Two Arrested In $10 Million Tech Support Scam That Preyed On the Elderly

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Gizmodo: Two individuals were arrested this week in connection with a fraud scheme that manipulated thousands of victims into paying for invented tech services that they didn’t need. The Department of Justice announced that the two individuals Romana Leyva, 35, and Ariful Haque, 33, were arrested Wednesday for their alleged participation in the fraud scheme, which involved convincing victims — many of whom were elderly — in both the U.S. and Canada that they needed tech and virus protection services that were neither real nor required.

Between March 2015 and December 2018, both Ariful and Haque were allegedly involved with the fraud ring responsible for the crimes. According to an unsealed indictment, the scheme involved targeting victims with pop-up windows — sometimes under the guise of being a legitimate tech company — that claimed their computer had been infected with a virus and directed them to call a number for technical support. In some cases, the message threatened that if the individual closed the window or shut down their computer, it would either bork their device or result in a “complete data loss.” Once users contacted the number, they were connected with a fake technician. To convince victims to hand over money, after receiving “permission” from the victim, the fraud ring allegedly remotely accessed the individual’s computer, loaded an anti-virus tool that’s available for free online, and informed the individual that their computer was infected with a virus (which, again, was a lie). The DOJ says the scheme was able to successfully scam “at least” 7,500 victims out of a combined $10 million.

Both of the individuals arrested are charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Each count carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment.

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Source: Slashdot – Two Arrested In Million Tech Support Scam That Preyed On the Elderly

Facebook’s latest AI experiment helps you pick what to wear

Just when you think researchers have found the wackiest possible use for a neural net yet, another team finds an even more novel use for artificial intelligence. Take Facebook’s new Fashion++ AI. It’s a program that will help you become a fashionista…

Source: Engadget – Facebook’s latest AI experiment helps you pick what to wear

Facebook suspends tens of thousands of apps in ongoing privacy investigation

Facebook suspends tens of thousands of apps in ongoing privacy investigation

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

Facebook—the social media company that has been under intense public criticism for not adequately safeguarding the personal information of its 2 billion users—has suspended tens of thousands of apps for a variety of violations, including improperly sharing private data.

In a post published on Friday, Facebook VP of Product Partnerships Ime Archibong said the move was part of an ongoing review that began in March 2018, following revelations that, two years earlier, Cambridge Analytica used the personal information of as many as 87 million Facebook users to build voter profiles for President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Facebook has been embroiled in several other privacy controversies since then.

The tens of thousands of apps were associated with about 400 developers. While some of the apps were suspended, in a few cases others were banned completely. Offenses that led to banning included inappropriately sharing data obtained from the Facebook platform, making data available without protecting user’s identities, or clear violations of the social network’s terms of service.

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Source: Ars Technica – Facebook suspends tens of thousands of apps in ongoing privacy investigation

‘We Stormed It. I Was Part of History Last Night’—Insider Footage of the ‘Storming’ of Area 51

RACHEL, Nev. — Jeffrey Gonzalez had waited 16 years for this moment. He’s been investigating and researching paranormal activity since 2003, but he never thought he would have a close encounter with Area 51. That is until 2:30 am on September 20 when other attendees of the Alienstock festivities in Rachel, Nevada,…

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Source: Kotaku – ‘We Stormed It. I Was Part of History Last Night’—Insider Footage of the ‘Storming’ of Area 51

TiVo Tests Running Pre-Roll Ads Before DVR Recordings

As noted by Zatz Not Funny, TiVo is testing pre-roll video ads that start playing when customers view one of their recordings. The Verge reports: The ad spots are noticeably low-res and worse quality than the DVR’d content that starts playing afterward, according to one TiVo owner who has been served spots for Amazon, Keurig, and Toyota. It sounds like the users can fast-forward through the ads, but doing so is “not that seamless.”

There are several potential reasons for TiVo ramping up advertising. Maybe the company plans to offer an ad-supported subscription with lower (or no) monthly fees compared to what regular customers are paying (similar to Amazon’s Kindle devices with ads). No one who has paid for a lifetime subscription or even a monthly plan will be pleased to see pre-roll ads. TiVo also handles DVR functionality for many midsized and international cable providers. Squeezing in ads wherever possible could be something that those companies are pushing for as more of their customers spend increased time streaming shows and movies elsewhere.

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Source: Slashdot – TiVo Tests Running Pre-Roll Ads Before DVR Recordings

iFixit's iPhone 11 Pro Max teardown investigates charging rumors

As usual, now that a new iPhone has hit the market, iFixit is pulling it apart an iPhone 11 Pro Max to show you what the insides look like. It’s a common annual ritual, and in short order we should have confirmation of the usual things like RAM chips…

Source: Engadget – iFixit’s iPhone 11 Pro Max teardown investigates charging rumors

TiVo wants to make a comeback with $50 Android TV dongle

In TiVo’s heyday the company was synonymous with recording TV shows via your remote control, so you didn’t have to rush home to catch “your show” or attempt to record it on the VCR. But that was two decades ago, and things have changed. Now, the comp…

Source: Engadget – TiVo wants to make a comeback with Android TV dongle

Latest Lakka Release On Raspberry Pi 4 Showcases Great Retro Gaming

MojoKid writes: Lakka with RetroArch is one of the most comprehensive open-source retro-gaming console front ends available, with support for a wide array of single-board computers and multiple operating systems. Although the more powerful Raspberry Pi 4 was released months ago, the developers of Lakka had a number of bugs to contend with that prevented an official stable release, until yesterday. Lakka 2.3 (with RetroArch 1.7.8) is available now though, and it appears to leverage the additional horsepower of the Pi 4 quite well. It’s even able to play some of the more demanding Sega Dreamcast and Saturn games — among many other retro-consoles, like the Atari 2600, SuperNES, and many others. In addition to the Pi 4, this latest Lakka release also adds support for the ROCKPro64 and incorporates a wide range of bug fixes and feature enhancements.

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Source: Slashdot – Latest Lakka Release On Raspberry Pi 4 Showcases Great Retro Gaming

The Vast of Night Is an Expertly Crafted Sci-Fi Period Piece

The whole world can change in the time it takes to play a high school basketball game. That’s exactly what happens in The Vast of Night, the feature debut of director Andrew Patterson, which blends elements of The Twilight Zone and Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds in a taut, captivating alien invasion film told in…

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Source: io9 – The Vast of Night Is an Expertly Crafted Sci-Fi Period Piece

Google Says It's Achieved Quantum Supremacy, a World-First: Report

A Google researcher’s paper claiming to have achieved quantum supremacy, a major early milestone in the field of quantum computing, appeared on a NASA website this week before being removed, the Financial Times reports.

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Source: Gizmodo – Google Says It’s Achieved Quantum Supremacy, a World-First: Report

iOS 13 Ships With Known Lockscreen Bypass Flaw That Exposes Contacts

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Apple released iOS 13 with a bunch of new features. But it also released the new OS with something else: a bug disclosed seven days ago that exposes contact details without requiring a passcode or biometric identification first. Independent researcher Jose Rodriguez published a video demonstration of the flaw exactly one week ago. It can be exploited by receiving a FaceTime call and then using the voiceover feature from Siri to access the contact list. From there, an unauthorized person could get names, phone numbers, email addresses, and any other information stored in the phone’s contacts list. An Apple representative told Ars the bypass will be fixed in iOS 13.1, scheduled for release on Sept. 24.

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Source: Slashdot – iOS 13 Ships With Known Lockscreen Bypass Flaw That Exposes Contacts

Why Families Were on Climate Strike This Friday

I’ve reported on or otherwise worked in the climate field for 10 years. In that decade, I’ve watched failure after failure at international climate talks, rampant Republican climate denial, and climate protests that built to something half-formed, clay tossed on the potter’s wheel but never quite shaped.

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Source: Gizmodo – Why Families Were on Climate Strike This Friday

This Week's Best New Comics Are About All About Spiritual and Political Demons

Everyone’s felt it at one time or another: a compulsion that drives you to single-mindedly pursue a specific goal you know is a part of your destiny. For some people, these compulsions are big and grandiose—while for others, they’re much smaller.

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Source: io9 – This Week’s Best New Comics Are About All About Spiritual and Political Demons

Google Reportedly Attains 'Quantum Supremacy'

New submitter Bioblaze shares a report from CNET: Google has reportedly built a quantum computer more powerful than the world’s top supercomputers. A Google research paper was temporarily posted online this week, the Financial Times reported Friday, and said the quantum computer’s processor allowed a calculation to be performed in just over 3 minutes. That calculation would take 10,000 years on IBM’s Summit, the world’s most powerful commercial computer, Google reportedly said. Google researchers are throwing around the term “quantum supremacy” as a result, the FT said, because their computer can solve tasks that can’t otherwise be solved. “To our knowledge, this experiment marks the first computation that can only be performed on a quantum processor,” the research paper reportedly said.

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Source: Slashdot – Google Reportedly Attains ‘Quantum Supremacy’

Neo Geo retro stick console includes 'King of Fighters,' 'Samurai Shodown'

SNK has detailed the full 20-game lineup for its Neo Geo Arcade Stick Pro, and it’s mixed news for fans of the classic platform. The retro console and controller hybrid will focus on the best-known brawlers with six The King of Fighters games (’95 t…

Source: Engadget – Neo Geo retro stick console includes ‘King of Fighters,’ ‘Samurai Shodown’

YouTube Faces Angry Mob Again, CEO Promises to Rethink New Verification Policy

On Thursday, YouTube rolled out new guidelines for its verification requirements intended to reduce confusion and better highlight artists, celebs, and other creators. However, after backlash from numerous YouTubers who got emails saying their channels would get un-verified, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki promised to…

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Source: Gizmodo – YouTube Faces Angry Mob Again, CEO Promises to Rethink New Verification Policy

VPN Apps With 500M+ Installs Caught Serving Disruptive Ads To Android Users

New submitter screwdriver1 shares a report from The Next Web: In a yet another instance of Android adware, New Zealand-based independent security researcher Andy Michael found four apps with cumulative downloads of over 500 million that not only serve ads while running the background, but are also placed outside the apps, including the home screen. The apps in question are Hotspot VPN, Free VPN Master, Secure VPN, and Security Master by Cheetah Mobile. It’s notable that all these apps originate from Hong Kong and China, where citizens have typically relied on VPNs to get around the Great Firewall. The apps are live on the Play Store to this date. But in an interesting twist, the apps containing the adware were all VPN or antivirus apps, suggesting that developers are increasingly banking on users’ trust in security-related apps to commit “outside ad fraud.”

Google has a strict policy with regards to adware and disruptive ads in general. “We don’t allow apps that contain deceptive or disruptive ads. Ads must only be displayed within the app serving them. We consider ads served in your app as part of your app. The ads shown in your app must be compliant with all our policies.” The company, when reached for a response, said it would take action on the apps if they’re indeed found in violation of its policies.

Some VPN apps lie to us and Google shouldn’t allow it.

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Source: Slashdot – VPN Apps With 500M+ Installs Caught Serving Disruptive Ads To Android Users