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Garmin Reportedly Paid Millions To Obtain Decryption Key, Resolve Recent Ransomware Attack

Slashdot - Tue, 04/08/2020 - 00:45
Garmin has reportedly paid a ransom to receive a decryption key to recover its files, after they were hit by the WastedLocker Ransomware last month. Digital Trends reports: [BleepingComputer] found that the attackers used the WastedLocker Ransomware and reported that they demanded $10 million as a ransom. Now, it also uncovered that Garmin is using a decryption key to regain access to its files, suggesting that the company may have paid that ransom demand or some other amount. The WastedLocker software uses encryption which has no known weaknesses, so the assumption is that to break it, the company must have paid the attackers for the decryption key. [...] The company reassured customers that no customer data was stolen, and that no payment information from the Garmin Pay payment system was accessed or stolen either. On Twitter, the company announced last week, "We are happy to report that many of the systems and services affected by the recent outage, including Garmin Connect, are returning to operation. Some features still have temporary limitations while all of the data is being processed."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Chinese Games Will Force Players To Use Their Real Names

Slashdot - Tue, 04/08/2020 - 00:03
The Chinese government will soon require video game users to log in with their real names. According to the South China Morning Post, the government is rolling out a state-run authentication system that will ask game makers to join the system in batches. From the report: The plan has been in the works for some time, with the government pushing for tighter controls based on the argument that it needs to protect minors. In 2019, the State Administration of Press and Publications (SAPP), the body in charge of regulating games, introduced new limits on how much time and money minors can spend on games. Anyone under 18 years old is limited to 90 minutes on weekdays and three hours on holidays. To enforce these limits, players are required to to give out their real names which can be checked against ID numbers. Tencent and NetEase, the country's two largest gaming companies, got a jump on these plans by introducing their own verification systems. For now, not much is known about how the national verification system will work or whether it will resemble the independent systems already in place. In some cases, the private systems have introduced some stringent controls. In Honour of Kings, the immensely popular Tencent game known as Arena of Valor overseas, the verification system includes a facial recognition scan. China also has other rules governing what games are even allowed in the country. One requirement is for game publishers to submit games for content and monetisation review before they can be legally distributed in China.

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Google To Buy Stake In ADT In Home Security Push For $450 Million

Slashdot - Mon, 03/08/2020 - 23:25
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: Alphabet's Google is picking up a 6.6% stake in ADT for $450 million, betting on the home security company's strong customer base and an army of technicians to drive sales of its Nest devices. The investment gives ADT the backing of a high-profile technology partner and broadens its services business. In return, Google gets access to about 6.5 million customers, strengthening its presence as it competes with Amazon's Ring and Boston-based SimpliSafe, among others. ADT said on Monday that the two companies would work on ways to package popular Google products like Home Mini, Nest Thermostat and Nest Wifi with ADT's strength in installation and maintenance. "Later this year, we will begin integrating Google devices and make them available for installations to our customers," ADT Chief Executive Officer Jim DeVries told Reuters. "We will exclusively support Nest products," DeVries said, adding that the companies will build products together and start rolling them out next year. The companies will commit an additional $150 million each for co-marketing, product development, technology and employee training, ADT said.

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DOD, FBI, DHS Release Info on Malware Used in Chinese Government-Led Hacking Campaigns

Slashdot - Mon, 03/08/2020 - 22:45
The U.S. government today publicly exposed malware used in Chinese government hacking efforts for more than a decade. From a report: The Chinese government has been using malware, referred to as Taidoor, to target government agencies, entities in the private sector, and think tanks since 2008, according to a joint announcement from the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the Department of Defense, and the FBI. The Chinese Communist Party has been using the malware, in conjunction with proxy servers, "to maintain a presence on victim networks and to further network exploitation," according to the U.S. government's malware analysis report (MAR). In particular, Taidoor has been used to target government and private sector organizations that have a focus on Taiwan, according to previous FireEye analysis. It is typically distributed to victims through spearphishing emails that contain malicious attachments. U.S. Cyber Command, the DOD's offensive cyber unit, has also shared samples of Taidoor through malware-sharing platform VirusTotal so information security professionals can further examine it. Cyber Command has been uploading malware samples to VirusTotal since 2018 in an effort to help the private sector better protect against foreign adversaries, as well as to deter adversaries from running hacking campaigns. But it appeared to be the first time in the program's approximately two-year history that the Pentagon has chosen to identify malware that looks to be Chinese in origin. The DOD has frequently exposed North Korean hacking through VirusTotal uploads, as well as campaigns linked with Russian and Iranian hacking.

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Japan Acted Like the Virus Had Gone. Now It's Spread Everywhere.

Slashdot - Mon, 03/08/2020 - 22:03
After initial success, Japan is facing a reality check on the coronavirus. From a report: The country garnered global attention after containing the first wave of Covid-19 with what it referred to as the "Japan Model" -- limited testing and no lockdown, nor any legal means to force businesses to close. The country's finance minister even suggested a higher "cultural standard" helped contain the disease. But now the island nation is facing a formidable resurgence, with Covid-19 cases hitting records nationwide day after day. Infections first concentrated in the capital have spread to other urban areas, while regions without cases for months have become new hotspots. And the patient demographic -- originally younger people less likely to fall seriously ill -- is expanding to the elderly, a concern given that Japan is home to the world's oldest population. Experts say that Japan's focus on the economy may have been its undoing. As other countries in Asia, which experienced the coronavirus earlier than those in the West, wrestle with new flare ups of Covid-19, Japan now risks becoming a warning for what happens when a country moves too fast to normalize -- and doesn't adjust its strategy when the outbreak changes. While Japan declared a state of emergency to contain the first wave of the virus, it didn't compel people to stay home or businesses to shut. That was ended in late May and officials quickly pivoted to a full reopening in an attempt to get the country's recessionary economy back on track. By June, restaurants and bars were fully open while events like baseball and sumo-wrestling were back on -- a stark contrast to other places in the region like Singapore which were re-opening only in cautious phases.

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Trump Says TikTok Will Be Banned If Not Sold By Sept. 15, Demands Cut of Sale Fee

Slashdot - Mon, 03/08/2020 - 21:26
President Trump said Monday that TikTok will be shut down in the U.S. if it hasn't been bought by Microsoft or another company by Sept. 15, and claimed that the U.S. Treasury should get "a very substantial portion" of the sale fee. From a report: Trump appears to have backed off his threat to immediately ban TikTok after speaking with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who said Sunday that the company will pursue discussions with TikTok's Chinese parent company ByteDance to purchase the app in the U.S. TikTok has come under intense scrutiny in the U.S. due to concerns that the vast amounts of data it collects could be accessed by the Chinese government, potentially posing a national security threat.

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FCC Chair Says Agency Will Take Public Comment on Trump Social Media Petition

Slashdot - Mon, 03/08/2020 - 20:49
The Federal Communications Commission will take public comment for 45 days on a petition filed by the Trump administration seeking new transparency rules in how social media companies moderate content, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said on Monday. From a report: Pai rejected calls from Democrats that he summarily dismiss the petition without public comment. The decision came after President Donald Trump directed the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to file the petition after Twitter Inc in May warned readers to fact-check his posts about unsubstantiated claims of fraud in mail-in voting. Pai has said previously he does not see a role for the FCC to regulate websites like Twitter, Facebook or Alphabet's Google, but said on Monday the FCC "should welcome vigorous debate -- not foreclose it. The American people deserve to have a say, and we will give them that chance." FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks, a Democrat, wrote on Twitter that Congress, not the FCC, should act. "Perhaps when comments are in we can package up the whole docket and send it over to Congress-where this debate belongs," Starks wrote.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Spider-Man is coming to Marvel's Avengers, but as a PlayStation exclusive

Eurogamer - Mon, 03/08/2020 - 20:45

UPDATE: 4/8/20: In another burst of news that's sure to vex Xbox and PC players, Sony has shared details of yet more Marvel's Avengers PlayStation exclusives, including special in-game events, rewards, and 30-days early access to certain cosmetics for all heroes.

Following yesterday's news that Spider-Man will be a PlayStation exclusive when he joins the Avengers roster next year, Square Enix has revealed that PlayStation owners will also get 30-days exclusive access to a Legendary Outfit, Legendary Emote, Epic Takedown, and nameplate for every new hero upon their release. This includes all six launch day heroes.

Additionally, as outlined in a new blog post introducing the game's Community Challenges - essentially, events that require players to work together on a large scale to accomplish a goal and earn rewards - developer Crystal Dynamics has confirmed it's prepping a series of Community Challenges that will only be available to PlayStation players.

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Categories: Video Games

Microsoft details Xbox's "faster, safer and easier" store redesign

Eurogamer - Mon, 03/08/2020 - 20:10

Microsoft has offered a look at its revamped and redesigned digital store for Xbox, which will be made available to at least some of those users signed up to its Insiders testing programme starting this Wednesday, 5th August.

The redesign is being referred to as the "all-new Microsoft Store on Xbox" (that non-specificity supporting earlier reports that no radical UI overhaul is planned for the next-gen Xbox Series X), and Microsoft calls it "faster, safer and easier" in its announcement post.

On the faster front, Microsoft says the store now loads in under two seconds on consoles, and offers "greatly improved" browsing performance.

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Categories: Video Games

Justice Department Is Scrutinizing Takeover of Credit Karma by Intuit, Maker of TurboTax

Slashdot - Mon, 03/08/2020 - 20:09
The Department of Justice is scrutinizing Silicon Valley giant Intuit's $7 billion takeover attempt of Credit Karma, an upstart personal finance firm that became a competitor when it launched a free tax prep offering that challenges Intuit's TurboTax product. From a report: The probe comes after ProPublica first reported in February that antitrust experts viewed the deal as concerning because it could allow a dominant firm to eliminate a competitor with an innovative business model. Intuit already dominates online tax preparation, with a 67% market share last year. The article sparked letters from Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., urging the DOJ to investigate further. Cicilline is chair of the House Judiciary Committee's antitrust subcommittee. Government lawyers worry that allowing Intuit to snuff out a promising startup could harm American consumers seeking free tax prep options, according to a June memo from the company side that describes Intuit's legal strategy, which was obtained by ProPublica. The government is particularly interested in "the influence that Intuit's purchase of Credit Karma will have on consumer tax preparation platforms and [the] software market," according to the memo. Further reading: Inside TurboTax's 20-Year Fight to Stop Americans From Filing Their Taxes for Free.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

TikTok Accuses Facebook of 'Plagiarism and Smears'

Slashdot - Mon, 03/08/2020 - 19:23
hackingbear writes: TikTok owner ByteDance has accused Facebook of plagiarism and smears although it did not elaborate on the accusation. "ByteDance has always been committed to becoming a global company. During this process, we have faced all kinds of complex and unimaginable difficulties, including the tense international political environment, collision and conflict of different cultures and plagiarism and smears from competitor Facebook," it said in a statement late on Sunday posted on its official account on Jinri Toutiao, a news aggregator app it owns. TikTok has attracted criticism from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who last year accused the app of censoring political protest, after Facebook couldn't get its way in China by pretending to be nice to China. TikTok has denied the claim. Facebook has been copying various Chinese apps and features including TikTok and WeChat, the all-in-one messaging apps in China.

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We upgraded PS4 Pro with an 8TB SSD: can we make a better console?

Eurogamer - Mon, 03/08/2020 - 19:09

Way back in 2013, the idea of upgrading a PlayStation 4 with solid-state storage was an option - but not a realistic one when the cost per gig was so prohibitively expensive. Today though, SATA-based SSDs are more affordable and as developers push the hard drive harder, loading times and streaming issues are more prevalent. We've been asked to revisit SSD performance for PS4 for some time - and to do so, we've deployed a nuclear option: Samsung's new 870 QVO SSD. To test PS4 SSD performance to its ultimate potential, we effectively have an eight terabyte console. Even factoring in reserved space, we should be getting an order of magnitude more storage than the 825GB PlayStation 5.

To put the drive more fully through its paces, we opted to install it in PlayStation 4 Pro where its SATA-3 interface could perhaps offer more bandwidth and where the faster 2.13GHz AMD Jaguar CPU cores should crunch through compressed data far more quickly. It's the best way possible to enhance the console - but what advantages does it actually deliver? Can we address the long load times of games like The Witcher 3? Can we mitigate the ugly pop-in issues in Final Fantasy 7 Remake? And crucially, what's the difference between running this beast as a USB add-on drive as opposed to using it to replace the internal stock hard drive? These are the questions we've been asked over the months and now we've got some answers.

You can find out more about the Samsung QVO line in prior coverage but how it achieves its remarkable level of storage is fascinating and indeed controversial. Along with other recent high capacity drives, QLC NAND is used, allowing four bits per cell (as opposed to the two to three bits in prior NAND technology). This is combined with the vertical stacking of memory modules to increase storage density. The downside to QLC NANDs is slower read and write speeds but Samsung mitigates this with a large DRAM cache - 8GB in the case of the 8TB QVO 870. Samsung promises a max read of 560MB/s and write of 530MB/s - and our tests pull respectably close to both. There are concerns about QLC NAND's longevity in terms of endurance but that's unlikely to be a concern on games console where data is written relatively infrequently.

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Categories: Video Games

China's Xiao-i Sues Apple for $1.43 Billion Over Siri AI Infringement

Slashdot - Mon, 03/08/2020 - 18:46
Chinese artificial intelligence company Shanghai Zhizhen Intelligent Network Technology, also known as Xiao-i, has filed a lawsuit against Apple, alleging it has infringed on Xiao-i's patents. From a report: Xiao-i is calling for 10 billion yuan ($1.43 billion) in damages and demands that Apple cease "manufacturing, using, promising to sell, selling, and importing" products that infringe on the patent, it said in a social media post. Xiao-i argued that Apple's voice-recognition technology Siri infringes on a patent it applied for in 2004 and was granted in 2009.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Anxious WHO Implores World To 'Do It All' in Long War on COVID-19

Slashdot - Mon, 03/08/2020 - 18:05
The World Health Organization warned on Monday that there might never be a "silver bullet" for COVID-19 in the form of a perfect vaccine and that the road to normality would be long, with some countries requiring a reset of strategy. From a report: More than 18.14 million people around the world are reported to have been infected with the disease and 688,080 have died, according to a Reuters tally, with some nations that thought they were over the worst experiencing a resurgence. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and WHO emergencies head Mike Ryan exhorted nations to rigorously enforce health measures such as mask-wearing, social distancing, hand-washing and testing. "The message to people and governments is clear: 'Do it all'," Tedros told a virtual news briefing from the U.N. body's headquarters in Geneva. He said face masks should become a symbol of solidarity round the world. "A number of vaccines are now in phase three clinical trials and we all hope to have a number of effective vaccines that can help prevent people from infection. However, there's no silver bullet at the moment -- and there might never be."

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Microsoft Joins Open Source Security Foundation

Microsoft Security Response Blog - Mon, 03/08/2020 - 18:00

Microsoft has invested in the security of open source software for many years and today I’m excited to share that Microsoft is joining industry partners to create the Open Source Security Foundation (OpenSSF), a new cross-industry collaboration hosted at the Linux Foundation. The OpenSSF brings together work from the Linux Foundation-initiated Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII), …

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The post Microsoft Joins Open Source Security Foundation appeared first on Microsoft Security Response Center.

Categories: IT

Google Announces Pixel 4a and Pixel 4a 5G

Slashdot - Mon, 03/08/2020 - 17:34
Google today unveiled two Pixel smartphones. First is the $349 Pixel 4A, which is available for preorder now and will ship on August 20th. And second, there's the Pixel 4A 5G, which will cost $499 and also ship sometime this fall. From a blog post: With the same incredible camera experiences from Pixel 4 and a redesigned hole-punch design, Pixel 4a brings the same features that have helped millions of Pixel owners take great shots. HDR+ with dual exposure controls, Portrait Mode, Top Shot, Night Sight with astrophotography capabilities and fused video stabilization -- they're all there. The Pixel 4a comes in Just Black with a 5.8-inch OLED display. It has a matte finish that feels secure and comfortable in your hand and includes Pixel's signature color pop power button in mint. Check out the custom wallpapers that have some fun with the punch-hole camera. In addition to features like Recorder, which now connects with Google Docs to seamlessly save and share transcriptions and recordings (English only), Pixel 4a will include helpful experiences like the Personal Safety app for real-time emergency notifications and car crash detection. Pixel 4a also has Live Caption, which provides real-time captioning (English only) for your video and audio content. New with the Pixel 4a launch -- and also rolling out for Pixel 2, 3, 3a and 4 phones -- Live Caption will now automatically caption your voice and video calls. The Pixel 4a has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G Mobile Platform, Titan M security module for on-device security, 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage with an even bigger battery that lasts all day1. [...] This fall, we'll have two more devices to talk about: the Pixel 4a (5G), starting at $499, and Pixel 5, both with 5G2 to make streaming videos, downloading content and playing games on Stadia or other platforms faster and smoother than ever. Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5 will be available in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany, Japan, Taiwan and Australia. In the coming months, we'll share more about these devices and our approach to 5G.

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Microsoft reportedly binning ugly "optimised for Xbox Series X" sticker

Eurogamer - Mon, 03/08/2020 - 17:27

Microsoft has heard your feedback on its hulking green "Optimised For Xbox Series X" stickers, which it has been slapping willy-nilly all over Xbox Series X game boxes.

The bulky logo has been quietly removed from the box art of Codemasters' Dirt 5, with other games now expected to follow suit.

Microsoft's chonky icon was meant to indicate the game will look better on Xbox Series X, despite it instantly making game boxes look worse.

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Categories: Video Games

NetWalker Ransomware Gang Has Made $25 Million Since March 2020

Slashdot - Mon, 03/08/2020 - 17:00
The operators of the NetWalker ransomware are believed to have earned more than $25 million from ransom payments since March this year, security firm McAfee said today. From a report: Although precise and up-to-date statistics are not available, the $25 million figure puts NetWalker close to the top of the most successful ransomware gangs known today, with other known names such as Ryuk, Dharma, and REvil (Sodinokibi). McAfee, who recently published a comprehensive report about NetWalker's operations, was able to track payments that victim made to known Bitcoin addresses associated with the ransomware gang. However, security experts believe the gang could have made even more from their illicit operations, as their view wasn't complete.

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Boy in the Striped Pyjamas writer accidentally includes Zelda recipe in new novel

Eurogamer - Mon, 03/08/2020 - 16:34

Nintendo has yet to turn the Legend of Zelda series into novels, but Irish author John Boyne appears to have gotten an accidental head start.

In his latest book, A Traveler at the Gates of Wisdom, the award-winning writer of Holocaust tragedy The Boy in the Striped Pjyamas includes several descriptions of how to dye clothes red.

Unfortunately, these descriptions are recipes from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, apparently sourced from video game guides on Google.

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Categories: Video Games

Microsoft Confirms It's in Talks To Buy TikTok from ByteDance, Says Trump is On Board

Slashdot - Mon, 03/08/2020 - 16:06
Microsoft has confirmed that it is in talks to purchase TikTok from its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, and may make moves before summer is out. From a report: The decision, according to Microsoft, follows a conversation between its CEO and President Trump, who just days ago threatened to use an executive order to ban the app from the United States. In a blog post published Sunday night, Microsoft also said it may "invite other American investors to participate" in the deal, though "on a minority basis." These discussions will be wrapped up by Sept. 15. TikTok has increasingly come under scrutiny over largely baseless claims that it hands American users' data over to the Chinese government. Detractors say even the potential for that makes the app, best known for viral challenges and teen dance trends, a national security threat. Trump has been among the loudest, though it's been speculated that his most recent outburst was nothing more than a negotiation ploy. Further reading: Chinese internet users brand ByteDance CEO a 'traitor' as TikTok seeks US buyer.

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