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Rabu, 07 Oktober 2015

Cyber-thieves hit YouTube Fifa gamers

Six of the most successful Fifa video gamers to feature on YouTube have been targeted by cyber-thieves.
The hackers stole millions of Fifa coins, the games virtual currency, and sold players worth thousands of pounds.
They are thought to have convinced manufacturer EA Sports to transfer their victims' Origin accounts to email addresses the hackers controlled.
Many other well-known players who do not make videos are also believed to have been hit.
AnesonGibW2SNepenthezNick28TBateson87 and matthdgamer have more than five million YouTube subscribers between them.
Matthew Craig, the man behind matthdgamer, told the BBC: "There have been about 10 or more accounts which have been hacked over the last two weeks, me included."
In a video, Nick28T said: "Basically, someone called in pretending to be me and... got in to my account."
An EA representative said: "We encourage all Fifa players to secure their accounts with authentication and verification steps, which we outline on our help and our product sites.
"We are consistently working through our customer experience teams to secure accounts and make sure players are educated when account compromises are made."
Mr Craig said EA had apologised to him about the attack and had moved quickly to help him once he had reported it.
"They got my account back, added four or five more security measures, and my account has been fine since," he said.

Selasa, 06 Oktober 2015

IS exploits Telegram mobile app to spread propaganda

So-called Islamic State group (IS) has shifted its propaganda distribution to the secure mobile messaging app Telegram from Twitter, where its accounts have been repeatedly shut down over the past year.
IS and other jihadist groups appear to be exploiting new functionality introduced by the app last month, which allows users to broadcast their messages to an unlimited number of members via their own Telegram "channel".
On 26 September, just four days after Telegram trumpeted the launch of its new "Channels" tool, IS media operatives on Twitter started advertising the group's own channel dubbed Nashir, which translates as "Distributor" in English.
It has already amassed more than 4,500 subscribers.
Since then, IS propaganda has started appearing first via Telegram, often several minutes before being posted to Twitter.
The group's claim for an attack on Saudi and Emirati forces at a hotel in the Yemeni city of Aden on Tuesday was posted first on Telegram, for example, although Twitter remains a key platform for IS to spread its message.
IS appears to be hoping the Berlin-based Telegram will offer it a more stable and resilient platform for its propaganda, faced with a sustained clampdown on its Twitter presence.
But Telegram itself suggests it will take down illegal material that is made publicly available via the app - including posts related to IS, according to its website.
IS has not had an official presence on Twitter since July 2014, when its last branded accounts were shut down.
It then experimented with a series of less well-known social media platforms, such as the privacy-focused Diaspora as well as VKontakte, Russia's largest social network, whose co-founders the Durov brothers went on to set up Telegram in 2013.
But IS was soon kicked off those platforms too.
Since then, Twitter has remained the group's preferred platform. But it has been caught up in a cat-and-mouse game with the Twitter administration, which has also led to its quasi-official, non-branded accounts routinely suspended.

Samsung says its mobile payments data is safe despite hack

Samsung Electronics has said its mobile payment system is safe after a hacking attack against its US-based subsidiary LoopPay.
An article in the New York Times on Wednesday said the hacking incident had occurred against LoopPay's network in March.
LoopPay, acquired by Samsung in February, developed the payment system used to run Samsung Pay - a competitor to Apple Pay.
Samsung said user data was not at risk.
In August, the Korean electronics giant launched its mobile wallet serviceSamsung Pay in South Korea, followed by a launch in the US in September.
Samsung Pay competes against rival Apple's pay facility, which launched last year and operates in the US and UK. Google offers a similar payment system.
The mobile phone payment systems are designed to convince shoppers to use their handsets to make in-store purchases - rather than using cards.

The New York Times article says Chinese hackers - the so-called Codoso Group - gained access to LoopPay's office network and were not discovered until five months later in August.
Samsung said its payment system "was not impacted and at no point was any personal payment information at risk".
The firm said it was an "isolated incident" and stressed that LoopPay was a physically separate network from Samsung Pay.
"The LoopPay incident was resolved and had nothing to do with Samsung Pay," the firm said.

Senin, 05 Oktober 2015

Cisco disrupts $30m Angler hacking operation

Technology firm Cisco has uncovered a major hacking operation worth an estimated $30m (£19.6m) a year.
The company said criminals had used the notorious Angler Exploit malware toolto target tens of thousands of users every day.
The attacks were focused on customers of hosting provider Limestone Networks.
Cisco has issued a patch and published guidance on how users' can protect themselves but analysts doubt this will put an end to Angler attacks.
"We shouldn't fool ourselves into thinking Cisco's action will serve a killer blow to the Angler Exploit Kit, but it will have bloodied its nose and disrupted the criminals' activities," security expert Graham Cluley told the BBC.

'Advanced and concerning'

Cisco's security team discovered the fraud during a wide-reaching investigationinto Angler - one of "the most advanced and concerning hacking tools on the market", according to the firm.
The malware takes advantage of vulnerabilities in Flash, Java and other browser plug-ins to break into systems.
It can then take computers hostage, demanding a ransom be paid by their owners in order to regain access to the device.
Cisco estimates that almost half of the Angler attacks it analysed happened on servers connecting to the US-based hosting provider.
It said fraudsters were targeting an estimated 90,000 people a day and generating more than $30m annually from the attacks.

'A running battle'

Ken Munro, a security expert at Pen Test Partners, said Cisco's investigation was "another great example of cutting off malware at the knees".
He added: "By analysing the data around Angler and finding critical compromised servers on the internet that the exploit needs to communicate with, it can be rendered powerless."
But he said it would not take long for malware authors to "rewrite their tools to work around this".
He said: "It's a running battle that will continue in a slightly modified format."
Cisco estimates the total revenue generated by Angler attacks worldwide could exceed $60m annually.

Minggu, 04 Oktober 2015

Intelligent Machines: AI had IQ of four-year-old child

An artificial intelligence system (AI) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has taken an IQ test designed for a young child.
The results, written up by MIT Review, revealed that its IQ was equivalent to that of a four-year-old.
Increasingly machines are getting better at specific tasks such as playing chess, recognising pictures and making complex commutations.
But general intelligence is still proving elusive for most of them.
The MIT machine - dubbed ConceptNet4 - was put through its paces by researchers from the University of Illinois, led by Stellan Ohlsson.
The IQ test they chose, known as the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence, is commonly used in US schools.
It is designed for young children and measures intelligence in five categories:
  • information - questions such as "Where can you find a penguin?"
  • vocabulary - questions such as "What is a house?"
  • word reasoning - children are given three clues such as "You can see through it", "It is square", "You can open it".
  • similarities - questions such as "Pen and pencil are both....?"
  • comprehension - questions such as "Why do people shake hands?"
The questions had to be modified for the computer and some programming was necessary to allow the machine to understand what it was being asked.
It did well on vocabulary and similarities, had an average score on information and scored poorly in the word reasoning and comprehension categories.
"The ConceptNet scored a [mark] that is average for a four-year-old child, but below average for five to seven-year-olds," the researchers concluded.
A lot depended on how the machine interpreted the questions. For instance, in answer to the question 'Why do we shake hands?", the machine produced the result "epileptic fit".

Sabtu, 03 Oktober 2015

Drone firm under threat of $2m fine for 'illegal flying'

A drone operator has been threatened with a $1.9m (£1.24m) fine for allegedly flying the unmanned crafts illegally over New York and Chicago.
US authorities proposed the fine on Tuesday, saying that the firm, SkyPan International, flew 65 such flights over more than two years.
The fine would be more than 100 times larger than the previous biggest punishment.
The company said it has not had time to review the proposal in detail.
The proposed fine was so large, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) told the Associated Press (AP), because it had asked SkyPan to stop the flights, but the firm continued anyway.
In a statement, the FAA said that 43 of the flights were in the heavily restricted Class B New York airspace without air traffic control clearance.
The airspace is usually around airports and stretches from the ground up to a maximum of 10,000ft. It is often shaped like an inverted pyramid.

'Illegal and dangerous'

"Flying unmanned aircraft in violation of the Federal Aviation Regulations is illegal and can be dangerous," said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. "We have the safest airspace in the world, and everyone who uses it must understand and observe our comprehensive set of rules and regulations."
It said that the firm operated the aircraft in a "careless or reckless manner so as to endanger lives or property" during the flights, which allegedly took place between 21 March 2012 and 15 December 2014. The FAA further alleged that, on all 65 flights, the aircraft lacked the proper airworthiness certification.
SkyPan is a Chicago-based firm that specialises in aerial photography. Its production co-ordinator Karl Brewick told the AP that it had not had a chance to review the fine proposal and had no immediate comment. The firm has 30 days to respond to the FAA's proposed fine.
The previous largest fine for drone operations was $18,700 (£12,200), which was proposed in September against Xizmo Media, a New York video production company, the FAA said.
On Wednesday, the day after its announcement, an FAA official was due to face questioning by a House of Representatives committee on what the agency was doing to address safety hazards created by drones flying too close to manned aircraft.
FAA officials have said they are receiving multiple reports daily of drones flying in the vicinity of airports and airplanes, Associated Press reported.

Google speeds up news article downloads on mobile devices

Dozens of leading news organisations, including the BBC, are taking part in a scheme that will allow their web-based articles to load more quickly on smartphones and tablets.
Leaders of the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) initiative promise that the stripped-back versions of the pages will be "lightning fast" to load.
The move has been led by Google, which is providing use of its servers.
Participants believe it may discourage the use of ad-blocking plug-ins.
AMP works by simplifying the technical underpinnings of the pages involved.
Much of the Javascript code used on normal webpages is absent, meaning articles should not only appear faster but use less battery power.
Publishers can continue to tap into the same ad networks as before, but they will not be able to display some types of adverts including pop-ups and "sticky" images that move as users scroll down a page.
Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Wordpress have said they also intend to make use of the technology.
Facebook is a notable exception. The social network recently launched an alternative programme called Instant Articles, which speeds up the delivery of third-party content by hosting it on its own platform.

Cache and serve

News sites will automatically create AMP versions of their stories at the same time as they publish and update the originals.
Google intends to scrape these from the web, store them on its cache servers and then serve them to users via its Search and News tools.
Likewise, the social networks involved are also expected to cache and direct users to the AMP articles rather than the originals if users click on relevant links in their apps.
"Today, roughly 40% of users abandon an article if it doesn't load after six seconds," Danny Bernstein, Google's director of product partnerships, told the BBC.
"To be able to pull down an article instantly from Twitter, from Pinterest is a remarkable thing.
"We'll support accelerated mobile pages in search in 2016, but the code is public, so publishers can launch them today, and we expect some smaller apps to be able to render AMP files immediately."

Microsoft launches Windows laptop

Microsoft has launched a laptop dubbed the Surface Book, as part of a suite of new Windows 10 products.
It also showed off two new smartphones, an updated Surface tablet and a new fitness band.
Much is riding on the launches as chief executive Satya Nadella sets out to prove Microsoft can compete with its rivals.
Analysts said the new laptop may help revive the ailing PC market.
The laptop, Microsoft's first, was the highlight of a tranche of new products shown off at an event in New York.
It is designed to take on Apple's Macbook, with Microsoft directly comparing the products.
It said that, just as its Surface tablet was a hybrid between a tablet and a laptop, so the Surface Book would "reinvent categories".
Analysts seemed impressed.
"It is a highly innovative, flagship device that will act as a much-needed halo product for Windows 10 and the broader PC market and proves that innovation in personal computing is not just confined to Apple's Cupertino campus," said Ben Wood, head of research at CCS Insight.
The device, which weighs 1.6lbs (0.7 kilograms) and is 7.7mm thick, comes with a touchscreen that can be separated from the keyboard. It will be available at the end of October for $1,499 (£984).

Microsoft also showed off two new smartphones - the 5.2in Lumia 950 ($549) and the slightly larger Lumia 950 XL ($649) both of which will be available in November.
Features include a 20 megapixel camera, a dedicated camera button, the ability to capture 4K video and 32 gigabytes of storage.
A cheaper Lumia 550 will be available in December, priced $139.
Mr Wood said Microsoft still had a "mountain to climb" to regain relevance in the smartphone market.
"These new Lumia devices tick all the boxes in terms of specifications and features but they are unlikely to be enough to lure customers away from the iPhone or Android-powered rivals," he said.

Jumat, 02 Oktober 2015

How worried is Silicon Valley about Safe Harbour?

The Safe Harbour ruling made on Tuesday has potentially big implications for some giants of Silicon Valley when it comes to how they look after our private data.
Safe Harbour was designed as a "streamlined and cost-effective" way for US firms to get data from Europe without breaking its rules.
Companies in the US were able to self-certify that they had put the appropriate data privacy measures in place.
In the wake of the Snowden allegations, the top European court has ruled that Safe Harbour is invalid.
The White House has expressed disappointment that a "critical" agreement had been struck down because of "incorrect assumptions about data privacy protections in the United States".
But the question is - what's changed?
I've spent the day canvassing the views of firms in Silicon Valley. Most didn't want to talk on the record and were taking a wait-and-see approach as to what happens next.
Of those that did have something to say, here's a selection.


Microsoft provides cloud services - online storage - for many businesses around the world. In a blog post, the company said: "For Microsoft's enterprise cloud customers, we believe the clear answer is that yes they can continue to transfer data by relying on additional steps and legal safeguards we have put in place."
Talking about its own services, such as Hotmail, the company said: "We also don't believe today's ruling has a significant impact on our consumer services. Our terms of use make clear that to provide these services, we transfer data between users, which occurs for example, when one user sends email or other online content to another user."
But it called for renegotiation of Safe Harbour to be swift.
"Many European nations are currently considering amendments to their surveillance laws. Rather than just expand governments' surveillance authority as some are seeking to do, the focus should be on striking the right balance between security and privacy without sacrificing one for the other."

Internet Association

The Internet Association represents some of the biggest players in Silicon Valley and beyond, including Twitter, Google, Facebook, Netflix and Uber.

Kamis, 01 Oktober 2015

Chemistry Nobel: Lindahl, Modrich and Sancar win for DNA repair

The 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded for discoveries in DNA repair.
Tomas Lindahl and Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar were named as the winners on Wednesday morning at a news conference in Stockholm, Sweden.
Their work uncovered the mechanisms used by cells to repair damaged DNA - a fundamental process in living cells and important in cancer.
Prof Lindahl is Swedish, but has worked in the UK for more than three decades.
The prize money of eight million Swedish kronor (£634,000; $970,000) will be shared among the winners.
"It was a surprise. I know that over the years I've occasionally been considered for a prize, but so have hundreds of other people. I feel lucky and proud to be selected today," Tomas Lindahl, from the UK's Francis Crick Institute, told journalists.
Claes Gustafsson, from the Nobel Committee, said the recipients had "explained the processes at the molecular level that guard the integrity of our genomes".

Monitoring and repair

DNA is open to an onslaught of different phenomena that can generate defects in our genomes.
UV radiation and molecules known as free radicals can cause damage. Furthermore, defects can arise when DNA is copied during cell division - a process that occurs millions of times each day in our bodies.
"Cigarette smoke contains small reactive chemicals, which bind to the DNA and prevent it from being replicated properly - so they are mutagens. And once there is damage in the DNA this can cause diseases including cancer," said Prof Lindahl, who for 20 years ran the Clare Hall laboratories in Hertfordshire - now part of Cancer Research UK.
To address those defects, a host of molecular systems continuously monitor and de-bug our genetic information. The three new laureates mapped in detail how some of these mechanisms worked.