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None of Google's 85,000 Employees Have Been Phished in More Than a Year After Company Required Them to Use Physical Security Keys For 2FA
Posted by News Fetcher on July 23 '18 at 01:21 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's proving-useful department:
Google has not had any of its 85,000+ employees successfully phished on their work-related accounts since early 2017, when it began requiring all employees to use physical Security Keys in place of passwords and one-time codes, the company told KrebsOnSecurity. From the report: Security Keys are inexpensive USB-based devices that offer an alternative approach to two-factor authentication (2FA), which requires the user to log in to a Web site using something they know (the password) and something they have (e.g., a mobile device). A Google spokesperson said Security Keys now form the basis of all account access at Google. "We have had no reported or confirmed account takeovers since implementing security keys at Google," the spokesperson said. "Users might be asked to authenticate using their security key for many different apps/reasons. It all depends on the sensitivity of the app and the risk of the user at that point in time." The basic idea behind two-factor authentication is that even if thieves manage to phish or steal your password, they still cannot log in to your account unless they also hack or possess that second factor.

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Visualizing the Best and Worst Paid Jobs in the Tech Sector
Posted by News Fetcher on July 23 '18 at 12:01 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department:
An anonymous reader writes: We often associate the tech sector with high-paying jobs and cool offices, but it turns out that the grass is not always green on the other side. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, personal finance site HowMuch has created a graph that showcases the 15 best and worst paid jobs in the technology industry.

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Mobile Photography Set For Major Quality Bump With Sony's 48-Megapixel Sensor
Posted by News Fetcher on July 23 '18 at 12:01 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
Smartphone camera sensors and lenses have to operate in a very tight space, but they continue to close the gap on full-size digital cameras year after year. Sony's new IMX586 sensor boasts a 48-megapixel resolution, the highest yet for a mobile sensor, and should be coming to a phone near you soon. From a report: That increased resolution shrinks the pixel size down to 0.8 microns, which would usually lead to lower sensitivity and poor light collection. However, thanks to some smart technology called a Quad Bayer array -- where neighboring pixels are intelligently combined -- Sony says the effective pixel size is 1.6 microns. The bigger the pixel size, the better the light capture and low-light performance. In comparison, the Google Pixel 2 -- one of the best photo-taking phones on the market right now -- has a camera with a 1.4-micron pixel size. On paper, that means Sony has managed to produce a sensor that combines a huge amount of detail with excellent light capture and low noise levels as well. We'll have to wait until the sensor is actually on the market to know for sure, but the signs are good.

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Apple Seemingly Unable To Recover Data From 2018 MacBook Pro With Touch Bar When Logic Board Fails
Posted by News Fetcher on July 23 '18 at 10:41 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's you-have-been-warned department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: In 2016, when Apple introduced the first MacBook Pro with Touch Bar models, the repair experts at iFixit discovered the notebooks have non-removable SSDs, soldered to the logic board, prompting concerns that data recovery would not be possible if the logic board failed. Fortunately, that wasn't the case. Apple has a special tool for 2016 and 2017 models of the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar that allows Genius Bars and Apple Authorized Service Providers to recover user data when the logic board fails, but the SSD is still intact. [...] But, unfortunately, it appears the tool will not work with the latest models. Last week, iFixit completed a teardown of the 2018 MacBook Pro, discovering that Apple has removed the data recovery connector from the logic board on both 13-inch and 15-inch models with the Touch Bar, suggesting that the Customer Data Migration Tool can no longer be connected. MacRumors contacted multiple reliable sources at Apple Authorized Service Providers to learn more, and based on the information we obtained, it does appear that the tool is incompatible with 2018 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar models. Multiple sources claim that data cannot be recovered if the logic board has failed on a 2018 MacBook Pro. If the notebook is still functioning, data can be transferred to another Mac by booting the system in Target Disk Mode, and using Migration Assistant, which is the standard process that relies on Thunderbolt 3 ports.

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Apple's iPhones Trail Samsung, Google Devices in Internet Speeds
Posted by News Fetcher on July 23 '18 at 10:41 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: Apple's iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and $1,000 iPhone X trail the latest smartphones from Samsung Electronics and Alphabet's Google in download speeds, according to data from Ookla, a company that provides the most popular online service for measuring the speed of an internet connection with its Speedtest app and website. Faster internet data means that users can load websites and start watching movies more quickly, make crisper video calls and get higher-quality video. [...] Ookla's data are important because they are created by users -- not in a corporate lab -- and encompass the range of random real-world conditions that affect performance like distance from cellular towers and network congestion. Ookla said it hosts millions of tests a day and has done 20 billion in total. [...] The speed-test data, reviewed by Bloomberg, show that Samsung's Galaxy S9 phones had an average download speed -- across carriers in the U.S. -- of 38.9 megabits per second, based on about 102,000 tests over the past three months. The larger model, the S9+, delivered speeds of 38.4 Mbps, according to a sample size of about 169,000 phone connections. The iPhone X on average downloaded data at 29.7 Mbps, based on a 603,000 tests. The iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone 8 were close behind with speeds of 29.4 Mbps and 28.6 Mbps, respectively.

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Academics Publish New Software-Level Protections Against Spectre and Rowhammer Attacks
Posted by News Fetcher on July 23 '18 at 09:21 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's you're-welcome department:
Catalin Cimpanu, writing for BleepingComputer: Academics from multiple universities have announced fixes for two severe security flaws known as Spectre and Rowhammer. Both these fixes are at the software level, meaning they don't require CPU or RAM vendors to alter products, and could, in theory, be applied as basic software patches. The first of these new mitigation mechanisms was announced on Thursday, last week. A research team from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire says it created a fix for Spectre Variant 1 (CVE-2017-5753), a vulnerability discovered at the start of the year affecting modern CPUs. Their fix uses ELFbac, an in-house-developed Linux kernel patch that brings access control policies to runtime virtual memory accesses of Linux processes, at the level of ELF binary executables. [...] The second fix for a major flaw announced last week came on Saturday from the Systems and Network Security Group at VU Amsterdam. Researchers announced a new technique called ZebRAM that they said is a comprehensive software protection against Rowhammer attacks.

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Scientists Take Step Toward Creating Artificial Embryos
Posted by News Fetcher on July 23 '18 at 09:21 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's marching-forward department:
An international team of scientists has moved closer to creating artificial embryos after using mouse stem cells to make structures capable of taking a crucial step in the development of life. From a report: Experts said the results suggested human embryos could be created in a similar way in future -- a step that would allow scientists to use artificial embryos rather than real ones to research the very earliest stages of human development. The team, led by Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz, a professor at Britain's Cambridge University, had previously created a simpler structure resembling a mouse embryo in a lab dish. That work involved two types of stem cells and a three-dimensional scaffold on which they could grow. But in new work published on Monday in the journal Nature Cell Biology, the scientists developed the structures further -- using three types of stem cells -- enabling a process called gastrulation, an essential step in which embryonic cells begin self-organizing into a correct structure for an embryo to form.

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There is No Guarantee That the Products You Recycle Are Actually Recycled, the UK Watchdog Warns
Posted by News Fetcher on July 23 '18 at 08:01 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: The National Audit Office (NAO) says over half of the packaging reported as recycled is actually being sent abroad to be processed. As a result, it says, the government has little idea of whether the recyclables are getting turned into new products, buried in landfill or burned. While an illusion of success has been created by the UK's system for recycling packaging, the NAO says, the reality may be quite different. Its report finds that: The government has turned a blind eye to underlying problems with the waste system. Firms may be over-stating the amount they are recycling. The Environment Agency has only carried out 40% of the recycling checks it planned to.

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SpaceX Enters a New Stage of Reusability
Posted by News Fetcher on July 23 '18 at 08:01 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's rocket-science department:
SpaceX will now be attempting to land and reuse all of the rockets it launches. Over the weekend, SpaceX launched and successfully landed its second Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket in Cape Canaveral, Florida. An anonymous reader writes: The landing of this vehicle, designed with reusability in mind, marks the beginning of a completely recyclable era of rockets for the company. The Block 5 can be used hundreds of times if recovered successfully. Now that the company has transitioned to this more reusable model, recovery will be an even more crucial part of the launch. In a two week period, it's planning five recoveries. Mashable: The landing marks one of the first landings and launches of the company's newest, upgraded Falcon 9 rockets, called Block 5. Before this launch, SpaceX got rid of a backlog of their Block 4 rockets by launching without landing them back on Earth. That type of launch without landing is the traditional way of getting things to orbit, but SpaceX managed to change that. The whole point in the company's rocket landings hinge on the fact that it could reduce the cost of flying to orbit. By reusing rocket stages for multiple launches, it could drive down the exorbitant cost of flying to space for companies and nations around the world. SpaceX has been killing it the past couple years. The company -- founded by Elon Musk -- launched 18 times in 2017.

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Australia Called Out as Willing To Undermine Human Rights For Digital Agenda
Posted by News Fetcher on July 23 '18 at 06:40 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's meanwhile-in-Down-Under department:
A report from AccessNow has asked Australia to change its course and lead the way in serving as a champion for human rights instead of against. From a report: Global human rights, public policy, and advocacy group AccessNow has called out Australia for its lack of focus on human rights as it adapts to the challenges of the digital era, with a report from the non-profit saying the country should instead be leading the way in serving as a champion for human rights. "Australia should be a global leader in serving as a champion for human rights, such as the right to privacy and rights to freedoms of expression and association," AccessNow said. "Unfortunately, Australia has taken actions that indicate the nation is willing to undermine human rights as it adapts to the challenges of the digital era." In Human Rights in the Digital Era: An International Perspective on Australia [PDF], AccessNow says that as the digital world continues to develop, and technology increasingly becomes an "intimate part" of daily lives, Australians are facing a choice. "The country can either continue to be a testing ground for policies that undermine privacy and security in the digital era, or it can be a champion for human rights in the digital age, leveraging its relationships in the world to raise the standards for the next generation," the report says.

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France's Atos Boosts US Presence With $3.4 Billion Syntel Acquisition
Posted by News Fetcher on July 23 '18 at 04:01 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's marching-forward department:
French IT services company Atos is boosting its North American operations with a $3.4 billion cash deal to buy Michigan-based IT services provider Syntel. From a report: Atos, which provides IT services to sectors ranging from aerospace to retail, said the deal, announced Sunday, to buy Syntel will strengthen its activities in banking, finance and insurance and allow it to provide complete IT solutions to its U.S. customers. "[The deal] will significantly enhance [the Business & Platform Solutions Division's] growth and profitability profile through an extended digital services offering, cutting-edge India-based delivery platforms, as well as revenue and cost synergies," Atos Chief Executive Thierry Breton said in a statement.

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Government Spells Out Plans For UK-Wide Full Fibre By 2033
Posted by News Fetcher on July 23 '18 at 01:20 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's up-next department:
The UK government has set out a plan to roll out full fibre networks across all of the UK within 15 years by introducing laws to speed up the installation of fibre and subsidizing investment in very rural areas. From a report: The proposal comes as part of a new national telecoms strategy drawn up by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). Under its targets, all of the UK will have full-fibre broadband coverage by 2033, replacing the copper wire network that currently delivers the service. It proposes legislation to encourage more private infrastructure investment. Earlier this month, research was published indicating that the UK has slipped from 31st to 35th place in the global broadband league tables, behind 25 other European countries. The data was collected by M-Lab, a partnership between Google Open Source Research and Princeton University's PlantLab, and the results compiled by UK broadband comparison site Cable.

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Lawmakers, Lobbyists and the Administration Join Forces To Overhaul the Endangered Species Act
Posted by News Fetcher on July 22 '18 at 09:21 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: The Endangered Species Act, which for 45 years has safeguarded fragile wildlife while blocking ranching, logging and oil drilling on protected habitats, is coming under attack from lawmakers, the White House and industry on a scale not seen in decades, driven partly by fears that the Republicans will lose ground in November's midterm elections. In the past two weeks, more than two dozen pieces of legislation, policy initiatives and amendments designed to weaken the law have been either introduced or voted on in Congress or proposed by the Trump administration. The actions included a bill to strip protections from the gray wolf in Wyoming and along the western Great Lakes; a plan to keep the sage grouse, a chicken-size bird that inhabits millions of oil-rich acres in the West, from being listed as endangered for the next decade; and a measure to remove from the endangered list the American burying beetle, an orange-flecked insect that has long been the bane of oil companies that would like to drill on the land where it lives. [...] The new push to undo the wildlife protection law comes as Republicans control the White House and both chambers of Congress, and is led by a president who has made deregulation -- the loosening of not only environmental protections but banking rules, car fuel efficiency standards and fair housing enforcement -- a centerpiece of his administration.

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IoT Security Flaw Leaves 496 Million Devices Vulnerable At Businesses, Report Says
Posted by News Fetcher on July 22 '18 at 05:21 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's security-woes department:
Nearly a half-billion Internet of Things devices are vulnerable to cyberattacks at businesses worldwide because of a 10-year-old security flaw, according to a new report from a security software vendor. From a report: The report was published Friday by Armis, a provider of Internet of Things security software for enterprises that focuses on detecting threats in IoT devices at workplaces. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company has previously made security disclosures, including the BlueBorne malware attack that impacted 5 billion IoT devices.

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China's JD.com Plans Move Into Europe
Posted by News Fetcher on July 22 '18 at 05:21 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's up-next department:
Chinese e-commerce company JD.com plans to expand in Europe and aims to have finalized its strategy for entering the market by the end of the year, its chief executive told a German newspaper. Reuters: China's second largest e-commerce business also wants to open an office in Germany by the end of 2018, the Handelsblatt daily cited Richard Liu as saying. "For me it's no longer just about selling products from Germany in China. I would also like to sell products in Europe," Liu told the paper. "We have just got to clarify the details." Further reading: JD.com is expanding its consumer base with drone delivery and local recruits who can exploit villages' tight-knit social networks to drum up business.

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The Hidden Environmental Cost of Amazon Prime's Free, Fast Shipping
Posted by News Fetcher on July 22 '18 at 04:01 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department:
Amazon's Prime Day shopping spree offers free, fast shipping -- but experts say there's a hidden environmental cost that doesn't show up on the checkout page. From a report: Expedited shipping means your packages may not be as consolidated as they could be, leading to more cars and trucks required to deliver them, and an increase in packaging waste, which researchers have found is adding more congestion to our cities, pollutants to our air, and cardboard to our landfills. Free and fast shipping has always been a Prime membership's marquee perk -- one that's drawn in over 100 million subscribers who pay $119 annually. A 2017 study by UPS found that nearly all (96%) US customers had made a purchase on a marketplace like Amazon or Walmart, and over half (55%) said free or discounted shipping was the primary reason. [...] That convenience is encouraging people in the US to buy more, and to make more individual purchases rather than placing a single order for several items. "There are more sales in lower-price products online than there have been in stores," Marshal Cohen, chief industry advisor at the NPD Group, told BuzzFeed News. And all of those transactions are negatively impacting our planet, according to Miguel Jaller, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of California, Davis: "People are consuming more. There's more demand created by the availability of these cheap products and cheap delivery options."

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Google Tests Curvy Chrome Tabs With Material Design Overhaul
Posted by News Fetcher on July 22 '18 at 02:41 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's shape-of-things-to-come department:
Google is trying out a new Chrome interface that for the first time in a decade presents a very different look for the tabs and address bar at the top of the widely used web browser, CNET reports. It adds: Since its public debut in 2008, Chrome has featured a trapezoidal tab for each website you have open. But tabs now look very different on Chrome Canary -- a very rough-around-the-edges version used to test changes before they reach a broader audience. The active tab has a slope-shouldered look with curved corners. The grayed-out inactive tabs merge with the the browser itself and are separated only by thin vertical lines. In addition, the address bar's text box is a gray oval against a white backdrop, instead of a round-cornered white rectangle with a hairline border.

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Comic Book Publishers, Faced With Flagging Sales, Look To Streaming
Posted by News Fetcher on July 22 '18 at 01:21 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's whatever-it-takes department:
Comic book publishers are facing a growing crisis: Flagging interest from readers and competition from digital entertainment are dragging down sales. Hoping to reverse the trend, publishers are creating their own digital platforms to directly connect with readers and encourage more engagement from fans. From a report: One of the biggest direct-to-consumer efforts is DC Universe, a platform from DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Digital Studios that will offer streaming content, including original and classic TV series. DC Universe is "a huge opportunity" that offers "ultimate creative control," said Jim Lee, a co-publisher of DC Entertainment. "It allows you to look at wider adaptations of the source material." [...] The Walt Disney Company, which owns Marvel Entertainment, said last year that it would create a streaming platform that would include Marvel movies like "The Avengers" and "Guardians of the Galaxy." Smaller comic book publishers are testing their own direct-to-consumer platforms. Image Comics, the publisher of popular titles like The Walking Dead and Saga, started a direct-to-consumer platform in 2015 to sell comic book subscriptions and apparel.

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Open Gov't Advocates Fear that Private Messaging Apps Are Being Misused by Public Officials To Conduct Business in Secret
Posted by News Fetcher on July 22 '18 at 01:21 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's other-side department:
The proliferation of digital tools that make text and email messages vanish may be welcome to Americans seeking to guard their privacy. But open government advocates fear they are being misused by public officials to conduct business in secret and evade transparency laws. From a report: Whether communications on those platforms should be part of the public record is a growing but unsettled debate in states across the country. Updates to transparency laws lag behind rapid technological advances, and the public and private personas of state officials overlap on private smartphones and social media accounts. "Those kind of technologies literally undermine, through the technology itself, state open government laws and policies," said Daniel Bevarly, executive director of the National Freedom of Information Coalition. "And they come on top of the misuse of other technologies, like people using their own private email and cellphones to conduct business." Some government officials have argued that public employees should be free to communicate on private, non-governmental cellphones and social media platforms without triggering open records requirements.

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Boston Dynamics Is Gearing Up To Produce Thousands of Robot Dogs
Posted by News Fetcher on July 22 '18 at 12:01 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's they-are-coming department:
Boston Dynamics, maker of uncannily agile robots, is poised to bring its first commercial product to market -- a small, dog-like robot called the SpotMini. From a report: The launch was announced in May, and founder Marc Raibert recently said that by July of next year, Boston Dynamics will be producing the SpotMini at the rate of around 1,000 units per year. The broader goal, as reported by Inverse, is to create a flexible platform for a variety of applications. According to Raibert, SpotMini is currently being tested for use in construction, delivery, security, and home assistance applications. The SpotMini moves with the same weirdly smooth confidence as previous experimental Boston Dynamics robots with names like Cheetah, BigDog, and Spot.

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