Pentagon Elects Not To Shoot Down Chinese Spy Balloon Traveling Over Montana

"A Chinese spy balloon is floating over the continental United States," writes Slashdot reader q4Fry. "As it headed over Montana, 'civilian flights in the area were halted and U.S. military aircraft, including advanced F-22 fighter jets, were put in the air.'" The Washington Post reports: The balloon's flight path takes it over "a number of sensitive sites," the senior [Pentagon] official said, but it appears it does not have the ability collect information that is "over and above" other tools at China's disposal, like low-orbit satellites. Nevertheless, the Pentagon is taking undisclosed "mitigation steps" to prevent Beijing from gathering additional intelligence. "We put some things on station in the event that a decision was made to bring this down," the official said. "So we wanted to make sure we were coordinating with civil authorities to empty out the airspace around that potential area. But even with those protective measures taken, it was the judgment of our military commanders that we didn't drive the risk down low enough. So we didn't take the shot." "The US believes Chinese spy satellites in low Earth orbit are capable of offering similar or better intelligence, limiting the value of whatever Beijing can glean from the high-altitude balloon, which is the size of three buses," reports CNN, citing a defense official. "It does not create significant value added over and above what the PRC is likely able to collect through things like satellites in low Earth orbit," the senior defense official said. Nevertheless, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy called for a briefing of the "Gang of Eight" -- the group of lawmakers charged with reviewing the nation's most sensitive intelligence information. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2023-02-02 21:45:03 preview's
Apple Hits Milestone of 2 Billion Active Devices As Services Set New Revenue Record

In its quarterly earnings report today, Apple said the company passed the 2 billion device milestone while Services have hit a new revenue record. 9to5Mac reports: Apple saw a dip for its Q1 2023 fiscal quarter with just over $117 billion in revenue. That's down 5% YoY -- with the compare being its all-time record for fiscal Q1 in 2022 which saw $123.95 billion in revenue. However, the company pointed out two bright spots with 2 billion of its devices now in use and a fresh revenue record for its Services. Last year at this time Apple shared it hit 1.8 billion active devices. That means it added more than 200 million Apple devices in the last 12 months to surpass the 2 billion mark. That's impressive since its installed base was growing by around 100-150 million new devices per year since 2019. And active devices doubled from 1 to 2 billion in just seven years. As for the Services, it saw a record $20.8 billion in revenue for the quarter, slightly beating the $19.5 billion estimate. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2023-02-02 20:30:04 preview's
Decentralized Social Media Project Nostr's Damus Gets Listed On Apple App Store

Nostr, a startup decentralized social network, got its Twitter-like Damus application listed on Apple's App Store. CoinDesk reports: Nostr is an open protocol that aims to create a censorship-resistant global social network. Media commentators have described it as a possible alternative to Elon Musk's Twitter. According to an article in Protos, Nostr is popular with bitcoiners partly because most implementations of it support payments over Bitcoin's Lightning Network. Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who last year donated roughly 14 BTC (worth $245,000 at the time) to fund Nostr's development, hailed the debut of Damus on Apple's App Store as a "milestone for open protocols," in a tweet posted late Tuesday. As of press time, the tweet had been viewed 2.1 million times. According to the Nostr website, Damus is one of several Nostr projects, including Anigma, a Telegram-like chat; Nostros, a mobile client; and Jester, a chess application. You can download the iOS app here. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2023-02-02 20:00:04 preview's
Documents Show Meta Paid For Data Scraping Despite Years of Denouncing It

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Engadget: Meta has routinely fought data scrapers, but it also participated in that practice itself -- if not necessarily for the same reasons. Bloomberg has obtained legal documents from a Meta lawsuit against a former contractor, Bright Data, indicating that the Facebook owner paid its partner to scrape other websites. Meta spokesperson Andy Stone confirmed the relationship in a discussion with Bloomberg, but said his company used Bright Data to build brand profiles, spot "harmful" sites and catch phishing campaigns, not to target competitors. Stone added that data scraping could serve "legitimate integrity and commercial purposes" so long as it was done legally and honored sites' terms of service. Meta terminated its arrangement with Bright Data after the contractor allegedly violated company terms when gathering and selling data from Facebook and Instagram. Neither Bright Data nor Meta is saying which sites they scraped. Bright Data is countersuing Meta in a bid to keep scraping Facebook and Instagram, arguing that it only collects publicly available information and respects both European Union and US regulations. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2023-02-02 19:15:02 preview's
Back At Google Again, Cofounder Sergey Brin Just Filed His First Code Request In Years

After years of day-to-day absence, Google cofounder Sergey Brin filed a request for access to code related to the company's natural language chatbot, LaMDA. Forbes reports: Two sources said the request was related to LaMDA, Google's natural language chatbot -- a project initially announced in 2021, but which has recently garnered increased attention as Google tries to fend off rival OpenAI, which released the popular ChatGPT bot in November. Brin filed a "CL," short for "changelist," to gain access to the data that trains LaMDA, one person who saw the request said. It was a two line change to a configuration file to add his username to the code, that person said. Several dozen engineers gave the request LGTM approval, short for "looks good to me." Some of the approvals came from workers outside of that team, seemingly just eager to be able to say they gave code review approval to the company cofounder, that person added. The move was a small technical change, but underscores how seriously the company is taking the looming threat from OpenAI and other competitors. Brin and cofounder Larry Page have been largely absent from the company since 2019, when Page handed the reins over to Sundar Pichai to become CEO of Google parent Alphabet. But Pichai has recently called in the company founders to review the company's AI strategy and help form a response to ChatGPT, according to the New York Times. Brin's tinkering highlights the level of involvement the cofounders have taken. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2023-02-02 17:45:04 preview's
Anker Finally Comes Clean About Its Eufy Security Cameras

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: First, Anker told us it was impossible. Then, it covered its tracks. It repeatedly deflected while utterly ignoring our emails. So shortly before Christmas, we gave the company an ultimatum: if Anker wouldn't answer why its supposedly always-encrypted Eufy cameras were producing unencrypted streams -- among other questions -- we would publish a story about the company's lack of answers. It worked. In a series of emails to The Verge, Anker has finally admitted its Eufy security cameras are not natively end-to-end encrypted -- they can and did produce unencrypted video streams for Eufy's web portal, like the ones we accessed from across the United States using an ordinary media player. But Anker says that's now largely fixed. Every video stream request originating from Eufy's web portal will now be end-to-end encrypted -- like they are with Eufy's app -- and the company says it's updating every single Eufy camera to use WebRTC, which is encrypted by default. Reading between the lines, though, it seems that these cameras could still produce unencrypted footage upon request. That's not all Anker is disclosing today. The company has apologized for the lack of communication and promised to do better, confirming it's bringing in outside security and penetration testing companies to audit Eufy's practices, is in talks with a "leading and well-known security expert" to produce an independent report, is promising to create an official bug bounty program, and will launch a microsite in February to explain how its security works in more detail. Those independent audits and reports may be critical for Eufy to regain trust because of how the company has handled the findings of security researchers and journalists. It's a little hard to take the company at its word! But we also think Anker Eufy customers, security researchers and journalists deserve to read and weigh those words, particularly after so little initial communication from the company. That's why we're publishing Anker's full responses [here]. As highlighted by Ars Technica, some of the notable statements include: - Its web portal now prohibits users from entering "debug mode." - Video stream content is encrypted and inaccessible outside the portal. - While "only 0.1 percent" of current daily users access the portal, it "had some issues," which have been resolved. - Eufy is pushing WebRTC to all of its security devices as the end-to-end encrypted stream protocol. - Facial recognition images were uploaded to the cloud to aid in replacing/resetting/adding doorbells with existing image sets, but has been discontinued. No recognition data was included with images sent to the cloud. - Outside of the "recent issue with the web portal," all other video uses end-to-end encryption. - A "leading and well-known security expert" will produce a report about Eufy's systems. - "Several new security consulting, certification, and penetration testing" firms will be brought in for risk assessment. - A "Eufy Security bounty program" will be established. - The company promises to "provide more timely updates in our community (and to the media!)." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2023-02-02 17:15:04 preview's
Razer’s $280 mouse is covered in gaping holes 

With a magnesium-alloy exoskeleton, the Viper Mini SE weighs 1.73 ounces.
2023-02-02 16:30:03 preview's
After 16 years of freeware, Dwarf Fortress creators get their $7M payday

"When we pass from this world, you will be the reason we are remembered."
2023-02-02 16:30:02 preview's
Razer Debuts Its Lightest Gaming Mouse Ever

Razer announced its lightest gaming mouse today, the Viper Mini Signature Edition. From a report: It only weighs 49g, making it 16 percent lighter than the company's Viper V2 Pro and one of the most lightweight mice we've seen from a large company. The mouse uses a magnesium alloy exoskeleton with a semi-hollow interior (bearing a slight resemblance to the SteelSeries Aerox 3 Wireless). "We wanted to push beyond the traditional honeycomb design, and this required a material with an outstanding strength-to-weight ratio," said Razer's Head of Industrial Design, Charlie Bolton. "After evaluating plastics, carbon fiber and even titanium, we ultimately chose magnesium alloy for its exceptional properties." Razer says the mouse uses its fastest wireless tech and will be among its best-performing wireless mice. Price: $280. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2023-02-02 15:45:01 preview's
ISP admits lying to FCC about size of network to block funding to rivals

ISP gave FCC false coverage information to prevent others from getting grants.
2023-02-02 15:00:06