Blockchain: More Than $50 Million in Virtual Currency Hacked

The Decentralized Autonomous Organization raised $160 million in Ether, a virtual currency that is an alternative to Bitcoin. The experimental project was hailed as the most successful crowdfunding effort ever, until last Friday when a hacker made away with more than $50 million. Although the hack was frozen and the project’s computer scientists plan to rewrite Ether’s code to recover the money, the project most likely will end, leaving in its wake a bigger debate than ever about the viability of virtual currency. Continue reading Blockchain: More Than $50 Million in Virtual Currency Hacked

Facebook Reveals More on Ethical Regulation of its Research

Facebook collects data from 1.6 billion people, on everything from “likes” to social connections, to establish behavioral patterns. That went further — some would say, too far — in June 2014 when the company conducted a psychological test on 700,000 people to look at how omitting “positive” or “negative” words could alter mood. The resulting controversy about the company’s ethics moved Facebook to add an internal review policy in October 2014. But it is just now publishing new details on how it conducts that research. Continue reading Facebook Reveals More on Ethical Regulation of its Research

Personal Credentials Leaked From Millions of Twitter Accounts

According to Twitter, the personal data of nearly 33 million of its users are presently at risk due to malware that may have trolled the information from users, not the company. Millions of usernames, emails and, in some cases, passwords are listed for sale on the dark web. Similar leaks in the past month have impacted users of LinkedIn, Myspace and some Russian-language sites. “The website that published the Twitter passwords, LeakedSource, says it has more than 1.8 billion records in its database,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “LeakedSource sells access to these records for a fee.” Twitter is encouraging its users to change their passwords. Continue reading Personal Credentials Leaked From Millions of Twitter Accounts

Google Pushes Phone Makers and Carriers to Update Android

Google has increased its efforts to get cellphone manufacturers and carriers to update to the latest version of Android. That includes speeding up security updates, offering technology workarounds and limiting phone testing requirements. To back up these enticements, Google is also publicly naming the laggards in a ranking intended to shame manufacturers into catching up. At stake are not simply Google’s latest operating system but new offerings such as its Daydream virtual reality system. Continue reading Google Pushes Phone Makers and Carriers to Update Android

Microsoft is Scaling Back its Consumer Smartphone Business

Two years ago, Nokia announced that it had sold its mobile phone and smartphone businesses to Microsoft in a $7.2 billion deal. Since then, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella shifted the company’s focus to bringing software and services to Android and iOS mobile systems rather than convincing consumers to use Windows. Last week, Microsoft announced it was selling its low-end feature phone business, and yesterday added it would further scale back consumer phone efforts and cut another 1,850 jobs. The company explained it would also take a $950 million charge as part of the move. Continue reading Microsoft is Scaling Back its Consumer Smartphone Business

As Data Surges to Zettabytes, Need for Better Storage Urgent

Storage is quickly becoming a crucial area of interest, as data grows exponentially. The world’s one billion cell phones already generate 18 exabytes (1 billion gigabytes) of data monthly and, as the Internet of Things places sensors in everything from automobiles to homes, the data output is estimated to soar into the zettabytes. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are a focus to find ways to help manage huge amounts of data. New ways to store data are imperative, and some practical advances are being made. Continue reading As Data Surges to Zettabytes, Need for Better Storage Urgent

Google Launches its AI Ecosystem with Allo and Google Home

Google is focusing on advances in artificial intelligence as a competitive advantage. Its new Google assistant is positioned as the company’s latest iteration of search, and Google is promoting a variety of products based on machine learning that face competing products. Google Home will compete with Amazon Echo, while messaging app Allo will take on Facebook’s Messenger and WhatsApp, and Snapchat. With regard to virtual assistants, Google is going against versions from Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft. Continue reading Google Launches its AI Ecosystem with Allo and Google Home

FBI iPhone Hack Could Impact the Future of Law Enforcement

Although the FBI was finally able to decrypt the iPhone belonging to San Bernardino terrorist Syed Rizwan Farook by paying for a third party private hack, the issues around accessing content on a personal smartphone are not resolved. The FBI is figuring out how and if it can re-use the hack, but it’s not simply interested in what’s called “data at rest,” says FBI director James Comey. The FBI is also interested in “data in motion,” the emails, texts and other information in transit over the Internet as “hugely significant” for national security. Continue reading FBI iPhone Hack Could Impact the Future of Law Enforcement

Researchers Warn That Smart Home Technology is Hackable

The security research community has warned that the Internet of Things, including home security systems, is hackable. Researchers at the University of Michigan and Microsoft have published an in-depth security analysis of Samsung’s SmartThings platform that allows control of home appliances via PC or smartphone. They were able to hack the system, setting off a smoke alarm and opening a digital lock with a “backdoor” PIN. Their findings will be presented at the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy later this month. Continue reading Researchers Warn That Smart Home Technology is Hackable

Messaging Service WhatsApp Temporarily Shut Down in Brazil

As the result of a court order, Facebook-owned WhatsApp was shut down in Brazil yesterday. In an effort to obtain user data for a criminal investigation involving drug trafficking, Judge Marcel Maia Montalvão ordered telecoms to suspend the popular messaging service for 72 hours throughout Brazil. In March, Judge Montalvão ordered the arrest of Facebook exec Diego Dzodan, who was briefly taken into custody for refusing to turn over WhatsApp data (a higher court ordered the release of Dzodan after one night). WhatsApp says it has cooperated to the “full extent of [its] ability with local courts.” Continue reading Messaging Service WhatsApp Temporarily Shut Down in Brazil

Wells Fargo Bets on Biometric Security to Replace Passwords

If Wells Fargo is right, the traditional password will be gone in five years. To prepare, the company has been mentoring startup EyeVerify in an accelerator program since 2014. This July, Wells Fargo will debut EyeVerify’s software to corporate clients. Those executives authorized to use commercial bank accounts will be able to use their iPhone camera to take a selfie, and the Eyeprint ID software built into the bank’s mobile app will read their eyes’ veins and other markers to match with a stored template. Continue reading Wells Fargo Bets on Biometric Security to Replace Passwords

Windows Users are Encouraged to Uninstall Apple QuickTime

Apple has decided it will no longer support or update its QuickTime software for Windows PCs. The company recently posted instructions online for uninstalling the popular multimedia player. Windows PC users should note that keeping QuickTime on their computers could pose a risk since there will be no more security updates (two new security holes were discovered by researchers at Trend Micro just last week). Apple offers an alternative to QuickTime via iTunes for playing back video and audio files. Additionally, Microsoft has its own media player. Continue reading Windows Users are Encouraged to Uninstall Apple QuickTime

Cloud Conference: Challenges to Rendering VFX in the Cloud

Visual effects and rendering in the cloud was the topic of an ETC Cloud Innovation Conference panel at NAB 2016, moderated by Google Cloud Platform senior product manager Srikanth Belwadi. The scope of the issue was made clear by the fact that “The Good Dinosaur” required 110 million compute hours and 300 TB of active data space. Panelists from Thinkbox, Shotgun, Rodeo FX, Avere Systems, and ConductorIO discussed the challenges to producing VFX in the cloud — but also its inevitability.
Continue reading Cloud Conference: Challenges to Rendering VFX in the Cloud

‘The Suitcase’: Unpacking Lessons in Cloud-Based Workflows

During the ETC Cloud Innovation Conference at NAB 2016, writer/director Abi Corbin discussed “The Suitcase,” a short film produced in the cloud, about a baggage handler who innocently steals a suitcase that contains terrorist plans. The film was a follow-up to “Luna,” a run-and-gun test on producing in the cloud. Daniel De La Rosa, director of film production technologies at Universal Pictures explained, “The goal was to test next-gen cloud-based workflows as well as the C4 framework which served as the glue.”
Continue reading ‘The Suitcase’: Unpacking Lessons in Cloud-Based Workflows

Avid Debuts Integration with Adobe Premiere, NEXIS Storage

At Avid’s third annual Avid Connect event, over 1,000 people gathered prior to the official opening of NAB 2016 to hear the company’s chief executive Louis Hernandez Jr. “We’re the most open, extensible company here,” claimed Hernandez. “We invite everyone to join the open movement. We can solve this connectivity problem once and for all.” Proof of this boast was the news that Avid and rival Adobe have collaborated to tightly integrate Adobe’s Premiere Pro editing toolset into Avid’s MediaCentral Platform. Continue reading Avid Debuts Integration with Adobe Premiere, NEXIS Storage

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