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Unpatched Linux flaw may let attackers crash or compromise nearby devices

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Wi-FI logo.

Enlarge (credit: Wi-Fi Alliance)

A potentially serious vulnerability in Linux may make it possible for nearby devices to use Wi-Fi signals to crash or fully compromise vulnerable machines, a security researcher said.

The flaw is located in the RTLWIFI driver, which is used to support Realtek Wi-Fi cards in Linux devices. The vulnerability triggers a buffer overflow in the Linux kernel when a machine with a Realtek Wi-Fi card is within radio range of a malicious device. At a minimum, exploits would allow denial-of-service attacks and possibly could allow a hacker to gain complete control of the computer. The flaw dates back to version 3.12 of the Linux kernel released in 2013.

"The bug is serious," Nico Waisman, who is a principal security engineer at Github, told Ars. "It's a vulnerability that triggers an overflow remotely through Wi-Fi on the Linux kernel, as long as you're using the Realtek (RTLWIFI) driver."

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Big Meat’s answer to Impossible Burger? The “Awesome” burger, half-meat options

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Promotional image of burgers and fries.

Enlarge / A stack of plant-based Impossible Burgers. (credit: Impossible Foods)

Plant-based meat alternatives are having a moment—from Burger King’s Impossible Whoppers, White Castle’s Impossible sliders, McDonald’s Beyond Meat PLT, and Subway’s Beyond Meatball Marinara, not to mention the growing shelf space for meatless-meat in grocery stores nationwide.

Though veggie burgers have been around for ages, the more meat-like generation of products has clearly piqued the appetite of the public. And that has another group—perhaps a surprising one—salivating over the profit potential: the meat industry.

Big names in meaty-meat products—including Tyson, Perdue, Hormel, Smithfield, and Nestlé—are all trying to get a cut of the fake and alternative-meat products world, according to The New York Times. Following the juicy success of Impossible Foods (with its Impossible Burgers) and Beyond Meat, meat producers have carved out their own plant-based versions of burgers, chicken nuggets, sausages, and more.

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VW's Electrify America starts selling its first home EV charger

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Electrify America isn't focused solely on public charging stations. The VW outfit is now offering its first home unit, the simply titled Electric Vehicle Home Charger, on Amazon. The $499 box provides Level 2 charging at up to 7.6kW for "all" EVs sol...
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Paper leaks showing a quantum computer doing something a supercomputer can’t

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Artist's impression of quantum supremacy.

Enlarge / Artist's impression of quantum supremacy. (credit: Disney / Marvel Studios)

Mathematically, it's easy to demonstrate that a working general-purpose quantum computer can easily outperform classical computers on some problems. Demonstrating it with an actual quantum computer, however, has been another issue entirely. Most of the quantum computers we've made don't have enough qubits to handle the complex calculations where they would clearly outperform a traditional computer. And scaling up the number of qubits has been complicated by issues of noise, crosstalk, and the tendency of qubits to lose their entanglement with their neighbors. All of which raised questions as to whether the theoretical supremacy of quantum computing can actually make a difference in the real world.

Over the weekend, the Financial Times claimed that Google researchers had demonstrated "quantum supremacy" in a draft research paper that had briefly appeared on a NASA Web server before being pulled. But the details of what Google had achieved were left vague. In the interim Ars has acquired copies of the draft paper, and we can confirm the Financial Times' story. More importantly, we can now describe exactly what Google suggests it has achieved.

In essence, Google is sampling the behavior of a large group of entangled qubits—53 of them—to determine the statistics that describe a quantum system. This took roughly 30 seconds of qubit time, or about 10 minutes of time if you add in communications and control traffic. But determining those statistics—which one would do by solving the equations of quantum mechanics—simply isn't possible on the world's current fastest supercomputer.

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YouTube is bringing a big, ugly ad banner to its TV app's home screen

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Your living room YouTube experience is about to become decidedly more cluttered. YouTube is bringing its usual Masthead ad to its TV app's home screen, guaranteeing that you'll see a promo before anything else. While the behavior is similar to what y...
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cbenard
31 days ago
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Hopefully not with Red.
Plano, Texas

Uber is bringing its self-driving cars to Dallas

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Uber will begin testing its self-driving cars in Dallas, Texas in November, the company announced Tuesday. The vehicles will be operated by human drivers in downtown Dallas to start out, collecting mapping data and capturing driving scenarios which Uber’s engineers will then reproduce in simulation.

This doesn’t mean Uber is planning to offer trips in its self-driving cars or even perform self-driving tests in Dallas. “The data we collect will inform our next steps — we may not look to test our self-driving system in Dallas immediately following this first round of data gathering,” Austin Geidt, head of Uber ATG strategy, said in a Medium post. “While we are certainly excited by this possibility, we are also committed to ensuring that every mile we drive on public roads contributes meaningfully to our development work.”

Uber wants to be seen as approaching its self-driving tests with an abundance of caution since a fatal crash in Tempe, Arizona, involving one of its autonomous vehicles in March 2018. The vehicle, which only had one safety driver behind the wheel, struck and killed 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg while she was walking her bike across the street. Police later said the safety driver was streaming The Voice on her phone at the time of the crash.

In response, Uber grounded its fleet of vehicles and temporarily shutdown its testing program. The company was ultimately cleared of any formal wrongdoing by local authorities, but the US National Transportation Safety Board is still investigating and expects to release its findings later this year. Uber settled a lawsuit with Herzberg’s family for an undisclosed sum.

Testing officially resumed nine months later, with the company’s Volvo SUVs operating in a closed loop in downtown Pittsburgh, where Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group is headquartered. The company recently unveiled its third-generation vehicle, which it plans to start testing in 2020.

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