Feds charge Chinese national in 2015 breach of health insurer Anthem

Feds charge Chinese national in 2015 breach of health insurer Anthem

Enlarge (credit: FBI.gov)

Federal prosecutors have indicted a Chinese national they say carried out sophisticated network intrusions on four US companies, including one on health insurer Anthem that stole personal information belonging to close to 80 million people.

Fujie Wang—a 32-year-old resident of Shenzhen, China, who sometimes used the first name Dennis—was part of a hacking group that gained entry to Anthem and three other unnamed companies, according to an indictment unsealed on Thursday. Along with other members of the group, he carried out the hacks using spear-phishing emails that lured employees of the companies to malicious websites. The websites, in turn, installed backdoors on the employees’ computers. The defendants allegedly used the compromised computers to penetrate the networks.

In some cases, the indictment alleged, the hackers would wait months before identifying and harvesting sensitive data stored on the networks, presumably to prevent calling attention to the breaches.

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Final Fantasy VII remake finally looks like a video game—and it’s a pretty one

Final Fantasy VII remake finally looks like a video game—and it’s a pretty one

Sony’s latest promotional video for future PlayStation games (dubbed “State of Play”) concluded with a surprise peek at a long-awaited game: Final Fantasy VII Remake. In bad news, the Thursday trailer was clearly limited by publisher Square Enix’s intent to save a bigger reveal for “June,” possibly timed for the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo.

But in good news, the project, announced nearly four years ago, finally looks like an honest-to-goodness video game. At last, we can begin guessing what its final version might possibly look and play like.

The most apparent thing from the trailer, embedded below, is an active battle system that looks largely similar to that found in Final Fantasy XV and the wider Kingdom Hearts series. (We got a tease of this in a late-2015 trailer.) A low-angled camera sits behind whichever character is being controlled, and

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Sonos Will Add Google Assistant to Select Speakers Next Week

Sonos Will Add Google Assistant to Select Speakers Next Week


Sonos says that it is finally ready, after what seems like two years, to add Google Assistant to a couple of its high-end connected speakers. Starting next week, the Sonos One and Sonos Beam will both receive an update that adds Google Assistant support.

Through a shareholder letter that was published just before the company has its quarterly earnings call, Sonos announced the news. A software upgrade that includes Google Assistant will hit the One and Beam in the US. Other markets will see a similar update in the “next few months.”

Once the update hits your Sonos devices, you’ll be able to choose between Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, which is a first according to Sonos. The Beam and One should then act just like a Google Home product when you shout “Hey Google!” at it.

Don’t own the Sonos One or Beam? Back in January, Google made Read the rest

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iFixit: Plastic Pixel is Pretty Fixable, Receives 6/10 Repairability Score

iFixit: Plastic Pixel is Pretty Fixable, Receives 6/10 Repairability Score


According to the good folks at iFixit, Google’s latest entry into the Pixel line, the Pixel 3a XL, is a lot easier to self repair than other devices currently on the market. For all of you #RightToRepair people, this is good.

Apparently, opening up the Pixel 3a XL and then fondling its innards is quite easy, thanks to the usage of only T3 Torx screws. In addition, iFixit states that most components are modular and can be easily replaced once the display assembly is removed, plus a repair-friendly stretch-release adhesive is what secures the battery.


As for why it still only receives a 6 out of 10 for repairability, which is still a helluva lot better than most high-end smartphones we see these days, the company says that the display is thin and poorly supported, but the worst offense is the usage of long and thin ribbon cables … Read the rest

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Open source bug poses threat to sites running multiple CMSes

Open source bug poses threat to sites running multiple CMSes

(credit: Pixabay)

Websites running the Drupal, Joomla, or Typo3 content-management systems are vulnerable to attacks that could possibly execute malicious code until administrators install just-released patches, developers and security researchers warned.

The vulnerability resides in the PharStreamWrapper, a PHP component developed and open-sourced by CMS maker Typo3. Indexed as CVE-2019-11831, the flaw stems from a path-traversal bug that allows hackers to swap a site’s legitimate phar archive with a malicious one. A phar archive is used to distribute a complete PHP application or library in a single file, in much the way a Java archive file bundles many Java files into a single file.

In an advisory published Wednesday, Drupal developers rated the severity of the vulnerability affecting their CMS as moderately critical. That’s well below the highly critical rating of a recent Drupal vulnerability and earlier remote-execution flaws that took on the name “Drupalgeddon.” Still, the

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The last reactor at Three Mile Island is shutting down

The last reactor at Three Mile Island is shutting down

Enlarge / The Three Mile Island Nuclear Plant is seen in the early morning hours March 28, 2011, in Middletown, Penn. (credit: Jeff Fusco/Getty Images)

On Wednesday, power company Exelon said that it would be closing the single reactor that it operates on Three Mile Island by September 30.

Three Mile Island (TMI) is notorious for its role as the site of the United States’ first commercial power plant accident in 1979. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission was not able to correlate the accident to any deaths or ill health effects in the Middletown, Pennsylvania, area, but the threat galvanized environmentalists against nuclear power and led to sweeping regulatory reforms in throughout the nation.

TMI-1, the 819 megawatt (MW) reactor that Exelon owns, was not affected by the 1979 accident. Exelon says it has been operating the reactor at a loss.

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You Can Now Play Trivia Crack on Your Google Home

You Can Now Play Trivia Crack on Your Google Home


Trivia Crack has arrived for your Google Home device, accessible by simply saying, “Hey Google, play Trivia Crack.” You can also play it on your phone through Google Assistant, but at that point, you might as well download the app.

Trivia Crack is your typical trivia app, done in a similar style to Trivial Pursuit. You answer questions, and if you get them correct, you gain characters. The first player to collect all the characters wins the game.

Available in two modes, Solo (single-player, in Classic or Challenge format) or Party (play in up to 4 teams), the Trivia Crack for Google Assistant is excellent for parties and family gatherings, along with when you want to test your trivia know-how on your own. Just say “Hey Google, play Trivia Crack,” and you’re off.

I tested this on both a Google Home and my phone with Assistant and it seems to … Read the rest

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Google’s Pixel 3a is Boringly Good, Which is Fine

Google’s Pixel 3a is Boringly Good, Which is Fine


Tim said that I need to bring some fire takes on the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL, since I haven’t really mentioned the phone on the site after unboxing it. Ummm, I don’t have any. This phone is boring, but that’s probably good or fine. There, that’s my take.

OK, let me try to break that down some.

At $400 and all sorts of plastic, the Pixel 3a and 3a XL are not here to pull you away from the Pixel 3 or Galaxy S10 or soon-to-be-released OnePlus 7 Pro. They just aren’t. Those phones are better on multiple levels, which is why they cost hundreds of dollars more. In other words, if your budget is $900, you’ll get a better overall experience with those phones. You will.

With that said, at $400, the Pixel 3a is kind of nice! I don’t have final thoughts to share right now … Read the rest

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Dealmaster: Grab a pair of Anker wireless noise-cancelling headphones for $80

Dealmaster: Grab a pair of Anker wireless noise-cancelling headphones for $80

Enlarge / Today’s deals include $30 off a Nintendo Switch, Google Pixel 3A gift card bundles, noise-cancelling headphones, and more. (credit: Ars Technica)

Greetings, Arsians! The Dealmaster is back with another round of deals to share. Today’s list is headlined by the return of a deal on Anker’s Soundcore Space NC, one of the few sub-$100 wireless noise-cancelling headphones that we have tested and can safely recommend. They’re currently down to $80 on Amazon; that’s $20 off the usual going rate and tied for an all-time low.

We’ve written about these headphones in the past—in summary, they can’t really touch the best Bluetooth noise-cancellers from Sony and Bose when it comes to audio and active noise-cancellation quality, but for a pair that costs a third of those headphones, they’re impressive. The SpaceNC headphones do a capable enough job of blocking out the low-end rumbles, it has a hearty, full

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SpaceX broadband testing to ramp up with launch of dozens of satellites

SpaceX broadband testing to ramp up with launch of dozens of satellites

Enlarge / A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in the hangar after a flight in April 2017. (credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX will launch dozens of demonstration broadband satellites next week as it ramps up testing for its planned Starlink service. The company says it will begin launching satellites for the actual service later this year.

This week, SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell confirmed that dozens of Starlink satellites will be aboard the Falcon 9 launch scheduled for May 15, according to several news reports.

“This next batch of satellites will really be a demonstration set for us to see the deployment scheme and start putting our network together,” Shotwell said on Tuesday at the Satellite 2019 conference in Washington, DC, according to SpaceNews. “We start launching satellites for actual service later this year.”

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