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Car hack affecting millions could be unfixable

A security flaw that could affect millions of cars has been identified, with researchers warning that there may be no fix available to protect susceptible vehicles. The exploit works by overloading the so-called CAN, or “car device network”, which connects all of the different aspects of modern vehicles together. With the right code, essential parts of the car’s safety features – such as the airbags or antilock brakes – could be forced offline.

The CAN was adopted as a standard for road vehicles by the ISO back in 1993, though it was developed back in 1983 by Bosch. It’s effectively the nervous system through which different components and technologies in the car communicate, spanning everything from comfort and convenience features like the HVAC system and infotainment, through to vital tech like the engine control module and the power steering.

Each section communicates via messages known as “frames”, and it’s designed to be a self-policing system when it comes to errors. Should a bad frame be issued, a device attached to the CAN is able to order its recall. If a device issues too many frames with errors, it’s forced into a “Bus Off” state where it’s pushed offline and effectively switched off.

“This, in turn, can drastically affect the car’s performance to the point that it becomes dangerous and even fatal,” the researchers explain, “especially when essential systems like the airbag system or the antilock braking system are deactivated.”

The specific vulnerability of an individual vehicle varies according to a number of factors. It’s theoretically possible, the researchers say, that a remote hack could take place, if the firmware of any part of the ECU supported remote reprogramming. For instance, if a car manufacturer has enabled support for adding new features to the infotainment system, that could also provide a backdoor for hackers to introduce frame flooding.

Even if that’s not possible, a local attack is. The OBD-II diagnostic port, a mandated socket on all cars since the 90s, is already being used by numerous companies to unlock driving metrics and elucidate exactly what the mysterious “check engine” light really means. However, someone with more nefarious intentions could use it to modify the CAN, assuming they had physical access.

“Traditionally, the scenario in which an attacker could access a car that way is not only rare, but is also very risky to the attacker,” the researchers point out. “This may have been true back then, but with current transportation trends such as ride-sharing, carpooling, and car renting, the scenario where many people can have local access to the same car is now more commonplace.”

Unfortunately, while the US/ICS-CERT regulator has been notified, and issued a security bulletin, the core nature of the CAN means that there’s no easy fix. Some automakers may be able to update their software to minimize the impact of frame flooding, but many will not. Indeed, the simplest way of addressing the possibility might come down to securing the ODB port with some sort of locking cover.

The best fix, it’s suggested, is for an overhaul to the CAN system itself so that future vehicles won’t be so vulnerable. That will undoubtedly take a lot of work, and time, and there’s no way that existing vehicles on the road will be retrofitted with the new system.

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Tesla Could Be Developing Its Own Apple

To recall, speculations surrounding the app store began making the rounds online back in December. Apparently, the rollout of the latest version 11 update of the in-car interface for Tesla cars sparked this rumor. To recall, the popular EV (electric vehicle) maker had even added a customizable icon bar at the touchscreen’s bottom at the time. Last year, CleanTechnica suggested that Tesla would eventually launch an app store in a bid to keep Tesla car owners occupied as their vehicles drive themselves around.

Tesla App Store Could Be In The Works

Some reports indicated that Musk would unveil the app initiative in January, at Tesla’s latest earnings call. However, the 50-year-old business magnate did not shed light on the company’s rumored plan to launch an app store. Nevertheless, a recent tweet from Tesla investor, Sawyer Merritt seems to have reignited rumors around the EV maker’s plan to develop an app store. Merritt, who is reportedly “in the know,” took to Twitter on Sunday to hint at the imminent arrival of the aforesaid app store for Tesla vehicles.

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Elon Musk Is Still Mum On Tesla’s Plan To Launch An App Store

Further in the tweet, Teslascope notes that Musk was expected to shed more light on the App Store at the earnings call. However, the SpaceX founder did mention that 2023 would be the year of “software.” Moreover, Teslascope notes that since the app store was not mentioned at the recently concluded earnings call, there is a possibility that its launch could’ve been pushed back. Nevertheless, the worldwide drivers’ platform claims that the app store has been in development since the debut of V11 UI with the radically overhauled Model S/X.

However, it is worth mentioning here that TheDriven did not find Musk calling 2023 will be the “year of software” in his tweet, or anywhere else. Nevertheless, earlier this month, Musk tweeted that Tesla is not only a software but also a hardware company, in the car as well as in the factory. He noted that a lot of people fail to understand that.

What To Expect?

If Tesla introduces an app store, it will catapult the already pioneering electric brand to skyrocketing popularity. Aside from that, offering an app store would serve as another revenue stream. Moreover, it will be an addition to a slew of other products such as self-driving subscriptions. Moreover, Musk had teased an app store for Tesla on a conference call. He notes that once cars become fully self-driving, drivers are likely to look for some sort of entertainment, as well as productivity options in the cars. He added that via Tesla’s “app store or whatever,” drivers want to work and play games. Furthermore, he noted that they will be adding some games.

Moreover, Volvo and Polestar feature Android Automotive which is integrated into their EVs. As a result, drivers can access vehicle-specific apps through Google Play Store. However, Tesla has already turned down the idea of integrating Android Auto and Car Play into its electric cars. In other words, Tesla may have been gearing up its launch its app store venture for a long time.

Frustrated With Reminders? Taskful Could Be The Answer To Your Woes

Not all tasks are created equal. No doubt you either have taken the trash out or you have not, but there is a vast number of daily challenges that are conquered in increments, tasks that can be taken on for an hour, then sidelined at their half way point and ultimately capped off in the afternoon. Users of Apple’s Reminders app might know the struggle to approximate a progression-based task to the binary reminder framework we are provided: ever tried to make the Reminders app nudge you every day until you have hit the treadmill five times per week, or let’s say read ten chapters of your book? For all intends and purposes, it’s cumbersome.

Taskful sets out to remedy the pain of that. It also lets the user select only certain days of the week to remind you of due tasks (e.g. weekdays) and will smartly display the items relevant to you on a specific day and, more crucially, blank out tasks set for a future date. Needless to say this can be priceless for people quickly throwing their hands up when faced with a dauntingly long list of tasks. To bolster the sentiment, the app also automatically breaks up longer tasks into daily chunks.

How intelligent is this thing really?

So let’s briefly talk about the mechanics of it:

On the face of it, Taskful and Apple’s Reminders app share some structural traits. That is, both offer category based sorting of items, in which each category (Urgent, Finance, Work) is represented by a color of your choosing. That’s about where the similarities come to an end however, because on Taskful, filing away a task properly is swiftly accomplished by swiping left and right to change the background color of your note during creation. At the same time, the app will analyze your task as you scribble it down and immediately glean information such as dates and numbers.

Based on its reading, smart bubbles right below the draft will interpret your input and suggest measuring sticks for your task. You can tap and confirm or manually alter them. To exemplify, use a number like ‘4’ in your task, now mark the little ‘Amount: 4’ bubble magically popping up beneath the text and as a result, the reminder needs to be tapped four times to be considered finished by Taskful. Until then, a big and rewarding progress bar will grow in 25% increments every time you come one stop closer to your goal.

Along the same lines, Taskful is also capable of acting as a quirky step tracker. On launch, the app asks permission to read and write HealthKit data, meaning the app can track your step count and remind you to get off the couch if you haven’t ticked the ‘walk 600 steps’ reminder at night.

It goes without saying that these are just two hands-on examples of how to put Taskful to good use, not so much selected at random but rather intentionally to demonstrate the app’s versatility. What’s more is that it comes with a good deal of UI customizations such as a built-in dark mode. In other words, both in scope and depth Taskful decidedly one-ups Apple’s Reminders. And above all else, it feels good to look at one unifying ‘All Tasks’ tab, something Reminders’ stacked business cards look sort of makes impossible.

Competing in the world of task managers and to-do lists is a tough gig on the App Store, yet it appears as though Taskful has found the sweet spot to prevail. It is also earning the right accolades along the way, with Apple just recently featuring the app in the ‘Apps We Love’ category in various countries including the US, Australia and New Zealand.

Taskful is available on iPhone and iPad, the latter of which just added split screen support to round the package off nicely. If you want to give the app a whirl, it is currently priced at a reasonable $1.99.

Link to App Store: Taskful ($1.99)

Small Whales Could Be The Biggest Factor Holding Bitcoin Price Above Us$27K

Small whales are becoming a common sight in the cryptocurrency world, especially when it comes to Bitcoin.

Whales are entities—individuals, institutions, and exchanges—that hold significant amounts of tokens of a particular cryptocurrency. For instance, when it comes to Bitcoin (BTC), a whale is an account that holds 1,000 Bitcoins or more. Some examples of well-known whales include Pantera Capital and Fortress Investment Group. Another popular—yet widely speculated—the whale is Satoshi Nakamoto, who is said to have mined over a million Bitcoins.

Bitcoin whales are like other majority asset holders: their movements have outsized impacts on the bitcoin market, either through increased volatility, decreased liquidity, or a combination of both.

Whales typically put massive sell orders on the books lower than other sell positions in the market creating volatility following which prices fall triggering a chain reaction. Stability returns when whales pull their large sell orders off the market or create enough panic selling to land the price to where they wanted and accumulate more coins, this tactic is often called “sell wall”.

What Is Bitcoin (BTC)?

Bitcoin is a decentralized cryptocurrency originally described in a 2008 whitepaper by a person, or group of people, using the alias Satoshi Nakamoto. It was launched soon after, in January 2009.

Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer online currency, meaning that all transactions happen directly between equal, independent network participants, without the need for any intermediary to permit or facilitate them. Bitcoin was created, according to Nakamoto’s own words, to allow “online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution.”

Some concepts for a similar type of a decentralized electronic currency precede BTC, but Bitcoin holds the distinction of being the first-ever cryptocurrency to come into actual use.

A single whale, or a group, could potentially orchestrate a crash by selling a significant number of coins in order to instigate a wider market sell-off, only to then swoop in and buy back coins at cheaper prices. Similarly, they could also trigger a short-squeeze so that the asset’s price soars and attracts retail investors, whose buying pressure then amplifies the surge even more and thereby increases the value of the whales’ holdings.

For example, on April 2, 2023, the value of BTC jumped from around US$4,200 to nearly US$5,000 within just two hours. While this initially seemed like a breakout for the long consolidating chart, pointed toward a single order of 20,000 BTC that was executed across three different exchanges. This purchase successfully changed the market sentiment and acted as the trigger for a rally that saw the leading crypto appreciate more than 240% by the end of that June.

What is bitcoin mining?

Mining is the process that maintains the bitcoin network and also how new coins are brought into existence.

All transactions are publicly broadcast on the network and miners bundle large collections of transactions together into blocks by completing a cryptographic calculation that’s extremely hard to generate but very easy to verify.

What does the future hold for bitcoin?

Biden’s pick for treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, recently suggested lawmakers curtail cryptocurrencies like bitcoin due to concerns they are mainly used for illegal activities.

However, a Biden administration could be friendly to crypto, according to Yahoo Finance, given its pick of crypto expert Gary Gensler as SEC chairman.

Nobody knows for certain whether a cryptocurrency will rebound from this slump or if it will even be around in the future. It’s still a highly speculative investment, and even major cryptos like Bitcoin and Ethereum are not guaranteed to succeed.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t invest. But it’s wise to consider how much risk you can tolerate.

Computer Policy Could Not Be Updated Successfully, The Processing Of Group Policy Failed

If, while using the chúng tôi tool, you see an error message Computer policy could not be updated successfully, then this post will help you. The GPUPDATE command-line tool helps users update the Group Policy change forcefully.

Computer policy could not be updated successfully. The following errors were encountered:

The processing of Group Policy failed. Windows could not apply the registry-based policy settings for the Group Policy object LocalGPO. Group Policy settings will not be resolved until this event is resolved. View the event details for more information on the file name and path that caused the failure.

Local Group Policy Editor is a sophisticated in-built tool for administrators to make Windows behave they want it to. Most of the changes affect the system almost immediately and automatically. However, if you need to update the changes immediately, you can use this command-line tool called chúng tôi .

Sometimes, this tool may not work as usual due to any reason. The primary cause is a specific corrupted internal file called chúng tôi . Therefore, follow this troubleshooting tutorial if you see this error message in the Command Prompt window.

Computer policy could not be updated successfully

To fix the Computer policy could not be updated successfully issue on Windows 10, follow these steps-

Close the Command Prompt window

Open the Machine folder in the system drive

Rename chúng tôi file

Read on to learn more about this tutorial.

S0 first, you need to close the Command Prompt window showing the error message. After that, navigate to this path-

C:WindowsSystem32GroupPolicyMachine

Here, C is your system drive where you installed Windows OS.

Alternatively, you can press Win+R to open the Run prompt, type the path, and hit the Enter button. A

After opening the Machine folder, you can find two files named chúng tôi and chúng tôi You need to rename the Registry.pol file. You can use any name, but it is suggested to call it chúng tôi .

People use the BAK file extension for backup files, and you can use it here to recognize the old chúng tôi file correctly in the future.

After renaming, you need to restart your computer and try to use the chúng tôi tool again.

Hopefully, you won’t face any problems anymore.

How do I force a GPO policy update?

You can run the gpupdate /force command on Windows Terminal to initiate a GPO policy update on the local computer. While it may take some time, it will ensure the policies are updated and reflected across the PC. You can also do the same for a remote PC if you have the correct privileges and the PC is on the network. Use the command gpupdate /force /computer:computer_name to force a GPO policy update on that PC. Lastly, make sure to restart your PC.

Read: GPUpdate Force not working on Windows computers

How do I know if the group policy is updated?

To check if a Group Policy Object (GPO) has been updated on a computer, you can follow these steps:

Open the Start menu and type gpresult into the search bar.

Scroll down to the GPO Results section and look for the GPOs you want to check.

The GPO Results section will show you a list of all the GPOs that have been applied to the computer, along with the date and time of the last update for each GPO. If a GPO has been updated recently, it will appear near the top of the list. You can also use the command gpresult /r to get a detailed report.

Similar: Group Policy keeps reverting on Windows.

Could A Black Hole Be Blocking The Light From That ‘Alien Megastructure’ Star?

About 1480 light-years away from Earth, a star is doing something astronomers have never seen before. Every now and then, at random intervals, its light dips by as much as 22 percent. That’s way too much to be a planet. And the star (officially named KIC 8462852, but informally called “Tabby’s Star” or “Boyajian’s Star”) seems to have gotten dramatically darker over the past century.

This odd behavior defies all known explanations, and astronomer Jason Wright has pointed out that these light patterns are similar to what we might expect if aliens built a complex of machines around the star to harvest its energy. But even Wright admits it’s much more likely there’s a natural explanation. In September, he and coauthor Steinn Sigurd̵sson rounded up and analyzed some of the most common explanations.

Wright has been been fleshing out those analyses in a series of posts on his blog.

We’ve rounded up our favorite explanations here, in rough order from least likely to most plausible.

Did Kepler mess up? Nope.

The data checks out. When the Kepler telescope detected the huge light dips from KIC 8462852, nothing was wonky in the telescope, and there’s nothing particularly odd about any of the other data it collected at the same time.

Between 2009 and 2013, the Kepler space telescope stared at a single patch of the sky, searching for exoplanets. Around the star KIC 8462852, it appears to have spotted something much stranger. Artist illustration, NASA / Wendy Stenzel

It’s not possible that the telescope pixels that imaged Boyajian’s Star were faulty, because the star’s image wasn’t always on the same pixels. As the star moved throughout the month, and as the telescope shifted positions, different detectors monitored Boyajian’s Star, and they all showed that the star was acting bizarre. “The dips are real,” writes Wright.

For a few months, scientists argued about whether the star has been getting dimmer over the past century. Those observations were based on old and imprecise astronomy data. But a new analysis indicates the star dimmed significantly over the four years that the Kepler telescope watched it, and therefore probably over the past century as well.

Could a black hole eat up the light? Nope.

Despite the popular image of a black hole gobbling up everything in its path, including light, black holes could not be responsible for darkening Boyajian’s Star.

Wright explained to Popular Science that if a black hole were sitting close to Boyajian’s Star, its massive gravity would make the star wobble, which scientists would be able to observe from Earth. It doesn’t wobble. Plus, if it were sucking material off of the star, the stuff falling into the black hole would actually give off bright light and extra xrays, which scientists don’t see.

But what if a black hole were sitting farther away from Boyajian’s Star, between the star and Earth? Still no. Counter intuitively, the black hole would act like a lens, actually brightening the light we would see from Earth.

Could it be a sunspot? Unlikely.

Spots on our sun do cause tiny drops in brightness, but we’re talking about a few tenths of a percent. To cause a huge dip in KIC 8462852’s light levels, on the order of 20 percent, the starspots would need to be “10–100 times larger than the strongest effects known in other stars,” Wright noted in his blog post. Plus Boyajian’s Star is spinning rapidly, so the dips caused by those starspots would appear and disappear every day, instead of lasting for days.

But what if the spots were on the poles of the spinning star, and the pole is constantly pointed at us? That still seems pretty unlikely, says Wright, given the fact that Boyajian’s Star is a type of star that doesn’t usually have big spots.

Comets? Maybe, but probably not.

Comets are actually the explanation favored by Tabetha Boyajian, the star’s discoverer. The idea is that a family of extra-large comets may be jumbled up in the star’s orbit, blocking its light in irregular ways.

If the comets are there, they must be pretty far away from the star, otherwise astronomers would be able to see extra heat coming off of them. The lack of extra heat rules out pretty much every potential explanation that relies on something big being in orbit around the star.

Illustration of the star KIC 8462852

Although scientists have suggested the weird light dips from this star might come from a family of mega-sized comets, there isn’t yet a scientific explanation that fits.

But while the comet hypothesis could explain the short-term dips in light that occurred in 2011 and 2013, it doesn’t explain the star’s long-term dimming, says Wright. And in his opinion, the best hypothesis should explain both phenomena.

“It is pretty outrageous,” Boyajian admitted in a recent webcast, “but all of the things that have been put forth have been pretty outrageous so far.”

An interstellar black hole disk? Maybe!

Although a black hole is definitely not eating up the light from Boyajian’s Star, there’s another way a black hole could be blocking the light. Maybe there’s something big and dark in the interstellar medium between Boyajian’s Star and Earth.

A disk of material orbiting a black hole is one possible explanation. (Debris disks also orbit stars and planets, but since astronomers don’t see anything like that, this object would have to be dark … such as a black hole.)

For this hypothesis to work, the disk of material clotting around the black hole would have to be huge–something on the order of 600 times the distance between the Earth and the Sun–in order to block the star’s light for such long periods of time, despite the star’s monthly movements.

A disk of debris circling an interstellar black hole is one possible explanation for the weird behavior of Boyajian’s Star. NASA

Wright says that although we’ve never seen a black hole disk that big, it’s not ruled out by physics. If there is a large disk there, scientists might confirm this hypothesis if the debris passes in front of neighboring stars.

Other interstellar stuff? Also maybe!

The space between stars is filled with gas, dust, as well as filaments and sheets of material clumped together by gravity. It’s possible that a particularly dense part of this interstellar medium got caught between us and Boyajian’s Star, absorbing some of its light.

To create the huge light dips, these filaments or sheets would need to be about 1000 times smaller and denser than we think they are, but it’s not impossible, says Wright. Maybe structures like that are just so small and rare that we’ve never spotted anything like it before now.

Like interstellar phantoms, dark nebula called Bok globules have been known to blot out stars. Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), NASA

Dark nebulae known as Bok globules could also be to blame. These black, star-forming clouds of dust and gas have been known to blot out stars before. Perhaps as turbulent gas and dust swirls around inside the globule, dense patches form and dim the light we see from Boyajian’s Star.

“It would be kind of unusual to see one of these clouds in this part of the sky,” says Wright, but it’s not impossible.

Both phenomena–the interstellar sheets and dark nebulae–would be expected to darken our view of the stars that neighbor Boyajian’s Star. Trouble is, the nearby stars are faint, which makes it difficult to measure their brightness precisely, so astronomers aren’t sure whether or not that’s happening.

Aliens? Who knows.

The hypothesis that aliens are building a megastructure around the star to harvest its energy runs into the same problem the comets did: any object in orbit around the star should absorb light and re-emit it as excess heat, but astronomers aren’t detecting excess heat.

Artist illustration of a crumbling Dyson sphere

Illustration of a Dyson sphere around a star

But who knows, maybe an alien civilization capable of building star-sized structures has also figured out how to utilize all of the sun’s energy, including heat. That’s the problem with alien-related hypotheses–there’s no good way to disprove them, since we don’t know what such a civilization would be like or what they’d be capable of. It’s also impossible to calculate the odds of intelligent alien life out there in the cosmos, so it’s kind of tough to say how this hypothesis stacks up to the rest. However, we know interstellar material exists, and we don’t know whether aliens exist, so our money would be on the natural (non-alien) hypotheses.

Wright has been careful to point out that aliens should always be a last resort hypothesis, after everything else has been ruled out. Nevertheless, he and Boyajian and other scientists are investigating Boyajian’s Star using the most thorough alien-hunting equipment available.

Meanwhile, all manner of telescopes have turned their attention to Boyajian’s Star, from the Swift Observatory to the Spitzer space telescope to the backyard spyglasses of amateur astronomers. They are monitoring the star in optical, infrared, UV, and x ray spectrums. The next time something weird happens around Boyajian’s Star, scientists around the world will be ready to collect as much data as possible, to help settle the question of what the heck is going on around this star.

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