British cyber expert pleads guilty to creating malware
Monday, May 15, 2017, file photo shows Marcus Hutchins, a British cybersecurity expert during
an interview in Ilfracombe, England. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)
Milwaukee (AP) — A British
cybersecurity researcher credited with stopping a worldwide computer
virus has pleaded guilty to developing malware to steal banking
Federal prosecutors in Wisconsin
and Marcus Hutchins' attorneys said in a joint court filing Friday that
the 24-year-old agreed to plead guilty to developing malware called
Kronos and conspiring to distribute it from 2012 to 2015. In exchange
for his plea to those charges, prosecutors dismissed eight more.
"As you may be aware, I've pleaded
guilty to two charges related to writing malware in the years prior to
my career in security," Hutchins said in a statement on his website. "I
regret these actions and accept full responsibility for my mistakes.
Having grown up, I've since been using the same skills that I misused
several years ago for constructive purposes. I will continue to devote
my time to keeping people safe from malware attacks."
Hutchins faces up 10 years in
prison but could receive a more lenient sentence for accepting
responsibility, the court filing said. Attorneys said Hutchins
understands he could be deported.
Sentencing has not been scheduled.
Hutchins' arrest in Las Vegas in
August 2017, as he was about to board a flight to England, came as a
shock; just months earlier he was hailed a hero for finding a "kill
switch" to the WannaCry virus that crippled computers worldwide. At the
time, he told The Associated Press in an interview that he didn't
consider himself a hero but that he was combating malware because "it's
the right thing to do."
Prosecutors said Hutchins made
incriminating statements during a two-hour interrogation, and later
during a jailhouse phone call that Hutchins was told was being recorded,
he told an unidentified person that he "used to write malware" years
"I knew it was always going to come
back," Hutchins said on the call, but that he didn't "think it would be
Prosecutors said in court filings
that Hutchins sold the Kronos software to someone in Wisconsin and that
he "personally delivered" the software to someone in California. The
malware was designed "to intercept communications and collect personal
information, including usernames, passwords, email addresses, and
financial data" from computers, prosecutors said.
Kronos was "used to infect numerous
computers around the world and steal banking information," prosecutors
said, without providing an exact number. It's unclear how much Hutchins'
profited from creating the malware, but in online chats the FBI
intercepted on November 2014, Hutchins' lamented he had only made $8,000
from five sales. Hutchins said he thought he would be making around
$100,000 annually by selling Kronos with one of his conspirators, who is
not named in the indictment.
Hutchins initially pleaded not
guilty to all the charges and was scheduled to go on trial in July.
While his case has been pending, prosecutors barred Hutchins from
returning home. He has been living in California, working as a
How not to break the bank on streaming services
are more TV streaming services than ever before and more people are
opting to drop cable in favor of streaming services. But monthly
subscriptions can add up fast. A little research on which services are
best for you can help save big bucks. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
Mae Anderson & Sarah Skidmore Sell
New York (AP) —
With more TV streaming services than ever before, from newcomers like
Disney Plus to stalwarts like Netflix, consumers may feel the ideal
viewing experience is finally at hand.
Americans have, on average, three
streaming video subscription services, according to a recent study of
digital media trends by Deloitte. While some have dropped cable and its
average bill of around $100 a month altogether, about 43% have both pay
TV and streaming subscriptions.
Yet patching together a variety of
services to get just what one wants isn’t always seamless. Families and
individuals can still find themselves with service that doesn’t
perfectly suit their viewing habits. And those monthly subscriptions can
add up fast.
“It doesn’t make sense to pay for a
bunch of content you have no interest in watching,” said Bruce McClary,
vice president of marketing for the National Foundation for Credit
Counseling. “Finding a service that lets you scale your channel lineup
based on your interests can also help you avoid paying for things you
A little research on which services
are best for you can help save big bucks.
Disney is making the biggest play
for family viewership. The owner of Disney Channel, the Star Wars
franchise and most recently Fox’s entertainment business is betting its
mix of family-friendly franchises and beloved animated classics, along
with original programming, will make the Disney Plus service
irresistible to families, even if they already subscribe to other
services. The service, launching Nov. 12, will cost $7 a month
For some kids, there may be no
substitute for watching Disney’s “Frozen” over and over again. But other
services that families might already subscribe to have a lot of
family-friendly programming too. Amazon Prime ($119 per year or $13 per
month for Prime loyalty program membership; Prime Video alone costs $9 a
month), Hulu ($6 to $12 per month), and Netflix ($9 to $16 per month)
all offer kids programming.
Another choice for parents: HBO Now
($15 a month) is the home for the classic kids TV show “Sesame Street.”
And for spendthrifts, YouTube’s free Kids channel offers an endless
stream of kid-friendly fare, although quality varies widely.
For Movie Buffs
Movie fans will soon have to work a
bit harder to find movies to stream. As Disney, Fox, Universal and
Warner Brothers and others offer their own streaming services, they will
all eventually pull their content from Netflix. But niche services are
there to fill the void.
Classic movies can be difficult to
find streaming. Movie fans suffered a loss when AT&T, which bought Time
Warner last year, decided to discontinue Film Struck, a streaming
service that was a collaboration between Turner Classic Movies and the
Criterion Collection. But a similar service called The Criterion Channel
that offers 1,000 classic and contemporary films is stepping up to fill
the void. It costs $11 a month or $99 for a year.
Other movie-centric streaming
services include Fandor ($6 per month or $50 per year) or Mubi ($11 per
month). Both offer a curated selection of movies.
Those on a budget can try Kanopy, a
streaming service that works with public libraries and universities to
offer library card holders streaming movies for free.
For Sports Fans
Sports fans do have streaming
options, but they cost more since sports must be watched live. Basic
live TV options are cheaper but may not include sports channels. Which
service you choose depends on which sport or which team you want to
There are a variety of live TV
streaming services that offer a wide range of sports, but they’ve
recently been raising their prices. Fubo TV offers more than 85 channels
including ones that broadcast football, baseball, soccer and other
sports. It costs $45 for the first month, then $55 a month after that.
DirecTV Now costs $50 a month for the cheapest tier. Sling TV costs $25
to $40 a month. Hulu raised the price for its live-TV service in
February, by $5, to $45. Sony’s PlayStation Vue costs $45 to $80 a
month. Google’s YouTube TV is increasing its monthly fee to $50. It
launched at $35 and has raised prices as it added more channels. Most of
the live TV services offer the major sports channels such as Fox Sports
and NBC Sports Network, as well as games broadcast on network TV. But
ESPN, for example, is on Hulu Live and YouTube TV but not Fubo TV, so
fans of a specific team or sport should examine the channel listings for
There’s no budget offering for
watching high profile sporting events. But Disney’s ESPN Plus costs $5 a
month or $50 for the year. It offers some live games, including some
hockey, soccer and baseball games, as well as content about sports like
ESPN’s “30 for 30” documentary series. But you can’t watch most major
league sports games on the service.
Mix and Match
If you’re a sports fan who also
loves movies and has a family, you’ll have to mix and match services
while trying to stay within your budget. It is still possible to stay
below the monthly cost of cable, says the NFCC’s McClary.
“The acceptable threshold for
spending is up to each household, but most ‘live’ and ‘on demand’
streaming services would be on the low end of the scale compared to
traditional cable packages,” he said. “One good measuring stick is to
compare the monthly rate to your monthly content consumption patterns
and what it would cost if you paid movie rental rates each time you
watch a program.”
UK considers direct regulation of social media companies
London (AP) -
The U.K. has proposed directly regulating social media companies for the
first time, with senior executives potentially facing fines if they fail
to block damaging content such as terrorist propaganda or images of
proposed Monday would create a statutory “duty of care” for social media
companies such as Facebook and Twitter to protect young people who use
their sites. The rules would be overseen by an independent regulator
funded by a levy on internet companies.
Jeremy Wright says: “Voluntary actions from industry to tackle online
harms have not been applied consistently or gone far enough.”
regulations were released for public comment on Monday.
Toyota robot can’t slam dunk but shoots a mean 3-pointer
basketball robot Cue 3, the 207-centimeter (six-foot-10) -tall machine
made five of eight three-pointer shots in a demonstration in a Tokyo
suburb Monday, a ratio its engineers say is worse than usual. (AP
Tokyo (AP) -
It can’t dribble, let alone slam dunk, but Toyota’s basketball robot
hardly ever misses a free throw or a 3-pointer.
The 207-centimeter (six-foot,
10-inch)-tall machine made five of eight 3-point shots in a
demonstration in a Tokyo suburb Monday, a ratio its engineers say is
worse than usual.
Toyota Motor Corp.’s robot, called
Cue 3, computes as a three-dimensional image where the basket is, using
sensors on its torso, and adjusts motors inside its arm and knees to
give the shot the right angle and propulsion for a swish.
Efforts in developing human-shaped
robots underline a global shift in robotics use from pre-programmed
mechanical arms in limited situations like factories to functioning in
the real world with people.
The 2017 version of the robot was
designed to make free throws.
Yudai Baba, a basketball player
likely representing host Japan at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, took part in
the demonstration and also missed a couple of shots. If the robot could
learn a few more tricks, he was ready to accept the robot on the team,
“We human players are still better
for now,” he said.
Right after missing, the robot
slumped over. It wasn’t disappointment, but a temporary power failure.
Cue 3’s name is supposed to reflect
the idea the technology can serve as a cue, or signal of great things to
come, according to Toyota.
The company plays down how the
technology might prove useful. It’s more about boosting morale among
engineers, making them open to ideas and challenges.
In making the robot’s outer
covering something like that of an armadillo, the engineers said they
were just trying to avoid the white metallic look often seen on robots.
The maker of the Camry sedan, Prius
hybrid and Lexus luxury models has shown off various robots, including
one that played a violin. Another, resembling R2-D2 of Star Wars, slides
around and picks up things. At Monday’s demonstration, it handed the
basketball to Cue 3.
Experts say robots that can mimic
human movements, even doing them better, could prove useful in various
ways, including picking crops, making deliveries, and working in
factories and warehouses.
Stanford University Professor
Oussama Khatib, who directs the university’s robotics lab, said Cue 3
demonstrates complex activities such as using sensors and nimble
computation in real-time in what he called “visual feedback.”
To shoot hoops, the robot must have
a good vision system, be able to compute the ball’s path then execute
the shot, he said in a telephone interview.
“What Toyota is doing here is
really bringing the top capabilities in perception with the top
capabilities in control to have robots perform something that is really
challenging,” Khatib said.
Japan has been aggressive in
developing humanoids, including those that do little more than offer
Toyota’s rival Honda Motor Co. has
its Asimo, a culmination of research into creating a walking robot that
started in the 1980s. It not only can run, but also recognize faces,
avoid obstacles, shake hands, pour a drink and carry a tray.
When will such robots be able to
slam dunk, a feat that will require running, dribbling and jumping?
“In 20 years, with technological
advances,” said Tomohiro Nomi, a Toyota engineer who worked on Cue 3.
Thousands in Germany protest planned EU internet reforms
People protest against the Directive on Copyright in the
Digital Single Market by the European Union in Leipzig, Germany,
Saturday, March 23, 2019. People fear for the freedom of the internet
when users content has to pass upload filters to protect copyrights.
(Peter Endig/dpa via AP)
Berlin (AP) -
Tens of thousands of people have marched in cities across Germany to
protest planned European Union copyright reforms that they fear will
lead to online censorship.
The dpa news agency reports the
biggest protest Saturday was in Munich, where 40,000 people marched
under the motto “save your internet.”
Thousands of others took part in
smaller demonstrations in the German cities of Cologne, Hamburg,
Hannover, Berlin and other cities against the bill that is being voted
on this week.
The most controversial section
would require companies such as YouTube and Facebook to take
responsibility for copyrighted material that’s uploaded to their
Proponents say the new rules will
help ensure authors, artists and journalists are paid.
Opponents claim they could restrict
freedom of speech, hamper online creativity and force websites to
Digital scrapbooking site Pinterest files for IPO
In this Oct. 11, 2018, file photo, Evan Sharp, Pinterest
co-founder and chief product officer, poses for a photo, standing beside a
wall of pegs symbolizing the company logo at Pinterest headquarters in San
Francisco. Pinterest is pinning its future on Wall Street, with the digital
scrapbooking site on Friday, March 22, 2019, filing for an initial public
offering of stock. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)
Rachel Lerman & Barbara Ortutay
San Francisco (AP) -
Pinterest is pinning its future on Wall Street, with the digital
scrapbooking site filing for an initial public offering of stock on March
It follows a similar filing with
securities regulators earlier last month by ride-hailing company Lyft in
what is shaping up to be a busy season for technology IPOs. Also expected to
sell stock to the public in the coming weeks: Lyft rival Uber and messaging
Pinterest said in its filing that it
intends to list itself on the New York Stock Exchange using the ticker
symbol “PINS.” The company hasn’t yet said how many shares it’s selling in
the IPO or how much money it intends to raise.
The San Francisco-based company had
revenue of $756 million last year, a 60 percent bump from 2017. It had a
loss of $63 million last year, compared to a loss of $130 million in 2017.
Pinterest allows people to search for
and “pin” images as inspiration for fashion, interior design, travel and
The company said it has more than 250
million users each month, and users have saved more than 175 billion pins
since the site was launched.
Pinterest has raised nearly $1.5
billion in the private markets, and was last valued at $12.3 billion in
2017, according to PitchBook Data.
Pinterest has long shunned being
labeled a social network. Because of that, it doesn’t push users to add
friends or build connections. It also means it’s been able to avoid problems
of its larger rivals like Facebook.
But despite the lack of friend
networks, many advertisers likely still consider Pinterest to be part of
their “social” budgets, said eMarketer analyst Andrew Lipsman, meaning it
competes in part with Facebook, Snapchat and others.
Pinterest makes advertising revenue
when businesses promote pins in users’ feeds. Pinterest has the potential to
be more valuable than most digital media to advertisers, Lipsman said,
because it has direct information about what a user wants.
It’s all clear in the search - if a
user is searching for new floor lamps or diamond rings, there’s a decent
chance they want to buy those things.
“Visual search has a much bigger impact
in terms of driving desire,” Lipsman said.
Pinterest was founded in 2010 by Ben
Silbermann and Evan Sharp, who still serve as CEO and chief product officer,
The company has been working on
developing its artificial intelligence search, which allows people to take a
photo or upload a screenshot of an item and find similar products on
Like many other tech companies,
including Facebook and Google, Pinterest will create two classes of stock -
one that will give the holder one vote per share, and another that will get
20 votes per share. Shares held by executives and board members will be
converted into shares of the second, more powerful, class. Pinterest’s
filing did not break down the percentage of ownership.