Security flaw forces Estonia ID ‘lockdown’

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Estonia is to block thousands of citizens from accessing online government services from Saturday while it works to fix a security flaw.

A problem with the country’s national identity cards was identified earlier this year, affecting 760,000 people.

The flaw could let attackers decrypt private data or impersonate citizens.

Those who have not had their cards updated with new security certificates will no longer be able to use them to access some services from midnight.

Estonia’s digital ID system lets citizens access government and some private services such as medical records, voting and banking.

But security researchers found the encryption used in the ID cards was easily cracked which could, if exploited, let attackers impersonate people.

“As far as we currently know, there has been no instances of e-identity theft, but the threat assessment of the Police and Border Guard Board and the Information System Authority indicates that this threat has become real,” said the country’s Prime Minister Juri Ratas.

From midnight, only cards that have been updated will continue to work online.

Some citizens had complained that updating their ID card had taken a long time, with the online service often overloaded.

“Spent hours over two days trying to update my ID card as per govt/MFA instructions. Still trying…” said Theresa Bubbear, Britain’s ambassador to Estonia, on Thursday.

This weekend, only “people who use their digital ID cards to provide vital services”, such as medical professionals, will be able to update their digital ID online.

From Monday, the system will be opened back up to everybody. All cards must be updated by March 2018.

“The functioning of an e-state is based on trust and the state cannot afford identity theft happening to the owner of an Estonian ID card,” said Mr Ratas.

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Twitter’s rewritten rules published

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Twitter has published a new version of its rules, which it says will clarify its policies and how it enforces them.

It is part of a series of changes as the social network tries to address complaints of abuse and harassment on its website.

It said the changes reflected the “latest trends in online behaviour”.

However, anticipated new policies relating to “violent groups, hateful imagery, and abusive usernames” will not arrive until 22 November.

On Friday, Twitter shared that it will:

  • email people if their account is suspended, explaining which policy they violated
  • consider the context and “newsworthiness” of tweets when evaluating whether they are abusive
  • contact people who may be considering harming themselves to connect them with healthcare professionals

The website also clarified that it considers sexual acts involving humans, humanoid animals and cartoons to be “adult material”, but said in some cases such content was permitted if flagged as “sensitive media”.

While some people have urged Twitter to take more action against abusive tweets, others have accused the website of silencing or censoring free speech.

In its new rules, the social network says: “We believe in freedom of expression and open dialogue, but that means little as an underlying philosophy if voices are silenced because people are afraid to speak up.”

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AI image recognition fooled by single pixel change

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Anish Athalye

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This turtle can sometimes look like a rifle to some image recognition systems

Computers can be fooled into thinking a picture of a taxi is a dog just by changing one pixel, suggests research.

The limitations emerged from Japanese work on ways to fool widely used AI-based image recognition systems.

Many other scientists are now creating “adversarial” example images to expose the fragility of certain types of recognition software.

There is no quick and easy way to fix image recognition systems to stop them being fooled in this way, warn experts.

Bomber or bulldog?

In their research, Su Jiawei and colleagues at Kyushu University made tiny changes to lots of pictures that were then analysed by widely used AI-based image recognition systems.

All the systems they tested were based around a type of AI known as deep neural networks. Typically these systems learn by being trained with lots of different examples to give them a sense of how objects, like dogs and taxis, differ.

The researchers found that changing one pixel in about 74% of the test images made the neural nets wrongly label what they saw. Some errors were near misses, such as a cat being mistaken for a dog, but others, including labelling a stealth bomber a dog, were far wider of the mark.

The Japanese researchers developed a variety of pixel-based attacks that caught out all the state-of-the-art image recognition systems they tested.

“As far as we know, there is no data-set or network that is much more robust than others,” said Mr Jiawei, from Kyushu, who led the research.

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Neural networks work by making links between massive numbers of nodes

Deep issues

Many other research groups around the world were now developing “adversarial examples” that expose the weaknesses of these systems, said Anish Athalye from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) who is also looking into the problem.

One example made by Mr Athalye and his colleagues is a 3D printed turtle that one image classification system insists on labelling a rifle.

“More and more real-world systems are starting to incorporate neural networks, and it’s a big concern that these systems may be possible to subvert or attack using adversarial examples,” he told the BBC.

While there had been no examples of malicious attacks in real life, he said, the fact that these supposedly smart systems can be fooled so easily was worrying. Web giants including Facebook, Amazon and Google are all known to be investigating ways to resist adversarial exploitation.

“It’s not some weird ‘corner case’ either,” he said. “We’ve shown in our work that you can have a single object that consistently fools a network over viewpoints, even in the physical world.

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Image recognition systems have been used to classify scenes of natural beauty

“The machine learning community doesn’t fully understand what’s going on with adversarial examples or why they exist,” he added.

Mr Jiawei speculated that adversarial examples exploit a problem with the way neural networks form as they learn.

A learning system based on a neural network typically involves making connections between huge numbers of nodes – like nerve cells in a brain. Analysis involves the network making lots of decisions about what it sees. Each decision should lead the network closer to the right answer.

However, he said, adversarial images sat on “boundaries” between these decisions which meant it did not take much to force the network to make the wrong choice.

“Adversaries can make them go to the other side of a boundary by adding small perturbation and eventually be misclassified,” he said.

Fixing deep neural networks so they were no longer vulnerable to these issues could be tricky, said Mr Athalye.

“This is an open problem,” he said. “There have been many proposed techniques, and almost all of them are broken.”

One promising approach was to use the adversarial examples during training, said Mr Athalye, so the networks are taught to recognise them. But, he said, even this does not solve all the issues exposed by this research.

“There is certainly something strange and interesting going on here, we just don’t know exactly what it is yet,” he said.

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Bin Laden raid: Son Hamza’s wedding video in CIA file release

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The trove includes footage of bin Laden’s son Hamza as an adult

Osama bin Laden’s personal diary, video of his son Hamza’s wedding and documentaries about himself were among files found on the al-Qaeda leader’s computer, the CIA has revealed.

Nearly half a million of the files have been released, the fourth such tranche.

Bin Laden’s computer was taken during the 2011 US raid in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad in which he died.

Some contents are being withheld over security or because they are corrupted or pornographic, the CIA said.

CIA director Mike Pompeo said the release included 18,000 documents, 79,000 audio files and images and more than 10,000 videos which shed light on the “plans and workings of this terrorist organisation”.

What do we learn about Bin Laden’s son Hamza?

The videos include a clip from the wedding of his son Hamza – thought to be his favourite son. Analysis of objects shown in the video suggest it was filmed in Iran. Previously only childhood videos of Hamza had been publicly seen.

The hour-long video shows Hamza – who has a moustache but no beard and wears a white headdress – sitting on a carpet with some men, while another man chants Koranic verses in the background, AP news agency reported.

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Osama bin Laden was killed during a raid by US special forces

Bin Laden himself is not seen in the video but one of the wedding attendees says that the “father of the groom, the prince of the mujahideen” is joyous at his son’s marriage and his joy will “spread to all the mujahideen”, AP said.

The video also shows a man questioning boys on the history of Koranic verse, boys playing football, decorations including red heart-shaped balloons and wedding food including fruit, bottles of cola, sweets and tea.

Hamza bin Laden has been mooted as a future al-Qaeda leader. The organisation has released audio messages from him in recent years and his image was superimposed onto a picture of the New York World Trade Center on the recent anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

What was in bin Laden’s video collection?

The al-Qaeda leader had a series of animated films on his hard drive including Antz, Cars, Chicken Little and The Three Musketeers.

There were also several YouTube videos, including a viral clip from the UK called “Charlie bit my finger” and videos about crocheting, including one entitled “How to crochet a flower”. The role-playing computer game Final Fantasy VII was also on the computer.

Bin Laden also had copies of three documentaries about him, including one called Where in the World is Osama bin Laden, as well as National Geographic documentaries including Kung Fu Killers, Inside the Green Berets and World’s Worst Venom, AP reported.

The al-Qaeda leader lived in the walled compound with several members of his family. Three other men – one of Bin Laden’s sons and two couriers – and a woman were also killed in the raid.

What debate was taking place inside al-Qaeda?

The CIA said the released documents gave an insight into ideological differences between bin Laden’s al-Qaeda and the more recently formed so-called Islamic State (IS) group, as well as debates within al-Qaeda itself.

It includes material about what the organisation planned to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and its efforts to get its propaganda into Western media outlets.

There is also information about al-Qaeda’s response to the Arab uprisings in 2011, disagreements over tactics and efforts to counter negative media coverage and improve its reputation among the world’s Muslims.

Previous releases of Bin Laden documents:

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  • Bin Laden 2015 files: Seven things we learned
  • What was on Bin Laden’s bookshelf?
  • What was in Osama Bin Laden’s tape collection?
  • The al-Qaeda job application form

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Tesla delays Model 3 production in its worst quarter

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Production targets for Tesla’s Model 3 car have been set back by months

Electric carmaker Tesla pushed back targets for its new Model 3 car, admitting it’s months behind schedule.

Tesla said it would now produce 5,000 of the cars each week by early 2018, instead of December.

The new target emerged as Tesla posted its biggest quarterly loss ever, sending its shares down more than 5% in after-hours trading.

Tesla made net losses of $619m (£468m) in the three months to 30 September, nearly double the previous quarter.

A year earlier, the firm made a profit of $21.9m. The losses were bigger than usual because Tesla has been focused on ramping up production of its Model 3 sedan.

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Tesla said it won’t reach its production target of 5,000 Model 3 cars per week until 2018

The carmaker is hoping to attract mass market interest in the vehicle which is priced at $35,000, about half the cost of its Model S car.

Tesla said it had produced just 260 of the Model 3 cars in the third quarter, less than a fifth of the 1,500 vehicles it had planned to build.

In a statement the company said it continued “to make significant progress each week in fixing Model 3 bottlenecks”.

“The nature of manufacturing challenges during a ramp such as this makes it difficult to predict exactly how long it will take for all bottlenecks to be cleared or when new ones will appear”, it said.

Gigafactory delays

Tesla said the main constraint was that progress had slowed at its Gigafactory in Nevada where its battery modules are assembled, and part of the production process has needed to be redesigned.

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Tesla boss Elon Musk said he was “really depressed” about the slow progress

“I was really depressed about three or four weeks ago,” chief executive Elon Musk said, adding that he is now optimistic because it is clear what changes need to be made.

But there could be further problems ahead.

While quarterly revenues rose about 30% from a year ago to nearly $3bn, Tesla continues to burn through cash.

The firm said it expected capital expenditures of $1bn in the fourth quarter, bringing its total investments for the second half of the year to $2bn.

And it could face heavy new demands for cash given the delays with the Model 3 and plans for new vehicles.

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Freeview blames air pressure for TV disruption

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Freeview says viewers will have to wait until the high pressure passes

Freeview has said that high air pressure is the cause of disruption being experienced by some of its users in England and Wales.

The service provides access to digital TV channels through aerials, making it possible to watch programmes without a satellite or cable subscription.

The Downdetector website indicates the issue began on Tuesday evening.

Some viewers have complained they missed The Great British Bake Off final as a consequence.

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Freeview said it was unable to remedy the problem until weather conditions changed.

“We recommend that you do not retune your equipment, as reception will return to normal once the weather changes,” the platform posted on its website.

“TV and radio signals can be affected by atmospheric conditions, including high air pressure (which brings fine weather), heavy rain or snow.”

A spokesman for the service told the BBC that the situation was “uncommon but unpredictable”.

“It’s impossible for us to say [how many people have been affected] but it’s clear the disruption has been widespread across England and Wales,” he added.

“The good news is that during the course of the day the issue has lessened as the weather front moves through.”

Weather forecasts suggest the problem will continue for some into the evening, but a weak weather front is set to move in from the north on Thursday morning that should be more favourable for transmissions.

Read more about weather-related interference

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‘I didn’t realise it was going to be part of my entrapment’

Beth Ashley and Euleen Hope

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Beth Ashley and Euleen Hope both experienced technological abuse by former partners

Women’s charity Refuge is warning about the rise of “tech abuse” – the use of technology to spy on or harass a partner.

Many victims of domestic violence report being either being harassed via online messages or having their activity monitored via their phones.

However, many do not report it to the police, the charity said.

Euleen Hope was a technophobe who escaped the control of her tech-savvy abusive ex-partner after 10 years.

He set up her email and social media accounts for her, which meant he had full access to them.

He also replaced her flip-phone with an iPhone which he then set up to be mirrored on to the pair’s iPad so he could monitor her calls and messages, and activated the phone’s location-tracker saying it would help her to get the bus.

“You wouldn’t think he was doing anything bad, he showed you what he was doing,” she said.

“I didn’t realise it was going to be part of my entrapment.”

When she noticed things such as the iPad ringing when her phone rang, her ex told her he was just testing a new app.

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Euleen Hope’s ex-partner set up cameras in the couple’s house

He also installed cameras around the house under the guise of security.

“My twin sister came round one day to visit. Normally if my friends or family came over he would sit in the room with us,” she recalled.

“This time he said he would leave us to catch up and said he would use his computer in the kitchen upstairs.

“I moved behind the camera and told my sister to keep talking, I went up the stairs and saw him listening to what he thought was our conversation.”

Ms Hope’s former partner was also physically and emotionally abusive and eventually served a prison sentence for assault and GBH.

Refuge is teaming up with Google to train its staff to better support victims who contact it as part of a new programme.

“Domestic violence is the biggest issue which impacts on the police,” said Dame Vera Baird, police and crime commissioner for Northumbria, speaking at the project launch.

“Every 30 seconds there is a domestic violence call. Two years ago, it was every minute.

“Northumbria’s police force gets 32,000 calls a year and that’s maybe a fifth or a quarter of what is actually going on.”

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Dame Vera said the Northumbria Police force receives 32,000 domestic violence calls per year

A 2016 survey by Comic Relief found that four out of five women who experienced abuse said their partner monitored their activity.

Twenty-year-old blogger Beth Ashley said a former boyfriend had no interest in tech until she tried to end their relationship because he was controlling and sexually abusive.

“When I got with him he didn’t even have a phone,” she said.

“I thought he was a massive technophobe until we broke up. Suddenly he started all these social media accounts and used them as a harassment tool.”

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Beth Ashley said her work as a blogger meant she could not delete her online presence to hide from her ex-boyfriend

She says he also sent her a suicide note via Facebook Messenger along with graphic images of self-harm, which she later discovered he had found online.

“I went round the next day and he was just sitting there on his Xbox,” she said.

She says he would regularly turn up where she worked and she would end her shift to find 50 messages from him on her phone.

Ms Ashley was very active on social media because of her work as a blogger and online writer.

“There were times when I wanted to delete the blog, the magazines,” she said.

“I have these random moments of wanting to be invisible. Considering my job, that would be awful.”

Ms Ashley says that she had to block old friends on social media in case one of them accidentally gave him information about her activities.

After reporting him to the police, the online harassment stopped, she said.

“But the paranoia stayed for a long time,” she added.

Sandra Horley, chief executive of Refuge, said the charity had seen a case where a man had hacked the CCTV at the pub where his wife worked so he could monitor her, and another who put a tracker on his partner’s car, moved it and then accused her of losing it.

“She thought she was losing her mind,” she said.

“Technological abuse is part of a broader pattern of domestic violence.

“This project was born out of our clients’ experiences of technology-related abuse, and we will continue to make sure their needs and experiences shape our work in the years ahead.”

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Google investigates mysterious vanishing files

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Google Docs appears to be locking users out of files by flagging documents as violating its terms of services

Numerous Google Docs users have reported that they are being mysteriously locked out of certain files in their accounts.

The error causes files to be flagged as violating Google’s terms of service.

Users received a message saying: “This item has been flagged as inappropriate and can no longer be shared.”

“We’re investigating reports of an issue with Google Docs,” a spokesman told the BBC. “We will provide more information when appropriate.”

Users have taken to Twitter to complain about the issue, saying that while they were working on documents the screen suddenly froze, and then a message came up telling them they could no longer access a file.

Some people have also reported that another error prevented them from sending Google appeal requests to unlock their files.

Other strange behaviour has been noticed on the service – one user, Iain Mackenzie, said the words “game is over” had flashed up in a Google Docs document he had been editing and then disappeared.

Mr Mackenzie said that no other user had been in the file at the time, and that the Google Docs revisions log showed only he had been editing the document for the past few hours.

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Airbnb customer allegedly murdered in Melbourne

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A man was allegedly murdered while staying in an Airbnb property in Melbourne, Australia

A man has allegedly been murdered while staying in an Airbnb-listed property in Melbourne, Australia.

Ramis Jonuzi, 36, had rented a room in the house in Brighton East, Melbourne, paying less than A$30 (£18) a night.

As he was trying to leave the property after a week on Wednesday 25 October, he was allegedly attacked and later died in hospital.

Three men who also lived in the property have been charged with murder, and one has also been accused of rape.

Craig Levy, 36, Ryan Smart, 37, and Jason Colton, 41, did not apply for bail when they appeared at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

A spokesman for Airbnb told Australian daily newspaper the Age that the room-rental service was “deeply saddened and outraged” by the tragedy.

“The family will have our full support and our hearts go out to them and all of his friends,” the spokesman said.

“We have removed this listing from our platform and will fully co-operate with law enforcement on their investigation.

“There is no place on Airbnb for such an abhorrent act, which violates everything our global community stands for.”

Mr Jonuzi, a bricklayer, had rented the room because he wanted cheap and stable accommodation while he dealt with some “personal issues”, according to the Age.

However, not long into his stay, he told a friend that he planned to move out early, because he didn’t like the “energy” in the house.

He allegedly argued with his three housemates over money, and then decided to cut his stay short.

On Wednesday night, he packed his belongings, loaded them into his car and was about to leave when he was allegedly attacked on the front lawn of the property.

Paramedics failed to revive him and he was taken to hospital suffering from heart failure, where he died.

Mr Levy, the Airbnb host, and Mr Smart were charged with murder. Mr Colton was charged with murder and rape.

The accused men have been remanded into custody and are next due to appear in court on 22 March 2018.

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Trump ally Roger Stone suspended from Twitter

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Mr Stone has claimed credit for getting Mr Trump to run for president

Roger Stone, a high-profile supporter of Donald Trump, has been suspended from Twitter after using the network to attack journalists.

Mr Stone, who advised Mr Trump during his election campaign, said he had been told he had violated Twitter’s rules.

His suspension came hours after he used abusive and homophobic language to target journalists, including a gay CNN presenter, Don Lemon.

Mr Stone has said he will sue Twitter for blocking his account.

Twitter has not commented or confirmed if Mr Stone’s suspension is permanent.

He was an aide to President Richard Nixon in the 1970s and became a political consultant. He says in the Netflix documentary Get Me Roger Stone that he got Mr Trump to run for president.

While he acted as an adviser during the early days of the Trump campaign, he left his role in disputed circumstances in August 2015 – Mr Stone says he quit, Mr Trump says he was fired.

Since then, Mr Trump has tried to put some distance between himself and Mr Stone, who regularly appears on network television to support his former employer.

Over several hours on Saturday, Mr Stone took to Twitter to attack CNN and New York Times journalists over their reporting.

His attacks came hours after CNN reported that the first charges had been laid by a grand jury in the investigation into Russian influence on the 2016 election.

In a Facebook post, Mr Stone said he believed his suspension should have ended “some time ago yet my Twitter feed is still not functional”.

In an interview with entertainment website The Wrap, he said he had hired “one of the best telecommunications lawyers in the country” and would sue Twitter, but it is not clear whether there are legal grounds to do so.

“I have been inundated on Twitter with bloggers threatening to kill me, my wife my kids and even my dogs yet Twitter seems unconcerned about that,” he said.

One of the people he targeted on Saturday, CNN contributor Ana Navarro, said she did not sympathise with Mr Stone over his suspension.

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