In a coordinated takedown, law enforcement agents around the world have teamed up to shut down the well-known cybercrime forum Darkode, pursuing 70 of its members and associates resulting in 28 arrests so far. In the US, the Department of Justice and the FBI have announced criminal charges against 12 individuals including the site’s alleged admin, Johan Anders Gudmunds, aka Mafi aka Crim aka Synthet!c, and the seizure of the site’s servers. Dubbed Operation Shrouded Horizon, the effort by police in 20 countries took on a forum known as a place for cyber criminals to swap tips and tools (botnets, spamming services, you name it) of the trade. Brian Krebs has been reporting on Darkode’s community for quite some time, including a profile published after its administrators tricked him into publishing details on a fake Java exploit.
You could only gain access to the password-protected site by invite, so it will be interesting to find out (the investigation is still ongoing) exactly how police got inside. Probably not coincidentally, the DoJ notes that two members of the forum recently plead guilty to charges relating to the SpyEye trojan designed to steal banking information.
Godmunds, a 27-year old from Sweden, is charged with not only running the site, but also operating a botnet, plus creating and selling malware to help other people create their own. Morgan Culbertson of Pittsburgh is charged with creating malware targeted towards Android phones, a New Yorker is accused of running a botnet that spread via Facebook and three Florida men have been charged with running a spam operation that exploited vulnerable routers. Europol called Darkode “the place to go to if you were an English-speaking cybercriminal”, but now it’s just another closed-down website with a seizure notice.
[Image credit: Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press]
Filed under: Internet
Neil Young’s been touting the merits of high-resolution audio for some time now, and he’s had enough of streaming services’ quality. The singer is pulling his music from those subscription-based libraries, a move fellow artist Prince made just days ago (Prince’s tunes are still available on Tidal, of course). “I don’t need my music to be devalued by the worst quality in the history of broadcasting or any other form of distribution,” Young said. “I don’t feel right allowing this to be sold to my fans.” If you really need your fix of “My My, Hey Hey,” he’d probably suggest you try Pono. Young says that he may rethink the decision when and if sound quality improves, but for now, he’d rather his music not be compromised by “the worst quality in the history of broadcasting or any other form of distribution.” I wonder what his thoughts are on Tidal’s lossless tier.
[Image credit: Photo by Tommaso Boddi/WireImage]
Filed under: Internet
Via: Fact Magazine
Source: Neil Young (Facebook)
A day after we caught a glimpse of the best photo we’ve seen yet of Pluto, NASA has released an even closer shot of the dwarf planet: Behold the image above. In a press conference today, the team behind NASA’s New Horizons probe gave more information about what they learned from these new images. “This is a very young surface because we have yet to find craters,” said John Spencer from the Southwest Research Institute. “It’s less than a 100 million years old.” The mountains you see in that photo measure up to 11,000 feet high and is primarily made out of icy bedrock, while the overall surface appears to be covered in a layer of nitrogen, methane and carbon monoxide.
Aside from Pluto, the New Horizons probe also got better pictures of Pluto’s moons, particularly Charon (seen above), the largest of all five. There appears to be a dark spot near its north pole, which the team amusingly dubbed Mordor. They also spotted a canyon of around four to six miles deep. The New Horizons probe also caught a picture of Hydra, Pluto’s outermost moon, though the image is much more pixilated. It’s only 28 miles wide and 19 miles tall and apparently is so reflective that it’s probably composed mostly out of water ice. Oh, and as for that “heart” on Pluto that we saw earlier? It’s now officially named “Tombaugh Regio” after Clyde Tombaugh who discovered the dwarf planet. NASA plans to have another press briefing on Friday to go over more details uncovered about Pluto’s surface.
Filed under: Science
Immigration is a sensitive topic in the US, due to the millions of people living here without legal status. It’s known to spark heated debates throughout the country, with politicians, human rights activists and lawmakers all fighting for their respective cause. To get to the heart of it, you have to go to the deserts of Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas, which are main entry points for immigrants looking to cross into the US illegally. US security officials have spent years trying to stop this or, at the very least, slow it down — they’ve even built a massive wall along the Mexican border.
This ongoing conflict is what inspired Virtual Borders Arizona, an art exhibit that uses virtual reality to take you to one of the most dangerous deserts in the US — where it often reaches 100 degrees. For people chasing the American Dream, it is a deadly road to travel. The project, created by artist Jamie Toll, consists of three sculptures representing those who have dared cross Arizona’s dry areas, often in search of a better life for themselves and their loved ones. But his piece seems to go beyond that. It’s about the idea that physical borders, regardless of the law, limit human creativity and our ability to learn from each other as a species.
To deliver his work and message, Toll wanted to do something out of the ordinary. Instead of a traditional gallery, he took the sculptures to the middle of nowhere and captured stereoscopic, 360-degree panoramas of them. The last, and perhaps most important step, was to create a VR experience that could be enjoyed via Google Cardboard and other similar headsets. “Using VR as a technology enables the audience to experience the site [and] specific art in a completely new way,” says Gabija Grusaite, who is the content curator for the project. “It’s not about being a spectator anymore, but rather a fully immersed experience.”
“At some point of life everyone needs to cross [a] metaphorical desert in order to succeed or to survive.”
Interestingly enough, the sculptures are still located in remote locations of the Arizona desert — about a two- to three-hour drive away from Phoenix. And they’re not easy to miss, since each one measures roughly 20 feet in diameter. Ultimately, though, Grusaite says this exhibit is about shedding light on things that jeopardize people’s creative freedom. “We are aiming to raise a dialogue by taking people down to the desert and showing that [the] harsh terrain borders imposed by people are not important,” she explains. “Desert is a very powerful symbol of an extreme climate and landscape, and at some point of life everyone needs to cross a metaphorical desert in order to succeed or to survive.”
The experience itself is slightly underwhelming, namely because there’s not much room to interact with the story. Sure, you can see the sculptures displayed on the desert grounds, but the VR implementation could be stronger if it also shed light on other elements of the journey — like the gallons of water US citizens leave for migrants to drink in times of need. After all, Virtual Borders Arizona was created to make you feel as if you were an observer. And although it does do that to a certain degree, you never really “feel” as if you’re in the shoes of an immigrant. It’s definitely a more immersive representation than framed pictures on a wall, but you need more than virtual reality to understand what these people have gone through.
Virtual Borders Arizona made its debut in New York City yesterday, but the iOS and Android app won’t be available to everyone until later this week. So keep an eye on the App Store or Google Play if you’re interested in checking it out.
Source: Virtual Borders Arizona
Netflix is flying high enough to need a 7-for-1 stock split, but now it’s competing in a world where Showtime and HBO offer streaming video over the internet too. That makes today’s earnings results (PDF) ever more important, and not surprisingly, the company focused on its push for original, exclusive content. Now up to 65 million members worldwide (42 million in the US), Netflix mentioned that the debut of Orange is the New Black S3 resulted in viewers watching a record number of hours for one day the following Sunday, the same day as HBO’s Game of Thrones finale and an NBA Finals game.
Netflix says it will spend nearly $5 billion on content in 2016, including original movies like the ones it’s rolling out later this year. It just launched a redesigned website, and has a new look for TV apps on the way, but according to the letter, it’s also increasing its focus on mobile optimization.
[Image credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]
Source: Netflix (PDF)
Clinical depression is the kind of ailment that can sneak up on you, ruin your attitude, destroy motivation and lead to a multitude of other mental health issues. It can be managed if you’re aware of it, but a lot of depression goes undiagnosed. It doesn’t have to be that way–researchers think that smartphones could one day serve as an early-warning system by passively monitoring your behavior.
So far, only one study has explored the idea, but its results show enormous potential. Researchers recruited 40 volunteers from Cragistlist, tested them for depression using a standard demographics questionnaire and installed a test app on their phone that tracked their GPS location and phone usage data. Two weeks later, that data was compared to models to try and determine if there was a correlation user behavior and depression scores–and there were. Patients at risk for depression were not only more likely to spend time at home, but they used their phone more frequently, too. After adjusting for variables, the team figured it was able to detect depression with 87% accuracy. Not bad.
That said, the study has severe limitations: the study only covered a very brief time period with a narrow demographic–and almost all of the phone usage data was captured without context as to what the user was doing with the device at the time. Do depressed users text more? Use Facebook? Play games? The study just doesn’t know–but it’s at least transparent about these flaws. At best, the team admits that this is a preliminary look at the potential of phones to passively diagnose mental health issues.
The subject needs a lot more study, but it’s goals are worthwhile. “”Phones fit into the fabric of people’s lives. People tend to keep phones with them all or most of the time, and phones can provide data unobtrusively and with no effort on the part of the user,” the study concludes. “This capacity offers new opportunities to identify human behavior patterns associated with depression or other health and mental health disorders.” Want to read it for yourself? Check out the source link below.
More OnePlus shenanigans. In their announcement of the OnePlus Two, OnePlus claims that their phone will be running a Snapdragon 810 v2.1 in order to avoid the overheating issues that reportedly plague most smartphones.
“Although there have been reports that the 810 runs warmer than its predecessors, we assure you that we have taken all the necessary precautions and beyond to prevent this from occurring in the 2. We worked very closely with Qualcomm’s engineers to integrate an improved version of the chipset (v2.1) in the OnePlus 2, and fine-tuned both hardware and software. The 2 will be “cooler than ever”.“
Throughout the announcement of the OnePlus Two CPU, OnePlus refers to its processor as the ‘810 v2.1′ to differentiate itself from the other smartphones using the Snapdragon 801 SoC.
Unfortunately, this is all just a marketing ploy. According to HTC’s Jeff Gordon, Qualcomm has stated that virtually all OEMs with Snapdragon 810 devices are shipping their devices with the Snapdragon 810 v2.1.
While the HTC One M9 doesn’t overheat excessively in most peoples experiences, the Z3+ has had some serious issues.
All this amounts to is that almost all Snapdragon 810 SoC phones are shipping with the v2.1 of the chip, but only OnePlus is insecure enough about their device to make it abundantly clear that they are using the v2.1 810.
Now, this isn’t really a bad thing. Just be assured that your 810 phones are using the v2.1 chip and OnePlus isn’t the only manufacturer that is using the supposedly cooler version of the chip.
<img alt="US-IT-TEEN-TREND-ANONYMOUS-APPS" data-caption="TO GO WITH AFP STORY by Rob LEVER, US-IT-Internet-teen-trend
A March 28, 2014 photo illustration shows the Google Play Store download page for an anonymous social networking app in Washington, DC. When a new social app Yik Yak swept into Auburn University, some of the coolest kids started posting comments on it. But no one knows who is making the comments, because the posts are anonymous. ‘It spread pretty fast,’ says Nickolaus Hines, a junior at the Alabama university. ‘The majority of things are jokes or things which are obviously funny.’ But Hines added that ‘some of the things are pretty mean,’ and that ‘the ones about girls get taken off if the girls see them.’ Yik Yak, which allows users to see posts in a radius up to eight kiolometers (five miles) is part of a flurry of new apps which offer new ways to interact anonymously in social networks. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)” data-credit=”AFP/Getty Images” src=”http://o.aolcdn.com/dims-shared/dims3/GLOB/crop/3000×1982+0+0/resize/960×635!/format/jpg/quality/85/http://hss-prod.hss.aol.com/hss/storage/midas/91621fa1a3be35db1772ec562f7d0d43/200814184/481285781.jpg” data-mep=”884756″ />Yik Yak announced today that it will now allow users to post photos to the anonymous messaging app — just so long as they don’t include human faces. That means you’ll be able to share photos of your dog, your meal and non-reproductive body parts, just not your face. Seriously, don’t even try. The company will be actively monitoring photo posts (before they go live) in an effort to maintain content control. Users, however, will still be allowed to show pictures of themselves as part of photo collections in the Explore section of Peek. Additionally, the company rolled out phone verification in an effort to combat spam and make the app a bit more secure.
[Image Credit: AFP/Getty Images]
Filed under: Internet
Source: Yik Yak
For many years running, Apple has offered a Back to School promotion for students and educators, providing discounts on Apple products ahead of the coming school year. Back to School promotions have kicked off on the first Tuesday of July for the last two years, so when July 6 came and went without a Back to School announcement, many people began wondering when Apple would launch the 2015 promotion.
We’ve been receiving questions about the Back to School program for several weeks now, and in mid-July, there’s still no sign of an imminent launch. Some have wondered whether Apple is canceling the program all together, but it’s too early to say. It may be late in the month, but there are still several weeks to go before kids and teachers begin returning to classrooms.
Apple’s 2014 Back to School Promotion
Historically, the latest Apple has launched a previous Back to School program was July 2, and that was in 2013. From 2006 to 2012, Back to School kicked off in May or early June, while it launched in July in 2013 and 2014. It’s entirely possible that Apple has simply decided to launch the promotion a bit later in the year, once again adjusting the dates as it did in 2013.
MacRumors has spoken to several retail employees who often hear word on Back to School a few days ahead of its debut, but so far, no one we’ve contacted has heard anything from Apple. The last Back to School promotion Apple introduced was for Australian customers in January of 2015.
Apple’s Back to School promotion is highly anticipated because it’s one of the few times a year that Apple offers deals to customers, and many hold off on summer purchases until the event begins. Last year, Apple’s Back to School offer included a $50 to $100 Apple Store Gift Card with the purchase of a Mac, iPhone, or iPad, while years past included a $50 to $100 App Store Gift Card.
In the early days of the Back to School promotion, deals were offered in the form of rebates that provided a free iPod with the purchase of a Mac, but Apple has offered gift cards instead of iPods since 2011.
The new iPod touch with an A8 processor and upgraded 8-megapixel rear camera just launched this morning, but TechCrunch‘s Matthew Panzarino already has one in hand and has run some benchmarks on the device.
According to early testing, the A8 processor in the new iPod touch appears to be running at 1.10GHz per core, which is slower than the 1.39GHz per core the iPhone 6 runs at, presumably to manage battery life. In Geekbench 3, the iPod touch scored 1379 on the single-core test and 2440 on the multi-core test right out of the box. The previous-generation A5 iPod touch scored 215/410 on Geekbench’s single and multi-core tests, so the new sixth-generation iPod is six times faster and a massive improvement over the fifth-generation iPod.
Labeled as iPod7,1 instead of iPod6,1 as expected (the previous-generation iPod’s model ID was iPod5,1), the new iPod touch ships with Apple’s latest operating system, iOS 8.4, so it works with Apple Music out of the box. Like the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the iPod touch has 1GB of RAM to go along with its A8 processor.
The new iPod also includes an M8 motion coprocessor for recording motion activity that’s uploaded to the Health app, and it supports 802.11ac wireless. Its 64-bit A8 processor is a major improvement over the A5 processor in the older iPod touch, and it includes support for Metal, bringing much-improved games to the device.
The iPod touch has one feature that hasn’t yet made it into other Apple products — Bluetooth 4.1. It’s the first of Apple’s devices to offer the new specification. Bluetooth 4.1 is more reliable, offering less interference with LTE bands, improved power management, and better data transfer.
Available in several new colors, the iPod touch is priced at $199 for the 16GB model, $249 for the 32GB model, $299 for the 64GB model, and $399 for the 128GB model. It’s available from the Apple online store beginning today.
Apple’s also released new iPod nano and shuffle models in updated colors, but the internal components of those devices have not changed.