By msmash from Slashdot's security-woes department
CBC reports: The detailed medical histories and contact information of possibly tens of thousands of home-care patients in Ontario are allegedly being held for ransom by thieves who recently raided the computer systems of a health-care provider. CarePartners, which provides home medical care services on behalf of the Ontario government, announced last month that it had been breached. It said only that personal health and financial information of patients had been "inappropriately accessed," and did not elaborate further. However, a group claiming responsibility for the breach recently contacted CBC News and provided a sample of the data it claims to have accessed, shedding new light on the extent of the breach. The sample includes thousands of patient medical records with phone numbers and addresses, dates of birth, and health card numbers, as well as detailed medical histories including past conditions, diagnoses, surgical procedures, care plans and medications for patients across the province.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's security-woes department
Thousands of credentials for accounts associated with New Zealand-based file storage service Mega have been published online, ZDNet reports. From the report: The text file contains over 15,500 usernames, passwords, and files names, indicating that each account had been improperly accessed and file names scraped. Patrick Wardle, chief research officer and co-founder at Digita Security, found the text file in June after it had been uploaded to malware analysis site VirusTotal some months earlier by a user purportedly in Vietnam. Wardle passed the data to ZDNet. We verified that the data belonged to Mega, the file-sharing site formerly owned by internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom by contacting several users, who confirmed that the email address, password, and some of the files we showed them were used on Mega.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's marching-forward department
An anonymous reader shares a report: Of the 100 images submitted to the 2018 Robotart competition, an automaton called CloudPainter rose to the top, with evocative portraits featuring varying degrees of abstraction. One of its winning images was created by a team of neural networks, AI algorithms, and robots. Robotart's founder, Andrew Conru, told MIT Technology Review that this year's entries have shown refined brushstrokes and composition. "CloudPainter, the winner this year, has been involved all three years and has made the most improvement in his system," he says. "The resulting work, while it still uses an inputted photo as reference, can execute paintings using different painting styles."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's streak-continues department
sombragris writes: Slackware, the oldest GNU/Linux distribution which is still actively maintained, turned 25 this week. The latest stable version, Slackware 14.2, was released two years ago, but the development version (-current) is updated on a fast pace. Today the development version offers kernel 4.14.55, gcc 8.1.1, glibc 2.27. mesa 18.1.4, xorg 1.20, and the Xfce and KDE desktop environments as default, with many more available as third-party packages. Other points of note are that Slackware is systemd-free, opting instead for a simple BSD-style init. Since its first release ever, this has been a distro with a strong following due to its hallmarks of simplicity, speed, ease of maintenance and configuration. Happy birthday Slackware!Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's fascinating-world department
Deep in Ecuador's lush Quijos Valley, a society thrived -- and then disappeared. But a lake preserved its story. From a report: In the 1850s, a team of botanists venturing into the cloud forest in the Quijos Valley of eastern Ecuador hacked their way through vegetation so thick they could barely make their way forward. This, they thought, was the heart of the pristine forest, a place where people had never gone. But they were very wrong. Indigenous Quijo groups had developed sophisticated agricultural settlements across the region, settlements that had been decimated with the arrival of Spanish explorers in the 1500s. In their absence, the forest sprung back. This process of societal collapse and forest reclamation is described in a new study published today in Nature Ecology and Evolution. The Quijos Valley lies in one of the most biodiverse cloud forests in the world, along a pre-Columbian trade route that linked the rich Amazonian lowlands with the high Andes. Thousands of people lived there centuries before the Spanish arrived, farming maize, squash, beans, and even passionfruit in poor soil of the valley floor. The study's researchers found a tiny lake in the valley and dug down into the silt at the bottom, pulling up a plug of sediment that had built up over the last 1000 years -- and found evidence of human occupation going back to the very oldest part of the core. In the oldest layers, scientists found tiny pieces of pollen -- swept from the valley and the surrounding forest into the lake by wind -- from maize and other plants that only grow in open, airy conditions, which told them that humans were cultivating plants on the valley floor. They also found plenty of charcoal bits, indications that people had lit fires nearby.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's for-the-record department
BrianFagioli writes: Today, Samsung announces yet another milestone, this time with its low-powered memory. You see, Samsung has created what it calls the "industry's first 10-nanometer (nm) class 8-gigabit (Gb) LPDDR5 DRAM." The company promises significant power reduction -- up to 30 percent over LPDDR4X DRAM. This should be important for the upcoming 5G explosion. "The 8Gb LPDDR5 boasts a data rate of up to 6,400 megabits per second (Mb/s), which is 1.5 times as fast as the mobile DRAM chips used in current flagship mobile devices (LPDDR4X, 4266Mb/s). With the increased transfer rate, the new LPDDR5 can send 51.2 gigabytes (GB) of data, or approximately 14 full-HD video files (3.7GB each), in a second," says Samsung. The Galaxy-maker further says, "The 10nm-class LPDDR5 DRAM will be available in two bandwidths -- 6,400Mb/s at a 1.1 operating voltage (V) and 5,500Mb/s at 1.05V -- making it the most versatile mobile memory solution for next-generation smartphones and automotive systems."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's spoke-too-soon department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Munro & Associates, a small Detroit-area firm that disassembles new cars and analyzes them down to the nuts and bolts, came out in April with damning findings that the Model 3 was poorly built and -- even worse for Tesla's long-term outlook -- costly to build. On that second point, at least, founder Sandy Munro has reversed course. Upon further analysis, his firm has found that the sedan can be profitable. It may even have the potential to make a 30 percent margin, which would be unmatched by any other other battery-powered vehicle. Munro said the systems that impressed him most were the tight integration of circuit board components, which he calls "a symphony of engineering," and the efficiency of the battery developed by Tesla and Panasonic Corp. Munro also pointed to a comprehensive side-by-side comparison of the parts and materials used by the Model 3, General Motors Co.'s Chevrolet Bolt, and BMW AG's i3, in which the Model 3 comes out favorably. The report echoes a teardown published in June by German magazine WirtschaftsWoche, which found that the Model 3 costs about $28,000 to build -- $18,000 for materials and $10,000 for production.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's supply-and-demand department
hackingbear writes: "China's medical insurance regulator will begin negotiations with domestic and overseas pharmaceutical companies to lower prices of cancer drugs in a bid to cut the financial burden on patients," reports Reuters. "The State Medical Insurance Administration said it was preparing to include more cancer drugs on its list of medicines eligible for reimbursement, and said 10 foreign and eight domestic pharmaceutical companies had expressed a willingness to work with the authority."
Unlike India, or what we may have been told, China enforces pharmaceutical patents rigorously. Recently, the Chinese box office hit Dying to Survive, which told the real life story of a leukemia patient/businessman put on trial due to smuggling imitation drugs to help fellow patients who cannot pay the exorbitant cost of a drug produced by a Swiss pharmaceutical giant, has brought in huge revenues and rave reviews since the movie was released on July 5. Last year, China forced two rounds of NRDL negotiations after seven years of stasis. More than a dozen cancer drugs, including AstraZeneca's Iressa and Roche's Herceptin, are now covered by the country's insurance program, but only after the companies agreed to huge discounts -- a typical move trading lower prices for higher volume. Demand for Herceptin, for example, surged after the discount and triggered a national shortage.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's commence-panic department
Netflix shares plunged by more than 14% on Monday, after the firm reported disappointing subscriber growth. While the entertainment service added 5.2 million subscribers last quarter, it forecasted a growth of 6.2 million. BBC reports: Investors are worried about Netflix's growth potential in the face of increased competition from tech giants such as Apple, YouTube and Amazon, as well as traditional firms, which have started to invest more in online streaming. Disney, for example, plans to launch its own streaming service and stop licensing some of its material to Netflix.
In a letter to investors, Netflix called it a "strong but not stellar quarter," ending with about 130 million subscribers globally. The firm added just 670,000 subscribers in the U.S. -- far short of the more than one million it added in the second quarter of 2017. It added 4.5 million subscribers internationally, fewer than the two most recent quarters but up 8% year-on-year. However, it said its finances were strong. The company reported $3.9 billion in quarterly revenue, up 40% compared to the second quarter of 2017. Profits totaled $384.3 million, almost six times the figure during the same period a year ago.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's target-acquired department
ZDNet reports of a new mobile malware campaign that is "gaining access to iPhones by tricking users to download an open-source mobile device management (MDM) software package." From the report: Once in control, the unidentified hackers can steal various forms of sensitive information from infected devices, including the phone number, serial number, location, contact details, user's photos, SMS, and Telegram and WhatsApp chat messages. Thirteen users -- all in India -- have been been compromised in the attacks, which have been detailed by Cisco Talos. Those infected use a range of iPhone models and are running iOS versions ranging from 10.2.1 to 11.2.6. The campaign has been active since August 2015. The attackers take control by using the MDM package, which can give attackers complete control of the device and the ability to install fake versions of real apps.
Two different MDM services are used in the campaign, enabling system-level control of multiple devices from one location and the ability to install, remove and exfiltrate data from apps. One method of stealing data comes via malicious versions of messaging services like Telegram and WhatsApp being pushed onto the compromised device via fake updates. The apps look legitimate to the user, but malicious code sends information -- including messages, photos and contacts -- to a central command and control server. Deploying these apps requires a side-loading injection technique, which allows for the ability to ask for additional permissions, execute code and steal information from the original application.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's greatest-human-achievements department
Roku announced today that it's getting into the audio business with the launch of its in-house Roku TV Wireless Speakers. The two HomePod-esque speakers work exclusively (and wirelessly) with Roku TVs, and feature software that will optimize audio from anything connected to the pair Roku TV, including cable boxes, antennas, and Bluetooth devices. The company also announced a new Roku Touch tabletop remote that's similar to Amazon's Alexa. Ars Technica reports: "Optimized" in this sense refers to the software-improved audio quality: automatic volume leveling will boost lower audio in quiet scenes and lower audio in loud scenes (and in booming commercials), and dialogue enhancement will improve speech intelligibility. Accompanying the Wireless Speakers is the Roku Touch remote, a unique addition to Roku's remote family. The company has a standard remote that controls its set-top boxes and smart TVs, and it also has a voice remote that processes voice commands to search for and play specific types of content. The Touch remote is most like the voice remote, but it can be used almost anywhere in your home because it's wireless and runs on batteries. It has a number of buttons on its top that can play, pause, and skip content playing from your Roku TV, and some of those buttons are customizable so you can program your favorite presets to them. There's also a press-and-hold talk button that lets you speak commands to your TV, even if you're not in front of it. Roku's Wireless Speakers and Touch remote will begin shipping this October, and the company is running a deal leading up to the release. For the first week of presales (July 16 through July 23), a bundle consisting of two Wireless Speakers, a Touch remote, and a Roku voice remote will be available for $149. From the end of that week until October, the price will be $179. When the new devices finally come out, the bundle price will be $199.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad-day department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Quartz: Despite its increased focus on India, Apple is all set to see a slower year-on-year growth in iPhone sales in the country in 2018. "iPhone India sales were weak in the first half of 2018, and even if they show a big jump in the traditionally strong second half, Apple will still fall short of last year," Neil Shah, research director at market analytics firm Counterpoint Research, told Bloomberg. Apple has been struggling in India for some time now. In the year ended March 2017, its revenue growth fell to 17%, compared to 53% a year ago. This six-year-low growth was mainly due to a high base and a drop in the average selling price of each phone. Apple's biggest struggle in India has been its high price points. iPhones cost between Rs35,000 ($500) and Rs80,000 ($1,100) in India, compared to the average smartphone price of $157 in the country.
Amid all this, the company is seeing a massive churn in its India leadership. Last December, India head Sanjay Kaul quit after a six-year stint. The company has now reportedly lost three more of its top executives, Bloomberg reported on July 15: national sales and distribution chief, Rahul Jain; head of commercial channels Jayant Gupta, and head of telecom carrier sales, Manish Sharma. The company is also overhauling its India sales team, Bloomberg said, quoting unidentified sources.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's new-and-improved department
After determining that a "small percentage" of 2015-2017 MacBook and MacBook Pro keyboards may experience sticky keys, Apple initiated a Keyboard Service Program. The company has been servicing affected keyboards for free, but the fix doesn't guarantee the problem won't emerge again. The new 2018 MacBook Pros feature third-generation keyboards that are intended to prevent the keys from getting stuck. "For this reason, some customers have been hoping that Apple will start swapping out second-generation keyboards with third-generation keyboards, as part of its service program, but MacRumors has learned that isn't the plan." From the report: When asked if Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers will be permitted to replace second-generation keyboards on 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro models with the new third-generation keyboards, if necessary, Apple said, no, the third-generation keyboards are exclusive to the 2018 MacBook Pro. Hopefully, in that case, it means that Apple has quietly tweaked the second-generation keyboard to be more reliable. It wouldn't really make sense for Apple to replace keyboards with ones that are just as prone to break again, especially if the third-generation keyboards offer a fix.
One possibility is that the third-generation keyboards aren't backwards compatible with 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro models to begin with. The keyboard is actually one part of a larger component called the "top case," which also has a glued-in battery, and the internal design could be tweaked in 2018 models.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department
Microsoft and National Geographic are partnering on a new grant program that will put $1 million towards projects using AI to address environmental challenges. From a report: Between five and 15 projects will be selected as recipients of the AI for Earth Innovation Grant program and winning researchers will receive funding, access to Microsoft cloud and AI tools, inclusion in the National Geographic Explorer Community and affiliation with National Geographic Labs. "Microsoft is constantly exploring the boundaries of what technology can do, and what it can do for people and the world," Lucas Joppa, chief environmental scientist at Microsoft, said in a statement. "We believe that humans and computers, working together through AI, can change the way that society monitors, models and manages Earth's natural systems." In a similar vein, Google just announced a partnership with UN Environment that will provide real-time data to organizations and governments about the impact of human activity on ecosystems.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's he-said-she-said department
According to The Wall Street Journal, Uber is being investigated by U.S. authorities over a complaint about gender discrimination (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source). The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is leading the investigation, which began last August but hasn't been previously reported. From the report: EEOC investigators have been interviewing former and current Uber employees as well as seeking documents from Uber officials, these people said. The investigators have been seeking information related to hiring practices, pay disparity and other matters as they relate to gender, one person said. Uber, which hopes to debut on the public markets sometime in the second half of next year, is already is facing at least five other federal investigations by multiple agencies into its pricing practices, accusations of bribery by Uber executives abroad, and its use of software designed to evade local officials tracking its operations, among other matters.
The EEOC, tasked with enforcing federal laws against discrimination, generally responds to confidential complaints filed by workers against employers, and can file suit or seek private arbitration. Of roughly 90,000 complaints filed annually, a fraction result in a settlement or EEOC-led lawsuit. It is unclear whether the EEOC intends to take any action against Uber, which would be one of the agency's most prominent recent cases.Read Replies (0)