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In a throwback to the ’90s, NTFS bug lets anyone hang or crash Windows 7, 8.1

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Those of you with long memories might remember one of the more amusing (or perhaps annoying) bugs of the Windows 95 and 98 era: certain specially crafted filenames could make the operating system crash. Malicious users could use this to attack other people's machines by using one of the special filenames as an image source; the browser would try to access the bad file, and Windows would promptly fall over.

It turns out that Windows 7 and 8.1 (and Windows Vista, but that's out of support anyway) have a similar kind of bug. They can be taken advantage of in the same kind of way: certain bad filenames make the system lock up or occasionally crash with a blue screen of death, and malicious webpages can embed those filenames by using them as image sources. If you visit such a page (in any browser), your PC will hang shortly after and possibly crash outright.

The Windows 9x-era bug was due to an error in the way that operating systems handled special filenames. Windows has a number of filenames that are "special" because they don't correspond to any actual file; instead, they represent hardware devices. These special filenames can be accessed from any location in the file system, even though they don't exist on-disk.

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Keybase brings seamless encrypted chats to anyone on the web

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Keybase is on a mission to make end-to-end encryption as easy as possible, everywhere you go online. After launching frictionless encrypted file sharing last year, the open-source security company rolled out Keybase Chat, a desktop and mobile chat ap...
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T-Mobile thinks Google Voice is pretty cool, launches “Digits” program

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T-Mobile has announced the launch of its "Digits" program on May 31. Digits is a revamp of how T-Mobile phone numbers work, virtualizing customer numbers so they can work across multiple devices. It sounds a lot like Google Voice—rather than having a phone number tied to a single SIM card or a device, numbers are now account-based, and you can "log in" to your phone number on several devices.

T-Mobile says the new phone number system will work "across virtually all connected devices," allowing multiple phones, tablets, and PCs to get texts and calls. This means T-Mobile needs apps across all those platforms, with the press release citing "native seamless integration" in Samsung Android phones, Android and iOS apps, and a browser interface for PCs.

The new phone number system is free to all T-Mobile customers. Customers can also buy an extra phone number for $10 or by signing up to the $5-per-month "T-Mobile One Plus" package, which is a bundle of random extra features like mobile hotspot and in-flight Wi-Fi. Here the "extra number" use case matches what Google Voice users have been doing for years: a personal and business number, or a number to give to online sales sites like Craigslist, or an easily dumpable number for your Tinder dates. Unlike Google Voice, the $10 fee means T-Mobile has no problem distributing a ton of phone numbers, and the mobile telco says you can access up to five lines from a single device.

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LeEco collapse continues as CEO cedes control; 85% of US workforce to be cut

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LeEco, often called the "Netflix of China," is in the news again, and again it is because another disaster has befallen the company. After announcing a $2 billion merger with TV-maker Vizio and then canceling it, as well as purchasing a Silicon Valley property from Yahoo and then selling it, LeEco's rapid expansion to the US is now rapidly unwinding. Massive layoffs are coming, and the CEO is ceding some control over the company.

CNBC reports that more than 85 percent of LeEco's US staff is being laid off. It cites one source as saying "only 60 employees will be left" after cuts to the 500-strong US workforce are made. CNBC obtained an e-mail calling for an ominous all-hands meeting for this afternoon, where the move will no doubt be explained to employees. The report says the remaining 60 people will be tasked with "encouraging Chinese-American consumers to watch LeEco's Chinese content library." It seems as though LeEco's US consumer electronics plans are dead.

But that's not all! Reuters reports that Ji Yueting, the founder, CEO, and chairman of LeEco is ceding some control over the company. He has stepped down as the CEO of the LeShi division, which is the only part of LeEco that is listed on the Chinese stock market. He will be replaced by Liang Jun, a former Lenovo executive, while Ji Yueting will still be "CEO of LeEco." The CFO also quit, citing "personal reasons."

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Google’s AlphaGo AI beats world’s best human Go player

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Enlarge / China's 19-year-old Go player Ke Jie (L) prepares to make a move during the first match against Google's artificial intelligence program AlphaGo in Wuzhen, east China's Zhejiang province on May 23, 2017. (credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images)

DeepMind's AlphaGo AI has defeated Ke Jie in the first round of a best-of-three Go match in China. A video of the match is embedded below. Ke Jie was defeated by just a half a point—the closest margin possible—but scoring versus AlphaGo is a little bit disingenuous: DeepMind's AI doesn't try to win by a large margin; it just plots the surest route to victory, even if it's only by half a point.

Ke Jie is generally considered to be the world's best human Go player, but he wasn't expected to win; AlphaGo defeated the Chinese 19-year-old earlier in the year during an unbeaten online 60-match victory streak.

Today's real-life match was a little different, though. According to DeepMind cofounder Demis Hassabis, Ke Jie "used the ideas AlphaGo used in the online games in January"; in other words, Ke Jie tried to use AlphaGo's own moves against itself. Clearly it didn't quite work out, but "some wonderful moves were played," says Hassabis.

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Court ruling nullifies US requirement that hobbyists register drones

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A federal appeals court on Friday struck down a regulation requiring the public to register drones. The US Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia found that the Federal Aviation Administration did not have the authority to regulate so-called "model aircraft."

If it stands, the decision (PDF) means that the public does not have to abide by the FAA requirement established in 2015. The ruling is not yet enforceable, however, as the court gave the FAA seven days (PDF) to consider its legal options.

To legally fly a drone, hobbyists are currently required to pay a $5 fee and dole out their name, home address, and e-mail address. They must display a registration sticker on the drone that includes a number unique to the registered drone.

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freeAgent
6 days ago
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It will be anarchy in the skies!

Actually, the registration makes some sense in that it at least gives you a better chance of being able to find the owner of a crashed/lost drone. Anyway, the "important" regulations are still very much in effect, but I'm guessing that some idiot(s) will read about this and think flying their drone right next to an airport is a-ok now.
Los Angeles, CA
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