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Wicca is tower defense with witches and time travel and a tree that kills people

Eurogamer - Fri, 19/07/2019 - 09:00

Sang-Froid. Sang-FREUD? San-Fwah? I cannot say Sang-Froid, but also I have never been able to stop talking about it. Sang-Froid: Tales of Werewolves is as close as I've come to a dream game, a game made purely for me. It's the 19th century and you're up in Canada in the wilds of winter. Every day you earn money and build your defences and lay your traps and plan your strategies. Every night, your planning collides with reality as werewolves descend and try to destroy you.

Sang-Froid was tower defense, but it was tower defense in the same way that a DeLorean is a means of getting to the supermarket. It was tower defense reimagined in such a weird, defiant, personal way. It was dark and folksy and intriguing. Its enemies felt canny and cruel and genuinely non-human. It was so cold to play, so overwhelming and exhausting. Man, it was so exhausting! A game about never having enough time, enough money, enough energy left in the legs and arms. Reader, I loved it.

Sang-Froid was the work of Artifice Studios, who went on to make Conflicks, another unique and almost indescribable strategy game, this one about space armadas and eggs. Now Vincent Blanchard, one of the small team at Artifice, has gone his own way. He's created Autoexec, a new outfit, and he's back with Wicca. And suddenly we're going to need that DeLorean.

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Categories: Video Games

Google and Facebook Might Be Tracking Your Porn History, Researchers Warn

Slashdot - Fri, 19/07/2019 - 09:00
Researchers at Microsoft, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pennsylvania analyzed 22,484 porn sites and found that 93% leak user data to a third party. Normally, for extra protection when surfing the web, a user might turn to incognito mode. But, the researchers said, incognito mode only ensures that your browsing history is not stored on your computer. CNET reports: According to a study released Monday, Google was the No. 1 third-party company. The research found that Google, or one of its subsidiaries like the advertising platform DoubleClick, had trackers on 74% of the pornography sites examined. Facebook had trackers on 10% of the sites. "In the U.S., many advertising and video hosting platforms forbid 'adult' content. For example, Google's YouTube is the largest video host in the world, but does not allow pornography," the researchers wrote. "However, Google has no policies forbidding websites from using their code hosting (Google APIs) or audience measurement tools (Google Analytics). Thus, Google refuses to host porn, but has no limits on observing the porn consumption of users, often without their knowledge."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Google Glass May Have an Afterlife As a Device To Teach Autistic Children

Slashdot - Fri, 19/07/2019 - 05:30
While Google stopped selling its augmented-reality glasses to customers due to privacy concerns, Google Glass lived on as something to be used by researchers and businesses. The New York Times reports of a new effort from Stanford researchers to use Google Glass to help autistic children understand emotions and engage in more direct ways with those around them. The glasses could also be used to measure changes in behavior, something that has historically been difficult to do. An anonymous Slashdot reader shares an excerpt from the report: When Esaie Prickett sat down in the living room with his mother, father and four older brothers, he was the only one wearing Google Glass. As Esaie, who was 10 at the time and is 12 now, gazed through the computerized glasses, his family made faces -- happy, sad, surprised, angry, bored -- and he tried to identify each emotion. In an instant, the glasses told him whether he was right or wrong, flashing tiny digital icons that only he could see. Esaie was 6 when he and his family learned he had autism. The technology he was using while sitting in the living room was meant to help him learn how to recognize emotions and make eye contact with those around him. The glasses would verify his choices only if he looked directly at a face. He and his family tested the technology for several weeks as part of a clinical trial run by researchers at Stanford University in and around the San Francisco Bay Area. Recently detailed in The Journal of the American Medical Association, Pediatrics, the trial fits into a growing effort to build new technologies for children on the autism spectrum, including interactive robots and computerized eyewear.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Startup Aims To Tackle Grid Storage Problem With New Porous Silicon Battery

Slashdot - Fri, 19/07/2019 - 04:03
New submitter symgym writes: Recently out of stealth mode is a new battery technology that's printed on silicon wafers (36 million "micro-batteries" machined into 12-inch silicon wafers). It can scale from small devices to large-scale grid storage and promises four times the energy density of lithium-ion batteries for half the price. There should also be no issues with fires caused by dendrite formation. "When you use porous silicon, you get about 70 times the surface area compared to a traditional lithium battery... [and] there's millions of cells in a wafer," says Christine Hallquist of Cross Border Power, the startup that plans to commercialize the battery design developed by Washington-based company XNRGI. "It completely eliminates the problem of dendrite formation." If all of this is true, it's a massive disruptive invention. Hallquist also notes that the new batteries are 100% recyclable. "At the end of the life of this product, you bring the wafers back in, you clean the wafer off, you reclaim the lithium and other materials. And it's essentially brand new. So we're 100 percent recyclable." "Hallquist says the battery banks that Cross Border Power plans to sell to utility companies as soon as next year will be installed in standard computer server racks," reports IEEE Spectrum. "One shipping container worth of those racks (totaling 40 racks in all) will offer 4 megawatts (MW) of battery storage capacity, she says. Contrast this, she adds, to a comparable set of rack-storage lithium ion batteries which would typically only yield 1 MW in a shipping container."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Chuck Schumer Asks FBI To Investigate FaceApp

Slashdot - Fri, 19/07/2019 - 03:25
Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer is calling on the FBI to investigate FaceApp after privacy concerns have been raised about the Russian company which developed the app. In a letter posted on Twitter, Mr Schumer called it "deeply disturbing" that personal data of U.S. citizens could go to a "hostile foreign power." The BBC reports: Wireless Lab, a company based in St. Petersburg, says it does not permanently store images, and does not collect troves of data -- only uploading specific photos selected by users for editing. "Even though the core R&D team is located in Russia, the user data is not transferred to Russia," a company statement reported by news site TechCrunch said. Mr Schumer however has asked that the FBI and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigate FaceApp. "I have serious concerns regarding both the protection of the data that is being aggregated as well as whether users are aware of who may have access to it," his letter reads.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Microsoft's Q4 Earnings and 2020 Expectations Are Through the Roof

Slashdot - Fri, 19/07/2019 - 02:45
Slashdot reader John Nautu shares a report from Windows Report: Microsoft released their Q4 earnings and it's (almost) all good news. The giant registered amazing growth on all departments, increasing its share price by one third. It was a record fiscal year for Microsoft, and the numbers exceeded all expectations: - Revenue was $33.7 billion and increased 12% - Operating income was $12.4 billion and increased 20% - Net income was $13.2 billion GAAP and $10.6 billion non-GAAP, and increased 49% and 21%, respectively - Diluted earnings per share was $1.71 GAAP and $1.37 non-GAAP, and increased 50% and 21%, respectively - GAAP results include a $2.6 billion net income tax benefit explained in the Non-GAAP Definition section below Of course, Microsoft's partnership with many industry leading companies also played a role in the constant development and improvement of their products. Despite Azure leading the way, Office 365, Windows, and Microsoft Teams also contributed to the growth. [Teams recently overtook Slack with 13 million daily users.] It's not all good news though. The Verge notes that the company's gaming business has stalled. "Gaming revenue declined by 10 percent this quarter, alongside Xbox software and services revenue decline of 3 percent." Ryan Duguid, Chief Evangelist at Nintex, said the company is planning some big things for next year: "In 2020, we expect to see Microsoft double down in three key areas to further differentiate from the leading tech giants: AI and ML (across the entire platform), data (infinitely expandable, cost-effective, and supportive of ODI), and modern workplace (productivity software)." In after-hours trading, Microsoft shares gained more than 1%. "The closing price gave Microsoft a market capitalization of $1.045 trillion, the only U.S. company worth more than $1 trillion," reports MarketWatch.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

EFF Hits AT&T With Class-Action Lawsuit For Selling Customers' Location To Bounty Hunters

Slashdot - Fri, 19/07/2019 - 02:03
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: Tuesday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a class action lawsuit against AT&T and two data brokers over their sale of AT&T customers' real-time location data. The lawsuit seeks an injunction against AT&T, which would ban the company from selling any more customer location data and ensure that any already sold data is destroyed. The move comes after multiple Motherboard investigations found AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon sold their customers' data to so-called location aggregators, which then ended up in the hands of bounty hunters and bail bondsman. The lawsuit, focused on those impacted in California, represents three Californian AT&T customers. Katherine Scott, Carolyn Jewel, and George Pontis are all AT&T customers who were unaware the company sold access to their location. The class action complaint says the three didn't consent to the sale of their location data. The complaint alleges that AT&T violated the Federal Communications Act by not properly protecting customers' real-time location data; and the California Unfair Competition Law and the California Consumers Legal Remedies Act for misleading its customers around the sale of such data. It also alleges AT&T and the location aggregators it sold data through violated the California Constitutional Right to Privacy. The lawsuit highlights AT&T's Privacy Policy that says "We will not sell your personal information to anyone, for any purpose. Period." An AT&T spokesperson said in a statement "While we haven't seen this complaint, based on our understanding of what it alleges we will fight it. Location-based services like roadside assistance, fraud protection, and medical device alerts have clear and even life-saving benefits. We only share location data with customer consent. We stopped sharing location data with aggregators after reports of misuse."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Berkeley Becomes First US City To Ban Natural Gas In New Homes

Slashdot - Fri, 19/07/2019 - 01:20
Berkeley has become the first city in the nation to ban the installation of natural gas lines in new homes. The City Council on Tuesday night unanimously voted to ban gas from new low-rise residential buildings starting Jan. 1. The San Francisco Chronicle reports: The natural gas ordinance, introduced by Councilwoman Kate Harrison, requires all new single-family homes, town homes and small apartment buildings to have electric infrastructure. After its passage, Harrison thanked the community and her colleagues "for making Berkeley the first city in California and the United States to prohibit natural gas infrastructure in new buildings." The city will include commercial buildings and larger residential structures as the state moves to develop regulations for those, officials said. The ordinance allocates $273,341 per year for a two-year staff position in the Building and Safety Division within the city's Department of Planning and Development. The employee will be responsible for implementing the ban.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 review - with medium power comes medium responsibility

Eurogamer - Fri, 19/07/2019 - 01:01

A decade after Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 came out, the series returns in curious circumstances. This isn't an Activision gig, published to all the platforms of the time. Nor is it a Raven Software or Vicarious Visions development, as the originals were respectively. Rather, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 is developed by Team Ninja, the people behind Dead or Alive, Ninja Gaiden and Nioh, and published by Nintendo exclusively for the Switch. Such a change! Still, despite this publisher and developer shakeup, Nintendo has taken an old-school approach - for better and for worse.

The formula follows its predecessors closely: four Marvel characters on-screen, smashing scores of enemies to bits using a combination of light and heavy attacks, special attacks and screen-clearing ultimate attacks. With the camera in the classic view (there's a new "heroic" perspective that puts the camera closer to the character you control, but I didn't use it because I like to see as much of the arena as possible), MUA3 has a Diablo vibe to it, as its predecessors did. Combat is the focus. Tweaking the makeup of your team to trigger stat bonuses, such as "Heavy Hitters" and "Big Brains", is merely the preamble to the bashing of buttons.

Thankfully, the combat is as satisfying as it needs to be for this kind of game. Everything benefits from the new cel-shaded art style, which makes for a more colourful and vibrant look than the previous two games and puts Crystal Dynamics' laughable look for Marvel's The Avongers to shame. The black outlines make the action pop and help you keep track of your characters amid the fast-paced fighting. When you do area of effect attacks on lots of enemies, there's a nice audio ping and big damage numbers crash zoom into your face. We've seen this kind of thing done before and better, of course, and Blizzard remains the master of the crit, but MUA3 is not without a sense of impact.

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Categories: Video Games

Dropbox Accidentally Installed New File Manager App On Users' Systems

Slashdot - Fri, 19/07/2019 - 00:40
Dropbox said it accidentally exposed a new desktop app experience to some users for a short period of time. While the issue has since been resolved, many users were caught off guard after being silently "upgraded" to this radically different version of Dropbox. Ars Technica reports: This new version of Dropbox wants to be... a file manager? Instead of the minimal sync app, the Dropbox icon now opens a big, multi-panel, blue and white window showing all your Dropbox files. It kind of looks like Slack, if Slack was a file manager. You can now "star" folders as important so they show up in the left panel (again, like a Slack chat room). The middle panel shows your Dropbox files, and the right panel shows a file preview with options for comments and sharing. You can search for files, sort by name or date, and do all the usual file operations like cut, copy, and paste. It's a file manager. A big part of the appeal of Dropbox is (was?) that it's a dead-simple product: it's a folder, in the cloud! Put your stuff in the folder, and it seamlessly gets backed up and synced to all your other computers. Part of using Dropbox means installing the sync app to your computer, and to keep everything fresh and up to date, Dropbox has the ability to silently update this app from time to time. Using this mechanism to silently install a bigger, more bloated, completely different version of the Dropbox app onto people's computers seems... wrong, especially with no notice whatsoever. Updates are one thing, but many users (your author included) feel like there was a lack of consent here. Here's the statement Dropbox issued earlier today: "We recently announced a new desktop app experience that is now currently available in Early Access. Due to an error, some users were accidentally exposed to the new app for a short period of time. The issue has been resolved, though there might be a short lag for some users to see resolution. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused." Developer Marco Arment responded to the statement, tweeting: "'That immensely unpopular change we forced onto all of you yesterday? We only meant to force it on *some* of you. The rest of you weren't supposed to get it forced upon you until later.' Doesn't really fix the problem, does it?"

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Subnautica: Below Zero's Arctic Living early access update is all about home improvements

Eurogamer - Fri, 19/07/2019 - 00:35

Developer Unknown Worlds is still hard at work on Subnautica's frosty standalone expansion, Below Zero, nudging ever further through early access on PC - and its latest efforts are available now in the Arctic Living update, bringing all-new mod-cons to players' underwater abodes.

Note that those wanting to keep Below Zero's surprises at bay until its full, final release, should stop reading now.

Alongside a shiny new glass dome to place atop your habitation chambers, Arctic Living introduces the new, matter-of-factly named Large Room. This highly modular living area is significantly bigger than previous offerings, providing ample space for budding homemakers to slot in new partition walls, partition doors, and furnishings.

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Categories: Video Games

Data Broker LocationSmart Will Fight Class Action Lawsuit Over Selling AT&T Data

Slashdot - Fri, 19/07/2019 - 00:03
A broker that helped sell AT&T customers' real-time location data says it will fight a class action lawsuit against it. From a report: The broker, called LocationSmart, was involved in a number of data selling and cybersecurity incidents, including selling location data that ended up in the hands of bounty hunters. "LocationSmart will fight this lawsuit because the allegations of wrongdoing are meritless and rest on recycled falsehoods," a LocationSmart spokesperson said in an emailed statement. LocationSmart did not point to any specific part of the lawsuit to support these claims. On Tuesday, activist group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and law firm Pierce Bainbridge filed a class action lawsuit against LocationSmart, another data broker called Zumigo, and telecom giant AT&T. The lawsuit's plaintiffs are three California residents who say they did not consent to AT&T selling their real-time location data through the data brokers. The lawsuit alleges all three companies violated the California Constitutional Right to Privacy, and seeks monetary damages as well as an injunction against AT&T to ensure the deletion of any sold data.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Amazon's Most Ambitious Research Project Is a Convenience Store

Slashdot - Thu, 18/07/2019 - 23:27
Amazon has set up 14 Amazon Go stores in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle. They do not have any cash registers so once customers have scanned a screen from a special app on their phone at the entrance, they just grab their items and walk out the door, while Amazon magically charges their credit card. By all accounts, the company intends to open more of these stores in the months and years ahead. Bloomberg Businessweek reports today the kind of investment Amazon has made into these stores -- it is the ecommerce firm's most ambitious research project to date -- but despite that, how these stores are just like 7-Eleven stores, but with more complexity and cost. From the report: From a technological perspective, the Go stores are a marvel -- a succinct demonstration of Amazon's capacity to devote vast resources toward applying the state of the art in artificial intelligence to an everyday problem. They also illustrate the company's tendency to pursue technology for technology's sake (see: the Fire Phone), resulting in a store that offers all the selection of a 7-Eleven, but with more complexity and cost. Scores of cameras pointed at all angles hang from the ceilings to track shoppers as they wander the aisles, while precise scales embedded in the shelves tabulate products down to the gram to figure out which ones have been picked up. Behind the scenes, sophisticated image recognition algorithms decide who took what -- with Amazon workers in offices available to review footage to ensure shoppers are accurately charged. Each store also has a local staff on hand to help people download the Go app, restock shelves, and, in locations with a liquor section, check IDs. Will all this work be worth it? Some Go stores seem almost deserted except for the lunchtime rush. Employees familiar with Amazon's internal projections say the outlets in Chicago, in particular, are falling short of expectations, and the company has had to resort to raffles and giveaways of tote bags and other branded goodies. Yet, as the turbulent history of the project suggests, the Go store isn't so much the culmination of the company's efforts but something closer to an ongoing experiment. And the potential prize -- a big piece of the $12 trillion grocery industry -- is one that Amazon, with its limitless resources and appetite for risk, may be in the best position to claim.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Apparent Arson Attack Devastates Kyoto Animation Anime Studio With Dozens Confirmed Dead

Slashdot - Thu, 18/07/2019 - 22:45
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Several people have been killed after an apparent arson attack gutted a building at Kyoto Animation, one of Japan's most renowned anime studios. NHK reports that 33 people are confirmed dead and many more have been injured. An explosion was heard around the studio at around 10.30AM local time. Police are questioning a man in his 40s who was seen spreading and lighting a gasoline-like liquid in the 1st Studio building, which is said to be where most of Kyoto Animation's mainline production takes place. The Mainichi Shinbun newspaper reports that the man said he started the fire. Kyoto Animation, also known as KyoAni, is best known for series like K-On! and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzimiya, and release standalone feature A Silent Voice in 2016. Netflix picked up the streaming rights to KyoAni's Violet Evergarden series and made it available worldwide last year. UPDATE: Several sources are now reporting that the man who set fire to the building screamed angrily, "they faked it." According to The Daily Beast, "The word he used in Japanese, pakuri, can reference stealing an idea, ripping off a product, or plagiarizing someone else's work."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Trump Says He's Looking Into a Pentagon Cloud Contract For Amazon or Microsoft

Slashdot - Thu, 18/07/2019 - 22:05
President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he's seriously considering looking at a Pentagon contract that's said to be worth up to $10 billion for Microsoft or Amazon. From a report: "I never had something where more people are complaining," Trump said, adding that he's going to take a close look at it. "We're getting tremendous complaints from other companies," Trump said in a press pool at the White House during a meeting with the prime minister of The Netherlands. "Some of the greatest companies in the world are complaining about it." He named Microsoft, Oracle and IBM. Since April, Microsoft and Amazon have been the only remaining competitors for the contract after IBM and Oracle were ruled out by the Defense Department. The contract, known as JEDI, is viewed as a marquee deal for the company that ultimately wins it, particularly as Microsoft and Amazon are aggressively pursuing government work for their expanding cloud units. While Trump didn't cite Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos by name on Thursday, the billionaire executive has been a constant source of frustration for the president. Bezos owns the Washington Post, which Trump regularly criticizes for its coverage of his administration. Trump also has gone after Amazon repeatedly for, as he claims, not paying its fair share of taxes and ripping of the U.S. Post Office.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

We need a safer systems programming language

Microsoft Security Response Blog - Thu, 18/07/2019 - 21:57
In our first post in this series, we discussed the need for proactively addressing memory safety issues. Tools and guidance are demonstrably not preventing this class of vulnerabilities; memory safety issues have represented almost the same proportion of vulnerabilities assigned a CVE for over a decade. We feel that using memory-safe languages will mitigate this …

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Categories: IT

Viking RTS Northgard gets September release date on consoles, board game adaptation

Eurogamer - Thu, 18/07/2019 - 21:36

Developer Shiro Games is positively aquiver with news regarding its excellent Viking-themed real-time strategy game, Northgard. For starters, the previously announced Xbox One, PS4 and Switch editions now have a release date of 26th September, and there's a new board game adaptation on the way. Furthermore, there's a new co-op update heading to PC too.

Northgard, if it's so far managed to pass you by, plays a little like the classic Settlers series, tasking players with establishing and expanding a thriving Viking settlement - and the military might needed to protect it - through exploration, resource management, and land acquisition.

It's a brutal endeavour, however, defined by tough decisions. Land zones, for instance, which must be conquered prior to use, will only house a small number of workers and buildings. As such, you'll need to think carefully about utilising your limited workforce and restricted space if you're to assert your dominance against other clans and mythological beasts. And that's before winter rolls around, decimating food supplies and, if you're not prepared, your population.

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Categories: Video Games

Initial Tests of the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G and 5G Networks in US Cities Find The Phone Often Overheats and Switches To 4G

Slashdot - Thu, 18/07/2019 - 21:24
Joanna Stern, reporting for the Wall Street Journal: One of the biggest findings of my multi-city 5G review tour: The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G isn't reliable in the summer -- unless, well, you summer in Iceland. When I ran tests, the phone's 5G often switched off due to overheating, leaving me with a 4G connection. Cellular carriers demo-ing or testing the phone have taken to cooling the devices with ice packs and air conditioners. The phone does this when the temperature reaches a certain threshold to minimize energy use and optimize battery, a Samsung spokeswoman said. "As 5G technology and the ecosystem evolve, it's only going to get better," she added. But there is good part, too. The report adds: After nearly 120 tests, more than 12 city miles walked and a couple of big blisters, I can report that 5G is fasten-your-seat-belt fast...when you can find it. And you're standing outdoors. And the temperature is just right. As my findings show, 5G is absolutely not ready for you. But like any brand new network technology, it provides a glimpse of the future. "Holy spit!" I said the first time I saw a speed test hit 1,800 megabits per second on Verizon's network in downtown Denver. [...] Don't speak megabits? I downloaded the whole new season of "Stranger Things" from Netflix -- 2.1 gigabytes of video -- in 34 seconds. The same averaged more than an hour on my 4G connections. And I downloaded a huge, 10GB file full of video and images from Google Drive in 2.5 minutes.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Japan To Lead Development of SWIFT Network For Cryptocurrency

Slashdot - Thu, 18/07/2019 - 20:45
Japan's government is leading a global push to set up an international network for cryptocurrency payments, similar to the SWIFT network used by banks, in an effort to fight money laundering, Reuters reports. From the report: Tokyo aims to have the network in place in the next few years, the person said, declining to be identified because the information has not been made public. A team related to the inter-governmental Financial Action Task Force (FATF) will monitor its development and Japan will cooperate with other countries, the source said. It remains unclear how the cryptocurrency network would work. SWIFT is the international payments messaging system used by banks to send money around the world.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Ex-Microsoft Worker Charged in Alleged Scheme To Steal $10M in Gift Cards and Use Funds To Finance Extravagant Purchases

Slashdot - Thu, 18/07/2019 - 20:06
An anonymous reader shares a report: A former Microsoft worker has been arrested and charged with mail fraud, in an alleged scheme to steal $10 million worth of digital currency from his ex-employer and use the funds to finance extravagant purchases, including a Tesla and lakefront home. Volodymyr Kvashuk, a 25-year-old software developer and Ukrainian citizen who worked for Microsoft from 2016 to 2018, allegedly took advantage of a testing program meant to simulate customer purchases. He made test accounts to obtain Microsoft gift cards and then sold some or all of them through online resellers.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff
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