Volkswagen, Audi Cars Vulnerable To Remote Hacking

An anonymous reader writes: “A Dutch cyber-security firm has discovered that in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems deployed with some car models from the Volkswagen Group are vulnerable to remote hacking,” reports Bleeping Computer. The vulnerabilities have been successfully tested and verified on Volkswagen Golf GTE and Audi A3 Sportback e-tron models. Researchers say they were able to hack the cars via both WiFi (remote vector) and USB (local vector) connections. Researchers hinted they could have also went after the cars’ braking and acceleration system, but stopped due to fear of breaking VW’s intellectual property on those systems. “Under certain conditions attackers could listen in to conversations the driver is conducting via a car kit, turn the microphone on and off, as well as gaining access to the complete address book and the conversation history,” Computest researchers said in their paper. “Furthermore, due to the vulnerability, there is the possibility of discovering through the navigation system precisely where the driver has been, and to follow the car live wherever it is at any given time,” researchers added. VW deployed patches.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Volkswagen, Audi Cars Vulnerable To Remote Hacking

After data “clash” report, WhatsApp founder says he’s leaving Facebook

Enlarge (credit: WhatsApp)

In the wake of a Washington Post report that alleged a “clash” over Facebook data practices, WhatsApp co-founder and Facebook board member Jan Koum confirmed that he is leaving the company, effective immediately.

“It’s been almost a decade since Brian and I started WhatsApp, and it’s been an amazing journey with some of the best people,” Koum posted on his personal Facebook page on Monday. “But it is time for me to move on.” His status included a Facebook “emotional” tag indicating that he is “sad.”

Koum’s post doesn’t include an explanation of exactly why he’s leaving other than “doing things I enjoy outside of technology.” That leaves WaPo‘s Monday report as the loudest possible explanation available at the moment.

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Source: Ars Technica – After data “clash” report, WhatsApp founder says he’s leaving Facebook

Blu settles with FTC over allegations of lax user data security

Unlocked mobile phone retailer Blu has settled with the FTC over allegations that it didn’t protect consumers from a Chinese company that farmed their data and misled users about the extent of it. The device maker won’t get slapped with a fine, but a…

Source: Engadget – Blu settles with FTC over allegations of lax user data security

Windows 10 April Update Set For May Rollout

Microsoft has officially made available the Windows 10 April Update today, with a broader rollout to start on May 8th. Originally set to launch a couple of weeks ago, some bugs held up the release, but they have made their April target, albeit only just.


For those that want to check it out today, you should be able to manually check for Windows Updates to have the update appear for install, or you can visit the Windows 10 download page to manually run the updater, or get the ISO for a fresh install.



There’s quite a few new features coming to Windows 10 with this update that we’ll dig into shortly with a more in-depth look, but here are a couple of the standouts:


Timeline


Timeline is a way to go back in time to find information or documents you were working on in the past, up to 30 days ago. Pressing the launcher for this feature pops up a list of previous activities so you can easily go back into something you were just working on, or, if it was a while ago, there’s a search feature for Timeline as well. It sounds interesting, and you can even search back to documents or web pages you accessed with Office 365 or the Edge browser on an iOS or Android device.


Progressive Web Apps


With EdgeHTML 17, Microsoft is enabling the support of Service Workers, which are required for Progressive Web Apps. Previously, Microsoft allowed Hosted Web Apps in the Microsoft Store, but Progressive Web Apps look to be the way forward. Modern web technologies such as Service Workers, push notifications, and OS integration for deep linking in the Start Menu, or adding jump lists, allow PWAs to look and feel like an installed app, but with the benefit of being a web service that can be updated continuously. Apps like Twitter, which have become extremely stale in the Windows Store, can now be installed as PWAs instead for a feature-rich experience. With UWP never really taking off in any meaningful way, PWAs should allow the Microsoft Store to offer a wider selection of new applications.


Windows 10 in S Mode


Windows 10 S, which is the locked-down version that can only run Store apps, is no more, instead being replaced with S Mode which is available on any Home or Pro PC. Microsoft touts the performance and security of S Mode, but without a wide breadth of applications in the Store, it’s been a tough sell. Perhaps with PWAs, the experience will be better.


Nearby Sharing


This handy feature lets you share files to people close by using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. It will automatically transfer over the fastest method available, and should help eliminate the need for hasty USB transfers.


Plenty More


There’s a lot more to discuss, which we’ll dig into in a full-length article. Improvements to HDR, security, and privacy, are but a few of the new changes to Windows 10 with the April Update.


Source: Microsoft




Source: AnandTech – Windows 10 April Update Set For May Rollout

Will the T-Mobile, Sprint Merger Be Bad For Consumers?

On Sunday, T-Mobile and Sprint said that they have agreed to a $26.5 billion merger, creating a wireless giant to compete against industry leaders AT&T and Verizon. While a new website has been set up by the companies to help quell consumers’ and regulators’ fears by promising new jobs, improved broadband service, and increased competition, Motherboard’s Karl Bode cites previous telecommunications mergers and Wall Street analysts to argue against the merger. From the report: The two companies attempted to merge in 2014 but had their efforts blocked by regulators who were justly worried about the deal’s impact on overall competition. As Canadian wireless users can attest, the reduction of major wireless competitors from four to three only reduces the overall incentive for wireless carriers to engage in real price competition. That was the central point repeatedly made by regulators when they prohibited AT&T from gobbling up T-Mobile back in 2011. Even with four competitors, the industry frequently does its best to avoid genuine price competition, and industry watchers have noted that the overall volume of quality promotions for wireless consumers had been dropping so far in 2018. After regulators blocked the AT&T merger, T-Mobile wound up being a largely positive impact on the sector, forcing its competitors to adopt more consumer-friendly policies like eliminating long-term contracts and early termination fees. However, even with T-Mobile intact, price competition in the sector tends to be theatrical in nature.

Wall Street analysts are on record predicting that a Sprint, T-Mobile merger could result in the loss of up to 30,000 jobs — potentially more than Sprint even currently employs. From retail operations to middle managers, there’s an endless roster of human beings who, sooner or later, will be viewed as redundant. “If approved, this deal would especially hurt consumers seeking lower-cost wireless plans, as the combined company’s plans would likely increase while competitors AT&T and Verizon would have even less incentive to lower prices,” said Phillip Berenbroick, lawyer for the consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge. “Unless the merging parties can demonstrate clear competitive benefits we have yet to see, we will urge the Department of Justice and the FCC to reject this deal.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Will the T-Mobile, Sprint Merger Be Bad For Consumers?

'Stardew Valley' finally lets you farm with your friends

Stardew Valley fans, take note: You can finally put your friends to work in the farming sim, whether you have them hack away at your errant rocks, plant seeds or partner with you at the Flower Dance. The long-awaited multiplayer beta has finally arri…

Source: Engadget – ‘Stardew Valley’ finally lets you farm with your friends

Boeing slams the Falcon Heavy rocket as “too small”

Enlarge / Image from Boeing’s Watch US Fly website. (credit: Boeing)

Recently, Boeing created a website called “Watch US Fly” to promote its aerospace industry—a grab bag of everything from Chinese tariffs to President Trump’s visit to the company’s facilities in St. Louis. Among the most intriguing sections is one that promotes the company’s Space Launch System rocket and argues that SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy booster is “too small” for NASA’s deep exploration program.

“The Falcon Heavy launch turned heads in February, but SpaceX’s rocket is a smaller type of rocket that can’t meet NASA’s deep-space needs,” the website states. “Once the Boeing-built SLS is operational, it will be the most powerful rocket ever built.”

The Boeing site backs up this claim by quoting NASA’s Bill Gerstenmaier, who talked about the differences between the SLS rocket and Falcon Heavy at a meeting of the NASA Advisory Council meeting in March. Gerstenmaier, the chief of NASA’s human spaceflight program, said the SLS had “unique capabilities” that the Falcon Heavy rocket does not have. However, as Ars reported at the time, Gerstenmaier actually struggled to explain why NASA needed the SLS rocket because the space agency has not yet built anything that will take advantage of those capabilities.

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Source: Ars Technica – Boeing slams the Falcon Heavy rocket as “too small”

Google Is Going to the Supreme Court Over a Bonkers Settlement Case That Mostly Enriched Lawyers

We’ve become accustomed to seeing high-profile class action lawsuits result in paltry payouts for plaintiffs, but this is ridiculous. On Monday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments over a privacy case that Google settled in 2013. The search giant agreed to pay out millions, but that money largely went to the…

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Source: Gizmodo – Google Is Going to the Supreme Court Over a Bonkers Settlement Case That Mostly Enriched Lawyers

How to Watch Facebook Pretend Everything Is Absolutely, Totally Fine

Facebook’s annual developer conference, kicking off Tuesday at 10am Pacific, will be one to remember, at least for Mark Zuckerberg. The completely human CEO has had a whirlwind of a month, what with the two days he spent testifying in front of a very confused U.S. Congress, the controversy surrounding his company’s

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Source: Gizmodo – How to Watch Facebook Pretend Everything Is Absolutely, Totally Fine

Freaky Deaky: MRI Footage Of A Person's Tongue Moving As They Speak And Sing In German

Thanks to advances in MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), these are a couple real-time videos of the voluntary and involuntary movements a person’s tongue makes as they speak and sing (in German). Some more info about the technology while I make a vow of silence because I don’t want any of this going on inside me ever again:

Frahm and his team finally solved the problem of the high number of required individual measurements with FLASH2. Simply put, FLASH2 is the FLASH technology with video function: It uses a new mathematical process for image reconstruction and thus manages only a few individual measurements per image. The technique significantly accelerated MRI scans once more and allowed for up to 100 frames per second. FLASH2 makes live processes inside the body visible – a major step forward in medical diagnostics. For the first time, it is possible to directly observe joint movements, speech movements, swallowing processes or the beating heart and draw conclusions about why the knee hurts when bending, someone suffering from heartburn, stutters or pain in the chest area.

Fascinating. “Did you even read that?” It could have been Avengers fan erotica for all I know, and it probably was. I actually have a friend who’s writing an erotic Avengers novel on his Facebook wall and I drop by from time to offer words of encouragement like, “Such vivid imagery,” and, “Mad boners over here, bro! Keep it up.”

Keep going for the video while I pop over to see if he’s dropped another chapter yet.

Source: Geekologie – Freaky Deaky: MRI Footage Of A Person’s Tongue Moving As They Speak And Sing In German

Facebook Is Investigating a Claim That an Employee Used His Position To Stalk Women

Facebook is investigating a claim that an employee potentially used access granted by their job to stalk women online, the social media giant confirmed in a statement to Motherboard on Monday. From the report: “Although we can’t comment on any individual personnel matters, we are aware of the situation and investigating,” a Facebook spokesperson wrote in an email. The claim came from Jackie Stokes, founder of Spyglass Security, in a tweet posted Monday. “I’ve been made aware that a security engineer currently employed at Facebook is likely using privileged access to stalk women online. I have Tinder logs. What should I do with this information?” Stokes’ tweet read. In a follow-up tweet, Stokes wrote multiple senior Facebook employees had reached out over the claim. Stokes told Motherboard in a Twitter direct message that she provided the relevant details to Alex Stamos, Facebook’s chief security officer.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Facebook Is Investigating a Claim That an Employee Used His Position To Stalk Women

Chinese authorities claim they can read deleted WeChat messages

China is clearly fond of its far-reaching surveillance, but it’s making some particularly boastful claims. An anti-corruption watchdog in Hefei claimed that a division in a nearby city managed to obtain a “series of deleted WeChat conversations” fro…

Source: Engadget – Chinese authorities claim they can read deleted WeChat messages

15 Suspects Arrested and Fined $5.1 Million for Selling PUBG Cheats

IGN is reporting that in an their latest Anti-Cheat efforts, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds developer, Bluehole has stated that on April 25th, 15 suspects were arrested for developing and selling hacking/cheating programs for PUBG. It was also confirmed that included in these cheats, was malicious code, including a trojan that would steal user information. The suspects have been fined the equivalent of $5.1 million, with others still under investigation.



Excellent work, 11/10, would not cheat again. Perhaps one day the game will be playable, but you have to wonder if this fine will influence Dell stocks?

“15 major suspects were arrested for developing hack programs, hosting marketplaces for hack programs, and brokering transactions. Currently the suspects have been fined approximately 30mil RNB ($5.1mil USD). Other suspects related to this case are still being investigated. Some hack programs that are being distributed through the internet includes a Huigezi Trojan horse*(Chinese backdoor) virus. It was proven that hack developers used this virus to control users’ PC, scan their data, and extract information illegally.”

Discussion

Source: [H]ardOCP – 15 Suspects Arrested and Fined .1 Million for Selling PUBG Cheats

Male Brown Widow Spiders Prefer Cannibalistic Older Females for No Apparent Reason

Scientists in Israel have observed a strange behavior among brown widow spiders: When given the choice, the males of this species prefer to have sex with older females even though they’re less likely to bear offspring. More problematically, these older females are also more inclined to devour their partners after…

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Source: Gizmodo – Male Brown Widow Spiders Prefer Cannibalistic Older Females for No Apparent Reason

Facebook data dispute reportedly prompts WhatsApp founder's exit

WhatsApp’s CEO Jan Koum posted on Facebook that he’s leaving the company he helped found. But sources told The Washington Post that he’s splitting after clashing with the messaging service’s parent company, Facebook, over its desire to use WhatsApp’s…

Source: Engadget – Facebook data dispute reportedly prompts WhatsApp founder’s exit

TCL’s follow-up to last year’s popular Roku 4K TVs starts at $649, ships tomorrow

TCL

Chinese brand TCL has announced pricing for its new 6-Series Roku TVs, the follow-ups to last year’s extremely popular P-Series. The 6-Series improves on last year’s in terms of picture quality and comes in both 55-inch and 65-inch sizes—last year’s models only came in a 55-inch configuration.

The 55-inch model is currently priced at $649.99, and the 65-inch model comes in at $999.99. That’s in line with what last year’s TVs cost. As we’ve previously reported, the main improvement (apart from the larger size) in play here is an expanded number of full-array local dimming zones. Last year’s P-Series had 72 zones, whereas this year’s 55-inch 6-Series TV has 96 zones, and the 65-inch has 120 zones.

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Source: Ars Technica – TCL’s follow-up to last year’s popular Roku 4K TVs starts at 9, ships tomorrow

Chinese Government Admits Collection of Deleted WeChat Messages

The South China Morning Post reported over the weekend that Chinese authorities have the capability of retrieving deleted messages from the WeChat app. The newspaper noted that an anti-corruption commission in Hefei province posted Saturday to social media that it has “retrieved a series of deleted WeChat conversations from a subject” as part of an investigation. TechCrunch reports: The post was deleted Sunday, but not before many had seen it and understood the ramifications. Tencent, which operates the WeChat service used by nearly a billion people (including myself), explained in a statement that “WeChat does not store any chat histories — they are only stored on users’ phones and computers.” The technical details of this storage were not disclosed, but it seems clear from the commission’s post that they are accessible in some way to interested authorities, as many have suspected for years. The app does, of course, comply with other government requirements, such as censoring certain topics.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Chinese Government Admits Collection of Deleted WeChat Messages

Russia’s floating nuclear power plant is not the first of its kind

US National Archives and Records Administration

Try as I might, I’m not perfect. My goal is to get every detail in every story right, but sometimes a post gets through with a factual error. Such was the case last night, in a story about Russia’s new floating nuclear power plant. Some background research led me to believe that it was the first of its kind.

A couple of Ars readers, thankfully, disabused me of that notion quickly (one cool thing about writing for Ars is you always know that you’re writing for a bunch of people who are dramatically smarter than yourself). Though such a power system is quite rare, there has been another floating nuclear plant that we can point to as an example: a US Army barge called the Sturgis, which was installed in Panama during the Vietnam War.

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Source: Ars Technica – Russia’s floating nuclear power plant is not the first of its kind