News & Updates

Tumblr today published a report admitting the presence of a security vulnerability in its website that could have allowed hackers to steal login credentials and other private information for users’ accounts.

The affected information included users email addresses, protected (hashed and salted) account passwords, self-reported location (a feature no longer available), previously used email


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Spotify standalone Wear OS app on three Fossil smartwatch screens.

Enlarge (credit: Spotify/Fossil)

Wear OS gains a popular new app today that many have been waiting for, as Spotify announced that it’s bringing a stand-alone wearable app to Google’s smartwatch platform.

Spotify’s stand-alone app lets you browse and control music from your wrist. It seems to be a lighter version of Spotify’s mobile app, allowing you to browse your tracks and playlists and quickly save songs to your library. You can also control playback from your wrist—it appears similar to Wear OS’ native music controls, just built into a dedicated Spotify app.

The Wear OS app also integrates with Spotify Connect, the company’s method of connecting and controlling playback on Bluetooth devices. Now from your wrist, you can manage connections between Bluetooth speakers, laptops, and other devices and quickly change the playback source.

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

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai talking while standing in front of an FCC seal.

Enlarge / FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on December 14, 2017 in Washington, DC, the day of the FCC’s vote to repeal net neutrality rules. (credit: Getty Images | Alex Wong )

The New York attorney general’s office is widening an investigation into fraudulent net neutrality comments, saying it estimates that up to 9.5 million comments were submitted using stolen identities.

NY AG Barbara Underwood “subpoenaed more than a dozen telecommunications trade groups, lobbying contractors, and Washington advocacy organizations on Tuesday, seeking to determine whether the groups submitted millions of fraudulent public comments to sway a critical federal decision on Internet regulation,” The New York Times reported yesterday.

The NY AG last year said it found 2 million net neutrality comments filed in people’s names without their knowledge; some comments were submitted under the names of dead people.

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

Meet Helm, the startup taking on Gmail with a server that runs in your home

Enlarge (credit: Helm)

There’s no doubt that Gmail has changed the way we consume email. It’s free, it gives most of us all the storage we’ll ever need, and it does a better job than most in weeding out spam and malware. But there’s a cost to all of this. The advertising model that makes this cost-free service possible means some of our most sensitive messages are being scanned for clues about who we are, what we care about, and what we do both online and offline. There’s also the possibility of Google either being hacked or legally compelled to turn over contents.

On Wednesday, a Seattle-based startup called Helm is launching a service designed to make it easy for people to securely take control of their email and other personal data. The company provides a small custom-built server that connects to a user’s home or small-office network and sends, receives, and manages email, contacts, and calendars. Helm plans to offer photo storage and other services later.

With a 120GB solid-state drive, a three-minute setup, and the ability to store encrypted disk images that can only be decrypted by customers, Helm says its service provides the ease and reliability of Gmail and its tightly coupled contacts and calendar services. The startup is betting that people will be willing to pay $500 to purchase the box and use it for one year to host some of their most precious assets in their own home. The service will cost $100 per year after that. Included in the fee is the registration and automatic renewal of a unique domain selected by the customer and a corresponding TLS certificate from Let’s Encrypt.

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

By Waqas

After BlackEnergy, critical infrastructure around the world is among key targets of the new malware called GreyEnergy. In its recent research, ESET has revealed details of a new group of cybercriminals dubbed as GreyEnergy, which seems to be the replacement of BlackEnergy APT group. The BlackEnergy group’s last activity was observed in December 2015 when […]

This is a post from HackRead.com Read the original post: GreyEnergy: New malware targeting energy sector with espionage

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Mad scientists flip the Earth’s spin in climate models, watch water go nuts

Enlarge (credit: Gabriela Pinto)

Climate models—computer simulations of Earth’s climate system—are crucial tools for scientists, given that it’s impossible to run experiments on the entire planet. Access to these digital laboratories also gives people the option to occasionally play “mad scientist” and mess with the Earth a bit. One newly published study falls into that category, asking the question “What would happen if the Earth spun backward?” You can almost hear the maniacal laughter.

Back flip

If you’ve ever learned about the atmosphere, you know that Earth’s rotation makes swirling weather like hurricanes possible through something called the Coriolis Effect. Simply put, fluids heading in a straight line on a spinning globe deflect off to the side—to the right in the Northern Hemisphere and to the left in the Southern Hemisphere. And if the Earth’s rotation reversed, fluids (including ocean currents) would deflect the other way.

It may sound like a trivial bit of pondering, but it’s actually a scientifically interesting question. A group led by Uwe Mikolajewicz of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology effectively set the planet spinning backward to find out just how many things would change when they let their model run for a few thousand years.

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

After $5 billion EU antitrust fine, Google will start charging for Android apps

(credit: Aurich Lawson)

Google is adjusting to life in the EU after the $5.05 billion (€4.34 billion) antitrust fine levied against it by the European Commission earlier this year. Google is still appealing the initial ruling, which found that Google used Android to illegally dominate the search market, but for now Google will comply with the ruling and offer looser licensing agreements to Android device makers.

In a post on the official Google Blog titled “Complying with the EC’s Android decision,” Google outlined a few changes coming to the Google app licensing agreements that it offers to Android OEMs. As you might recall from the numerous times we’ve written about it, this announcement is a change to the secretive “Mobile Application Distribution Agreement” (MADA) document that is a requirement for getting access to the Play Store and other Google apps. What we think of as a commercial “Android” device comes in two parts. The core Android OS is free and open source—anyone can take it and do whatever they want with it without Google’s involvement. If you want the Play Store, Google Maps, Gmail, and all the other Google apps you need to make a viable commercial smartphone, though, you need to talk to Google and sign a MADA, which comes with a ton of restrictions.

The new rules

Google’s new MADA makes three big changes. First, Google’s blog states “Android partners wishing to distribute Google apps may also build non-compatible, or forked, smartphones and tablets for the European Economic Area (EEA).” The last time we saw a MADA document (back in 2014), it had an “anti-fragmentation” clause, which said that any company signing the agreement has to be all-in on Google’s Android. If you produced any Android device without Google’s apps, you got booted from the Google ecosystem. This means that a company like Amazon, which makes forked Kindle devices, could never ship a smartphone with Google apps.

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

Let's go on a journey. A journey with drugs!

Enlarge / Let’s go on a journey. A journey with drugs! (credit: NBC Universal)

Today we’re presenting the second installment of my wide-ranging interview with outspoken author, podcaster, philosopher, and recovering neuroscientist Sam Harris. Part one ran yesterday. If you missed it, click right here. Otherwise, you can press play on the embedded audio player or pull up the transcript—both of which are below.

In today’s installment, we discuss some of the experiences that shaped Sam’s perspectives and interests. His father was raised Quaker, and his mother was Jewish—but neither were at all religious, and Sam had a wholly secular upbringing. As a freshman at Stanford (where he and I happened to overlap as undergraduates), he recalls being irked by the special treatment he felt the Bible received in a required course on Western culture. However, he didn’t label himself an “atheist” at the time—although in retrospect, he essentially was one.

Everything changed when he tried the drug MDMA (which is more commonly known to its friends as “Molly” or “Ecstasy”). This wasn’t at a party or rave but part of a quiet exploration of the mind’s capabilities (more of a Timothy Leary experience than a Ken Kesey one, for those versed in the history of psychedelics).

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Fortnite, GTA V hackers face legal action for online cheating

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It’s pretty standard for game developers to use a variety of technical and community management methods to try to stop cheaters from ruining the online experience for legitimate players. But some game makers are increasingly using the courts to try to stop the spread of mods that give players an unfair advantage, as highlighted by a pair of stories this week.

The first such story comes from Rockstar and Take-Two, which have convinced an Australian court to freeze the assets of five people believed to be behind Grand Theft Auto V cheating software known as “Infamous.” The full court order, as reported by TorrentFreak, also allows authorities to search the homes and computers of Christopher Anderson, Cycus Lesser, Sfinktah, Koroush Anderson, and Koroush Jeddian. Authorities are looking for evidence of the creation or distribution of “any software that provides a player of Grand Theft Auto V access to unauthorized features…”

The Infamous “mod menu” gives users pretty much full control over the world of Grand Theft Auto universe, online or off, granting abilities that include teleportation, flying, and full environmental manipulation. Perhaps most distressingly for Rockstar and Take-Two, the mod also let players generate arbitrary amounts of virtual currency for themselves or other players online, which could have a direct effect on the game’s microtransaction-driven bottom line.

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

A 21-year-old Kentucky man who previously pleaded guilty to developing, marketing, and selling an infamous remote access trojan (RAT) called LuminosityLink has now been sentenced to 30 months in prison.

According to a press release published Monday by U.S. Attorney’s Office, Colton Grubbs, who used online moniker ‘KFC Watermelon,’ was pleaded guilty for three counts–unlawfully accessing


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