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Microsoft Seizes 42 Websites From a Chinese Hacking Group

NYT Technology - Mon, 12/06/2021 - 16:46
The group was likely using the websites to install malware that helped it gather data from government agencies and other groups, the company said.

Chanel, TikTok and the Beauty Advent Calendar Controversy

NYT Technology - Mon, 12/06/2021 - 13:04
Some social media users are not feeling the Christmas spirit — or this box of mini lipsticks and branded stickers.

Why New York State Is Experiencing a Bitcoin Boom

NYT Technology - Mon, 12/06/2021 - 10:05
Cryptocurrency miners are flocking to New York’s faded industrial towns, prompting concern over the environmental impact of huge computer farms.

Companies Linked to Russian Ransomware Hide in Plain Sight

NYT Technology - Mon, 12/06/2021 - 08:30
Cybersecurity experts tracing money paid by American businesses to Russian ransomware gangs found it led to one of Moscow’s most prestigious addresses.

Inside Tesla: How Elon Musk Pushed His Vision for Autopilot

NYT Technology - Mon, 12/06/2021 - 04:00
The automaker may have undermined safety in designing its Autopilot driver-assistance system to fit its chief executive’s vision, former employees say.

Is an All-Encompassing Mobility App Making a Comeback?

NYT Technology - Sun, 12/05/2021 - 04:00
Versions of “mobility as a service,” or MaaS, apps exist, but companies and cities will need to come together for the idea to gain momentum.

When Did Spotify Wrapped Get So Chatty?

NYT Technology - Sat, 12/04/2021 - 04:00
This year’s data dump from the streaming music service leaned heavily on contemporary buzzwords and slang — and inspired many, many memes.

Scammers Exploit COVID-19 Omicron Variant in New Phishing Attacks

MWP Page - Fri, 12/03/2021 - 17:21
https://www.pcmag.com/news/scammers-exploit-covid-19-omicron-variant-in-new-phishing-attacks?utm_source=edit&utm_medium=notification


The UK's National Health Service warns the public about the fake emails, which claim to offer new testing kits designed to detect the Omicron variant.

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Michael Montano and Dantley Davis to Leave Twitter in Shake-Up

NYT Technology - Fri, 12/03/2021 - 15:20
Twitter’s head of engineering, Michael Montano, and its head of design and research, Dantley Davis, will leave the company by the end of the year.

What Happened to Amazon’s Bookstore?

NYT Technology - Fri, 12/03/2021 - 10:36
A 2011 thriller was supposed to cost $15. One merchant listed it at $987, with a 17th-century publication date. That’s what happens in a marketplace where third-party sellers run wild.

Zoom could owe you a pay-out after court ruling over privacy breaches

Techradar - Fri, 12/03/2021 - 06:25

Zoom has settled a class-action lawsuit that alleged the company was in breach of privacy laws and put its users’ data at risk. As a result, it now needs to pay a small sum to all customers that can prove they were affected. 

The lawsuit alleged that the video conferencing app, Zoom Meetings, shared certain user information with third parties, did not do everything it could to prevent unwanted meeting disruption by third parties, and that the company falsely advertised its service as end-to-end encrypted.

In the legal notice of class-action settlement, which was published on the Zoom Meetings Class Action website, it was said that Zoom "denies any liability whatsoever, and believes that no member of the Settlement Class, including the Plaintiffs, has sustained any damages or injuries due to these allegations".

However, because the company has decided to settle the suit, it is still required to issue compensation.

Who is eligible for compensation from Zoom?

Zoom will be paying out $85 million in total, and also agreed to change its policies and practices to benefit the members of the settlement class.

It seems that quite a large number of people are eligible to receive a small amount of compensation as a result. They fall into two categories: paying customers and those who use the free version.

Paying users that subscribed between March 30, 2016 and July 30, 2021 can file a claim for $25, or 15% of the subscription fee, whichever sum is greater. Those who used the free version by registering an account or downloading the Zoom Meeting app during the same time frame can file a claim for $15.

It’s important to keep in mind that the sum could change, depending on the number of people who file the claim. The claims must be submitted by March 5, 2022, with the final approval hearing scheduled for April 7, 2022.

Those who used an enterprise-level account or government account are not eligible for any compensation.

Claims can be filed here.

You can now test WordPress 5.9 before its official release

Techradar - Fri, 12/03/2021 - 03:52

A new version of WordPress that's currently under development, WordPress 5.9, is now available in beta for testing purposes.

Given WordPress 5.9 Beta 1 is not a stable release, the developers recommend tests should be carried out on test websites rather than live sites, in case any issues reveal themselves.

WordPress has released a set of detailed instructions for users to follow in order to carry out the test successfully.

The final version of WordPress 5.9 is scheduled for release on January 25, 2022.

WordPress 5.9 Beta 1 testing 

With eight weeks left until the software goes live, WordPress has developed three different ways for users to test WordPress 5.9 Beta 1 on their sites.

The first option is to install and activate the WordPress Beta Tester plugin, select the “Bleeding edge” channel and “Beta/RC Only” stream. 

The second way is to directly download the beta version, and the third way is to use WP-CLI to test: wp core update --version=5.9-beta1. However, the third option is not advised for filesystems that are case-insensitive.

WordPress said in a blog post that the main reason for these tests is to polish the release in the beta stage. The release already contains 580 enhancements and nearly 450 bug fixes, and contributors have addressed 297 tickets for WordPress 5.9 so far, including 110 new features and enhancements.

This latest WordPress version will also introduce WordPress’ very first block-based default theme, Twenty Twenty-Two.

“It’s the very first theme that’s block based and needs thorough testing as a result,” said a WordPress contributor in the detailed guide.

WordPress also dished out extra tips for those who want to participate in testing the new version on their sites, which include testing across different browsers, testing in different languages, and seeing what the new features look like on different screen sizes.

F.T.C. Sues to Block Nvidia’s Takeover of Arm

NYT Technology - Thu, 12/02/2021 - 23:03
The proposed deal would give Nvidia control over computing technology and designs that rival firms rely on.

Didi of China Moves to Delist From New York Stock Exchange

NYT Technology - Thu, 12/02/2021 - 20:22
The ride-hailing giant made an abrupt shift as officials in Washington and Beijing have grown increasingly skeptical of Chinese corporate access to Wall Street’s money.

Why Didn’t the U.S. Detect Omicron Cases Sooner?

NYT Technology - Thu, 12/02/2021 - 19:56
Genomic surveillance has improved enormously in recent months, but the system has built-in delays, and blind spots remain.

Facebook Protect and 2FA is about to become the rule for some accounts

Techradar - Thu, 12/02/2021 - 19:41

Facebook is finally making 2-Factor Authentication (2FA) the rule for some of its most-at-risk accounts.

It’s a smart move, protecting venerable Facebook users, especially those who are looked to for responsible and accurate information - think journalists, politicians, celebrities, and you'll get the idea. 

Someone gaining access to any one of these accounts and masquerading as it could have wide-reaching, damaging effects, reported Wired.

Why I wonder has this taken so long?

Stories of people, in all stations of life, who’ve had critical accounts hacked are all too commonplace. I usually find out when someone sends me a separate email or text exclaiming, “Help! I’ve been hacked!” Worse yet is when they don’t know and I spot the bizarre activity on their Facebook account and send a private note through other channels: “Hey, I think your Facebook’s been hacked.’ 

2FA is a simple idea that few people adopt because they see it as annoying or overly complicated. Put simply, whenever you log into a system, you have to prove it’s really you through a secondary device or system, one that can give you a code to apply to that first system. 

Some 2FA systems use SMS texts to your phone (or a voice call), others use proprietary hardware that spits out unique, time-sensitive codes that also get entered into the original system.

For most people, the primary device handling 2FA is their smartphone. Most security system managers figure that if you have your phone with your SIM and unique phone number on it, that’s about as good as it needs to get for verification. Looked at another way, how likely is it that someone trying to use your email and maybe a password they found on the Dark Web to log into your Facebook will also have your phone in their hands?

Inside Facebook Protect: What's new?

The system in question, known as Facebook Protect, was designed originally as an opt-in for political figures. In addition to 2FA, there’s a Page publishing authentication system to ensure that nobody publishes offensive material on a candidate’s pages, and the requirement that Page managers use real names.

The new plan takes Facebook Protect further, with Facebook proactively identifying at-risk users or groups of users and targeting them to enroll in Facebook Protect. Personally, I’d like to see Facebook follow Google’s plan and require 2FA for all users.

It’s not a perfect system, and there are reports of phone scammers convincing unsuspecting service users (banks, cryptocurrency wallets, Venmo, PayPal, and other accounts that also use 2FA) to share the 2FA SMS codes. Still, it’s better than a single, poorly crafted password, or one that’s being passed around on the Dark Web like so much gossip.

Facebook’s plan, which sounds small and almost tentative, might still be a rude awakening for at-risk users who missed the memo and, after ignoring multiple prompts to enable 2FA, may find themselves locked out of their own accounts.

Facebook's Head of Security Policy Nathaniel Gleicher, however, told me via Twitter that the "Number of warnings will vary by country/context -- we're adjusting to make sure people have the time they need. So far, we've seen the overwhelming majority (90%+) enroll on time w/out trouble!"

Getting locked out of Facebook would not be a great situation. But it's definitely better than a hacker or prankster taking over and posting things in your account that no one wants to see.

Microsoft Office is getting a simple little video editor

Techradar - Thu, 12/02/2021 - 14:00

Microsoft is adding a video editor to its mobile app for Office that will allow users to create more than just documents using its office software.

According to a new post in the Microsoft 365 Roadmap, a simple video editor will begin rolling out to the Office mobile app for Android beginning this month.

Microsoft's new video editor in Office will enable users to create short video clips and of course edit them before sharing them with the people in their network.

While there are already plenty of video editing apps for Android such as KineMaster and PowerDirector, the company's new update for Office will make it possible for its customers to create short video clips using an app they already have installed on their Android smartphones without the need to download additional software.

Stock Images

(Image credit: Microsoft) Premium creative content

If you're looking to add a bit of visual flair to your projects in Excel, Word, Outlook and PowerPoint, last year Microsoft announced the addition of premium creative content to Office. With this feature, Microsoft 365 uses can easily add high quality, curated images, stickers and icons to both their personal and professional flies. 

To get started, simply select Insert, scroll down to Pictures and click on the Stock Images option. From here, you'll be able to pick from a wide variety of content in addition to stock images including Cutout People, Icons and Stickers.

Microsoft also recently added Cartoon People in Office to allow users to create artwork and tell stories using a diverse set of characters and scenery. Cartoon People can be found in the premium content library under Icons and they can easily add a bit more to your documents and presentations.

While Microsoft Office is nowhere close to Adobe's Creative Cloud, the addition of a video editor and premium creative content in the software giant's office software makes it possible for users to channel their inner visual creativity in a place where they wouldn't normally expect to be able to do so.

We've also rounded up the best online collaboration tools, best free office software and best productivity tools

PlayStations and Xboxes Are Hard to Find. Meet the People Trying to Help.

NYT Technology - Thu, 12/02/2021 - 12:55
New gaming consoles remain in short supply this holiday season, spawning cottage industries of tipsters and scalpers making money off their scarcity.

Microsoft vs Google browser fight gets ugly with Edge pop-up Chrome diss

Techradar - Thu, 12/02/2021 - 11:39

Microsoft has fired more flak at the Chrome browser, trying to persuade those who are attempting to download Google’s web browser that Edge is a superior piece of software.

As Neowin spotted, in the scenario that you are using Microsoft Edge, and you head over to download Google Chrome, Edge will serve a pop-up promoting itself – there are actually several messages which have been spotted on both Windows 10 and Windows 11 systems.

One of them insists: “Microsoft Edge runs on the same technology as Chrome, with the added trust of Microsoft.”

And another pop-up really goes for the throat, stating: “That browser is so 2008! Do you know what’s new? Microsoft Edge.”

Do you know what isn’t new? Microsoft badgering users who are already using one of its products (Windows) to use its other products like Edge and OneDrive – and this practice was getting old some time ago.

Analysis: The heavy hand of Microsoft

As we’ve said before, this kind of promotional activity inevitably puts us in mind of the nag-fest days when Windows 10 was first launched, and Microsoft set about trying to convince Windows 7 and 8 users to take the free upgrade. It felt unnecessarily heavy-handed back then, and it still does now.

I suppose one thing we can be thankful for – sort of – is at least the pop-ups are gaining something of a sense of humor. Calling Chrome ‘so 2008’ did elicit a chuckle from us, but we guess you could argue this perhaps serves to remind people that Google has been working to refine and hone its browser for 13 years now. And just because something is ‘new’ does not equate to it being good (that said, we do think Edge is a good browser, in fairness).

As for: “Microsoft Edge runs on the same technology as Chrome, with the added trust of Microsoft.” Well, it does indeed use Chromium – along with a number of other browsers – but as to the ‘trust’ of Microsoft, that’s a pretty bizarre angle to throw in. What is Microsoft trying to suggest? That Google is anything less than unimpeachable in the browser world? Tsk, tsk, whatever next…

To be honest, we are wondering what on earth Microsoft will do to promote Edge next, as the gloves are seemingly coming off. But the real shame here is that Edge promotes itself quite well on its own merits, and any perception of verging towards desperation to drive adoption will surely backfire.

Via Windows Central

Local coaches team up with NBA veteran Thad Young to start tech-driven basketball facility in Collierville

Memphis Business Journal - Thu, 12/02/2021 - 11:37
"We don’t want this to be just a Collierville thing, our goal is to be a Memphis thing.”

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