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AIG Is Now Selling Cyber Insurance, But Only To High Net Worth Individuals
Posted by News Fetcher on April 03 '17 at 03:22 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's more-money-more-problems department:
chicksdaddy writes from a report via Security Ledger: It turns out that the rich really aren't like everyone else -- they have more cyber insurance. That, after insurance giant AIG announced Monday that it has started offering cyber insurance to protect individuals and families from ransomware attacks, data theft and cyber bullying, The Security Ledger reports. But don't go looking to sign up at Wal-Mart: the service is only available to AIG's Private Client Group, which caters to high net worth and ultra high net worth individuals and families. The service is the first of its kind to provide what insurers call "first party coverage" -- basically: insurance to make the affected party whole after an adverse incident. In a sign of the times, AIG said it will pay for things like school relocation for children traumatized by cyber bullying and ransom to cyber criminals in the hope of restoring data and technology held hostage by crypto-ransomware. Private Client Group customers must have real estate or other assets like boats or art with a value of more than $1 million, said Jerry Hourihan, president of AIG's Private Client Group for the U.S. and Canada. Hourihan said that the new service is based on similar insurance that AIG offers to businesses and is a response to inquiries and demands from its high net worth clients, who have become increasingly concerned about cyber threats, he said. The insurance would be purchased as a so-called "rider" to a traditional home insurance policy and add about 10% or 15% to the annual premium. It's not a big stretch for AIG because it turns out there's not much daylight between really well off families and businesses. "Our clients have domestic employees and family offices to help manage their lives. They take on quasi commercial exposure," Hourihan said. There are no immediate plans to offer similar protections to families of ordinary means, despite a recent survey by the firm Accenture that found as many as 1 in 4 Americans has been the victim of data theft. (https://securityledger.com/2017/02/silent-epidemic-data-theft-has-become-a-public-health-crisis-digital-guardian/)

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Verizon Is Rebranding Yahoo, AOL As 'Oath'
Posted by News Fetcher on April 03 '17 at 03:22 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's clean-slate department:
Nathan Ingraham reports via Engadget: Somewhere along the way, Verizon's planned purchase of Yahoo got real complicated. Thanks to security breaches of gargantuan proportions, Yahoo has lost a ton of value -- and the company was struggling even when Verizon announced its intentions to buy the former internet juggernaut. Part of the value lost is in the Yahoo brand, which Verizon apparently considers toxic at this point. To that end, Verizon is changing the name of the combined Yahoo and AOL company. Business Insider first reported that "Oath" will be the new name of the company (which would be the parent company of Engadget). Minutes after we published this story, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong confirmed the change in a tweet. Engadget also makes note of a Recode report, which indicates that current Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer will not continue with the new company.

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Amazon Launches Amazon Cash, a Way To Shop Its Site Without a Bank Card
Posted by News Fetcher on April 03 '17 at 03:22 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's under-the-radar department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Amazon this morning announced the launch of Amazon Cash, a new service that allows consumers to add cash to their Amazon.com balance by showing a barcode at a participating retailer, then having the cash applied immediately to their online Amazon account. The service will support adding any amount between $15 and $500 in a single transaction, Amazon says. Amazon Cash will be available at brick-and-mortar retailers across the U.S., including CVS Pharmacy, Speedway, Sheetz, Kum & Go, D&W Fresh Market, Family Fare Supermarkets, and VG's Grocery. Other stores will be added in the future. The advantage to Amazon Cash is that, as soon as you checkout at the register, the funds are available in the customer's Amazon account. There are also no fees -- something that can't be said of all the prepaid cards on the market. However, Amazon isn't selling "Amazon Cash"-branded Gift Cards at stores -- instead, customers visit Amazon.com/cash from web or mobile, or search for "amazon cash" in the Amazon mobile app to access their Amazon Cash barcode. They can also navigate to "Manage Gift Card" balance to find the Amazon Cash barcode, as it's effectively connected Amazon's gift card functionality. That same barcode can be reused any time the customer wants to add more cash to their Amazon account. It can also be added to your Wallet app on iOS or as a homescreen shortcut on Android.

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Amazon Was Sucking in Quidsi's Inventory Over a Year Before Shutdown
Posted by News Fetcher on April 03 '17 at 02:01 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-it-all-went-down department:
Amazon's explanation last week that it was closing Quidsi because the unit was unprofitable didn't sound much like Jeff Bezos. The Amazon founder is famous for operating retail businesses at such slim margins that rivals can't compete. Quidsi employees had another reason to be surprised. From a report: As recently as late 2016, at Quidsi's quarterly all-hands meeting in Jersey City, NJ, executives from Amazon headquarters in Seattle spoke to the unit's 250-plus workers and affirmed the parent company's commitment to Quidsi's business, according to multiple people who were in attendance. One of the executives to present was John Boumphrey, Amazon's vice president who oversees baby products, and the direct boss of Quidsi CEO Emilie Arel Scott, said the sources, who asked not to be named because the meeting was confidential. Yet last Wednesday, with the first quarter coming to a close, employees were informed that Amazon was shutting Quidsi down and laying off hundreds of workers, ostensibly because the division was unable to make a profit. The diapers, toiletries, beauty products and pet care items sold by the various Quidsi brands would all be available on Amazon.com, the company said. [...] In the fourth quarter of 2015, Amazon started redirecting inventory from Quidsi's three fulfillment centers -- in Nevada, Kansas and Pennsylvania -- to Amazon's own massive network of warehouses, sources said. That process continued throughout 2016 and is still underway, two people told us. Quidsi's facilities were running out of capacity.

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Netflix Now Lets You Download Videos Onto Your PC
Posted by News Fetcher on April 03 '17 at 02:01 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's bold-moves department:
Netflix now offers offline streaming via its Windows 10 PC application, meaning you'll have even more options wherever you're stuck without Internet access. From a report: Netflix added the offline viewing options as part of the most recent update to the Netflix app on Windows 10. Because the Windows Store doesn't show you what version of the Netflix app you're using, just make sure you check for updates using the large blue button in the upper-right corner of the Windows Store app to receive the latest version. You won't need the Creators Update to take advantage of the new feature, either. When you open the app, Netflix will show you a large splash screen that advertises the new "download and go" capability. Unfortunately, if you click the Find me something to download button, the Netflix app doesn't currently display a list of downloadable titles; you'll have to hunt them down yourself. Netflix introduced the same capability on iOS and Android late last year. It's a bold move by Netflix to bring this feature to desktop. There is always the risk of someone finding out a way to break the DRM and easily distribute the files.

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Musk Trolls Shorts as Tesla's Value Hits Record, Passes Ford
Posted by News Fetcher on April 03 '17 at 12:41 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's stormy-weather department:
Tesla's Elon Musk poked fun at short sellers as his electric-car maker's stock surged to a record, vaulting its market value past century-old rival Ford. From a report on Bloomberg: "Stormy weather in Shortville..." the chief executive officer tweeted Monday, as Tesla shares climbed as much as 5.8 percent. The maker of Model S sedans and Model X crossovers saw its capitalization surge to about $48.2 billion, $3.1 billion more than Ford, the No. 2 automaker in the U.S. after General Motors Co. Tesla has long been a popular target by short sellers such as Jim Chanos, who famously bet early on energy company Enron's failure -- and was proved right. Short interest in Tesla has risen to 29 percent of its free float from a 52-week low of 20 percent in mid-October, according to Markit data. Tesla's move past Ford came one day after Musk's company reported worldwide shipments of 25,000 cars and SUVs in the first quarter, exceeding analysts' estimates. While Ford delivered about nine times as many vehicles in just the U.S. last month, its sales missed projections and the shares fell.

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Bidding Website Rentberry May Be the Startup of Your Nightmares
Posted by News Fetcher on April 03 '17 at 11:21 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's shape-of-things-to-come department:
Renting is already fraught with pain, from annual rent hikes to extortionate lettings fees. But if a new service called Rentberry takes off, it could be about to get a lot worse. From a report: Rentberry has been operating in test cities and angering affordable housing advocates since 2016. But with its new expansion into 1,000 cities in the United States, the rental bidding website is about to piss off a lot more people. Alex Lubinksy, founder of Rentberry, seems to be pursuingan image that's closer to Uber's vilified Travis Kalanick than the do-gooder model of Elon Musk. Lubinsky courts the controversy that surrounds his startup and is known to include negative press when communicating his vision to reporters. But one big difference with Rentberry will be that if it takes off and becomes the new standard for renting apartments, most of its customers won't be able to run a #deleteRentberry campaign because landlords will have the control. The website essentially functions as a cross between CraigsList and eBay. A landlord lists a rental space and potential tenants bid against one another to claim the lease. Tenants' personal information is available to the landlord. The landlord then makes their final decision by weighing what the best offer is along with which bidder seems like they'd be the best tenant. For now, Rentberry charges users a $25 fee, but in the future, it plans to charge 25 percent of the difference between the asking price and the agreed upon rent. Whoever received the better deal pays the fee -- every month.

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Apple Wants To Sell Premium TV Channels in a Bundle
Posted by News Fetcher on April 03 '17 at 11:21 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's not-a-bad-idea department:
Apple isn't done trying to sell you pay TV. From a report on Recode: Here's Apple's latest proposal: It wants to sell consumers a premium TV bundle, which combines HBO, Showtime and Starz. Apple already sells each of those channels individually. But it has approached the three networks about rolling them up into a single package, as conventional pay TV operators sometimes do. The difference: Traditional pay TV operators, like Charter, usually require consumers to subscribe to a basic level of TV channels before it will sell them a premium bundle. Apple could sell the bundle as standalone product, delivered via its iOS devices and its Apple TV settop box. Apple doesn't have a bundle deal in place with any of the premium networks, industry sources say. Apple currently sells HBO for $15 a month, Showtime for $11 a month, and Starz for $9 a month.

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Computer Programmers May No Longer Be Eligible For H-1B Visas [Update]
Posted by News Fetcher on April 03 '17 at 11:21 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
Two anonymous readers share a report: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services quietly over the weekend released new guidance that computer programmers are no longer presumed to be eligible for H-1B visas. This aligns with the administration's focus on reserving the temporary visas for very high-skilled (and higher-paid) professionals while encouraging low- and mid-level jobs to go to American workers instead. The new guidance affects applications for the lottery for 2018 fiscal year that opened Monday. Companies applying for H-1B visas for computer programming positions will have to submit additional evidence showing that the jobs are complex or specialized and require professional degrees. From a Bloomberg report, which has confirmation: The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services department issued a memorandum that makes it harder for companies to bring foreign technology workers to the U.S. using the H-1B visa process. The new guidelines, issued late Friday, require additional information for computer programmers applying for the work visa to prove the jobs are complicated and require more advanced knowledge and experience. The new policy is effective immediately, so it will change how companies apply for the visas in an annual lottery process that begins Monday. Indian outsourcing firms, which have faced the most amount of criticism, stand to lose the most. The changes don't explicitly prohibit any applications for a specific type of job. Instead, they bring more scrutiny to those for computer programmers doing the simplest jobs.

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Computer Programmers May No Longer Be Eligible For H-1B Visas
Posted by News Fetcher on April 03 '17 at 10:02 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
Two anonymous readers share a report: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services quietly over the weekend released new guidance that computer programmers are no longer presumed to be eligible for H-1B visas. This aligns with the administration's focus on reserving the temporary visas for very high-skilled (and higher-paid) professionals while encouraging low- and mid-level jobs to go to American workers instead. The new guidance affects applications for the lottery for 2018 fiscal year that opened Monday. Companies applying for H-1B visas for computer programming positions will have to submit additional evidence showing that the jobs are complex or specialized and require professional degrees.

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Drone Complaints Soar in the UK
Posted by News Fetcher on April 03 '17 at 10:02 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's get-that-thing-off-my-face department:
Drones are stirring up public annoyance in the U.K. as the number of complaints to police are said to have soared twelvefold over the past two years -- including allegations of snooping neighbors, burglary "scoping" exercises, prison smuggling and near-misses with aircraft. From a report: Last year incidents rose to 3,456 (about 10 a day), almost tripling the 2015 figure of 1,237. In 2014, the number of incidents was only 283, indicating that the commercial success of the devices has brought with it a growing public nuisance. The findings were a result of a freedom of information request submitted by the Press Association to show the number of incidents logged by police around the country between 2014 and 2016. Their timely release follows several reports of near-misses with passenger planes and drones, and the arrest of Daniel Kelly, 27, last year, who became the first person in the U.K. to be jailed for smuggling items into prisons. But the actual total of cases is thought to be much higher, as not all police forces were able to submit data on the drone cases.

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'Grammar Vigilante' Secretly Corrects Bristol Street Signs
Posted by News Fetcher on April 03 '17 at 10:02 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's silent-guardian department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: A self-confessed "grammar vigilante" has been secretly correcting bad punctuation on street signs and shop fronts in Bristol for more than a decade. The anonymous crusader carries out his work in the dead of night using the "Apostrophiser" -- a long-handled tool he created to reach the highest signs. The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, told the BBC that correcting rogue apostrophes is his speciality.

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Android Overtakes Windows as the Internet's Most Used Operating System
Posted by News Fetcher on April 03 '17 at 08:41 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's dominance-continues department:
As expected last month, Android has surpassed Windows to become the world's most used operating system, according to the web analytics firm StatCounter. From a report: Usage figures published by StatCounter show that Android accounted for 37.93 percent of the worldwide OS Internet usage share in March. Windows is not far behind at 37.91 percent, but Android taking the lead is being described as a "milestone in technology history." The fact that Android is now topping the charts can be attributed to the fact that mobile devices are now used to connect to the Internet far more frequently than desktop computers and laptop. Coupled with declining PC sales, Windows is starting to lose out overall, although it still accounts for 84 percent of the worldwide desktop operating system market.

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Why Bargain Travel Sites May No Longer Be Bargains
Posted by News Fetcher on April 03 '17 at 08:41 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's inside-cheap-deals department:
Aggregators like Expedia have made us lazy -- and we may be missing out on the best deals. From a report on Backchannel: Most of us rely on metasearch engines, like Priceline, Expedia, or Travelocity, which typically use dozens (sometimes as many as 200) of online travel agents, called OTAs, and aggregators to find the best deals. (A metasearch engine and an aggregator are interchangeable terms -- they both scour other sites and compile data under one roof. An OTA is an actual travel agency that actually does the booking and is the lone site responsible for everything you buy through them.) We rely on these sites because we assume they have the secret sauce -- the most powerful search engines, tweaked by superstar programmers armed with the most sophisticated algorithms -- to guide us to the cheapest options. With a single search, you can feel assured that you are paying a rock bottom price. Over time, however, the convention has flipped. As competition among the sites heated up, the hard-to-believe cheap fares required some filtering. A too-good-to-be-true fare ($99 to Europe from California) usually came with a catch (the $400, indirect, ticket home). And as the business models that on which these aggregators rely are getting tighter, the deals are getting worse. How can you be certain you're getting the lowest quote? The short answer is, you can't.

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Norway's Doomsday Vault Will Now Store and Protect the World's Data
Posted by News Fetcher on April 03 '17 at 07:20 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's doomsday-vault department:
Doomsday may be closer than ever, but thanks to the Arctic World Archive, at least your data could survive the looming apocalypse. From a report: Norway is already the home to the Global Seed Vault, a frozen ark for 1.5 million seeds to avoid their extinction, and now the Arctic World Archive aims to do the same for your data -- in the same disused mine in the same mountain on the island of Svalbard, famous for its polar bear population. Run by a small Norwegian archiving company called Piql, the World Arctic Archive will store key documents, books and other files on photosensitive film held in protective boxes, a technique Piql says it's tested to survive for at least 500 years and believes will last for 1,000. That longevity is helped by the storage location. More on this here.

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Apple To Develop Its Own GPU, UK Chip Designer Imagination Reveals In 'Bombshell' PR
Posted by News Fetcher on April 03 '17 at 07:20 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's cutting-reliance department:
From a report on AnandTech: In a bombshell of a press release issued this morning, Imagination has announced that Apple has informed their long-time GPU partner that they will be winding down their use of Imagination's IP. Specifically, Apple expects that they will no longer be using Imagination's IP in 15 to 24 months. Furthermore the GPU design that replaces Imagination's designs will be, according to Imagination, "a separate, independent graphics design." In other words, Apple is developing their own GPU, and when that is ready, they will be dropping Imagination's GPU designs entirely. This alone would be big news, however the story doesn't stop there. As Apple's long-time GPU partner and the provider for the basis of all of Apple's SoCs going back to the very first iPhone, Imagination is also making a case to investors (and the public) that while Apple may be dropping Imagination's GPU designs for a custom design, that Apple can't develop a new GPU in isolation -- that any GPU developed by the company would still infringe on some of Imagination's IP. As a result the company is continuing to sit down with Apple and discuss alternative licensing arrangements, with the intent of defending their IP rights.

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GitHub Repository Owners Targeted By Data-Stealing Malware
Posted by News Fetcher on April 03 '17 at 03:20 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's committing-changes department:
"Phishing emails zeroing in on developers who own Github repositories were infecting victims with malware capable of stealing data through keyloggers and modules that would snag screenshots," writes ThreatPost. An anonymous reader quotes their report:
Researchers at Palo Alto Networks this week said that in mid-January, an unknown number of developers were targeted with emails purporting to be job offers. The attachments instead carried malicious .doc files containing an embedded macro. The macro executed a PowerShell command that would grab malware from a command and control site and execute it... [Senior threat researcher Brandon] Levene said it's unknown how widespread the January campaign was or why developers were targeted, but given the vast number of projects hosted on the platform, it would likely be an attractive target for either criminals and nation-state attackers.

Levene said the PowerShell script drops a binary named Dimnie, which has been around since 2014 but before January targeted primarily Russian-speaking targets. Someone who received two different emails said they appeared to be hand-crafted, according to Ars Technica, and referenced data changed that same day. They believe this suggests "a focused campaign explicitly targeting targets perceived as 'high return investments,' such as developers (possibly working on popular/open source projects)."

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Salary-Comparing Survey Identifies Top-Paid Developers, Discovers North America Pays Better
Posted by News Fetcher on April 02 '17 at 11:20 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's especially-if-they-work-at-Google department:
21,000 developers were surveyed for this year's annual survey by VisionMobile -- and for the first time, they were asked about their salaries. An anonymous reader quotes Linux.com:
[S]killed cloud and backend developers, as well as those who work in emerging technologies including Internet of Things, machine learning and augmented/virtual reality can make more money than frontend web and mobile developers whose skills have become more commoditized... The top 10 percent of salary earners in AR who live in North America earn a median salary of $219,000, compared with $169,000 for the top earning 10 percent of backend developers, according to the report... New, unskilled developers interested in emerging tech will have a harder time finding work, and earn less than their counterparts in more commoditized areas, due both to their lack of experience and fewer companies hiring in the early market. Along with skill level and software sector, developer salaries also vary widely by where they live in the world. A web developer in North America earns a median income of $73,600 USD per year, compared with the same developer in Western Europe whose median income is $35,400 USD. Web developers in South Asia earn $11,700 in South Asia while those in Eastern Europe earn $20,800 per year.
For developers who want to move up in the world, VisionMobile suggests "Invest in your skills. Do difficult work. Improve your English. Look for opportunities internationally. Go for it. You deserve it!"

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Tor Browser Will Feature More Rust Code
Posted by News Fetcher on April 02 '17 at 08:40 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Rusty-routers department:
An anonymous reader writes:
"The Tor Browser, a heavily modified version of the Firefox browser with many privacy-enhancing features, will include more code written in the Rust programming language," reports BleepingComputer. In a meeting held last week in Amsterdam, Tor developers decided to slowly start using Rust to replace the C++ code. The decision comes after Mozilla started shipping Rust components with Firefox in 2016. Furthermore, Rust is a memory-safe(r) language than C++, the language used for Firefox and the customized Tor code, which means less memory corruption errors. Less of these errors means better privacy for all.

"Part of our interest in using safer languages like Rust in Tor is because a tiny mistake in C could have real consequences for real people," Tor developer Isis Agora Lovecruft posted on Twitter, adding "Also the barrier to entry for contributing to large OSS projects written in C is insanely high."

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Will Streaming Media Lead To A Massive Writer's Strike?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 02 '17 at 06:01 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's offline-media department:
"A decade ago, Hollywood writers brought the entertainment industry to a standstill when they walked off the job for three months in a dispute over pay for movies and TV shows distributed online," writes the Los Angeles Times. But they're reporting that it may happen again, with the Writers Guild of America now seeking a strike authorization vote from its members.
Streaming services like Netflix and Amazon have transformed Hollywood and contributed to an unprecedented number of quality series being produced -- a phenomenon often described as the new Golden Age of TV. But times haven't been golden for many writers for whom more is now less. Shorter seasons are the new norm, with many series consisting of 10 or fewer episodes on cable and streaming -- less than half the length of traditional seasons on network shows. That has put writers in a financial crunch since many have exclusivity clauses that prevent them from working on multiple shows per season...
"It's getting more and more difficult to make a living as a writer," said John Bowman, a TV writer-producer, and former head of the WGA negotiating committee. Studios are equally dug in as more customers cut the cable cord in favor of streaming options. They're also grappling with a dramatic fall-off in once-lucrative DVD sales and a flattening of attendance at the multiplex. They are releasing fewer titles a year, meaning fewer opportunities for screenwriters... Complicating matters is a lack of transparency. Streaming services operate on subscription models and don't release viewer data, making it difficult to devise a formula for residuals (fees for reruns).
< article continued at Slashdot's offline-media department >

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