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Join us…. join the open standards…

LAS VEGAS—With everybody and their brother seemingly working on their own mutually exclusive virtual reality platform these days, it would be nice if everybody could somehow agree on some standards that allow VR games, hardware, and accessories to be easily interoperable with each other. Facebook-owned Oculus has gained a reputation for defending its own platform in order to protect access to exclusive content. In a presentation at the DICE conference this week, though, Oculus Head of Content Jason Rubin pushed back on this reputation and highlighted the company’s work on developing standards in the VR space.

“This is actually a place where we agree with the industry more than most people think,” Rubin said. “We support an open standard… We want everybody in the PC business to join an open standard that’s a platform where everybody gets to say what’s important to them.”

Here, Rubin is referencing Oculus’ work with the Khronos group (of OpenGL fame) on developing a common set of industry-wide VR standards. Announced back in December, the effort aims to create a set of “APIs for tracking of headsets, controllers and other objects, and for easily integrating devices into a VR runtime. This will enable applications to be portable to any VR system that conforms to the Khronos standard, significantly enhancing the end-user experience, and driving more choice of content to spur further growth in the VR market.”

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Enlarge / Martin Shkreli. (credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

In court documents, Evan Greebel, Martin Shkreli’s former lawyer, alleges that the notorious ex-pharmaceutical executive is a “serial fraudster” that duped him into alleged wrong-doing.

That argument counters Shrkeli’s, which is that if he did anything wrong it’s because Greebel gave him bum legal advice.

Shkreli was arrested in December of 2015 and charged by the FBI with several counts of securities fraud related to three interwoven, Ponzi-like schemes that defrauded investors and swindled $11 million from his former pharmaceutical company Retrophin, Inc. At the same time, Greebel was arrested and charged with wire fraud conspiracy in connection with the alleged schemes.

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By Waqas

Cybercriminals prefer crypto-ransomware as it not only successfully targets Windows desktop but also those devices that run on MacOS or Linux. Now, according to ESET researchers, there is a new ransomware malware called “Patcher” targeting Mac users. The new ransomware is written in Swift and is called Patcher; it is being distributed through BitTorrent distribution […]

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Behind you, red!

LAS VEGAS—In a Thursday speech at the gaming-minded DICE Summit, Microsoft’s head of its 343 Industries group (meaning, all things Halo) confirmed a return to split-screen modes in the series’ first-person shooter games.

“We will always have split-screen support going forward” for all first-person shooter games in the series, 343 chief Bonnie Ross told the Vegas crowd. Ross did not clarify if that ruling would apply to either cooperative or competitive modes in the series going forward, nor did she clarify how split-screen modes would work in any potential “Xbox Play Anywhere” entries in Halo that work on Windows 10. (This month’s Halo Wars 2 is the first true “Play Anywhere” game in the Halo series.) We have reached out to Microsoft to seek clarification, and we will update this report with any response.

2015’s Halo 5: Guardians was a peculiar release in the series for a few reasons, but one stands out to the couch-combat fans at Ars Technica: its lack of split-screen combat, either in four-player local versus modes or in its campaign, which revolved around four-player co-op battling (as opposed to many prior games that limited campaign co-op to two players). While the game was in development, a 343 developer told fans via Twitter that Halo 5 would include split-screen modes, but the studio eventually walked that statement back.

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Enlarge / Frank Abagnale, as played by Leonardo DiCaprio in Catch Me If You Can, once pretended to be a doctor. Now he’s teaching the health industry about the threat of identity theft. (credit: Dreamworks)

Frank Abagnale is world-famous for pretending to be other people. The former teenage con man, whose exploits 50 years ago became a Leonardo DiCaprio film called Catch Me If You Can, has built a lifelong career as a security consultant and advisor to the FBI and other law enforcement agencies. So it’s perhaps ironic that four and a half years ago, his identity was stolen—along with those of 3.6 million other South Carolina taxpayers.

“When that occurred,” Abagnale recounted to Ars, “I was at the FBI office in Phoenix. I got a call from [a reporter at] the local TV news station, who knew that my identity was stolen, and they wanted a comment. And I said, ‘Before I make a comment, what did the State Tax Revenue Office say?’ Well, they said they did nothing wrong. I said that would be absolutely literally impossible. All breaches happen because people make them happen, not because hackers do it. Every breach occurs because someone in that company did something they weren’t supposed to do, or somebody in that company failed to do something they were supposed to do.” As it turned out (as a Secret Service investigation determined), a government employee had taken home a laptop that shouldn’t have left the office and connected it—unprotected—to the Internet.

Government breaches of personal information have become all too common, as demonstrated by the impact of the hacking of the Office of Management and Budget’s personnel records two years ago. But another sort of organization is now in the crosshairs of criminals seeking identity data to sell to fraudsters: doctors’ offices. Abagnale was in Orlando this week to speak to health IT professionals at the 2017 HIMSS Conference about the rising threat of identity theft through hacking medical records—a threat made possible largely because of the sometimes haphazard adoption of electronic medical records systems by health care providers.

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The prosecutor’s office in Cologne and the Federal Criminal Police Office have arrested the alleged mastermind of the MIRAI attack on Deutsche Telekom

The agents at the UK National Crime Agency (NCA) have a man that is suspected to be involved with the massive attack on Deutsche Telekom that affected more than 900k routers in November 2016.

The affected routers were used by the Deutsche Telekom customers also for fixed telephony and TV services.

The problems lasted at least two days, the outage began on Sunday, November 27, at around 17:00, local time.

Deutsche Telekom users all over the country were not able to connect online using the users provided by the company. Below a graphic representation of the outage provided by the


mirai attack deutsche telekom

The news of the arrest was confirmed by the Germany’s federal criminal police force (BKA).

German police from the city of Cologne identified the suspect and issued the international arrest warrant.

The suspect is a 29-year-old British, the authorities have arrested him at the Luton airport in London on Wednesday. The British police believe the man is the crooks that organized the massive attack.

The German police confirmed that the attack was severe and caused serious problems to German citizens. The attackers aimed to recruit the compromised devices in a botnet that was offered for sale on dark web markets.

“The aim of the attack wave should have been to take over the routers and integrate into a bot network operated by the accused. The bot network is supposed to have offered the accused in the Darknet for consideration for arbitrary attack scenarios, such as so-called DDoS attacks.” reads the statement issued by the BKA.

“From the outset, Deutsche Telekom cooperated with law enforcement agencies,” BKA said. “Technical assistance was also provided by the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) in the analysis of the malicious software used.”

The prosecutors believe the hacker used a modified version of the dreaded Mirai malware to carry on the attack.

The Mirai malware was first spotted by the researcher MalwareMustDie last summer, a botnet of IoT devices compromised by the malicious code was used to shut down the Dyn DNS service.

The BKA confirmed that the UK authorities would extradite the 29-year-old man to Germany to face charges of computer sabotage, the man could be condemned to up to 10 years in prison.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – Deutsche Telekom, Mirai)

The post UK police arrested the alleged mastermind of the MIRAI attack on Deutsche Telekom appeared first on Security Affairs.

Source: Security affairs

Mercedes-Benz GP

Formula 1 is set to be a radically different sport in 2017, and that mainly has to do with the change in ownership. Long-time F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has been shuffled out by new owner Liberty Media, replaced by a three-person team with Chase Carey as CEO, Sean Bratches as head of commercial operations, and legendary engineer Ross Brawn overseeing the sporting and technical stuff. But the changes for this season aren’t solely in the boardroom. 2017’s F1 cars have a few notable changes compared to recent years, and this week the teams started pulling off the dust sheets to show us.

Bigger Tires

For one thing, the tires are bigger. F1 is still sticking with those silly 13-inch wheels, but they’re about 25 percent wider this year: 305mm up front (compared to 245mm last year) and a whopping 405mm at the back (up from 325mm). Pirelli has also been told to make tires that won’t rapidly degrade, which means an end to drivers cruising around many seconds a lap slower than their cars are capable. (The tire company was instructed to make those rubbish tires on purpose following an exciting race in Canada in 2010, except that race was exciting because the teams were all reacting to the unknown. Once everyone knew how the new tires would behave, the racing turned out to be dull as dishwater.)

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Enlarge / Pod of narwhals, northern Canada, August 2005. Image courtesy of Kristin Laidre. (credit: Dr. Kristin Laidre, Polar Science Center, UW NOAA/OAR/OER – NOAA Photolib Library)

The warming of the Arctic is bad news for so many species, but for killer whales, it’s offering up a buffet. While the ice had previously prevented access to large areas—like Hudson Bay—the whales can now find their way into those waters during the summer. In areas that they could already access, they can now arrive earlier and stay later.

Obviously, any ecosystem that suddenly has new predators hanging around is going to be profoundly affected, but it’s possible that we’ve underestimated just how profoundly. A paper in this week’s PNAS finds that narwhals, one of many marine mammal species preyed on by killer whales, change their behavior substantially when they’re so much as sharing a fjord with killer whales. This kind of large, long-lasting behavioral change suggests that the mere presence of new predators changes ecosystems at a level previously unsuspected.

Predators can affect an ecosystem in the obvious way—by eating other animals—but also in less obvious ways, which are known as “nonconsumptive effects.” When prey species know, or think, that they’re at risk of being eaten, they change their behavior. They might avoid certain areas, which limits their access to food. They might be forced to make regular escapes or be permanently on the watch, which means a higher calorie burn. All of these mean fewer reproductive opportunities and more stress.

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(A fancy render of) Samsung’s latest high-end phone chip. (credit: Samsung)

Mobile World Congress is just around the corner, which means news about new mobile processors and modems is flying fast and thick. The latest announcement is from Samsung, which today unveiled its latest flagship Exynos chip for high-end smartphones. The Exynos 9 8895 combines eight CPU cores with an ARM Mali-G71 GPU and a Samsung-designed gigabit LTE modem. The chip is manufactured on Samsung’s new 10nm process, which according to Samsung allows for performance increases up to 27 percent while using up to 40 percent less power compared to its 14nm process.

The CPU uses four “big” cores and four “little” ones; the small cores are based on ARM’s tried-and-true Cortex A53 CPU architecture, the go-to choice for low-power 64-bit cores. The large cores are based on Samsung’s “second-generation custom CPU core,” called the Samsung M2. Samsung has said very little about it, aside from the fact that it’s a 64-bit ARMv8 core and that it was “designed from scratch.”

As for the GPU, ARM detailed the Mali-G71 last year, and it’s a major update. It uses ARM’s new “Bifrost” GPU architecture, which fully supports the Vulkan graphics API as well as OpenGL ES and OpenCL. The existing “Midgard” architecture used in the last few generations of ARM GPUs already did that, so what’s more significant is its support for HSA, which allows the CPU and GPU to access the same data in system memory at the same time. This eliminates quite a bit of overhead, since that data won’t need to be shuffled back and forth between separate “pools” of memory used by the CPU and GPU.

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(credit: CDC)

It’s hard to imagine anything more despised than mosquitos. They menacingly buzz about, swoop in to feast on your blood, and often leave behind an annoying, itchy lump. But by far the worst bit is that they spread throngs of pathogens—dengue, Zika, chikungunya, yellow fever, West Nile, malaria… the list goes on. Their bites cause hundreds of millions of infections each year. Dengue alone infects around 390 million people a year globally. Malaria strikes around 214 million.

What if there was a vaccine that could, in one fell swoop, prevent all of those infections? As a bonus, what if it could also prevent itchy responses to mosquito bites and even knock back the bug’s populations? It sounds like a dream. But SEEK, a UK-based biotech company, and the US National Institutes of Health are hoping it could be a reality some day.

This week, the NIH announced the start of a Phase I clinical trial for a vaccine that’s designed to do all of that. It’s called AGS-v, and it has been in the works for nearly a decade. It takes an approach to disease blocking that scientists have danced around for decades but never pulled off—it targets the saliva of mosquitos instead of any individual germ.

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