Hackers breach FSB contractor, expose Tor deanonymization project and more

Found on ZD Net on Monday, 22 July 2019
Browse Internet

Hackers have breached SyTech, a contractor for FSB, Russia's national intelligence service, from where they stole information about internal projects the company was working on behalf of the agency -- including one for deanonymizing Tor traffic.

Researchers identified 25 malicious servers, 18 of which were located in Russia, and running Tor version 0.2.2.37, the same one detailed in the leaked files.

It is probably a very safe bet if you say that every nation has a group of specialists trying to break Tor. It's not just a russian thing.

From Apollo 11 to Artemis: This time when we go back to the moon, we are going to stay

Found on The Hill on Sunday, 21 July 2019
Browse Astronomy

Nothing has unleashed the imagination of the world more nor united humanity better than watching Commander Neil Armstrong take that first step onto the previously untouched lunar surface.

Today, on the golden anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, NASA looks back with heartfelt gratitude for the Apollo generation’s trailblazing courage as we — the Artemis generation — prepare to take humanity’s next giant leap to Mars.

Today, 50 years later, many of the dreams people had back then did not come true. We're further away from returning to the moon than ever before. Technology today might be superior compared to what was used back then, but that's about it. No station has been built on the moon and not even a second manned mission happened. The moon is really close, yet nobody can make it up there; and still everybody is talking about Mars. Get back to the moon first, before you think about the bigger steps.

Verizon wants you to pay $650 plus $85 a month for a 5G hotspot

Found on Ars Technica on Saturday, 20 July 2019
Browse Technology

Verizon yesterday announced its first 5G hotspot, namely the Inseego MiFi M1000 that Verizon is selling for $650. On top of the device cost, the monthly fees for 5G service will be higher than 4G even though Verizon's 5G network barely exists.

But the fine print states that customers get 50GB of high-speed 5G data, and 5G speeds are reduced to 3Mbps after that.

Verizon has said its 5G users "should expect typical download speeds of 450Mbps, with peak speeds of above 1.5Gbps and latency less than 30 milliseconds."

So in about 15 minutes your monthly traffic is busted and you connections are throttled. It's about time that this BS-bingo about 5G ends.

YouTube: 'We don't take you down the rabbit hole'

Found on BBC News on Friday, 19 July 2019
Browse Internet

YouTube has defended its video recommendation algorithms, amid suggestions that the technology serves up increasingly extreme videos.

YouTube uses algorithms to recommend more videos for you to watch. These video suggestions appear in the app, down the side of the website and also show up when you get to the end of a video.

"It's what's great about YouTube. It is what brings you from one small area and actually expands your horizon and does the opposite of taking you down the rabbit hole," he says.

Their algorithms are pretty useless. Over and over you get recommended the same videos, even if they have absolutely nothing to do with what you are currently watching; and even if they are somewhat related, you're as far away from your original theme as possible. If there is anything that's completely useless and flawed at Youtube, it's the recommendations.

Can you trust FaceApp with your face?

Found on BBC News on Thursday, 18 July 2019
Browse Internet

Since the face-editing tool went viral in the last few days, some have raised concerns over its terms and conditions.

They argue that the company takes a cavalier approach to users' data - but FaceApp said in a statement most images were deleted from its servers within 48 hours of being uploaded.

Privacy advocate Pat Walshe pointed to lines in the FaceApp's privacy policy that suggested some user data may be tracked for the purposes of targeting ads.

It's basically every app that does the same: provide some pointless "feature" and steal all the personal data from the device. So, you cannot trust any app.

Amazon offers $10 to Prime Day shoppers who hand over their data

Found on Reuers on Wednesday, 17 July 2019
Browse Internet

In order to work, the assistant needs access to users’ web activity, including the links and some page content they view. The catch, as Amazon explains in the fine print, is the company can use this data to improve its general marketing, products and services, unrelated to the shopping assistant.

Amazon did not discuss how it uses the data it gathers via the assistant for any unrelated purposes, but a job listing for an affiliated team known as Browser Integration Technologies says the group’s influence “spans across advertising and marketing, pricing and selection.”

Sadly, more than enough people will be stupid enough to fall for that.

Office 365 declared illegal in German schools due to privacy risks

Found on Ars Technica on Tuesday, 16 July 2019
Browse Legal-Issues

Although the press release specifically targets Office 365, it notes that competing Apple and Google cloud suites also do not satisfy German privacy regulations for use in schools.

The Hessian commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (HBDI) isn't just saying that schools would prefer not to use Microsoft, he's stating that their use of Office 365 is outright illegal.

In addition to the physical geography of the cloud, the HBDI is unhappy about telemetry in both Office 365 and Windows 10 itself. Neither can be disabled by end users or organizations, and the content of both remains undisclosed by Microsoft despite repeated inquiries.

Microsoft has since the beginning ignored any questions about privacy when it comes to telemetry and refused to make it possible for the user to turn it off completely. So, yes, it serves them right.

Firm fat-fingered G Suite and deleted its data, so it escalated its support ticket to a lawsuit

Found on The Register on Monday, 15 July 2019
Browse Legal-Issues

An interior design tools startup called Mosss on Wednesday sued Google to get it to restore its data after someone at the startup accidentally deleted the firm's G Suite account.

"[W]hile clearly an urgent matter, to our dismay, our case was not escalated, and no action was taken for nearly three days!" the filing says. "From a business point of view, we had no access to emails and lost all contact with our clients and users."

Mosss (Musey) said while investors have put $1.5m into the firm, it's not seeking monetary damages.

So, in other words, Mosss raked in $1.5m from investors, but still failed the most basic and most essential IT lessons: make backups. This case should be laughed out of court, along with this stupid reliance on "cloud" services.

Fatal Accident With Metal Straw Highlights a Risk

Found on New York Times on Sunday, 14 July 2019
Browse Various

A British woman was impaled by a metal straw after falling at her home, a coroner said in an inquest this week that highlighted the potential dangers of metal straws. Such straws have surged in popularity as cities, states and even countries have banned single-use plastic straws.

Many people with disabilities rely on straws to drink, Ms. Sauder said, but could have difficulties finding them in states and cities, such as California and Seattle, that have banned or restricted single-use straws.

While his is an unfortunate accident, it does not really prove anything. If plastic straws are essential for people with disabilities, then the solution is simple: provide them on prescription. That still reduces he junk of single use plastic by an immense amount; those used by disabled people won't be much of an issue. All that aside, media needs to stop with fear mongering: you can kill yourself in many various ways that would normally never happen; that's why it is called an accident. Teach people to think a little instead of wrapping everything in bubble-wrap.

Facebook 'to be fined $5bn over Cambridge Analytica scandal'

Found on BBCNews on Saturday, 13 July 2019
Browse Legal-Issues

The consumer protection agency the FTC began investigating Facebook in March 2018 following reports that Cambridge Analytica had accessed the data of tens of millions of its users.

Facebook had been expecting this. It told investors back in April that it had put aside most of the money, which means the firm won't feel much added financial strain from this penalty.

As was common with apps and games at that time, it was designed to harvest not only the user data of the person taking part in the quiz, but also the data of their friends.

Too much? By far not enough.