Intel CrossTalk Patch, Sony PS5 Look, Giphy Takeover Halted, Lightbulb Recording, PineTab Preorders

  • From Category5 Technology TV S13E30
  • June 17, 2020
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Here are the stories we're following for the week of Wednesday June 17, 2020

The Latest Intel CrossTalk Vulnerability Has Been Patched in Debian, CentOS and Red Hat Enterprise Linux

The latest Intel CrossTalk vulnerability is now patched in Debian GNU/Linux, CentOS Linux, as well as Red Hat Enterprise Linux systems.

The recently found hardware vulnerability known as CrossTalk, was discovered by researchers from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in some Intel processors. The flaw could allow local attackers or virtual machine guests to expose sensitive information like cryptographic keys from other users or VMs.

Already patched in all supported Ubuntu releases, the vulnerability has also now been patched in Debian Buster and Stretch, plus CentOS 6 and 7, as well as Red Hat Enterprise Linux versions 6 and 7.

To mitigate the vulnerability in their systems, users will have to install the latest Linux kernel and Intel microcode updates, which are now available in the stable software repositories of their distributions, although Debian Stretch users must enable the non-free repository to get the patch.

Make sure you reboot your systems after installing the new Linux kernel and intel-microcode updates.


Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash

Sony has unveiled the look of the PS5.

Sony has given gamers a first look at the design of its next console as well as some of the titles it will play.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Sony opted to stream a pre-recorded video rather than host a live event.

The PlayStation 5 has a black core surrounded by curved white edging, and a blue glow.

Two follow-ups to bestselling PS4 releases were among the standout games announcements - Spider-Man: Miles Morales, and Horizon: Forbidden West.

Sony's machine will launch alongside Microsoft's rival Xbox Series X before the end of the year.

So many people remarked that the console looked like a "wi-fi router", that the term trended on Twitter shortly after the event.

More than two dozen new games were shown off in total.

Other highlights included a first look at Sony's racing game Gran Turismo 7 and a brief look at Capcom's zombie horror game Resident Evil 8.

The PlayStation 5 is set to go on sale later this year, seven years after the PS4.

In addition to being able to deliver improved visuals, the new machine also has a customised hard drive that will make it possible to radically reduce load times.

Sony is building a library of launch titles that will only be available on its next-generation machine, including some brand new titles never before seen. One of the more unusual games was "Stray", a third-person cat adventure set in a neon-lit cyber-city.

There was no mention of any virtual reality games, however. Nor was was there any mention of a PlayStation 5 version of The Last of Us 2.

Rather than a quantum leap, this next generation looks like it might be built around lots of smaller improvements in areas like audio, with 3D sound and improved haptic feedback in the controller.

Beyond better visuals and faster loading times, what does the next generation actually mean when it comes to games?

On this evidence more of the same: shooters, racers, third-person adventure titles and sports games. Things we already have, but graphically improved.


Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash

Facebook's Giphy takeover is being halted while the UK Competition and Markets Authority investigate the deal

Facebook's takeover of Giphy, a search engine for funny reaction images, is being investigated by the UK's competition authority.

Giphy's vast library of looping short video animations is hugely popular in Facebook's apps.

But it also provides animations to competitors like TikTok, Snapchat and Twitter.

Now, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is investigating whether the purchase is a problem.

It has sent an enforcement order to Facebook, effectively putting a hold on any merging of the companies until its investigation is over.

Announcing the acquisition in May this year, Facebook said that half of Giphy's traffic comes from Facebook apps, including Whatsapp and Instagram.

But it also said that the deal - worth a reported $400m - would not affect deals in place with other partners.

The CMA, however, said it was investigating whether or not the acquisition "may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition".

But the enforcement means Facebook has to keep the Giphy company, staff, and technology separate from Facebook itself - unless it gets advance written permission from the CMA.

It is not the first time concerns have been raised about the Facebook-Giphy deal, with questions raised over the level of access Facebook would have to its competitor's data through the service.

The CMA is inviting comments until July 3, with no date set for its decision.


Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash

Researchers have discovered a way to record audio in realtime by focusing a telescope on a distant lightbulb.

In an era of digital eavesdropping where hackers employ a variety of means to take over built-in video cameras, peruse personal digital data and snoop on cellular conversations, researchers have seen the light. Literally.

Viewers in the UK will want to make sure their license is up to date, because here's an upgrade the BBC might want to add to their TV detector vans.

Israeli researchers report that they successfully tapped into speech and music inside an apartment simply by focusing on a light bulb.

In a paper published over the weekend, the researchers said all they needed were a telescope and a $400 optical sensor, which they used to measure barely perceptible light bulb vibrations triggered by either voices or music in the room.

The research team conducted the test by pointing a telescope towards a light bulb in an apartment building 27 yards away. Capturing the vibrations from the bulb, they were able to reconstruct, with fair quality, "Let It Be" by the Beatles, "Clocks" by Coldplay and a snippet of a speech by President Trump.

The researchers said, "We show how fluctuations in the air pressure on the surface of the hanging bulb (in response to sound), which cause the bulb to vibrate very slightly (a millidegree vibration), can be exploited by eavesdroppers to recover speech and singing, passively, externally, and in real time."

They noted that a direct line of sight to the bulb is required; lampshades or window curtains will prevent it from working. Also, the test sounds were played at maximum volume.

The approach, called "lamphone," is an improvement over recent developments in eavesdropping technology.

Ben Nassi, a developer of the program explained, "Any sound in the room can be recovered from the room with no requirement to hack anything and no device in the room. You just need line of sight to a hanging bulb, and this is it."

Previous comparable approaches include the memorable 2014 "visual microphone" developed by MIT, Microsoft and Adobe that reconstructed speech and music from a room by analyzing micro-vibrations from a bag of potato chips sitting on a table. While impressive, the device required massive computational power and much time to analyze recorded vibrations. Lamphone can be conducted in real time.


Sent to us by: Robbie Ferguson

The PineTab Linux tablet from PINE64 is now available for pre-order and you can get one for just $100.

The wait is finally over as the PineTab pre-orders are now open for everyone!

Powered by the latest Ubuntu Touch OS from UBports, the PineTab features a beautiful 10.1-inch HD IPS capacitive touchscreen at 1280×800 pixels, and is powered by an Allwinner A64 chip, combined with a 64-bit Quad-Core 1.2 GHz ARM Cortex A-53 processor, and a MALI-400 GPU. It comes with a replaceable 64GB eMMC module, 2GB RAM, and a micro SD card slot supporting up to 2TB cards.

The PineTab also features a rear 5MP camera with LED Flash and a selfie 2MP camera. It has stereo speakers, a detachable backlit keyboard option that can also act as a cover or stand, and a removable battery.

For connectivity, it has the usual suspects: WiFi, Bluetooth, and so-on. But it also has a headphone jack plus USB ports, including OTG and video HD output, which really helps the PineTab stand out at this price point.

You can get your hands on the latest Linux tablet from PINE64 right now for only $99.99 USD or $119.98 USD with the detachable backlit keyboard.

According to PINE64, the estimated shipping time is currently set for late July.


Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash


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