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    Online

    Man reportedly paid 1 for a PS4 after pretending it was fruit

    It’s the most white-collar of crimes: lying at the self-serve at the supermarket. You know the drill: you approach the self-serve desk at the shop. You scan the barcode or you weigh the fruit and pay the money.  Or do you? Maybe you just tell a little white lie…  It’s a trick usually employed by hucksters trying to buy fancy tomatoes at regular tomato prices, or avoiding paying extravagant prices for grapes. This time the trick was used to pay 9.29 euros for a 340-euro game console. That works out roughly 1, £8 or AU5 — instead of 90, £295 or AU40. Good price if you can get it. As…

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    Apple’s FaceTime bug was discovered by a teen playing Fortnite

    Before the world learned about Apple’s FaceTime bug, a 14-year-old Arizona boy first discovered it, while playing a game of Fortnite with friends. On Jan. 19, Michele Thompson’s son started a group FaceTime call with his buddies, so they could talk while playing the online game. He added a friend and was able to listen to conversations through the friend’s phone, even though the friend hadn’t yet answered the call. He first reported the bug to his mother, a lawyer, who says she spent the last week, before the bug became widely known, trying to warn Apple. Apple users were vulnerable to a major security hole that essentially turned any…

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    Security

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    It’s done. Former NSA contractor Reality Winner was sentenced to more than five years in jail for leaking classified government information to the media. On Thursday, a federal court in Augusta, Georgia, approved and sentenced the 26-year-old to 63 months in jail, CBS News reported. It’s reportedly the longest sentence imposed for a federal crime that involves leaking to the media. ‘Winner’s purposeful violation put our nation’s security at risk,’ Bobby Christine, US attorney in Georgia, said in a release. ‘The US has to balance the need for prosecution with the damage that further disclosure of classified information at trial might cause. [Winner’s sentence] will give pause to others who…

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    Walmart’s e-books store opens for business

    Walmart wants to become your new go-to store for digital books. The big-box retailer said Tuesday it’s opening its first-ever e-books storefront, thanks to a partnership with Rakuten Kobo. Kobo’s library of 6 million digital titles will now be available on Walmart’s US website, supplementing Walmart’s existing selection of physical books. Walmart is also offering an audiobook subscription service for .99 — less than Amazon’s rival Audible subscription. The new e-books store augments Walmart’s push to expand its online selection, part of a digital sales growth strategy aimed at becoming a stronger competitor to Amazon, the leader in online retail. In July, Walmart expanded its online assortment of baby gear and…

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    DuckDuckGo hits 30M daily searches as more people flock toward privacy

    DuckDuckGo now runs 30 million private searches a day. The privacy-focused search engine on Thursday said in a tweet that ‘it took us seven years to reach 10 million private searches in one day, then another two years to hit 20 million, and now less than a year later we’re at 30 million! Thank you all. #ComeToTheDuckSide.’ DuckDuckGo fun fact: it took us seven years to reach 10 million private searches in one day, then another two years to hit 20 million, and now less than a year later we’re at 30 million! Thank you all 😃 #ComeToTheDuckSide/t.co/qlSaz4j9ZH — DuckDuckGo (@DuckDuckGo) October 11, 2018 Founded in 2008, DuckDuckGo lets users…

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    Microsoft Bing’s China outage may have been a technical error, not a block

    China’s government may not have censored Microsoft’s Bing search engine after all. The service’s outage stemmed from a technical problem, Reuters reported Monday, citing an anonymous source. Microsoft didn’t get any prior notice of a block from the Chinese government and it wasn’t an intentional move, the source reportedly said. The Financial Times reported last week that the outage was the result of a government order. The outage resulted in Chinese internet users who tried to access cn.bing.com being directed to an error page, as they would if they tried to access other sites blocked in the country, the outlet reported. The problem lasted from Thursday to late Friday, it…

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    Security

    Hackers demand bitcoin from PGA in ransomware attack, says report

    Hackers have hit the links.  Just to be clear, we’re talking about computer hackers, not bad golfers. And they’ve broken into servers at the PGA of America, locking up marketing materials for the this week’s PGA Championship and the upcoming Ryder Cup in France, according to a BBC report. Possibly envious duffers, the hackers have locked up the PGA computers with ransomware, the software that encrypts computer files until a payment is made. No surprise, the hackers have asked for a payment in bitcoin, according to Golfweek. The publication didn’t specify the amount being requested.  The hackers reportedly left a message warning the PGA staff not to attempt breaking the encryption. ‘This…

  • 646-805-7826 SpaceX, Tesla and The Boring Company founder Elon Musk speaks at the 2018 SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition, in Hawthorne, California. Picture: Robyn Beck
    Online

    Elon Musk’s wild spray in private email to journo

    AN ANGRY email Elon Musk sent to a journalist, which he intended to be “off the record”, further suggests the Tesla and SpaceX CEO is struggling to cope with the intense pressure he is under. The expletive-laden email has also ignited debate about the ethics of journalism after the message exchange was published on social media. Buzzfeed journalist Ryan Mac was seeking comment from the increasingly controversial billionaire regarding a legal threat of defamation from the lawyer of a Thai cave diver who Musk had publicly called “pedo guy”, suggesting he was paedophile, without any evidence of any kind. The 47-year-old Silicon Valley mogul didn’t mince his words when he…

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    Online

    Biggest tech traps of 2018

    We may remember 2018 as the year when technology’s dystopian potential became clear, from Facebook’s role in enabling the harvesting of our personal data for election interference, to a seemingly unending series of revelations about the dark side of Silicon Valley’s ‘connect-everything’ ethos. The list is long: Hi-tech tools for immigration crackdowns. Fears of smartphone addiction. YouTube algorithms that steer youths into extremism. An experiment in gene-edited babies. Doorbells and concert venues that can pinpoint individual faces and alert police. Repurposing genealogy websites to hunt for crime suspects based on a relative’s DNA. Automated systems that keep tabs of workers’ movements and habits. Electric cars in Shanghai transmitting their every…

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    Security

    Apple knocks Facebook with shutdown over app privacy flap

    Facebook has run into trouble with Apple over a controversial data-collecting app the social network used for market research, and that could impact Facebook’s ability to test other apps internally. Facebook paid people between the ages of 13 to 35 up to 0 per month along with referral fees to download an app that allowed the company to access a user’s phone and web activity as part of market research. That software gives Facebook access to the users’ data including web searches, location data and private messages. On Wednesday, Apple blocked Facebook from offering the Facebook Research app to iPhone users. Facebook sidestepped Apple’s review process for consumer apps by going through a…