posted 2 days ago on ars technica
New worldwide survey results conducted by a Canadian think tank show that most people around the world (60 percent) have heard of Edward Snowden, but just over a third have "have taken steps to protect their online privacy and security as a result of his revelations." The study, which was released Monday by the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), surveyed over 23,000 people in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey, and the United States. The survey did not break out respondents by nationality. The figures varied widely: 94 percent of Germans surveyed heard of the National Security Agency whistleblower, while only 76 percent of Americans had. Kenya rounded out the bottom of the list at 14 percent. Globally, this resulted in an average of 60 percent. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 2 days ago on ars technica
When T-Mobile US customers exceed their monthly data caps, they aren't cut off from the Internet entirely. Instead, T-Mobile throttles their connections to 128Kbps or 64Kbps, depending on which plan they have, for the rest of the month. But T-Mobile has made it difficult for those customers to figure out just how slow their connections are, with a system that exempts speed test applications from the throttling. After complaints from consumer advocates, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) investigated the issue and has forced T-Mobile to be more honest about its network's throttled speeds. Announced today, an agreement between T-Mobile and the FCC ensures that customers will be able to accurately gauge their throttled speeds. Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 2 days ago on ars technica
A few months ago, Facebook changed its default settings to enable auto-play of video content on the social network's news feed, whether users accessed the site on a desktop browser or through its mobile app. Even though the latter has auto-play enabled by default with an "only on Wi-Fi" asterisk, the change has swept through millions of news feeds, perhaps as a way to ease users into Facebook's video advertising initiative. Now, users are calling that default video-play toggle into question thanks to a rise in disturbing content distributed via social media. Should an ISIS beheading or similarly disturbing content find its way to someone's Facebook news feed while that user hasn't opted out of the site's video feature—a process possibly more complicated than it needs to be—they're in for a rude awakening. It's tough to catalog exactly how many gore-filled videos have been successfully circulated via Facebook without the site intervening or taking them down. Publicly, Facebook representatives have argued that such content isn't subject to removal. And as an example of video auto-play gone wrong, Ars readers directed us to a gory video posted to Facebook that had yet to receive any form of takedown in over a week. Its opening moment features the mass execution of children, all shot by a machine gun, and we chose not to watch the entire video (nor link to it) to see how much worse it got. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 2 days ago on ars technica
Around 5:00pm PST on November 23, the Domain Name Service records for at least some of the sites hosted by the online classified ad and discussion service Craigslist were hijacked. At least some Craigslist visitors found their Web requests redirected toward an underground Web forum previously associated with selling stolen celebrity photos and other malicious activities. In a blog post, Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster said that the DNS records for Craigslist sites were altered to direct incoming traffic to what he characterized as “various non-craigslist sites.” The account was restored, and while the DNS records have been corrected at the registrar, some DNS servers were still redirecting traffic to other servers as late as this afternoon. Craigslist's domain registrar is Network Solutions, which is owned by Web.com. Ars has reached out to the registrar for comment on the disruption, and will update this story when more information is available. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 2 days ago on ars technica
If you really think about it, a great many things go into a painting. There’s the artist’s vision, sure, but there’s also the pigments and properties of the paint, the mixing of the paints on the palette, the canvas and frame, the types of brushes used, and the physical skill of the painter. Landscapes, likewise, are determined by many factors (even if they never appear in a painting). But for landscapes, a complex system of factors interacts dynamically, continually evolving and producing a masterpiece every step of the way. The Himalayas are an astoundingly grand landscape; we call them “the roof of the world.” You could simply describe them as the crumpled product of the collision between the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates, but that would be about as bland as describing the contents of the Louvre as “paint.” Each peak and valley has been slowly sculpted by a collaboration of geologic processes. Researchers have recently uncovered evidence about one of these processes, something with the inartistic name of "tectonic aneurysm." Floating peaks It’s reasonable to assume that, in a place like the Himalayas, tectonics pushes a mountain up even as erosion shaves it down. The faster the mountain pushes upward, the harder erosion works to keep it in check. That's because the peaks extend into colder elevations where ice can wedge apart cracks or form rock-grinding glaciers and steepening slopes that drive faster-flowing streams. Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 2 days ago on ars technica
T-Mobile US today exempted another 14 streaming music services from its data caps, including Google Play Music, Xbox Music, and SoundCloud. The carrier's "Music Freedom" program lets customers stream music without using up limited high-speed data, and isn't subject to throttling triggered by data overages. (T-Mobile Simple Choice customers are throttled rather than being cut off from data completely after hitting monthly limits.) Music Freedom began by exempting Pandora, Rhapsody, iHeartRadio, iTunes Radio, Samsung Milk, Slacker, and Spotify. Grooveshark, Rdio, and others were added later. T-Mobile today said it boosted the list of exempt services to 27 by adding 14 new ones. Besides Google Play Music, Xbox Music, and SoundCloud, newly exempt services are RadioTunes, Digitally Imported, Fit Radio, Fresca Radio, JazzRadio, Live365, Mad Genius Radio, radioPup, radio.com, RockRadio, and Saavn. Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 2 days ago on ars technica
If you ever find yourself with a broken Nexus 6, iFixit has your back. The site has just completed its teardown of the Google/Motorola Nexus "phablet," and it turns out that most of the internal components are pretty easy to get to. Accessing the insides requires prying the logo-coated back cover off with a spudger or pick—it's held on with adhesive, though it's not very strong. A second, internal cover will also need to be removed. While it's not difficult to unscrew the 22 Torx screws that hold it on, iFixit describes the process as "tedious." Once inside, it's relatively easy to locate, remove, and replace the inductive charging coil, the battery, the cameras, and the motherboard. The Nexus 6 gets a repairability score of 7 out of 10, with points docked primarily because the LCD and front glass are fused together (common in most smartphones and many tablets) and because many smaller items (the speaker, vibration motor, and others) are soldered to the motherboard, making repair of those individual components more difficult. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 2 days ago on ars technica
Some YouTube video creators have found themselves on the unhappy side of copyright law recently as they say that Activision has been issuing copyright strikes on videos showing glitches and exploits in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Over the weekend, popular gaming video network Machinima issued a warning to its creators, telling them that "Activision is being particularly vigilant about their Call of Duty videos lately, issuing strikes on videos showing glitches... please be careful." Under YouTube's copyright strike system, accounts start losing certain privileges after a single copyright strike goes through, and could be banned altogether after three such strikes (though strikes can be challenged or expunged by going through Youtube's Copyright School). To be fair, Activision doesn't seem to be taking down every video that shows glitches or exploits in Advanced Warfare; there are still dozens if not hundreds readily available through a quick search. In a statement, Activision said it was that it was specifically targeting "videos that promote cheating and unfair exploits"—that is, videos that highlight how to gain advantages in online matches. "As always, we keep an eye out for these videos—our level of video claims hasn't changed. We are appreciative of the community's support in helping to ensure that everyone has the best playing experience possible." Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 2 days ago on ars technica
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is expected to impose strict limits on the commercial use of drones, requiring flights to occur within daylight hours, rise no higher than 400 feet above the ground, and to remain within the sight of the person controlling the drone, The Wall Street Journal reported last night. Commercial drone operators would be required to have a license and be trained to fly manned aircraft, even though drones are operated remotely. The Journal reported that people familiar with the matter suggested that, "While the FAA wants to open the skies to unmanned commercial flights, the expected rules are more restrictive than drone supporters sought and wouldn’t address privacy concerns over the use of drones." FAA policies currently allow hobbyist or recreational use of drones, but not commercial use. A federal judge's ruling in March this year said the FAA issued its ban on commercial drone use illegally because it did not seek public input before adopting them; this forced the agency to begin a new rulemaking process. The proposal described in yesterday's report could rule out the use of these devices by companies such as Amazon, which wants to eventually deliver packages via drones. Drones could also find uses in the farming, filmmaking, and construction industries. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 2 days ago on ars technica
The Galaxy S5—now literally and figuratively underwater! Ron Amadeo Samsung's mobile business has been having a rough year—it's still one of the biggest and most profitable players in the Android ecosystem, but profits are down. That can be attributed at least in part to lower than expected sales of the company's flagship Galaxy S5. The Wall Street Journal reports that Samsung increased production by 20 percent relative to last year's Galaxy S4, but that it actually sold 40 percent fewer of them. The S4 sold around 16 million phones in its first three months on the market, compared to just 12 million for the S5. That's still a whole bunch of high-end phones, but Samsung is reportedly looking to shuffle its executive team in the hopes of reversing the sales slide. The company currently has an odd triple-CEO setup—B.K. Yoon is responsible for TVs and other home electronics and appliances, J.K. Shin is responsible for mobile, and Kwon Oh-Hyun is responsible for semiconductors and other components. The company is apparently considering giving the mobile business to Yoon, adding it to his current list of responsibilities. In addition to the potential executive shakeups, Samsung plans to increase its focus and profitability by whittling down its sprawling lineup—the company reportedly plans to introduce 25-30 percent fewer phones in 2015 than it did in 2014. That's still a lot of different models given that Samsung has introduced 56 smartphones this year, but it would bring the number of new phones more in line with competitors like HTC or LG. Read on Ars Technica | Comments

Read More...
posted 2 days ago on ars technica
A Finnish IT company has uncovered a bug in WordPress 3 sites that could be used to launch a wide variety of malicious script-based attacks on site visitors’ browsers. Based on current WordPress usage statistics, the vulnerability could affect up to 86 percent of existing WordPress-powered sites. The vulnerability, discovered by Jouko Pynnonen of Klikki Oy, allows an attacker to craft a comment on a blog post that includes malicious JavaScript code. On sites that allow comments without authentication—the default setting for WordPress—this could allow anyone to post malicious scripts within comments that could target site visitors or administrators. A proof of concept attack developed by Klikky Oy was able to hijack a WordPress site administrator’s session and create a new WordPress administrative account with a known password, change the current administrative password, and launch malicious PHP code on the server. That means an attacker could essentially lock the existing site administrator out and hijacking the WordPress installation for malicious purposes. “For instance, our [proof of concept] exploits first clean up traces of the injected script from the database,” the Klikki Oy team wrote in a blog post on the vulnerability, “then perform other administrative tasks such as changing the current user's password, adding a new administrator account, or using the plugin editor to write attacker-supplied PHP code on the server (this impact applies to any WordPress XSS if triggered by an administrator). These operations happen in the background without the user seeing anything out of ordinary. If the attacker writes new PHP code on the server via the plugin editor, another AJAX request can be used to execute it instantaneously, whereby the attacker gains operating system level access on the server.” Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 2 days ago on ars technica
A radio image of a quasar, taken by the Very Large Array. The white dot in the middle is the core, while the protrusions pointed top-left and bottom-right are jets, traveling at relativistic speeds, culminating in lobes. Image courtesy of NRAO/AUI At the centers of some massive galaxies, supermassive black holes power incredibly bright objects called quasars. Black holes gobble up matter so quickly that the infalling matter heats up from friction and emits light. While this disk of accreting matter is incredibly bright on its own, the black hole has another source of light: jets erupt from the poles of the black hole, shooting particles at speeds approaching that of light. These jets are incredibly bright—possibly brighter than the accretion disk. It’s not known for sure what causes the jets. It’s thought that the black hole’s spin and mass interact with the magnetic field near the black hole to accelerate the particles. While some evidence supports this model, it's been difficult to test, mainly because scientists lacked a full knowledge of how bright the accretion disks is. But a new study of a sample of blazars (quasars with jets that point toward Earth) shows a clear correlation between the jets' power and the accretion disk’s brightness. This suggests that the magnetic field is a factor in producing the jets. The researchers examined 217 blazars using data obtained by the Fermi observatory, looking for some relationship between the jets’ power and the accretion disk. Blazars are useful because with a blazar, we get direct light from both the accretion disk and the jet, since the latter is pointed toward us. And we can tell which is which, because light from the jet is mostly in the form of gamma rays, while the accretion disk produces a broader emission spectrum. Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 3 days ago on ars technica
If you know how to do something and people around you start doing it differently, you have two options: stick to what you know, or change to use their strategy. If the new strategy is more efficient than yours, or gets better results, it’s a no-brainer, so you switch. But if it’s exactly as efficient and produces the same results, the decision to switch is based on another factor—conformity. We know that we have a tendency to fall in line with those around us, sometimes even when this results in obvious mistakes. This tendency can explain why human culture varies so widely among different societies, but is so similar within groups. Our closest primate relatives don’t have cultural variation to the same degree, so what makes humans different? Previous research on non-human great apes has shown that they learn from their peers. However, what hasn’t been established is whether this process is similar in humans and non-humans, including when the learning involves overriding existing habits. A group of researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, recently found that human children are more likely than chimpanzees and orangutans to change their behavior to conform to their peers. Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 3 days ago on ars technica
Federal law places limits on how robo-calling can be used. Federal Trade Commission Morgan Pietz, one of the lawyers who wrapped "copyright troll" Prenda Law in a whirl of judicial sanctions, has set his sights on a new target: Rightscorp. In a class action lawsuit (PDF) filed on Friday, Pietz says the copyright enforcement company made illegal, harassing robo-calls to his clients, who were accused of illegal downloading. The lawsuit says that Rightscorp broke the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), a 1991 law which limits how automated calling devices can be used. The suit also claims that Rightscorp met the legal definition of a "debt collector" but made harassing phone calls and didn't abide by federal or California debt collection laws. Rightscorp company managers, including CEO Christopher Sabec and COO Robert Steele, and Rightscorp's clients are all named as defendants in the lawsuit. Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 3 days ago on ars technica
CN.dart.call("xrailTop", {sz:"300x250", kws:[], collapse: true});LOS ANGELES—The commercially-viable hydrogen fuel cell vehicle has long been the white whale for automakers. Using hydrogen as a fuel means a car could produce nothing but electricity and water. Hydrogen fuel cells also offer greater energy density than battery-powered cars, and they can be refilled faster than their battery-only brethren. But (there's always a but), fuel-cell vehicles lack supporting infrastructure; there are only nine hydrogen-filling stations in the state of California currently. Plus, hydrogen generally requires pressure or extremely cold temperatures to store it. But a handful of automakers think they've figured the engineering out. Toyota is on the cutting edge with its Mirai mid-sized sedan, which will go on sale in the US in late 2015 (and sooner in Japan). Honda, Audi, Hyundai, and Volkswagen also all showed off a hydrogen concept car or announced plans for real production vehicles in the coming year or two. And while hybrid gas/electric vehicles are becoming passé with hydrogen as the new darling, there are still some interesting all-electric and natural gas-powered cars out there. The LA Auto Show provided the perfect opportunity to see them all on the show floor. Read on Ars Technica | Comments

Read More...
posted 3 days ago on ars technica
Party time with the corporate tool, BlackBerry's Passport. Sean Gallagher Specs at a glance: BlackBerry Passport Screen 1440 x 1440 pixels, 4.5 inches (493 ppi) AMOLED OS BlackBerry 10.3 (with Android compatibility) CPU 2.26 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 RAM 3GB GPU Adreno 330 Storage 32 GB internal, with microSD support up to 128 GB Networking Wi-Fi 802.11ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot Cellular Bands D-LTE 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 13, 17, 20 (2100/1900/1800/1700/850/2600/900/700/700/800 MHz) HSPA+ 1, 2, 4, 5/6, 8 (2100/1900/1700/850/900 MHz) Quad band GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) Ports Micro USB 2.0, headphones Camera 13MP rear camera with OIS and LED flash, 2MP front camera Size 5.04" × 3.56" × 0.36" (128 x 90.3 x 9.3mm) Weight 6.91 oz. (196g) Battery 3220 mAh Starting price $599 unlocked (AT&T exclusive contract pricing still pending) Other perks NFC, FM radio, Miracast direct media streaming to Roku and Wi-Fi wireless charging, voice commands, BlackBerry Blend integration with computers, iOS and Android tablets. “That is the worst designed thing, like ever.” That's exactly what my 13-year-old daughter said as she gazed upon the BlackBerry Passport, freshly unboxed upon my desk. She picked it up, ran fingers across the keys, and put it down again. She acted as if she mistakenly touched something she found on the sidewalk, right down to taking a step back in retreat. If BlackBerry had been out to design a phone for the teen demographic, her assessment would have been dead on. The Passport is not designed for a tiny little purse or jeans back pocket. It is designed for people who are dead center in the cult of BlackBerry—business types who want a phone that is a workspace, those who crave the tactile feedback of actual keys. There must be a bunch of those people out there, since the Passport has been difficult to find since its release in September. It sold out fast, and that was mostly through BlackBerry and Amazon—AT&T, the exclusive carrier for Passport in the US, hasn't even put the phone on its Web store yet. Because of the Passport's unique position in the smartphone market, it’s only fair to review the Passport as a business tool—not in comparison to the latest Lollipop thing or iPhone Whatever+ as a consumer device. So rather than doing the usual feature-by-feature crawl, we put the Passport through the paces of several typical Ars 18-hour workdays to focus on its business acumen. And while we ran some basic benchmarks and explored its features, this focus was mostly on its security features. We even did some packet sniffing to see what could be seen. Read 50 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 3 days ago on ars technica
The five stages of Regin. Symantec Researchers have unearthed highly advanced malware they believe was developed by a wealthy nation-state to spy on a wide range of international targets in diverse industries, including hospitality, energy, airline, and research. Backdoor Regin, as researchers at security firm Symantec are referring to the trojan, bears some resemblance to previously discovered state-sponsored malware, including the espionage trojans known as Flame and Duqu, as well as Stuxnet, the computer worm and trojan that was programmed to disrupt Iran's nuclear program. Regin likely required months or years to be completed and contains dozens of individual modules that allowed its operators to tailor the malware to individual targets. To remain stealthy, the malware is organized into five stages, each of which is encrypted except for the first one. Executing the first stage triggers a domino chain in which the second stage is decrypted and executed, and that in turn decrypts the third stage, and so on. Analyzing and understanding the malware requires researchers to acquire all five stages. Regin contains dozens of payloads, including code for capturing screenshots, seizing control of an infected computer's mouse, stealing passwords, monitoring network traffic, and recovering deleted files. Other modules appear to be tailored to specific targets. One such payload included code for monitoring the traffic of a Microsoft IIS server. Another sniffed the traffic of mobile telephone base station controllers. Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 4 days ago on ars technica
Shalini Saxena We’re increasingly dependent upon our batteries, so finding ways of building ones with enhanced lifetimes would make a lot of people happy. Research on batteries has ranged from trying new materials to changing the configuration of key components. Now, researchers have managed to restructure the materials in a nano-battery, then bundle lots of these individual batteries into a larger device. Batteries rely on two electrodes to create separate currents of electrons and ions, generating electricity. Nanostructured electrodes have useful properties, such as large surface area and short ion transport time, which enables a high storage capacity and enhanced lifetimes—these batteries hold charge longer and can undergo more charge-discharge cycles. 3-D connectivity and organization of nanostructured electrodes could further improve these devices. Previously, researchers had developed 3-D nanostructured batteries by placing two electrodes within a nanopore (made of anodic aluminum oxide) and using ultrathin electrical insulating material to separate them. While this system had improved power and energy density, use of such thin electrical insulators limits charge retention and requires complex circuits to shift current between them—it's difficult to retain the benefits of the 3-D nano-architecture due to spatial constraints of the material. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 4 days ago on ars technica
This Q&A is part of a weekly series of posts highlighting common questions encountered by technophiles and answered by users at Stack Exchange, a free, community-powered network of 100+ Q&A sites. dennis asks: I am currently working on a Ruby on Rails project which shows a list of images. Read 28 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 4 days ago on ars technica
Artist's impression. A long-standing oddity of Windows is that its branded number has for some years now not matched the version number stamped into the kernel and other parts of the operating system. Windows 7, for example, reported itself to software as being version 6.1. Windows 8 is 6.2, and Windows 8.1 is 6.3. Current public builds of Windows 10 repeat this trend—they purport to be version 6.4—but not for much longer. Chinese site ITHome published a picture showing the version number to be 10.0. Version number 10.0 is also cropping up on BuildFeed which tracks build numbers, and has been further corroborated elsewhere. Our sources tell us that the version number has indeed changed, and that Windows 10 will be version 10.0, ending a discrepancy that has existed for five years. Prior to the decision to brand the operating system Windows 10, we're told that there were some versions built calling themselves 9.0, too. Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 4 days ago on ars technica
The three Amiibos! Sam Machkovech Woe be to the uninformed parent who hides Amiibo figurines in a child's stocking this holiday season. A giddy child will surely light up after unwrapping a beloved, cool-looking Nintendo character, and that excitement might quintuple when the kid realizes this thing is like a Skylanders or Disney Infinity figure—it'll come to life on your Wii U! Which is good, because the figurines, while quite attractive, are frozen solid; no bendy limbs or karate-chop action here. No matter, as the box loudly advertises that fans can "battle with Amiibo in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U." That means the happy little tyke will surely slap their new Mario or Donkey Kong figurine onto a Wii U Gamepad with stars in their eyes. "My own custom Pikachu," they might emote, "maybe with cool, custom outfits or special superpowers that I can use when I 'settle it in Smash.'" Well, not exactly. After shelling out $39 (plus tax) for three of Nintendo's new toys, we've come to learn that the Amiibo sales pitch has been worded pretty carefully to shade the truth from potential buyers. The figures come to life, yes, but it's not your life. Read 15 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 4 days ago on ars technica
Specs at a glance: Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro SCREEN 3200×1800 at 13.3" (276 ppi) OS Windows 8.1 64-bit CPU 1.1GHz Intel Core M-5Y70 RAM 8GB 1600MHz DDR3 GPU Intel HD Graphics 5300 HDD 256-512GB SSD NETWORKING Dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0 PORTS 2x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0, micro-HDMI, SD card reader, headphone/microphone dual jack SIZE 13 × 9 × 0.5" WEIGHT 2.62 lbs BATTERY 4-cell 44.8Wh Li-polymer WARRANTY 1 year STARTING PRICE $1299.99 OTHER PERKS 720p Webcam, volume rocker, screen orientation lock button, system back-up button When Lenovo launched its first Yoga laptop, it seemed rather weird. It arrived on a wave of new Windows 8-oriented devices that tried all manner of new things to offer the best of the traditional laptop and the tablet experience. The Yoga's premise was simple: make a hinge that bends all the way around, so you can fold the laptop back on itself to make it into a sort of chunky laptop. It skewed more heavily towards laptop usage than tablet usage—there are no compromises when using it as a laptop, unlike, for example, Microsoft's Surface Pro range—but still offered that flexibility for those who wanted it. Although designed to let the device transform into a tablet, it is perhaps the other positions that have been the real winners with the Yoga's hinge: what Lenovo calls "tent mode," where the keyboard is folded most of the way back to prop the screen up, is excellent when watching movies in planes and similar cramped situations, as it drastically shrinks the footprint of the device. This flexibility made the Yoga design one of the big winners. Read 22 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 4 days ago on ars technica
A RAT user spying on a girl from Malaysia. In the background is a complete list of "slaves" this RAT user controls. Fifteen people have been arrested across seven European countries “who are suspected of using remote access trojans (RATs) to commit cybercrimes,” Europol said in a statement on Thursday. The people were apprehended in Estonia, France, Romania, Latvia, Italy, the United Kingdom, and Norway. The National Crime Agency (NCA), a rough British equivalent to the FBI, lead a sting operation resulting in the arrests of five (out of the 15 total) across the United Kingdom. In May 2014, over 100 people were arrested as part of a similar worldwide sting operation. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 5 days ago on ars technica
More details are now public about the deal Apple reached in June to settle claims that it engaged in price-fixing in the e-book market. That settlement was approved by a federal judge on Friday. It's an unusual one, in which Apple essentially bets the outcome in its class-action lawsuit on the outcome of another case. In 2011, Apple got sued in a class-action case, where a class of e-book buying consumers was ultimately joined by attorneys general of various states. The Department of Justice also came after Apple for price-fixing, and the government won that case in 2013. Apple has appealed its loss to DOJ. In the class-action, Apple and plaintiffs' lawyers have agreed that the outcome of that case should rest on how the appeal turns out. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 5 days ago on ars technica
Flickr user Prayitno Our brains start soaking in details from the languages around us from the moment we can hear them. One of the first things infants learn of their native languages is the system of consonants and vowels, as well as other speech sound characteristics, like pitch. In the first year of life, a baby’s ear tunes in to the particular set of sounds being spoken in its environment, and the brain starts developing the ability to tell subtle differences among them—a foundation that will make a difference in meaning down the line, allowing the child to learn words and grammar. But what happens if that child gets shifted into a different culture after laying the foundations of its first native language? Does it forget everything about that first language, or are there some remnants that remain buried in the brain? According to a recent PNAS paper, the effects of very early language learning are permanently etched into the brain, even if input from that language stops and it’s replaced by another language. To identify this lasting influence, the researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans on children who had been adopted to see what neural patterns could be identified years after adoption. Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...