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TorMoil Vulnerability Leaks Real IP Address From Tor Browser Users; Security Update Released
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '17 at 06:31 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's privacy-woes department:
Catalin Cimpanu, reporting for BleepingComputer: The Tor Project has released a security update for the Tor Browser on Mac and Linux to fix a vulnerability that leaks users' real IP addresses. The vulnerability was spotted by Filippo Cavallarin, CEO of We Are Segment, an Italian company specialized in cyber-security and ethical hacking. Cavallarin privately reported the issue -- which he codenamed TorMoil -- to the Tor Project last week. Tor Project developers worked with the Firefox team (Tor Browser is based on the Firefox browser) to release a fix. Today, the Tor team released version 7.0.9 to address the vulnerability. Tor Browser 7.0.9 is only available for Mac and Linux users. Tor Browser on Windows is not affected.

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Alphabet Loses Another Trade Secret Claim In Its Lawsuit Against Uber
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '17 at 05:13 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's not-part-of-the-plan department:
In a new order dated Nov. 2, Judge William Alsup said that Alphabet's self-driving arm Waymo cannot pursue one of the nine trade secrets it had accused Uber of misappropriating. The company had already been ordered to narrow its more than 120 trade secrets down to nine. Recode reports: The judge said, among other things, that the expert opinion that Alphabet used to assert this claim was unreliable. While the other eight trade secrets remain intact, it's worth mentioning this was the same expert that Waymo relied on to substantiate those claims. "Waymo's case continues to shrink," an Uber spokesperson said. "After dropping their patent claims, this week Waymo lost one of the trade secrets they claimed was most important, had their damages expert excluded, and saw an entire defendant removed from the case -- and all this before the trial has even started." An Alphabet spokesperson said the document did provide additional evidence to bolster its remaining claims. Additionally, Alphabet's case for the monetary damages it wanted -- more than $1 billion for a single trade secret -- will rest squarely on its own arguments. In a yet-unsealed document, the judge said that Alphabet could not call on its damages expert during the trial.

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Some iPhone X Buyers Are Having Problems Activating Their Phones
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '17 at 05:13 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's great-start department:
Apple has started to ship the iPhone X across the United States, but some new iPhone X owners say they aren't able to start using their new phones due to carrier activation issues and congestion. From a report: A number of iPhone X owners on Twitter have reported having issues activating their new phones. The issue seems to be affecting some AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint users in the last few hours as they try to get service on Apple's $1,000 phone. When users try to activate the device, a message pops up saying, "The activation server is temporarily unavailable."

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iFixit's iPhone X Teardown Reveals Two Battery Cells, 'Unprecedented' Logic Board
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '17 at 03:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's what's-inside department:
iFixit has posted its teardown of the iPhone X, revealing a new TrueDepth camera system, stacked logic board, L-shaped two-cell battery pack, and Qi-based inductive charging coil. Mac Rumors reports: Like every other model since the iPhone 7 Plus, the iPhone X is a sideways-opening device. A single bracket covers every logic board connector. iFixit said the miniaturized logic board design is incredibly space efficient, with an unprecedented density of connectors and components. It noted the iPhone X logic board is about 70 percent of the size of the iPhone 8 Plus logic board. The extra room allows for a new L-shaped two-cell battery pack rated for 2,716 mAh, which is slightly larger than the iPhone 8 Plus battery. iFixit's teardown includes some high-resolution photos of the iPhone X's new TrueDepth camera system that powers Face ID and Animoji. For those unfamiliar, a flood illuminator covers your face with infrared light. Next, the front-facing camera confirms a face. Then the IR dot projector projects a grid of dots over your face to create a three-dimensional map. Last, the infrared camera reads this map and sends the data to the iPhone X for authentication. Like the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, the inside of the iPhone X's rear shell is affixed with an inductive charging coil based on the Qi standard. iFixit gave the iPhone X a so-called repairability score of six out of a possible 10 points. It said a cracked display can be replaced without removing Face ID's biometric hardware, but it added that fussy cables tie unrelated components together into complex assemblies that are expensive and troublesome to replace.

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Four Automakers Team Up To Create an Electric Car Charging Network Across Europe
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '17 at 03:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's across-the-universe department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: A group of automakers has created a new company to build a network of 400 fast chargers across Europe ahead of the wave of new electric cars they've promised in the next few years, as countries push EVs as a way to meet emissions goals. Ionity, announced Friday by BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company and the Volkswagen Group, will install a network of 400 high-power EV chargers across Europe by 2020. There are already 20 chargers under the Ionity network that are being installed this year in Germany, Austria, and Norway at 75-mile intervals, the companies said. Those chargers would also be maintained through partnerships with stores such as Tank & Rast, Circle K, and OMV. Such a network is also necessary to compete with the efforts from Tesla's Supercharger network, which is now 7,000 strong worldwide. It uses the company's own connector and started a major European expansion three years ago. To that, Ionity has invited other companies to join the venture in which the four initial automakers have an equal share.

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Bitcoin Mining Heats Home For Free In Siberia
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '17 at 02:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's cottage-in-the-woods department:
Quartz has published a video on YouTube about two entrepreneurs who have figured out how to heat their homes for free by mining bitcoin. The "miner" -- that is, the machine mining the bitcoins -- warms up liquid that is then transferred to the underfloor heating system. The cottage has two miners, which bring in about $430 per month from processing bitcoin transactions -- all while keeping the 20 square meter space warm.

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Broadcom Explores Buying Qualcomm
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '17 at 02:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's merge-and-conquer department:
phalse phace writes: Bloomberg news is reporting that Broadcom may be planning to make an offer to buy Qualcomm. From the report: "Broadcom Ltd. is considering a bid of more than $100 billion for Qualcomm Inc., according to people familiar with the matter, in what would be the biggest-ever takeover of a chipmaker. Broadcom is speaking to advisers about the potential deal, said the people, who asked not to be identified because talks are private. The offer of about $70 a share would include cash and stock and is likely to be made in the coming days, the people said." If the deal goes through, Broadcom would become "the world's third largest chipmaker behind Intel Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co. and give it a huge swath of the supply chain of vital phone components such as Wi-Fi and cellular modem chips. The two companies are already among the top ten providers of chips ranked by revenue in an industry that's consolidating rapidly."

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Republican Tax Plan Kills Electric Vehicle Credit
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '17 at 01:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's all-good-things-must-come-to-an-end department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: The nascent market for electric cars will suffer a big setback if the Republican tax plan released on Thursday enters into law. Among the changes to the current tax code would be an end to the Plug-In Electric Drive Vehicle Credit. That's the tax incentive that currently means up to $7,500 back from the IRS when you purchase a new battery or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. Since the start of 2010, the EV tax credit has been $2,500 for a plug-in vehicle with at least 5kWh battery capacity. Every extra kWh nets another $417 up to a maximum of $7,500, although you would need at least that amount in income tax liability -- the IRS won't cut you a check to make up the full amount. It was never meant to be permanent; once an automaker sells 200,000 qualifying vehicles (starting from January 1, 2010) its eligibility is phased out over a matter of months. But in the almost seven years since, no one has reached that limit yet. Tesla will almost certainly be first, with General Motors not far behind; between them, they've sold a lot of Model Ses and Chevrolet Volts. If this tax plan is enacted, it will surely mean pain for both companies, as well as anyone else hoping to sell a lot of EVs here in the U.S. The data is pretty clear -- tax incentives sell electric cars, and the market for EVs can dry up very fast when they're abolished, as Georgia's recent experience shows.

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Shoppers More Likely To Return Items Bought Online Than in Store
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '17 at 01:11 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's user-behavior department:
From a report: Almost a third of all online orders are returned compared to only 9% of purchases made in a brick-and-mortar store, according to Bloomberg. This is largely due to free shipping offered by most companies, which has also caused an increase of online purchases by almost three times those of physical stores. Why it matters: Returns can be costly for online companies -- anywhere from 20-65% of the cost of goods sold a UPS study found.

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Tech Companies Have a History of Giving Low-Level Employees High-Level Access
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '17 at 11:52 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's too-much-power department:
A reader shares a report (condensed for space): In the summer of 2010, Google fired a 27-year-old site reliability engineer named David Barksdale after it discovered that Barksdale had been accessing the Google accounts of four teens he met through a local Seattle tech group. The spying went on for months before it was reported, Gawker's Adrian Chen wrote at the time. In one incident Chen described, a 15-year-old refused to tell Barksdale the name of his new girlfriend; Barksdale broke into the teen's Google Voice account, listened to messages to get the name, then taunted him with it and threatened to call her. Google was contrite, saying publicly that it "carefully control[s] the number of employees who have access to our systems" and monitors for abuses by rogue employees. [...] The rogue Twitter customer service employee who momentarily deactivated President Trump's account on Thursday night brought this issue to mind. Twitter has 3,898 employees, according to Wikipedia, for 330 million monthly users, a ratio of one employee for every 84,658 users. This means that a single employee may have a ton of power over loads of users, but the value of a single user is low. Their privacy may seem insignificant in light of the greater mob. [...] At Uber, employees regularly abused its "God View" mode to spy on the movements of celebrities, politicians, and even ex-spouses.

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Google Wins Ruling to Block Global Censorship Order
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '17 at 11:52 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's major-decision department:
A U.S. judge has partially blocked a recent decision by Canada's Supreme Court that requires Google to delete search results not just in Canada, but in every other country too. From a report: Citing the violation of American laws as well as a threat to speech, U.S. District Judge Edward Davila agreed to grant Google a temporary injunction, which means the company can show the search results in the United States. The search results in question are part of an intellectual property dispute between a Canadian industrial firm called Equustek and a rival company that is reportedly misusing Equustek's trademarks to poach its business. In response, Equustek obtained an injunction in Canada that treated Google as a defendant even though it had no direct relationship with either company. In a controversial decision in June, Canada's highest court agreed by a 7-2 margin to leave the injunction in place.

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Microsoft Quietly Announces End of Last Free Windows 10 Upgrade Offer
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '17 at 10:31 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's end-of-free-stuff department:
Ed Bott, writing for ZDNet: If you've been waiting to claim your free Windows 10 upgrade using the "assistive technologies" exception, you need to act soon. In a quiet change to an obscure web page, Microsoft announced this week that those exceptions will end on December 31, 2017. On July 29, 2016, Microsoft officially ended the Get Windows 10 program, which offered free Windows 10 upgrades to anyone currently running a supported earlier version of Windows. But the company left a giant loophole in a separate announcement at the same time. Under the terms of that announcement, individuals who use "assistive technologies" received an automatic extension of the free upgrade offer. Sometime in the past week, Microsoft quietly edited that page, to add "The accessibility upgrade offer expires on December 31, 2017."

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Australia Cockatoos Chew Billion-Dollar Broadband
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '17 at 10:31 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's eat-like-nobody-is-watching department:
Australia's multimillion dollar broadband network is under attack -- from cockatoos. From a report: The National Broadband Network (NBN) company said it has spent tens of thousands of dollars so far fixing cables chewed by the birds. Australian broadband is already criticised for being slow. According to a recent report it ranks 50th in the world for internet speed. NBN estimates the bill will rise sharply as more damage is uncovered. In an attempt to improve Australia's internet speed -- currently lagging behind many developed countries at 11.1 megabits per second -- a national telecommunications infrastructure project has been instigated and is due for completion in 2021. But engineers returning to sites have found spare cables chewed and frayed. The culprits are cockatoos, a type of parrot which normally eats fruit, nuts, wood and bark.

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CNN Plans To Offer Subscriptions for Digital News Next Year
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '17 at 09:12 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's changing-dynamics department:
Benjamin Mullin, writing for WSJ: After investing in digital verticals focused on business and politics and acquiring an online-video startup, CNN is gearing up for another big step: It plans to launch tiered subscription offerings for its digital news business (Editor's note: the link could be paywalled; alternative source) as early as the second quarter of next year. A proposed premium offering will give subscribers access to special content on topic-specific verticals such as CNN Money and CNN Politics, built around network personalities. A second option will provide additional, though less specialized, content across all of CNN's sites. Pricing hasn't been finalized. The move is part of a broader five-year plan to develop new revenue streams and reach $1 billion in digital revenue by 2022. CNN's digital arm expects to pull in $370 million this year, according to a person familiar with its financials.

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Xbox One X is the Perfect Representation of the Tech Industry's Existential Crisis
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '17 at 09:12 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's review-time department:
A reader shares commentary on the newly launched Xbox One X gaming console: Fundamentally, Xbox One X is the same machine that Microsoft released in 2013. It plays the same games, runs the same apps, depends on the same operating system. You can still plug your cable box into it and watch OneGuide magically sync with your local TV listings. Most of the things you can do look a little better and run a little faster/more efficiently, sure. The actual casing is smaller than the previous iterations, too. It's a gorgeous $500 machine. That's why I keep eyeballing it. My brain screams, "Why do you exist?" The Xbox One X does not answer. This is a familiar problem in 2017. Look around at all the tech in your life and do a quick, informal poll: How many of those items become outdated every year or every few years when a newer, shinier version of the same thing comes along? I'm talking about your iPhone and iPad. Your Amazon Echo and Kindle. Your Pixel and Daydream VR headset. Your Apple Watch. Your Roku, your Apple TV, your Chromecast. Incremental upgrades that push features like 4K! HDR! Wireless charging! Slimmer design! No headphone jack! (Wait, no, that last one is awful.) Breathless bullet point after breathless bullet point. Some of these additions have genuine utility and add value to the product. Many don't, or depend on you also possessing some other piece of incrementally upgraded tech (like the kinds of fancy-shmancy TVs that play the nicest with Xbox One X).

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BMW Recalling One Million Vehicles in North America
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '17 at 09:12 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's safety-and-concerns department:
Several readers share a report: BMW said Friday it is recalling about 1 million vehicles in North America for two separate issues involving fire risks and said it may expand the recalls to other countries. One recall covers 670,000 2006-2011 U.S. 3-series vehicles to address a wiring issue for heating and air conditioning system may overheat and could increase the risk of a fire. The second recall covers 740,000 U.S. 2007-2011 vehicles with a valve that could rust and lead to a fire in rare cases. The recall includes some 128i vehicles, 3-series, 5-series and X3, X5 and Z4 vehicles.

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Some Google Pixel 2 XL Units Shipped Without an Operating System
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '17 at 07:52 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's stranger-things department:
Corbin Davenport, writing for AndroidPolice: Some Pixel 2 XL units are being shipped without Android properly installed. Obviously, the phone can't boot without the OS. It may be possible to flash a factory image, since fastboot is supposed to allow signed images to be flashed with the bootloader still locked, but the affected phones could have other problems that prevent this from working. The company confirmed the veracity of the story, but did not share more details. It said, however, that the issue had been resolved.

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Ask Slashdot: Why Do We Still Commute?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '17 at 07:52 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's changing-dynamics department:
An anonymous reader writes: Over the last year, many companies have ended their liberal work-from-home policies. Firms like IBM, Honeywell, and Aetna joined a long list of others that have deemed it more profitable to force employees to commute to the city and work in a central office than give them the flexibility to work where they want. It wasn't supposed to be this way. In 1975, when personal computers were little more than glorified calculators for geeks and the Internet was an obscure project being developed by the United States government, Macrae, an influential journalist for The Economist who earned a reputation for clairvoyant prophesies -- including the fall of the Soviet Union and the rise of Japan -- made a radical prediction about how information technology would soon transform our lives. Macrae foretold the exact path and timeline that computers would take over the business world and then become a fixture of every American home. But he didn't stop there. The spread of this machine, he argued, would fundamentally change the economics of how most of us work. Once workers could communicate with their colleagues through instant messages and video chat, he reasoned, there would be little coherent purpose to trudge long distances to work side by side in centrally located office spaces.

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Twitter Employee Blamed For Deleting President Donald Trump's Account
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '17 at 06:32 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's tussle-continues department:
A reader shares an NPR report: With the push of a button, an employee at Twitter accomplished for a brief few minutes on Thursday what President Trump's closest advisors have reportedly been trying unsuccessfully to do for months: shut down the seemingly never-ending tweet stream at @realDonaldTrump. Perhaps it was an act of civil disobedience, or maybe just a "take this job and shove it" moment, but shortly before 7 p.m., the president's personal account kicked back the error message "does not exist." By 7:03 p.m., it was up and running again and within about a half-hour, new presidential tweets were forthcoming. The folks at Twitter leapt into action to find out what had happened: "Earlier today @realdonaldtrump's account was inadvertently deactivated due to human error by a Twitter employee. The account was down for 11 minutes, and has since been restored. We are continuing to investigate and are taking steps to prevent this from happening again," the company said in a statement. Two hours later, the company said, "Through our investigation we have learned that this was done by a Twitter customer support employee who did this on the employee's last day."

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Malware Developer Who Used Spam Botnet To Pay For College Gets No Prison Time
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '17 at 05:10 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's don't-do-the-crime-if-you-can't-do-the-time department:
An anonymous reader writes: The operator of a 77,000-strong spam botnet was sentenced to two years probation and no prison time after admitting his crime and completely reforming his life. The former botnet operator is now working for a cybersecurity company, and admitted his actions as soon as the FBI knocked on his door back in 2013. The botnet operator, a 29-year-old from Santa Clara, California, says he was tricked by fellow co-schemers who told him they were not doing anything wrong by infecting computers with malware because they were not accessing private information such as banking or financial records. Furthermore, the botnet operator escaped prison time because he used all the money he earned in getting a college degree at Cal Poly instead of using it on a lavish lifestyle or drugs. This case is similar to the one that MalwareTech (aka Marcus Hutchins) now faces in the U.S. for his role in developing the Kronos trojan, but also after turning his life around and working as a cybersecurity researcher for years.

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