News & Updates

Another day, another Data Breach! Now, Russia’s biggest social networking site is the latest in the line of historical data breaches targeting social networking websites.

The same hacker who previously sold data dumps from MySpace, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and, is now selling more than 100 Million records for just 1 Bitcoin (approx. US$580).
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The man who runs the biggest social network and continuously implements new security measures to boost its billion users security, himself failed to follow basics of Internet security for his own online accounts.

Yes, I’m talking about Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who had his Twitter and Pinterest accounts compromised on Sunday.

The hacker group from Saudi Arabia, dubbed OurMine, claimed


It was a tough week for TeamViewer, a service that allows computer professionals and consumers to log into their computers from remote locations. For a little more than a month, a growing number of users have reported their accounts were accessed by criminals who used their highly privileged position to drain PayPal and bank accounts. Critics have speculated TeamViewer itself has fell victim to a breach that’s making the mass hacks possible.

On Sunday, TeamViewer spokesman Axel Schmidt acknowledged to Ars that the number of takeovers was “significant,” but he continued to maintain that the compromises are the result of user passwords that were compromised through a cluster of recently exposed megabreaches involving more than 642 million passwords belonging to users of LinkedIn, MySpace, and other services.

Ars spoke with Schmidt to get the latest. What follows is a lightly edited transcript of the conversation:

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(credit: Ron Amadeo / Nest)

Nest CEO Tony Fadell wasn’t officially “fired” from Nest, but it certainly feels like it. Nest and Alphabet announced Fadell would be “transitioning” to an advisory role at Alphabet, dropping both Nest and Fadell into a sea of negative press. In just the last few months, Nest has had to deal with reports of an “employee exodus,” a string of public insults from Dropcam co-founder and departing Nest employee Greg Duffy, news that even Google supposedly didn’t want to work with Nest on a joint project, and fallout from the company’s decision to remotely disable Nest’s deprecated Revolv devices. Alphabet and Nest both seem to know the announcement about Fadell’s “transition” looks bad: the news dropped on a Friday afternoon, a popular time for companies to dump bad news they hope no one will notice.

It’s hard to argue with the decision to “transition” Fadell away from Nest. When Google bought Nest in January 2014, the expectation was that a big infusion of Google’s resources and money would supercharge Nest. Nest grew from 280 employees around the time of the Google acquisition to 1200 employees today. In Nest’s first year as “a Google company,” it used Google’s resources to acquire webcam maker Dropcam for $555 million, and it paid an unknown amount for the smart home hub company Revolv. Duffy said Nest was given a “virtually unlimited budget” inside Alphabet. Nest eventually transitioned to an Alphabet company, just like Google.

In return for all this investment, Nest delivered very little. The Nest Learning Thermostat and Nest Protect smoke detector both existed before the Google acquisition, and both received minor upgrades under Google’s (and later Alphabet’s) wing. A year after buying Dropcam, Nest released the Nest Cam, which was basically a rebranded Dropcam. Two-and-a-half years under Google/Alphabet, a quadrupling of the employee headcount, and half-a-billion dollars in acquisitions yielded minor yearly updates and a rebranded device. That’s all.

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A recent trip to the UK meant we happened to be near the Imperial War Museum Duxford, the Cambridgeshire outpost where the Imperial War Museum keeps over 200 of its airplanes. It’s not just the UK’s largest aviation museum—it’s a thoroughly good day out for anyone who like things with wings. The site itself has its own share of history, too. It was an RAF base until 1961 and was crucial to the Battle of Britain (as well as starring in the movie of that name).

The gallery above includes some (but not all) of the wonderful (and in some cases not-so-wonderful) flying machines. The hangar of American planes was being refurbished on the day we visited, so you won’t see photos of Duxford’s B-52 or SR-71. However, you will see plenty of Cold War hardware from both the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm.

And we’ll wager that some of these planes will not be familiar to our readers, like the ill-fated BAC TSR-2. But the museum has more than a few icons of British aviation history, including Concorde, the spectacularly fast English Electric Lightning, and a pair of “V Force bombers,” the Avro Vulcan and Handley Page Victor. Enjoy the photos!

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James Spann is Alabama’s go-to meteorologist when the state’s weather turns severe. (credit: James Spann)

As the 10pm newscast drew near one night last month, the chief meteorologist of Birmingham’s ABC-affiliate began to get worked up. Balding and characteristically attired in suspenders, James Spann is one of the most recognizable and respected local TV meteorologists in the country. But he had a familiar problem. The day had been pleasant in Alabama, and more of the same temperate spring weather lay ahead—so what the heck was he going to talk about?

“I’ve got 2 minutes and 30 seconds to fill,” Spann explained. “Everyone in my audience is going to know what the weather is going to do. Except maybe my mom. She’s 85 years old. But most everybody has looked on their phone or some other device already. So what am I going to do? Am I just going to rehash everything they already know?”

Many forecasters have been asking themselves this question lately. Two technologies have converged to rapidly displace the primary function of meteorologists. First are computers that are generally better forecasters than humans. For most types of weather, numerical weather prediction has superseded human forecast methods. And secondly, thanks to the Internet and increasingly ubiquitous weather apps on mobile devices, people have continuous, immediate access to 5-day, 7-day or 10-day forecasts. As technology drives automation and machines take job after job once performed by humans, are meteorologists next in line?

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Jacob Appelbaum, as seen in this 2013 photo. (credit: Tobias Klenze)

Tor Project officials say that one of their most public-facing developers and a member of the “Core Team,” Jacob Appelbaum, left the organization on May 25 after “public allegations of sexual mistreatment.”

In a statement published Saturday on the Tor Project’s website, the organization wrote:

These types of allegations were not entirely new to everybody at Tor; they were consistent with rumors some of us had been hearing for some time. That said, the most recent allegations are much more serious and concrete than anything we had heard previously.

We are deeply troubled by these accounts.

We do not know exactly what happened here. We don’t have all the facts, and we are undertaking several actions to determine them as best as possible. We’re also not an investigatory body, and we are uncomfortable making judgments about people’s private behaviors.

The statement continued, saying that Tor is “working with a legal firm” specializing in sexual misconduct. The statement added:

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With pre-order woes and supply limits lifting, the opportunities to walk into a store and buy a high-end virtual reality system are on the rise. Oculus has announced some specific in-store demos and purchase opportunities, while its main rival, the HTC Vive, has had fewer hype-building announcements.

Which makes this weekend’s news a little surprising: the HTC Vive is now sitting in a number of Micro Center shops, ready for anybody with $800 (before tax) to spare. The news was announced via an online mailer, and members of the Vive Reddit community have confirmed on-site demos and buyable systems at stores across the nation.

Conversely, these Vive boxes do not appear to be on sale at Micro Center’s online store, but Vive fans have begun to report much shorter time spans between HTC site orders and deliveries since the system’s launch has subsided. Still, there’s something to be said about the combined, real-life experience of the Vive’s headset, tracked controllers, and ability to walk around in games and apps. Doing so at a participating Micro Center demo station will certainly trump reading about it.

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