Tech News

New Tech May Help Find Missing People In the Backcountry Within Minutes

mobile - Posted On:2024-05-29 07:15:00 Source: slashdot

A new tool called Lifeseeker could help search and rescue teams find missing people in minutes using their cellphones. The technology acts as a miniature cellphone tower, allowing rescuers to pinpoint cellphone locations within a 3-mile radius, significantly improving the efficiency and success rate of search missions in challenging terrains. The Colorado Sun reports: "As we detect the phone, basically a blotch shows up on the map and as we fly around that area, that blotch gets smaller and smaller and smaller until we can see exactly where they are," said Dr. Tim Durkin, a search and rescue program coordinator for Colorado Highland Helicopters. "That process of detecting, focusing on one specific location takes about a minute -- not really very long at all." Depending on the situation, search and rescue teams can then send in ground crews with the person's location or land the helicopter if there's a clearing nearby and conditions allow for a safe landing, Durkin said. During a test mission in La Plata Canyon northwest of Durango, search crews found the two people they were looking for within two minutes and 14 seconds, Durkin said. The technology, called Lifeseeker, was developed by Spain-based company CENTUM research & technology and is in the process of being approved by the Federal Communications Commission before it can be sold to the state or counties hoping to use it for their SAR efforts, he said. [...] The radio-based technology needs a clear view of the terrain without interference to pick up the signal of the cellphone. If the conditions and terrain are favorable, it can detect a cellphone up to nearly 20 miles away. It takes about three minutes to attach the Lifeseeker unit inside a helicopter when needed for a search and rescue mission, Durkin said. SAR can also use the tool to send text messages to the missing person, for example, advising them to stay in one area if they are hurt or move to a clearing for a helicopter to pick them up. The tool also has a broadcast function that allows SAR to send out a message to a group of people within a certain range, similar to an Amber Alert for a missing child, to warn them of a wildfire or flood, Durkin said. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Earthcare Cloud Mission Launches To Resolve Climate Unknowns

science - Posted On:2024-05-29 04:15:00 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes a report from the BBC: A sophisticated joint European-Japanese satellite has launched to measure how clouds influence the climate. Some low-level clouds are known to cool the planet, others at high altitude will act as a blanket. The Earthcare mission will use a laser and a radar to probe the atmosphere to see precisely where the balance lies. It's one of the great uncertainties in the computer models used to forecast how the climate will respond to increasing levels of greenhouse gases. "Many of our models suggest cloud cover will go down in the future and that means that clouds will reflect less sunlight back to space, more will be absorbed at the surface and that will act as an amplifier to the warming we would get from carbon dioxide," Dr Robin Hogan, from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, told BBC News. The 2.3-tonne satellite was sent up from California on a SpaceX rocket. The project is led by the European Space Agency (ESA), which has described it as the organization's most complex Earth observation venture to date. Certainly, the technical challenge in getting the instruments to work as intended has been immense. It's taken fully 20 years to go from mission approval to launch. Earthcare will circle the Earth at a height of about 400km (250 miles). It's actually got four instruments in total that will work in unison to get at the information sought by climate scientists. The simplest is an imager -- a camera that will take pictures of the scene passing below the spacecraft to give context to the measurements made by the other three instruments. Earthcare's European ultraviolet laser will see the thin, high clouds and the tops of clouds lower down. It will also detect the small particles and droplets (aerosols) in the atmosphere that influence the formation and behavior of clouds. The Japanese radar will look into the clouds, to determine how much water they are carrying and how that's precipitating as rain, hail and snow. And a radiometer will sense how much of the energy falling on to Earth from the Sun is being reflected or radiated back into space. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Lawyers To Plastic Makers: Prepare For 'Astronomical' PFAS Lawsuits

yro - Posted On:2024-05-29 01:45:00 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes a report from the New York Times: The defense lawyer minced no words as he addressed a room full of plastic-industry executives. Prepare for a wave of lawsuits with potentially "astronomical" costs. Speaking at a conference earlier this year, the lawyer, Brian Gross, said the coming litigation could "dwarf anything related to asbestos," one of the most sprawling corporate-liability battles in United States history. Mr. Gross was referring to PFAS, the "forever chemicals" that have emerged as one of the major pollution issues of our time. Used for decades in countless everyday objects -- cosmetics, takeout containers, frying pans -- PFAS have been linked to serious health risks including cancer. Last month the federal government said several types of PFAS must be removed from the drinking water of hundreds of millions of Americans. "Do what you can, while you can, before you get sued," Mr. Gross said at the February session, according to a recording of the event made by a participant and examined by The New York Times. "Review any marketing materials or other communications that you've had with your customers, with your suppliers, see whether there's anything in those documents that's problematic to your defense," he said. "Weed out people and find the right witness to represent your company." A wide swath of the chemicals, plastics and related industries are gearing up to fight a surge in litigation related to PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, a class of nearly 15,000 versatile synthetic chemicals linked to serious health problems. [...] PFAS-related lawsuits have already targeted manufacturers in the United States, including DuPont, its spinoff Chemours, and 3M. Last year, 3M agreed to pay at least $10 billion to water utilities across the United States that had sought compensation for cleanup costs. Thirty state attorneys general have also sued PFAS manufacturers, accusing the manufacturers of widespread contamination. But experts say the legal battle is just beginning. Under increasing scrutiny are a wider universe of companies that use PFAS in their products. This month, plaintiffs filed a class-action lawsuit against Bic, accusing the razor company for failing to disclose that some of its razors contained PFAS. Bic said it doesn't comment on pending litigation, and said it had a longstanding commitment to safety. The Biden administration has moved to regulate the chemicals, for the first time requiring municipal water systems to remove six types of PFAS. Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency also designated two of those PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances under the Superfund law, shifting responsibility for their cleanup at contaminated sites from taxpayers to polluters. Both rules are expected to prompt a new round of litigation from water utilities, local communities and others suing for cleanup costs. "To say that the floodgates are opening is an understatement," said Emily M. Lamond, an attorney who focuses on environmental litigation at the law firm Cole Schotz. "Take tobacco, asbestos, MTBE, combine them, and I think we're still going to see more PFAS-related litigation," she said, referring to methyl tert-butyl ether, a former harmful gasoline additive that contaminated drinking water. Together, the trio led to claims totaling hundreds of billions of dollars. Unlike tobacco, used by only a subset of the public, "pretty much every one of us in the United States is walking around with PFAS in our bodies," said Erik Olson, senior strategic director for environmental health at the Natural Resources Defense Council. "And we're being exposed without our knowledge or consent, often by industries that knew how dangerous the chemicals were, and failed to disclose that," he said. "That's a formula for really significant liability." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Huge Google Search Document Leak Reveals Inner Workings of Ranking Algorithm

technology - Posted On:2024-05-28 21:45:00 Source: slashdot

Danny Goodwin reports via Search Engine Land: A trove of leaked Google documents has given us an unprecedented look inside Google Search and revealed some of the most important elements Google uses to rank content. Thousands of documents, which appear to come from Google's internal Content API Warehouse, were released March 13 on Github by an automated bot called yoshi-code-bot. These documents were shared with Rand Fishkin, SparkToro co-founder, earlier this month. What's inside. Here's what we know about the internal documents, thanks to Fishkin and [Michael King, iPullRank CEO]: Current: The documentation indicates this information is accurate as of March. Ranking features: 2,596 modules are represented in the API documentation with 14,014 attributes. Weighting: The documents did not specify how any of the ranking features are weighted -- just that they exist. Twiddlers: These are re-ranking functions that "can adjust the information retrieval score of a document or change the ranking of a document," according to King. Demotions: Content can be demoted for a variety of reasons, such as: a link doesn't match the target site; SERP signals indicate user dissatisfaction; Product reviews; Location; Exact match domains; and/or Porn. Change history: Google apparently keeps a copy of every version of every page it has ever indexed. Meaning, Google can "remember" every change ever made to a page. However, Google only uses the last 20 changes of a URL when analyzing links. Other interesting findings. According to Google's internal documents: Freshness matters -- Google looks at dates in the byline (bylineDate), URL (syntacticDate) and on-page content (semanticDate). To determine whether a document is or isn't a core topic of the website, Google vectorizes pages and sites, then compares the page embeddings (siteRadius) to the site embeddings (siteFocusScore). Google stores domain registration information (RegistrationInfo). Page titles still matter. Google has a feature called titlematchScore that is believed to measure how well a page title matches a query. Google measures the average weighted font size of terms in documents (avgTermWeight) and anchor text. What does it all mean? According to King: "[Y]ou need to drive more successful clicks using a broader set of queries and earn more link diversity if you want to continue to rank. Conceptually, it makes sense because a very strong piece of content will do that. A focus on driving more qualified traffic to a better user experience will send signals to Google that your page deserves to rank." [...] Fishkin added: "If there was one universal piece of advice I had for marketers seeking to broadly improve their organic search rankings and traffic, it would be: 'Build a notable, popular, well-recognized brand in your space, outside of Google search.'" Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Chromebooks Will Get Gemini and New Google AI Features

slashdot - Posted On:2024-05-28 21:00:00 Source: slashdot

Google is introducing the Gemini AI chatbot to Chromebook Plus models, enhancing features like text rewriting, image editing, and hands-free control. Here are a few of the top new features coming to ChromeOS, as summarized by Wired: The first notable feature is Help Me Write, which works in any text box. Select text in any text box and right-click -- you'll see a box next to the standard right-click context menu. You can ask Google's AI to rewrite the selected text, rephrase it in a specific way, or change the tone. I tried to use it on a few sentences in this story but did not like any of the suggestions it gave me, so your mileage may vary. Or maybe I'm a better writer than Google's AI. Who knows? Google's bringing the same generative AI wallpaper system you'll find in Android to ChromeOS. You can access this feature in ChromeOS's wallpaper settings and generate images based on specific parameters. Weirdly, you can create these when you're in a video-calling app too. You'll see a menu option next to the system tray whenever the microphone and video camera are being accessed -- tap on it and click "Create with AI" and you can generate an image for your video call's background. I'm not sure why I'd want a background of a "surreal bicycle made of flowers in pink and purple," but there you go. AI! Here's something a little more useful: Magic Editor in Google Photos. Yep, the same feature that debuted in Google's Pixel 8 smartphones is now available on Chromebook Plus laptops. In the Google Photos app, you can press Edit on a photo and you'll see the option for Magic Editor. (You'll need to download more editing tools to get started.) This feature lets you erase unwanted objects in your photos, move a subject to another area of the frame, and fill in the backgrounds of photos. I successfully erased a paint can in the background of a photo of my dog, and it worked pretty quickly. Then there's Gemini. It's available as a stand-alone app, and you can ask it to do pretty much anything. Write a cover letter, break down complex topics, ask for travel tips for a specific country. Just, you know, double-check the results and make sure there aren't any hallucinations. If you want to tap into Google's Gemini Advanced model, the company says it is offering 12 months free for new Chromebook Plus owners through the end of the year, so you have some time to redeem that offer. This is technically an upgrade from Google One, and it nets you Gemini for Workspace, 2 terabytes of storage, and a few other perks. New features coming to all Chromebooks include easy setup with Android phones via QR code for sharing Wi-Fi credentials, integration of Google Tasks into the system tray, a Game Dashboard for mapping controls and recording gameplay as GIFs, and a built-in screen recorder tool. Upcoming enhancements also include Hands-Free Control using face gestures, the Help Me Read feature with Gemini for summarizing websites and PDFs, and an Overview screen to manage open browser windows, tabs, and apps. You can check if your Chromebook is compatible with the Chromebook Plus OS update here. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Instead of 'Auth,' We Should Say 'Permissions' and 'Login'

technology - Posted On:2024-05-28 20:15:00 Source: slashdot

The term "auth" is ambiguous, often meaning either authentication (authn) or authorization (authz), which leads to confusion and poor system design. Instead, Nicole Tietz-Sokolskaya, a software engineer at AI market research platform Remesh, argues that the industry adopt the terms "login" for authentication and "permissions" for authorization, as these are clearer and help maintain distinct, appropriate abstractions for each concept. From their blog post: We should always use the most clear terms we have. Sometimes there's not a great option, but here, we have wonderfully clear terms. Those are "login" for authentication and "permissions" for authorization. Both are terms that will make sense with little explanation (in contrast to "authn" and "authz", which are confusing on first encounter) since almost everyone has logged into a system and has run into permissions issues. There are two ways to use "login" here: the noun and the verb form. The noun form is "login", which refers to the information you enter to gain access to the system. And the verb form is "log in", which refers to the action of entering your login to use the system. "Permissions" is just the noun form. To use a verb, you would use "check permissions." While this is long, it's also just... fine? It hasn't been an issue in my experience. Both of these are abundantly clear even to our peers in disciplines outside software engineering. This to me makes it worth using them from a clarity perspective alone. But then we have the big benefit to abstractions, as well. When we call both by the same word, there's often an urge to combine them into a single module just by dint of the terminology. This isn't necessarily wrong -- there is certainly some merit to put them together, since permissions typically require a login. But it's not necessary, either, and our designs will be stronger if we don't make that assumption and instead make a reasoned choice. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Bentley is replacing its W12 engine with a plug-in hybrid—and let us try it

Cars - Posted On:2024-05-28 19:45:01 Source: arstechnica

BARCELONA—The days of big engines are numbered, even for big spenders. Owning a GT that lets you drive across Europe in a day in cosseted luxury means very little if you're not allowed to drive it into the city you're meant to be visiting, after all. Low emissions zones are either a fact of life or on the way in many of the more desirable urban post codes, and even here in the US we're about to start getting quite tough on fuel efficiency. Which is why Bentley is saying goodbye to its W12-powered Continental GT Speed and replacing it with a new plug-in hybrid instead.

The W12 engine has become something of a trademark for Bentley in the 21st century. For many years, Bentleys were essentially just badge-engineered Rolls-Royces, while both companies were owned by the aircraft maker Vickers. But VW group took control of Bentley in 1998—BMW got Rolls-Royce—and it was time for something fresh.

Originally developed within parent company Volkswagen Group for use in the all-aluminum Audi A8, the W12 design essentially mated together a pair of narrow-angle V6 engines as used in the Golf VR6 to create a compact and powerful multi-cylinder engine for those customers looking for a powertrain a bit less common than a V8.

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US sanctions operators of “free VPN” that routed crime traffic through user PCs

Biz & IT - Posted On:2024-05-28 19:45:01 Source: arstechnica

The US Treasury Department has sanctioned three Chinese nationals for their involvement in a VPN-powered botnet with more than 19 million residential IP addresses they rented out to cybercriminals to obfuscate their illegal activities, including COVID-19 aid scams and bomb threats.

The criminal enterprise, the Treasury Department said Tuesday, was a residential proxy service known as 911 S5. Such services provide a bank of IP addresses belonging to everyday home users for customers to route Internet connections through. When accessing a website or other Internet service, the connection appears to originate with the home user.

In 2022, researchers at the University of Sherbrooke profiled 911[.]re, a service that appears to be an earlier version of 911 S5. At the time, its infrastructure comprised 120,000 residential IP addresses. This pool was created using one of two free VPNs—MaskVPN and DewVPN—marketed to end users. Besides acting as a legitimate VPN, the software also operated as a botnet that covertly turned users’ devices into a proxy server. The complex structure was designed with the intent of making the botnet hard to reverse engineer.

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Nvidia Denies Pirate e-Book Sites Are 'Shadow Libraries' To Shut Down Lawsuit

yro - Posted On:2024-05-28 19:45:01 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Some of the most infamous so-called shadow libraries have increasingly faced legal pressure to either stop pirating books or risk being shut down or driven to the dark web. Among the biggest targets are Z-Library, which the US Department of Justice has charged with criminal copyright infringement, and Library Genesis (Libgen), which was sued by textbook publishers last fall for allegedly distributing digital copies of copyrighted works "on a massive scale in willful violation" of copyright laws. But now these shadow libraries and others accused of spurning copyrights have seemingly found an unlikely defender in Nvidia, the AI chipmaker among those profiting most from the recent AI boom. Nvidia seemed to defend the shadow libraries as a valid source of information online when responding to a lawsuit from book authors over the list of data repositories that were scraped to create the Books3 dataset used to train Nvidia's AI platform NeMo. That list includes some of the most "notorious" shadow libraries -- Bibliotik, Z-Library (Z-Lib), Libgen, Sci-Hub, and Anna's Archive, authors argued. However, Nvidia hopes to invalidate authors' copyright claims partly by denying that any of these controversial websites should even be considered shadow libraries. "Nvidia denies the characterization of the listed data repositories as 'shadow libraries' and denies that hosting data in or distributing data from the data repositories necessarily violates the US Copyright Act," Nvidia's court filing said. The chipmaker did not go into further detail to define what counts as a shadow library or what potentially absolves these controversial sites from key copyright concerns raised by various ongoing lawsuits. Instead, Nvidia kept its response brief while also curtly disputing authors' petition for class-action status and defending its AI training methods as fair use. "Nvidia denies that it has improperly used or copied the alleged works," the court filing said, arguing that "training is a highly transformative process that may include adjusting numerical parameters including 'weights,' and that outputs of an LLM may be based, at least in part, on such 'weights.'" "Nvidia's argument likely depends on the court agreeing that AI models ingesting published works in order to transform those works into weights governing AI outputs is fair use," notes Ars. "However, authors have argued that 'these weights are entirely and uniquely derived from the protected expression in the training dataset' that has been copied without getting authors' consent or providing authors with compensation." "Authors suing Nvidia have taken the next step, linking the chipmaker to shadow libraries by arguing that 'these shadow libraries have long been of interest to the AI-training community because they host and distribute vast quantities of unlicensed copyrighted material. For that reason, these shadow libraries also violate the US Copyright Act.'" Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Internet Archive and the Wayback Machine Under DDoS Cyberattack

it - Posted On:2024-05-28 19:00:00 Source: slashdot

The Internet Archive is "currently in its third day of warding off an intermittent DDoS cyber-attack," writes Chris Freeland, Director of Library Services at Internet Archive, in a blog post. While library staff stress that the archives are safe, access to its services are affected, including the Wayback Machine. From the post: Since the attacks began on Sunday, the DDoS intrusion has been launching tens of thousands of fake information requests per second. The source of the attack is unknown. "Thankfully the collections are safe, but we are sorry that the denial-of-service attack has knocked us offline intermittently during these last three days," explained Brewster Kahle, founder and digital librarian of the Internet Archive. "With the support from others and the hard work of staff we are hardening our defenses to provide more reliable access to our library. What is new is this attack has been sustained, impactful, targeted, adaptive, and importantly, mean." Cyber-attacks are increasingly frequent against libraries and other knowledge institutions, with the British Library, the Solano County Public Library (California), the Berlin Natural History Museum, and Ontario's London Public Library all being recent victims. In addition to a wave of recent cyber-attacks, the Internet Archive is also being sued by the US book publishing and US recording industries associations, which are claiming copyright infringement and demanding combined damages of hundreds of millions of dollars and diminished services from all libraries. "If our patrons around the globe think this latest situation is upsetting, then they should be very worried about what the publishing and recording industries have in mind," added Kahle. "I think they are trying to destroy this library entirely and hobble all libraries everywhere. But just as we're resisting the DDoS attack, we appreciate all the support in pushing back on this unjust litigation against our library and others." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Neuralink rival sets brain-chip record with 4,096 electrodes on human brain

Health - Posted On:2024-05-28 18:15:00 Source: arstechnica

Brain-computer interface company Precision Neuroscience says that it has set a new world record for the number of neuron-tapping electrodes placed on a living human's brain—4,096, surpassing the previous record of 2,048 set last year, according to an announcement from the company on Tuesday.

The high density of electrodes allows neuroscientists to map the activity of neurons at unprecedented resolution, which will ultimately help them to better decode thoughts into intended actions.

Precision, like many of its rivals, has the preliminary goal of using its brain-computer interface (BCI) to restore speech and movement in patients, particularly those who have suffered a stroke or spinal cord injury. But Precision stands out from its competitors due to a notable split from one of the most high-profile BCI companies, Neuralink, owned by controversial billionaire Elon Musk.

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Anthropic Hires Former OpenAI Safety Lead To Head Up New Team

slashdot - Posted On:2024-05-28 18:15:00 Source: slashdot

Jan Leike, one of OpenAI's "superalignment" leaders, who resigned last week due to AI safety concerns, has joined Anthropic to continue the mission. According to Leike, the new team "will work on scalable oversight, weak-to-strong generalization, and automated alignment research." TechCrunch reports: A source familiar with the matter tells TechCrunch that Leike will report directly to Jared Kaplan, Anthropic's chief science officer, and that Anthropic researchers currently working on scalable oversight -- techniques to control large-scale AI's behavior in predictable and desirable ways -- will move to report to Leike as Leike's team spins up. In many ways, Leike's team sounds similar in mission to OpenAI's recently-dissolved Superalignment team. The Superalignment team, which Leike co-led, had the ambitious goal of solving the core technical challenges of controlling superintelligent AI in the next four years, but often found itself hamstrung by OpenAI's leadership. Anthropic has often attempted to position itself as more safety-focused than OpenAI. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Researchers Cracked an 11-Year-Old Password To a $3 Million Software-Based Crypto Wallet

yro - Posted On:2024-05-28 17:45:00 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Wired: Two years ago when "Michael," an owner of cryptocurrency, contacted Joe Grand to help recover access to about $2 million worth of bitcoin he stored in encrypted format on his computer, Grand turned him down. Michael, who is based in Europe and asked to remain anonymous, stored the cryptocurrency in a password-protected digital wallet. He generated a password using the RoboForm password manager and stored that password in a file encrypted with a tool called TrueCrypt. At some point, that file got corrupted and Michael lost access to the 20-character password he had generated to secure his 43.6 BTC (worth a total of about [...] $5,300, in 2013). Michael used the RoboForm password manager to generate the password but did not store it in his manager. He worried that someone would hack his computer and obtain the password. "At [that] time, I was really paranoid with my security," he laughs. Grand is a famed hardware hacker who in 2022 helped another crypto wallet ownerrecover access to $2 million in cryptocurrencyhe thought he'd lost forever after forgetting the PIN to his Trezor wallet. Since then, dozens of people have contacted Grand to help them recover their treasure. But Grand, known by the hacker handle "Kingpin," turns down most of them, for various reasons. Grand is an electrical engineer who began hacking computing hardware at age 10 and in 2008 cohosted the Discovery Channel's Prototype This show. He now consults with companies that build complex digital systems to help them understand how hardware hackers like him might subvert their systems. He cracked the Trezor wallet in 2022 using complex hardware techniques that forced the USB-style wallet to reveal its password. But Michael stored his cryptocurrency in a software-based wallet, which meant none of Grand's hardware skills were relevant this time. [...] Michael contacted multiple people who specialize in cracking cryptography; they all told him "there's no chance" of retrieving his money. But last June he approached Grand again, hoping to convince him to help, and this time Grand agreed to give it a try, working with a friend named Bruno in Germany who also hacks digital wallets. Grand and Bruno spent months reverse engineering the version of the RoboForm program that they thought Michael had used in 2013 and found that the pseudo-random number generator used to generate passwords in that version -- and subsequent versions until 2015 -- did indeed have a significant flaw that made the random number generator not so random. The RoboForm program unwisely tied the random passwords it generated to the date and time on the user's computer -- it determined the computer's date and time, and then generated passwords that were predictable. If you knew the date and time and other parameters, you could compute any password that would have been generated on a certain date and time in the past. [...] There was one problem: Michael couldn't remember when he created the password. According to the log on his software wallet, Michael moved bitcoin into his wallet for the first time on April 14, 2013. But he couldn't remember if he generated the password the same day or some time before or after this. So, looking at the parameters of other passwords he generated using RoboForm, Grand and Bruno configured RoboForm to generate 20-character passwords with upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and eight special characters from March 1 to April 20, 2013. It failed to generate the right password. [...] Instead, they revealed that they had finally found the correct password -- no special characters. It was generated on May 15, 2013, at 4:10:40 pm GMT. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Bungie wins landmark suit against Destiny 2 cheat-maker AimJunkies

Gaming - Posted On:2024-05-28 17:00:01 Source: arstechnica

They wanted to make money by selling cheating tools to Destiny 2 players. They may have ended up setting US legal precedent.

After a trial in federal court in Seattle last week, a jury found cheat-seller AimJunkies, along with its parent company Phoenix Digital and four of its employees and contractors, liable for copyright infringement and assigned damages to each of them. The jury split $63,210 in damages, with $20,000 to Phoenix Digital itself and just under $11,000 each to the four individuals. That's just under the $65,000 revenue the defendants claimed to have generated from 1,400 copies of its Destiny 2 cheats.

Bungie's case appears to have gone further than any other game-cheating suit has made it in the US court system. Because cheating at an online game is not, in itself, illegal, game firms typically lean on the anti-circumvention aspects of the 1998 Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA). That's how the makers of Grand Theft Auto V, Overwatch, Rainbow Six, and Fortnite have pursued their cheat-making antagonists. Bungie, in taking their claim past settlement and then winning a copyright claim from a jury, has perhaps provided game makers a case to point to in future proceedings, and perhaps more incentive.

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Ubuntu Linux 24.04 Now Optimized For Milk-V Mars RISC-V Single Board Computer

linux - Posted On:2024-05-28 17:00:01 Source: slashdot

BrianFagioli writes: Canonical has officially released the optimized Ubuntu 24.04 image for the Milk-V Mars, a credit-card-sized RISC-V single board computer (SBC) developed by Shenzhen MilkV Technology Co., Ltd. The Milk-V Mars is the world's first high-performance RISC-V SBC of its size. Powered by the StarFive JH7110 quad-core processor, the board is equipped with up to 8GB of LPDDR4 memory and supports various modern interfaces, including USB 3.0, HDMI 2.0 for 4K output, and Ethernet with PoE capabilities. It also offers comprehensive expansion options with M.2 E-Key and extensive MIPI CSI channels, making it an ideal choice for developers and tech enthusiasts. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Russia Mulling Charging Companies To Use Foreign Software

technology - Posted On:2024-05-28 16:15:00 Source: slashdot

Russia may charge domestic companies to use foreign software, the TASS news agency quoted Digital Development Minister Maksut Shadaev as saying on Tuesday, as Moscow seeks to cut dependency on foreign technology and bolster its own. From a report: President Vladimir Putin has made achieving technological independence a key goal, as Western sanctions over the war in Ukraine seek to hamstring Moscow's ability to acquire technology and equipment from abroad that could help it on the battlefield. As part of that push, Putin signed a decree in early May which stated that at least 80% of Russian companies in key economic sectors should transition to using Russian-made software by 2030. Many Russian companies still use foreign software in their daily operations, although an EU sanctions package passed last December prohibits companies from supplying enterprise and design-related software to Russia. Shadaev said that introducing a levy on Russian firms would "equalise" foreign and Russian software. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Nvidia denies pirate e-book sites are “shadow libraries” to shut down lawsuit

Policy - Posted On:2024-05-28 15:45:01 Source: arstechnica

Some of the most infamous so-called shadow libraries have increasingly faced legal pressure to either stop pirating books or risk being shut down or driven to the dark web. Among the biggest targets are Z-Library, which the US Department of Justice has charged with criminal copyright infringement, and Library Genesis (Libgen), which was sued by textbook publishers last fall for allegedly distributing digital copies of copyrighted works "on a massive scale in willful violation" of copyright laws.

But now these shadow libraries and others accused of spurning copyrights have seemingly found an unlikely defender in Nvidia, the AI chipmaker among those profiting most from the recent AI boom.

Nvidia seemed to defend the shadow libraries as a valid source of information online when responding to a lawsuit from book authors over the list of data repositories that were scraped to create the Books3 dataset used to train Nvidia's AI platform NeMo.

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A Robot Will Soon Try To Remove Melted Nuclear Fuel From Japan's Destroyed Fukushima Reactor

hardware - Posted On:2024-05-28 15:30:01 Source: slashdot

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings (TEPCO) showcased a remote-controlled robot on Tuesday that will retrieve small pieces of melted fuel debris from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant later this year. The robot, developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, features an extendable pipe and tongs capable of picking up granule-sized debris. TEPCO plans to remove less than 3 grams of debris during the test at the No. 2 reactor, marking the first such operation since the 2011 meltdown caused by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami. The removal of the estimated 880 tons of highly radioactive melted fuel from the three damaged reactors is crucial for the plant's decommissioning, which critics say may take longer than the government's 30-40 year target. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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iFixit ends Samsung deal as oppressive repair shop requirements come to light

Tech - Posted On:2024-05-28 14:45:01 Source: arstechnica

IFixit and Samsung were once leading the charge in device repair, but iFixit says it's ending its repair partnership with Samsung because it feels Samsung just isn't participating in good faith. iFixit says the two companies "have not been able to deliver" on the promise of a viable repair ecosystem, so it would rather shut the project down than continue. The repair site says "flashy press releases and ambitious initiatives don’t mean much without follow-through."

iFixit's Scott Head explains: "As we tried to build this ecosystem we consistently faced obstacles that made us doubt Samsung’s commitment to making repair more accessible. We couldn’t get parts to local repair shops at prices and quantities that made business sense. The part prices were so costly that many consumers opted to replace their devices rather than repair them. And the design of Samsung’s Galaxy devices remained frustratingly glued together, forcing us to sell batteries and screens in pre-glued bundles that increased the cost."

A good example of Samsung's parts bundling is this Galaxy S22 Ultra "screen" part for $233. The screen is the most common part to break, but rather than just sell a screen, Samsung makes you buy the screen, a new phone frame, a battery, and new side buttons and switches. As we said when this was announced, that's like half of the total parts in an entire phone. This isn't a perfect metric, but the Samsung/iFixit parts store only offers three parts for the S22 Ultra, while the Pixel 8 Pro store has 10 parts, and the iPhone 14 Pro Max store has 23 parts.

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Klarna Using GenAI To Cut Marketing Costs By $10 Million Annually

slashdot - Posted On:2024-05-28 14:45:01 Source: slashdot

Fintech firm Klarna, one of the early adopters of generative AI said on Tuesday it is using AI for purposes such as running marketing campaigns and generating images, saving about $10 million in costs annually. From a report: The company has cut its sales and marketing budget by 11% in the first quarter, with AI responsible for 37% of the cost savings, while increasing the number of campaigns, the company said. Using GenAI tools like Midjourney, DALL-E, and Firefly for image generation, Klarna said it has reduced image production costs by $6 million. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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