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NewsBot

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  1. On August 2nd, Microsoft released the Anniversary Update for Windows 10 and when the bits arrived on computers around the globe, it brought with it new features and also broke webcams for millions of consumers. If your webcam has stopped functioning since the release of the Anniversary update, you are not alone but the good news is a fix is coming, hopefully in September.... Read more about Windows 10 Anniversary Update breaks millions of webcams on Lunarsoft. View the full article
  2. On August 2nd, Microsoft released the Anniversary Update for Windows 10 and when the bits arrived on computers around the globe, it brought with it new features and also broke webcams for millions of consumers. If your webcam has stopped functioning since the release of the Anniversary update, you are not alone but the good news is a fix is coming, hopefully in September. Microsoft made a significant change with the release of Windows 10 and support for webcams that is causing serious problems for not only consumers but also the enterprise. The problem is that after installing the update, Windows no longer allows USB webcams to use MJPEG or H264 encoded streams and is only allowing YUY2 encoding. Why did the company remove these options? The short answer is that with the Anniversary update there are new scenarios for applications to be able to access the webcam and the MJPEG or H264 encoding processes could have resulted in duplication of encoding the stream (poor performance) so the company limited the input methods to stop this from happening. View the full article
  3. Right now, Facebook lets Messenger bots from brands like Expedia and HP help you make a purchase, but they can't try to sell you a new product. However, a policy change means those automated assistants will soon be able to send subscription messages, ads and promotions for services like makeup consultations. If you're worried about spam, Facebook emphasized that the user is in control.... Read more about Facebook opens up Messenger to ad bots on Lunarsoft. View the full article
  4. After I published an article about how electronics manufacturers including Microsoft and Sony illegally void the warranties of consumers who open their devices, I got a flood of emails from people wondering whether federal law protects their right to jailbreak or root their phones. The short answer is yes, it does: Under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975, manufacturers cannot legally void your hardware... Read more about Companies cannot legally void warranties for jailbreaking or rooting phones on Lunarsoft. View the full article
  5. Software developers listen up: if you want people to pay attention to your security warnings on their computers or mobile devices, you need to make them pop up at better times. A new study from BYU, in collaboration with Google Chrome engineers, finds the status quo of warning messages appearing haphazardly—while people are typing, watching a video, uploading files, etc.—results in up to 90... Read more about People ignore security warnings up to 90 percent of the time on Lunarsoft. View the full article
  6. Microsoft yesterday announced that beginning in October it will offer only cumulative security updates for Windows 7 and 8.1, ending the decades-old practice of letting customers choose which patches they apply. "Historically, we have released individual patches … which allowed you to be selective with the updates you deployed," wrote Nathan Mercer, a senior product marketing manager, in a post to a company blog.... Read more about Microsoft is ending the pick-and-choose patching in Windows 7 and 8 on Lunarsoft. View the full article
  7. Right now, Facebook lets Messenger bots from brands like Expedia and HP help you make a purchase, but they can't try to sell you a new product. However, a policy change means those automated assistants will soon be able to send subscription messages, ads and promotions for services like makeup consultations. If you're worried about spam, Facebook emphasized that the user is in control. "All conversations between businesses and people must be initiated by the person receiving the messages, who can then mute or block the business at any time," wrote Product Manager Seth Rosenberg. When you initiate a request via Messenger, the business has 24 hours to respond. However, replying back via an "eligible action" (like typing "learn more" or "make appointment"), resets the clock. Those who subscribe to a company's Messenger feed, by comparison, will get messages unprompted and more regularly, but no promotional content is allowed. If subscribers reply to a message, however, it will switch into standard messaging mode, meaning ads and promos are fair game. View the full article
  8. After I published an article about how electronics manufacturers including Microsoft and Sony illegally void the warranties of consumers who open their devices, I got a flood of emails from people wondering whether federal law protects their right to jailbreak or root their phones. The short answer is yes, it does: Under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975, manufacturers cannot legally void your hardware warranty simply because you altered the software of an electronic device. In order to void the warranty without violating federal law, the manufacturer must prove that the modifications you made directly led to a hardware malfunction. “They have to show that the jailbreak caused the failure. If yes, they can void your claim (not your whole warranty—just the things which flowed from your mod),” Steve Lehto, a lemon law attorney in Michigan, told me in an email. “If not, then they can’t.” In practice, of course, it’s all much more complicated. View the full article
  9. Software developers listen up: if you want people to pay attention to your security warnings on their computers or mobile devices, you need to make them pop up at better times. A new study from BYU, in collaboration with Google Chrome engineers, finds the status quo of warning messages appearing haphazardly—while people are typing, watching a video, uploading files, etc.—results in up to 90 percent of users disregarding them. Researchers found these times are less effective because of "dual task interference," a neural limitation where even simple tasks can't be simultaneously performed without significant performance loss. Or, in human terms, multitasking. "We found that the brain can't handle multitasking very well," said study coauthor and BYU information systems professor Anthony Vance. "Software developers categorically present these messages without any regard to what the user is doing. They interrupt us constantly and our research shows there's a high penalty that comes by presenting these messages at random times." View the full article
  10. Microsoft yesterday announced that beginning in October it will offer only cumulative security updates for Windows 7 and 8.1, ending the decades-old practice of letting customers choose which patches they apply. "Historically, we have released individual patches ... which allowed you to be selective with the updates you deployed," wrote Nathan Mercer, a senior product marketing manager, in a post to a company blog. "[But] this resulted in fragmentation where different PCs could have a different set of updates installed leading to multiple potential problems." Instead, only cumulative security and performance updates will be offered. "Individual patches will no longer be available," Mercer said. The new maintenance model for Windows 7 and 8.1 was a direct transplant from Windows 10, which has always relied on cumulative updates that include the contents of all previous releases along with the new fixes. View the full article
  11. Facebook can’t win the war it started on ad blockers last week. So say Princeton assistant professor Arvind Narayanan and undergraduate Grant Storey, who have created an experimental ad “highlighter” for the Chrome browser to prove it. When you have Facebook Ad Highlighter installed, ads in the News Feed are grayed out and written over with the words “THIS IS AN AD.” Facebook announced that it was taking measures to prevent ad blockers from working on Tuesday last week. On Thursday the largest ad blocker out there, Adblock Plus, informed users of a simple tweak to their settings that would defeat Facebook’s blocker blockade. View the full article
  12. Google is working on a new operating system — and it has nothing to do with Android. A page has surfaced on the code-sharing website GitHub about the new OS, called — for now, at least — Fuchsia. It's not based on Android, the California-based technology company's mobile operating system used in billions of smartphones around the world, nor does it build upon the Linux kernel. The GitHub page is pretty sparse on explainers: Its description is simply, "Pink + Purple == Fuchsia (a new Operating System)." There has been no official announcement from Google, and it sounds as if the open-source project is in its early days. "The decision was made to build it open source, so might as well start there from the beginning," Google employee Brian Swetland said in an IRC chatlog shared on Hacker News. View the full article
  13. Microsoft released Windows 10's Anniversary Update last week, but it's already getting ready to unveil new features for its next major update. The software giant has started testing its "Redstone 2" update to Windows 10, with an initial build available for Windows Insiders testing public beta copies. The new update doesn't have any big new features for public testers yet, as Microsoft is in the early stages of making structural improvements to its OneCore shared code of Windows across PCs, tablets, phones, HoloLens, Xbox, and IoT. The first few builds available for testing "may include more bugs and other issues that could be slightly more painful for some people to live" according to Windows software engineer Dona Sarkar. Microsoft has released Windows 10 build 14901, and the company is testing out new notifications within File Explorer to provide tips on what's new in Windows 10. You can opt out of the notifications, and they're just a test for now. View the full article
  14. The great deplusification of Google continues as a Google+ has been removed from yet another Google product. This time it's the Play Store, which has dropped Google+ votes from apps and nixed the G+ account requirement from app reviews. There was an entire Google+ focused "People" section on the Play Store that showed apps and ratings from people you follow on Google+. The Play Store also allowed users to "+1" apps on the Play Store, which served as a vote of approval from people you follow. Both features are being stripped out of Google Play, starting earlier this week. The other feature being removed is the requirement to have a Google+ account to leave a Play Store review on apps, games, and media. Several users have reported to Android Police that they can now leave reviews using their regular Google account, where before they were nagged to created a Google+ account. View the full article
  15. Data thieves used a massive “botnet” against professional networking site LinkedIn and stole member’s personal information, a new lawsuit reveals. The Mountain View firm filed the federal suit this week in an attempt to uncover the perpetrators. “LinkedIn members populate their profiles with a wide range of information concerning their professional lives, including summaries (narratives about themselves), job histories, skills, interests, educational background, professional awards, photographs and other information,” said the company’s complaint, filed in Northern California U.S. District Court. “During periods of time since December 2015, and to this day, unknown persons and/or entities employing various automated software programs (often referred to as ‘bots’) have extracted and copied data from many LinkedIn pages.” View the full article
  16. Google has been hit by a $6.75 million antitrust fine in Russia for requiring phone manufacturers to preinstall its apps on Android mobile devices. The majority of smartphones and tablets solid in Russia run on Android, and domestic search engine rival Yandex filed a complaint last year that the US company was abusing its position. The fine itself is small — less than what the company makes in an hour, notes Recode — but the decision shows increasing enmity to Google in Europe. One of the many antitrust complaints currently being levied against Google by the EU focuses on the same issue: accusing the company of abusing its dominant position in the market by forcing manufacturers to preinstall its services on Android devices. Unlike the rest of Europe, though, Russia has a viable competitor to Google — Yandex has about 60 percent of the search market in the country. With the shift to mobile, though, the company seems worried it's being out-maneuvered by Google for the future of search. View the full article
  17. Another day, another case of Facebook disappearing a video that it should have left up. A politician in Hong Kong says that Facebook banned him from the site for 24 hours for a "terms of service violation" after he posted a video of him confronting men who had been following him around for weeks. That seems like a valuable and important video in the public interest. But Facebook didn't think so. View the full article
  18. It’s been a rough few days for people looking for alternatives to their current internet providers. Last week, the Federal Communications Commission issued a report documenting what many of you already know: You don’t have much choice when it comes to broadband. In fact, most of you have only one or no companies selling high-speed internet. Then on Wednesday, a court ruling held the FCC can’t override state laws restricting cities and towns from launching their own broadband services to increase their residents’ provider options. Neither development should have been that much of a surprise. View the full article
  19. On August 9th 2016, Facebook issued a press release stating they intend to change the way they deal with adblocking on their web site. Andrew Bosworth, VP of Ads & Business Platform for Facebook states: (Emphasis added) However, In February this year, we obtained a letter from the European Commission stating that such activites in Europe would be a breach of Regulation 2002/58/EC (known as the ePrivacy Directive). The letter was in response to questions we asked the European Commission specifically with regards to the detection and circumvention of adblocking tools and whether or not such activities would be lawful under European laws and regulations. View the full article
  20. Adblock Plus launched a workaround to Facebook’s ad block bypass today that ham-handedly removes posts from friends and Pages, not just ads, according to a statement provided by Facebook to TechCrunch. That “plan to address the issue” is coming quick. A source close to Facebook tells me that today, possibly within hours, the company will push an update to its site’s code that will nullify Adblock Plus’ workaround. Apparently it took two days for Adblock Plus to come up with the workaround, and only a fraction of that time for Facebook to disable it. View the full article
  21. In a very quick turnaround, the Adblock Plus community has already blocked the intrusive Facebook ads. Yesterday we posted a story that Facebook was going to force using on desktops to see ads whether they had an adblocker or not. We promised that the open source community would have a solution very soon, and, frankly, they’ve beaten even our own expectations. A new filter was added to the main EasyList about 15 minutes ago. You’ll just need to update your filter lists (see below for how). If you want to manually add the filter, here is the code you need: facebook.com##DIV[id^="substream_"] ._5jmm[data-dedupekey][data-cursor][data-xt][data-xt-vimpr="1"][data-ftr="1"][data-fte="1"] As many of your know, the filter lists that “tell” Adblock Plus what to block are in fact the product of a global community of web citizens. This time that community seems to have gotten the better of even a giant like Facebook. View the full article
  22. Facebook is making the HTML of its web ads indistinguishable from organic content so it can slip by adblockers. But in exchange for taking away this option for controlling ads from people, its allowing them to opt-out of ad targeting categories and Custom Audience customer lists uploaded by advertisers. Today all desktop users will see an announcement atop the News Feed explaining that while web adblockers may no longer work, they can visit their Ad Preferences settings to block ads from particular businesses. Facebook commissioned research firm Ipsos to investigate why reports say 70 million Americans and nearly 200 million people worldwide use adblockers. It found that “The main reasons cited for using ad blockers include avoiding disruptive ads (69%), ads that slow down their browsing experience (58%) and security / malware risks (56%).” Privacy wasn’t the top answer. So Facebook thinks if its can make its ads non-interruptive, fast, and secure, people won’t mind. View the full article
  23. Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have identified a weakness in the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) of all Linux operating systems since late 2012 that enables attackers to hijack users’ internet communications completely remotely. Such a weakness could be used to launch targeted attacks that track users’ online activity, forcibly terminate a communication, hijack a conversation between hosts or degrade the privacy guarantee by anonymity networks such as Tor. Led by Yue Cao, a computer science graduate student in UCR’s Bourns College of Engineering, the research will be presented on Wednesday (Aug. 10) at the USENIX Security Symposium in Austin, Texas. The project advisor is Zhiyun Qian, an assistant professor of computer science at UCR whose research focuses on identifying security vulnerabilities to help software companies improve their systems. While most users don’t interact directly with the Linux operating system, the software runs behind-the -scenes on internet servers, android phones and a range of other devices. To transfer information from one source to another, Linux and other operating systems use the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) to package and send data, and the Internet Protocol (IP) to ensure the information gets to the correct destination. View the full article
  24. Security experts have discovered a malware platform that's so advanced in its design and execution that it could probably have been developed only with the active support of a nation-state. The malware—known alternatively as "ProjectSauron" by researchers from Kaspersky Lab and "Remsec" by their counterparts from Symantec—has been active since at least 2011 and has been discovered on 30 or so targets. Its ability to operate undetected for five years is a testament to its creators, who clearly studied other state-sponsored hacking groups in an attempt to replicate their advances and avoid their mistakes. State-sponsored groups have been responsible for malware like the Stuxnet- or National Security Agency-linked Flame, Duqu, and Regin. Much of ProjectSauron resides solely in computer memory and was written in the form of Binary Large Objects, making it hard to detect using antivirus. Because of the way the software was written, clues left behind by ProjectSauron in so-called software artifacts are unique to each of its targets. That means that clues collected from one infection don't help researchers uncover new infections. Unlike many malware operations that reuse servers, domain names, or IP addresses for command and control channels, the people behind ProjectSauron chose a different one for almost every target. View the full article
  25. Google has shared more details of its plan to replace Flash with HTML5 by default in Chrome. In September 2016, Chrome will block Flash content that loads behind the scenes, which the company estimates accounts for more than 90 percent of the Flash on the web. In December, Chrome will make HTML5 the default experience for central content, such as games and videos, except on sites that only support Flash. Flash has been on its way out for years. Not only is the tool a security nightmare, with new vulnerabilities popping up regularly, the market has been slowly but surely moving away from plugins in favor of HTML5. Chrome and Flash, in particular, have had a complicated relationship. While Flash is included in Google’s browser by default, it has been slowly but surely de-emphasized. In September 2015, Chrome 45 began automatically pausing less-important Flash content (ads, animations, and anything that isn’t “central to the webpage”). View the full article
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