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.

Choosing 2FA authenticator apps can be hard. Ars did it so you don’t have to

ArsTechnica - Wed, 05/27/2020 - 4:15am
Choosing 2FA authenticator apps can be hard. Ars did it so you don’t have to

Enlarge (credit: Aurich & Hannah Lawson)

Last year, Sergio Caltagirone found himself in a tough spot. While traveling, his phone broke and stopped working completely. With no access to his Google and Microsoft authenticator apps, he lost access to two-factor authentication when he needed it most—when he was logging in from IP addresses not recognized by the 30 to 40 sites he had enrolled.

“I had a whole bunch of sites [that] I had to go through a massively long account restoration process because I lost my 2FA,” said Caltagirone, who is senior VP of threat intelligence at security firm Dragos. “Every time, I had to contact customer service. I had different levels of requirements I had to go through for them to effectively disable 2FA on my account. Some required address verification. [For others,] I had to send a last bill. The number of those I went through was just insane.”

Thin blades

The experience shows the double-edged sword of multi-factor authentication. Requiring users to enter a password that’s pseudorandomly generated every 30 seconds makes account takeovers significantly harder, even when an attacker has phished or otherwise obtained the password. But in the event that second factor (in this case, the “something you have,” that is, the phone) isn’t available, that same protection can block legitimate users from logging in for unacceptably long periods of time.

Read 43 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Meet unc0ver, the new jailbreak that pops shell—and much more—on any iPhone

ArsTechnica - Tue, 05/26/2020 - 5:00pm
Meet unc0ver, the new jailbreak that pops shell—and much more—on any iPhone

Enlarge (credit: Maurizio Pesce / Flickr)

Hackers have released a new jailbreak that any user can employ to gain root access on any iPhone, regardless of the hardware as long as it runs iOS 11 or later.

Dubbed unc0ver, the exploit works only when someone has physical access to an unlocked device and connects it to a computer. Those requirements mean that the jailbreak is unlikely to be used in most malicious scenarios, such as through malware that surreptitiously gains unfettered system rights to an iPhone or iPad. The inability for unc0ver to survive a reboot also makes it less likely it will be used in hostile situations.

Rather, unc0ver is more of a tool that allows users to break locks Apple developers put in place to limit key capabilities such as what apps can be installed, the monitoring of OS functions, and various other tweaks that are standard on most other OSes. The jailbreak, for instance, allows users to gain a UNIX shell that has root privileges to the iPhone. From there, users can use UNIX commands to do whatever they’d like.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Twitter’s first fact-check on President Trump calls out “false claims” [Updated]

ArsTechnica - Tue, 05/26/2020 - 4:11pm
A cartoon orange man outweighs a pair of blue birds on a seesaw.

Enlarge / Twitter's policies currently protect apparent rule-breaking posts due to a "world leader" clause. Tuesday saw the social media service try a different tack. (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images)

Twitter's newest fact-checking initiative, which slaps warnings on misleading posts by major public officials, appeared on arguably the biggest possible account in North America on Tuesday: President Donald Trump.

Earlier that day, Trump used Twitter to allege that mail-in voting is inherently "fraudulent." Hours later, his posts were updated by Twitter to include a clickable, plain-text notice—"get the facts about mail-in ballots"—next to an exclamation-point icon.

Clicking that notice directs users to a page that cites "CNN, Washington Post and other fact checkers" in disputing the president's Tuesday-morning allegation. But before the Twitter page links to these citations, it opens with what appears to be entirely original language, as opposed to a quote from a press outlet:

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

House expected to vote on search and browsing privacy this week

ArsTechnica - Tue, 05/26/2020 - 2:33pm
A well-dressed woman descends a flight of stairs.

Enlarge / Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), center, on Capitol Hill in March 2020. (credit: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

An amendment to protect Americans' search and browsing records from government snooping is gaining momentum in the House of Representatives. A vote on the proposal could come as soon as Wednesday.

Two weeks ago, the Senate passed legislation renewing a controversial Patriot Act spying provision known as Section 215. Privacy advocates in the Senate proposed an amendment prohibiting the FBI from using Section 215 to obtain Americans' search and browsing histories. The proposal was supported by 59 out of 100 senators—one fewer than the 60 votes required for the amendment to pass under the Senate's dysfunctional rules.

Now the bill has moved to the House of Representatives, where privacy advocates are hoping to have more success. The House doesn't have the same supermajority rule, so it shouldn't take more than a simple majority to pass the amendment. That would set up a showdown with the Senate about the final text of the bill.

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Which Batmobile is best? This documentary looks at all Batman’s rides

ArsTechnica - Tue, 05/26/2020 - 1:42pm
Which Batmobile is best? This documentary looks at all Batman’s rides

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson / Warner Bros)

There can't be many vehicles in popular culture as well-known as Batman's Batmobile. The car is as much a character as the Caped Crusader himself, and it's the topic of a documentary simply titled The Batmobile that Warner Bros. put online recently. I must confess, I'm a couple of weeks late to the party, for I only learned about the video—which I think was originally one of the extras on 2012's Blu-ray of The Dark Knight Rises—in our virtual office this morning. And I was originally going to write this piece as an argument for the one true Batmobile, but actually, that would be wrong. Instead, the documentary convinced me that each iteration of Batman's ride is equally valid in its own right.

OK, maybe not the unmodified Cadillac that he used in a 1943 production, but definitely the rest of them. As the character developed in print, the Batmobile went through a series of changes, usually at the whim of whomever was drawing it at the time. But for many, the name Batmobile probably conjures up images of the 1960s TV version. Designed by legendary customizer George Barris and driven by Adam West, I'm currently struck by just how well-labeled every batgadget happens to be.

In the 1980s, director Tim Burton brought the darkness back to live-action Batman, influenced by comics like Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns and Brian Bolland and Alan Moore's The Killing Joke. Did you know that the Burton Batmobile's jet-like canopy came about because the film's art director forgot to leave room for more conventional doors? Other neat facts I have learned today are that the taillights are borrowed from a Ferrari, and the fuel filler comes from one of London's Routemaster buses.

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

SpaceX and US Army sign deal to test Starlink broadband for military use

ArsTechnica - Tue, 05/26/2020 - 12:33pm
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk standing with his arms crossed.

Enlarge / CEO Elon Musk at SpaceX Headquarters in Hawthorne, California, on October 10, 2019. (credit: Getty Images | NurPhoto)

The US Army has signed a three-year deal with SpaceX to test the company's Starlink satellite-broadband service, SpaceNews reported today.

On May 20, the Army and SpaceX signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA), an Army source told the news organization. This will allow the Army to use Starlink broadband in order to determine whether it should be rolled out for wider use.

"CRADAs are commonly used by the military to evaluate technologies and services from the private sector before it commits to buying them," SpaceNews wrote. "The Army in this case wants to be able to assess the performance of the Starlink low-Earth orbit [LEO] Internet service when connected to military systems. The Army will seek answers to key questions such as what ground equipment it will need to use Starlink and how much systems integration work could be required."

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Proposed bill would ban microtargeting of political advertisements

ArsTechnica - Tue, 05/26/2020 - 12:19pm
A serious woman in a suit raises a gavel.

Enlarge / Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) chairing a House committee hearing pandemic-style on Thursday, May 14 2020. (credit: Greg Nash—Pool | Getty Images)

Internet-based advertising has been a boon for both political campaigns and disinformation campaigns, which love to take advantage of the ability to slice and dice the electorate into incredibly tiny and carefully targeted segments for their messaging. These ads—which may or may not be truthful and are designed to play very specifically on tiny groups—are incredibly difficult for regulators, researchers, and anyone else not in the targeted group to see, identify, analyze, and rebut.

Google prohibits this kind of microtargeting for political ads, while Twitter tries not to allow any political advertising. Facebook, on the other hand, is happy to let politicians lie in their ads and continue microtargeting on its platform. Members of Congress have challenged Facebook and its CEO to explain this stance in the face of rampant disinformation campaigns, but to no avail.

Lawmakers now want to go further and make this kind of microtargeting for political advertising against the law. Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) today introduced a bill (PDF) that would amend federal election law to do just that.

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Motorola is taking a second swing at a modern Moto Razr reboot

ArsTechnica - Tue, 05/26/2020 - 11:39am

It looks like Motorola is going to take another crack at reviving the Moto Razr. Two sources now say a second-gen Moto Razr reboot is on the way, after the embarrassing public flop of the first-gen Razr reboot.

The first source is straight from Lenovo, Motorola's parent company. During a discussion on the Reframed Tech podcast, Lenovo South Africa General Manager Thibault Dousson said "a new iteration" of the Moto Razr was on the way "in September, I think." That's not really the normal way to announce a new product, but it would not be the first time a Lenovo executive has taken a personal approach to product news.

Source #2 is XDA Developers, which, after nailing the specs for the first-gen Razr months ahead of launch, has a set of specs for the second-gen Razr that promise a much higher-end device.

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New Android vulnerability Strandhogg 2.0 exploits user trust

ArsTechnica - Tue, 05/26/2020 - 11:26am
Cartoon flowchart explaining how a phishing attack works.

Enlarge / Strandhogg 2.0 can be thought of as the ultimate phishing attack. When the user taps a legitimate icon—which could be for email, camera, etc—the malware intercepts the tap and can present a copycat dialog instead. (credit: Promon)

A Norwegian infosec firm discovered a new Android vulnerability, which they've dubbed Strandhogg 2.0. Security firm Promon says "Strandhogg" is an old Norse strategy for coastline raids and abductions, and today's vulnerability is the "evil twin" of a similar one discovered in 2019.

The original Strandhogg used an Android feature called taskAffinity to hijack applications—by setting the taskAffinity of one of its activities to match the packageName of any other app, then setting allowTaskReparenting="true" in its own manifest, the Strandhogg app would be launched in place of the target app.

Imagine tapping the legitimate Gmail icon on your phone and getting what appears to be a legitimate login prompt, pixel-for-pixel identical with the one you'd see if your account had been logged off. Would you enter your credentials? If one of the free games or apps you or a child might have installed was a Strandhogg vessel, you just gave your credentials to an attacker—which might even launch the Gmail application itself immediately after testing your credentials, leaving no obvious sign you had been compromised.

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Take $30 off a new Amazon Kindle, our recommended budget ebook reader

ArsTechnica - Tue, 05/26/2020 - 10:53am
Take $30 off a new Amazon Kindle, our recommended budget ebook reader

Enlarge (credit: Ars Technica)

Today's Dealmaster is headlined by a nice discount on the Amazon Kindle, which is currently down to $60. That's tied for the lowest price we've tracked for Amazon's entry-level ebook reader and a $30 drop from its usual going rate. The deal also bundles a three-month subscription to Amazon's Kindle Unlimited ebook service, which typically costs $30 on its own. Just note that the subscription will be set to auto-renew at $10 a month once the free period is up, so you may want to set a reminder for yourself if you wish to cancel.

The Kindle is the "best budget" option in our guide to the best ebook readers. We like it for offering a decent 6-inch display with adjustable front lighting that helps it stay visible in darker environments, a lightweight (6.01 oz.) and comfortable design that takes up little room in a bag, solid battery life that lasts roughly four weeks a charge, and Bluetooth connectivity that lets you connect wireless headphones and listen to Audible audiobooks. And like any other Kindle, it comes with access to Amazon's massive ebook library.

To be clear, though, this is priced below Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite, our favorite ebook reader, for a reason. By comparison, the entry-level Kindle's display isn't as sharp, with a 167-pixel-per-inch (ppi) density compared to the Paperwhite's crisper 300ppi display. This won't be a major nuisance unless you're coming from a sharper ereader display, but the Kindle's text is fuzzier, and the drop-off will be particularly noticeable with image-heavy material like comic books and manga. Beyond that, the Kindle lacks the Paperwhite's waterproofing, its display is a tad dimmer due to having one fewer LED front light, it has half as much storage space at 4GB, and its display is recessed from the rest of the design, not set flush à la the higher-end model. In either case, you still have to put up with home-screen ads (unless you pay a one-time fee) and DRM protection that effectively locks your ebook library into Amazon's platform.

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Early tests of vaccine for COVID-19 pass peer review, look promising

ArsTechnica - Tue, 05/26/2020 - 10:34am
Image of vials and syringes on a tray.

Enlarge / Test doses of another potential SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. (credit: MLADEN ANTONOV / Getty Images)

We still don't know how well a robust immune response protects people from SARS-CoV-2 infection. But we've got a further indication that vaccines can induce a strong immune response. Just prior to the holiday weekend, a Chinese team released the results of a safety trial done using a harmless virus that had been modified to carry one of the coronavirus genes. While there were a number of side effects, everyone getting the vaccine had a robust antibody response, including some antibodies that neutralized the virus.

Familiar virus, new protein

The first indication of progress toward a vaccine that we're aware of came in the form of a company press release. This new one comes in the form of a peer-reviewed article in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet. Most of its authors are academic researchers or public health authorities; only two have affiliations with a company.

The two reports also differ significantly in terms of their approach to generating an immune response. The earlier announcement, from a company called Moderna, involved injecting carefully packed RNAs that encode the spike protein that normally resides on the surface of the virus. The RNAs transit inside a person's cells and induce them to produce the spike protein, thereby exposing the immune system to it.

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YouTube auto-deletes comments with phrases critical of Chinese government [Updated]

ArsTechnica - Tue, 05/26/2020 - 9:50am
Protesters in Taipei, Taiwan, demonstrate for granting political asylum to Hong Kongers in January 2020.

Enlarge / Protesters in Taipei, Taiwan, demonstrate for granting political asylum to Hong Kongers in January 2020. (credit: Walid Berrazeg/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

YouTube's software is automatically deleting comments with two phrases critical of the Chinese Communist Party, the Verge reported on Tuesday morning.

“共匪” means "communist bandit." It was a derogatory term used by Nationalists during the Chinese Civil War that ended in 1949. It continues to be used by Chinese-speaking critics of the Beijing regime, including in Taiwan.

“五毛” means “50-cent party.” It's a derogatory term for people who are paid by the Chinese government to participate in online discussions and promote official Communist Party positions. In the early years of China's censored Internet, such commenters were allegedly paid 50 cents (in China's currency, the yuan) per post.

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Audi parks driver for using a ringer in charity esports race

ArsTechnica - Tue, 05/26/2020 - 8:06am
Daniel Abt in happier times, taking part in a sim race at this year's Santiago ePrix in Chile. After doing unusually well in a sim race this weekend, it turned out Abt had brought in a ringer.

Enlarge / Daniel Abt in happier times, taking part in a sim race at this year's Santiago ePrix in Chile. After doing unusually well in a sim race this weekend, it turned out Abt had brought in a ringer. (credit: Audi Communications Motorsport / Michael Kunkel)

The combination of racing drivers and esports is turning out to be full of drama. When COVID-19 put a stop to real-world racing in March, professional series moved the action, using sims like iRacing and rFactor 2 along with streaming platforms like Twitch to give drivers something to do and fans something to watch. But the transition hasn't been a smooth one for some of the professional drivers, particularly those who had little interest or experience in the simulation side of things before the pandemic.

Audi's Daniel Abt is the latest to discover that it's not just a game when you're being paid to show up. The latest incident took place on Saturday in Formula E's Race at Home challenge, where the sport's real-world stars show up to compete in rFactor 2 to raise money for UNICEF. Set in a virtual version of Berlin's Tempelhof airport, Abt qualified well and raced to third place, a performance that was in stark contrast to his previous esports races. This, and the fact that he was obscured from view in his video feed, raised suspicions among some of the other drivers.

Rage-quitting, racist remarks, now a ringer

Those suspicions had merit. When the esports race organizers investigated, they checked IP address data and discovered the presence of a ringer—sim racing professional Lorenz Hoerzing, who raced pretending to be Abt. Disqualified from the race, Abt was ordered to donate $10,817 (€10,000) to charity. (Hoerzing was also stripped of his sixth-place finish in the companion event held for professional sim racers, and banned from competing in that series again.) After admitting he swapped in Hoerzing, Abt apologized in a statement on Sunday.

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Minecraft Dungeons review: A smashing good Diablo clone for any age

ArsTechnica - Tue, 05/26/2020 - 5:42am
Redstone golems are a real pain in the <em>Minecraft Dungeons</em> butt.

Enlarge / Redstone golems are a real pain in the Minecraft Dungeons butt. (credit: Mojang)

When Microsoft acquired the game studio Mojang in 2014 for a whopping $2.5 billion, fans of its biggest series, Minecraft, immediately wondered what would happen next. Would this be the end of Minecraft on rival platforms like PlayStation? Was the Java version toast? Would we have to suffer through some ill-fitting abomination like Minecraft: Kinect Dance Party?

Turns out, Microsoft has largely been a solid shepherd for the blocky series. The traditional Minecraft game continues receiving regular free updates across every platform imaginable, and its cross-platform builds sit alongside the original Java incarnation. Also, we didn't wind up with a bunch of annoying spin-off games; so far, there has just been a well-reviewed Telltale adventure and a decent Pokemon Go clone.

Microsoft and Mojang's combined ambitions grow this week with Minecraft Dungeons, the first series spin-off to germinate from within Mojang's offices. At E3 2019, the studio admitted to having run a skunkworks division for some time, focused on finding the right game concept for its mega-hit universe. Its first spinoff salvo comes in the form of a family-friendly action-RPG.

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I laughed a lot at Netflix’s Space Force, but my inner space wonk cried

ArsTechnica - Tue, 05/26/2020 - 5:22am
 Boots on the Moon by 2024.

Enlarge / Dan Bakkedahl as secretary of defense spells it out: Boots on the Moon by 2024. (credit: Netflix)

Note: This is not a review of Netflix's Space Force, but in discussing differences between the series' first season and the real world, this article contains minor plot spoilers—but not enough to spoil 99 percent of the series' jokes and plot developments.

One of the opening scenes of Netflix's new comedy series Space Force hilariously depicts General Mark Naird (Steve Carell) at his first meeting as part of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

This scene establishes the premise for the main story line of the show. Comedian Dan Bakkedahl (similar to his portrayal of a congressman in Veep) plays the part of Secretary of Defense John Blandsmith. After introducing Naird as a new four-star general, Blandsmith gets to the point:

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Review: Revisit the controversial Biosphere 2 project with Spaceship Earth

ArsTechnica - Mon, 05/25/2020 - 3:53pm

Official trailer for Spaceship Earth, a documentary about the controversial Biosphere 2 experiment in the early 1990s.

In September 1991, amid much media fanfare, eight people entered a closed experimental facility called Biosphere 2 for a two-year stint in total isolation. They endured hunger, a dangerous rise in CO2 levels, interpersonal squabbles, a media backlash, and sharp criticism from the scientific establishment. Today, most people might recall Biosphere 2 as a colossal failure. But the truth is much more nuanced than that, as we learn in Spaceship Earth, Director Matt Wolf's self-described "stranger than fiction" documentary about the controversial experiment. The film made a splash at Sundance earlier this year and is now available for streaming on Hulu, Apple TV, and other select platforms.

Biosphere 2, a 3.14-acre facility located in Oracle, Arizona, has a long, colorful history tailor-made for the documentary treatment. Built between 1987 and 1992, its original objective was to be an artificial, fully self-sustaining closed ecological system—a large-scale vivarium, if you will. (It was called Biosphere 2 because the Earth itself is the original biosphere.) There were seven distinct "biome" areas: a rainforest, an ocean with living coral reef, a savannah grassland, a fog desert, mangrove wetlands, an agricultural system (i.e., a small farm), and a human habitat.

Spaceship Earth delves deep into the roots of the project, going back to the 1960s, when John Allen and several cohorts (some would later deem them cultish followers) moved from San Francisco to New Mexico and founded a commune called Synerga Ranch. They were inspired by surrealist/spiritualist French novelist René Daumal, among others, as well as Buckminster Fuller's Spaceship Earth. They even built their own geodesic dome on the ranch, the better to hold communal gatherings and stage amateur theatrical productions. (They would later tour as the Theater of Possibilities.)

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Virgin Orbit loses its first rocket shortly after engine ignition

ArsTechnica - Mon, 05/25/2020 - 2:54pm

After more than seven years of development, testing, and preparation, Virgin Orbit reached an important moment on Monday—dropping and igniting its LauncherOne rocket over the Pacific Ocean. Unfortunately, shortly after ignition an "anomaly" occurred, the company said.

"LauncherOne maintained stability after release, and we ignited our first stage engine, NewtonThree," the company stated on Twitter. "An anomaly then occurred early in first stage flight. We'll learn more as our engineers analyze the mountain of data we collected today."

This was the company's first attempt to ignite LauncherOne. Previously, it had strapped the liquid-fueled rocket to its modified 747 aircraft and flown out over the Pacific Ocean but not released the booster from beneath the plane's wing.

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Scientists vs politicians: The reality check for “warp speed” vaccine research

ArsTechnica - Mon, 05/25/2020 - 9:31am
In this picture taken on April 29, 2020, engineers work on an experimental vaccine for the COVID-19 coronavirus at the Quality Control Laboratory at the Sinovac Biotech facilities in Beijing

Enlarge / In this picture taken on April 29, 2020, engineers work on an experimental vaccine for the COVID-19 coronavirus at the Quality Control Laboratory at the Sinovac Biotech facilities in Beijing (credit: Nicholas Asfouri)

When Donald Trump launched Operation Warp Speed last week, he borrowed language from Star Trek to describe the drive for a Covid-19 vaccine. “That means big and it means fast,” the US president said, promising an effort “moving on at record, record, record speed.”

His hope that a coronavirus vaccine might be ready “prior to the end of the year” was even quicker than the optimistic—but often repeated—timeline for a vaccine to be ready in 12 to 18 months.

The race for a vaccine appeared to be picking up pace this week when Moderna, a Boston-based biotech company, unveiled early positive results for its potential vaccine in a small trial—and AstraZeneca said it could have the first doses of another vaccine delivered by October if trials are successful.

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OpenSignal compares 5G experiences across ten major carriers

ArsTechnica - Mon, 05/25/2020 - 8:01am
5G, Rocket House, Pew-Pew! Does it make sense? No. Does it channel the usual breathless 5G marketing materials? Yes.

Enlarge / 5G, Rocket House, Pew-Pew! Does it make sense? No. Does it channel the usual breathless 5G marketing materials? Yes. (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty)

Telecomm analytics firm OpenSignal released a report last week analyzing the connection experience of 5G users across the world, on ten different providers. Unfortunately—and typically for 5G—the source data is so muddled that it's difficult to draw meaningful conclusions from the results.

In the USA, Verizon is the only carrier to have deployed a significant millimeter-wave (5G FR2, various bands from 24GHz to 40GHz) network—and in fact, at the moment Verizon is only deploying 5G FR2, which is why its average 5G download speed bar leaps off the chart, at 506Mbps. 5G is a protocol, not a wavelength—and the extreme high speeds and low latencies carriers and OEM vendors promote so heavily come with the high-frequency, short-wavelength FR2 spectrum, not with the protocol itself.

The other carriers in the chart are deploying 5G in the FR1 range—the same frequencies already in use for 2G, 3G, and 4G connections. FR1 spectrum runs between 600MHz and 4.7GHz, and is further commonly split informally as "low band"—1GHz and less, with excellent range but poor throughput and latency—and "mid band," from 1GHz to 6GHz, with improved throughput and latency but less range.

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Here’s NOAA’s outlook for US summer weather—and hurricane season

ArsTechnica - Mon, 05/25/2020 - 8:00am
Let's start with something nice... check the orange popping out of this April 14 satellite image of the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve.

Enlarge / Let's start with something nice... check the orange popping out of this April 14 satellite image of the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve. (credit: NASA EO)

On Friday, NOAA released its latest seasonal weather outlook for the US, which followed an updated hurricane season outlook. As always, the seasonal outlook starts with a look back at the previous month.

April 2020 was the 2nd warmest April on record globally, but a southward meander of the jet stream over Canada and the eastern US made this region of North America the exception. For the contiguous US, April was slightly below the average going back to 1895. Precipitation was similarly just below average, but a few states including Colorado and Nebraska had an extremely dry April, while the Virginias and Georgia were extremely wet.

If you live around the Midwest or Plains states, you won’t be surprised to hear that recent weeks have not been particularly warm. That’s because mid-April saw a hard freeze come through, with another freeze in the second week of May. While the April freeze wasn’t really late compared to the long-term averages, it followed a warm spring that caused vegetation to pop up early in many places—only to be bitten by a frost.

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