Tech News

Intel Graphics Chief Leaves After Five Years

technology - Posted On:2023-03-21 18:45:00 Source: slashdot

After five years attempting to make Intel into a competitor for Nvidia and AMD in the realm of discrete graphics for gamers and beyond -- with limited success -- Raja Koduri is leaving Intel to form his own generative AI startup. The Verge reports: Intel hired him away from AMD in 2017, where he was similarly in charge of the entire graphics division, and it was an exciting get at the time! Not only had Intel poached a chief architect who'd just gone on sabbatical but Intel also revealed that it did so because it wanted to build discrete graphics cards for the first time in (what would turn out to be) 20 years. Koduri had previously been poached for similarly exciting projects, too -- Apple hired him away from AMD ahead of an impressive string of graphics improvements, and then AMD brought him back again in 2013. Intel has yet to bring real competition to the discrete graphics card space as of Koduri's departure. [...] But the company has a long GPU roadmap, so it's possible things get better and more competitive in subsequent gens. It took a lot longer than five years for Nvidia and AMD to make it that far. By the time Koduri left, he wasn't just in charge of graphics but also Intel's "accelerated computing" initiatives, including things like a crypto chip. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Hyundai Promises To Keep Buttons In Cars Because Touchscreen Controls Are Dangerous

technology - Posted On:2023-03-21 18:15:00 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Drive: Sang Yup Lee, Hyundai's head of design, reiterated the company's commitment to buttons at the introduction of the new Hyundai Kona. As reported by CarsGuide, for the Korean automaker, it's a decision rooted in safety concerns. "We have used the physical buttons quite significantly the last few years. For me, the safety-related buttons have to be a hard key," said Lee. It's a design call that makes a lot of sense. In some modern vehicles, adjusting things like the volume or climate control settings can require diving into menus on a touch screen, or using your eyes to find a touch control on the dash. In comparison, the tactile feedback of real buttons, dials, and switches lets drivers keep their eyes on the road instead. "When you're driving, it's hard to control it. This is why when it's a hard key it's easy to sense and feel it," said Lee. As far as he is concerned, physical controls are a necessity for anything that could impact safety. Hence the physical buttons and dials for items like the HVAC system and volume control. Lee hinted that while this is a priority for Hyundai today, things may change in future. In particular, the company will likely look at using touch controls more heavily when autonomous driving becomes mainstream. "When it comes to Level 4 autonomous driving, then we'll have everything soft key," said Lee. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Amazon-owned DPReview Shutting Down

technology - Posted On:2023-03-21 13:30:00 Source: slashdot

Photography and camera gear review site DPReview, writing in a blog post: After nearly 25 years of operation, DPReview will be closing in the near future. This difficult decision is part of the annual operating plan review that our parent company shared earlier this year. The site will remain active until April 10, and the editorial team is still working on reviews and looking forward to delivering some of our best-ever content. Everyone on our staff was a reader and fan of DPReview before working here, and we're grateful for the communities that formed around the site. Thank you for your support over the years, and we hope you'll join us in the coming weeks as we celebrate this journey. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Google is Releasing Its Bard AI Chatbot To the Public

technology - Posted On:2023-03-21 10:30:00 Source: slashdot

Google says it's ready to let the public use its generative AI chatbot,Bard. The company will grant tens of thousands of users access to the bot in a gradual rollout that starting Tuesday. From a report: Google says people will use the chatbot, which will be available online and as a mobile app, for things like generating ideas ("Bard, how do I keep my plants alive?"), researching ideas (in combination with Search), and drafting first drafts of letters, invites, or proposals. Google originally announced Bard February 6, alongside some generative AI search functions and developer tools. On March 14, it announced that it will integrate generative AI features across the apps in its Workspace productivity suite. But today marks the first time that Google has released a generative AI chatbot powered by a large language model to the public. Google says the bot is powered by a lightweight and optimized version of LaMDA, and will be updated with newer, more capable models over time. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Microsoft Wants Changing Default Apps In Windows To Be Less of a Mess

technology - Posted On:2023-03-20 20:15:00 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: One of the enduring legacies of the '90s browser wars has been an outsize attention to how Microsoft handles default app settings in Windows, especially browser settings. The company plans to make it more straightforward to change your app defaults in future versions of Windows 11, according to a new blog post that outlines a "principled approach to app pinning and app defaults in Windows." The company's principled approach is a combination of broad, vague platitudes ("we will ensure people who use Windows are in control of changes to their pins and their defaults") and new developer features. A future version of Windows 11 will offer a consistent "deep link URI" for apps so they can send users to the right place in the Settings app for changing app defaults. Microsoft will also add a pop-up notification that should be used when newly installed apps want to pin themselves to your Taskbar, rather than either pinning themselves by default or getting lost somewhere in your Start menu. These new features will be added to Windows "in the coming months," starting in the Dev channel Windows Insider Preview builds. Though Microsoft frames these changes as a way to make changing default apps easier and more consistent, they also serve as a gentle rebuke to developers who handle things differently. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Indian Officials Cut Internet For 27 Million People Amid Search For Fugitive

technology - Posted On:2023-03-20 19:30:00 Source: slashdot

Indian authorities severed mobile internet access and text messaging for a second day Sunday across Punjab, a state of about 27 million people, as officials sought to capture a Sikh separatist and braced for potential unrest. The Washington Post reports: The statewide ban -- which crippled most smartphone services except for voice calls and some SMS text messages -- marked one of the broadest shutdowns in recent years in India, a country that has increasingly deployed the law enforcement tactic, which digital rights activists call draconian and ineffective. The Punjab government, led by the opposition Aam Admi Party, initially announced a 24-hour ban starting midday Saturday as its security forces launched a sprawling operation to arrest the fugitive Amritpal Singh, then extended the ban Sunday for another 24 hours. Singh, a 30-year-old preacher, has been a popular figure within a separatist movement that seeks to establish a sovereign state in Punjab called Khalistan for followers of the Sikh religion. He rocketed to nationwide notoriety in February after his supporters stormed a police station to free one of his jailed supporters. The Khalistan movement is outlawed in India and considered a top national security threat by officials, but the movement has sympathizers across Punjab state, which is majority Sikh, and among members of the large Sikh diaspora who have settled in countries such as Canada and Britain. In a bid to forestall unrest and curtail what it called "fake news," Punjab authorities blocked mobile internet service beginning at noon Saturday, shortly after they failed to apprehend Singh as he drove through central Punjab with a cavalcade of supporters. Officials were probably also motivated by a desire to deprive Singh's supporters of social media, which they briefly used Saturday to seek help and organize their ranks. Singh was still on the run as of late Sunday, and the 4G blackout remained in effect. Three Punjab residents who spoke to The Washington Post said life had been disrupted since midday Saturday. Only essential text messages, such as confirmation codes for bank transfers, were trickling through. Wired internet services were not affected. "My entire business is dependent on internet," said Mohammad Ibrahim, who accepts QR code-based payments at his two clothing shops in a village outside of Ludhiana and also sells garments online. "Since yesterday, I've felt crippled." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Twitch Says It Will Lay Off 400 Employees

technology - Posted On:2023-03-20 18:45:01 Source: slashdot

Twitch announced plans to lay off 400 employees at the company. It comes just days after longtime Twitch CEO Emmett Shear said that he would step down from the company to spend time with his family. TechCrunch reports: The layoffs will affect 400 employees at the company and were characterized as an effort to improve Twitch's business outlook in the long term. The reduction is part of Twitch parent company Amazon's plans to let go of 9,000 workers across divisions including its AWS cloud and advertising units. "Like many companies, our business has been impacted by the current macroeconomic environment, and user and revenue growth has not kept pace with our expectations," new Twitch CEO Dan Clancy wrote. "In order to run our business sustainably, we've made the very difficult decision to shrink the size of our workforce." While Twitch is still a platform on the upswing, both in terms of its community and its massive cultural impact, the company likely struggled to match its early pandemic highs -- a familiar story we're seeing play out across the tech industry. Further reading: What's Different About These Tech Industry Layoffs? Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Google Pixel Bug Lets You 'Uncrop' the Last Four Years of Screenshots

it - Posted On:2023-03-20 18:15:01 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Back in 2018, Pixel phones gained a built-in screenshot editor called "Markup" with the release of Android 9.0 Pie. The tool pops up whenever you take a screenshot, and tapping the app's pen icon gives you access to tools like crop and a few colored drawing pens. That's very handy assuming Google's Markup tool actually does what it says, but a new vulnerability points out the edits made by this tool weren't actually destructive! It's possible to uncrop or unredact Pixel screenshots taken during the past four years. The bug was discovered by Simon Aarons and is dubbed "Acropalypse," or more formally CVE-2023-21036. There's a proof-of-concept app that can unredact Pixel screenshots at, and it works! There's also a good technical write-up here by Aarons' collaborator, David Buchanan. The basic gist of the problem is that Google's screenshot editor overwrites the original screenshot file with your new edited screenshot, but it does not truncate or recompress that file in any way. If your edited screenshot has a smaller file size than the original -- that's very easy to do with the crop tool -- you end up with a PNG with a bunch of hidden junk data at the end of it. That junk data is made up of the end bits of your original screenshot, and it's actually possible to recover that data. While the bug was fixed in the March 2023 security update for Pixel devices, it doesn't solve the problem, notes Ars. "There's still the matter of the last four years of Pixel screenshots that are out there and possibly full of hidden data that people didn't realize they were sharing." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Meta Manager Was Hacked With Spyware and Wiretapped in Greece

technology - Posted On:2023-03-20 17:30:00 Source: slashdot

A U.S. and Greek national who worked on Meta's security and trust team while based in Greece was placed under a yearlong wiretap by the Greek national intelligence service and hacked with a powerful cyberespionage tool, according to documents obtained by The New York Times and officials with knowledge of the case. From the report: The disclosure is the first known case of an American citizen being targeted in a European Union country by the advanced snooping technology, the use of which has been the subject of a widening scandal in Greece. It demonstrates that the illicit use of spyware is spreading beyond use by authoritarian governments against opposition figures and journalists, and has begun to creep into European democracies, even ensnaring a foreign national working for a major global corporation. The simultaneous tapping of the target's phone by the national intelligence service and the way she was hacked indicate that the spy service and whoever implanted the spyware, known as Predator, were working hand in hand. The latest case comes as elections approach in Greece, which has been rocked by a mounting wiretapping and illegal spyware scandal since last year, raising accusations that the government has abused the powers of its spy agency for illicit purposes. The Predator spyware that infected the device is marketed by an Athens-based company and has been exported from Greece with the government's blessing, in possible breach of European Union laws that consider such products potential weapons, The New York Times found in December. The Greek government has denied using Predator and has legislated against the use of spyware, which it has called "illegal." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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What's Different About These Tech Industry Layoffs?

it - Posted On:2023-03-20 04:15:00 Source: slashdot

"According to one count, more than 280,000 people were laid off from tech jobs in 2022 and the first two months of 2023," notes a new blog post at Stack Overflow. But then it asks the question: "What's different about these layoffs?" [T]he current economy has less in common than you might think with the wreckage of the dot-com bubble or the Great Recession. Overall, it's still a good time to work in tech, and the hiring market remains robust: One survey found that almost 80% of people laid off in tech found new roles within three months of launching their job search. There are more open tech positions than people to fill them (about 375,000, according to one estimate), and job listings between January and October 2022 were up 25% over the same period in 2021. If the job market isn't as dire as we think, why does this round of layoffs feel so widespread, affecting companies often perceived as more recession-proof than their peers? Part of the answer may be what organizational behavior experts have termed "copycat layoffs." "Laying off employees turns out to be infectious," writes Annie Lowrey in The Atlantic. "When executives see their corporate competitors letting go of workers, they seize what they see as an opportunity to reduce their workforce, rather than having no choice but to do so...." In many cases, workers laid off by household-name tech companies have found new jobs outside the traditional parameters of the tech industry, where their skill sets are in high demand. As Matt McLarty, global field chief technology officer for MuleSoft, told CNBC, businesses that have long needed tech professionals to upgrade their stack or guide a long-delayed cloud migration can now scoop up freshly laid-off tech workers (and those for whom Silicon Valley has lost its luster). Companies in energy and climate technology, healthcare, retail, finance, agriculture, and more are hiring tech pros at a steady clip, even if FAANG companies are less bullish. It's been said before that every company is a tech company, but in 2023, that's truer than ever. In fact, the biggest difference for tech workers this year, reports The New Stack, is that "the greatest opportunities may not lie exclusively in the FAANG companies anymore, but in more traditional industries that are upgrading their legacy stacks and embracing cloud native." Some of those opportunities also lie with startups, including ones helmed by Big Tech veterans ready to turn their layoffs into lemonade.... So whether you've been affected by the recent spate of layoffs or not, it's worth expanding your list of potential employers to include companies — even industries — you've never considered. You might find that they're thrilled to have you. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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SVB Employees Blame Remote Work For Bank Failure

it - Posted On:2023-03-19 07:45:00 Source: slashdot

Long-time Slashdot reader BonThomme shared this article from Axios: In a story in the Financial Times out Thursday, current and former Silicon Valley Bank employees cited the bank's commitment to remote work as one reason for its failure.... The banking industry has led the return to office charge for a while, and SVB was an outlier in its commitment to something different. The company's career site touted its flexible culture. "If our time working remotely has taught us anything, it's that we can trust our employees to be productive from wherever they work," the site says. The executive team at SVB was spread out around the country, with CEO Greg Becker at times working from Hawaii, according to the FT. Yet, SVB included remote work as a risk to its business in its 2022 annual report — in part because of the IT issues posed when employees are dispersed around the country, but also for productivity reasons. The FDIC, which now runs the bank, told staff they could continue working remotely — except essential workers and branch employees, per Reuters. Axios ultimately blames SVB's run 11 days ago on its panic-inciting public communications about needing to raise capital, combined with its oddly high concentration of tech clients and a portfolio of long-term U.S. treasuries as interest rates rose. "It's certainly possible that if more executives were working in closer proximity those missteps would've been avoided. But it's hard to really know." Yet they warn workplace policies could change simply because the Financial Times ran a piece blaming remote work. "Companies looking for a reason to bring workers back to the office may find it in this piece." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Teenage Pranks at Japan's Restaurants Lead to AI-Powered Sushi Monitors, Arrests

technology - Posted On:2023-03-18 14:45:00 Source: slashdot

Rest of World reports on viral teenage pranks at conveyor-belt sushi chain restaurants across Japan, which snowballed into a societal phenomenon that social media users and the Japanese press have named "sushi terrorism." It began January 9th when a video showed a customer adding a pile of wasabi onto sushi on a conveyor belt. Another video shows a giggling teenager touching sushi on a conveyor belt at the sushi chain Sushiro after first licking that finger. The stock of the parent company that owns that sushi chain drops nearly 5%. It's not over. At a Nagoya branch of Kura Sushi, a 21-year-old customer grabs sushi from the conveyor belt, cramming it into his mouth and chasing it down with a swig from the communal soy sauce bottle. The incident is filmed by his two younger friends, one of whom posts the clip online. The same day, Sushiro's operating company announces it will limit conveyor belts and move to ordering by touch screen. Concerns continued at other sushi chains. ("Kura Sushi says it's installing surveillance cameras equipped with AI to monitor customers' behavior and catch sushi terrorists. A day later, Choushimaru announces it will switch entirely to an iPad-based ordering system by April 26.") Sushiro also moves to ordering by touch screen and promises to limit conveyor belts. The story's dramatic conclusion? Nagoya police arrest the 19-year-old man who allegedly posted the soy-sauce-swigging video from Kura Sushi, along with his two "co-conspirators." Nagoya police declare they are holding all three sushi terrorists on suspicion of "forcible obstruction of business." The crime would carry a maximum penalty of three years in prison, if they're convicted. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Brazil Looks To Regulate Monetized Content On Internet

technology - Posted On:2023-03-18 06:15:01 Source: slashdot

The Brazilian government is studying whether to regulate Internet platforms with content that earns revenue such as advertising, its secretary for digital policies, Joao Brant, said on Friday. Reuters reports: The idea would be for a regulator to hold such platforms, not consumers, accountable for monetized content, Brant told Reuters. Another goal is "to prevent the networks from being used for the dissemination and promotion of crimes and illegal content" especially after the riots by supporters of former far-right President JairBolsonaro in Brasilia in January, fueled by misinformation about the election he lost in October. Brant said President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's government also intends to make companies responsible for stopping misinformation, hate speech and other crimes on their social media platforms. Platforms would not be held responsible for content individually, but for how diligent they are in protecting the "digital environment," he said in an interview. Brant did not detail what the regulatory body would look like, but said the government wants to regulate monetized content and prevent the platforms from spreading misinformation. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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AI Fools Voice Recognition Used To Verify Identity By Australian Tax Office

it - Posted On:2023-03-17 21:00:00 Source: slashdot

A voiceprint program used by millions of Australians to access data held by government agencies can be fooled by an AI-generated voice, reports the Guardian. From the report: Centrelink and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) both give people the option of using a "voiceprint", along with other information, to verify their identity over the phone, allowing them to then access sensitive information from their accounts. Using just four minutes of audio, a Guardian Australia journalist was able to generate a clone of their own voice and was then able to use this, combined with their customer reference number, to gain access to their own Centrelink self-service account. Anyone trying to use voiceprint also needs to know the account-holder's customer reference number, which is not normally publicly available, but the number is not treated as securely as a password and is included in correspondence from Centrelink and other service providers, such as childcare centers. The self-service phone system allows people to access sensitive material such as information on their payment of benefits and to request documents to be sent by mail, including replacement concession or healthcare cards. Services Australia declined to say if the voiceprint technology would be changed or removed from Centrelink. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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New Zealand To Ban TikTok On Devices Linked To Parliament

technology - Posted On:2023-03-17 19:15:00 Source: slashdot

New Zealand will ban TikTok on devices with access to the parliamentary network because of cybersecurity concerns, a government official said on Friday. CNBC reports: TikTok will be banned on all devices with access to New Zealand's parliamentary network by the end of March, said Parliamentary Service Chief Executive Rafael Gonzalez-Montero. Gonzalez-Montero, in an email to Reuters, said the decision was taken after advice from cybersecurity experts and discussions within government and with other countries. "Based on this information the Service has determined that the risks are not acceptable in the current New Zealand Parliamentary environment," he said. Special arrangements can be made for those who require the app to do their jobs, he added. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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TikTok's Plan To Stave Off Government Intervention: Flood DC With influencers

technology - Posted On:2023-03-17 18:15:00 Source: slashdot

The influential social media app TikTok is flooding the nation's capital with influencers next week as part of an 11th hour lobbying blitz to stave off the forced sale of the company. From a report: The efforts come as the Biden administration urges TikTok's Chinese owners to sell the app to a new owner or face a potential ban in the United States. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, the interagency board that issued the call, has spent years reviewing the potential national security risks posed by TikTok, and the Chinese company that owns it: ByteDance. Dozens of TikTok creators will descend on Washington for three days next week, according to a person familiar with the plans, who revealed details on condition of anonymity. The creators will hold a press conference on Wednesday on Capitol Hill, the person added. Another person familiar with the plans noted that TikTok was paying for the cost of sending influencers to D.C. It was not clear which influencers would be making the trip. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Microsoft Pauses Delayed Partner Ecosystem Security Update To Count Its Money

it - Posted On:2023-03-17 17:30:00 Source: slashdot

Microsoft's delayed effort to ensure its partners don't enjoy unduly privileged access to their clients' systems will run for just nine days before pausing for a month. From a report: Partners of the Redmond-based software colossus have historically relied on "delegated admin privileges" (DAP) to manage and monitor clients' systems and software purchases. In the wake of criminal attacks on managed services providers and the software they use to tend their clients, Microsoft decided DAP privileges offered dangerously extensive access. The company therefore created granular delegated admin privileges (GDAP). As the name implies, GDAP limits the resources and permissions partners enjoy when driving their customers' systems. It also adds zero-trust principles to further reduce the likelihood that an attack on a partner will mean pain for end customers. Partners and Microsoft customers alike were told they would need to stop using DAPs and instead move to GDAPs. So far, so sensible. But also a little controversial, because partners can create GDAP profiles in customers' Active Directory implementations -- customers don't need to give permission for the creation of GDAP profiles, but do need to sign them off. The move from DAP to GDAP has been slow. Microsoft set October 31, 2022, as the date on which it would discontinue the software that automates DAP to GDAP migrations, then moved that date to March 1, 2023. Those delays came after Redmondt's initial ambition was for DAP to die by the end of 2022. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Google Employees Petition Pichai for Better Handling of Job Cuts

technology - Posted On:2023-03-17 14:15:00 Source: slashdot

Almost 1,400 employees at Google parent Alphabet have signed a petition calling for better treatment of staff during the layoff process, after the company announced it was cutting 12,000 jobs. From a report: In an open letter addressed to Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai, employees made a series of demands of the company, including freezing new hires, seeking voluntary redundancies before compulsory ones, giving priority to laid off workers for job vacancies and letting workers finish scheduled periods of paid time off, such as parental and bereavement leave. The workers also called on Alphabet to avoid terminating employees from countries with active conflicts or humanitarian crises, such as Ukraine, and provide extra support to those at risk of losing their visa-linked residency along with their jobs. "The impacts of Alphabet's decision to reduce its workforce are global," the letter said. "Nowhere have workers' voices adequately been considered, and we know that as workers we are stronger together than alone." Further reading: Google nixes paying out remainder of maternity and medical leave for laid-off employees. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Meta Launches Subscription Service in US

technology - Posted On:2023-03-17 13:30:00 Source: slashdot

Meta on Friday launched its subscription service in the U.S., which would allow Facebook and Instagram users pay for verification in the same vein as Elon Musk-owned Twitter. From a report: The Meta Verified service will give users a blue badge after they verify their accounts using a government ID and will cost $11.99 per month on the web or $14.99 a month on Apple's iOS system and Google-owned Android, Meta said in a statement. The service, which Meta said it was testing in February, follows in the footsteps of Snapchat as well as messaging app Telegram and marks the latest effort by a social media company to diversify its revenue away from advertising. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Google Warns Users To Take Action To Protect Against Remotely Exploitable Flaws in Popular Android Phones

technology - Posted On:2023-03-17 13:00:01 Source: slashdot

Google's security research unit is sounding the alarm on a set of vulnerabilities it found in certain Samsung chips included in dozens of Android models, wearables and vehicles, fearing the flaws could be soon discovered and exploited. From a report: Google's Project Zero head Tim Willis said the in-house security researchers found and reported 18 zero-day vulnerabilities in Exynos modems produced by Samsung over the past few months, including four top-severity flaws that could compromise affected devices "silently and remotely" over the cellular network. "Tests conducted by Project Zero confirm that those four vulnerabilities allow an attacker to remotely compromise a phone at the baseband level with no user interaction, and require only that the attacker know the victim's phone number," Willis said. By gaining the ability to remotely run code at a device's baseband level -- essentially the Exynos modems that convert cell signals to digital data -- an attacker would be able to gain near-unfettered access to the data flowing in and out of an affected device, including cellular calls, text messages, and cell data, without alerting the victim. The list of affected devices includes (but is not limited to): Samsung mobile devices, including the S22, M and A series handsets; Vivo mobile devices, including those in the S16, S15, S6, X70, X60 and X30 series; Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 series; and connected vehicles that use the Exynos Auto T5123 chipset. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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