Organisations fear IoT security attacks – but are not actively monitoring risks

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Almost every organisation polled by the Ponemon Institute and Shared Assessments say they fear a ‘catastrophic’ security event related to an unsecured IoT device – yet only a third actively monitor for IoT-related third-party risks.

The study, which surveyed 605 individuals in corporate governance, found the average number of IoT devices in the workplace is set to increase by 55% over the coming year. 81% of those polled said a data breach caused by unsecured IoT devices was ‘likely’ to occur in the next 24 months.

The challenge is more of an issue than may be let on, the report adds. Less than half (45%) of respondents believe they can keep a full inventory of IoT devices in the organisation – and of that number, only 19% actually have an inventory of at least half of their devices. 15% of survey respondents have an inventory of the majority of their applications.

46% of those polled say they have a policy to disable a risky IoT device within their own organisation, while 60% opt for a third-party risk management program.

“The rapid adoption of IoT devices and applications is not slowing down and organisations need to have a clear understanding of the risks these devices pose both inside their own and outside their extended networks,” said Charlie Miller, SVP at the Shared Assessments Program. “While there’s an increasing awareness about third-party IoT risks, much more work needs to be done to ensure controls minimise the risks these devices pose.

“With the increasing number of major data breaches, ransomware, and distributed denial of service attacks in the news daily, and senior executives losing their jobs as a result, it’s critical that organisations assign accountability and ownership of IoT-related oversight across their organisation, ensure that IoT security is taken seriously, and educate management at all levels,” added Miller.

You can read the full research here (registration required).

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SwitchArcade Roundup: ‘Framed Collection’, ‘Fear Effect Sedna’, ‘Subsurface Circular’ Review and More Nintendo Switch News

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Welcome to the latest SwitchArcade Roundup! We have a bunch of news pieces on the Framed Collection, some changes to the Nintendo points system, and a resolution to the play time bug. We’re also gonna run down why you should consider Subsurface Circular, and rundown the new releases, including Fear Effect Sedna, an unlikely revival of a 2000 PlayStation game that you probably forgot about until now. I know I hadn’t thought about Fear Effect in years, vaguely remembering it from video game magazines of the time. Remember those?

News

Framed Collection

Loveshack is bringing both Framed games to the Switch this spring as the Framed Collection. You rearrange comic book panels in order to help advance the narrative, and utilizing time loops in order to solve the puzzles presented. It’s a unique concept, and I think the Collection will be the ideal way to experience Framed. The first game came off to me as the first half of a larger whole, and the second Framed really made these ideas into a fully-formed experience. Switch owners should be excited for this one when it hits later this spring.

Diablo 3 actually coming to the Switch?

After Blizzard denied that Diablo 3 was coming to the Switch, the reliable Eurogamer’s sources say that no, it’s totally in development. Be optimistic, or who knows, maybe we’ll actually get a port of the PlayStation 1 version of Diablo. Blizzard’s out here keeping us on our toes.

Nintendo Points Update

Nintendo updated their My Nintendo Points scheme to make it so that you can earn points on digital purchases and then spend them on digital games. Game purchases earn points a 5% value of the purchase price, so a $ 13 game earns 65 coins, and each coin is worth about a penny. So you’d need to spend about $ 1200 in purchases to earn one free game. Also, points expire 12 months after you earn them, so this isn’t like Starbucks where points expire, but you at least have the ability to quickly earn a free drink. Instead, you can maybe pick up a lower-priced title for free every now and then. Nintendo might have special deals for gold coins: for example, there are some 3DS games available for a smaller number of coins than their retail value, and this could come to the Switch as well. You do have the ability to spend the coins on anything you want.

While there is some outrage over the perceived value of the program, the glass half-full interpretation is that other stores aren’t exactly giving you 5% back on all of your purchases and letting you then spend those on free games. If Nintendo is generous about giving players the opportunity to get gold coins outside of purchases, then this system might work out really well as a way to min-max game purchases on the Switch for those who don’t necessarily want to spend a lot of money.

Nintendo play activity bug

With the Switch’s first anniversary, some players noticed that the Switch stopped tracking their play time after one year of play. Nintendo recently clarified that this is just a display glitch, and the system is still accurately recording play data. A future system update will resolve this issue. So, if you lost your Breath of the Wild playtime, don’t worry…you can soon be reminded of just how many hours you’ve sunk into the game. Then you might beg to have the play time erased once more!

Game Spotlight: Subsurface Circular

If you’re looking for an interesting interactive fiction experience to play, check out Subsurface Circular. Developed by Mike Bithell, you play as a detective “Tek” robot, who has to investigate the disappearance of another Tek, all from their subway seat. See, this Tek is a detective whose purpose is to only ride the eponymous subway, and get to the bottom of anything strange going on with the subway. So as passengers come and go, you investigate their inquiries and find out just what is going on.

Subsurface Circular is a conversation-driven interactive fiction game that could’ve also been made in Twine, but it uses its visuals for the purpose of creating atmosphere. Characters that just play music loudly through their headphones wind up providing a very subtle soundtrack to the game. Plus, they accurately represent the experience of hearing people blasting music through their headphones. Use in-ear monitors, people – they’re smaller, isolate better, and don’t disturb your fellow subway riders. But the text and characterization goes a long way toward telling a story and creating a larger world despite your character never leaving their seat.

The best way to experience Subsurface Circular is like a movie, where you sit down to play through the entire thing in one go. It takes about an hour and a half or so, maybe longer if you struggle with some of the puzzles, though the game includes helpful hint options. It’s the kind of experience that felt like it was a lot lengthier than it actually was, and in a good way! It’s an incredibly engrossing experience. It’s well worth checking out.

New Releases

Fear Effect Sedna

The 2000 PlayStation horror-styled stealth-action series is back with a third game in the series. This is kind of a reboot as the series shifts from Chinese mythology to Inuit mythology, though it serves a sequel to an unreleased third title in the franchise. While the game’s new isometric perspective means that it’s quite different from the survival-horror perspective of the original titles, it’s not hard to believe that most people checking this out are new to the series, and are just looking for an interesting new title.

Scribblenauts Showdown

Scribblenauts keeps progressing from what was once a clever idea for a Nintendo DS game, to a full-fledged hit franchise. You’re still trying to create objects based on dictionary words to humorous results, but head-to-head play in dozens of minigames is the style here. Up to four players can face off with custom Scribblenauts, and while the party mode is the star of the show, there’s cooperative play in the Sandbox levels to enjoy as well.

NORTH

We wrap up the week’s first set of new releases with this cyberpunk adventure game. You are a refugee applying for asylum in a futuristic mega-city, that also has monster-like creatures populating the landscape. The description says this is a straightforward game, full of “simple puzzles” and exploration, so this is more about getting engrossed in the world and its storyline rather than any kind of sizable open-world experience. It’s only $ 3, so give it a shot if you’re intrigued.

Keep an eye out every weekday for more SwitchArcade Roundups! We want to hear your feedback on Nintendo Switch coverage on TouchArcade. Comment below or tweet us with your thoughts!

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Some Democrats want to see the AT&T-Time Warner deal blocked — but fear that Trump might be meddling

Congressional foes of the AT&T-Time Warner deal are in a bind: Celebrate the government’s skepticism, or fear Trump’s influence?

Fierce opponents of AT&T’s $ 86 billion bid to buy Time Warner now find themselves in an awkward political bind: They’re rejoicing over the fact that the U.S. government shares some of their doubts about the deal — but fear that President Donald Trump might have interfered in the process.

For the moment, the Department of Justice appears ready to force AT&T to sell CNN or potentially other TV networks owned by Time Warner in order to win the feds’ final blessings, a source familiar with the investigation confirmed to Recode. AT&T, for its part, seems ready to fight.

Normally, Democrats would be celebrating. After all, some have urged the government for months to toss the companies’ merger plans. But the Justice Department’s efforts are shrouded in controversy because of Trump. His repeated, public threats against AT&T loom over his administration’s regulatory review — an investigation that’s supposed to be independent.

And DOJ’s focus on CNN, in particular, left some on Capitol Hill wondering if regulators’ skepticism is real — or the stuff of partisan politics.

Sen. Al Franken, for one, told Recode in a statement Wednesday that AT&T’s bid to buy Time Warner would create a “massive corporation that would wield entirely way too much power, likely resulting in even higher prices, even fewer choices, and potentially worse service for consumers.” Much as before, he stressed they should be stopped.

But Franken wasn’t celebrating reports that DOJ had set its sights on CNN. He said he was “deeply concerned” that AT&T might have to spin off the company in order to proceed with the merger, “given the president’s repeated public complaints about CNN’s coverage of him.”

“Any indication that this administration is using its power to weaken media organizations it doesn’t like would be a profoundly disturbing development,” Franken said.

To the extent that it is a controversy, it’s one entirely of Trump’s own doing. His attacks on AT&T and Time Warner’s merger began during the 2016 presidential campaign, when he pledged he would reject the deal “because it’s too much concentration of power in the hands of too few.”

After entering the Oval Office, Trump’s threats appeared to intensify. Reports soon emerged that the president perhaps sought to use the combination of AT&T and Time Warner as leverage in pursuit of more favorable coverage by CNN.

As a result, lawmakers took aim when Trump nominated his first antitrust enforcer, Makan Delrahim. Before the Senate confirmed him to lead the DOJ division that is now reviewing the AT&T-Time Warner merger, Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Elizabeth Warren demanded commitments from Delrahim that he would not submit to the influence of the White House.

Complicating matters further were Delrahim’s own statements: Many months before taking his perch in government, he said the AT&T-Time Warner deal shouldn’t pose a major antitrust problem at all.

Fast forward to Wednesday: Delrahim’s agency unexpectedly seemed ready to force AT&T to make major changes to its merger plans — including, potentially, selling CNN.

To antitrust experts, it’s a demand that might have appeared tough but reasonable, if only Trump hadn’t talked about the deal in the first place.

“This is the cost of disparaging institutions,” said Harry First, a top antitrust professor at New York University School of Law, in an interview. “Normally, you would say, look here’s the Antitrust Division, they’re going to do their job, they should enforce merger policy.”

Given Trump’s comments, “no matter what they do, [he] has cast doubt on their good faith,” First said.

On Capitol Hill, meanwhile, the news led even the fiercest opponents of the AT&T’s proposed tie up with Time Warner to express wariness.

“The Department of Justice appears to be doing its job,” Blumenthal said in a statement. “I have long opposed this deal because of its impact on competitors and consumers.”

Without mentioning Trump, Blumenthal then appeared to acknowledge the tricky politics inherent in the DOJ’s latest move.

“I have also closely questioned Department of Justice officials about assuring the independence of CNN,” he said. “I am now counting on the Department of Justice to continue its thorough and exacting review, including its obligation to go to court and pursue legal remedies upholding market competition and First Amendment rights if the facts demand it.”

Another merger foe — Democratic Sen. Ed Markey — urged the Justice Department to take action against AT&T and Time Warner “using one lens only: will it result in substantial harms to competition and consumers.”

“The proposed merger already presents a number of potential problems for consumers, including higher prices, fewer choices, and poorer quality services,” he told Recode in a statement. But, Markey added: “The Department of Justice’s review process should be entirely void of politics. Any suggestion that the deal be conditioned on selling off a news channel because of its coverage is offensive to both the first amendment and the rule of law.”

And Sen. Brian Schatz, the top Democrat on his chamber’s telecom-focused Commerce Committee, offered his own doubts in the medium Trump himself knows best — Twitter.

“The burden of proof is on the Justice Department to establish that there is no political interference in their Antitrust Division,” he said.


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Stephen Hawking: “I Fear That AI May Replace Humans Altogether”

The Point of No Return

Stephen Hawking fears it may only be a matter of time before humanity is forced to flee Earth in search of a new home. The famed theoretical physicist has previously said that he thinks humankind’s survival will rely on our ability to become a multi-planetary species. Hawking reiterated — and in fact emphasized — the point in a recent interview with WIRED in which he stated that humanity has reached “the point of not return.”

Hawking said the necessity of finding a second planetary home for humans stems from both concerns over a growing population and the imminent threat posed by the development of artificial intelligence (AI). He warned that AI will soon become super intelligent — potentially enough so that it could replace humankind.

“The genie is out of the bottle. I fear that AI may replace humans altogether,” Hawking told WIRED.

It certainly wasn’t the first time Hawking made such a dire warning. In an interview back in March with The Times, he said that an AI apocalypse was impending, and the creation of “some form of world government” would be necessary to control the technology. Hawking has also cautioned about the impact AI would have on middle-class jobs, and even called for an outright ban on the development of AI agents for military use.

In both cases, it would seem, his warnings have been largely ignored. Still, some would argue that intelligent machines are already taking over jobs, and several countries —including the U.S. and Russia — are pursuing some sort of AI-powered weapon for use by their military.

A New Life Form

In recent years, AI development has become a widely divisive topic: some experts have made similar arguments as Hawking, including SpaceX and Tesla CEO and founder Elon Musk and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. Both Musk and Gates see the potential for AI’s development to be the cause of humanity’s demise. On the other hand, quite a number of experts have posited that such warnings are unnecessary fear-mongering, which may be based on farfetched super-intelligent AI take-over scenarios that they fear could distort public perception of AI.

As far as Hawking is concerned, the fears are valid. “If people design computer viruses, someone will design AI that improves and replicates itself,” Hawking said in the interview with WIRED. “This will be a new form of life that outperforms humans.”

Hawking, it seems, was referring to the development of AI that’s smart enough to think, or even better than, human beings — an event that’s been dubbed the technological singularity. In terms of when that will happen (if ever) Hawking didn’t exactly offer a time table. We could assume that it would arrive at some point within the 100-year deadline Hawking imposed for humanity’s survival on Earth. Others, such as SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son and Google chief engineer Ray Kurzweil, have put the timeframe for the singularity even sooner than that — within the next 30 years.

We still have miles to go in terms of developing truly intelligent AI, and we don’t exactly know yet what the singularity would bring. Would it herald humankind’s doom or might it usher in a new era where humans and machines co-exist? In either case, AI’s potential to be used for both good and bad demands that we take the necessary precautions.

The post Stephen Hawking: “I Fear That AI May Replace Humans Altogether” appeared first on Futurism.

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Apple to US Senator: There’s no need to fear Face ID


Senator Al Franken has some concerns about the iPhone X’s new feature, Face ID. The feature, as Apple displayed on stage — or tried to — during its most recent iPhone event takes an algorithmic approach to unlocking a phone by mapping your face with sophisticated sensors. Unlike previous attempts in facial recognition, Apple’s sensors use multiple reference points, including the distance between facial features and depth readings that map facial contours. It claims the technology is infallible, and can even work when you’ve changed your appearance. In fact, Apple doubles down on the claim by suggesting the chance of…

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Fear of the US government led me to censor myself on Twitter

The day I've been dreading for months is drawing near. On October 18th, the Department of Homeland Security's modified system of records is scheduled to go into effect. The updated policy would affect all US immigrants, whether they are new, existing…
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Senate lawmakers fear future elections are at risk from Russian meddling

The Senate Intelligence Committee also urged Facebook, Google and Twitter to testify at a November 1 hearing.

Senate lawmakers investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race warned on Wednesday that the United States remains susceptible to further election meddling and misinformation campaigns.

In doing so, though, the leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee — Republican Chairman Richard Burr and ranking Democratic Sen. Mark Warner — stressed at a joint press conference that they have many unresolved questions for Facebook, Google and Twitter, and they urged executives to testify at a hearing scheduled for November 1.

“The Russian intelligence service is determined, clever, and I recommend every campaign and every election official take this very seriously as we move into this November’s election,” Burr said.

The contest Burr referenced actually happens next month in Virginia, the state that his colleague, Warner, represents. “The Russian active measures did not end on Election Day 2016,” Warner affirmed.

For tech giants, meanwhile, the Senate’s chief investigators once again sounded alarms about the extent to which Russian forces purchased ads and created false accounts “that would drive interest toward stories or groups,” with the goal to “sow chaos and drive division in our country,” Warner said.

Neither Warner nor Burr addressed whether those accounts and advertisements are explicitly tied to the Trump campaign, and the committee made clear it would not be releasing copies of the information it’s obtained from tech giants. But, Warner emphasized: “We think it’s important the three companies we invited, Google, Twitter and Facebook, will appear in a public hearing.”

Spokespeople for Facebook, Google and Twitter did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment on Wednesday.

So far, Facebook has uncovered roughly 470 profiles tied to Russian-backed sources. Those profiles purchased about 3,000 ads, now in lawmakers’ possession, which sought to stoke political unrest in the United States. Facebook estimates that approximately 10 million users in the United States saw the ads before and after Election Day.

Twitter, meanwhile, has found about 200 accounts with suspicious Russian ties. Google has not released any information about Kremlin activities on its advertising platform or other websites, like YouTube, though an investigation is ongoing. Snap has evaluated its platforms for potential misuse — and so far, it’s found nothing. And companies including Oath, formerly Yahoo, and Reddit, have provided scant details as to whether they’ve conducted internal investigations, or what they may have found.

In recent weeks, these tech companies have promised to harden their defenses against future election meddling. Facebook, for example, pledged 1,000 new hires devoted to monitoring ads and greater investments in machine-learning technology. And Twitter said it’s reviewing its own practices to prevent such disinformation campaigns from happening again.

At first, lawmakers lambasted the whole of Silicon Valley for failing to do more, and sooner, to combat Russia and other malefactors. Warner and others specifically have singled out Twitter for failing to perform an exhaustive search of its sales records for ads and accounts used by Kremlin agents.

On Wednesday, however, Warner seemed to moderate his town. He acknowledged that tech companies had come to understand the seriousness of the threats facing social media sites — and American voters. But the senator repeated his belief that there is still a great deal for Facebook, Google and Twitter to address to satisfy users and congressional investigators alike. That includes greater disclosure for ads so that “Americans can know if the source of that ad was generated by foreign entities,” he said at the press conference.

To that end, Warner and one of his Democratic colleagues, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, are expected to introduce new political transparency legislation in the coming days. The measure could require tech companies selling political ads to keep and publish copies of them for viewers to see. That would mimic a system already in place for similar political content that runs on television. So far, though, the proposal does not appear to have any Republican sponsors.

In the House, meanwhile, the chamber’s own intelligence committee is conducting a parallel probe of potential Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. That panel aims to hold its own hearing with Facebook, Google and Twitter in October, though it has not officially been scheduled.


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American Horror Story: Cult takes drunken aim at the ‘politics of fear’

“We love fear more than we love our children,” perennial weird boy (and problematic on-screen crush) Evan Peters insists in the first episode of American Horror Story’s seventh installment. As always, his eyes are bulging out of his head. For this year’s aesthetic, as a mysterious “4chan guy” named Kai Anderson, he’s sporting electric blue hair tied up in a top knot and screaming about his own ascension amid Trump-enabled chaos.

His sermon about the power and grandeur of fear doesn’t find a receptive audience in his Michigan suburb’s city council meeting, largely because he’s arguing against added security measures at a Jewish community center in the wake of the 2016 election. He’s fully crazy, and concludes his speech muttering, “There…

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