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Bug In WordPress Plugin Can Let Hackers Wipe Up To 200,000 Sites

Slashdot - Tue, 18/02/2020 - 00:10
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: WordPress site owners who use commercial themes provided by ThemeGrill are advised to update one of the plugins that come installed with these themes in order to patch a critical bug that can let attackers wipe their sites. The vulnerability resides in ThemeGrill Demo Importer, a plugin that ships with themes sold by ThemeGrill, a web development company that sells commercial WordPress themes. The plugin, which is installed on more than 200,000 sites, allows site owners to import demo content inside their ThemeGrill themes so they'll have examples and a starting point on which they can build their own sites. However, in a report published yesterday, WordPress security firm WebARX says that older versions of the ThemeGrill Demo Importer are vulnerable to remote attacks from unauthenticated attackers. Remote hackers can send a specially crafted payload to vulnerable sites and trigger a function inside the plugin. The vulnerable function resets the site's content to zero, effectively wiping the content of all WordPress sites where a ThemeGrill theme is active, and the vulnerable plugin is installed. Furthermore, if the site's database contains a user named "admin," then the attacker is granted access to that user with full administrator rights over the site.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Apple Says It Does Not Expect To Meet the Revenue Guidance For the March Quarter Because of the Coronavirus Outbreak

Slashdot - Mon, 17/02/2020 - 23:49
Apple said on Monday that it does not expect to meet the revenue guidance for the March quarter. In a press release, the company added: As the public health response to COVID-19 continues, our thoughts remain with the communities and individuals most deeply affected by the disease, and with those working around the clock to contain its spread and to treat the ill. Apple is more than doubling our previously announced donation to support this historic public health effort. Our quarterly guidance issued on January 28, 2020 reflected the best information available at the time as well as our best estimates about the pace of return to work following the end of the extended Chinese New Year holiday on February 10. Work is starting to resume around the country, but we are experiencing a slower return to normal conditions than we had anticipated. As a result, we do not expect to meet the revenue guidance we provided for the March quarter due to two main factors. The first is that worldwide iPhone supply will be temporarily constrained. While our iPhone manufacturing partner sites are located outside the Hubei province -- and while all of these facilities have reopened -- they are ramping up more slowly than we had anticipated. The health and well-being of every person who helps make these products possible is our paramount priority, and we are working in close consultation with our suppliers and public health experts as this ramp continues. These iPhone supply shortages will temporarily affect revenues worldwide. The second is that demand for our products within China has been affected. All of our stores in China and many of our partner stores have been closed. Additionally, stores that are open have been operating at reduced hours and with very low customer traffic. We are gradually reopening our retail stores and will continue to do so as steadily and safely as we can.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Twitter Locks WikiLeaks Official Account With 5.4 Million Followers, Days Before Julian Assange's Extradition Hearing

Slashdot - Mon, 17/02/2020 - 23:27
Days before Julian Assange's extradition hearings are set to continue, WikiLeaks' journalist Kristin Hrafnsson reports that the official WikiLeaks twitter account has been locked. "All attempts to get it reopened via regular channels have been unsuccessful," writes Hrafnsson in a tweet. "It has been impossible to reach a human at twitter to resolve the issue. Can someone fix this?" RT reports: The @wikileaks account's most recent posts date back to February 9 and concern the dire precedent set by extraditing a publisher to stand trial on espionage charges. Assange's extradition hearing in the UK, which a court ordered to be split into two parts, is set to begin next week, while the second half is scheduled for May. The publisher's lawyers have complained that access to their client is being restricted, and Assange was only recently moved from solitary confinement at Belmarsh prison after his fellow inmates staged a protest. The UN special rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer has accused the UK government of contributing to Assange's "psychological torture" after examining the activist last year. ZeroHedge also points out that this isn't the first time WikiLeaks' account was locked. In 2016, "Twitter lit up in late July with allegations that it tried to suppress news that secret-leaking website Wikileaks exposed thousands of emails obtained from the servers of the Democratic National Committee," reports ZeroHeads, citing The Washington Examiner. "Friday afternoon, users noted, '#DNCLeaks' was trending, with more than 250,000 tweets about it on the platform. By Friday evening, it vanished completely from the site's 'trending' bar for at least 20 minutes. It returned as '#DNCLeak' after users erupted, though it was too late to quell their rage." For what it's worth, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey at the time denied any attempt to intentionally silence the account.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Did the Early Internet Activists Blow It?

Slashdot - Mon, 17/02/2020 - 22:45
Mike Godwin, the first staff counsel of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, writes in a column: Another thing we clearly got wrong is how large platforms would rise to dominate their markets -- even though they never received the kind of bespoke regulated-monopoly partnership with governments that, generations before, the telephone companies had received. In most of today's democracies, Google dominates search and Facebook dominates social media. In less-democratic nations, counterpart platforms -- like Baidu and Weibo in China or VK in Russia -- dominate their respective markets, but their relationships with the relevant governments are cozier, so their market-dominant status isn't surprising. We didn't see these monopolies and market-dominant players coming, although we should have. Back in the 1990s, we thought that a thousand website flowers would bloom and no single company would be dominant. We know better now, particularly because of the way social media and search engines can built large ecosystems that contain smaller communities -- Facebook's Groups is only the most prominent example. Market-dominant players face temptations that a gaggle of hungry, competitive startups and "long tail" services don't, and we'd have done better in the 1990s if we'd anticipated this kind of consolidation and thought about how we might respond to it as a matter of public policy. We should have -- the concern about monopolies, unfair competition, and market concentration is an old one in most developed countries -- but I have no reflexive reaction either for or against antitrust or other market-regulatory approaches to address this concern, so long as the remedies don't create more problems than they solve. What's new and more troubling is the revival of the idea, after more than half a century of growing freedom-of-expression protections, that maybe there's just too much free speech. There's a lot to unpack here. In the 1990s, social conservatives wanted more censorship, particularly of sexual content. Progressive activists back then generally wanted less. Today, progressives frequently argue that social media platforms are too tolerant of vile, offensive, hurtful speech, while conservatives commonly insist that the platforms censor too much (or at least censor them too much). Both sides miss obvious points. Those who think there needs to be more top-down censorship from the tech companies imagine that when censorship efforts fail, it means the companies aren't trying hard enough to enforce their content policies. But the reality is that no matter how much money and manpower (plus less-than-perfect "artificial intelligence") Facebook throws at curating hateful or illegal content on its services, and no matter how well-meaning Facebook's intentions are, a user base edging toward 3 billion people is always going to generate hundreds of thousands, and perhaps millions, of false positives every year. On the flip side, those who want to restrict companies' ability to censor content haven't given adequate thought to the consequences of their demands. If Facebook or Twitter became what Sen. Ted Cruz calls a "neutral public forum," for example, they might become 8chan writ large. That's not very likely to make anyone happier with social media.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Microsoft Shares Roadmap For New Microsoft Edge

Slashdot - Mon, 17/02/2020 - 22:14
Microsoft has published a roadmap for the new Microsoft Edge. The roadmap includes features that are currently planned, in discussion, under review, and not planned. It gives an insight into the new Microsoft Edge's development because you can see where Microsoft is trying to take the browser. From a report: Here are a few notable features Microsoft plans to roll out to the new Microsoft Edge: 1. Enable sync of installed browser extensions between devices 2. Enable sync of browsing history between devices 3. Make Edge available on Linux 4. Support read aloud of PDF files 5. Add the ability to ink on web pages

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Jeff Bezos Commits $10 Billion To Fight Climate Change

Slashdot - Mon, 17/02/2020 - 21:30
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says he's launching a $10 billion Bezos Earth Fund that will issue grants aimed at addressing climate change -- a move that comes less than a month after hundreds of Amazon employees criticized what they saw as the company's weak commitment to tackling the issue. From a report: Bezos, who's the world's richest individual with a net worth estimated at nearly $130 billion, unveiled his philanthropic initiative in an Instagram post. "Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet," he wrote. "I want to work alongside others both to amplify known ways and to explore new ways of fighting the devastating impact of climate change on this planet we all share."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Free-to-play first-person shooter Warface is now available on Switch

Eurogamer - Mon, 17/02/2020 - 21:26

Long-running free-to-play FPS Warface has surprise-launched on Nintendo Switch.

Warface, which initially released for PC back in 2013 before making its way to PS4 and Xbox One in 2018, offers up a bullet-zinging selection of PvP and PvE modes, enabling combatants to step into the soldier-shoes of five different classes: the long-range Sniper, medium-range Riflemen, tank-like SED, Engineer, and Medic.

Warface, in case you were wondering, is the first CryEngine-powered game on Switch, and runs at 30FPS/720p in TV mode and 540p in handheld and tabletop modes, according to publisher My.Games. It also includes gyro support for more precise aiming, HD rumble, voice chat, and is playable online without the need for a Switch Online subscription.

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Categories: Video Games

SpaceX Successfully Launches a New Batch of Its Starlink Satellites

Slashdot - Mon, 17/02/2020 - 20:45
SpaceX on Monday successfully sent another batch of Starlink satellites into orbit but didn't quite stick the landing of its Falcon 9 rocket. From a report: Elon Musk's space company did achieve its primary objective of sending 60 more flying nodes for its nascent global broadband service into space, bringing the total number of Starlink satellites in low-Earth orbit to nearly 300. A secondary goal for the fifth Starlink mission, as with most SpaceX launches, was to recover the first stage of the Falcon 9 by landing it on a droneship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. But this time the rocket missed the mark by a smidge. At the time it was expected to land, the live webcast from the droneship showed smoke or steam just off camera as the Falcon 9 made a "soft water landing." SpaceX reported during the webcast that the rocket appears to be intact and floating on the ocean, but it remains unclear whether it can be recovered. The booster had a useful life, having already launched three earlier SpaceX missions in 2019 before Monday's Starlink mission. Had it landed successfully, it would have been the 50th successful booster landing for the company. Now we may have to wait until the next planned Falcon 9 launch on March 2 to see that milestone.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Samsung's Changes To Android Are Making Its Phones Less Secure, Says Google

Slashdot - Mon, 17/02/2020 - 20:10
Google scolded Samsung this week for an issue discovered on the Korean phone maker's Galaxy A50. From a report: Google says Samsung made "unnecessary changes to Android's core kernel," adding the changes Samsung made threaten rather than strengthen the phone's security. The tech giant has a vested interest in making sure Android is secure for OEMs and end users alike. Earlier this week Google announced it has made measurable efforts to limit malicious apps on its Google Play Store and it's clamping down on the permissions apps can request, resulting in a 98% reduction in requests for access to user's call history and text messages. It's also been tackling more worrying bugs, like self-reinstalling ones. But in this instance, it's a hardware partner that's causing the problems. In a detailed blog post from Google's Project Zero Team, researcher Jann Honn outlines the exact issue with Samsung's changes to the Android kernel on the A50. Samsung's changes included a security feature to restrict an attacker from reading or modifying user data, but Honn says the move is "futile" and rather than bolstering security, it introduces vulnerabilities that could increase an attacker's ability to arbitrarily execute code.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Tesla Teardown Finds Electronics 6 Years Ahead of Toyota and VW

Slashdot - Mon, 17/02/2020 - 19:25
Elon Musk's Tesla technology is far ahead of the industry giants, a new report has concluded. From the report: This is the takeaway from Nikkei Business Publications' teardown of the Model 3, the most affordable car in the U.S. automaker's all-electric lineup, starting at about $33,000. What stands out most is Tesla's integrated central control unit, or "full self-driving computer." Also known as Hardware 3, this little piece of tech is the company's biggest weapon in the burgeoning EV market. It could end the auto industry supply chain as we know it. One stunned engineer from a major Japanese automaker examined the computer and declared, "We cannot do it." The module -- released last spring and found in all new Model 3, Model S and Model X vehicles -- includes two custom, 260-sq.-millimeter AI chips. Tesla developed the chips on its own, along with special software designed to complement the hardware. The computer powers the cars' self-driving capabilities as well as their advanced in-car "infotainment" system. This kind of electronic platform, with a powerful computer at its core, holds the key to handling heavy data loads in tomorrow's smarter, more autonomous cars. Industry insiders expect such technology to take hold around 2025 at the earliest. That means Tesla beat its rivals by six years. The implications for the broader auto industry are huge and -- for some -- frightening. Tesla built this digital nerve center through a series of upgrades to the original Autopilot system it introduced in 2014. What was also called Hardware 1 was a driver-assistance system that allowed the car to follow others, mostly on highways, and automatically steer in a lane. Every two or three years, the company pushed the envelope further, culminating in the full self-driving computer.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Lair of the Clockwork God launches with a surprise prequel

Eurogamer - Mon, 17/02/2020 - 19:05

Lair of the Clockwork God, the next title by Size Five Games, is due to launch only next week - but developer Dan Marshall has somehow managed to make a second game at the same time, as a surprise prequel called Devil's Kiss has also been announced.

Oh, and it's also being bundled in for free for anyone who buys Lair of the Clockwork God - or a small $2 (£1.54) for those who want it as a standalone. Now that's a deal with the devil you'll want to make.

"Devil's Kiss is a hilarious and sexually-enticing visual novel following alluring teenage heroes Dan and Ben, who meet at high school and promptly uncover a vast, horny conspiracy involving some demons," reads the press release. If you want to see what the hell that looks like, there's a trailer to help, and you can find the Steam page here.

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Categories: Video Games

Google Ends Its Free Wi-Fi Program, Station

Slashdot - Mon, 17/02/2020 - 18:51
Google said on Monday that it is winding down Google Station, a program that rolled out free Wi-Fi in more than 400 railway stations in India and "thousands" of other public places in several additional pockets of the world. The company worked with a number of partners on the program. From a report: Caesar Sengupta, VP of Payments and Next Billion Users at Google, said the program, launched in 2015, helped millions of users surf the internet -- a first for many -- and not worry about the amount of data they consumed. But as mobile data prices got cheaper in many markets including India, Google Station was no longer as necessary, he said. The company plans to discontinue the program this year. Additionally, it had become difficult for Google to find a sustainable business model to scale the program, the company said, which in recent years expanded Station to Indonesia, Mexico, Thailand, Nigeria, Philippines, Brazil and Vietnam. The company launched the program in South Africa just three months ago.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Purdue University Will Freeze Tuition For the 9th Straight Year

Slashdot - Mon, 17/02/2020 - 18:25
schwit1 writes: Purdue President Mitch Daniels announced Saturday night the university would freeze tuition for the 9th straight year, holding it at 2012 levels through 2021-22. If Purdue can do it, why can't everyone else?

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Lots of Kingdom Hearts games launch on Xbox One tomorrow

Eurogamer - Mon, 17/02/2020 - 17:48

Kingdom Hearts fans rejoice - the Disney and Square Enix mash-up series rolls out in force on Xbox One tomorrow.

The bizarrely-named Kingdom Hearts 1.5 + 2.5 Remix and Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue collections are both live now in New Zealand, where it is already 18th February.

Look for them at midnight tonight elsewhere, too.

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Categories: Video Games

These Xbox One X bundles now start at £259

Eurogamer - Mon, 17/02/2020 - 17:30

If you're looking for a bargain on a current-gen console with the PS5 and Xbox Series X on the horizon then you might want to check out Game where you'll find a range of Xbox One X bundles discounted to an all-new low price.

You can get an Xbox One X with one game for £259. The games available include the likes of The Division 2, Metro Saga, Fallout 76 and PUBG. There are also a handful of bundles that come with two games for £279. I've picked out a couple of the standout offers below, or you can browse the full range of Xbox One X bundles on sale.

It needs to be pointed out that these Xbox One X consoles are described as "New in Open Box" by Game. They define this as "some external packaging damage in the form of broken seals or cosmetic box damage". For all intents and purposes, then, these are new consoles you're getting. All your usual statutory rights are in place, too, so if you decide to get one and aren't impressed with what you receive then a return is still possible.

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Categories: Video Games

Israeli Soldiers Tricked Into Installing Malware by Hamas Agents Posing as Women

Slashdot - Mon, 17/02/2020 - 17:24
Members of the Hamas Palestinian militant group have posed as young teenage girls to lure Israeli soldiers into installing malware-infected apps on their phones, a spokesperson for the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) said today. From a report: Some soldiers fell for the scam, but IDF said they detected the infections, tracked down the malware, and then took down Hamas' hacking infrastructure. IDF said Hamas operatives created Facebook, Instagram, and Telegram accounts and then approached IDF soldiers. According to IDF spokesperson Brigadier General Hild Silberman, Hamas agents posed as new Israeli immigrants in order to excuse their lacking knowledge of the Hebrew language. IDF investigators said they tracked accounts for six characters used in the recent social engineering campaign. The accounts were named Sarah Orlova, Maria Jacobova, Eden Ben Ezra, Noa Danon, Yael Azoulay, and Rebecca Aboxis, respectively. Soldiers who engaged in conversations were eventually lured towards installing one of three chat apps, named Catch & See, Grixy, and Zatu, where the agents promised to share more photos.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Renovation sim House Flipper arrives on consoles next week

Eurogamer - Mon, 17/02/2020 - 17:00

House Flipper - the closest a millennial can get to appearing on Homes Under the Hammer - will let even more youngsters live out the property dream when it arrives on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One next week.

Developed by Empyrean and first released on PC in 2018, House Flipper is an indie sim about turning around disgusting properties for profit. There's repair mechanics, interior design options, and budget management to keep you on your toes. But then so will the cockroaches.

If that sounds like a delight to you, House Flipper lands on PlayStation 4 on 25th February, and Xbox One a day later on the 26th. Carpet diem.

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Categories: Video Games

UK To Spend $1.6 Billion on World's Best Climate Supercomputer

Slashdot - Mon, 17/02/2020 - 16:44
The U.K. said it will spend 1.2 billion pounds ($1.6 billion) on developing the most powerful weather and climate supercomputer in the world. From a report: The program aims to improve weather and climate modeling by the government forecaster, the Met Office, Business Secretary Alok Sharma said in a statement Monday. The machine will replace the U.K.'s existing supercomputer, which is already one of the 50 most powerful in the world. "Come rain or shine, our significant investment for a new supercomputer will further speed up weather predictions, helping people be more prepared for weather disruption from planning travel journeys to deploying flood defenses," said Sharma, who will preside over the annual round of United Nations climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland, in November. With Britain hosting the year-end climate summit, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is seeking to showcase the U.K.'s leadership in both studying the climate and reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. His government plans to use data generated by the new computer to inform policy as it seeks to spearhead the fight against climate change.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Samsung's Second Foldable Smartphone, $1,380 Galaxy Z Flip, is Dead on Arrival, Too

Slashdot - Mon, 17/02/2020 - 16:01
Evan Rodgers, reporting for Input: When Samsung released the Galaxy Z Flip, its newest folding phone, at midnight this past Friday, I was one of many who wasn't able to snag one due to low stock here in New York City. So here I am, refreshing my order page while I watch the lucky few who did manage to get one put them through their paces online. Though most YouTubers and reviewers seem to be enjoying the phone, durability is a question, and at $1,380 here in the U.S., it's a good one. At Unpacked, where Samsung announced the Z Flip, the company made a big deal about the "Ultra Thin Glass" that covers the display. One could be forgiven, then, for assuming that the display has all the scratch-resistant properties of glass, but in a durability test by JerryRigEverything on YouTube, that doesn't seem to be the case. In the video you can see Zack's (the YouTuber) tools and even fingernails leaving permanent scratches on the display.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

The Suicide of Rachel Foster review - a Shining-esque riff on Gone Home that doesn't quite dazzle

Eurogamer - Mon, 17/02/2020 - 15:30

It doesn't take much to make a big, old, empty house feel creepy. Indeed, the more actual, overt threat you add to such a setting, the less fear it inspires - better to let your visitor wander undisturbed, drinking in the silence of the hallways and spotting goblin faces in the contours of broken plaster. This is one thing the creators of The Suicide of Rachel Foster grasp well, though their workmanlike blend of Firewatch and Gone Home is ultimately tripped up by a half-baked story.

A three-hour, first-person psychodrama with a gossamer-thin dusting of puzzles, the game is set in the Timberline Lodge, an abandoned mountainside hotel in 1990s Montana. You can roam about freely from the outset, though chapter breaks teleport you from room to room, and to do so is to be gently assaulted by the peculiarities of a structure that wouldn't seem out of place in Silent Hill. Floorboards creak, window-frames rattle, beams shift under a mounting weight of snow. Photographs stare from the ends of corridors, shrouded objects tempt you to pull back the sheet, and stainless steel kitchens tease your fight-or-flight circuits with their abundance of gleaming points and angles.

Spread over three storeys plus a basement and carpark, the Timberline is closer to a Comfort Inn than some Gothic resort, but in the absence of holidaymakers and staff, its spaces loom. It's also a not-so-discreet homage to The Shining's Overlook Hotel, which means that the sightlines and decor feel vaguely predatory, like they're trying to get into your head. You'll find those legendary geometric carpet patterns, a mountain diorama akin to the Overlook's model maze, and bathrooms painted a diabolical red.

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