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Verizon's 5G Network Is Now Hitting Gigabit Download Speeds

Fri, 2019-05-17 10:00
A month ago, Verizon's 5G coverage in Chicago was exceedingly difficult to find and the speeds were only noticeably faster than LTE. Now, Chris Welch from The Verge says the company "has ramped things up." While coverage "remains extremely limited" and "varies widely block by block," the speed is lightning fast. From the report: I just ran a speed test that crossed 1Gbps, and my mind is frankly a little blown. This is in the real world, where my iPhone XS Max is barely hitting 20Mbps in the same spot. Download speeds on Verizon's 5G network now feel like a proper next-gen leap over current LTE performance. Going over 700Mbps is very typical, and crossing that gigabit marker can happen regularly if you're standing near one of the carrier's 5G nodes, which utilize millimeter wave technology to achieve the faster download rates. I'm still walking around Chicago and testing things out, but here are a few quick tests I ran: The pilot episode of The Office downloaded from Netflix at "high" quality in eight seconds. That's not a typo. I pulled down Marvel's Iron Man 2 from the Amazon Prime Video app at "best" quality in 90 seconds. Welch balances his excitement by saying that "indoor coverage on Verizon's 5G network is basically nonexistent." Also, "uploads are still limited to LTE on Verizons 5G network" and "tethering with the Galaxy S10 5G isn't yet supported (at 5G speeds)." Another thing to think about is the fact that barely anyone is on Verizon's 5G network right now. When people actually start buying 5G devices, the 1Gbps speeds will surely drop.

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China's Rover Reveals Moon's Hidden Depths

Fri, 2019-05-17 07:00
China's Chang'e-4 mission to the dark side of the moon has discovered signs of mantle material at the moon's surface, "effectively setting an 'X' on lunar maps for future explorers seeking this not-so-buried geological treasure," reports Scientific American. From the report: China's Chang'e-4 mission touched down near the south pole on the lunar far side on January 3, 2019, the first spacecraft ever to land intact on this largely unexplored region of the moon. Consisting of a lander and rover, the mission is still going strong today, with the rover -- called Yutu-2 -- continuing its journey across the surface. On board are a variety of instruments, and today in Nature scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing report the mission's first scientific results, suggesting lunar mantle material has at last been located. "We found that the material of the Chang'e-4 landing site is mainly composed of olivine and low-calcium pyroxene," says Dawei Liu, one of the paper's co-authors. "This mineral combination is the candidate mantle-derived material." Chang'e-4 rests inside the South Pole-Aitken (SPA) basin, which, at 2,500 kilometers across, is one of the solar system's oldest and largest known impact craters. Specifically, the mission touched down in the 186-kilometer-wide Von Karman crater within this larger basin. Von Karman was produced billions of years ago by the impact of a large comet or asteroid; such collisions can excavate mantle material from deep underground, allowing it to be scattered across the surface by subsequent impacts. The mantle material was discovered using the Visible and Near Infrared Spectrometer on Yutu-2, which can ascertain the chemical composition of rocks by studying their reflected light. Both olivine and pyroxene are believed to be among the first minerals that froze out from the moon's magma ocean as it cooled, falling to its solid base deeper in the mantle. Because previous surveys from orbit have revealed much of Von Karman's floor to be composed of lava from volcanic eruptions rather than excavated mantle, the paper's authors suspect the material detected by Yutu-2 was actually blasted into Von Karman from the upper mantle beneath another nearby impact structure, the 72-kilometer-wide Finsen crater.

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US Birthrate Is Lowest In 32 Years, CDC Says

Fri, 2019-05-17 03:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from NPR: The U.S. birthrate fell again in 2018, to 3,788,235 births -- representing a 2% drop from 2017. It's the lowest number of births in 32 years, according to a new federal report. The numbers also sank the U.S. fertility rate to a record low. Not since 1986 has the U.S. seen so few babies born. And it's an ongoing slump: 2018 was the fourth consecutive year of birth declines, according to the provisional birthrate report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Birthrates fell for nearly all racial and age groups, with only slight gains for women in their late 30s and early 40s, the CDC says. In what's widely seen as a bright spot in the CDC's provisional data, teenagers saw another sharp drop in birthrates, falling 7% in 2018 to 17.4 births per 1,000 teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19. That rate has now declined by 58% since 2007 and by 72% since 1991. The rate of cesarean delivery, or C-section, fell to 31.9% in 2018, the CDC says. That's down from a peak of 32.9% in 2009. The rate of cesarean procedures in low-risk cases also decreased, to 25.9% of all deliveries. From 2017 to 2018, the number of births fell 1% for Hispanic women and 2% for non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic black women. The rate fell by 3% for women who are identified as non-Hispanic Asian and non-Hispanic AIAN (American Indian & Alaska Native). As for what's causing the drop, many current or would-be parents who responded to the report cite the frustration of finding child care to high insurance costs and a lack of parental leave and other support systems. They also note that while the national economy has done well, workers' paychecks haven't been growing at the same pace. "The latest birthrate data put the U.S. further away from a viable replacement rate -- the standard for a generation being able to replicate its numbers," the report says in closing. "The U.S. has generally fallen short of that level since 1971, the CDC says."

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SAT To Add 'Adversity Score' That Rates Students' Hardships

Fri, 2019-05-17 02:02
The SAT, the college entrance test taken by about two million students a year, is adding an "adversity score" to the test results (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source) that is intended to help admissions officers account for factors like educational or socioeconomic disadvantage that may depress students' scores, the College Board, the company that administers the test, said Thursday. The New York Times reports: Colleges have long been concerned with scoring patterns on the SAT that seem unfavorable to certain socioeconomic groups: Higher scores have been found to correlate with students coming from a higher-income families and having better-educated parents. David Coleman, chief executive of the College Board, has described a trial version of the tool, which has been field-tested by 50 colleges, in recent interviews. The plan to roll it out officially, to 150 schools this year and more broadly in 2020, was first reported by The Wall Street Journal. The adversity score would be a number between 1 and 100, with an average student receiving a 50. It would be calculated using 15 factors, like the relative quality of the student's high school and the crime rate and poverty level of the student's home neighborhood. The score would not be reported to the student, only to college officials. "We've got to admit the truth, that wealth inequality has progressed to such a degree that it isn't fair to look at test scores alone," Mr. Coleman recently told The Associated Press. "You must look at them in context of the adversity students face." The new tool could potentially give colleges a way of doing that. But at the same time, it could invite a backlash from more affluent families and from students who do well on the test and worry that their adversity score will put them at a disadvantage.

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Amazon Updates Alexa To Guard Your House and Listen For Broken Glass, Smoke Alarm

Fri, 2019-05-17 01:20
Amazon is rolling out an update to Alexa that will turn the company's line of smart home products into home security devices while the user is out. Called "Alexa Guard," the feature will have your smart speakers listen for key sounds, including breaking glass and smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. If the Echo hears the noise, it will send you an alert, coupled with an audio recording of the noise. TechCrunch reports: It's an interesting new addition and one that leverages the sometimes controversial fact that the device's mics are designed to always be listening. Amazon points out that it worked with licensed contractors to break hundreds of different glass windows with different instruments in order to create a wide range of different sounds for Alexa to listen for. The new feature works with different smart home devices, as well. Users with Ring or ADT pro monitoring can set it up to forward alerts to their providers. Users with Away Lighting setup, meanwhile, can use the alert to flip on lights in order to make it look like you're still around. The app is rolling out as a free addition to all Echo owners in the U.S.

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Facebook Shuts Down An Israeli Firm's Effort To Influence Politics In West Africa

Fri, 2019-05-17 00:40
Facebook today said it detected dozens of Facebook accounts that were engaging in election interference and other forms of public manipulation via news and social media, directed primarily at West African countries. What's especially noteworthy about this announcement is the source. Israeli commercial entity Archimedes Group was behind the behavior. The Verge reports: The goal ostensibly was to have some type of effect on local elections and the political atmosphere, although Facebook says it can't divine the exact intentions of the group and there is no indication that it was in any way linked to the Israeli government. Although it was centered on West African countries like Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, and Niger, Facebook also detected activity aimed at users in Angola, Tunisia, and parts of Southeast Asia and South America. As a result, Facebook says it's shut down 65 Facebook accounts, 161 pages, 23 groups, and 12 events. It also detected and shut down four Instagram accounts related to the effort. It's also banned Archimedes Group and all of its subsidiaries, and Facebook sent a cease and desist letter to the company. On its website, Archimedes Group's tagline is, "Winning elections worldwide." It advertises itself as a kind of consultant for social media marketing related to elections, writing, "When approaching a client's challenge, we address all possible facets relating to it. We then formulate a concise yet comprehensive solution that will use every tool and take every advantage available in order to change reality according to our client's wishes." In a blog post, Facebook's head of cybersecurity policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, wrote: "The people behind this network used fake accounts to run Pages, disseminate their content and artificially increase engagement. They also represented themselves as locals, including local news organizations, and published allegedly leaked information about politicians. The Page administrators and account owners frequently posted about political news, including topics like elections in various countries, candidate views and criticism of political opponents."

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Scientists Create Mind-Controlled Hearing Aid That Allows the Wearer To Focus On Particular Voices

Fri, 2019-05-17 00:03
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: A mind-controlled hearing aid that allows the wearer to focus on particular voices has been created by scientists, who say it could transform the ability of those with hearing impairments to cope with noisy environments. The device mimics the brain's natural ability to single out and amplify one voice against background conversation. Until now, even the most advanced hearing aids work by boosting all voices at once, which can be experienced as a cacophony of sound for the wearer, especially in crowded environments. The hearing aid first uses an algorithm to automatically separate the voices of multiple speakers. It then compares these audio tracks to the brain activity of the listener. Previous work found that it is possible to identify which person someone is paying attention to, as their brain activity tracks the sound waves of that voice most closely. The device compares the audio of each speaker to the brain waves of the person wearing the hearing aid. The speaker whose voice pattern most closely matches the listener's brain waves is amplified over the others, allowing them to effortlessly tune in to that person. The scientists developed an earlier version of the system in 2017 that, while promising, had the major limitation that it had to be pre-trained to recognize speakers' voices. Crucially, the latest device works for voices it has never heard before. The study has been published in the journal Science Advances.

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Driverless Electric Truck Starts Deliveries On Swedish Public Road

Thu, 2019-05-16 23:20
Reuters reports that a driverless electric truck has begun daily freight deliveries on a public road in Sweden. Slashdot reader Kiuas shares the report: Robert Falck, the CEO of Swedish start-up Einride, said the company was in partnership talks with major suppliers to help scale production and deliver orders, and the firm did not rule out future tie-ups with large truckmakers. "This public road permit is a major milestone [...] and it is a step to commercializing autonomous technology on roads," the former Volvo executive told Reuters. "Since we're a software and operational first company, a partnership with a manufacturing company is something that we see as a core moving forward," he said, adding he hoped to seal a deal by next year. Einride's T-Pod is 26 tons when full and does not have a driver cabin, which it estimates reduces road freight operating costs by around 60 percent versus a diesel truck with a driver. The T-Pod is level 4 autonomous, the second highest category, and uses a Nvidia Drive platform to process visual data in real time. An operator, sitting miles away, can supervise and control up to 10 vehicles at once. The T-Pod has permission to make short trips - between a warehouse and a terminal - on a public road in an industrial area in Jonkoping, central Sweden, at up to 5 km/hr, documents from the transport authority show. Falck said Einride would apply next year for more public route permits and was planning to expand in the United States.

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Startup 'ObEN' Is Betting the Future On Personal AI Avatars

Thu, 2019-05-16 22:40
merbs shares an excerpt from a Gizmodo report: In January 2019, when China Central Television, the largest broadcast network in the most populous nation in the world, aired a special to celebrate the Lunar New Year, the hosts welcomed four life-sized "personal artificial intelligences" to share the stage with them. Called PAIs, they were three-dimensional holographic replicas of the presenters that moved, spoke, and sang to the delight of the cheering live audience. The program was viewed some 1.8 billion times. One of the most-watched TV shows in the world had been hosted by AI avatars. The company behind those avatars is the Pasadena-based ObEN. This startup, with its 100 plus employees, is betting that in the future, everyone will want their own PAIs -- to digitally try on clothes, to interact with friends, to keep the kids company while you're away on a business trip. In that future, celebrities will create PAIs to interact with fans to promote their latest films and albums. Teachers and doctors will have PAIs that offer personalized services to their students and patients. When you go to the mall, PAIs will pop up on the interactive screens there, enticing you to buy stuff. ObEN describes its ambitious vision of the future as "personal AI for all." And ObEN is far from alone, of course. Investors, tech giants, and even governments are betting big on lifelike digital avatars -- between Facebook's push to port your likeness into VR, the eerily lifelike AI news anchors put on the air by Xinhua, China's state-run news agency, and the burgeoning CGI celebrity simulacra scene in Hollywood, there's a newfangled interest in the (potentially vastly profitable) art of porting people's digital likeness to our screens. Cyberculture has revolved around avatars for decades, but the avi-to-avi future pursued by ObEN and others promise a level of representation saturation hitherto unimagined by even the most fervent cyberpunks. Would a world filled with PAIs really beget more convenience and entertainment? Or would it further accelerate already ascendent trendlines of the crowding and hyper-commercialization of our digital spaces? To better understand this new frontier of companion AI, and both its utopian and dystopian implications, I headed to Pasadena, to ObEN's HQ, to become the first non-celebrity civilian to get my own PAI.

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Hackers Abuse ASUS Cloud Service To Install Backdoor On Users' PCs

Thu, 2019-05-16 22:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: ASUS' update mechanism has once again been abused to install malware that backdoors PCs, researchers from Eset reported earlier this week. The researchers, who continue to investigate the incident, said they believe the attacks are the result of router-level man-in-the-middle attacks that exploit insecure HTTP connections between end users and ASUS servers, along with incomplete code-signing to validate the authenticity of received files before they're executed. Plead, as the malware is known, is the work of espionage hackers Trend Micro calls the BlackTech Group, which targets government agencies and private organizations in Asia. Last year, the group used legitimate code-signing certificates stolen from router-maker D-Link to cryptographically authenticate itself as trustworthy. Before that, the BlackTech Group used spear-phishing emails and vulnerable routers to serve as command-and-control servers for its malware. Late last month, Eset researchers noticed the BlackTech Group was using a new and unusual method to sneak Plead onto targets' computers. The backdoor arrived in a file named ASUS Webstorage Upate.exe included in an update from ASUS. An analysis showed infections were being created and executed by AsusWSPanel.exe, which is a legitimate Windows process belonging to, and digitally signed by, ASUS WebStorage. As the name suggests, ASUS WebStorage is a cloud service the computer-maker offers for storing files. Eset published its findings on Tuesday. [...] In all, Eset has counted about 20 computers receiving the malicious ASUS update, but that number includes only company customers. "The real number is probably higher if we consider targets that are not our users," Anton Cherepanov, a senior malware researcher at Eset, told Ars. Once the file is executed, it downloads an image from a different server that contains an encrypted executable file hidden inside. Once decrypted, the malicious executable gets dropped into the Windows Start Menu folder, where it's loaded each time the user logs in. In a blog post, ASUS reported a "WebStorage security incident" that reads: "ASUS Cloud first learned of an incident in late April 2019, when we were contacted by a customer with a security concern. Upon learning of the incident, ASUS Cloud took immediate action to mitigate the attack by shutting down the ASUS WebStorage update server and halting the issuance of all ASUS WebStorage update notifications, thereby effectively stopping the attack. In response to this attack, ASUS Cloud has revamped the host architecture of the update server and has implemented security measures aimed at strengthening data protection. This will prevent similar attacks in the future. Nevertheless, ASUS Cloud strongly recommends that users of ASUS WebStorage services immediately run a complete virus scan to ensure the integrity of your personal data."

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Just 376 People Found to Own a Third of All Ether Cryptocurrency

Thu, 2019-05-16 21:21
Just 376 people hold a third of all Ether, the cryptocurrency that powers the Ethereum blockchain, according to new research by Chainalysis. From a report: Large holders are known in the crypto market as "whales," which Chainalysis defines as individuals who hold their assets in digital wallets and not on an exchange, Kim Grauer, a senior economist at the company, said in an interview. By comparison, 448 people own 20 percent of all Bitcoin, she said. Chainalysis also looked at the effect Ether whales have on price, and found that large holders don't move their cryptocurrency often. "The majority of whales aren't traders," she said. "They're mostly holding."

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Microsoft Launches Decentralized Identity Tool on Bitcoin Blockchain

Thu, 2019-05-16 20:42
Microsoft is launching the first decentralized infrastructure implementation by a major tech company that is built directly on the bitcoin blockchain. From a report: The open source project, called Ion, deals with the underlying mechanics of how networks talk to each other. For example, if you log onto Airbnb using Facebook, a protocol deals with the software that sends the personal information from your social profile to that external service provider. In this case, Ion handles the decentralized identifiers, which control the ability to prove you own the keys to this data. Christopher Allen, a crypto veteran and the co-founder of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) working group for decentralized identity (DID) solutions, told CoinDesk that Microsoft's move could impact the entire tech industry. "A lot of enterprise infrastructures use Microsoft products," Allen said. "So if they integrate this into any of their infrastructure products, they'll have access to DID." Indeed, Yorke Rhodes, a program manager on Microsoft's blockchain engineering team, told CoinDesk that Microsoft's team has been working for a year on a key signing and validation software that relies on public networks, like bitcoin or ethereum, yet can handle far greater throughput than the underlying blockchain itself.

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Facebook Has Struggled To Hire Talent Since the Cambridge Analytica Scandal

Thu, 2019-05-16 20:01
An anonymous reader shared a report: Facebook is still reeling from the fallout of its Cambridge Analytica scandal more than a year ago, as multiple former recruiters say candidates are turning down job offers from what was once considered the best place to work in the United States. More than half a dozen recruiters who left Facebook in recent months told CNBC that the tech company experienced a significant decrease in job offer acceptance rates after the March 2018 Cambridge Analytica scandal. This impact to Facebook's recruiting efforts is important as the company adds thousands of employees each year. [...] Most notably, Facebook saw a sharp increase in students at top universities who are declining the company's job offers. Among top schools, such as Stanford, Carnegie Mellon and Ivy League universities, Facebook's acceptance rate for full-time positions offered to new graduates has fallen from an average of 85% for the 2017-2018 school year to between 35% and 55% as of December, according to former Facebook recruiters. The biggest decline came from Carnegie Mellon University, where the acceptance rate for new recruits dropped to 35%.

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Ticketmaster Put an End To Screenshots With New Digital Ticket Technology

Thu, 2019-05-16 19:21
Ticketmaster is turning to new technology to help fight ticket fraud. The ticketing giant today unveiled its next-generation digital tickets, "Safetix," which are tied to the ticket holder's mobile device through an encrypted barcode that automatically refreshes every few seconds. From a report: The tickets will also support NFC technology, allowing fans to enter venues through a "tap and go" experience. The company says ticket holders will later this year be able to add their contactless ticket to Apple Wallet, so they can enter a venue with their iPhone or Apple Watch. This will also involve the use of proximity-based technology which automatically selects the tickets when the phone is held near the ticket reader. Apple and Ticketmaster already tested SafeTix this month during the fintech conference Transact, Ticketmaster says.

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'Game of Thrones' Fan Petition for Final Season Do-Over Snowballs

Thu, 2019-05-16 18:41
A petition by an angry fan demanding that HBO remake the final season of "Game of Thrones" has now been signed by more than 502,000 people. From a report: Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are the target of the petition, which asserts that the pair, who have shepherded the HBO hit from the beginning, "have proven themselves to be woefully incompetent writers when they have no source material (i.e. the books) to fall back on." The show first moved beyond George R.R. Martin's ongoing book series in the sixth season. The online petition, which was started on Change.org by a user called Dylan D., is titled "Remake 'Game of Thrones' season 8 with competent writers" and states that fans of the smash-hit show deserve "a final season that makes sense." [...] The petition originally began with a target of 15,000 signatures, which was reached on Wednesday. A revised target of 300,000 was surpassed Thursday, and a newly revised target is now aiming at half a million signatures. By 8:30 a.m. ET, the petition had been signed by 350,000 "Game of Thrones" fans, with the number of signatories continuing to grow rapidly. Just two hours later it hit 400,000 and by 02:10 p.m. ET it was up to 502,000.

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Sony and Microsoft Set Rivalry Aside For Streaming Alliance

Thu, 2019-05-16 18:00
Sony and Microsoft, bitter rivals in the video game console wars, will team up in on-demand gaming to better compete with newcomers like Google as the industry's main battlefield looks poised to shift to the cloud, news outlet Nikkei reported Thursday. From a report: Sony President and CEO Kenichiro Yoshida has signed a memorandum of understanding with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on a strategic tie-up. While details have yet to be hammered out, the partnership will center on artificial intelligence and the cloud. The latter category includes plans for joint development of cloud gaming technology. While this market is expected to grow as ultrafast fifth-generation wireless gains traction, such services require much processing power on the provider's end to deliver games with high-quality graphics and minimal lag. Sony and Microsoft plan to leverage the American computing behemoth's data centers for this purpose. The two companies, along with Nintendo, long dominated the gaming landscape. But the rise of mobile gaming has brought competition from such other players as China's Tencent Holdings, which publishes the mobile version of the wildly popular PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG). Press release: Sony and Microsoft to explore strategic partnership.

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US Telecom Operators Say They've (Mostly) Stopped Selling Your Location Data To Shady Middlemen

Thu, 2019-05-16 17:20
In a collection of letters published by FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel on Thursday, representatives of T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon all said they had ceased or significantly curtailed the sale of their customers' location data to companies whose shady practices brought to light triggered alarms among privacy advocates and lawmakers on Capitol Hill. From a report: The companies were responding to questions from Rosenworcel prompted by news reports that location data originating with America's largest telecoms was being acquired and sold downstream by bounty hunters and others without the consent of the companies themselves or their customers. The New York Times, for instance, reported last year that law enforcement officials had also purchased access to location data, circumvented the usual need for a warrant. On Wednesday, House lawmakers grilled the FCC's chairman, Ajit Pai, for details about the status of the commission's nearly year-long investigation into the malpractice. After two hours, it adjourned with no new information. In a May 15 letter, AT&T said that as of March 29 it was no longer sharing its customers' data with location aggregators. Sprint said in its letter that it is now only sharing location data with one location aggregator and two customers "with a public interest," a roadside assistance company and another that facilities compliance with state lottery requirements. T-Mobile said that, as of February 8, it had "terminated all service provider access to location data" under its aggregator program, and that, as of March 9, it had terminated all existing aggregator contracts. "Except for four roadside assistance companies," Verizon terminated its location aggregator program as of November 2018, the company said. It added that the four remaining contracts were terminated by the end of March.

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Hackers Can Fake Radio Signals To Hijack Aircraft Landing Systems, Warn Researchers

Thu, 2019-05-16 16:40
Hackers could hijack the systems used to guide planes by compromising and spoofing the radio signals that are used during landing. From a report: That's according to a team of researchers at Northeastern University in Boston, who have detailed their research in a recently published white paper. "Modern aircraft heavily rely on several wireless technologies for communications, control, and navigation. Researchers demonstrated vulnerabilities in many aviation systems," said the academics. "However, the resilience of the aircraft landing systems to adversarial wireless attacks have not yet been studied in the open literature, despite their criticality and the increasing availability of low-cost software-defined radio (SDR) platforms." After analysing the instrument system waveforms, the researchers found that hackers can spoof such radio signals using commercially available tools. With them, attackers are able to cause last-minute go-around decisions and even make the plane miss its landing zone in low-visibility scenarios.

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Google's New Plan To Push Google Pay in India: Cashback Incentives in Android Apps

Thu, 2019-05-16 16:00
An anonymous reader shares a report: Google is gunning for India's payment companies. The U.S. search giant entered India's payment space in 2017, and now it is hatching an initiative that could boost usage of its Google Pay service by tying it tightly to Android apps in the country. The company has built an in-app engagement rewards platform that promises to help developers and businesses retain users and drive engagement on their apps, two sources familiar with the matter said. It plans to formally launch the project through partners using an SDK later this year, TechCrunch understands. Sitting at the core of this new play is Google Pay, which will be used for transactions between businesses and users, thereby expanding the reach of Google's payment service. Internally dubbed as Project Cruiser, the initiative has been in works since last year and it is led by Google's Next Billion Users team, sources said. Executives from the company have reached out to several businesses in India in recent months to coax them into coming on board, they added. The platform, if incorporated by developers into their apps, will allow app developers to incentivize users to perform certain actions in their app in a "scalable" fashion. For example, placing their first order, invite friends or adding a payment method, will all result in users earning a small sum of money.

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A Report From the AMP Advisory Committee Meeting

Thu, 2019-05-16 15:20
Programmer Terence Eden doesn't like Google's AMP. He thinks Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages are a bad idea, poorly executed, and almost-certainly anti-competitive. So, he decided to join the AC (Advisory Committee) for AMP, he said, adding that he did not want Google to be surrounded with sycophants and yes-men. Here are some recommendations he has made: 1. Publish all user research: Don't allow new components to be created without a clear user story and research to support them. 2. Accessibly audit: Don't validate pages which can't pass an automated a11y test. 3. Stop the forced bundling: Let users opt-out of seeing AMP pages. Don't require AMP for prominent placement. Stop discriminating against non-Google browsers. 4. Reconsider AMP4Email : Lots of concerns from smaller email providers. Security and archiving concerns. Work with the ecosystem rather than imposing.

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