Geeky Stuff

McDonald's Hit by Data Breach

Slashdot - Fri, 11/06/2021 - 17:30
McDonald's said hackers stole some data from its systems in markets including the U.S., South Korea and Taiwan, in another example of cybercriminals infiltrating high-profile global companies. From a report: The burger chain said Friday that it recently hired external consultants to investigate unauthorized activity on an internal security system, prompted by a specific incident in which the unauthorized access was cut off a week after it was identified, McDonald's said. The investigators discovered that company data had been breached in markets including the U.S., South Korea and Taiwan, the company said. In a message to U.S. employees, McDonald's said the breach disclosed some business contact information for U.S. employees and franchisees, along with some information about restaurants such as seating capacity and the square footage of play areas. The company said no customer data was breached in the U.S., and that the employee data exposed wasn't sensitive or personal. The company advised employees and franchisees to watch for phishing emails and to use discretion when asked for information. McDonald's said attackers stole customer emails, phone numbers and addresses for delivery customers in South Korea and Taiwan. In Taiwan, hackers also stole employee information including names and contact information, McDonald's said. The company said the number of files exposed was small without disclosing the number of people affected. The breach didn't include customer payment information, McDonald's said.

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Hackers Explain How They Stole Wealth of Data From EA

Slashdot - Fri, 11/06/2021 - 16:43
The group of hackers that stole a wealth of data from game publishing giant Electronic Arts broke into the company in part by tricking an employee over Slack to provide a login token, Motherboard reported Friday. From the report: The group stole the source code for FIFA 21 and related matchmaking tools, as well as the source code for the Frostbite engine that powers games like Battlefield and other internal game development tools. In all, the hackers claim they have 780GB of data, and are advertising it for sale on various underground forums. EA previously confirmed the data impacted in the breach to Motherboard. A representative for the hackers told Motherboard in an online chat that the process started by purchasing stolen cookies being sold online for $10, and using those to gain access to a Slack channel used by EA. In this case, the hackers were able to get into EA's Slack using the stolen cookie. "Once inside the chat we messaged a IT Support members we explain to them we lost our phone at a party last night," the representative said.

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Volkswagen Says a Vendor's Security Lapse Exposed 3.3 Million Drivers' Details

Slashdot - Fri, 11/06/2021 - 16:00
Volkswagen says more than 3.3 million customers had their information exposed after one of its vendors left a cache of customer data unsecured on the internet. From a report: The car maker said in a letter that the vendor, used by Volkswagen, its subsidiary Audi, and authorized dealers in the U.S. and Canada, left the customer data spanning 2014 to 2019 unprotected over a two-year window between August 2019 and May 2021. The data, which Volkswagen said was gathered for sales and marketing, contained personal information about customers and prospective buyers, including their name, postal and email addresses, and phone number. But more than 90,000 customers across the U.S. and Canada also had more sensitive data exposed, including information relating to loan eligibility. The letter said most of the sensitive data was driver's license numbers, but that a "small" number of records also included a customer's date of birth and Social Security numbers.

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Facebook Accounts For Over Half of Sex Trafficing Recruitment

Slashdot - Fri, 11/06/2021 - 15:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CBS News: The majority of online recruitment in active sex trafficking cases in the U.S. last year took place on Facebook, according to the Human Trafficking Institute's 2020 Federal Human Trafficking Report. "The internet has become the dominant tool that traffickers use to recruit victims, and they often recruit them on a number of very common social networking websites," Human Trafficking Institute CEO Victor Boutros said on CBSN Wednesday. "Facebook overwhelmingly is used by traffickers to recruit victims in active sex trafficking cases." In 2020 in the U.S., 59% of online recruitment of identified victims in active cases took place on Facebook alone. The report also states that 65% of identified child sex trafficking victims recruited on social media were recruited through Facebook. The tech giant responded to the report's findings in a statement to CBS News: "Sex trafficking and child exploitation are abhorrent and we don't allow them on Facebook. We have policies and technology to prevent these types of abuses and take down any content that violates our rules."

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Spring Numbers Show 'Dramatic' Drop In College Enrollment

Slashdot - Fri, 11/06/2021 - 12:00
Undergraduate college enrollment fell again this spring, down nearly 5% from a year ago. That means 727,000 fewer students, according to new data from the National Student Clearinghouse. NPR reports: "That's really dramatic," says Doug Shapiro, who leads the clearinghouse's research center. Fall enrollment numbers had indicated things were bad, with a 3.6% undergraduate decline compared with a year earlier, but experts were waiting to see if those students who held off in the fall would enroll in the spring. That didn't appear to happen. "Despite all kinds of hopes and expectations that things would get better, they've only gotten worse in the spring," Shapiro says. "It's really the end of a truly frightening year for higher education. There will be no easy fixes or quick bounce backs." Overall enrollment in undergraduate and graduate programs has been trending downward since around 2012, and that was true again this spring, which saw a 3.5% decline -- seven times worse than the drop from spring 2019 to spring 2020. The National Student Clearinghouse attributed that decline entirely to undergraduates across all sectors, including for-profit colleges. Community colleges, which often enroll more low-income students and students of color, remained hardest hit by far, making up more than 65% of the total undergraduate enrollment losses this spring. On average, U.S. community colleges saw an enrollment drop of 9.5%, which translates to 476,000 fewer students. [...] Based on her conversations with students, [Heidi Aldes, dean of enrollment management at Minneapolis College, a community college in Minnesota] attributes the enrollment decline to a number of factors, including being online, the "pandemic paralysis" community members felt when COVID-19 first hit, and the financial situations families found themselves in.

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Dark Sky's iOS App and Website Will Shut Down At the End of 2022

Slashdot - Fri, 11/06/2021 - 09:00
Following Apple's acquisition of popular weather app Dark Sky in March 2020, Dark Sky's iOS app and website will be available until the end of 2022, co-founder Adam Grossman said in a Monday update to Dark Sky's blog. The Verge reports: The update about the 2022 shutdown hit the same day that Apple announced new weather features coming to iOS 15 as part of its WWDC keynote presentation. The stock Weather app is getting a new design, full-screen weather maps, next-hour precipitation notifications, and even new animated backgrounds. Dark Sky shut down the Android and Wear OS versions of its apps on August 1st, 2020. But the iOS app is still available for $3.99 on the App Store, if you're interested in buying it ahead of next year's shutdown. The Dark Sky API will also continue to work for existing customers until the end of 2022. Previously, the API was set to stop working at the end of this year; now, it will work for a little while longer.

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Self-Driving Waymo Trucks To Haul Loads Between Houston and Fort Worth

Slashdot - Fri, 11/06/2021 - 05:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: On Thursday morning, Waymo announced that it is working with trucking company JB Hunt to autonomously haul cargo loads in Texas. Class 8 JB Hunt trucks equipped with the autonomous driving software and hardware system called Waymo Driver will operate on I-45 in Texas, taking cargo between Houston and Fort Worth. However, the trucks will still carry humans -- a trained truck driver and Waymo technicians -- to supervise and take over if necessary. "This will be one of the first opportunities for JB Hunt to receive data and feedback on customer freight moved with a Class 8 tractor operating at this level of autonomy. While we believe there will be a need for highly skilled, professional drivers for many years to come, it is important for JB Hunt as an industry leader to be involved early in the development of advanced autonomous technologies and driving systems to ensure that their implementation will improve efficiency while enhancing safety," said Craig Harper, chief sustainability officer at JB Hunt. "We're thrilled to collaborate with JB Hunt as we advance and commercialize the Waymo Driver," said Charlie Jatt, head of commercialization for trucking at Waymo. "Our teams share an innovative and safety-first mindset as well as a deep appreciation for the potential benefits of autonomous driving technology in trucking. It's companies and relationships like these that will make this technology a commercial reality in the coming years."

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Laughing Gas Can Help Treat Depression, Small Study Finds

Slashdot - Fri, 11/06/2021 - 04:02
PolygamousRanchKid shares a report from Gizmodo: A dose of laughing gas may just help some people with hard-to-treat depression, suggests a new, small clinical trial published Wednesday. The study found that people who inhaled nitrous oxide reported improvements in their depression symptoms afterward. It also found that people felt similar improvements with a smaller dose as they did with a larger one, but experienced substantially fewer side effects. Nitrous oxide (NO) is a colorless, non-flammable gas at room temperature that's long been used as an anesthetic and sometimes as a recreational drug, due to the euphoria and dissociative hallucinations it can cause upon inhalation. But several years ago, Peter Nagele, a researcher and trauma anesthesiologist at the University of Chicago, and his colleagues began looking into nitrous oxide as a potential treatment for depression. The small trial recruited 28 participants in a crossover design, which is when all the volunteers go through each of the trial's conditions and their responses are compared to one another (as opposed to two or more distinct groups that either take the drug or placebo). The team found that these volunteers on average experienced a greater improvement in depression symptoms when they took the nitrous oxide at either dose than they did after taking the placebo (based on the primary survey they completed) -- an improvement that lasted for up to two weeks. Some doctors and patients had been using generic ketamine, taken through IV, as an experimental depression treatment for years. But Johnson & Johnson didn't fund expensive clinical trials to secure an approval for ketamine as a depression treatment; it instead developed a patentable form taken as a nasal spray, called esketamine. That sort of commercialization isn't something that's possible with nitrous oxide, according to Nagale. The study has been published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

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IMF Sees Legal, Economic Issues With El Salvador Bitcoin Move

Slashdot - Fri, 11/06/2021 - 03:25
The International Monetary Fund said on Thursday it has a number of economic and legal concerns regarding the move from El Salvador to make bitcoin a parallel legal tender. Reuters reports: El Salvador has become the first country in the world to adopt bitcoin as legal tender, with President Nayib Bukele touting its use for its potential to help Salvadorans living abroad to send remittances back home. "Adoption of bitcoin as legal tender raises a number of macroeconomic, financial and legal issues that require very careful analysis," said Gerry Rice, an IMF spokesman, during a scheduled press briefing. "We are following developments closely, and we'll continue our consultations with the authorities." Rice said the Fund will later on Thursday meet with Bukele to discuss the bitcoin law. El Salvador is in discussions with the IMF seeking a near $1 billion program. Hours after his announcement, Bukele instructed the state-owned geothermal electric company "to put up a plan to offer facilities for Bitcoin mining with very cheap, 100% clean, 100% renewable, 0 emissions energy from our volcanos."

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'CryptoPunk' NFT Sells For $11.8 Million At Sotheby's

Slashdot - Fri, 11/06/2021 - 02:45
phalse phace writes: A non-fungible token of a digital artwork called a "CryptoPunk" was sold for $11.8 million on Thursday, according to a tweet by auction house Sotheby's. The NFT was sold as part of the Sotheby's online auction "Natively Digital: A Curated NFT Sale," which runs from June 3-10 and features work by 27 digital artists. CryptoPunks are a series of 10,000 unique pixel-art characters made by Larva Labs in 2017. The individual one sold by Sotheby's -- "CryptoPunk #7523" -- is of the sought-after Alien variety with blue-green skin, and wearing a medical mask. Two other Alien CryptoPunk NFTs have sold for more than $7 million each in previous sales. According to Reuters, it was bought by Israeli entrepreneur Shalom Meckenzie, who is the largest shareholder of digital sports company DraftKings.

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Linux Foundation Readies Global COVID Certificate Network

Slashdot - Fri, 11/06/2021 - 02:02
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: The Linux Foundation Public Health (LFPN) is getting the Global COVID Certificate Network (GCCN) ready for deployment. The GCCN [...] really is a coronavirus vaccine passport. It will do this by establishing a global trust registry network. This will enable interoperable and trustworthy exchanges of COVID certificates among countries for safe reopening and provide related technology and guidance for implementation. It's being built by the Linux Foundation Public Health and its allies, Affinidi, AOKPass, Blockchain Labs, Evernym, IBM, Indicio.Tech, LACChain, Lumedic, Proof Market, and ThoughtWorks. These companies have already implemented COVID certificate or pass systems for governments and industries. Together they will define and implement GCCN. This, it's hoped, will be the model for a true international vaccine registry. Once completed, the GCCN's trust registry network will enable each country to publish a list of the authorized issuers of COVID certificates that can be digitally verified by authorities in other countries. This will bridge the gap between technical specifications (e.g. W3C Verifiable Credentials or SMART Health Card) and a complete trust architecture required for safe reopening. This is vital because as Brian Behlendorf, the Linux Foundation's General Manager for Blockchain, Healthcare, and Identity explained, "The first wave of apps for proving one's COVID status did not allow that proof to be shown beyond a single state or nation, did not avoid vendor lock-in and did not distinguish between rich health data and simple passes. The Blueprint gives this industry a way to solve those issues while meeting a high bar for privacy and integrity, and GCCN turns those plans into action." Once in place, the GCCN will support Global COVID Certificates (GCC). These certificates will have three use cases: Vaccination, recovery from infection, and test results. They will be available in both paper and digital formats. Participating governments and industry alliances will decide what COVID certificates they issue and accept. The GCC schema definitions and minimal datasets will follow the recommendations of the Blueprint, as well as GCCN's technical and governance documents, implementation guide, and open-source reference implementations, which will be developed in collaboration with supporting organizations and the broader LFPH community. Besides setting the specs and designs, the GCCN community will also offer peer-based implementation and governance guidance to governments and industries to help them implement COVID certificate systems. This will include how to build national and state trust registries and infrastructure. They'll also provide guidance on how to leverage GCC into their existing coronavirus vaccine systems.

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Reddit Ends Secret Santa Gift-Giving Platform

Slashdot - Fri, 11/06/2021 - 01:20
Reddit is shutting down the beloved Secret Santa platform Reddit Gifts after the 2021 holiday season. Gizmodo reports: Over the years, the related forum r/secretsanta has attracted over 200,000 members and celebrity surprises such as a cat drawing by Arnold Schwarzennegger, an autographed photo of Shaq, and annual thoughtful gift packages from Bill Gates containing items such as video games, a horse blanket, and 81 pounds of books and toys. "Why the fuck would you kill this," a top comment reads. Reddit admins didn't explain much in their announcement yesterday but acknowledged that "countless acts of love, heroism, compassion, support, growth and hilarity happened through Reddit Gifts, and those memories will live on in the hearts of our community." Plus loads of free press. Why the fuck would you kill this? Reddit has not yet responded to Gizmodo's request for comment.

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Google Kills Measure, its AR-based Measurement-Taking App

Slashdot - Fri, 11/06/2021 - 00:40
The latest thing to be shuttered by Google is an app. AndroidPolice blog writes: Google's AR plans have changed over the years, from the standalone Project Tango to modern web-based efforts. But it's the AR-based Measure app that's the subject of today's eulogy. The app leveraged your camera on ARCore-supported devices to (as the name suggests) measure the dimensions of stuff, and now it's being retired. Google has suspended both support and updates for Measure.

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Apple Hires Former BMW Executive for Its Rebooted Car Project

Slashdot - Fri, 11/06/2021 - 00:00
Apple has hired Ulrich Kranz, a former senior executive at BMW AG's electric car division, to help lead its own vehicle efforts. Bloomberg reports: The technology giant hired Kranz in recent weeks, about a month after he stepped down as chief executive officer of Canoo, a developer of self-driving electric vehicles. Before co-founding Canoo, Kranz was senior vice president of the group that developed the i3 and i8 cars at BMW, where he worked for 30 years. Kranz is one of Apple's most significant automotive hires, a clear sign that the iPhone maker is determined to build a self-driving electric car to rival Tesla and other carmakers. Kranz will report to Doug Field, who led development of Tesla's mass-market Model 3 and now runs Apple's car project, said the people, who requested anonymity to discuss a private matter. [...] Following successful stints at BMW's Mini division and teams working on sports cars and SUVs, Kranz was asked to run Project I, a battery-powered vehicle skunkworks started in 2008. It yielded the all-electric i3 compact and the plug-in hybrid i8 sports car. The former was panned by design critics, and production was very limited on the latter. Kranz left BMW in 2016 and soon became chief technology officer at Faraday Future, an electric vehicle startup based in Los Angeles. He stayed only three months, before co-founding Canoo. Both firms have struggled with their technology and ability to produce vehicles, while Canoo reportedly discussed selling itself to Apple and other companies.

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CDC To Meet On Rare Heart Inflammation Following COVID Vaccine

Slashdot - Thu, 10/06/2021 - 23:20
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday that will convene an "emergency meeting" of its advisers on June 18th to discuss rare but higher-than-expected reports of heart inflammation following doses of the mRNA-based Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. So far, the CDC has identified 226 reports that might meet the agency's "working case definition" of myocarditis and pericarditis following the shots, the agency disclosed Thursday. The vast majority have recovered, but 41 had ongoing symptoms, 15 are still hospitalized, and 3 are in the intensive care unit. The reports represent just a tiny fraction of the nearly 130 million Americans who have been fully vaccinated with either Pfizer or Moderna's doses. "It's a bit of an apples-to-oranges comparison because, again, these are preliminary reports. Not all these will turn out to be true myocarditis or pericarditis reports," cautioned Dr. Tom Shimabukuro, a CDC vaccine safety official. Shimabukuro said their findings were mostly "consistent" with reports of rare cases of heart inflammation that had been studied in Israel and reported from the U.S. Department of Defense earlier this year. The CDC is working on more data and analysis on the reports ahead of the emergency meeting of its own advisers next week, he said, and also planned to analyze the risk of heart inflammation posed by catching COVID-19. The new details about myocarditis and pericarditis emerged first in presentations to a panel of independent advisers for the Food and Drug Administration, who are meeting Thursday to discuss how the regulator should approach emergency use authorization for using COVID-19 vaccines in younger children.

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Internal Data From Breach Circulating Online, Cyberpunk 2077-Maker CD Projekt Says

Slashdot - Thu, 10/06/2021 - 22:43
Internal company data leaked during a February security breach is now being circulated on the internet, Polish video games maker CD Projekt said in a statement published on Thursday. From a report: The attack, which compromised some of its internal systems including the source code to its much-hyped game Cyberpunk 2077, dealt another blow to the Warsaw-based business after the game's launch was beset by glitches. read more "We are not yet able to confirm the exact contents of the data in question, though we believe it may include current/former employee and contractor details in addition to data related to our games," the statement said. It added that the company couldn't confirm whether or not the data has been manipulated or tampered with since the breach. Not a good day for game developers.

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Senate To Probe Whether Legislation Needed To Combat Cyber Attacks

Slashdot - Thu, 10/06/2021 - 22:06
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Thursday said he is initiating a review of recent high-profile cyber attacks on governments and businesses to find out whether a legislative response is needed. From a report: "Today I am asking Chairman Gary Peters of our Homeland Security Committee and our other relevant committee chairs to begin a government-wide review of these attacks and determine what legislation may be needed to counter the threat of cyber crime and bring the fight to the cyber criminals." Schumer noted that the New York City subway system was the victim of a computer hack in early June. This came on the heels of Colonial Pipeline having to shut down some operations, resulting in disrupted fuel supplies in the U.S. Southeast, as a result of a cyber attack.

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Samsung Pushes Pixel Size Even Further With New Camera Sensor

Slashdot - Thu, 10/06/2021 - 21:29
Samsung has announced a new image sensor for smartphone cameras that it says has the smallest pixels in the industry. From a report: The ISOCELL JN1 is a 50-megapixel sensor with a relatively tiny 1/2.76-inch format, meaning its pixels are just 0.64um in size. For comparison, Samsung already broke records in 2019 with the slightly larger ISOCELL Slim GH1, another 50-megapixel sensor with 0.7um pixels. Conventional camera wisdom says that smaller pixels usually result in worse image quality with higher noise, so why is Samsung doing this? According to the company, it's about form factor versatility. The sensor's smaller size means it can be used in ultrawide or telephoto camera modules -- which are challenging to design when size is at a premium -- or as a way to reduce the height of the primary camera bump. As with other high-resolution camera sensors, the JN1 will make use of pixel-binning technology that combines multiple pixels into one for higher light sensitivity. In this case, Samsung says the sensor will capture 12.5-megapixel photos with the equivalent of 1.28um pixels, and the company is also claiming a 16 percent boost to light sensitivity with its ISOCELL 2.0 tech.

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Uber Offers To Pay For Drivers' Health Insurance, and Then Yanks it Away

Slashdot - Thu, 10/06/2021 - 20:54
Uber mistakenly sent out an email to some of its drivers and delivery workers last month offering to cover some of their health insurance costs -- only to revoke the offer two weeks later. From a report: On May 26th, an email from Uber with the enticing subject line "It's a great time to get health coverage" appeared in the inbox of an unspecified number of the company's drivers and delivery workers. When they opened the email, they were greeted by an even more alluring proposition: "Uber can help cover your healthcare costs." Drivers and couriers for Uber are classified as independent contractors, making them ineligible for employer-sponsored health insurance plans. For years, many of these workers have lobbied for more benefits and protections, only to face vicious opposition from Uber. So one can only imagine the shock from drivers who opened this email and saw an offer for subsidies ranging from $613.77 to $1,277.54, depending on the type of insurance plan they had and the amount of hours they worked each week. That kind of money could be transformative for drivers, many of whom subsist on poverty-level wages and are struggling to find work amid a steep drop in demand during the pandemic. What could account for this radical change in position by Uber? As it turns out, nothing has changed. Uber intended only to send the email to drivers and delivery workers in California, and not any other state.

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Netflix Opens an Online Shop To Hawk Items From Popular Shows

Slashdot - Thu, 10/06/2021 - 20:10
Netflix is branching into toys, games and clothing based on its popular shows, looking to mine popular characters for added revenue much like Walt Disney. From a report: The streaming service is launching Netflix.shop, a retail arm that will sell curated products from its catalog of shows and movies. As part of the launch, Netflix is introducing a collection of anime-inspired products, according to a statement Thursday. Products from other programs are in the works, too. The move into merchandising is a logical extension for Netflix. Other major studios generate billions of dollars in revenue from toys, collectibles and other goods based on popular characters and shows. [...] The shop will open in the U.S. before expanding to other countries, Netflix said.

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