersey, Josiah White, 20 from Washington, and Dalton Norman, 21 from Louisiana, plead guilty in December 2017 to multiple charges for their role


Article intro image

Enlarge / A Long March-2C rocket carrying two satellites is launched at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on July 9, 2018 in Jiuquan, Gansu Province of China. (Photo by Wang Jiangbo/China News Service/VCG) (credit: Wang Jiangbo/China News Service/VCG)

As part of its long-term planning, Chinese rocket officials have talked for some time about a super-heavy lift rocket that will enable a human lunar program. For this rocket, called the Long March 9, officials have generally cited the 2030 time frame for its maiden launch.

However, at the World Conference on Science Literacy 2018 this week, an engineer with the China National Space Administration, Li Guoping, said the country planned to launch the Long March 9 booster in 2028. This comes as China has successfully ramped up its launch cadence in 2018—it should launch about three dozen orbital rockets this year, more than any other country. The report in the Chinese news service Xinhua did not specify why this larger rocket was now expected to launch two years earlier than previously announced.

A huge rocket

The Long March 9 is an extremely ambitious booster, with a diameter of 10 meters, length of 90 meters, and a proposed lift capacity of 140 tons to low-Earth orbit. Those numbers are on par with the Saturn V rocket that NASA designed and built during the 1960s to carry out the Apollo lunar landing program. It would be roughly equivalent, in terms of capability, to SpaceX’s proposed Big Falcon Rocket, although there has been no word from China on whether any part of the Long March 9 might be reusable.

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments


Article intro image

Enlarge / Zapping a vapor cell of excited cesium atoms with lasers makes an excellent detector of radio waves. (credit: Rydberg Technologies)

In the 1950s, atomic clocks revolutionized precision time-keeping. Now we may be on the verge of so-called “atomic radio,” thanks to the development of a new type of antenna capable of receiving signals across a much wider range of frequencies (more than four octaves) that is highly resistant to electromagnetic interference.

An antenna is typically a collection of metal rods that pick up passing radio waves and convert their energy into an electrical current, which is then amplified. One might argue that the good old-fashioned radio antenna has served us well since the dawn of the 20th century, so why do we need anything to replace it?

According to David Anderson of Rydberg Technologies, those antennae are wavelength-dependent, so their size depends on whatever wavelength of signal they are trying to measure (they need to be about half the size of whatever wavelength they are designed to receive). That means you need antennae of several different sizes to measure different radio frequencies.

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments


Three men who admitted to being the authors of the Mirai botnet avoided the jail after helping the FBI in other cybercrime investigations.

I’m following the evolution of Mirai botnet since MalwareMustDie shared with me the findings of its investigation in August 2016.

Now three individuals who admitted to being the authors of the infamous botnet avoided the jail after helping feds in another cybercrime investigations.

The three men, Josiah White (21) of Washington, Pennsylvania; Paras Jha (22), of Fanwood, New Jersey, and Dalton Norman (22), of Metairie, Louisiana, pleaded guilty in December 2017 to developing and running the dreaded Mirai botnet that was involved in several massive DDoS attacks.

The identification and conviction of the three men is the result of an international joint cooperation between government agencies in the US, UK, Northern Ireland, and France, and private firms, including Palo Alto Networks, Google, Cloudflare, Coinbase, Flashpoint, Oath, Qihoo 360 and Akamai.

According to the plea agreements, White developed the Telnet scanner component used by Mirai, Jha created the botnet’s core infrastructure and the malware’s remote control features, while Norman developed new exploits.

Jha, who goes online with the moniker “Anna-senpai” leaked the source code for the Mirai malware on a criminal forum, allowing other threat actors to use it and making hard the attribution of the attacks.

Jha also pleaded guilty to carrying out multiple DDoS attacks against his alma mater Rutgers University between November 2014 and September 2016, before creating the Mirai botnet. According to the authorities, the three earned roughly $180,000 through their click fraud scheme.

The Mirai case was investigated by the FBI Field Office in Anchorage, and the Chief U.S. District Judge in Alaska sentenced the men.

“U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced today that three defendants have been sentenced for their roles in creating and operating two botnets, which targeted “Internet of Things” (IoT) devices.  Paras Jha, 22, of Fanwood, New Jersey; Josiah White, 21, of Washington, Pennsylvania; and Dalton Norman, 22, of Metairie, Louisiana, were sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Judge Timothy M. Burgess.” states the press release published by the DoJ.

“On Dec. 8, 2017, Jha, White, and Norman pleaded guilty to criminal Informations in the District of Alaska charging them each with conspiracy to violate the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act in operating the Mirai Botnet.  Jha and Norman also pleaded guilty to two counts each of the same charge, one in relation to the Mirai botnet and the other in relation to the Clickfraud botnet.”

On Tuesday, the DoJ revealed on Tuesday that each of the men was sentenced to five years of probation and 2,500 hours of community service.

The judges required them to repay $127,000, and they have voluntarily handed over huge amounts of cryptocurrency that the authorities seized as part of the investigation on the botnet.


The three men have “cooperated extensively” with the authorities helping the FBI on complex cybercrime investigations before the sentence. The trio will continue to offer their support to the feds.

“After cooperating extensively with the FBI, Jha, White, and Norman were each sentenced to serve a five-year period of probation, 2,500 hours of community service, ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $127,000, and have voluntarily abandoned significant amounts of cryptocurrency seized during the course of the investigation.” continues the press release.

” As part of their sentences, Jha, White, and Norman must continue to cooperate with the FBI on cybercrime and cybersecurity matters, as well as continued cooperation with and assistance to law enforcement and the broader research community.”

window._mNHandle = window._mNHandle || {};
window._mNHandle.queue = window._mNHandle.queue || [];
medianet_versionId = “3121199”;

try {
window._mNHandle.queue.push(function () {
window._mNDetails.loadTag(“762221962”, “300×250”, “762221962”);
catch (error) {}

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – Mirai, botnet)

The post Mirai authors avoid the jail by helping US authorities in other investigations appeared first on Security Affairs.

Source: Security affairs

Sam Machkovech

Specs at a glance: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition
Outputs 3x DisplayPort 1.4, 1x HDMI 2.0b, 1x USB Type-C (VirtualLink VR)
Release date September 20, 2018
PRICE Founders Edition (as reviewed): $1,199. Partner cards priced at: $1,169.

Like any piece of expensive technology, a top-of-the-line graphics card comes with all manner of lingo and abbreviation. You’ll need a glossary to wade through the stuff inside (processors, CUDA cores, ROPs), the speeds measured (memory bandwidth, boost clocks, TeraFLOPS), and the results you want from a good card (anti-aliasing, frame rates, higher resolutions).

Thanks to Nvidia’s newest products, the RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti, that required glossary is only getting bigger.

Read 61 remaining paragraphs | Comments


Article intro image

Enlarge (credit: Nintendo)

On Tuesday night, at roughly 11pm ET, Nintendo finally did it: it put a bunch of classic NES games on the Switch.

(No, the December 2017 launch of Vs. Super Mario Bros. doesn’t count, because that’s a Switch port of an arcade game. We win on a technicality.)

After signing up for the new paid Nintendo Switch Online service, we were able to load 20 first- and third-party NES games on a Switch, all via one 54MB app full of pre-loaded ROMs. Only paying subscribers get access to this app, which makes this—a subscription-based classic-gaming service—as close as Nintendo has ever gotten to resembling Netflix. (NES-flix?)

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments


Ford EcoSport on the road

Enlarge / The Ford EcoSport out on the highway. (credit: Ford)

The crossover and SUV market, being what it is, has been sliced and diced into discrete chunks. There are the behemoths: true full-size SUVs like the Chevy Suburban. There’s the luxury market, where the relevance of “utility” sometimes falls into question. Then there are the subcompacts, cars like the Mini Cooper Countryman and the Honda HR-V—small crossovers with an SUV profile, a reasonable amount of cargo space, and a backseat that’s not punishment for those over five feet tall. And then there’s the Ford EcoSport.

A wee SUV


New to the US market in 2018, Ford’s bite-size crossover sits below the Escape in Ford’s soon-to-be-sedan-less lineup, and it has an attractive sticker price. The base model, the EcoSport S, starts at $19,995 and offers a 1.0-liter turbocharged, direct-injected three-cylinder engine. The model we tested, the SES, begins at $26,880. Engine size is doubled, with a 2.0L four-cylinder direct-injection Ti-VCT engine. That’s paired with a six-speed transmission and all-wheel drive (on the SES only; the other three models are front-wheel drive). Safety-wise, the EcoSport has side air-curtain tech for both the front and back seats, roll stability control, and Ford’s SOS Post-Crash Alert System.

Read 16 remaining paragraphs | Comments


Security researchers have discovered an authentication bypass vulnerability in Western Digital’s My Cloud NAS devices that potentially allows an unauthenticated attacker to gain admin-level control to the affected devices.

Western Digital’s My Cloud (WD My Cloud) is one of the most popular network-attached storage (NAS) devices which is being used by businesses and individuals to host their