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Facebook opens up Messenger to ad bots

Right now, Facebook lets Messenger ad bots from brands like Expedia and HP help you make a purchase, but they can’t try to sell you a new product. However, a policy change means those automated assistants will soon be able to send subscription messages, ads and promotions for services like makeup consultations. If you’re worried about spam, Facebook emphasized that the user is in...

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Companies cannot legally void warranties for jailbreaking or rooting phones

After I published an article about how electronics manufacturers including Microsoft and Sony illegally void warranties of consumers who open their devices, I got a flood of emails from people wondering whether federal law protects their right to jailbreak or root their phones. The short answer is yes, it does: Under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975, manufacturers cannot legally void your hardware warranty...

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People ignore security warnings up to 90 percent of the time

Software developers listen up: if you want people to pay attention to your security warnings on their computers or mobile devices, you need to make them pop up at better times. A new study from BYU, in collaboration with Google Chrome engineers, finds the status quo of warning messages appearing haphazardly—while people are typing, watching a video, uploading files, etc.—results in up to 90...

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Microsoft is ending the pick-and-choose patching in Windows 7 and 8

Microsoft yesterday announced that beginning in October it will offer only cumulative security updates for Windows 7 and 8.1, ending the decades-old practice of letting customers choose which patches they apply. “Historically, we have released individual patches … which allowed you to be selective with the updates you deployed,” wrote Nathan Mercer, a senior product marketing manager, in a post to a company blog....

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Facebook can’t win against ad blockers and here’s the proof

Facebook can’t win the war it started on ad blockers last week. So say Princeton assistant professor Arvind Narayanan and undergraduate Grant Storey, who have created an experimental ad “highlighter” for the Chrome browser to prove it. When you have Facebook Ad Highlighter installed, ads in the News Feed are grayed out and written over with the words “THIS IS AN AD.” Facebook announced...

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Google is building a new operating system

Google is working on a new operating system — and it has nothing to do with Android. A page has surfaced on the code-sharing website GitHub about the new OS, called — for now, at least — Fuchsia. It’s not based on Android, the California-based technology company’s mobile operating system used in billions of smartphones around the world, nor does it build upon the...

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Microsoft starts testing Windows 10’s next major update

Microsoft released Windows 10’s Anniversary Update last week, but it’s already getting ready to unveil new features for its next major update. The software giant has started testing its “Redstone 2” update to Windows 10, with an initial build available for Windows Insiders testing public beta copies. The new update doesn’t have any big new features for public testers yet, as Microsoft is in the...

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Google Play Store scraps Google+ integration

The great deplusification of Google continues as a Google+ has been removed from yet another Google product. This time it’s the Play Store, which has dropped Google+ votes from apps and nixed the G+ account requirement from app reviews. There was an entire Google+ focused “People” section on the Play Store that showed apps and ratings from people you follow on Google+. The Play Store also...

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LinkedIn suffers huge bot attack that steals members’ personal data

Data thieves used a massive “botnet” against professional networking site LinkedIn and stole member’s personal information, a new lawsuit reveals. The Mountain View firm filed the federal suit this week in an attempt to uncover the perpetrators. “LinkedIn members populate their profiles with a wide range of information concerning their professional lives, including summaries (narratives about themselves), job histories, skills, interests, educational background, professional awards, photographs and...

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Russia fines Google $6.75 million for preinstalling apps on Android

Google has been hit by a $6.75 million antitrust fine in Russia for requiring phone manufacturers to preinstall its apps on Android mobile devices. The majority of smartphones and tablets solid in Russia run on Android, and domestic search engine rival Yandex filed a complaint last year that the US company was abusing its position. The fine itself is small — less than what the...