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An edited collection of advanced computing news from Communications of the ACM, ACM TechNews, other ACM resources, and news sites around the Web.


'Tough to Forge' Digital Driver's License Actually Easy to Forge
From ACM TechNews

'Tough to Forge' Digital Driver's License Actually Easy to Forge

Security researchers have found that the supposedly hard-to-counterfeit digital driver's licenses in use in New South Wales, Australia, actually can be altered...

Some Top 100,000 Websites Collect Everything You Type--Before You Hit Submit
From ACM TechNews

Some Top 100,000 Websites Collect Everything You Type--Before You Hit Submit

Researchers analyzed the top 100,000 websites and found a significant number record some or all of visitors' typewritten data.

Behold, a Password Phishing Site that Can Trick Even Savvy Users
From ACM TechNews

Behold, a Password Phishing Site that Can Trick Even Savvy Users

A proof-of-concept "browser in the browser" exploit could phish passwords using a malicious site that does not contain suspicious domains or substitute letters....

Bug Lurking for 12 Years Gives Attackers Root on Most Major Linux Distros
From ACM TechNews

Bug Lurking for 12 Years Gives Attackers Root on Most Major Linux Distros

Polkit, a system-wide privilege manager for Unix-like operating systems, contains a 12-year-old memory-corruption vulnerability.

Scammers Put Fake QR Codes on Parking Meters to Intercept Payments
From ACM TechNews

Scammers Put Fake QR Codes on Parking Meters to Intercept Payments

Parking enforcement officers recently found fake quick response code stickers on pay stations in three Texas cities, used to trick people into paying scammers. ...

Android Sends 20x More Data to Google Than iOS Sends to Apple, Study Says
From ACM TechNews

Android Sends 20x More Data to Google Than iOS Sends to Apple, Study Says

A researcher says the Android operating system transmits about 20 times more information from smartphone handsets to Google than iOS sends to Apple.

Telegram Feature Exposes Your Precise Address to Hackers
From ACM TechNews

Telegram Feature Exposes Your Precise Address to Hackers

Hackers can exploit the Telegram messenger application employed in Android devices and iPhones to pinpoint users' precise locations.

Undocumented Backdoor That Covertly Takes Snapshots Found in Kids' Smartwatch
From ACM TechNews

Undocumented Backdoor That Covertly Takes Snapshots Found in Kids' Smartwatch

Researchers at Norwegian security company Mnemonic found an undocumented backdoor in the X4 smartwatch marketed by children's watch vendor Xplora.

Archaeologists with Drones Discover Pre-Columbian Earthworks in Kansas
From ACM TechNews

Archaeologists with Drones Discover Pre-Columbian Earthworks in Kansas

Dartmouth College researchers discovered pre-Columbian earthworks in Kansas using drones equipped with LiDAR and infrared and thermal imaging.

Uncovered: 1,000 Phrases That Incorrectly Trigger Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant
From ACM TechNews

Uncovered: 1,000 Phrases That Incorrectly Trigger Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant

Researchers have identified more than 1,000 word sequences that incorrectly trigger voice assistants like Alexa, Google Home, and Siri.

Ethiopian Air Pilots Turned Off 737 MAX Anti-Stall System. Then It Turned On Again
From ACM News

Ethiopian Air Pilots Turned Off 737 MAX Anti-Stall System. Then It Turned On Again

The pilots of Ethiopia Airlines Flight 302 apparently followed the proper steps to shut down an errant flight control system as they struggled to regain control...

They Didn't Buy the DLC: Feature that Could've Prevented 737 Crashes Was Sold As an Option
From ACM News

They Didn't Buy the DLC: Feature that Could've Prevented 737 Crashes Was Sold As an Option

The crashed Lion Air 737 MAX and the Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX aircraft had more in common than aircraft design and the apparently malfunctioning flight system...

­ber Escapes Criminal Charges for 2018 Self-Driving Death in Arizona
From ACM News

­ber Escapes Criminal Charges for 2018 Self-Driving Death in Arizona

A prosecutor in Arizona has decided not to press charges against Uber in the March 2018 death of Elaine Herzberg. One of Uber's self-driving cars crashed into Herzberg...

String of Ions May Out-Compute Best Quantum Computers
From ACM News

String of Ions May Out-Compute Best Quantum Computers

Usually, I reflexively delete press releases. This one was no different, but as the message vanished, the subject line registered—"IonQ… quantum computing."

Researchers, Scared by Their Own Work, Hold Back 'Deepfakes for Text' AI
From ACM News

Researchers, Scared by Their Own Work, Hold Back 'Deepfakes for Text' AI

OpenAI, a non-profit research company investigating "the path to safe artificial intelligence," has developed a machine learning system called Generative Pre-trained...

Bless the Overclockers: In the Data Center World, Liquid Cooling Is Becoming King
From ACM News

Bless the Overclockers: In the Data Center World, Liquid Cooling Is Becoming King

In Iron Man 2, there is a moment when Tony Stark is watching a decades-old film of his deceased father, who tells him "I'm limited by the technology of my time,...

How the Government Shutdown Is Flushing Away Federal Cyber-Talent
From ACM Careers

How the Government Shutdown Is Flushing Away Federal Cyber-Talent

The US Federal government is in the midst of the longest gap in funding for many of its agencies in history. As the "shutdown" extends into a second month, the...

Imaging Ever Closer to the Event Horizon
From ACM News

Imaging Ever Closer to the Event Horizon

While black holes themselves swallow any light beyond their event horizon, the area outside the event horizon tends to emit lots of light.

Machine Learning Can Offer New Tools, Fresh Insights for the Humanities
From ACM News

Machine Learning Can Offer New Tools, Fresh Insights for the Humanities

Truly revolutionary political transformations are naturally of great interest to historians, and the French Revolution at the end of the 18th century is widely...

Milky Way to Face a One-Two Punch of Galaxy Collisions
From ACM News

Milky Way to Face a One-Two Punch of Galaxy Collisions

If our knowledge of galaxy structures was limited to the Milky Way, we'd get a lot of things wrong. The Milky Way, it turns out, is unusual.
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