Category Archives: Tech

Suspicious event hijacks Amazon traffic for 2 hours, steals cryptocurrency

(credit: Amazon)

Amazon lost control of some of its widely used cloud services for two hours on Tuesday morning when hackers exploited a known Internet-protocol weakness that allowed them to redirect traffic to rogue destinations. The attackers appeared to use one server masquerading as cryptocurrency website to steal digital coins from unwitting end users. They may have targeted other customers of Amazon’s Route 53 service as well.

The incident, which started around 6am California time, hijacked roughly 1,300 IP addresses, Oracle-owned Internet Intelligence said on Twitter. The malicious redirection was caused by fraudulent routes that were announced by Columbus, Ohio-based eNet, a large Internet service provider that is referred to as autonomous system 10297. Once in place, the eNet announcement caused some of its peers to send traffic over the same unauthorized routes. Amazon and eNet officials didn’t immediately respond to a request to comment.

The highly suspicious event is the latest to involve Border Gateway Protocol, the technical specification that network operators use to exchange large chunks of Internet traffic. Despite its crucial function in directing wholesale amounts of data, BGP still largely relies on the Internet-equivalent of word of mouth from participants who are presumed to be trustworthy.

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Dealmaster: Take 18% off a new MacBook Pro with 256GB of storage

Greetings, Arsians! Courtesy of our friends at TechBargains, we have another round of deals to share. Today’s list is led by a deal on a latest-generation model of Apple’s MacBook Pro, sans Touch Bar: its variant with 256GB of storage is down to $1,235. That’s still a high price for a laptop that’s almost a year old, but c’est la Apple—this is still close to 20% off its usual going rate.

While the Dealmaster fully understands that this MacBook Pro isn’t the most welcoming device for, y’know, professionals, it still packs an excellent display, a smooth trackpad, a decent-enough processor for most everyday tasks, and at least a couple of Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports. The Touch Bar isn’t really a must-have, either, and you won’t have to worry about weird battery issues. You still can’t expect it to power you through graphics-heavy work, but at the end of the day, some people will only settle for an Apple laptop regardless of its flaws. If that’s you, this is a solid discount. Just keep in mind that new models will likely arrive in the coming months.

If you’re not hitched to the Apple wagon, though, we also have deals on various Dell PCs and monitors, Samsung SSDs, 4K TVs, and more. Take a look for yourself below.

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Discord comes to Xbox for integrated chats

Discord added an SDK to make it easier for friends to jump into each other's games and even added Spotify integration, but the service has stood on its own as a scrappy alternative to much bigger fish like Xbox Live. Which is what makes the company's…

For the first time, Facebook clearly tells its users what’s allowed

Enlarge (credit: JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Facebook has released a lengthy 22-point document that explains more fully what its “community standards” are—in short, what is and isn’t allowed on the platform.

Facebook representatives declined to respond to Ars’ request for comment on the record, insisting that we speak to them only on background. It is not clear why the company, after 14 years, is finally releasing its guidelines now. Facebook also noted that these newly published standards “closely mirror our internal guidelines.”

Last year, ProPublica obtained a slide deck outlining some of the mystifying rules, which allowed, for instance, attacks on a subset of a group (“radical Muslims” or “white female drivers”) but not larger groups with immutable characteristics (“all men”).

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Windows goes on a diet with yet another variant: Windows 10 Lean

Enlarge / Windows 10 Lean on offer within the Windows 10 installer. (credit: Lucan)

Just as Microsoft gets rid of one Windows SKU, it seems to have created another one to take its place. The short-lived Windows 10 S version has been replaced by a mode that can be applied to regular Windows, but it appears that there is already a successor: the latest Insider preview build for Redstone 5, due for release in the second half of this year, has an install option for “Windows 10 Lean,” as found by Lucan.

Windows 10 Lean appears to live up to its name: an installation is about 2GB smaller than Windows 10 Pro, and it is missing a bunch of things, such as desktop wallpaper, Registry Editor, the MMC management console, and more. Lucan reports that Lean does not seem to apply the same restrictions as S Mode, and as such it is capable of running both Universal Windows Programs from the Store and traditional Win32 applications.

What’s unclear is precisely who this Lean version is for. Saving disk space is certainly welcome, though on most PC-type devices, an extra 2GB isn’t really going to make or break anything. It would be more important on a mobile device, but Lucan is certain that Windows 10 Lean is not some precursor to the operating system for the mythical Microsoft Andromeda device.

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Frostpunk review: Ice burg

Enlarge / This house is a pixel too big to fit into that slot. It’s driving me bonkers just looking at it.

One part survival game and one part city builder, Frostpunk doesn’t give you time to play around. The citizens of this frozen, alternate-history England are cold, hungry, restless, and despairing. Your job is to manage these four societal factors—though not necessarily fix them.

Nobody is ever really happy in the world of Frostpunk. The world has already come to an icy end, after all. This reality is reflected in a series of political and technological upgrade trees that usually trade one pro for another con. Ordering the cookhouses to liquefy food rations into soup will feed more people, for instance, but it will also raise discontent. Another option is to cut the gruel with sawdust, though that might make residents (aka potential workers) sick.

That latter option won’t seem so clever, either, when those sick workers can’t collect the coal that fuels the city generator that keeps everyone from freezing to death or the wood and steel needed to build new structures. Loyal, placated citizens are a resource just like anything else in this grim take on the usual city-management simulation.

This is not a slow and relaxing sort of playground like SimCity or Cities: Skylines. Nor is it a creative exercise in making the most aesthetically pleasing city possible. True to developer 11-Bit’s pedigree (This War of Mine), Frostpunk wants you to confront what you’re willing to sacrifice to keep on living. And to do that, it constantly hits you with choices between two bad options.

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Instagram users can download a copy of their data

We've known about Instagram's plans to create a data portability tool for a while now; it was created to better comply with the UK's upcoming Data Protection Bill and gives its users the ability to download a copy of everything they've put on the pho…

Hubble flies through the Milky Way’s ‘raucous star nursery’

Over the past 28 years, the Hubble Space Telescope has inspired a generation of astronomers with insanely dramatic views of the universe, but it's hardly done blowing our minds. NASA has unveiled a new fly-through video of the Lagoon Nebula. Located…

Ajit Pai hasn’t finalized net neutrality repeal—here’s a theory on why

Enlarge / FCC Chairman Ajit Pai with his oversized coffee mug in November 2017. (credit: Getty Images | Bloomberg)

More than four months after the Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal net neutrality rules, the rules are technically still on the books, and we still don’t know when they will die their final death.

If you think that’s strange, you’re not alone. Harold Feld, one of the top experts on telecom law among net neutrality supporters, wrote this week that the situation is “highly unusual.” (Feld is a telecom lawyer and senior VP of consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge.)

“There is absolutely no reason for FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to have stretched out this process so ridiculously long,” Feld wrote. “It is especially puzzling in light of Pai’s insistence that he had to rush through repeal of net neutrality over the objections of just about everyone but the ISPs and their cheerleaders because every day—nay every minute!—ISPs suffer under the horrible, crushing burden of Title II,” the FCC statute that governs common carriers.

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Video: We force kids to confront ’80s technology

Video shot and edited by CNE. Click here for transcript.

Last, month we asked representatives from a whole range of generational cohorts what they liked about the time into which they were born. As a member of the tail end of Generation X (sometimes referred to as a “xennial,” or by my preferred nomenclature, “the Oregon Trail generation”), my 40-year-old self identified more with the older folks in the video than with the younger, primarily because teenagers are snapchatting aliens who don’t understand the true struggle of having to memorize all their friends’ phone numbers because get off my lawn or something (and speaking of lawns, why can’t I buy a fool-proof automatic lawn mowing robot in 2018?).

This time around, rather than have folks reflect on the ups and downs of their own generation, we took a bunch of really nice kids and threw them into a specially designed basement crammed full of ’80s stuff—Nintendo Entertainment Systems, record players, Polaroid cameras, and a few other odds and ends—and told them that they had to figure out each of the gadgets or we’d keep them locked down there while the rest of us devoured the craft services table.

Ha, I kid. There was no craft services table. We spent the craft services budget building the ’80s basement dungeon.

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