By msmash from Slashdot's security-woes department
ASUS was not the only company targeted by supply-chain attacksduring the ShadowHammer hacking operation as discovered by Kaspersky, with at least six other organizations having been infiltrated by the attackers. From a report: As further found out by Kaspersky's security researchers, ASUS' supply chain was successfully compromised by trojanizing one of the company's notebook software updaters named ASUS Live Updater which eventually was downloaded and installed on the computers of tens of thousands of customers according to experts' estimations. The tampered with binaries were signed using a legitimate certificate which helped the attackers avoid breaking the digital signature and having the malicious updater flagged.
Among the similarities, they discovered that the ASUS samples and the newly found ones were both using very similar algorithms to calculate API function hashes, while the IPHLPAPI.dll was heavily used within all malware samples for various reasons. As in the ASUS case, the samples were using digitally signed binaries from three other Asian vendors: Electronics Extreme, authors of the zombie survival game called Infestation: Survivor Stories. Innovative Extremist, a company that provides Web and IT infrastructure services but also used to work in game development. Zepetto, the South Korean company that developed the video game Point Blank. Besides these three Asian gaming companies, Kaspersky was also able to find three other organizations which were successfully compromised, "another video gaming company, a conglomerate holding company and a pharmaceutical company, all in South Korea."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's major-bets department
Masayoshi Son, the billionaire founder of SoftBank Group, made a huge personal bet on bitcoin just as prices for the digital currency peaked, losing more than $130 million when he sold out, WSJ (paywalled) reported Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter. From the report (alternative source): Mr. Son, who launched the world's biggest venture-capital fund on the strength of his long-term investing acumen, made the investment at the recommendation of a well-known bitcoin booster, whose investment firm SoftBank bought in 2017, the people said. The investment came at the peak of the bitcoin frenzy in late 2017 after the digital currency had already risen more than 10 fold that year. The exact size of the bet couldn't be determined, but bitcoin peaked at nearly $20,000 in mid December 2017 and Mr. Son sold in early 2018 after bitcoin had plummeted, the people said.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's aggressive-expansion department
MojoKid writes: NVIDIA has launched a new family of more budget friendly Turing graphics chips for gaming laptops, called the GeForce GTX 1650, GeForce GTX 1660, and GeForce GTX 1660 Ti. The new GPUs will power roughly 80 different OEM mainstream gaming notebook designs, starting in the $799 price range. Compared to a 4-year-old gaming laptop with a GeForce GTX 960M, NVIDIA says that a modern counterpart equipped with a GeForce GTX 1660 Ti can deliver 4x the performance in today's battle royale-style games like Apex Legends, Fortnite, and PUBG. As for the GeForce GTX 1650, NVIDIA is promising a 2.5x performance advantage compared to the GTX 950M and a 1.7x advantage compared to the previous generation GTX 1050. Gamers should expect consistent 60 fps performance in the above-mentioned gaming titles at 1080p, though the company didn't specifically mention GTX 1660 vs 1060 performance comparisons. According to NVIDIA, every major OEM will be releasing GeForce GTX 16 Series laptops, including well-known brands like ASUS, Dell/Alienware, Acer, Hewlett-Packard, and Lenovo (among others).Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's moving-forward department
Intel debuted six new 9th-gen mobile H-series Core chips on Tuesday -- with its fastest, the Core i9-9980HK, soaring to a new high-water mark: 8 cores, 16 threads, and a whopping 5GHz clock speed, after boost. From a report: After launching its 9th-generation Core chips for desktop PCs last October, Intel has now brought that same capability to notebooks. Intel executives said systems based upon the 9th-gen chips are expected to debut shortly. All the chips are based on the "Coffee Lake Refresh" (Coffee Lake-R) architecture, and all are fabricated on a 14nm process. Last year's 8th-gen mobile Core chips topped out at 4.8GHz, and offered only 6 cores.
Though theoretically anyone can benefit from the increased performance, Intel is aiming at two particular segments: professional content creators and gamers. Intel said it expects its 9th-gen Core i9-9980HK (8 cores/16 threads, 2.4GHz/5GHz turbo) to deliver up to 18 percent higher frames per second in games and 28 percent faster 4K video editing than the 8th-gen Core i9-8950HK (6 cores/12 threads, 2.9GHz/4.8GHz turbo). When performing general office tasks and web browsing, the chips can run in a low-power mode, with an "aspirational goal" of ten hours of battery life, or just an hour while gaming, executives said. Price, performance, and power are the old battlefronts, though. Further reading: All the Desktop and Mobile 45W CPUs Announced (AnandTech).Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's rest-in-peace department
Sets, one of two new features teased in 2017 to be coming to Windows 10, has reportedly been scrubbed. "Microsoft dropped plans for Sets, a Windows-management feature, which would have allowed users to group app data, websites and other information in tabs, months ago," reports ZDNet, citing their sources. "Although Microsoft did test Sets last year with some of its Windows Insider testers, the feature generally wasn't well received or understood. For apps like Office to work well with Sets, the Office engineering team was going to have to do a lot of extra work." From the report: Sets didn't make an reappearance in the Insider test builds leading up to the May 2019 Update/1903, and officials haven't mentioned the Sets feature in months. Over the weekend, Microsoft Senior Program Manager Rich Turner tweeted "The Shell-provided tab experience is no more, but adding tabs is high on our to do list." (That's likely the closest we will get to an "official" comment on the future of the Sets feature.)
Turner pointed to a Devblogs.Microsoft.com post originally dated June 29 about tabs coming to the Windows Console. At that point in time, the Console team was planning to use the new Sets feature as the base for adding Tabs in the Windows Console. But since the Windows team has decided against moving forward with Sets, the Console team is now going to have to build Tabs into the Console without using Sets as the foundation, my sources say.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's lost-and-found department
Hibiscadelphus woodii, a relative of the hibiscus flower thought to be extinct, has been spotted by a drone on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. The last known sighting of H. woodii was in 2009. Quartz reports: In 2016, Ben Nyberg, a drone specialist, began working with the National Tropical Botanical Garden on Kauai to scope out extreme spots in the verdant valleys of the island. He's found examples of several rare species over the last few years, expanding the number of their individuals known to exist in the wild by a few here and there. But on a sunny day in February 2019, the drone's camera picked up an even more exciting tuft of flora. Nyberg and [botanist Ken Wood who discovered the flower in 1991] stood on a ledge over a sheer wall of green. They'd hiked 700 ft down from the top of the Kalalau Valley cliffs to get there, but couldn't get farther down into the valley, so Nyberg flew a drone another 800 ft down to look at a particularly verdant patch. "It's probably never been looked at," he says. Wood could tell from afar that it was a patch of native vegetation. On an island plagued by invasive plant species, that is always a welcome sight.
And then they saw it on the monitor: Hibiscadelphus woodii, like a ghost from the recent past, yet very much alive. They were thrilled. "There were some high fives for sure," Nyberg says. In the drone footage, as the fluted cliffs slowly come into closer view, what first seems to be a carpet of green differentiates itself into individual plants, until eventually an unassuming little tree is in frame. To the untrained eye, it might be lost in the wash of its green surroundings but Wood knew it immediately to be the rare hibiscus relative he discovered in the 1990s. In the video here, you can see it at around the 00:58 mark. As far as Nyberg knows, it's the first time a drone has been used to rediscover a species of plant thought to be extinct.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's wishful-thinking department
The GitHub repository at "996.ICU" in China has been calling out tech companies in the country that pressure their employees to work from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days per week. "Since it went up last month, the page has been starred over 229,000 times, making it one of the most popular GitHub repositories on the site," reports PC Magazine. "But now a group of Microsoft employees are worried the Chinese government will force their employer to take the page down. So in response, they've been circulating an internal letter, urging Microsoft to stand up to any potential pressure to censor the GitHub page." From the report: "We encourage Microsoft and GitHub, companies which firmly believe in a healthy work-life balance, to keep the 996.ICU GitHub repository uncensored and available to everyone," reads the letter, which was shared with PCMag and started circulating internally on Sunday.
The GitHub repository now hosts a list of over 140 Chinese companies that allegedly demand their employees work 60 hours a week. Many foreign media outlets have also reported on the protest page. But reportedly, some attempts have been made to censor mention of the 996.ICU repository within China. Domestic browsers from Tencent, Qihoo 360, and Xiaomi recently prevented users from visiting the GitHub page, according to Abacus. It's why a group of Microsoft employees based largely in the U.S. decided to circulate a protest letter calling on Redmond to protect the GitHub page from censorship. Microsoft hasn't commented, but the company's two other web properties, Bing and LinkedIn, "have been forced to comply with the country's strict censorship demands," the report notes.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's systematic-meddling department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas has forced out three senior researchers with ties to China. The move comes amid nationwide investigations by federal officials into whether researchers are pilfering intellectual property from U.S. research institutions and running "shadow laboratories" abroad, according to a joint report by Science magazine and the Houston Chronicle. The National Institutes of Health began sending letters to the elite cancer center last August regarding the conduct of five researchers there. The letters discussed "serious violations" of NIH policies, including leaking confidential NIH grant proposals under peer review to individuals in China, failing to disclose financial ties in China, and other conflicts of interest. MD Anderson moved to terminate three of those researchers, two of whom resigned during the termination process. The center cleared the fourth and is still investigation the fifth. MD Anderson isn't the only institution dealing with this issue. The NIH sent similar letters to at least three other institutions, according to reporting by Science and the Houston Chronicle. Some advocates expressed concern over what they considered racial profiling while other researchers worried that such efforts to protect intellectual property would actually backfire. "These are the top talents foreign countries have been trying to recruit unsuccessfully," said Steven Pei, a University of Houston professor critical of the actions by MD Anderson. "We are now pushing them out of the Texas Medical Center, out of Houston, out of Texas, and out of the U.S. It seems we're helping foreign countries to accomplish what they could not do by themselves. We are hurting the American competitiveness."Read Replies (0)