Tag Archives: Gadget Features

New ‘Captain America’ teasers hype tomorrow’s trailer

Marvel released two new teasers on Wednesday for the upcoming movie “Captain America: Civil War,” revealing that tomorrow we’ll be getting the final trailer for the cinematic showdown.

The Facebook pages for Captain America and Iron Man each released a teaser showing off their respective sides in the battle. Ominous voice-overs in each blend together shouting, “United we stand; divided we fall.”

In the movie, teams led by Captain America and Iron Man will square off over the future of the Avengers. Captain America, played by Chris Evans, wants the Avengers to remain free of government interference, while Iron Man, played by Robert Downey Jr., throws his support behind a system of accountability.

Each teaser shows off the characters standing behind Cap and Iron Man, but one character is still conspicuously absent.

Check out Captain America’s team here:

And Iron Man’s side is here:

“Captain America: Civil War” stars (almost) the whole Marvel movie crew and adds some new faces. The film will be our first look at Black Panther, played by Chadwick Boseman (“Get on up,” “42”), and Spider-Man, played by Tom Holland (“In the Heart of the Sea”). The film also stars Martin Freeman as Everett Ross, in addition to the Avengers crew.

Speaking of Spider-Man, his is the absence we’re all waiting on since we still haven’t gotten a glimpse of the web-slinger yet. Perhaps we’ll finally get a look at Peter Parker or Spider-Man tomorrow? Fingers crossed.

You have some time to catch up on all the Marvel movies first: “Civil War” premieres April 29 in Australia and the UK, and in the US on May 6.

We have no idea what time the trailer will drop, so bookmark this page and return for updates once it does!

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Google hooked us on the geekiest game you’ve never heard of

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Deep in the action of the Google DeepMind Challenge, pitting Artificial Intelligence against human intellect.


Screenshot by Claire Reilly/CNET

The jocks of the world thought the End of Days would come with explosions, bravado and full-camouflage utility belts. But the rise of the machines is currently playing out in the Four Seasons Hotel in Seoul, and it’s being led by possibly two of the nerdiest groups known to man.

It’s Match 1 of the Google DeepMind Challenge: AI versus human, a slow-paced, four-hour battle of strategy, complex algorithms and black and white tiles. We know what you’re thinking: Time to clear your schedule and start heating the snacks.

If you haven’t heard of Go, you’re not alone. Largely played in China, Korea and Japan, the ancient board game requires two players taking alternate turns to place black and white tiles on a grid, jockeying to occupy more of the board than their opponent.

Think of it like chess over a bigger monochromatic battlefield. Of course, the Go players don’t think of it like that, as this is the game for people who think chess is too easy (and probably too newfangled).

Designed by Google DeepMind, the artificial intelligence arm of everyone’s favourite (don’t be) evil overlords, AlphaGo has been programmed to clear one of the longest-standing hurdles in AI — winning at board games. Go’s 19×19 grid offers nearly uncountable variations of moves and branching outcomes, ruling out typical AI brute-force logic.

AlphaGo last played in October, beating pro player Fan Hui. The machine has had 5 months to improve its algorithms and, in turn, its strategy, by playing game after game of Go to add to its database of moves. (Don’t machines get to have all the fun?)

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Leading us through the minefield: Commentators Christ Garlock and Michael Redmond.


Screenshot by Claire Reilly/CNET

But now, in a headliner the likes of which hasn’t been seen since Kasparov vs. Deep Blue, AlphaGo is playing against Lee Sedol. Hui was a 2-dan Go player (because these things are measured in dans), but Sedol has 9 of 9 possible dans to his name, and is currently the second-highest ranked Go player in the world.

Today’s match is the first of five, which will be live-streamed over the coming days. And with more than 80,000 people tuning into YouTube’s gaming channel to watch the action, we can only assume the thrills will keep coming.

But undoubtedly the best part of the action are our two fearless commentators, managing editor of the American Go E-Journal Chris Garlock, and professional Go player or ‘Go Pro’ Michael Redmond. The hot takes have been coming thick and fast in a room that Garlock described as “fairly electric” while watching “the Roger Federer of the Go world” take on a brilliant computer.

On the atmosphere

Garlock: I can guarantee there won’t be a wasted moment. History is really being made here. Can we guarantee that?

Redmond: I think so.

On the start of proceedings

Redmond: It’s very exciting. Just one move so far.

On the battle between man and machine

Garlock: The machine is not going to get tired, he’s not going to get intimidated.

Redmond: Pretty much everyone gets intimidated when they go up against Lee Sedol.

On strategy at the start of a Go game

Redmond: He said he had a weak opening…

Garlock. I wish I had his weak opening!

The atmosphere after three hours…

Garlock: I think it’s really lived up to its billing as a tremendously historic and exciting game!

At the end of all this, there’s $1 million in prize money up for grabs, which Google says it will donate to charity if AlphaGo wins. But as Garlock says, “the real prize is the bragging rights, whether for man or machine.”

Update 11:35 p.m. PT:

That’s it. The world is over and the machines have won. In the final thrilling moments (yes, we watched all the way to the end) AlphaGo won the game when Lee Sedol resigned.

“AlphaGo won. You saw it here,” said Garlock. “Right off the bat — the first game, and AlphaGo takes down Lee Sedol.”

It’s safe to say we’ll be tuning into the next game!

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Facebook flaw offered easy way to crack into accounts

Facebook plugs and pays. The social network has patched a serious security hole and shelled out 15K in reward money to the person who raised a red flag.


Scott Carson/ZUMA Press/Corbis

For an Indian security researcher, an accidental hole in Facebook’s security setup turned out to be a happy accident indeed.

The social network’s bug bounty program handed Anand Prakash a $15,000 reward after he told Facebook about a password flaw that could have let hackers sign into user accounts with little effort.

The flaw, since fixed by Facebook, was a simple vulnerability that gave the researcher access to Facebook accounts “without any user interaction,” Prakash said in a blog post Monday. Prakash was able to access the full range of information saved in an account, including messages, photos, videos and financial information stored in Facebook’s payment section.

Begun in 2011, Menlo Park, California-based Facebook’s bug bounty program rewards researchers, hackers and others for reporting security flaws to the company. The world’s largest social network isn’t alone in tapping the hive mind for help in keeping things locked down. Google, Microsoft and other tech companies offer similar programs, which have sprung up over the last several years as cybercrime has become ever more frequent and damaging.

Prakash explained in his post that missing security protocols in some versions of Facebook made it possible for hackers to reset account passwords without the legitimate owner’s knowledge.

When you forget your Facebook password, you can use the website’s password reset feature to recover access. You identify the account you’re talking about by entering your phone number, email address, username or actual, full name. Facebook then sends a six-digit code to you for verification, and you have to enter it to create a new password.

Facebook’s main website prevents hackers from requesting a reset for a given account and then simply running a program to guess the code without actually having to receive it from the social network. The site blocks the account after 10 to 12 failed log-in attempts. But on the beta pages beta.facebook.com and mbasic.beta.facebook.com the scenario played out differently for Prakash. The security researcher said “rate limiting,” or the anti-brute-force measure on the main website, was missing from the other domains.

It was then short work for Prakash to brute-force attack his own account as a test bed and successfully set up a new password, granting himself access to the account and everything stored within.

Prakash notified Facebook of the vulnerability on February 22. Because the flaw was serious and easily within the skill range of many cyberattackers, Facebook rapidly tested and acknowledged the flaw, patching the problem and giving Prakash his bounty as a reward for responsible disclosure.

This story originally posted as “Facebook fixes simple security flaw which let you take over any account” on ZDNet.

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VW GTI TCR is one boss touring car

Not that you can go out and get one, because they’re already sold out.

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‘Star Trek’ and lots of other movies free to stream right now

“Star Trek: The Motion Picture” and “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” join a ton of new movies available for free online.

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Apple’s head software engineer refuses to ‘turn back the clock’ on iPhone security

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Apple’s head of software engineering Craig Federighi has warned against going backwards in the “endless race” on digital security.


James Martin/CNET

With every new generation of smartphone and every browser update, there’s a security arms race being waged between software engineers and hackers.

Cyber security experts keep improving encryption, hackers find new vulnerabilities to exploit, and so the engineers work harder in turn to keep data safe.

But the head of software engineering at the world’s biggest tech company is refusing to be hobbled in this “endless race” against hackers, saying that engineers shouldn’t have to turn back the clock on security, no matter the stakes.

Senior vice president of software engineering at Apple Craig Federighi penned an op-ed in The Washington Post Sunday, arguing that building a backdoor into the iPhone would drag Apple back to security standards of three years ago.

Federighi’s comments are just the latest salvo in the legal battle between Apple and the FBI over requests to decrypt an iPhone belonging to one of the terrorists involved in December’s San Bernardino shootings. While the FBI, along with the US Department of Justice, argue that the device could hold vital clues, Apple says deliberately compromising security would affect the online safety of all its customers.

The case has seen the likes of Google and Microsoft weigh in on the debate, and even America’s Big Wig Donald Trump has called for an Apple boycott.

But for Apple’s software team, it’s a simple matter of not losing ground in a critical battle.

“Our team must work tirelessly to stay one step ahead of criminal attackers who seek to pry into personal information and even co-opt devices to commit broader assaults that endanger us all,” Federighi wrote in his op-ed. “Sadly, these threats only grow more serious and sophisticated over time.”

Just as Apple fans wouldn’t want the company to take the stage to launch an iPhone with last year’s specs, Federighi said Apple’s security team aren’t happy with old security either.

The encryption technology built into today’s iPhone represents the best data security available to consumers…

That’s why it’s so disappointing that the FBI, Justice Department and others in law enforcement are pressing us to turn back the clock to a less-secure time and less-secure technologies. They have suggested that the safeguards of iOS 7 were good enough and that we should simply go back to the security standards of 2013.

But the security of iOS 7, while cutting-edge at the time, has since been breached by hackers. What’s worse, some of their methods have been productized and are now available for sale to attackers who are less skilled but often more malicious.

These comments resonate all the more after security researchers today announced the discovery of ransomware targeting Apple’s Mac — what is believed to be the first of its kind found circulating in the real world. According to Federighi, the kind of encryption that Apple’s teams of engineers work so hard to maintain are the very protections that keep this kind of malware out of its devices, and keep data out of the wrong hands.

“Criminals and terrorists who want to infiltrate systems and disrupt sensitive networks may start their attacks through access to just one person’s smartphone,” he said.

With Apple’s legal counsel being called before Congress and other big names in tech filing their support for the company, the stoush between Apple and the FBI is growing in scope by the day. And with national security being weighed against the personal security of an increasingly-connected public, both parties have serious skin in the game.

But for the engineers behind it all, the personal is political.

“Great software has seemingly limitless potential to solve human problems — and it can spread around the world in the blink of an eye,” Federighi said. “Malicious code moves just as quickly, and when software is created for the wrong reason, it has a huge and growing capacity to harm millions of people.”

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