Feed aggregator

  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.

Microsoft’s emergency patch fails to fix critical “PrintNightmare” vulnerability

ArsTechnica - Wed, 07/07/2021 - 3:10pm
Skull and crossbones in binary code

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

An emergency patch Microsoft issued on Tuesday fails to fully fix a critical security vulnerability in all supported versions of Windows that allows attackers to take control of infected systems and run code of their choice, researchers said.

The threat, colloquially known as PrintNightmare, stems from bugs in the Windows print spooler, which provides printing functionality inside local networks. Proof-of-concept exploit code was publicly released and then pulled back, but not before others had copied it. Researchers track the vulnerability as CVE-2021-34527.

A big deal

Attackers can exploit it remotely when print capabilities are exposed to the Internet. Attackers can also use it to escalate system privileges once they’ve used a different vulnerability to gain a toe-hold inside of a vulnerable network. In either case, the adversaries can then gain control of the domain controller, which as the server that authenticates local users, is one of the most security-sensitive assets on any Windows network.

Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Pacific Northwest heatwave “virtually impossible” without climate change

ArsTechnica - Wed, 07/07/2021 - 3:00pm
A stylized comfort of the US map.

Enlarge / Temperatures compared to averages on June 27. (credit: NASA EO)

The last week of June saw shocking temperatures in Oregon, Washington state, and British Columbia. Differentiating a forecast in Canada from a forecast in Phoenix is usually a breeze, but not in June. All-time high-temperature records—not just daily records—were smashed across the region. Portland International Airport broke its all-time record of 41.7°C (107°F) by a whopping 5°C (9°F). The small town of Lytton set a new record high for the entire country of Canada at 49.6°C (121.3°F) on June 29. In the days that followed, most of the town burned in a wildfire.

Folks in this region are not accustomed to such extreme heat, with something like half of homes having air conditioners. The number of heat-related deaths is not yet fully known.

As with other extreme weather events, the World Weather Attribution team has generated a rapid analysis of this heat wave in the context of climate change. The results were released Wednesday. The team coordinates scientists to perform a standard set of analyses—the method has been peer-reviewed, but this new paper obviously has not, yet.

Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Netflix gives us our first look at Zack Snyder’s heist film Army of Thieves

ArsTechnica - Wed, 07/07/2021 - 2:25pm

If, like me, you thoroughly enjoyed Zack Snyder's gory comic/horror zombie thriller Army of the Dead, you'll be intrigued by Netflix's prequel series, Army of Thieves, one of two upcoming Snyder projects set in the same fictional universe. Co-producer Deborah Snyder has said Army of Thieves will be a standalone film and compared the "romantic comedy heist" to 2003's The Italian Job (itself a remake of the 1969 British film).

Army of the Dead followed Dave Bautista and his team of mercenaries as they ventured into zombie-infested Las Vegas to recover millions in cash from a casino vault. Naturally, brain-munching carnage ensued. As I wrote in my review, "While Snyder's distinctive directorial style is plainly evident, he has reined in his worst impulses to give us a clever, entertaining twist on the zombie apocalypse, featuring all the flesh-eating carnage one expects from the genre."

Bautista received top billing as Scott Ward, who brings the team together for the Vegas heist in hopes of having something to leave his estranged daughter, Kate (Ella Purnel). But the entire ensemble cast was terrific. In addition to Tig Notaro's delightfully cynical pilot and Samantha Win's martial arts fireworks, viewers loved the dynamic between zombie-killing-machine Vanderohe (Omari Hardwick) and the brilliantly nerdy, high-strung German safecracker Ludwig Dieter (Matthias Schweighöfer). Not only did the two forge a believable (albeit reluctant) bond, Dieter's well-timed high-pitched screams whenever a zombie charged was one of several running gags. So naturally Dieter is getting his own prequel.

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Trump sues Twitter and Facebook for banning him, claims “trillions” in damages

ArsTechnica - Wed, 07/07/2021 - 1:20pm
Trump supporters scaling the wall of the US Capitol building during the riot on January 6, 2021.

Enlarge / A mob of Trump supporters stormed and breached the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. Trump's incitement of the mob led to his bans from major social networks. (credit: Getty Images | The Washington Post)

Former President Donald Trump today sued Twitter, Facebook, Google subsidiary YouTube, and their CEOs, claiming that all three companies are guilty of "impermissible censorship" that violates "the First Amendment right to free speech."

Trump's lawsuits are almost certainly doomed. The First Amendment does not require private companies to host speech—the Constitutional amendment only imposes limits on how the government can restrict speech. In addition to the First Amendment, US law gives online platforms immunity from lawsuits over how they moderate user-submitted content. The law does so via Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996.

Despite those two titanic legal barriers, Trump's lawsuits seek reinstatement of his social media accounts along with financial damages from the companies and from their chief executives, namely Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Trump's lawsuits seek class-action status with him as the lead plaintiff, and they claim the CEOs are liable for damages because they are "personally responsible" for their companies' "unconstitutional censorship" of Trump and other users.

Read 23 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Dozens of Chinese phone games now require facial scans to play at night

ArsTechnica - Wed, 07/07/2021 - 12:29pm
A child on streetside is fascinated by what is on a smartphone.

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson | Getty Images)

Tencent, the world's largest Chinese video game publisher, has taken an extreme step to comply with its nation's rules about limiting minors' access to video games. As of this week, the publisher has added a facial recognition system, dubbed "Midnight Patrol," to over 60 of its China-specific smartphone games, and it will disable gameplay in popular titles like Honor of Kings if users either decline the facial check or fail it.

In all affected games, once a gameplay session during the nation's official gaming curfew hours (10 pm to 8 am) exceeds an unspecified amount of time, the game in question will be interrupted by a prompt to scan the player's face. Should an adult fail the test for any reason, Tencent makes its "too bad, so sad" attitude clear in its announcement: users can try to play again the next day.

This week's change doubles down on a limited facial-scan system implemented by Tencent in the Chinese version of Honor of Kings in 2018. Since that rollout, we've yet to hear exactly how the system works. Does it determine a user's age based on facial highlights? Does it cross-reference existing facial data—and possibly leverage any of its home nation's public facial-scanning systems? Tencent has not clarified any of Midnight Patrol's technical details.

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

The Chime banking app has been closing accounts, not returning money

ArsTechnica - Wed, 07/07/2021 - 11:59am
A dollar floats in a museum-style plastic display case.

Enlarge / Putting the dollar in the box is easy—but getting it back out can sometimes be a months-long ordeal. (credit: PM Images)

Chime is a banking application which serves millions of users—but it's not actually a bank. And it racked up an unusually large number of consumer protection cases over the last year—920 complaints at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and thousands at the Better Business Bureau. The majority of the CFPB complaints regard forced account closure—accounts closed against a consumer's will without immediately refunding the consumer's account balance in the process.

Unexpected account closures

Only 197 of the 920 complaints against Chime at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are tagged as involving a "closed account"—but as ProPublica reports, the CFPB complaints are inconsistently labeled, and details of many of the other 723 complaints involve forcible closures also. (By contrast, industry behemoth Wells Fargo has only 317 CFPB complaints tagged "closed account" over the same time period—and Marcus, a Goldman Sachs owned online bank with 4 million customers, has only seven.)

Although opening a Chime account is quick and easy—the app is straightforward, and the creation process requires no credit check and is done in minutes—account closures may happen just as rapidly. ProPublica recounts multiple similar stories of Chime customers who received cryptic emails stating, "Following a recent review of your Spending Account, we regret to inform you that we have made the decision to end our relationship with you at this time."

Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Why the password isn’t dead quite yet

ArsTechnica - Wed, 07/07/2021 - 10:10am
Not exactly a 25-character, randomized string of numbers, letters, cases, and symbols.

Not exactly a 25-character, randomized string of numbers, letters, cases, and symbols. (credit: Dan Goodin)

There are certain sci-fi promises the future is supposed to hold: jetpacks, flying cars, a Mars colony. But there are also some seemingly more attainable goals that somehow also always feel just on the horizon. And one of the most tantalizing is the end of passwords. The good news is that the infrastructure—across all the major operating systems and browsers—is largely in place to support passwordless login. The less-good news? You're still plugging passwords into multiple sites and services every day, and you will be for a while.

There's no doubt that passwords are an absolute security nightmare. Creating and managing them is annoying, so people often reuse them or choose easily guessable logins—or both. Hackers are more than happy to take advantage. By contrast, passwordless logins authenticate with attributes that are innate and harder to steal, like biometrics. No one's going to guess your thumbprint.

You likely already use some version of this when you unlock your phone, say, with a scan of your face or your finger rather than a passcode. Those mechanisms work locally on your phone and don't require that companies store a big trove of user passwords—or your sensitive biometric details—on a server to check logins. You can also now use stand-alone physical tokens in certain cases to log in wirelessly and without a password. The idea is that, eventually, you'll be able to do that for pretty much everything.

Read 15 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Increasingly, the ULA-Blue Origin marriage is an unhappy one

ArsTechnica - Wed, 07/07/2021 - 9:17am
Jeff Bezos (right), the founder of Blue Origin and Amazon.com, and Tory Bruno, CEO of United Launch Alliance, display the BE-4 rocket engine during a press conference in 2014.

Enlarge / Jeff Bezos (right), the founder of Blue Origin and Amazon.com, and Tory Bruno, CEO of United Launch Alliance, display the BE-4 rocket engine during a press conference in 2014. (credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

In about two weeks Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos will mark a triumphant moment after 21 years in the spaceflight business. He will climb aboard his New Shepard launch system, blast above the Kármán line into outer space, float around inside his capsule, and then return to Earth beneath parachutes.

It seems unlikely that everyone in the space community will be celebrating. Bezos made his fortune at Amazon through competitive pricing and timely delivery of goods to his customers worldwide. But so far at least, his Blue Origin space company has been a less reliable vendor.

This has been especially of concern to United Launch Alliance, which is relying on Blue Origin-built engines for its new Vulcan rocket. The US Space Force is also watching, as it is counting on the Vulcan booster to help launch some of its most precious satellites into orbit. Blue Origin's powerful BE-4 rocket engine, which burns methane and liquid oxygen, is years late.

Read 20 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Biden’s right-to-repair order could stop companies from blocking DIY fixes

ArsTechnica - Wed, 07/07/2021 - 9:00am
 David Paul Morris/Bloomberg *** Local Caption *** Michael Ghadieh

Enlarge (credit: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

After years of petitions and proposals, momentum is building in government to give consumers broader rights to repair products they own ranging from farm tractors to mobile phones.

In a press briefing yesterday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden will issue an executive order directing the US Department of Agriculture to issue rules that, among other things, “give farmers the right to repair their own equipment how they like.”

The order will reportedly cover more than tractors. According to a Bloomberg report, Biden will urge the Federal Trade Commission to press computer and electronics manufacturers and defense contractors to offer additional leeway in how their devices are repaired.

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Cluster full of black holes may be spitting out stars

ArsTechnica - Wed, 07/07/2021 - 8:35am
Image of black holes in a cloud of gas.

Enlarge (credit: Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC))

As we carefully map the stars of our Milky Way, we're able to identify features that tell us of its history. These include local details, such as the stars that have passed through an area from which something would be able to detect Earth. And it includes far larger structures, like the trails of stars left behind by smaller galaxies that have merged with our own.

But one feature we've discovered has been a bit confusing: trails of stars that are too small and thin to have come from a galaxy collision. There are dozens of them that we've not identified a source for. Their size suggests they came from a globular cluster, but there's no obvious mechanism for these clusters to eject stars at a rate sufficient to generate this sort of stream.

Now, a team of researchers has suggested a not-so-obvious mechanism: Over time, clusters may become dominated by black holes that eject all the stars.

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

No driver? No problem—this is the Indy Autonomous Challenge

ArsTechnica - Wed, 07/07/2021 - 8:16am

INDIANAPOLIS—At a block party down the road from Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) the day before the Indy 500, engineering students from across the world gathered for a very different kind of car reveal. The AV-21, with its sharp, green-blue Dallara chassis, looks like a typical Indy Lights racecar. However, there's one notable exception: no driver. Its cockpit is crammed with wires, processors, sensors, and a motherboard—essentially, a supercomputer.

"It's shaped like a car, but I don't view it as one," said Chanyoung Jung, an engineering student from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. "I view it as a robot."

Automobile, robot, or something in between, the AV-21's unveiling was a significant step for the Indy Autonomous Challenge (IAC), a competition set for October 23 in which driverless cars will race wheel-to-wheel around IMS at potential speeds of more than 180 mph. The winning team will earn a $1.5 million university prize. Organized by IMS and Energy Systems Network (ESN), an Indianapolis-based nonprofit, the race seeks to significantly advance the safety and speed of autonomous vehicles.

Read 27 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Google Chat review: Terrible as a Slack clone, good as a consumer chat app

ArsTechnica - Wed, 07/07/2021 - 4:30am
Cartoonish promotional image of laptop, desktop, and smartphone.

Enlarge / Google Chat, in just some of its many form factors. (credit: Harriet Ruscoe)

Google Chat officially launched for consumers recently, and that means the time has come to dive back into everyone's favorite subject: Google messaging services!

Google Chat is the latest in Google's long and prodigious line of (usually) short-lived messaging applications, but this one is a bit more important than most of the others. While the "~2 years and under" club is packed full of losers—like Google Wave (2009-2010), Buzz (2010-2011), Disco (2011-2012), Google+ Messenger (2011-2013), Spaces (2016-2017), Allo (2016-2019), and YouTube Messages (2017-2019)—one continual throughline has been original Google Talk users. Google Talk was Google's inaugural chat application that started in 2005 (it's often unofficially nicknamed "GChat"). In 2013, Google Talk got an in-place upgrade to Google Hangouts, which was (mostly) compatible with Google's OG chat service. Now, Google Hangouts users will be seamlessly upgraded to Google Chat, resulting in 16 years of turbulent-but-functional Google messaging.

These days it feels like all I do is spread doom and gloom about Google's latest shutdowns or dead-on-arrival messaging app rollouts. But know up front that Google Chat is actually pretty good! Needing to be compatible with Google Hangouts—to date, Google's best-ever messaging app—means it's also a worthy successor to Google Hangouts. This app has lots of client support, online accounts instead of the limited phone number system pushed by Google Pay and Google Allo, and a smooth transition process for your existing chats and contacts. It's not as fully featured as more stable chat systems that have been around for years, but if you're looking for the basics across tons of devices, this 1.0 version of Google Chat is truthfully not bad.

Read 37 remaining paragraphs | Comments

What the “OLED Model” means for the future of Nintendo Switch

ArsTechnica - Wed, 07/07/2021 - 3:45am
Where is my 4K “Switch Pro” upgrade?

The most surprising thing about the Switch's newly announced "OLED Model" might just be what it's missing. Namely, it's missing a new chipset that bumps up the processing power above what's available on existing Switch hardware.

That lack of improved internals is surprising mainly because of a number of reports that promised the next Switch would support a bump to "4K graphics when paired with TVs," as Bloomberg phrased it is as recently as March. Bloomberg's reporters tend to be reliable when it comes to this kind of insider Nintendo reporting, including an early 2019 report that predicted a "lower-priced" Nintendo Switch Lite months ahead of its announcement. Bloomberg also got the other details right about the OLED Model, including the 7" OLED screen that maintains the original Switch's 720p resolution and the general timing of when manufacturing would begin.

Maybe Bloomberg's reporters just got ahead of themselves on this one detail and assumed 4K support that was never really in the cards. More likely, though, is that Nintendo just changed its plans for a processing-power boost at some point after Bloomberg's sources first leaked the information.

Read 16 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Delta variant slams Missouri as ICUs fill and ventilators run low

ArsTechnica - Tue, 07/06/2021 - 3:08pm
A plastic sign is attached to a pole in a parking lot.

Enlarge / The COVID-19 testing site at the Walmart Supercenter in Joplin, Missouri, on July 2, 2020. (credit: Getty | The Washington Post)

As the delta variant spreads rapidly in Missouri and cases of COVID-19 surge, some hospitals in the state are already strained. And projections suggest things will only get worse in the coming weeks.

Cases have increased 45 percent statewide in the past two weeks, with hospitalizations rising 24 percent, according to data tracking by The New York Times. Numerous counties across the state have high per-capita infection rates, some as high as one in seven residents infected. But many of the counties with the highest daily new cases are clustered in Missouri's southwest corner.

Taney County, home to the popular tourist town of Branson in southwest Missouri, has seen daily cases increase 50 percent in the last two weeks, with hospitalizations increasing 62 percent. Taney has an average of 52 daily new cases per 100,000 residents, the third-highest daily case rate in the state. North of Taney in the southwestern corner is Dallas County, which has the second-highest average of daily new cases, at 63 per 100,000. Cases there have increased 74 percent in the last two weeks while hospitalizations increased 44 percent.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Up to 1,500 businesses infected in one of the worst ransomware attacks ever

ArsTechnica - Tue, 07/06/2021 - 1:48pm
The word ransom dominates a menacing, red computer monitor.

Enlarge (credit: Suebsiri Srithanyarat / EyeEm / Getty Images)

As many as 1,500 businesses around the world have been infected by highly destructive malware that first struck software maker Kaseya. In one of the worst ransom attacks ever, the malware, in turn, used that access to fell Kaseya’s customers.

The attack struck on Friday afternoon in the lead-up to the three-day Independence Day holiday weekend in the US. Hackers affiliated with REvil, one of ransomware’s most cutthroat gangs, exploited a zero-day vulnerability in the Kaseya VSA remote management service, which the company says is used by 35,000 customers. The REvil affiliates then used their control of Kaseya’s infrastructure to push a malicious software update to customers, who are primarily small-to-midsize businesses.

Continued escalation

In a statement posted on Monday, Kaseya said that roughly 50 of its customers were compromised. From there, the company said, 800 to 1,500 businesses that are managed by Kaseya’s customers were infected. REvil’s site on the dark web claimed that more than 1 million targets were infected in the attack and that the group was demanding $70 million for a universal decryptor.

Read 19 remaining paragraphs | Comments

GameStop’s Summer Sale is live with a number of good Switch and PS5 deals

ArsTechnica - Tue, 07/06/2021 - 1:23pm
GameStop’s Summer Sale is live with a number of good Switch and PS5 deals

Enlarge (credit: Ars Technica)

Today's edition of the Dealmaster is heavy on gaming deals: surfing the ongoing wave of PC game discounts from Steam's summer sale, we also have a new batch of PlayStation and Switch deals from GameStop's midyear sale, which began on Monday and runs through July 10.

While many of the deals in this latest promotion aren't worth the plunge—and while GameStop, the company, continues to be a bit of a meme—we have found numerous offers worth noting, which we've rounded up for you in our video games deals section below. As of this writing, many of the offers have also been price-matched at Amazon, if you already pay for a Prime membership and would prefer to shop there.

Among the standout offers here are Switch exclusives Super Mario Odyssey and Fire Emblem: Three Houses for $35 each. While these aren't the absolute lowest discounts we've seen in either game's case, discounts below $40 for first-party Switch games have been rare outside of Black Friday season. Odyssey remains one of the better entries in the Mario library, while Three Houses is a tense tactical RPG couched in a surprisingly layered (if deeply anime) political thriller. Note that GameStop says these two deals will only last through July 6, after which they'll bump back up to a more typical sale price for $40.

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Pentagon kills Microsoft’s $10B JEDI cloud contract, says tech is now outdated

ArsTechnica - Tue, 07/06/2021 - 12:52pm
Pentagon kills Microsoft’s $10B JEDI cloud contract, says tech is now outdated

Enlarge (credit: US Department of Defense)

Following years of controversy and intrigue, the Pentagon canceled its JEDI cloud computing contract with Microsoft today.

Microsoft was awarded the contract in October 2019, but work stalled as Amazon, the other finalist, mounted a legal challenge. Now, the Department of Defense has scrapped the entire project, saying that it’s out of date.

“The Department has determined that, due to evolving requirements, increased cloud conversancy, and industry advances, the JEDI Cloud contract no longer meets its needs,” a Pentagon spokesperson said in a statement.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

NASA’s helicopter on Mars just keeps flying and flying

ArsTechnica - Tue, 07/06/2021 - 12:30pm
A helicopter takes a photo of its own shadow.

NASA's Mars helicopter has now completed nine flights. (credit: NASA)

On Monday, NASA's Ingenuity helicopter made its ninth and most ambitious flight yet.

This time, the space agency said, the tiny flier took to the skies for 166.4 seconds and reached a maximum speed of 5 m/s. This is equivalent to 10 mph, or a brisk run. During this flight, Ingenuity covered about 625 meters.

A little more than two months have passed since Ingenuity's first flight, on April 19 of this year. During that initial test, the helicopter hovered to about 3 meters above the ground before landing again. Since then, the engineering team behind the helicopter has pushed the vehicle higher, farther, and faster across the surface of Mars.

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

“Broadcom is a monopolist”: FTC orders chipmaker to stop illegal tactics

ArsTechnica - Tue, 07/06/2021 - 11:42am
A Broadcom sign outside one of its offices.

Enlarge / A sign in front of a Broadcom office on June 03, 2021, in San Jose, California. (credit: Getty Images | Justin Sullivan )

The Federal Trade Commission on Friday said it charged Broadcom "with illegally monopolizing markets for semiconductor components used to deliver television and broadband Internet services" by preventing customers from purchasing from other vendors. The FTC simultaneously announced that it reached a settlement with Broadcom that requires the company to "stop requiring its customers to source components from Broadcom on an exclusive or near-exclusive basis."

The FTC said that "Broadcom is a monopolist in the sale of three types of semiconductor components, or chips, used in devices that deliver television and broadband Internet services" and that "Broadcom illegally maintained its power in the three monopolized markets by entering long-term agreements with both OEMs and service providers that prevented these customers from purchasing chips from Broadcom's competitors." The contracts required customers to purchase and use "Broadcom's chips on an exclusive or near-exclusive basis," the FTC said. "Broadcom entered these exclusivity and loyalty agreements with at least ten OEMs, including those with the most extensive engineering and design capabilities and the strongest ties to service providers."

Broadcom imposed similar contract requirements on TV and broadband providers, the FTC said. "By entering exclusivity and loyalty agreements with key customers at two levels of the supply chain [device makers and service providers], Broadcom created insurmountable barriers for companies trying to compete with Broadcom," the FTC said. The service providers that use devices with Broadcom chips include AT&T, Charter, Comcast, Dish, and Verizon, the FTC said.

Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

No, open source Audacity audio editor is not “spyware”

ArsTechnica - Tue, 07/06/2021 - 10:50am
Familiar to many an at-home podcaster.

Enlarge / Familiar to many an at-home podcaster. (credit: Jim Salter)

Over the fourth of July weekend, several open source news outlets began warning readers that the popular open source audio editing app Audacity is now "spyware."

This would be very alarming if true—there aren't any obvious successors or alternatives which meet the same use cases. Audacity is free and open source, relatively easy to use, cross platform, and ideally suited for simple "prosumer" tasks like editing raw audio into finished podcasts.

However, the negativity seems to be both massively overblown and quite late. While the team has announced that Audacity will begin collecting telemetry, it's neither overly broad in scope nor aggressive in how it acquires the data—and the majority of the real concerns were addressed two months ago, to the apparent satisfaction of the actual Audacity community.

Read 17 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Syndicate content