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China

Didi Launches Car Rental Service In China 10

An anonymous reader writes: Ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing is adding a car rental service for customers in several cities, to take advantage of the enormous domestic tourism market in China. Users can reserve a car through the Didi app and have it delivered to their door within two hours. The service, which is currently in beta testing in Shanghai, is expected to expand to several more cities in China over the next year. In a statement the company said, "Didi car rental is launched in response to the boom in China's short-term and tourist car rental market as the population goes through a lifestyle revolution." In 2015, 2.34 billion cars were rented for domestic tourists in China. That number is expected to more than double, reaching 5.8 billion by 2020.The move comes weeks after Uber announced it was selling its Chinese operation to Didi.
Security

BHU's 'Tiger Will Power' Wi-Fi Router May Be The Most Insecure Router Ever Made (softpedia.com) 62

An anonymous reader writes from a report via Softpedia: A Wi-Fi router manufactured and sold only in China can easily run for the title of "most insecure router ever made." The BHU router, whose name translates to "Tiger Will Power," has a long list of security problems that include: four authentication bypass flaws (one of which is just hilarious); a built-in backdoor root account that gets created on every boot-up sequence; the fact that it opens the SSH port for external connections after every boot (somebody has to use that root backdoor account right?); a built-in proxy server that re-routes all traffic; an ad injection system that adds adverts to all the sites you visit; and a backup JS file embedded in the router firmware if the ad script fails to load from its server. For techies, there's a long technical write-up, which gets funnier and scarier at the same time as you read through it. "An attacker authenticating on the router can use a hardcoded session ID (SID) value of 700000000000000 to gain admin privileges," reports Softpedia. "If he misspells the SID and drops a zero, that's no problem. The BHU router will accept any value and still grant the user admin rights."
Android

Apple, Samsung Capture All Of Industry's Smartphone Profits (zdnet.com) 161

Continuing to operate on razor thin margins, smartphone manufacturers other than Samsung and Apple are bleeding money. Apple accounted for 75 percent of the smartphone's profits in the second quarter this year, down from 90 percent a year ago, according to Canaccord Genuity. Samsung, which has reported strong sales thanks to its Galaxy S7 series of smartphones, accounted for more than 30 percent of the industry, the research added. ZDNet reports: While this tale could revolve around Apple vs. Samsung the larger question is this: Why would any company want to make smartphones? Let's get real. All the profits go to Apple (high end) or Samsung (high end and scale). The rest of the players in the market don't make money and get disrupted by whatever vendor is flavor of the month? Remember that Xiaomi was supposed to be the next big thing in China and elsewhere, but is now being disrupted by Oppo and Vivo. A quarter from now Oppo and Vivo will be thumped by some smartphone manufacturer we haven't heard of yet.
The Military

Japan Plans To Build Unmanned Fighter Jets (reuters.com) 117

Slashdot reader It's the tripnaut! quotes an article from Reuters: Japan aims to develop a prototype drone fighter jet in two decades with private sector help in a technology strategy that focuses on weapons communications and lasers, according to a document seen by Reuters... The military technology plan calls for first developing an unmanned surveillance aircraft in the next decade and then an unmanned fighter jet 10 years later, the document showed...

The ministry will also allocate budget funds to acquire an upgraded version of the F-35 stealth fighter, made by U.S. company Lockheed Martin Corp...as tension rises in the East China Sea and North Korea steps up its missile threat, government officials with direct knowledge of the matter said.

China

China's Xiaomi Gearing Up For US Debut (bloomberg.com) 42

An anonymous reader shares a Bloomberg report: Xiaomi is preparing to enter the U.S. smartphone market "in the near future," employing the same online sales and social media marketing tactics that helped the six-year-old startup become China's largest privately funded startup. Xiaomi can no longer afford to ignore the world's largest smartphone arena by revenue, company vice president Hugo Barra said in an interview. Its international expansion is taking on new-found urgency as growth at home slows and rivals such as Huawei erode its market share. "The U.S. is a market that we definitely have in our sights," Barra said on Bloomberg Television. "We will lead with social media, with the channels that allow us to get in touch with the young generation that are enthusiastic about new technology. We are definitely going there." Barra, who oversees the Chinese company's international expansion, has signaled Xiaomi's U.S. debut before. But the smartphone vendor is now in a better position to launch an incursion onto Apple's turf. In June, the Beijing-based company announced the acquisition of nearly 1,500 technology patents from Microsoft -- a deal that may smooth potential legal tangles over intellectual property as it pushes abroad.
China

Tesla Removes 'Self-driving' From China Website After Beijing Crash (reuters.com) 85

Last week, a Tesla owner in China blamed electric vehicle's "autopilot" feature for a crash. Amid the reports, Tesla quietly removed the term "self-driving" feature from its Chinese website. Reuters report: The Tesla driver crashed earlier this month while on a Beijing commuter highway after the car failed to avoid a vehicle parked on the left side but partially in the roadway, damaging both cars but causing no injuries. It was the first known such crash in China, although it follows a fatal accident in Florida earlier this year that put pressure on auto executives and regulators to tighten rules for automated driving. A check of Tesla's Chinese website on Sunday showed that the word "autopilot" had also been removed. But that term was subsequently reinstated on Monday. "At Tesla we are continuously making improvements, including to translations," a Tesla spokeswoman said in an emailed statement to Reuters when asked about the removal of the terms "autopilot" and "self-driving."
China

China Launches World's First Quantum Communications Satellite (theverge.com) 102

hackingbear quotes a report from The Verge: China's quantum network could soon span two continents, thanks to a satellite launched earlier today. Launched at 1:40pm ET, the Quantum Science Satellite is designed to distribute quantum-encrypted keys between relay stations in China and Europe. When working as planned, the result could enable unprecedented levels of security between parties on different continents. China's new satellite would put that same fiber-based quantum communication system to work over the air, utilizing high-speed coherent lasers to connect with base stations on two different continents. The experimental satellite's payload also includes controllers and emitters related to quantum entanglement. The satellite will be the first device of its kind if the quantum equipment works as planned. According to the Wall Street Journal, the project was first proposed to the European Space Agency in 2001 but was unable to gain funding.
Privacy

Tim Cook: Privacy Is Worth Protecting (washingtonpost.com) 120

An anonymous reader writes from InformationWeek: In a wide-ranging interview with The Washington Post, Apple's CEO Tim Cook talks iPhones, AI, privacy, civil rights, missteps, China, taxes, and Steve Jobs -- all without addressing rumors about the company's Project Titan electric car. One of the biggest concerns Tim Cook has is with user privacy. Earlier this year, Apple was in the news for refusing a request from the U.S. Department of Justice to unlock a suspected terrorist's iPhone because Apple argued it would affect millions of other iPhones, it was unconstitutional, and that it would weaken security for everyone. Cook told the Washington Post: "The lightbulb went off, and it became clear what was right: Could we create a tool to unlock the phone? After a few days, we had determined yes, we could. Then the question was, ethically, should we? We thought, you know, that depends on whether we could contain it or not. Other people were involved in this, too -- deep security experts and so forth, and it was apparent from those discussions that we couldn't be assured. The risk of what happens if it got out, could be incredibly terrible for public safety." Cook suggest that customers rely on companies like Apple to set up privacy and security protections for them. "In this case, it was unbelievably uncomfortable and not something that we wished for, wanted -- we didn't even think it was right. Honestly? I was shocked that [the FBI] would even ask for this," explained Cook. "That was the thing that was so disappointing that I think everybody lost. There are 200-plus other countries in the world. Zero of them had ever asked [Apple to do] this." Privacy is a right to be protected, believes Cook: "In my point of view, [privacy] is a civil liberty that our Founding Fathers thought of a long time ago and concluded it was an essential part of what it was to be an American. Sort of on the level, if you will, with freedom of speech, freedom of the press."
China

China Starts Developing Hybrid Hypersonic Spaceplane (popsci.com) 90

hackingbear quotes a report from Popular Science: While SpaceX is making news with its recoverable rockets, China announced that it is working on the next big thing in spaceflight: a hypersonic spaceplane. The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation is beginning advanced research on a high tech, more efficient successor to the retired Space Shuttle, with hybrid combined cycle engines combining turbofan, ramjet, scramjet and rocket engines, that can takeoff from an airport's landing strip and fly straight into orbit. CASTC's rapid research timeline also suggests that the reports in 2015 of a Mach 4 test flight for a recoverable drone testbed for a combined cycle ramjet/turbofan engine were accurate. And China also has the world's largest hypersonic wind tunnel, the Mach 9 JF-12, which could be used to easily test hypersonic scramjets without costly and potentially dangerous flight testing at altitude. Its nearest competitor, the British Skylon in contrast uses pre-cooled jet engines built by Reaction Engines Limited to achieve hypersonic atmospheric flight, as opposed to scramjets. Both spacecraft will probably first fly around the mid 2020s.
China

Tesla Owner In China Blames Autopilot For Crash (usatoday.com) 277

An anonymous reader quotes a report from USA Today: The owner of a Tesla Motors Model S sedan in China reportedly said his vehicle crashed into a car on the side of the road while the vehicle's Autopilot system was engaged, but the automaker said the driver was using the system improperly. Luo Zhen, 33, of Beijing told Reuters that his vehicle collided with a parked car on the left side of a highway, damaging both vehicles but injuring no one. He criticized Tesla sales people for allegedly describing the vehicle as "self-driving." "The impression they give everyone is that this is self-driving, this isn't assisted driving," he told Reuters. In the new case in China, Tesla said the Model S was "following closely behind the car in front of it when the lead car moved to the right to avoid hitting the parked car." "The driver of the Tesla, whose hands were not detected on the steering wheel, did not steer to avoid the parked car and instead scraped against its side," Tesla said Wednesday in a statement. "As clearly communicated to the driver in the vehicle, Autosteer is an assist feature that requires the driver to keep his hands on the steering wheel at all times, to always maintain control and responsibility for the vehicle, and to be prepared to take over at any time."
China

China To UK: 'Golden' Ties At Crucial Juncture Over Nuclear Delay (reuters.com) 170

mdsolar quotes a report from Reuters: China has cautioned Britain against closing the door to Chinese money and said relations were at a crucial juncture after Prime Minister Theresa May delayed signing off on a $24 billion nuclear power project. In China's sternest warning to date over May's surprise decision to review the building of Britain's first nuclear plant in decades, Beijing's ambassador to London said that Britain could face power shortages unless May approved the Franco-Chinese deal. "The China-UK relationship is at a crucial historical juncture. Mutual trust should be treasured even more," Liu Xiaoming wrote in the Financial Times. "I hope the UK will keep its door open to China and that the British government will continue to support Hinkley Point -- and come to a decision as soon as possible so that the project can proceed smoothly." The comments signal deep frustration in Beijing at May's move to delay, her most striking corporate intervention since winning power in the political turmoil which followed Britain's June 23 referendum to leave the European Union.
China

China Suspected of Hacking Organizations Involved in South China Sea Dispute (japantimes.co.jp) 57

Jesse Johnson, writing for The Japan Times: The ongoing dispute over the South China Sea has apparently spilled over into cyberspace recently, as hackers believed to be from China have attacked government and private-sector organizations linked to the row over the key waterway, a new analysis has found. Using malicious software, hackers have tried to swipe sensitive information from the Philippines and other targets, according to a report released last week by Finnish cybersecurity firm F-Secure. Notable targets included the Philippines Department of Justice, the organizers of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit and an unidentified major international law firm involved in last month's landmark South China Sea arbitration decision at The Hague, the report said. The Department of Justice played a key role in the case and reports ahead of a November 2015 APEC event in the Philippines had said leaders attending the summit would discuss the South China Sea issue.
Security

Hackers Bring Ethics To Las Vegas (backchannel.com) 33

Steven Levy, who has been extensively covering the world of hackers for decades (fun fact: the first time he wrote about it, the word "hacker" didn't really mean much), is sharing the changing perception about hacker conferences, and hackers themselves. In a newsletter, Backchannel's Levy writes about Black Hat conference: What I find most striking in the coverage of these events is that they are no longer seen as outlaw gatherings, but rather conclaves that form a valuable portion of the digital security mosaic. This is a big change from the long period, beginning in the late 1980s, during which the term "hacker" became synonymous with malfeasants, punks, and criminals. The glorious originals -- people who invented just about everything great we do on computers, including the internet -- were outraged at the denigration of a word that was once a badge of honor. [...]
The hackers who attend those conferences are true to that ethic. There's a core morality to both events, built on privacy, equal access to systems, and personal freedom. There's indignation at poorly built systems. There's contempt at those who see computers and the internet as means of controlling people instead of seeing them as tools of liberation.
So who gets to decide what a hacker is in 2016? The question comes up constantly because the term retains some fuzziness. I'll put aside the unquestioned hacker status of coders and designers who innovate on products and private infrastructure. Blissfully, it's now OK for Silicon Valley geeks to proudly declare themselves hackers, the best example of which is Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's naming of his corporate philosophy as "The Hacker Way." But I'm wondering about those people who take the law into their own hands, sometimes not even taking care to limit collateral damage of innocent people. While true hackers generally don't wreak actual destruction, there are some who invade or even tamper with systems for what they consider moral purposes. Some call it hacktivism. Does that mean they are still hackers? That's tough to answer. Hacking into a system doesn't make you a hacker. Using a computer to steal a credit card or a Bitcoin doesn't do it, either. If you work for China and hack into Google; if you work for Russia and hack into the DNC; or if you work for the United States of America and plant a software time bomb in a nuclear centrifuge in Iran -- you are not necessarily a hacker.

Businesses

US Judge Dismisses Part of Alibaba Counterfeit Goods Lawsuit (reuters.com) 39

Reuters reports: A U.S. judge on Thursday dismissed part of a lawsuit filed last year by Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and other luxury brands accusing Alibaba Group Holding Ltd of promoting the sale of counterfeit goods. U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel in Manhattan dismissed racketeering claims asserted by brands owned by Paris-based Kering SA, saying their complaint failed to allege facts that could sustain those claims.Alibaba is not the only company which has been subjected to such accusations. Amazon has been treading the same path, with some sellers even leaving the platform.
China

China Builds 'Elevated Bus' That Drives Over Cars (washingtonpost.com) 176

An anonymous reader writes: Remember that futuristic bus design from China a few months ago? China has actually built it and is testing it on the streets. The Transit Elevated Bus or TEB-1, as it's called, stands nearly 16 feet tall and straddles two lanes of traffic, allowing cars to pass under it. The hope is for TEB-1 to someday alleviate major traffic in China and other crowded countries. Washington Post reports: "The Transit Elevated Bus piloted in China's Hebei province rolls along a designated track, making it similar in some ways to a commuter train or tram -- the key difference, of course, being that it runs on top of the existing roadway without the need to construct a separate overpass. Images distributed by Chinese media show a spacious passenger compartment -- measuring 72 feet long by 26 feet wide -- capable of holding up to 300 riders. Surprisingly, there are not very many seats. That would probably have to change should an American model ever come to fruition." The concept of the elevated bus first arrived in 2010, where the company claimed it would "cost 10% of a subway system and use 30% less energy than current bus technologies."
China

When It Comes To China, Google's Experience Still Says It All (backchannel.com) 112

Uber's defeat by its local competitor in China was the latest of a string of such cases, and Google's experience trying to establish itself there is illustrative of the challenges facing all American tech companies that aspire to dominate in that market, writes reader mirandakatz. Steven Levy writes at Backchannel:Perhaps because its market share never rose high enough, Uber did not experience the brunt of China's regulation. Still, who's to say what would have happened if Uber had managed to outperform Didi? If Uber's market share topped fifty percent, would the government have sat by as a neutral observer? Would the Uber app start experiencing slowdowns? Would its drivers be stopped? Would airports welcome Didi cars and not Uber? My bet is that, mixed with disappointment at not winning the country, Uber executives might be feeling a bit relieved that such worries are now off the table. As it is, Uber has become one more casualty in China's other wall, a towering fortress of restrictions, regulations and unfair play that keeps down American internet companies.
Privacy

Reported Top Nigerian Email Scammer Arrested (bbc.com) 65

Reader retroworks writes: Interpol reports that a Nigerian behind thousands of online scams around the world has been arrested in the southern oil city of Port Harcourt. The 40-year-old man, known only as "Mike" is alleged to head a network of 40 individuals behind global scams worth more than $60 million. His operations involved using malware to take over systems to compromise emails, as well as romance scams. Nigeria's anti-fraud agency was also involved in the arrest.

"In one case, a target was conned into paying out $15.4 million," Interpol said in a statement. "Mike" also allegedly ran a money laundering network in China, Europe and the US. The network compromised email accounts of small to medium-sized businesses around the world. They would then send fake messages to buyers with instructions to make a payment to a bank account under their control.

Businesses

Uber and Didi Call a Truce In China With a $35 Billion Deal (recode.net) 45

Kara Swisher, reporting for Recode: Uber, which has been spending hugely in China over the last two years, has folded, striking a deal in which it will merge its Chinese operations with its main rival there, Didi Chuxing. Under terms of the deal, Uber China, the ride-hailing company's Chinese subsidiary, will be part of a larger Didi company valued at $35 billion. Uber gets a 20 percent stake in that -- Didi's previous valuation was $28 billion. That's a $7 billion value for upward of $2 billion that Uber has frittered away, um, spent there. In turn, Didi will invest in Uber at a valuation of almost $70 billion. That was about the value of Uber's last round. Now, everyone owns everyone everywhere.
Earth

World's Largest Solar Power Plant Planned For Chernobyl Nuclear Wasteland (electrek.co) 159

An anonymous reader writes from a report via Electrek: Chernobyl, the world's most famous and hazardous nuclear meltdown, is being considered for the world's largest solar power plant. Even though nearly 1,600 square miles of land around Chernobyl has radiation levels too high for human health, Ukraine's ecology minister has said in a recent interview that two U.S. investment firms and four Canadian energy companies have expressed interest in Chernobyl's solar potential. Electrek reports: "According to PVTech, the Ukrainian government is pushing for a 6 month construction cycle. Deploying this amount of solar power within such a time frame would involve significant resources being deployed. The proposed 1GW solar plant, if built today, would be the world's largest. There are several plans for 1GW solar plants in development (Egypt, India, UAE, China, etc) -- but none of them have been completed yet. One financial benefit of the site is that transmission lines for Chernobyl's 4GW nuclear reactor are still in place. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has stated they would be interested in participating in the project, 'so long as there are viable investment proposals and all other environmental matters and risks can be addressed to the bank's satisfaction.'"
The Almighty Buck

Amazon Debuts a Dedicated Shop For Kickstarter Products (techcrunch.com) 18

An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Today, Amazon announced it's teaming up with Kickstarter to offer those successful Kickstarter products a way to reach more customers through a dedicated section on Amazon's website. Via www.amazon.com/launchpad/kickstarter, the online retailer is now featuring a group of over 300 Kickstarter products across a variety of categories, like electronics, books, home and kitchen, movies and tv, and more. The products can also be browsed by theme, like STEM products, "Always be Learning," "Exquisite Objects," "Inventing the Future," and "Public Benefit," for example. The new Kickstarter section is actually an expansion on Amazon's Launchpad platform, launched a year ago. In July 2015, the retailer debuted a dedicated portal that offered both marketing and sales for hardware and physical goods from younger tech companies. Today, Amazon says it has now worked with over 100 VCs, accelerators and crowdfunders and has helped more than 1,000 launch products across the U.S., the U.K., China, Germany, and France. All startups who participate in Launchpad receive custom product pages, a comprehensive marketing package, and access to Amazon's global fulfillment network, the retailer notes.

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