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7
Sep

Save $300 on the insanely powerful Razer Phone for a limited time


Right now you can get the Razer Phone for $399.99 when you use coupon code WOOHOO during checkout. Considering previous deals we’ve shared saw it drop from its $700 street price to just $600, an extra $200 on top of that price is insanely good. We’ve never seen it drop this low.

While it may not have a flashy edge-to-edge display or the latest and greatest in camera technology, the Razer Phone has a bunch of features that are quite appealing. It has a 120Hz UltraMotion display with HDR, dual front-firing speakers, a huge 4000mAh battery, and more.

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We wrapped up a recent second opinion review saying:

The bottom line here is that the Razer is asking $700 for a phone that offers supreme performance in some areas while falling short in others. Depending on how you primarily use your phone will be key in determining whether a ridiculously smooth (but occasionally dim) display backed by top-end performance specs can outweigh a lackluster (but functional) camera setup. Whether fantastic, front-facing speakers offer more value to you than a seamless display with no bezels.

If you love gaming and play a lot of them on your phone, this is the phone for you.

See at Razer

7
Sep

Game of the Week: Spell words and collect funky bears in Alphabear 2!


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AlphaBear 2 is a top-notch sequel to the award-winning puzzle game from 2016.

Update Sept. 7, 2018: In honor of the start of the new school year, we’re recommending the cute and colorful word puzzle game AlphaBear 2.

AlphaBear 2

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Alphabear 2 has launched on the Google Play Store, just in time for the start of the new school year. It offers another great word puzzle adventure that builds off of the success of the first Alphabear game, which won Google’s first-ever “Standout Indie” award in 2016.

The new game features a brand new assortment of costumed bears to unlock and collect as you grow your bears by spelling words with the provided letters. All the humor and charm of the original game is back with a new story that involves cleaning up after a time machine mishap.

As you clear levels, you’ll unlock new bears which give you special power-ups for your future games, along with other supplies that help you to create new costumes for some of your favorite bears. Another interesting feature that returns in the sequel is the little bear cartoons that make of use some of the words you spelled to create a quirky Mad Lib-style panel that’s instantly shareable on social media.

This game is free-to-play with ads that can be removed with an in-app purchase, however, the ads aren’t too intrusive which is nice. This is a nice casual word puzzle game that’s perfect for players of all ages, but especially for any younger gamers who need some practice spelling words.

Download: AlphaBear 2 (Free w/Ads)

Android Gaming

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7
Sep

Get fitted for fall with $11 Amazon Essentials Men’s Long-Sleeve Shirts


Update! There are a few more deals available on Goodthreads shirts. Prices start at $15 and you can try them on for free via Prime Wardrobe.

Add something new to your wardrobe.

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Amazon has a few of its Amazon Essentials Men’s Long-Sleeve Shirts on sale for only $10.80 right now. Up until today they’ve sold for $18. The reviews are good as well.

You can choose from various colors of gingham, stripes, and poplin. These are nice because you can dress them up or down. Throw on a nice jacket or sweater and they’ll be perfect to wear out or to the office.

See at Amazon

7
Sep

Mac App Store App ‘Adware Doctor’ Discovered Stealing User Browsing History


The number one top-selling paid Utilities app on the Mac App Store in the United States has been found to steal the browser history of anyone who downloads it, and is still on the App Store as of this article. A video posted in August gave a proof of concept to how the app “Adware Doctor” steals user data, and security researcher Patrick Wardle has now looked into the app and shared his findings with TechCrunch.

Adware Doctor’s Mac App Store page says it will “keep your Mac safe” and “get rid of annoying pop-up ads.” Besides being at the top of the Utilities chart on the Mac App Store, Adware Doctor is also currently the number five top paid app on the entire store in the U.S., behind apps like Notability and Apple’s own Final Cut Pro.

In his blog post, Wardle explains that Adware Doctor withdraws sensitive user data — predominantly any website you’ve searched for and browsed on — and sends it to servers in China run by the app’s makers. Apple was contacted a month ago — around the time the original proof of concept video was shared online — and promised it would investigate, but the $4.99 app remains on the Mac App Store.

TechCrunch gave an overview of Wardle’s findings:

Wardle found that the downloaded app jumped through hoops to bypass Apple’s Mac sandboxing features, which prevents apps from grabbing data on the hard drive, and upload a user’s browser history on Chrome, Firefox, and Safari browsers.

Wardle found that the app, thanks to Apple’s own flawed vetting, could request access to the user’s home directory and its files. That isn’t out of the ordinary, Wardle says, because tools that market themselves as anti-malware or anti-adware expect access to the user’s files to scan for problems. When a user allows that access, the app can detect and clean adware — but if found to be malicious, it can “collect and exfiltrate any user file,” said Wardle.

Once the data is collected, it’s zipped into an archive file and sent to a domain based in China.

Towards the end of his post, Wardle discussed the ramifications of Adware Doctor and the privacy issue it presents, stating, “The fact that application has been surreptitiously exfiltrating users’ browsing history, possibly for years, is, to put it mildly, rather f—– up!” The researcher also points out that Apple itself touts the Mac App Store as “the safest place to download apps for your Mac,” which is often true.

Given the app violates numerous App Store Rules and Guidelines, namely including user consent on data collection, Wardle hopes that the increased spotlight on Adware Doctor’s nefarious data collecting will make Apple take action. Even though Mac App Store customers who used the app would never be able to get their private browsing history back, the researcher says that Apple could begin to address the situation “by pulling the app and refunding all affected users.”

Tag: Mac App Store
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7
Sep

‘Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp’ Reaches $50M Global Revenue, Which ‘Fire Emblem Heroes’ Achieved in 20 Days


Nintendo’s latest smartphone app Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp has just reached $50 million in player spending across iOS and Android globally, according to data tracked by Sensor Tower. It took the game 289 days to reach this goal, becoming the slowest of Nintendo’s latest apps to do so.

Super Mario Run reached the $50 million mark 222 days after its release, while Fire Emblem Heroes achieved the $50 million milestone just 20 days after launching in February 2017. Fire Emblem Heroes has been called Nintendo and DeNA’s “most successful mobile game” previously, and today’s data cements the game’s popularity.

At the one year mark, Fire Emblem Heroes had grossed $295 million worldwide, and as of August 2018 Nintendo has earned $400 million from the game. In a report earlier this week, Sensor Tower noted that Fire Emblem Heroes had grossed $63 million between the months of July and August 2018 alone, a 34 percent jump year-on-year. While it had a slow start, the game’s free-to-play structure built on in-app purchases of items like “Orbs” help keep it a consistent earner for Nintendo and DeNA.


Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is also free-to-play and includes in-app purchases for “Leaf Tickets,” which can be used to reduce timers, craft items without the necessary materials, and more. While the tickets can be earned through regular gameplay, they are also available to buy with real-world money on the App Store.

Still, the game has yet to match Fire Emblem Heroes’ success, and Sensor Tower says that Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp has earned a majority of its revenue from players in Japan, while those in the United States have been far less interested in it:

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp revenue has largely come from players in Japan, who’ve contributed about 81 percent of the total it has earned to date. The United States is a distant second at about 14 percent. The majority of spending has been on iOS devices, at about 61 percent of revenue. It has been installed more than 25 million times so far.

Recently, Shigeru Miyamoto stated that Nintendo will “continue pushing” for its smartphone apps to adopt pay-once structures instead of being free-to-play, despite the breakout success of Fire Emblem Heroes. The only Nintendo app to release with a fixed price has been Super Mario Run, and Nintendo itself has admitted on numerous occasions that the game has failed its revenue expectations.

The next major Nintendo smartphone game based on an existing property will be Mario Kart Tour, and DeNA CEO Isao Moriyasu in February reportedly described the kart racer as free-to-start. While vague, Nintendo uses similar terminology on Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp’s website, but Moriyasu could also have been referring to Super Mario Run’s structure, which allows users to download the game and play the first few levels for free before paying $9.99 to unlock the full game.

Before Mario Kart Tour, Nintendo and developer Cygames will launch the original action RPG Dragalia Lost for iOS and Android later this month, on September 27.

Tags: Nintendo, Fire Emblem, Super Mario Run, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp
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7
Sep

New technique combines organic and synthetic tech to harness the sun’s energy


Plants apparently have a lot to teach us about green energy.

Researchers around the world are investing time and, well, energy into a process known as artificial photosynthesis. It’s a lot like how it sounds. Engineered devices take inputs like sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide (CO2), and churn out carbohydrates and oxygen, which can be used as fuel.

If successful, artificial photosynthesis would be a win-win solution — it could provide a renewable source of energy and make use of CO2 sequestered from fossil fuel plants. We’re not there yet but progress over the last decade has put renewed steam into the scientific pursuit of an efficient artificial photosynthesis technique.

Now, researchers from the University of Cambridge have pioneered a similar method for harnessing the sun’s energy. By combining organic and synthetic parts in a process called “semi-artificial” photosynthesis, they’ve developed a proof of concept that can split water into hydrogen and oxygen using modified photosynthetic mechanisms from plants. Their hope is that the technique can be applied to help bolster solar energy systems. They’ve detailed their research in a paper recently published in the journal Nature Energy.

“Semi-artificial photosynthesis is an emerging field that bridges synthetic biology and materials science for sustainable energy conversion and storage,” Katarzyna Sokół, a Cambridge Ph.D. student and first author of the paper, told Digital Tends. “This new field combines beneficial components of artificial systems such as electrodes, nanomaterials, synthetic dyes, and polymers with nature’s biocatalysts, such as enzymes, for the synthesis of solar fuels, such as hydrogen.”

The problem with straightforward artificial photosynthesis is that it’s often limited by the use of synthetic catalysts to split hydrogen and oxygen. These can be both toxic and costly. In the Cambridge study, the researchers use organic enzymes to overcome this obstacle.

The semi-artificial photosynthetic device combines synthetic parts that are easy to tune and manipulate with relatively efficient organic catalysts found in plants. The result is “is a model system to construct semi-artificial photosynthesis devices relevant to solar energy conversion and storage in the form of fuels, such as hydrogen,” Sokół explained.

She added that the system is a proof of concept and is too fragile for current large-scale solar technology applications. Moving forward, the research team will investigate whether they can replace the fragile enzyme with more robust and stable photosynthetic cells.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Genetically modified bacteria may be the key to plants that fertilize themselves
  • Scientists think a form of bacteria could help make Mars hospitable to humans
  • The coming hydrogen fuel cell evolution
  • These living solar cells make energy, even in bad weather
  • In a smoke-choked port, riding along in Toyota’s hydrogen-powered semi



7
Sep

Faxploitation: Hackers can use old-school printers to invade your home network


(in)Secure is a weekly column that dives into the rapidly escalating topic of cybersecurity.

The more connected our devices get, the more protection they need. But that doesn’t mean a device needs to be “smart” to be hacked.

The team at Check Point Research recently showed how the fax function on a 1990s-era HP printer could be used to infiltrate network security. It was a groundbreaking demonstration, revealing just how vulnerable older technology can be to attacks. You might think that ancient printer you have in the corner of your office is harmless, but as this research shows, it might offer a backdoor into your network — and all the devices connected to it.

Sneaking in where no one was looking

Check Point Research took the stage at Def Con, the world’s largest hacking conference, to demonstrate what they called a “faxploit” in all-in-one, printer-fax machines.

How a hacker infects a network using faxploit. CheckPoint

The fax function on your old office printer may no longer be used, but if a company or personal fax number is made public on business cards or websites, the entire system is at risk. Using just that number, the researchers gained access to the entire associated network, including all the computers and data connected to it.

The process was shockingly simple. The hacker establishes connection with the printer, implements an exploit script, and sends a malicious fax right to the printer. That gives her full control.

“… Printers are common, highly prevalent devices that are universally being ignored when it comes to cybersecurity”

Once the hacker has access to a network, she can use it as a foothold to target other machines. In the demonstration, the hacker installed a piece of malware called the EternalBlue NSA exploit on a targeted PC connected to the network. The malware pulled a specific document from the computer and printed it out on a remote fax machine.

Other vulnerabilities noted by Check Point Research include “tampering with fax content” and “sending a copy of every fax that a customer sends to their bank.” While those fax-specific risks might not sound scary, anytime a hacker gains access to a network and the connected computers, data is up for grabs. Fax is often used for sensitive and important documents, and the ability to alter a fax could certainly appeal to hackers looking to make a buck.

But what makes printers so vulnerable? We spoke with the CEO of Symphion, Jim LaRoe, who knows firsthand what makes this research so troublesome.

“The reason [the faxploit] caught people’s attention is because printers are common, highly prevalent devices that are universally being ignored when it comes to cybersecurity,” LaRoe told Digital Trends. “Printers are servers that transmit, use, and store sensitive (and valuable information), that provide on-ramps to other valuable digital assets inside companies.”

Though some printers have multiple servers and hard drives built into them, they aren’t treated with the same attention as other devices. Desktops and laptops are locked down by IT departments while printers often go unnoticed and become a security liability.

“The bad guys follow the valuables and they can’t steal jewelry or cash through a printer.”

“A typical server is inside the company’s data center on highly monitored, controlled and protected network, and is watched under the careful eye of trained system administrator,” said LaRoe. “Conversely, printers are most often not on a separate network, and even if they are, are not managed for security and are often on wheels in the middle of offices, or say an emergency room, with physical (and often digital) access to everyone.”

The faxploit isn’t the only recent vulnerability found in printers. Just a couple months ago, HP launched a bug bounty program specifically for printer security, sparked by BugCrowd’s 2018 “State of Bug Bounty” report. The report showed that print vulnerabilities have increased 21 percent in the past year.

Getty Images

LaRoe explained printers are often deployed on networks with “default administrator passwords and 40-60 open ports,” which makes them relatively easy to compromise.

Clearly, printer security has a long way to go.

Securing your printers

Though all of this applies to personal homes as much as large-scale organizations, LaRoe reminded us that there’s far less incentive for a hacker to pull off something like a faxploit on a home printer.

“As we all know, for the bad guys, [faxploit] is now a published recipe for cooking up bad thing.”

“Many of those threat vectors are presented at home, but unlike business, most homes do not have high value digital assets for someone to steal or deny service to or ransomware computers for,” said LaRoe. “The bad guys follow the valuables and they can’t steal jewelry or cash through a printer.”

However, LaRoe said the prevalence of internet of things devices in the home gives even more power to an indirect entry point like the printer. The more connected devices are locked up behind a single lock, the more reward there is for a hacker to break it.

When it comes to the faxploit itself, it’s still thankfully theoretical. Hackers haven’t been caught using this tactic quite yet, and Check Point Research worked with HP to develop a patch for its exploit. Yet LaRoe thinks this is just the tip of the iceberg, as evidenced by the pages and pages of “printer hacks” available on Google. Some are ways to get more color from your printer. Others are closer to something you’d see at Def Con.

CheckPoint

“As we all know, for the bad guys, it is now a published recipe for cooking up bad things,” said LaRoe, in reference to the faxploit.

There are solutions, of course, such as the one LaRoe has at Symphion, which involves hands-on surveillance and monitoring of a company’s print assets. Check Point Research suggests segmenting your printer into a separate network as an important strategy to shut off access to the rest of your network. But for the average person, simple tactics like changing the default password of your networked printer, and installing the latest firmware, are always recommended.

The faxploit doesn’t require every person needs to sell their old fax machine, you should at least look at your old fax machine with suspicion.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Earn up to $10,000 by squashing printer-based bugs in HP’s bounty program
  • Is your PC safe? Foreshadow is the security flaw Intel should have predicted
  • Pay-n-pray cybersecurity isn’t working. What if we just paid when it works?
  • Police body cams are scarily easy to hack into and manipulate, researcher finds
  • Hackers can purchase government login credentials for cheap on the dark web



7
Sep

Protect your Note 9 in style with these clear cases


Some people think of clear cases for phones the way they think of vodka: they’re supposed to be colorless, odorless, and all look and act the same. Clear cases are supposed to show off the phone inside and stay out of its way. But just as the impurities and textures of vodka brands can lead to differences in the drink and in the mouth, the details on our favorite clear cases don’t just let your Samsung Galaxy Note 9’s style show through; they make it shine like the jewel it is.

Shining scuff protection

Spigen Liquid Crystal Case for Galaxy Note 9

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Spigen’s thin, flexible clear case grips well, hugs every curve of the Note 9’s glass, and isn’t as quick to show smudges and smears as other clear cases. The Glitter versions hide smudges and scuffs even better for $2 more, and the Rose Quartz Glitter’s soft pink shine adds depth and cheer without feeling like a cliche.

$11 at Amazon

Get a handle on your clear case

Ringke Fusion Case for Galaxy Note 9

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Ringke’s Fusion cases have been great cases for generations of Galaxy phones, and its well-tinted bumpers can go beyond with a color pop that can contrast or compliment the Note’s original hues. The buffed-up corner bumpers provide a little more give to the case for dispersing momentum during a fall, and it comes with a wrist strap so you can keep your Note at arm’s length at all times.

$11 at Amazon

Price-performing protection

MoKo Crystal Clear Case for Galaxy Note 9

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This budget-friendly clear case offers big corner cushions and a crystal clear back to showcase your Note’s glass-and-metal glory. There’s a cutout on the bottom corner for a strap like the Ringke, but it doesn’t actually come with a strap, and while the power button is textured, the Bixby and volume buttons are not.

$6 at Amazon

Dainty deco designs

Casetego Printed Clear Case for Galaxy Note 9

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Clear cases are supposed to let the Note’s design show through, but adding a little extra flair never hurt anyone. Castetego has five printed case styles available — two floral designs and a darling mandala design in three color gradients — and these marvelous mandala variants add some contrast as well as some style while covering up the IMEI listed on the bottom of the phone’s back.

$10 at Amazon

Metallic hybrid beauty

Caseology Skyfall Series Case for Galaxy Note 9

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This clear case marries a clear TPU inner layer with a shiny metallic polycarbonate frame to give you the best of both case worlds. The color-matched bumpers are perfectly matched to the Note 9’s different shades — except for that teddy-bear brown that isn’t available in most markets. Just be careful getting the protective film off of the case when it arrives.

$14 at Amazon

Crystal-clear durability

Spigen Ultra Hybrid S Case for Galaxy Note 9

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Looking to split the difference between the thin style of the Liquid Crystal and the firm functional protection of the Neo Hybrid? Try the Ultra Hybrid S, which has a polycarbonate back and a flexible bumper that makes it easier to slide the phone in and out as needed. This S version of this case is higher-rated than the normal Ultra Hybrid and sports a kickstand.

$15 at Amazon

Screen-protector compatible

Whitestone Dome Glass Clear Case for Galaxy Note 9

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Whitestone makes some of the best tempered-glass screen protectors on the market, and it should be no surprise that it makes excellent clear cases to use alongside those screen protectors. The clear cases are more budget-friendly than the screen protectors and sport a scratch-resistant coating on the smooth back.

$10 at Amazon

It’s hard to argue with the style and slim substance of the Spigen Liquid Crystal — especially that Rose Quartz Glitter version I’ve been loving to pieces on my Galaxy S9+ this last summer — but the Casetego’s patterned poise shakes things up in a fun way while still showing off the Note’s inner beauty.

7
Sep

Amazon’s $88 refurb Echo Plus comes with a full one-year warranty


One day to save!

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As part of its daily deals, Amazon is offering the Echo Plus in refurbished condition for $87.99, the lowest it has sold for yet. In new condition, this speaker sells for $150, which is almost double what the refurb is going for. The Echo Plus is Amazon’s most advanced Echo device, and it has its own smart home hub built right in so you can connect your Philips Hue bulbs, Yale locks, and more to it without needing any extra hubs or hardware. In addition, you can use Alexa to set timers, convert measurements, and all of the other great features it offers.

Amazon backs the refurbished units with the same one-year warranty that it does new products, so the only big difference here is the price. If you’ve wanted to add another Alexa device to your home, this is the one to get, especially with today’s discount. The deal ends when the day does, so don’t miss out.

See at Amazon

7
Sep

Broadcom Expects 2018 iPhone Sales to Drive ‘Seasonal Uptick’ in Q4 Revenue


Broadcom on Thursday offered analysts an upbeat end-of-year revenue forecast, thanks in part to the imminent launch of Apple’s 2018 iPhone lineup, which is expected to boost the chipmaker’s wireless business.

Reuters reports that Broadcom predicted current-quarter revenue largely above estimates, due to higher demand for components that power data centers, as well as an increase in manufacturing at a certain “North American customer,” which analysts identified as Apple.

The chipmaker expects Apple’s smartphone sales to increase its wireless revenue by 25 percent compared to the previous quarter, although the overall forecast may be down in single-digit percentage compared to the previous year.

That said, Broadcom’s enterprise storage business was up 70 percent in Q3 2018, and CEO Hock Tan believes that another strong show will feed into a “seasonal uptick” in its wireless arm:

“More than half our consolidated revenue … is benefiting from strong cloud and enterprise data center spending,” Tan said on his post-earnings call with analysts.

“This, coupled with a seasonal uptick in wireless, will drive our forecast revenue in the fourth quarter.”

Next week sees Apple launch its new flagship iPhone lineup, for which Broadcom traditionally supplies several components, including the wireless charger controller, touchscreen, and more.

Apple’s September 12 event is expected to usher in a next-generation iPhone X, a larger 6.5-inch OLED screen mobile handset, and a mid-tier 6.1-inch device with an LCD display. The date should also see the company debut a new Apple Watch series and redesigned iPad Pro models.

Related Roundups: iPad Pro, Apple Watch, watchOS 4, watchOS 5, iPhone XsTag: BroadcomBuyer’s Guide: 10.5″ iPad Pro (Don’t Buy), Apple Watch (Caution), 12.9″ iPad Pro (Caution)
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