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CIA Plans To Replace Spies With AI

Slashdot - Tue, 24/04/2018 - 23:20
Human spies could soon be relics of the past. Dawn Meyerriecks, CIA's deputy director for technology development, recently told an audience at an intelligence conference in Florida that CIA was adapting to a new landscape where its primary adversary is a machine, not a foreign agent. From a report: Meyerriecks, speaking to CNN after the conference, said other countries have relied on AI to track enemy agents for years. She went on to explain the difficulties encountered by current CIA spies trying to live under an assumed identity in the era of digital tracking and social media, indicating the modern world is becoming an inhospitable environment to human spies. But the CIA isn't about to give up. America's oldest spy agency is transforming from the kind of outfit that sends people around the globe to gather information, to the type that uses computers to accomplish the same task more efficiently. This transition from humans to computers is something the CIA has spent more than 30 years preparing for.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

More Than 1 Million Kids Had Their Identities Stolen in 2017

Slashdot - Tue, 24/04/2018 - 22:40
More than 1 million children were victims of identity fraud in 2017, a new study from Javelin Strategy & Research found, costing a total of $2.6 billion. From a report: With limited financial history or existing account activity, children are the most likely to become victims of new-account fraud, the research showed. These attacks can occur before children even become active internet users, with some two-thirds of victims being under the age of eight. The overall numbers are likely even higher, said Al Pascual, research director at Javelin said, since their study relied on parents and guardians reporting cases of identity theft. In many cases, the parent or another relative may be the one using a child's identity to start a new account.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Suspicious Event Hijacks Amazon Traffic For 2 hours, Steals Cryptocurrency

Slashdot - Tue, 24/04/2018 - 22:00
Amazon lost control of some of its widely used cloud services for two hours on Tuesday morning when hackers exploited a known Internet-protocol weakness that allowed them to redirect traffic to rogue destinations, according to media reports. ArsTechnica: The attackers appeared to use one server masquerading as cryptocurrency website MyEtherWallet.com to steal digital coins from unwitting end users. They may have targeted other customers of Amazon's Route 53 service as well. The incident, which started around 6am California time, hijacked roughly 1,300 IP addresses, Oracle-owned Internet Intelligence said on Twitter. The malicious redirection was caused by fraudulent routes that were announced by Columbus, Ohio-based eNet, a large Internet service provider that is referred to as autonomous system 10297. Once in place, the eNet announcement caused some of its peers to send traffic over the same unauthorized routes. [...] Tuesday's event may also have ties to Russia, because MyEtherWallet traffic was redirected to a server in that country, security researcher Kevin Beaumont said in a blog post. The redirection came by rerouting domain name system traffic and using a server hosted by Chicago-based Equinix to perform a man-in-the-middle attack. MyEtherWallet officials said the hijacking was used to send end users to a phishing site. Participants in this cryptocurrency forum appear to discuss the scam site. Further reading: Hacker Hijacks DNS Server of MyEtherWallet to Steal $160,000 (BleepingComputer).

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Obsidian outlines first three Pillars of Eternity 2 post-launch expansions

Eurogamer - Tue, 24/04/2018 - 21:28

Obsidian has detailed the first three post-launch DLC expansions for its seafaring RPG sequel Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire, which arrives on PC on May 8th.

Each DLC builds on Pillars of Eternity 2's swashbuckling nautical core, and sees players exploring strange new islands as they voyage further across the tropical Deadfire Archipelago. According to Obsidian, every expansion will introduce "new quests that will add to the lore of the Deadfire, new areas to discover, new secrets to reveal, and a whole host of new characters to meet and challenges to overcome".

First out of the gate is Beast Of Winter, which is currently scheduled for release in July. This sees your party embark on an adventure to a distant island where a doomsday cult hides a powerful secret. Eventually, says Obsidian, your quest will lead to The Beyond, "a mysterious dimension populated by ancient souls and filled with devilish challenges".

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Categories: Video Games

Patent 'Death Squad' System Upheld by US Supreme Court

Slashdot - Tue, 24/04/2018 - 21:20
The U.S. Supreme Court upheld an administrative review system that has helped Google, Apple and other companies invalidate hundreds of issued patents. From a report: The justices, voting 7-2, said Tuesday a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office review board that critics call a patent "death squad" wasn't unconstitutionally wielding powers that belong to the courts. Silicon Valley companies have used the system as a less-expensive way to ward off demands for royalties, particularly from patent owners derided as "trolls" because they don't use their patents to make products. Drugmakers and independent inventors complain that it unfairly upends what they thought were established property rights. "It came down to this: Is the patent office fixing its own mistakes or is the government taking property?" said Wayne Stacy, a patent lawyer with Baker Botts. "They came down on the side of the patent office fixing its own mistakes." The ruling caused shares to drop in companies whose main source of revenue -- their patents -- are under threat from challenges. VirnetX, which is trying to protect almost $1 billion in damages it won against Apple, dropped as much as 12 percent. The patent office has said its patents are invalid in a case currently before an appeals court.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Facebook Has Hosted Stolen Identities and Social Security Numbers for Years

Slashdot - Tue, 24/04/2018 - 20:40
Cybercriminals have posted sensitive personal information, such as credit card and social security numbers, of dozens of people on Facebook and have advertised entire databases of private information on the social platform, Motherboard reports. Some of these posts have been left up on Facebook for years, and the internet giant only acted on these posts after the publication told it about them. From the report: As of Monday, there were several public posts on Facebook that advertised dozens of people's Social Security Numbers and other personal data. These weren't very hard to find. It was as easy as a simple Google search. Most of the posts appeared to be ads made by criminals who were trying to sell personal information. Some of the ads are several years old, and were posted as "public" on Facebook, meaning anyone can see them, not just the author's friends. Independent security researcher Justin Shafer alerted Motherboard to these posts Monday.

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Senate Confirms Trump's Pick for NSA, Cyber Command

Slashdot - Tue, 24/04/2018 - 20:00
An anonymous reader shares a report: The Senate Tuesday quietly confirmed President Donald Trump's nominee to lead the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command. U.S. Army Cyber Command chief Lt. Gen. Paul Nakasone was unanimously confirmed by voice vote to serve as the "dual-hat" leader of both organizations. The two have shared a leader since the Pentagon established Cyber Command in 2009. He will replace retiring Navy Adm. Mike Rogers after a nearly four-year term. The Senate Intelligence and Armed Services committees both previously approved Nakasone's nomination by voice vote.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

PC players can get Dark Souls Remastered half-price if they own the original

Eurogamer - Tue, 24/04/2018 - 19:37

Bandai Namco has confirmed that owners of the original Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition on PC can get 50% off Dark Souls Remastered when it launches on May 25th.

The offer, which Bandai Namco is calling a "loyalty discount", marks something of a U-turn for the publisher. In January, a discount was briefly spotted on the official Remastered pre-order page, but Bandai Namco denied its validity, telling PC Gamer that existing Dark Souls owners on PC would see no savings at launch.

The main caveat regarding Bandai Namco's newly confirmed discount appears to be that it's only available through Steam. You'll need to have the original Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition in your Steam library when you purchase Dark Souls Remastered in order to get 50% off.

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Categories: Video Games

Ask Slashdot: Do We Need a New Word For Hacking?

Slashdot - Tue, 24/04/2018 - 19:10
goombah99 writes: Hacking and Hackers get a bum rap. Headline scream "Every Nitendo switch can be hacked." But that's good right? Just like farmers hacking their tractors or someone re-purposing a talking teddy bear. On the other hand, remote hacking a Intel processor backdoor or looting medical data base, that are also described as hacking, are ill-motivated. It seems like we need words with different connotations for hacking. One for things you should definitely do, like program an Arduino or teddy bear. One for things that are pernicious. And finally one for things that are disputably good/bad such as hacking DRM protected appliances you own. What viral sounds terms and their nuances would you suggest? Editor's note: We suggest reading this New Yorker piece "A Short History of 'Hack'", and watching this Defcon talk by veteran journalist Steven Levy on the creativeness and chutzpah of the early hackers.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Facebook Has Considered Profiling Its Users' Personalities and Using the Information To Target Ads

Slashdot - Tue, 24/04/2018 - 18:30
An anonymous reader shares a report: A patent filed by the social network describes how personality characteristics, including emotional stability, could be determined from people's messages and status updates. The firm is currently embroiled in a privacy scandal over the use of its data by a political consultancy. Facebook says it has never used the personality test in its products. The patent, first filed in 2012, is in the names of Michael Nowak and Dean Eckles. Mr Nowak has worked for Facebook for 10 years, while Prof Eckles now teaches at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The patent has been updated twice, most recently in 2016. The BBC has seen emails from Mr Eckles and other Facebook staff to University of Cambridge psychologists in which they discuss analysis of data to infer personality traits, and talk of using such research to improve the product for users and advertisers.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Camp Triggerfish returns tomorrow in Splatoon 2's massive new 3.0 update

Eurogamer - Tue, 24/04/2018 - 18:27

Nintendo has announced that Splatoon 2's major new 3.0 update will launch tomorrow in the UK, bringing with it more fashion options, a new map, additional songs, plus a huge variety of tweaks, changes, and bug fixes.

In terms of specifics, much of 3.0 will remain a mystery until the update launches tomorrow. However, Nintendo's anticipatory patch notes promise over 100 pieces of new and returning gear for purchase in Inkopolis Square, two new songs for some extra aural variety during multiplayer games, the new X Rank for Ranked matches, and the appearance of a familiar face in solo mode's Tentakeel Outpost if certain conditions are met.

Additionally, Splatoon 2's 3.0 update will introduce four new weapon load-outs for the Foil Squeezer, New Squiffer, Glooga Dualies Deco, and the Neo Splash-o-Matic, and marks the return of the original Splatoon's excellent Camp Triggerfish map.

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Categories: Video Games

Far From Being a Utilitarian Afterthought, an Astonishing Number of Design Choices Go Into Pagination

Slashdot - Tue, 24/04/2018 - 18:00
An anonymous reader shares a report: In his landmark 1931 book An Essay on Typography, the British typographer Eric Gill discusses everything from the proper place for the tail of an 'R' to terminate to which type of word press might best serve the amateur typographer. He casts the printed word as sacred. But there's one thing -- a silent, steady workhorse found in nearly every book -- that Gill fails to address: the lowly page number. The functional role of the page number is simple: it provides order and sequence to a text. And while it is a supremely utilitarian design element, more thought is put into it than you might imagine. Should it go at the top or the bottom of the page? In the right or left margin? Or in the center? These are all conscious and deliberate choices made by designers.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

How Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is improved on Switch

Eurogamer - Tue, 24/04/2018 - 17:25

Nintendo's strategy of remastering and re-releasing its first party Wii U back catalogue continues to pay off handsomely, with Retro Studios' Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze making the transition across to Switch with some excellent results. It's a game well worth resurrecting - with its potent mix of fantastic controls, great level design and a memorable David Wise soundtrack, it's a personal favourite I've continued to play years on from its initial release - but how does it stack up on Switch and what enhancements and refinements have been made?

Well, it turns out that this is a rather straightforward port with a few minor tweaks and changes designed to take advantage of the Switch's more capable hardware. It's a more polished, streamlined experience all around, with the stand-out improvement coming from rendering resolution, where the Wii U's native 720p is increased to full 1080p when playing docked on Switch.

The visual design works well at 720p and the bump to 1080p allows smaller details to shine but it might surprise you how subtle the jump in pixel count can appear in many scenes. Textures are certainly sharper on Switch, but the fixed perspective helps minimise image noise and aliasing on the Wii U. As for portable mode, our pixel counts reveal a resolution in the area of 1152x648.

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Categories: Video Games

Atlanta Projected To Spend At Least $2.6 Million on Ransomware Recovery

Slashdot - Tue, 24/04/2018 - 17:25
Atlanta is setting aside more than $2.6 million on recovery efforts stemming from a ransomware attack, which crippled a sizable part of the city's online services. ZDNet reports: The city was hit by the notorious SamSam ransomware, which exploits a deserialization vulnerability in Java-based servers. The ransom was set at around $55,000 worth of bitcoin, a digital cryptocurrency that in recent weeks has wildy fluctated in price. But the ransom was never paid, said Atlanta city spokesperson Michael Smith in an email. Between the ransomware attack and the deadline to pay, the payment portal was pulled offline by the ransomware attacker. According to newly published emergency procurement figures, the city is projected to spend as much as 50 times that amount in response to the cyberattack. Between March 22 and April 2, the city budgeted $2,667,328 in incident response, recovery, and crisis management.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Spotify Wants More Paid Subscribers, So It Has Launched a New App To Give Away More Music For Free

Slashdot - Tue, 24/04/2018 - 16:45
Spotify on Tuesday announced a new redesigned app for free customers, its first major change to the free tier in four years, as it attempts to lure more customers into buying its subscription service. Free listeners will now get on-demand access to 15 playlists; they can play any song they want in those playlists and are no longer stuck in a world of shuffled playback. From a report: The idea: If people get more stuff without paying, they are more likely to end up paying in the long run. The new mobile app gives free users the ability to play more songs on demand, from 15 pre-populated playlists -- some of which are personalized for individual users, like its popular "Discover Weekly" feature. Spotify has always let users listen to on-demand music for free via an ad-supported option -- it's the main thing that set the company apart from other streaming services in the past. But it has limited full, free access to its library of songs to desktop users, and limited what free users could get to on its mobile app. Today's move doesn't remove those limits entirely, but gives users more opportunity to sample. Paid users get full access to Spotify's entire catalog, on-demand, without ads. The new app also offers users the ability to stream songs with lower data usage. The company says users can save up to 75% of mobile data with data saver mode while streaming on 3G.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Wolfenstein 2 shoots up Nintendo Switch in June

Eurogamer - Tue, 24/04/2018 - 16:18

Wolfenstein 2 comes out on Nintendo Switch on 29th June, Bethesda has announced.

The Switch version of the bloody first-person shooter was handled by Panic Button with guidance from main Wolfenstein developer MachineGames. Bethesda said it includes the complete, uncensored Wolfenstein 2 experience.

Below is the first official gameplay trailer showing Wolfenstein 2 running on the Nintendo Switch. It looks pretty good!

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Categories: Video Games

Get three months of PS Plus free with a 12-month membership

Eurogamer - Tue, 24/04/2018 - 16:13

In a return for one of Amazon UK's most popular PlayStation Plus offers, you can currently grab a 12-month membership and get three months for free along with it. That's 15 months of PS Plus for £49.99 for the time being.

As mentioned, this isn't the first time the 15-month offer has appeared, but it has been notably absent for the last few months. If you've been without PlayStation Plus for a while, it's a good time to jump aboard. If you happen to be a member already, however, you can pick one of these up and add it onto your existing membership. Doing so won't cancel out any of your existing membership, it'll just add 15 months on the end for the price of 12.

This is, however, the standard price for PS Plus after Sony's price bump. If you'd rather skip the extra three months and grab a 12-month subscription on its own, you can grab one of those for £35.99 when you use the code APR10 at checkout over at 365Games. That's a limited-time offer as well, ending Thursday, 26th April.

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Categories: Video Games

Scientists Plan Huge European AI Hub To Compete With US

Slashdot - Tue, 24/04/2018 - 16:10
Leading scientists have drawn up plans for a vast multinational European institute devoted to world-class artificial intelligence (AI) research in a desperate bid to nurture and retain top talent in Europe. From a report: The new institute would be set up for similar reasons as Cern, the particle physics lab near Geneva, which was created after the second world war to rebuild European physics and reverse the brain drain of the brightest and best scientists to the US. Named the European Lab for Learning and Intelligent Systems, or Ellis, the proposed AI institute would have major centres in a handful of countries, the UK included, with each employing hundreds of computer engineers, mathematicians and other scientists with the express aim of keeping Europe at the forefront of AI research. In an open letter that urges governments to act, the scientists describe how Europe has not kept up with the US and China, where the vast majority of leading AI firms and universities are based. The letter adds that while a few "research hotspots" still exist in Europe, "virtually all of the top people in those places are continuously being pursued for recruitment by US companies."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Battle royale game H1Z1 hits PS4 in May

Eurogamer - Tue, 24/04/2018 - 15:57

Watch out, Fortnite! A new battle royale game is coming out on PlayStation 4 - and it's free-to-play.

H1Z1, which developer Daybreak Games calls "the original standalone battle royale game", launches on PS4 in open beta form on 22nd May as a free-to-play title.

Producer Terrence Yee said Daybreak has reimagined the game, which is already out on PC, to "accentuate the essentials of battle royale that make the genre so exciting to watch and play". There are new weapons, a new weapon progression system and a revamped user interface.

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Categories: Video Games

Switch hacked: unpatchable exploit is a security nightmare for Nintendo

Eurogamer - Tue, 24/04/2018 - 15:35

Nintendo Switch has been hacked, with two similar exploits released in the last 24 hours following a complete dump of the console's boot ROM. The hacks are hardware-based in nature and cannot be patched by Nintendo. The only way forward for the platform holder in fully securing the console will be to revise the Nvidia Tegra X1 processor itself, patching out the boot ROM bug. In the short term, homebrew code execution is possible and a full, touch-enabled version of Linux with 3D acceleration support is now available.

The exploits have been delivered by veteran console hackers fail0verflow with its ShofEL2 release, and the Fusée Gelée hack from Kate Temik, which is fully documented here. According to the hackers, the nature of the exploit was fully disclosed to Google, Nintendo and Nvidia some time ago. fail0verflow was set to release its exploit on 25th April, but brought it forward once the boot ROM dump leaked.

"Choosing whether to release an exploit or not is a difficult choice," fail0verflow wrote in a blog post accompanying the release of its exploit. "Given our experiences with past consoles, we've been wary of releasing vulnerability details or exploits for fear of them being used primarily for piracy rather than homebrew.

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Categories: Video Games
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