Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Slashdot

Syndicate content Slashdot
News for nerds, stuff that matters
Updated: 13 min 9 sec ago

Smartphone Maker HTC Explores Strategic Options

Thu, 24/08/2017 - 6:00pm
An anonymous reader shares a Bloomberg report: HTC, the beleaguered manufacturer that once ranked among the world's top smartphone makers, is exploring options that could range from separating off its virtual-reality business to a full sale of the company, according to people familiar with the matter. The Taiwanese firm is working with an adviser as it considers bringing in a strategic investor, selling or spinning off its Vive virtual reality headset business, the people said, asking not to be identified as the discussions are private. A full sale of HTC, which has businesses ranging from VR to headset manufacturing, is less likely because it doesn't fit obviously with one acquirer, one of the people said.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

AccuWeather Updates Its iOS App To Address Privacy Outcry

Thu, 24/08/2017 - 5:20pm
Taylor Hatmaker, writing for TechCrunch: Responding to privacy concerns, AccuWeather is out with a new version of its iOS app that removes a controversial data sharing behavior. Earlier this week, security researcher Will Strafach called attention to the practice in a post and users took to Twitter to announce their intention to dump the app in droves. "AccuWeather's app employed a Software Development Kit (SDK) from a third party vendor (Reveal Mobile) that inadvertently allowed Wi-Fi router data to be transmitted to this third-party vendor," the company wrote in a statement accompanying the app update. "Once we became aware of this situation we took immediate action to verify the operation and quickly disabled the SDK from the IOS app. Our next step was to update the IOS app and remove Reveal Mobile completely."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Samsung TV Owners Furious After Software Update Leaves Sets Unusable

Thu, 24/08/2017 - 4:40pm
Thousands of owners of high-end Samsung TVs have complained after a software update left their recently acquired $1,800 sets with blank, unusable screens. From a report: The Guardian has been contacted by a number of owners complaining that the TVs they bought -- in some cases just two weeks ago -- have been rendered useless by an upgrade sent out by Samsung a week ago. Others have been posting furious messages on the company's community boards complaining that their new TVs are no longer working. The company has told customers it is working to fix the problem but so far, seven days on, nothing has been forthcoming. The problem appears to affect the latest models as owners of older Samsung TVs are not reporting the issue. The report doesn't identify the models that have been affected. But we scanned the forums and found that at least UE49MU7070, UE49MU7070TXXU, and MU6409 models are affected.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

JavaScript Is Eating The World

Thu, 24/08/2017 - 4:00pm
An anonymous reader shares a report: Incase you haven't heard the news, JavaScript and NodeJS are single handedly eating the world of software. NodeJS is an Open Source server-side JavaScript environment based on the V8 JS rendering engine found in Google Chrome. Once only thought of as a "hipster" framework, NodeJS is fastly becoming one of the most commonly used language in building web applications and is beginning to find its way into the Enterprise. Netflix, Microsoft, PayPal, Uber, and IBM have adopted the popular "hipster" server-side JavaScript engine for use inside high traffic, high profile production projects. Java still powers the backend of Netflix, but all the stuff that the user sees comes from Node. In addition to Node, Netflix is also using ReactJS in their stack. PayPal too is moving away from Java and onto JavaScript and NodeJS for use in their web application platform. Uber has built its massive driver / rider matching system on Node.js Distributed Web Architecture. IBM has also embraced NodeJS as well. Even Microsoft has embraced NodeJS, offering direct integrations into their Azure Platform, releasing a wealth of tutorials targeted at Node and they have even announced plans to fork the project and build their own version of Node powered by their Edge Javascript engine instead of Chrome's V8.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

America Wasted $160 Million Trying To Get Afghanistan To Use E-Payments

Thu, 24/08/2017 - 3:20pm
An anonymous reader shares a report: The country might be home to America's longest-running war, but the US has spent more time, energy, and money trying to rebuild Afghanistan than it has spent killing the Taliban. American taxpayers send billions to Kabul every year and every year billions disappear into the pockets of Afghan government officials. Electronic payment systems would go a long way to solving that problem. The US Agency for International Development (USAID) wanted to do just that. The Agency figured if it could convince those at corruption hotspots, such as customs agents and border guards, to use e-payment methods, then it might curb the amount of cash those agents pocketed every day. Between 2009 and 2017, USAID spent $160 million and partnered American tech companies to set up e-pay in Afghanistan, according to a new report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR). The goal was to get the border guards trained and using the new methods, with an aim of 75 percent of all customs transactions paid electronically by 2017. As of today, less than one percent of those transactions are electronic, SIGAR reports. And custom officials loathe the system. "It's a very long and inefficient process and that's why people do not use this method," one Afghan custom official told SIGAR agents.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

You Can Help Purism Build the Secure Open Source Linux-based Librem 5 Smartphone

Thu, 24/08/2017 - 2:40pm
BrianFagioli writes: Thankfully, consumers are starting to wake up and become more aware of security and privacy, and some companies, such as Purism, are designing products to safeguard users. The company's laptops, for instance, run an open source Linux-based operating system, called "PureOS" with a focus on privacy. These machines even have hardware "kill switches" so you can physically disconnect a webcam or Wi-Fi card. Today, Purism announces that it is taking those same design philosophies and using them to build a new $599 smartphone called Librem 5. The planned phone will use the GNOME desktop environment and PureOS by default, but users can install different distros too. Sound good? Well you can help the company build it through crowdfunding. "Purism, the social purpose corporation which designs and produces popular privacy conscious hardware and software, has revealed its plans to build the world's first encrypted, open platform smartphone that will empower users to protect their digital identity in an increasingly unsafe mobile world. After 18 months of R&D to test hardware specifications and engage with one of the largest phone fabricators, Purism is opening a self-hosted crowdfunding campaign to gauge demand for the initial fabrication order and add the features most important to users," says Purism.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

India's Top Court Rules Privacy a Fundamental Right in Blow To Government

Thu, 24/08/2017 - 2:00pm
India's top court unanimously ruled on Thursday that individual privacy is a fundamental right, a verdict that will impact everything from the way companies handle personal data to the roll-out of the world's largest biometric ID card program. From a report: A nine-member bench of India's Supreme Court announced the ruling in a big setback for the Narendra Modi-led government, which argued that privacy was not a fundamental right protected by the constitution. The ruling comes against the backdrop of a large multi-party case against the mandatory use of national identity cards, known as Aadhaar, as an infringement of privacy. There have also been concerns over breaches of data. Critics say the ID cards link enough data to create a comprehensive profile of a person's spending habits, their friends and acquaintances, the property they own and a trove of other information. "This is a blow to the government, because the government had argued that people do not have a right to privacy," said Prashant Bhushan, a senior lawyer involved in the case.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

IRS Now Has a Tool To Unmask Bitcoin Tax Evaders

Thu, 24/08/2017 - 1:00pm
SonicSpike shares a report from The Daily Beast: You can use bitcoin. But you can't hide from the taxman. At least, that's the hope of the Internal Revenue Service, which has purchased specialist software to track those using bitcoin, according to a contract obtained by The Daily Beast. The document highlights how law enforcement isn't only concerned with criminals accumulating bitcoin from selling drugs or hacking targets, but also those who use the currency to hide wealth or avoid paying taxes. The IRS has claimed that only 802 people declared bitcoin losses or profits in 2015; clearly fewer than the actual number of people trading the cryptocurrency -- especially as more investors dip into the world of cryptocurrencies, and the value of bitcoin punches past the $4,000 mark. Maybe lots of bitcoin traders didn't realize the government expects to collect tax on their digital earnings, or perhaps some thought they'd be able to get away with stockpiling bitcoin thanks to the perception that the cryptocurrency is largely anonymous. "The purpose of this acquisition is to help us trace the movement of money through the bitcoin economy," a section of the contract reads. The Daily Beast obtained the document through the Freedom of Information Act. The contractor in this case is Chainalysis, a startup offering its "Reactor" tool to visualize, track, and analyze bitcoin transactions. Chainalysis' users include law enforcement agencies, banks, and regulatory entities. The software can follow bitcoin as it moves from one wallet to another, and eventually to an exchange where the bitcoin user will likely cash out into dollars or another currency. This is the point law enforcement could issue a subpoena to the exchange and figure out who is really behind the bitcoin.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Google Pulls 500+ Backdoored Apps With Over 100 Million Downloads From Google Play

Thu, 24/08/2017 - 10:00am
Orome1 shares a report from Help Net Security: Security researchers have identified over 500 apps on Google Play containing an advertising software development kit (SDK) called Igexin, which allowed covert download of spying plugins. The apps in question represent a wide selection of photo editors, Internet radio and travel apps, educational, health and fitness apps, weather apps, and so on, and were downloaded over 100 million times across the Android ecosystem. Lookout researchers did not name the apps that were found using the malicious SDK, but notified Google of the problem. The latter then proceeded to clean up house, either by removing the offending apps altogether, or by forcing app developers to upload an updated version with the invasive features (i.e. the Igexin SDK) removed. "Users and app developers have no control over what will be executed on a device after the remote API request is made. The only limitations on what could potentially be run are imposed by the Android permissions system," the researchers pointed out. "It is becoming increasingly common for innovative malware authors to attempt to evade detection by submitting innocuous apps to trusted app stores, then at a later time, downloading malicious code from a remote server. Igexin is somewhat unique because the app developers themselves are not creating the malicious functionality -- nor are they in control or even aware of the malicious payload that may subsequently execute. Instead, the invasive activity initiates from an Igexin-controlled server."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Elon Musk Posts First Photo of SpaceX's New Spacesuit

Thu, 24/08/2017 - 7:00am
Early Wednesday morning, SpaceX founder Elon Musk posted a photo of the spacesuit that will be used by astronauts flying aboard the company's Dragon spacecraft, perhaps as early as next year. Ars Technica reports: In his Instagram post, Musk added that this suit was not a mock-up but rather a fully functional unit. "Already tested to double vacuum pressure," he wrote. "Was incredibly hard to balance aesthetics and function. Easy to do either separately." (Double vacuum pressure simply means the suit was probably inflated to twice the pressure of sea level and then put into a vacuum chamber.) Musk gave no other technical information about the suit. Most strikingly, it is white, in contrast to the very blue spacesuits unveiled by Boeing in January. These are not, strictly speaking, "space suits." Rather, they are more properly flight suits designed to be worn during the ride to space and again on the ride back down to Earth. They have a limited time in which they can operate in a full vacuum and are not intended for spacewalks.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.