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Industry & Technology

This dashing dinosaur rocked a rainbow around its neck - CNET

cNET.com - News - January 16, 2018 - 7:00pm
Cool or creepy? Scientists describe the unusual appearance of a chicken-sized Jurassic dinosaur.

The interface to send out a missile alert in Hawaii is, as expected, quite bad

Ars Technica - January 16, 2018 - 7:00pm

Enlarge / A morning view of the city of Honolulu, Hawaii is seen on January 13, 2018. Social media ignited on January 13, 2018 after apparent screenshots of cell phone emergency alerts warning of a "ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii" began circulating, which US officials quickly dismissed as "false." (Eugene Tanner/AFP/Getty Images) (credit: Getty Images)

The Honolulu Civil Beat claims to have obtained a picture of the interface used to send out tests and missile alerts to the people of Hawaii, and it's not pretty.

It appears the employee who sent out the mobile and broadcast missile alert that sent Hawaii into a panic for 38 minutes on Saturday was supposed to choose "DRILL - PACOM (CDW) - STATE ONLY" but instead chose "PACOM (CDW) - STATE ONLY" from an unordered list of equally unintuitive and difficult-to-read options.

This is the screen that set off the ballistic missile alert on Saturday. The operator clicked the PACOM (CDW) State Only link. The drill link is the one that was supposed to be clicked. #Hawaii pic.twitter.com/lDVnqUmyHa

— Honolulu Civil Beat (@CivilBeat) January 16, 2018

The Honolulu Civil Beat noted in a story on Sunday that the employee who made the choice from the nearly unintelligible list has been temporarily reassigned within the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA), and his status at the agency will be decided after a review. The news outlet wrote that according to Emergency Management Agency Administrator Vern Miyagi, the employee "felt terrible about the mistake."

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Found: New Android malware with never-before-seen spying capabilities

Ars Technica - January 16, 2018 - 6:45pm

Enlarge (credit: portal gda)

Last year, researchers found what at the time was quite possibly the world's most sophisticated espionage app ever written for the Android mobile operating system. Now, in a discovery that underscores the growing arms race among competing malware developers, researchers have uncovered a new Android spying platform that includes location-based audio recording and other features that have never been seen in the wild before.

According to a report published Tuesday by antivirus provider Kaspersky Lab, "Skygofree" is most likely an offensive security product sold by an Italy-based IT company that markets various surveillance wares. With 48 different commands in its latest version, the malware has undergone continuous development since its creation in late 2014. It relies on five separate exploits to gain privileged root access that allows it to bypass key Android security measures. Skygofree is capable of taking pictures, capturing video, and seizing call records, text messages, geolocation data, calendar events, and business-related information stored in device memory.

Skygofree also includes the ability to automatically record conversations and noise when an infected device enters a location specified by the person operating the malware. Another never-before-seen feature is the ability to steal WhatsApp messages by abusing the Android Accessibility Service that's designed to help users who have disabilities or who may temporarily be unable to fully interact with a device. A third new feature: the ability to connect infected devices to Wi-Fi networks controlled by attackers.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

“Rocket” Madsen formally charged with murder of Kim Wall aboard sub

Ars Technica - January 16, 2018 - 6:31pm

Enlarge / The UC3 Nautilus in early sea trials in 2008. (credit: Frumperino)

Today, Peter Madsen—the inventor, engineer, and owner of the world's largest amateur-built submarine and head of the eponymous "Rocket Madsen Space Lab"—was formally charged with murdering Kim Wall, a Swedish freelance journalist who had been writing an article about Madsen. Copenhagen Prosecutor Jakob Buch-Jepsen says that Wall's killing was premeditated and called the case “very unusual and extremely disturbing.”

Madsen is also charged with dismemberment, indecent handling of a corpse, and with "sexual relations other than intercourse of a particularly dangerous nature." Madsen's trial is set to begin March 8. If convicted, Madsen would face a life sentence. There is also a petition before the court to have him committed to a secure psychiatric facility indefinitely if he is determined to be mentally ill and to pose a danger to others.

Rocket man, U-boat commander

Madsen, who was once one of the founding members of Copenhagen Suborbitals—which describes itself as "the world's only manned amateur space program"—had what could generously be described as a falling out with the group in 2014. "He had disagreement with the other members of the group for years, including the board," a Copenhagen Suborbitals spokesperson wrote in a statement published in September. "This culminated in June 2014, and created a deep rift between Peter Madsen and the rest of us."

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Android snoopware Skygofree can pilfer WhatsApp messages

The Register - January 16, 2018 - 6:30pm
Sophisticated nasty also able to listen in based on location

Mobile malware strain Skygofree may be the most advanced Android-infecting nasties ever, antivirus-flinger Kaspersky Lab has warned.…

We survived another CES: The best and weirdest things we saw (The 3:59, Ep. 339) - CNET

cNET.com - News - January 16, 2018 - 6:25pm
Another year, another CES down. We talk about our highlights and lowlights from the massive tech fest in Las Vegas.

Google Doodle honors spirited, trailblazing actress Katy Jurado - CNET

cNET.com - News - January 16, 2018 - 6:24pm
Katy Jurado is recalled on what would have been her 94th birthday for her role in creating more opportunities for Latina actresses in Hollywood.

BMW, Mercedes to test vehicle subscription services in the US - Roadshow

cNET.com - News - January 16, 2018 - 6:15pm
If the Germans have their way, we might be waving goodbye to buying or leasing.

Get a Nonda Aiko rechargeable tracker for $16.99 - CNET

cNET.com - News - January 16, 2018 - 6:13pm
That's less than the cost of a Tile, and you don't have to replace it every year. Plus: a free $20 game and free two-year ShopRunner subscription!

Private submarine builder charged with murder of journalist

The Register - January 16, 2018 - 5:52pm
Peter Madsen ruled fit to stand trial, but denies allegation

Danish submariner Peter Madsen has today been charged with the murder of journalist Kim Wall.…

Body-heat-powered Matrix PowerWatch X now gets notifications - CNET

cNET.com - News - January 16, 2018 - 5:49pm
Can thermal gradients start powering more advanced wearable things? We go hands-on at CES.

All Democrats and one Republican support net neutrality bill in Senate

Ars Technica - January 16, 2018 - 5:33pm

Enlarge / Democrats vs. Republicans. (credit: Getty Images | Linda Braucht)

A Senate bill to restore the recently repealed net neutrality rules now has support from 50 of 100 senators and would pass if one more Republican backs the effort.

The measure has backing from all 49 members of the Senate Democratic caucus, including 47 Democrats and two independents who caucus with Democrats. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) is the only Republican to support the bill so far, but Democrats are trying to secure one more Republican vote.

Democrats announced the milestone in a press release today.

Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Facebook, Schrems case cost Irish data watchdog €2m – reports

The Register - January 16, 2018 - 5:15pm
But don't worry, it got €4m budget boost this year

The Irish Data Protection Commissioner has forked out almost €2m in the long legal battle involving Facebook and privacy activist Max Schrems, according to reports.…

Google expands network with new data centers, subsea cables - CNET

cNET.com - News - January 16, 2018 - 5:00pm
Google will build five new regional data centers in 2018 and three subsea cables in 2019 to further grow its worldwide network.

Drone crashes after operator failed to spot extra building site crane

The Register - January 16, 2018 - 4:47pm
UK govt's air prang watchdog publishes first UAV incident of the year

A pilot flying a 3D Robotics Solo drone let his autonomous aircraft fly itself into a crane that some inconsiderate person erected on a building site.…

Uber to introduce limit on drivers' hours

BBC Technology News - January 16, 2018 - 4:42pm
Drivers who do not take a long enough break will not be able to log in to the app and take trips.

Neuron cascade may be akin to neutral selection in evolution

Ars Technica - January 16, 2018 - 4:28pm

Enlarge (credit: Miguel Navarro / Getty Images)

"I am sorry, but your brain suffers from avalanches" is a diagnosis that should be a thing. The cure should involve a St. Bernard digging neurons out from under piles of neurotransmitters. Unfortunately, everyone's brain suffers from avalanches. Indeed, I can safely diagnose anyone who does not suffer from avalanches as dead. (And you thought the barriers to graduate school were intellectual?)

An avalanche in the brain is basically a small, generally inconspicuous event that triggers a massive cascade of neuronal activity. These are observed to occur without any external triggers.

So why do they occur? It has been thought that these avalanches should confer some sort of benefit, but new research suggests that it might just be a noisy accident.

Read 19 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Most Americans say social media is making the news worse - CNET

cNET.com - News - January 16, 2018 - 4:26pm
A survey reveals that the majority of Americans polled aren't happy with the impact of social media on the news.

CES 2018: Floating ads created by Kino-mo's spinning tech

BBC Technology News - January 16, 2018 - 4:18pm
Spinning LED strips are used to create video images that appear to float in mid-air like holograms.

Wave Tata, Capita: You've lost mega-contract to rival outsourcer

The Register - January 16, 2018 - 4:17pm
Man from Pru tears up £722m deal five years ahead of time

Financial services slinger Prudential is to kick Capita to the curb, cutting short a 15-year mega deal and switching the administration of its life and pension policies to Tata Consultancy Services.…


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