John Lister

Tue
18
Apr
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NSA Used Windows Bugs as Spy Tools

Microsoft says it's patched most of the recently revealed security flaws said to have been used by the National Security Agency (NSA) for spying. But the incident is a reminder not to rely on unsupported editions of Windows such as Windows XP and ... Vista. Windows Vista officially reached its end of extended support April 11, 2017 . A group calling itself "Shadow Brokers" is trying to auction what it says is a set of tools that the NSA were using for surveillance by taking advantage of security failings in widely used software. While that's a bold claim - particularly as it means ... (view more)

Thu
13
Apr
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Burger King Hijacks Home Gadget for Ad

Burger King has cheekily used a Google gadget to advertise its products. But the way it did so is pretty risky and could easily backfire. The stunt came in a television advert that contained a command for Google's Home device. That's a voice ... activated speaker that lets the user ask questions, control home devices, set alarms and other useful (and sometimes purely trivial) activities. While similar technology exists on many Android phones, those are usually set to recognize and respond only to the user's voice, including listening out for the trigger phrase "Okay Google" ... (view more)

Wed
12
Apr
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Researchers: Phone Tilt Could Reveal PIN

Motion sensors in smartphones could give away your lock code to hackers according to new research. But practical limitations mean related attacks might have to be specifically targeted. Researchers at Newcastle University explored the idea that ... tools such as accelerometers, gyroscopes, compasses and GPS chips in phones could reveal more detail than users realize. The tools are used for a variety of functions such as location tracking, fitness tracking and gesture control such as a user turning a phone face down to instantly switch it to "do not disturb" mode. Their theory was that ... (view more)

Tue
11
Apr
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Police to Use Hybrids as Pursuit Vehicles

New York and Los Angeles cops may be among the first to use a hybrid electric car that is specifically designed for police pursuits. The Ford Police Responder Hybrid Sedan (pic) aims to meet the twin needs of police vehicles: an occasional ... high-speed pursuit mixed in with a whole load of waiting around. A hybrid car uses both an ordinary gas engine and an electric motor. The balance of the two varies between models but one common set-up is to use the electricity when the car is starting up or driving at low speeds, where the electricity is the more efficient option. Another common feature is ... (view more)

Thu
06
Apr
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Amazon to Refund up to $70M for In-App Purchases

Amazon is to refund up to $70 million of in-app purchases made by children without their parents' permission. It follows a hearing where a court previously agreed that the way Amazon's purchasing system worked was inherently unfair. The case was ... brought by the Federal Trade Commission (FCC) back in 2014 , and relates to so-called "freemium" apps on the Kindle Fire and some other Android devices. The word freemium is a portmanteau for "free" and "premium" and is often used to describe an app that would normally cost money, but instead includes ads or an ... (view more)

Wed
05
Apr
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Facebook 'Like' Lands Man in Court

A Swiss man is being sued for defamation for "liking" Facebook posts. But the court case looks set to concentrate on the individuals involved, rather than the technological principle. "The Local," a English-language Swiss news site, reports that the ... man had clicked the "like" button beside eight different posts by a range of animal rights groups. Each of the posts accused another man involved in the animal rights movement of anti-Semitism and racism. (Source: thelocal.ch ) It's an intriguing legal point as technically the man being sued for libel has not ... (view more)

Tue
04
Apr
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Fake News Prompts Media Industry Project

Facebook has joined a host of tech companies and non-profit groups to launch a $14 million project to fight fake news. The News Integrity Initiative's aim is to help people "make informed judgments about the news they read and share online." The ... project will be run by the Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York (CUNY). As well as Facebook, it's backed by Firefox developer Mozilla, online ad company AppNexus and journalism investment group, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, among others. The main activity will be holding events at a range of ... (view more)

Thu
30
Mar
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Congress: Internet Firms Can Share (Sell) Your User Activity

Congress has voted to ditch rules that would have made it harder for broadband companies to share personal user data with third party companies. The vote means Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations will not take effect. The rules were ... adopted by the FCC last October and covered broadband and wireless providers, but not websites such as Google or Facebook. Had they taken effect, the rules would have meant Internet providers could not share key data - for example with advertisers - without the explicit consent of customers. This data included browsing history, details of the apps ... (view more)

Wed
29
Mar
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Docs.com Users Warned to Check Sharing Settings

Users of Microsoft's Docs.com have been warned to review security settings on their account. Researchers found it was all too easy to search and find personal data contained in documents mistakenly made public. Docs.com is designed to make it easy ... to share documents with other users over the Internet, including PDF files and those in Office formats, regardless of the device and operating system they are using. The site includes a search feature that lets a user look for text in any document on the service to which they have access - something that's designed to make it much easier ... (view more)

Tue
28
Mar
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Amazon's High-Tech, Cashier-less Grocery Store Delayed

Amazon's plans for convenience stores without checkouts or cashiers have taken a knock. Initial test show the system doesn't work properly if more than 20 or so customers use the store at once. The Amazon Go store works through a dedicated ... smartphone app and a technology similar to that used in hotel minibars. When a customer picks up an item from the shelf it will automatically be added to their virtual shopping cart (as well as their real one), though if they put it back on the shelf it will be removed. Instead of paying for the items at the check out, the customer simply walks out ... (view more)

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