Security Researcher Reports Privilege-Escalation Bug in OS X

A privilege-escalation bug was identified in the latest version of Apple’s OS X this week by security researcher Stefan Esser. The vulnerability reportedly provides hackers with root user privileges that make it possible to infect Macs with rootkits and other malware. This type of bug is commonly used to bypass security protections created for applications and operating systems. According to Esser, the vulnerability can be found in OS X Yosemite 10.10.4 and the beta version of 10.10.5, but not in the recent beta version of El Capitan 10.11. Continue reading Security Researcher Reports Privilege-Escalation Bug in OS X

Security Experts Remotely Control Jeep’s Steering and Braking

Security researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek were able to hack into a Jeep on the highway and remotely control its radio, windshield wipers, navigation system and, finally, the brakes and steering. Miller and Valasek have been working for the last two years to hack various cars, with the aim of controlling them remotely. Their ability to hack the Jeep highlights one of the potential dangers inherent in the Internet of Things, as an increasing number of interconnected devices hit the market. Continue reading Security Experts Remotely Control Jeep’s Steering and Braking

U.S. Government Aims to Provide Nationwide Internet Access

The federal government this week announced plans to distribute $85 million in new funding for rural Internet access. However, the money is not coming from a telecom-related agency such as the FCC; instead, it is coming from the Department of Agriculture. Meanwhile, the Department of Housing and Urban Development unveiled its ConnectHome pilot program that will provide free or low-cost Internet access to residents of public housing. The USDA and HUD are among the federal agencies that now view the Internet as a basic necessity. Continue reading U.S. Government Aims to Provide Nationwide Internet Access

Online Marketplace Jet.com, Valued at $300M, Opens to Public

After months of anticipation, Jet.com, the online marketplace that hopes to challenge Amazon and eBay, has opened to the public. The members-only site offers tremendous discounts to its customers, under-cutting both retail and Amazon prices. Since a trial run began in March, however, the company has seen nothing but red ink. But the clamor hasn’t died down, and more investors are eager to add more capital to the Hoboken, New Jersey-based company, and its valuation climbs even as its revenues dip below the black line. Continue reading Online Marketplace Jet.com, Valued at $300M, Opens to Public

Today’s Subscription VOD Players Deal with Password Sharing

Netflix, HBO and other Internet video-subscription providers will lose about $500 million worldwide in 2015 due to nonpaying customers who piggyback off the login info of paying friends and family. However, because these companies want to make it easy for consumers to use their services, especially as the number of new subscribers continues to grow, they have yet to crack down on password sharing. Netflix and HBO execs are reportedly not concerned about the issue, as studies have shown many unauthorized users eventually become paying customers. Continue reading Today’s Subscription VOD Players Deal with Password Sharing

New Slingbox Set-Top Box Shifts Content From Mobile to TVs

Slingbox, a subsidiary of EchoStar, just released its M2 set-top box, priced at $199. The new set-top box enables viewers to watch live, pay TV and DVR content over the Internet, anywhere and from any device. The M2 adds functionalities not available in the M1, which debuted in 2014, including the ability to shift content from mobile devices to TVs via Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire TV or Roku. Users will also be able to download the Slingplayer app on each device for free; the trade-off is viewing short pre-roll ads. Continue reading New Slingbox Set-Top Box Shifts Content From Mobile to TVs

Casie is a New Digital Personal Assistant That You Can Wear

OrCam Technologies has created a wearable, digital personal assistant device, called Casie, which can be clipped onto a shirt or worn as a medallion on a necklace. The USB-sized device, which will soon go through testing, contains a 5-megapixel camera and microphone, which can record a user’s surroundings and connect with the Casie app on a user’s phone. The app can then pair its recordings with data from the Internet to help the user identify and analyze places and people, such as a LinkedIn connection. Continue reading Casie is a New Digital Personal Assistant That You Can Wear

Federal Program Hopes to Provide Affordable Internet Access

The Obama Administration announced its plan to create a program that would provide thousands of public housing residents with access to free or low-priced Internet services. In some areas broadband services could be reduced to as little as $9.95 a month. Statistics from the White House Council of Economic Advisers highlighted that fewer than half of American low-income households presently have Internet access. The ConnectHome initiative is expected to reach nearly 275,000 households, including 200,000 children. Continue reading Federal Program Hopes to Provide Affordable Internet Access

Wi-Fi Alliance Debuts Wi-Fi Aware for Quick Device Connection

After three years of research and development, the Wi-Fi Alliance released Wi-Fi Aware, which instantly connects Wi-Fi-enabled products with devices, applications or information without an Internet connection or mobile data. Wi-Fi Aware software works continuously in the background, sending out short messages that dramatically lessen power consumption. With a Wi-Fi Aware smartphone, a user could find nearby services, videogame players or anyone from a high school friend to a business colleague. Continue reading Wi-Fi Alliance Debuts Wi-Fi Aware for Quick Device Connection

FCC Calls for Safeguards as Telecoms Upgrade Copper to Fiber

U.S. regulators have proposed a new rule that would require major carriers such as Verizon and AT&T to maintain their current levels of service while they update aging copper networks with new fiber. The FCC’s proposal would require that the big carriers offer “reasonably comparable” services and conditions for their new technologies as well, in an effort to prevent an immediate impact on smaller carriers. The commissioners are scheduled to vote on the proposed rule next month. Continue reading FCC Calls for Safeguards as Telecoms Upgrade Copper to Fiber

Comcast Planning New Gigabit Pro, Competitor to Google Fiber

Comcast is aiming to deliver fiber Internet connectivity that is twice as fast as Google’s offering. However, providing speeds up to 2 gigabits per second is estimated to run more than four times the $70 monthly cost of Google Fiber in Kansas City, according to a page on the Xfinity website. The page notes that service would be made available within one-third of a mile of the company’s existing fiber network, with plans to expand to a list of cities. Comcast earlier announced that the new service would be available in Atlanta by May, but it has been delayed.

Continue reading Comcast Planning New Gigabit Pro, Competitor to Google Fiber

Comcast Plans Streaming TV Service as an Alternative to Cable

Comcast announced that it plans to launch a trial of its IP-based video service Stream by the end of the summer in Boston, followed by Chicago and Seattle. The $15-per-month streaming service will offer about a dozen broadcast networks and HBO. Subscribers will have access to some TV Everywhere applications, Streampix for movies and a cloud DVR service. As an add-on to broadband service meant for PCs, laptops and mobile devices, customers will need Comcast Internet service to subscribe. The company is planning a nationwide rollout for early next year. Continue reading Comcast Plans Streaming TV Service as an Alternative to Cable

Users Now Have More Control Over Their Facebook News Feeds

Facebook has announced a new set of features that provide users with more control over what they see in their news feeds. The new controls will include a “see first” list, comprised of the family, friends and followed pages that are important to a user and will show up at the top of his/her feed. Users can now access a single list to re-follow multiple people they’ve previously un-followed (ideal for temporarily muting spoilers of your favorite TV shows). Facebook has also added a feature to suggest pages for avid users who run out of fresh content in their feeds. Continue reading Users Now Have More Control Over Their Facebook News Feeds

New Reddit CEO Faces Angry Site Users and Low Staff Morale

In the wake of Ellen Pao’s resignation as Reddit’s interim chief executive, co-founder Steve Huffman was brought in by the company’s board to take her place. Pao left after eight months in the wake of a mishandled firing of a popular employee, which triggered protests by hundreds of thousands of the site’s 160 million monthly visitors. Since Huffman left the day-to-day operations of Reddit in 2009, three years after its sale to Advance Publications, he founded online travel site Hipmunk where he will remain as CTO. Continue reading New Reddit CEO Faces Angry Site Users and Low Staff Morale

Facebook Looking to Expand Media Offerings with Music Videos

Facebook has turned its attention to music videos in its latest move to offer more video content to its users. The social media company began moving into video in the last few years, now showing content from BuzzFeed, Vice and other publishers, in addition to its user-generated content. Music videos would continue the trend and up the competition between Facebook and YouTube. Facebook currently has 1.4 billion worldwide users, and adding video is likely to extend the time that viewers stay on the site. Continue reading Facebook Looking to Expand Media Offerings with Music Videos

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