Mark Wilson

Serious Dirty COW bug leaves millions of Linux users vulnerable to attack


A vulnerability discovered in the Linux kernel has been present for nine years, and users are being advised to seek out and install a patch as soon as they possibly can. Dubbed Dirty COW, the bug is a privilege escalation vulnerability which can be found in just about every Linux distro out there.

Discovered by security expert Phil Oester, Dirty COW is described as one of the most serious bugs of its type ever found in Linux. Assigned the code CVE-2016-5195, there is evidence that the vulnerability has been exploited and a website set up to alert people to the problem advises that the "security community should deploy honeypots that entrap attackers and to alert about exploitation attempts".

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76% of all Windows 10 users have installed Windows 10 Anniversary Update


Even after a staggered roll out of Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Microsoft has managed to push the major operating system update to more than three-quarters of Windows 10 users.

The latest figures from AdDuplex show that uptake of Windows 10 Anniversary Update has accelerated dramatically. The latest version of Windows 10 is now installed on no less than 76.6 percent of Windows 10 PCs.

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Amnesty International ranks message apps according to privacy -- Facebook wins!


Despite a desire to be more connected than ever before, people are simultaneously more concerned than ever about their security and privacy. This is certainly true when it comes to messaging tools, and the privacy features offered by a particular app or service can be what sways your decision to use it one way or the other.

Justice group Amnesty International has spent some time analyzing the privacy and encryption found in a number of popular messaging tools and compiled results in a ranked list. The findings make for interesting reading, not least because Facebook is ranked the most highly.

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Warning: Mark Zuckerberg decides what's newsworthy, making him the world's most powerful editor


Facebook has stated time and time and time again that it is not a media company, despite appearing to act very much like one. The company's protestations become all the more difficult to swallow when one looks at the way it handles news. In reality, Facebook wields far more power and influence that it's willing to admit.

There have been countless instances of Facebook censoring posts from individuals, groups and organizations. Facebook appears to have an unwritten (or largely unpublished) set of rules defining what can be posted on the social network, and just this week Facebook staff wanted to censor posts by Donald Trump because they were considered hate speech. Zuckerberg disagreed, overruled his employees and allowed them to go ahead. One rule for us, another rule for them.

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LYNK & CO's new 01 is a shareable electric SUV with an open API


Think of electric cars, and it's Tesla that naturally springs to mind. But Geely, the Chinese parent company of Volvo, wants this to change. Today the company launches a new car brand, LYNK & CO, along with not just a new electric vehicle, the 01, but a whole new ownership model.

The 01 -- which will be followed, of course, by the 02, 03, and so on -- is a compact SUV designed for sharing, and it even has its own app store. With connectivity in mind, the 01 has an open API so developers can get to work creating their own apps. Partnerships with Microsoft, Alibaba and Ericsson led to the creation of the platform, and the vehicle offers Apple CarPlay, Mirror Link and Android Auto compatibility.

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Ecuador severs Julian Assange's internet connection to prevent US election interference


News emerged this week that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange had been cut off from the internet. Now Ecuador -- in whose embassy he is holed up in London -- has said that it is responsible.

The move comes after WikiLeaks continued with its threats to release damaging information about Hillary Clinton, which could possibly boost the popularity of Donald Trump. The country is keen not to be seen to be interfering with, or allowing interference with, the US election, saying it "respects the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other states".

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Companies are losing confidence in Yahoo


Yahoo users have started to lose faith in the company following the theft of millions of account details and the revelation of collusion with the NSA and FBI. But it is not just users who are becoming disillusioned and looking to move elsewhere -- Yahoo's partners are also concerned.

One such company is StartPage, described as "the world's most private search engine". Concerned by privacy violations, it is ditching Yahoo search results from its metasearch tool The parting of ways will take place by the end of the month, and StartPage CEO Robert Beens believes more companies will follow suit.

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Lost for words? Facebook Messenger suggests conversation topics at the cost of privacy


Facebook is keen for people to keep talking. Recently the company has been pushing its Messenger app as a way for people to stay connected in a variety of ways, but it has also noticed a problem -- people don’t always have something to talk about.

But Facebook (of course!) has a solution. To help those who struggle with small talk, an experiment is underway whereby Facebook Messenger will suggest possible topics for conversation. These are, obviously, not just random suggestions, but topics based on the activities of the participants -- opening up the usual privacy concerns that tend to be associated with Facebook.

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Amazon Family Vault lets you share your Prime Photos storage with others for free


Amazon likes to chuck a few freebies (well... not free exactly...) at Prime subscribers, and today there is a new addition to the pile -- Family Vault. The new feature allows subscribers in the US to share their free photo storage space with up to five other people.

This makes it possible for a family to store all of their photos in one place. In addition to the unlimited shared photo storage, each person invited to the Family Vault is given an extra 5GB of storage which can be used to house other files.

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MI5, MI6 and GCHQ secretly and illegally collected data about British citizens for over a decade


The surveillance activities of the NSA in the US, along with MI5, MI6 and GCHQ in the UK, have been known about for some time now, largely thanks to Edward Snowden. Now the Investigatory Powers Tribunal has ruled that for more than a decade, huge amounts of data were collected without adequate oversight, breaking privacy laws.

The tribunal also said that some instances of data collection failed to comply with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Privacy International, the group who brought the complaint against the spy agencies, said that this is a "highly significant judgment".

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Facebook on the frontline: livestreaming Iraqi and Kurdish forces trying to wrestle Mosul from ISIS


When Facebook Live launched as a service available to everyone (after a celebrity-only debut) it didn’t take long for people's fears of terrible incidents being broadcast to come true. We've had celebrities livestreaming, we've had death, injuries and accidents livestreamed. What next? War.

Over in Iraq, the city of Mosul is currently under the control of ISIS. Iraqi and Kurdish military forces are in the process of attacking the city to regain control. What's unusual -- and particularly disturbing -- about this is that the whole event is being livestreamed on Facebook by Kurdish media group Rudaw -- complete with viewers' reactions in the form of cartoon emoji.

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iOS 10 has a hidden onscreen Home button for iPhone 7 users


With the launch of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus Apple not only removed the headphone jack, the company also replaced the mechanical home button with a static one. What was not revealed, however, is that iOS 10 also has a secret software Home button.

The feature is a safeguard built in should anything go wrong with your physical home button. Should this happen, the button problem will be detected and iOS 10 will offer up a temporary on-screen Home button to tide you over until you can get to the Genius Bar.

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Samsung announces mass production of 10nm FinFET SoCs

Samsung logo building

Still reeling from the Galaxy Note7 recall and flight ban, Samsung has announced it has started mass producing system-on-chip (SoC) products with 10-nanometer FinFET technology.

It follows on from the mass production in 2015 of FinFET mobile application processors, and Samsung says this is another industry first. The company says that devices featuring 10nm SoCs will launch in early 2017 and become more widespread throughout the year.

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Google will show different search results to mobile and desktop users in the coming months


At the moment it does not matter whether you perform a Google search from your phone or from your computer; you'll see the same results. But in a few months this is set to change. The company is set to launch a new mobile search index that will be more up to date than the desktop index.

The news came at Pubcon, a social media and optimization conference, via Google's trends analyst Gary Illyes. It was an idea that was floated last year, and after a little experimentation, Google is almost ready to launch the new search index.

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Game of Thrones actress Faye Marsay is bullied into quitting social media


The latest high-profile victim of online abuse is actress Faye Marsay, famous for her portrayal of the Waif in Game of Thrones. After finding herself on the receiving end of hate and harassment, she has announced that she is to quit Facebook.

Marsay's decision comes after guidelines were unveiled to help determine whether criminal proceedings should be brought against individuals engaging in online hate crimes.

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