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You may already be dorking. In a restricted intelligence document distributed to police, public safety, and security organizations in July, the Department of Homeland Security warned of a “malicious activity” that could expose secrets and security vulnerabilities in organizations’ information systems. The name of that activity: “Google dorking.” “Malicious cyber actors are using advanced search techniques, referred to as ‘Google dorking,’ to locate information that organizations may not have intended to be discoverable by the public or to find website vulnerabilities for use in subsequent cyber attacks,” the for-official-use-only Roll Call Release warned. “By searching for specific file types and keywords, malicious cyber actors can locate information such as usernames and passwords, e-mail lists, sensitive documents, bank account details, and website vulnerabilities.” That’s right, if you’re using advanced operators for search on Google, such as “site:arstechnica.com” or “flletype:xls,” you’re behaving like a “malicious cyber actor.” Some organizations will react to you accessing information they thought was hidden as if you were a cybercriminal, as reporters at Scripps found out last year. Those individuals were accused of “hacking” the website of free cellphone provider TerraCom after discovering sensitive customer data openly accessible from the Internet via a Google search and an “automated “ hacking tool: GNU’s Wget. Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Accessory Outlet A Wisconsin woman has filed a lawsuit in New York state court against a shady online retailer, Accessory Outlet, which had threatened her by saying, “You are playing games with the wrong people” after she attempted to cancel an order for a $40 iPhone case that did not arrive on time. The woman, Cindy Cox, is being represented by the advocacy group Public Citizen, which recently won summary judgment and damages of over $300,000 earlier this year in a related case in Utah involving the French parent company of KlearGear, a similarly unscrupulous vendor. She is seeking declaratory judgment that the company’s self-imposed “debt” of $250 is invalid and that the company engaged in deceptive practices. “Accessory Outlet is using unfair terms hidden in fine print, along with threatening emails, to bully a customer into keeping quiet about her bad experience with the company,” Scott Michelman, the Public Citizen attorney handling the case, said in a statement. “But terms that prevent a customer from speaking publicly about her transaction and from contacting her credit card company are unreasonable and unenforceable.” Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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A sixth-generation iPod Nano embedded in a watch band. Aaron Muszalski Re/code is reporting that Apple will introduce a wearable device on September 9 alongside two next-generation iPhones. Such a device from Apple has been highly anticipated since the wearable market received newcomers from Samsung, LG, and Motorola. Apple's entry into this market was originally expected sometime in October based on an earlier report from Re/code. The site has had a good track record of correctly predicting the timing of Apple product releases since the AllThingsD days. John Paczkowski, who reported the news, says that the coming device will certainly be equipped to make use of Apple’s HealthKit platform for its Health app, as well as HomeKit, which is a platform to connect devices to smart appliances and light bulbs. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Constructive and destructive interference make this cat out of photons that never actually went through a cat-shaped transparency. Gabriela Barreto Lemos One item on the long list of strange facts about quantum mechanics is that the mere possibility of something happening is often just as good as it actually happening. For example, the fact that a photon could potentially travel down a given path can be enough to create an interference pattern that requires the photon to take that path. Something similar is true regarding a phenomenon called quantum interference. A team of researchers from the University of Vienna has now taken advantage of this idea to create a bizarre imaging technique where the photons that actually strike the object being imaged are discarded. The image itself is then built other with photons that were entangled with the discarded ones. Interference is the ability of two waves, such as photons, to interact either additively or destructively. In the quantum world, whether or not interference occurs depends on the ability to distinguish the two things that are interfering. If they are distinguishable, interference cannot occur. But you don't have to actually distinguish between them in order to block interference. As the authors of the new paper write, "The mere possibility of obtaining information that could distinguish between overlapping states inhibits quantum interference." Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Kyle Orland For months now, if you bought the $400, Kinect-free version of the Xbox One, the only way to add the 3D camera/microphone setup to your system later was to buy a Kinect secondhand. Today, Microsoft announced that it will begin selling an official standalone version of the Xbox One Kinect with a bundled download of Harmonix's Dance Central Spotlight on October 7 for $150 in the US. The new Dance Central game comes out next week at a price of $10, with ten packaged songs and additional songs offered as $2 DLC. Subtract that, and Microsoft is valuing the standalone Kinect itself at roughly $140. That's significantly larger than the $100 difference between the Kinect-bundled Xbox One ($500) and the Kinect-free version of the system ($400). True, there are extra costs associated with selling the Kinect separately (packaging, shipping, inventory, retail space). Still, it seems unlikely that Xbox One purchasers who already refused to essentially add on a $100 Kinect when they bought the system will decide after the fact that they want to spend more money for the benefits of the device. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Thomas Hawk Claire McCaskill, the Democratic senator from Missouri, says police departments nationwide should require their officers to wear body cameras in order to qualify for the hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding they receive each year. McCaskill's comments come in the wake of the Ferguson, Missouri, shooting death of Michael Brown and is one of a myriad of calls in the episode's aftermath for police officers to wear video cams. "Everywhere I go, people now have cameras," McCaskill said Tuesday during a question-and-answer session with voters in her home state. "And police officers are now at a disadvantage because someone can tape the last part of an encounter and not tape the first part of the encounter. And it gives the impression that the police officer has overreacted when they haven't." Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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urbanfeel It has been a long time since we could reasonably ask whether something should be done about climate change. The much more interesting (and challenging) discussion revolves around the nitty-gritty of how best to do something about the problem. There are many conceivable possibilities, but some will be more expensive, and some will be less effective—there are plenty of variables to consider when plotting the best and wisest path forward. The most obvious questions to ask about any policy proposal are how much it will cost to implement and how much harm it will help us avoid. But it’s also worthwhile to consider whether the policy might have any positive (or negative) side effects separate from the climate impacts. We know, for example, that greenhouse gases aren’t the only by-products of burning fossil fuels—there are other types of pollutants as well. Those pollutants have environmental and human health impacts that would be reduced right along with the greenhouse gas emissions if fossil fuel use were to decline. Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Dropbox Dropbox is so widely used that it's practically a synonym for cloud storage and file sharing, but the company is being squeezed on price and storage options by bigger competitors such as Google and Microsoft. Today, Dropbox closed some of the gap by announcing that Dropbox Pro will now provide 1TB of capacity for $9.99 a month, the same price as Google Drive and Microsoft's OneDrive. The Dropbox plan costs $99 if you buy a full year subscription. "Previously, Dropbox had three different Pro plans with 100GB, 200GB and 500GB of storage, priced at $9.99, $19.99, and $49.99 per month, respectively," PCWorld wrote today. Now Dropbox Pro includes just the terabyte plan, though the company also has pricier options for businesses. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Former IRS official Lois Lerner giving testimony to a Congressional committee in 2013. The IRS says it can't find her e-mails from before 2011—but Justice Watch says they're in disaster recovery backups. Unnamed Department of Justice attorneys admitted to an attorney from the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch that backups exist of the e-mail messages of former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner. In a press release on the organization’s website, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton claimed that the DOJ official claimed that accessing the specific e-mails in response to a lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch against the IRS would be too difficult, as they were retained in an offsite backup for disaster recovery. “Department of Justice attorneys for the Internal Revenue Service told Judicial Watch on Friday that Lois Lerner’s e-mails, indeed all government computer records, are backed up by the federal government in case of a government-wide catastrophe,” Fitton said in the statement. “The Obama administration attorneys said that this back-up system would be too onerous to search. The DOJ attorneys also acknowledged that the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) is investigating this back-up system. We obviously disagree that disclosing the emails as required would be onerous, and plan to raise this new development with Judge Sullivan.” Disaster recovery backups of IRS systems are conducted in accordance with the agency’s Information System Contingency Plan. Those regulations require offsite storage of backup media to allow the continuity of operations of the IRS in the event of a major disaster, just as is required by all federal agencies. But it’s not clear what format those backups were in, or with what frequency they were retained. And there have been failures in backup testing in the past. Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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More than a year after former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden leaked secret documents describing the breadth and depth of US surveillance, policy makers continue to debate the legal framework for such monitoring. Yet a number of technology startups are blazing ahead to create a range of products that promise to restore people's privacy online. Silent Circle, WhisperSystems, and Wickr offer a variety of services, from private instant messaging to secure data storage to encrypted phone calls. Other companies, such as Blackphone, have focused on creating a secure smartphone for the privacy-conscious. And even newer ideas are in the offing. A small Silicon Valley technology firm, for example, has designed a plug-in black box for smartphones that can encrypt a voice call on the fly and is seeking funding on Kickstarter. Called JackPair, the box can be connected between a smartphone and the user's headphones and encrypt conversations with another JackPair user, said Jeffrey Chang, founder of AWIT Systems, the firm behind the product. Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Seagate's largest drives are 4TB and 6TB in size, but they'll be getting even larger soon enough. Seagate Solid-state drives get most of the love from gadget sites these days—they're faster and cheaper than ever, and they're a great way to extend the life of an older computer. If you need to store more than a terabyte of data, however, you still need to turn to old fashioned spinning hard drives. To that end, Seagate yesterday announced an 8TB hard drive that's a full two terabytes larger than most drives on the market today. The drive that's being announced is aimed at the enterprise market, so it's not something consumers will be able to get their hands on in the near-term—for now, the biggest drive available to most folks will be a mere 6TB in size. Once the 8TB begins shipping in bulk, though, we'd expect to see them available on sites like Newegg and Amazon, especially since they'll fit in current 3.5-inch drive bays. Larger drives like this are commonly used to increase the capacity of network-attached storage devices without having to totally replace them. In consumer desktops, spinning hard drives continue to offer a cost-per-gigabyte ratio far superior to SSDs, useful if you need a lot of storage but don't need it to be particularly speedy. Modern chipsets will even allow you to use a smaller SSD as a cache to boost the speed of your computer without sacrificing storage capacity. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Players eager for new Mario Kart content won't have to wait for an entirely new game on an entirely new system this time around: Nintendo today announced the first paid downloadable expansion for a Mario Kart title, in the form of two Mario Kart 8 DLC packs planned for November of this year and May 2015. The packs will be available for pre-purchase starting today, at $8 separately or together for $12. Each one contains eight new tracks, four new vehicles, and three new playable characters. Players that buy both packs will also gain immediate access to eight new color schemes for Yoshi and Shy Guy. The packs also represent the first major crossover content from Nintendo's other franchises to appear in the Mario Kart series. DLC owners will be able to play as Link from The Legend of Zelda, the Villager and Isabelle from Animal Crossing, and race in a kart inspired by the Blue Falcon hovercraft from F-Zero. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Hewlett-Packard is recalling millions of computer power cords over possible fire and burn risks, the company announced Tuesday. Customers who purchased a notebook or mini notebook computer between September 2010 and June 2012 may have an affected cord. Adapters sold during that time may also be affected. Eligible customers can fill out a form to receive a free replacement cord. “HP believes that certain power cords shipped with notebook PC products and AC adapter accessories may pose a risk of a fire and burn hazard to customers,” the company stated on its website. “We are taking this action as part of our commitment to provide the highest quality of service to our notebook customers.” Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Netflix hates writing checks to Internet service providers—and luckily enough, it usually doesn't have to.Though the streaming video company has complained bitterly about having to pay Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, and Time Warner Cable for direct connections to their networks, Netflix said this week that worldwide, it delivers 99 percent of its traffic without money changing hands. The statement came in a filing with the Federal Communications Commission in which Netflix asks the FCC to block Comcast's proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable. Besides AT&T and Verizon, those are the only ISPs that refused to give Netflix the unpaid connections, known as "settlement-free peering." In the months before Netflix agreed to pay these companies, video was sent over congested links, resulting in poor performance for subscribers. To Netflix, the fact that so few companies have the market power (i.e. size) to demand such payments is evidence that further consolidation should not be allowed. Netflix goes into its thinking in more depth than it has previously, but it's the same argument that it has made before. What's surprising is the statement that nearly all of Netflix's traffic goes over unpaid connections to ISPs, despite Netflix having to pay the four biggest in the US. Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Leo Reynolds Today, there's another signal that the days of "do it on a computer" patents may finally be numbered—at least if a defendant is willing to last through an appeal. In an opinion (PDF) published this morning. the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld a lower court's decision to invalidate two patents, numbered 6,398,646 and 6,656,045, claiming to cover computerized bingo. Yes, you read that right: bingo. Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Google today released a 64-bit stable version of its Chrome browser for Windows systems. The 64-bit support has been in testing since June, and as of Chrome version 37 it has made it to the mainstream version. The 64-bit version offers three main advantages and one possible drawback. The browser's advantages are speed, security, and stability. Google claims that certain media and graphics workloads in particular are faster with 64-bit. It offers the example of VP9 video decoding—used for some YouTube high-definition streams—being 15 percent quicker compared to 32-bit. Security is enhanced both through enabling new protection systems and making existing protection systems stronger. Windows has a built-in security feature called ASLR (address space layout randomization) that makes bug exploits harder to write by randomizing the location of things such as DLLs in memory. The 64-bit applications have much more memory available, thereby creating a much larger haystack in which to hide the needles that exploits look for. Google has its own protection systems that similarly try to separate different kinds of data in memory, and 64-bit likewise gives them more space to play with. Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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When I talk to people who don't follow gaming closely about the phenomenon that is Twitch, the response I get is usually along the lines of "Why do people spend so much time watching other people play a game they could just as easily play themselves?" "Why do so many people watch the NFL when they could just as easily play a game of football in their yard?" I reply. The analogy isn't perfect—you need good weather, a group of friends, a field, and decent physical fitness to play football, after all—but the basic relationship is the same. Twitch has become a phenomenon because watching the best players in the world is often more entertaining than participating as a relative novice. Read 17 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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ISIS members and supporters find a new audience for their message by pushing their messages across unrelated hashtags on Twitter. The militant group ISIS began a new campaign Sunday morning that hijacked popular and innocuous hashtags to spread its threats to execute American journalist Steven Sotloff. Campaigners organized on a forum and began posting to Twitter combining the hashtag #StevensHeadInObamasHand with other trending tags to gain visibility. The campaign follows the execution of another American journalist, James Foley, which was documented in a video that circulated on social media. Twitter controversially scrubbed the video and screenshots of it from the service for its graphic imagery. ISIS is now threatening Sotloff's life in an effort to get a response from the US government. One of the hashtags co-opted for the campaign was #AskRicky, which was intended to collect questions for YouTube star Ricky Dillon, reported Vocativ. The campaign's tweets included language like "11th September to happen, Don't come to Iraq unless you want another," "American Air Force kills innocent people in Iraq," and "As you kill us, we are killing you." Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta. Kevin / flickr The US Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) has deleted nearly a decade's worth of documents from four US appeals courts and one bankruptcy court. The deletion is part of an upgrade to a new computer system for the database known as Public Access to Court Electronic Records, or PACER. Court dockets and documents at the US Courts of Appeals for the 2nd, 7th, 11th, and Federal Circuits, as well as the Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California, were maintained with "locally developed legacy case management systems," said AOC spokesperson Karen Redmond in an e-mailed statement. Those five courts aren't compatible with the new PACER system. Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Maybe two screen sizes aren't enough anymore? Andrew Cunningham Some rumors spring eternal, and today it's the one about the larger iPad. Sometimes dubbed the "iPad Pro" by Apple rumor sites, Bloomberg claims that a new 12.9-inch iPad could join the current 9.7- and 7.9-inch models at some point early next year. This rumor has been floating around for a while now, though information has generally been gleaned from disreputable sources like DigiTimes. The most credible report dates back to July of 2013, when the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple was "testing" larger displays for the iPad and the iPhone. We've since seen plenty of proof that at least one larger iPhone is coming, though aside from a rumored split-screen display mode, we don't have much that points to a bigger iPad. Some of Apple's competitors are already making tablets around 12 inches in size, including Samsung's Galaxy Note Pro and Tab Pro and Microsoft's Surface Pro 3. There's little indication that either is generating much consumer interest, however—Samsung's tablet sales are generally slowing down, and the entire Surface lineup generated $0.41 billion in revenue last quarter, compared to about $5.9 billion for the entire iPad lineup. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Oh dear god. Imagine the horrific sight of a giant, skeletal figure dancing in the sky, illuminated by garish laser light. That could soon be part of a child's dream vacation, based on patent applications filed by Disney. “Aerial display system with marionette articulated and supported by airborne devices” is just one of three patents filed last week by Disney Enterprises that will use drones to add a little something extra to Disney’s theme park experience. “The system includes a plurality of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and a ground control system… with a different flight plan for each of the UAVs,” reads the filing. “The system further includes a marionette with a body and articulable appendages attached to the body.” The example included with the application: a giant representation of Tim Burton’s Pumpkin King, Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas. The patent applications were filed under the names of three members of Disney’s “Imagineering” team—Robert Scott Trowbridge, Clifford Wong, and James Alexander Stark. The other applications filed by Disney cover “Aerial Display System with Floating Pixels” (a swarm of UAVs that project two or more light streams each) and “Aerial Display System with Floating Projection screens” (a quartet of drones suspending a mesh screen that can be used as a flying movie screen). Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Reid Beels CenturyLink has accused Comcast of trying to prevent competition in cities and towns by making it difficult for the company to obtain reasonable franchise agreements from local authorities. CenturyLink made the claim yesterday in a filing that asks the Federal Communications Commission to block Comcast’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable (TWC) or impose conditions that prevent Comcast from using its market power to harm competitors. Comcast has a different view on the matter, saying that CenturyLink shouldn’t be able to enter Comcast cities unless CenturyLink promises to build out its network to all residents. Without such conditions, poor people might not be offered service, Comcast argues. Read 19 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Greetings, Arsians! Our partners at LogicBuy are back with a ton of deal for the week. The top offer is a Dell 21.5" 1080p IPS monitor with an integrated webcam and speakers that are supposedly "optimized for Microsoft Lync." If you're big into Web conferencing, this is your perfect monitor. If not, well, there are more deals to dig through below. Featured dealPrice Drop on Just-Released Model! Dell UltraSharp UZ2215H 21.5" 1080p Anti-glare IPS Monitor w/ 2MP Webcam, USB 3.0 Hub for $209.99 with free shipping (list price $279.99) Laptops Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Jacqui Cheng The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the second-largest school district in the United States, has halted its proposed $1 billion plan to provide iPads for every student. The abrupt change was announced late Monday evening after the Los Angeles Times reported that there were notable improprieties in the bidding process. This issue came amidst more fundamental questions about the efficacy and usefulness of the plan itself. As the Times reported: Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Microsoft is under investigation by Chinese regulatory authorities amid concerns about how it is distributing its Internet Explorer browser and Windows Media Player app, reports the Wall Street Journal. This investigation explains in part the surprise visits made to Microsoft's China offices last month. In a briefing, Zhang Mao, chief of China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce, announced that these products (as well as the sale of Office and Windows) were being examined. "Microsoft is suspected of incomplete disclosure of information related to Windows and Office software, as well as problems in distribution and sales of its media player and browser." Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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