Tech Today w/ Ken May

Archive for September 12th, 2017

Chatbot Lets You Sue Equifax For Up To $25,000 Without a Lawyer

Posted by kenmay on September - 12 - 2017

Shannon Liao reports via The Verge: If you’re one of the millions affected by the Equifax breach, a chatbot can now help you sue Equifax in small claims court, potentially letting you avoid hiring a lawyer for advice. Even if you want to be part of the class action lawsuit against Equifax, you can still sue Equifax for negligence in small claims court using the DoNotPay bot and demand maximum damages. Maximum damages range between $2, 500 in states like Rhode Island and Kentucky to $25, 000 in Tennessee. The bot, which launched in all 50 states in July, is mainly known for helping with parking tickets. But with this new update, its creator, Joshua Browder, who was one of the 143 million affected by the breach, is tackling a much bigger target, with larger aspirations to match. He says, “I hope that my product will replace lawyers, and, with enough success, bankrupt Equifax.” Not that the bot helps you do anything you can’t already do yourself, which is filling out a bunch of forms — you still have to serve them yourself. Unfortunately, the chatbot can’t show up in court a few weeks later to argue your case for you either. To add to the headache, small claims court rules differ from state to state. For instance, in California, a person needs to demand payment from Equifax or explain why they haven’t demanded payment before filing the form. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Alleged Intel i7-8700K Coffee Lake benchmarks leak online

Posted by kenmay on September - 12 - 2017

Enlarge Alleged benchmarks for Intel’s as yet unannounced Core i7-8700K have leaked online courtesy of a tech YouTuber and an unguarded HP Omen PC at DreamHack 2017. The i7-8700K—the rumoured flagship six-core, 12-thread processor of Intel’s upcoming eighth generation Coffee Lake desktop CPUs—was put through popular benchmarking program Cinebench R15, scoring a cool 1230 points in a multithreaded test. That’s a significant leap over the previous-generation Intel Core i7-7700K (4C/8T), which typically posts a score around 950 points. That score also puts the i7-8700K neck and neck with AMD’s 6C/12T Ryzen 1600X , which we scored at 1234 points, but behind AMD’s 8C/12T Ryzen 7 1700 with its score of 1422. Meanwhile, AMD’s flagship Ryzen 7 1800X is significantly faster with a score of 1616 points. YouTuber Karl Morin was also able to run a single-threaded benchmark, which shows the i7-8700K posting a score of 196. That would make it fastest single-threaded chip around, beating the pervious generation i7-7700K’s score of around 185 points, although it’s still far from a compelling improvement in instructions per clock. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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This tiny sensor could sleep for years between detection events

Posted by kenmay on September - 12 - 2017

 It’s easy enough to put an always-on camera somewhere it can live off solar power or the grid, but deep in nature, underground, or in other unusual circumstances every drop of power is precious. Luckily, a new type of sensor developed for DARPA uses none at all until the thing it’s built to detect happens to show up. That means it can sit for years without so much as a battery top-up. Read More

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The blame for the record-breaking cybersecurity breach that affects at least 143 million people falls on the open-source server framework, Apache Struts, according to an unsubstantiated report by equity research firm Baird. The firm’s source, per one report, is believed to be Equifax. ZDNet reports: Apache Struts is a popular open-source software programming Model-View-Controller (MVC) framework for Java. It is not, as some headlines have had it, a vendor software program. It’s also not proven that Struts was the source of the hole the hackers drove through. In fact, several headlines — some of which have since been retracted — all source a single quote by a non-technical analyst from an Equifax source. Not only is that troubling journalistically, it’s problematic from a technical point of view. In case you haven’t noticed, Equifax appears to be utterly and completely clueless about their own technology. Equifax’s own data breach detector isn’t just useless: it’s untrustworthy. Adding insult to injury, the credit agency’s advice and support site looks, at first glance, to be a bogus, phishing-type site: “equifaxsecurity2017.com.” That domain name screams fake. And what does it ask for if you go there? The last six figures of your social security number and last name. In other words, exactly the kind of information a hacker might ask for. Equifax’s technical expertise, it has been shown, is less than acceptable. Could the root cause of the hack be a Struts security hole? Two days before the Equifax breach was reported, ZDNet reported a new and significant Struts security problem. While many jumped on this as the security hole, Equifax admitted hackers had broken in between mid-May through July, long before the most recent Struts flaw was revealed. “It’s possible that the hackers found the hole on their own, but zero-day exploits aren’t that common, ” reports ZDNet. “It’s far more likely that — if the problem was indeed with Struts — it was with a separate but equally serious security problem in Struts, first patched in March.” The question then becomes: is it the fault of Struts developers or Equifax’s developers, system admins, and their management? “The people who ran the code with a known ‘total compromise of system integrity’ should get the blame, ” reports ZDNet. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Xiaomi’s stunning Mi Mix gets a sequel, the Mi Mix 2

Posted by kenmay on September - 12 - 2017

Fresh off the launch of its first Android One phone , Xiaomi has a sequel to its high-profile Mi Mix. Meet the Mi Mix 2. When the Mi Mix came out last year, it featured a stunning slim-bezel design that we called ” the future of smartphones. ” Xiaomi’s “concept” phone threw out a lot of the smartphone conventions—like the location of the earpiece and the front facing camera—and came up with a few other unique features like a ceramic back and a screen with curved corners. In 2017, we found out Xiaomi wasn’t the only company with the idea for a slim-bezel phone.  Samsung and LG both quickly came out with phones that maximized screen space, and soon it looks like Apple  will follow this trend, too. The Mi Mix was the vanguard for this movement, though, and it still has the most extreme design. Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / ShareBeast piracy site visitors are greeted with this FBI anti-piracy warning today. The admin for a prolific file-sharing site that helped pirates score more than 1 billion tracks now faces five years in prison after pleading guilty to a single count of criminal copyright infringement. Artur Sargsyan, the 29-year-old owner and operator of ShareBeast, is to be sentenced in Atlanta federal court in December for operating  (PDF) what the Recording Industry Association of America said was the most prolific US-based file-sharing site. The defendant also forfeited $185,000 in ill-gotten gains, the government said. The authorities in 2015 seized the ShareBeast domain and a few others connected to the site, which regularly allowed users to score pre-release music. Sargsyan was charged last month. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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