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OnePlus Phones Have Dangerous Hacking Backdoor

November 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Hackers who obtained OnePlus phones can obtain virtually unlimited access to files and software through use of a testing tool called EngineerMode that the company evidently left on the devices.

Robert Baptiste, a freelance security researcher who goes by the name Elliot Alderson on Twitter after the “Mr. Robot” TV show character, found the tool on a OnePlus phone and tweeted his findings Monday. Researchers at security firm SecureNow helped figure out the tool’s password, a step that means hackers can get unrestricted privileges on the phone as long as they have the device in their possession.

The EngineeerMode software functions as a backdoor, granting access to someone other than an authorized user. Escalating those privileges to full do-anything “root” access required a few lines of code, Baptiste said.

“It’s quite severe,” Baptiste said via a Twitter direct message.

OnePlus disagreed, though it said it’s decided to modify EngineerTool.

“EngineerMode is a diagnostic tool mainly used for factory production line functionality testing and after sales support,” the company said in a statement. Root access “is only accessible if USB debugging, which is off by default, is turned on, and any sort of root access would still require physical access to your device. While we don’t see this as a major security issue, we understand that users may still have concerns and therefore we will remove the adb [Android Debug Bridge command-line tool] root function from EngineerMode in an upcoming OTA.”

SecureNow found the tool on the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 5. Android Police reported it’s also on the OnePlus 3T. And Baptiste said it’s also on the new OnePlus 5T.

Baptiste had spotted evidence that EngineerMode was written by mobile chipmaker Qualcomm. But Qualcomm said Wednesday that’s not the case.

“After an in-depth investigation, we have determined that the EngineerMode app in question was not authored by Qualcomm,” the company said in a statement. “Although remnants of some Qualcomm source code is evident, we believe that others built upon a past, similarly named Qualcomm testing app that was limited to displaying device information. EngineerMode no longer resembles the original code we provided.”

Facebook Has A Unique Way To Fight Revenge Porn

November 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Facebook is prompting people to share their nude photos. But this isn’t what it sounds like.

The goal of the social network’s plan is to make sure people’s nude photos aren’t used for revenge porn by a disgruntled ex-boyfriend or girlfriend, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

The way it’ll work is people will share their photos with Facebook via its Messenger app and the company will then “hash” the images, which is a process that converts the photos into a unique digital code. Once Facebook has that code, it can block the images from ever being uploaded to its site. The company will store the images for a short time and then delete them.

The company is piloting the technology in Australia with a small government agency headed by e-Safety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant.

We see many scenarios where maybe photos or videos were taken consensually at one point, but there was not any sort of consent to send the images or videos more broadly,” Inman Grant told the ABC.

Other tech companies have used similar types of hashing technology in efforts to rid the internet of child pornography. Google, Microsoft, and Twitter have used unique digital codes to detect exploitative images, some of which have led to the arrests of people distributing the photographs on the web.

Facebook didn’t immediately respond to request for comment.

Apple May Not Use Qualcomm Chips For Next iPhone

November 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Apple Inc has designed iPhones and iPads that is capable of discontinuing use of chips supplied by Qualcomm Inc, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The change would affect iPhones released in the fall of 2018, but Apple could still change course before then, these people said. They declined to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the matter with the media.

 The dispute stems from a change in supply arrangements under which Qualcomm has stopped providing some software for Apple to test its chips in its iPhone designs, one of the people told Reuters.

The two companies are locked in a multinational legal dispute over the Qualcomm’s licensing terms to Apple.

Qualcomm told Reuters it is providing fully tested chips to Apple for iPhones. “We are committed to supporting Apple’s new devices consistent with our support of all others in the industry,” Qualcomm said in a statement.

The Wall Street Journal first reported that Apple could drop Qualcomm chips Monday.

Bernstein analyst Stacy Rasgon said Apple’s move is not totally unexpected.

Though Qualcomm has for several years supplied Apple’s modems – which help Apple’s phones connect to wireless data networks – Intel Corp (INTC.O) has provided upward of half of Apple’s modem chips for iPhones in recent years, Rasgon said. Intel in 2015 acquired a firm that would let it replace more of Qualcomm’s chips in iPhones, Rasgon said.

 Rasgon said it’s too early to say definitively whether Apple fully intends to drop Qualcomm next year because Apple can likely make multiple contingency plans for different supplier scenarios.

“Apple is big enough that they want to support multiple paths, they can do that,” Rasgon said. “Samsung (Electronics Co did this too. A couple of years ago, Samsung designed Qualcomm out, but Qualcomm didn’t even know until it was close to time to ship” Samsung’s phones, Rasgon said.

 

 

Walmart Piloting Self-scanning Robots In Some Stores

October 27, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Wal-Mart Stores Inc will debut shelf-scanning robots in approximately 40 stores to replenish inventory faster on its shelves and save store employees time when products run out.

The company has been piloting such robots in a handful of stores.

“If you are running up and down the aisle, and you want to decide if we are out of Cheerios or not, a human doesn’t do that job very well and they don’t like it,” Chief Technology Officer Jeremy King told Reuters.

The robots are about 2 feet in size and come with a tower on their backs that is fitted with cameras, which scan aisles to check stocks, missing items and if products have been left in the wrong place by customers.

They are 50 percent more productive, can scan shelves three times faster than their human counterparts and significantly improve accuracy levels, King said. Store employees are only able to scan shelves about twice a week.

Out-of-stocks are a big challenge for retailers, which miss out on sales every time a shopper is unable to find a product on store shelves.

Toyota Aims For Automous, Talking Cars By 2020

October 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Toyota Motor Corp announced that it would begin testing self-driving electric cars around 2020, which will use artificial intelligence (AI) to engage with drivers, as the company competes with tech firms to develop new vehicles.

The car, whose concept model was unveiled earlier this year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, will be able to converse with drivers, while building up knowledge of users’ preferences, habits and emotions through deep learning, the company said.

“By using AI technology, we want to expand and enhance the driving experience, making cars an object of affection again,” said Makoto Okabe, general manager of Toyota’s EV business planning division.

Facing competition from rival automakers and tech companies to produce self-driving, intelligent cars, Toyota has committed $1 billion through 2020 to develop advanced automated driving and AI technology.

The Concept-i model, a battery-electric car which will have a cruising range of 300 kilometers (180 miles) on a single charge, will be able to estimate the emotions and alertness of drivers by reading their expressions, actions and tone of voice.

Using this information, the vehicle will be able to take over driving responsibilities when necessary — after assessing the driver is too tired to drive safely, for example — and also interact with the driver and passengers.

Facing a future where car ownership may be overtaken by new mobility services, automakers are ramping up investment to develop AI capabilities to enhance the driving experience.

 Ford Motor Co earlier this year invested $1 billion in Argo AI, a start-up set up by former employees of Uber Technologies’ self-driving car development team, to develop an on-demand self-driving car service. General Motors Co has also been investing in AI start-ups.

Honda Motor Co 7267.T. and Softbank Corp announced last year that they were teaming up to use humanoid robotic technology in cars to enable them to communicate with drivers.

Is Amazon About To Release Smart Glasses With Alexa On Board

September 28, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

The dark satanic rumor mill has manufactured a hell on earth yarn that Amazon is about to release a set of smart glasses.

The device, designed like a regular pair of spectacles, will allow Amazon’s digital assistant Alexa to be summoned anytime at all places.

There would be a bone-conduction audio system in the device to allow the wearer to hear Alexa without inserting headphones into his or her ears, according to the report.

Earlier this year, Alphabet Inc re-introduced its own wearable glass headset, Google Glass, after discontinuing its production last year. However, we are yet to see anything appear on the marketplace outside the Google glass developer product.

Courtesy-Fud

AMD’s Raven Ridge Will Offer Vast Improvement Upon Release

September 26, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Leaked benchmarks for AMD’s forthcoming Raven Ridge APUs suggest that upcoming devices, expected to be launched in time for Christmas, will outperform current Bristol Ridge APUs by up to 90 per cent on multicore applications. 

According to WCCFTech, scores for the AMD Ryzen 5 2500U indicate that, compared to the current AMD A12-9800B APU, the new processor is more than 50 per cent faster in terms of single-core performance, and around 90 per cent faster on multi-core workloads.

The leaked benchmarks for the AMD part shows a score of 3,625 on Geekbench for single-core performance and a score of 9,723 for multi-core. That compares with scores of 2,315 and 5,115, respectively, for an HP Elitebook 745 G4 packing the AMD Pro A12-9800B four-core Bristol Ridge APU.

The Raven Ridge APUs will be the first integrated devices featuring a combination of AMD’s Zen microarchitecture, which it launched in March this year, and its Vega graphics processing unit (GPU) microarchitecture, which it released this summer.

Information released by AMD earlier this year suggests that the new APUs ought to provide at least a 50 per cent boost to CPU performance while consuming half the power. The new devices are expected to appear first in low-end and mid-range laptops.

Both Zen and Vega are designed to run on a 14nm process architecture, compared to their predecessor technology’s 28nm. While Zen, in the form of Ryzen desktop CPUs, have been well received, the reception for Vega has been more muted, with debut devices not providing the big performance leap over rival Nvidia many had expected.

On top of that, AMD’s preference for HDM memory over GDDR5 has also added to the cost of graphics cards based on Vega, while bitcoin miners have also snapped up much of the early production, forcing mainstream buyers either to pay a premium for AMD’s latest graphics cards – or buy cards by Nvidia instead.
Courtesy-TheInq

Will VW Have All Electric Cars By 2030

September 19, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

In a move which will see it never have to face another emissions scandal,  Adolf Hitler’s favorite car company has announced it will be all electric by 2030.

Volkswagen AG Chief Executive Officer Matthias Mueller announced sweeping plans to build electric versions of all 300 models in the group’s lineup as the world’s largest automaker accelerates the shift away from combustion engines.

Speaking on the eve of the Frankfurt auto show, the CEO laid out the enormity of the task ahead, vowing to spend 20 billion euros to develop and bring the models to market by 2030 and promising to plow another 50 billion euros into the batteries needed to power the cars.

All 12 of Volkswagen’s 12 brands are behind the push, which has the aim of catching up with the likes of Tesla and transform from a battery-vehicle laggard into a leader.

Mueller said VW will need the equivalent of at least four gigafactories for battery cells by 2025 just to meet its own vehicle production.

At 50 billion euros, the CEO announced one of the largest tenders in the industry’s history for the procurement of batteries.

By 2025, VW aims to have 50 purely battery-powered vehicles and 30 hybrid models in its lineup, with a goal of selling as many as three million purely battery-powered cars by then. The transformation will pick up speed after that to reach the 2030 goal as economies of scale and better infrastructure help bring down prices and accelerate sales.

Courtesy-Fud

AT&T Adding More Cities To 5G Trials

August 31, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

AT&T Inc has announced plans to expand its 5G trials to include three additional U.S. cities by the end of the year as part of its push to develop a next-generation network.

The trials will test a faster broadband service where the last leg of the connection is delivered via a radio signal to a home or business using high-band wireless airwaves known as millimeter wave. Participants in the trials will be able to stream AT&T’s DirecTV Now service over a 5G connection as well as experience shorter lag times for uses such as video conferencing and virtual-reality gaming.

The No. 2 wireless carrier, which is currently conducting similar trials in Austin, will extend them to Waco, Texas; Kalamazoo, Michigan; and South Bend, Indiana, the company said. In those markets, AT&T plans to have more trial participants, which could include small businesses, universities and churches, and larger coverage areas.

 The service, called fixed wireless, is expected to be the first application of 5G technologies and could eventually be a competitor to the high-speed Internet services offered by cable companies. It could also be less costly to the companies than deploying fiber to the home.

The tests are intended to help AT&T determine whether millimeter wave spectrum can travel through foliage and buildings, as well as how weather affects the signal.

The company expects deployment of the service as early as late 2018. It is working with Ericsson, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, Nokia and Intel Corp on the trials.

Rival wireless carrier Verizon Communications Inc has said it is conducting pre-commercial trials for fixed wireless in 11 cities and that it expects a 2018 launch.

Jonathan Chaplin, an analyst at New Street Research, said in an interview that fixed wireless service would likely serve niche markets where there is no existing infrastructure for broadband.

“If there is physical infrastructure, the business case for fixed wireless becomes pretty challenging,” he said. “You’re more likely to get more reliable service over fiber.”

Still, both AT&T and Verizon have been buying millimeter wave spectrum in preparation for fixed wireless and recently got into a bidding war over an asset. In May, Verizon snapped up wireless spectrum holder Straight Path Communications Inc in a $3.1 billion deal, roughly double AT&T’s initial offer.

Domino’s Pizza Teams With Ford On Autonomous Cars Pizza Delivery

August 30, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Ford Motor Co and Domino’s Pizza Inc in September will begin testing Michigan consumers’ reactions to having their pizza delivered by autonomous vehicles, the companies said.

It will not be the first experiment with advanced pizza delivery technology. Australia-based Domino’s Pizza Enterprises, the Ann Arbor-based company’s largest independent franchisee, has tested delivery to customers in New Zealand via drone and self-driving robot.

In a blog post last week, Sherif Marakby, head of Ford’s autonomous and electric vehicles, signaled the automaker’s broader ambitions, saying Ford planned to cooperate “with multiple partners” in deploying self-driving vehicles “designed to improve the movement of people and goods.”

 Previously, Ford executives had said the company expected to launch a self-driving shuttle for commercial ride-sharing fleets in 2021.

Domino’s and Ford will deliver pizzas to randomly selected customers in the Ann Arbor area in a Ford Fusion Hybrid equipped with self-driving technology. The delivery vehicles initially will be piloted by human drivers.

Customers will be able to track the delivery process via GPS and will receive text messages on how to retrieve their pizzas once the delivery vehicle has arrived.

A number of start-up delivery services, many of them funded by venture capital, have been experimenting with on-demand delivery of different packages, including groceries, prepared food and beverages. So have larger companies, from Uber Technologies to Amazon.

Opinion is still divided, however, on whether automation can help solve some vexing delivery problems, such as how to deliver pizzas economically to the fifth floor of a college dorm.

The Ford-Domino’s test vehicle will not attempt to resolve that conundrum. It will stop outside the customer’s house, so it will not provide true door-to-door delivery service.

“We’re still focused on the last 50 feet,” said Domino’s spokeswoman Jenny Fouracre. “That’s a big challenge – getting (the pizza) from the curb to the door.”

Apple’s iOS 11 Has ‘Cop Button’ Feature

August 22, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Apple has added a brand new feature to easily disable Touch ID in iOS 11.

The feature, which is designed to aid calls for emergencies, allows users to quickly tap the power button five times to call 911 on an iPhone 7.

While this won’t automatically dial emergency services, it brings up the option to call 911 or temporarily disable Touch ID until the iPhone’s owner enters their passcode.

The new setting was first discovered by Twitter users in the iOS 11 public beta. They’ve since nicknamed the feature a “cop button,” notably after the FBI’s attempt to force Apple to unlock an iPhone used by Syed Farook, who killed 14 people in a 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California.

The incident led to a highly publicized war of words last year between the tech giant and the US government over security and privacy. Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

 

Microsoft’s Surface Tablets Not So Reliable, Says Consumer Reports

August 11, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

The breakage rate for Microsoft Corp’s Surface devices significantly outpaces that of other manufacturers’ laptops and tablets, Consumer Reports said, adding that it was removing its “recommended” designation for Surface products.

The non-profit publication surveyed 90,000 tablet and laptop owners and found that an estimated 25 percent of those with Microsoft Surface devices would be presented with “problems by the end of the second year of ownership,” according to a study published on Thursday.

“If you are very concerned about how long your products are going to last, it might be better for you to go with a brand that has a higher predicted reliability,” Jerry Beilinson, electronics editor at the consumer goods testing publication, said in an interview.

Microsoft disputed the study, saying the company’s return and support rates differ significantly from the Consumer Reports study.

“We don’t believe these findings accurately reflect Surface owners’ true experiences or capture the performance and reliability improvements made with every Surface generation,” the company said in a statement.

According to the Consumer Reports survey responses, the Microsoft devices were found to freeze, unexpectedly shut down or have issues with their touchscreens, Beilinson said.

Altogether, the reliability issues made Microsoft a statistical outlier compared with other brands. Apple Inc had the most reliable devices, Beilinson said.

Microsoft entered the hardware market with its first Surface tablet in 2012. Since then, the company has released a series of new Surface tablets and laptops, including the well-reviewed Surface Pro, which launched in May.

The Surface devices serve as a face for the company and exemplify how Microsoft’s manufacturing partners can build hardware around the Windows 10 operating system. However, Surface is a small part of Microsoft’s overall revenue, and Surface revenue has declined year-over-year for the past two quarters.

Tesla Developing Self-driving Electric Truck

August 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Tesla Inc is working on a long-haul, electric semi-truck that can drive itself and move in “platoons” that automatically follow a lead vehicle, and is getting closer to testing a prototype, according to an email discussion of potential road tests between the car company and the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), seen by Reuters.

Meanwhile, California officials are meeting with Tesla on Wednesday “to talk about Tesla’s efforts with autonomous trucks,” state DMV spokeswoman Jessica Gonzalez told Reuters.

The correspondence and meeting show that Tesla is putting self-driving technology into the electric truck it has said it plans to unveil in September, and is advancing toward real-life tests, potentially moving it forward in a highly competitive area of commercial transport also being pursued by Uber Technologies Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Waymo.

After announcing intentions a year ago to produce a heavy-duty electric truck, Musk tweeted in April that the semi-truck would be revealed in September, and repeated that commitment at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in June, but he has never mentioned any autonomous-driving capabilities.

Tesla has been a leader in developing self-driving technology for its luxury cars, including the lower-priced Model 3, which it is beginning to manufacture.

Several Silicon Valley companies developing autonomous driving technology are working on long-haul trucks. They see the industry as a prime early market for the technology, citing the relatively consistent speeds and little cross-traffic trucks face on interstate highways and the benefits of allowing drivers to rest while trucks travel.

Some companies also are working on technology for “platooning”, a driving formation where trucks follow one another closely. If trucks at the back of the formation were able to automatically follow a lead vehicle, that could cut the need for drivers.

Silicon Valley startup Peloton Technology, for example, is working with several truck makers including Volvo on its platooning system, which it sees as a precursor to autonomy.

Lyft, Taco Bell Team Up In Drive-thru Deal

July 27, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Lyft is teaming up with Taco Bell to add a new feature that allows riders to stop at a drive-thru with newfound ease, the ride-hailing company has announced.

The app’s new Taco Mode lets you stop at a nearby Taco Bell midride for those munchies, and promises each use comes with a free Doritos Locos Taco.

That’s right, getting late night cravings satisfied is now on the horizon.

This is not the first munchie-friendly experiment from Lyft: On 4/20 it wrapped 17 Colorado cars in green to promote safe transportation so people wouldn’t drive under the influence.

Bad news is while Taco Mode will debut this weekend, July 27-30, it’s as a limited release in Orange County, California. Good news is the feature will eventually go live nationwide in 2018.

GM, Uber Team Up On Maven Ride-sharing Program

July 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

General Motors Co  announced that it is testing its car-sharing operation, Maven, in Australia through a pilot program with ride-hailing company Uber Technologies Inc.

The leasing agreement will allow Uber drivers to rent cars produced by GM’s Australian manufacturer GM Holden, the company said.

“We are testing the adoption of one Maven product – Maven Gig – in Australia through a pilot program in Sydney renting Holden cars to Uber drivers,” Sean Poppitt, communications director at GM Holden, said in a statement.

GM’s Maven Gig program is aimed at helping drivers rent a car on demand for independent gigs such as package delivery, food or grocery delivery, and ridesharing, at a time when more people are expected to take up freelance work.

It is currently operational in San Diego and set to be launched in San Francisco and Los Angeles later this year, GM said in May.

GM announced a similar North American partnership with Uber in November last year.

A spokesman for Uber was not immediately available for comment.

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