John Lister

Tue
06
Nov
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CPU Hyper-threading Reverse Engineered to Spy on Processes

One of the most useful features in computer hardware has a security flaw. It's to do with the way processors handle information. All computing tasks are reduced down to a set of calculations. The central processing unit (CPU) is the "brain" of the ... computer that physically carries out these calculations. Each modern-day CPU has one or more cores , which is essentially multiple "brains" on a single CPU chip. A multi-core CPU means that multiple calculations can be done at once, which reduces the time to carry out a task. Many processors also use a technique called ... (view more)

Mon
05
Nov
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Facebook Ads Falsely Labeled 'Approved By' US Senators

A report suggests that Facebook approved advertisements falsely claiming to be paid for by each of the 100 sitting US Senators. The VICE News investigation uncovered a major loophole in what was meant to be a transparency measure. Following ... revelations of Russian interference with bogus posts and ads designed to disrupt the US political system, Facebook brought in several measures to restrict who is allowed to post such ads. One such measure was a new rule stating that any political ad must carry the name of the person who has paid for it, similar to the rules on broadcasting. The rule also ... (view more)

Thu
01
Nov
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Report: Apps for Kids Contain Dubious, Unsuitable Ads

Apps aimed at very young children are a "wild west" of dubious advertising according to the author of a new study. Jenny Radesky of the University of Michigan's CS Mott Children's Hospital said the advertising was often manipulative. The researchers ... looked at 135 Android apps played by children, including the 96 most downloaded from the Google Play store in the "5 And Under" category. Their headline finding was that 95 percent contained at least one form of advertising. That's arguably a little misleading as this includes 42 percent of the apps featuring a commercial character such as one ... (view more)

Wed
31
Oct
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Windows Defender Gets 'Sandbox' Protection

Microsoft is beefing up Windows Defender, the built-in antivirus and antimalware security tool in Windows 10. It's now using the same sandbox technology that's used in other tools, including some major web browsers. The concept of a sandbox is taken ... from the child's play area of the same name. It's a metaphor about the way the child has an area to play in freely and do what they like, but also has clearly defined boundaries. Fortunately, computer code tends to follow instructions better than a child told to stay in the sandbox. In computing terms, the sandbox is a concept about access that ... (view more)

Tue
30
Oct
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Facebook Election War Room Spots Fake News, but is it Enough?

Facebook has unveiled a 'war room' to combat misinformation during election season. But it was short on detail and provoked cynicism among many reporters. The company invited reporters to a briefing to show off the war room at it headquarters in ... Menlo Park, near San Francisco. The room reportedly has a capacity for 20 to 40 people drawn from 20 departments within the company. The use of the term 'war room' isn't related to military options but instead appears to be a reference to the way political campaigns use the same term for their headquarters during a campaign. Of course, that's somewhat ... (view more)

Wed
24
Oct
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Home Gadget Promises More Secure Email

A new gadget is designed to keep emails "totally secure and private." It comes with a big financial and convenience cost, however. Helm is promoted as an alternative to web-based email such as Gmail. It's based on the idea that such services pose a ... risk because they could be hacked or the providers forced by a court to hand over messages. Instead, Helm wants people to use a personal email server in their home - a bit like an ultra-secure mailbox. Normally email servers are bulky and require considerable technical knowledge. Device Requires Physical Key The Helm device is instead ... (view more)

Tue
23
Oct
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Many Amazon Reviews Could Be Bogus

A consumer group says Amazon sellers are bribing people to post bogus reviews on Amazon's websites. But it also suggests some reviewers may also be getting ripped off. The claims come from "Which?", a British organization similar to Consumer ... Reports. It tested five sellers who had posted in Facebook groups designed to recruit people to buy and review Amazon products. The groups involve sellers suggesting products which people can then buy and review, after which the seller will refund their purchase cost. Which? staff did so for five products and then posted what it called a fair ... (view more)

Mon
22
Oct
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Windows 10 Hit By Second File Deletion Bug

Another file deletion bug appears to have hit Windows 10's latest update. It's raised questions about Microsoft's review process. This is a separate issue to the recent bug that deleted user documents . The new problem - which is also related to the ... October Update - affects .ZIP files. ZIP files are used to store multiple files (and sometimes backups) into a single, archived file. Archives usually offer a high compression ratio, which means files inside the archive are shrunk. This makes .ZIP files especially useful for downloading files from websites because it takes less time. Duplicate ... (view more)

Thu
18
Oct
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New 'LiFi' Gets 8 Gigabit Speed; Faster than WiFi, 5G

Light could be the key to solving one of the big problems of faster mobile Internet. But the technology, which uses spotlights to send out signals, has some limited range of uses. The technology developed by pureLiFi works on a simple principle: ... rather than using radio waves to transmit data (as does WiFi), it uses light waves. A demo of the system uses ceiling spotlights which blast out light in a cone shape. To the human eye it looks like an ordinary constant light supply. In fact it's actually flickering at incredibly high speeds to create a pattern. 5G Signals Hurt By Walls A plug-in ' ... (view more)

Wed
17
Oct
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Windows 10 Bug Silences Sound Cards

Microsoft has fixed a problem with the latest major Windows 10 update that left some computers silent. It's blamed Intel for an incompatible audio driver. A driver is software that helps a hardware device (such as a soundcard) work with an operating ... system, such as Windows. Sometimes drivers need to be updated to keep working with a new or updated edition of Windows. In the past, users often had to download drivers from hardware manufacturers, which usually meant using a search engine to find the appropriate page with a download link. These days, however, the Windows Update process often ... (view more)

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