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HP Enterprise let Russia review the Pentagon’s security software

Last year, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) allowed a Russian defense agency to analyze the source code of a cybersecurity software used by the Pentagon, Reuters reports. The software, a product called ArcSight, is an important piece of cyber defense for the Army, Air Force and Navy and works by alerting users to suspicious activity — such as a high number of failed login attempts — that might be a sign of an ongoing cyber attack. The review of the software was done by a company called Echelon for Russia’s Federal Service for Technical and Export Control as HPE was seeking to sell the software in the country. While such reviews are common for outside companies looking to market these types of products in Russia, this one could have helped Russian officials find weaknesses in the software that could aid in attacks on US military cyber networks.

Echelon says it’s required to report software vulnerabilities to the Russian government but only after letting the software makers know. And HPE told Reuters that reviews are done at an HPE facility under the supervision of HPE staff and that no vulnerabilities were found during this particular review.

Even if a vulnerability was discovered and not disclosed, it wouldn’t allow attackers to just waltz into US military networks, but it could, in theory, make it easier to hide an ongoing attack, delaying defense responses and upping the chance of a successful breach. The review took place around the same time that the US was accusing Russia of initiating cyber attacks against a number of US agencies and politicians.

A Pentagon Defense Information Systems Agency spokesperson told Reuters that HPE didn’t let the Pentagon know about the review but that it also wasn’t required to. The ArcSight review may not have unearthed any backdoors or resulted in any additional cyber infiltrations, but at the very least it seems that, when it comes to the US military, using popular off-the-shelf security software might be a vulnerability in itself.

Source: Reuters


Dating app Bumble launches Bizz for professional networking

A few months ago, Bumble announced that it would be adding business networking features to its dating app. Now it’s here, and it’s called Bizz. It launches in the US, UK, Germany, France and Canada today.

Bumble’s claim to fame in the crowded dating app market is that it allows women to choose who they want to talk to; men must wait to be contacted. It’s a measure that’s also integrated into Bizz. Bumble told The Verge that they hope by allowing women to make the first move, they’ll “help clear up the gray areas in networking that often make women feel uncomfortable.”

This isn’t LinkedIn, though. While the app does have some surface similarities — verified photos, a skills section, digital resumes and work examples — it’s intended for networking and mentoring only, Bumble insisted to The Verge. It’s not meant for job searching and recruiting. That being said, Bumble is intent on hiring 10 employees through connections made in Bizz.

It’s not the first time Bumble has ventured outside the dating sphere; they also have a service that allows you to find new friends. This new venture seems like a smart move for Bumble, but it remains to be seen how well Bizz will work in practice.

Source: The Verge, Bumble


GM will have 20 electric car models on the road by 2023

GM is joining other automakers declaring its intention introduce a substantial number of electric vehicles by the middle of the next decade. Today, the automaker announced it would have at least 20 electric cars on the road by 2023. During the announcement this morning, Mark Reuss, vice president of global product development said, “GM believes the future is all electric.”

The company also introduced the SURUS (Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure) a fuel cell electric heavy-duty truck with four-wheel steering. The vehicle is part of GM’s plan to introduce fuel-cell vehicles to its lineup in addition to plug-in electric vehicles and hybrids.

Reuss said both EV and fuel-cell vehicles will be based on upon what GM has learned from the Chevy Bolt EV which launched in December of 2016 in California and Oregon and has since become available nationwide. The car’s relatively low price, long range and kudos from the owners and the automotive press have been a huge win for the automaker. In its wake, GM CEO Mary Barra announced a “zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion” vision.

Today’s announcement is the zero emissions portion of that vision. The automaker is hoping that with 20 electrified vehicles it’ll be able to bring EVs to all vehicle segments especially the lucrative SUV and crossover market. One way it’s hoping to do that is with its new battery pack architecture that’s available in two different heights for different vehicle sizes.

As for how it intends to sell fuel-cell vehicles while that refueling infrastructure is still in its infancy, the company didn’t get into specifics about its plan. Still, if GM can replicate the success of the Bolt on its upcoming electric vehicles, it might be able to at least use some of its EV clout to help build out the fuel-cell infrastructure.


Nonny de la Peña, Eugene Chung illuminate the Engadget Experience

Virtual reality captured the mainstream’s imagination in the 1990s, but ultimately failed to deliver on the the medium’s potential. Fast forward more than two decades and VR is once again the next big thing. With far more advanced hardware and billions in investment, virtual reality is on the cusp of upending storytelling but the future is still unclear.

On November 14th, VR luminaries Eugene Chung and Nonny de la Peña will take the stage at the historic United Artists Theatre at the Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles to help shed some light on how virtual reality and augmented reality are changing the way that we see the world.

These two visionary thinkers, who have created some of the most compelling VR experiences to date, will join the five recipients of the Engadget Alternate Realities grant program and a host of other artists, technologist and entertainers to explore the future of creativity. The Engadget Experience won’t be live streamed, so grab your tickets now! Early bird tickets are available for $125 via our event page, but that price won’t last forever. Ticket prices will increase Monday, October 27th at midnight.

Now, for more about our very special guests …

Nonny de la Peña is the founder and CEO of Emblematic Group, a digital media company focused on immersive virtual, mixed and augmented reality since 2007. She is widely credited with helping create the genre of immersive journalism with a catalog of VR films, covering topics from the Trayvon Martin murder to the Syrian civil war — domestic violence to global warming.

Nonny has been referred to as the “Godmother of Virtual Reality” by Forbes, Engadget and The Guardian. Her VR documentaries have been showcased around the world, including at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art plus the Sundance, Tribeca and Venice film festivals. Through Emblematic, Nonny has partnered with Google, The New York Times, Planned Parenthood and The Wall Street Journal. Her most recent collaboration was with PBS’s flagship program FRONTLINE for a series of in-depth virtual experiences, including ‘After Solitary,’ which won the World VR Forum’s Imperial Crown and VR/Room-Scale Jury Award at SXSW.

In her conversation with Engadget’s senior editor Devindra Hardawar, she’ll explore the power of virtual reality as an “empathy machine” and where the immersive medium is headed next.

Eugene Chung is a film director and the founder of Penrose, a startup focused on augmented and virtual reality. Previously, he was head of film & media at Oculus VR, which was later acquired by Facebook for $2 billion. While at Oculus, Eugene co-created Story Studio, bringing together storytellers and artists from Pixar. Prior to Oculus, he was with New Enterprise Associates and Pixar Animation Studios. He holds degrees from UC Berkeley and Harvard.

In his talk, The New Lexicon for Virtual Reality, he will explore how the current state of VR and AR mimics the early days of film and opera, requiring its own specific terminology. He’ll examine the emerging lexicon for AR and VR, and how experimentation influences new techniques and language to articulate the unprecedented ways we see the world.

Source: The Engadget Experience


Facebook is hiring 1,000 people to fight shady ads

Now that Facebook has given Russia-linked ads to Congress, it’s outlining what it’ll do to prevent such a suspicious ad campaign from happening in the future. To begin with, it’s promising to make ads more transparent — it’s writing tools that will let you see all the ads a Page runs, not just the ones targeting you. In theory, this could help concerned people spot questionable advertising without requiring help from Facebook or third parties. Most of Facebook’s efforts, however, center around toughening the ad review process and the standards that guide them.

The social network is hiring 1,000 more people for its global ads review teams in the space of the next year, and is “investing more” in machine learning to help with automated flagging for ads. Advertisers will need “more thorough” documentation if they’re running ads related to US federal elections, such as confirming the organization they work with. Facebook is also tightening its policies to prevent ads promoting “more subtle expressions of violence,” which might include some of the ads stoking social tensions.

The site is aware that it isn’t alone in grappling with Russia-backed campaigns, for that matter. It’s “reaching out” to government and industry leaders to both share info and help establish better standards so that this won’t happen elsewhere.

Facebook’s moves look like they could catch dodgy ad campaigns, particularly those attempting election influence campaigns. However, this is part of an all too familiar pattern at Facebook: the company implements broad changes (usually including staff hires) after failing to anticipate the social consequences of a feature. While it would be difficult for a tech company to anticipate every possible misuse of its services, this suggests that Facebook needs to extensively consider the pitfalls of a feature before it reaches the public, rather than waiting for a crisis.

Via: Recode

Source: TechCrunch


PlayStation credit card gives extra money back for gaming purchases

If you’re a PlayStation fan, you probably use your credit card for a lot: games, add-ons, the virtually obligatory Plus subscription and the occasional accessory. Wouldn’t it be good if you could at least get some compensation for pouring so much money into Sony’s coffers? If you live in the US, you can. Sony has launched a Visa-based PlayStation credit card from Capital One that gives you discounts and redeemable points if you shop for Sony gear or PlayStation services.

You always get Sony Rewards points whatever you buy (including three times as many for paying phone bills), but you’ll get five times the usual points if you shop at the PlayStation Store, and a similar amount for Sony products if you fill out a Bonus Points form. You’ll also get 10 percent off subscriptions to PlayStation Music, Now and Vue (in the form of credit), and half off a Plus subscription if you spend at least $3,000 with the card in the span of a year.

Catches? There’s no annual fee, but it will take a while to rack up enough points to actually buy something. You get the equivalent of $1 for every 100 points — that free PS4 Pro will have to wait. The requirement for that bonus form doesn’t help, either. And of course, you won’t get as many benefits if you aren’t a fan of most Sony products outside of the PlayStation itself. Still, if your existing card doesn’t give you perks you tend to use, it might not hurt to give this a look.

Source: PlayStation Blog


DJI’s drone ‘privacy mode’ is now available

In August, DJI announced that it would be introducing Local Data Mode to its line of drones, a setting that would cut drones off from internet activity and stop information like flight location from being uploaded to the company’s servers. Well that privacy mode is now available through a DJI Pilot app update for DJI CrystalSky monitors and some Android tablets. “We are creating Local Data Mode to address the needs of our enterprise customers, including public and private organizations that are using DJI technology to perform sensitive operations around the world,” Brendan Schulman, DJI’s VP of policy and legal affairs, said in a statement.

While the announcement of the new setting noted that it had been in the works for some time, it did come after the US Army stopped using DJI drones due to “increased awareness of cyber vulnerabilities.” The Australian Defense Force also ceased use of DJI drones temporarily, but began using them again following a two week security assessment.

While in Local Data Mode, DJI drones won’t be able to detect location, so information like flight restrictions or no fly zones won’t be automatically adhered to. Therefore, any infringements will be on the user. To activate the privacy mode, click “Activate LDM Mode” in the DJI Pilot app. Local Data Mode isn’t available yet for iOS or the DJI GO 4 app, but DJI told The Verge that it plans to incorporate it into those platforms in the future.

Via: The Verge

Source: DJI


Ring Unveils $199 Home Security System With iPhone Notifications

Ring today introduced the Ring Protect, a customizable home security system with a companion iPhone app.

The security system includes a base station, a wall-mounted keypad, one sensor for a window or door, an infrared motion detector, and a Z-Wave extender. Unfortunately, the system doesn’t support HomeKit.

When activated, if a burglar attempts attempts to break and enter, homeowners immediately receive a notification on their smartphones.

Ring also offers an optional protection plan with 24/7 professional monitoring, similar to what a company like ADT provides, for $10 per month or $100 per year with no long-term contract. Battery and/or LTE backup allows the monitoring to continue even if the power goes out or broadband is unavailable.

By comparison, ADT currently charges between $36.99 and $52.99 per month for its monitoring plans in the United States, with a required 36-month contract and a $99 installation fee for the security system.

Ring said the security system can be easily installed by a homeowner without any tools. It works seamlessly with all of Ring’s other products, including its Video Doorbell, Floodlight Cam, and Spotlight Cam.

Ring Protect starts at $199, which is considerably cheaper than the Nest Secure at $499. Additional door and window sensors are available for $20, while extra motion detectors cost $30, from Ring’s products page.

Ring Protect will be available for pre-order starting today at,, and, and will be available at physical Home Depot and Best Buy retail stores in the United States later this month.

Note: Readers outside of the United States may not be able to view the Ring Protect product page on

Tag: Ring
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KGI: TrueDepth Camera Gives Apple 2.5 Year Lead Over Android Competitors

It will take Apple’s Android competitors up to two and a half years to replicate the functionality and user experience of the TrueDepth Camera in the iPhone X, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo told investors in a note shared this morning.

In a previous report, Kuo predicted it would take one to two years for competitors to catch up, but having watched Apple’s official technical demonstrations in detail, it’s now believed it will take longer to replicate the user experience.

The TrueDepth camera will give Apple a solid technological lead throughout 2018 and 2019, leading Kuo to say KGI has “full confidence” in the iPhone’s growth prospects in the high-end smartphone market over the next couple of years despite iPhone X constraints in 2017.

KGI Securities has revised its 2017 iPhone X shipping estimates from 40 million to 30 to 35 million units, but Kuo says the firm stands by its “positive outlook” on shipments of future iPhones equipped with the TrueDepth Camera.

Apple’s TrueDepth camera system enables its Face ID facial recognition system and other features like advanced face tracking and analysis for Animoji. Rumors suggest the difficulty of manufacturing the TrueDepth camera is what has led to significant iPhone X production issues, severely limiting initial available supply.

Apple’s competitors like Samsung and Google will also need to overcome these development and manufacturing hurdles to create a product that’s similar to the TrueDepth Camera. Samsung has already released a device with facial recognition capabilities, but it is inferior to Apple’s solution as it is limited to 2D tracking making it less secure and easy to fool.

Ming-Chi Kuo previously said that should Apple’s TrueDepth camera prove to be popular with consumers, all of the company’s future iPhones are likely to adopt the feature.

Related Roundup: iPhone X
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Mars colonists may live in and drive through lava tubes, new research suggests

Why it matters to you

Underground tunnels may provide the safest shelter for outer space colonists.

When the first Mars colonists hop in their car and drive to a drive around town, they may travel through lava tubes. In a new study from the University of Padova and the University of Bologna, researchers compared lava tubes on Earth, the moon, and Mars, using hi-resolution satellite data, and determined that these openings could provide space for homes, streets, and even communities.

Lava tubes are created in two ways. Over-crusted tubes form when lava flows close to the surface and a crust hardens like a calzone. After the eruption, the lava filling drains out and leaves the crust with a tunnel just a few yards underneath the surface. The other formation, inflated tubes, are created when lava ends up squeezing through cracks and crevasses left over from previous eruptions, which create a web of tunnels leading up to the surface.

On Earth, some of these networks can extend up to forty miles. On the moon and Mars, scientists have noticed what looks like lava tubes that have had their roofs cave in. Gravity data collected by NASA suggests subsurface caverns that are likely the result of volcanoes.

“The comparison of terrestrial, lunar and Martian examples shows that, as you might expect, gravity has a big effect on the size of lava tubes, “Riccardo Pozzobon, one of the researchers who spearheaded the study, said in a statement. “On Earth, they can be up to thirty meters (98.5 feet) across. In the lower gravity environment of Mars, we see evidence for lava tubes that are 250 meters (820 feet) in width. On the moon, these tunnels could be a kilometer (0.62 miles) or more across and many hundreds of kilometers in length.”

In a related study, researchers have suggested how future spacecraft can use radar to scan the moon’s surface and detect networks of tunnels underneath. Today’s remote sensing systems don’t have the capacity to detect features of lava tubes through the surface.

“These results have important implications for habitability and human exploration of the Moon but also for the search of extraterrestrial life on Mars,” Pozzobon said. “Lava tubes are environments shielded from cosmic radiation and protected from micrometeorites flux, potentially providing safe habitats for future human missions. They are also, potentially, large enough for quite significant human settlements – you could fit most of the historic city center of Riga into a lunar lava tube.”

The European Space Agency has begun training astronauts using data collected by Pozzobon and her team. The research was presented last weekend at this year’s European Planetary Science Congress in Riga, Latvia.

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