Hackers Out Ashley Madison Users, Speak Like Stephen Hawking… [Tech News Digest]
Cheaters are outed on dark web, how to talk like Hawking, the U.S. keeps control of ICANN, invest in video games through Fig, watch Netflix from afar, and take selfies with zombies.
The Ashley Madison Data Has Leaked
The hackers who stole personal information from the servers of Ashley Madison have dumped the data on the dark web. Almost 10Gb of data has been posted to an Onion address only accessible using the Tor browser . The haul includes account details and logins for 32 million users, along with seven years worth of credit card transactions.
The Impact Team, as the hackers refer to themselves, released a statement alongside the data dump. They explain, “We have explained the fraud, deceit, and stupidity of ALM and their members. Now everyone gets to see their data,” adding, “Chances are your man signed up on the world’s biggest affair site, but never had one. He just tried to. If that distinction matters”.
At the time of the hack, the hackers demanded that Avid Life Media take Ashley Madison and Established Men offline. The former helps people cheat on their partners, while the latter promises to match rich older men with beautiful young women. Avid Life Media refused to comply with the demands, leading to the data being released for the world to peruse at its leisure.
Get Stephen Hawking’s Voice Software
The speech software that gives Stephen Hawking a voice despite his severe physical disabilities is now available for free. Intel has released the Assistive Context-Aware Toolkit (ACAT) as open-source code in the hopes that developers will expand its capabilities to a wider range of disabilities.
ACAT allows Hawking to express himself using nothing more than small facial movements, which are translated into text. The software has allowed Hawking, the world’s most famous theoretical physicist, to enjoy a long and illustrious career despite being diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) at the age of 21.
Sai Prasad, ACAT’s project owner, said, “Our hope is that, by open sourcing this configurable platform, developers will continue to expand on this system by adding new user interfaces, new sensing modalities, word prediction and many other features”. The software and user guide can be found on Github.
America Keeps Control of the Internet
The U.S. Commerce Department has chosen to keep control of ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) for at least one more year, extending its contract until September 30, 2016. It may also extend that contract for a further three years, keeping the Internet under U.S. control until 2019.
This is important, as ICANN maintains the database of Web addresses, domain names, and root name servers for most of the Internet . There are plans in place to switch control away from the United States, with ICANN instead being operated by the “global Internet community”. But the U.S. Government isn’t ready to relinquish control quite yet.
According to The Wall Street Journal, ICANN senior adviser Theresa Swinehart stated, “additional time is necessary for the global community to complete its work and for ICANN to implement the community’s proposals”. Which may be true, or may just be a clever stalling tactic.
Fig Lets You Invest in Video Games
Video games have been an extremely popular part of crowdfunding services such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo for a while now, with the likes of Shenmue 3, Mighty No. 9, and Double Fine Adventure all receiving a lot of attention. There’s just one problem: backers are rewarded with products rather than actual cash.
While most of us are happy with the level of rewards on offer, some people would prefer the potential to earn cold, hard cash. They want to actually invest in the development of games, and potentially be financially rewarded for their initial layout. Which is the gap in the market Fig is hoping to fill.
Fig, launched by former Double Fine COO Justin Bailey, offers investors the opportunity to see real returns on their money. While smaller pledges are still rewarded with a copy of the games (starting with Outer Wilds) and other such goodies, anyone investing more $1,000 could receive a portion of the revenues made when these games get sold on PC.
Watch Netflix With Faraway Friends
A new Chrome extension called Showgoers lets you watch Netflix with someone not in the same room as yourself. Showgoers syncs up the content, allowing you and a friend to watch it together in real time. Either party can also play, pause, or start watching something else at any time.
This is a public beta, so you may encounter bugs while using Showgoers. However, if both parties are signed into their Netflix accounts , and have the Showgoers Chrome extension installed prior to opening the invite URL, problems should be kept to a minimum. Even if you’re torturing yourself with the best bad movies on Netflix .
Zelfie Lets You Take Zombie Selfies
And finally, the Zelfie lets you add zombies to your selfies. And why not? While selfie sticks are pretty much passé at this point, having enjoyed a meteoric rise followed by a monumental fall, some novelty attachments may keep their flame burning for a little longer.
The Zelfie, currently being funded through a dumb Kickstarter campaign , is an accessory for your regular ol’ selfie stick. It’s essentially a zombie hand that you strap onto your selfie stick, making every selfie taken thereafter look like you were being chased by zombies . [H/T CNET]
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
Do you feel any sympathy for the Ashley Madison users seeing their information leaked online? How could Stephen Hawking’s voice software be improved upon? Should the U.S. give up control of the Internet? Would you ever invest in video games?
Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.