News & Updates

Enlarge / The latest Dell XPS 13 in the new white and rose gold finish. (credit: Valentina Palladino)

Greetings, Arsians! The Dealmaster is back this weekend with another round of deals to share. This time, we’re putting our focus on back to school sales; yes, the little Arsians are heading back to campus in the coming weeks (if they haven’t left already), which means it’s time for the annual rush of students and parents looking to find the proper gear.

Ars’ Jeff Dunn curated a buying guide of recommended back to school tech earlier this week, but if the goods there don’t work for you, it’s worth noting many retailers are still running gadget sales that could prove useful to college students. Various laptop makers are running deals on their notebooks, Amazon has kicked off another round of discounts on its Fire TV and Echo devices, and Best Buy is currently holding its annual “anniversary sale.”

Because he only wants the best for you and your kids, the Dealmaster has scoured the Web and rounded up a few highlights from these sales below, all of which could be handy to a returning student. We’ve emphasized good laptop sales, but the deals also cover video games, headphones, media streamers, and storage solutions. Have a look for yourself below.

Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Source: http://feeds.arstechnica.com/arstechnica/index/

Enlarge (credit: Aurich / Getty)

Paul Hansmeier, the Minnesota lawyer who was head of the porn trolling operation known as Prenda Law, has finally pleaded guilty to fraud and money laundering charges.

As Ars previously reported, co-defendant and fellow attorney John Steele pled guilty in March 2017 to federal fraud and money laundering charges. Over the course of several years, Steele said he and a co-defendant, Hansmeier, made millions with “sham entities” that threatened Internet users with copyright lawsuits.

The two now-disbarred lawyers also worked with a third, now-deceased lawyer, Paul Duffy, in this operation that Illinois authorities dubbed extortion.

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Source: http://feeds.arstechnica.com/arstechnica/index/

Enlarge (credit: Aurich / Getty)

Sex toy innovators of America: we have good news for you!

The so-called “teledildonics patent,” owned by a company that many would deem a “patent troll,” has just expired. Now US sex toy companies can create the Internet-controlled vibrators, dildos, and whatever else of their dreams with significantly less fear of being sued.

On Friday, US Patent No. 6,368,268 expired after being on file with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for 20 years. The company that had previously held the patent, TZU Technologies, LLC, of Pasadena, California, had filed 10 lawsuits alleging infringement since 2015—one as recently as December 2017. All suits appear to have been settled, with TZU Technologies receiving a payout in exchange for dropping the lawsuit.

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Source: http://feeds.arstechnica.com/arstechnica/index/

Researchers discovered a new modular downloader, tracked as Marap malware, that is being used in large campaigns targeting financial institutions.

Researchers from Proofpoint have spotted a new modular downloader in large campaigns targeting financial institutions, experts believe the malicious code could be used to deliver additional malware in future attacks.

Earlier August, Proofpoint reported several large email campaigns delivering millions of messages with the intent of spreading the modular Marap malware. The modular structure of the Marap malware allows the attackers to add new attack features and to deliver additional payload in infected systems.

“Proofpoint researchers recently discovered a new downloader malware in a fairly large campaign (millions of messages) primarily targeting financial institutions. The malware, dubbed “Marap” (“param” backwards), is notable for its focused functionality that includes the ability to download other modules and payloads.” reads the analysis published by Proofpoint.

“The modular nature allows actors to add new capabilities as they become available or download additional modules post infection. To date, we have observed it download a system fingerprinting module that performs simple reconnaissance.”

The campaigns present many similarities with attacks attributed to the cybercrime gang tracked as TA505. The spam messages used differed attachments to spread the malware, including Microsoft Excel Web Query files, password-protected ZIP files containing the Query files, PDFs with embedded Query files, and Word documents containing macros.

The name Marap comes after its command and control (C&C) phone home parameter “param” spelled backwards, it is written in C and implements a few notable anti-analysis features.

Anti-Analysis features include:

  • Most of the Windows API function calls are resolved at runtime using a hashing algorithm, in Marap this algorithm appears to be custom.
  • Use of timing checks at the beginning of important functions that can elude debugging and sandboxing of the malware. If the calculated sleep time is too short, the malware exits.
  • String obfuscation.
  • Anti-analysis check that compares the system’s MAC address to a list of virtual machine vendors. If a virtual machine is detected and a configuration flag is set, the malware may exit.

Marap modular

Marap uses HTTP for C&C communication, but experts noticed it tries a number of legitimate WinHTTP functions to determine whether it needs to use a proxy and if so what proxy to use

“As defenses become more adept at catching commodity malware, threat actors and malware authors continue to explore new approaches to increase effectiveness and decrease the footprint and inherent “noisiness” of the malware they distribute” concludes Proofpoint.

“This new downloader, along with another similar but unrelated malware that we will detail next week, point to a growing trend of small, versatile malware that give actors flexibility to launch future attacks and identify systems of interest that may lend themselves to more significant compromise.”

Experts observed only a system fingerprinting module downloaded by the malware from “hxxp://89.223.92[.]202/mo.enc” and contained an internal name of “mod_Init.dll”.

The module is a DLL written in C that gathers the following system information to the C&C server:

  • Username
  • Domain name
  • Hostname
  • IP address
  • Language
  • Country
  • Windows version
  • List of Microsoft Outlook .ost files
  • Anti-virus software detected

Further details, including indicators of compromise, are reported in the analysis shared by the company.

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 – Marap malware, spam)


The post Marap modular downloader opens the doors to further attacks appeared first on Security Affairs.

Source: Security affairs

Enlarge (credit: Netflix)

Netflix has confirmed a major change to its video-streaming service, effective as of this week for at least some users: video ads for other Netflix series between episodes.

The news emerged via user reports, particularly on the primary Netflix Reddit community, in which users claimed that ads for entirely different series would play between episodes of a given show’s binging. One initial claim said that “unskippable” ads for the AMC series Better Call Saul appeared between episodes of Rick & Morty and that this ad appeared while using Netflix’s smart TV app on an LG set in the UK. Replies to that thread included an allegation that a video ad for I Am A Killer (a Netflix-produced true-crime series) appeared between episodes of the animated comedy Bob’s Burgers.

An American Netflix user offered more details for exactly how the ads appear:

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Source: http://feeds.arstechnica.com/arstechnica/index/

Enlarge (credit: Peter Bright / Flickr)

The last few Windows Insider preview builds of Windows 10 have offered few new features and have instead focused on fixing bugs.

The latest build, released today, takes a step toward completion: it has changed the operating system’s version stamp. Until now, the previews have called themselves version 1803, the release from earlier this year. Today’s build updates that version label to 1809, showing that Microsoft intends to wrap up its development in September with an October release likely to follow.

Version 1809 will be the last of the five Redstone-codenamed Windows releases. The next release, likely to come in April 2019, is codenamed simply “19H1,” with Microsoft opting for date-based codenames to go with its date-based releases.

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Source: http://feeds.arstechnica.com/arstechnica/index/

Enlarge / Russia’s newest class of cosmonauts is all male. (credit: Roscosmos)

The Russian space program gets a lot of credit for flying the first woman in space. In fact, the Soviet Union flew the first two women: Valentina Tereshkova in 1963 and Svetlana Savitskaya in 1982. NASA waited until the space shuttle era before selecting female astronauts, and Sally Ride did not become the first American woman in space until 1983.

However, since Ride broke the US space gender barrier 35 years ago, 50 other American women have flown into space. By contrast, just two other women from Russia have flown into space since then, Yelena Kondakova (1994 and 1997) and Yelena Serova (2014). Two women from China, Japan, and Canada have also flown into space, as well as one woman each from the countries France, India, Italy, South Korea, and the United Kingdom.

Widening gap

This disparity seems likely to only widen in the future. Of NASA’s last two astronaut classes, in 2013 and 2017, nine of the 20 chosen candidates were women. Of Russia’s last two classes in 2012 and 2018, just a single woman, Anna Kikina, was picked. Selected in 2012, Kikina was subsequently expelled from the cosmonaut corps in 2014 for unspecified reasons. After a public outcry, Kikina was reinstated, but it is not clear whether she will ever fly.

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Source: http://feeds.arstechnica.com/arstechnica/index/

Enlarge / A Philadelphia cryptocurrency miner snapped this shot of his rig for us earlier this year. (credit: Matthew Freilich)

For almost a year, cryptocurrency miners have snapped up all the graphics cards they could get their hands on. That was a financial windfall for Nvidia and AMD, the leading makers of consumer graphics cards. Both reported soaring profits their last two quarters.

But on Thursday, Nvidia reported its financial results for its second fiscal quarter, which ended on July 29. The results were pretty good overall, with strong demands for Nvidia products for AI and data center applications. However, cryptocurrency-related demand has cratered.

“Our revenue outlook had anticipated cryptocurrency-specific products declining to approximately $100 million,” said Nvidia CFO Colette Kress. “Actual crypto-specific product revenue was $18 million.”

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Source: http://feeds.arstechnica.com/arstechnica/index/

By Waqas

Generally, Apple Inc. is believed to be very strict and reliable in matters pertaining to cyber-security. Its servers are regarded as virtually unhackable. Perhaps, this reputation is a result of the fact that Apple Inc. hasn’t suffered massive data breaches to date. But, the image of Apple is due to change in the forthcoming days. […]

This is a post from HackRead.com Read the original post: 16-year old compromised Apple networks to steal GBs of sensitive data

Source: https://www.hackread.com/feed/

Enlarge / HBO offered this teaser image with its Watchmen announcement today. (credit: HBO)

Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ groundbreaking comic series Watchmen is set to emerge once more on the pop-culture stage—this time as a live-action series on HBO.

The channel’s announcement pegs the series’ launch for “2019,” with no news of a narrower window nor any hint about how many episodes to expect. It rounds up the series’ massive cast, as has been teased in various reports over the past year: heavy-hitters Jeremy Irons and Regina King will headline the series, and the likes of Don Johnson (Miami Vice), Frances Fisher (Unforgiven), and Louis Gossett Jr. (Roots) round out the cast. Those actors’ characters have not yet been confirmed.

Today’s news is careful to describe the show as “Damon Lindelof’s new series,” as the co-creator of Lost and The Leftovers has helmed this HBO version since its pilot episode was officially greenlit by HBO last September. Earlier this year, Lindelof posted a five-page essay on how this series will (and won’t) stray from the source material:

Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Source: http://feeds.arstechnica.com/arstechnica/index/