70% of Ransomware Attacks Targeted SMBs, BEC Attacks Increased by 130%

Bleeping Computer - 2 hours 3 min ago
Beazley Breach Response (BBR) Services found that 71% of ransomware attacks targeted small businesses, with an average ransom demand of $116,324 and a median of $10,310, after analyzing 3,300 incidents involving its clients in 2018 [...]
Categories: Technology

Berlin-based Spark Networks to acquire San Francisco-based dating startup Zoosk for ~$255M (Natasha Mascarenhas/Crunchbase News)

Techmeme - 2 hours 30 min ago

Natasha Mascarenhas / Crunchbase News:
Berlin-based Spark Networks to acquire San Francisco-based dating startup Zoosk for ~$255M  —  Coming off of acquisitions like Christian Mingle, JSwipe and Jdate, Berlin-based Spark Networks SE swiped right yesterday for a new dating company: Zoosk.  —  Spark Networks is planning …

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The Windows 10 calculator will soon be able to graph math equations

The Verge - 2 hours 52 min ago

Microsoft is adding a graphing mode to the Windows 10 calculator. The company made the calculator open-sourced on GitHub earlier this month and has received over thirty suggestions from contributors so far, as spotted by ZDNet.

The graphing mode is the first open-sourced suggestion to be chosen. It was Microsoft engineer Dave Grochocki’s idea, who suggested that students could use the graphing feature to study algebra. He pointed out that algebra is the stepping stone to more advanced mathematics and other science and engineering courses, but it’s also a class that students in the US commonly fail.

A lot of basic calculator apps don’t have a graphing feature, so the Windows 10 calculator might also be getting a leg up on rival apps. As of now, the feature’s still under development but GitHub notes indicate users would be able to graph linear, quadratic, and exponential equations.

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'Supernatural' will end after 15 seasons

Mashable - 3 hours 27 min ago

The CW is saying goodbye to Supernatural

The beloved drama will wrap up with its already ordered 15th season in 2020. Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, and Misha Collins broke the news in a video message right after they told their crew. They said they wanted fans to hear directly from them. 

SEE ALSO: All your favorite TV comedies end this year. Now what?

They also shared a message from Supernatural creator Eric Kripke saying, "In a show about family, it is amazing and the pride of his life that it [the cast and crew] became family." 

Hey #SPNFamily here’s a little message from @JensenAckles @mishacollins and me. I’m so grateful for the family that’s been built because of the show. Excuse me while i go

— Jared Padalecki (@jarpad) March 22, 2019

More about The Cw, Supernatural, Cancelation, Entertainment, and Movies Tv Shows
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Spycams Secretly Live-Streamed 1,600 Motel Guests

Threatpost - 3 hours 33 min ago
Four have been arrested in the case.
Categories: Technology

Pinterest files for IPO, but avoids calling itself a social network

The Verge - 3 hours 44 min ago

The latest Silicon Valley company to file for an initial public offering is Pinterest, the San Francisco-based social network and image board that in recent years has built a large advertising and commerce business from its growing user base. The company, although it is still not profitable, says it earned more than $750 million in revenue last year, and it’s cut its losses from nearly $200 million in 2016 down to just under $75 million annually. Pinterest says it was in fact profitable in the fourth quarter of 2018, but not profitable enough to get out of the red for the full calendar year.

The company, headed up by original co-founder and CEO Ben Silbermann, plans to go public on the New York Stock Exchange. It joins ride-hailing giants Uber and Lyft, on-demand delivery company Postmates, workplace communications platform Slack, and hotel and short-term home rental service Airbnb as one of the handful of Silicon Valley companies said to be planning an IPO this year (or next). Such an influx of money could drastically shake up the Bay Area landscape by creating waves of new millionaires, a capital injection that could reshape San Francisco and, as a result, the tech industry itself due to the ripple effects it could have on new startups and investments.

Pinterest, which launched in 2010, primarily makes money by attracting advertisers to its platform, where users create boards in which they self-identify their interests and through which advertisers can try and sell them products. Pinterest says its more than 250 million monthly active users have created more than 4 billion boards with a cumulative 175 billion pins saved. The platform itself has processed more than 2 billion searches, many of which Pinterest attempts to process visually using machine learning-based methods like object and image recognition.

Pinterest is still not profitable, but it’s getting there

Effectively, Pinterest competes not so much with Facebook or traditional e-commerce sites like Amazon, but with search engines and search-based product advertising tools, as well as with sites that manually or algorithmically curate products against which advertisers can run ads. “We primarily compete with consumer internet companies that are either tools (search, e-commerce) or media (newsfeeds, video, social networks),” Pinterest writes in its S-1 filing.

“In this way, Pinterest is unique. Most consumer internet companies are either tools (search, ecommerce) or media (newsfeeds, video, social networks),” the company argues. “Pinterest is not a pure media channel, nor is it a pure utility. It’s a media-rich utility that satisfies both emotional and functional needs by solving a widespread consumer problem that is unaddressed by many other platforms. We call it discovery.”

That makes one of its primary competitors Google, but also increasingly Instagram as Facebook moves to monetize its image-sharing network as a kind of visual search engine that helps people find and purchase products based on their interests and the interests of influencers and celebrities they follow.

Pinterest outlines a number of other hurdles it faces going forward in the risk factors section of its S-1:

We are in the early stages of our monetization efforts and are still growing and scaling our revenue model. Our growth strategy depends on, among other things, attracting more advertisers (including serving more mid-market and unmanaged advertisers and expanding our sales efforts to reach advertisers in additional international markets), scaling our business with existing advertisers and expanding our advertising product offerings, such as self-serve tools. There is no assurance that this revenue model will continue to be successful or that we will generate increasing revenue.

Pinterest also say ad-blocking tools may, in the future, harm its profitability. “Existing ad blocking technologies that have not been effective on our service may become effective as we make certain product changes, and new ad blocking technologies may be developed,” the company explains.

Further complicating the matter is Pinterest’s reliance on tech’s biggest platform players. “Web and mobile browser developers, such as Apple, Microsoft, or Google, may implement changes in browser or device functionality that impair our ability to measure the effectiveness of advertising on our platform, including by limiting the use of third-party cookies or other tracking technology.” Pinterest specifically calls out changes Apple made to its Safari browser two years ago to cut down on ad tracking.

It’s not clear at the moment how much money Pinterest intends to raise, making it difficult to get a handle on the company’s prospective market capitalization. Investors have put more than $1.5 billion into the company, with its last valuation putting Pinterest at around $12 billion. According to The New York Times, Pinterest’s largest shareholders, and those that stand to benefit most from an IPO, are include Bessemer Venture Partners, FirstMark Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Fidelity Investments, and Valiant Capital Management.

Categories: Technology

The Week in Ransomware - March 22nd 2019 - LOCKERGOGA!

Bleeping Computer - 3 hours 45 min ago
This week has been dominated by the news of aluminum producer Norsk Hydro being crippled by the LockerGoga Ransomware. Since then, it has been constant news coverage regarding the ransomware and more in-depth analysis. [...]
Categories: Technology

Google sparks online outcry after its currency converter goes haywire for third time this year

The Register - 3 hours 47 min ago
Someone get that old FDIV-bugged Pentium out of web giant's servers

What's that old saying? Ah, yes, it's right here in Google's corporate handbook: never apologize, never explain.…

Categories: Technology

The NFL Wants a Cord Cutting Friendly Version of NFL Sunday Ticket Without DIRECTV

Cord Cutters News - 4 hours 11 min ago

Today the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says he is looking into a streaming version of NFL Sunday Ticket. In 2014, the NFL renewed their deal with DIRECTV for NFL Sunday Ticket through 2022. Yet there is an early out of the contract that would let the NFL out of their contract in time for the […]

The post The NFL Wants a Cord Cutting Friendly Version of NFL Sunday Ticket Without DIRECTV appeared first on Cord Cutters News.

Categories: Technology

Firefox and Edge Fall to Hackers on Day Two of Pwn2Own

Threatpost - 4 hours 16 min ago
Browsers Firefox and Edge take a beating on day two of the Pwn2Own competition.
Categories: Technology

Google Play Touts Certs in Quest For Enterprise Security

Threatpost - 4 hours 22 min ago
Google has snagged three security and privacy certifications for Google Play as it tries to appeal to enterprises despite numerous malicious apps and security issues.
Categories: Technology

Critical DoS Bug Bubbles Up in Facebook Fizz TLS 1.3 Project

Threatpost - 4 hours 23 min ago
Users of the open-source project should upgrade immediately.
Categories: Technology

Meme asks what if Robert Mueller is just procrastinating?

Mashable - 4 hours 25 min ago

As we all anxiously await the Mueller report, a curious theory has emerged: What if Robert Mueller, special counsel of the Russia investigation and former director of the FBI, is just procrastinating?

On a Friday afternoon — a great time to put off work — a lot of people wrote tweets about what Mueller might be up to in his procrastination hole. Sure, they might have done these tweets instead of doing their jobs, but that only makes the tweets better and more appropriate. (I say this because I participated.)

I've been in Robert Mueller's position before and let me tell you, he has not written shit

— Tim Murphy (@timothypmurphy) March 21, 2019

More about Memes, Robert Mueller, Mueller Investigation, Culture, and Web Culture
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Netflix tests a mobile-only plan in select countries that costs $3

The Verge - 4 hours 44 min ago

Netflix is testing a new mobile-only subscription plan in “select countries” including India that would only cost $3.63 a month. That’s half the cost of Netflix’s Indian basic streaming plan, which covers all devices and costs $7.27 (INR500), as spotted by Variety.

Netflix told The Verge in a statement, “We are always looking for ways to make Netflix more enjoyable and accessible. We will be testing different options in select countries, where members can, for example, watch Netflix on their mobile device for a lower price and subscribe in shorter increments of time.” That last part is intriguing, as it could mean that Netflix starts weekly or biweekly subscriptions instead of monthly plans.

It could just be a test

Since it’s a test, not all users will see the new plan and it’s possible that Netflix won’t make it a permanent option. Netflix declined to share what other countries would get the test besides India.

The test in India makes sense, given that Netflix has already expressed interest in the country. Last week, Netflix product VP Todd Yellin gave a keynote in Mumbai describing the streaming giant’s plans to expand interactive TV shows and Netflix original Indian content. He pointed to the success of the Netflix original Indian series Sacred Games, about a cop chasing down a crime overlord, which audiences abroad tuned in to as well.

Categories: Technology

Netflix is experimenting with different episode orders for its new anthology show

The Verge - 4 hours 51 min ago

When it comes to watching television, viewers typically watch everything in the same order — the show will either have a certain broadcast order, or its story will be such that watching it out of order would turn it into nonsense. With its new anthology series Love, Death + Robots, Netflix tried something new: testing out different episode orders to see which performed the best.

For such an anthology series, where each episode stands on their own, you don’t have to worry about making sure that you’re watching things in any particular order — there isn’t one. But how you watch might change how you experience the episodes.

After viewers noticed episodes shifting from viewer to viewer, Netflix explained the discrepancy in a tweet. “We’ve never had a show like Love, Death & Robots before, so we’re trying something completely new,” the official accounts said, “presenting four different episode orders.”

Netflix is well known for its rigorous a/b testing practices

Netflix is well known for its rigorous a/b testing practices, presenting broadly different page layouts and results to different users to see which performs best. That practice is most intense for content recommendations, but also extends to thumbnails and other aspects of the product. Despite some experiments in interactivity, that testing has never extended into the video itself, and this latest ordering experiment is the closest Netflix has come to actually changing the content of a program from viewer to viewer.

Surveying our staff this week, we discovered only two distinct episode orders — one that started with the episode “Sonnie’s Edge,” and another that began with “Beyond the Aquila Rift” — although it’s possible other orders were tested earlier in the release and discarded for poor performance.

Netflix’s experiments have gotten it in trouble in the past. In October, the company faced blowback over concerns that its thumbnail previews were targeting users by race, highlighting black characters in a given program when the user was black. Netflix denied the claim, saying thumbnails were algorithmically generated and that the company does not target users demographically.

The episode reordering ran into similar concerns. When the variation was first discovered, some speculated that the episode order changed based on their gender or sexual orientation — “Sonnie’s Edge” depicts a lesbian relationship, while “Beyond the Aquila Rift” depicts a heterosexual one. Netflix pushed back on those allegations, saying that it doesn’t specifically collect that type of information, and The Verge’s own testing discovered no evidence of targeting by sexuality.

Categories: Technology

Google Stadia wants YouTubers to play with fans, but that could leave creators open to attacks

The Verge - 4 hours 56 min ago

Google wants its upcoming game-streaming service, Stadia, to up the ante for live-streamed games on YouTube, but Google didn’t address the many ways its system could lead to harassment, demonetization, and other problems for creators

One of Stadia’s most exciting developments for YouTube creators is “Crowd Play,” a feature that allows creators to play games like NBA 2K19 with their viewers. It seems like a good idea on the surface, but Google’s presentation didn’t mention any potential harms that could come from Crowd Play. For just over an hour, multiple members of Google’s Stadia team and YouTube’s head of gaming, Ryan Wyatt, spoke about the benefits Stadia had for players and creators. Gaming is more seamless, Google Stadia chief Phil Harrison claimed; Wyatt told YouTubers it would open a whole new world of interaction and engagement with fans.

Neither Harrison nor Wyatt touched upon one of the most important questions: how easily can bad actors take advantage of Crowd Play?

Imagine a popular YouTube creator with a sizable audience. They have an army of dedicated fans that follow them everywhere, and are ready to line up for a chance to play a game with their favorite YouTuber. Stadia is a perfect way of integrating that community of loyal supporters into a more collaborative space; live-streaming with fans is the digital equivalent of signing autographs after a show.

Crowd Play does present this opportunity, but neither Google nor YouTube explained how the queuing system worked. A popular YouTuber known for gaming streams, like DanTDM or Jacksepticeye, may attract trolls who purposely line up just for an opportunity to yell offensive or hateful words on stream. When that happens, it’s often the creators hosting the stream who have to deal with the consequences. So if a creator is using Stadia, which Google and YouTube want them to do, what protects them from flagrant abuse?

“Live-streaming with fans is the digital equivalent of signing autographs after a show.”

These problems aren’t just possibilities in the realm of live-streaming — they happen regularly. YouTube is home to countless compilations of trolls using voice chat or text-to-speak technology in an effort to disrupt live streams.

It’s unclear if Stadia will allow YouTube creators to choose who they play with or if the lobby just measures how many people are in line. YouTube or Google may have already planned for bad actors abusing the system, but no one addressed it during the keynote. YouTube and Google are both aware of how people can abuse their systems, but choosing to not acknowledge a crucial part of live-streaming culture when asking creators to do more of it is concerning.

Creators could jeopardize their YouTube accounts by allowing strangers to enter a match. They may receive a 90-day ban from live-streaming on the platform and a strike against their channel if someone comes on and starts yelling hateful terms. If someone were to jump onto a stream and do this, the punishment automatically falls on the creator, according to YouTube’s current rules. How can YouTube and Google convince creators to readily jump into Stadia when they haven’t addressed these apparent concerns?

There are other vulnerabilities for creators that exist outside of bad actors, too. Both Wyatt and Harrison touted Stadia as a tool that could help further monetize creators’ channels. Monetization is a constant subject of conversation within the creator community as fluctuating policies from YouTube often leave creators concerned their channels will lose monetization privileges. One constant source of ire for creators is copyright claims. Although YouTube can’t ignore copyright law, creators have become frustrated.

How easily can bad actors take advantage of Crowd Play?

Again, neither of Google’s executives touched upon this. For example, if a Drake song were to play in NBA 2K19, Warner Music could claim copyright infringement, meaning that creator couldn’t monetize their live stream. It’s an issue that’s led YouTube creators to sing a capella versions of copyrighted songs in an effort to bypass said rules. It’ll be difficult for YouTube to court creators to use Stadia until or unless the company addresses whether copyrighted songs during live streams will affect monetization practices. YouTube and Google may have answers for this, but withholding them from a press conference geared toward developers and content creators is frustrating and a little fearful.

YouTube declined to provide additional details about how Crowd Play operates when asked by The Verge. Maybe Google will share a clearer strategy for YouTube later; the keynote was a way to introduce an exciting product, and the company may not have wanted to bring up topics like demonetization and copyright strikes while it was trying to get developers jazzed about the idea of cloud gaming. A YouTube representative told The Verge that the company “shared a vision of our integration,” during the initial presentation, adding that further details are expected before the service’s launch later this year.

As Verge editor Vlad Savov wrote earlier this week, “Stadia is about the future of YouTube, not gaming.” Google wants Stadia to leverage YouTube. Last year, more than 50 billion hours of gaming content were watched by people visiting the site. Giving YouTube creators more tools to work with in an effort to further separate it from competitors like Twitch is important, but there are a number of potential glaring issues that YouTube needs to address first.

Categories: Technology