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Super Micro Says Review Found No Malicious Chips in Motherboards - Computer hardware maker Super Micro Computer told customers on Tuesday that an outside investigations firm had found no evidence of any malicious hardware in its current or older-model motherboards. From a report: In a letter to customers, the San Jose, California, company said it was not surprised by the result of the review it commissioned in October after a Bloomberg article reported that spies for the Chinese government had tainted Super Micro equipment to eavesdrop on its clients.

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(2018-12-11T14:10:00+00:00)

China To Force Changes To 20 Popular Games, Ban 9 Including Fortnite and PUBG - An anonymous reader quotes a report from the BBC: A panel of censors set up to vet mobile video games in China has signaled it will be hard to please. State media reports that of the first 20 titles it assessed, nine were refused permission to go on sale. The Xinhua news agency added that developers of the other 11 had been told they had to make adjustments to remove "controversial content." The authorities have voiced concerns about the violent nature of some titles as well as worries about the activity being addictive. It was announced in August that a new body -- the State Administration of Press and Publications -- had taken over responsibility for approving games and that it would limit the number of online titles available. And although it has not been specified, some experts are assuming that the new panel will operate under its auspices. Xinhua said it is comprised of gaming experts, government-employed researchers, and representatives from the media and video games industry. But it provided no other information about who they were or the titles they had already examined. UPDATE: The list of games being examined by the ethics panel has been revealed by users on NGA, a Chinese gaming forum. A number of games, such as League of Legends, Overwatch, Diablo, and World of Warcraft, will need "corrective action," while others will be "banned/withdrawn" entirely. Some of the most popular prohibited titles include Fortnite and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG).

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(2018-12-11T13:00:00+00:00)

Californians Have Now Purchased Half a Million EVs - According Veloz -- an electric car industry group -- electric vehicle sales in California hit a cumulative 512,717 since 2010. "Months of strong U.S. sales in 2018, preceded by a strong 2017, are starting to show a trend: electric vehicles are selling well, especially in places where there are strong monetary and non-monetary incentives to buy them," reports Ars Technica. From the report: "Overall, this year has seen exponential growth in electric car sales," Veloz wrote. "Electric cars accounted for 7.1 percent of California car sales in the first three quarters of the year, with fully electric, zero-emission car sales outpacing plug-in hybrid sales 4.1 percent to 3 percent respectively." Veloz's data tallies not just fully battery-electric vehicles but also plug-in hybrids as well as the much rarer fuel cell vehicles. The group gets its data (PDF) from the blogs InsideEVs and HybridCars.com as well as a market-research firm called Baum & Associates and estimates from the California Air Resources Board (CARB). According to data from InsideEVs, the Tesla Model 3 was the top-selling electric vehicle model in the U.S. in November. In November alone, 18,650 of those vehicles were sold in the U.S. To its credit, Veloz's press release isn't too self-congratulatory. The group writes, "Veloz recognizes that, while electric car sales are increasing at a rapid clip, it is not happening fast enough to achieve the deep cuts in emissions that the state needs to achieve to protect people's health and curb negative impacts on the environment."

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(2018-12-11T10:00:00+00:00)

Facebook Filed a Patent To Calculate Your Future Location - Facebook has filed several patent applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for technology that uses your location data to predict where you're going and when you're going to be offline. BuzzFeed News reports: A May 30, 2017, Facebook application titled "Offline Trajectories" describes a method to predict where you'll go next based on your location data. The technology described in the patent would calculate a "transition probability based at least in part on previously logged location data associated with a plurality of users who were at the current location." In other words, the technology could also use the data of other people you know, as well as that of strangers, to make predictions. If the company could predict when you are about to be in an offline area, Facebook content "may be prefetched so that the user may have access to content during the period where there is a lack of connectivity." Another Facebook patent application titled "Location Prediction Using Wireless Signals on Online Social Networks" describes how tracking the strength of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, cellular, and near-field communication (NFC) signals could be used to estimate your current location, in order to anticipate where you will go next. This "background signal" information is used as an alternative to GPS because, as the patent describes, it may provide "the advantage of more accurately or precisely determining a geographic location of a user." The technology could learn the category of your current location (e.g., bar or gym), the time of your visit to the location, the hours that entity is open, and the popular hours of the entity. Yet another Facebook patent application, "Predicting Locations and Movements of Users Based on Historical Locations for Users of an Online System," further details how location data from multiple people would be used to glean location and movement trends and to model location chains. According to the patent application, these could be used for a "variety of applications," including "advertising to users based on locations and for providing insights into the movements of users." The technology could even differentiate movement trends among people who live in a city and who are just visiting a city. A Facebook spokesperson said in a statement: "We often seek patents for technology we never implement, and patent applications -- such as this one -- should not be taken as an indication of future plans."

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(2018-12-11T07:33:00+00:00)

Samsung Embarrassingly Partners With Fake Supreme - An anonymous reader quotes a report from Droid Life: Samsung was doing its song and dance in China today at an event where they announced the Galaxy A8s, their first phone equipped with an Infinity-O display, only to pause midway to announce a new partnership. Samsung claimed to be partnering with iconic streetwear brand Supreme. They invited a couple of gentlemen on stage to talk about the deal, including plans for Supreme to enter China next year with a big flagship store. The thing is, those dudes don't work for Supreme and Supreme has no presence in China, nor do they plan to head there next year. Samsung appears to have been duped by a fake Supreme company or just doesn't care that anyone who pays attention to fashion will mock them for decades to come over this partnership. The Supreme that Samsung is partnering with is actually called Supreme Italia, which is a fake Supreme brand that is able to sell fake Supreme gear, thanks to some weird legal loophole or decision in Italy. They have no affiliation with the real Supreme. They are counterfeiters. As for the Galaxy A8, it too hasn't been very well received. Not only is it the first Samsung phone without a headphone jack, but it has a laser-drilled hole in the display for the front-facing camera sensor. It's not quite as obstructive as the iPhone X notch, but it still leaves a noticeable hole in the top left corner of the display.

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(2018-12-11T03:30:00+00:00)

Huawei Executive Arrest Inspires Advance Fee Scams - UnderAttack writes: Scammers are attempting to trick Chinese victims into sending thousands of dollars in order to secure the release of Chinese Huawei executive Meng who was arrested in Canada last week. The messages claim to originate from Ms. Meng and suggest that she found a corrupt guard who will let her go for a few thousand dollars. Of course, there will be riches for anybody who is willing to help (and more). The scam is reportedly targeting people via WeChat, which may have a higher success rate than more widely distributed scams. One of the messages reads (translated): "Hello, I am MENG Wanzou. Currently, I have been detained by Canadian customs. I have limited use of my phone. Right now CIA is trying to get me into the hands of the US government. I bribed the guard of my room, and urgently need US$2000 to get out of here. Once I am out, I will reward you 200,000 shares of Huawei. I will be good on my word. if you are single, we can also discuss the important thing in life. The guard's name is David, the account number is 52836153836252, swift 55789034. I will be good on my word."

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(2018-12-11T02:45:00+00:00)

More People Get Their News From Social Media Than Newspapers, Study Finds - The Pew Research Center has found that more adults get their news from social media than newspapers. "In a survey conducted earlier this year, 20 percent of adults said they often get news via social media while just 16 percent said the same about print newspapers," reports Engadget. "Television topped the list, with 49 percent of respondents saying they get news from TV often while 33 percent and 26 percent of respondents said news websites and radio were significant news sources for them." From the report: Though television is still the dominant news source for American adults, it has been on a decline -- 57 percent of surveyed adults reported getting their news from television regularly back in 2016. And Pew points out that when you look at online news sources together, so either news websites or social media, it's creeping up to TV as the top source, pulling 43 percent of adults combined. But there are significant differences between age groups. TV is by far the most popular news source for adults aged 50 and over while just 16 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds and 36 percent of 30- to 49-year-olds say they often get news via television. Among the youngest adults (aged 18 to 29), social media is the most popular platform for news, and for 30- to 49-year-olds, websites are the top news source.

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(2018-12-11T02:03:00+00:00)

Walmart Is Reportedly Testing a Burger-Flipping Robot - Flippy, a burger-flipping robot that's been trialed in a number of restaurants this year, is coming to Walmart's headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, to see whether or not it's the right fit for its in-store delis. Yahoo News reports: Flippy is the world's first autonomous robotic kitchen assistant powered by artificial intelligence from Miso Robotics, a two-year-old startup. Flippy got a gig at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles with vending food service company Levy Restaurants, part of Compass Group, to fry up chicken tenders and tater tots. Through the World Series, Flippy churned out 17,000 pounds worth of the fried foods. It's able to fry up to eight baskets of food simultaneously. "Walmart saw what we were doing and said, 'Could you bring Flippy from Dodgers Stadium to our Culinary Institute?'" Miso Robotics CEO David Zito told Yahoo Finance. In practice, a Walmart associate would place a frozen product on the rack. Using visual recognition technology, Flippy identifies the food in the basket and sets it in the cooking oil. The machine then "agitates" the basket by shaking it to make sure the product cooks evenly. When the food is finished cooking, Flippy moves the basket to the drip rack. An associate then tests the food's internal temperature. A few minutes later, the associate can season the food before it hits the hot display case. The reason Walmart is looking at the robot is so it can do some of the more mundane and repetitive tasks at the deli. The robot is supposed to serve as an "extra set of hands," letting the associate spend less time putting potato wedges and chicken tenders in fryers and more time on other services like taking customer orders and prepping other foods.

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(2018-12-11T01:25:00+00:00)

At Least One Major Carrier Lied About Its 4G Coverage, FCC Review Finds - An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Four months after receiving a complaint claiming that Verizon "grossly overstated" its 4G LTE coverage in government filings, the Federal Communications Commission says that at least one carrier is apparently guilty of significant rules violations. The FCC did not name any specific carrier in its announcement and did not respond to our question about whether Verizon is among the carriers being investigated. But the investigation was apparently triggered by a complaint about Verizon filed in August by the Rural Wireless Association (RWA). The RWA, which represents rural carriers, made its case to the FCC by submitting speed test data. The speed tests showed the Verizon network wasn't providing 4G LTE service in areas that Verizon claimed to cover, according to the RWA. Inaccurate coverage maps could make it difficult for rural carriers to get money from the Mobility Fund, a government fund intended for unserved areas. "A preliminary review of speed test data submitted through the challenge process suggested significant violations of the Commission's rules," FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said Friday in his announcement of the FCC investigation. The FCC said its investigation focuses on "whether one or more major carriers violated the Mobility Fund Phase II (MF-II) reverse auction's mapping rules and submitted incorrect coverage maps."

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(2018-12-11T00:45:00+00:00)

GoPro To Move US-Bound Camera Production Out of China - In an effort to counter the potential impact from new tariffs, GoPro is moving most of its U.S.-bound camera production out of China by the summer of 2019. The company said international-bound camera production will remain in China. Reuters reports: The company had previously said it was being "very proactive" about the situation regarding tariffs as U.S. and China ramped up its bitter trade war, in which both nations have imposed tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of each other's imports. "It's important to note that we own our own production equipment while our manufacturing partner provides the facilities, so we expect to make this move at a relatively low cost," said Chief Financial Officer Brian McGee. In the company's earnings call in November, GoPro said it had the option to move U.S.-bound production out of China in the first half of 2019, if necessary.

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(2018-12-11T00:03:00+00:00)

Verizon Announces 10,400 Employees Will Voluntarily Leave the Company - Verizon today announced that 10,400 employees -- about 7 percent of its worldwide workforce -- are taking buyouts to leave the company. "This is part of an effort to trim the telecom giant's workforce ahead of its push toward 5G," reports TechCrunch. From the report: Verizon put this offer on the table in September with a goal to save $10 billion in cash by 2021. The offer, which included 60 weeks of salary bonus and benefits depending on length of service, applied to 44,000 employees across Verizon's business. "For those who were accepted, the coming weeks and months will be a transition. For the entire V Team, there will be opportunities to work differently as we prepare for the great things to come at Verizon," CEO Hans Vestberg said in a note to employees, CNBC reports.

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(2018-12-10T23:20:00+00:00)

House Panel Issues Scathing Report On 'Entirely Preventable' Equifax Data Breach - An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Hill: The Equifax data breach, one of the largest in U.S. history, was "entirely preventable," according to a new House committee investigation. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, following a 14-month probe, released a scathing report Monday saying the consumer credit reporting agency aggressively collected data on millions of consumers and businesses while failing to take key steps to secure such information. "In 2005, former Equifax Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Richard Smith embarked on an aggressive growth strategy, leading to the acquisition of multiple companies, information technology (IT) systems, and data," according to the 96-page report authored by Republicans. "Equifax, however, failed to implement an adequate security program to protect this sensitive data. As a result, Equifax allowed one of the largest data breaches in U.S. history. Such a breach was entirely preventable." The report blames the breach on a series of failures on the part of the company, including a culture of complacency, the lack of a clear IT management operations structure, outdated technology systems and a lack of preparedness to support affected consumers. "A culture of cybersecurity complacency at Equifax led to the successful exfiltration of the personal information of approximately 148 million individuals," the committee staff wrote. "Equifax's failure to patch a known critical vulnerability left its systems at risk for 145 days. The company's failure to implement basic security protocols, including file integrity monitoring and network segmentation, allowed the attackers to access and remove large amounts of data." The Oversight staff found that the company not only lacked a clear management structure within its IT operations, which hindered it from addressing security matters in a timely manner, but it also was unprepared to identify and notify consumers affected by the breach. The report said the company could have detected the activity but did not have "file integrity monitoring enabled" on this system, known as ACIS, at the time of the attack.

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(2018-12-10T22:40:00+00:00)

ESET Discovers 21 New Linux Malware Families - In a report published last week by cyber-security firm ESET, the company detailed 21 "new" Linux malware families. All operate in the same manner, as trojanized versions of the OpenSSH client. From a report: They are developed as second-stage tools to be deployed in more complex "botnet" schemes. Attackers would compromise a Linux system, usually a server, and then replace the legitimate OpenSSH installation with one of the trojanized versions.

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(2018-12-10T22:00:00+00:00)

Scientists Identify Vast Underground Ecosystem Containing Billions of Micro-organisms - The Earth is far more alive than previously thought, according to "deep life" studies that reveal a rich ecosystem beneath our feet that is almost twice the size of that found in all the world's oceans. From a report: Despite extreme heat, no light, minuscule nutrition and intense pressure, scientists estimate this subterranean biosphere is teeming with between 15bn and 23bn tonnes of micro-organisms, hundreds of times the combined weight of every human on the planet. Researchers at the Deep Carbon Observatory say the diversity of underworld species bears comparison to the Amazon or the Galapagos Islands, but unlike those places the environment is still largely pristine because people have yet to probe most of the subsurface. "It's like finding a whole new reservoir of life on Earth," said Karen Lloyd, an associate professor at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. "We are discovering new types of life all the time. So much of life is within the Earth rather than on top of it." The team combines 1,200 scientists from 52 countries in disciplines ranging from geology and microbiology to chemistry and physics. A year before the conclusion of their 10-year study, they will present an amalgamation of findings to date before the American Geophysical Union's annual meeting opens this week.

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(2018-12-10T21:20:00+00:00)

Malicious Sites Abuse 11-Year-Old Firefox Bug That Mozilla Failed To Fix - Malware authors, ad farmers, and scammers are abusing a Firefox bug to trap users on malicious sites. From a report: This wouldn't be a big deal, as the web is fraught with this kind of malicious sites, but these websites aren't abusing some new never-before-seen trick, but a Firefox bug that Mozilla engineers appear to have failed to fix in the 11 years ever since it was first reported back in April 2007. The bug narrows down to a malicious website embedding an iframe inside their source code. The iframe makes an HTTP authentication request on another domain. [...] For the past few years, malware authors, ad farmers, and scammers have been abusing this bug to lure users on sites where they show all sorts of nasties, such as tech support scams, ad farms that reload the page with new ads in a loop, pages that push users to buy fake gift cards, or sites that offer malware-laced software updates. Whenever users try to leave, the owners of these shady sites trigger the authentification modal in a loop.

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(2018-12-10T20:40:00+00:00)