Archive for September, 2018 | Monthly archive page

Resident evil: Inside a UEFI rootkit used to spy on govts, made by you-know-who (hi, Russia)

A rootkit is a piece of software that hides itself on computer systems, and uses its root or administrator-level privileges to steal and alter documents, spy on users, and cause other mischief and headaches. A UEFI rootkit lurks in the motherboard firmware, meaning it starts up before the operating system and antivirus suites run, allowing […]

DEFCON hackers’ dossier on US voting machine security is just as grim as feared

Hackers probing America’s electronic voting systems have painted an astonishing picture of the state of US election security, less than six weeks before the November midterms. The full 50-page report [PDF], released Thursday during a presentation in Washington DC, was put together by the organizers of the DEF CON hacking conference’s Voting Village. It recaps […]

Facebook Is Giving Advertisers Access to Your Shadow Contact Information – and you can’t find out what that is

Last week, I ran an ad on Facebook that was targeted at a computer science professor named Alan Mislove. Mislove studies how privacy works on social networks and had a theory that Facebook is letting advertisers reach users with contact information collected in surprising ways. I was helping him test the theory by targeting him […]

Building your own PC for AI is 10x cheaper than renting out GPUs on cloud, apparently

Jeff Chen, an AI techie and entrepreneur at Stanford University in the US, believes that a suitable machine can be built for about $3,000 (~£2,300) without including tax. At the heart of the beast is an Nvidia GeForce 1080Ti GPU, a 12-core AMD Threadripper processor, 64GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD card for data. […]

Amazon Alexa outage: Voice-activated devices are down in UK and beyond – yay cloud services!

Amazon Alexa devices stopped working in the UK and reportedly in parts of continental Europe this morning, with some users still complaining of intermittent outages at the time of writing. The digital blackout began at around 0800 UK time and though it appeared to be recovering by 09.30, some folk – including Reg staffers – […]

Google is using AI to predict floods in India and warn users

For years Google has warned users about natural disasters by incorporating alerts from government agencies like FEMA into apps like Maps and Search. Now, the company is making predictions of its own. As part of a partnership with the Central Water Commission of India, Google will now alert users in the country about impending floods. […]

A $1, Linux-Capable, Hand-Solderable Processor

Over on the EEVblog, someone noticed an interesting chip that’s been apparently flying under our radar for a while. This is an ARM processor capable of running Linux. It’s hand-solderable in a TQFP package, has a built-in Mali GPU, support for a touch panel, and has support for 512MB of DDR3. If you do it […]

Hadoop and NoSQL backups timed by AI

Machine learning data management company Imanis Data has introduced an autonomous backup product powered by machine learning. The firm said users can specify a desired RPO (Recovery Point Objective) and its SmartPolicies tech then set up the backup schedules. The tech is delivered as an upgrade to the Imanis Data Management Platform (IDMP) product. SmartPolicies […]

Google Chrome Is Now Quietly Forcing You to Log In—Here’s What to Do About It 

Once again, Google has rankled privacy-focused people with a product change that appears to limit users’ options. It’s easy to miss the fact that you’re automatically being logged-in to Chrome if you’re not paying attention. Chrome 69 released to users on September 5, and you likely noticed that it has a different look. But if […]

Hey, Microsoft, stop installing third-party apps on clean Windows 10 installs!

Before Windows 10, a clean install of Windows only included the bare essentials a user would need to get started using their PC. That included software built by Microsoft, such as Mail, Paint, and its web browser, and it never included “bloatware” or “trialware” that one might find on hardware purchased from a third-party OEM […]

Open-source alt-droid wants to know if it’s still leaking data to Google

/e/, a Google-free fork of Android, reached a milestone this month with its initial ROM release. It’s available for download, so you can kick the tires, with nightly builds delivered via OTA (over the air) updates. El Reg interviewed the project’s leader, Gael Duval, in the summer. Duval launched and led the Linux Mandrake project. […]

Zoho – GSuite competitor – pulled offline after phishing complaints by DNS registrar, millions of people couldn’t work. Love the cloud!

Zoho .com was pulled offline on Monday after the company’s domain registrar received phishing complaints, the company’s chief executive said. The web-based office suite company, which also provides customer relationship and invoicing services to small businesses, tweeted that the site was “blocked” earlier in the day by TierraNet, which administers its domain name. In an email […]

Cisco Video Surveillance Manager Appliance Default Root Password Vulnerability (again)

A vulnerability in Cisco Video Surveillance Manager (VSM) Software running on certain Cisco Connected Safety and Security Unified Computing System (UCS) platforms could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to log in to an affected system by using the root account, which has default, static user credentials. The vulnerability is due to the presence of undocumented, default, static […]

2D spray on transparent wireless antennae created

Metals are widely used for antennas; however, their bulkiness limits the fabrication of thin, lightweight, and flexible antennas. Recently, nanomaterials such as graphene, carbon nanotubes, and conductive polymers came into play. However, poor conductivity limits their use. We show RF devices for wireless communication based on metallic two-dimensional (2D) titanium carbide (MXene) prepared by a […]

Windows handwriting recognition on? Then all your typing is stored in plain text on your PC.

If you’re one of the people who own a stylus or touchscreen-capable Windows PC, then there’s a high chance there’s a file on your computer that has slowly collected sensitive data for the past months or even years. This file is named WaitList.dat, and according to Digital Forensics and Incident Response (DFIR) expert Barnaby Skeggs, […]

Quantum chicken-or-egg experiment blurs the distinction between before and after

In the everyday world, events occur in a definite order—your alarm clock rings before you wake up, or vice versa. However, a new experiment shows that when fiddling with a photon, it can be impossible to say in which order two events occur, obliterating our common sense notion of before and after and, potentially, muddying […]

FAQs on Plastics – Our World in Data

A huge amount of information on plastic, with great visualisations This post draws on data and research discussed in our entry on Plastic Pollution. Source: FAQs on Plastics – Our World in Data

Earth at Night visualised with light intensity as terrain height

Explore the Earth at night as seen by Suomi NPP VIIRS using the Esri ArcGIS API for JavaScript. Lights are rendered as 3D terrain. Source: Earth at Night

AI’s ‘deep-fake’ vids surge ahead in realism

Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and Facebook Reality Lab are presenting Recycle-GAN, a generative adversarial system for “unsupervised video retargeting” this week at the European Conference on Computer Vision (ECCV) in Germany. Unlike most methods, Recycle-GAN doesn’t rely on learning an explicit mapping between the images in a source and target video to perform a […]

Solid-state battery startup secures backing from several automakers as it claims 2- 3x higher energy capacity, better safety through solid-state

Solid Power is a Colorado-based startup that spun out of a battery research program at the University of Colorado Boulder. The company claims to have achieved a breakthrough by incorporating a high-capacity lithium metal anode in lithium batteries – creating a solid-state cell with an energy capacity “2-3X higher” than conventional lithium-ion. They have already attracted […]

Article 11, Article 13: EU’s Dangerous Copyright Bill Advances: massive censorship and upload filters (which are impossible) and huge taxes for links.

Members of the European Parliament voted Wednesday to approve a sweeping overhaul of the EU’s copyright laws that includes two controversial articles that threaten to hand more power to the richest tech companies and generally break the internet. Overall, MEPs voted in favor of the EU Copyright Directive with a strong majority of 438 to […]

You know all those movies you bought from Apple? Um, well, think different: You didn’t. Didn’t you learn that from Amazon in 2009?

Remember when you decided to buy, rather than rent, that movie online? We have some bad news for you – you didn’t. Biologist Anders Gonçalves da Silva was surprised this week to find three movies he had purchased through iTunes simply disappeared one day from his library. So he contacted Apple to find out what […]

Wow, great invention: Now AI eggheads teach machines how to be sarcastic using Reddit

It’s tricky. Computers have to follow what is being said by whom, the context of the conversation and often some real world facts to understand cultural references. Feeding machines single sentences is often ineffective; it’s a difficult task for humans to detect if individual remarks are cheeky too. The researchers, therefore, built a system designed […]

Top European Court Rules UK Mass Surveillance Regime Violates Human Rights

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled this week that the United Kingdom government’s surveillance regime violated human rights laws. The matter first came to light in 2013 when NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed British surveillance practices—namely that the government intercepts social media, messages, and phone calls regardless of criminal record or suspicions of […]

Facebook creates an AI-based tool to automate bug fixes

SapFix, which is still under development, is designed to generate fixes automatically for specific bugs before sending them to human engineers for approval. Facebook, which announced the tool today ahead of its @Scale conference in San Jose, California, for developers building large-scale systems and applications, calls SapFix an “AI hybrid tool.” It uses artificial intelligence […]

 
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