Florida City to Pay $600,000 to Hackers After Ransomware Attack

The attack occurred on May 29 when a police department employee reportedly opened an email containing the malicious code. June 20, 2019 2 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag A city in Florida has decided to pay $600,000 to the hackers behind a ransomware attack that’s locked down the local government’s data. On Monday, the city council of Riviera Beach voted unanimously to let the city’s insurer pay 65 bitcoins to the hackers. Why the council authorized the payment wasn’t discussed at the emergency hearing. But the city is hoping to recover municipal files the hackers encrypted during the ransomware attack. According to The Palm Beach Post, the attack occurred back on May 29 when a police department employee opened an email containing the malicious code. The attack quickly spread to the rest of Riviera Beach’s IT systems, taking them all offline. In response, Riviera Beach has already spent $941,600 in upgrading the city’s […]

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LinkedIn Profile With AI-Generated Pic Tried to Schmooze With DC Insiders

The profile attempted to network with former government officials. June 14, 2019 3 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag Spies may be using AI-generated photos to create harder-to-detect fake profiles on LinkedIn. Bogus accounts on social networking services are nothing new. But on Thursday, the Associated Press reported on the curious case of “Katie Jones,” a redheaded woman on LinkedIn who claimed to work at a top think tank in Washington D.C. According to the AP, the profile is not just a fake. The headshot of the woman may have been created by an AI-powered program. The evidence can be found in small, but noticeable inconsistences in the image. Last month I my attention was drawn to something suspicious: A fake LinkedIn profile connecting to Washington think tank types and senior US officials. Even weirder: Her face itself appeared to be fake. https://t.co/yvZbK8RoQt pic.twitter.com/CY85RRznk8 — Raphael Satter @ RightsCon (@razhael) June […]

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Vuzix to Equip Smart Glasses With Facial Recognition

The technology probably won’t sit well with privacy advocates. June 11, 2019 3 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag For better or worse, a U.S.-based maker of smart glasses will merge its technology with a facial-recognition system in Dubai to help law enforcement in the Middle East catch criminals. About 50 Vuzix Blade smart glasses will be outfitted with facial-recognition technology for use in “security operations” in the region. The resulting system will let the wearer “easily and discretely screen a crowd to match faces against a database of violators, missing people or suspects,” according to the company’s press release. Vuzix’s partner on the project is NNTC, a Dubai-based software developer that developed a facial-recognition system called iFalcon Face Control, which it’s been selling to law enforcement and security firms. The system is fast enough to detect up to 15 faces per video frame in under one second. It also doesn’t […]

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Amazon’s New ‘Prime Air’ Drone Can Morph From Helicopter to Plane

The redesigned Prime Air drone is a ‘hybrid’ craft, which can take off and land like a helicopter, but also glide through the air like a plane. June 6, 2019 3 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag Amazon expects to start delivering packages via air-based drones “within months,” it said on Wednesday. But the upcoming Prime Air program will likely start off as a small-scale trial. At a company conference in Las Vegas, the tech giant unveiled its latest attempt to build a flying drone that can carry goods to Amazon customers. The new “hybrid” craft can take off and land like a helicopter and also glide through the air like a plane. “Our newest drone design includes advances in efficiency, stability and, most importantly, in safety,” the company said in a blog post, which also includes a video of the drone in action. As you can see, the craft transitions […]

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Developers File Antitrust Lawsuit Against Apple over App Store

The Supreme Court recently ruled that both iPhone owners and iOS developers can bring antitrust lawsuits against Apple over its app store practices. June 5, 2019 3 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag Two iOS developers have filed a class action lawsuit against Apple on claims the company’s App Store is a monopoly. The lawsuit from California resident Donald R. Cameron and Illinois-based Pure Sweat Basketball is demanding an end to Apple’s control over the iOS ecosystem as the only official provider for iPhone apps. “There is no reason to believe that other reputable vendors, including Amazon, for example, could not host an app store and provide a trustworthy app-distribution system if Apple were to open up its system to other providers,” claims the lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for northern California. The legal complaint arrives weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that both iPhone owners […]

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The North Face Is Sorry for Hacking Wikipedia Photos to Promote Brand

The company and its ad agency did this to take advantage of Google’s search algorithms. May 31, 2019 3 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag The North Face is apologizing for secretly changing photos on Wikipedia pages to promote the brand’s products. The scheme involved The North Face and its ad agency, Leo Burnett Tailor Made, snapping pictures of people donning company gear at popular locations across the world and then planting the photos on the editable Wikipedia pages for the different sites. The companies did this to take advantage of Google’s search algorithms, which tend to rank Wikipedia entries first on the image results. As a result, the pictures containing North Face gear were able reach top billing on Google without paying any cost. “We hacked the results to reach one of the most difficult places: The top of the world’s largest search engine,” The North Face […]

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Our Security Efforts Will Suffer if Facebook Is Broken Up

‘The amount of our budget that goes toward our safety systems I believe is greater than Twitter’s revenue for this whole year,’ Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told journalists. May 24, 2019 3 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag Mark Zuckerberg is countering calls to break up Facebook, saying that doing so would only diminish his company’s billion-dollar attempts to fix the social network. “The amount of our budget that goes toward our safety systems I believe is greater than Twitter’s revenue for this whole year,” Zuckerberg told journalists on a press call on Thursday. Zuckerberg made the comment in response to co-founder Chris Hughes’ call to break up Facebook. According to Hughes, the Federal Trade Commission made a grave mistake in letting Facebook buy WhatsApp and Instagram, which helped the company gain control over the social networking market. Zuckerberg disagrees. During the press call, he pointed to competing products […]

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U.S. Senator Seeks to Stop Loot Boxes in Video Games Like ‘Fortnite’

‘When a game is designed for kids, game developers shouldn’t be allowed to monetize addiction,’ said U.S. Senator Josh Hawley. May 9, 2019 2 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag A U.S. senator wants to ban loot boxes in video games directed at children, claiming they can promote addiction. On Wednesday, Senator Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) said he plans on introducing legislation cracking down on loot boxes and other “pay-to-win” mechanics, such as microtransactions that can unlock new content. His goal is to bar video game makers from ever using the practices on minors under the age of 18 “When a game is designed for kids, game developers shouldn’t be allowed to monetize addiction,” he said in a statement. “And when kids play games designed for adults, they should be walled off from compulsive microtransactions. Game developers who knowingly exploit children should face legal consequences.” Video game companies are using […]

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After a Rough Year, Facebook Is Giving Privacy a Try

‘This isn’t just about a few new features. This is a big change in how we’re building these products and running our company,’ Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says at F8. May 1, 2019 3 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag Longtime Facebook watchers might be skeptical of the social network’s new commitment to digital privacy, but according to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the company is in it for the long haul. “The future is private,” Zuckerberg said at the company’s F8 annual developer conference today, later adding: “This isn’t just about a few new features. This is a big change in how we’re building these products and run[ning] our company.” What will a privacy-focused Facebook look like? Expect a lot of encryption. At F8, Zuckerberg confirmed that end-to-end encryption will become the default standard on Facebook Messenger, as The New York Times reported in January. Image credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images “We’re going to enable 2 billion people […]

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Amazon to Make One-Day Shipping the Standard on Amazon Prime

Amazon plans on spending $800 million in this year’s second quarter to build out the needed infrastructure. April 26, 2019 2 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag The standard delivery time for your Amazon Prime orders will eventually take one day, not two. “We’re currently working on evolving our Prime free two-day shipping program to be a free one-day shipping program,” Amazon’s chief financial officer Brian Olsavsky said in a Thursday earnings call. According to Olsavsky, Amazon plans on spending $800 million in this year’s second quarter to build out the infrastructure needed to make the one-day delivery times possible. Already, the company’s Amazon Prime program has been offering one-day, same-day, and two-hour shipping times, but only in certain zip codes and for a limited number of products. However, in recent months the company has been expanding the number of zip codes and items eligible for the one-day shipping times, Olsavsky said. […]

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President Trump Meets With Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey After Blasting Platform for Bias

‘They don’t treat me well as a Republican,’ Trump said in tweet on Tuesday morning. ‘Very discriminatory.’ April 24, 2019 4 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag President Donald Trump held a face-to-face meeting with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey at the White House on Tuesday mere hours after he accused the social media platform of discriminating against conservatives. “Great meeting this afternoon,” Trump said in a tweet about the meeting. “Lots of subjects discussed regarding their platform, and the world of social media in general. Look forward to keeping an open dialogue!” Great meeting this afternoon at the @WhiteHouse with @Jack from @Twitter. Lots of subjects discussed regarding their platform, and the world of social media in general. Look forward to keeping an open dialogue! pic.twitter.com/QnZi579eFb — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 23, 2019 However, earlier in the day, Trump was more critical of the platform. “They don’t […]

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Google Dissolves AI Advisory Board Amid Employee Protest

They were protesting the appointment of conservative think tank president Kay Cole James to the advisory council over her alleged ‘anti-trans, anti-LGBTQ’ views. April 5, 2019 3 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag The controversy over Google naming a conservative thinker and alleged “anti-trans, anti-LGBT” supporter to a company advisory board has ended with the whole project scrapped. On Thursday, the tech giant announced it had dissolved the Advanced Technology External Advisory Council, which was intended to bring outside experts together to help inform Google’s views on developing artificial intelligence. However, the company decided to end the whole project after a group of Google employees began to protest the appointment of conservative think tank president Kay Cole James to the council. More than 2,300 Google staffers have now signed a letter calling for her removal over claims James is “vocally anti-trans, anti-LGBTQ and anti-immigrant.” “It’s become clear that in the current environment, ATEAC (the advisory […]

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New TSA Scanning Tech Will Let You Keep Laptops in Your Bag

The Transportation Security Administration will start installing the new X-ray scanning systems in U.S. airports this summer. April 3, 2019 2 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag New technology coming to U.S. airports will let you keep your laptop inside your carry-on luggage when you go through a security checkpoint. The Transportation Security Administration will install the new X-ray scanning systems across all U.S. airports in the coming years, starting with a $97 million contract it awarded to a supplier, a TSA spokeswoman told PCMag. Existing baggage scanners only work in two dimensions. However, the new computed tomography or CT scanners can make out the electronics that sit inside your baggage by rendering the X-rayed images in 3D, which can then be rotated 360 degrees. According to the TSA, the same scanners are also smart enough to detect explosives and other threats that might be hiding inside. Some passengers may […]

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U.S. Trade Judge Calls for Import Ban on Certain iPhones

The initial ruling from the U.S. International Trade Commission found that Apple had infringed on a Qualcomm patent. However, the ruling could be reversed by the commission, appealed by Apple, and even vetoed by President Donald Trump. March 27, 2019 3 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag A U.S. trade judge is recommending an import ban on certain iPhones for infringing a Qualcomm patent. On Tuesday, judge MaryJoan McNamara of the U.S. International Trade Commission issued the ruling, which found that Apple had infringed on a Qualcomm patent, No. 8,063,674, which involves a power-saving feature for mobile devices. Qualcomm claims the import ban will forbid imports of iPhone 7 models up to the current iPhone XS products. That’s because the devices’ A10, A11 and A12 processors all infringe on the Qualcomm patent. In the same ruling, the judge rejected Qualcomm’s claims that Apple had infringed on two other company patents. […]

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Stadia, Google’s Cloud Gaming Service, Launches Later This Year

Google wants to make YouTube a centerpiece for accessing and sharing game streaming content. March 19, 2019 3 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag Google’s cloud gaming service, Stadia, will launch later this year and support 4K game streams. Stadia will run on a custom chip from AMD, which has the combined computing power of a Sony Playstation 4 and an Xbox One, Google said at GDC. It will allow Google’s data centers around the world to stream 4K gaming content at 60 frames per second, with HDR and surround sound over any hardware — smartphone, tablet, Chromecast-enabled TV, or PC. All you’ll need is access to the Chrome browser and a steady internet connection. In the future, Stadia will also be to stream games at 8K resolutions and at 120 frames per second. Google’s cloud gaming service aims to make YouTube the centerpiece for accessing and sharing game streaming content. For […]

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Facebook Pulls Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s Ads on Breaking Up Social Network

‘Curious why I think FB (Facebook) has too much power? Let’s start with their ability to shut down a debate over whether FB has too much power,’ the presidential candidate said in response to the political ad takedown. March 12, 2019 2 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag Senator Elizabeth Warren’s call to break up Facebook because the company has too much power was met with an ironic response on Monday: The social network decided to pull several of her political ads. The ads had been promoting Warren’s recently-announced plan to split up Facebook, Google and Amazon for their dominance over the internet sector. But the social network reportedly decided to take down the ads, not for their content, but because they used a corporate logo, a Facebook spokesperson told Politico. However, the social network was quick to backtrack on its decision. “In the interest of allowing robust debate, we are restoring the […]

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TikTok to Pay $5.7 Million Fine For Violating Children’s Privacy Law

They failed to ask for parental consent when collecting the personal information from users under the age of 13. February 28, 2019 3 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag TikTok, a video-sharing app popular among pre-teens, is facing a $5.7 million fine from the FTC for illegally collecting the personal information of children. The penalty applies to Musical.ly, the video lip-syncing app that TikTok absorbed last August as part of an acquisition. The FTC claims Musical.ly violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) by failing to ask for parental consent when collecting the personal information from users under the age of 13. The collected information included names, email addresses, phone numbers and profile pictures, which were needed to register for the app. Accounts made over Musical.ly were also set on public by default, which allowed adults to track and even contact underage users over the platform, the FTC said […]

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Trolls Force Rotten Tomatoes to Limit Comments on New Movies

Internet users have been abusing the ‘Want to See’ feature to complain about the upcoming Captain Marvel movie, which features a female superhero. February 27, 2019 2 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag Movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes is disabling comments for films that have not yet been released. The Fandango-owned site is also killing off the “Want to See” score, which let people click to log their anticipation or disinterest in a new movie and allowed Rotten Tomatoes to monitor enthusiasm about upcoming films. Internet users, however, have been abusing the feature to complain about the upcoming comic book film, Captain Marvel. The Want to See score on the movie, which features a female superhero, had plummeted to 27 percent with 46,000 votes before Rotten Tomatoes dropped the function. “Tired of all this SJW [Social Justice Warrior] nonsense,” read one user comment for the movie, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “Strong […]

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YouTube Kills 400 Channels For Hosting Pedophilic Comments

The company took action after a YouTube creator posted a video showing how pedophiles can use the platform to exchange contact details and links to child porn. February 22, 2019 2 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag YouTube has terminated more than 400 channels on the video-sharing service for hosting comments from child predators. The Google-owned service has also disabled the comments on tens of millions of videos featuring minors and reported the discovered illegal comments to law enforcement, a YouTube spokesperson told PCMag. The company took action after YouTube creator Matt Watson posted a video on Sunday showing how pedophiles can use the platform to exchange contact details and links to child porn. The information can be posted in the comment sections for videos featuring minors, and can include time stamps that show the child exposing their bare legs or back. YouTube’s recommendation algorithms make the problem worse. Once […]

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Faulty Update Bricks Nike ‘Self-Lacing’ Smart Shoes

Android users who bought the Nike Adapt BB are taking to the Google Play Store to complain. ‘Broke my $350 shoes with a Nike update,’ reads one review. February 21, 2019 2 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag Nike’s new basketball smart shoes are apparently bricking due to a faulty firmware update. Android users who bought the Nike Adapt BB are taking to the Google Play Store to complain. “Right shoe won’t connect after update and battery dies within a couple of hours,” reads one review for the Nike Adapt app, which connects to the shoe. “Broke my $350 shoes with a Nike update,” reads another review. It isn’t clear how widespread the problem is for Android users; currently, Google Play shows 18 largely poor reviews for the app, all related to the update issues. But those appeared right after the shoes launched over the weekend. Nike didn’t immediately respond […]

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