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An Alexa bug could have exposed your voice history to hackers

An Alexa bug could have exposed your voice history to hackers

Smart-assistant devices have had their share of privacy missteps, but they're generally considered . New research into vulnerabilities in Amazon's Alexa platform, though, highlights the importance of thinking about the personal data your smart assistant stores about you—and minimizing it as much as you can.Findings published on Thursday by the security firm Check Point reveal that Alexa's Web services had bugs that a hacker could have exploited to grab a target's entire voice history, meaning their recorded audio interactions with Alexa. Amazon has patched the flaws, but the vulnerability...

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Aug 15
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Chinese hackers have pillaged Taiwan’s semiconductor industry

Chinese hackers have pillaged Taiwan’s semiconductor industry

Taiwan has faced existential conflict with China for its entire existence and has been targeted by China's state-sponsored hackers for years. But an investigation by one Taiwanese security firm has revealed just how deeply a single group of Chinese hackers was able to penetrate an industry at the core of the Taiwanese economy, pillaging practically its entire semiconductor industry.At the Black Hat security conference today, researchers from the Taiwanese cybersecurity firm CyCraft plan to present new details of a hacking campaign that compromised at least seven Taiwanese chip firms over...

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Aug 9
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The quest to liberate $300,000 of bitcoin from an old ZIP file

The quest to liberate $300,000 of bitcoin from an old ZIP file

In October, Michael Stay got a weird message on LinkedIn. A total stranger had lost access to his bitcoin private keys—and wanted Stay's help getting his $300,000 back.It wasn't a total surprise that The Guy, as Stay calls him, had found the former Google security engineer. Nineteen years ago, Stay published detailing a technique for breaking into encrypted zip files. The Guy had bought around $10,000 worth of bitcoin in January 2016, well before the boom. He had encrypted the private keys in a zip file and had forgotten the password. He was hoping Stay could help him break in.In a talk at...

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Aug 8
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What’s this? A bipartisan plan for AI and national security

What’s this? A bipartisan plan for AI and national security

US Reps. Will Hurd and Robin Kelly are from opposite sides of the ever-widening aisle, but they share a concern that the United States may lose its grip on , threatening the American economy and the balance of world power.On Thursday, Hurd (R-Tex.) and Kelly (D-Ill.) offered suggestions to prevent the US from falling behind China, especially, on applications of AI to defense and national security. They want to cut off China’s access to AI-specific silicon chips and push Congress and federal agencies to devote more resources to advancing and safely deploying AI technology.Although Capitol...

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Aug 1
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Your next smartphone will be a lot harder to scratch

Your next smartphone will be a lot harder to scratch

It takes about two years for Corning to develop each new generation of Gorilla Glass, the resilient material that graces a critical mass of smartphones. That process has for several update cycles focused on protecting screens against drops, fending off shatters and cracks by boosting what’s known as compressive strength. The newly announced Gorilla Glass Victus, though, gives equal weight to preventing scratches. That’s harder than it sounds and more useful than you’d think.It’s not that Gorilla Glass has dismissed scratches entirely. But the last time Corning prioritized it as a threat was...

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July 25, 2020
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20 years ago, Steve Jobs built the “coolest computer ever”—and it bombed

20 years ago, Steve Jobs built the “coolest computer ever”—and it bombed

This month marks the 20th anniversary of the , which debuted July 19, 2000. It also marks the 19th anniversary of Apple’s announcement that it was putting the Cube on ice. That’s not my joke—it’s Apple’s, straight from the headline of its July 3, 2001, that officially pulled the plug.The idea of such a quick turnaround was nowhere in the mind of Apple CEO Steve Jobs on the eve of the product’s announcement at that summer 2000 Macworld Expo. I was reminded of this last week, as I listened to a cassette tape recorded 20 years prior, almost to the day. It documented a two-hour session with...

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July 26, 2020
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Doomscrolling is slowly eroding your mental health

Doomscrolling is slowly eroding your mental health

It's 11:37pm and the pattern shows no signs of shifting. At 1:12am, it’s more of the same. Thumb down, thumb up. , , and—if you’re feeling particularly wrought/masochistic—. Ever since the left a great many people locked down in their homes in early March, the evening ritual has been codifying: Each night ends the way the day began, with an endless scroll through social media in a desperate search for clarity.To those who have become purveyors of the perverse exercise, like , this habit has become known as doomsurfing, or “falling into deep, morbid rabbit holes filled with coronavirus...

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June 27, 2020
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Plastic rain is the new acid rain

Plastic rain is the new acid rain

Hoof it through the national parks of the western United States—Joshua Tree, the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon—and breathe deep the pristine air. These are unspoiled lands, collectively a great American conservation story. Yet an invisible menace is actually blowing through the air and falling via raindrops: Microplastic particles, tiny chunks (by , less than 5 millimeters long) of fragmented plastic bottles and microfibers that fray from clothes, all pollutants that get caught up in Earth’s atmospheric systems and deposited in the wilderness.in the journal Science, researchers report a...

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June 12, 2020
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The rocket motor of the future “breathes” air like a jet engine

The rocket motor of the future “breathes” air like a jet engine

There's a small airfield about a two-hour drive north of Los Angeles that sits on the edge of a vast expanse of desert and attracts aerospace mavericks like moths to a flame. The Mojave Air & Space Port is home to companies like Scaled Composites, the first to send a private astronaut to space, and Masten Space Systems, which is in the business of building lunar landers. It’s the proving ground for America’s most audacious space projects, and when Aaron Davis and Scott Stegman arrived at the hallowed tarmac last July, they knew they were in the right place.The two men arrived at the...

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June 27, 2020
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Deepfakes aren’t very good—nor are the tools to detect them

Deepfakes aren’t very good—nor are the tools to detect them

We're lucky that aren’t a big problem yet. The best deepfake detector to emerge from a major Facebook-led effort to combat the altered videos would only catch about two-thirds of them.In September, as speculation about the danger of deepfakes grew, challenged wizards to develop techniques for detecting deepfake videos. In January, the company also used to spread misinformation.Facebook’s , in collaboration with Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, and the , was , a platform for coding contests that is owned by Google. It provided a vast collection of face-swap videos: 100,000 deepfake clips,...

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June 14, 2020
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