The Linkielist

Linking ideas with the world

Plain wrong: Millions of utility customers’ passwords stored in plain text by website builder SEDC

In September of 2018, an anonymous independent security researcher (who we’ll call X) noticed that their power company’s website was offering to email—not reset!—lost account passwords to forgetful users. Startled, X fed the online form the utility account number and the last four phone number digits it was asking for. Sure enough, a few minutes Read more about Plain wrong: Millions of utility customers’ passwords stored in plain text by website builder SEDC[…]

Samsung is loading McAfee antivirus software on smart TVs – which may be impossible to uninstall

Samsung is adding bloatware to its 2019 TVs because McAfee is paying them to do so. There is arguably no reason for Samsung to offer third-party antivirus software for an operating system that is developed in-house. Partnering with software vendors is fairly common practice for large hardware manufacturers. Laptop makers frequently pre-install bloatware in return Read more about Samsung is loading McAfee antivirus software on smart TVs – which may be impossible to uninstall[…]

China bans 23m from buying travel tickets as part of ‘social credit’ system.

China has blocked millions of “discredited” travellers from buying plane or train tickets as part of the country’s controversial “social credit” system aimed at improving the behaviour of citizens. According to the National Public Credit Information Centre, Chinese courts banned would-be travellers from buying flights 17.5 million times by the end of 2018. Citizens placed Read more about China bans 23m from buying travel tickets as part of ‘social credit’ system.[…]

Excel Can Now Turn Pictures of Tables Into Actual, Editable Tables

Microsoft is introducing a really useful feature for Excel on mobile devices. The company is rolling out a new update to the Excel app for Android that makes it really easy to capture data. If you ever had to manually enter data from a paper in real life into your spreadsheets, you are going to Read more about Excel Can Now Turn Pictures of Tables Into Actual, Editable Tables[…]

Surprise! Facebook Low-Balled the Percentage of young teens It Paid to Install Spyware – by a factor of 4!

In January, when news first broke that Facebook had been paying teens in gift cards to let it install what is, by definition, essentially spyware on their phones, it seemed like just another Tuesday. Had it been virtually any other company, the outrage would have been tenfold. After all, paying 13-year-olds to gain access to Read more about Surprise! Facebook Low-Balled the Percentage of young teens It Paid to Install Spyware – by a factor of 4![…]

Comcast set mobile pins to “0000,” helping attackers steal phone numbers

A bad security decision by Comcast on the company’s mobile phone service made it easier for attackers to port victims’ cell phone numbers to different carriers. Comcast in 2017 launched Xfinity Mobile, a cellular service that uses the Verizon Wireless network and Comcast Wi-Fi hotspots. Comcast has signed up 1.2 million mobile subscribers but took Read more about Comcast set mobile pins to “0000,” helping attackers steal phone numbers[…]

Four new DNA letters double life’s alphabet

The DNA of life on Earth naturally stores its information in just four key chemicals — guanine, cytosine, adenine and thymine, commonly referred to as G, C, A and T, respectively. Now scientists have doubled this number of life’s building blocks, creating for the first time a synthetic, eight-letter genetic language that seems to store Read more about Four new DNA letters double life’s alphabet[…]

As China frightens Europe’s data protectors, America does too with Cloud Act

A foreign power with possible unbridled access to Europe’s data is causing alarm in the region. No, it’s not China. It’s the United States. As the US pushes ahead with the “Cloud Act” it enacted about a year ago, Europe is scrambling to curb its reach. Under the act, all US cloud service providers, from Read more about As China frightens Europe’s data protectors, America does too with Cloud Act[…]

Boeing Just Revealed the ‘Loyal Wingman’ Fighter Drone—For Australia

American plane-maker Boeing has revealed a stealthy, robotic fighter jet that could fly into battle alongside old-school manned planes. But the “loyal wingman” drone, as officials call it, isn’t for the U.S. military. The Australian government funded the ‘bot’s development in the hope of equipping Royal Australian Air Force squadrons with drone wingmen. Which is Read more about Boeing Just Revealed the ‘Loyal Wingman’ Fighter Drone—For Australia[…]

spacedesk – extend or duplicate your desktop on a smartphone or tablet

At least 2 machines are needed to operate spacedesk. These machines must be connected via a Local Area Network (e.g. Ethernet or Wireless) supporting TCP/IP network protocol. Each one of the two machines is running a different spacedesk software: 1. The Primary Machine is a Windows PC, laptop or Surface Pro tablet. It runs the spacedesk DRIVER Read more about spacedesk – extend or duplicate your desktop on a smartphone or tablet[…]

Some American Airlines In-Flight TVs Have Cameras In Them watching you, just like Singapore Airlines and Google Nest

A viral photo showing a camera in a Singapore Airlines in-flight TV display recently caused an uproar online. The image was retweeted hundreds of times, with many people expressing concern about the privacy implications. As it turns out, some seat-back screens in American Airlines’ premium economy class have them, too. Sri Ray was aboard an Read more about Some American Airlines In-Flight TVs Have Cameras In Them watching you, just like Singapore Airlines and Google Nest[…]

Experts Find Serious Problems With Switzerland’s Online Voting System

Switzerland made headlines this month for the transparency of its internet voting system when it launched a public penetration test and bug bounty program to test the resiliency of the system to attack. But after source code for the software and technical documentation describing its architecture were leaked online last week, critics are already expressing Read more about Experts Find Serious Problems With Switzerland’s Online Voting System[…]

In small groups, people follow high-performing leaders

researchers at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering have cracked the code on how leaders arise from small groups of people over time. The work is detailed in a study, “Social information and Spontaneous Emergence of Leaders in Human Groups,” published in The Royal Society Interface. […] To conduct the research, the team convened several Read more about In small groups, people follow high-performing leaders[…]

Physicists get thousands of semiconductor nuclei to do ‘quantum dances’ in unison

A team of Cambridge researchers have found a way to control the sea of nuclei in semiconductor quantum dots so they can operate as a quantum memory device. Quantum dots are crystals made up of thousands of atoms, and each of these atoms interacts magnetically with the trapped electron. If left alone to its own Read more about Physicists get thousands of semiconductor nuclei to do ‘quantum dances’ in unison[…]

Earth’s atmosphere extends much farther than previously thought

Most people think that the Earth’s atmosphere stops a bit over 62 miles (100 km) from the surface, but a new study based on observations made over two decades ago by the joint US-European Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) satellite shows that it actually extends as far 391,000 miles (630,000 km) or 50 times the Read more about Earth’s atmosphere extends much farther than previously thought[…]

Squid could provide an eco-friendly alternative to plastics

The remarkable properties of a recently-discovered squid protein could revolutionize materials in a way that would be unattainable with conventional plastic, finds a review published in Frontiers in Chemistry. Originating in the ringed teeth of a squid’s predatory arms, this protein can be processed into fibers and films with applications ranging from ‘smart’ clothes for Read more about Squid could provide an eco-friendly alternative to plastics[…]

why does Singapore Airlines have an embedded camera looking at you on the inflight entertainment system? Just like the Google Nest spy, they say it’s ummm all ok, nothing to see here.

Given Singapore’s reputation for being an unabashed surveillance state, a passenger on a Singapore Airlines (SIA) flight could be forgiven for being a little paranoid. Vitaly Kamluk, an information security expert and a high-ranking executive of cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab, went on Twitter with concerns about an embedded camera in SIA’s inflight entertainment systems. He Read more about why does Singapore Airlines have an embedded camera looking at you on the inflight entertainment system? Just like the Google Nest spy, they say it’s ummm all ok, nothing to see here.[…]

IBM Brings Watson AI To The Private Cloud And Rival Public Cloud Platforms

IBM Watson Anywhere is built on top of Kubernetes, the open source orchestration engine that can be deployed in diverse environments. Since the Watson Anywhere platform is built as a set of microservices designed to run on Kubernetes, it is flexible and portable. […] According to IBM, the microservices-based Watson Anywhere delivers two solutions – Read more about IBM Brings Watson AI To The Private Cloud And Rival Public Cloud Platforms[…]

How’s this for sci-fi: A cosmic river of 4,000 stars dazzles lifeforms as it flows through a galaxy. And that galaxy is the Milky Way

If you’re living in Earth’s southern hemisphere, chances are you may be able to see some of the stars in a newly identified cosmic river that’s flowed through the Milky Way for hundreds of millions of years. Astronomers say the freshly discovered gigantic cluster of stars is passing relatively close to our Solar System. The Read more about How’s this for sci-fi: A cosmic river of 4,000 stars dazzles lifeforms as it flows through a galaxy. And that galaxy is the Milky Way[…]

New experimental drug rapidly repairs age-related memory loss and improves mood

A team of Canadian scientists has developed a fascinating new experimental drug that is purported to result in rapid improvements to both mood and memory following extensive animal testing. It’s hoped the drug will move to human trials within the next two years. Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a key neurotransmitter, and when altered it can Read more about New experimental drug rapidly repairs age-related memory loss and improves mood[…]

This Person Does Not Exist Is the Best One-Off Website of 2019

At a glance, the images featured on the website This Person Does Not Exist might seem like random high school portraits or vaguely inadvisable LinkedIn headshots. But every single photo on the site has been created by using a special kind of artificial intelligence algorithm called generative adversarial networks (GANs). Every time the site is Read more about This Person Does Not Exist Is the Best One-Off Website of 2019[…]

Use an 8-char Windows NTLM password? Don’t. Every single one can be cracked in under 2.5hrs

In a Twitter post on Wednesday, those behind the software project said a hand-tuned build of the version 6.0.0 HashCat beta, utilizing eight Nvidia GTX 2080Ti GPUs in an offline attack, exceeded the NTLM cracking speed benchmark of 100GH/s (gigahashes per second). “Current password cracking benchmarks show that the minimum eight character password, no matter Read more about Use an 8-char Windows NTLM password? Don’t. Every single one can be cracked in under 2.5hrs[…]

The EU Just Finalized Copyright Legislation That breaks the Web, despite EU country opposition

The last time the EU tweaked its copyright laws was in 2001, so the idea of updating regulations in the information age made a lot of sense. But critics became alarmed by two sections of the bill: Article 11 (aka the “link tax”) and Article 13 (aka the “upload filters”). In 2018, critics like Tim Read more about The EU Just Finalized Copyright Legislation That breaks the Web, despite EU country opposition[…]

Finland basic income trial left people ‘happier but jobless’

Giving jobless people in Finland a basic income for two years did not lead them to find work, researchers said. From January 2017 until December 2018, 2,000 unemployed Finns got a monthly flat payment of €560 (£490; $634). The aim was to see if a guaranteed safety net would help people find jobs, and support Read more about Finland basic income trial left people ‘happier but jobless’[…]