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Security

Data leak from Russian delivery app shows dining habits of the secret police

A massive data leak from Russian food delivery service Yandex Food revealed the delivery addresses, phone numbers, names, and delivery instructions belonging to those associated with Russia’s secret police, according to findings from Bellingcat.

Yandex Food, a subsidiary of the larger Russian internet company, Yandex, first reported the data leak on March 1st, blaming it on the “dishonest actions” of one of its employees and noting that the leak doesn’t include users’ login information. Russian communications regulator Roskomnadzor has since threatened to fine the company up to 100,000 rubles (~$1,166 USD) for the leak, which Reuters says exposed the information of about 58,000 users. The Roskomnadzor also blocked access to an online map containing the data — an attempt to conceal the information of ordinary citizens, as well as those with ties to the Russian military and security services.

Researchers at Bellingcat gained access to the trove of information, sifting through it for leads on any people of interest, such as an individual linked to the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny. By searching the database for phone numbers collected as part of a previous investigation, Bellingcat uncovered the name of the person who was in contact with Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) to plan Navalny’s poisoning. Bellingcat says this person also used his work email address to register with Yandex Food, allowing researchers to further ascertain his identity.

Researchers also examined the leaked information for the phone numbers belonging to individuals tied to Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), or the country’s foreign military intelligence agency. They found the name of one of these agents, Yevgeny, and were able to link him to Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and find his vehicle registration information.

Bellingcat uncovered some valuable information by searching the database for specific addresses as well. When researchers looked for the GRU headquarters in Moscow, they found just four results — a potential sign that workers just don’t use the delivery app, or opt to order from restaurants within walking distance instead. When Bellingcat searched for FSB’s Special Operation Center in a Moscow suburb, however, it yielded 20 results. Several results contained interesting delivery instructions, warning drivers that the delivery location is actually a military base. One user told their driver “Go up to the three boom barriers near the blue booth and call. After the stop for bus 110 up to the end,” while another said “Closed territory. Go up to the checkpoint. Call [number] ten minutes before you arrive!”

In a translated tweet, Russian politician and Navalny supporter, Lyubov Sobol, said the leaked information even led to additional information about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s former mistress and their alleged “secret” daughter. “Thanks to the leaked Yandex database, another apartment of Putin’s ex-mistress Svetlana Krivonogikh was found,” Sobol said. “That’s where their daughter Luiza Rozova ordered her meals. The apartment is 400 m², worth about 170 million rubles [~$1.98 million USD]!”

If researchers were able to uncover this much information based on data from a food delivery app, it’s a bit unnerving to think about the amount of information Uber Eats, DoorDash, Grubhub, and others have on users. In 2019, a DoorDash data breach exposed the names, email addresses, phone numbers, delivery order details, delivery addresses, and the hashed, salted passwords of 4.9 million people — a much larger number than those affected in the Yandex Food leak.



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Computing

AMD RX 6000S GPU May Be Secret Ace For Gaming Laptop in 2022

According to a new leak, AMD may be working on new mobility graphics cards for gamers, currently dubbed the RX 6000S series.

The RDNA 2 6nm GPUs are rumored to be a refresh of the RX 6000 laptop line of graphics cards and may offer a performance boost combined with lower power requirements.

Although there is little information about the alleged mobility graphics cards, there is enough to piece together from several sources. The first and main change is the switch from 7nm to 6nm: It’s likely that AMD RX 6000S would be based on TSMC’s 6nm process. It’s unclear which of the current AMD graphics cards are due for a revamp. Some leaks suggested the creation of the RX 6900M, but the most recent rumors point to the RX 6800S being the first in line.

Assuming the card in question is indeed the RX 6800S, we can expect to see the same bus and core count of the current 6800M GPU. This means 2,560 cores and a 192-bit bus interface. The clock speed, memory size, and bandwidth all are unclear right now, although the 6800M has a 2.3GHz frequency that the new card is likely to beat.

The news comes from Disclosuzen, a Twitter user whose account has recently been suspended. However, there is more than one source to this story — Greymon55, a well-known leaker, also speculated a few months ago that AMD may be about to refresh its Navi 2X graphics cards.

Switching from a 7nm (which AMD’s current laptop GPUs are based on) to a 6nm process node could prove beneficial, offering better performance at lower power requirements. TSMC, the semiconductor foundry that AMD works with to create these GPUs, claims that the 6nm process offers 18% higher logic density compared to the 7nm.

An AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT graphics card placed in front of a black background.

It’s hard to tell this early on what kind of realistic performance gains we can expect from the switch to 6nm. One thing to remember is that more efficiency is never a bad thing in a laptop, and if the card becomes less power-hungry due to the switch, that alone will be an improvement. Some of the best gaming laptops on the current market are rather thin and packed full of components, so lowering the power requirements may also improve temperatures within the chassis.

For those who favor laptop gaming, exciting times are ahead. AMD is not the only manufacturer set to release new mobility GPUs in the near future. Nvidia is said to be set to reaveal the RTX 3080 Ti and the RTX 3070 Ti for laptops in early 2022, and Intel will be launching the Arc Alchemist GPU around the same time as well.

Given the current state of the graphics card market, more GPUs are never a bad thing. The new RX 6000S cards are likely to launch alongside the Ryzen Rembrandt APU series in early 2022.

Editors’ Choice






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Game

Battlefield 2042’s secret third mode is ‘Portal’

When EA and DICE revealed Battlefield 2042 in June, they had to contend with a wave of leaks and spoiled surprises, but they were able to keep details about the game’s third and final mode under wraps. Today, the secret’s out. Battlefield Portal is the third mode in Battlefield 2042, and it’s all about community interaction and user-created levels.

Battlefield Portal includes all seven maps from 2042‘s All-Out Warfare mode, plus six classic environments from previous Battlefield titles. The classic maps are Battle of the Bulge and El Alamein from Battlefield 1942, Arica Harbor and Valparaiso from Battlefield: Bad Company 2, and Caspian Border and Noshahr Canals from Battlefield 3

Battlefield 2042

EA

The mode features pre-programmed, reimagined experiences from these past titles, including conquest, rush and team deathmatch. All of the maps, including the classic ones, will support matches of up to 128 players on PC, Xbox Series consoles and PlayStation 5. As with Battlefield 2042‘s main All-Out Warfare mode, matches on older-gen hardware will be capped at 64 players.

Here’s where it gets custom. Along with the updated, old-school playgrounds, Battlefield Portal includes more than 40 weapons, more than 40 vehicles, and more than 30 gadgets from three theaters of war, plus all of the related content from Battlefield 2042. This means the M1 Garand, Panzerschreck, B17 Bomber, Spitfire, defibrillator and other fan-favorite tools are back.

Battlefield 2042

EA

Factions are also returning to Battlefield Portal. On top of the specialists from Battlefield 2042, the mode features seven armies from the classic games, including the UK, US and Germany out of 1942, and the US and Russia from Bad Company 2. Battlefield Portal also supports classic soldier archetypes like Battlefield 3‘s assault, recon, support and engineer roles.

All of this culminates in the Builder tool in Battlefield Portal. In Builder, players can design their own matches and share them with the community, adjusting a range of settings including the game logic itself. Players will have control over the maps and modes in their custom games, including traits like available factions, weapons and gear; the ability to toggle down sights or go prone; the size of the battle and conditions for victory. 

Battlefield 2042

EA

Players won’t be able to edit any of the actual maps, but overall, Portal has an extremely rich customization mode. All progress in Battlefield Portal is shared across consoles, just like stats in the main game. 

Battlefield 2042 — including Battlefield Portal — is due out on October 22nd, for $60 on PC, Xbox One and PS4, and $70 on Xbox Series X/S and PS5. There’s still one more game mode yet to be revealed, Hazard Zone. We know it’s a “high-stakes squad-based game type never seen before in the Battlefield franchise,” and it’s not a battle royale mode, but that’s about it.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Game

LucasArts legacy lives on in Prime Gaming push: Sam & Max, Secret of Monkey Island

Amazon heralded a return to some of the most beloved cult-classic video games ever made by LucasArts this summer in Prime Gaming. If you are an Amazon Prime member, you’ll be able to “claim” a few games with Prime Gaming starting on July 1, then again on August 1 and September 1. The games are each LucasArts classic titles, each of them “iconic point-and-click adventures.”

The July 1 release is The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition. There’ll be an August 1, 2021 release on Prime Gaming for claim of Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. If you’re still a Prime member on September 1, you’ll be able to claim Sam & Max: Hit The Road.

Much like other recently popular game stores giving away free games, you need to have the Prime Gaming app in order to play the games you “own.” You can claim The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition now for free, but you need to both have the app and an active Amazon Prime membership in order to play the game.

Amazon Prime Gaming also has a few other “free” games you can claim at the moment, each of them with said “claim” ending on August 2, 2021. There’s Automachef (from Team17 Digital Ltd), Tales of the Neon Sea (from Thermite Games), Batman – The Enemy Within (from Telltale), The Wanderer: Frankenstein’s Creature (from Plug In Digital), RAD (from Bandai Namco), and Portal Dogs (from Brain Connected).

There’ll also likely be more titles turning over come August. The hero titles are, of course, the LucasArts games, each of which was either a monster hit when first released or became a slow burn monster over the past decades. Disney effectively shut down LucasArts back in 2013, but the legacy of the creators of the games the brand made live on. You’ll find LucasArts classic games on all platforms now, from mobile to PC to Xbox and back again – have a peek, and drop in an X-Wing vs TIE Fighter battle if you’ve not already done so.

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Categories
Tech News

Level Lock offers doors a more affordable secret smart lock upgrade

Super-surreptious smart lock company Level has revealed its third product, and the new Level Lock continues the tradition of hiding its connected security features. Unlike other smart locks, which typically have outsized control panels, battery enclosures, or other mechanisms, Level’s system manages to squeeze all that into something which looks at first glance like a regular, mechanical lock.

We saw that first with the Level Bolt, which replaced the lock mechanism in the door while leaving the rest untouched. Level followed that with the Level Lock – Touch Edition, which added a touch-sensitive ring to the exterior key assembly.

Level Lock slots in-between the two. As with the Bolt, it packages its motor, battery, wireless radio, and other components into the bolt mechanism. That has a 6-stage, stainless steel gearbox which can run for up to a year on a CR2 battery: that slots right into the bolt of the lock itself.

Like with the Level Lock – Touch Edition, though, there’s also an exterior key mechanism, and a simple rotary thumb switch for the inside. You don’t, though, get the touch support. It’s all made out of 440C stainless steel and strengthened metal alloys, Level says, and certified BHMA AAA.

In short, it fits a sweet spot for those who need a complete lock package, but don’t require touch or key card support. As you’d expect, then, it also slots in-between in terms of pricing. The Level Bolt is $199, the Level Lock – Touch Edition is $329, and now the Level Lock is $249.

You can use a standard key to open the door, or issue virtual keys through the Level app. There’s Apple HomeKit and Amazon Sidewalk support, and now Level is adding Alexa certification to all three. That means you’ll be able to issue voice commands to control the lock, too. The app also offers a log of everyone who has locked and unlocked the door, so that you can see when they might have been in the house.

The overall advantage, Level points out, is that there’s now no uncertainty whether Bolt will be compatible with your existing door furniture. It’s also fair to say that a lot of smart home equipment looks like it was designed with functionality first in mind, and aesthetics a distant second-place consideration, if that. Level’s products are so clandestine, most people probably wouldn’t realize they were even connected – up until you give them an access pass on their phone.

The Level Lock is available to order now, in four finishes: matte black, satin nickel, satin chrome, and polished brass.

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Game

Magic: The Gathering Secret Lair Strixhaven set hits the frame

Today we’re taking a peek at a pair of Magic: The Gathering Secret Lair drops, the first of which is butting up against the frame with Strixhaven. The second – which you’ll see this afternoon – blasts the frame into bits. The Strixhaven set looks like the game element designers dove in to holy magic stained glass windows and tore them asunder, making way for the next level.

This is the newest Secret Lair drop, a Showcase: Strixhaven set of six cards. These cards include art that not only places high-level or otherwise eye-blasting art in Magic cards, but expands upon the way in which card art interacts with the play elements in the game.

In an interview with Polygon this week, Wizards of the Coast senior creative art director Tom Jenkot spoke on the evolution of Magic: The Gathering card art, and the design techniques used to allow the art to breathe and interact with the card’s standard format.

“These [techniques] give us an ability to create these gorgeous moments where the frame and the art kind of merge,” said Jenkot. “We like to think of it as more of a card treatment than just a frame design. It’s the art and the frame coming together.”

In this latest drop, Wizards of the Coast feature art from Rovina Cai, Minttu Hynninen, Dominik Mayer, Anato Finnstark, and Justin & Alexis Hernandez. In the imagery in this article you’ll find an image of each card as well as an expanded view of each piece of artwork.

The Secret Lair drop will appear in two editions, one standard, one foil. The basic version will cost users approximately $30 USD, while the foil version will cost you around $40. These sets will be available through the Secret Lair page where users can order starting on April 26, 2021.

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Categories
Game

Magic: The Gathering Secret Lair cards break all borders with psychedelic visuals

If you’re looking for the most fantastical Magic: The Gathering cards to ever appear outside of Unglued… here they are. This is a new Magic: The Gathering Secret Lair set called “Our Show Is On Friday, Can You Make It?” This set expands upon and twists apart the standard layout for Magic cards in general. In these five cards, you’ll be forgiven if you don’t recognize that they are, in fact, Magic cards from the start.

The set “Our Show Is On Friday, Can You Make It?” is limited edition and made as part of the “Secret Lair” gallery. Wizards of the Coast make these sets with collectors in mind, selling them to people who might otherwise open packs and place cards directly into protective cases.

In this case, we’ve got five cards made by some truly awesome artists. Alexis Ziritt, Jermaine Rogers, Sam McKenzie, Ian Jepson, and Jeff Soto. Each of them have agreed to make a card in their own style in a way that keeps Gig Posters in mind.

Gig Posters are artist and/or designer-created pieces of design and/or art meant to deliver information about a music event. You might also hear them called “rock posters” – and they’ve been celebrating individual engagements in music and partying for decades.

Cards in this tiny baby set are all “hand drawn.” This doesn’t necessarily mean each individual card is marked up and painted, nor does it mean that every single element in each card is hand-crafted. Instead it indicates that the artist and/or designer of each card had a direct hand in arranging nearly every element in their card.

Where a classic Magic: The Gathering card has a large portion dedicated to standardized elements specifically aimed at streamlining gameplay, these cards get wild. The title of the card is drawn by the artist, the mana costs are illustrated by the artist or the fonts in the majority of the cards are chosen by the artist and placed by the artist.

The colors are all chosen by the artist, and each card acts as a tribute not only to the medium, but to the various versions of the cards that’ve been created over the years they’ve been in play. One of the eldest of this set, “Wrath of God” has been a card since the original release of the game, back in 1993 – it’s been being made and remade with different artwork for 28 years!

With this set of cards, the user gets Degree of Pain, Gamble, Nature’s Lord, Preordain, and Wrath of God, each hand-drawn, each in what’s likely their most extravagant visual form yet produced. The release date for this set is August 25th, 2021, and the sale date is April 26th, 2021.

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Categories
AI

Rite Aid used facial recognition in secret across hundreds of its stores

Drugstore chain Rite Aid secretly deployed facial recognition software across a network of security cameras in hundreds of locations in the US, according to a new investigation from Reuters published on Tuesday. The company had been doing so for more than eight years, and it only recently stopped using the technology, it told Reuters, following a “larger industry conversation” around facial recognition and the grave concern over privacy risks and racial discrimination it presents.

Yet, Reuters says Rite Aid initially defended its use of facial recognition as a deterrent against theft and violent crime, having nothing to do with race. The investigation found that not to be entirely true. “In areas where people of color, including Black or Latino residents, made up the largest racial or ethnic group, Reuters found that stores were more than three times as likely to have the technology,” the report reads.

After presenting its findings to the company, Reuters says Rite Aid issued a new statement and said it had turned off its cameras. “This decision was in part based on a larger industry conversation,” Rite Aid said. “Other large technology companies seem to be scaling back or rethinking their efforts around facial recognition given increasing uncertainty around the technology’s utility.”

Concerns over the unregulated use of facial recognition in the US, both by law enforcement and private companies, has been steadily growing over the last few years, fueled by studies that show the tech in its current form to be inherently flawed and more likely to misclassify the gender and identity of Black individuals. Numerous companies have now publicly renounced the tech in one form or another. IBM says it will no longer invest in or develop the tech at all, while both Amazon and Microsoft say they are pausing facial recognition contracts with law enforcement until Congress passes laws regulating its sale and use. A number of municipal governments, like Oakland, California’s, have also begun banning police use of the tech.

A growing concern among activists, artificial intelligence researchers, and lawmakers is that the tech is being sold and used in secret, without oversight or regulation that might protect against civil rights abuses. Companies like Clearview AI — which was found to have been supplying a powerful facial recognition database and search tool to countless law enforcement agencies and private companies — have emerged as public faces of the threat the tech poses to privacy and other at-risk civil liberties. Now, it’s looking like even run-of-the-mill retail chains, like Rite Aid, might be using facial recognition in secret.

Of particular alarm in Rite Aid’s case is that the company used the tech of a vendor, DeepCam, with links to a Chinese firm, Reuters reports. Prior to that, Rite Aid used a company called FaceFirst, which, until 2017, did not rely on any form of artificial intelligence and as a result routinely misidentified people, often Black individuals, based on blurry photos its cameras captured, Reuters reports. The point of the whole operation, the report states, was to alert security personnel of someone entering the store that had exhibited past criminal activity, so that they may be asked to leave to help prevent theft or crime. But Reuters’ interviews with former employees and managers illustrate how the system was used to racially profile customers.

While Rite Aid would not say which stores were using the cameras, Reuters found them at 33 out of 75 Rite Aid locations in New York and Los Angeles from last October to this month. Rite Aid says it informed customers that the cameras were scanning their faces as they walked through the store, but the investigation found that appropriate signage was missing from at least a third of the locations making use of the facial recognition cameras.

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Security

Google reportedly ran secret ‘Project Bernanke’ that boosted its own ad-buying system over competitors

Google reportedly ran a secret project called “Project Bernanke” that relied on bidding data collected from advertisers using its ad exchange to benefit the company’s own ad system, The Wall Street Journal reported. First discovered by newswire service MLex, the name of the project was visible in an inadvertently unredacted document Google had filed as part of an antitrust lawsuit in Texas.

A federal judge has since let Google refile the document under seal. But according to the Journal, “Bernanke” was not disclosed to outside advertisers, and proved lucrative for Google, generating hundreds of millions of dollars for the company. Texas filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google in December, alleging that the search giant was using anticompetitive tactics in which “Bernanke” was a major part.

Google wrote in the unredacted filing that data from Project Bernanke was “comparable to data maintained by other buying tools,” according to the Journal. The company was able to access historical data about bids made through Google Ads, to change bids by its clients and boost the clients’ chances of winning auctions for ad impressions, putting rival ad tools at a disadvantage. Texas cited in court documents an internal presentation from 2013 in which Google said Project Bernanke would bring in $230 million in revenue for that year.

Why Google chose to name the secret project “Bernanke” is not clear. Ben Bernanke, who was chair of the Federal Reserve from 2006 to 2014, is probably the best-known Bernanke in the public sphere.

In an email to The Verge, a Google spokesperson said the complaint by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton “misrepresents many aspects of our ad tech business. We look forward to making our case in court.”

Update April 11th 10:54AM ET: Adds comment from Google spokesperson



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Tech News

Google has a secret blocklist that hides YouTube hate videos from advertisers — but it’s full of holes

This story is the first of two parts.

If you want to find YouTube videos related to “KKK” to advertise on, Google Ads will block you. But the company failed to block dozens of other hate and White nationalist terms and slogans, an investigation by The Markup has found.

Using a list of 86 hate-related terms we compiled with the help of experts, we discovered that Google uses a blocklist to try to stop advertisers from building YouTube ad campaigns around hate terms. But less than a third of the terms on our list were blocked when we conducted our investigation.

Google Ads suggested millions upon millions of YouTube videos to advertisers purchasing ads related to the terms “White power,” the fascist slogan “blood and soil,” and the far-right call to violence “racial holy war.”

The company even suggested videos for campaigns with terms that it clearly finds problematic, such as “great replacement.” YouTube slaps Wikipedia boxes on videos about the “the great replacement,” noting that it’s “a white nationalist far-right conspiracy theory.”

Some of the hundreds of millions of videos that the company suggested for ad placements related to these hate terms contained overt racism and bigotry, including multiple videos featuring re-posted content from the neo-Nazi podcast The Daily Shoah, whose official channel was suspended by YouTube in 2019 for hate speech. Google’s top video suggestions for these hate terms returned many news videos and some anti-hate content—but also dozens of videos from channels that researchers labeled as espousing hate or White nationalist views.

“The idea that they sell is that they’re guiding advertisers and content creators toward less controversial content,” said Nandini Jammi, who co-founded the advocacy group Sleeping Giants, which uses social media to pressure companies to stop advertising on right-wing media websites and now runs the digital marketing consulting firm Check My Ads.

“But the reality on the ground is that it’s not being implemented that way,” she added. “If you’re using keyword technology and you’re not keeping track of the keywords that the bad guys are using, then you’re not going to find the bad stuff.”

‘Offensive and harmful’

When we approached Google with our findings, the company blocked another 44 of the hate terms on our list.

“We fully acknowledge that the functionality for finding ad placements in Google Ads did not work as intended,” company spokesperson Christopher Lawton wrote in an email; “these terms are offensive and harmful and should not have been searchable. Our teams have addressed the issue and blocked terms that violate our enforcement policies.”

“We take the issue of hate and harassment very seriously,” he added, “and condemn it in the strongest terms possible.”

Even after Lawton made that statement, 14 of the hate terms on our list—about one in six of them—remained available to search for videos for ad placements on Google Ads, including the anti-Black meme “we wuz kangz”; the neo-Nazi appropriated symbol “black sun”; “red ice tv,” a White nationalist media outlet that YouTube banned from its platform in 2019; and the White nationalist slogans “you will not replace us” and “diversity is a code word for anti-white.”

We again emailed Lawton asking why these terms remained available. He did not respond, but Google quietly removed 11 more hate terms, leaving only the White nationalist slogan “you will not replace us,” “American Renaissance” (the name of a publication the Anti-Defamation League describes as White supremacist), and the anti-Semitic meme “open borders for Israel.”

Blocking future investigations

Google also responded by shutting the door to future similar investigations into keyword blocking on Google Ads. The newly blocked terms are indistinguishable in Google’s code from searches for which there are no related videos, such as a string of gibberish. This was not the case when we conducted our investigation.

YouTube has faced repeated criticism for years over its handling of hate content, including boycotts by advertisers who were angry about their ads running next to offensive videos. The company responded by promising reforms, including taking down hate content. Most of the advertisers have returned, and the company reports that advertising on YouTube generates nearly $20 billion in annual revenues for Google.

In addition to overlooking common hate terms, we discovered that almost all the blocks Google had implemented were weak. They did not account for simple workarounds, such as pluralizing a singular word, changing a suffix, or removing spaces between words. “Aryan nation,” “globalist Jews,” “White pride,” “White pill,” and “White genocide” were all blocked from advertisers as two words but together resulted in hundreds of thousands of video recommendations once we removed the spaces between the words.

Credit: The Markup