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Tag Heuer unveils high-end rival to Apple Watch

Tag Heuer unveils high-end rival to Apple Watch

TAG Heuer titanium Carrera Connected watches are pictured during its launch in New York on November 9, 2015TAG Heuer, the Swiss watchmaker that is part of the French luxury goods group LVMH, showed off its first Internet-connected wristwatch Monday designed with Google and Intel.

The $1,500 Android-powered Tag Heuer Connected on sale in the US starting Monday is seen as a rival to the Apple Watch, which launched earlier this year starting at $349, with some versions at more than $10,000.

The TAG Heuer Connected — based on the Carrera watch design from the group popularized by Brad Pitt — is built with titanium, sapphire and the “best in class touchscreen technology,” according to the company’s website.

Like other smartwatches, the new wearable tech device allows users to receive notifications, text messages, and to identify callers on a connected handset. It also can monitor the user’s heartbeat.

Tag Heuer unveils high-end rival to Apple Watch

Tag Heuer and the US tech firms announced a partnership in March to produce the watch. In the meantime, Apple teamed up with French luxury market Hermes to produce a version of the iOS watch starting at $1,250.

Tag Heuer chief executive Jean-Claude Biver said he believes there will be demand for the new watch.

“It’s not too late. The market is not considered to be consolidated yet,” he said at the New York unveiling.

The companies call the new device “an elegant connected watch that merges expertise of Swiss watchmakers with Silicon Valley engineers to set a new standard for high-tech performance, timeless aesthetics and supreme quality.”

The Carrera Connected watch can be paired with Google Android devices as well as those running Apple’s iOS, and can connect via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

In an interview with Switzerland’s Le Matin Dimanche, Biver said that he does not consider Apple a direct competitor.

“We are not Apple. We are a watch brand. I forbid my colleagues to say Apple is our competitor,” he told the paper.

The original article can be found here.

Latest Xcode update fixes critical Interface Builder, debugging, UI testing issues

Apple pushed out a batch of bug fixes with the latest version of its Xcode development software on Monday, addressing critical issues discovered in Interface Builder, debugging and user interface testing.

Xcode 7.1.1 comes less than a month after Apple released version 7.1, which brought support for the new tvOS platform and a grab bag of features like hardware-specific support for 3D Touch on iPhone 6s.

Apple fails to specify what critical issues were patched in the latest Xcode iteration, saying only that they applied to Interface Builder, debugging and UI testing, all essential development tools. The latest Xcode version also comes with fixes for smaller unnamed bugs, as well as the usual performance and stability improvements.

Released just before the fourth-generation Apple TV went on sale in October, Xcode 7.1 delivered a variety of tvOS tools to developers, including storyboards, unit and UI testing and playgrounds. The update also introduced Swift 2.1 and SDKs for iOS 9.1, watchOS 2 and OS X 10.11 El Capitan.

Xcode 7.1.1 is a free 4.3GB download from the Mac App Store.

The Original article can be found here.

Can new robot really give birth to offspring?

A new mother robot can build her own robot children, and evaluate their performance in order to improve the designs of the next generation.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge have created the new robot that was able to build and test generations of ten robots in five different experiments, the university reported on Wednesday.

The mother robot built children constructed of between one and five plastic cubes with a small motor inside, without any human intervention.

The results of these experiments were published in the open-access journal PLOS One in June. The experiments showed that the mother robot was able to test its children’s performance and reproduce desirable traits in subsequent generations.

The baby robots are 2.3 inches 3D-printed blue boxes that the mother robot glued together, Mashable reported.

Researchers describe the way the mother builds its “babies,” or in other words how she imprints on each baby, as the “genome” part of the creation process.

The mother robot picked the fittest “child” based on how far the baby robot could travel in a given amount of time. The most successful ones would remain unchanged while the less successful robots would go through mutation and crossover in the next generation.

Researchers describe the mother robot’s cherry picking process as a “natural selection.”

“Natural selection is basically reproduction, assessment, reproduction, assessment and so on,” explained Fumiya Iida of the University of Cambridge’s Department of Engineering, in the campus release. “That’s essentially what this robot is doing – we can actually watch the improvement and diversification of the species.”

As a result of “natural selection,” the researchers found that the baby robots’ performance improved over time. The latest generation of baby robots were able to perform a set task twice as quickly as the first generation.

Dr. Iida whose research looks at how robotics can be improved by taking inspiration from nature, said the recent success is the beginning of a long process. “It’s still a long way to go before we’ll have robots that look, act and think like us,” said Iida. “But what we do have are a lot of enabling technologies that will help us import some aspects of biology to the engineering world.”

Original article can be found here.

Stagefright

The Stagefright vulnerability for Android won’t seem to want to go away. According to Exodus Intelligence researchers one of the patched issued by Google could still allow access to Android devices. The researchers told Engadget via email, “the summary is that the Stagefright vulnerability is still exploitable and the 4-line patch that was implemented is faulty. We have been able to trigger the fault that still affects over 950 million Android devices.” The issue with the patch was reported to Google which open sourced the patch for the patch this morning.

Google told Engadget,”currently over 90% of Android devices have a technology called ASLR enabled, which protects users from this issue. We’ve already sent the fix to our partners to protect users, and Nexus 4/5/6/7/9/10 and Nexus Player will get the OTA update in the September monthly security update.”

Of course, like with all things Android, outside of the Nexus line, it’s a wait and see situation when it comes to updates from phone makers. Hopefully they’ll be hitting phones and tablets in the near future. But with only six days notice, Exodus Intelligence didn’t give Google or its partners much time to get the patch ready.

Traditionally, researchers give companies 30 days notice about a security issue. This gives both parties adequate time to work on a patch and share information. In the post about the patch issue, the researchers explained that it decided to forgo the usual 30 days because the original issue was reported over 120 days ago, Google was still issuing the faulty patch and the amount of attention the original vulnerability had attracted.

So keep on the lookout for this new patch to fix the old patch.

Original Article is here.

Attacks on Fiber Networks Baffle FBI

The attacker struck close to midnight, climbing into a manhole at the mouth of California’s Niles Canyon and slicing a series of cables that collectively carried billions of bits of Internet data.

Hundreds of miles away at a Zayo Group Holdings Inc. network operations center in Tulsa, Okla., engineers saw the disruption immediately and later a second break made further up the road the same February night.

As monitoring software lighted up with red bars indicating several circuit failures, technicians pinpointed the breaches at a familiar place—the site of two previous cuts. Several months later, in June, Fremont, Calif., police reported a fifth cut.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation says San Francisco’s Bay Area has suffered more than a dozen attacks on its fiber optic infrastructure over the past year. The attacks slow Internet service and disrupt financial transactions and emergency phone calls.

The way the cuts are clustered on single nights around the East Bay and in San Jose, Calif., at the heart of Silicon Valley, have led officials to believe the attacks are intentional. Beyond that, they have yet to nail down a motive, let alone a culprit, creating an unusual cyber whodunit with few leads and little understanding.

“Everyone recognizes that there seems to be a pattern of events here,” said John Lightfoot, assistant deputy agent in charge at the FBI’s San Francisco office. “We really need the assistance of the public to reach out and help solve this one.”

The attacks show how easy it is for troublemakers to cause disruption for businesses that rely on the Web, though the impact is also mitigated by the Internet’s flexibility, which allows telecom companies to quickly route around the cuts while their repair crews patch up the damage.

Experts say the networks that process everything from Amazon.com purchases to 911 calls are much more vulnerable than other critical infrastructure like power plants. First, the cables are clearly marked to prevent accidental damage. And they are also ubiquitous, tucked into manholes or smaller hand-holes that are underneath city streets or next to out-of-the-way train tracks, making them difficult to defend.

“You don’t have to be well-trained to know that there is cable,” said Felipe Alvarez, chief executive of East Coast telecom provider Axiom Fiber Networks. “That is worrisome.”

The Federal Communications Commission requires telecom companies to report failures that have major impacts on users or that disrupt 911 services or key government facilities. Each year carriers report thousands of such outages, most of which are caused by accidents. Intentional cuts are still a small part of the thousands of cuts reported across the U.S. each year.

In the three years to 2013, slightly more than 100 incidents of malicious activity have interrupted service each year, according to the FCC data.

In the first nine months of last year, there were only 39 reported incidents of vandalism nationwide. An additional three were chalked up to thieves trying to steal metal cables, while 16 cited gunfire—often the result of drunk shooters using wires for target practice, industry experts say.

Engineers at the largest companies say local cable and telephone networks suffer breaks from car crashes, construction and animals nearly every day.

Level 3 Communications Inc., a network provider, deals with about 300 major cuts on its network a year, according to Brian Harvey, the carrier’s regional president of North American operations. Most are caused by mistakes by construction crews or by animals chewing through the cables.

Level 3 says only about 5% of those failures are intentional. Even then, culprits are usually found to be searching in vain for copper to sell on the black market. Otherwise “it’s people who are mad,” Mr. Harvey said. “They’ve got some sort of grievance against Level 3 or telecom in general.”

The pattern of cuts in Northern California caught the attention of the area’s joint terrorism task force, which includes representatives from the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and local police. Carriers’ security experts have also met with police on the issue.

Most of the cable cuts reported in the Bay Area happened under the cover of darkness around midnight, according to an FBI news release seeking information. No one has come forward as a witness to any of the late-night infractions.

Network experts say the perpetrator might only need a hacksaw and manhole lifter to get the job done and some basic knowledge of where cables would be. Authorities are unsure how many people might be involved.

A rash of attacks last summer hit cables in Berkeley, San Jose and Walnut Creek within a few hours. A single saboteur could theoretically drive to each spot in a single night, but there would be little time to spare.

The FBI’s Mr. Lightfoot is fairly certain about one thing: These attacks aren’t related to a 2013 attack on a PG&E power station in the area. In that incident, the attacker went into an underground vault to slice telephone cables before snipers open fired on the substation.

AT&T Inc. offered a $250,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in that case. The company is also offering a $10,000 bounty for information about the latest spate of cuts.

The latest attack on Internet cables in the area occurred at the end of June. Near a highway bridge in Livermore, Calif., an attacker opened a manhole housing several separate telecom providers’ cables and cut three bundles of lines at around 4 a.m.

The effects were swift. Phone and TV signals were knocked out around the Sacramento area potentially affecting emergency calls. Hurricane Electric, an Internet service provider, reported that business customers faced slow service as far north as Seattle.

FBI investigators arrived on the scene later to collect evidence while teams of workers hired by each company waited to get service restored. Once the agents were done scouring the scene, each crew climbed down into the manhole and pulled several hundred feet of slack cable that telecom providers keep coiled in case a line is cut.

The crews then started repairing the damage by splicing each strand of glass fiber bundled into the cables, a process that took up most of the rest of the day when the service was finally restored to normal.

The original story attacks on Fiber Networks Baffle FBI can be read here.

Charge your smartphone in 6 minutes

The smartphone batteries of the future may take just six minutes to charge and could last for three whole days.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have successfully developed a battery that could pave the way for that remarkable charging capacity. The team, led by Dr. Ju Li, built a battery that stores energy in balls that shrink and expand in order to accommodate the high-capacity material inside them. Charge the battery full of electricity, and the balls expand with the material. Drain the battery of its charge, and the balls “deflate.”

Despite the curious design, the battery lasts longer per charge than conventional batteries “by a factor of three or four,” Dr. Li told the Daily Dot.

Li’s team’s battery is better in every way a consumer could want. Because it relies on aluminum nanoparticles and not the more commonly used graphite to conduct a charge, its energy output and power density far exceed those of typical batteries. Crucially, the new battery can store more electricity in the same amount of space.

The researchers’ battery is a long way off from mass production, although Li said he was encouraged that “the manufacturing process itself is industrially scalable,” meaning it was easily automated.

The only serious problem is that the process would require literal tons of aluminum nanoparticles. While aluminum is cheap in bulk, the process to convert that aluminum into nanoparticles is potentially prohibitively expensive.

Li and his team are in the process of applying for a patent on the battery design. In the mean time, they’re researching ways to reduce the cost of manufacturing nanoparticles.

Hope is on the horizon, but until they figure it out, you’ll still be carrying a phone charger with you every time you leave the house.

Original story can be found here.

Untitled

For some, Facebook is synonymous with identity. User profiles can include a name (and it has to be real), phone number, address and images — all of which could then be used to create a false identity and hack other personal accounts.

A potential security flaw, identified by technical director of SALT.agency Reza Moaiandinm, may allow hackers to use a Facebook API to identify a user’s account information without even having to decrypt the hashed ID. Moaiandinm ran telephone numbers through the system and discovered that if a person had associated his or her phone number with a Facebook account, he could then pull their name as well as other information, he wrote.

This hacking attempt would not have to be done phone number by phone number. Moaiandinm wrote that he used a coded script to run through numbers en masse from the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. The issue? As Moaiandinm notes, that information can be sold on the Dark Web and be susceptible to phishing scams.

After making his discovery, Moaiandinm reached out to the Facebook support team — first in April. However, an engineer at the company could not replicate the reported flaw, Moaiandinm wrote, and asked for information. He sent over more data, SlashGear reports, but then did not receive another response.

When he sent a message to the support team again in July, a reply read: “We do not consider it a security vulnerability, but we do have controls in place to monitor and mitigate abuse.” Some of those controls may be “rate throttling” that prevent a hacker from running a high amount of telephone numbers through a system.

But Moaiandinm wrote that he was not satisfied with these controls. “The communication with those APIs needs to be pre-encrypted and/or other measures need to be taken before this loophole is discovered by someone who could do harm,” Moaiandinm wrote. “They finally came back to me and told me that this is not a big issue – they have set limits and I should not worry about this problem. But frankly, I am very worried.”

A Facebook representative told technology news site V3 that the social network does have tools in place to “ensure data security.” The representative also noted that some pieces of information, accessible by this flaw, can be left public by the user’s choice.

“We have strict rules that govern how developers are able to use our APIs to build their products. Developers are only able to access information that people have chosen to make public,” the representative wrote, according to V3. “Everyone who uses Facebook has control of the information they share. This includes the information people include within their profile, and who can see this information.”

The Facebook representative added that Facebook offers user guide on what information is shared and how to control that setting. Facebook, a network of more than 1.49 billion monthly active users, has been introducing more tools recently to assist users with their privacy settings. Last month, Facebook released a new page called “Security Checkup” that offers new login alerts and password protection tips.

To hide your phone number, go to Facebook.com/settings?tab=mobile. Click “Remove” next to your phone number. If you’d like to keep your phone number associated, under the Privacy tab, change “Who can look you up using the phone number you provided?” to “Friends.”

Original Article is found here.

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Jolla launches Sailfish 2.0

Jolla’s Sailfish OS had a rocky start, but now it’s found its first licensing partner: India’s second largest phonemaker, Intex Technologies. It’s even developing a regional mobile ecosystem called Sailfish India with the manufacturer and other partners (to be revealed in the future) in an effort to become a huge presence in the country. This move apparently signifies that the company’s set to license its OS to more partners globally. In fact, it already built LTE devices optimized for its platform based on Qualcomm Snapdragon 200, 600 and 800, enabling future collaborators to release Sailfish phones as soon as possible.

Intex is slated to release the first Sailfish devices in its home country in late 2015, and by then, the platform’s second iteration might already be out for download. Yep, the company’s also rolling out Sailfish 2.0 soon, which will come pre-installed on the Jolla tablet scheduled to be released in the near future.  Original article is here.

 

FTC Looking Into App Store Rules Regarding Subscription Services

On Wednesday, Spotify sent emails to subscribers asking them to cancel their App Store subscriptions to the service to resubscribe on the web to avoid a $3 surcharge because of Apple’s App Store policies. The Federal Trade Commission is now looking into Apple’s policies, which include a 30 percent fee that it collects on all app and subscription revenue routed through the App Store, reports Reuters.

U.S. government antitrust regulators are looking into claims about whether Apple’s treatment of rival streaming music apps is illegal under antitrust law, according to three industry sources.
The antitrust concerns stem from certain App Store restrictions placed on streaming companies, which include a prohibition that the company is on other platforms, a ban on advertising how users can subscribe on a company’s website and the ban on links to the company’s website. While users can still subscribe to the service of their choice outside of the App Store, avoiding the 30 percent fee for the respective companies, sources tell Reuters that many users do not realize its an option.

That 30 percent fee reduces margins for those streaming companies in an industry with already thin margins and makes it difficult for them to compete, Deezer CEO Tyler Goldman tells the news organization. The news also comes after the FTC and other government bodies began looking into Apple’s efforts to set up deals with music labels.

While the FTC is looking into the App Store rules, there’s no guarantee they launch a formal investigation as antitrust lawyers that spoke to Reuters were split on whether Apple is breaking the law. This isn’t the first time Apple has gotten in trouble for its 30 percent subscription cut, as it landed in hot water with the Department of Justice during the e-book price fixing case. In June, it was reported that Apple was considering changing the 30 percent cut for media apps like Netflix, Hulu, Spotify and more.

Original article is found here.

 
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Hacking Team breached allowing Critical Flash exploit to emerge

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Feel safe with your fully-patched computer? If you use Flash and land on the wrong website, you may get a virus or even a cryptolocker that renders your machine unusable. That’s because a sophisticated “zero-day” exploit stolen from Hacking Team has now been released into the wild. As a reminder, Hacking Team is the infamous outfit that supplies US law enforcement and various governments around the world with digital spying tools. However, the company suffered an embarrassing attack on its own servers, and among the 400GB of data stolen were some nasty tools originally intended for use by agencies like the US Drug Enforcement Agency.

Security experts say attackers have now unleashed those tools on the internet, leaving all computers vulnerable until Adobe patches Flash, which it’s expected to do tomorrow. Malwarebytes called it “one of the fastest documented cases of an immediate weaponization in the wild, possibly thanks to the detailed instructions left by the Hacking Team.” So what can you do about it? Obviously, be careful about which sites you visit, but you may also want to either enable “click-to-play” for the Flash plug-in or disable it completely, as detailed by How-To Geek.

Meanwhile, there are questions about how this shitstorm happened in the first place. As Forbes pointed out, leaked emails show that the FBI and DEA were keen on Hacking Team’s software, which can run $500,000 for a full cross-platform setup. Other emails revealed that Hacking Team sold its wares to oppressive regimes in countries like Sudan.

Critics argue that increased cyber-spying by governments begets ultra-sophisticated hacking tools that can fall into the wrong hands. That in turn makes everyone more vulnerable, as today’s attack proves (again). Ironically, FBI director James Comey is also trying to convince lawmakers today that it should be trusted with backdoor access to encrypted cellphones. However, given the competence and questionable ethics of the companies it works with, it’s hard to see how that’s a good idea.

Original Article can be found here.