Security experts from from Germany’s Security Research Labs have broken into Samsung’s fingerprint technology by taking a fingerprint smudge from the smartphone and creating a “wood glue dummy” finger with it. Apparently the S5 falls for the fault every time.
The problem is because the scanner has such a high trust rating within the phone, it will also mean that any thief will have access to the owners PayPal account. Neither of these actions require an additional password to be entered. PayPal has said that while it was taking the findings from Security Research Labs seriously, it was confident that fingerprint authentication offers and easier and more secure way to pay on mobile devices than passwords or credit cards.
The scan unlocks a secure cryptographic key that serves as a password replacement for the phone and this can be deactivated from a lost or stolen device, and you can create a new one. Paypal also uses sophisticated fraud and risk management tools to try to prevent fraud before it happens.
However you would think someone would have learnt by now a similar method was used to break the iPhone 5S’ fingerprint scanner last year. A better method was to cut the iPhone owner’s finger off. It was more messy but a lot more satisfying. There is a video of German researchers figuring out ways of making your phone talk after the break.
Mark Karpeles, the founder of Mt. Gox, has refused to come to the United States to answer questions about the Japanese bitcoin exchange’s U.S. bankruptcy case, Mt. Gox lawyers told a federal judge on Monday.
In the court filing, Mt. Gox lawyers cited a subpoena from the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, which has closely monitored virtualcurrencies like bitcoin.
“Mr. Karpeles is now in the process of obtaining counsel to represent him with respect to the FinCEN Subpoena. Until such time as counsel is retained and has an opportunity to ‘get up to speed’ and advise Mr. Karpeles, he is not willing to travel to the U.S.”, the filing said.
The subpoena requires Karpeles to appear and provide testimony in Washington, D.C., on Friday.
The court papers also said a Japanese court had been informed of the issue and that a hearing was scheduled on Tuesday in Japan.
Bitcoin is a digital currency that, unlike conventional money, is bought and sold on a peer-to-peer network independent of central control. Its value has soared in the last year, and the total worth of bit coins minted is now about $7 billion.
Mt. Gox, once the world’s biggest bitcoin exchange, filed for bankruptcy protection in Japan last month, saying it may have lost nearly half a billion dollars worth of the virtual coins due to hacking into its computer system.
According to Monday’s court filings, the subpoena did not specify topics for discussion.
In the court filings, Karpelès’ lawyers asked the court to delay the bankruptcy deposition to May 5, 2014 but said that Mt. Gox could not guarantee that Karpeles would attend that either.
The search engine’s funding arm, Google Ventures, invested an undisclosed sum that’s part of a $2 million seed financing package led by Morado Venture Partners, with AME Cloud Ventures and individuals also pitching in.
Established in 2013, California-based Savioke is led by CEO Steve Cousins, who was in charge of the creation of the PR2 robot and the popular Robot Operating System (ROS) while president and CEO of Willow Garage, an influential robotics firm that spun off eight robotics companies.
Savioke did not give details about its plans to develop a service robot, but said the machine would use the open-source ROS and customer trials would begin later this year.
Its website describes its aspiration to bring robotics to “hotels, elder care facilities, hospitals, restaurants…anywhere people sleep or eat.”
“We see tremendous opportunity by delivering a robot for the services industry,” Cousins wrote in an email. “In the coming months, the information and feedback we receive from our trials will help us determine our first point of entry.”
Google did not immediately respond to a request for information about the investment.
With former Android chief Andy Rubin leading its interest in robotics, the search engine has been on a shopping spree for robot companies lately.
It has acquired such firms as Japan-based Schaft, which developed a full-size bipedal humanoid robot that won the prestigious DARPA Robotics Challenge trials in December 2013. The challenge is sponsored by the U.S. military’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, an arm of the Department of Defense.
The jewel in Google’s robot crown, however, is Boston Dynamics, a military contractor known for creating both humanoid machines such as the Terminator-like Atlas, and robots inspired by animals, such as BigDog, a cargo-carrying machine funded by DARPA.
Google CEO Larry Page has speculated that Rubin’s robot project could succeed like Android.
The paper’s goal is to keep evolving with changing technology, and accepting bitcoin payments is one way it is trying to stay digitally focused, Editor-in-Chief Jim Kirk said in a release.
The Sun-Times has a “digital-first” strategy that led it to experiment with a bitcoin paywall for a one-day period in February.
It had partnered with San Francisco-based micropayments startup Bitwall so readers could donate bitcoin or tweets on Twitter to benefit an organization called the Taproot Foundation, which pairs professionals with nonprofit groups for pro bono work.
“We were encouraged by our paywall experiment in February,” Kirk said in an interview over Twitter. “We believe there is an opportunity here to expand our readership with Bitcoin.”
The Chicago Sun-Times claims 6 million unique monthly online readers. It was the eighth-largest U.S. newspaper by total average circulation in March 2013, according to the Alliance for Audited Media, an advertising and content provider industry group.
For its print and digital subscriptions, the newspaper is working with Coinbase, a bitcoin wallet service also based in San Francisco. In a blog post, Coinbase said that content providers such as the Sun-Times are one of the early leaders in getting merchants to adopt the cryptocurrency.
In January, Bitcoin-related news sites reported that Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad was planning to accept bitcoin as a payment method for individual articles. A Reddit poster, claiming to be a webmaster for the paper, said the new payment method was being implemented step by step.
Although Bitcoin has been overshadowed by allegations of fraud and hacker attacks such as in the collapse of Japan-based bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, content providers and bloggers are turning to the digital currency in part because it’s a cheaper means of moving payments around, with transaction fees which can be lower than 1 percent.
Android based mobile phones from all manufacturers make up nearly 80% of all smartphones recently sold worldwide, but Apple’s iPhone and iPad still dominate when it comes to Web browsing in the U.S. and other highly developed countries.
In the U.S., about 62% of all mobile Web browsing in the last year came from iOS smartphones and tablets, according to dotMobi, a Web consulting and Web data measurement firm. The company measured billions of Web sites visited by smartphones and tablets in 101 countries, including the most developed ones.
Overall, iOS devices were used most often for browsing in 34 of the 101 countries measured; Android dominated in 67 nations.
The percentage of mobile users browsing the Web with iOS devices was higher in several nations than in the U.S. In the UK and France, that figure was 65%; in Japan, 68%; in Canada, 73%; and in Australia, 74%.
Meanwhile, Android smartphones and tablets are used more often for browsing in Central, Eastern and Southern Europe, including Spain (56%) and Germany and India (both at 58%). Macedonia was strongest for Android usage, at nearly 91%, while South Korea — home of big Android device maker Samsung — had 74% of users browsing with Android.
Eileen O’Sullivan, the chief operating officer of dotMobi, said that Apple still maintains a stronghold across major markets in the world, but added, “its dominance is not guaranteed.” She said that while Apple is still considered an “aspirational brand,” its relatively high prices compared to Android smartphones and tablets could cost it market share in the countries where it leads.
All of dotMobi’s data is freely available on the Web, but users must register to see it.
The company provides maps that rank browsing by OS, even a specific device, and clicking on a country will show the percentage of use for that device in that country. For the U.S., Apple’s 62% share of Web browsing by iPhone and iPad compares to about 19% for Samsung devices and less than 4% each for Motorola, LG HTC, BlackBerry, Nokia and others.
In China, nearly 49.5% of Web browsing is done via iOS devices, with the remainder shared by Android devices from various brands, including Samsung (11%), HTC (9%), Huawei (6%) and Lenovo (3%).
Thousands of email users have been hit by a sick cancer email hoax that aims to infect the recipients’ computers with Zeus malware.
The email has already hit thousands of inboxes across the UK, and looks like it was sent by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). It features the subject line “Important blood analysis result”.
However, NICE has warned that it did not send the malicious emails, and is urging users not to open them.
NICE chief executive Sir Andrew Dillon said, “A spam email purporting to come from NICE is being sent to members of the public regarding cancer test results.
“This email is likely to cause distress to recipients since it advises that ‘test results’ indicate they may have cancer. This malicious email is not from NICE and we are currently investigating its origin. We take this matter very seriously and have reported it to the police.”
The hoax message requests that users download an attachment that purportedly contains the results of the faux blood analysis.
Security analysis firm Appriver has since claimed that the scam email is carrying Zeus malware that if installed will attempt to steal users’ credentials and take over their PCs.
Appriver senior security specialist Fred Touchette warned, “If the attachment is unzipped and executed the user may see a quick error window pop up and then disappear on their screen.
“What they won’t see is the downloader then taking control of their PC. It immediately begins checking to see if it is being analysed, by making long sleep calls, and checking to see if it is running virtually or in a debugger.
“Next it begins to steal browser cookies and MS Outlook passwords from the system registry. The malware in turn posts this data to a server at 220.127.116.11 with the command /ppp/ta.php, and punches a hole in the firewall to listen for further commands on UDP ports 7263 and 4400.”
Japan’s SoftBank Corp is still attempting to acquire T-Mobile US Inc and merge it with its U.S. wireless carrier Sprint Corp, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son said, even though U.S. regulators appear set against a deal.
Son told U.S. TV show host Charlie Rose in an interview that if the deal goes through, he would launch a price war to break what he called a duopoly by dominant U.S. carriers AT&T Inc and Verizon Communications Inc.
“We would like to make the deal happen, but there are steps and details that we have to work out,” said Son, who had previously declined to comment on whether Softbank was in talks to buy T-Mobile. “We have to give it a shot.”
Excerpts of the interview with the PBS network show were posted on YouTube. The show is scheduled to be broadcast late on Monday in the United States.
The possibility of a merger between T-Mobile and Sprint, which was acquired by Softbank last year, was given the cold shoulder by regulators, with Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler expressing skepticism in meetings with Son and Sprint Chief Executive Dan Hesse on February 3, according to an FCC official briefed on the matter.
Regulators are concerned that reducing the number of major wireless carriers to three from four would hinder competition, but Son has argued that competition would be more robust if a third strong player is created through the merger of smaller firms Sprint and T-Mobile.
Softbank is now focused on convincing the parties involved with the merits of a merger, a senior company executive said, adding that any moves towards pursuing a deal were now on hold. The official declined to be named because he was not authorised to speak about the matter publicly.
Son plans to present his vision for the U.S. wireless communications industry in a speech in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, although a person familiar with the matter said he would not talk about a bid for T-Mobile.
The Japanese company showed off its SmartEyeglass prototype at the Wearables DevCon conference just outside San Francisco, where it was trying to drum up interest among developers, who will need to build applications for the device.
Like Google Glass, SmartEyeglass displays information instantly in front of a users eyes. Unlike Glass, which has a small prism display, Sony’s prototype looks more like a normal pair of eyeglasses and shows information in green over a pair of see-through lenses.
In a video to show off its capabilities, users walk into an airport and get sent directions to the check-in desk which pop up on their glasses. Other potential uses include displaying the latest score and players’ names while watching a football game, sending and receiving texts and being notified of a missed call.
The glasses have a binocular-type display that makes the text look further away, which makes it more comfortable to read. They also have an embedded camera and a microphone and sensors similar to those in a smartphone, including an accelerometer, gyroscope and compass.
The device is still a prototype and not as advanced as Google Glass. It’s operated via a separate, wired controller with a touchpad that has navigation, power and camera buttons. And the glasses currently work in conjunction with an Android phone. The applications for the glasses run on the phone, and interact with the phone over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
Sony said it’s working on a software developer kit for the product, based on the same framework as its SmartWatch 2. But there was no word yet when the SDK or the prototype itself will be available.
Fujitsu Labs have worked out a way to improve vibration feedback when typing on a virtual keyboard. The prototype haptic sensory tablet emits ultrasonic vibrations under the surface of the tablet’s display.
The company says that although producing ultrasonic vibrations would generally require a good deal of power, its engineers have come up with a way of shrinking down the tech and allowing a tablet prototype to run its haptic feedback system. Essentially, the vibrations create a layer of high pressure air between a user’s fingertips and the surface of the screen, resulting in reduced friction so the fingers can skate across the screen. This alternates between high and low friction to create the illusion of a textured surface.
It is possible to feel a CD beneath the fingers while spinning and scratching like a DJ, as well as physically feeling and manipulating the deck controls. Research continues to improve the technology, but the company is looking to commercialize the development by next year.
Samsung appears to have delivered a huge snuff to Android OS maker Google. Samsung’s new smartwatch Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo, the sequels to the poorly reviewed original Galaxy Gear are going to ship without Android.
Instead, the new Gears run Tizen, another open source operating system that Samsung, Intel, and others are working on. It is starting to look like Samsung wants to distance itself from its reliance on Google for software and services.
Samsung’s official reason is that Tizen has better battery life and performance. The new Gears can get up to an extra two days of battery life by running Tizen, even though they have the same size battery. The Galaxy Gear barely made it through a day on one charge.
To be fair Android isn’t optimized to run on wearable devices like smart watches, but Samsung didn’t want to wait around for Google to catch up. It was clearly concerned about beating Apple to market. So far Apple has not shown up.
The company’s PalmSecure scanners use near-infrared light to scan points in veins that lie beneath the surface of a user’s palm. There has to be blood flowing through a user’s hand for the sensor to work.
Every person’s palm pattern is unique, and scans of vein points are matched against previously registered scans to authenticate users and unlock whatever device or service they’re linked to.
“We have been reducing the size of our palm vein authentication units since their initial development,” a Fujitsu spokesman said. “In the future, we hope to eventually have these units embedded into smartphones.”
Fujitsu claims the biometric technology has a false acceptance rate of only 0.00008% and a false rejection rate of 0.01%.
The company first commercialized the technology in 2004 when palm-sized scanners were embedded in ATMs at Japan’s Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi to help authenticate customer identity and prevent fraud. In-store scanners at Suruga Bank also appeared in 2004.
Fujitsu later shrank the scanners and embedded them in laptops.
It recently showed off a stamp-sized version of the scanner that is the smallest yet. It’s been embedded in tablets for the first time and will be included in about 2,000 tablets provided to Fukuoka Financial Group, which includes the Bank of Fukuoka, Kumamoto Bank and Shinwa Bank.
“No one has this technology, and it’s significantly more secure than fingerprint,” the Fujitsu spokesman said, adding that some banks have shown interest in palm-vein scanners as a means of verifying identity in natural disasters in which ID or bank cards are lost or destroyed.
The customized 12.5-inch Fujitsu Arrows Q704/H tablets have Intel Core i5 processors and run Windows, acting as virtual desktops. Bank employees meeting customers off-site will be able to securely access their bank’s internal system by using the palm-vein authentication scanners.
Only users whose biometric info has been registered beforehand will be able to operate the tablets.
At CES in January, U.S.-based biometric payments company PulseWallet demonstrated a cardless point-of-sale terminal incorporating Fujitsu’s vein-imaging technology. It said registered users could leave their credit and debit cards at home and make payments simply by having their palms scanned.
Mt. Gox, once the world’s largest bitcoin exchange, has been hit with a lawsuit by a customer in what may be the first of many U.S. lawsuits seeking to recover millions of dollars of losses linked to a hacking attack that led to the exchange’s bankruptcy.
In a complaint filed on Thursday in U.S. District Court in Chicago, plaintiff Gregory Greene said Mt. Gox and its chief executive, Mark Karpeles, were negligent and committed fraud for having failed to protect the Tokyo-based exchange from theft.
Greene said bitcoin prices plummeted after Mt. Gox found the security breach, but said he and other investors in the virtual currency could not cut their losses because the exchange had halted trading. Mt. Gox took down its website on Tuesday.
“Mt. Gox intentionally and knowingly failed to provide its users with the level of security protection for which they paid,” said Greene, who estimated his bitcoin stake at $25,000.
The lawsuit seeks class action status on behalf of Mt. Gox users, restitution, monetary damages and other remedies.
It was not immediately clear which law firm would defend Mt. Gox against the lawsuit. Baker & McKenzie, a Chicago-based firm that represents the exchange in Japan, did not immediately respond on Friday to requests for comment.
At a news conference on Friday at the Tokyo District Court, Karpeles said he was “very sorry” and blamed Mt. Gox’s collapse on a “weakness in our system,” but predicted that the bitcoin market would continue to grow.
Mt. Gox said it may have 750,000 of its customers’ bitcoins and 100,000 of its own, equal to about 7 percent of bitcoins worldwide, for a total loss of about $480 million.
The exchange reported having 127,000 creditors, liabilities of 6.5 billion yen ($64 million) and assets of 3.84 billion yen ($38 million).
It is common for alleged frauds that generate significant losses or attention to result in a slew of U.S. lawsuits seeking class action status, even if the alleged wrongful activity occurs outside the country.
“This is a case of serial mismanagement, if not outright fraud, by Karpeles and Mt. Gox,” said Steven Woodrow, a partner at the Edelson law firm in Denver, who filed Greene’s lawsuit. “Users of the exchange are collectively out millions while Mt. Gox holds onto their bitcoins. We intend to get to the bottom of this in an American court.”
Now shipping estimates for new orders stretched into April in several foreign markets, including China, France, Germany, Japan, and the U.K., as first reported by MacGeneration, which is based in France. Soon after, Apple’s U.S. and Canadian online stores followed suit, showing April as the estimated ship date.
Although the Mac Pro — a distinctive-looking black cylinder that’s 10 inches tall and about 7 inches in diameter — went on sale Dec. 19, it almost immediately slipped into back order. The February estimate was later pushed into March before today’s change to April.
The pricey computer starts at $2,999 for the low-end stock configuration and can be tricked out to a top price of $9,599.
At least one analyst predicted that the Mac Pro, while catering to the line’s traditional power users, creative professionals and engineers, would also become a status symbol of sorts for those with the wherewithal to buy one.
The shipping delays continue to hint at low production volumes at the new Apple factory in Austin, Texas, where the computer is assembled. Apple has touted the Mac Pro’s built-in-the-U.S.A. trait, including a rare tweet by CEO Tim Cook at the machine’s launch.
Shortages of the Mac Pro will not materially affect Apple’s bottom line, as the Mac division accounted for just 11% of the company’s revenue for the December quarter. The Mac Pro, while expensive, will make up only a fraction of the unit sales of the line overall, which last quarter reached 4.8 million, the majority of those notebooks from the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro families.
But the extended shortages mean that the revenue the Mac Pro produces is being pushed from the current quarter into the calendar’s second. They also are reminiscent of the fiasco Apple created in late 2012 and early 2013, when it announced a redesigned iMac without an inventory even as it pulled the older models from its stores.
The shortages also spurred profit takers to list their new Mac Pro systems on eBay at prices significantly higher than list.
Mac Pro prices on the auction and sales website today were as high as $6,250 for a configuration that Apple sells for $3,999, a 56% markup. Another of the several listings asked $4,499 for a system that runs $2,999 from Apple, a 50% profit for the seller.
The report attributed the low demand to a market where consumers have little interest in buying new TVs after upgrading to high-definition, flat screen models less than 10 years ago.
U.S. TV shipments in 2013 declined to 34 million units, compared to 37.5 million in 2012.
Last year, the U.S. television market consisted entirely of liquid-crystal display (LCD) and plasma display panel (PDP) sets, with old analog tube-type TVs long gone and the last rear-projection TVs having exited the market completely in 2012.
Both the LCD and PDP segments lost volume in 2013 from a year earlier.LCD TV shipments slid to 31.9 million units, down 6%, and PDP TV shipments plunged 42% to 2.1 million.
The largest plasma makers, such as Panasonic, have said they will discontinue producing large-screen plasma TV models due to cost.
“The TV market in the United States has reached a point of saturation following a period of huge growth in years past, especially as the flat-panel-TV craze set in,” said IHS TV analyst Veronica Gonzalez-Thayer. “As a result of the market’s maturity, and also because of lingering uncertainties in the economy, American consumers have been less eager to rush out and buy new replacement TV sets.”
The sharp decline in sales marks a big change from robust earlier years. From 2009 to 2011, the U.S. TV market grew or remained at healthy levels, and each year saw shipments of more than 38 million units. In contrast, 2012 volume was less than 37 million, and shipments last year dipped below the 34 million mark for the first time in five years, IHS said.
While Plasma TVs are on their way out, the LCD TV segment was down for the second year in a row.
The decline in U.S. TV shipments last year also translated to lower revenue, which was down 12% to $23.5 billion from $26.9 billion in 2012, IHS stated.
The one bright spot in IHS’s report was an increase in the shipments of large,smart TVs, which have features such as Internet connectivity and full high-definition 1080p resolution. Overall, however, those increases did not offset a 3% decline in prices for the units, Gonzalez-Thayer said.
Gonzalez-Thayer said the TV market will start to stabilize this year as the consumer purchase cycle readjusts after two years of continuous losses. Shipment growth will be flat to slightly positive in 2014, she predicted.
And for the first time, active-matrix organic light-emitting-diode (AMOLED) TVs will be entering the U.S. market in perceptible volume.
The IHS report shows about 8,000 AMOLED TVs are expected to ship in 2014.
AMOLED TVs feature super-thin form factors and significantly improved contrast ratios. Gonzalez-Thayer said those features could appeal to TV connoisseurs eager to become first adopters, even though the new TVs comes with steep pricing that puts them out of the reach of most consumers.
The two companies, both major players in the smartphone industry, said they have agreed on a “patent and technology collaboration” that will settle all outstanding litigation.
Precise details were not revealed, but the companies said HTC will pay Nokia an undisclosed sum and the collaboration will involve HTC’s patents on LTE technology. LTE, often called 4G, is a high-speed wireless data transmission technology being rolled out by carriers in many countries.
Nokia’s chief intellectual property officer, Paul Melin, hailed the agreement as validating Nokia’s patents while HTC’s general counsel, Grace Lei, said her company was “pleased to come to this agreement.”
Nokia had asserted since 2012 that HTC infringed on about 50 of its patents and engaged in unauthorized use of proprietary innovations.
The cases had been making their way through the courts in countries including the U.K., Germany, Italy, Japan and the U.S.
In March 2013, Nokia won an injunction in Germany against some HTC smartphones that were found to infringe upon a power-saving technology.
In September, the U.S. International Trade Commission A ruled HTC infringed two patents held by Nokia related to cellphones and tablets, and in October the High Court of England and Wales ruled that some HTC devices infringed on a Nokia mobile network standard patent.
Nokia won a sales ban against the HTC One Minismartphone in the U.K. as a result of that latter judgment.
Patent battles between major smartphone manufacturers have become a common part of the industry in the years since Apple introduced the iPhone and sparked the smartphone boom. Faced with a highly competitive marketplace, companies have been suing each other when one considers a competitor’s products look too similar to their own.