One of the Internet’s most aggressive threats could take UEFI malware mainstream

A stylized skull and crossbones made out of ones and zeroes.

One of the Internet’s most aggressive threats has just gotten meaner, with the ability to infect one of the most critical parts of any modern-day computer.

Trickbot is a piece of malware that’s notable for its advanced capabilities. Its modular framework excels at gaining powerful administrator privileges, spreading rapidly from computer to computer in networks and performing reconnaissance that identifies infected computers belonging to high-value targets. It often uses readily available software like Mimikatz or exploits like EternalBlue stolen from the National Security Agency.

Once a simple banking fraud trojan, Trickbot over the years has evolved into a full-featured malware-as-a-service platform. Trickbot operators sell access to their vast number of infected machines to other criminals, who use the botnet to spread bank trojans, ransomware, and a host of other malicious software. Rather than having to go through the hassle of ensnaring victims themselves, customers have a ready-made group of computers

Read More

Smithsonian’s NMAAHC offers virtual programming for Kwanzaa, other December events

Here’s what the National Museum of African American History and Culture in D.C. has in store for the month of December.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture unveiled its plan Thursday for a month’s worth of digital programming, initiatives and interactive media for December.

One of the key features of the recently-announced programming is a daylong “cross-country digital community initiative” called “24 hours in a Time of Change.” The event will be hosted Dec. 11.

The program will highlight the trials, failures and triumphs that Americans have faced in 2020, from the coronavirus pandemic to the social upheaval that pushed issues of racial equity and police brutality to the forefront of national conversation.

The Smithsonian will stream live programming from 10 of its museums and centers throughout the 24-hour sharing period.

On top of that event, there will be a number of featured programs, such as

Read More

Martha Stewart, Ben Napier, David Schwimmer, Amy Schumer, and More to Star in Original Shows for Discovery+

  • New streaming platform discovery+ will launch on January 4, 2021
  • It will feature programming from some of America’s most popular channels such as HGTV, TLC, OWN, Investigative Discovery, Animal Planet, Food Network, BBC, A&E, The HISTORY Channel, and Lifetime
  • Discovery+ will also feature exclusive new original series
  • Plans range from from $4.99 to $6.99 a month
  • Each discovery+ account will allow four people to stream at once for no extra charge

Yes, it’s true! Discovery Communications is launching its very own streaming platform, aptly named discovery+, early next year. Now if you’re reading this and are already overwhelmed by the growing number of streaming services on the market, we can relate. It can be hard to know which streaming service is the overall best value for you and your family.

Here’s the skinny: If you love Chip and Joanna Gaines, Bobby Flay, Oprah Winfrey, and Martha Stewart, discovery+ will most

Read More

Most conservatives don’t understand purpose of journalism, says founder of website on media bias

In 2005, Matthew Sheffield launched what would become one of the preeminent conservative websites devoted to calling out liberal bias in the mainstream media.

Over the last decade, however, Sheffield — who founded NewsBusters with his brother Greg and worked there until 2014 — has come to believe that he was part of a problem, not a solution, and is now working to correct that error.

The problem, as he describes it, is that most conservatives think the purpose of journalism is to wage partisan political warfare, and that has created an ecosystem on the right where facts and truth are increasingly irrelevant.



a man wearing a suit and tie: Matthew Sheffield. (Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: Matthew Sheffield via Twitter, AP)


© Provided by Yahoo! News
Matthew Sheffield. (Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: Matthew Sheffield via Twitter, AP)

This dynamic is at play most recently in the move by many Trump supporters to stop watching Fox News because, while it is conservative, it is not slavish enough toward

Read More

5 Things You Can Improve to Rank Better

SEO is not all blood magic with formulas and enchantments. The difficulty with SEO is that you can work for days and not really see any direct influence on your rankings. You build new backlinks without seeing the impact.



diagram: Businessman's hand using tablet to search keyword on search engine


© Getty Images
Businessman’s hand using tablet to search keyword on search engine

Or you improve the architecture, the speed, and the internal linking and still detect no change. And the same goes for content changes. You rarely get a wow effect from isolated actions in SEO, and it can be frustrating.

But when you look back at all those days of work, you probably realize that over time, more keywords started ranking, the average rank per keyword improved, and traffic improved. SEO does work in mysterious ways, but there is one equation that often holds: the correlation between the time you spend on your SEO and the improvements you make

Read More

Government used Patriot Act to gather website visitor logs in 2019

The federal government used the Patriot Act to collect website visit logs in 2019, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence revealed in letters made public Thursday, putting a renewed focus on surveillance authorities that lapsed earlier this year.



a close up of a logo: Government used Patriot Act to gather website visitor logs in 2019


© istock
Government used Patriot Act to gather website visitor logs in 2019

Director of National Intelligence (DNI) John Ratcliffe, in a Nov. 6 letter in response to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), wrote that Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which allows the FBI to covertly obtain court orders to collect any business records relevant to a national security, was not used to get internet search terms.

He later clarified that position in a Nov. 25 follow-up letter after being contacted by the Justice Department to note that the authority had been used once to collect logs showing which computers “in a specified foreign country” had visited “a single,

Read More

Intel Machine Programming Tool Detects Bugs in Code

What’s New: Today, Intel unveiled ControlFlag – a machine programming research system that can autonomously detect errors in code. Even in its infancy, this novel, self-supervised system shows promise as a powerful productivity tool to assist software developers with the labor-intensive task of debugging. In preliminary tests, ControlFlag trained and learned novel defects on over 1 billion unlabeled lines of production-quality code.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201203005346/en/

Dr. Justin Gottschlich is principal scientist and founder of Intel's Machine Programming Research team. The team's goal is to automate software development to reduce coding errors and address a shortage of trained expert programmers. (Credit: Intel Corporation)

Dr. Justin Gottschlich is principal scientist and founder of Intel’s Machine Programming Research team. The team’s goal is to automate software development to reduce coding errors and address a shortage of trained expert programmers. (Credit: Intel Corporation)

“We think ControlFlag is a powerful new tool that could dramatically reduce the time and money required to evaluate and debug code. According to studies, software developers spend approximately 50% of the time debugging. With ControlFlag, and systems like it,

Read More

Maine COVID grant program’s website crashes on 1st day

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — An online portal designed to help Maine’s hospitality and tourism businesses obtain grants crashed on Thursday, the day it was scheduled to start taking applications.

Business owners reported problems with the portal after it opened at 9 a.m., the Portland Press Herald reported. The Maine Department of Economic and Community Development shut down the application less than two hours after it opened.

The portal will be open for applications again starting Friday morning, the department said.

The tool allows businesses to apply for up to $20,000 in grants as part of a $40 million aid program announced by Democratic Gov. Janet Mills earlier in the week.

In other virus news in Maine:

___

NEW CASES

The surge of COVID-19 is continuing in Maine with the daily number of coronavirus cases topping 300 for the first time Thursday.

There were 346 new cases reported over the

Read More

Light-based Quantum Computer Exceeds Fastest Classical Supercomputers

For the first time, a quantum computer made from photons—particles of light—has outperformed even the fastest classical supercomputers.

Physicists led by Chao-Yang Lu and Jian-Wei Pan of the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) in Shanghai performed a technique called Gaussian boson sampling with their quantum computer, named Jiŭzhāng. The result, reported in the journal Science, was 76 detected photons—far above and beyond the previous record of five detected photons and the capabilities of classical supercomputers.

Unlike a traditional computer built from silicon processors, Jiŭzhāngis an elaborate tabletop setup of lasers, mirrors, prisms and photon detectors. It is not a universal computer that could one day send e-mails or store files, but it does demonstrate the potential of quantum computing.

Last year, Google captured headlines when its quantum computer Sycamore took roughly three minutes to do what would take a supercomputer three days (or 10,000 years, depending

Read More

Claims of misinformation, censorship place Section 230 in crosshairs

New York

Back in 1996, when the World Wide Web was just beginning to revolutionize the ways human beings could communicate, many of those helping to build the emerging online tech industry were filled with a boundless sense of optimism.

The core of this optimism was the confidence that the internet could be a truly open space for freedom of speech. It was an ethos embodied that year by a much-circulated and somewhat sly “A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace” by the cyberlibertarian essayist and Grateful Dead lyricist John Perry Barlow. He declared that the legal concepts of the world of matter, “concepts of property, expression, identity,” simply did not apply to the internet, a virtually pure digital space for freedom of speech beyond the “governments of the industrial world, you weary giants of flesh and steel.”

“We are creating a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or

Read More