Today's Hard|Forum Post
Today's Hard|Forum Post

[H]ard News

Tuesday August 14, 2018

Intel Has Disclosed New Security Flaws that Affect SGX and Virtualization

Intel has disclosed a new set of security flaws collectively called the L1 Terminal Fault (L1TF). These flaws were discovered in conjunction with researchers at KU Leuven University and other universities. The researchers call their discoveries Foreshadow and Foreshadow - Next Generation (NG). Intel even suggests that disabling SMT might be applicable in some use cases when running virtualized operating systems.

Foreshadow

At a high level, SGX is a new feature in modern Intel CPUs which allows computers to protect users' data even if the entire system falls under the attacker's control. While it was previously believed that SGX is resilient to speculative execution attacks (such as Meltdown and Spectre), Foreshadow demonstrates how speculative execution can be exploited for reading the contents of SGX-protected memory as well as extracting the machine's private attestation key. Making things worse, due to SGX's privacy features, an attestation report cannot be linked to the identity of its signer. Thus, it only takes a single compromised SGX machine to erode trust in the entire SGX ecosystem.

Foreshadow - Next Generation (NG)

While investigating the vulnerability that causes Foreshadow, which Intel refers to as "L1 Terminal Fault", Intel identified two related attacks, which we call Foreshadow-NG. These attacks can potentially be used to read any information residing in the L1 cache, including information belonging to the System Management Mode (SMM), the Operating System's Kernel, or Hypervisor. Perhaps most devastating, Foreshadow-NG might also be used to read information stored in other virtual machines running on the same third-party cloud, presenting a risk to cloud infrastructure. Finally, in some cases, Foreshadow-NG might bypass previous mitigations against speculative execution attacks, including countermeasures to Meltdown and Spectre.

Discussion

The Humble Store Is Having an Up to 75% off Sale on Select VR Titles

The Humble Store is having an up to 75% off sale on VR titles. I'm finally going to get GORN. Anyone else have a suggestion?

You can save an additional 10% off your purchases at the Humble Store by signing up for the Humble Monthly.

Discussion

How to Sit Properly and Avoid Back Pain

NPR has an excellent article on the proper way to sit to avoid back pain. Many think that people sit too much, when in fact most don't. It comes down to understanding that you have to push your butt out when you sit. Yes, just like the dancers in pop videos. This creates the desired "J" curve in your back that indigenous tribesmen have and they rarely experience back issues. But there is more to it as you will find out while reading the article and perusing our reviews on the perfect chair.

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"Stand up and spread your heels about 12 inches apart," she says. Now, put your hand on your pubic bone -- like a fig leaf covering up Adam in the Bible, she explains. "When you bend over, you want to let this fig leaf -- your pubic bone -- move through your legs," she says. "This creates a crease between your pelvis and legs." This action also pretty much pokes your butt out, behind your spine. "Now go ahead, sit down," Sherer says. Now my butt -- or my imaginary tail -- is behind my spine.

Discussion

Tech Companies Have a Unique View of Their Net Worth When Paying Property Tax

Technology mega corporations such as Apple love the spotlight as their stock rises to new highs such as hitting the $1 trillion mark. Everyone is excited for them; including the county tax assessor. When it is time to pay taxes on the new fancy campuses and the equipment inside of them, suddenly they become poor. A $1 billion building is suddenly only worth $200 to Apple. A Genentech campus is only worth $14 billion instead of the $33 billion that the tax assessor valuation recommended. Tax collectors say that the hundreds of tax appeals filed by these mega corporations is just a way to wear the local government down, and in the end the county's infrastructure such as roads and schools are negatively affected.

"I don't want to imply someone doesn't have a right to contest their taxes if they believe the assessor has made an error. But that's not what Genentech is doing," said Deputy County Counsel Rebecca Archer. "They're just filing and seeing what sticks, like throwing spaghetti at the wall. It's working the system to the max in a way that's not productive for taxpayers, for the companies (or) for the assessor."

Discussion

Increased Surveillance Perpetuates a Dystopian View of Life in China

China is leading the charge into maintaining a surveillance profile for citizens by spending millions on data-ripping devices. Labs invent new and improved phone scanners, facial recognition devices, and other surveillance tools so that the government can keep track of citizen movements around town and what they say and do on social media. Police will stop citizens and perform a phone scan on the spot to check for "illegal data" such as visiting certain websites, contacts lists, or simply using certain words in a conversation. Most comply with these on the street checks as "In China, it's not wise to refuse."

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A May 25 filing from a customs bureau in Beijing budgeted 5.7 million yuan for smartphone forensic tools from two providers, Meiya Pico and Resonant Ltd. It listed messaging platforms and "overseas" apps the devices could read. "Basic content collection functions" must include "mobile phone passwords, address books, call history, SMS records, MMS, pictures, audio and video data, calendars, memos and mobile app data," the document said.

Discussion

Cryptocurrency Market Sucks Hardest Yet in 2018

Bitcoin is falling, Ether is falling, and all but two of the top 100 cryptocurrencies were in the red in the past 24 hours (Archive). Bitcoin only fell 5%, and keep in mind that Bitcoin makes up 54% of the entire crypto market. Bitcoin while dropping below $6000 is still up more than 40% in the past 12 months. Lots of blame going around as to why. Worth mentioning that @UnikoinGold, the crypto based on esports gambling, both in terms of market cap and coin price continues to slide into the dumper. Its price is down from a high of $2.18 to $0.045 today. Bummer

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A broad selloff in digital currencies has pushed the value of the entire market below $200 billion for the first time this year, according to research site CoinMarketCap, erasing more than 70% of its worth seven months ago.

Discussion

Industry Powerhouses Invest into Game Streaming as a Game Console Replacement

Gaming corporations have long flirted with the allure of game streaming titles instead of selling consoles to consumers as the hardware is sold at a loss in some cases. Microsoft and Nintendo are said to be working on streaming services where you can play a game on most devices as long as it has a screen. And some major game publishers are predicting the end of the game console as soon as next generation.

But is there really truth to this perception that game streaming can completely replace the game console experience? What about latency and video quality? The US government has been trying to convince ISPs to install some form of internet in many areas to no avail. The FCC wants to keep the definition of broadband capped at 25Mbps/3Mbps. Is that really fast enough to stream games at game console quality and low latency if you have others in your home consuming bandwidth at the same time? Some areas don't even have cellular service.

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Phil Spencer, executive vice president of gaming at Microsoft, compared the evolution of moving games to streaming with the change we have seen in streaming video. Microsoft's goal, he said, is to move gaming to a medium where you can play what you want where you want. But, he pointed out, even though streaming video claims mindshare and market share, DVD sales still pull in billions of dollars per year. Big shifts like this, he said, don't happen as quickly as we all think they do. "It takes time," Spencer said.

Discussion

Youtube Paying Top Creators to Push New Features

Youtube tried to pay creators to lock in their content exclusively back in 2014, and we all know how that worked out....it didn't. Youtube is feeling more heat from the likes of Facebook and certainly Twitch according to Bloomberg. Youtube is now paying to creators up to hundreds of thousands of dollars if they use the platform's new paid memberships and enhanced chat. Also in some of these deals is the requirement to publish their content first to Youtube before distributing it on other platforms.

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Competitors have seized on that dissatisfaction. Facebook Inc. and and its Instagram service have approached YouTube stars touting their new video features, while Amazon.com Inc.’s Twitch and Patreon offer the chance to reduce reliance on advertising by selling subscriptions to fans who want early access to programming or the ability to use certain symbols in chats.

Discussion

Nvidia Turing GPU "RTX Quadro" Slideshow from SIGGRAPH 2018

Here is a little slideshow that I made from the Nvidia SIGGRAPH 2018 livestream. Hope you like it!

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"The Speed of Light" Porsche 911 Speedster Concept demo running in Unreal Engine.

Porsche, NVIDIA and Epic Games reveal "The Speed of Light," created with Unreal Engine 4 using real-time ray tracing and NVIDIA RTX technology at SIGGRAPH 2018.

Ongoing Discussion

NVIDIA Unveils Turing GPU for the RTX Quadro Lineup

Jensen kicked off the RTX Quadro cards by showing that now-famous Stormtrooper ray-tracing demo running in real time on a single Turing GPU with its Tensor Cores. The Tensor Cores provide up to 500 trillion operations per second that fill in where the real time ray-tracing comes up short. Deep learning on your ray-tracing to put it simply. Turing is 6X faster at rasterization than Pascal. The new RTX Quadro cards price out at $2,300 for the Quadro RTX 5000, $6,300 for the Quadro RTX 6000, and $10,000 Quadro for the RTX 8000.

Ray-traced graphics offer incredible realism. Interactive graphics driven by GPUs offer speed and responsiveness. The two now come together in the greatest leap since the invention of the CUDA GPU in 2006, NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang announced Monday.

Speaking at the SIGGRAPH professional graphics conference in Vancouver, Huang unveiled Turing, NVIDIA’s eighth-generation GPU architecture, bringing ray tracing to real-time graphics. He also introduced the first Turing-based GPUs - the NVIDIA Quadro RTX 8000, Quadro RTX 6000 and Quadro RTX 5000. And he detailed the Quadro RTX Server, a reference architecture for the $250 billion visual effects industry.

Discussion

Chinese Engineer Steals Technology from American Firm to Smuggle to China

A jury in California has awarded Lumiled $66 million in damages for industrial espionage committed by one of their former employees. Chinese citizen Gangyi Chen was working for Lumileds in San Jose, CA when he was recruited for a job back in mainland China. After accepting employment from Elec-Tech International (ETI) he proceeded to download thousands of files containing company trade secrets from the Lumiled servers. Then he smuggled them to China and received compensation in the form of promotions to the level of vice president at ETI and is one of the highest paid senior executives at the company. ETI contends that the technology pilfered, is now common knowledge in LED manufacturing sector, so no compensation should have been awarded.

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Chen's recruitment at ETI was part of a larger campaign to pilfer employees -- and intellectual property -- from Lumileds, the suit claimed. "Several employees recruited from Lumileds were fired or resigned within months of joining, after they refused to share trade secrets of Lumileds," the suit alleged.

Discussion

Nvidia Teases New Lineup of Consumer Video Cards

Nvidia has put out a teaser clip with clues that lead to the reveal day and nomenclature for their upcoming consumer cards. I'm going to post the video and let everyone figure it out. My only clue is that it the reveal is "soon."

#BeForTheGame. Cologne. 20.Aug.2018.

Discussion

Monday August 13, 2018

Nvidia SIGGRAPH 2018 Livestream Starts at 4 P.M. PT

Nvidia is livestreaming CEO Jensen Huang's keynote speech today at 4 p.m. PT from the SIGGRAPH stage in Vancouver, Canada. Link to stream.

Discussion

Good Old Games Representative Discusses Customer Engagement and Game Streaming

GOG.com is a digital video game storefront dedicated to bringing new and older games to audiences DRM free. Lukasz Kukawski, head of global communications at GOG.com, expressed his doubts about game streaming during an interview at E3. He says that game streaming is just another form of DRM and that hardcore gamers tend to monitor their frame rate in order to have an edge on the competition. With the increased latency involved with game streaming; why would a hardcore gamer choose that type of delivery service for gaming? He also addresses issues like games getting lost and forgotten on Steam during their launch window as there are simply too many games added to the platform monthly. He is prideful that all new game releases get advertising on and off GOG.com through various channels.

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Speaking with GamesIndustry.biz at the event, GOG.com head of global communication Lukasz Kukawski downplayed the company's interest in streaming technology. "We don't see it as a thing that will take over games distribution," Kukawski said. "Out stance in digital distribution is to own the games because they are DRM free, and for many gamers this is very important. With streaming, there's another layer to it. You already have games with DRM, so it's more like licensing games than owning them. And streaming is more like renting a game, so it's another layer to this ongoing discussion.

Discussion

DRAM Revenue to Eclipse the $100 Billion Mark Due to Continued Parts Shortages

The growth of the DRAM market is exploding as parts shortages have driven the revenue potential to new highs. According to market research firm IC Insights, sales are expected to grow by 39% this year and make the DRAM semiconductor product category the first to eclipse the $100 billion mark. I'm still holding out for the predicted 2019 oversupply of the market.

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Market research firms IC Insights and International Business Strategies (IBS) have both in recent days issued forecasts that DRAM would eclipse $100 billion. However, while IC Insights predicts that it will happen this year, IBS forecasts it will occur in 2019. The DRAM market surged by 78% in 2017.

Discussion

Learn to Fly and Steal with Your PC

The crazy dude, Richard Russell, that stole that commercial turboprop Q400 airplane last week apparently pulled off some "incredible maneuvers" according to Alaska Air CEO Brad Tilden. Crazy dude is documented asking air traffic controllers, "Pilot guy, can this thing do a backflip, you think?" What makes all noteable for our tech news is that apparently Russell was self trained on video games.

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He told air traffic control: "I've played video games before and I know what I'm doing a little bit." Russell said he knew how to "put the landing gear" down. He appeared to struggle at times, however, telling air traffic control: "I have no idea what all that means" and fretted about his fuel supply declining.

Discussion

Tesla CEO Elon Musk Details Funding Plan for Taking Tesla Private

Elon Musk has revealed that a great deal of the funding to take Tesla private will come from the Saudi Arabia sovereign wealth fund. He backed up his August 7th claim that the funding was secured by revealing that the Managing Director of the fund had contacted him multiple times over the course of the past two years seeking to take Tesla private. As previously reported, Elon Musk is not happy with the pressure that short sellers place upon the company's stock.

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It is also worth clarifying that most of the capital required for going private would be funded by equity rather than debt, meaning that this would not be like a standard leveraged buyout structure commonly used when companies are taken private. I do not think it would be wise to burden Tesla with significantly increased debt. Therefore, reports that more than $70B would be needed to take Tesla private dramatically overstate the actual capital raise needed. The $420 buyout price would only be used for Tesla shareholders who do not remain with our company if it is private. My best estimate right now is that approximately two-thirds of shares owned by all current investors would roll over into a private Tesla.

Discussion

AMD 2nd Gen Threadripper Live on Twitch

AMD is telling us that it will be live on Twitch today at 10:30am CDT, with a "special look" at the new Threadripper 2990WX. We are not sure what that is all about, but that "mature audiences" warning surely means it will include scantily dressed go-go dancers, right? Probably not, but if I recall correctly, Kay Pike is sponsored by AMD, so maybe we will get lucky? Feel free to dig into our review of the 2990WX and 2950X in the meantime.

Discussion

Google Tracks You with Location History Off

I would seem that the Associated Press has uncovered something very nasty about Google and its smartphone tracking. The AP is telling us that some Google apps track your location even when you have turned it off. Google has countered, saying that it is being perfectly clear, that you have to turn off "Location History" and "Web and App Activity" if you want to not be physically tracked at all. Well that seems perfectly clear to us...not. Below is my sum total of movement since I started the Threadripper review. Yep, tracking is working on my phone.

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Google says that will prevent the company from remembering where you’ve been. Google’s support page on the subject states: "You can turn off Location History at any time. With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored."

That isn’t true. Even with Location History paused, some Google apps automatically store time-stamped location data without asking.

Discussion

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX & 2950X Review

We have spent a huge amount of time over the last 10 days or so with AMD's new 2nd generation Threadripper CPUs and we have learned a lot about those. We still have a lot more to find out about these CPUs, and the ecosystem around these CPUs needs to change as well. That said, there are still great things in the new Threadripper 2950X and 2990WX, if you have the resources and needs to utilize these.

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Discussion

Sunday August 12, 2018

Intel Rumored to Launch 9th-Generation Processors on October 1st

Wccftech has a source claiming Intel’s 9th-generation Core processors will arrive in less than two months. These comprise the i5-9600K, i7-9700K, and i9-9900K, the first Intel chip with 8 cores and 16 threads.

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According to the embargo document, Intel would first release the unlocked SKUs, which would eventually be followed by the rest of the 9th-generation family in Q1 2019. In the previous slides, we also saw that compatibility will be retained for 9th-generation processors on current 300-series motherboards along with the new Z390 platform.

Discussion

Unboxing the 500 Million Limited Edition PS4 Pro

In celebration of selling 500 million PlayStation consoles, Sony is releasing a limited-edition 2TB PS4 Pro with translucent dark-blue console shell and gold accents. The package will also include a matching DualShock 4 wireless controller, PlayStation Camera, Vertical Stand, and mono headset. It will be available for $499.99 at select retailers starting August 24.

In addition, each system will have a commemorative copper plate on its front, with its limited edition serial number etched on. And, for the very lucky few who can get them, we have a few ‘extra special’ hardware units with serial numbers that commemorate important events in the history of PlayStation.

Discussion

Robot Ruins the Fun of "Where’s Waldo?" with Facial Recognition

Creative ad agency Redpepper has built a robot that only exists to find Waldo. The blandly but appropriately named "There’s Waldo" comprises an arm controlled by a Raspberry Pi, which relies on OpenCV and Google’s Auto ML Vision service to extract and analyze photos.

In a video that seems to mock the pathetic ineptitude of all humanity, There's Waldo finds the sneaky bespectacled cartoon man in a whopping 4.5 seconds. When it finishes scanning each face on the page, its silicon hand points to Waldo with an implied attitude of, "You morons." Or maybe we're just projecting that last part.

Discussion

Monster Hunter: World Smashes the Record for Biggest Japanese Launch on Steam Ever

While early hints of a bad port suggested a rocky launch, Monster Hunter: World has managed to release with much success: Steamcharts is currently showing over 250,000 players for the game, making it not only the biggest Japanese game ever released on the service by concurrent players, but also the biggest launch on Steam of any game on the platform this year.

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Prior to MHW, the biggest day-one numbers for a new game this year came from Kingdom Come: Deliverance, which pulled in nearly 96,000 players. For comparison's sake, Final Fantasy 15, another big Japanese RPG, had a peak of only 29,729 Steam players on release.

Discussion


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