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China Says All Cryptocurrency-related Transactions Are Illegal and Must Be Banned

Slashdot - 10 minut 54 sekundy temu
China's central bank said on Friday that all cryptocurrency-related transactions are illegal in the country and they must be banned, citing concerns around national security and "safety of people's assets." From a report: The world's most populated nation also said that foreign exchanges are banned from providing services to users in the country. [...] The People's Bank of China separately ordered internet, financial and payment companies from facilitating cryptocurrency trading on their platforms. The central bank said cryptocurrencies cannot be circulated in the market as they are not fiat currency. Offenders, the central bank warned, will be "investigated for criminal liability in accordance with the law."

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Windows 11 Setup Warns That You Aren't 'Entitled' To Updates On Unsupported PCs

Slashdot - 1 godzina 11 minut temu
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: The Verge has spotted an apparently new warning message in the Windows 11 Setup app that explicitly warns users of the dangers of installing Windows 11 on unsupported hardware -- you may run into "compatibility issues," your PC "won't be entitled to receive updates," and that "damages to your PC due to lack of compatibility aren't covered under the manufacturer warranty." This is all stuff that we've heard from Microsoft before, but it's the first time that this policy has appeared during the Windows 11 setup process rather than in media reports. Once you click through this foreboding warning message, the Windows 11 installation is apparently allowed to proceed. I've tried and failed to recreate this screen on multiple unsupported Windows 10 systems of different vintages, both with builds downloaded through the Insider program and installs directly from a manually downloaded Windows 11 ISO file. I also haven't seen any firsthand reports of it outside of the Verge report. This doesn't mean it isn't happening -- Microsoft is always rolling out different updates to different groups of people at different times -- just that I can only speculate as to when you will actually see this message and what it means. My guess is that it is eventually intended to replace another screen currently shown when you attempt a manual install of Windows on an unsupported system, one that totally blocks the upgrade if you don't meet Windows 11's processor, TPM, or Secure Boot requirements. The only way to get around that screen and proceed with installation for current builds of Windows 11 is to implement some registry edits that disable the system checks. This new screen would keep the checks in place while allowing people to perform the kind of manual, officially unsupported installs that the company has begrudgingly decided to allow.

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UK Appeals Court Rules AI Cannot Be Listed As a Patent Inventor

Slashdot - 4 godziny 11 minut temu
The United Kingdom is the latest country to rule that an artificial intelligence can't be legally credited as an inventor. Engadget reports: Per the BBC, the UK Court of Appeal recently ruled against Dr. Stephen Thaler in a case involving the country's Intellectual Property Office. In 2018, Thaler filed two patent applications in which he didn't list himself as the creator of the inventions mentioned in the documents. Instead, he put down his AI DABUS and said the patent should go to him "by ownership of the creativity machine." The Intellectual Property Office told Thaler he had to list a real person on the application. When he didn't do that, the agency decided he had withdrawn from the process. Thaler took the case to the UK's High Court. The body ruled against him, leading to the eventual appeal. "Only a person can have rights. A machine cannot," Lady Justice Elisabeth Laing of the Appeal Court wrote in her judgment. "A patent is a statutory right and it can only be granted to a person." In August, an Australian Court ruled that an AI can be recognized as an inventor in a patent submission. However, a U.S. District Judge ruled earlier this month that a computer using AI can't be listed as an inventor on patents because only a human can be an inventor under U.S. law.

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Samoa Scraps Daylight Saving Time

Slashdot - 7 godzin 11 minut temu
Samoa is joining Japan, India, and China in scrapping daylight saving time, which was first proposed in 1895 so entomologist and astronomer George Hudson could study insects at night. "Hudson is dead, so daylight saving is no longer necessary," writes Mark Frauenfelder via BoingBoing. "It's time for the rest of the world to wake up and do the same." Time and Date reports: "The Ministry hereby advises that the Daylight Saving Time (DST) policy has ceased as per Cabinet Decision [...]. There will be no activation of the Daylight Saving Time policy for this year." The announcement (PDF) came from the Government of Samoa on September 20, 2021, following a decision made by Samoa's new Government Cabinet on September 15, 2021. DST was implemented in 2010 by the previous Government of Samoa to give more time after work to tend to their plantations, promote public health, and save fuel. Instead, it "[...] defeated its own goals by being used by people to socialize more," according to the Samoa Observer.

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Engineers Figured Out How To Cook 3D-Printed Chicken With Lasers

Slashdot - 10 godzin 41 minut temu
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Engineers at Columbia University [...] figured out how to simultaneously 3D-print and cook layers of pureed chicken, according to a recent paper published in the journal npj Science of Food. [...] The scientists purchased raw chicken breast from a local convenience store and then pureed it in a food processor to get a smooth, uniform consistency. They removed any tendons and refrigerated the samples before repackaging them into 3D-printing syringe barrels to avoid clogging. The cooking apparatus used a high-powered diode laser, a set of mirror galvanometers (devices that detect electrical current by deflecting light beams), a fixture for custom 3D printing, laser shielding, and a removable tray on which to cook the 3D-printed chicken. "During initial laser cooking, our laser diode was mounted in the 3D-printed fixture, but as the experiments progressed, we transitioned to a setup where the laser was vertically mounted to the head of the extrusion mechanism," the authors wrote. "This setup allowed us to print and cook ingredients on the same machine." They also experimented with cooking the printed chicken after sealing it in plastic packaging. The results? The laser-cooked chicken retained twice as much moisture as conventionally cooked chicken, and it shrank half as much while still retaining similar flavors. But different types of lasers produced different results. The blue laser proved ideal for cooking the chicken internally, beneath the surface, while the infrared lasers were better at surface-level browning and broiling. As for the chicken in plastic packaging, the blue laser did achieve slight browning, but the near-infrared laser was more efficient at browning the chicken through the packaging. The team was even able to brown the surface of the packaged chicken in a pattern reminiscent of grill marks. "Millimeter-scale precision allows printing and cooking a burger that has a level of done-ness varying from rare to well-done in a lace, checkerboard, gradient, or other custom pattern," the authors wrote. "Heat from a laser can also cook and brown foods within a sealed package... [which] could significantly increase their shelf life by reducing their microbial contamination, and has great commercial applications for packaged to-go meals at the grocery store, for example." To make sure the 3D-printed chicken still appealed to the human palate, the team served samples of both 3D-printed laser cooked and conventionally cooked chicken to two taste testers. It's not a significant sample size, but both taste testers preferred the laser-cooked chicken over the conventionally cooked chicken, mostly because it was less dry and rubbery and had a more pleasing texture. One tester was even able to identify which sample was the laser-cooked chicken and did note a slight metallic taste from the laser heating.

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Scientists Use AI To Create Drug Regime For Rare Form of Brain Cancer In Children

Slashdot - 12 godzin 9 minut temu
Scientists have successfully used artificial intelligence to create a new drug regime for children with a deadly form of brain cancer that has not seen survival rates improve for more than half a century. The Guardian reports: The breakthrough, revealed in the journal Cancer Discovery, is set to usher in an "exciting" new era where AI can be harnessed to invent and develop new treatments for all types of cancer, experts say. Computer scientists and cancer specialists at the ICR and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust used AI to work out that combining the drug everolimus with another called vandetanib could treat diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), a rare and fast-growing type of brain tumor in children. Currently, DIPG and other similar types of tumors are incredibly difficult to remove surgically from children because they are diffuse, which means they do not have well-defined borders suitable for operations. But after crunching data on existing drugs, the team found everolimus could enhance vandetanib's capacity to "sneak" through the blood-brain barrier and treat the cancer. The combination has proved effective in mice and has now been tested in children. Experts now hope to test it on a much larger group of children in major clinical trials. The research found that combining the two drugs extended survival in mice by 14% compared with those receiving a standard control treatment. Both the drugs in the research, which was funded by Brain Research UK, the DIPG Collaborative, Children with Cancer UK and the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, among others, are already approved to treat other types of cancer. "The AI system suggested using a combination of two existing drugs to treat some children with DIPG -- one to target the ACVR1 mutation, and the other to sneak the first past the blood brain barrier," said Chris Jones, professor of paediatric brain tumor biology at the ICR. "The treatment extended survival when we tested it in a mouse model, and we have already started testing it out in a small number of children. We still need a full-scale clinical trial to assess whether the treatment can benefit children, but we've moved to this stage much more quickly than would ever have been possible without the help of AI."

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Impossible Foods To Launch Meatless Pork In US, Hong Kong and Singapore

Slashdot - 12 godzin 46 minut temu
Impossible Foods' latest meatless product is set to hit tables from Thursday: plant-based pork that claims to be tastier and healthier than the real deal. CNBC reports: The ground pork product will first be available in restaurants in the U.S., Hong Kong and Singapore, with further plans for retail expansion in those markets in the coming months. It marks the California-based company's third commercial launch after ground beef and chicken nuggets as it seeks to solidify its position in the growing plant-based protein space. Speaking in a first-on interview ahead of the launch, Impossible Foods' president Dennis Woodside told CNBC's "Squawk Box Asia" that the pork alternative could beat the real deal in both taste and nutritional value. "Pig typically isn't regarded as a healthy product, but here you have a substitute that tastes just as good but is actually better for you," he said. According to the company, the product -- which is made primarily from soy -- provides the same amount of protein as its traditional meat counterpart, but with no cholesterol, one-third less saturated fat, and far fewer calories. Meantime, in a recent blind taste test conducted by Impossible Foods, it found that the majority (54%) of Hong Kong consumers said they preferred the meatless pork product.

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Hackers Breached Computer Network At Key US Port But Did Not Disrupt Operations

Slashdot - 13 godzin 26 minut temu
Suspected foreign government-backed hackers last month breached a computer network at one of the largest ports on the US Gulf Coast, but early detection of the incident meant the intruders weren't in a position to disrupt shipping operations, according to a Coast Guard analysis of the incident obtained by CNN and a public statement from a senior US cybersecurity official. CNN reports: The incident at the Port of Houston is an example of the interest that foreign spies have in surveilling key US maritime ports, and it comes as US officials are trying to fortify critical infrastructure from such intrusions. "If the compromise had not been detected, the attacker would have had unrestricted remote access to the [IT] network" by using stolen log-in credentials, reads the US Coast Guard Cyber Command's analysis of the report, which is unclassified and marked "For Official Use Only." "With this unrestricted access, the attacker would have had numerous options to deliver further effects that could impact port operations." The Port of Houston is a 25-mile-long complex through which 247 million tons of cargo move each year, according to its website. In the case of the Port of Houston, the unidentified hackers broke into a web server somewhere at the complex using a previously unidentified vulnerability in password management software at 2:38 p.m. UTC on August 19, according to the Coast Guard report. The intruders then planted malicious code on the server, which allowed further access to the IT system. Beginning about 90 minutes after the initial breach, the hackers stole all of the log-in credentials for a type of Microsoft software that organizations use to manage passwords and access to their networks, according to the report. Minutes later, cybersecurity staff at the port isolated the hacked server, "cutting off unauthorized access to the network," the advisory said. It's unclear who was behind the breach, which appears to be part of a broader espionage campaign. When asked about the incident at a Senate hearing on Thursday, US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Director Jen Easterly said she believed a foreign government-backed hacking group was responsible. Attribution of cyberattacks "can always be complicated," Easterly told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. "At this point in time, I would have to get back with my colleagues, but I do think it is a nation-state actor."

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California Passes Law Targeting Amazon Labor Algorithms

Slashdot - 14 godzin 9 minut temu
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed a bill Wednesday that would block Amazon and other companies from punishing warehouse workers who fail to meet certain performance metrics for taking rest or meal breaks. The California Senate approved the measure earlier this month. The law allows warehouse workers to challenge performance goals that many say discourage them from taking bathroom breaks or other rest breaks throughout the work day. The bill was written in response to high rates of reported injuries at Amazon warehouses where performance quotas are algorithmically enforced. The law does not explicitly name Amazon in its text, but both Republican and Democratic lawmakers recognize that the e-commerce giant would be greatly affected by the enactment of the legislation. Over the last few years, Amazon has come under intense criticism for its performance quotas with several outlets reporting that workers have peed in bottles as a means of meeting their warehouse fulfillment goals and maintaining their jobs. The law will also force companies like Amazon to make these performance algorithms more transparent, disclosing quotas to both workers and regulators.

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'Facebook Is What's Wrong With America'

Slashdot - 14 godzin 51 minut temu
The Salesforce CEO and owner of Time Magazine, Marc Benioff, sees a common thread for what ails America today: deception that is allowed to spread like wildfire on Facebook. "This digital revolution really kind of has the world in its grip. And in that grip, you can see the amount of mistrust and misinformation that is happening," Benioff told CNN. From a report: "Look at how it is affecting the world. You can talk about the political process. You can talk about climate. You can talk about the pandemic," Benioff said. "In each and every major topic, it gets connected back to the mistrust that is happening and especially the amount of it being seeded by the social networks. It must stop now." "Some of these social media companies, especially Facebook, you can see that they don't really care that their platform is filled with all of this disinformation," Benioff said. The tech billionaire called for Congress to crack down on Facebook's disinformation problem. "I own Time and I am held accountable for what is produced on my platform," Benioff said, adding that CNN and other media outlets are also held accountable. "In regards to Facebook, they are not held accountable. So they do not have an incentive from the government. That has to change." Benioff urged Congress to review existing laws to try to stop the "level of deceit" happening on social networks.

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New York Passes Sweeping Bills To Improve Conditions for Delivery Workers

Slashdot - 15 godzin 29 minut temu
The New York City Council overwhelmingly approved a groundbreaking package of legislation on Thursday that will set minimum pay and improve working conditions for couriers employed by app-based food delivery services like Grubhub, DoorDash and Uber Eats. From a report: The bills, which have the support of Mayor Bill de Blasio, are the latest and most broad example of the city's continuing effort to regulate the multimillion dollar industry. While other cities have taken steps to restrict the food delivery apps, no city has gone as far as New York, which is home to the largest and most competitive food delivery market in the country. The legislation prevents the food delivery apps and courier services from charging workers fees to receive their pay; makes the apps disclose their gratuity policies; prohibits the apps from charging delivery workers for insulated food bags, which can cost up to $50; and requires restaurant owners to make bathrooms available to delivery workers. Under the legislation, delivery workers would also be able to set parameters on the trips they take without fear of retribution. Workers -- who have been targeted by robbers intent on stealing their money or their e-bikes -- would be able to determine the maximum distance they want to travel from a restaurant or specify that they are not willing to go over bridges to make a delivery, for example.

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2021 Has Broken the Record For Zero-Day Hacking Attacks

Slashdot - 16 godzin 9 minut temu
According to multiple databases, researchers, and cybersecurity companies who spoke to MIT Technology Review, 2021 has had the highest number of zero-day exploits on record. "At least 66 zero-days have been found in use this year, according to databases such as the 0-day tracking project -- almost double the total for 2020, and more than in any other year on record," the report says. From the report: One contributing factor in the higher rate of reported zero-days is the rapid global proliferation of hacking tools. Powerful groups are all pouring heaps of cash into zero-days to use for themselves -- and they're reaping the rewards. At the top of the food chain are the government-sponsored hackers. China alone is suspected to be responsible for nine zero-days this year, says Jared Semrau, a director of vulnerability and exploitation at the American cybersecurity firm FireEye Mandiant. The US and its allies clearly possess some of the most sophisticated hacking capabilities, and there is rising talk of using those tools more aggressively. Attackers are exploiting the same types of software vulnerabilities over and over again, because companies often miss the forest for the trees. And cybercriminals, too, have used zero-day attacks to make money in recent years, finding flaws in software that allow them to run valuable ransomware schemes. "Financially motivated actors are more sophisticated than ever," Semrau says. "One-third of the zero-days we've tracked recently can be traced directly back to financially motivated actors. So they're playing a significant role in this increase which I don't think many people are giving credit for." While there may be an increasing number of people developing or buying zero-days, the record number reported isn't necessarily a bad thing. In fact, some experts say it might be mostly good news. No one we spoke to believes that the total number of zero-day attacks more than doubled in such a short period of time -- just the number that have been caught. That suggests defenders are becoming better at catching hackers in the act. You can look at the data, such as Google's zero-day spreadsheet, which tracks nearly a decade of significant hacks that were caught in the wild. One change the trend may reflect is that there's more money available for defense, not least from larger bug bounties and rewards put forward by tech companies for the discovery of new zero-day vulnerabilities. But there are also better tools. Defenders have clearly gone from being able to catch only relatively simple attacks to detecting more complex hacks, says Mark Dowd, founder of Azimuth Security. "I think this denotes an escalation in the ability to detect more sophisticated attacks," he says. Further reading: Emergency Software Patches Are on the Rise

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Hackers Leak LinkedIn 700 Million Data Scrape

Slashdot - Czw, 2021-09-23 22:25
A collection containing data about more than 700 million users, believed to have been scraped from LinkedIn, was leaked online this week after hackers previously tried to sell it earlier this year in June. From a report: The collection, obtained by The Record from a source, is currently being shared in private Telegram channels in the form of a torrent file containing approximately 187 GB of archived data. The Record analyzed files from this collection and found the data to be authentic, with data points such as: LinkedIn profile names, LinkedIn ID, LinkedIn profile URL, location information (town, city, country), and email addresses. While the vast majority of the data points contained in the leak are already public information and pose no threat to LinkedIn users, the leak also contains email addresses that are not normally viewable to the public on the official LinkedIn site.

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The Imaginary Rocket Driving a Small-Town Spaceport

Slashdot - Czw, 2021-09-23 21:45
Is the FAA licensing spaceports that are doomed to fail? From a report: The latest launch attempt out of Kodiak, Alaska's spaceport shows in vivid detail just how quickly things can go sideways. In the video, rocket maker Astra's 3.3 skids horizontally for hundreds of yards, then shoots some 20 miles upwards, listing off course. Ground crew terminates the flight, and the craft free falls back to Earth in pieces, landing in a fireball. None of Astra's six test flights from Kodiak's Pacific Spaceport Complex have made it into orbit, and five have exploded. But, as Jeff Bezos says, failure and innovation are inseparable twins. Analysts expect the commercial space industry to be worth $1 trillion by 2040, and increasingly, small towns are angling to get in on the action. One such community is Camden County, Georgia, where a group of county commissioners is longing for their own spaceport -- and the economic growth and diversification they hope will come with it. There's one caveat: Spaceport Camden's sole proposed launch trajectory would, in an unprecedented move, cross two populated islands, as well as a federally protected marshland and wilderness, just a few miles from the toxic brownfield set to become the launch site. To some residents, this seems like an astronomically bad idea. But failures -- even explosive ones -- don't faze Camden County: according to spaceport planners, Astra is a prime launch tenant candidate, and Alaska Aerospace Corporation, which runs Kodiak's spaceport, could become an operation partner. All they need to get this plan off the ground is an operation license from the Federal Aviation Administration. And to secure that, they aren't basing their proposal on rockets like the one that blew up in Alaska -- instead, they're using models of rockets that don't exist.

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CDC Panel Endorses Pfizer COVID-19 Booster Shots For People 65 and Older

Slashdot - Czw, 2021-09-23 21:20
A key Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory group unanimously voted Thursday to recommend distributing Pfizer and BioNTech's Covid-19 booster shots to older Americans and nursing home residents, clearing the way for the agency to give the final OK as early as this evening. CNBC reports: The agency's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices specifically endorsed giving third Pfizer shots to people 65 and older in the first of four votes. The panel will also vote on whether to recommend the shots for adults with medical conditions that put them at risk of severe disease and those who are more frequently exposed to the virus -- possibly including people in nursing homes and prisons, teachers, front-line health employees and other essential workers. The elderly were among the first groups to get the initial shots in December and January. The vote is seen as mostly a win for President Joe Biden, whose administration has said it wants to give booster shots to all eligible Americans 16 and older as early as this week. While the CDC panel's recommendation doesn't give the Biden administration everything it wanted, boosters will still be on the way for millions of Americans. The endorsement comes a day after the Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization to administer third Pfizer shots to many Americans six months after they complete their first two doses. While the CDC's panel's recommendation isn't binding, Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky is expected to accept the panel's endorsement shortly.

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Smallest-Ever Human-Made Flying Structure Is a Winged Microchip, Scientists Say

Slashdot - Czw, 2021-09-23 21:02
An anonymous reader quotes a report from NPR: It's neither a bird nor a plane, but a winged microchip as small as a grain of sand that can be carried by the wind as it monitors such things as pollution levels or the spread of airborne diseases. The tiny microfliers, whose development by engineers at Northwestern University was detailed in an article published by Nature this week, are being billed as the smallest-ever human-made flying structures. The devices don't have a motor; engineers were instead inspired by the maple tree's free-falling propeller seeds -- technically known as samara fruit. The engineers optimized the aerodynamics of the microfliers so that "as these structures fall through the air, the interaction between the air and those wings cause a rotational motion that creates a very stable, slow falling velocity," said John A. Rogers, who led the development of the devices. "That allows these structures to interact for extended periods with ambient wind that really enhances the dispersal process," said the Northwestern professor of materials science and engineering, biomedical engineering and neurological surgery. The wind would scatter the tiny microchips, which could sense their surrounding environments and collect information. The scientists say they could potentially be used to monitor for contamination, surveil populations or even track diseases. Their creators foresee microfliers becoming part of "large, distributed collections of miniaturized, wireless electronic devices." In other words, they could look like a swarm. "We think that we beat nature," Rogers said. "At least in the narrow sense that we have been able to build structures that fall with more stable trajectories and at slower terminal velocities than equivalent seeds that you would see from plants or trees."

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Why Deliveries Are So Slow

Slashdot - Czw, 2021-09-23 20:25
Americans are habitually unattuned to the massive and profoundly human apparatus that brings us basically everything in our lives. Much of the country's pandemic response has treated us as somehow separate from the rest of the world and the challenges it endures, but unpredictably empty shelves, rising prices, and long waits are just more proof of how foolish that belief has always been. The Atlantic: When I called up Dan Hearsch, a managing director at the consulting firm AlixPartners who specializes in supply-chain management, I described the current state of the industry to him as a little wonky. He laughed. "'A little wonky' is one way to say it," he said. "'Everything's broken' is another way." Hearsch told me about a friend whose company imports consumer goods -- stuff that's normally available in abundance at any Walmart or Target -- from China. Before the pandemic, according to the friend, shipping a container of that merchandise to the U.S. would have cost the company $2,000 to $5,000. Recently, though, the number is more like $30,000, at least for anything shipped on a predictable timeline. You can get it down to $20,000 if you're willing to deal with the possibility of your stuff arriving in a few months, or whenever space on a ship eventually opens up that's not already accounted for by companies willing to pay more. Such severe price hikes aren't supposed to happen. Wealthy Western countries offloaded much of their manufacturing to Asia and Latin America precisely because container shipping has made moving goods between hemispheres so inexpensive. When that math tips into unprofitability, either companies stop shipping goods and wait for better rates, or they start charging you a lot more for the things they ship. Both options constrain supply further and raise prices on what's available. "You look at the price of cars, you look at the price of food -- the price of practically anything is up significantly from one year ago, from two years ago," Hearsch told me. "The differences are really, really quite shocking." The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that as of July, consumer prices had grown almost 5 percent since before the pandemic, with some types of goods showing much larger increases. Overseas shipping is currently slow and expensive for lots of very complicated reasons and one big, important, relatively uncomplicated one: The countries trying to meet the huge demands of wealthy markets such as the United States are also trying to prevent mass-casualty events. Infection-prevention measures have recently closed high-volume shipping ports in China, the country that supplies the largest share of goods imported to the United States. In Vietnam and Malaysia, where workers churn out products as varied as a third of all shoes imported to the U.S. and chip components that are crucial to auto manufacturing, controlling the far more transmissible [...] Domestically, things aren't a whole lot better. Offshoring has systematically decimated America's capacity to manufacture most things at home, and even products that are made in the United States likely use at least some raw materials or components that need to be imported or are in short supply for other reasons.

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A Stalkerware Firm Is Leaking Real-Time Screenshots of People's Phones Online

Slashdot - Czw, 2021-09-23 19:45
A stalkerware company that's designed to let customers spy on their spouses's, children's, or employees' devices is exposing victims' data, allowing anyone on the internet to see screenshots of phones simply by visiting a specific URL. From a report: The news highlights the continuing lax security practices that many stalkerware companies use; not only do these companies sometimes market their tools specifically for illegal surveillance, but the targets are re-victimized by these breaches. In recent years the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has acted against stalkerware companies for exposing victim data. The stalkerware company, called pcTattleTale, offers the malware for Windows computers and Android phones. "Discover their secret online lives right from your phone or computer," a Facebook post from pcTattleTale reads. "pcTattletale is a popular keylogger and montoring [sic] app that you can use to see what you [sic] kids, spouse, or employees are doing online." Security researcher Jo Coscia showed Motherboard that pcTattleTale uploads victim data to an AWS server that requires no authentication to view specific images.

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Twitter Adds Bitcoin Tipping, Pushes Further Into NFTs

Slashdot - Czw, 2021-09-23 19:05
Twitter will let users send and receive tips using Bitcoin as part of a broader push to help users make money from the service. From a report: Twitter also said Thursday that it's looking into authenticating users' nonfungible tokens -- digital goods ranging from high art to pictures of digital apes. Some users already showcase NFTs on their profiles, but there's no easy way to authenticate if the person displaying a picture actually owns it. "There's this growing interest among creators to use apps that run on the blockchain," said Esther Crawford, a product executive building Twitter's creator features. "We want to help creators participate in the promise of an evolving decentralized internet directly on Twitter." The updates are part of a strategy at Twitter to court creators by giving them more ways to share their work on the service, and more ways to make money. Twitter has offered a tipping feature for months, but it has been in a limited test. On Thursday, the company said it's rolling out tipping globally. The company also offers some creators a subscription tool, called Super Follows, which lets them charge others on the service for exclusive content.

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Tracking Stolen Crypto is a Booming Business

Slashdot - Czw, 2021-09-23 18:28
Crypto heists are becoming increasingly common, but forensic investigators are getting savvier at figuring out who is behind specific accounts. From a report: Paolo Ardoino was on the front lines of one of the largest cryptocurrency heists of all time. He was flooded with calls and messages in August alerting him to a breach at Poly Network, a platform where users swap tokens among popular cryptocurrencies like Ethereum, Binance and Dogecoin. Hackers had made off with $610 million in crypto, belonging to tens of thousands of people. Roughly $33 million of the funds were swiftly converted into Tether, a "stable coin" with a value that mirrors the U.S. dollar. Ardoino, Tether's chief technology officer, took note. Typically, when savvy cybercriminals make off with cryptocurrency, they transfer the assets among online wallets through difficult-to-trace transactions. And poof -- the money is lost. Ardoino sprang into action and minutes later froze the assets. "We were really lucky," he said. "Minutes after we issued the freezing transaction, we saw the hacker attempt to move out his Tether. If we had waited five minutes more, all the Tether would be gone." Two weeks later, Tether released the money to its rightful owners. And after threats from Poly Network, the online bandit gave up the rest. The seizure pokes a hole in the long-held belief that cryptocurrency is impossible to trace. Cryptocurrency is computer code that allows people to send and receive funds, recording the transactions on a public ledger known as a blockchain, rather than retaining account holder info. Because of the lack of user data, cryptocurrencies like bitcoin have been hailed as a safe haven for criminal activity. Fueled by anonymity, the shadowy industry allows hackers, tax evaders and other bad actors to launder money secretively, outside of the traditional banking system. Online scammers made off with $2.6 billion in 2020, according to a Chainalysis report. That year, ransomware attacks more than quadrupled. But forensics investigators are getting savvier at scrupulously mapping activity on blockchains and figuring out who is behind specific accounts. This has sparked a "novel cottage industry of data providers" who are able to track cryptocurrency accounts flagged for illicit activity, said Zachary Goldman, a lawyer at WilmerHale specializing in novel payment technologies. "That's never really been available before." Through tracking, agents have recouped stolen crypto funds in a handful of high-profile cases. In June, the Federal Bureau of Investigation seized the $2.3 million in bitcoin ransom Colonial Pipeline paid to hackers who infiltrated the company's computer network. Investigators used the blockchain to follow the flow of the ransom payment to track the perpetrators. In 2020, the crypto exchange KuCoin recovered almost all of the $281 million stolen by suspected North Korean hackers and refunded customers.

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