Technology

NJ School District Hit With Ransomware-For-Bitcoins Scheme

Slashdot - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 1:40pm
An anonymous reader sends news that unidentified hackers are demanding 500 bitcoins, currently worth about $128,000, from administrators of a New Jersey school district. Four elementary schools in Swedesboro-Woolwich School District, which enroll more than 1,700 students, are now locked out of certain tasks: "Without working computers, teachers cannot take attendance, access phone numbers or records, and students cannot purchase food in cafeterias. Also, [district superintendent Dr. Terry C. Van Zoeren] explained, parents cannot receive emails with students grades and other information." According to this blog post from security company BatBlue, the district has been forced to postpone the Common Core-mandated PARCC state exams, too. Small comfort: "Fortunately the Superintendent told CBS 3’s Walt Hunter the hackers, using a program called Ransomware, did not access any personal information about students, families or teachers." Perhaps the administrators can take heart: Ransomware makers are, apparently, starting to focus more on product support; payment plans are probably on the way.

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Facebook’s Aquila Drone Will Beam Down Internet Access With Lasers

TechCrunch - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 1:31pm
 As the second day of its F8 conference began here at Fort Mason in San Francisco, Facebook announced the first hardware it plans to use to beam the Internet down to billions of people around the world. Codenamed Aquila, the drone has a wingspan comparable to a Boeing 767 yet uses lightweight materials that allow it to weigh less than a car. Read More

CNNgo comes to Apple TV with live and on-demand news

Engadget - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 1:29pm
It looks like Apple TV's enjoying a growth spurt -- at least if you're into factual content (sorry soap opera fans, your time will come). It looks like CNN is finally coming to Apple TV via CNNgo. The app dishes up both live and on-demand news, but t...

Facebook Fights Info Overload With AIs That Identify What’s In Videos And Sentences

TechCrunch - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 1:18pm
 Facebook has made some breakthroughs in artificial intelligence. Today at its F8 conference, CTO Mike Schroepfer described new systems for identifying the content and context of videos and sentences. The second day of F8 included the open-sourcing of native mobile app development tool React Native, a preview of a giant new unmanned aerial vehicle for delivering Internet to remote areas… Read More

Microsoft Launches New Azure Backup And Recovery Services

TechCrunch - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 1:15pm
 Microsoft today announced new features (in preview) for its Azure Backup service. In addition, the company is launching new functionality for its Azure Site Recovery service into preview. The company is clearly gearing both of these services toward enterprises and notes that they will be especially interesting to companies making the move to hybrid cloud deployments. Using Azure Backup… Read More

What Makes the Perfect Gaming Mouse?

Slashdot - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 1:00pm
An anonymous reader writes A new article looks at the advanced technology that goes into many gaming mice favoured by professional gamers, from dedicated processors to custom weights for the sake of ergonomics, discussing the developments with designers at three top peripheral companies: Logitech, Razer and SteelSeries. Surprisingly, some factors that were once thought to have reached the limit of their usefulness, such as DPI sensitivity, are becoming more important again as screens get bigger and we make the move to 4K resolution. ... "With the rise of higher resolution screens, especially looking into 4K multi monitor systems and beyond, DPI might become an important factor in the future again, so we are not ruling out changes in the maximum tracking rate," says Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan.

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Amazon bringing plumbers and yoga instructors to new marketplace

Engadget - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 12:57pm
On top of car parts and yoga mats, you'll soon be able to find auto mechanics and gurus at Amazon's incoming Home Services marketplace. The new site lets you find and hire experts in categories like home improvement, lawn & garden, lessons and comput...

Caliber Debuts A Messaging App Designed For Business Professionals

TechCrunch - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 12:36pm
 A number of startups in years past have tried to carve out their own niche in the business networking space under the looming shadow of LinkedIn by offering an alternative way to connect with industry colleagues, often on mobile. But today, a new app called Caliber is offering a slightly different take on the concept: instead of trying to compete with LinkedIn directly, its service offers… Read More

Motorola found guilty of infringing on a patent from infamous troll

Engadget - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 12:31pm
There was good news and bad news for Motorola in its second round in court with the patent holding firm Intellectual Ventures. A Delaware jury cleared Motorola of infringing on one of IV's wireless patents, but it also said that the cellphone maker i...

Many Password Strength Meters Are Downright Weak, Researchers Say

Slashdot - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 12:21pm
alphadogg writes "Website password strength meters often tell you only what you want to hear rather than what you need to hear. That's the finding from researchers at Concordia University in Montreal, who examined the usefulness of those ubiquitous red-yellow-green password strength testers on websites run by big names such as Google, Yahoo, Twitter and Microsoft/Skype. The researchers used algorithms to send millions of 'not-so-good' passwords through these meters, as well as through the meters of password management services such as LastPass and 1Password, and were largely underwhelmed by what they termed wildly inconsistent results. Inconsistent can go both directions: I've seen password-strength meters that balked at absolutely everything (accepting weak passwords as good, after calling wildly long and random ones poor).

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Minecraft free for every Northern Ireland secondary school

Engadget - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 12:03pm
Minecraft has been heralded for its focus on building, creativity and exploration. Players learn about architecture and construction, as well as the simple joy of self expression. The game's open nature has also given birth to countless mods that tea...

The Enterprise Show LIVE 03.26.15

TechCrunch - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 12:01pm
 The Enterprise Show – Peter Burris, Charlie Isaacs, John Taschek, and Steve Gillmor. Live recording session has concluded for today. Our LIVE show chat on FriendFeed Read More

'Blade Runner' tech gives 'Borderlands' its signature sound

Engadget - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 12:00pm
"The Commodore 64 is like my Bible; that's when [game] music began because that's when they put an analog chip into a computer," composer Jesper Kyd says of the nearly 33-year-old home computer. "Before that it was PC or Atari and everything was like...

Facebook Sued For Alleged Theft of Data Center Design

Slashdot - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 11:39am
itwbennett writes British engineering company BladeRoom Group says it contacted Facebook in 2011 about using its technique, which involves constructing data centers in a modular fashion from pre-fabricated parts. What happened next isn't clear, since much of the public version of BRG's lawsuit is redacted. But it claims Facebook ended up stealing its ideas and using them to build part of a data center in Lulea, Sweden, that opened last year. 'Facebook's misdeeds might never have come to light had it decided that simply stealing BRG's intellectual property was enough,' the company said in its lawsuit, filed Monday at the federal district court in San Jose, California. "Instead, Facebook went further when it decided to encourage and induce others to use BRG's intellectual property though an initiative created by Facebook called the 'Open Compute Project.'"

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Lyft's answer to rideshare safety is befriending your driver

Engadget - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 11:28am
While Uber is doing its best to make sure passengers feel safe with its drivers, Lyft just wants us all to be friends. Next week a new "Lyft profiles" feature is coming to the app that the company hopes will "humanize" the "ride experience," sparking...

Whipclip Launches So You Can Legally Share Your Favorite TV Moments

TechCrunch - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 11:14am
 There’s a lot of talk about how social media has become the new watercooler for discussing TV’s funny, crazy, or otherwise memorable moments. What’s been more hit-or-miss, however, is finding the actual footage that everyone’s talking about. Sure, networks are putting more and more clips online, but it’s still only a fraction of what’s actually broadcast.… Read More

Steller Storytelling App Gets A Huge Makeover

TechCrunch - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 11:10am
 Steller is a storytelling app that has been around since the beginning of 2014, but today the company has announced a huge overhaul of the app’s UX to make editing and creating that much simpler. Steller allows users to upload videos, photos, and add text to create a storybook experience on mobile. Users can create Steller stories based around an event, a party, or their own creative… Read More

Adapting To The Changing Global Enterprise Security Landscape

TechCrunch - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 11:00am
 The finishing touches of the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) are underway, and with it, many international companies that have data passing through the EU, house customer data of EU residents or are based in the EU are concerned about how they will fare once the new law is enacted. And they should be, as non-compliance could result in costly penalties under the… Read More

Frank & Oak Plans To Open Six Brick-And-Mortar Stores In The US

TechCrunch - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 11:00am
 Frank & Oak, an online retailer of men’s apparel and goods, is today announcing plans to launch six different long-term pop-up shops across the United States. Where? Well, it seems that’s up to consumers. The company is launching a campaign that will allow customers to vote (through the Tilt platform) on which markets they’d like Frank & Oak to invest in… Read More

Razer's handing open-source VR kits to more than 20 education labs

Engadget - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 11:00am
Razer's entry into virtual reality may not be as ballsy as HTC's or Samsung's, but it could be just as important. Back in January the gaming manufacturer revealed Open Source Virtual Reality (OSVR), a project that offers a hardware design and softwar...