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Oculus Ditches DRM Hurdle, Allows HTC Vive Games On Rift Again
Posted by News Fetcher on June 24 '16 at 03:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's flip-flop department:
An anonymous reader writes: After changing its DRM to exclude ReVive last month, Oculus has changed its mind again and is now allowing HTC Vive games to play on the Oculus Rift. "We continually revise our entitlement and anti-piracy systems, and in the June update we've removed the check for Rift hardware from the entitlement check. We won't use hardware checks as part of DRM on PC in the future," Oculus VR said. "We believe protecting developer content is critical to the long-term success of the VR industry, and we'll continue taking steps in the future to ensure that VR developers can keep investing in ground-breaking new VR content." VentureBeat reports: "ReVive developers have acted quickly following the removal of the check. An update to the software has been posted on GitHub to bring it back in line, meaning you'll now be able to access the games that were previously available without jumping through extra hoops. Perhaps even more games might work going forward. CrossVR, one of the system's developers, took to Reddit to thank Oculus for the decision. 'I'm delighted to see this change and I hope it can generate a lot of goodwill for Oculus.' CrossVR said."

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Surface 3 Stocks Dwindling As Microsoft Plans System's Demise
Posted by News Fetcher on June 24 '16 at 03:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's beginning-of-the-end department:
An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft's Surface 3 may be coming to an end. Brad Sams at Thurrott.com reports that many versions of the Surface 3 are listed as being out of stock in Microsoft's online store, with no expected availability. He notes that the only version in stock online is the version with 2GB RAM/64GB storage/LTE. There's more availability in-store, but stock appears to be limited overall. What this generally means is that manufacturing is slowing down or going to stop entirely. In a statement, Microsoft said: "Since launching Surface 3 over a year ago, we have seen strong demand and satisfaction amongst our customers. Inventory is now limited and by the end of December 2016, we will no longer manufacture Surface 3 devices." It's possible a Surface 3 successor is right around the corner, although Ars Technica notes "there hasn't even been the merest hint of a rumor about such a device." The Surface 3 is being powered by a Cherry Trail Atom processor, which hasn't seen a major upgrade or replacement since they were released in the first quarter of 2015. "Without new processors, there's little reason to update the Surface 3 line," writes Ars. Microsoft could equip the Surface 3 successor with a Core M processor, but the implications of that decision would likely cause the device's price to shoot up or cause the device's quality to significantly decrease. Microsoft may simply abandon the segment entirely and focus strictly on the Surface Pro line.

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Valve Faces Lawsuit Over Video Game Gambling
Posted by News Fetcher on June 24 '16 at 02:03 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's professional-gaming department:
An anonymous reader writes from a report via Bloomberg: Valve's Counterstrike: Global Offensive game is being sued for its role in the multibillion-dollar gambling economy that has fueled the game's popularity. Michael John McLeod filed a lawsuit Thursday in the U.S. District Court in Connecticut alleging that Valve violated gambling laws and engaged in racketeering with a handful of off-shore gambling companies. McLeod, who has been gambling on CS:GO since 2014, is asking for class-action status for the suit. The suit was first reported by Polygon and doesn't give a specific request for damages, nor does it say how much money he lost by betting on the site. According to Bloomberg: "Valve provided for money, technical support, and advice to such websites as CSGO Lounge and Diamonds, which take bets, and OPSkins, which runs a market where virtual goods are traded and can be redeemed for cash." Valve has yet to respond to the suit.

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Apple Won't Collect Your Data For Its AI Services Unless You Let It
Posted by News Fetcher on June 24 '16 at 02:03 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's playing-with-fire department:
Apple doesn't like collecting your data. This is one of iPhone maker's biggest selling points. But this approach has arguably acted as a major roadblock for Apple in its AI and bots efforts. With iOS 10, the latest version of company's mobile operating system, Apple announced that it will begin collecting a range of new information as it seeks to make Siri and iPhone as well as other apps and services better at predicting the information its owner might want at a given time. Apple announced that it will be collecting data employing something called differential privacy. The company wasn't very clear at the event, which caused confusion among many as to what data Apple is exactly collecting. But now it is offering more explanation. Recode reports:As for what data is being collected, Apple says that differential privacy will initially be limited to four specific use cases: New words that users add to their local dictionaries, emojis typed by the user (so that Apple can suggest emoji replacements), deep links used inside apps (provided they are marked for public indexing) and lookup hints within notes. Apple will also continue to do a lot of its predictive work on the device, something it started with the proactive features in iOS 9. This work doesn't tap the cloud for analysis, nor is the data shared using differential privacy.Additionally, Recode adds that Apple hasn't yet begun collecting data, and it will ask for a user's consent before doing so. The company adds that it is not using a users' cloud-stored photos to power its image recognition feature.

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Netflix to Soon Let Users Download Videos, Says Report
Posted by News Fetcher on June 24 '16 at 12:33 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's convenience-vs-necessity department:
Karl Bode, writing for DSLReport:Netflix will soon let users download and store videos locally, according to Penthera (a Pittsburgh-based firm that focuses on delivery of HD media to mobile devices by storing content on the recipient device) COO Dan Taitz and a report over at Light Reading. Taitz told the outlet that it shouldn't be long before the feature arrives. Netflix has been working harder to help consumers manage broadband caps, and being able to download a video on Wi-Fi for later viewing would go a long way in helping users (especially on wireless networks) that consistently find themselves hamstrung by their monthly usage allotments. "We know from our sources within the industry that Netflix is going to launch this product," Taitz tells the outlet. "My expectation is that by the end of the year Netflix will be launching download-to-go as an option for their customers."Bold move, if it does happen.

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Piracy Phishing Scam Targets US ISPs and Subscribers
Posted by News Fetcher on June 24 '16 at 12:33 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's cat-and-mouse-race department:
According to a report on TorrentFreak, an elaborate piracy phishing operating is tageting US ISPs and subscribers. Scammers are reportedly masquerading as anti-piracy company IP-Echelon and rightholders such as Lionsgate to send fake DMCA notices and settlement demands to ISPs. From the report:TorrentFreak was alerted to a takedown notice Lionsgate purportedly sent to a Cox subscriber, for allegedly downloading a pirated copy of the movie Allegiant. Under threat of a lawsuit, the subscriber was asked to pay a $150 settlement fee. This request is unique as neither Lionsgate nor its tracking company IP-Echelon is known to engage in this practice. When we contacted IP-Echelon about Lionsgate's supposed settlement offer, we heard to our surprise that these emails are part of a large phishing scam, which has at least one large ISPs fooled. "The notices are fake and not sent by us. It's a phishing scam," IP-Echelon informed TorrentFreak. For a phishing scam the fake DMCA notice does its job well. At first sight the email appears to be legit, and for Cox Communications it was real enough to forward it to their customers.U.S. law enforcement has been notified and is currently investigating the matter.

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Russia Lawmakers Pass Spying Law That Requires Encryption Backdoors, Call Surveillance
Posted by News Fetcher on June 24 '16 at 11:14 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's when-in-Russia,-live-with-it department:
A bill that was proposed recently in the Russian Duma to make cryptographic backdoors mandatory in all messaging apps, has passed. Patrick Howell O'Neill, reports for DailyDot:A massive surveillance bill is now on its way to becoming law in Russia. The "anti-terrorism" legislation includes a vast data-eavesdropping and -retention program so that telecom and internet companies have to record and store all customer communications for six months, potentially at a multitrillion-dollar cost. Additionally, all internet firms have to provide mandatory backdoor access into encrypted communications for the FSB, the Russian intelligence agency and successor to the KGB. The bill, with support from the ruling United Russia party, passed Friday in the Duma, Russia's lower legislative house, with 277 votes for, 148 against, and one abstaining. It now moves to Russia's Federal Council and the Kremlin, where it's expected to pass into law.

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Net Neutrality Advocates To FCC: Put the Kibosh On Internet Freebies
Posted by News Fetcher on June 24 '16 at 11:14 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's moral-dilemma department:
An anonymous reader cites a CNET report:Net neutrality advocates demand action. Representatives from Fight the Future, the Center for Media Justice and Free Press on Friday hand-delivered a 6-foot tall package containing 100,000 letters of complaint to the Federal Communications Commission. They ask the agency to take action against AT&T, Comcast, T-Mobile and Verizon for violating the agency's Open Internet order by offering so-called zero-rating service plans. While the practice offers some benefits to customers, critics say it violates the agency's Net neutrality principles, which requires all services on the internet be treated the same. They claim it puts smaller competitors at a disadvantage and highlights the fact that data caps are unnecessary. Carriers say they are simply experimenting with new business models that will make their service more affordable for consumers.

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In the Aftermath Of Brexit, Brits Google About Irish Passport, Meaning Of EU, and Why it All Happened
Posted by News Fetcher on June 24 '16 at 11:14 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's search-history department:
As the world makes peace with the news that the United Kingdom has voted to leave the European Union, people in the UK are increasingly trying to figure out what this means. Google noted on Twitter late Thursday that "What is the EU?" was the second top UK question on the EU since the news broke, with "Why did Britain leave the EU?" being the first. The questions also speak volume about the awareness of the issue among them. Understandably, some people also resorted to the search engine to look for Irish passports. "Getting an Irish passport" keywords saw a 100% surge.

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In the Aftermath Of Brexit, British Google About Irish Passport, Meaning Of EU, and Why it All Happened
Posted by News Fetcher on June 24 '16 at 09:43 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's search-history department:
As the world makes peace with the news that the United Kingdom has voted to leave the European Union, people in the UK are increasingly trying to figure out what this means. Google noted on Twitter late Thursday that "What is the EU?" was the second top UK question on the EU since the news broke, with "Why did Britain leave the EU?" being the first. The questions also speak volume about the awareness of the issue among them. Understandably, some people also resorted to the search engine to look for Irish passports. "Getting an Irish passport" keywords saw a 100% surge.

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FBI Is Classifying Its Tor Browser Exploit Because 'National Security'
Posted by News Fetcher on June 24 '16 at 09:42 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's law-and-disorder department:
Joseph Cox, reporting for Motherboard:Defense teams across the US have been trying to get access to a piece of malware the FBI used to hack visitors of a child pornography site. None have been successful at obtaining all of the malware's code, and the government appears to have no intention of handing it over. Now, the FBI is classifying the Tor Browser exploit for reasons of national security, despite the exploit already being used in normal criminal investigations well over a year ago. Experts say it indicates a lack of organization or technical capabilities within the FBI. "The FBI has derivatively classified portions of the tool, the exploits used in connection with the tool, and some of the operational aspects of the tool in accordance with the FBI's National Security Information Classification Guide," government attorneys wrote in a filing earlier this month. It came in response to the defense of Gerald Andrew Darby, who is charged with child pornography offenses.

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Chrome Bug Makes It Easy To Download Movies From Netflix and Amazon Prime
Posted by News Fetcher on June 24 '16 at 08:12 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's buggy-software,-worried-companies department:
A vulnerability found in Chrome by researchers allows people to save copies of movies and TV shows from streaming websites such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. From a Gizmodo report:The vulnerability, first reported by Wired (Editor's note: Wired blocks adblockers), takes advantage of the Widevine EME/CDM technology that Chrome uses to stream encrypted video from content providers. Researchers David Livshits from the Cyber Security Research Center at Ben-Gurion University and Alexandra Mikityuk of Telekom Innovation Laboratories discovered a way to hijack streaming video from the decryption module in the Chrome browser after content has been sent from services like Netflix or Amazon Prime. The researchers created a proof-of-concept (which is currently the only evidence of the exploit) to show how easily they could illegally download streaming video once CDM technology has decrypted it.Google was notified of the bug last month but is yet to patch it.

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$4 Android Smartphone From India To Begin Shipping Next Week
Posted by News Fetcher on June 24 '16 at 08:12 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's bizarre-world department:
Earlier this year, an Indian smartphone company called Ringing Bells unveiled the Freedom 251, an entry-level Android smartphone that was priced at Rs. 251 (roughly $3.7 USD). It didn't take long for the company to stir controversy -- soon after media got the device, they learned that Ringing Bells had disguised Adcom Ikon 4s (retail price: $60) as the Freedom 251 smartphone for marketing and media reviewing purposes. The company at the time noted that it was just a sample device. Furthermore, it was clear that components in the sample device alone would cost more than Rs. 2,000 ($30). Ringing Bells, standing by its earlier commitment, has now announced that it will begin shipping the Freedom 251 handset starting next week. The Freedom 251 unit which will ship to consumers reportedly features dual-SIM capability, 1GB of RAM, a 1.3GHz SoC from an unnamed chipset maker, 8GB of internal storage, an 8-megapixel rear camera, 3.2-megapixel front-facing shooter and a 1,800mAh battery. How did the company manage to get the price of the handset this cheap? In a separate interview with Times of India, the company noted that it has partnered with a number of software firms to pre-install their apps on the phone.

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'Godless' Apps, Some Found In Google Play, Root 90% Of Android Phones
Posted by News Fetcher on June 24 '16 at 06:51 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's vulnerable-android-apps department:
Dan Goodin, reporting for ArsTechnica:Researchers have detected a family of malicious apps, some that were available in Google Play, that contain malicious code capable of secretly rooting an estimated 90 percent of all Android phones. In a recently published blog post, antivirus provider Trend Micro said that Godless, as the malware family has been dubbed, contains a collection of rooting exploits that works against virtually any device running Android 5.1 or earlier. That accounts for an estimated 90 percent of all Android devices. Members of the family have been found in a variety of app stores, including Google Play, and have been installed on more than 850,000 devices worldwide. Godless has struck hardest at users in India, Indonesia, and Thailand, but so far less than 2 percent of those infected are in the US. Once an app with the malicious code is installed, it has the ability to pull from a vast repository of exploits to root the particular device it's running on. In that respect, the app functions something like the many available exploit kits that cause hacked websites to identify specific vulnerabilities in individual visitors' browsers and serve drive-by exploits.Affected apps that have been spotted in Google Play, Android's marquee app store, are largely flashlight, Wi-Fi apps, as well as copies of popular games.

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Malware Can Use Fan Noise To Steal Data From Air-Gapped Systems
Posted by News Fetcher on June 24 '16 at 06:51 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's security-woes department:
Reader Orome1 writes: For the last few years, researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev have been testing up new ways to exfiltrate data from air-gapped computers: via mobile phones, using radio frequencies ("AirHopper"); using heat ("BitWhisper"), using rogue software ("GSMem") that modulates and transmits electromagnetic signals at cellular frequencies. The latest version of the data-exfiltration attack against air-gapped computers involves the machine's fans. Dubbed "Fansmitter," the attack can come handy when the computer does not have speakers, and so attackers can't use acoustic channels to get the info.An anonymous reader adds:Malicious applications use the noise emanated by a computer fan's speed to relay information to a nearby recording device and steal data from air-gapped, isolated systems. The attack relies on selecting a fan speed to represent binary "1" and another for binary "0". A specially crafted malware can alter the CPU, GPU or chassis fan speed between these two frequencies and provide a method to relay data from infected systems. Attackers can then place microphones or smartphones to record the sound coming from the infected machine and steal the data. The attack works for distances of one to four meters, and operates in the 100-600 Hz frequency that can be picked up by the human year. Choosing smaller fan speeds or fan speeds that are closer together can make the attack harder to pick up by a human, but also makes it susceptible to background noise.

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Study Finds Password Misuse In Hospitals Is 'Endemic'
Posted by News Fetcher on June 24 '16 at 06:51 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's password123 department:
chicksdaddy writes from a report via The Security Ledger: Hospitals are pretty hygienic places -- except when it comes to passwords, it seems. That's the conclusion of a recent study by researchers at Dartmouth College, the University of Pennsylvania and USC, which found that efforts to circumvent password protections are "endemic" in healthcare environments and mostly go unnoticed by hospital IT staff. The report describes what can only be described as wholesale abandonment of security best practices at hospitals and other clinical environments -- with the bad behavior being driven by necessity rather than malice. "In hospital after hospital and clinic after clinic, we find users write down passwords everywhere," the report reads. "Sticky notes form sticky stalagmites on medical devices and in medication preparation rooms. We've observed entire hospital units share a password to a medical device, where the password is taped onto the device. We found emergency room supply rooms with locked doors where the lock code was written on the door -- no one wanted to prevent a clinician from obtaining emergency supplies because they didn't remember the code." Competing priorities of clinical staff and information technology staff bear much of the blame. Specifically: IT staff and management are often focused on regulatory compliance and securing healthcare environments. They are excoriated for lapses in security that result in the theft or loss of data. Clinical staff, on the other hand, are focused on patient care and ensuring good health outcomes, said Ross Koppel, one of the authors of the report, who told The Security Ledger. Those two competing goals often clash. "IT want to be good guys. They're not out to make life miserable for the clinical staff, but they often do," he said.

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BlackBerry Remains Committed To Smartphone Business, Despite $670M Net Loss In Last Three Months
Posted by News Fetcher on June 24 '16 at 02:42 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's time-to-throw-in-the-towel department:
AchilleTalon writes: BlackBerry CEO John Chen refuses to give up on the company's hardware business despite lackluster sales of its first Android-powered smartphone, the Priv. The Canadian smartphone maker reported a $670 million net loss in the first quarter of its 2017 financial year, but said its recovery plan for the year remains on track. Chen, who has stated the company's No. 1 goal is to make its smartphone device business profitable this fiscal year, said he expects the company's new mobility solutions segment to break even or record a slight profit during the third quarter, which ends Nov. 30, 2016. During BlackBerry's first quarter -- second full quarter to include Priv sales -- the company sold roughly 500,000 devices at an average price of $290 each, he said, which is about 100,000 smartphones fewer than the previous quarter and about 200,000 fewer than two quarters earlier. Previously, the company said it needs to sell about three million phones at an average of $300 each to break even, though Chen indicated that may change as the software licensing business starts to contribute to revenue.

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BBC: UK Votes To Leave The European Union
Posted by News Fetcher on June 23 '16 at 10:42 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's historic-referendum department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from the BBC: The UK has voted by 52% to 48% to leave the European Union after 43 years in a historic referendum, a BBC forecast suggests. London and Scotland voted strongly to stay in the EU but the remain vote has been undermined by poor results in the north of England. Voters in Wales and the English shires have backed Brexit in large numbers. The referendum turnout was 71.8% -- with more than 30 million people voting -- the highest turnout since 1992. London has voted to stay in the EU by around 60% to 40%. However, no other region of England has voted in favor of remaining. Britain would be the first country to leave the EU since its formation -- but a leave vote will not immediately mean Britain ceases to be a member of the 28-nation bloc. That process could take a minimum of two years, with Leave campaigners suggesting during the referendum campaign that it should not be completed until 2020 -- the date of the next scheduled general election. The prime minister will have to decide when to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which would give the UK two years to negotiate its withdrawal. Once Article 50 has been triggered a country can not rejoin without the consent of all member states. British Prime Minister David Cameron is under pressure to resign as a result of the decision. UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage called on him to quit "immediately." One labor source said, "If we vote to leave, Cameron should seriously consider his position." Several pro-Leave Conservatives including Boris Johnson and Michael Gove have signed a letter to Mr. Cameron urging him to stay no matter the decision. Mr. Cameron did say he would trigger Article 50 as soon as possible after a leave vote.

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Apple Discontinues Thunderbolt Display
Posted by News Fetcher on June 23 '16 at 07:52 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's out-with-the-old-in-with-the-new department:
An anonymous reader writes: Apple has officially told several news sites that it plans to discontinue the Thunderbolt Display, which has been available online and in Apple retail stores since it was first introduced in 2011. "We're discontinuing the Apple Thunderbolt Display. It will be available through Apple.com, Apple's retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers while supplies last. There are a number of great third-party options available for Mac users," said an Apple spokesperson. Rumors suggest that Apple will launch a new version of its Thunderbolt monitor later this year, featuring an upgraded 5K resolution and discrete GPU. The new Thunderbolt Display may even launch alongside next-generation Skylake Retina MacBook Pros, which too are rumored to be released later this year. fyngyrz writes: So, bought into the whole Thunderbolt monitor thing from Apple? Might want to collect a few right now, while you still can. It appears that the Thunderbolt monitor is going the way of the analog [headphone] jack over at Apple. Isn't it fun to be part of an unsuccessful experiment?

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Comcast Admits It Incorrectly Debited $1,775 From Account, Tells Customer To Sort It Out With Bank
Posted by News Fetcher on June 23 '16 at 06:35 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's no-such-thing-as-bad-publicity department:
An anonymous reader writes from a report via The Consumerist: Consumerist reader Robert is fighting with Comcast over a $1,775 early termination fee that should not have been assessed after he tried to cancel his business-tier service with the company. Comcast itself has even admitted that the money should not have been debited from Robert's bank account, but now says it's his responsibility to sort the mess out with his bank. The Consumerist reports: "In an effort to save money in 2014, Robert called to have their service level downgraded to a more affordable rate. Shortly thereafter, correctly believing that he was out of contract, he cancelled his Comcast service. That should have been the end of the story, but only weeks after closing the Comcast account, the boys from Kabletown decided that Robert was not out of contract, debiting $1,775.44 from the checking account tied to the Comcast service. Skip forward to Jan. 2015 -- two months after being told he'd get made whole; still no check. Robert says that when he called Comcast, 'the rep actually laughed when I told her I didn't get a check yet. She said it would take three months.'" Two calls later, one in June 2015 and one in Jan. 2016, Robert still didn't receive the check even after being reassured it was coming. More recently, he received an email from someone at Comcast "Executive Customer Relations," saying: "I understand you're claiming that someone advised you Comcast would send a refund check for the last payment that was debited but this is generally not the way we handle these situations. [...] For your situation, you would have to dispute the payment with your bank." Good news: The Consumerist reached out to Comcast HQ and a Comcast rep wrote back. "More information just came in," reads the email, which explains that an ETF credit was applied to his account in Dec. 2014, but "through some error the refund check never generated." Comcast is reportedly sending the check for real this time.

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