Archive for November, 2018

Marriott breach leaves 500 million exposed with passport, card numbers stolen

November 30th, 2018
W Hotel image

Enlarge / Marriott Hotel brands like the W hotel were breached between 2014 and 2018. (credit: Craig Warga/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

On Friday, Marriott International announced a system breach that has affected approximately 500 million customers, with stolen information including names, credit card numbers, mailing addresses, email addresses, and passport numbers. The breach is one of the largest in history, after recent Yahoo breaches that compromised the accounts of nearly three billion customers.

The breach appears to have originated at Starwood hotels in 2014—two years before Marriott acquired the hotel chain, according to The Washington Post. "When Marriott acquired Starwood in 2016, the existing breach went undetected during the merger and for years afterward," the Post noted.

Marriott says it confirmed unauthorized access to the Starwood guest reservation database on November 19, which contained guest information dating back to September 10, 2018. The hackers had allegedly copied encrypted information from the Starwood reservation database. When Marriott was able to decrypt the information, the company found that of the approximately 500 million guests that had their name and contact information stolen, a subset of 327 million had "some combination of name, mailing address, phone number, email address, passport number, Starwood Preferred Guest (“SPG”) account information, date of birth, gender, arrival and departure information, reservation date, and communication preferences."

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Posted in Biz & IT, marriott, security | Comments (0)

Retailers Make Big Strides In Offering Clear Unsubscribe Links

November 30th, 2018
Fifth annual Online Trust Alliance survey said retailers get good marks for offering clear unsubscribe links, using tools like SPF and DKIM and honoring unsubscribe requests.

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Tesla has a problem with racism in its factory—so do many of its rivals

November 30th, 2018
Robotics arms install the front seats to a Model 3 at the Tesla factory in Fremont, California.

Enlarge / Robotics arms install the front seats to a Model 3 at the Tesla factory in Fremont, California. (credit: Mason Trinca for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

At least six black former Tesla employees have told The New York Times that they suffered from racial harassment while working at the company. Three racial discrimination lawsuits have been filed against Tesla since early last year.

One man, DeWitt Lambert, shared a video in which an unidentified man walks around Tesla's factory floor and—addressing Lambert—threatens to "cut you up … so everybody can have a piece of you, n*****."

In a lengthy statement to Ars Technica, Tesla faulted the Times for extrapolating from "a very small number of claims" to paint Tesla in an unflattering light.

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Posted in cars, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, GM, honda, Tesla | Comments (0)

US Biotech Firms Made China’s Gene-Edited Babies Possible

November 30th, 2018
Even Crispr babies have a global supply chain.

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Al Lowe reveals his Sierra source code collection—then puts all of it on eBay

November 30th, 2018

Metal Jesus Rocks

Al Lowe, one of Sierra On-Line's seminal game creators and programmers, has been sitting on a pile of his original games' source code files for over 30 years, fully convinced that they are worthless.

"I’m 72 years old, and none of my kids want this junk!" Lowe said in an interview with YouTube personality MetalJesusRocks (aka Jason Lindsey, himself an ex-Sierra developer and a friend of Ars). "Does anybody?"

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Posted in al lowe, Gaming & Culture, Leisure Suit Larry, Sierra On-Line | Comments (0)

Massive Starwood Hotels Breach Hits 500 Million Guests

November 30th, 2018
Among the unknowns: who is behind the breach and how many of the affected records have been sold or used by criminals.

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The Marriott Hack: How to Protect Yourself

November 30th, 2018
Up to 500 people's personal information has been stolen in a Marriott hack that lasted four years, one of the biggest breaches yet.

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The fight against measles has taken a turn for the worse

November 30th, 2018
A baby hospitalized with measles in the Philippines, in an outbreak following 2013's typhoon Haiyan.

Enlarge / A baby hospitalized with measles in the Philippines, in an outbreak following 2013's typhoon Haiyan. (credit: CDC Global)

In 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) set some ambitious goals for measles worldwide. By 2015, they wanted to reduce the number of deaths caused by measles by 95 percent compared to 2000. They set similarly ambitious targets for vaccination rates and measles infections.

The world has not reached these goals. And between 2016 and 2017, there was an alarming uptick in measles cases worldwide, according to a joint report by the WHO and CDC. “Complacency about the disease and the spread of falsehoods about the vaccine in Europe, a collapsing health system in Venezuela, and pockets of fragility and low immunization coverage in Africa are combining to bring about a global resurgence of measles after years of progress,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, in a statement about the report.

Overall, between 2000 and 2017, there has been a lot of progress: annual global deaths have decreased 80 percent, from 545,174 to 109,638. Over this time period, measles vaccination has prevented approximately 21 million deaths globally, compared to a hypothetical world with no measles vaccines (in this world, the death rate would have been a lot higher in 2000, too). The number of cases reported annually plummeted from 145 cases per million people to just 25—although the goal was five cases per million. And 85 percent of people globally had received the first dose of the measles vaccine in 2017, compared to 72 percent in 2000.

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Posted in Health, medicine, science, vaccination | Comments (0)

Microsoft Office has pretty new icons but they have a fatal flaw

November 30th, 2018

Microsoft has even made a video to introduce the new icons

Microsoft has unveiled a new set of icons that the Office apps will start using. Office 365 customers will see their apps switch to the new icons over the next couple of months, as Microsoft continues to refresh the look and feel of its core productivity suite.

The last time the Microsoft Office apps got new icons was 2013, with the same set of icons also used by Office 2016 and the perpetually licensed Office 2019. Since then, Office has got a great deal more mobile with apps for iOS and Android, it gained a bigger Web presence, it added a bunch of collaboration features, and it has seen many of its users switch from the perpetual licenses to the continuously updated Office 365.

The new icons are meant to somehow reflect these changes. The letters adorning each icon have been reduced in size, with the remainder of the space used to show a highly stylized representation of the application. The colors are a bit brighter, too. Oddly, there are already some inconsistencies in the designs; OneDrive doesn't have a letter at all (it's just a cloud), and Skype uses the old proportions, with a letter that's much bigger than any of the others.

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Posted in design, microsoft, office, Outlook, Tech | Comments (0)

Soy milk, almond milk, oat milk. Spider milk?

November 30th, 2018
The spider in question, without its young.

Enlarge / The spider in question, without its young. (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Milk comes from mammals. It’s kind of a distinctly mammalian thing. Even our government knows that. And yet, Chinese scientists have documented jumping spiders that provide their young with droplets of a nutrient-rich fluid from a furrow on the mother’s body. It is the sole nourishment for the spiderlings until they start foraging, and even then they still drink it until they get slightly more mature. Results are reported in Science.

Cockroaches and doves also provide their young with a substance described as “milk,” because it comes from their bodies and provides the exclusive source of sustenance to the young. Cockroach moms deposit this substance into the brood sac where their embryos are developing.

Dove parents—mothers and fathers both—generate crop milk and feed it to the baby birds for their first few days of life, until the babies can digest real food. Crop milk consists of nutrient-filled cells sloughed off in flakes from the inside of the parent birds’ crops, which are under their necks.

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Posted in Biology, lactation, science, spiders | Comments (0)