Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales hopes to tackle fake news with a journalism outfit of his own. Wikitribune will be free to access and use crowdfunding to hire experienced reporters. They’ll work alongside volunteers who can sub-edit articles, fact-check stories and suggest new topics for the site to pursue. “This will be the first time that professional and citizen journalists will work side-by-side as equals writing stories as they happen, editing them as they develop, and at all times backed by a community checking and rechecking all of the facts,” Wales said.
Wikitribune’s existence (and success) will depend on donations from people who believe in its mission and the journalism it’s producing. The site will cover traditional news beats, such as UK and international politics, as well as science, technology and specialist subjects chosen by subscribers.
ur leaders may be determined to make their daily dealings less transparent, but they probably didn’t reckon on bored Steve Ballmer. The former Microsoft CEO has spent more than $10 million on a new project to open up the US government budget. USA Facts, as profiled in the New York Times, is an open, searchable database that tracks where almost all of your federal, state and local tax dollars are spent.
When Ballmer retired from Microsoft in 2014, he initially rejected becoming a philanthropist, believing that the taxes he paid were good enough. But upon wondering where that money was spent, he fell into a data rabbit hole that encouraged him to begin working with the University of Pennsylvania. The result is what is being described as a truly nonpartisan look at revenue and spending across the US.
Despite their popularity, both Firefox and Chrome have reputations as resource hogs that chew up big chunks of your RAM. In the case of Firefox, some of this is unfair — parent Mozilla says part of the problem is that many users are running older machines without a lot of memory in the first place. To help those folks, the developers are working on a new feature called “performance” that will let you fine-tune the browser if you’re running a PC that’s less than state-of-the-art.
Firefox plays better than most browsers with third-party add-ons, but as the developers have pointed out before, some of those can slow your machine significantly.
Five days after Trump’s inauguration, news leaked that his staff was continuing to use email linked to a private server. While that’s not illegal (though hypocritical, given Hillary’s election pillorying), it requires those using non-government emails to disclose them. If that doesn’t happen — if those messages aren’t forwarded to an official account and stored for posterity — the offender violates the Presidential Records Act.
It seems the same could apply to Trump’s tweets: The White House has agreed to the US National Archives’ request that they save every one, including those he deletes.
Over the years, Google has utilised a number of methods to distinguish between human and bots on the web. Its take on the CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) test, known as reCAPTCHA, has required you to transcribe distorted words, confirm Street View addresses or simply just tick a box. Soon, you won’t need to do the hard work, because Google’s making the system invisible.
Using a combination of machine learning and advanced risk analysis, Google has updated its system to detect user habits without dedicated interaction. When you arrive on a web page, the controls should disappear and serve the relevant content.
If you have one of Western Digital’s My Cloud nstorage drives, you might be particularly vulnerable to internet attacks. Exploitee.rs has discovered a number of unpatched security flaws in most My Cloud models that let remote intruders bypass the login, insert their own commands and upload files without permission. In numerous cases, it’s a matter of poorly implemented scripts. Also, every command exectued through the web interface has full access to the operating system — an attacker would have the keys to the kingdom.
The kicker? WD did fix one login bypass flaw through a firmware update, but it introduced another in the process.
If malware uses a remote command-and-control server to function, it’s relatively easy to cripple it by blocking the internet addresses it uses. It’s not always that easy, however, and researchers at Cisco’s Talos group have found a textbook example of this in action. A recently discovered Windows PowerShell trojan, DNSMessenger, uses the Domain Name Service for communication — you know, one of the cornerstones of the internet.
Few computer users are equipped to block DNS without causing other problems, and they might not notice unusual data traffic even if they’re looking for it. While using DNS isn’t completely unheard of, DNSMessenger uses an “extremely uncommon” two-way approach that both sends commands to victim machines and sends results back to the attacker.
In a regulatory filing, Yahoo revealed some additional details about data breaches that have affected over a billion accounts. Among that information is the news that hackers who obtained Yahoo’s code and were able to create their own cookies were able to access 32 million accounts through 2015 and 2016. Additionally, the 10-K statement provided to the SEC says that Yahoo notified 26 individuals and consulted with law enforcement after it became aware that state-sponsored hackers had exploited its account management tool for access.
Yahoo publicly revealed the extent of these breaches in December, but admits in the report that in 2014 “it appears certain senior executives did not properly comprehend or investigate, and therefore failed to act sufficiently upon, the full extent of knowledge known internally by the Company’s information security team.”
What happens when too many websites are hosted by the same service provider? Just in case that provider experiences some issues, a large part of the internet goes down. Yes, here I’m talking about Amazon S3 web-based storage service. AWS is mostly used for storing images for a lot of sites, and many of them also use to host entire sites.
This happened on February 28, when Amazon S3 started experiencing “high error rates”, causing chaos among many websites that depended on AWS to work. These sites and services include the likes of Medium, Slack, Quora, Giphy, Nest, etc.
You might see Evernote’s pages load faster than usual going forward, now that the service is almost fully done moving 3 petabytes of data to Google Cloud Platform. The team only has to transfer some user attachments before the migration is complete. Once that’s done, then the service will have a new layer of protection called “encryption at rest,” which protects your data even if it’s not being accessed or moved. Further, GCP provides better disaster recovery planning that will make it easier for Evernote to recover data in case of a major mishap.
Ben McCormack, Evernote’ VP of operations told PC World:
“We have seen page loading times reducing quite significantly across some parts of our application. I wouldn’t say it’s everywhere yet, but we are starting to see that benefit of the Google power and the Google reach in terms of bridging traffic over their global fiber network.”