Xbox One gets third-party camera support for game streaming

Mixer, formerly known as Beam, lags far behind Twitch in popularity. For most streamers, then, this new feature will be fairly insignificant. Still, it’s a welcome addition, and one that could persuade a few extra players to try Microsoft’s streaming platform. Should that happen, it could also persuade Twitch, YouTube, Facebook and others to patch in similar support. That would help Microsoft and — were the same features to be replicated on the PlayStation 4 — Sony to close the gap between console streaming and console-streaming through-a-PC setups. Professional webcams, after all, will always best Microsoft’s Kinect and Sony’s PlayStation Camera.

If you’re part of the Mixer community, hold tight. USB webcam support is rolling out now to Insiders, and should be completed “in the coming weeks.” In a blog post, the team said it would need feedback from Xbox One owners before it’s comfortable offering the feature to everyone. “We won’t release this feature broadly until we’re confident in the experience, so the more webcams we can get testing on, the better,” Microsoft’s Josh Stein said. If you’re not an Insider already, you can always join by downloading the appropriate app from the Store on your Xbox One.

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2018 Honda Odyssey picks up IIHS Top Safety Pick+

There’s safe, and then there’s very safe. Given its scores across the battery of tests thrown its way, not only did the 2018 Honda Odyssey earn the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s top accolade, it damn near aced every single test.

The 2018 Honda Odyssey has earned the IIHS’ Top Safety Pick+ award, which is given out to vehicles that perform well in every crash test, as well as evaluations of its front crash protection systems and headlights. It joins the Chrysler Pacifica in this honor — the only other minivan on the list, the 2017 Kia Sedona, fell short and only earned Top Safety Pick.

honda-odyssey-promoEnlarge Image

The IIHS doesn’t have any pictures of the crash test available, so here’s one of the Odyssey pointed slightly downward, which is close enough, I guess.

Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

Honda’s Odyssey earned the best score — Good — in both the small and moderate overlap crash tests, as well as tests of its side and roof strengths. With the optional Collision Mitigation Braking System (a fancy way of saying automatic emergency braking), the Odyssey earned a crash-prevention rating of Superior, the highest rating possible.

The IIHS also evaluates vehicles on their LATCH child seat anchors. With cloth seating, the Odyssey earned a rating of Good+. The two outboard third-row seats were docked for having hard-to-find anchors, but everything was perfect otherwise. It earned the + for having an extra tether anchor in the middle of the third row.

The only non-Good score came in the headlight evaluation. The Odyssey earned the second-highest rating of Acceptable for its optional LED headlights, available on the Touring and Elite trims. The halogen projectors on the EX and EX-L trims were rated Marginal, while the same headlights on the base LX trim were rated Poor due to a lack of automatic high beams.

No matter the trim, the core strengths of the car’s engineering shine through. This minivan is an immensely safe vehicle by IIHS standards — so long as the person behind the wheel possesses at least some part of a brain, of course.

2018 Honda Odyssey

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There’s no apocalypse Saturday, but there is reason to worry


Don’t scrap your weekend plans on account of this warning.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/S. Wiessinger

The latest end-of-the-world prophecies tell us that our doom gets underway this Saturday, Sept. 23. Almost everything about these predictions is wrong and at the same time, not far off from a very real threat.

YouTube is filled with videos explaining why the end of the world begins this week, citing some combination of numerology, Biblical interpretations and the hidden planet Nibiru, which is somehow supposed to appear Saturday on a collision course with Earth.

Luckily, there’s no credible evidence that such a rogue world exists (a fact NASA has attested to) anywhere near the inner solar system (although there might be one way, way out at the edge of the solar system), and physics as we understand it says one won’t suddenly spring into existence to kick off the weekend.

If you want to go down the online rabbit hole of Nibiru (also known as “Planet X”) lore, feel free: There’s probably enough material to keep you occupied until the real end of the world, especially since it’s become a fake news staple in recent years. 

Just keep in mind that the fictional planet and its related conspiracy theories and doomsday predictions have been kicking around for decades without ever panning out. In case you haven’t heard, Nibiru did not destroy Earth in 2003 as was foretold, or in 2012, or earlier this year when it supposedly flung a comet at us (and missed by quite a distance). 

The real threat

A very real threat to our existence is not far off from the Nibiru scenario; it’s just a lot smaller. The collision that wiped out the dinosaurs and nearly brought life on Earth to a halt in the cretaceous period involved what’s sometimes referred to as a minor planet, aka an asteroid a few miles wide.

And there’s no reason it can’t happen again. 

The meteor that exploded over Russia in 2013 wasn’t seen until it was blowing out thousands of windows. In fact, smaller asteroids like that are often discovered after they’ve already buzzed just above our planet.

Scientists believe there are about a million asteroids in our solar system that could level a city but only about 1 percent have been discovered. Initiatives like Asteroid Day and NASA’s proposed NEOcam are just a few of the projects hoping to use technology to improve that ratio.

Crowd Control: A crowdsourced science fiction novel written by CNET readers.

Solving for XXThe tech industry seeks to overcome outdated ideas about “women in tech.”

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Researchers: CCleaner attack aimed at major tech companies


CCleaner is downloaded millions of times a week for free.

Sergei Konkov

At first it seemed like the hacking campaign against users of popular software CCleaner hadn’t been able to do much damage. Well, not so fast.

Researchers now say the hackers were able to install a second piece of malicious software on computers at major tech companies around the world. The companies targeted include heavyweights such as Microsoft, Google, Samsung, Sony and Intel, according to the Talos threat intelligence team, a group of cybersecurity experts at Cisco. Also on the list of targeted companies? Cisco itself.

The targets represent many of the most important companies responsible for making the internet work, making the hacking attack much more serious.

News of the hacking attack broke Monday, when Talos and Avast each announced that hackers had inserted malicious software into legitimate updates of CCleaner, a product that clears out unneeded software applications and cookies from PCs to make them run more efficiently. Even though 2.27 million computers were potentially exposed to the software, both Avast and Talos said Monday it seemed the attackers hadn’t used the malware to do any damage.

Now it seems that first wave of malware was just the beginning, opening a secret back door into all those computers. On a select set of valuable computers at major tech companies, the hackers used the back door to install even more malicious software.

Talos researchers don’t know yet what the hackers hoped to do once they dug further into computers at these companies, but it’s clear there was potential to do damage. In short, these hackers meant business.

“This would suggest a very focused actor after valuable intellectual property,” the Talos researchers wrote in their blog post.

The Talos team published its findings in a blog post Wednesday evening. Cybersecurity firm Avast, which in July purchased the company that provides CCleaner, said in a blog post Thursday it had come to a similar conclusion. According to Avast’s analysis, it knows for sure that 18 computers at eight different organizations were hit with the second wave of malicious software. What’s more, because it only has a small slice of data to examine, Avast said it thinks the total number of affected computers is probably “at least in the order of hundreds.”

However, Avast declined to name any of the companies targeted. It’s unclear if any or all of the companies named in the Talos blog post were actually among the eight companies Avast says were hit by the second wave of malicious software.

Google and Intel declined to comment, and representatives from Sony and Samsung didn’t respond to requests for comment.

“It’s expected that security researchers will perform forensic analysis of new malware, and it is not a surprise that malware sometimes targets specific companies,” Microsoft said in a statement.

Talos researchers also named D-Link, Linksys, HTC and Akamai as targets of the hackers. Representatives of D-Link and Linksys didn’t respond to a request for comment. 

“A small number of our client systems downloaded the malicious software from Avast,” Akamai spokesman Robert Morton said in an email. “We are in the process of examining these systems, but we have seen no evidence to date of the secondary payload or C2 channel on any of the affected systems.”

An HTC spokesman said a web domain listed by the researchers, HTCgroup.corp, was not registered to the company and that HTC doesn’t go by the name HTC group.

“These are all critical infrastructure vendors here,” said Tod Beardsley, a cybersecurity forensics expert at Rapid7, who was not involved in the research. The list of targets includes, he said, “all the operating systems and routers that anyone cares about.”

CNET Magazine: Check out a sample of the stories in CNET’s newsstand edition.

The Smartest Stuff: Innovators are thinking up new ways to make you, and the things around you, smarter.

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Barea waits for word on family in Puerto Rico

5:28 PM ET

As he waits to hear from his parents and other relatives in Puerto Rico, Dallas Mavericks guard J.J. Barea has launched a fundraising campaign to prepare to help people in his homeland after the island was devastated by Hurricane Maria.

Barea and his wife, Viviana Ortiz, organized a relief fund on the same online platform used by Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt to raise more than $37 million to aid people affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Barea’s fund had reached three-quarters of its original goal of $100,000 as of Thursday afternoon.

Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico on Wednesday morning as a Category 4 storm with winds of 155 mph, causing major flooding and knocking out electricity and phone service throughout most of the island.

“It’s completely dark over there,” Barea told ESPN on Thursday after playing pickup ball with his teammates in Dallas. “No phone service, no power, no water, no nothing. We’re trying our best right now to help, and whenever we’ve got contact with [family], make a plan and start helping over the next couple of days and next couple of weeks.

“Puerto Rico’s completely destroyed. The water right now is the worst. The wind knocked everything down, but now the water is down and it’s the worst ever. We’ve had some bad ones, but never like this.”

Barea and his family have been through hurricanes in Puerto Rico before, and he is optimistic that his parents, in-laws and other relatives are safe and will contact him as soon as possible. He said he has heard that no fatalities have been reported in Puerto Rico due to the storm.

“What we do is just wait it out,” said Barea, the only active NBA player who is a Puerto Rican native. “I’ve heard from some people that [his hometown, Mayaguez] is good, that there’s a lot of [flood]water but it’s good. I’m just waiting for them to contact me. There’s nothing I can really do right now. All we can do is start raising money so when we know where to start giving, we’re ready to go.”

With the Mavs opening training camp on Monday, Barea has no immediate plans to return to Puerto Rico, where he maintains an offseason home. He is hopeful that he and his wife will be able to organize relief efforts from Dallas with the assistance of relatives in Puerto Rico who will identify how the money can best be utilized.

“The money is going to go straight to my foundation,” Barea said. “I’m going to be the one handling it. We’re going to go straight to the people that need it. We’re not going to give it to anybody else. It’s going to go straight to where it needs to be. I’ve got my people in Puerto Rico, and we’ll know who really needs the most help and go from there.”

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Court rules Stingray use without a warrant violates Fourth Amendment

Stingrays work by pretending to be a cell tower and once they’re brought close enough to a particular phone, that phone pings a signal off of them. The Stingray then grabs onto that signal and allows whoever’s using it to locate the phone in question. These sorts of devices are used by a number of different agencies including the FBI, ICE, the IRS as well as police officers.

The use of cell-site simulators, especially without a warrant, has come under question a few times in recent years. In 2016, a federal judge suppressed DEA evidence obtained via such a device, the first time a federal judge had done so. Last year, members of Congress called for legislation that would protect citizens’ privacy and require a warrant before Stingrays could be used by law enforcement. Two such bills were introduced in the House of Representatives earlier this year.

In the ruling, the judges said, “We thus conclude that under ordinary circumstances, the use of a cell-site simulator to locate a person through his or her cellphone invades the person’s actual, legitimate, and reasonable expectation of privacy in his or her location information and is a search.” They also said, “We agree with [the defendant] that the government violated the Fourth Amendment when it deployed the cell-site simulator against him without first obtaining a warrant based on probable cause.”

The ruling could affect ongoing and future cases as well as law enforcement’s use of the technology.

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