US officials tell the Wall Street Journal that unclassified Navy computers have been hacked by a group either "working directly for Iran's government [or] acting with the approval of Iranian leaders." Since the compromised machines were fairly low-level, there was no valuable or classified information at risk, but if the allegations are true, the attack stands as Iran's first significant aggression in the malware arena after being targeted by US-linked hacking attacks like Stuxnet and Flame.
The report leaves many unanswered questions about the nature of the threat, declining to elaborate on either the sophistication of the attack or the nature of its connection to Iran. The news arrives on the heels of President Obama's recent talks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, but the timing of the attack itself is unclear, specified only to have occurred "in recent weeks." Many in the Pentagon have long been concerned about potential Iranian retaliation, and, as one official told the Journal, "their ability to also play in this sandbox compounds that concern."
Scotland Yard has a new secret weapon when it comes to finding suspects: a group of psychological outliers known as "super-recognizers." They've got the ability to a far greater range of faces over much longer periods of time than the average person. The condition is still controversial, but after recent peer-reviewed studies have found evidence for it, London's police force wants to use it to their advantage, employing a squad of super-recognizers to help recognize wanted criminals captured on surveillance feeds. As detective chief inspector Mike Neville says, "When we have an image of an unidentified criminal, I know exactly who to ask."
Back in May regulators fined a man in New York City $2,400 for having rented out his room on the popular service Airbnb. The startup itself then vowed to fight the ruling, and today it received some good news: the New York City Environmental Control Board has reversed the previous decision. In a blog post today Airbnb's head of public policy, David Hantman, writes that the company had intervened on behalf of Nigel Warren, arguing that no laws had been violated since Warren's roommate had been present at the time of the rental. The state's "illegal hotels law," which exists primarily to prevent companies from turning residential properties into short-term rentals, has an exception for when a resident is present during said rental. The board agreed, handing Airbnb the victory.
Warren already paid the $2,400 fine, so while the new ruling will be a windfall for him personally this victory is just one step forward for Airbnb, which faces further legal questions in New York and other states. "We know there is more work to do," Hantman writes. "This episode highlights how complicated the New York law is, and it took far too long for Nigel to be vindicated. That is why we are continuing our work to clarify the law and ensure New Yorkers can share their homes and their city with travelers from around the world."
A cheaper relative of Motorola’s customizable Moto X handset is rumored to be headed to low-cost carriers. The phone is said to be called the DVX, and according to a PhoneArena report from earlier this week, it will be available on Republic Wireless sometime in October.
It’s not the same abundance of options available for the Moto X
Not much is known about the phone's specs other than a reported lack of LTE support, but judging from a series of photos posted to Weibo, the DVX will purportedly have four interchangeable backplates. It’s not the same abundance of options available for the Moto X, and you don’t appear to get the same level of design polish (the DVX’s backplates look flatter and cheaper), but if the plan is to sell the phone for less than the Moto X’s $575 price (significantly less at Republic Wireless), corners need to be cut somewhere.
We shouldn’t be surprised if Motorola does release another phone under the Moto X banner. Last month, the company’s CEO Dennis Woodside told CNET that the company views Moto X as a new brand, and that we will "see additional products within months."
Testing issues are holding Aereo back from releasing its streaming broadcast TV service in Chicago this month, the company announced today. The Chicago release was originally slated for September 17th, but the company says that "issues with our beta site" have caused it to delay the launch.
Aereo relies on an array of tiny, dime-sized antennas (pictured above) to capture broadcast TV signals, streaming the shows to customers over the internet. Previously limited to New York (but quickly expanding), the service has raised the ire of networks like CBS and Fox who claim that by redistributing free broadcast programming, Aereo is effectively stealing and re-selling rightsholders’ content. So far, Aereo has successfully managed to fend off those charges in court.
If you're a console gamer, you've got a tough choice ahead of you as both the Sony PlayStation 4 and the Microsoft Xbox One are going on sale this November. Choosing which next-gen system to buy is no easy task — even for long time gaming diehards. Unsurprisingly, Microsoft wants you to buy its new hardware instead of a PS4, which is why the company is going to hit the road for its "One Tour." The road trip kicks off on October 1st and runs through the end of the year, allowing people to try Xbox One for themselves at each stop.
While the tour will give Microsoft a chance to preach its Xbox One gospel and show off it's new console, the company will also use the One Tour as a chance to sell new Xbox One games. Titles include Forza Motorsport 5, Ryse: Son of Rome, Killer Instinct, and Dead Rising 3 — however, the company isn't clear as to whether or not you'll be able to buy these games at its events before the console goes on sale. The Tour will be broken into two parts — "Area One" and "Test Drive." Area One will consist of parties thrown in 13 different cities and complete with live bands and a chance to play Xbox One. Test Drive will be a bit easier to find, with 175 different stops at various music festivals, college campuses, and shopping malls in the US, Canada, France, Germany, and England. To see if the Xbox One Tour is coming to your city, head over to xbox.com/onetour.
During the summer, secure email provider Lavabit — the preferred email service for PRISM leaker Edward Snowden — decided to shut down after 10 years to avoid being "complicit in crimes against the American people." It became clear pretty quickly that his service was the subject of an investigation by the US government; founder Ladar Levison said that "the government tried to bully me" and that it was "amazing the lengths they've gone to to accomplish their goals." Much of the specifics have been kept under wraps, even as his legal battle to appeal a surveillance order went underway earlier this month. Now, Wired has confirmed that the FBI targeted Lavabit immediately — it served the company with a court order the day after Snowden revealed himself on June 9th.
The agency reportedly demanded metatata on an unnamed customer believed to be Snowden on June 10th. Wired writes that the request was "issued under18 USC 2703(d), a 1994 amendment to the Stored Communications Act that allows law enforcement access to non-content internet records without demonstrating the "probable cause" needed for a search warrant." While the request would cover data contained in the "to" and "from fields as well as the IP address related to the account, the actual content of the email would not have been revealed.
A second request was sent on June 28th for the same information demanded originally, and then the FBI followed up with an "order to show cause" on July 9th — that's the government asking the court to enforce a previous order that hasn't been filled to its satisfaction. It was nearly another month before Levison finally decided to shut down Lavabit. He then filed an appeal on August 29th and is due to give his opening brief on October 3rd.