John Lister

Wed
11
Jul
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Smart Home Tech Dangerous if Relationships Sour

Researchers have warned that smart home technology could be used to aid domestic abuse. They've put together resources for people who could be threatened by abusive partners or former partners. The list comes from University College London and ... follows a New York Times article detailing some of the way domestic abusers have turned smart home tech into a tool to further their abuse. One example is a former partner taking account of a security loophole to continue to access a smart doorbell. That meant they could not only watch video of the partner leaving or returning from the house and monitor ... (view more)

Tue
10
Jul
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Facebook Flags Declaration of Independence as Hate Speech

Facebook removed a post with sections of the Declaration of Independence because it was "hate speech." It's not clear if the screw-up was a human error or a failure of an automated filter. The post came from Texas newspaper the Liberty County ... Vindicator, which posted the Declaration of Independence as a series of scheduled posts to mark July 4th. One of the posts was flagged and removed by Facebook while it was still in the scheduled queue, yet to go live. The newspaper received a message saying the deletion was because the post "goes against our standards on hate speech." Indians Reference ... (view more)

Thu
05
Jul
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App Developers Could Be Reading Your Gmail

Google has confirmed that third parties may be able to read your Google email (Gmail) messages. The resulting controversy comes from a lack of clarity over its permission settings. The issue isn't about Google itself reading email messages. ... Previously, Google servers would scan email messages for keywords, then use targeted advertisements based on those keyboards whenever users logged into Gmail to read their emails. However, Google has dropped this policy last year and instead bases its ads on other information, such as Google web searches and YouTube viewing. The latest controversy relates ... (view more)

Wed
04
Jul
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Samsung Phone Bug Secretly Shares Pics at Random

Samsung phone owners say they were shocked to discover photos from their phone were being sent to random contacts. An update to SMS text messaging appears to have caused the bug. One user says the entire contents of his photo gallery was sent to his ... girlfriend's phone via text message. His own phone had no record of the messages being sent and the first he heard of it was when his girlfriend asked him what was happening. Other users report similar issues, with no obvious pattern as to who received the images other than being in their contacts list. Reports suggest the problem is with the ... (view more)

Tue
03
Jul
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Google Apps, Assistant Coming to Basic Cellphones

Google has invested $22 million in a company that makes software for bare-bones smartphones. As part of the deal, it hopes to bring some of its key apps to the budget handsets. The investment is in an operating system named KaiOS. It's based on an ... open source system that was developed by Mozilla, the makers of the Firefox browser, before being abandoned. Originally Mozilla had hoped to make a phone for as little as $25. Cheap Handsets Get More Attractive KaiOS is specifically designed for "feature phones." That's a term with a loose definition, but generally refers to very basic ... (view more)

Thu
28
Jun
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Swann Home Security Cam Sends Pics, Video to Wrong Users

A home security camera user was shocked to receive video from another user when she used a mobile app. The manufacturers say it's a one-off incident caused by human error. According to the BBC, Louisa Lewis has used her security camera since ... December. The set-up means that when the camera's motion sensor is triggered, it makes a recording and sends an alert to her mobile phone, complete with a clip. (Source: bbc.co.uk ) However, last week she began receiving clips from another family's camera instead. After a string of alerts, she contacted the manufacturers. They later stopped the clips ... (view more)

Wed
27
Jun
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Lookalike Domain Names Yet Another Browser Scam

A security firm says efforts to make the Internet truly global could make scams easier. It also says a program for registering domain names in numerous languages can be abused for scam purposes. The issue involves the Internationalized Domain Name ... (IDN) system. This builds on the original Domain Name System (DNS) that helps 'translate' a web site name (such as www.infopackets.com ) into an IP address. These numbers then identify the location of the server, which then allows communication between the server and client machines (such as a web browser) to take place. The basic Domain Name System ... (view more)

Tue
26
Jun
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Android Apps Now have Secure ID; Avoid Malicious Installs

Google is to mark Android apps to show they originated in the Google Play store. It's described as a security measure that could be particularly helpful in places with unreliable data connections. The change is to APK files, which stands for ... "Android PacKage"; these are files used to install an Android application on an Android device. Whenever you download an app from the Google Play store, it's always an APK file which is installed. However, the format is also the same if the app were to be downloaded from a third party website. Google is adding security metadata to all APKs ... (view more)

Thu
21
Jun
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Apple Disabled iPhones due to 3rd Party Repair

Apple has been fined US $6.6 million after remotely disabling iPhones that had been repaired independently. Regulators ruled it was wrong to claim the phone owners have violated their repair warranties. The ruling came in a court case brought by the ... Australian Competitor and Consumer Commission. It's similar to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) but with a more emphasis on protecting consumer rights. The case stemmed from a 2016 software update that disabled "unidentified" touch sensors, a part of the phone screen. With the sensor disabled, it became impossible to use the phone as it ... (view more)

Wed
20
Jun
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IBM Computer Beats Debating Champion

An IBM computer has out-argued a debating champion according to an audience vote. It did so despite not having an Internet connection to look up facts during the debate. The demonstration wasn't designed to test how much the computer "knew," but ... rather it's ability to form arguments, listen to an opponent's case, and then respond to it. The computer system, dubbed "Project Debater", took on Noa Ovadia, who was crowned national debating champion in Israel in 2016. The pair debated two topics: whether to have more publicly funded exploration of space and whether to put more money into ... (view more)

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