Do you use Chrome or Firefox? Read this

A new malware called Vega Stealer is doing rounds of the internet. Researchers claim that Vega Stealer is designed to gather saved financial data from Firefox and Google Chrome browsers. The researchers from Proofpoint say that the malware is being used for small phishing attacks but it has the potential to become a threat to businesses in the future.

Vega Stealer is a variant of August Stealer and it finds and steals credentials, confidential documents, cryptocurrency wallet details and other important information. The researchers claim that the malware focuses on the theft of saved credentials and and payment information from Google Chrome.

The credentials consists of passwords, profiles, saved credit card details and cookies. On the other hand, when the Firefox browser is in use then the malware focuses on specific files which store information like keys and passwords.

Read the whole thing, but the telltale for the malware is a file called “ljoyoxu.pkzip” in your “Music” directory.

It’s the 21st century, after all

Toyota and Pizza Hut are teaming up to make self-driving cars that could deliver pizza.

Toyota and Pizza Hut are teaming up to make pizza delivery more efficient, which could eventually lead to self-driving pizza cars. The companies announced the partnership on Monday.

“We are focused on technology-based solutions that enable our team members and drivers to deliver even better customer experiences,” Pizza Hut US president Artie Starrs said in a statement. “With Toyota, we are excited to be partnering with an undisputed leader in human mobility with a reputation for innovation, reliability and efficiency, as we define the pizza delivery experience of the future.”

Toyota revealed the e-Palette, an autonomous concept vehicle, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The car may one day be used by Pizza Hut to deliver and possibly cook pizzas. Toyota plans to start testing the vehicle as early as 2020.

Blockchains Are Poised to End the Password Era

It seems consumers cannot trust anyone to keep our personal information private. Maybe this is the answer:

The massive password heists keeping coming, and one thing is certain: the way we prove our identities online is in need of a major upgrade. A growing chorus of technologists and entrepreneurs is convinced that the key to revolutionizing digital identity can be found in the same technology that runs cryptocurrencies.

Their bet is that we are on the verge of a fundamental shift—away from a model in which our valuable digital identities are managed by companies, banks, governments, and other central authorities to one in which this information is kept on a decentralized ledger, or blockchain, under the full control of individuals. Advocates say systems like Bitcoin, which uses cryptography and a network of computers to facilitate the secure exchange of digital coins without a middleman, can do something similar for identity credentials.

Read the whole thing, of course.

News you can use

In Post Password Era, Passwords are the Problem

The standard password has never been less effective or more susceptible to attacks. But some of the U.S.’s leading corporations say they’re also not ready to get rid of it.

Businesses knew that passwords were dead long before the theft of billions of user credentials from Yahoo! and information on more than 140 million people was stolen from Equifax. But for technical executives at some of the U.S.’s leading corporations, the twin events are serving as a long overdue coda for the technology world’s first swing at security: the simple password.

Still, executives speaking at the Akamai Edge Conference* here said that the much maligned password won’t be abandoned any time soon, even as data breaches and follow-on attacks like automated “credential stuffing” make passwords more susceptible than ever to abuse.

Alternatives like fingerprints and retinal scans are more secure, but resisted by the average user as cumbersome. Meanwhile, I recommend the correcthorsebatterystaple philosophy of strengthening your passwords.

Today in history

September 12, 1958–Jack Kilby demonstrates the first integrated circuit (or microchip) at Texas Instruments. It doesn’t look like much, but for this invention Kilby won the Nobel Prize in Physics.

An integrated circuit or monolithic integrated circuit is a set of electronic circuits on one small plate (“chip”) of semiconductor material, normally silicon. This can be made much smaller than a discrete circuit made from independent electronic components. ICs can be made very compact, having up to several billion transistors and other electronic components in an area the size of a human fingernail. The half-pitch between nodes in a circuit has been made smaller as the technology advances; in 2008 it dropped below 100 nanometers, and was reduced to around 14 nanometers in 2014

Kilby also invented the thermal printer, and the pocket calculator.


A rotary engine that may actually work

Mazda really tried to make the Wankel engine work in its RX series, but it was unreliable, and a major polluter. So, what is the answer?

The folks at LiquidPiston may have it. So far they only have a small prototype, but it should be scalable. And they have successfully replaced a 40 lb go kart engine with a 4 lb, 3-5 hp engine.

“It’s kind of a Wankel flipped inside out, a design that solves the old problems with sealing and fuel consumption,” says company founder Alec Shkolnik. “The Wankel has a triangular rotor inside a peanut-shaped housing; we have a peanut-shaped rotor inside a triangular housing.”

I am not an engineer or a mechanic, but a rotary engine just seems more efficient, so I am eager to see this thing work.