Weekend tech reading: Microsoft acquires Havok, 500m WinRAR users at risk, China's self-driving bus

By Matthew
Oct 4, 2015
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  1. Is there an Internet-of-Things vigilante out there? The following story could well work as the script of a Hollywood movie or superhero comic. Let me introduce you to Linux.Wifatch, one of the latest pieces of code infecting Internet of Things (IoT) devices. We first heard of Wifatch back in 2014, when an independent security researcher noticed something unusual happening on his home router. The researcher identified running processes that didn't seem to be part of the legitimate router software and decided to investigate further. Symantec

    IBM research breakthrough paves way for post-silicon future with carbon nanotube electronics IBM Research today announced a major engineering breakthrough that could accelerate carbon nanotubes replacing silicon transistors to power future computing technologies. IBM scientists demonstrated a new way to shrink transistor contacts without reducing performance of carbon nanotube devices, opening a pathway to dramatically faster, smaller and more powerful computer chips... IBM

    The inside story of how $1 billion Evernote went from Silicon Valley darling to deep trouble In 2012, the note-taking app Evernote became one of the first "Unicorn" startups, joining the exclusive club for private tech companies worth $1 billion or more. That year, Evernote passed 30 million registered users, brought its total funding to $270 million, and seemed like a sure-fire candidate to hit the public market in the coming years. Business Insider

    Microsoft acquires Havok from Intel Microsoft has acquired Havok, a game-development technology provider, from Intel for an undisclosed amount. Intel bought Dublin-based Havok, known for its physics engine, in September 2007 for $110 million. Havok has worked with the leading game publishers and developers, including Microsoft Games Studios, Sony Computer Entertainment, Nintendo and others, for 15-plus years. ZDNet

    Critical flaw puts 500 million WinRAR users at risk of being pwned by unzipping a file 500 million, yes half a billion, WinRAR users are at risk of being pwned thanks to a critical flaw that could allow hackers to take control of victims' computers. Vulnerability Lab, via the Full Disclosure mailing list, put the world on notice about a remote code execution vulnerability in the latest version of WinRAR, WinRAR 5.21. Computerworld

    Huawei's first Android Wear watch is a beautiful yet basic timepiece Huawei isn't exactly the first company that comes to mind when you think of stylish connected devices. The Chinese manufacturer has delved into wearables with its TalkBand series, but those were slow to come to the US, and their fitness tracker-meets-Bluetooth-headset capabilities were peculiar. Now Huawei wants to test the waters of Google's wearable OS with its new smartwatch, simply dubbed the Huawei Watch, and it's a solid first attempt at Android Wear. Ars Technica

    Rich Stanton on: Year Walk and the future Nintendo predicted This week saw the release of Year Walk for Wii U, a game first released in 2012. Developed by Swedish studio Simogo, initially for iOS and later for PC, this definitive version has been handled by Welsh Wii U wizards Dakko Dakko - and has the power to stop you cold. This is not, as I first thought, just a great game. This is the game that finally made me understand what Nintendo thought the future looked like when it was designing Wii U. Eurogamer

    What will Alphabet be when it grows up? One of the more interesting documents of the information age was posted on the Internet 11 years ago, as part of the initial public offering of Google. That document, signed by founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, conveyed both a deep enthusiasm for technological innovation and a mistrust of Wall Street. Page and Brin suggested that it would be possible to balance risk-taking with a sense of fiduciary responsibility. MIT

    Games as a two-way conversation When we think about player expression, our minds usually go straight toward multiplayer games, where people can type in the chat window, choose their outfits, play emotes and voice chat -- all methods by which players can express themselves. Any time you create a multiplayer game system that lets players express themselves, you have to choose whether you allow negative expressions. Gamasutra

    FLIF - Free Lossless Image Format FLIF is a novel lossless image format which outperforms PNG, lossless WebP, lossless BPG and lossless JPEG2000 in terms of compression ratio. According to the compression experiments we have performed, FLIF files are, on average: 26% smaller than brute-force crushed PNG files, 35% smaller than typical PNG files, 37% smaller than lossless JPEG 2000 compression... FLIF

    The global struggle to prevent cyberwar The cyberwar era arguably began two hours before midnight on April 26, 2007, when hordes of Internet traffic started quietly overwhelming servers in the small European nation of Estonia. The barrage, prompted by the Estonian government’s decision to relocate a controversial monument to the country’s Russian liberators in World War II, went largely unnoticed for the first 24 hours. The Daily Dot

    Mixing power-line networking with Wi-Fi proves intoxicating You may recall my failed attempt at using a second Wi-Fi router in repeater mode in order to overcome some signal-strength issues in the upper level of my house. I learned very quickly that compromising half (or more) of your wireless bandwidth in order to talk to a second router wirelessly isn't a very good trade-off for most clients. The Tech Report

    DDR3 and DDR4 prices keep falling Driven by harsh PC sales for the past year, DRAM module industry is one of the industries worst hit by the recent market trend. Despite peak season and the 70th anniversary of Victory Day celebration in China that had the possibility of spiking up the price a bit, average DDR3 4GB prices dropped 3% from US$19 in August to US$18.5 in September. Softpedia

    This is how the arcade survives in 2015 "I'll tell you, nobody's getting rich off this. That's for sure." -- David Shields, owner of Flippers. Sometime between 1996 and 2002, the concept of the video arcade finally died out completely. There were no flowers or heartfelt eulogies. In fact, its demise was so ignoble that it's essentially impossible to put an exact date on it. Playboy

    Hop aboard China's first self-driving bus Bus drivers in China might soon find themselves out of a job, or at least with a lot less to do. Yutong, a bus manufacturer based in the Chinese city of Zhengzhou, recently ferried passengers on a completely autonomous bus across a stretch of 32 kilometers (20 miles). Quartz

    How I ended up purchasing & owning via Google Domains A strange thing happened at 1:20 AM Eastern Time on Tuesday, September 29. I was learning more about the Google Domains interface, and typed and clicked search domains. To my surprise, was showing as available! Sanmay Ved

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  2. Per Hansson

    Per Hansson TS Server Guru Posts: 1,926   +185

    About the WinRAR vulnerability: such sensationalist bullshit it causes involuntary movement of my eyes in a round robin fashion while my head rests in my palm!
    So get this: a scripting feature in the self extracting executable (SFX) component could be used to deliver malicious content to a PC.
    Wow yea guess what: downloading an EXE file and running it could expose your computer, no matter if it's been created by WinRAR or one of the popular exploit toolkit out there that you can buy!
    And what do people think that WinRAR could possibly do to "fix" this vulnerability if it really existed?
    It's an EXE file for gods sake, you'd think the "bad people" could figure out to use the older version of WinRAR that has not been patched yet to make their self extracting archive. (EXE file)
    DanielR, BlueDrake and cliffordcooley like this.
  3. ET3D

    ET3D TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,159   +67

    I, too, read Playboy for the gaming coverage.

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