National News

U.S. To Open Immigrant Family Detention Centers In Response To Influx

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-20 10:21

The Obama administration says it will boost enforcement efforts — and try to dispel beliefs among migrants that new U.S. policies allow them to enter the country illegally.

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There's No Run Like A Prison Run

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-20 10:16

In Oregon, organizers of a program that lets inmates of a maximum-security prison run with regular citizens say the goal is to provide a sense of purpose, and normalcy.

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Ukraine Orders Unilateral Cease-Fire With Separatists

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-20 09:58

President Petro Poroshenko announced the weeklong halt to the fighting, but there was no indication whether pro-Russia rebels would follow suit.

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Yo, stop making a big deal out of the Yo hack

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-20 09:57

Maybe it's because summer is almost here, or maybe it's because the Amazon Fire phone did not blow anyone's mind this week, but Yo has officially blown up. The App, which through the right lens could almost be considered tech industry self-parody, works like this: You and your friends sign up, and then with a click of the button trade one singular message. "Yo." And that's it. It's reportedly raised $1 million in funding, and it's already cracked the top five apps in Apple's App Store.

Here's the other way Yo has blown up: it has also had its security flaws exposed. Three students told TechCrunch today that they were able to mine the app for user phone numbers. Other developers seem to have backed that up, also saying that Yo can allow non "yo" messages to be sent.

But hold on. If this sounds truly scary to you, then you might need a reality check. Security flaws in popular apps are a serious issue, no question. But..."major security flaws" ? Ehhh. Just remember: getting random people's phone numbers and sending people messages that don't consist of the word "yo" is something you can do with a phone book. Any 7th grader with a taste for prank calls knows that.

I asked one of our Marketplace Tech regulars, Chester Wisniewski of Sophos, to characterize just how big of a deal the yo hack was, and he quoted the Bard. "Much ado about nothing." What Wisniewski did say was that Yo's security flaws are demonstrative of a larger problem: the low barrier to entry in the app universe for thrown-together software that doesn't have proper security. That's a bigger challenge for the app world, and Yo is a pretty low-priority example. 

So until this particular issue turns into something more serious--like access to your credit card data, or delivering your phone a virus--remember that like apps, not all "hacks" are created equal. Anyone still worried about this should look at the app permissions screen: 

 

 

This narrative can change of course, but it's not time to go Chicken Little on Yo just yet. If you want to see a list of app/web hacks that you should pay more attention to, look below:

6 notable tech hacks

The Tweetdeck Dictionary.

Via Creative Commons/Flickr/Sean MacEntee

 

1. Tweetdeck

 

The social media managing program briefly shut down after a "security issue" which caused bizarre tweets to show up in users' feeds. Twitter user @Firoxl, who uncovered the issue, later tweeted to CNN that his discovery "was some sort of accident."

The WhatsApp icon on an iPhone home screen.

Via Creative Commons/Flickr/Jan Persiel

 

2. WhatsApp

 

A group called KDMS Team took credit for defacing the website of the popular messaging app. The group left a message that simply appeared to raise awareness about Palestine, saying "Palestinian people has [sic] the right to live in peace." WhatsApp said in a statement that "no user data was lost or compromised" while their website had been hijacked.

Spotify HQ.

Via Creative Commons/Flickr/Sorosh Tavakoli

 

3. Spotify

 

Though the security breach only appeared to affect one unlucky user, Spotify decided it wasn't taking any chances. It pushed out a new version of the app to Android users that prompted users to uninstall the previous version, and asked users to re-enter their login details. As for the one user who was hacked, the company blog said "this did not include any password, financial or payment information."

Via Wikimedia Commons

 

4. Pinterest

 

Pinterest couldn't catch a break--it was hacked twice in the span of four months. The first time, users reported spam images of women in underwear, usually accompanying a weight loss spam message. The second time around, users' feeds were littered with messages advertising a strange Asian fruit purported to burn fat. Pinterest put affected accounts into safe mode, and encouraged its users to use "unique and strong passwords" to prevent another episode.

 

Skype's booth at SXSW 2012.

Via Creative Commons/Flickr/1000heads

5. Skype

 

2014 got off to an auspicious start for Skype when it became the latest victim of a hack attack from the Syrian Electronic Army. Skype's Twitter and Facebook pages, along with its company blog, were hijacked with identical messages calling for an end to government spying. The messages were quickly removed, and Skype tweeted the following day that no user information had been compromised.

 

Via Wikimedia Commons

6. Snapchat

 

Out of all the hacks on this list, Snapchat probably got hit the worst. Early in January 2014, hackers exploited a security flaw in the app's "Find Friends" function that was used to download the usernames and phone numbers for 4.6 million accounts and later posted the data online. Though the company had previously acknowledged that this was possible, they later released an updated version of the app that came with an option to opt out of Find Friends.

 

Former Foster Care Youths Get Help Paying For Health Care

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-20 08:39

Young adults who grew up in foster care are at higher risk for medical and mental health problems, but often don't have insurance. A little-known provision in the Affordable Care Act helps.

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Going Against The Grain: FDA Threatens Brewers' Feed For Farmers

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-20 08:19

Breweries have been providing farmers with free or discounted grain to feed their animals for centuries. But a proposed FDA rule intended to make food safer could disrupt that relationship.

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Pudding you in the mood for chocolate

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-20 08:01

Here's an extended look at the Marketplace Datebook for the week of June 23:

On Monday, the National Association of Realtors tells us how many existing homes were sold in May.

But hey, what about new homes? You only have to wait until Tuesday. That's when the Commerce Department gives us those numbers.

Then of course you have to fill your house with appliances. On Wednesday the Commerce Department reports on durable goods orders, including appliances.

The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology discusses the future of human space exploration.

Next, let's go back in time and stand in a supermarket checkout line in Troy, Ohio. Come on, it'll be fun. Hear that beeping sound? Forty years ago on June 26 a pack of Wrigley's gum made history when it became the first purchase scanned using a bar code.

Thursday is National Chocolate Pudding Day. Seriously, I'm not making this up. Someone else did.

On Friday, fashion designer Vera Wang turns 65. She's famous for those gorgeous wedding gowns.

And since it's summer it's time to get out of the house. "Transformers: Age of Extinction" explodes onto the big screen.

Obama On Iraq: Defense Strategy Or Political Compromise?

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-20 08:00

President Obama announced that he's prepared to send up to 300 military advisers to Iraq. Analysts join guest host Audie Cornish to discuss some of the biggest political stories of the week.

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The Gray Market: An invisible $2 trillion economy

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-20 07:37

When jobs are tough to find and salaries remain stagnant, sometimes people turn to something else to make ends meet. Maybe they start playing poker, or stripping or even selling Tupperware under the table to pay their bills — not necessarily illegal, but not necessarily mainstream.

According to Edgar Feige, economics professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, unreported income totals $2 trillion in the U.S. That includes illegal activities like drug dealing, but it also includes side jobs like nannies and eBay sellers.

We want to hear stories of the little and big things you did for money in this gray area. Email us or leave a comment.

Dan Szematowicz, Senior Producer of Marketplace Weekend, shares his story of how he pulled through leaner times early in his career:

A group of friends and I went to the local casino for an evening of shenanigans and tomfoolery. Next thing I know, I’m sitting at a poker table playing VERY low stakes Texas hold’em.

Over the next few hours, the stack of chips in front of me grew. Beginner’s luck, right?

I enjoyed the game, so I went back the next weekend. Same result. I studied the game, constantly practiced and steadily moved up in stakes. After a few months, I was making significantly more money from playing poker than I was from my more respectable job. That extra money allowed me to bridge the gap between what I was pulling down from my entry-level radio job, and the bills that needed to be paid. In turn, that gave me the feeling of security that I needed to concentrate on growing my radio career.

Stephanie Kwolek, Chemist Who Created Kevlar, Dies At 90

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-20 07:30

Kwolek, a DuPont scientist, invented the remarkable fibers — lightweight, flexible and five times stronger than steel — that are used around the world in bulletproof body armor.

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U.N.: Number Of Displaced People Hits Mark Not Seen Since World War II

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-20 06:59

At least 51.2 million people are now living under forced displacement, a U.N. agency says. If all of them were put into one country, it would be the 26th largest in the world.

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Yo Is The Buzzy App Of The Moment, Whether Yo Like It Or Not

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-20 06:40

Yo is an app that does nothing but let you send a voice message to your contacts saying "Yo." Is it worth the $1 million investors seem to think it is?

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Wrong! Deconstructing 5 Famous History Stories

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-20 05:46

You don't question them. You don't doubt them. You hear them so often, you wouldn't know they are lies. Here are five historical "facts" that aren't true. Never were. And now you'll know.

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Sanctions Common Against Doctors With Odd Medicare Billing

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-20 05:14

Medicare data show a pattern of problematic payments to doctors with a history of disciplinary action. Yet state medical boards don't usually look at billing as a trigger for investigations.

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Leading Shiite Cleric Says Iraq Needs A New Government

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-20 04:26

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani's comments add to criticisms that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki hasn't done enough to bridge sectarian rifts. The cleric also says ISIS militants must be expelled.

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What does pain have to do with econ? Oh, everything

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-20 04:25

A pain clinic is a strange place to think about economics.

And to be honest, I wasn’t at the time. I was thinking of myself. My abdomen, freshly scarred from two surgeries to remove endometriosis. My pants, which didn’t fit. The pain and numbness that ran down my right leg. My hand, which wouldn’t hold a pen. I’m a reporter. I have to hold a pen.

The GW Pain Center was on my road back.

The waiting room was full of people with their own pain. Diabetics who’d lost a limb. Older men and women in wheelchairs. Restless kids dragged along, too loud for the small, tense space. Veterans willing themselves to walk a few steps, knowing a punishing set of parallel bars and weights was just inside the clinic doors.

We were not always kind to one another. How can you prioritize one person’s pain over another? Is my set of stairs worth more than your heavy purse? Does your 7 on the 1-10 scale look anything like mine?

Ruth Graham wrote a spectacular story in the Boston Globe about how pain, and our subjective responses to it, can exacerbate inequality. I feel like I saw this a million times over. The skeptical eyebrow at a patient, sometimes me. Were they seeking drugs? Really hurting? How do you know?

I’ve been thinking about pain a lot as we build our new show, Marketplace Weekend. In part because my experience was so formative to who I am now, both physically and emotionally. But more because of pain’s subjective nature. And the necessity to recognize that no matter what you’re experiencing, someone else is living a different experience. Even if you can’t quite grasp it.

But you can ask. And that, to me, is the essence of reporting.

How are you? What was that like? Tell me how it felt.

The author Leslie Jamison wrote a gorgeous and searing book, "The Empathy Exams." I recommend the whole thing, but the first essay, on her time making money as a medical actor, just nails this. “Empathy isn’t just listening,” she writes, “it’s asking the questions that need to be listened to.”

Or even if I’m stumbling around and stabbing at the wrong questions.

“Empathy requires knowing you know nothing.”

That’s how it is with money, too. It pushes you, shapes you. Your 1-10 scale of losing a job is utterly different from mine. That framed first dollar over the bar? Tell me why it’s special.

Our show certainly won’t be perfect, and there will be times when we know nothing. But we’ll aim to ask, with humor, curiosity, and, I hope, empathy.

GE Capital ordered to pay quarter of a billion dollars

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-20 04:00

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has announced the largest federal credit card settlement over discrimination in U.S. history. GE Capital Retail Bank, now known as Synchrony Financial, was ordered to pay $228.5 million in refunds to customers.

The CFPB says the bank told credit card customers certain services were free when they were not; signing people up and charging them without their consent, and even charging people who weren’t eligible to receive the service.

The largest chunk of the settlement ($169 million) is over allegations GE Capital Retail Bank declined to offer debt relief to people if they asked for service in Spanish, or if they had mailing addresses in Puerto Rico.

“These kinds of practices are amazingly common,” says Jill Fisch, professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania. “Historically credit cards have been an area where the credit card companies are able to identify lower income and less educated consumers and take advantage of them and we’ve seen that over many years.”

GE Capital self-reported the incidents and says it regrets its error. In April, Bank of America paid $727 million over similar practices, and over the past two years American Express, Capital One, Chase, and Discover have all been ordered to refund customers more than $700 million dollars total. 

PODCAST: Why Russia is allegedly anti-fracking

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-20 04:00

More on the news that NATO is accusing Russia of giving money to anti-fracking environmentalist groups. Plus, Detroit is implementing new pension plans for some of its residents, the implications of which have other states nervous. Also, Minessota will be the next state to offer businesses the option of classifying as b-corporations, a title which allows the equal prioritization of social missions and profit.

Is A Threat On Facebook Real? Supreme Court Will Weigh In

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-20 03:28

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case involving perceived death threats on Facebook. The court and the company could have starkly different approaches to identifying credible threats.

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Married Same-Sex Couples To Receive More Federal Benefits

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-20 03:19

The newly expanded benefits would allow people in a same-sex marriage to take time off from work to care for their spouses, no matter which state they live in.

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