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  1. Hacker Says They Compromised ProtonMail; ProtonMail Calls BS - A hacker going by the name AmFearLiathMor is claiming to have hacked ProtonMail and stolen "significant" amounts of data. They have posted a ransom demand to an anonymous Pastebin but it reads like a prank, as it states that the alleged hackers have access to underwater drone activity and treaty violations in Antarctica. Lawrence Abrams writes via BleepingComputer: According to the message, a hacker going by the name AmFearLiathMor makes quite a few interesting claims such as hacking ProtonMail's services and stealing user's email, that ProtonMail is sending their user's decrypted data to American servers, and that ProtonMail is abusing the lack of Subresource Integrity (SRI) use to purposely and maliciously steal their user's passwords. After reading the Pastebin message (archive.is link), which is shown in its entirety below minus some alleged keys, and seeing the amount of claims, the first thing that came to mind was a corporate version of the sextortion scams that have been running rampant lately. As I kept reading it, though, it just felt like a joke. ProtonMail posted on Twitter that this is a hoax and that there is no evidence that anything states is true. The encrypted email service provided a statement to BleepingComputer: "We believe this extortion attempt is a hoax, and we have seen zero evidence to suggest otherwise. Not a single claim made is true and many of the claims are unsound from a technical standpoint. We are aware of a small number of ProtonMail accounts that have been compromised as a result of those individual users falling for phishing attempts. However, there is zero evidence of a breach of our infrastructure."

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  2. Mark Shuttleworth Reveals Ubuntu 18.04 Will Get a 10-Year Support Lifespan - At the OpenStack Summit in Berlin last week, Ubuntu Linux founder Mark Shuttleworth said in a keynote that Ubuntu 18.04 Long Term Support (LTS) support lifespan would be extended from five years to 10 years. "I'm delighted to announce that Ubuntu 18.04 will be supported for a full 10 years," said Shuttleworth, "In part because of the very long time horizons in some of industries like financial services and telecommunications but also from IoT where manufacturing lines for example are being deployed that will be in production for at least a decade." ZDNet reports: Ubuntu 18.04 released in April 2018. While the Ubuntu desktop gets most of the ink, most of Canonical's dollars comes from server and cloud customers. It's for these corporate users Canonical first extended Ubuntu 12.04 security support, then Ubuntu 14.04's support, and now, preemptively, Ubuntu 18.04. In an interview after the keynote, Shuttleworth said Ubuntu 16.04, which is scheduled to reach its end of life in April 2021, will also be given a longer support life span. When it comes to OpenStack, Shuttleworth promised again to support versions of OpenStack dating back to 2014's IceHouse. Shuttleworth said, "What matters isn't day two, what matters is day 1,500." He also doubled-down on Canonical's promise to easily enable OpenStack customers to migrate from one version of OpenStack to another. Generally speaking, upgrading from one version of OpenStack is like a root canal: Long and painful but necessary. With Canonical OpenStack, you can step up all the way from the oldest supported version to the newest one with no more than a second of downtime.

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  3. Alphabet Unit Halts Glucose-Detecting Contact Lens Project - An anonymous reader shares a report from Reuters: Alphabet's life sciences division Verily said on Friday that it was putting on hold one of its oldest and highest-profile projects, a smart contact lens designed to help monitor sugar levels. The project, started in 2014, aimed to help diabetics better manage their blood sugar levels by embedding sensors on a contact lens to monitor the glucose levels in their tears. In a blog update, Verily cited here insufficient consistency in the correlation between tear glucose and blood glucose concentrations to support the requirements of a medical device. On the bright side, Alphabet and Verily said they would continue to work on two other "Smart Lens" projects -- one for presbyopia (far-sightedness), and another to improve sight following cataract surgery.

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  4. Virginia To Produce 25K-35K Additional CS Grads As Part of Amazon HQ2 Deal - theodp writes: Developers! Developers! Developers! To make good on the proposal that snagged it a share of the Amazon HQ2 prize, the State of Virginia is also apparently on the hook for doubling the annual number of graduates with computer science or closely related degrees, with a goal to add 25,000 to 35,000 graduates (Amazon's HQ2 RFP demanded info on "education programs related to computer science"). To do that, the state will establish a performance-based investment fund for higher education institutions to expand their bachelor's degree programs, and spend up to $375 million on George Mason University's Arlington campus and a new Virginia Tech campus in Alexandria. The state will also spend $50 million on STEM + CS education in public schools and expanding internships for higher education students. Amazon is certainly focused on boosting the ranks of software engineer types. Earlier this month, Amazon launched Amazon Future Engineer, a program that aims to teach more than 10 million students a year how to code, part of a $50 million Amazon commitment to computer science education that was announced last year at a kickoff event for the Ivanka Trump-led White House K-12 CS Initiative. And on Wednesday, Amazon-bankrolled Code.org -- Amazon is a $10+ million Diamond Supporter of the nonprofit; CS/EE grad Jeff Bezos is a $1+ million Gold Supporter -- announced it has teamed with Amazon Future Engineer to build and launchHour of Code: Dance Party, a signature tutorial for this December's big Hour of Code (powered by AWS in 2017), which has become something of a corporate infomercial (Microsoft recently boasted "learners around the world have completed nearly 100 million Minecraft Hour of Code sessions"). Students participating in the Dance Party tutorial, Code.org explained, can choose from 30 hits like Katy Perry's "Firework" and code interactive dance moves and special effects as they learn basic CS concepts. "The artists whose music is used in this tutorial are not sponsoring or endorsing Amazon as part of licensing use of their music to Code.org," stresses a footnote in Code.org's post. So, don't try to make any connections between Katy Perry's Twitter endorsement of the Code.org/Amazon tutorial later that day and those same-day follow-up Amazon and Katy Perry tweets touting their new exclusive Amazon Music streaming deal, kids!

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  5. BlackBerry Buys Cybersecurity Firm Cylance For $1.4 Billion - wiredmikey shares a report from SecurityWeek: BlackBerry on Friday announced that it has agreed to acquire endpoint security firm Cylance for $1.4 billion in cash. "We plan on immediately expanding the capabilities across BlackBerry's 'chip-to-edge' portfolio, including QNX, our safety-certified embedded OS that is deployed in more than 120 million vehicles, robot dogs, medical devices, and more," a BlackBerry company spokesperson told SecurityWeek. "Over time, we plan to integrate Cylance technology with our Spark platform, which is at the center of our strategy to ensure data flowing between endpoints (in a car, business, or smart city) is secured, private, and trusted." Cylance has raised roughly $300 million in funding [prior being acquired]. BlackBerry describes the "Spark platform" as a secure chip-to-edge communications platform "designed for ultra-security and industry-specific safety-certifications, such as ISO 26262 in automobiles."

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  6. Dutch Government Report Says Microsoft Office Telemetry Collection Breaks EU GDPR Laws - "The Register reports that Microsoft has been accused of breaking EU's GDPR law by harvesting information through Office 365 and sending it to U.S. servers," writes Slashdot reader Hymer. "The discovery was made by the Dutch government." From the report: The dossier's authors found that the Windows goliath was collecting telemetry and other content from its Office applications, including email titles and sentences where translation or spellchecker was used, and secretly storing the data on systems in the United States. Those actions break Europe's new GDPR privacy safeguards, it is claimed, and may put Microsoft on the hook for potentially tens of millions of dollars in fines. The Dutch authorities are working with the corporation to fix the situation, and are using the threat of a fine as a stick to make it happen. The investigation was jumpstarted by the fact that Microsoft doesn't publicly reveal what information it gathers on users and doesn't provide an option for turning off diagnostic and telemetry data sent by its Office software to the company as a way of monitoring how well it is functioning and identifying any software issues. Much of what Microsoft collects is diagnostics, the researchers found, and it has seemingly tried to make the system GDPR compliant by storing Office documents on servers based in the EU. But it also collected other data that contained private information and some of that data still ended up on U.S. servers.

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  7. 86 Organizations Demand Zuckerberg To Improve Takedown Appeals - An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: An open letter to Mark Zuckerberg signed by 86 organizations and published on Tuesday implores Facebook to provide a clear, fast mechanism that allows users to appeal instances of content takedowns and account deactivations. The letter which was spearheaded by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Article 19, Ranking Digital Rights, and the Center for Democratic Technology (CDT) -- expanded upon the Santa Clara Principles published earlier this year, which called for all social media platforms to improve its transparency and responsiveness to flagged posts and appeals for removed content. In April of this year, Facebook launched appeals for posts that are removed on grounds nudity, hate speech, or graphic violence. The press release claims that one of Facebook's human content reviewers will review all appeals within 24 hours, and notify users if their appeal has been approved or denied. The open letter to Mark Zuckerberg also requests that all content takedown and deactivation appeals are reviewed by a human moderator, which Facebook claims that it already does. EFF Director of International Freedom of Expression, Jillian York, believes the undercurrent of content moderation on social media is the censorship or restriction of speech towards marginalized groups. "There are accounts, [and] there is content that is taken down frequently from social media, and we don't hear those stories as much because they're often overshadowed by the pushes for hate speech to come down," York said. "I respect the people doing that work, I think it's really important. But really, the thing about appeals is they work in every case. So if someone breaks the rules for hate speech and they appeal, they're not gonna get their account restored. But if someone who should not have had their account taken down in the first place, appeals are the right solution to that."

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  8. Lock-Screen Bypass Bug Quietly Patched In Handsets - secwatcher shares a report from Threatpost: A design flaw affecting all in-display fingerprint sensors -- that left over a half-dozen cellphone models vulnerable to a trivial lock-screen bypass attack -- has been quietly patched. The flaw was tied to a bug in the popular in-display fingerprint reader technology used for user authentication. In-display fingerprint reader technology is widely considered an up-and-coming feature to be used in a number of flagship model phones introduced in 2019 by top OEM phone makers, according to Tencent's Xuanwu Lab which is credited for first identifying the flaw earlier this year. Impacted are all phones tested in the first half of 2018 that had in-display fingerprint sensors. That includes current models of Huawei Technologies' Porsche Design Mate RS and Mate 20 Pro model phones. Researchers said that many more cellphone manufacturers are impacted by the issue. The most popular phone in the U.S. that is impacted by this vulnerability is the OnePlus 6T. "[A]ll an attacker needs to carry out the attack is an opaque reflective material such as aluminum foil," reports Threatpost. "By placing the reflective material over a residual fingerprint on the phone's display the capacitance fingerprint imaging mechanism can be tricked into authenticating a fingerprint."

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  9. NASA Decommissions the Kepler Space Telescope - Late last month, NASA announced that it would be retiring the Kepler space telescope after nearly ten years of service -- double its initial mission life. Now, as Space.com reports, the planet-hunting telescope has been officially decommissioned, "beaming 'goodnight' commands to the sun-orbiting observatory." From the report: "Kepler's team disabled the safety modes that could inadvertently turn systems back on, and severed communications by shutting down the transmitters," NASA officials wrote in a statement today (Nov. 16). "Because the spacecraft is slowly spinning, the Kepler team had to carefully time the commands so that instructions would reach the spacecraft during periods of viable communication." The final commands were sent from Kepler's operations center at the University of Colorado Boulder's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, NASA officials said. The commands got to the spacecraft via NASA's Deep Space Network, the system of big radio dishes the space agency uses to keep in touch with its far-flung probes.

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  10. There Is No Link Between Insomnia and Early Death, Study Finds - A new report published in the journal Science Direct says there is no link between insomnia and early death. The researchers reportedly "reviewed 17 studies, which covered close to 37 million people, to compile their results," the BBC notes. From the report: This new report goes against what the NHS says, which claims that as well as putting people at risk of obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes, that insomnia shortens life expectancy. The NHS recommends things like exercising to tire yourself out during the day and cutting down on caffeine. It also says smoking, eating too much or drinking alcohol late at night can stop you from sleeping well. Other recommendations include writing a list of things that are playing on your mind and trying to get to bed at a similar time every night. "There was no difference in the odds of mortality for those individuals with symptoms of insomnia when compared to those without symptoms," the study says. "This finding was echoed in the assessment of the rate of mortality in those with and without symptoms of insomnia using the outcomes of multivariate models, with the most complete adjustment for potential confounders, as reported by the individual studies included in this meta-analysis. Additional analyses revealed a tendency for an increased risk of mortality associated with hypnotic use."

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