Gadgets

Enlarge (credit: Gammew) Last week, Ars introduced readers to Hajime, the vigilante botnet that infects IoT devices before blackhats can hijack them. A technical analysis published Wednesday reveals for the first time just how much technical acumen went into designing and building the renegade network, which just may be the Internet's most advanced IoT botnet. As previously reported, Hajime uses the same list of user name and password combinations used by Mirai, the IoT botnet that spawned se...
Video shot/edited by Jennifer Hahn. (video link) The thinner-and-lighter trend isn't just dominating smartphones and laptops—fitness tech companies are constantly trying to make "the next big thing" as thin and light as they possibly can. Fitbit recently slimmed down its $150 Alta HR fitness tracker, and now Garmin is countering with its new $139 Vivosmart 3 wristband. The newest device in the accessible Vivo line takes last year's Vivosmart HR to the next level with new rep counting...
Enlarge / Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon has pointed out a particular problem with Senate IT security: Senate staffers' ID cards are essentially fake smartcards, useless for two-factor authentication. (credit: Getty Images/Justin Sullivan) When Congress held hearings following the breach of the systems of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) in 2015, one of the issues that caused great consternation among lawmakers was that the OPM had failed to implement two-factor authentication for employee...
Enlarge / This scientist in her steampunk laboratory and time machine in the background brings to mind BioShock Infinite's Elizabeth. It's a shame this is just a tech demo and not a real game. (credit: Windows Central) While Microsoft's initial reveal of Project Scorpio placed heavy emphasis on 4K gaming, the huge GPU upgrade relative to the Xbox One is going to bring a big visual upgrade for the majority of us still using 1080p, too. Windows Central has some exclusive screenshots showing Sc...
YouTube, Amazon Fashion It was a simpler time, back in early 2015, when Amazon's Echo first came out as a speaker with a voice assistant inside. Now, the evolution of the Echo family and Alexa have brings us a device designed specifically to make you look good. The new $199 Echo Look is the first iteration of Echo that has a camera, and the device uses it to evaluate your outfits, take outfit-of-the-day photos for you to share, and suggest which styles look best on you. Echo Look...
Enlarge / The Flex 2's module is super tiny and slides into this silicone band. (credit: Valentina Palladino) Samsung isn't the only company that has had deal with exploding products. A Wisconsin woman told ABC News that her new Fitbit Flex 2 activity tracker "exploded" on her wrist while she read a book earlier this week. Dina Mitchell was treated at an area emergency care provider the next day and was left with second-degree burns on her wrist. After the device combusted, Mitchell qui...
Enlarge / The announcement of the Creators Update in October 2016. Two weeks into its phased rollout, the Creators Update (version 1703) is on about ten percent of Windows 10 machines. That number comes from AdDuplex, which collects statistics from Windows 10 machines running apps built with its advertising SDK. 9.8 percent of Windows 10 machines are on 1703, 82.1 percent are on the Anniversary Update, 6 percent are on version 1511, and just 1.8 percent are on the original RTM release. Tha...
Enlarge (credit: Countercept) After Microsoft officials dismissed evidence that more than 10,000 Windows machines on the Internet were infected by a highly advanced National Security Agency backdoor, private researchers are stepping in to fill the void. The latest example of this open source self-help came on Tuesday with the release of a tool that can remotely uninstall the DoublePulsar implant. On late Friday afternoon, Microsoft officials issued a one-sentence statement saying that they d...
Enlarge / AMD's new Radeon Pro Duo GPU. (credit: AMD) A little over a year after launching the last Radeon Pro Duo graphics card, AMD is back with an all-new version that has the same name but makes a whole bunch of changes. The new Radeon Pro Duo mashes two separate 14nm Polaris GPUs with 2,304 stream processors, 128 texture units, 32 ROPs, and 16GB of graphics RAM apiece (for a total of 32GB) into a single card. As the name implies, the card is being aimed primarily at professional users ...
YouTube, Samsung Italia You may know someone who sends messages with more emojis than words, but chances are they don't need those symbols to communicate. For some with language disorders such as aphasia, which can make it difficult to read, talk, or write, emojis can be an ideal way to communicate with others around them. Samsung Electronics Italia, the company's Italian subsidiary, just came out with a new app called Wemogee that helps those with language disorders talk to other...
Enlarge (credit: Enesse Bhé) Antivirus provider Webroot is causing a world of trouble for customers. A signature update just nuked hundreds of benign files needed to run Microsoft Windows, as well as apps that run on top of the operating system. Social media sites ignited on late Monday afternoon with customers reporting that servers and computers alike stopped working as a result of the mishap. The admin and security pundit who goes by the Twitter handle SwiftOnSecurity told Ars that, at th...
Enlarge (credit: BoatingWithTR.com) BrickerBot, the botnet that permanently incapacitates poorly secured Internet of Things devices before they can be conscripted into Internet-crippling denial-of-service armies, is back with a new squadron of foot soldiers armed with a meaner arsenal of weapons. Pascal Geenens, the researcher who first documented what he calls the permanent denial-of-service botnet, has dubbed the fiercest new instance BrickerBot.3. It appeared out of nowhere on April 20, ex...
Enlarge / This is Tim Cook's unimpressed face. (credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images) Uber's misfortune continues. In a profile on CEO Travis Kalanick published yesterday, the New York Times says that the Uber CEO was called into Apple for a private meeting with CEO Tim Cook. Kalanick had directed Uber's developers to break Apple's App Store rules—he wanted the Uber app to collect unique hardware data about every iPhone it was installed on, something Apple's App Store rules doesn't allow. T...
Enlarge / Intel Optane Memory. Engineering sample, but we hope it's the same as retail hardware. 3D XPoint (pronounced "crosspoint", not "ex-point") is a promising form of non-volatile memory jointly developed by Intel and Micron. Intel claims that the memory, which it's branding Optane for commercial products, provides a compelling mix of properties putting it somewhere between DRAM and NAND flash. The first Optane products are almost here. For certain enterprise workloads, there's the Int...
Enlarge / Two Korean Galaxy S8s with the red tint issue. (credit: Daum) Samsung's newest Android flagship, the Galaxy S8, launched last week. As the device trickled out to users, some customers complained about a "red tint" to the screen. It was most noticeable on a white screen, but basically, the whole color balance of the display was off. Now, just a weekend later, Samsung says it will issue a software patch to fix the red-tint complaints. The Galaxy S8's existing white balance control...
Enlarge (credit: Simon Ridgway/BBC) This is a post-UK broadcast review of Doctor Who: Smile. River Song always warned the Doctor against spoilers, so be sure to watch the episode first. Doctor Who broadcasts on Saturdays at 7:20pm UK time on BBC One, and 9pm EDT on BBC America. Emojis aren't only the future of language for us doomed Earthlings, but we're also the only poor saps throughout the universe who use them. This is one of many things that the Doctor's ace new companion Bill Pott...
Video shot/edited by Jennifer Hahn. (video link) Not many companies try to do what Garmin does with the Fenix line of fitness watches. While Apple and Google have their own general-purpose smartwatches priced around $300 (neither of which comes close to the Fenix's tracking abilities), Garmin and a handful of other companies make super-expensive fitness watches that are meant for the most active among us. The new $599 Fenix 5S is one of the models in the new Fenix 5 line that promises pre...
Images of Seleznev with stacks of cash were found on his laptop following his 2014 arrest in the Maldives. (credit: Department of Justice) Russian hacker Roman Seleznev was sentenced to 27 years in prison today. He was convicted of causing more than $169 million in damage by hacking into point-of-sale computers. Seleznev, aka "Track2," would hack into computers belonging to both small businesses and large financial institutions, according to prosecutors. He was arrested in the Maldives ...
(credit: Jeremy Brooks ) Security experts believe that tens of thousands of Windows computers may have been infected by a highly advanced National Security Agency backdoor. The NSA backdoor was included in last week's leak by the mysterious group known as Shadow Brokers. DoublePulsar, as the NSA implant is code-named, was detected on more than 107,000 computers in one Internet scan. That scan was performed over the past few days by researchers from Binary Edge, a security firm headquartered i...
Enlarge / Headquarters of Finnish telecom equipment group Nokia. (credit: Getty Images / RONI REKOMAA / Stringer) The largest publicly traded patent-assertion company, Acacia Research, has launched a new lawsuit (PDF) against Apple and all the major cell phone carriers. Cellular Communications Equipment, LLC, a unit of Acacia, has sued Apple, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile. The company says that the five industry giants infringe four patents related to basic cell phone technologies....