Geek

To Foil Hackers, 'Morpheus' Chip Can Change Its Code In the Blink of An Eye

Slashdot - Thu, 07/18/2019 - 03:00
Todd Austin, a professor at the University of Michigan, is working on an approach known as Morpheus that aims to frustrate hackers trying to gain control of microchips by presenting them with a rapidly changing target. At a conference in Detroit this week organized by the U.S. Defense Department's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Austin described how the prototype Morpheus chip works. MIT Technology Review reports: The aim is to make it incredibly difficult for hackers to exploit key software that helps govern the chip's operation. Morpheus does this by repeatedly randomizing elements of the code that attackers need access to in order to compromise the hardware. This can be achieved without disrupting the software applications that are powered by the processor. Austin has been able to get the chip's code "churning" to happen once every 50 milliseconds -- way faster than needed to frustrate the most powerful automated hacking tools. So even if hackers find a vulnerability, the information needed to exploit it disappears in the blink of an eye. There's a cost to all this: the technology causes a slight drop in performance and requires somewhat bigger chips. The military may accept this trade-off in return for greater security on the battlefield, but it could limit Morpheus's appeal to businesses and consumers. Austin said a prototype has already resisted every known variant of a widely-used hacking technique known as a control-flow attack, which does things like tampering with the way a processor handles memory in order to allow hackers to sneak in malware. More tests lie ahead. A team of U.S. national security experts will soon begin probing the prototype chip to see if they can compromise its defenses, and Austin also plans to post some of Morpheus's code online so that other researchers can try to find flaws in it, too.

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20190717

Baker-Watts - Thu, 07/18/2019 - 01:06
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'The Raspberry Pi 4 Needs a Fan'

Slashdot - Wed, 07/17/2019 - 23:30
Author and programmer Jeff Geerling explains in a blog post why the new Raspberry Pi 4 needs a fan. Unlike previous Pis that didn't require a fan or heatsink to avoid CPU throttling, the Pi 4 is a different beast and "pretty much demands a fan," writes Geerling. "Not only does the CPU get appreciably hot even under normal load, there are a number of other parts of the board that heat up to the point they are uncomfortable to touch." After 5 minutes at idle, he recorded the CPU/System-on-a-Chip (SoC) was around 60C, and it climbed to the 60-70C range when using the USB ports. "[I]magine if you're truly using the Pi 4 as a desktop replacement, with at least one external USB 3.0 hard drive attached, WiFi connected and transferring large amounts of data, a USB keyboard and mouse, a few browser windows open (the average website these days might as well be an AAA video game with how resource-intense it is), a text editor, and a music player," writes Geerling. "This amount of load is enough to cause the CPU to throttle in less than 10 minutes." So, Geerling did what any programmer and DIYer would do and decided to add a fan himself to the official case -- and in addition to the blog post describing the process, he made a 22-minute-long video showing you what he did. From the post: Without any ventilation, it's kind of a little plastic oven inside the Pi 4 case. A heat sink might help in some tiny way, but that heat has nowhere to go! So I decided to follow the lead of Redditor u/CarbyCarberson and put a fan in the top cover. [...] After installing the fan, I booted the Pi and ran "stress --cpu 4" and let it go for an hour. The entire time, the CPU's temperature stayed at or under 60C (140F), a full 20C lower than the throttling point. There are some other options which may be even easier than modifying the official case, like the Fan Shim from Pimoroni or purchasing a 3rd party case with a fan built in. But this option was easy enough and all I needed to complete the project was a $4 fan and a $7 hole saw drill bit (which I can use for other projects in the future).

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California Awards $70 Million To State Schools To Replace 200 Polluting Diesel School Buses With All-Electric Buses

Slashdot - Wed, 07/17/2019 - 22:03
The California Energy Commission has awarded nearly $70 million to state schools to replace more than 200 diesel school buses with new, all-electric school buses. Electrek reports: The commission approved the funding this week. A total of $89.8 million has now been earmarked for new electric buses at schools in 26 California counties, as the commission's School Bus Replacement Program works toward this goal. A study published in Economics of Education Review last month showed diesel retrofits had positive results on both respiratory health and test scores. Eliminating emissions from these buses completely will do even more to protect children from dangerous emissions while cutting air pollution. The new buses will eliminate nearly 57,000 pounds of nitrogen oxides, and nearly 550 pounds of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) emissions annually. The exact number of buses going to California school districts is unclear -- the energy commission only says "more than 200." If the entirety of the $70 million went to just 200 buses, that'd be $350,000 per bus. But while the exact cost of each bus is unknown, the commission does estimate that "schools will save nearly $120,000 in fuel and maintenance costs per bus over 20 years." Some estimates have noted that electric school buses tend to cost about $120,000 more than diesel buses -- if that's the case here, the price will be equal in the end, with added health benefits. Funding for the electric buses is supplied by the voter-approved California Clean Energy Jobs Act, and the commission's Clean Transportation Program will provide the charging infrastructure to support the buses.

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Oakland Becomes Third US City To Ban Facial Recognition

Slashdot - Wed, 07/17/2019 - 21:25
Oakland, California has followed San Francisco and Somerville, Massachusetts in banning the use of facial recognition in public spaces. Motherboard reports: A city ordinance passed Tuesday night which prohibits the city of Oakland from "acquiring, obtaining, retaining, requesting, or accessing" facial recognition technology, which it defines as "an automated or semi-automated process that assists in identifying or verifying an individual based on an individual's face." The ordinance amends a 2018 law which requires any city staff member to get approval from the chair of Oakland's Privacy Advisory Commission before "seeking or soliciting funds" for surveillance technology. State and federal funding for surveillance technology must also be approved by the chair, per the ordinance. According to a public memo by Rebecca Kaplan, Oakland City Council President, the ban was instituted on the basis that facial recognition is often inaccurate, lacks established ethical standards, is invasive in nature, and has a high potential for government abuse.

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iPhone loyalty falls to all-time low, new report suggests

9to5Mac - Wed, 07/17/2019 - 21:07

A new survey today claims that iPhone loyalty has fallen to an all-time low. The survey, conducted by BankMyCell, says that iPhone retention is down 15 percent over the last year.

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TurboTax Started Charging the Disabled, Unemployed and Students To Make Up For Trump Tax Law

Slashdot - Wed, 07/17/2019 - 20:45
The 2017 tax overhaul directly threatened the lucrative business of Intuit, the maker of TurboTax, so it pushed students, the disabled, and unemployed to a paid tier to make up for the lost profits. ProPublica reports: Although the company draws in customers with the promise of a "free" product, its fortunes depend on getting as many customers as possible to pay. It had been regularly charging $100 or more for returns that included itemized deductions for mortgage interest and charitable donations. Under the new law, many wealthier taxpayers would no longer be filing that form, qualifying them to use the company's free software. Intuit executives came up with a way to preserve the company's hefty profit margins: It began charging more low-income people. Which ones? Individuals with disabilities, the unemployed and people who owe money on student loans, all of whom use tax forms that TurboTax previously included for free. The shift was described to ProPublica by two people familiar with the process. Because the new law almost doubled the standard deduction, Intuit faced a loss of users of its Deluxe edition. Most of the millions of Americans who would no longer be itemizing their deductions are relatively affluent -- making more than $75,000 a year -- but they would now potentially be eligible to use the Free Edition. In response, the company bumped a number of forms typically used by lower-income filers, which were previously available in the Free Edition, into paying editions. "They were always supposed to be customer focused, customer first," one former staffer said. But the income levels of the groups that were being driven to paid products "was never really considered." One of these forms was for a tax credit that goes exclusively to poor taxpayers who are elderly or get disability benefits. Another is used by low- to middle-income households that receive a credit for putting money in a retirement account. A third is used by taxpayers who collected unemployment benefits.

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Making the Case For a Microsoft Surface Phone That Runs Android

Slashdot - Wed, 07/17/2019 - 20:03
Zac Bowden from Windows Central makes the case for why Microsoft may want to make a Surface phone that runs Android. An anonymous reader shares an excerpt from the report: While a Surface Phone running Android would never sell to the quantity that Samsung smartphones do (or at least not a first- or second-generation phone), Microsoft could utilize the Surface brand to showcase the best of Microsoft's Android efforts all in one place, just like it has done for Windows PCs. I'm picturing a Surface-branded, Microsoft-built smartphone that comes with Microsoft Launcher, Edge, Office, Your Phone phone-mirroring integration, and more, out of the box. In fact, that's one of four unique selling points that a Surface Phone running Android could have: -- Showcase the best of Microsoft's efforts on Android. -- Seamless integration with Windows PCs using Your Phone. -- Provide the best security and update support on Android. -- Brand recognition that can rival Apple and Samsung. That last point is more for Microsoft fans, but the first three are important. A Surface Phone running Android would be the only smartphone out there that's always guaranteed to work with all of Your Phone's features. I have a wide array of Android smartphones, yet 90 percent of them don't support all of Your Phone's features on Windows 10. Screen mirroring is only available on select devices, and while that may improve, there's no guarantee your smartphone will ever get it, or if it'll work well. Microsoft could also provide enhanced features, such as the ability to take cellular phone calls on your PC directly from your Surface Phone. It could also build out dedicated Phone and SMS apps that sync up with the Messages app on your PC, instead of having to relay it through the Your Phone app. There's so much more potential when you build your own Android phone.

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Google's Project Dragonfly 'Terminated' In China

Slashdot - Wed, 07/17/2019 - 19:20
An executive at Google said the company's plan to launch a censored search engine in China has been "terminated." The project was reportedly put on hold last year but rumors that it remained active persisted. From a report: "We have terminated Project Dragonfly," Google executive Karan Bhatia told the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. Buzzfeed, which reported the new comments, said it was the first public confirmation that Dragonfly had ended. A spokesman for Google later confirmed to the site that Google currently had no plans to launch search in China and that no work was being done to that end.

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Instagram expands change that removes like counts, Twitter starts testing ‘Hide Replies’

9to5Mac - Wed, 07/17/2019 - 18:42

Earlier this year, Instagram announced that it was testing a design shift that would hide the number of likes on posts. Now, the company is expanding that design change to additional countries.

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Netflix Stock Tumbles After US Subscribers Drop For the First Time Ever

Slashdot - Wed, 07/17/2019 - 18:40
Netflix saw its first-ever decline in paid U.S. subscribers in the second quarter, losing 126,000 U.S. users when Wall Street was expecting 352,000 domestic adds. Barron's reports: The slight drop in Netflix's U.S. subscriber base, combined with fewer-than expected international adds in the second quarter, sent the company's stock tumbling over 10% in after-hours trading Wednesday. The streaming company still reported better-than-expected earnings, but investors tend to focus on its subscriber trends and not much else. The company said it sees a return to subscriber growth in the third quarter. For the second quarter, Netflix reported 60 cents in earnings per share, versus the 56 cents analysts had been expecting. Revenue came in at $4.9 billion, about equal to the consensus estimate. That compares with 85 cents in earnings per share on $3.9 billion in sales in the same period last year. Second-quarter net income was $270.7 million. But Netflix's subscriber numbers tend to be the most important metric for investors, and Netflix fell short where it mattered. It added 2.8 million net new international subscribers but lost 126,000 U.S. users in the second quarter. Wall Street had been expecting 352,000 domestic and 4.8 million international adds, and Netflix had guided to a total of 5.0 million new subscribers. For the third quarter, Netflix "calls for $1.04 in EPS, $5.3 billion in revenue, and for user numbers to return to growth to the tune of 800,000 new domestic subscribers and 6.2 million international subscribers," the report says. "That compares with 89 cents in EPS on $4 billion in sales in the same period last year, when Netflix also added 1.1 million new domestic subscribers and 5.9 million international subscribers."

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Amazon Faces Antitrust Probe In Europe Over Use of Merchant Data

Slashdot - Wed, 07/17/2019 - 18:03
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Wall Street Journal: Amazon faces a formal European Union antitrust investigation (Warning: source paywalled; alternative source) into its dealings with merchants that sell goods on its site, marking an expansion of a multi-pronged regulatory push that has ensnared other U.S. tech giants like Facebook and Google. The European Commission, the EU's top antitrust enforcer, said Wednesday that its investigation will examine whether Amazon is abusing its dual role as a marketplace where independent sellers can offer products and as a retailer of products in its own right. In particular, the probe will study whether Amazon is using nonpublic data from independent merchants to compete unfairly against them. Investigators will also examine what data Amazon uses to pick a seller as the default option for a given product when a user clicks the "buy" button -- and whether Amazon has an unfair advantage to be designated the default for products it sells. The probe could eventually lead to formal charges, fines and orders for the company to change business practices, but it could also be dropped.

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Daily Deals: $7 USB-C cables, $30 smart scale, $49 Roku 4K streaming stick, and more

iDownloadBlog - Wed, 07/17/2019 - 17:37

Welcome to our Daily Deals column, where we round up the best tech deals from around the web. Here you'll find discounts on everything from Apple products to accessories, video games and much more. But you better hurry, these prices won't be around forever!
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Netflix reports drop in US subscribers as competition from Apple and Disney looms

9to5Mac - Wed, 07/17/2019 - 17:36

Netflix today reported its second quarter earnings for 2019, and has subsequently dropped over 10 percent in after-hours trading. Netflix reported global net new subscribers of 2.7 million, far below its guidance of 5 million. This comes as Netflix will soon face increased competition from the likes of Apple, HBO, and Disney.

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Firefox To Warn When Saved Logins are Found in Data Breaches

Slashdot - Wed, 07/17/2019 - 17:25
Starting in Firefox 70, Mozilla aims to have the browser report when any of your saved logins were found in data breaches. This will be done through their partnership with the Have I Been Pwned data breach site. From a report: Mozilla is slowly integrating their independent Firefox Monitor service and the new Firefox Lockwise password manager directly into Firefox. Mozilla is also considering premium services based around these features in the future. As part of this integration, Firefox will scan the saved login names and passwords and see if they were exposed in a data breach listed on Have I been Pwned. If one is found, Firefox will alert the user and prompt them to change their password. This new feature will only work, though, for data breaches that exposed passwords and when the password was saved prior to an associated data breach.

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9to5Mac Daily: July 17, 2019 – Apple supply chain secrecy, iOS 13 beta 4

9to5Mac - Wed, 07/17/2019 - 16:52

Listen to a recap of the top stories of the day from 9to5Mac. 9to5Mac Daily is available on iTunes and Apple’s Podcasts app, Stitcher, TuneIn, Google Play, or through our dedicated RSS feed for Overcast and other podcast players.

Sponsored by Ditto: Try Ditto for free to let anyone share their screen—Mac, Windows, Android, Chrome and iOS to Apple TVs.


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Delta, Alaska, and American Airlines Have All Been Sued Over Their Uniforms.

Slashdot - Wed, 07/17/2019 - 16:45
Rashes, blisters, and hair loss have all been reported. So has vomiting, migraines, and shortness of breath. All of these -- and more -- are symptoms reported by flight attendants after their airlines got new uniforms. But no one knows why. From a report: Delta is the latest airline to have flight attendants report health issues possibly related to their uniforms, and employees at the airline filed a lawsuit in May against the manufacturer, Lands' End. But flight attendants have been battling health issues that have appeared after an airline instituted new uniforms for years. And for years, airlines have said their uniforms are safe. Meanwhile, flight attendants and others are working to discover the cause of their symptoms and the identity and total number of chemicals present in their uniforms, all of which can be difficult to ascertain. Until the cause can be identified -- or until airlines start listening to employees and moving quickly after their complaints -- it's likely employees will continue to face symptoms. And it's likely that flight attendants will keep heading to court, where they've historically needed to go to get policy changed by their employers. The problem was first reported after employees at Alaska Airlines got new uniforms toward the end of 2010 and beginning of 2011. Flight attendants began to report rashes and eye irritation, and documented hives, blisters, and scaly patches, according to a 2012 National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) report looking into the issue. In 2013, flight attendants at Alaska Airlines filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the uniforms, Twin Hill, and the airline recalled the uniforms in 2014. In October 2016, Twin Hill won the lawsuit, with the court claiming there was no reliable evidence the injuries were caused by the uniforms.

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Roundup: World Emoji Day Awards, illustrated history of emojis, Ford’s pickup truck emoji, more

9to5Mac - Wed, 07/17/2019 - 16:42

It’s World Emoji Day and lots of individuals and companies alike are celebrating. Follow along for a look the results of the World Emoji Day Awards, an illustrated history of emojis, how Ford got the pickup truck emoji to be accepted by the Unicode Consortium, and more.

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Apple teases ‘Snoopy in Space’ ahead of Apple TV+ launch

iDownloadBlog - Wed, 07/17/2019 - 16:40

Apple is teasing its upcoming animated "Snoopy in Space" ahead of its launch on Apple TV+.
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The $20B Plan To Power Singapore With Australian Solar

Slashdot - Wed, 07/17/2019 - 16:06
The desert outside Tennant Creek, deep in the Northern Territory, is not the most obvious place to build and transmit Singapore's future electricity supply. Though few in the southern states are yet to take notice, a group of Australian developers are betting that will change. From a report: If they are right, it could have far-reaching consequences for Australia's energy industry and what the country sells to the world. Known as Sun Cable, it is promised to be the world's largest solar farm. If developed as planned, a 10-gigawatt-capacity array of panels will be spread across 15,000 hectares and be backed by battery storage to ensure it can supply power around the clock. Overhead transmission lines will send electricity to Darwin and plug into the NT grid. But the bulk would be exported via a high-voltage direct-current submarine cable snaking through the Indonesian archipelago to Singapore. The developers say it will be able to provide one-fifth of the island city-state's electricity needs, replacing its increasingly expensive gas-fired power. After 18 months in development, the $20bn Sun Cable development had a quiet coming out party in the Top End three weeks ago at a series of events held to highlight the NT's solar potential. The idea has been embraced by the NT government and attracted the attention of the software billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes, who is considering involvement through his Grok Ventures private investment firm. The NT plan follows a similarly ambitious proposal for the Pilbara, where another group of developers are working on an even bigger wind and solar hybrid plant to power local industry and develop a green hydrogen manufacturing hub. On Friday, project developer Andrew Dickson announced the scale of the proposed Asian Renewable Energy Hub had grown by more than a third, from 11GW to 15GW. "To our knowledge, it's the largest wind-solar hybrid in the world," he says.

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