Mark Wycislik-Wilson

Nintendo is bringing Mario Kart to smartphones

Mario Kart Tour

Following the success of Super Mario Run, Nintendo has confirmed plans to bring Mario Kart to mobile devices.

The game will be called Mario Kart Tour, and it is currently scheduled for release by the first quarter of 2019. This is the first Mario Kart title to make its way to smartphones, and a title that will be eagerly awaited by fans of the Italian ex-plumber.

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eBay to drop PayPal as its primary payment processor

eBay sign

eBay and PayPal have become almost inextricably entwined over the years -- but not completely inextricably. Citing lower costs, eBay has announced plans to drop PayPal as its main payment processor in favor of Dutch firm Adyen.

Starting later this year, eBay will move some of its payments to the new provider, and then by 2020, PayPal will have been replaced as the backend payment service. eBay users will still have the option to use PayPal until at least the middle of 2023.

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Windows Defender to root out dodgy registry cleaners and system optimization tools

Microsoft logo on the corner of a building

Microsoft is taking a firmer line with misleading system utilities and tools that try to scare users into paying for software. An update to Windows Defender means that software found to be "coercive" could be ripe for automatic removal.

New policies come into play in March as Microsoft tries to banish software that makes misleading claims or adversely affects system performance. Tools that exaggerate problems or resort to scare tactics are among those in the firing line.

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Facebook bans ads for cryptocurrencies and ICOs

Facebook logo on newspaper background

Facebook has announced a new advertising policy which ban ads for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. The ban also applies to ICOs because they are "frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices."

The social network says that the new policy is a part of a drive to improve the "integrity and security of financial product and services ads," but it explains that it is keeping its guidelines "intentionally broad" to start with.

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White House refutes claims it wants to build its own 5G network

White House at night

Documents that came to light recently suggested that the Trump administration was considering creating a government-controlled 5G network. It was an idea viewed in a dim light by the FCC, but now the White House has denied it has such plans.

Despite the unearthing of a memo to the contrary, the US government insists there are no such plans under consideration.

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Privacy: Judges say the UK's Snooper's Charter is illegal

Scene on London Bridge

Judges have ruled that the UK government's digital surveillance program -- known variously as the Snooper's Charter and the Investigatory Powers Act -- is illegal.

In the case brought by human rights group Liberty, appeal judges found that the preceding Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 (DRIPA) -- which ultimately became the Snooper's Charter -- failed to offer adequate protection to people's data. Of particular concern was the fact that private data could be shared between different agencies without sufficient oversight.

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Virgin Mobile to offer cheap, 'pre-loved' iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus handsets

Virgin logo

Virgin Mobile has announced plans to offer Certified Pre-Loved iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus handsets in the US. Starting in February, the company will be offering the phones for between $379.99 and $429.99.

It is already possible to buy a Certified Pre-Loved iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus from Virgin Mobile, and by adding the newer handsets to the program, the company is offering a cheaper way to buy a more recent iPhone.

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Facebook's latest News Feed update gives local news a boost

Facebook recently promised big changes to the way its News Feed works, and Mark Zuckerberg has now revealed that the social network will start to place a greater emphasis on local news. At least it makes a change from constantly banging on about fake news.

It's part of the company's desire to increase civic engagement, with the Facebook CEO saying that there is a direct link between reading local news and people getting involved in helping out with local causes. The changes are coming to the US first and will then spread to the rest of the world.

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Trump administration wants to nationalize 5G, but the FCC is not impressed

5G network

Leaked documents show that the Trump administration is considering plans to nationalize the 5G network. In the documents, seen by Axios, a senior National Security Council official says that a centralized, government-controlled 5G network is needed to offer security against China.

But while the government may believe it makes sense for it to be in control of the future mobile network, the idea has attracted vocal opposition. Among the opponents is FCC chairman Ajit Pai.

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Security warning: Lenovo Fingerprint Manager Pro has a hardcoded password backdoor

Fingerprint on a chip

If you have a ThinkPad, ThinkCentre or ThinkStation system, Lenovo has an important security patch for you to install. And you should install it right now.

Reporting vulnerability CVE-2017-3762, the computer manufacturer says that it discovered a weak algorithm used to encode fingerprint data could be bypassed with a hardcoded password. The problem affects the Lenovo Fingerprint Manager Pro utility for Windows 7, 8 and 8.1.

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Strava says military users should opt out of heatmap feature to avoid revealing secret army base locations

Strava fitness app heatmap

Military personal who used the fitness app Strava have unwittingly contributed to revealing the location of secret army bases around the world. Strava published a "heatmap" of global user activity in November, and from this data visualization the location of secret military bases was accidentally exposed.

The company argues that the information had already been made public by users who chose to share their location data. It goes on to suggest that military users might want to consider opting out of the heatmap feature of the iOS and Android app.

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Ahead of GDPR laws, Facebook publishes privacy principles and promises to educate users

Facebook like icons

Facebook has published its privacy principles for the first time, ahead of the European Union's general data protection regulation (GDPR) which comes into force on May 25 -- although the company is pitching it as being part of Data Privacy Day.

On top of this, the social network has also detailed plans to use videos to educate its users about privacy. The videos will explain how to control who has access to personal data, as well as how to manage the data Facebook uses to control the ads it shows users.

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Trump was almost ten times more popular with Russian Twitter bots than Clinton

Donald Trump's Twitter account on smartphone

In the run-up to the 2016 US election, Russian bots shared Donald Trump's tweets 470,000 times -- nearly ten times those of Hillary Clinton.

The figures come courtesy of Twitter, who shared the data with Congress for a review into Russian influence on the election. In the period September 1 to November 15, 2016, Russian bots accounted for more than four percent of Trump's retweets.

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OnePlus denies sending clipboard data to China

Back of a OnePlus phone

Phone-maker OnePlus has had a tough time of things in the press recently with claims about users' clipboard data being mined, and the problems following a credit card breach. A second suggestion that the company was sending clipboard data back to China surfaced recently, but the company has been quick to deny any wrongdoing.

Suspicions were raised when a OnePlus user noticed a file called badwords.txt which includes a list of words such as "chairman," "private message" and "address."

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Hackers hijack YouTube ads with Coinhive to mine Monero cryptocurrency

Monero cyrptocurrency

The clandestine mining of cryptocurrency is something that we have seen in various forms over the last year or so, in website code and Android apps. A new discovery by security firm Trend Micro shows that hackers have found a way to inject Coinhive mining code into ads that appear on YouTube.

The crypto-jacking technique means that hackers have been able to profit by using other people's CPU time to mine the Monero cryptocurrency while they watch videos. Trend Micro reports that there has been a huge increase in Coinhive web miner detections in recent days, with hackers abusing Google's DoubleClick to distribute the code through big sites including YouTube.

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