Monthly Archives: December 2015

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How to Drive in the Snow Like a Pro Those of us who were unlucky enough to grow up in places with serious winters tend to think about driving on snow the way tennis pros think about grass courts versus clay: It’s a different surface that requires some speed adjustments but doesn’t drastically change the way you play the game. Our counterparts closer to the equator, on the other hand, tend to approach snowy motoring with the idea that anything can go wrong at any time and nothing can be done about it. We’re all wrong. Driving in the snow does require a different way of thinking about handling the wheel and pedals, but not as much as you might think. It’s all a matter of friction, which makes your tires grip the road, and lets you accelerate, brake, and steer. And there’s a lot less of it in the […]

Security This Week: Peek Inside the Government’s Spy Gear Catalog Getty Images This week, Congress shamefully snuck CISA into the omnibus bill, which passed in both the House and Senate. The GOP debate proved that the slew of Republican candidates—with Ted Cruz and Rand Paul as possible exceptions—don’t have a clue about technology. We took a look at the greatest hits of YouTube’s favorite hacker, Samy Kamkar. And WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will finally get his day in court—or in an Ecuadorian embassy office. Six men were charged for a massive fraud scheme selling pirated copies of Adobe and Microsoft products. Obama said that the federal government vets social media as part of the visa review process. And tech giant Juniper Networks revealed that it found a hidden backdoor in its own code. And that’s just the start of it. Each Saturday we round up the news stories that we […]

Hacker Lexicon: Botnets, the Zombie Computer Armies That Earn Hackers Millions Zombie armies aren’t just invading movie screens these days. They’re also taking over the Internet in the form of massive botnets. A botnet is an army of computers, all infected with the same malware, that gives a bot herder remote control of these computers in order to surreptitiously commandeer them without their owners’ knowledge. The bot herder can send instructions to the network of computers from a command-and-control server to siphon credit card numbers and banking credentials from them or use them to launch DDoS attacks against web sites, deliver spam and other malware to victims, or conduct advertising click fraud. Botnets came up this month in a Senate Judiciary hearing with FBI Director James Comey. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, who has previously likened botnets to weeds that do “evil things,” asked Comey for his assessment of one of the […]

In Paris, Diplomatic Showdowns at the End of the World LE BOURGET, France — The Paris climate talks are not really happening in Paris. By train, the commune of Le Bourget is about 45 minutes from the Eiffel Tower, the Seine, or a stroll through the Luxembourg Gardens. (It is, after all, unseasonably warm.) That train passes beneath two beltways to get to the the outer ring of Parisian suburbs. At Le Bourget station, green-vested volunteers smile and direct new arrivals to a herd of free shuttles in the ad hoc bus corral. Sunday morning, downtown Le Bourget is semi-busy and quasi-shuttered. The commune’s main avenue has a notable number of pizza shops, and quartets of cops huddle together like Doo Wop groups on every other corner. After about 10 minutes, the shuttle arrives at Paris-Le Bourget, France’s oldest commercial airport and temporary home of the so-called Paris climate talks. […]

 Smartphone Growth Is Slowing. That’s Great News for Apple Since smartphones have been around, people have been buying them. Lots of them—the market has grown exponentially over the past decade. But now, for the first time, market research firm IDC is predicting that 2015 will be the first year that the rate at which the worldwide smartphone market expands will sink into single digits. Turns out, most people who want smartphones probably already have ’em. Counterintuitively, this is to Apple’s benefit. IDC’s new report today predicts total smartphone shipments in 2015 will amount to a 9.8 percent increase compared to last year, or 1.43 billion units. According to the firm, growth has slowed in the Asia Pacific region, Latin America, and Western Europe. Not surprisingly, IDC expects that Windows Phones and other phones running on operating systems other than Android or iOS will ship in significantly less quantities in the […]