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News Source Slashdot:Hardware

NVIDIA Unveils Next-Gen Turing Quadro RTX Professional Graphics Cards
MojoKid shares a report from Hot Hardware: We been hearing a lot about NVIDA's next-generation GPU architecture since late last year, and today NVIDIA is announcing the first products based on Turing. NVIDIA is targeting the professional graphics market first with its new Quadro RTX 8000, RTX 6000 and RTX 5000 GPUs. Turing GPU architecture replaces Pascal, which has served both the consumer and professional markets since 2016. But as its 8th generation GPU architecture, NVIDIA is ushering in a number of advances with Turing and it's billed as the "world's first ray-tracing GPU." When it comes to content creators, NVIDIA claims that with the power of Turing, "applications can simulate the physical world at 6x the speed of the previous Pascal generation." Getting down to brass tacks, the entry-level Quadro RTX 5000 has 3,072 CUDA cores, 384 Tensor cores, and will come with 16GB of 14Gbps GDDR6 memory. Its ray-tracing performance is dialed in at 6 GigaRays/sec, according to NVIDIA. Both the Quadro RTX 6000 and RTX 8000 have 4,608 CUDA cores and 576 Tensor cores; the only difference between the two is that the former has 24GB of GDDR6, while the latter doubles that to 96GB. Ray-tracing performance for both of these GPUs tops out at 10 GigaRays/sec. NVIDIA is also claiming up to 16TFLOPs compute performance for the Quadro RTX 8000. NVIDIA's new Quadro GPUs will also be among the first to support both USB-C and VirtualLink for next-generation virtual reality and mixed reality headsets. Other VirtualLink backers include AMD, Oculus, Microsoft and Valve. The Quadro RTX 5000, RTX 6000 and RTX 8000 will all be available during the fourth quarter of 2018 priced at $2,300, $6,300 and $10,000 respectively.

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'Do Not Buy a Smartwatch Right Now'
Since Qualcomm is set to launch a new wearable chipset on September 10, Kellen from DoidLife argues against buying a new Google Wear OS-powered smartwatch in the meantime. The new chipset will be able to execute commands quicker, and provide for substantially longer battery life. From the report: This new chipset is said to be built from the ground up, will allow watches to look pretty when you aren't using them (like a normal watch sitting idly by your side), and extend battery life. More importantly, Qualcomm is betting that this Snapdragon Wear chip will "significantly change the Wear OS ecosystem, what you expect from a smartwatch." If you buy a smartwatch today, before Qualcomm announces this chip, you will be stuck with a 2+ year old Snapdragon Wear 2100 chip. All of the new Wear OS watches that have been announced recently, use that chip. It's old. It's never been great. And it's about to be replaced by something potentially game-changing for smartwatches. A report from WinFuture says that this new Snapdragon chip will be called the Wear 3100 and will allow for "Ok Google" detection even when the display is off. It is rumored to come with Google's Pixel-branded smartwatch, although DroidLife thinks that LG will be one of the first to launch a watch with this new processor. "This LG watch is said to have physical watch hands, as well as the smarts of Wear OS and a touch display," reports DroidLife. It is expected to make its debut on September 10.

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Malicious Faxes Leave Firms 'Open' To Cyber-Attack
Booby-trapped image data sent by fax can let malicious hackers sneak into corporate networks, security researchers have found. From a report: Since many companies use fax machines that are also printers and photocopiers, they often have a connection to the internal network. The malicious images exploit protocols established in the 1980s that define the format of fax messages. The research was presented at the Def Con hacker conference in Las Vegas. The two researchers said millions of companies could be at risk because they currently did little to secure fax lines. "Fax has no security measures built in -- absolutely nothing," security researcher Yaniv Balmas, from Check Point software, told the BBC. Mr Balmas uncovered the security holes in the fax protocols with the help of colleague Eyal Itkin and said they were "surprised" by the extent to which fax was still used.

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Intel's 9th Gen Processors Rumored To Launch In October With 8 Cores
According to a new report from Wccftech, Intel will introduce new Core i9, i7, and i5 chips on October 1st that will be branded as 9th generation processors. The Verge reports: The mainstream flagship processor, Intel's Core i9-9900K, is expected to ship with 8 cores and 16 threads. Leaked documents show that this will be the first mainstream Core i9 desktop processor, and will include 16 MB of L3 cache and Intel's UHD 620 graphics chip. Even Intel's 9th gen Core i7 processor is expected to ship with 8 cores and 8 threads (up from the current 6 cores), with the Core i5 shipping with 6 cores and 6 threads. Intel is reportedly launching its unlocked overclockable processors first, followed by more 9th generation processors early next year.

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Watch Fish Swim By Petabytes of Data At Microsoft's Underwater Data Center
An anonymous reader quotes a report fro Motherboard: In June, Microsoft announced that it had placed a self-sufficient, waterproof data center off the coast of the Orkney Islands in Scotland. The data center, loaded with 864 servers capable of handling 27.6 petabytes of data, represented the culmination of nearly four years of research and development on the project, codenamed Natick. The underwater data center is the first of its kind. It's a proof of concept that aims to cut down on one of the biggest costs of running a data center on land -- cooling -- and can be rapidly deployed anywhere in the world. Due to the experimental nature of the project, however, Microsoft needed to keep a close eye on its pilot project. In order to monitor the environmental conditions around the tank, it placed two cameras nearby that livestream from the bottom of the ocean 24/7.

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PC Case Maker CaseLabs Closes Permanently
U.S.-based PC case manufacturer, CaseLabs, announced on social media that it is "closing permanently" and will not be able to fill all current orders. "We have been forced into bankruptcy and liquidation," CaseLabs said in a statement. "The tariffs have played a major role raising prices by almost 80 percent (partly due to associated shortages), which cut deeply into our margins. The default of a large account added greatly to the problem... We reached out for a possible deal that would allow us to continue on and persevere through these difficult times, but in the end, it didn't happen." PC Gamer reports: CaseLabs is likely referring to the growing number of tariffs being enforced on Chinese imports by the United States government. China and the US are currently engaged in a trade war, causing many U.S. companies to lose money, lay off employees, or close entirely. CaseLabs went on to say that it won't be able to fill the backlog of case orders, but other parts will most likely ship to customers. "We are so incredibly sorry this is happening. Our user community has been very devoted to us and it's awful to think that we have let any of you down."

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World's Largest Chip Maker Will Lose $250M For Not Patching Windows 7 Computers
A major virus infection forced the closure of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) factories last weekend..." writes Slashdot reader Mark Wilson, noting that it's the largest semiconductor manufacturer in the world, selling chips to Apple, Nvidia, AMD, Qualcomm, and Broadcom, and "responsible for producing iPhone processors." Now Network World reports:The infection struck on Friday, August 3, and affected a number of unpatched Windows 7 computer systems and fab tools over two days. TSMC said it was all back to normal by Monday, August 6. TSMC did not say it was WannaCry, aka WannaCrypt, in its updates, but reportedly blamed WannaCry in follow-up conference calls with the press.... The company said this incident would cause shipment delays and additional costs estimated at 3 percent of third quarter revenue. The company had previously forecast revenues of $8.45 billion to $8.55 billion for its September quarter. A 3 percent loss would mean $250 million, though actual losses may come out lower than that. Still, that's a painful hit. TSMC also said no customer data was compromised.... TSMC isn't directly to blame here; someone [an infected production tool provided by an unidentified vendor] brought WannaCry into their offices and behind their firewall, but TSMC is still culpable because it left systems unpatched more than a year after WannaCry hit.

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It'll Cost $1 Billion To Dismantle America's Nuclear-Powered Aircraft Carrier
"Six years after decommissioning USS Enterprise, the world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the U.S. Navy is still figuring out how to safely dismantle the ship," reports Popular Mechanics. schwit1 tipped us off to their report:The General Accounting Office estimates the cost of taking apart the vessel and sending the reactors to a nuclear waste storage facility at up to $1.5 billion, or about one-eighth the cost of a brand-new aircraft carrier. The USS Enterprise was commissioned in 1961 to be the centerpiece of a nuclear-powered carrier task force, Task Force One, that could sail around the world without refueling.... The Navy decommissioned Enterprise in 2012 and removed the fuel from the eight Westinghouse A2W nuclear reactors in 2013. The plan was to scrap the ship and remove the reactors, transporting them by barge from Puget Sound Naval Base down the Washington Coast and up the Columbia River, then trucking them to the Department of Energy's Hanford Site for permanent storage. However, after decommissioning the cost of disposing of the 93,000-ton ship soared from an estimated $500-$750 million to more than a billion dollars. This caused the Navy to put a pause on disposal while it sought out cheaper options. Today the stripped-down hull of the Enterprise sits in Newport News, Virginia awaiting its fate. "Although the Navy believes disposing of the reactors will be fairly straightforward, no one has dismantled a nuclear-powered carrier before... "Whatever the Navy ends up doing, this will only be the first of many nuclear-powered carrier disposals."

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Researcher Finds A Hidden 'God Mode' on Some Old x86 CPUs
"Some x86 CPUs have hidden backdoors that let you seize root by sending a command to an undocumented RISC core that manages the main CPU," Tom's Hardware reports, citing a presentation by security researcher Christopher Domas at the Black Hat Briefings conference in Las Vegas.The command -- ".byte 0x0f, 0x3f" in Linux -- "isn't supposed to exist, doesn't have a name, and gives you root right away," Domas said, adding that he calls it "God Mode." The backdoor completely breaks the protection-ring model of operating-system security, in which the OS kernel runs in ring 0, device drivers run in rings 1 and 2, and user applications and interfaces ("userland") run in ring 3, furthest from the kernel and with the least privileges. To put it simply, Domas' God Mode takes you from the outermost to the innermost ring in four bytes. "We have direct ring 3 to ring 0 hardware privilege escalation," Domas said. "This has never been done.... It's a secret, co-located core buried alongside the x86 chip. It has unrestricted access to the x86." The good news is that, as far as Domas knows, this backdoor exists only on VIA C3 Nehemiah chips made in 2003 and used in embedded systems and thin clients. The bad news is that it's entirely possible that such hidden backdoors exist on many other chipsets. "These black boxes that we're trusting are things that we have no way to look into," he said. "These backdoors probably exist elsewhere." Domas discovered the backdoor, which exists on VIA C3 Nehemiah chips made in 2003, by combing through filed patents. "Some of the VIA C3 x86 processors have God Mode enabled by default," Domas adds. "You can reach it from userland. Antivirus software, ASLR and all the other security mitigations are useless."

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Facebook Bans Sites That Host Blueprints of 3D-Printed Guns
Yesterday, Facebook said it's banning websites that host and share blueprints of 3D-printed guns. "Sharing instructions on how to print firearms using 3D printers is not allowed under our Community Standards," said a spokesperson in an email statement. "In line with our policies, we are removing this content from Facebook." BuzzFeed was first to report the news: The move comes amid a rush by states to block these instructions from being posted. A July settlement between the State Department and Defense Distributed, an open-source organization that created the first completely 3D-printed gun, cleared the way for the group to publish the gun code. However, that was stalled when a federal judge on July 31 granted a temporary nationwide injunction that prevented Defense Distributed from uploading the plans. The injunction prevents Defense Distributed from publishing the plans. But the instructions are widely available online, on sites such as CodeIsFreeSpeech.com -- which hosts plans for parts of an AR-15, a Beretta, and Defense Distributed's Liberator. Attempts to post the site on a user's News Feed, through Facebook's Messenger app, or on Instagram (which Facebook owns) produce a variety of error messages. Other sites that host the files can still be posted through Facebook. Specifically, Facebook says that 3D-printed guns violate the regulated goods section of the social giant's community standards, which limits gun sales and exchanges to licensed dealers.

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Tesla's Chief Vehicle Engineer Returns To Apple
Doug Field, the former VP of Mac hardware who left Apple to become Tesla's chief vehicle engineer, has returned to Cupertino. Field is reportedly working on the company's secretive "Project Titan" self-driving car program. The Verge reports: Field ran Tesla's vehicle production and engineering, but CEO Elon Musk took over responsibility for production this year after the company failed to meet its initial first-quarter goal for the Model 3. Field then took a leave of absence in May, and subsequently left the company altogether in June. Project Titan has reportedly been scaled back considerably from its initial scope, with hundreds of people leaving the division as Apple is said to focus on seeking carmaker partners for its self-driving software. [Daring Fireball's John Gruber] speculates that Field's return to Titan suggests Apple could still have an interest in producing vehicles itself, while cautioning that employees do move between the two companies regularly.

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Crestron Touchscreens Could Spy On Hotel Rooms, Meetings
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Wired: The connected devices you think about the least are sometimes the most insecure. That's the takeaway from new research to be presented at the DefCon hacking conference Friday by Ricky Lawshae, an offensive security researcher at Trend Micro. Lawshae discovered over two dozen vulnerabilities in Crestron devices used by corporations, airports, sports stadiums, and local governments across the country. While Crestron has released a patch to fix the issues, some of the weaknesses allowed for hackers to theoretically turn the Crestron Android touch panels used in offices and hotel rooms into spy devices. Lawshae quickly noticed that these devices have security authentication protections disabled by default. For the most part, the Crestron devices Lawshae analyzed are designed to be installed and configured by third-party technicians, meaning an IT engineer needs to voluntarily turn on security protections. The people who actually use Crestron's devices after they're installed might not even know such protections exist, let alone how crucial they are. Crestron devices do have special engineering backdoor accounts which are password-protected. But the company ships its devices with the algorithm that is used to generate the passwords in the first place. That information can be used by non-privileged users to reverse engineer the password itself, a vulnerability simultaneously identified by both Lawshae and Jackson Thuraisamy, a vulnerability researcher at Security Compass. There were also over two dozen other vulnerabilities that could be exploited to do things like transform them into listening devices. In addition to being able to remotely record audio via the microphones to a downloadable file, Lawshae was also able to remotely stream video from the webcam and open a browser and display a webpage to an unsuspecting room full of meeting attendees. "Crestron has issued a fix for the vulnerabilities, and firmware updates are now available," reports Wired.

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Dropbox Is Dropping Support For All Linux File Systems Except Unencrypted Ext4
New submitter rokahasch writes: Starting today, August 10th, most users of the Dropbox desktop app on Linux have been receiving notifications that their Dropbox will stop syncing starting November. Over at the Dropbox forums, Dropbox have declared that the only Linux filesystem supported for storage of the Dropbox sync folder starting the 7th of November will be on a clean ext4 file system. This basically means Dropbox drops Linux support completely, as almost all Linux distributions have other file systems as their standard installation defaults nowadays-- not to mention encryption running on top of even an ext4 file system, which won't qualify as a clean ext4 file system for Dropbox (such as eCryptfs which is the default in, for example, Ubuntu for encrypted home folders). The thread is trending heavily on Dropbox' forums with the forum's most views since the thread started earlier today. The cries from a large amount of Linux users have so far remained unanswered from Dropbox, with most users finding the explanation given for this change unconvincing. The explanation given so far is that Dropbox requires a file system with support for Extended attributes/Xattrs. Extended attributes however are supported by all major Linux/Posix complaint file systems. Dropbox has, up until today, supported Linux platforms since their services began back in 2007. A number of users have taken to Twitter to protest the move. Twitter user troyvoy88 tweets: "Well, you just let the shitstorm loose @Dropbox dropping support for some linux FS like XFS and BTRFS. No way in hell im going to reformat my @fedora #development station and removing encryption no way!" Another user by the name of daltux wrote: "It will be time to say goodbye then, @Dropbox. I won't store any personal files on an unencrypted partition."

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Millions of Android Devices Are Vulnerable Right Out of the Box
Security meltdowns on your smartphone are often self-inflicted: You clicked the wrong link, or installed the wrong app. But for millions of Android devices, the vulnerabilities have been baked in ahead of time, deep in the firmware, just waiting to be exploited. Who put them there? Some combination of the manufacturer that made it, and the carrier that sold it to you. From a report: That's the key finding of new analysis from mobile security firm Kryptowire, which details troubling bugs preloaded into 10 devices sold across the major US carriers. Kryptowire CEO Angelos Stavrou and director of research Ryan Johnson will present their research, funded by the Department of Homeland Security, at the Black Hat security conference Friday. The potential outcomes of the vulnerabilities range in severity, from being able to lock someone out of their device to gaining surreptitious access to its microphone and other functions. They all share one common trait, though: They didn't have to be there. [...] "The problem is not going to go away, because a lot of the people in the supply chain want to be able to add their own applications, customize, add their own code. That increases the attack surface, and increases the probability of software error," Stavrou says. "They're exposing the end user to exploits that the end user is not able to respond to." Security researchers found 38 different vulnerabilities that can allow for spying and factory resets loaded onto 25 Android phones. That includes devices from Asus, ZTE, LG and the Essential Phone, which are distributed by carriers like Verizon or AT&T.

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'It's Time to End the Yearly Smartphone Launch Event'
Owen Williams, writing for Motherboard: Thursday, at a flashy event in New York, Samsung unveiled yet another phone: the Galaxy Note 9. Like you'd expect, it's rectangular, it has a screen, and it has a few cameras. While unveiling what it hopes will be the next hit, it unknowingly confirmed something we've all been wondering: the smartphone industry is out of ideas. Phones are officially boring: the only topic that's up for debate with the Galaxy Note 9 is the lack of the iconic notch found on the iPhone X, and that it has a headphone jack. The notch has been cloned by almost every phone maker out there, and the headphone jack is a commodity that's unfortunately dying. However, the fact that we're comparing phones with or without a chunk out of the screen or a hole for your headphones demonstrates just how stuck the industry is. It's clear that there's nothing really to see here. Yeah, the Note is a big phone, and it has a larger battery too. It's in different colors, it's faster than last year, and it has wireless charging. Everything you see here is from a laundry list of features that other smartphone manufacturers also have, and the lack of differentiation becomes clearer every year. It's the pinnacle of technology, and it's a snooze-fest. This isn't exclusively a Samsung problem: Every manufacturer from Apple to Xiaomi faces the same predicament. The iPhone's release cycle that Apple trained the world to be accustomed to, with splashy yearly releases and million-dollar keynotes, is clearly coming to an end as consumers use their existing phones for longer every year.

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