Facebook is now offering people money to find bugs within the Oculus Rift, as part of the social networks bug bounty program. As the program stands, individual security researchers are paid a minimum reward of $500 for finding a bug. Last year alone, Facebook paid out $1.5 million in bug bounties.
Most of the bugs that are being found are in the messaging system for Oculus developers, and parts of the website. Facebook seems to be trying harder to squish the bugs before the launch of CV1 (Consumer Version 1) of the Oculus Rift, as it is their first hardware product. The fact that someone could hack into the software, or the Rift itself while you're on it, could spell trouble - a big reason why the social network is pumping funds into having bugs destroyed before the Rift goes retail.
Facebook security engineer Neal Poole explains: "A lot of the issues that come up with Oculus are not necessarily in the hardware yet. Potentially in the future, if people were to go explore and find issues in the SDK or the hardware, that is definitely of interest to us".
NVIDIA's new Tegra K1-powered Shield tablet is now available in the select markets, with the company announcing that it has unveiled new Tegra K1-exclusive effects to two of Valve's most popular titles: Half-Life 2 and Portal.
These new Tegra K1-exclusive effects bring the mobile versions of the game to be "just as visually rich as the full PC editions of the game". NVIDIA says that these new effects include "render-to-texture shadows, bump mapping, specular highlights, motion blur, and higher-quality texture filtering".
Both of the new Tegra K1-powered titles are optimized to play well on the new Shield tablet, thanks to its optional ultra-low-latency Wi-Fi Direct Shield wireless controller.
The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory is interested in learning more about British space plane engine technology that could be used for future U.S. military hypersonic aircraft. The Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine (SABRE) is being developed by England-based Reaction Engines for the Skylon space plane.
The engine was supported by $100 million in funding from the British government and European Space Agency (ESA), with private financing matching the same figure - and millions more are expected to be invested into the program. Reaction Engines has had the next-generation engine in development for more than two decades, ensuring SABRE features both rocket and air-breathing modes.
"AFRL is formulating plans to look at advanced vehicle concepts based on Reaction Engine's heat-exchanger technology and SABRE engine concept," said AFRL officials, in a statement recently sent to Space.com.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) was "successfully hacked" at least three times in the past few years, with two of the data breaches conducted by hackers overseas, according to records. One breach took places due to a phishing attack that was sent to more than 200 NRC employees, with a successful logon-credential harvesting attempt. At least 12 employees opened an enclosed link in the email, indicating there is still work to be done to better educate employees against opening suspicious emails.
A different attack also utilized a phishing attack that redirected employees to malware spread via Microsoft SkyDrive, with "one incident of compromise and the investigation tracked the sender to a foreign country."
"The few attempts documented in the OIG Cyber Crimes Unit report as gaining some access to NRC networks were detected and appropriate measures were taken," said David McIntyre, NRC spokesman, in a statement to the media.
Twitter and social media services are struggling to address how to block images and videos of photojournalist James Foley being beheaded by Islamic State militants. In the five-minute video, titled "A Message to America," a suspected British militant said Foley's execution is in response to recent U.S. airstrikes against IS insurgents protecting a previously seized dam in Mosul. Twitter is purging users that are sharing images and videos of the barbaric execution of the photojournalist captured in Syria.
Twitter "is actively suspending accounts as we discover them related to this graphic imagery," noted Dick Costolo, Twitter CEO, in a recent tweet.
In the UK, simply viewing, downloading or sharing the video could lead to charges under the UK's terrorism legislation.
Access to fast broadband Internet may not be dumbing younger generations down after all, with faster Web access is more conductive to learning, according to the "States with Faster Internet Access Have Smarter People" report published by High Speed Internet. The top five states with the fastest Internet service, Virginia, Delaware, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Washington, had students with ACT scores in the top 15.
Meanwhile, the five states with the slowest Internet had average ACT scores towards the lower-end of the rankings: Alaska, Montana, Kentucky, Arkansas, and West Virginia. There were a few states that had the fastest Internet service but were in the bottom 20 average ACT scores: Michigan, North Dakota, and Utah.
A few states bucked the trend, such as Maine, which was 37th overall in Internet speed, but had the fourth best ACT average. Technology is a great asset for students, but still isn't a magic tool that will automatically make students more intelligent or learn better than students in other parts of the country - but can be utilized to make a major impact long-term.
Microsoft has decided to pull the plug on the $500 Titanfall Xbox One bundle that featured an Xbox One game console, Kinect, one month of Xbox Live Gold, and a copy of Titanfall. The bundle only went on sale in March but Titanfall - while the best-selling Xbox One game title - didn't wow gaming fans the way it was expected to.
Instead of a Titanfall bundle, gamers can choose a $500 bundle that has an Xbox One, Kinect, and a free copy of Forza Motorsport 5. Furthermore, the company will introduce a $399 Madden NFL 15 bundle on August 26, with a $399 Sunset Overdrive bundle planned for October 28. Gamers seem more excited for the 1TYB Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Xbox One bundle that will be available in November.
"Titanfall bundle is done," said Phil Spencer, Microsoft Xbox head, in a Tweet responding to fans.
Verizon Wireless is reportedly planning to open its own app store to try to compete with the Google Play Store on Android-powered devices. Android has around one billion users worldwide, which is why Verizon wants to offer a unique service to its wireless subscribers.
If true, it'd be a curious move by Verizon, as Google and Apple clearly dominate the app market, which is a multi-billion dollar industry. Customers spent $10 billion in Apple's App store in 2013, with Google sales figures unavailable - Google gives device manufacturers and wireless carriers 30 percent of revenue from apps sold, and Apple doesn't return anything to partners.
However, Google is cutting back revenue to carriers and hardware manufacturers, which is why Verizon hopes to step up and have a bigger influence in the app market. Verizon is the No. 1 wireless carrier in the United States and reportedly has the best network quality out of all four major carriers.
Audio company Cambridge Audio recently announced three new Bluetooth speakers that are somewhat pricey but should still win over music listeners. The Go, Go Radio and Bluetone 100 will all be available later this year, as the wireless speaker market becomes even more competitive.
The Go is designed to instantly stream music from smartphones, tablets, and computers, with 18 hours of playback per charge. It includes NFC technology for one-touch Bluetooth pairing to smartphones and other devices. The Go Radio includes the same specifications but also includes an FM Radio with 3 pre-sets and LED digital display. The Bluetone 100 features 100 Watt amplification and a working range up to 105 feet, with 180 degree sound dispersion.
The Cambridge Audio Go will be released in September with a $179.99 MSRP; the Go Radio will be available in November for $199.99 MSRP; and the Bluetone 100 will be available in September with a $299.99 MSRP.
The healthcare industry is still being slammed by cyberattacks, with 90 percent of organizations losing patient data at one time or another, according to research from the Ponemon Institute. It's a frightening thought because the medical industry faces more data breaches than the military and banking industries combined.
Cybercriminals have shown great interest in targeting the healthcare industry, as stolen records are worth more on the underground market. Credit card information can fetch around $1 per stolen record, but medical data earns up to $50+ per stolen credential.
"They can't keep up [with hackers]," said J.D. Sherry, Trend Micro security firm adviser for hospitals and healthcare organizations. "Their resources are tremendously overwhelmed. With day-to-day business, IT security is not top of mind."